Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 69
Thursday, April 5, 2012
The Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin, Acting Speaker
Thursday, April 5, 2012
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin, Acting
Speaker, in the Chair.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker informed the Senate that the following
communication had been received:
April 4, 2012
I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable David Johnston,
Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to
the bill listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 4th day of April,
2012, at 6:22 p.m.
Secretary to the Governor General
The Speaker of the Senate
Bill Assented to Wednesday, April 4, 2012:
An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (Bill C-19,
Chapter 6, 2012)
Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Honourable senators, last week, Henk Tepper,
a New Brunswick potato farmer who was being detained in Lebanon because he was
wanted by Algeria on an Interpol warrant, returned to Canada and was reunited
with his family. Henk was in jail for over a year, a nightmare that he and his
family are not likely to forget.
In May of last year, Henk's father, his wife and his sister came to ask me
for help. I told them that I would do whatever I could to bring Henk home. With
help from Henk's lawyers, I gathered and studied all of the facts relating to
his case. It would be impossible for me to go into detail about communications
between my office and Lebanon because they were too numerous.
In May, June, July and August, I met with Ministers Nicholson, Baird and
Ablonczy, the RCMP and the Clerk of the Privy Council, Wayne Wouters, providing
them with all the documented facts.
Also, at the end of June, you will remember that I asked honourable senators
to sign a petition to be sent to Lebanon. All my Liberal caucus colleagues
signed it. I want to take this moment to thank my colleagues for their
I will also take this opportunity to thank, on my behalf and on behalf of
lawyer Jim Mockler and the Tepper family, the Honourable Senator Mac Harb. Mac,
you have been, without reservation, a pillar of strength and determination in
Canada as well as in Lebanon for the return of Henk, especially when we went to
Lebanon for our series of meetings. I was so impressed with the high regard they
have for you. You joined the Tepper team, and we are extremely grateful for your
When Senator Harb, lawyer Jim Mockler, lawyer Joe Karam and I met with
dignitaries in Lebanon, they questioned us: Why had they not received any
request from the Government of Canada to return Henk home? However, through
those meetings and continued dialogue, the Government of Lebanon made the
courageous and just decision not to extradite Henk Tepper to Algeria.
Honourable senators, there are not enough words to express my and the Tepper
family's appreciation for the Lebanese government. Throughout this nightmare,
they have been patient, understanding and, above all, courageous. Henk would not
be home without their courageous decision. Citizens of Lebanon and
Canadian-Lebanese citizens should be extremely proud of the current government.
On Saturday, March 31, Henk Tepper, accompanied by his lawyers Jim Mockler
and Joe Karam, arrived at the Ottawa airport and was greeted by his family as
well as myself and Senator Harb. It was one of the most fulfilling and emotional
moments of my life.
On Sunday, as we arrived in Grand Falls and Drummond, there were groups all
along the road to greet Henk.
Honourable senators, today I have the honour of drawing to your attention the
presence in the gallery of two distinguished Lebanese gentlemen, the Lebanese
embassy's chargé d'affaires, Georges Abou Zeid, and our very good friend, Joe
Karam, who was Henk Tepper's lawyer in Lebanon. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, today I would like to pay tribute to a great man who passed away
during the night of Wednesday, April 4, 2012.
Every person's life leaves an impression, and Jean-Claude Langlois's left a
huge one. At age 77, Mr. Langlois left our community, and left behind a legacy
as a great builder.
He began his career as a teacher in the early 1950s and worked in that field
for 13 years. It was during that time that he invented the familiar Mot Mystère
word search puzzle to help his students learn French.
In the late 1960s, Mr. Langlois decided to commercialize this teaching tool.
It was a huge success and marked the start of a new career for this French
teacher, who then became a great and respected businessman in our region.
He quickly became interested in journalism and started his own newspaper,
La Concorde, which was first published in October 1969. Through the
acquisition of a series of competitors, Mr. Langlois became the owner of four
newspapers, La Concorde and L'Éveil in the Deux-Montagnes RCM and
Nord Info and Voix des Mille-Îles in the Thérèse-de-Blainville RCM.
Jean-Claude Langlois's life can be summed up by the old saying that anything
worth doing is worth doing right. His commercial and philanthropic success bear
witness to that fact. Jean-Claude Langlois was a builder the likes of whom we
seldom have the chance to meet since, in addition to achieving such great
success in his professional life, Mr. Langlois was also extremely kind-hearted.
He was involved in many charitable causes. As an honorary president, a donor or
a simple volunteer for a cause, Jean-Claude never hesitated to devote part of
his life to promoting and supporting the organizations in his community. He gave
his full support to the Fondation Hôpital Saint Eustache, Fondation
Drapeau-Deschambault, Aide aux enfants handicapés Blainville Deux Montagnes and
Maison des soins palliatifs Sercan, not to mention the many charitable
organizations to which he provided space in his newspapers.
The success of his newspapers resulted from his willingness to promote the
people of his region. Like all media owners, he had a great deal of power. He
never abused his power. Instead, he used it to showcase other people and their
ideas. I will always remember the election campaign coverage when he created a
rule for exemplary objectivity and impartiality, in which each party was given
the same meticulously planned coverage in order to ensure that all parties were
on a perfectly level playing field.
Some losses have many repercussions. The passing of Jean-Claude Langlois is
one such loss, and no one is left unaffected. He was a rock in our community
and, for many, he was a beacon on that rock.
Personally, I have known the man for nearly 25 years and he left an indelible
mark on my life. Thank you, Jean-Claude, for all you have given us.
I wish to express my sincere condolences to his children, Serge, Claude and
Michel, his grandchildren, and his long-time colleagues and friends, André Roy,
Rémy Binette and Carole Côté.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, today is National
Caregiver Day. An estimated five million Canadians provide care for their loved
ones who are gravely ill or dying because of age, disabling medical conditions,
chronic injury, long-term illness or disability.
We must recognize the important role and value of family caregivers, not only
for the family but for society as a whole. Family caregivers are the invisible
backbone of our health care system. They provide hands-on care, assistance and
emotional support day after day to loved ones who are gravely ill or dying.
The new reality is that caring for an aging parent or family member is
becoming a normal part of life for an increasing number of Canadians. Today it
is not if but when one will become a family caregiver.
This weekend as we celebrate Easter, a chance for Canadians to rest and spend
time with family, let us remember that family caregivers will be working
continually to provide care and support for their loved ones.
Honourable senators, please join with me in marking National Caregiver Day by
recognizing the individual Canadians who, by providing care and compassion, make
a difference in the life of a gravely ill or dying loved one.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, an independent
review of the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(h), I move:
That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday,
April 24, 2012, at 2 p.m.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators,
to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators,
pursuant to rule 56, I give notice that, two days hence:
I will call the attention of the Senate to the 30th Anniversary of the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which has done so much to build
pride in our country and our national identity.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Following the passage of Bill C-19 —
which dredges up very bad memories for Quebecers — and today's decision by
Quebec's courts to suspend application of section 29, the destruction of
registry data in Quebec, could the leader tell us if the government intends to
respect the decision of the Quebec's courts?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): The Minister of
Public Safety reported this morning that with Royal Assent and Bill C-19
becoming federal law, the long-gun registry will no longer be in place in
Canada. However, we will, of course, respect and deal with any future decision
of the court.
While I am on my feet, the government was just made aware of the decision of
the court in the province of Quebec and has not yet fashioned a response to
exactly what will be done in the future.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: We are in a country where due process is one
of the fundamental pillars of our democracy. I am wondering if this declaration
of the minister is valid until the court has finished dealing with it. The first
step was to preserve the data. The second step, of course, is to recuperate the
data, and this will be addressed in another court proceeding.
Will the minister respect the court process of this country and ensure that
we get back the data, paid for by the citizens of Quebec and whose will it is to
Senator LeBreton: I answered that in my first answer, honourable
senators. The government was just made aware, an hour or so ago, about the
decision of the Quebec court. I cannot comment any further on what actions will
be taken. This will have to wait until we are back, when we will have a more
definitive idea of how exactly we will respond.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, this is my last
supplementary question. Not so long ago, when we were discussing the possibility
of destroying or abolishing the Canadian Wheat Board, a judge made a ruling that
was never respected by the government.
That is why my question for the leader is the following: is her government
going to respect the judicial process to the end?
Senator LeBreton: I just answered the question. With regard to the
Wheat Board, it was a different type of circumstance.
In any event, I can only say to honourable senators that the government just,
within the last hour, received the decision of the Quebec court, and we will
Hon. Joan Fraser: Supplementary. I am sorry, honourable senators, but
despite three attempts, and listening very carefully, I do not understand the
answer of the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Will she or will she not
obey the injunction until the final court case is settled?
Senator LeBreton: I actually said that in my first answer. I said that
Minister Toews indicated this morning that the government would respect the
decision of the court.
Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader
of the Government in the Senate and has to do with the Katimavik program.
The youth unemployment rate is twice as high as the national average, civic
engagement is at an all-time low, and there is a shortage of skilled labourers.
The minister's government has abolished Katimavik, a program to help young
people acquire useful, transferable job skills.
I would like to share what some of the young participants in Katimavik have
said. One young woman said, "What we learn here is worth just as much as a
diploma." One young man said:
. . . it is terribly wrong to cut Katimavik it changed my life in 2000.
Should the acquisition by young people of these useful, transferable job
skills not be part of your job strategies in the economic plan? Why abolish
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I hope honourable
senators noticed today that the country experienced extremely strong job growth:
82,300 net new jobs, which means over 690,000 net new jobs since July 2009. Of
these figures today, 90 per cent were full-time jobs. I would urge the
honourable senator to look at the statistics, because a significant number of
those jobs were for young Canadians.
These are positive signs. We are on the right track. The youth employment
numbers made up a significant proportion of the good news that came out of
Statistics Canada this morning.
With regard to Katimavik, as I indicated on Tuesday to Senator Losier-Cool,
this program has been in place for over 30 years. Taxpayers have paid out over
$379 million into the Katimavik program. There is a dropout rate of over 30 per
cent. Since 1977, Katimavik has received 99 per cent of its funding from
taxpayers. There has been no effort on the part of Katimavik to raise its own
money. In fact, if the senator is worried about ordinary Canadians, Katimavik
has cost taxpayers $28,000 for every young person the program supports. That, of
course, as we know, is a very good salary for many Canadians.
Our government is very proud of our record in investing in affordable,
effective programs that engage youth, including Encounters with Canada, Forum
for Young Canadians and organizations that support youth, such as the YMCA and
Linda Brunet of Encounters with Canada has stated that "The support this
government has provided to youth has been invaluable."
Senator Chaput: The Katimavik program has given young Canadians an
opportunity to learn about and appreciate Canada's rich regional and cultural
diversity. These young Canadians, as you know, have had unforgettable
experiences in every province across Canada. Those experiences have given these
young people more than just a job before returning to their studies; they have
also given them the skills and tools needed to return to the labour market. The
program has also provided a great deal of assistance to the community
organizations that welcomed them across Canada.
I know of some young people who, through this program, helped develop
regional programming for a community radio station when it was being launched. I
know of some who helped low-income seniors living in retirement homes renovate
their personal spaces. I saw many such community-based projects carried out
I have never heard a single Canadian say that the Katimavik program was a
waste of money.
I repeat my question: Why eliminate such an important program for our young
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I point out that Katimavik has
been in place for over 30 years. It did not do one thing to reach out on its own
and raise its own money. It relied totally on the Canadian taxpayer to the tune
of $28,000 per young person who participated. There was a dropout rate of over
30 per cent. The government supports many programs, including Encounters with
Canada, that educate and provide youth participation in good and valid projects
to enhance their Canadian citizenship. Katimavik is a program whose time is up,
and the government will not change its position on this. The Katimavik program
Hon. Jim Munson: To the Leader of the Government in the Senate, did
the government cut the program because it is a Liberal initiative?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, if that were the case we still
have a lot of cutting to do.
The fact of the matter is this program's usefulness has now passed. I have
made very clear that Katimavik made no effort to raise any of its own funds; it
relied solely on the taxpayer of Canada.
The government participates in many programs to support our youth. The
employment numbers out today point to the fact that a significant number of
those jobs were for youth.
Furthermore, there are many areas in this country where businesses,
manufacturing and various organizations are crying out for skilled workers. I
would suggest that we focus on ensuring that our young people know of these
positions that are available and that they are properly trained, whether through
skills training or colleges and universities, to ensure that they are well
equipped to fill these jobs that are so urgently crying for people to fill them.
Senator Munson: In probably one of the leader's favourite papers, the
Ottawa Citizen, there was a column today by Elizabeth Payne. She made an
interesting point. She said that Katimavik should be a Tory favourite, owing to
the fact that it is aligned with Conservative values of volunteerism and youth
engagement. She suggested that the government might want to consider rebranding
Katimavik. Its current name means "meeting place" in Inuktitut, and it is
fitting, given Canada's proud Aboriginal heritage. However, perhaps — a more
Conservative-friendly name could save the program. What about "the Governor
General's youth corps" or "the royal Canadian volunteer corps"?
I just know these things. The leader's answer moments ago — talk about taking
it to another level — "this is about Trudeau time" and so on and forth.
It is hard to imagine, as Ms. Payne said, a federal politician who would not
like the idea. You could call it "Torytic," or whatever you want to call it.
It is difficult to argue with the benefit of this program.
Would you stop chirping, senator? I am trying to ask a question. You chirp
all the time.
Each dollar invested in the program produces roughly $2.20 return for the
communities Katimavik serves. How can one argue with that?
We have hundreds of emails from parents. Those who signed up for the program
this year, who are still in the program and who are ready to go this summer,
cannot go. They completed the selection process for the upcoming sessions and
now they are left out in the cold.
One mother said the following:
My son was accepted to the July run of the Katimavik program. He was
excited about his future, excited about seeing a different part of Canada,
and excited about helping others, because he was accepted in the program. He
did not apply to university or college this year. Now what does he do?
This was his dream, and our government has crushed it. Madam leader, it is
not our government, and certainly not my government, that has crushed this young
man's dream. As his mother asked, I now ask the leader: What does he do?
Senator LeBreton: First, when the honourable senator suggested at the
beginning of his question that the Ottawa Citizen is my favourite
newspaper, as a matter of fact, it makes a good liner for my cat litter box.
The fact of the matter is, as I mentioned before, Katimavik has long outlived
its usefulness. It is paid for directly by the taxpayer. We were elected on
jobs, the economy and prosperity for the future. We have not raised taxes.
Since the honourable senator is worried about students and student jobs, the
Economic Action Plan 2012 provides an additional $50 million to assist more
young people in gaining tangible skills and experience through the Youth
Employment Strategy. I would suggest to the honourable senator that he direct
the mother who wrote the email to other programs that the government has to
assist young people. It would be advisable that he do that.
The budget also doubles the resources of the Industrial Research and
Development Internship Program to place even more students into hands-on
research and internships in Canadian companies.
We have provided many opportunities for youth. Previously, as I pointed out
in this chamber, we permanently increased Canada Summer Jobs by $10 million —
3,500 additional jobs per year, for a total of 40,000 jobs for students each
summer. As well, Career Focus helps employers provide recent graduates with
internships; this program helped 2,800 graduates in 2010-11.
Honourable senators, these are the programs that young people should be
focused towards, not a 30-year-old program in which a very few people
participate. Katimavik itself, as the sponsor of this program, has done
absolutely nothing, other than to rely on the taxpayer, to raise one cent. If
they were so committed to the program, why were they not out raising money on
their own to keep this program going?
Senator Munson: There are robo-calls, and now there are robo-answers.
Tony Clement can spend $50 million on gazebos. That was a Summer Work Experience
program. The leader never, ever answers a direct question.
What does the leader say, as I asked previously, to the mother of this young
boy who signed up for the Katimavik program and was ready to go? It crushed her
son's dream. What does the leader say to that family? Could she answer that?
Senator LeBreton: I answered that. I suggested that the honourable
senator have that mother direct her son to the Canada Youth Employment Strategy.
There are all kinds of opportunities for young people, whether it is working in
universities or manufacturing, where they can get meaningful training for jobs
that will last well into the future.
I know the honourable senator has a hard time accepting this because of his
particular background, but the fact of the matter is that Katimavik is dead and
the government will not be reinstating the program, no matter how many times the
honourable senator gets up and asks questions about it.
Hon. Terry M. Mercer: According to Statistics Canada, when we compare
job numbers from February of this year to June of 2008, we find that in Nova
Scotia alone more than 4,900 more people are unemployed; indeed, the numbers
this morning show that the numbers are going up again. Since July 2008, the
local unemployment rate has risen. I have not had a chance to check this
morning's numbers, but I understand they have gone up from 6.9 to 8.2 over the
period I quoted.
Yet, in the recent budget — and Senator Duffy should be paying close
attention to this — the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency was cut by almost
$17.9 million per year. That is 21 per cent of ACOA's $84.6 million operating
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans was cut by $79.3 million per year and
Marine Atlantic was cut by $10.9 million per year. These are all important
departments in Atlantic Canada; this is again an abandonment of Atlantic Canada
by the Harper government.
For a government that claims to be creating jobs, it seems to me it is doing
the complete opposite. Why would this government be cutting budgets in areas
that are already suffering from heavy job losses?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I guess the
honourable senator is worried about the jobs of the few people who work for
these agencies and not the many jobs created through the programs of ACOA.
The honourable senator knows that all ACOA's programs remain solidly funded
and continue to help small and medium-size enterprises create jobs and growth
in the Atlantic region. Over the coming days and weeks, ACOA will be informing
unions and employees about specific changes and will communicate these changes
accordingly. These are changes to the operation of ACOA. These are not changes
to the money that ACOA sends out to small business.
Of course, as I said before, the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy
is further evidence of our commitment to Atlantic Canada. Obviously, this
program will be a great boon to Atlantic Canada, not only in Nova Scotia but
also to other related industries in other provinces of Atlantic Canada.
Senator Mercer: The Leader of the Government in the Senate talks about
cuts to operations. That is interesting. I am very curious about that.
I have asked the minister before about high-paying jobs that were going out
to Minister MacKay's friends in the very departments of this government that
have slashed budgets. For example, John Lynn, hired to head Enterprise Cape
Breton Corporation under then ACOA Minister Peter MacKay, and Kevin MacAdam, a
former staffer of Minister MacKay, hired as the director general of ACOA
regional operations in Prince Edward Island, had a salary of $133,000 —
Senator Mitchell: That's job creation.
Senator Mercer: Patrick Dorsey was senior adviser to Premier Binns
before being named ACOA's vice-president for PEI in 2007 — all of that, again,
when Minister MacKay was ACOA minister. Cecil Clarke landed himself a job as
consultant to the Cape Breton County Economic Development Authority for over
$135,000 a year, honourable senators. I repeat: $135,000 a year.
Honourable senators, their salaries add up to almost half a million dollars.
That is a lot of money that could be providing local jobs for Atlantic
Canadians. Instead of cutting these executive jobs, the budget will be focusing
on layoffs from the local jobs of people in the region.
I seem to recall an old adage in labour: Last in, first out. I ask the leader
again: When is John Lynn getting his pink slip? What about Kevin MacAdam,
Patrick Dorsey and Cecil Clarke? When will they be fired?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the Honourable Senator Mercer
was the executive director of the Liberal Party before he was appointed to the
The fact of the matter is, honourable senators, Atlantic Canada —
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Order! Can we listen to the answer,
Senator LeBreton: Atlantic Canadian families are no different than
families anywhere in the country. Atlantic Canadian families, workers,
entrepreneurs and taxpayers overwhelmingly agree that our hard-earned tax
dollars should be spent wisely and, more important, effectively.
Atlantic Canadian communities and businesses will benefit from a host of
opportunities stemming from the Economic Action Plan 2012. Our budget includes
an extension of the hiring credit for small businesses, continued support for
the forestry sector, and $1.1 billion over five years for research and
development. On top of that is the naval shipbuilding.
Senator Mercer: Happy Easter!
Senator LeBreton: Happy Easter to you, too, Senator Mercer.
Senator Mercer: Honourable senators, indeed I was the national
director of the Liberal Party before I was appointed. I was happy to do that and
I was happy to take the appointment from Mr. Chrétien — just as all the people
on the other side were happy to take their appointments for their various jobs.
What Senator Moore wanted to know was this: Why is the leader reading her
answers? Tell us what you really feel.
DND is now sending out pink slips. In Nova Scotia, we are losing 62 jobs in
Halifax and at CFB Greenwood — a total of 178 job losses in Atlantic Canada from
the Department of National Defence.
Minister MacKay and Mr. Harper have no problem getting jobs for Mr. MacKay's
buddies — high-paying jobs at ACOA — but cannot stand up and prevent job losses
for departments that are operational in Atlantic Canada. When will these people
be fired and when will you stop cutting jobs in Atlantic Canada?
An Hon. Senator: Hear, hear!
Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator chides me for reading an
answer because I am putting real figures on the record, but then he reads his
The honourable senator knows full well that the goal of this government is
strong growth, low taxes and prosperity in the future. Atlantic Canada factors
into that at an extremely high level. I did put on the record the money that the
government is putting into Atlantic Canada, including into the forestry industry
and into research and development. Atlantic Canada will benefit from all of
that. Again, I mentioned shipbuilding, which was celebrated by people in
Atlantic Canada. That project will go forward and will be beneficial to people
all over Atlantic Canada.
Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators —
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Order! Can we listen to the question,
Senator Mahovlich: Thank you, Your Honour.
My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Auditor General
Michael Ferguson stated that the government misled the people by using a
$15-billion price tag for the purchase of 65 F-35s. Documents, he noted, showed
a total price tag of $25 billion over a 20-year period for defence personnel
salaries and operating costs. Yet nothing is mentioned here about maintenance.
A dear friend of mine retired from politics and from the hockey world. His
name was Leonard Red Kelly. He went into business in aerospace and airplane
maintenance. I often went over to have lunch with him. He explained to me that
if you flew a plane, every part in that plane had so many hours. If it flew one
hour, then certain parts would have to be replaced. This was a business unto
itself, so you had to replace all these parts.
I figured out that for a plane worth at least $200 million or $300 million,
the maintenance for an F-35 — that is, for 65 of those planes — would be at
least $2 billion to $3 billion a year.
Senator Mitchell: Unbelievable!
Senator Mahovlich: In 20 years, it would be close to $27 billion.
Senator Mitchell: Oh, my God — they forgot $27 billion!
Senator Mahovlich: Could the leader please come up with the price tag
for the maintenance of these F-35s in the next 20 years?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I have been around long enough to remember Red Kelly. He played for Detroit and
Toronto. Of course, the Maple Leafs never recovered after he left.
The Auditor General, as I pointed out yesterday, raised some issues with
regard to the F-35. The Auditor General did say this morning in committee that
the government is going in the right direction. I think it is important to point
out here that no contract has been signed; no money has been misspent because no
money has been spent.
Honourable senators, let us let the secretariat that has been put in charge
of overseeing this do their work, report to Parliament and go from there.
As I pointed out yesterday, the government accepts the findings of the
Auditor General and is taking the proper steps to address all the Auditor
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, the Auditor General made it
very clear and stated explicitly that cabinet knew that the price tag — even
though it was low — that was going to be put on the jets was $25 billion. They
knew that explicitly. At the same time, they sat by in their seats in Parliament
when the $14-billion piece of information was given to Parliament, and they did
not do a single thing to fix that lie.
What does it say about the nature of these people in that cabinet that they
would sit by and observe a $10-billion lie to the people of Canada and do
nothing, but nothing, to fix it?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I am not sure to what the
Honourable Senator Mitchell is referring exactly. All I know is that the Auditor
General pointed out some problems between the Department of National Defence and
Industry Canada and the handover to Public Works.
The cabinet, the Governor-in-Council, has accepted the Auditor General's
findings. A secretariat has been set up. However, it is very important to point
out that no contract has been signed and no money has been misspent because no
money has been spent.
Senator Mitchell: Who is going to get fired to right the wrong as
these people sat by and allowed that government to lie to —
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: The time for Question Period has expired.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Mitchell,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Mahovlich, for the adoption of the third
report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and
Natural Resources (budget—study on the energy sector), presented in
the Senate on March 29, 2012.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the
Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators,
to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the sixth report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (budget—study on research and
innovation efforts in the agricultural sector—power to hire staff and to travel),
presented in the Senate on April 3, 2012.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government) moved the
adoption of the report.
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I would like to ask the
Honourable Senator Carignan if the budget for this study, which was set at more
than half a million dollars, is the amount the Senate is being asked to
authorize or if the budget has been revised.
Senator Carignan: To my knowledge, there is no change to the budget
for the time being. I believe that any committee need not spend its entire
budget. The committee must ensure that the monies are spent as diligently as
possible. I believe that the deputy chair, Senator Robichaud, who is present,
could also respond to any specific queries.
Senator Joyal: Honourable senators, the following question is directed
to the honourable Deputy Leader of the Government as well. If I have understood
correctly, the total budget for all committees — there are 17 currently sitting
— is $1,700,000, and the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry
would take up almost one-third of that amount. Is the honourable senator not
concerned that a single committee would spend almost one-third of the total
budget for all committees on a single study?
Hon. David Tkachuk: The presentation of the budget is here because it
is part of the report, but it was not approved. None of the international travel
was approved. The only thing that was approved, if you go to the last page of
the Journals of the Senate, was the amount for some $200,000, which
included the trip to Eastern and Western Canada by the Standing Senate Committee
on Fisheries and Oceans. The other part was turned down by the Internal Economy
Committee and by the budget committee in its report.
Senator Joyal: I thank the honourable chair of the Standing Senate
Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration for his response
because that answers part of my preoccupation. I have risen before in the house
when such requests were placed before us and the proportion of the total amount
for committees was so high, in fact, as to impair the future possibility of
committees to request additional money. That is why I am raising this matter,
and not because I am opposed to what the Agricultural Committee in its wisdom
might choose to do.
As the Honourable Senator Carignan has mentioned, I am sure there are rules
for any committees to ensure that the appropriations are well spent. I thank the
chair of the Internal Economy Committee for that information.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators,
to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Eaton calling
the attention of the Senate to the interference of foreign foundations in
Canada's domestic affairs and their abuse of Canada's existing Revenue
Canada Charitable status.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I
rise today to speak to the inquiry launched by Senator Eaton on, in her words,
"the interference of foreign foundations in Canada's domestic affairs and their
abuse of Canada's existing Revenue Canada Charitable status."
I have listened closely to the honourable senators who have spoken on this
debate. Many issues have been raised and some serious accusations have also been
levelled against some of Canada's most respected and dedicated charitable
The privileges honourable senators enjoy in this place should never be used
as a shield for a drive-by smear campaign. Our privileged right of speech in
this chamber should never be used to try to stamp out the right of other
Canadians to their fundamental Charter right of freedom of speech; yet that is
what I fear this inquiry is trying to do.
There is a great deal of concern right now amongst charitable organizations
across Canada because of things that have been said in the course of this
debate, and last week's budget would seem to suggest that their concerns are
justified. These organizations, perhaps reflecting their "charitable" nature,
are concerned. Many thousands of Canadians are angry that parliamentarians, sent
here to debate serious issues of vital national importance, are instead spending
valuable time "trying to stifle the voices of millions of Canadians with whom
you may not agree." That wording was contained in thousands of emails that I
have received on this topic.
Honourable senators, the people who work for and support our charitable
organizations have dedicated themselves to working to build a better world for
all of us. Whether you or I or Prime Minister Harper agree with all the details
of their respective visions is irrelevant. What constitutes the public good will
be different for different people and it is the respect for these differences
that is the hallmark of a free and democratic society.
The fact that an organization may have charitable status should not give
licence to the government to censor what it says on a particular issue.
Participation in public policy debate should not depend on one's tax status.
It may be helpful to begin with some context. My friend Senator Wallace made
an admirable contribution to the debate when he outlined the history of
charities in Canada, and I commend his remarks to you.
In 2003, the Government of Canada published a document that is readily
available on the Canada Revenue Agency website and continues in full force and
effect. It set out the government's policy with respect to political activities
that the government has said charities may engage in. This policy statement,
CPS-022, has governed the political activities of Canadian registered charities
for close to a decade now. It sets out the overall context for charities as
. . . Canadian society has been enriched by the invaluable contribution
charities have made in developing social capital and social cohesion. By
working with communities at the grassroots level, charities are trusted by
and understand the needs of the people they serve. This is important work
that engages individuals and communities in shaping and creating a more
Through their dedicated delivery of essential programs, many charities
have acquired a wealth of knowledge about how government policies affect
people's lives. Charities are well placed to study, assess, and comment on
those government policies. Canadians benefit from the efforts of charities
and the practical, innovative ways they use to resolve complex issues
related to delivering social services. Beyond service delivery, their
expertise is also a vital source of information for governments to help
guide policy decisions. It is therefore essential that charities continue to
offer their direct knowledge of social issues to public policy debates.
Notice that there is no mention of charities being required to advance the
policies of the government of the day, or a suggestion that a charity may not
challenge or question government policy. To the contrary, there is fundamental
respect that our charities are engaged directly on issues that matter to
Canadians. They have what is referred to in the circular as "a wealth of
knowledge" about how policies will affect people's lives, and enabling
charities to offer their knowledge to public policy debates is, in fact, a good
thing and something to be encouraged, not silenced.
Honourable senators, think of the work done by charitable organizations over
the years on issues that were controversial at the time but are now are widely
accepted. Think of acid rain and, before that, think of the health organizations
that worked tirelessly against smoking while "big tobacco" was telling
Canadians and others that there was no proof cigarette smoking was bad for one's
health. Look at the work being done today on the export of asbestos. Will this
government next try to silence or shut down the Canadian Medical Association for
its criticism of Canada's asbestos policy?
Senator Finley said that the word "charity" has become, in his words,
distorted, contaminated and debased, migrating from being largely a
religious-based concept to now being part of the murky lexicon of financial,
political and other institutions. Honourable senators opposite appear to want to
return to some mythical earlier time when charities restricted themselves to
what the Conservative government considers to be approved "good works" and
stayed away from advocating on public policy issues.
Honourable senators, the campaigning or advocacy role of charities has been
an important factor in our history since the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of
the greatest social movements have been led by charities. The campaign against
the ill-treatment of children; the movement to abolish slavery; the campaign for
women's rights, including the right to vote, were spearheaded by charitable
organizations. This is not a recent phenomenon. There is a long and venerable
tradition of charities engaging in political activities.
Is this to be undone now? Are charities now to confine themselves to
government-approved issues and carefully avoid advocating for causes that have
not met with this government's prior approval? Many Canadians have suggested
that this government's policies aspire to some television-inspired fantasy of
the 1950s, but with this change it would appear the Harper Conservatives want to
turn the clock back even more radically, to the Middle Ages.
By contrast, the 2003 policy statement of the Chrétien government recognized
and indeed welcomed the role that charities play in public policy development.
It provided clarity — and "clarity" is an important word — on what charities
could do without jeopardizing their charitable status. It defined "charitable
activities," "prohibited activities" and "permitted political activities."
The line between what was and what was not allowed was defined by the nature of
the activity and not by whether the charity supported a particular government
policy. For example, a charity may not engage in partisan political activities,
but it may engage in a public awareness campaign to enable the public to make
decisions about an issue related to the charity's work.
As I understand it, and I have spoken to many people in the charitable sector
across the country, these rules, which were prepared after broad consultation
across the country, have worked well. Let us be clear, honourable senators. I
have not heard anything to indicate that any Canadian charity has violated these
rules. The Budget Plan released last week states:
Recently, concerns have been raised that some charities may not be
respecting the rules regarding political activities.
Honourable senators, I fear we are entering into some sort of an echo
chamber. The main people who seem to have been raising these concerns are here
in this chamber.
Senator Mockler gave a disturbing speech in which he listed what he
characterized as "good foundations" and then what he characterized as "the
qualified bad, not to mention ugly foundations." Honourable senators will not
be surprised to hear that those in the latter category support causes that
Senator Mockler does not like. He proceeded to point out that charities should
not take part in an illegal or partisan political activity. I should have
thought that no one should take part in illegal activities. He went on to accuse
certain foundations of "questionable practices" and what he called "dirty
I asked Senator Mockler if he would identify some specific examples of
illegal activities and which bad and ugly foundations engaged in them. He
declined to reply, referring me back to the text of his speech. I have since
re-read his speech very carefully, honourable senators. I saw no specifics of
any illegal activities.
Indeed, honourable senators, the first purported example provided in his
speech was the time Paul McCartney went to Newfoundland and Labrador to protest
the seal hunt. I fail to see how that act was an illegal act by a foundation. We
may or may not agree with Mr. McCartney's view or with his methods of
demonstrating his protest, but surely we would not seek to ban former Beatles
protesting in Canada. What would be next? John Lennon and Yoko Ono should not
have been allowed to stage their bed-in for peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel
Senator Munson: All they were saying was give peace a chance.
Senator Cowan: Or would John Lennon make it on the "good Beatle
list," while Paul McCartney is relegated to Senator Mockler's "bad and ugly
Honourable senators, accusing any person or organization of illegal
activities is serious business. I am quite sure that if there had been any
breach of the rules, the Canada Revenue Agency would have acted. I am not aware
that any such action has been taken.
If Senator Mockler has knowledge of illegal activity, he has a responsibility
to bring it to the attention of the RCMP and the Canada Revenue Agency.
What then is the real issue for colleagues opposite in and around this
inquiry? Since their concerns appear to have been heard and accepted by the
Harper government, as we saw in last week's budget, understanding the real
issues at play becomes even more important.
The main allegation seems to be that "foreign foundations" are "infiltrating" Canada
"under the guise of Canadian charitable foundations."
These are the words that I took from Senator Finley's speech.
These are the kind of words that have been used in this inquiry by honourable
senators opposite. Senator Eaton went even further. She spoke of "political
manipulation" and "influence peddling." These are very serious charges,
honourable senators. Influence peddling, for example, is an offence under
section 121(1) of the Criminal Code and is punishable by up to five years in
prison. If Senator Eaton has knowledge of influence peddling and is not simply
engaging in a drive-by smear under the protection of parliamentary immunity, she
should contact the appropriate authorities.
On the issue of foreign influence, Senator Plett seemed to sum up the crux of
the argument being made by colleagues opposite, when he said:
Canada is indeed a sovereign nation, which is why foreign entities should
simply not be allowed to meddle in the Canadian regulatory process under the
guise of charities.
Senator Mockler took the same position. He said:
We must together put a stop to the interference of foreign foundations in
Canada's domestic affairs.
I must tell honourable senators that I find the direction in which this seems
to be going deeply troubling.
There are many students of history in this chamber who recall, as I do,
another Senate investigation, in another country, into foreign infiltration of
domestic organizations. The McCarthy hearings in the United States were not a
high point in that chamber's history.
The rhetoric that has been employed in this debate is reminiscent of such low
periods in history — listing "good" versus "bad and ugly" foundations,
telling Canadians to beware of "foreigners" who are "infiltrating" our
charitable organizations — Senator Mockler even used the word "hijacking" —
and Senator Plett went so far as to suggest that environmentalists would take
money from al Qaeda, Hamas and the Taliban. Senator Duffy contributed that such
activities were "anti-Canadian."
Honourable senators, instead of an international communist conspiracy,
apparently we now have an international environmentalist conspiracy. Is today's
Senator McCarthy question going to be: "Are you now or have you ever been a
member of a conservation society?" Is that what we will be asking witnesses who
appear before our Senate committees?
Honourable senators, this may seem far-fetched.
Some Hon. Senators: Yes, it does.
Senator Cowan: Remember the words used by Senator Finley: "foreign
foundations" who are "infiltrating" Canada, environmental organizations whose
secret intent is to "undermine" and "do irreparable damage" to Canada's
economy. According to Senator Finley, that is what Canadians must stand on guard
Honourable senators opposite appear to want two things: Senator Eaton and
Senator Finley seemed to be arguing for greater transparency about all sources
of income received by charitable organizations, whether or not charitable
receipts are issued. At first blush, that seems unobjectionable, subject to the
privacy concerns raised by Senator Nancy Ruth during the debate last Thursday.
Honourable senators, I understand that organizations like Tides Canada and
the Suzuki Foundation — two of the charitable organizations singled out for
particular attack by senators opposite — are very transparent about their
funding. Indeed, some might question whether supporters of the government would
be better to address their calls for transparency to their own leader. Prime
Minister Harper to this date has refused to make public the full list of donors
to his leadership campaign in 2002. Canadians do not know whether he is in any
way beholden to foreign organizations, and I rather think that the Prime
Minister wields more authority in this country than the Suzuki Foundation.
Senator Munson: He likes to travel.
Senator Cowan: The second goal of members opposite seems to be for
legislation or regulation of foreign funding for these charitable organizations.
Senator Plett said:
We need to ensure that we protect our sovereignty from the manipulation
of foreign interests and lobbyists who wish to exploit our regulatory
processes for their own agendas, agendas that are clearly against Canada and
Senator Mockler said:
. . . the time has come for the Canada Revenue Agency to close that gap,
to close the loopholes for those foreign foundations with their sole purpose
of making Canada look unpleasant and undesirable in other parts of the
Honourable senators, these are not new ideas. Senators opposite are certainly
not the first politicians to express such concerns and to want legislation to
control foreign funding of domestic non-governmental organizations. A few years
ago, another influential politician said words very similar to those we have
heard in this inquiry. He said: "We are for their," and he was referring to
NGOs, "funding being transparent . . . we don't want them to be led by
puppeteers from abroad."
That was President Vladimir Putin of Russia. In 2006, he signed a law giving
Russian authorities wide-ranging powers to monitor the activities and finances
of NGOs. President Putin said he was particularly concerned about activities
that, in his words, "threaten Russia's sovereignty and independence." Does
that sound familiar?
The law that was passed in Russia in 2006 blocked foreign-funded NGOs from "carrying out what amounts to political activity" in Russia. As President
Putin explained, "Whether these organizations want it or not, they become an
instrument in the hands of foreign states that use them to achieve their own
political objectives." What an example for Senators Eaton and Plett and Prime
Minister Stephen Harper to follow.
The Putin law was roundly and justifiably condemned by Human Rights Watch,
among a long list of others. Indeed, some observers said the law made Russia
"ill-suited for international leadership roles like its [then] chairmanship of
the G8 group of the world's major industrialized countries." That, honourable
senators, was a quote by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty about the law. I wonder
how it would characterize the proposal by Senator Eaton and the support it is
receiving from the loyal supporters of the Harper government?
Is Putin's Russia really the model for Canada? Is that a precedent we should
follow? This government already has the unfortunate distinction of being the
first Canadian government in history to be denied a seat on the UN Security
Council. Do we really want international human rights advocates and others now
to be debating whether Canada should lose its position in the G8?
Honourable senators, I am not afraid of free speech. I celebrate it and I
will proudly and emphatically defend it. However, I worry when someone —
particularly a parliamentarian representing the government of the day — stands
and suggests that we should silence Canadians because they are "under the
influence" of "foreigners" who want to undermine Canadian peace and
Let us be clear, honourable senators: reasonable people can disagree about
what is a good and a bad policy choice. The Canadian way, as exemplified in our
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is to allow free and open debate — the
marketplace of ideas. I am frankly a little surprised to see Conservative
colleagues, who I would have thought believed in the free market above all else,
seeking to somehow control and even suppress the expression of those ideas with
which they happen to disagree.
Let us also be very clear: Foreigners do not have a monopoly on concerns for
the environment. Many Canadians right across this land share a deep concern for
our environment. Many Canadians are genuinely concerned about the impact of the
oil sands development and possible problems resulting from pipelines carrying
crude oil. It is patronizing and insulting to dismiss their very real, serious
concerns as a result of foreign influences, or in Senator Eaton's words,
"has-been and wannabe movie stars."
Canadians are highly intelligent, discerning individuals. They are capable of
making up their own minds about issues. They do not need this government
intervening to keep ideas out of earshot.
Environmental issues are not simply local or domestic issues. Nature does not
recognize political boundaries. That is why international cooperation on
environmental issues is vital. We should not be surprised if our American
neighbours have an immediate interest in environmental issues in Canada.
Likewise, I would hope and expect our government to recognize that Canadians
have an interest in what happens south of the border if a danger is posed to
Canada and our environment.
The Progressive Conservative government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
certainly recognized this during the acid rain debates. In the 1980s, there were
Canadian environmental groups who went to the United States to lobby American
decision-makers to try to bring an end to the scourge of acid rain. Would
Senator Plett say that was wrong and an intrusion into the sovereign affairs of
the United States of America? Should concerned Canadians have remained silent as
they watched their lakes die?
I wonder how Senator Eaton would have viewed a counterpart in the United
States Senate at that time had they criticized Canadian environmental groups as
a threat to the vital coal industry of the Appalachians. Should Canadian
environmental groups have been silenced?
The Government of Canada and representatives from our oil industry have not
hesitated to go and lobby in other countries, not because their policies pose a
danger to Canadian soil, but because their policies are seen not to be in
Canada's economic interests. There were extraordinary lobbying efforts focused
on the U.S. government and the American public with respect to the Keystone
In London, England, Canadian taxpayers funded a two-day lobbying retreat,
what one newspaper dubbed "Oil Lobbying for Dummies." Our government convened
a meeting that brought together Canadian diplomats from 13 different European
posts. Ottawa-based consultants were flown over to England for the event,
together with industry stakeholders, such as Shell Oil, Statoil, Total, the
Royal Bank of Scotland and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
There was a presentation on how to conduct advocacy in Europe and a session
entitled "Address Criticism and Emotions."
Many Canadians might think that big oil has the money to do this kind of
lobbying on its own, that Canadian taxpayer dollars should not be spent so
freely on junkets to London in support of the oil industry, when Canadians are
being told that Old Age Security will have to be cut back, along with spending
on health care and education. Yet senators opposite are indignant when some of
our American neighbours try to express their views in Canada about our oil
A few weeks ago, the news broke of a secret high-level committee that was
formed in 2010, specifically to coordinate the promotion of the oil sands. That
committee brought together the president of the Canadian Association of
Petroleum Producers, with deputy ministers from Natural Resources Canada,
Environment Canada, Alberta Energy and Alberta Environment to synchronize their
lobbying offensive in the face of mounting protest and looming international
regulations targeting Alberta crude.
Plans to form this committee were apparently first discussed at a March 2010
meeting in Calgary involving high-level officials from CAPP; CEOs from the oil
and gas companies; senior federal and Alberta government officials; and Bruce
Carson, the former close adviser to Prime Minister Harper who went back and
forth between working in the PMO and heading up the new Calgary School of Energy
and Environment, established with a federal grant of $15 million.
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.
Senator Cowan: Then, of course, there was an investigation into
possible illegal lobbying by Mr. Carson for his former escort fiancée and
revelations about other questionable activities. Mr. Carson fell out of favour
as this became public, but the secret committee he established evidently lives
Honourable senators opposite are focused on trying to stop legitimate
registered charitable organizations in Canada from having any voice. Somehow I
am not worried that these charitable organizations have so much muscle and money
as to have an unfair advantage over the combined efforts of big multinational
oil companies and the federal government, which is prepared to fly dozens of
officials overseas for a retreat on how to lobby for big oil.
Our registered charities work hard to raise money for causes that are
important to Canadians. The people giving the money do not influence the causes;
they choose the charity that is working for the cause that they support.
I understand that some wealthy donors are reputed to give money only if the
results support the positions they endorse. I am thinking in particular of the
billionaire Koch brothers, who reportedly donate large sums of money to the Tea
Party in the United States and have also given money to the Fraser Institute in
Koch Industries is, of course, a very large oil company, with annual revenues
estimated at $100 billion. They have spent millions funding environmental
skepticism. Dave Koch has been clear about his family's tight ideological
control of its donations. This is what he said:
If we're going to give a lot of money, we'll make darn sure they spend it
in a way that goes along with our intent. And if they make a wrong turn and
start doing things we don't agree with, we withdraw funding.
Honourable senators, I must say that I have never heard of donors to Canadian
environmental charities seeking to direct the results of their donations like
that. However, I appreciate that this is an important issue, and if indeed, as
senators opposite have suggested, this is happening, as it appears to be
happening for those who wish to argue against the science of climate change,
then this is something that should be examined further.
Tides Canada has been quite clear that it is fully transparent about its
donors, but as Senator Mitchell told us, organizations such as the Fraser
Institute are not so open or transparent.
There are also, of course, other organizations such as Focus on the Family,
for example, that are registered Canadian charities and are deeply involved in
often controversial issues of public policy. Focus on the Family has reportedly
received over a million dollars in services from its U.S. counterpart. How much
of that supported lobbying efforts in Canada against our policies on same-sex
marriage and abortion rights?
It is ironic that as honourable senators opposite are calling for increased
transparency about foreign donors to environmental causes, the Harper government
is refusing comment about allegations that climate change skeptics in Canada
have been getting money from the U.S. Heartland Institute. The Heartland
Institute is well known for funding work and engaging in advocacy that casts
doubt on the scientific evidence linking climate change to human activity.
Indeed, its website boasts that its GR staff made "more than a million contacts
with elected officials in 2010." A million contacts with elected officials.
Were any of these in Canada?
The office of Environment Minister Peter Kent said about the allegations of
this funding, "we will not be commenting on these matters." That is what the
Harper government really thinks about transparency: no comment.
Honourable senators, I appreciate that senators opposite believe that
Canadians should know more about the activities and funding of registered
charities, since registered charities benefit from our tax laws. However, it is
rather strange that they are focusing on foreign funding of charitable
Foreign donations would not receive any taxpayer-subsidized benefit under
Canadian law. There is no charitable receipt that can be issued for Canadian tax
purposes unless there is Canadian income for it to be deducted against. Senator
Day raised that question with Senator Eaton when she spoke to this inquiry.
Honourable senators will recall that she dismissed that as a very technical
Honourable senators, this surely is not a very technical question. Surely the
benefit under our tax laws is the very crux, the lynchpin, of her argument.
That tax position may be contrasted with the position of corporations such as
big oil companies. As I have discussed, there is much lobbying on these same
issues by large corporations which are then able to deduct the cost of their
advocacy and lobbying, including large fees paid to powerful lobbyists and
lawyers as business expenses. In other words, those lobbying efforts are being
subsidized by the Canadian taxpayer, who may profoundly disagree with the issues
being advanced by those lobbyists behind closed doors.
I am sure we all agree that one of the things the Senate does best is to
conduct a serious study of a particular issue. Before last Thursday's budget, I
planned to suggest that the concerns raised in this inquiry, especially some of
the serious allegations made, should be subjected to closer scrutiny by a
serious study in a Senate committee. Of course, and I am sure there was
agreement on this, we cannot in good conscience look at one side, the charitable
organizations, without equally looking at the other side, the corporate lobbying
deductions, particularly when foreign donors to charitable organizations do not
gain any benefit under Canadian tax laws for their donations, whereas those
corporations certainly do receive a taxpayer-subsidized benefit.
Like many Canadians, I was astounded to see, buried at page 205 of the almost
500-page Budget Plan of the Harper government, that the Harper government had
recently decided that the Income Tax Act should be changed ". . . to restrict
the extent to which charities may fund the political activities of other
qualified donees . . ."
Recently concerns have been raised that some charities may not be
respecting the rules regarding political activities. There have also been
calls for greater public transparency related to the political activities of
charities, including the extent to which they may be funded by foreign
Accordingly, in a budget otherwise focused on austerity and cutting
government back, the Harper government is allocating an additional $8 million to
the Canada Revenue Agency so it can ensure that charities follow the rules. The
government will be introducing what it calls "new sanctions for charities that
exceed the limits on political activities."
Honourable senators, what will be next — mandatory minimum sentences for
anyone daring to speak out at an environment assessment hearing or who writes an
op-ed against the export of asbestos? Bill C-10 ushered in a new era of a war on
drugs for Canada. Is the Harper government now proposing to launch a war on
charities as well?
I mentioned earlier in these remarks that the Chrétien government's 2003
policy statement was the result of months of broad consultations. The policy
document itself was produced in draft form by CRA and made available for public
input — the Liberal government's standard operating practice with new policy
documents — and then it was finalized. Honourable senators, I am aware of no
public consultation in relation to these changes.
According to a report published in the Toronto Sun over the weekend,
this change was introduced by the government because ". . . Ezra Levant went
ballistic — as did Sun News . . ." over activities of the David Suzuki
Foundation. According to the report, a government spokesman made a point during
the budget lockup of ensuring that at least Sun Media noticed the changes to the
rules governing charities. This spokesperson called it "the Ezra rule."
"Did you see the Ezra rule?" asked a government spokesman . . . "Page
204," said the spokesman. "At the bottom."
Honourable senators, that is how public policy is now being made — no fact
finding. Once again, why look at the facts? Evidence-based policy making is so
Liberal government. The Conservative government is no facts, no consultations —
silence the critics, bury them in reporting and red tape, and vilify anyone who
dares to disagree. Indeed, now they are, in Senator Duffy's words,
Is The Globe and Mail anti-Canadian? They had a very thoughtful
editorial on Saturday. Indeed, it was their lead editorial. It was headed
"Beware of foreigners bringing money" and began:
The Conservatives are continuing in their dishonourable attack meant to
intimidate environmental groups, in a budget item that stands out for adding
a needless new cost.
It was referring, of course, to the $8 million allocated to the CRA under the
budget. The next sentence says it all:
Witch-hunts don't come cheap.
The editorial continued:
Foreign sources? It's not illegal for Canadian charities to take money
from outside the country. And why should it be? If a Canadian cancer
researcher, or a program to keep inner-city youth in school, receives money
from a foreign foundation, is anything wrong with that? Why, then, is it
wrong for an environmental group?
We live in a globalized world — the phrase is nearly as ubiquitous as
what it represents. The Canadian government is only too happy to solicit
foreign capital, foreign students (it has special scholarships for them),
foreign culture, foreign labour. But foreign charitable donations for
advocacy? Why, they're a threat to the Canadian way of life!
The editorial concluded:
Environmentalists have every right to seek out foreign donations, just as
foreign oil companies have every right to make their views known on the
perceived benefits of the Gateway pipeline. The pipeline may turn out to
have great benefits for Canada, but the environmental risks need to be
discussed, and the federal government ought to respect the rights of
Canadian charities to raise money abroad and express, in a non-partisan way,
their concerns. Who is the hijacker here?
I agree. By the way, while we all understand that the target of the
government's campaign is environmental charities, in fact the rules which are
being proposed affect all charities across the board. I said earlier, and I
understand from my consultations with folks in the charitable sector across the
country, that the 2003 rules are clear and well understood. By contrast, the new
rules, at least the ones set out in the Notice of Ways and Means Motion to Amend
the Income Tax Act set out in Annex 4 of the Budget Plan, are circular and
I can only hope that the lack of clarity is not a deliberate attempt to put a
chill on charities. After all, the sanction imposed is very severe. As set out
on page 437:
Budget 2012 proposes to grant to the CRA the authority to suspend for one
year the tax-receipting privileges of a charity that exceeds the limitations
on political activities.
If a charity provides inaccurate or incomplete information in its annual
information return, the tax-receipting privileges will be suspended.
Meanwhile, let me read to you the new definition of "political activity"
that the budget will introduce into the Income Tax Act.
. . . political activity includes the making of a gift to a qualified
donee if it can reasonably be considered that a purpose of the gift is to
support the political activities of the qualified donee;
"Political activity" is defined to include a gift if it can be reasonably
considered — it does not say by whom, perhaps by the minister — that a purpose,
not the sole or even the primary purpose, just a purpose, is to support the
political activities of a qualified donee. Is that clear to honourable senators?
It is certainly not clear to me.
One has to know what political activities are in order to understand and
apply the definition, and this would be in our Income Tax Act with severe
sanctions for it is violations.
Honourable senators, I am deeply concerned that the effect, if not the
purpose, of these changes will be to put a chill on the political engagement of
our charitable organizations. I mentioned the cautionary tale of the law
introduced by Vladimir Putin to impose tighter controls on non-governmental
organizations. A report prepared by Human Rights Watch about the impact of the
law was entitled Choking on Bureaucracy: State Curbs on Independent
Civil Society Activism. Articles about the terrible law had headlines like
"Putin's war on civil society."
Let us be clear, honourable senators, that what is at stake is nothing less
than the quality and freedom of our civil discourse. I realize that the stakes
have been raised considerably by the budget last week. I believe that it is
therefore even more important that we act quickly to give this issue the serious
study it deserves, to understand the ramifications of the issues that have been
raised and also to ensure that our policy is consistent with respect to advocacy
and that we are not singling out charities for special and, I would say, unfair
I therefore would like to propose that we give a reference to our Standing
Senate Committee on National Finance to study this issue.
To this end, at the next sitting, after we return from the break, I will give
notice of a motion that the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be
authorized to examine and report on the tax consequences of various public and
private advocacy activities undertaken by charitable and non-charitable entities
in Canada and abroad, and that in conducting such a study, the committee take
particular note of, first, charitable entities that receive funding from foreign
sources; second, corporate entities that claim business deductions against
Canadian taxes owing for their advocacy activities, both in Canada and abroad;
and third, educational entities that utilize their charitable status to advocate
on behalf of the interests of private entities.
Honourable senators, I must say that it is my impression that Canadian
registered charities understand very well the line between acceptable political
activities and unacceptable ones. As I have said in these remarks, to my
knowledge there has been no suggestion from the Canada Revenue Agency that any
Canadian registered charity has violated the law and breached that line by any
activities raised in this inquiry.
I do not believe in witch hunts, and I do not believe that because an
individual or an organization takes a different position from mine that is a
valid reason to single it out and suggest that it is somehow nefarious or
seeking to undermine the Canadian economy or incite Canadians against their
I believe strongly in freedom of speech, and I have seen nothing to suggest
that any of our registered charities are abusing that freedom. To the contrary,
I am personally proud of the work of organizations like Tides Canada and the
David Suzuki Foundation. I believe we have much to be grateful to them for, but
I am not afraid to refer these questions to our National Finance Committee,
provided of course that we examine all tax and revenue implications of public
and private advocacy and do not single out charities more than their corporate
Thank you, honourable senators.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Senator Patterson, is that a question?
Senator Cowan, will you entertain a question?
Senator Cowan: I will.
Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Thank you, honourable senators. I am
shocked that this has become a diatribe about free speech with allegations of
McCarthyism and Putin-style suppression of free speech.
In my comments, which the honourable senator did not refer to, I specifically
said it was not about free speech but about transparency and permitted political
I believe the honourable senator spoke positively about Senator Wallace's
thoughtful remarks on this issue. Senator Wallace did say that there were limits
on permitted political activities of charities, according to legislation and
I would like to ask the honourable senator if he thinks there should be any
limits on permitted political activity by charitable organizations. I think he
mentioned election campaigns might be something not permitted.
If he does think there are to be limits, would he not agree that it is
appropriate that the Canada Revenue Agency monitor and enforce them?
Senator Cowan: I thank the honourable senator for the question. I do
believe there should be limits. I do not think charities should engage in
partisan political activity. As I have said, there are guidelines that have been
in place since 2003. As Senator Wallace pointed out in his remarks, there are
very clear guidelines, and there are limits on the amount of resources a charity
can spend on political activities. I do not think charities should be engaged in
election campaigns or partisan activity. I think the rules that have been in
place for the last 10 years have worked well, and people that I have spoken to
in the charitable sector — and I said this several times during my speech —
understand where the lines are. I think they are quite happy to abide by them.
As to whether the Canada Revenue Agency needs more resources in order to
police the system, I am not aware that they do. I am confident that they have
been watching these activities of charitable organizations over the last 10
years and I am not aware that it is a problem.
The answer is, yes, I do agree that there should be limits on the political
activities. I think that the limits that are currently in the guidelines and
legislation are adequate. I was not aware, until Senator Eaton raised this issue
a few weeks ago, that there was a problem.
Hon. Percy E. Downe: I wonder if the Leader of the Opposition in the
Senate would take another question.
Does he share my surprise that the government will contribute additional
funding to the Canada Revenue Agency to go after charities but will not
contribute any additional funding to go after overseas tax cheats?
Senator Cowan: I thank the honourable senator. He brought to our
attention a few weeks ago this issue and the inaction of the government on that
front. Hopefully we will hear from a number of senators to contribute to that
debate as well.
It is passing strange that this is a target. If they are really after money,
then one would think that that $8 million would go a long way to catching some
of the tax cheats that the honourable senator referred to in his inquiry, whose
names have been in the hands of the government for a considerable period of
Senator Downe: We noticed yesterday when the Auditor General filed his
report that there was a specific section on the revenue agency. To give an
example of how far that $8 million could go, the Auditor General highlighted
that the Canada Revenue Agency has the Non-Filer/Non-Registrant program that
deals mainly with GST registration requirements and people who do not comply.
The total budget for this wing of the CRA is $39 million. This is out of a
departmental budget, according to the Auditor General, of $4.5 billion.
This wing, which has a budget of $39 million, employs only 700 people but in
the past was able to generate an additional $2.8 million for the Canadian
government from unpaid taxes for the fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11. One can
imagine what an additional $8 million or any funding for finding overseas tax
cheats could do. This refers mainly to domestic concerns.
If the funding can be reallocated so quickly by the government for their new
interest in charities, why can they not provide any funding to find overseas tax
The honourable senator quite correctly confirmed what the CRA has confirmed,
in the Senate, in writing, that four years after 106 Canadians were identified
for hiding over $100 million in Liechtenstein, not one person has been charged,
unlike in the United Kingdom, where eight months after the information was
received, people were charged. Australia, the U.S. and other countries have all
acted; Canada has not. They now have an additional 1,700 names from one bank in
Switzerland, and two years later there are no charges.
Why will the government identify charities as a priority but not wealthy
Canadians with hidden overseas accounts? Does the honourable senator have any
comments on that?
Senator Cowan: What the honourable senator says makes good sense, as
usual. It seems to me that if the object is to try to put resources where
there's going to be a return, then chasing those people who have already been
identified as having breached our laws and who have the resources to respond to
any judgments that might be entered against them, if one is going to get a
return on one's investment, then that would be where it is.
However, honourable senators, I fear that what we are doing here is because
some supporters of the government are manufacturing an issue and the government
has responded, as I said in my speech; without any apparent public consultation,
without any attempt to speak to the people who are actually engaged in this
business across the country, they have now manufactured and raised the spectre
of this issue, and now we will throw some money at it and hope it goes away.
That is the reason I suggest that the appropriate way for us to deal with
this is to make a reference to our Standing Senate Committee on National Finance
and have it do a study. However, it needs to be a balanced study. If there is a
problem with our charities, by all means we should address it, but let us not
just pick one part of it; let us look at all the parts.
It is not clear to me. Senator Eaton dismissed Senator Day's question as a
complex technical problem, but the crux of her argument was that foreign
foundations funnelling money into Canada through Canadian foundations is somehow
an abuse of our tax system. I do not see the connection there. I do not see how
there could be any tax consequences. I am not arguing whether it is a good thing
or not, but I do not see the tax consequences. However, if there are tax
consequences, I am sure that our Senate committee could do an admirable job of a
study in that regard and we would all be the wiser when it was done.
Hon. Nicole Eaton: I thank the honourable senator for his thoughtful,
non-partisan rebuttal. The issues he raised show that we need a debate on this.
It is very interesting and there is a lot of feeling on both sides of the
chamber about this issue.
That said, honourable senators, I have spent my life in the charitable sector
raising money in academe, hospitals and cultural institutions. Yes, they have
done lobbying, which is different from political activity. Yes, they have done
expert testimony, which is again different from political activity.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: I remind the honourable senator that she
must have a question, as she has already spoken.
Senator Eaton: I do have a question.
What troubles me is when I see the end of our seal hunt in Atlantic Canada
and the de-marketing of our salmon in British Columbia, and we cannot tag the
millions of dollars. Well, we can, but not easily. It takes someone like Vivian
Krause to go through two or three permutations before they find that a lot of
the money came from the U.S.
Can the honourable senator tell me what business the U.S. has to de-market
our salmon farms on the B.C. coast or our seal hunt?
Senator Cowan: As I said in my remarks, on the transparency issue, I
have no problem with that. I think we should be transparent. I understand that
was a major issue.
The honourable senator will also agree with me that one of the things she was
talking about is that somehow this is an abuse of our tax system. I could not
make that connection, nor could Senator Day. I would hope that the honourable
senator would support a reference to a committee so that we could get to the
bottom of this.
I have no difficulty with transparency, honourable senators. Senator Nancy
Ruth raised some issues about privacy. We obviously have to be concerned about
that and there may need to be some parameters around disclosure. However, on the
face of it, I see no reason why charities should not disclose where they get
their money and where their money goes.
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.
Senator Cowan: If I could continue to answer. Senator LeBreton would
like to speak.
Senator LeBreton: You had a big problem —
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Order.
Senator Cowan: May I continue?
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: It is the honourable senator's time.
I want to remind honourable senators who may raise the question, because the
question was asked, that both honourable senators have unlimited time to speak
on an issue like this one, and that includes the question. For those who are
inclined to question why it is so long, it is completely in order to entertain
all the time the leader wants to use for questions and answers.
Senator Cowan: Honourable senators, I have no difficulty with the
concept of disclosure. I have spent a lot of time in the charitable sector as
well and I have raised a lot of money for many different institutions, although
perhaps not to the extent that the honourable senator has. However, I certainly
have asked many people for a lot of money over the years.
I am sure the honourable senator would agree with me that the people one
talks to about giving money are much more concerned now than they were, say, 10
or 15 years ago about how much of the money they give will be spent on
administration and how much will actually go to supporting the cause. I think
the honourable senator would agree with me that that is a good thing.
Anything we can do to make that more transparent, and if we need to make a
change in our law or our practice to ensure that happens, I fully support that.
I have no difficulty with that.
Senator Duffy: What is the problem?
Senator Cowan: That is the question. It is apparently un-Canadian.
Senator Patterson: Senator Cowan did not refer to my participation in
this inquiry, but I did point out in my remarks, first, that it does not appear
to be easy to track the donations from foreign charities through to Canadian
charities because they are often, I will not say laundered, but channelled
through a series of devices, including PR firms and charities, that make it
difficult to expose.
Second, I pointed out that Canadian laws on disclosure — and I am pleased the
honourable senator accepts that transparency is desirable, subject to the
privacy issue — are much less rigorous than the comparable laws imposed by the
Internal Revenue Service of the United States on American charities.
I would like to ask the honourable senator the following: If it could be
proven — and I welcome further investigation — that Canadian disclosure
requirements are significantly less when it comes to the salaries of those
involved in charities and when it comes to the purposes and the amounts of
donations, would the honourable senator agree that perhaps Canadian laws could
be improved in that respect in promoting fuller transparency so that we can
determine the source of funds, just as we want to do this for political and
leadership campaigns and in the partisan political sector?
Senator Cowan: As I have said, honourable senators, I have no
difficulty with the transparency. Frankly, I was not aware this was a problem
until it was raised here. I think we should look at whether we can improve the
transparency so that Canadians can see where money is going, particularly money
that is receipted, because there is a tax consequence to that. Subject to
privacy laws, I have no difficulty with that and I would fully support it. I
would hope that is the very kind of thing we could look at in the course of a
study by our Senate committee.
Senator Downe: Honourable senators, this question will be much shorter
than the previous one. The real problem with disclosure rules and the Canada
Revenue Agency does not pertain to charities, although that is a problem. The
biggest problem — and it verges on questioning how the CRA is run — is what
happened in Liechtenstein. When we asked the Government of Canada if any of the
106 people who were hiding taxes overseas were eligible for the voluntary
disclosure rule, where any Canadian can come forward to the CRA and disclose
that they have not been paying their taxes and receive a reduced fine and settle
their account, we were advised in writing that because the names were given to
the government, none of the 106 were eligible for the disclosure. A year later
the government flip-flopped, changed their policy and advised us, again in
writing, that 20 of the 106 were now eligible. What is the sense of having
disclosure rules if the CRA is not enforcing the ones they currently have?
Senator Cowan: That is a good question and it is good that the
honourable senator has raised it. I always understood that once one knew that
the Canada Revenue Agency was on one's tail, then any of these voluntary
disclosure exemptions and loopholes were closed. However, as we have seen in a
fairly high profile case not so long ago, that does not appear to be the case. I
think the honourable senator has made a good point.
(On motion of Senator Segal, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Maria Chaput rose pursuant to notice of April 2, 2012:
That she 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.
She said: Honourable senators, today I would like to talk to you about the
process for readjusting federal electoral boundaries and the impact it could
have on the vitality of official language minority communities.
Currently, 10 three-member commissions are drafting new electoral maps for
each of Canada's provinces. Several of these commissioners have a more difficult
task ahead of them because, under the Fair Representation Act, Ontario, Quebec,
Alberta and British Columbia will have additional ridings.
This spring, each of the 10 commissions will publish a proposed electoral map
in the Canada Gazette and in at least one major newspaper in their
The proposed map will be accompanied by a notice indicating dates, times and
locations of public hearings. People wishing to participate in the public
hearings must inform their province's commission within 23 days of the
publication of the notice.
Following the public hearings, the commission can rework the proposed map,
which the Chief Electoral Officer will then submit to the House of Commons.
Canadians must be prepared to take a very careful look at the proposed
electoral maps and to express their points of view during the public hearings.
Electoral boundaries are adjusted only once every 10 years, so people have a
civic duty to take the opportunity to participate in the process.
I am addressing this issue today because I have learned in the past that
readjusting electoral boundaries can significantly affect the demographic weight
of official language minority communities.
In fact, if the necessary precautions are not taken, a francophone community
might be divided among two or three ridings, which weakens the strength and
demographic weight of francophones in all the ridings involved.
This happened during the provincial riding redistribution in Manitoba in
2008, when the traditionally francophone communities of Sainte-Anne and Richer
were separated from the communities of Saint-Adolphe, Île-des-Chênes, Lorette
Keep in mind that this does not just affect the community's weight during an
election campaign. A strong presence within a riding allows the MP to take into
consideration the needs and interests of the community, which is not necessarily
the case if the minority language community is split between two ridings, where
its presence is less felt and its strength diminished.
A strong presence in a riding also makes it easier for the community to take
charge of developing its institutional vitality. It is easier to deal with just
one MP when discussing a project that will benefit the people of the riding than
it is to deal with two or three MPs whose ridings may or may not be affected by
the project in question.
However, there are provisions in Canadian legislation that enable communities
to defend their rights.
The main criterion the commission takes into account when redrawing the
electoral map is the equal distribution of the population among the ridings. The
commission does have some flexibility, though. It can, in fact, use its judgment
and discretion to create ridings that differ in size from the average riding. It
can do so in order to: respect communities of interest or identity (for example,
communities based around language or shared culture and history); respect
historical patterns of previous electoral boundaries; or maintain a manageable
geographic size for districts in sparsely populated, rural or northern regions
of the province.
Therefore, each commission has the latitude to keep francophone communities
in the same district, even if this has an impact on population equality, within
The commissions must, of course, take into account the different communities
in a given district, but there are provisions in the act that apply specifically
to official language minority communities.
First, it is important to refer to the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. Section 3 of the Charter guarantees the right to vote, and the Supreme
Court has ruled that the purpose of the right to vote is to ensure effective
representation, not simply equal electoral power.
This principle was applied by the Federal Court in 2004 in Raîche v.
Canada to set aside a royal proclamation that transferred certain New
Brunswick parishes, in whole or in part, from the district of Acadie—Bathurst to
that of Miramichi.
The Court ruled that the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for New
Brunswick had erred in applying the rules governing the preparation of its
recommendations for transferring parts of these parishes. The Federal Court
therefore set aside this recommendation from the commission and a new commission
The new commission then recommended returning these francophone parishes to
the district of Acadie—Bathurst. The francophone presence was thus maintained
and strengthened in this riding in such a way as to respect the institutional
integrity and vitality of the community, as per its wishes.
Official language minority communities are also protected by the Official
Languages Act. In fact, Elections Canada and the 10 commissions formed for the
provinces are subject to the Official Languages Act and, under Part VII, are
required, like all other federal institutions, to take positive measures,
enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority
communities in Canada and supporting and assisting their development; and .
. . fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in
The commissions have the legislative obligation to take positive measures to
support community development only with respect to official language minority
In this regard, ensuring that changes to the boundaries of electoral
districts do not weaken francophone minority communities would be a perfect
example of a positive measure. This can also be done by ensuring that these
communities are heard and that their concerns are taken into account.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge a positive measure taken by Chief
Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand. In fact, Mr. Mayrand invited Commissioner of
Official Languages Graham Fraser to a conference of the people appointed to the
ten commissions and asked him to make the appointees aware of the specific
situation of official language minority communities. That initiative deserves
I should also note that Franco-Manitobans are in good hands. The commission
for Manitoba is chaired by Justice Richard Chartier, who wrote the report
Above All, Common Sense, which redefined the provision of French-language
services in Manitoba.
All Canadians have to be sure to carefully review the map that will soon be
proposed for their respective province and, if need be, attend the public
hearings to express their views. This is not a show of lack of confidence in the
commissions or the quality of their work.
Public hearings are part of the redistribution process, so it is up to the
communities affected to add to the discussion. Participation in public
consultation is really the crucial phase of the process. It is up to the
communities in each province to present detailed briefs to the commission during
the consultation period. First of all, this will inform the commission members
about issues of which they might have been unaware but can still address. In
addition, a lack of challenges during consultations could negatively affect any
future challenges once the proposed maps are approved by the House of Commons.
Honourable senators, I know that many of you are very involved in your
respective communities. It would be very helpful if all of the communities that
could be affected by this redistribution participate in the public hearings, the
dates of which will be announced shortly, in order to share their observations
and suggestions. The commission members who have been given this important task
will be the richer for it and we will then be able to trust their wisdom in
coming up with a second draft. This is the very definition of participatory
(On motion of Senator Robichaud, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Fernand Robichaud: Honourable senators, the Standing Senate
Committee on Agriculture and Forestry had asked for $505,658 and the amount
granted was $237,690. Those figures appear in the Journals of the Senate
for April 3, 2012, on page 1123.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Honourable senators, before proceeding to
adjournment, I would like to thank you for your confidence. I hope I have lived
up to your expectations.
Honourable senators, it has been a privilege to be invited by my colleagues
to preside over our deliberations. We are now approaching Easter and Passover,
so let us hope we will have a good rest.
We will return refreshed and restored in two weeks' time, after a
Some Hon. Senators: Happy Easter!
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): I move that
the Senate be adjourned so that we can go to confession and be ready for Easter.
(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, April 24, 2012, at 2 p.m.)