Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 103
Thursday, September 27, 2012
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker
Thursday, September 27, 2012
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
Hon. Asha Seth: Honourable senators, it feels great to be back in this
great chamber in the company of all my dear colleagues. I would like to take a
moment to welcome everyone back and share with them some of the productive
projects in which I participated this summer. I dedicated my summer to using my
influence within the multicultural communities of the GTA to reach out and
inform citizens of the good work we do here in the Senate. I was so proud to
join the Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce in welcoming a high-powered delegation
from India that included leaders from every field who were eager to work with
our government to increase prosperity and cooperation.
Of course, being an Indian senator gave me the opportunity to spread our
ideas and goals within the Indo-Canadian community. From the Fortieth Annual
Festival of India to the Canada-India Foundation's Agriculture and Food
Processing Forum held in Vancouver, it was my great goal to let my community
know that their interests are represented in the upper house of Canada thanks to
the great honour our Prime Minister bestowed upon me.
Honourable senators, they were aware that Canada and India are important
partners in trade, diplomacy and immigration and that the Conservative
government of Stephen Harper is dedicated to strengthening those bonds.
Indo-Canadians represent over a million of our citizens, and it is my goal to
show them how we are working hard to further their goals and those of all
Not to limit myself, I humbly accepted the opportunity to represent our
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, at the
Caribbean Carnival of Toronto, which hosted thousands of people over the course
of several weeks. From the Chao Chow Chinese Association of Ontario Canada to
the Toronto Ukrainian Festival, I delivered our greeting at over 20 high-profile
events with large, eager crowds. I know that if even one of those individuals
felt a new-found appreciation for their government and its institutions, then
my job was done.
Thank you to all the parliamentarians who trusted me to help and fight for
those votes and those hearts. Thank you all, and good luck this session.
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, it gives me great pleasure
to rise today to speak about National Seniors Day and to recognize the 2012
Senior of the Year Award recipients from Prince Edward Island.
Every year, October 1 provides an occasion for Canadians to appreciate and
celebrate seniors. Throughout the country, events are held to pay tribute to
seniors who have made valuable contributions to Canadian communities, workplaces
and society. On Prince Edward Island, the Seniors' Secretariat took this
opportunity to recognize important contributions that older adults have made in
improving our way of life on P.E.I.
Throughout the year, the secretariat received many nominations and five
Island seniors were chosen for the Senior of the Year Award. These awards
celebrate the accomplishments and significant contributions made by Island
seniors in many areas of community life, including volunteer work, the arts,
fundraising, community involvement, career achievements, sport and other
The 2012 Senior Islander of the Year Award recipients are: Garnet Buell of
Murray River; Joyce MacKenzie of Charlottetown; George Olscamp of Summerside;
Antoine Richard of Wellington; and Doreen Wooder of Ellerslie. As I could not be
there to attend the ceremony, I send my sincere congratulations to all award
Over the years, these people have contributed to their communities in a
variety of ways. Much of their time has been spent devoting countless hours to
volunteering in their community, which has helped many people of all ages
throughout their lives.
Each and every day, seniors throughout our country make an important impact
on their communities. They share their time, expertise and wisdom, and act as
mentors and leaders to the younger generation.
As this is Canada's second National Seniors Day, I certainly hope that, as
the year goes on, more and more communities across our country will take this
opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the role seniors play in our society.
Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie: Honourable senators, I rise today to
invite my esteemed colleagues to a very special event on the Hill this coming
Monday. As Chair of the Health Research Caucus, I will be hosting a reception
and kiosk-style event on Canada's health innovation clusters.
Today's economic map of the world is characterized by clusters: critical
masses of linked industries and institutions — from suppliers to universities to
government agencies — that enjoy unusual competitive success in a particular
field. Famous examples are found in Silicon Valley for IT and in San Diego for
biotechnology, but clusters exist around the world.
Honourable senators, clusters affect competition in three broad ways: First,
by increasing the productivity of companies based in the area; second, by
driving the direction and pace of innovation; and third, by stimulating the
formation of new businesses within the cluster.
This event will focus on the life sciences sector, demonstrating the impact
these clusters have on creating high-paying jobs, generating wealth and
increasing the quality of life in the regions within which they exist.
Come and join us and see how, at the University of Calgary, Canada space
technology used in the creation of the Canadarm has been instrumental in
developing NeuroArm, a surgical robot for MRI-guided brain surgery. Come and see
also how, in Atlantic Canada, researchers have partnered with the private sector
to develop a clinic-ready medical technology that improves outcomes for knee and
hip replacements, resulting in better care, cost savings and job creation.
The health innovation clusters visited at this event will demonstrate how a
strategic regional investment that capitalizes on local knowledge, people and
entrepreneurship can lead to large-scale innovations that save lives, build
prosperity and increase Canada's ability to be a global leader in science and
Honourable senators, on Monday, October 1, 2012, please join some of our
eminent scientists and leaders from the private, public and not-for-profit
sectors to see first-hand the benefits of health innovation clusters in Canada.
On behalf of myself and vice-chairs Dr. Kirsty Duncan and Ms. Megan Leslie, I
invite all honourable senators to join us in Room 256-S between 4 p.m. and 7
Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, Prince Edward Islanders are
mourning the loss of John Yeo, who passed away this summer of cancer.
John, who was 49 years old, was diagnosed as an infant with a brain
malformation. His parents said no to the conventional medical advice at the time
to put John in an institution for people with disabilities and promised to have
him live at the family home. That decision, made by Jeanette and Ken Yeo,
changed John's life for the better and led to the very positive impact John had
on so many people in the community.
John's father, Ken Yeo, would be well known to many in the Senate chamber as
he was the former Executive Director for the PC Party of Prince Edward Island
and served for many years in the office of Premier Jim Lee.
After a day working as a clerk at an agency that provided employment for
people with disabilities, John would stand on the corner near his home, waving
and smiling to every person and car driving by, a sure way to cheer up everyone.
During the annual Gold Cup and Saucer Parade in Charlottetown, John would be
riding in the police car at the front of the parade, waving and smiling.
Most of all, he would do house visits — always for a short period of time —
in the neighbourhood. Walking in, no doorbell ringing or knocking required, he
would ask, "What are you doing?" and to my spouse, "Where is your purse?" During
John's first visit, my children were startled to suddenly have this man walk
unannounced into our house asking questions. They soon realized that John Yeo
was full of joy and love. A few weeks after that first visit, I came downstairs
to hear my daughter welcoming another unannounced visit, saying, "Hi, John,
what's going on?", already adjusted to the positive influence that John had on
everyone he encountered.
A massive crowd attended his funeral, including members of the police and
fire departments in full uniform. John would have liked that. May he rest in
Hon. Vernon White: Honourable senators, I rise today preceding an
important event that will occur this upcoming Sunday. Beginning in 1977, a
memorial service has been held on Parliament Hill in honour of those peace
officers, police officers and correctional officers who have lost their lives
while serving this country. In 1994, the Prime Minister of Canada gathered with
more than 700 officers to dedicate a site to the west of Centre Block of
Parliament as a memorial site and the Canadian Police Memorial Pavilion.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Police
Association work together annually with a local committee to bring forward a
respectful and appropriate memorial service that allows us to remember those who
have died in the line of duty.
On September 30, 2012, we will again see thousands of members of the police
community stand shoulder to shoulder as they march onto Parliament Hill, a day
that has been proclaimed as the Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial
Having worked across this country in three provinces and all three
territories as a police officer, I can say that police officers and peace
officers across this country place themselves in harm's way, running toward
danger while others run away. In a few extreme cases, they pay for that courage
with their lives. I ask that honourable senators have these brave men and women
in their thoughts and prayers this weekend.
Since its inception, the memorial has had more than 800 names added. I would
ask that if honourable senators are within the National Capital Region this
Sunday to please come and be a part of the day as we again honour those who have
given the ultimate sacrifice to our communities and country.
Hon. Elizabeth (Beth) Marshall: Honourable senators, the Province of
Newfoundland and Labrador is rich in culture and history, and we celebrate our
heritage with pride. I rise today to speak of the Sunnyside Truce Sound 400
Festival. Last month on August 7 to 12, the Province of Newfoundland and
Labrador celebrated the four-hundredth anniversary of the historic first meeting
between the English and the Beothuk near Frenchman's Cove in Sunnyside,
On November 6, 1612, Governor John Guy of Cupids and other colonists met with
the Beothuk people in Sunnyside Harbour. During this first recorded meeting
between the English and the Beothuk, the two parties shared a meal, sang, danced
and exchanged gifts. Governor Guy named the harbour Truce Sound in honour of
this peaceful and joyful meeting.
The Sunnyside Truce Sound 400 Festival, which took place from August 7 to 12,
featured many events that celebrated the two cultures. Attendees enjoyed
old-fashioned outdoor concerts, fireworks displays, traditional dinners, a
display of archeological artifacts, and guided walks on the Truce Sound Coastal
Trail. A new Peace Garden Memorial commemorating this first meeting was also
opened on this occasion.
Our government proudly invested in this festival that celebrates our shared
heritage and collective identity. Through the Building Communities Through Arts
and Heritage Program created by Canadian Heritage, we are able to provide
Canadians with more opportunities to take part in activities that present local
arts and culture and that celebrate local history and heritage.
I congratulate the organizers of the Sunnyside Truce Sound 400 Festival for
their commitment and dedication. Sunnyside is a small community on the Avalon
Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador and has fewer than 500 residents.
However, thanks to the hard work of the Sunnyside Heritage Association and other
members of the community, including the mayor and the deputy mayor, the culture
and heritage of the Truce Sound story was celebrated.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2011-12
report of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report
entitled: Applications for Ministerial Review—Miscarriages of Justice,
Annual Report 2012, Minister of Justice.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report on
the state of Canada's forests for 2012, pursuant to the Department of Natural
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table,
in both official languages, the thirteenth report of the Standing Committee on
Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, which deals with the international
travel of three senators.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been
received from the House of Commons with Bill C-293, An Act to amend the
Corrections and Conditional Release Act (vexatious complainants).
(Bill read first time.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the second time?
(On motion of Senator Carignan, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for
second reading two days hence.)
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of
the Government in the Senate, and I wish to welcome her back as well as all of
her colleagues on the other side.
Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act, accountability with
respect to political loans, is before the House of Commons, and it will likely
make its way to the Senate. Would the Leader of the Government agree with me
that in Canada it is right and proper to expect all political parties,
including, as we now read in the papers, the New Democratic Party, to provide
full disclosure of election and leadership expenses?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
that is the law. The law states, as has been reported by newspapers recently and
in the past, that an unpaid loan is also considered an illegal donation.
Senator Cordy: Over the last number of months, we have seen members of
the government in the other place tabling bills, making suggestions and calling
on public and private sector unions to disclose all of their political
activities and donations. We even have one Conservative calling for union dues
to be voluntary.
Does the Leader of the Government share those sentiments? That is to say,
does she believe that public sector unions should provide full disclosure of
their donations and their political activities?
Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator for the question. I
believe this matter is before the other place in the form of a private member's
bill. I would suggest to Senator Cordy and all senators on this side to await
the deliberations of the House of Commons and what happens with that private
member's bill before we decide in this chamber how to deal with that particular
piece of legislation.
Senator Cordy: Does the Leader of the Government apply that same
standard of disclosure and transparency and agree with me that it is about time
that Prime Minister Harper finally releases the names of the 9,000 people who
donated to his leadership campaign? We know that, to date, he has kept that
information hidden from the public. Or is this another case of do as I say and
not as I do?
Senator LeBreton: That particular question has absolutely nothing to
do with the business of Parliament or, in fact, the laws. I would suggest to the
honourable senator that the Liberal Party would be better off concentrating on
how they will survive rather than going back 10 or 15 years in order to try to
Senator Cordy: The question has to do with openness and
accountability. We have heard about that subject from this government since
before they were elected, and, again, it seems to be a case of talking about it
but not actually doing it. I ask again: Does the Leader of the Government
believe that Prime Minister Harper should release the names of the people who
donated to his leadership campaign?
Senator LeBreton: When we came into government, we brought in a piece
of legislation called the Federal Accountability Act. It passed through this
Parliament. I suppose I could be asking the honourable senator whether the $40
million stolen from the Canadian taxpayers would be returned.
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate.
As honourable senators are aware, eradicating land mines and eliminating the
harm they cause is an issue that is close to my heart. Every year, some 4,000
civilians are killed by land mines and thousands more are horribly injured. That
is why I often rise in this place to ask the leader about the government's
commitment to the Ottawa treaty.
Time and time again, the leader assures me that land mines remain a priority
and that the government will continue to fund the demining efforts and victim
support programs around the world.
Recently, however, it has come to my attention that the government is now
telling demining groups that land mines are no longer a priority, as they are
too closely associated with past Liberal governments. In other words, land mine
victims are not on brand, and, therefore, not deserving of this government's
Can the leader please assure this house that the government bases its foreign
aid priorities on principle and not on the recommendations of the marketing
department of the Conservative Party?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the honourable senator in her preamble to the question stated quite correctly
the position of the government on land mines. I have no idea what she is
referring to when she refers to this document that purports to say what she says
it does. I have no idea what she is talking about. She has already put on the
record the government's position on land mines.
Senator Hubley: Can the leader please provide an update on current and
planned demining and victim assistance programs and on our ongoing commitment to
upholding the terms of the Ottawa treaty?
Senator LeBreton: As has always been the case, honourable senators, I
will absolutely. I have always done so for the honourable senator, and I will
continue to do so.
Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, my question is
for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Recently, we have heard a great deal in the media about the so-called
merging of Canadian and British embassies and consulates around the world. I
understand that this sharing of services and office space will not mean the loss
of Canadian or British independence in setting the foreign policies for each of
our respective countries. I understand that it does not mean that we will be
sharing ambassadors or trade commissioners.
It is meant to be a good, practical way to represent and help Canadians
abroad while trying to reduce costs to taxpayers and vice versa for the British.
Of course, the United Kingdom is not the only country with which we share
consular space and services. We also have agreements with Australia, Italy and
One of the reasons this agreement has come to fruition is that Canada and the
U.K. share many values and principles in addition to a very long history. We
work together in many fora, including NATO, the G8 and the G20.
France is another country with which we share those same values, principles
and even a longer history. France is an integral part of Canada's history and is
the foundation for the heritage of nearly a quarter of Canadians. Canada is a
bilingual nation, with both English and French being our official languages.
Are there any discussions between the Canadian and French governments to
implement the same kind of cooperation and coordination opportunities we have
sought with our British allies?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the
honourable senator for the question. I was listening to the question very
carefully. I was going to thank the honourable senator for putting on the record
the fact that we have many shared office spaces with other countries.
He actually answered the question for me. This, of course, as you know, is an
administrative agreement with the United Kingdom that will facilitate our
ability to serve Canadians. As the honourable senator put on the record,
Canadian diplomats work out of Australia's offices in Cambodia, Australia works
out of the Canadian offices in Bogotá, Colombia, and there are other examples.
With regard to the specific question about whether we are engaged in any
negotiations with the Government of France, I am not aware of that, honourable
senators, but I will take the question as notice.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Among the things I have been reading
recently, I can quote the following. According to yesterday's front page
headline in The Globe and Mail, industry leaders in the oil industry have
expressed concerns regarding the Nexen foreign takeover, estimating that "there
should be limits to what Ottawa is prepared to approve given the strategic
importance of the oil sands and major companies in the sector." Also, according
to these industry leaders, Ottawa should secure domestic ownership.
In light of these comments by industry leaders of that sector in this
country, honourable senators, what measures will the Conservative government
take to ensure that we maintain control of Canada's strategic industries,
especially in non-renewable natural resources?
Furthermore, how will the government ensure that Canada's technological
innovations — innovations that have been paid by Canadians through tax credits —
will be protected in order to serve the interests of Canadians?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
Senator Hervieux-Payette stated the obvious when she talked about the various
opinions expressed in all of the newspapers. There have been many people
weighing in on this particular story in all of our newspapers and on television.
One can hardly open the newspaper or turn on the television without seeing
people speaking on this issue on one side or the other.
I cannot add anything more to what I said to the honourable senator
yesterday. There is a process in place to review this transaction and determine
if it is of net benefit to Canada. This transaction will be scrutinized closely,
obviously, following this process.
No matter how many times the honourable senator asks me the question, she
will get the same answer.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, I think I can provide
the leader with more information to help in her reflection and her intention to
discuss this matter at cabinet.
Considering that Nexen invested $2.6 billion in 2011 — we most certainly
cannot say that this is a minor investment — and that the recent CSIS report
states that "certain state-owned enterprises and private firms with close ties
to their home governments have pursued opaque agendas or received clandestine
intelligence support for their pursuits here." Would the leader agree that the
actual criteria of a "net benefit to Canada" needs to be enforced, since this is
the essential criterion for the approval of takeovers by foreign companies under
the Investment Canada Act? I specify that this is the criteria under the act.
I might add that the honourable senator's Conservative friend, someone whom
she reads regularly, Mr. Tom Flanagan, agrees that a poll found that 69 per cent
of Canadians disagree with the authorization to go ahead with this transaction,
and he agrees that the review process is opaque and believes that the "net
benefit" test needs to be revised on an intelligible and principled basis. In
fact, he suggests rewriting the net benefit standard.
I repeat the request I presented to the honourable leader yesterday: Will she
agree to submit to her government a request for a clear mandate enabling the
Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to conduct a thorough
study clarifying the current opaque net benefit criteria of the Investment
Canada Act, especially in light of the fact that the leader quotes the Bank Act
as being so good and having saved the Canadian economy? I offer this to the
leader again to save the Canadian economy from foreign investment.
Senator LeBreton: I was rather curious to hear the honourable senator
say that she knows so much about my reading habits. I read everything in the
newspapers. There are some people I read more than others. It is interesting
that she has decided whom I read and whom I do not.
Again, honourable senators, I will repeat what I said yesterday and what I
said a moment ago. There is a process in place to review this transaction and,
of course, many people on many sides — former Liberals, former Conservatives,
present Conservatives and present Liberals — everyone has a viewpoint on this.
The fact of the matter is there is a process in place to review this
transaction and determine if it is of net benefit. This transaction will be
scrutinized carefully following this process and, of course, I will not, would
not and will never divulge discussions that I have been involved in around the
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Previously the honourable senator mentioned
to my colleague that she would be willing to submit a question and come back
with an answer. I am simply requesting to submit my proposal to cabinet, the
Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance, as the mandate usually comes from
him. We are currently studying a subject matter of great importance, which is
money laundering. We are preparing and we are close to submitting a report
within a few weeks. Senator Gerstein is away on important festivities for his
community, but I am quite sure we will discuss this next week at the committee
I am asking the leader this: Since everyone agrees that the criteria must be
defined — even the minister has mentioned that we need to better define them —
may a group of people who are quite familiar with the economic scene in Canada
consult Canadians who are opposed to this transaction?
Senator LeBreton: In response to the comment about the honourable
senator's colleague, Senator Hubley asked me specifically about a government
policy. I am absolutely willing to bring her up to date.
With regard to the honourable senator's question, I already answered the
question about the process being followed with regard to Nexen, and I am sure
Senator Hervieux-Payette's colleagues in this place appreciate her commercial on
behalf of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, my question is for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
On April 26, Passport Canada officials appeared before the Standing Senate
Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. During that meeting, in a
response to a question as to why there is not a passport office in Prince Edward
Island, a Director General of Passport Canada said:
. . . we also cannot afford to put an office where we will not make
enough money to support the operations of that office.
My question to the leader is this: Is this the new standard for the provision
of services to Canadians by this government? Must a federal office turn a profit
or those Canadians are not entitled to a service?
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I would have to look at the testimony the Honourable Senator Callbeck refers to
and see the context in which it was given.
The fact is that one of the many areas where the government has vastly
improved service to Canadians was in fixing the whole passport application
system. We all remember the pressure put on the government and the Department of
Foreign Affairs with regard to passports due to the border issues. Happily, we
resolved that, and people now have access to obtaining passports expeditiously.
As I mentioned to the honourable senator, I would have to see the context in
which this testimony was given and who actually said this before I could provide
a detailed response.
Senator Callbeck: Honourable senators, I certainly hope that the
leader would look at the testimony given at that committee.
I assume from what the Director General of Passports Canada said that they
have studied the issue of locating an office in Prince Edward Island. As I have
pointed out many times in the past, Islanders are the only Canadians who do not
have access to emergency passport services in their own province. In the event
of an emergency outside of Canada, such as an accident or a death in the family,
Islanders have to travel to Halifax or Fredericton to apply for an emergency
passport. I do not think this is fair and Islanders do not, either.
My supplementary question is this: Has Passport Canada done any analysis on
the financial viability of locating a passport office or of providing emergency
passport services in another federal office in Prince Edward Island? If so,
would the leader undertake to provide me with a copy of that?
Senator LeBreton: Again, honourable senators, I saw a report not long
ago about the percentage of Canadians who have a passport. I do recognize that
there are instances where people require emergency passports. I believe those
numbers are few and far between.
As a result of the changes made, especially along the Canada-U.S. border —
and I do not have the article in front of me — there is a high number of people
who have passports.
With regard to the honourable senator's question about whether consideration
was given about putting a passport office in another government facility in
Prince Edward Island, I do not know that but I will take the question as notice.
Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, with so many people having
passports, they will have to be renewed. To be able to do that follows on the
same point that Honourable Senator Callbeck raised, one must leave the province
to do that or one must mail the documents away. Why are Islanders denied the
service that is available to every other Canadian?
Senator LeBreton: First, regarding the renewal of passports, we also
made that more convenient by not having to go through the long document. There
is now a much shorter renewal process. Most people, when their passports require
renewal, do so through the mail.
Senator Downe: I recently renewed a passport through the mail, and I
was advised by a government official working for Canada Post that it was better
to send it by registered mail rather than regular mail in case the documents
were stolen. That is an additional cost we have. Not only do we have the cost of
transportation leaving Prince Edward Island to go to Halifax or Moncton — the
bridge is $42.75, there is the cost of gasoline and so on, the expense of the
time it takes — we now have an additional cost to renew it. The Leader of the
Government in the Senate appears to be laughing at this information. Islanders
are not laughing. It is a cost that should not be assumed by Islanders when
other Canadians have the service available to them in their province. Why do we
not have the same service?
An Hon. Senator: Hear, hear!
Senator LeBreton: First, let the record show that I was not laughing.
I expressed astonishment that the honourable senator would suggest that we now
have Canada Post people suggesting to not send things through Canada Post
because documents might be stolen.
I renewed my passport some time ago. I mailed the documents from my local
post office in Manotick and received them at my local post office in Manotick. I
did so completely secure in the knowledge that Canada Post is perfectly capable
of handling passport renewals.
Senator Downe: Let the record show that the leader was astonished.
However, the Canada Post official, an employee of the Government of Canada, told
me in Charlottetown that it was better to send the documents by registered mail
and incur the additional costs.
Returning to Senator Callbeck's question, she has been raising this issue on
a continual basis for a number of years. What has the leader done to advance the
issue? She has heard the concerns. Has the leader taken this issue to cabinet
and raised it with the responsible minister? What action, if any, has she taken?
Senator LeBreton: First, the record clearly indicates that every time
Senator Callbeck has asked me questions I have either attempted to answer them,
or because often Senator Callbeck's questions are about specific areas, I take
them as notice.
As far as I know, I do not believe we have any outstanding questions on this
issue that have not been answered to Senator Callbeck.
Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of
the Government in the Senate. If she lived in Prince Edward Island, would she
like to have the same rights as other Canadians?
Some Hon. Senators: Shame!
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator LeBreton: If I lived in Prince Edward Island, I would consider
myself very fortunate. It is a lovely place. If I lived in Prince Edward Island,
I would know that I do have the same rights as every other Canadian.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. The F-35 delays, cost overruns and
technical problems have led other countries to create stop-gap plans while
waiting for the F-35s to finally come into operation.
The U.S. navy has purchased F/A-18 Super Hornets to maintain a naval aircraft
capability, and the U.S. air force has begun to make structural fatigue
improvements to its F-18 fleet.
I would like to know what contingency plan this government has formulated in
order to ensure that Canada has the capability to defend our sovereignty while
waiting for the F-35 to finally overcome its many problems.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): First, as the
honourable senator knows, we have CF-18s that are at the moment perfectly
capable of defending our country.
With regard to the F-35s, the long, hot summer has not changed my answer. The
National Fighter Procurement Secretariat is in place to ensure transparency and
due diligence in the decisions to replace our aging CF-18s. It is informed by
the independent advice of the former Auditor General Denis Desautels.
As I reported before we broke for the summer, funding for the acquisition of
the CF-18 replacement has been frozen until this due diligence is complete and
conditions have been satisfied. Canada will not sign a contract to purchase new
aircraft until all steps of our seven-point action plan are completed and
development work is sufficiently advanced. KPMG has been hired to independently
verify the cost of the F-35, and that report will be made public.
Again, these measures were put in place last spring, as the honourable
senator knows. This secretariat has been working over the summer and let us let
them do their work.
Senator Moore: I have a supplementary question. I really do not think
that setting up a panel to discuss the F-35s will provide air force capability
for Canada. Another report simply will not enable us to meet our obligations
What provisions have the government taken to maintain our aging fleet of
F-18s? What have the budget cuts at the Department of National Defence done to
limit our ability to maintain that fleet of aircraft?
Senator LeBreton: We are cognizant of our responsibilities to our
military, unlike the previous government.
Obviously, the Department of National Defence is perfectly capable of
maintaining the CF-18 fleet until such time as it is necessary to replace it.
Senator Moore: Honourable senators, it is interesting that the leader
mentioned the previous government and how we maintained or spent money on the
Department of National Defence, but the leader always somehow forgets to mention
that we inherited a deficit of some $40 billion. Does the leader not think that
is part of the answer here?
Aside from that, what I would like to know, honourable senators, is the
Almaz-Antey Russian firm, which is one of the world's largest in anti-aircraft
weaponry, has developed a radar piece of equipment which counters the so-called
stealth capability of the F-35s. In fact, Lieutenant-General Mike Dunn of the
U.S. Air Force Association says only the F-22 can survive in aerospace defended
by increasingly capable surface-to-air missiles. The F-35 does not have the
radar-shunting curves of the Raptor to help mask it from radar at all angles.
The Australian critic says that the F-35 is demonstrably not a true stealth
In view of that and in view of the Chinese hacking into the Lockheed website
and the three years that that went on, what has the conservative government done
to take into account these developments? How will that affect the budgeting for
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I already mentioned the
secretariat. Let us let the secretariat do its work.
I cannot let the honourable senator's opening comment go by. With regard to
the deficit, the government of which the honourable senator is so proud paid
down that debt on the backs of the provinces at the expense of our health care
and education system. The honourable senator fails to point out that the largest
deficit ever left by a government in this country's history was left by their
big hero, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, to the Brian Mulroney government in 1983.
Senator Cordy: But you are working on it.
Senator Ringuette: How about your hero?
Senator Moore: Is that not the same record that the leader loves to
extol today as being the basis for the great financial health of our country?
Spare me, leader. Spare me.
You, who wanted to merge the banks; you, who wanted to take away financial
sector regulation. What does she have to say to that?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, at one point in time there was
some question about whether Paul Martin should be called "Merger Martin." At
that time, if my memory serves me correctly, he was looking at that, although
that was not a policy, as honourable senators well know.
Senator Munson: A $13 billion surplus.
Senator LeBreton: The fact of the matter is that the sound stewardship
of the economy by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim
Flaherty is the result of our government, when we came into office —
Senator Moore: A pretty good deal, was it not, a $13 billion surplus?
Senator LeBreton: — cutting the taxes of Canadian taxpayers —
Senator Moore: What is in the cupboard today?
Senator LeBreton: — and paying down the debt, which is what we did.
That is why we are in such a good place, including our sound economic
management, to see our way through the economic downturn.
Senator Munson: What is in your wallet?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the response
to an oral question raised by the Honourable Senator Jaffer on May 15, 2012,
concerning sex tourism, and the response to a question raised by the Honourable
Senator Peterson on June 11, 2012, concerning public service severance
(Response to question raised by Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer on May 15, 2012)
In addition to our written answer tabled on May 16, with regard to
travelling child sex offenders, we are providing the Honourable Senator with
The primary obligation to prosecute travelling child sex offenders rests
with the destination country. Where a Canadian or permanent resident of
Canada is alleged to have committed a child sexual offence in a foreign
country and that country assumes jurisdiction, Canada supports the
investigation and prosecution, as appropriate, including through Mutual
Legal Assistance treaties and/or international treaties such as the Optional
Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on the
Sale of Child, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. Where the foreign
country does not assume jurisdiction, Canada can prosecute the Canadian or
permanent resident of Canada to ensure that such an offender is fully held
The Government provides ongoing funding to the RCMP Canadian Police
Center for Missing and Exploited Children (CPCMEC), which is the national
law enforcement coordination center for child sexual exploitation cases.
Most of the information received by the RCMP CPCMEC, relating primarily to
"on-line" child sexual exploitation offences, is analyzed by the Center and
then provided to the law enforcement agency where the alleged offender
resides for the purpose of investigative action. The RCMP CPCMEC also
receives information relating to cases involving travelling child sex
offenders, and coordinates investigations, on a case by case basis, with
Canadian and foreign law enforcement agencies. Where appropriate, the RCMP
CPCMEC contacts foreign law enforcement agencies through the RCMP Liaison
Working in partnership with international law enforcement agencies,
foreign governments and Canadian embassies, the role of an RCMP Liaison
Officer is to maintain a link between Canadian law enforcement and the law
enforcement agency of a foreign country to prevent and detect criminal
offences against Canadian federal laws. Currently, thirty-seven RCMP Liaison
Officers are posted in twenty-six different strategic locations to be able
to effectively deal with Canadian interests and pursue various international
investigations, ranging from drugs and organized crime to terrorism, human
smuggling and child sexual exploitation. RCMP Liaison Officers facilitate
global international cooperation on an operational level and share best
practices with international partners. Five RCMP Liaison Officers are posted
in countries within South East Asia, which is known as a destination region
for Canadian travelling child sex offenders. They are responsible for more
than thirty countries in the area.
Also, the Department of Public Safety Canada hosted a national workshop
on Travelling Child Sex Offenders in Montreal, Quebec on March 27-28, 2012.
Attended by eighty participants, this event provided, for the first time, a
forum for law enforcement, border officials, prosecutors, federal agencies
and other key experts to share information, learn about respective roles and
responsibilities, examine case studies, and gain knowledge about the issue
of travelling child sex offenders and opportunities for collaboration. A
final "handbook" document, produced using information presented at this
event, will serve as a resource guide for law enforcement in responding to
the issue of travelling child sex offenders in Canada and abroad.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Robert W. Peterson on June 11, 2012)
In Budget 2010, the Government indicated that it would engage with public
sector bargaining agents and assess measures taken by other jurisdictions in
Canada to ensure that the total costs of compensation are reasonable.
The elimination of the accumulation of severance for voluntary departure
is being negotiated to bring public sector compensation in line with the
private sector. The severance benefit for voluntary departure was part of
collective agreements and is generally one week's pay for each year of
service at the salary rate at the time of payment.
Severance benefits will continue for cases of lay-off, death, rejection
on probation, and termination for reasons of incapacity; however, employees
will not receive a cash-out twice for the same period of continuous
As a result of the elimination of accumulation of severance for voluntary
departures, employees were given three options: a single payment of their
accumulated severance, a deferral of this payment until their departure from
the public service or a combination of both options.
Severance for voluntary departures has been eliminated for about 230,000
unionized and non-unionized federal government employees. As of April 2012,
more than 91,000 payments had been processed for employees who had opted for
an immediate single or partial severance payment. Of that number, over
84,000 employees have opted for an immediate single payment of this benefit.
In 2011-12, about $1.1 billion was paid out in the form of cash payment
as part of the elimination of the accumulation of severance for voluntary
The 2012-2013 Supplementary Estimates (A) include $850 million set
aside largely to fund anticipated payments to employees who opt for an
immediate payment during 2012-13.
Based on the estimated annual liability for the accumulation of severance
benefits for voluntary departures before the Government began taking action
to terminate this benefit, it is expected that this measure will provide
ongoing fiscal savings of about $500 million per year.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Martin, calling
the attention of the Senate to:
(a) the importance of the Korean War, the third bloodiest war
in Canadian History but often called "The Forgotten War"; and
(b) Canada's contribution to the three-year war on the Korean
Peninsula, including the 26,791 Canadians who came to the aid of South
Korea, 516 of whom gave the ultimate sacrifice, and the 7,000 Canadian
peacekeepers who arrived following the signing of the Korea Armistice
Agreement in Panmunjom 59 years ago this July 27.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, the adjournment of Inquiry
No. 52 by Senator Martin has been taken by Senator Dallaire. I have spoken to
Senator Dallaire's office, and he has consented to me speaking on this at this
time. With your permission the matter would then be adjourned in the name of
Senator Dallaire. He does have the intention to speak on the matter in the next
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Day: Honourable senators will see this particular inquiry at
page 8 of the Orders Paper, Item No. 52. Let me say at the outset that I commend
Senator Martin for bringing this inquiry forward and those who have participated
in the debate thus far, including Senator Oliver.
I know that we are all in support of the principle of the inquiry. I am not
in full support of all of the things that have been said in relation to the
inquiry, but, in general, from the point of view of those who have served in the
Korean conflict, I believe they are deserving of the recognition that we are
calling for in this inquiry. I believe it is a worthwhile initiative for all of
us to consider.
Honourable senators will allow me to set the stage for what transpired in
1950, the state of matters in Canada and the state of matters generally, because
that led to what took place, how we reacted and what the situation was from the
point of view of Armed Forces personnel who were sent from Canada in relation to
what was known as the Korean conflict. I will get into that issue.
I do not believe anything underhanded was done by the government or by anyone
in referring to this as a "conflict" at the time. It was a result of Articles 45
and 47 of the Charter of the United Nations of some five years prior to that.
Typically, in the past, a war was one nation declaring war on another nation.
This was not the case in this particular matter because it was a restoration of
peace through a resolution of the United Nations, so it was called the Korean
The problem is that normal public discussion is of the view that when the
conflict is of such a level that people are being killed and shooting at one
another, we normally would call that a war. That has resulted in some misguided
statements. There was an attempt by some to put down the importance or to forget
the Korean conflict. I think that is not the case.
Honourable senators, at the end of the Second World War in 1945, as a result
of peace negotiations — because Korea was part of land occupied by Japan — the
southern part of Korea came under the assistance and support of the United
States, and the northern part by Russia.
In 1949, China turned to a communist state as well. The North of Korea was
supported by Russia — the U.S.S.R. at that time — and China, the People's
Republic of China. They wished to create a communist country in the North, and
the United States wished to create a free and democratic society in the South.
The thirty-eighth parallel was the dividing line. That is the context.
The United Nations had played a part in this by 1947, calling for a free and
open general election in both the North and the South of Korea as a whole, as a
country. Unfortunately, in the North there was not a free and open election and
the election was recognized only in the South, resulting in de facto two
countries: North Korea and South Korea. That is the context that we are in as of
Canada at that time, between 1945 and 1950, was supportive of the United
Nations, but we were also hoping to reap a peace dividend from the end of the
Second World War. We were going through a period of rapid downsizing to try to
save some funds.
Then, in 1950, along comes a request from the United Nations Security Council
to two nations to provide support for the peace establishment and peacekeeping
mission in Korea. Canada, at that time, was also gearing up for its support of
the newly created institution of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
By the end of 1952, Canada had 10,000 Armed Forces personnel in Europe as a
result of our commitment there, and that continued for a good number of years.
I think honourable senators will be astonished to learn that in 1951, 45 per
cent of the government's budget went to the military in gearing up for the
conflict in Korea and for NATO operations and activity in Europe, such as
building the infrastructure. That can be compared to less than 8 per cent of our
budget last year with respect to the Armed Forces.
We were in a period of rapid rebuilding to meet our international obligations
at the time that the call went out for help. What happened that resulted in the
call going out from the United Nations is in itself fascinating.
Because of what was happening in China and Chiang Kai-shek going to Taiwan,
the nations of the world continued to support the nationalist government in
China having a seat on the Security Council of the United Nations. This body had
been in existence for only five years. The Soviet Union insisted that the
communist regime be recognized. Mao Zedong and the communist regime had taken
over in 1949. Therefore, the best thing the Soviet Union felt they could do at
that time was to boycott their seat and the activities in the Security Council.
The result of their boycott was that decisions could be made without them,
and a decision was made to engage in peacemaking and peace restoration in Korea
as a result of activity that started in June 1950, when the North Koreans, with
no expectation by anyone, came across the thirty-eighth parallel and invaded the
South. That immediately resulted, on the same day, in a Security Council
meeting, with Russia boycotting, and the motion passed. As a result, two days
later the United Nations called for help.
For a short while, it looked like this would end quickly. The Americans had
troops available, and it looked very much like the North Koreans were pushed
back. However, early in the summer of 1950, General Douglas MacArthur was
leading the United States forces, and they commanded the United Nations forces.
We had only three ships in there at that time. McArthur decided, contrary to
everyone, including the Canadian government — and Lester Pearson was very upset
about this — to push on with the troops into what was then North Korea.
As a result of that, the Chinese came in. Therefore, the conflict escalated
significantly in the summer of 1950, and that is when the call went out for much
more help from all the nations, including Canada.
That sets the stage for the conflict that ultimately, with all the extra help
that came from Canada and other nations, resulted in a stalemate at the
Honourable senators, we sent many Armed Forces personnel to Korea at that
time as a result of the United Nations, and over 500 Canadians died helping in
the UN action.
The actual date when the Americans started the Joint Command under the UN
banner was June 27, 1950. I told senators the story about General Douglas
MacArthur. Not long after, President Truman fired General MacArthur for his
statements, and basically the stalemate resulted.
Let me tell honourable senators about the stalemate, because it was not that
they just stood there and did nothing. Tunnels were made. I had the wonderful
opportunity, as I have mentioned in this chamber before, to visit South Korea
with Korean War veterans, in 2003, for the fiftieth anniversary. We went to the
demilitarized zone. In fact, the tunnels in a valley are still there and still
manned by Korean soldiers on both sides of the border. North Koreans would
tunnel through, attack the border, and then run back. That went on during that
stalemate and has gone on for years since.
One of the very interesting things we saw is that beyond this valley, on the
North Korean side, is what looks like a city from a distance. This is all part
of the propaganda of the Cold War era. Although it looks like a prosperous
industrial city, it is just a facade. It is just the front end of what would
appear to us to be buildings. That is part of the standoff and the propaganda
war, and we have seen other things happen since.
Honourable senators, I have told you about joining that delegation. One of
the things that really struck me was to see that Canada was the third largest
foreign participant in that conflict. We are recognized for that. There is a
wall of honour in Seoul that features Canada very prominently. It is truly a
great tribute to the men and women from Canada who participated in that
Honourable senators may also wish to visit the Monument to Canadian Fallen,
which is located here in Ottawa, just on the south side of the National Arts
Centre. It is identical to a monument that stands in Pusan, Korea, where the
United Nations Memorial Cemetery is located.
We attended that United Nations Memorial Cemetery and visited the graves of
fallen Canadians. They are very well maintained. It was a moving experience to
visit the graves of the 516 Canadians who sacrificed their lives. The monument
depicts a Canadian soldier holding a young Korean girl in one arm and holding in
his other hand — might I have another five minutes?
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Day: Thank you, honourable senators.
The soldier is holding two Korean children. The young girl is holding 12
maple leaves that represent the 60 Canadian soldiers who have no known gravesite
and 5 Canadian sailors who were lost at sea. The young boy is holding the maple
leaves as well as the Rose of Sharon, which is the national flower of Korea. It
symbolizes the ongoing friendship between our two great countries.
Honourable senators need go no further than the Memorial Chamber in the Peace
Tower to see the names of the fallen who are written into the Korean War Book of
Remembrance, just down the hall. South Korea is among the world's 20 largest
economies and, as of 2007, has become a member of the trillion-dollar club of
world economies. That, in itself, is a tribute to the work of the United Nations
and the Canadians who served to help bring about a free and prosperous society.
Honourable senators, I would like to conclude by telling you about one of the
people travelling on the return to Korea pilgrimage in 2003. He had never been
back there since the Korean War. I was sitting with him, and I kept looking and
thinking that I recognized him. After two or three days, we did get to how we
happened to know one another. It turned out that he had been a drill instructor
sergeant of mine when I attended Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean. It was a
most amazing reunion.
I had never known that he had gone to Korea. I knew him for three years as a
drill instructor. He had been born in Pointe-Verte, New Brunswick. He enlisted
in the armed forces when he was 17 years of age. He had served in many different
places and was a member of the Second Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment.
After Korea, he returned to Canada, served in a number of places and ended up
being a drill sergeant and instructor at the military college from 1960 to 1965.
His name, honourable senators, was Sergeant Alexandre Doucette. After his
military career, he worked at Pratt & Whitney for a good number of years.
Unfortunately, he died last month at the age of 86.
Honourable senators, I would ask you to consider the sacrifice made by many —
those who went, and the families that remained and tried to carry on. It is
important that we recognize them and that we not forget.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, as agreed, this inquiry
stands in the name of Senator Dallaire.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Hubley, calling
the attention of the Senate to the state of palliative care.
Hon. Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis: Honourable senators, today I will be
talking about palliative care in Canada. I will elaborate on ideas in the
Honourable Elizabeth Hubley's recent inquiry and provide a brief overview of the
current situation in Canada.
We all know that the provinces and territories are primarily responsible for
providing most health care services, including palliative care, under the terms
of the Constitution Act, 1867. The act establishes the criteria and conditions
that the provinces and territories must fulfill to receive funding from the
federal government. Palliative care and pharmaceutical products dispensed in a
hospital environment must be covered by provincial and territorial health
insurance programs. However, palliative care provided at home is not covered.
Pharmaceutical products for use in palliative care are not covered either
because they are not dispensed in a hospital environment.
In 2004, as part of the 10-year plan to strengthen health care, the first
ministers agreed to include the full cost of palliative care in their health
care programs. Specifically, they agreed to include the following services
delivered at home: case management, nursing care, pharmaceutical products used
in palliative care and personal end-of-life care.
To fulfill these commitments, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care
Association and the Canadian Home Care Association developed stringent quality
standards for palliative care provided at home.
In May 2008, the Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada published a
report that examined the quality of palliative home care in the 13 provinces and
The findings of this report showed that significant progress has been made in
improving access to palliative home care services and the breadth of services
available. According to the coalition, 12 of the 13 provinces and territories
planned to cover the cost of some medical supplies and equipment; 11 of 13
planned to provide coverage for a wide range of pharmaceuticals; 11 of 13
promoted a team-based approach to care; and eight provided some form of
inter-professional education and training on palliative care.
I believe that many of the senators here today will remember that, when
representatives of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association appeared
before the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology,
they reported that the provinces and territories covered the cost of medications
used in palliative care as part of home care programs. However, they also
indicated that not all medications related to palliative care were covered by
the palliative home care medication programs.
I must point out that the coalition did not assess the quality of palliative
care in other care settings, but that it found that the quality of care in
different care settings varied considerably from one province or territory to
another. The coalition thus indicated that it was in favour of all organizations
with a role to play in the delivery of end-of-life care services encouraging the
adoption of standards and best practices and working to improve the awareness of
health care providers, home support workers, volunteers and caregivers in all
palliative care settings.
Honourable senators, the reality of our federal system encouraged the
provinces and territories to develop strategies to establish common standards
and to coordinate the delivery of palliative care services. However, the
delivery of these services can vary from one region to another, where regional
health authorities are responsible for coordinating service delivery.
For example, in British Columbia, specialized health care services are
provided by the Provincial Health Services Authority, which also provides
palliative care to patients and their families. The B.C. Palliative Care
Benefits Program allows patients to receive palliative care at home rather than
in hospital. This program ensures that patients receive complete coverage for
approved medications, medical supplies and equipment.
In the neighbouring province of Alberta, palliative care services are
provided by health care services.
Palliative care is also provided in patients' homes, health centres and
long-term care centres. Health and Wellness Alberta subsidizes a program that
covers the cost of palliative care drugs through Alberta Blue Cross for those
receiving palliative care outside a long-term or acute care facility.
Another Western province, Saskatchewan, offers in-home palliative care
through its regional health authorities. The province's Palliative Care Drug
Plan Program covers the full cost of palliative care drugs. Palliative care is
provided through regional health authorities in Manitoba as well. Each RHA has a
palliative care coordinator who is responsible for managing and coordinating
Manitoba Health implemented a Palliative Care Drug Access Program that offers
deductible-free drug coverage for patients who are not in acute care, long-term
care or psychiatric facilities. The program covers the full cost of drugs.
The situation in Ontario is particularly interesting. In December 2011, 80
stakeholders from various regions of the province drafted the Declaration of
Partnership and Commitment to Action to correct regional disparities and
shortcomings in the delivery of palliative care. Health care services are
delivered through local health integration networks, which provide funding to
community care access centres to coordinate palliative care. Ontario does not
have a palliative care drug program, but it does offer various drug coverage
programs that patients may be eligible for.
In my province, Quebec, the National Assembly created a special commission on
dying with dignity. The commission published a report in March 2012, which
assessed palliative care services. According to the commission, a lot remains to
be done regarding the implementation of a palliative care strategy, even though
the availability of services has improved since 2000, with considerable
differences among the regions.
Quebec's health and social services department is responsible for
implementing the end-of-life palliative care policy. Regional health and social
services organizations are responsible for providing palliative care among the
different establishments. In 1998, palliative care was officially integrated
into the health care continuum. Quebec does not offer a drug insurance program
to cover the costs of medication associated with palliative care. However, it
offers a general drug insurance program to individuals who are not covered by
private drug insurance through their employer. As part of the public drug
insurance plan, individuals pay a maximum contribution of $992 to cover
medication. Seniors who are receiving a guaranteed income supplement pay much
The Maritime provinces have some common ground. However, New Brunswick is the
gold standard and a model not only for the Maritime provinces, but also for
other jurisdictions. New Brunswick provides palliative care through its
extra-mural program, which offers a full range of coordinated health care
services. These services are offered in 30 locations or at home, 24 hours a day,
seven days a week, 365 days a year. A liaison nurse is responsible for
coordinating these services. Furthermore, this province covers all medications
and supplies necessary for home health care. The program is the payer of last
resort for all medications, since most clients receive assistance from other
I would just like to say one last thing about our three territories. Overall,
the home and community care programs and services are designed and implemented
by eight regional health and social services authorities. Although there is no
general drug coverage program, there are pharmacare programs for specific
groups, namely, the Metis, seniors and those with certain illnesses. I want to
mention that many First Nations members and Inuit have access to drug coverage
under Health Canada's Non-Insured Health Benefits Program.
I would like to conclude my remarks with the words of my friend Anya Myers, a
dietician who is currently working in the area of palliative care and helping to
make the trying moments that dying patients have to endure easier to bear. She
has acquired a great deal of experience over the years in different provinces
and territories of Canada. She says:
. . . It is important to know that, at the end of their lives, most
people would prefer to have the option to die in the comfort and privacy of
their own homes surrounded by their loved ones. In order for this to happen,
patients and their families need many resources and a lot of support from
their employers, their friends and home care professionals. By way of
comparison, in Western Canada, home care is covered by the public health
care system while in Ontario, for example, it is covered by the private
system. To me, this means that dying at home is not always an option for
many patients in Ontario because, too often, palliative care is provided
mainly in a hospital setting.
Honourable senators, only 40 per cent of dying patients in Canada have access
to comprehensive, coordinated palliative care measures to enhance the quality of
their end-of-life experiences. We can and we must do better.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, if no other senator wishes
to speak, this inquiry is considered debated.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Hubley, calling
the attention of the Senate to the 5th anniversary of the tabling of the
Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology's
report: Out of the Shadows at Last: Transforming Mental Health, Mental
Illness and Addiction Services in Canada.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise
today to speak on Senator Hubley's inquiry, which is about the report of the
Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology on mental
health, entitled Out of the Shadows at Last: Transforming Mental Health,
Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada. I want to commend the
senator for bringing forth this important inquiry.
The report was tabled about six years ago and I want to speak very briefly
about what has happened since that time. I was a member of the committee when it
dealt with this important topic, from 2003 until the final report was tabled in
What we heard was overwhelming. The mental health system in this country was
shocking. The committee heard over and over about the fragmentation and lack of
integration of the mental health care system. There are so many different
players involved that it is difficult to have everyone working together, and
even more difficult to follow patients. We heard from people living with mental
disorders who told us about the stigma they faced. Many said that they would
give anything to have any disease other than mental illness.
Over more than two years, we held more than 150 hours of extensive hearings
from coast to coast to coast. We heard from more than 400 witnesses, such as
government officials, mental health professionals, law enforcement agencies,
advocacy groups, and people living with mental illness and their families. In
addition to those witnesses, we heard from about 650 people who took advantage
of an online consultation on the committee's website. They provided us with even
more information regarding the state of mental health care.
No one is immune from mental health issues. They affect people of all
genders, ages and cultures, and in all occupations and educational and income
levels. New statistics from the Mental Health Commission of Canada tell us that
over the course of a lifetime, 43 per cent of people in Canada will experience a
mental health problem or illness.
The Hon. the Speaker: Order, order.
I remind honourable senators of rule 2-8, which states that conversations
should be taken outside or below the bar when an honourable senator has the
Senator Callbeck: A large number of these individuals will never seek
About one million children and adolescents in Canada between the ages of 9
and 19 years are living with mental health problems or illness right now. The
prevalence of mental disorders among seniors in nursing homes and long-term
facilities is very high. The prevalence of mental disorders among Aboriginal
Peoples, homeless people and inmates is much higher than in the general
The economic costs of mental illness are extraordinary. Current estimates put
the total costs to the Canadian economy at about $50 billion per year — nearly 3
per cent of the GDP. The Mental Health Commission projects that, over the next
30 years, these costs will increase to more than $2.3 trillion.
Over the course of our study, we became painfully aware that, despite its
importance, mental health is an issue that usually garners little attention.
Therefore, the committee came up with 118 recommendations that we felt would
make major steps forward to improve the lives of Canadians living with a mental
illness and the lives of their families and friends. The vast majority of these
recommendations — 95 of them — were directed to the federal government.
The report contained two major recommendations: first, to establish the
Mental Health Commission of Canada; and, second, to create a mental health
transition fund. The purpose of the Mental Health Commission would be, among
other things, to provide leadership in the development of a national mental
health strategy; to be a catalyst for reform of mental health programs and
improvements in service delivery; to be a source of information for governments,
stakeholders and the public on mental health issues; and to decrease the stigma
and discrimination faced by Canadians living with mental illness. The previous
Liberal government committed to the establishment of the Mental Health
Commission in 2005 and I commend the present government for carrying through on
The second major recommendation in the report, the creation of a mental
health transition fund, would be an immediate but time-limited investment by the
federal government to cover the costs of transitioning from an institution-based
system to a community-based system. Many witnesses pointed out the fact that, in
moving away from sending people with mental illness to special psychiatric
hospitals or asylums, we had failed to create enough spaces and support services
in the community to replace those institutional beds. The result is that many
people, who once would have been in psychiatric hospitals, find themselves in
prisons and homeless shelters instead. Unfortunately, this recommendation for
the mental health transition fund has not been implemented, but I am hopeful
that the government will carry through with this recommendation at some time.
The good news is that progress has been made. As announced in Budget 2008,
the Mental Health Commission of Canada received $110 million over five years for
a research project on mental health and the homeless in five locations across
the country: Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Moncton. The project is
called, At Home. As of October 2011, more than 2,200 people have participated in
this project and more than 1,000 now have homes.
The committee also recommended a 10-year anti-stigma campaign. The committee
had heard a great deal about the stigma associated with mental illness. One
Islander described it like this: "With a mental illness, people do not
understand what is wrong with you. I would give anything to have a physical
One mother told us about her son, who had been active and popular at school
and captain of his high school football team. Her home was always full of her
son's teenaged friends. When he was diagnosed with a mental illness, his friends
stopped visiting. They were uncomfortable, and her son was left alone.
We heard such stories time and time again. Few people want to discuss mental
illness, and not many people think of sending a card or flowers to a family
member who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder. Sometimes friends and
neighbours do not know how to react. As a result, many of them choose to walk
away instead. People living with mental illness lose precious support at a time
when they need it most.
In response to the report's recommendation, the commission launched Opening
Minds in 2009. They call it the largest systematic effort to reduce the stigma
of mental illness in Canadian history. As it stands, Opening Minds is evaluating
more than 50 programs currently being delivered by corporations, non-profits and
other organizations. The overall goal is to identify which programs are more
effective and to share them with other communities. Some are of these programs
are being replicated across the country.
Until recently, unlike many other developed countries, Canada had no national
action plan for mental health, mental illness and addiction. There was no
national vision, goals, objectives or standards to guide the funding and
delivery of mental health services, supports and addiction treatment. However,
last spring, the Mental Health Commission of Canada unveiled its mental health
strategy called, Changing Directions, Changing Lives. The document is a
strategy for people to work together — governments, organizations, individuals,
service providers and researchers — to improve mental health care in this
country. I am hopeful that the federal, provincial and territorial governments
will take on this leadership role.
I would like to speak for a minute about the committee's recommendation on
suicide, because it is an important topic. More than 4,000 Canadians die every
year as a result of suicide. I would have liked more immediate progress with
regard to our recommendations, but, thankfully, there has been some forward
movement, especially in recent months and in the new mental health strategy.
In our report tabled in 2006, recommendation 106 called on the federal
government to support the efforts of the Canadian Association for Suicide
Prevention and other organizations to work together to develop a national
suicide prevention strategy. In 2009, the Canadian Association for Suicide
Prevention developed a blueprint for a national suicide prevention strategy. In
addition, the Mental Health Commission of Canada has included many
recommendations in its mental health strategy that aim to advance suicide
prevention in Canada. According to the commission, these recommendations are in
line with the strategy of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. I
would urge the federal government to assist in implementing this strategy.
Recommendation 99 called on the Canadian Mental Health Commission to identify
measures to reduce the alarming suicide rates among Aboriginal Peoples. In our
report we asked the Government of Canada to allocate a designated suicide fund
that accommodates the distinct needs of each group of Aboriginal Peoples.
In its recent mental health strategy, the Mental Health Commission of Canada
has identified measures that can be taken to prevent suicide among Aboriginal
Peoples. The measures include addressing the common underlying risk factors for
suicide in these communities such as poverty and trauma, and strengthening the
response to the mental health needs of these population groups. Again, I am
hopeful that the federal government will provide the funds necessary to address
this tragic situation.
As honourable senators can see, some steps have been taken since this mental
health report was released. This is very gratifying to me, having been on the
committee that studied this issue for three years. We are moving forward.
However, given the huge impact of mental illness on individuals and on society,
we must do better. Mental health is as vital as physical health. It is an
integral part of every Canadian's overall well-being. I urge the federal
government to continue its work and speed up the process of implementing the
recommendations from the mental health report entitled Out of the Shadows at
Hon. Fabian Manning, pursuant to notice of September 25, 2012, moved:
That notwithstanding the order of the Senate adopted on Sunday, June 26,
2011, the date for the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on
Fisheries and Oceans in relation to its study of issues relating to the
federal government's current and evolving policy framework for managing
Canada's fisheries and oceans be extended from September 30, 2012 to
September 30, 2013.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
Leave having been given to revert to Government Notices of Motions:
Hon. Elizabeth (Beth) Marshall (Acting Deputy Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule
5-5(g), I move that when the Senate adjourns today it do stand adjourned until
Tuesday, October 2, 2012, at 2 p.m.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, October 2, 2012, at 2 p.m.)