Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 129
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
Hon. Marie-P. Charette-Poulin: Honourable senators, tomorrow, the
University of Ottawa community will hold a ceremony to commemorate the life and
contributions of Father Roger Guindon, who transformed the institution during
the 20 years he served as the university's rector, from 1964 to 1984.
The University of Ottawa has become the largest bilingual university in the
world. Founded as the College of Bytown in 1848, today, the University of Ottawa
has over 40,000 students and offers over 450 programs in ten faculties,
including the largest law school in Canada, my alma mater.
Father Guindon died on November 17 at the age of 92. A modest man, this
oblate Catholic priest dedicated his life to serving others. He spent 50 years
at the University of Ottawa, first as a student, then as a professor, a dean
and, finally, as rector.
Loved by all, Father Guindon always had time for students and teachers alike.
He was an active listener with an exceptional sense of humour.
A natural leader and skilled negotiator, Father Guindon had what Allan Rock,
the university's current president and vice-chancellor, described at the
priest's funeral on Saturday, November 24, as, and I quote:
. . . a powerful intellect and a keenly strategic mind.
Mr. Rock recounted how Bill Davis, former Ontario minister of education, felt
when he had to negotiate with Father Guindon. According to Mr. Davis, whenever
he saw a meeting with Father Guindon on his agenda, he began immediately to
calculate just what it was going to cost him.
As a Franco-Ontarian, I wanted to pay special tribute to Father Guindon, a
man of vision who firmly believed that the French language and culture could
flourish in Ontario and help to make the province a better place to live for all
On behalf of all honourable senators, I would like to offer our sincere
condolences to the oblate community, the Guindon and Morrisset families, and the
University of Ottawa community.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, today I want to acknowledge
the work and contribution to the Senate and to Canada of our Usher of the Black
Rod, Kevin McLeod, who is soon to leave us. After serving the Senate since 2008
with distinction, Kevin will assume a new assignment early next year.
Last month, the Prime Minister announced the creation of a permanent,
non-partisan Advisory Committee on Vice-Regal Appointments that will provide the
Prime Minister with non-binding recommendations on the selection of the Governor
General, Lieutenant Governors and Territorial Commissioners. These viceregal
nominations represent the Crown in our constitutional system of government, and
it is important that the best qualified candidates be appointed.
The committee will have three permanent members together with a fluctuating
membership, depending on the jurisdiction of the position to be appointed. Kevin
has agreed to be the advisory committee's permanent chair and will serve for a
period of six years. He will be joined by Robert Watt and Jacques Monet. The
Prime Minister could not have made a better choice.
After obtaining his education at Boston University, Carleton and the
Université de Dijon, Kevin served for 10 years in various capacities in the
House of Commons, beginning in the office of the Opposition Whip and including
service as chief of staff to a minister. He then began a 22-year association
with the Department of Canadian Heritage, becoming, in due time, the Chief of
Protocol. While with the department, he wrote A Crown of Maples, an
exposé of the Canadian Crown and constitutional monarchy in Canada. This is in
addition to his historical novel A Stone on Their Cairn: Clach air An Carn,
focused on the lives of Scottish Highland settlers in rural Cape Breton, the
place Kevin was born and which he still loves. Reflecting a personal heritage of
which he is very proud, the novel was written with an English narrative but with
many of the conversations in Gaelic, the language of his ancestors.
While at Canadian Heritage, he became involved in preparing several royal
visits to Canada, and his successful efforts have been acknowledged by the
Queen. In 1992, Her Majesty invested Mr. McLeod as a Member of the Royal
Victorian Order for personal service to the sovereign. In 2002, the Queen
promoted him to the rank of lieutenant and, in 2005, to the rank of commander,
the highest level of the Order available to Canadians, making him the only
Canadian to have been promoted through all three ranks.
Kevin will retain the position of Canadian Secretary while serving as chair
of the advisory committee. As Canadian Secretary he is well placed to advise the
Prime Minister on matters related to the Canadian Crown, including
heritage-related commemorative initiatives, high-level coordination of royal
tours, and state ceremonial and protocol functions.
I know all honourable senators will join me in thanking Kevin for his work
and dedication as Usher of the Black Rod and in wishing him all the best in his
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, as we all come together
this holiday season to celebrate peace, love and unity, I would like to take a
moment to reflect on what I am grateful for.
As many of you know, 40 years ago my family along with thousands of other
Asians sought refuge from Idi Amin's Uganda. In August 1972, when Idi Amin
declared that all Ugandan Asians had one month to leave the country, our lives
began to crumble. As fear filled the streets, my family and many others had to
come to terms with the reality that we would soon be forced to flee the only
home we had ever known.
Not only was Uganda the country where we were born, it was the country where
we were educated and the country we helped to build. In fact, as a young girl, I
remember admiring my father, Sherali Bandali Jaffer, a politician who dedicated
his life to creating a peaceful, prosperous and, most importantly, independent
However, despite the fact that we lost our homes, our businesses and
everything that we had spent our lives working for, Ugandan Asians were very
fortunate. Under the leadership of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees, many countries welcomed us. Great Britain,
Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Australia, United States and Canada — all were
willing to give us asylum.
His Highness Karim Aga Khan worked with Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau
and helped thousands of Ugandan Asians find a home in Canada. Ugandan Asians
will always be grateful to these two people for rescuing us.
To this day, I am truly astounded by the kindness and generosity afforded to
Ugandan refugees by Canadians, who welcomed us into their country and their
homes and allowed us to rebuild all that we had lost. I am especially grateful
to immigration officials like Mike Molloy, who risked their own safety to go
into prisons where Ugandan Asians were being held captive and personally place
them on planes headed to Canada.
Honourable senators, every year at this time I reminisce about the first
Christmas I spent in this great country, and I am eternally grateful. This year,
as I celebrate my fortieth year in Canada, I would like to say "thank you" to
all Canadians who welcomed my family, along with many others just like ours, for
giving us the opportunity to call Canada our home.
I would also like to personally thank my mentor, to whom I will always be
indebted, the Honourable Thomas Anthony Dohm, Q.C., who taught me what it meant
to be Canadian.
Honourable senators, I would like to take this opportunity to once again
thank my fellow Canadians for opening up their minds, their hearts and their
homes to Ugandan Asians. Thank you.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, a brand new national
organization that brings together visible minorities in the Public Service of
Canada was recently created. It is called the Community of Federal Visible
Minorities. I was honoured to be the keynote speaker at their inaugural meeting
last night at Ottawa City Hall.
The CFVM seeks to "help create a barrier-free, inclusive, and representative
federal public service where visible minorities can individually and
collectively realize their professional aspirations, based on the principles of
merit and in full respect of their rights."
As honourable senators know, a few years ago the National Council of Visible
Minorities in the Federal Public Service collapsed after more than 10 years of
existence. This left thousands of visible minority public servants without a
voice to represent their concerns at the national level. The CFVM will help
replace the void created by the death of the NCVM.
The group was officially created in September 2012 on the recommendation of
an ad hoc committee on visible minority issues that was initiated in July 2010.
More than 80 visible minorities from various federal departments and provinces
attended the inaugural meeting last night.
Honourable senators, the CFVM is in a unique position to contribute to
advancing the causes of visible minorities in the public service. The group is
not seeking money or any government funding. Rather, its members, who serve on a
volunteer basis, want to become a cross-Canada organization that will represent
the interests of all federal public servants from the visible minority
More important, the group seeks to help promote the advancement and inclusion
of visible minorities at all levels of the federal public service; identify
issues of interest and concern to visible minorities and raise these issues to
the attention of senior decision makers; and monitor results and advocate for
accountability in matters relating to the progress of visible minorities under
This group is already off to a good start. Since its creation, the members of
the CFVM have been in daily contact and meet every two weeks. It has also
established contacts with other visible minority groups across the country.
The group has also been keeping informed the Chief Human Resources Officer,
Mr. Daniel Watson, and many visible minority champions in the public service.
At last night's event, it adopted its terms of reference, which set out its
vision, values, goals and objectives, the national executive officers and more.
The next step is to draft and adopt a concrete plan of action.
Honourable senators, as it moves forward, the CFVM has the potential to
become a strong and active national body that will fight racism in the public
service. It will serve as a catalyst to more visible minorities being promoted
to all EX levels. It will keep deputy ministers' feet to the fire to ensure
measurable targets of highly skilled visible minority managers are achieved.
Honourable senators, please join me in congratulating the Community of
Federal Visible Minorities on its creation. I ask that you support their efforts
throughout the upcoming months and years as they work towards making our public
service more inclusive, representative and diverse.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, I was going to
speak today on the subject of this being the year of prevention of genocide.
However, I will save that because of what I heard from Senator Jaffer a few
Today is the sixty-sixth anniversary of my mother arriving as a Dutch war
bride on a Red Cross ship from Holland to the U.K. to Pier 21. She had two
pieces of luggage, one of which had clothes, and the other of which was a basket
with me inside it at six months old. We were processed, as were 70,000 other war
brides in World War II, through Pier 21 by the Red Cross and our immigration
organization, then moved immediately to a Red Cross train. These trains were
specifically hired to move the war brides and whatever children they had. There
were some soldiers who had spent the whole of World War II in England and had
three kids. This Red Cross train would stop in different places where they had
information with regard to where the spouse, the military member, most of them
demobilized by then, would be.
In December, it was cold, coming from Europe and war-torn countries, and the
train stopped in the middle of the night at Saint Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, where there
was a little cabin built by CN and a 25-watt light bulb burning. As they looked
to both ends of the train, no one was there. A number of these war brides
arrived to no one being there.
In the big cities across the country, Montreal, Toronto and so on, the Red
Cross would organize that these war brides could either return home — which
nearly none did because they had married a Canadian, which in itself was a bit
of a stigma, even though the Canadians had gone over to save them — or be
assisted by the local community, be it the Dutch, British, Belgian and so on, to
try to find a life thereafter.
This process was linked with the building of wartime housing. Because so many
veterans came back with families and the Canadian housing situation was such
that there was no housing available, the Canadian government through Veterans
Affairs built wartime housing. They are very simple houses, with no basement and
very little insulation, an oil stove and, however, a warm atmosphere from all
these veterans living pretty well in the same area.
What was rather interesting was some of the decisions taken with regard to
the housing. One was that it had to be affordable. Wartime housing was sold to a
veteran for under $4,000, who could pay as much as $32 per month. That fell well
within the salaries of the soldiers demobilized at the time, where the salaries
had been massively cut.
The other side of it is that some of the material they used in order to save
money, but wanting to build a house, was at times questionable. For example,
most of the wartime housing had outside asbestos shingles. We have problems now
with asbestos being inside; imagine, honourable senators, being completely
surrounded by it.
I state this today only to say that there was compassion, there was a
willingness to receive these families, and they were permitted to thrive in our
society. For that, I am truly thankful to this country, as was my mother, who,
several weeks ago, passed away.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present,
in both official languages, the fourteenth report of the Standing Senate
Committee on National Finance on the expenditures set out in the Supplementary
Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
(On motion of Senator Day, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)
Hon. Joseph A. Day, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National
Finance, presented the following report:
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance has the honour to
Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-45, A second Act to
implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29,
2012 and other measures, examined the said Bill and now reports the same
JOSEPH A. DAY
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the third time?
(On motion of Senator Buth, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third
reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)
Hon. Bob Runciman, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs, presented the following report:
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the
honour to present its
Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-36, An Act to amend the
Criminal Code (elder abuse), has, in obedience to the order of reference of
Tuesday, November 27, 2012, examined the said Bill and now reports the same
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the third time?
(On motion of Senator Dagenais, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for
third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)
Hon. Pierrette Ringuette presented Bill S-215, An Act to amend the
Payment Card Networks Act (credit card acceptance fees).
(Bill read first time.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the second time?
(On motion of Senator Ringuette, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for
second reading two days hence.)
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I give notice that at the
next sitting of the Senate, I shall move:
That, notwithstanding the order of the Senate adopted on Thursday,
October 6, 2011, and Monday, June 11, 2012, the date for the presentation of
the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance on its
study of the potential reasons for price discrepancies in respect of certain
goods between Canada and the United States, given the value of the Canadian
dollar and the effect of cross border shopping on the Canadian economy, be
extended from December 31, 2012 to March 28, 2013; and
That the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings
until 90 days after the tabling of the final report.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The Globe and Mail pointed
out yesterday that even Jack Mintz, an academic and adviser to the government,
respected by all the community, who leads the University of Calgary School of
Public Policy and who sits on the board of Imperial Oil Limited, "spoke out on
the irony that Canada had spent years privatizing companies like Petro-Canada —
only to welcome state ownership by companies from other countries."
Can the leader explain why this government, one that promotes an open market
free from state ownership, has just sold a large portion of Canada's most
precious asset, along with Canadian-developed technology and intelligence in the
oil sands sector?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I think if the
honourable senator were listening to the Prime Minister's words on Friday, she
would know that he acknowledged and said the following about this very important
and complicated decision: "To be blunt, Canadians have not spent years reducing
the ownership of sectors of the economy by our own governments, only to see them
bought and controlled by foreign governments instead."
When it comes to foreign investment, as the Prime Minister pointed out, this
is not the beginning of a trend, but rather the end of a trend. The deal was
approved under existing rules. Our position as a government is not to
rubber-stamp every deal, as is obvious and as was done under the Liberals, or to
oppose every deal, which is advocated by the NDP.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Another journalist, a friend of the leader's
government, Mr. John Ibbitson, wrote: "Ultimately, it was Stephen Harper's call
to let Chinese state-owned firm CNOOC buy the Canadian energy company Nexen."
Then he continues, saying that ". . . countries that want to invest in Canada
must be equally open to investment by Canadian businesses."
Could the leader tell us if the government now has the commitment of the
Chinese government to let Canadian companies take a majority of shares in
Senator LeBreton: Again, I will put this in perspective. I find it
interesting how the honourable senator cites different journalists as being
friendly to the government. I would love to see such an animal.
In any event, the decision was made that Canada will remain open for
business, but this does not mean that Canada is for sale to foreign governments.
We have made a clear distinction between free market private enterprise and
entities controlled and influenced by foreign governments. Going forward,
foreign government entities will not be permitted to acquire control of a
Canadian oil sands business unless there are exceptional circumstances. Outside
the oil sands, there will be strengthened scrutiny of investment proposals. The
more control a foreign government is likely to exercise over Canadian business
or industry, the less likely it will be that the transactions will be approved.
With regard to the specific question, obviously the government and the Prime
Minister and the Minister of Industry are well pleased with the reaction of the
markets, the reaction of business and the reaction of Canadians generally. I
believe this was the proper decision, the right decision. As has been indicated
by John Manley in terms of Canada's position going forward, we are now in a much
better position to negotiate with China on behalf of Canadian businesses.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I regret to differ from what the honourable
senator says, but even India stated today that they are not pleased with this
approach. I would like to refer to the notice of motion that I recently put
forward to have a second, sober thinking group, being the Senate Banking
Committee, look at specific criteria that could be supported and approved by the
rest of Canada. I think every region should have a say when it comes to the
takeover of such a large and important sector, what the honourable senator calls
the "crown jewels."
One criterion mentioned by the Prime Minister was that the review threshold
within the Investment Canada Act for the private sector will increase from $330
million to $1 billion in enterprise value. First, where does the value of $1
billion come from and how will it be applied within different sectors? In some
cases, this amount can seem very large because of the nature of the business,
but in other areas $250 million could be a big chunk of a very large, specific
and strategic corporation. Comparing mining to intellectual property, for
instance, the amounts are not as big. Where do these criteria come from?
Senator LeBreton: As the Prime Minister said and announced, the
criteria going forward will be very carefully constructed and communicated.
Going back to my reference to John Manley, the former Liberal Deputy Prime
. . . it appears that the guidelines introduced today will safeguard the
national interest while ensuring that Canadians continue to reap the
benefits of a welcoming approach to foreign investment. . . . The government
deserves to be congratulated both for taking the necessary time to evaluate
these applications and for adopting a balanced approach to the evaluation of
foreign direct investment.
The honourable senator is quite right that the threshold for private
enterprise is $1 billion and the threshold for state-owned enterprises is at
Senator Hervieux-Payette: The Conservative government and the Prime
Minister just two years ago rejected the foreign acquisition of Potash
Corporation, claiming Potash to be a strategic asset.
What qualifies as a strategic asset to Canada? Have guidelines been
established? The government is now choosing to restrict acquisitions solely in
the Canadian oil sands sector. Will the government address other sectors? We do
have other "crown jewels" in this country. I think we have to look at all
sectors. We need to define exactly what national interest is. Ultimately, I
think it is up to Canadians to determine what the criteria should be.
Senator LeBreton: With regard to the oil sands and why it was
specifically targeted, in the Prime Minister's announcement last Friday and the
very long media availability where he answered all questions, he pointed out
that it was determined that foreign-state control of oil sands development had
reached the point at which further such control would not be of net benefit to
Canada. Almost all the oil sands production in the last year was generated by
only 15 firms, and the Canadian oil sands represents about 60 per cent of the
global reserves of crude oil not already controlled by state-owned enterprises.
That is specifically why, with regard to this announcement and future
considerations, it was decided to focus on this first instance on the oil sands.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: For my last question, I ask that the leader
table in the Senate a proposal of what the guidelines could be in the future for
every sector of this country.
Right now, we talk about revised guidelines. I listened to the entire press
conference of the Prime Minister, and I must say that I never heard a
description of what these guidelines will be.
This deal seems to have been approved due to the pressure from the Chinese
government, the commitment to do business with China and because it is a big
market. However, when I read in the newspaper that India sees hypocrisy in
Harper's foreign ownership stance, I question the leader's statement. As we move
forward will we consider each proposition, one by one, changing the criteria
according to the situation of the moment?
Senator LeBreton: I can assure honourable senators absolutely, and
anyone watching the process would know that the decision was made after very
careful consideration. The government and the cabinet had to be assured that
this transaction was of net benefit to Canada. This was certainly what drove the
government on this decision.
I thank the honourable senator for listening to the Prime Minister's press
conference. I thought it was an outstanding explanation of where the government
stood on this issue.
The fact of the matter is this decision was made not, as the honourable
senator suggests, by being pressured by any group but was made after very
careful thought and because the government truly believes that it was in the
best interests of Canada.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: The leader has prompted me to ask another
When guidelines are clear, one does not need so many weeks or months to make
a decision. When one talks about business, it requires a clear set of rules and
a clear time frame. This deal has been approved and we do not know who was
consulted; we do not know which criterion had more weight than the other.
Honourable senators, I know one thing: The question of reciprocity has not
been part of the deal. This for me is a big flaw, and I ask the leader to table
in this chamber some of the criteria so that our committee could examine it
further to ensure that for the next deal on the table will not be conducted by
the Prime Minister only with just a small circle of people.
Senator LeBreton: Of course I will not make such a commitment. The
fact is that we did strengthen the Investment Canada guidelines. As a result of
this, it was announced by the Prime Minister going forward that there will be
further strengthened guidelines. That is as far as I am ready to go at the
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: In the negotiations and discussions with
Chinese authorities with regard to the purchase of Nexen, was a requirement made
that the shares in CNOOC be made available on the stock market in China or in
Senator LeBreton: I will have to confirm this, but it was announced
that the company agreed to list its stock on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Senator Moore: One of the criteria that you mentioned, is it to be one
of the criteria in any future transactions that the purchaser's shares must be
available for purchase on the stock exchange in Canada?
Senator LeBreton: I cannot answer that, honourable senators. I can
only report what I just reported to Senator Hervieux-Payette, namely, first
that, the government took a very hard look at both this and the Petronas
transactions. The transactions met the net-benefit-to-Canada test.
Any questions going forward, I will have to ask for the honourable senator's
indulgence. At the appropriate time, when I have further information, I will
provide it to the Senate.
Senator Moore: Honourable senators, it is one thing for a company to
undertake to put some of its shares on the market and available for purchase,
but it is important that the majority of the shares be put on the market, not 25
or 30 per cent, so that there will be an opportunity for free enterprisers to
purchase shares and to take a leadership role and maybe even further ownership
of the company. I would ask that the leader consider that as well when she is
thinking about responding to my earlier question.
Senator LeBreton: I will, honourable senators, but I think it is
important to point out that the markets, the public and industry generally have
responded very positively — especially the markets — and for obvious reasons
that were cited by John Manley.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I would now like to ask
the Leader of the Government in the Senate some questions with regard to the
On March 24, 2011, Defence Minister MacKay said in the other place:
Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the professional, non-partisan
bureaucrats who work in the Department of National Defence disagree with the
Parliamentary Budget Officer. In fact, they said that the methodology was
We know this is untrue, that the minister knew full well what the true cost
of the F-35 program was and that the program was spinning out of control. Yet,
there he was telling Canadians that the Parliamentary Budget Officer's numbers
were wrong and insisting that the cost was $16 billion, when the government was
well aware that the real number was $30 billion plus.
Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate explain to Canadians why this
minister misled them for the past two years?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): The Minister did no
such thing, honourable senators.
At the time of the Auditor General's report, which the government received,
accepted, acknowledged and took action on to put in place the National Fighter
Procurement Secretariat, there was a lot of discussion in the public about the
methodology that the Auditor General was suggesting that the government follow.
It was well known that the Department of National Defence in the past had looked
at a 20-or 25-year cycle. The Auditor General obviously wanted a full life cycle
of the aircraft. The government responded to the Auditor General's request.
As a result of the Auditor General's report, as I pointed out yesterday,
honourable senators, the government at that point took a pause on the whole
issue and established the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat in order to
ensure transparency and due diligence. All of these processes were followed in
our efforts to replace the aging CF-18s.
We are committed to completing the seven-point plan and moving forward with
our comprehensive, transparent approach to replace Canada's CF-18s. Our
seven-point plan includes a review of the options and it will not be constrained
by the statement of requirements.
As Minister Ambrose stated, when including more years in operations and
maintenance costs estimates, it goes without saying that the dollar figure
obviously would be proportionately higher. That is the fact. Also, as I pointed
out yesterday, we have the independent report of KPMG, which, as I also pointed
out yesterday, will be tabled in Parliament before we rise for Christmas.
Senator Moore: Honourable senators, that answer does not quite cut it.
The minister was insisting on $16 billion being the number. As I recall, in the
other place, your government was held in contempt for not providing numbers. I
do not think it has provided the numbers since.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer said $30 billion then; he said it since. In
fact, the KPMG leaked number today is $45.8 billion. If the minister was not
misleading the public, what was he doing?
Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator may not like my answer, but
it is the only answer I will be giving to him. When the Auditor General reported
earlier this year, the government obviously took what the Auditor General had to
say and, again, went back, set up the secretariat, set up the seven-point plan,
and called in an independent auditor, KPMG. It was the result of the Auditor
Obviously, there is a difference between the practices in the past that all
governments followed. In terms of budgeting certain items, the Auditor General
wants full lifecycle budgeting. As the minister stated, with the addition of
years, obviously it will be a different figure.
Senator Moore: Honourable senators, the Minister of National Defence
has proven to be not up to the task with regard to this program and he has
failed to deliver on many other promises of the government. For example, there
is no Arctic base as promised; there is no increase in the reserve forces as
promised; there have been no deliveries of search and rescue planes as promised;
there is no 650-man rapid reaction force; there is no promised unmanned aerial
vehicle base in Gander; and there are no replenishment ships as promised.
Could the leader tell this chamber why this minister still has his job,
despite being incapable of fulfilling the promises of your government?
Senator LeBreton: The Minister of National Defence has the full
support of the government, of the Prime Minister and, most important, of the men
and women who serve in the Armed Forces.
Senator Moore: Honourable senators, that answer confirms the pattern
that has developed here among the hierarchy of the government.
On April 8, 2011, during the last election campaign, Prime Minister Harper
You have to understand that in terms of the F-35 costs, we've been very
detailed with those to the Canadian public. A lot of the developmental costs
you're reading in the United States, the contract we've signed shelters us
from any increase in those kinds of costs.
The leader and I now know that that statement is patently false. It was false
then; it is false now. There have been no details provided to the Canadian
public, there is no contract, and there is no shelter from the spiralling costs.
Can the leader explain why Mr. Harper misled Canadians during his remark with
regard to that program in the middle of the election campaign?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the Prime Minister spoke in the
other place as well about the industrial benefits of participation in this
particular program. Of course, as I pointed out yesterday, it was the previous
government that started the process of being part of this F-35 program.
The work being done by the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat includes
annual updates from Industry Canada on Canadian industrial participation in the
Joint Strike Fighter Program and there has been significant involvement of many
of the aerospace industries, especially in the Province of Quebec. This report
will be made public at the appropriate time.
Senator Moore: Thank you for the answer to the question I did not ask.
I would like to know what was the tipping point on the cost per airplane.
Originally it started out at $65 million per unit, then it went up to $112
million and then we heard $137 million. What was the tipping point that caused
the government to say that is enough; we are not going ahead with this purchase?
Senator LeBreton: If you are looking for a tipping point, it was when
the Auditor General released the report in the spring, wanting the full life
cycle of the F-35 costed out. That, obviously, as the minister pointed out in
the House of Commons, will change the figure. I think I used the analogy months
ago about my little Ford Focus that I bought in 2002. It cost me $19,000. If I
had kept it for five years, it probably would have cost me $30,000. I have now
kept it for 11 years, so my little Ford Focus probably has cost me over $80,000.
Senator Moore: It is an interesting analogy, and I am glad that you
raised it. The $65-million figure that you quoted earlier did not, as we now
know, include engines or weapons, unlike your Ford Focus, which had an engine.
An Hon. Senator: And a weapon.
Senator Moore: What was the real cost for the unit?
Senator LeBreton: It has a good engine at that.
There has been all kinds of speculation about meetings that apparently took
place or did not take place. All kinds of figures are being floated around. The
fact is that the previous government got into the program for the F-35. Our
government continued on that program.
The Auditor General reported earlier this year that the costing model for the
F-35, which was a costing model followed for many years by many governments, was
not the costing model that the Auditor General wanted us to follow. He wanted
the full, all in, life-cycle cost of the aircraft. That caused the government to
set up the secretariat, lay out the seven-point plan, call in a completely
independent observer, the accounting firm KPMG. KPMG has now reported. The
government will make this report known before we rise for Christmas, and I would
suggest, as I suggested to your colleagues yesterday, Senator Moore, that we
wait until the report is before Parliament, without reacting to all of the
different scenarios, figures, half truths, untruths and whatever else is in
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Does the minister not
understand that holding a report, which the government received some time ago —
she will not say how long ago — until Parliament is about to leave on holiday
and then throwing it out, probably on a Friday afternoon when there is no
opportunity for anybody to have a look at it, does nothing to enhance the faith
and confidence that Canadians have in the government's ability to manage what is
the single largest procurement project in the history of the Canadian Armed
Will the minister assure us that, as we go forward, as the government presses
this refresh or restart button, it will be the start of an open competition,
that the government will make it clear to those who are in the business exactly
what it is that the Government of Canada requires to replace the CF-18s and that
there will be a true, legitimate, open and transparent competition for the
project? Will the leader give us that assurance now?
Senator LeBreton: Senator Cowan is great at explaining to people what
he thinks I do not understand. I understand perfectly. As I have pointed out in
this place many times, once the Auditor General's report came out earlier in the
year saying that the cost of the F-35 should be factored in over its entire
life, the government took action. The National Fighter Procurement Secretariat
was put in place to ensure transparency and due diligence in the decision to
replace the CF-18s. We are committed to completing this seven-point plan and
moving forward with our comprehensive, transparent approach to replacing the
Our seven-point plan includes — and I have said this many times, but the
honourable senator seems not to want to understand — a review of the options and
will not be constrained by the statement of requirements.
Obviously, the KPMG report that will be tabled in Parliament before we rise
for Christmas has not been sitting around, as the honourable senator suggests. I
do not know exactly when it was received by the government, but it has not been
sitting around, as he suggests, for weeks.
Senator Cowan: I did not suggest that it had been sitting around for
weeks. I suggested that it had been in your hands for some time. The leader was
asked by my colleagues yesterday when she received it, but she refused to answer
the question. When did she receive it, and why has it not been released?
Senator LeBreton: I cannot tell you when it was received, but I can
tell you that it will be released, in public and in Parliament, before we rise
An Hon. Senator: Friday afternoon.
Senator Moore: With regard to the release of that document, will KPMG
also be advising the public of the cost of the preparation of that document?
Senator LeBreton: I imagine that that will all be part of the public
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, on October 2 of this
year, I asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate two questions with
regard to the Canada Student Loans Program.
First, I asked if the federal government had considered following the Prince
Edward Island government's example of eliminating interest on student loans.
The second question I asked was whether the government had considered
implementing the recommendation from the Social Affairs Committee, in Opening
the Door: Reducing Barriers to Post-Secondary Education in Canada, to lower
the interest rate to prime.
The leader took both questions as notice, but I have not yet received an
answer. I am wondering when I might receive a reply.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, we take note of the point raised by Senator Callbeck. We will come
back to it within a specific time frame.
Hon. Nicole Eaton moved third reading of Bill C-44, An Act to amend
the Canada Labour Code and the Employment Insurance Act and to make
consequential amendments to the Income Tax Act and the Income Tax Regulations.
She said: Honourable senators, I would like to thank Minister Finley for this
excellent bill, the helping families in need bill. This legislation is true to
its name, helping Canadian families when they are most in need by providing
enhanced access to EI sickness benefits for new parents, creating a new EI
benefit for parents of critically ill or injured children and ensuring job
protection for parents who take leaves of absence from work to care for their
sick or injured children or to mourn a murdered or missing child.
This last measure complements the creation of an income support grant for
parents of murdered or missing children announced by the Prime Minister last
I would like to express my gratitude for Senator Cordy's hard work as critic
of the bill. Thanks again to both Senator Cordy and Senator Dyck for their
thoughtful observations in our committee report.
The Hon. the Speaker: I would like to determine whether the 45 minutes
is being reserved for the opposition. Is Senator Cordy speaking?
Senator Cordy: If there are no questions, I would like to take the
The Hon. the Speaker: I think other senators would like to participate
in the debate now. This is why, if it is agreed, the 45 minutes will be reserved
for the opposition.
Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: Honourable senators, it moves me deeply
to vote in favour of Bill C-44 and witness a heartfelt wish come true for
parents of victims and for the association I founded with three other fathers
whose daughters were murdered. This bill will help create a financial assistance
program for the parents of murdered, missing or critically ill children.
In August 2005, at a meeting with the then-opposition leader, the Honourable
Stephen Harper, I presented 12 requests on behalf of Quebec families whose loved
ones had been murdered or had gone missing. Victims' groups across Canada
expressed very clear expectations. The families of these victims wanted a
tougher and more responsible justice system. The government listened to these
families of crime victims.
We made parole subject to merit criteria. We increased sentences for repeat
sex offenders, we will monitor these sexual predators by providing a better
framework for the pardon process, and we gave police officers the tools they
need to go after pedophiles on the Internet.
Recess is over for criminals, and more than 70 per cent of Canadians approve
these measures that crime victims called for from the government led by the
Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.
On March 3, 2010, the same day that I was sworn into the Senate of Canada,
the government announced in its throne speech that it planned on providing
better financial support to parents who were experiencing such tragedies. For
victims' families, the announcement confirmed that the current government was
very concerned about victims' rights.
In May 2012, the Prime Minister of Canada announced the implementation of a
compensation program for parents of murdered or missing children in the presence
of about 15 families at a press conference in Sherbrooke. Honourable senators,
for me, it was the culmination of seven years of work to see the first measure
in Canada for mothers and fathers who are the victims of unspeakable crimes.
And so, in January 2013, for the first time in its history, Canada will
provide financial support to Canadian families who are the victims of crime or
who have a critically ill child. This is an historic event.
Today, on behalf of thousands of parents whose children have been murdered or
disappeared or who are critically ill, I would like to express to the Prime
Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, their thanks and gratitude.
During those seven years I spent advocating for implementation of this measure,
the support of our Prime Minister was faithful, strong and fundamental.
The Minister of Human Resources, Diane Finley, and the Minister of Labour,
Lisa Raitt, both believed in the importance of better supporting Canadian
families living with such tragedies. I want to thank them for the constant
leadership they have demonstrated. In particular, I wish to thank Minister
Finley for her continuous effort to reduce the pitfalls that arose regularly
during our discussions.
I would also like to thank my Senate sponsor, the Honourable Senator David
Angus, who left us recently to take a well-deserved retirement. Senator Angus is
the one who invited me to meet the members of the Conservative caucus of MPs and
senators of Quebec for the first time in the fall of 2006, so that I could
present this request on behalf of the Association of Families of Persons
Assassinated or Disappeared, a request that went on to form the basis of Bill
I would also like to express my appreciation to Senator Josée Verner for her
involvement in this file. She knew it was very important for the families
affected, and she met regularly with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister
Finley to ensure that, effective January 1, 2013, thousands of families will
receive better support from the Canadian government.
Honourable senators, 83 per cent of the cost of crime is paid for by victims.
The impact of crime will affect the health of 70 per cent of them in the
long-term. The collateral damage is five times greater for the families of
victims than for the families of incarcerated offenders. Many fathers and
mothers will lose their jobs because they do not have any protection. Eighty per
cent of couples will divorce in the year following the murder of a child. Fifty
per cent more fathers will commit suicide following the murder of a child, and
the dropout rate is 50 per cent higher for the brothers and sisters of murdered
children. Many family members experience depression and may have to wait up to
six months for professional counselling, which is unacceptable.
This measure will immediately help reduce the negative effects of crime on
these families. I want to share some quotes from sincere and heart-wrenching
testimonies that the House of Commons committee, the Standing Committee on Human
Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with
Disabilities, heard on this bill.
Darlene Ryan, the step-mother of Brigitte Serres, who was killed at the age
of 17 in Montreal in 2006:
It's unfathomable to think that a parent of a murdered child can return
to work after only a few weeks, to return to a normal routine, when they are
trying to cope with all of these harsh realities. It takes months, not
weeks, to get a minimum amount of strength back.
If the measures that are being discussed today would have been in effect
in 2006, I could have helped my husband, children, and myself more
efficiently. It was a very long road back for all of my family, which could
have been easier and quicker if we'd had the necessary time off to heal.
Christiane Sirois, the mother of young Sébastien Métivier, who disappeared in
1984 at the age of eight and was never found:
After the disappearance, I was unable to work and live in a balanced way
. . . So I had to hand in my resignation to my employer and stay home. . . .
No one has the right to live in this kind of disarray without resources.
I had to face these events without financial or psychological resources. My
daughter, Mélanie, and I were in an endless corridor. We were directed
toward last-resort services meant to help people. . . .
This is why the assistance proposed in Bill C-44 would have improved my
life at the time.
Céline Hotte, mother of Anik, who was murdered when she was 15:
The bills continued to come in regularly. It was very difficult with only
one income. Let me give you some examples. My spouse made the minimum
payments to all the creditors, often less. The telephone got cut off. Hydro
called us nonstop. We lived with another stress: money. This added to all
the sorrow the murder had caused. It was very painful for us.
Neither you nor I want any family to go through such an ordeal. But when a
criminal sets the course of a family's destiny, we as a society do not have the
right to worry more about the criminal's future than about the well-being of the
victim's family. Passing this bill sends an important message to families that
the Senate supports them. And I am proud that it is the Conservative government
that is making good on this promise and standing with the families of victims.
This bill will expand the program that supports parents with a critically ill
child. These mothers and fathers, who are already traumatized by an extremely
stressful health crisis and are sometimes dealing with the imminent death of
their child, need our government's help in order to take care of their child or
to ensure their child receives the necessary medical attention. Their plight has
touched us. Therefore, we will help these families.
Another equally important aspect of Bill C-44 is that it protects the jobs of
mothers and fathers in these situations for up to two years.
Why is it important to provide job protection for these parents? Because many
Canadians subject to the Canada Labour Code are not protected when they must
leave their job to care for their family because something serious happened in
Quebec was one of the first provinces to amend its labour code to protect the
jobs of workers in that province who are governed by the Quebec Labour Code. The
act was passed by the Quebec government thanks to the repeated representations
made by the Association of Families of Persons Assassinated or Disappeared.
Other provinces are also contemplating similar legislation. Our government
strongly encourages them to do so to avoid creating discrimination among
Honourable senators, Bill C-44, which I am asking you to pass, fully meets
the expectations of the victims' groups, as confirmed by many families during
the Senate and House of Commons reviews of the bill.
More importantly, this legislation reflects the complementarity of provincial
and territorial responsibilities. Their first responsibility is to provide
adequate front-line services to victims of criminal acts.
This bill is an important step to meet the basic needs of victims of crime in
Canada, regardless of the province in which the victim lives. Under the
leadership of my colleague, the Minister of Justice, the Honourable Rob
Nicholson, I will continue to work closely with the Office of the Federal
Ombudsman of Victims of Crime and victims groups to improve the difficult
situation of these Canadian victims and their families.
Honourable senators, during this festive season, you will remember what you
will have done for these families by adopting this bill. You will have made
their fate less cruel, because these families will no longer feel abandoned by
the federal government.
Honourable senators, in conclusion, I am proud to say that this legislation
originated with the Quebec Association of Families of Persons Assassinated or
Disappeared. Now, these measures will apply to all Canadian families who are
experiencing a tragedy and who need our sympathy and our support.
This is how our country can grow, thrive and remain the best place to live.
Hon. Bob Runciman: Honourable senators, I did not intend to speak to
Bill C-44, but I felt it was important to acknowledge the diligent work by the
bill's sponsor, Senator Eaton. Also, I would like to single out two other people
who were instrumental in the realization of this proposed legislation.
I would like to recognize the hard work of Senator Boisvenu, who has fought
long and hard for support for parents of missing or murdered children. Senator
Boisvenu is a tireless advocate for victims of crime, and he brings a passion to
his work that is the result of very difficult circumstances. He has dedicated
himself to improving the lives of people who find themselves in the same tragic
circumstances that he found himself in. I hope he takes some satisfaction in the
passage of this bill, knowing that he played a significant part in ensuring that
parents in these situations get the help they need.
I would also like to recognize the work of a member of the other place for
helping to ensure that EI benefits are available to parents of critically ill
children. We heard earlier in this debate about Ms. Sharon Ruth, the mother of a
6-year-old child who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Sharon's family
was faced with the need to give up an income so they could care for Colleen.
In 2004, Sharon approached Gord Brown, her member of Parliament, shortly
after he was first elected as the member for Leeds—Grenville. Mr. Brown
introduced a private member's bill for compassionate care leave through the EI
system. The bill died on the Order Paper, but Mr. Brown did not give up. He has
introduced that bill in every session of Parliament since.
Earlier this year, he joined Prime Minister Harper to announce that the
government would begin to provide 35 weeks of compassionate care leave for
parents of critically ill children. It is the case of a constituent facing a
terrible situation and a member of Parliament not only listening but also doing.
Honourable senators, Bill C-44 is a testament to the fact that an individual
senator or member of Parliament can make a difference. Senator Boisvenu and MP
Brown should be very proud of what they have accomplished.
(On motion of Senator Tardif, for Senator Cordy, debate adjourned.)
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I
wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of His Excellency
Jorge Miranda, Ambassador of Panama to Canada. He is accompanied by Mrs. Carla
Barrios, Commercial Attache, and Mr. Juventino Caballero, Third Secretary. They
are guests of the Honourable Senator Finley.
On behalf of all senators, welcome to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Doug Finley moved third reading of Bill C-24, An Act to implement
the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Panama, the
Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Panama and the
Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and the Republic of Panama.
He said: Honourable senators, it gives me great pleasure to rise to speak to
Bill C-24, the proposed Canada-Panama economic growth and prosperity act, at
third reading. Minister Fast said when he appeared before the Standing Senate
Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade:
. . . Canada's prosperity is directly linked to reaching beyond our
borders for economic opportunities that serve to grow Canada's trade and
This bill is one part of our government's overall economic strategy. When it
comes to economic growth, a Canadian government official told the National
Post in May:
It doesn't have to be an either/or situation; trade, for example, is a
way to cultivate growth.
Free trade deals create jobs and stimulate growth and don't involve
government spending a lot of money.
Why does Panama make a great trading partner for Canada, apart from being a
lovely country with very beautiful people? This is another step forward in our
broader trade agenda. It provides investors and service providers with access to
the economy that has been called the "gateway to Latin America." It provides
access to major infrastructure projects recently announced and under way in
Panama, including the expansion of the famous Panama Canal, worth about $5.3
billion, and other major infrastructure projects estimated in the neighbourhood
of $13.5 billion. Ambassador Miranda specifically referenced Canadian experience
in infrastructure construction as a way that Canadian companies can benefit from
these initiatives. Finally, it levels the playing field for Canadians with
regard to U.S. and European Union businesses, as they already have agreements
Our policy of promoting free trade agreements is not done on an ad hoc basis.
Trade is a key part of our economic strategy. Our government implemented a
Global Commerce Strategy in 2007. This strategy began identifying markets in
which Canada needed to become engaged. Panama is a major part of this strategy.
Panama is a strategic hub for the region and an important logistical platform
for commerce. It is also one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It
was important that Canada become a major player in Panama. Thus, we have worked
hard to create this free trade agreement.
Our Global Commerce Strategy also led to a deal with Jordan, our first free
trade agreement in the Middle East, thus creating a beachhead in that part of
Minister Fast also informed our committee that the government is currently
partaking in negotiations with Morocco, which would be our first free trade
agreement in North Africa. As well, we are in exploratory talks with Thailand,
our potential first free trade agreement in Southeast Asia. In all, we are in
negotiations with more than 60 countries around the world. These are important
steps to Canadians. Providing access to these markets for Canadian businesses
will help to encourage economic growth at home.
We are aware that there were a few criticisms of this particular agreement
and, indeed, free trade as a whole. One concern raised was that Panama had been
considered a tax haven. However, in July 2011, Panama was removed from the
OECD's grey list when they met the standard of 12 tax information exchange
OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría stated: "Panama has worked hard to
achieve this milestone and has made remarkable strides toward complying with the
international standards in a very short time."
In addition, in March of this year, Canada and Panama commenced negotiations
for a tax information exchange agreement, which I understand are progressing
very well. Once the tax information exchange agreement is in force, it will help
our tax authorities enforce Canadian tax laws and combat tax evasion. This, to
my mind, demonstrates Panama's commitment to combatting international tax
At committee, Joy Nott, the President and CEO of the Canadian Association of
Importers and Exporters, was asked if her organization had any concerns about
Panama's ability to abide by international standards for the exchange of tax
information. She quite clearly stated, "No."
Jean-Michel Laurin of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters was asked the
same question. Likewise, he clearly told us, "No concerns."
Panama is making tremendous strides to ensure that they are meeting
international standards. However, in 2011 Switzerland was cited as the top tax
haven in the world by the Tax Justice Network, yet no similar concerns were
voiced on that agreement. In fact, the bill passed unanimously at committee
after only one meeting. Of those who have raised concerns on tax havens, I ask
this: Where were you when we signed the FTA with Switzerland?
Panama is a great partner of Canada. We should applaud their government for
taking important steps in accountability and transparency, and we should
continue to work with them in that regard. There are also those, particularly in
the New Democratic Party, who oppose the concept of free trade in general. Of
course, the socialist NDP still cling to the same old isolationist,
protectionist policies that extended and worsened the Great Depression. The
anti-free trade agreement is nothing new.
When Sir Wilfrid Laurier first proposed the idea of free trade with the
United States, Sir John A. Macdonald, the brilliant tactician that he was,
exploited it as a way to promote Canadian nationalism to win another strong,
stable, national majority government.
In 1988, John Turner told Canadians that with one signature of a pen the
government had sold out Canada. This has ended up becoming one of the more
colossally misinformed statements in Canadian history. Since then, both Liberal
and Conservative governments have entered into agreements with Mexico, Israel,
Chile, Peru, Colombia, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Jordan and
The Canadian economy benefits from free trade. These are not quick fixes or,
as Mr. Laurin of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters put it, these are not
"silver bullets." These are investments in the future for Canadian businesses
and Canadian customers. Free trade agreements provide access to markets for
Canadians. This particular agreement will eliminate double-digit tariffs on
Canadian products as soon as it is implemented. This is important to maintain a
Liberal MP Wayne Easter stated that some of the exports that have great
potential in Panama, such as fish, shellfish, french-fried potatoes and
agricultural products come from his region of the country, which I believe is
Prince Edward Island, so the agreement should be good for some businesses and
farmers in his region.
I believe that is true for all regions of the country.
Free trade agreements also help to reduce household costs for millions, which
brings me to the next concern that has been raised, the so-called concept of
trade balances. First, it is important to point out that not all imports are
bad. To quote Milton Friedman:
Another fallacy seldom contradicted is that exports are good, imports
bad. The truth is very different. We cannot eat, wear, or enjoy the goods we
We have been annexed from Central America.
We eat bananas from Central America, wear Italian shoes, drive German
Some of us do.
— and enjoy programs we see on our Japanese TV sets. Our gain from
foreign trade is what we import. Exports are the price we pay to get
Economists from fellow Scotsman Adam Smith onwards have questioned the belief
that all imports are bad and all exports are good. Expanding trade is important
for Canadian small, medium and large businesses and just as important for
Opponents of free trade have cited the possibility of trade deficits
occurring. While I disagree with that concept, let us look at some of the pure
export data for Canada after implementing FTAs: Israel, 1966, pre-FTA, just over
$217 million in exports, and last year over $363 million in exports; Chile,
1997, pre-free trade agreement, just over $379 million in exports, and last year
over $779 million in exports; Costa Rica, pre-FTA, just over $72 million, and
last year $155 million; Peru, pre-FTA, just over $390 million, and last year
$488 million; Norway, pre-FTA, just over $1.7 billion — that was in 2009 — and
last year over $2.7 billion; Mexico, just over $1 billion in exports pre-FTA,
and last year over $4.6 billion in exports; the U.S., pre-FTA — pre-John
Turner's stroke of the pen — just over $98.7 billion in exports, and last year
over $307 billion in exports.
I am sure that people would agree that more exports for Canadian businesses
is a good thing. In fact, there have been only two exceptions to this trend.
Both were in a recently signed FTA, and each is facing certain economic
difficulties at the moment.
In my speech at second reading of Bill C-24 I quoted Sir Wilfrid Laurier, a
great Canadian prime minister, on the need to find markets where markets are to
be found. While I wish I could use that quote again, I figured I had better not
be too repetitive.
I will go from quoting the prime minister who stated that the 20th century
would be Canada's century to the prime minister who believes that the 21st
century is Canada's century. To quote:
Canada is a trading nation. Canadian businesses and their workers succeed
and prosper when they have stable and secure access to markets and customers
around the world.
Deepening our trading relationships is key to the next phase of Canada's
Economic Action Plan in order to complete our recovery, create jobs and
strengthen families' financial security.
Before concluding, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the members
of the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee for their participation
in the committee hearings. In particular, I would like to thank Senator Percy
Downe for his perhaps opposing questions, but always marked with good grace and
Mark my words, over the next number of years, I want to be at the vanguard of
Canada's ever-expanding global trade agenda. I ask all honourable senators to
join me in support of Bill C-24, to pass this important free trade agreement. It
will be a great Christmas gift for the future of the Canadian economy.
Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, I would like to thank
Senator Finley for his speech. He is always interesting. We all agree on the
main principle and importance of trade for the prosperity of Canada. I am
reminded of that radio show that used to be on a number of years ago where they
always started, "And now for the rest of the story."
Bill C-24 has been before Parliament, in one form or another, since September
of 2010. In the meetings that the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs
and International Trade has held on this bill, we heard much about the economy
of Panama and the promise that it holds. I am sure there is both promise and
progress to be seen in that country, but let us not distract from some very real
problems in locking ourselves into a trade agreement with this country.
There are aspects of this trade deal that give me pause: items it contains,
items it does not contain, and even what the deal itself represents.
Honourable senators, I must once again ask the question: What do we hope to
gain from this and all the other trade deals this government is signing with
minor trading partners? As we know, high expectations for these free trade
agreements have, in the past, not been borne out. Indeed, more often than not,
our balance of trade with our partners has worsened, not improved.
This is not some academic discussion. Trade is a root cause of our
prosperity, and international trade is a vital element of our economy. Exports
account for 31 per cent of this country's GDP, and one job in five in this
country is directly or indirectly dependent upon exports.
Given the importance of trade, the value of free trade agreements would seem
to be self-evident, but, as we have seen, honourable senators, if you look at
the facts, the benefits of these minor agreements are far from obvious. These
are familiar statistics, but they bear repeating. Of the seven free trade
agreements for which we have data, five have seen an increase in our trade
deficit with those countries. It is part of a disturbing trend.
This government has presided over a 7.5 per cent decline in the value of
goods and services exported to other countries, while our trade deficit
increased from $37 billion in 2006 to over $143 billion in 2011.
Exports as a proportion of the GDP are at the 31 per cent mark currently.
When this government came to power, it was 38 per cent. This decline is a very
serious problem. On November 30 of this year, Statistics Canada announced that
real GDP growth was only 0.1 per cent for the third quarter this year, down from
0.4 per cent in the second quarter. Statistics Canada attributed this to decline
in exports, which fell by 2 per cent in the third quarter, the largest decline
since the second quarter of 2009. Put simply, if exports are vital to our
economy and exports are declining, then this country is facing some major
To those who suggest more free trade agreements with minor countries with
small economies as a solution, I would remind honourable senators that if those
trade agreements solved the problem, then the problem would not have existed in
the first place.
The question remains, why free trade agreements and why with Panama? We know
the idea originated with the Government of Panama. They have been trying to sign
as many deals with as many countries as they can. Many of these countries
insisted, as a pre-condition for such a deal, that Panama enter into agreements
regarding the sharing of tax information. The United States, for example, was
insistent that Panama would not get one without the other. They refused to
consider ratification of their free trade agreement with Panama until they got a
tax information exchange agreement dedicated to the investigation and
enforcement of national tax laws. Even then, as U.S. trade representative Ron
Kirk said last year, ratification was not automatic:
We will not be left behind as others open markets and take our market
share. But . . . we will not sign agreements for agreements' sake. They must
be enforceable and of the highest standard, in the interests of our workers,
farmers, and businesses.
In contrast, it was only last July, two years after negotiations for a free
trade agreement began and a full year after it was signed, that the Canadian
finance department wrote to the Government of Panama suggesting such a measure,
and negotiations only started this March. Given that negotiations for a similar
agreement with Liechtenstein began over two years ago and are still ongoing,
this could be a lengthy process indeed.
The lack of foresight does not end there. In response to my question last
week, the government stated:
. . . we have continued, and intensified, our pursuit of new and deeper
trading relationships. Our Government clearly understand that our standard
of living and Canadians' future prosperity depend on such efforts.
Hearing that, one would think that if all these newer and deeper
relationships are so important to the current government they would have
conducted a thorough economic analysis of the relationship with Panama,
examining such matters as the jobs to be gained for Canada, the costs to be
incurred, and the overall effect of the deal on Canadians' standard of living
and future prosperity.
Instead, at the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee, we heard
testimony from federal government officials that the decision to proceed with
the deal was not based on any economic analysis of the prospect for trade
because, by their own admission, Canada-Panama trade is so small as to make such
analysis meaningless. Instead, they just asked around. They called unnamed
businesses and organizations and asked if they would be interested in a free
trade deal with Panama.
I asked the president of the Canadian Council for the Americas about the deal
when he appeared before the committee. He said, "It is just an additional
element that helps, I think is the best way to say it."
Perhaps, honourable senators, the resources of our Department of Foreign
Affairs and International Trade could, in the future, be dedicated toward
something more than additional helpful elements.
Regarding the bill before us today, my other concern relates to overseas tax
evasion and money laundering. To say that Canada and Panama's tax systems are
different is something of an understatement. Historically, Panama has dedicated
considerable effort to aid those wishing to avoid paying taxes, including
The fact is that, beginning in the 1970s, Panama constructed a financial
regime designed to attract the business or, more specifically, the money of
individuals and corporations who do not wish to be bound by the kind of
financial rules and tax rates they may face at home. In this respect, they have
certainly succeeded, to the point that in 2007 one commentator called Panama the
"complete package." It has everything one wants in a tax haven.
Honourable senators, if you build it and promise not to ask too many
questions, they will come — or they will at least have their lawyers and
accountants set up the paperwork necessary. In the last few decades, Panama
parlayed its attitude toward taxation into a thriving financial services sector.
Let us not shy away from the obvious: when a country of fewer than 3.5
million people has over 400,000 registered corporations, something more than
free enterprise is at work. All these methods require the cooperation of a
willing government. Unfortunately, our proposed free trade partner, Panama, has
demonstrated a willingness to please money launderers, drug dealers and other
crooks. What a strange partner for this government to hitch their wagon to.
Follow the money, as the line goes, and you solve the mystery, but when a
country designs its system so that money cannot be followed, that country
becomes very attractive to those who want to do more than hide their money from
the tax man. Such is the case with Panama.
As the U.S. Department of State's International Narcotics Control Strategy
Report stated earlier this year:
Panama's strategic geographic location and status as a regional financial
center make it an attractive jurisdiction for money launderers. Panama's
success in establishing itself as a regional business and logistics hub,
based on the success of its ports, airport and the Colon Free Zone — the
second largest free trade zone in the world — have enhanced its
attractiveness for organizations engaged in illicit financial activities.
Money laundering in Panama is believed to be primarily related to the
laundering of the proceeds of drug trafficking, and the country sits along
major drug trafficking routes. The work of launderers is facilitated by
weaknesses in the regulatory framework . . . [and] by uneven enforcement of
anti-money laundering measures and the weak judicial system, which is
susceptible to corruption and favoritism.
That is a description of our new trading partner from the U.S. Department of
State. Regardless of the purpose for which these corporations in Panama were
founded, a particular concern raised over this deal is whether they will have
new rights to seek recourse from the Canadian government.
Chapter 9 of the agreement deals with the rights of investors, and while it
is important that these rights be respected, the wording contained in Chapter 9
adds a whole new level of protection to investors, including those for whom
"investing" money means hiding it or those involved in laundering money.
By allowing private firms to launch dispute settlement proceedings against
governments, Chapter 9 enables those who benefit from Panama's tax haven status
to fight efforts by the Government of Canada to recover its rightful tax
To quote testimony before the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs
and International Trade:
. . . the Canada-Panama Trade Agreement would make it more difficult for
Canadian policy-makers to curb Panama-based tax evasion. Should Canada, for
example, try to limit Canadian firms from transferring money to Panama-based
subsidiaries deemed to be shell corporations established for tax evasion,
the policy could be challenged as a violation of Article 9.10 of the pact,
which says, "Each party shall permit transfers related to a covered
investment to be made freely and without delay into and out of its
Anti-tax evasion policies could also be challenged as a violation of the
indirect expropriation or national treatment provisions of the deal.
Chapter 9 of the Panama agreement expands the investor-state system under
NAFTA, under which Canada has paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in legal
fees and compensation to U.S. investors. There are untold United States,
Chinese, Cayman and even Canadian corporations that can attack Canadian
regulations by using aggressive national planning through their shell company in
With all these issues, honourable senators, why should we rush into this
agreement? The potential gains are modest. Panama currently ranks seventy-fifth
among our export markets. On the other hand, the potential pitfalls could be
quite serious. Why would the government not conduct an economic analysis of the
potential financial effects of this deal? Given the failure of other minor trade
deals to actually expand our trade, why was there not more careful consideration
of this bill?
In the committee studies, we heard about Panama's transfer from the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's "grey list" of
uncooperative tax countries to the "white list" — and Senator Finley spoke about
this as well — on the basis that Panama sign a number of tax information sharing
agreements. However, in many ways these agreements are like free trade
agreements; they are the start of a solution, not its conclusion.
In fact, the OECD recently conducted a study of the measures that member
countries have in place to enable them to live up to these agreements. Of the
nine criteria the OECD examined, dealing with everything from ensuring proper
account information is available to respect for the rights of taxpayers, Panama
failed on five of the nine. That simply means "full stop" to any more
improvements to Panama's status as one of the most corrupt tax havens in the
The prospect of a free trade agreement — featuring full investor protection —
with a country with a record like Panama's is a potential financial time bomb
waiting to explode, and I feel the government should have looked more carefully
before we signed this deal. If this government is serious about ensuring that
all Canadians pay their fair share of taxes and that we not incur future
liabilities by exposing Canada to massive lawsuits, let us take this opportunity
to demonstrate that by hammering out a better agreement that guarantees that
Canadians and Canadian corporations will not be able to hide their money with
This government makes much of the progress made by Panama. However, in every
area I have cited in this speech, my views match those of the Government of the
United States of America.
The best time to improve a deal is before it is finalized; indeed, sometimes
it is the only time to do so. When it comes to negotiating free trade
agreements, the Government of Canada might want to follow the example of the
Senate of Canada and apply a measure of sober second thought to its efforts.
The actions of the United States government should cause us to pause and ask
why our American friends refused to ratify their agreement until Panama made its
tax regime more transparent to them.
Speaking of Americans and transparency, material I received earlier this year
from the United States Trade Representative documents the degree to which the
United States government is committed to openness with their population when it
comes to trade negotiations.
In the United States, representatives from business, labour and civil society
are all welcome to participate in public forums related to ongoing trade
negotiations, where the negotiators and delegates are also present. There are
also trade advisory committees, comprised of "representatives from industry,
agriculture, services, labor, state and local governments, and public interest
groups" that work throughout the negotiating process to provide "policy advice,
technical advice and information, and other advice on, negotiating objectives
and bargaining positions, the operation of any trade agreement, and other
matters arising in connection with the implementation of U.S. trade policy."
Of particular interest to parliamentarians is the U.S. government's
commitment to working with Congress.
Since its creation, USTR has worked closely with Congress on negotiation
of trade agreements and on other trade-related issues. As a matter of
longstanding policy and practice, USTR has provided any Member of Congress
access to classified negotiating documents and texts on request . . .
Let me repeat that. It is very important.
. . . USTR has provided any Member of Congress access to classified
negotiating documents and texts on request, and works with the respective
security offices in each chamber to accommodate the Members appropriately.
In addition, Congress has an oversight group that works on proposed trade
deals while they are being negotiated with a view to preventing problems before
they arise, rather than being faced with a fait accompli at the end of
Compare that transparency to Canada, where even MPs and senators on the
government side, let alone opposition parliamentarians, are kept in the dark
about negotiations. Honourable senators might agree that the American model is a
measure worth considering for Canada.
Honourable senators, is something wrong with our international trade? We all
want Canada to prosper, and for that to happen we have to export; it is as
simple as that. However, the message is clear and the numbers do not lie: What
we are doing is not working as well as it used to. These minor trade deals would
be understandable if they actually paid dividends, however modest, but they do
not. We would do well to take a serious look at what we are doing wrong and how
to fix it.
To conclude, honourable senators, this bill is the latest effort from a
government that claims they are "committed to protecting and strengthening the
long-term financial security of hard-working Canadians," that "Canada's
prosperity is directly linked to reaching beyond our borders for economic
opportunities that serve to grow Canada's trade and investment" and that they
"clearly understand that our standard of living and Canadians' future prosperity
depend on such efforts." If this is truly the case, then they should reconsider
a free trade policy that has clearly not lived up to expectations and instead
dedicate themselves to understanding — and solving — the problems afflicting our
balance of trade and our economy as whole.
We in the Senate should support them in this effort, because this is an
effort that crosses party boundaries and is important to all Canadians.
Strong exports mean a strong economy and more jobs, and if free trade deals
with minor trading partners do not lead to strong exports, we need to find a
policy that does.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
An Hon. Senator: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
(Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed, on division.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Maltais, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Dagenais, for the second reading of Bill C-28, An
Act to amend the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak
on the subject of Bill C-28, the financial literacy leader bill.
I thank my colleague Senator Maltais for his earlier remarks about this
legislation. There is a great need for improved financial literacy in this
country. I support Bill C-28, but it is a small step in improving the overall
financial literacy situation. I believe that more significant federal leadership
will be needed in order to turn the tide on financial literacy and its impact on
rising household debt. Household debt has been increasing for the past 20 years
and is now at an all-time high. The ratio of Canadian household debt to
disposable income reached 148 per cent in 2010.
In 2009, Statistics Canada released the results of its Canadian Financial
Capability Survey. It was the largest of its kind in the world and it has some
disturbing findings: 31 per cent of Canadians struggle to meet their bills and
payments; only 51 per cent of Canadians have set a budget; 70 per cent of
Canadians were fairly, or very confident that their retirement income would
provide the standard of living they hoped for, even though only 40 per cent knew
how much money they needed to save in order to make this happen. Of those
Canadians who were planning to buy a home, 48 per cent had not even saved the
Almost two years ago, the Task Force on Financial Literacy released its
report and recommendations called Canadians and Their Money: Building a
Brighter Financial Future. In this report, the task force defined financial
literacy as having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible
financial decisions. The task force made 30 recommendations in all, and this
legislation is the result of one of those recommendations. I quote the
The Task Force recommends that the Government of Canada appoint an
individual, directly accountable to the Minister of finance, to serve as
dedicated national leader. This Financial Literacy Leader should have the
mandate to work collaboratively with stakeholders to oversee the National
Strategy, implement the recommendations and champion financial literacy on
behalf of all Canadians.
This bill creates the position of a financial literacy leader who reports to
the Commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. This bill only
partly implements that first recommendation because the recommendation was that
this leader would be accountable to the Minister of Finance.
In my mind, being accountable directly to the minister puts that person in a
much stronger position. It tells stakeholders that the financial literacy leader
is operating with a very clear mandate from the Minister of Finance.
The financial literacy leader would be appointed by the Governor-in-Council
for a five year term, and the term can be renewed. The duties are to exercise
leadership at the national level to strengthen the financial literacy of Canada
within the objectives of the agency. It is expected that he or she will
spearhead financial literacy efforts and work with stakeholders to build on
This legislation also provides the Commissioner of the Financial Consumer
Agency of Canada with the authority to impose a financial levy against any
financial institution in order to pay for expenses related to financial literacy
initiatives. It should be noted that the agency already had the power to levy
assessments against banks under the legislation brought forward under the
Chrétien government when it was first created.
When this bill was first introduced, some members in the other place were
concerned about the financial cost of implementing this legislation. No figures
or estimates were given by the government when it was first tabled. However,
during the study of the House of Commons Finance Committee, officials testified
that the anticipated cost is $3 million per year which will be allocated to
Mr. Jeremy Rudin, Assistant Deputy Minister, Financial Sector Policy Branch,
Department of Finance, said:
I should clarify that in recent years the government has provided the
FCAC with $2 million a year from the consolidated revenue fund. That is
ongoing. An additional $3 million a year on top of the $2 million will be
available once the leader is appointed . . .
That means that $5 million in total will be allocated to the Financial
Consumer Agency of Canada for financial literacy. This leader will operate out
of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada office. Any staff that the leader has
will be assigned there as employees of the FCAC.
There was also a question in the other place as to whether an existing
organization could take on this new role. For example, the federal government
already supports the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education, which was
established in 1974 as a nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organization. They
are already involved in a wide range of financial literacy activities, such as
resource production, research, curriculum development, seminars and workshops.
It partners with provincial ministries of education, foundations, companies,
media and other organizations across Canada in order to deliver programs in
support of financial literacy.
Gary Rabbior, President of the CFEE, appeared before the House Finance
Committee in support of C-28 and noted that his organization would not be able
to take on this initiative. He said:
We actually get no sustaining money. I'd be delighted if that would
change and the government would provide some support to us, but I'm the
first one to recognize that the job is so big and there are so many . . .
He also stressed the need for a national approach to this issue. He said:
My key message is that for effective leadership in this on a national
level we need to reach out to all the players who are involved and to be
collaborative, to draw upon that. We don't need direction; we need a
catalyst to work together. Also, we don't need competition. We need somebody
to work with us. We need leadership that reaches out, involves, and draws on
the expertise and the experience that has been around for years and decades.
It is for that reason that I believe the government should have gone one step
further and also implemented the task force's second recommendation, which
called on the government to "establish an advisory council on financial
literacy, both as a forum for collaboration and to provide ongoing advice to the
Financial Literacy Leader."
As Mr. Rabbior said, we have a wealth of expertise in this country and would
all benefit from the experience of those who have been working in this field. I
urge the government to carry through on that second recommendation of setting up
an advisory council.
Honourable senators, Bill C-28 is a very small step, but it is an important
one in improving the financial literacy of Canadians.
This task force had 30 recommendations. Today, we are dealing only with the
An Hon. Senator: What about the rest of them?
Senator Callbeck: That is a good question. Hopefully, the government
will implement the other 29, including the advisory council I just spoke about,
and also the creation of a public awareness campaign, as well as a number of
recommendations that require collaboration with the provinces and territories.
I support this legislation, but I would like to have had in legislation what
the task force recommended, and that was that this financial leader would report
to the Minister of Finance. I think it would have put the person in a much
As well, I would like to have seen in this legislation the second
recommendation of the task force, and that is for that advisory council, which
would be of tremendous assistance to the literacy leader.
I urge the government to continue in its efforts, and hopefully more
significant progress will be made to implement the rest of the recommendations
of the task force.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and bill read second time.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the third time?
(On motion of Senator Carignan, bill referred to the Standing Senate
Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Wallace, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Mockler:
That, pursuant to section 3 of the Statutes Repeal Act, S.C. 2008,
c. 20, the Senate resolve that the following Act and the provisions of the
other Acts listed below, which have not come into force in the period since
their adoption, not be repealed:
1. Agricultural Marketing Programs Act, S.C. 1997, c. 20:
-sections 44 and 45;
2. An Act to amend the Canada Grain Act and the Agriculture and
Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act and to repeal the Grain
Futures Act, S.C. 1998, c. 22:
-sections 1(1) and (3), 2 to 5, 6(1) and (2), 7, 9, 10, 13 to 16,
18 to 23, 24(2) and (3), and 26 to 28;
3. An Act to implement the Agreement on Internal Trade, S.C.
1996, c. 17:
-sections 17 and 18;
4. Budget Implementation Act, 1998, S.C. 1998, c. 21:
-sections 131 and 132;
5. Canada Grain Act, R.S.C 1985, c. G-10:
-paragraphs (d) and (e) of the definition
"elevator" in section 2, and subsections 55(2) and (3);
6. Canada Marine Act, S.C. 1998, c. 10:
-sections 140, 178, 185 and 201;
7. Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Implementation Act,
S.C. 1998, c. 32;
8. Contraventions Act, S.C. 1992, c. 47:
-sections 8(1)(d), 9, 10, 12 to 16, 17(1) to (3), 18, 19, 21(1),
22, 23, 25, 26, 28 to 38, 40, 41, 44 to 47, 50 to 53, 56, 57, 60 to
62, 84 with respect to sections 1, 2.1, 2.2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 7.1, 9 to
12, 14 and 16 of the Schedule, and section 85;
9. Firearms Act, S.C. 1995, c. 39:
-paragraph 24(2)(d), sections 39, 42 to 46, 48 and 53;
10. Marine Liability Act, S.C. 2001, c. 6:
11. Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act, S.C. 2000,
-sections 89, 90, 107(1) and (3), and 109;
12. Preclearance Act, S.C. 1999, c. 20:
13. Public Sector Pension Investment Board Act, S.C. 1999, c.
-sections 155, 157, 158, and 161(1) and (4);
14. Yukon Act, S.C. 2002, c. 7:
-sections 70 to 75, 77, 117(2), 167, 168, 210, 211, 221, 227, 233
Hon. John D. Wallace: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 6-2(2), I
seek leave of the Senate to speak a second time on this motion to explain
certain parts of my speech given yesterday.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, rule 6-2(2) provides that
for purposes of clarification on a debate that has been initiated, an honourable
senator who has spoken but wishes to clarify can take up to five minutes to make
Senator Wallace: Honourable senators, you may recall yesterday when I
spoke to this matter I referred to the fact that in the 2012 annual report,
which would have been from this past February, 20 acts are listed in the
not-in-force provisions. With the list that I provided last evening, it was
reduced to 14. The question raised by Senator Cowan was whether any of the six
that were no longer on the list fell by the wayside. Were any of them repealed,
or do they simply keep carrying forward unless they are brought into force? My
response was that they would have been brought into force if they were not on
I went back today to double-check, and I discovered that I was in error when
I said that. I want to provide honourable senators with the correct information
in order to set the record straight. I will have to go through this rather
quickly because I have only five minutes.
We have gone from 20 acts down to 14, the difference being six. Of those six
acts, one was to be brought into force in 2012, and that is An Act to amend the
statute law in relation to veterans' benefits, Statutes of Canada 2000, chapter
34. One act was repealed in 2012, and that was the Canadian Wheat Board Act, and
that act, of course, was repealed by the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers
Act, which became effective August 1, 2012.
We have requested deferrals on 14 acts, so we have 14 plus the two I have
just described, and that leaves four remaining.
The remaining four are to be repealed in 2012, and they will be repealed
because we are not seeking deferrals of them as part of this motion. The acts
that would be repealed are sections that deal with An Act to amend the Canadian
Wheat Board Act, and again, they will be repealed; deferrals will not be
requested because those sections were repealed by the Marketing Freedom for
Grain Farmers Act, which became effective in August of 2012.
The next act is An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act. Again, the
provisions that are being repealed target acts that have already been previously
The next provisions that will be repealed as of December 31, 2012, are
contained in the Maintenance of Railway Operations Act, Statutes of Canada 1987,
The final provisions again that will be repealed as of December 31 of this
year are contained in Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, Statutes of
That summarizes and provides detail on the six that will be repealed and not
continued forward. All I can do is offer my apology that this was not provided
to honourable senators last night, but better late than never.
(On motion of Senator Fraser, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Salma Ataullahjan moved third reading of Bill C-300, An Act
respecting a Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention.
She said: Honourable senators, as I would like to see this bill passed as
soon as possible, I will not take up much of your time.
It is clear that there is a desperate need for a national framework for
suicide prevention. This issue has affected each of us in one way or another.
We have discussed all that needs to be said, but I would like to reiterate
the urgency for our youth. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for
Canadians aged 10 to 24.
I sponsored a study on cyberbullying in the Human Rights Committee, and while
listening to the testimony, I often wondered whether a national suicide
framework could have prevented deaths of our youth, could have made them aware
of the options available to them.
I would like to thank MP Harold Albrecht for his passion in driving this
forward. I have been proud to sponsor this bill in the Senate on his behalf.
I urge honourable senators to allow Bill C-300 to proceed as quickly as
possible. With each day's delay, 10 Canadians will fall victim to suicide.
Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, I rise to speak on Bill C-300,
which came through the Social Affairs Committee in one two-and-a-half-hour
session on Monday.
I want to remind honourable senators that the House of Commons back in
October of last year unanimously passed a resolution, as a result of a motion by
the Honourable Bob Rae, that a national suicide prevention strategy be
developed. This is not a national strategy. This document before us today is a
If one looks at the meat of the resolution, which is in subclause 2(b)
of the bill, it talks about disseminating information, making publicly available
existing statistics, promoting collaboration, defining best practices, et
cetera. I do not think that is what the motion that was put to the House of
Commons had in mind in terms of a strategy. It requires something far deeper
than that, given that we have some 4,000 people who commit suicide per year and
20 times that number — or up to perhaps 100,000 — who attempt such suicide.
I agree with the honourable senator that it is an urgent matter and it is a
matter that is somewhat desperate. However, this is not a national strategy.
In fact, Mr. Harper seems to have an aversion to the term "national
strategy." I remember our committee came forward in its report on the health
accord and made a number of very solid recommendations, which the government
virtually ignored and said, "Well, we leave that, by and large, up to the
I do not think that is what Canadians want. Canadians want federal
leadership. They want federal leadership in health care and in a number of
issues, including this one. However, this is not what this bill provides for.
The fact that the committee spent very little time on the matter meant that
we really did not get a chance to hear from a number of perspectives. It would
have been good to hear from Aboriginal people about the much higher suicide rate
that exists in their communities, or military members or veterans who also have
very high suicide rates. It would have been good to hear more about the social
determinants of health and how a lack of decent housing can increase the kinds
of stresses and pressures in people's lives that lead to attempted suicides.
Some of these people were actually invited, but the committee rushed this
thing through in one day and not everyone was able to attend.
Now that I think of it, I do not understand why we did rush it through. I
understand the sense of urgency that the sponsor has talked about, and I
appreciate the work of the member of the House of Commons, Mr. Albrecht. I think
he is to be commended and thanked for the work he is doing.
However, clause 3 states:
Within 180 days after the day on which this section comes into force . .
The government would have that period of time to get the process moving. That
is six months. Some bills come into force shortly after Royal Assent; some sit
around for days or years. This 180-day clock does not even start running until
it comes into force.
Even assuming the government will move quickly to bring it into force
following Royal Assent, then we come to clause 4. It states:
Within four years after the coming into force of this Act and every two
years thereafter, the entity designated in accordance with paragraph 2(b)
must report to Canadians. . . .
Four years is a long time. I recognize this is within four years, but it
still suggests there could be a very long time here before that kind of report
comes. For something that the senator just described as desperate and urgent, it
is hard to understand why that kind of a time frame is not further commented on.
In fact, we tried to comment on it. I put a suggestion of an observation to
the committee that, in relation to clause 4, efforts be made to report progress
to both houses of Parliament — it does not say where this report would go, by
the way, so I wanted to make it both houses of Parliament — before the four-year
time frame is reached. These would be progress reports, so that we can see if
this sense of urgency is being met.
However, we were told in the committee that such a thing would hold it up.
Hold it up? One hundred and eighty days — up to four years? I do not think that
would hold it up at all. Besides, if holding it up meant that it would take the
little bit of time to translate this and put it into official form as an
observation, that would take all of about five minutes, I think, and we would
still be getting this bill before us for consideration and any vote before we
adjourn for Christmas.
Then, another comment that was made by one of the Conservative senators was
that it was a mere "ornament" — a phrase used on a couple of occasions.
I am sorry that we have not spent more time on this, and I am sorry that we
have not been able to get to what the House of Commons originally adopted
unanimously, namely, a national strategy on suicide prevention.
This bill is what it is, and it does advance the agenda. For that reason, I
think we should support it, but I think we could have done a lot better.
(On motion of Senator Cordy, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Martin, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Neufeld, for the second reading of Bill S-213, An
Act respecting a national day of remembrance to honour Canadian veterans of
the Korean War.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I see that it has been nine
days that I have not been able to get to this particular matter. With
permission, I will say a few words in support of this very worthwhile bill that
has been initiated by Senator Martin. It deals with an escalation of the
recognition from a resolution that was passed by this chamber to a bill that
would be a bill from this chamber and, if passed, adopted by both chambers,
thereby giving it a higher degree of authority. I commend Senator Martin on
bringing forward this bill, and I will be supporting it.
Honourable senators will know that the purpose of this bill is to recognize
the Korean War veterans for the tremendous contributions and sacrifices that
they made. It will recognize July 27 as a national day of remembrance in honour
of Canadian war veterans of the Korean War. It was on July 27, 1953, that the
Korean War Armistice Agreement was signed. Thus, this coming July will be the
sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the armistice, so it would be very
appropriate if this bill moves through and is adopted well prior to that date,
so that we can do some proper planning.
Much has been said, and rightly so, of the injustice to the veterans of the
war often called the "forgotten war." Many honourable senators have outlined the
details of the Korean War, as have I, for the purpose of illustrating its size
and intensity and why it certainly should not be forgotten. While I will not
repeat that which has been said, I will list a few facts about the war to serve
Honourable senators, the Korean War ran from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953.
In those three years, the total number of United Nations forces killed, wounded
or missing was close to 1 million. Canada contributed over 26,000 of our Armed
Forces to the Korean War, the third largest total of the nations who came to the
aid of South Koreans at the time, behind only the United States and the United
Kingdom. Of these 26,000, 516 lost their lives, many of whom are buried in the
United Nations Memorial Cemetery just outside Busan in South Korea.
As is often the case, our Canadian troops proved vital in the fighting. In
one instance, members of the Canadian Armed Forces earned a United States
Presidential Citation for their critical role in defending the hills of Kapyong.
At any other time in our history, this war would have gained the full attention
of the public. As we reached the midway point of the 20th century, however, it
was unquestionably overshadowed by other events. At that time, a war-weary
nation, having finished the Second World War and now the Korean War, was
preoccupied with many other events. At that time, a weary nation anxious for
peace actively strove to put the Korean conflict, as it was then called, in the
backs of their minds. No doubt World War II had exhausted our national psyche,
and we were just beginning to adjust to the psychological Cold War.
Wars fought over the Pacific in lands foreign to Canadians at the time
received less attention than the Second World War. A war fought in lands that
many Canadians had called home only decades before, the Second World War, was
much closer to their psyche.
This war was also a first for the United Nations, and that is an important
factor. Canada's involvement was part of a UN action. Canada did not declare war
on North Korea. This perhaps could explain the lack of public response at the
time as well. It does not, however, diminish the fact that this was in every
sense a war.
These facts should not distract from the attention our history owes to the
Korean War but rather amplify the sheer heroism of those who served the United
Nations through the Canadian involvement.
Canada had just been exhausted by World War II and those who went to Korea
came of age in the shadow of World War II. The bravery these men and women
showed in going to Korea remains hard to understand but greatly appreciated. One
would be hard-pressed to overstate the importance of the Korean War. For South
Koreans, our veterans remain revered heroes.
Even today, the difference between North and South Korea is as different as
night and day. South Korea today is the world's thirteenth largest economy. They
enjoy one of the highest standards of living in Asia and remain one of the most
innovative and inventive populations in the world. This success is the result of
the free and just society that survived due to the efforts and sacrifice of the
United Nations force, including our Canadian Forces.
In the North, misery and oppression remain. The threat of famine is
omnipresent, and North Koreans are in the bottom third of the world in terms of
life expectancy. The erratic and eccentric behaviour of North Korean leadership
is often made light of in today's international media, but this only masks the
cruelty by which they keep their population under heel. Local media is oppressed
and any dissent is met with a violent end. This is the oppressive, ideological
regime that the UN forces were fighting against.
The Korean War served to bolster the United Nations as a world body that
would prove indispensable for years to come. In the Cold War years, the world
was a powder keg, and yet the United Nations served as a body through which
necessary military action could be taken and not seen as aggressive by any one
The armistice that followed the Korean War brought an international
contingent of soldiers under the UN flag to help keep peace, a force that
included, of course, a sizable Canadian contribution. The Canadian contribution
to the Korean War would go on to create a unique niche for our Canadian Forces
preserving peace and order in much of the 20th century.
Our military is a small force made up of incredible men and women, which
allows us to make contributions far greater than our size would warrant. Our
soldiers' skills and abilities proved indispensable not only in Korea but later
in Cypress, the Golan Heights, and of course during the Suez Crisis when Lester
B. Pearson, then foreign minister, is considered to have fathered the modern
concept of peacekeeping. These peacekeepers would go on to ensure that small
regional conflicts would not create the spark that would engulf the world in a
global nuclear conflict. Because of these actions around the world, the Canadian
Forces are still synonymous with peacekeeping.
Thus, with the benefit of hindsight, I strongly support Senator Martin's
bill. It is a symbolic act that tells our Korean War veterans and their families
that we are forever indebted to their sacrifice.
During my visit this past summer to London for the unveiling of the Bomber
Command memorial, a veteran approached me with a note. The veteran could no
longer speak, but he had heard that I was one of the many working to see Bomber
Command recognized for their sacrifices during World War II. The note said,
"Thank you; I no longer feel like a criminal." Although this statue is across
the ocean in London, this Canadian veteran felt vindicated after all these
Honourable senators, never underestimate the power that such symbolic
gestures have on our veterans. A national day of remembrance for the Korean War
veterans would be a great gesture.
Today, we have a large Korean community in Canada who are making an important
contribution to our Canadian society. Just last week the Korean National Forum
and Celebration was held here in Ottawa and brought together community and
business leaders from across Canada. In the Senate gallery a large Korean youth
choir observed the workings of our chamber. Many of these youth would not have
been here if they did not have a free and open society in South Korea, one made
secure by our own Korean War veterans.
As Senator Martin will attest, Korea is keenly aware of the horrors the
Korean War unleashed on their peninsula. Canada has been fortunate never to have
had war within our borders in the modern era, thanks, in no small part, to the
brave men and women who race to such conflicts to ensure that violence is
We can never do enough to repay their sacrifice, honourable senators, but we
should never stop trying.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
(On motion of Senator Mitchell, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Seth, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Doyle, for the second reading of Bill C-314, An Act
respecting the awareness of screening among women with dense breast tissue.
Hon. Judith Seidman: Honourable senators, by the end of 2012, an
estimated 23,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. One in nine women
is expected to develop breast cancer during her lifetime and one in 29 will die
of it. We have lost mothers, sisters, friends, aunts, grandmothers and spouses
to this disease, and more are diagnosed each year. This is a disease that
deserves attention and support at the highest level.
My colleagues, Senator Seth and Senator Merchant, have both spoken before me,
conveying the many concerns held by the breast cancer community. I would like to
thank them for bringing these perspectives to the chamber.
Honourable senators, the field of screening for breast cancer is evolving.
There is no question that progress is being made; however, new evidence has
complicated the picture to such an extent that normative practices have changed
The increasing perception of mammography as unreliable has sparked fierce
debate. For example, many question the appropriate age to begin screening. In
2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force weighed in, recommending against
annual mammograms for women in their 40s, and advised women 50 and over to only
have them every other year.
In 2011, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care released new
guidelines for breast cancer screening, which suggested that women aged 50 to 74
get mammograms every two to three years. The Canadian task force warned that
there was potential for harm from over diagnosis and unnecessary biopsy,
particularly for younger women.
Today, there are many different technologies used in breast cancer screening.
Efforts to improve conventional mammography continue to develop as researchers
explore the potential of digital mammography, MRIs, PET scans, breast
thermography and diffuse optical tomography, which uses light instead of X-rays
to create a picture of the breast.
In September of this year, the FDA approved the first ultrasound device for
use in combination with standard mammography in women with dense breast tissue.
Recently, debate has focused on breast density and screening. A 2012 study in
the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that the risk of dying
from breast cancer was not related to high mammographic breast density in breast
cancer patients. The study did link breast density to a number of other risk
factors. It found "association between low density and increased risk of breast
cancer death among obese patients, or those diagnosed with large or high-grade
Barbara Monsees, Chair of the American College of Radiology, was surprised by
the results of this study. She said:
It shows we have a lot to learn about dense breast tissue and its
implications for screening, diagnosis and treatment.
How can we, as legislators, make a positive contribution? In the United
States, several state governments have passed laws requiring doctors to inform
women if they have dense breast tissue. A bill calling for a federal law has
been introduced in the House of Representatives. However, these decisions have
been met with significant opposition from some members of the medical community,
professional societies of radiologists, and cancer experts, who fear such laws
may lead to a spike in unnecessary tests and treatment. Women's advocacy groups
are concerned as well, suggesting such requirements may create unnecessary
confusion, undue anxiety, and even a false sense of security.
Honourable senators, Bill C-314 requests the following: That we, first,
determine whether gaps in information exist relating to breast density in the
context of breast cancer screening; second, identify approaches, where needed,
for improving the information provided to women undergoing screening for breast
cancer in order to address the challenges of detecting breast cancer in women
with heterogeneous or dense breast tissue, and raise awareness concerning these
challenges; and, third, share, through the Canadian Breast Cancer Screening
Initiative, information related to the identification of heterogeneous or dense
breast tissue during screening and any follow-up procedures.
Honourable senators, this bill rightly identifies the need for more
information about the relationship between breast cancer screening and breast
density. Current research, changing technology and the complexity of the issues,
all surely warrant more serious examination before proposing any new
legislation. A Senate committee typically provides such an opportunity for
study. In committee, we would have the benefit of hearing testimony from experts
that draws on the most recent evidence. Ultimately, the results of such a study
may lead to an expert-informed, action-oriented piece of legislation that
responds to the gap in information so correctly identified in Bill C-314.
Canadians deserve no less.
Hon. Judith Seidman: Honourable senators, therefore, I move:
That Bill C-314 be not now read a second time but that the subject matter
thereof be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs,
Science and Technology; and
That the Order to resume debate on the motion for the second reading of
the bill not appear on the Order Paper and Notice Paper until the
committee has tabled its report on the subject matter of the bill.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
The Hon. the Speaker: We are on debate on the motion in amendment.
Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, I move the adjournment of
the debate in my name.
The Hon. the Speaker: I saw, simultaneously, Senator Eggleton. Does
the honourable senator wish to speak?
Hon. Art Eggleton: I was trying to ask a question of the previous
speaker, honourable senators.
I guess I missed something in Senator Seidman's comments. I found it kind of
unusual that, rather than sending the bill to committee, she wants to hold it
back and send the subject matter. I am trying to understand what the honourable
senator sees as the difference. Usually when one considers a bill after second
reading at a committee, it gets into the broader subject matter. I wonder what
the honourable senator sees as the difference.
Senator Seidman: I thank the honourable senator. He is quite right. I
suggested that Bill C-314 rightly identifies a need for more information, but
information gathering is generally not a matter for a bill, but for a committee
The idea is that once the committee looks at all of the outstanding issues
regarding breast cancer screening, all of the controversy over mammography, the
enormous shift in normative standards and the new technology, hopefully the
committee will then send back a report to the Senate that would result in a new
bill that would be more proactive and action-oriented, as opposed to one that
asks us to study the matter or to get more information.
The idea is to be more proactive. Hopefully, once we have sufficient evidence
from experts in the field, we will be able to come up with a bill that will have
more bite to it and that will satisfy the issues in a more innovative way and a
more proactive way.
Senator Eggleton: Thank you very much.
Senator Mercer: I would like to ask a question of the honourable
senator. I do not mean object to this at all, and after she answers my question,
I would like to adjourn the debate. The honourable senator is referring this to
the committee for study. Will the honourable senator encourage the committee to
invite witnesses, including women who are affected by this and women who have
been through the process of mammograms and the various controversies that
surround it? Would the honourable senator encourage the committee to call some
of those people as witnesses?
An Hon. Senator: Good question.
Senator Seidman: I thank the honourable senator for the question.
Of course, it is not for me to say whom the committee would call, but this
subject matter would go to the committee for study. The committee would undergo
the usual procedures that they do when they undertake a study, which are
appropriate consultations and invitations to the appropriate experts, as well as
any other people who would be relevant for the subject matter, to come and
testify. I think that is a conventional approach to developing a witness list.
An Hon. Senator: Good answer.
Senator Mercer: That leads to the point that I was trying to make.
When Senator Cordy had her bill before the committee and wanted to call patients
with multiple sclerosis because they were talking about CCSVI, the committee did
not do that. It did not make a lot of sense then, just as it would not make
sense in the case of this study not to call women who have been affected and
women who have been through a process of mammograms — good or bad — so that we
could determine what the problems are and make some very serious observations
and positive recommendations.
(On motion of Senator Mercer, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator White, seconded
by the Honourable Senator McInnis, for the second reading of Bill C-299, An
Act to amend the Criminal Code (kidnapping of young person).
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: I will be speaking on this matter in the New
Year. I know it is 14 days, so, if I may, I will adjourn it in my name.
(On motion of Senator Jaffer, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Plett, seconded
by the Honourable Senator St. Germain, P.C., for the second reading of Bill
C-321, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials).
Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, I too intend to speak on
this bill in the New Year, and I would adjourn the debate in my name for the
remainder of my time.
(On motion of Senator Mercer, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Ataullahjan,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Martin:
That the Senate of Canada express its support for Malala Yusufzai in
light of her remarkable courage, tenacity and determined support for the
right of girls everywhere to an education; offer its best wishes for her
full recovery; express its gratitude for the courage of her family and the
work of the staff at the Birmingham hospital in the United Kingdom; and
offer its solidarity with girls and young women everywhere whose absolute
right to equality of opportunity and quality education in every country of
the world is and must always be universal and real.
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: I rise today to speak on Senator
Ataullahjan's motion that the Senate of Canada express its support for Malala
Yusufzai in light of her remarkable courage, tenacity and determined support for
the right of girls everywhere to education; offer its best wishes for a full
recovery; express its gratitude for the courage of her family and the work of
the staff at Birmingham Hospital in the U.K.; and offer its solidarity with
girls and young women everywhere, whose absolute right to equality of
opportunity and quality of education in every country in the world is, and must
always be, universal and real.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Senator Ataullahjan for her
leadership on the issue of girls' rights. I know that Senator Ataullahjan had
the opportunity to visit Malala's parents in London to convey our thoughts,
prayers and support for her. I also want to thank Senator Segal for encouraging
me to speak on this motion.
This motion is about Malala and her incredible courage and unwavering vision
for universal and equal access to education for girls.
The most powerful change is sparked by a vision, but for that vision to be
realized, it needs to be fuelled by investments of human and financial
Honourable senators, we are all grateful to the people who educated, enabled
and empowered us so that we could become senators. Senator Seth, Senator
Ataullahjan and I appreciate that we were given the finest education because of
the vision of our fathers and the resources invested on our behalf.
All three of us often speak about how fortunate we are that our fathers had
the vision to provide to us the best education available.
All three of us will be forever grateful to our mothers and fathers. The
investments that they made in our futures indeed helped us to become senators.
Honourable senators, there are 170 million children across the world who do
not attend school. Of those children, 70 per cent are girls. It is estimated
that, of those girls who are enrolled in school, 100 million will drop out
before they complete their primary education.
Research has indicated that when women are educated and receive an income,
they reinvest 70 per cent of that income into their families. In comparison,
males reinvest between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of their income into their
Honourable senators, today I want to share the story of Malala Yusufzai.
Malala, at the age of 11, began blogging for the BBC under an assumed name. She
spoke about her life under the Taliban regime where she would secretly go to
school with her books hidden under her clothes. She wrote, in a February 8,
2009, diary entry published by BBC Urdu:
I felt hurt on opening my wardrobe and seeing my uniform, school bag and
geometry box. Boys' schools are opening tomorrow. But the Taliban have
banned girls' education.
Sadly, in October of this year, Malala was attacked by the Taliban in
Pakistan. Malala's act of defiance was to share her thirst for knowledge and to
pursue her greatest desire to attend school and to learn. It is her unshakeable
determination, that profound vision, that we need to lift up and support. Malala
has been a catalyst inspiring us to recommit to a vision of universal and equal
access to education.
In Article 28 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,
member states recognize the right of the child to education, commit to
preserving the child's human dignity and resolve to promote international
cooperation to eliminate illiteracy throughout the world.
We also know that improving girls' access to education promotes health and
prosperity for young girls and for their communities. Through education, girls
are empowered to improve their lives and the lives of others around them.
Education is a human right. It is not negotiable for any child anywhere. Yet,
101 million children are not attending primary school. More than half are girls.
Youth literacy among young men is 1.2 times higher than among women in the least
To quote from a recent report of Plan Canada and the University of Toronto,
Faculty of Law:
. . . 66 million girls are missing an education at a time when it not
only has the power to transform their own lives, but also the world around
That same report, entitled A Girl's Right to Learn Without Fear,
highlights unacceptable rates of gender-based violence experienced by
schoolchildren; 150 million girls and 73 million boys have experienced sexual
violence; nearly half of all the sexual assaults are committed against girls
younger than 16 years of age.
Bullying is also pervasive. Between one fifth and two thirds of children,
depending on the country, reported being victims of verbal or physical bullying.
Finally, in direct contravention of Article 28 of the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child, more than 80 per cent of students in some
countries suffer physical abuse under the guise of discipline in schools.
Honourable senators, as a young child I remember my parents discussing the
words of the former Aga Khan, Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah, who said:
When you educate a boy, you educate him alone, and when you educate a
girl, you educate the whole family.
If you have two children, a boy and a girl, and you only have money to
educate one child, then you should educate the girl as her education will
benefit the whole family and indirectly the whole community.
My parents and many other people took these words to heart and worked
earnestly for the education of girls.
Honourable senators, I believe in ensuring the right to education is a
laudable vision, but that vision alone is not enough. We need to realize this
vision through investments of both human and financial resources.
The former Aga Khan, His Highness Sir Sultan Mohamed Shah, and the present
Aga Khan have sought to improve both access and quality of girls' education for
well over a century. In Pakistan alone, the commitment to girls' education has
seen, among other things, Diamond Jubilee Schools established for girls across
Pakistan's northern areas in Chitral to commemorate, in 1946, Sir Sultan Mohamed
Shah's 60 years as the spiritual leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.
Even as recently as this week, in Paris, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan
congratulated Pakistani President Zardari on his government's collaboration with
UNESCO to host an event for the promotion of education in Pakistan. President
Zardari took the opportunity to recognize and show his appreciation for the
services of His Highness the Aga Khan across the world, giving particular
mention to promoting education, poverty eradication, the empowerment of women
and socio-economic development in Pakistan.
Access to education for girls cannot be sustained without ensuring the
quality of instruction. The Aga Khan Development Network has invested
significantly in field-based teacher development programs that prepare teachers
without formal education for government teacher training certification.
In the 1980s, the foundation also opened two rural model secondary schools
for girls in Pakistan: The Aga Khan School in Sherqilla and the Aga Khan School
in Karimabad. These schools were built to ensure equal access to education for
girls in that region. The Aga Khan Development Network has embraced a similar
commitment to girls' education in East Africa.
In addition, the Aga Khan University has established the Institute for
Educational Development in Karachi, Pakistan, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to
train teachers and policy makers to promote the quality of girls' education and
to ensure that the best female teachers are provided with opportunities for
The professional advancement of women has also led the Aga Khan University in
both South and Central Asia and East Africa to establish schools of nursing and
midwifery, and to ensure that professions largely staffed by women are given the
stature and professional resources commensurate with their importance to
Honourable senators, I was born in East Africa at a time when there were not
many schools. His Highness the Aga Khan built schools all over East Africa,
including in Kampala, Uganda, where I was born. I attended the Aga Khan
Kindergarten School, the Aga Khan Primary School, and the Aga Khan Secondary
School. My secondary school was a model school and the Aga Khan himself hired
teachers from England in order to provide us with the best education.
I received the best education available because, not only did the Aga Khan
believe that girls should be educated, but he realized his vision with
substantial investments of resources. The Aga Khan recognized that a commitment
to girls' education requires careful and sustained investment in the
institutional capacity of government and civil society institutions, which can
in turn provide quality opportunities for girls, with a special emphasis on
training and supporting of teachers.
Honourable senators, I believe that if Malala had the opportunity to address
us today in Canada, she would first thank us for supporting her through her
ordeal and then she would ask of us: What truly is your commitment to girls'
education? She would understand that we have a very strong vision and belief in
girls' education. She would ask us whether we have a sustaining commitment to
support this vision with human and financial resources.
Honourable senators, I ask you to join me in supporting this motion of
Senator Ataullahjan. I urge all of us to take from the incredible story of
Malala Yousufzai, not contempt for her aggressors, but inspiration for her
cause. Let her courage be the spark that ignites our action. Let us come
together to support this vision and see that it is met with the human and
financial commitment it needs to make education available to girls.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
(On motion of Senator Cools, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Comeau, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Di Nino:
That the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and
Administration be authorized to examine and report on the powers and
responsibilities of the officers of parliament, and their reporting
relationships to the two houses; and
That the committee present its final report no later than March 31, 2013;
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Tardif, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Hubley, that the motion be not now adopted, but
that it be amended by replacing the words "Internal Economy, Budgets and
Administration" with the words "Rules, Procedures and the Rights of
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to Senator
Tardif's amendment to Senator Comeau's motion in respect of referring the
question of the examination and report on the powers and responsibilities of the
officers of Parliament to the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy,
Budgets and Administration. In addition, Senator Comeau had tabled the five-line
letter, obviously with the intention that the committee would study that.
Honourable senators, I would like to begin by saying that this five-line
letter, dated February 16, 2011, and its nine-page paper entitled The
Accountability of Agents of Parliament, to the Senate Internal Economy
Committee is something that should deeply concern us all.
This short letter, not on letterhead, was signed by seven officeholders,
self-described as "agents of Parliament." They are the then Auditor General, the
Chief Electoral Officer, and the Lobbying, Information, Privacy, Official
Languages and then Interim Public Sector Integrity Commissioners.
This letter was addressed to five chairmen of Commons committees and to Peter
Milliken, not as the then Commons Speaker, but as Chair of the novel — very
novel — Advisory Panel on the Funding and Oversight of Officers of Parliament.
Clearly, their use of the word "Parliament" must not include the Senate, for
it was addressed to no senator. It was copied to five Commons Clerks, the
Treasury Board Secretary, the Privy Council Clerk, and our Senate Speaker. Its
subject is their claim for more independence. Worthy persons though they are,
their positions, self-described as "agents of Parliament," and their affiliation
to Parliament are unclear. I thank Senator Tardif for her speech and for
supporting this initiative. I also thank Senator Comeau for his endeavours and
efforts to place this question before us. On my own behalf, I would like to say
that this proposed committee study is timely, needed and welcome.
Honourable senators, these appellations "agents of parliament" and "officers
of parliament" were not created by any of our 41 parliaments assembled. Not one
of them assigned either of these terms to these seven offices. Not enacted by
Her Majesty in statute or in royal instruments appointing them, these terms are
a mystery. As applied to these offices, these terms are no part of the lexicon
of the ancient law of parliament, its usage and customs, the lex parliamenti.
This lex, and our constitutional order, received into Canada in the
Constitution Act, 1867, section 18, was the grant of the full ancient
privileges, immunities and powers of the British Commons House. This lex
is jointly and jealously held by the Queen, the Senate and the Commons, the
parliaments — the word "parliaments." These terms are recent political
innovations, responses to weakness in our two representative houses, and in our
political parties, private societies, which deliver responsible government.
Honourable senators, signed by the seven officeholders, this letter was
addressed to the Advisory Panel on Funding and Oversight of Officers of
Parliament. Rejecting the panel's choice of style, "officers of parliament,"
they chose instead to name their paper The Accountability of Agents of
Parliament. At page 1, they state:
We are using the term "Agents of Parliament". . . This is the term that
is used by government. It has been suggested that the term "Officers of
Parliament" may be confusing, as it is also used to describe other officers
that serve Parliament, including the Sergeant at Arms, the Usher of the
Black Rod, and the Parliamentary Librarian.
Having reconsidered the term "officers of parliament," they have chosen to
re-style themselves "agents of parliament." Perhaps they could re-style again.
The words "officer" and "agent" are not interchangeable and have different legal
meanings. Neither are they wholly satisfactory or appropriate. However, the term
"officers," as arbitrary and unhelpful, is not yielding easily to Privy
Council's chosen term "agents."
Honourable senators, senior lawyer at Justice, Ann Chaplin, wrote a book,
Officers of Parliament, Accountability, Virtue and the Constitution. At page
120, she writes about these offices in phrases like "independent moral actors"
who appear "to be here to stay" and who "we have not yet considered enshrining .
. . in the Constitution." About the "agents of parliament," the law of agency,
and principal-agent relations, she writes, at page 78:
If the officers can be said to be acting as agents simply because they
are exercising a mandate under legislation, then they are acting as agents
of the Crown, as well as the House of Commons and Senate. Put this way, it
is easy to see that the flaw here is not just theoretical. If it is enough
to establish an agency relationship with Parliament that a law is passed by
Parliament empowering the actor then everyone who acts under powers
conferred by federal statutes would be an agent of Parliament.
She adds, at page 81:
By either a private or public law approach to agency, therefore, it seems
unlikely that officers of Parliament are legally the agents of Parliament .
Honourable senators, mindful of this, I add that the law of agency governs
commercial relationships, and that Parliament can neither be sued nor be a
principal. I also note that the Public Officers Act and the Seals Act, in their
Formal Documents Regulations, do not list these seven offices under their
heading "Officers of Parliament." It lists only the officers of the two houses.
One must conclude that both terms, "agents" and "officers," are of uncertain
origin and meaning. This is in sharp contrast to our lex, where words,
meanings and styles are strictly tested. These two terms have acquired political
currency, but they are recent unclear creations. What is clear is that they have
no pedigree in the lex or in our constitutional order. This, I submit, is
why doubt has arisen about the nature and character of these offices,
notwithstanding the good character and work of their present and past occupants.
These positions need to be examined by the lex in rigorous and thoughtful
Honourable senators, much academic opinion holds that the modern ascendancy
of the officers of Parliament is eroding representative politics and weakening
the powers of the members of both houses. These offices' "mandate creep" is at
the expense of responsible government and the public good. However, other
opinion welcomes this "mandate creep" as the natural growth of a new fourth
branch of government that they call the "integrity branch." These
integrity-branchers opine that these offices are the guardians of virtues,
values and morality. Professor David Smith, in his paper A Question of Trust:
Parliamentary Democracy and Canadian Society, in the 2004 Canadian
Parliamentary Review, wrote at page 25:
Officers of Parliament are not a new phenomenon; . . . The difference
between then and now is that where once seen as servants of Parliament, they
are evolving into its masters. . . . what is clear is that the officers are
in the process of becoming the integrity branch of government, what Bruce
Ackerman of Yale University has labeled its fourth branch.
Though not elected, some suggest they are democratic. Dr. Smith, in his 2007
book The People's House of Commons: Theories of Democracy in Contention,
writes at page 69:
The auditor general and the other officers of Parliament represent much
more than their narrow label implies. A reading of their reports to
Parliament bears out that claim. Here they speak to Parliament; but they
also speak for, if not on behalf of, public opinion. . . . In their
commentaries and in the attention their commentaries elicit, officers of
Parliament assume some of the features of representation. . . .
Conscience, principle, and character describe this type of
`unaccountable' representative, since there is no direct linkage between
elector and elected. . . . Still, officers of Parliament inhabit a world of
representation and articulate concerns some of the represented believe to be
inadequately expressed by elected members. The thread that joins officers of
Parliament is their common concern for integrity.
Honourable senators, the officeholders echo this integrity-virtues theme.
Ousting members and ministers, they have occupied the moral ground. At page 1 of
their paper, they state that one of them:
. . . has aptly described the Agents of Parliament as "guardians of
values that transcend the political objectives and partisan debates of the
day." These values include the responsible handling of taxpayers' dollars,
the integrity of elections, transparency through access to information,
privacy, the integrity of public servants and lobbyists, and linguistic
Jeffrey Graham Bell, in his 2006 paper, "Agents of Parliament: A New Branch
of Government?" in Canadian Parliamentary Review writes at page 20:
If APs have engaged in "mandate creep," as Professor Aucoin fears, this
is neither shocking nor, on the whole, detrimental. . . . Bureaucratic
"mandate creep" from this initial theory has meant that, in practice,
bureaucrats are responsible for both policy proposal as well as
Parliamentarians can be safely consigned to a similarly minimal, yet
profoundly essential role, . . . AP mandate creep is the rational
maximization of public expertise finally freed from the defence of the
government of the day. The political power exercised by APs is influence.
This influence, this political power, this "creep," now reaching the public
purse, cannot be for the public good. Such independence does not exist in our
constitutional order, not even for judges in their high judicial independence.
Honourable senators, the officeholders' paper is aimed at the lawful,
constitutional role of the Treasury Board and the Financial Administration Act
in the national finance, mainly the Constitution Act, 1867, sections 53 and 54,
known as, in the vernacular, "the financial initiatives of the Crown" and "the
control of the public purse."
Honourable senators, constitutions by design are supposed to be resistant to
change, and these sections the more so because they are the bedrock of
government by Her Majesty in her councils, in her Parliaments. Jack Stillborn,
once Library of Parliament staff, wrote about this and the novel advisory panel.
In his 2012 paper, "Funding the Officers of Parliament: Canada's Experiment" in
the Canadian Parliamentary Review, 2010, he said at page 38:
It is the exclusive prerogative of the Crown to place recommendations for
spending before Parliament. Strict adherence to this principle underlies
what has remained the central formal limitation upon the independence of the
officers of Parliament.
This is very serious, senators, but this gives some no pause. Jeffrey Bell
states and ends his paper starting at page 21:
As always, vigilance is warranted and welcome as the Canadian
constitution gathers more experience. Still, we must not allow precedent and
constitutional idealism to prevent new tool boxes from being opened.
What tools? Whose tools?
Honourable senators, these united officeholders, self-described as
Parliament's "agents," have made the united but unproven claim that the Treasury
Board's role in deciding sums of money for them and their offices, their
bureaucracies, might impair their independence. They want out from under the
lawful financial administration regime, our constitutional order. This
contentious claim, accepted by a few, has never been —
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the honourable senator's
time has expired.
Senator Cools: May I ask for five more minutes?
This contentious claim, accepted by a few, has never been put before either
house. They describe their 2005 pilot project in their paper at page 5:
The main feature of the pilot project was the ad-hoc all party
parliamentary Advisory Panel, chaired by the Speaker of the House of
Commons, which has provided oversight on the annual funding requests of
Agents of Parliament and made recommendations in that regard to the Treasury
Supported by the late former Commons Clerk William Corbett and his private
2008 evaluation of their project, they seek, in his words, that, "Parliament" —
note, not the Commons — "give the Advisory Panel" a fixed place in the House of
Commons Standing Orders.
Honourable senators, the lex knows no such ad hoc parliamentary
advisory panels. Not constituted by a house, such creatures must be outlaws to
the constitutional order. Such panels' secret decisions do not proceed in the
house by motion, debate and division. Without such house approbation, they
cannot be "proceedings in parliament," with its privileges and protection
accorded to participants. They are not even flawed or corrupt proceedings which,
though impure, can be corrected by a house vote to void. Further, none can claim
that the Senate cannot inquire into this panel on grounds that the house is the
master of, and has exclusive cognizance of, its proceedings, because the house
has never had such a proceeding and can have no cognizance of it. Though
well-intended, such panels' decisions have no public or parliamentary character.
Secret and unrecorded, they are the private and personal musings of some who are
members, and who have vested the panel with their personal credibility. These
musings, not house proceedings, are the wilful avoidance, exclusion, of the
House of Commons itself in the plenitude of its members — never mind the Senate
— the exclusion of the house.
Honourable senators, it seems that these officeholders are trenching,
claiming a share in the decisions of the national finance and the public
revenue, a constitutional change. This spending power is equal only to its twin,
the taxing power. Our Constitution Act, born of the sacrosanct tax and spend
powers, admits no such claim. Our constitutional order knows no independence
with such access to the public purse and treats such claims as heresy and
illegal. I repeat, even the judiciary, a coordinate in our Constitution, have no
Honourable senators, this is a Senate matter. Changes to the law of public
finance attach the Senate. The Confederation Fathers were much concerned that
taxes raised in one region could be misspent in another. To avoid problems, they
structured this Senate to have its powerful federal role in the public finance,
with greater powers than the then House of Lords. Our lower Commons house, like
Britain's, was constituted as a house in a unitary state, but not our upper
house. This Senate, constituted to embody the federation, was armed with strong
federal constitutional powers in the national finance.
Honourable senators, Sir William Blackstone wrote on the exclusive law of
Parliament. In his The Commentaries on the Laws of England, Vol. 1,
adapted in 1876 by Robert M. Kerr, Blackstone, citing Edward Coke, said at page
For, as every court of justice has laws and customs for its direction,
some the civil and canon, some the common law, others their own peculiar
laws and customs, so the high court of parliament has also its own peculiar
law, called the lex et consuetudo parliamenti . . .
Honourable senators, the ancient dictum is that all questions in the houses
must be moved, debated and decided by the lex parliamenti. Trust me,
senators, the lex is a faithful and abiding friend. It holds the answers
about the nature, character and constitution of these offices. It will tell us
whether they are our agents, our officers, or neither, and how and by what legal
power and process they are so affiliated and styled. Their novel demand
undermines their own claim to be our agents, because the first duty of an agent
is to uphold the legal and financial order of its principal.
Honourable colleagues, I laud Senator Tardif for supporting this effort. I
laud Senator Comeau for bringing it forward. There are deep, large, moral,
political and legal questions involved. I look forward to this study. I look
forward to the challenge. I have served on other committees that have looked at
some of these issues and, as I said before, it is a huge challenge. I shall pick
up more of these challenges in my next speech, which I plan to give on the main
To all of those who are unaware of the complexity and the challenges around
how this institution was structured, I invite you to pay careful attention to
because it was for this purpose that this Senate was created. Remember, in 1867
the U.K. was well on its way to limiting the financial powers of the House of
Lords. That is not what happened in the Senate; they strengthened powers here
for the Senate, precisely because of the national interest and the Senate's
interest in the national finance, the public revenue.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question
on the motion in amendment?
Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Tardif,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Hubley in amendment:
That the motion be not now adopted, but that it be amended by replacing
the words "Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration" with the words
"Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament".
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Comeau: On division.
(Motion in amendment agreed to, on division.)
The Hon. the Speaker: The question now before the house is the main
motion. Are honourable senators ready for that question?
Senator Cools: No. I would like to speak on the main motion tomorrow.
(On motion of Senator Cools, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Segal, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Demers:
That, at the end of Question Period and Delayed Answers on the sitting
following the adoption of this motion, the Senate resolve itself into a
Committee of the Whole in order to receive senior management and officials
of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to explain their decision to cut
funding to Radio Canada International services by 80%, particularly in view
of the importance of
(a) Radio Canada International as the voice of Canada around
the world; and
(b) short wave radio in oppressed regions worldwide that are
denied access to the Internet;
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Champagne, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Comeau, that the motion be amended to
read as follows:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications be
authorized to receive senior management and officials of the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation to explain their decision to cut funding to Radio
Canada International services by 80%, particularly in view of the importance
(a) Radio Canada International as the voice of Canada around
the world; and
(b) short wave radio in oppressed regions worldwide that are
denied access to the Internet; and
That the committee report to the Senate no later than June 30, 2013.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud: Honourable senators, I consulted with the
Honourable Senator Fraser, and she told me that she did not wish to speak to
this motion or adjourn the debate in her name.
Honourable senators, I would like to join my voice to those that support the
Honourable Senator Segal's motion and the Honourable Senator Champagne's motion
in amendment that the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications
be authorized to receive senior management and officials of the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation to explain their decision to cut funding to Radio
Canada International services by 80 per cent, particularly in view of the
importance of: (a) Radio Canada International as the voice of Canada
around the world; and (b) short wave radio in oppressed regions worldwide
that are denied access to the Internet.
Honourable senators, for over 67 years now, CBC has been broadcasting shows
to the Tantramar Marsh area via its shortwave broadcasting station in Sackville,
New Brunswick. I was in Sackville a week ago, and I spoke to a former employee
of Radio Canada International. He indicated that, as of December 1, there would
no longer be anyone working at that station and that it was basically closed. He
also indicated that steps had been taken to clear the site of any remaining
transmission facilities and even to dispose of assets.
If we wish to preserve, let alone save Canada's international short wave
voice, and not rely on Internet broadcasting — because we know that, in certain
cases, the Internet will not reach everyone and can be blocked — it is urgent
that we take action right now. The committee would like to hear from CBC
executives how they arrived at this decision. If we do not act fairly quickly,
there will be nothing left to save, and this international voice will quite
simply fall silent.
I therefore encourage honourable senators to support this motion now.
Hon. Hugh Segal: Would the honourable senator accept a question?
Senator Robichaud: Of course.
Senator Segal: Is the honourable senator aware of the fact that, 18
months ago, the CBC spent thousands of dollars to install a new remote control
system in Sackville, and that it was completely dismantled a few weeks ago? In
light of this fact, does the senator believe that it is urgent and important
that the committee examine this matter?
Senator Robichaud: I was not aware that they had dismantled certain
installations. However, I completely agree that it is of the utmost urgency that
we look into this situation. I was speaking recently with the chair of the
Transport Committee, and he said that he would agree to examine this issue.
I believe we must take action or there will be nothing left to save.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
The Hon. the Speaker: The first question is on the motion in
amendment. It was moved by Honourable Senator Champagne, seconded by Honourable
Senator Comeau, that the motion be amended as follows:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications be
authorized to receive —
Some Hon. Senators: Dispense.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators to
adopt the motion in amendment?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion in amendment agreed to.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion, as amended?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to, as amended.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Oliver, calling
the attention of the Senate to the state of diversity in the Senate of
Canada and its administration and, in particular, to how we can address the
barriers facing the advancement of visible minorities in the Senate
workforce and increase their representation by focusing on hiring, retention
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I am proud to rise today
to speak to the inquiry concerning diversity in the Senate, which I presented on
November 8, 2012, pursuant to rule 5-6(2).
I am pleased to speak to honourable senators because the Senate of Canada has
taken a big step forward in terms of the diversity of its staff.
Honourable senators will recall that Suzie Seo, a visible minority working in
the Senate, was recently promoted to reading clerk and will now sit at the
table. She is a parliamentary counsel and comes to us from the office of Mark
Audcent, a law clerk and parliamentary counsel.
This is the first time in the history of the Senate of Canada that a visible
minority has ever had a seat at the table in the Senate.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Senator Oliver: Honourable senators, it is a time for celebration. Ms.
Seo joins an exclusive group who, as clerks, advise the Speaker and senators on
parliamentary procedures and assist with the orderly dispatch of each day's
Ms. Seo joined the Senate Law Clerk's office in 2004. She holds an Honours
Bachelor Degree in Science and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Ottawa.
She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2006 and has since served as legal
counsel in the office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel in the Senate,
under the leadership of Mark Audcent.
Honourable senators should also know that Suzie was one of the driving forces
behind the newly created Diversity Award that is given at the Staff Recognition
Awards ceremony held every June.
I hope honourable senators can agree with me that the appointment of Ms. Seo
as reading clerk is an epoch-making diversity landmark for the Senate of Canada.
I commend the Senate administration for recognizing the business case for
diversity in this way and for promoting Ms. Seo to this important position. I
also congratulate Ms. Seo on a richly deserved promotion.
Welcome to the table, Ms. Seo.
Honourable senators, the promotion of Ms. Seo is great news for diversity in
the Senate. It is a huge step forward in advancing the cause of equality and
pluralism in the Senate's workforce. Diversity has become an integral part of
Canadian society. We are, indeed, one of the most diverse nations in the world;
yet, Canada's workforce is not representative of this reality, which is why I
introduced this inquiry in the Senate last month.
I also wanted to provide the Senate with an update on how the Senate
administration has been diversifying itself since the year 2005. Some of you may
remember that seven years ago, former Senator Di Nino and I introduced an
inquiry here in the Senate on the comprehensive Conference Board of Canada
report that I funded to the tune of $500,000 entitled Business Critical:
Maximizing the Talents of Visible Minorities — An Employer's Guide.
It was the largest study ever conducted in the history of Canada on barriers
to the advancement of visible minorities in both the public and private sectors.
At that time, I told senators that this new report could lead to fundamental
changes in the hiring and promotion of visible minorities in both the public and
the private sectors, including the Senate of Canada.
When I addressed the Senate in 2005, I had the impression that the Senate,
the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament were living in the 18th
century as far as diversity was concerned. In 2005, I provided honourable
senators with some alarming statistics on the state of diversity in the Senate
and the representation of our four target groups in the Senate workforce.
The four target groups, as you all know, are women, Aboriginals, people with
disabilities and visible minorities.
As you also know, the Government of Canada adopted the Employment Equity Act
in 1995 to promote diversity, eliminate systemic discrimination in the
workplace, correct under-representation of those four groups, and make employers
accountable for making their work environment reflective of Canada's diversity.
Under this legislation, visible minorities are defined as "persons, other
than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour."
Allow me to quote directly from the remarks I gave in this Senate in the year
The Senate human resources directorate released its own employment equity
report in September 2004. That report showed visible minorities currently
comprise only 6.8 per cent of the Senate's 425 employees. The report also
showed a paltry 0.9 per cent increase in visible minority representation
between the years 2000 and 2004.
However, it is in the senior and middle management positions where the
Senate's record is especially shameful. Honourable senators, according to
its own employment equity report, the number of visible minorities employed
in senior and middle management positions in the Senate in the year 2000 was
zero; in 2001, zero; in 2002, zero; in 2003, zero; and in 2004, the number
again, honourable senators, was zero.
In the last five years, there has not been a single visible-minority
candidate promoted to a senior or middle management position in the Senate,
according to its own 2000-2004 employment equity report. Honourable
senators, consider that. In the last five years, there has not been one
visible minority, not a single Canadian of colour, in a position of power in
the Senate of Canada's administration.
That is the end of the quotation from 2005.
Honourable senators, seven years later, I am happy to report that on some
fronts — indeed, on many fronts — things have improved.
The Senate employment equity report for 2006-2009 demonstrates that there has
been progress in achieving employment equity goals. Ten years ago, in 2002, the
Senate had 381 employees, with only 28 of them from the visible minority group.
This represented a mere 7.3 per cent of the entire Senate administration
In 2003, this number actually dropped to 6.4 per cent. In 2004, it improved
to 6.8 per cent; in 2005, 7.9 per cent; in 2006, 9.4 per cent; in 2007, 10.2 per
cent; in 2008, 11 per cent; in 2009, 11.5 per cent, steadily increasing. The
most recent data that we have, for fiscal 2010-11, show us that 58 of the 429
Senate employees are visible minorities. This number represents 13.5 per cent of
Honourable senators, this is good news, even more so when you take into
consideration the fact that the visible minority workforce availability in the
National Capital Region is 11.6 per cent. It is even better news when compared
with the overall Public Service of Canada.
In 2010-11, the Public Service of Canada had 23,000 visible minority
employees, which represented 11.3 per cent of its total workforce. In the
National Capital Region, visible minorities represented 12.5 per cent of the NCR
public service workforce, so the Senate is still one point ahead of the public
service in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.
I am pleased with these improvements, but there is still work to do. Some
work must be done with respect to the three other target groups — namely,
persons with disability, Aboriginals and women. According to the Senate
administration performance report for 2010-11, the Senate administration's
workforce decreased from 440 to 429 employees. In that year, only 3.7 per cent
of the Senate's workforce was represented by persons with disabilities, and that
is only 16 employees.
The Public Service of Canada was 5.6 per cent. Aboriginals accounted for only
2.1 per cent of Senate employees, 2.6 per cent lower than the public service.
Finally, there were 213 women in the Senate administration in fiscal 2010-11.
This number represents 49.7 per cent of the entire workforce. At the Public
Service of Canada, women account for 55 per cent of the workforce.
I do, however, want to turn you attention to the commitment of Mark Audcent,
our Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, to matters of diversity. He clearly
understands the business case for diversity. His office has six permanent
positions. Of these six, two are occupied by visible minorities, including Suzie
Seo, our new reading clerk. The other visible minority is Marie-France Bonnet,
of Haitian origin.
Honourable senators, it is clear that we still have some work to do in our
Senate administration to make it truly representative of Canada's population. We
need to be fully committed to ensuring that our targets for these four
employment equity groups are met.
Honourable senators, I was therefore delighted to learn that the Standing
Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration decided to take
action since my addressing them on this issue in 2005.
As you know, on May 27, 2010, the Internal Economy Committee moved that a
special subcommittee on diversity be established. Its mandate was to undertake a
review of the employment equity report 2006-2009; to examine the related draft
policy; and to consider recruitment and retention strategies that will enable
the Senate to reflect Canada's diversity in its workforce and workplace.
It was decided at the committee's June 21, 2011, meeting that this new
subcommittee be chaired by Senator Stewart Olsen and composed of Senators
Jaffer, Marshall and Poulin. I have never been a member of the committee, but I
have been a senator since 1990. On dozens of occasions I have addressed
honourable senators on matters of human rights, fairness, diversity, employment
equity, racism, pluralism and equality in the workplace and the importance of
fostering a tolerant, equitable and truly representative workforce both in the
private and the public sectors.
I am, frankly, hard-pressed to think of other senators who in the last 100
years have promoted these matters and the advancement of visible minorities both
within and without the Senate across Canada as much as I have.
I am, however, delighted that the subcommittee was struck and has tabled its
findings in a report. I have studied the report and I wish to make a few
I was struck by the fact that report does not address the fact that there are
no visible minorities and Aboriginals in the upper echelons of the Senate
administration. In my view, this matter should have been addressed, so I did my
own empirical research. It is not scientific and it is not objective, but
subjective, so the results must be construed accordingly.
The Senate administration has a somewhat unusual structure because the work
of the Senate and the senators' roles are unique Canada. It is governed by a
committee of clients — senators — and directed by a senior Senate official, the
Clerk of the Senate and of the Parliaments.
The administration can be broken down into sectors, directorates and the
offices of Senate officials. Each of these three entities plays a critical role,
be it direct or indirect, in the functioning of the Senate. By my count there
are 16 different sectors, directorates and offices within the Senate
administration, which, for the sake of my remarks, I will refer to as
departments. They are not departments, but I call them departments.
In this group I include the Clerk's office, the office of the Usher of the
Black Rod, the Chamber Operations and Procedure Office, Human Resources
Directorate, the Finance and Procurement departments, et cetera.
I wanted to find out how many women, persons with disabilities, Aboriginals
and visible minorities are at the head of these 16 departments. I discovered
that there are no visible minority directors of any department. There are,
however, seven women directors. Within the Committees Directorate, out of the 15
committee clerks, only one is a visible minority, which represents 6.7 per cent.
That is a far cry from what Canada's population shows us. Statistics Canada
data from six years ago, for instance, demonstrates that visible minorities
represent 16 per cent of the Canadian population. Today that number is probably
20 or 25 per cent. Statistics Canada projects that visible minorities will
account for 31 per cent of Canada's overall population in less than 20 years.
Based on current demographic trends, Canada will be home to at least 13 million
visible minorities in 2031.
I have frequently argued that visible minorities are grossly
under-represented in the executive ranks and senior management, and it is
obviously the case in the Senate. Honourable senators, we need to encourage our
Senate administration to hire more talented visible minorities who are
exceptional managers. More importantly, directors must promote these talented
visible minorities to higher positions.
Honourable senators, as you know, the report of the Special Subcommittee on
Diversity made 10 specific recommendations to help strengthen the Senate's
objective of ensuring a diverse work place and workforce. I wish to briefly
comment on a couple of them in conclusion.
At the outset, I commend the committee for its work and for outlining these
series of steps. However, in my view, some of the recommendations should be more
detail driven; in other words, some do not necessarily have the power to produce
the desired effect of increasing the diversity of the Senate workforce. For
instance, Recommendation No. 9 reads as follows:
Your subcommittee recommends that special efforts and considerations be
put in place to enable the hiring of persons to reflect the Canadian
workforce. An updated plan for action should come forward to the Internal
Economy Committee to reflect Canada's changing demographics.
I wholeheartedly agree with this recommendation, but I feel that the
recommendation should not only stress the importance of hiring but also
retaining and, more importantly, promoting employees of diverse backgrounds on
the basis of merit. Very often we have confronted the "revolving door syndrome"
— like some Bay Street banks — designed only to get the stats up.
As I stated earlier, visible minorities are absent from the higher echelons
of the Senate administration. Promoting highly-qualified, multilingual men and
women of colour with exceptional academic qualifications is a prerequisite to
making our workforce truly representative.
To start, qualified visible minorities should be included in every Human
Resources selection process in attempts to avoid even a slight hint of bias.
Honourable senators, could I have five more minutes?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Oliver: The subcommittee's fourth recommendation also caught
Your subcommittee recommends that the Senate Administration advertise in
writing more broadly, including advertising in specialized publications.
In my view, this recommendation is vague. What exactly does "more broadly"
really mean? I think the Senate administration needs an action plan with
specific outreach initiatives and objectives. It needs to have a list of outlets
where it can advertise job postings in both official languages across Canada and
even in the languages of some of our First Nations. Partnerships should be
established in such ethnic organizations as the Chinese, Japanese, African,
Indian and Korean communities.
Despite my questions about the report, I want to commend again the committee
for conducting the study. I thank the Honourable Senators Stewart Olsen,
Marshall, Charette-Poulin and Jaffer for the obvious commitment they have to
this important issue.
I for one am delighted to see that the subcommittee has recommended that the
Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration review the
Senate's administration workforce data on an annual basis rather than every
three years. This is a huge step forward. The more closely and often we analyze
this data, the better equipped we will be to determine what further action must
be taken to increase diversity in the Senate workforce and, indeed, in the House
of Commons administration and the Library of Parliament. I have done work with
all three entities over the years.
By comparison, I would like to draw the attention of honourable senators to
some disconcerting statistics here on the Hill. This time the data comes from
the Library of Parliament's workforce. I met recently in my office with the new
Parliamentary Librarian, Ms. Sonia L'Heureux. We discussed diversity in the
library. She assured me that the Library of Parliament is committed to creating
a representative workforce and inclusive workplace.
As honourable senators know, the library has an employment equity and
diversity committee that has been in place since 2007. Its mandate includes the
development and implementation of initiatives to foster diversity in the
Despite their good intentions, the library's employment equity statistics are
unsatisfactory, in my opinion. In April 2012, the library conducted a
self-identification exercise for its employees. Of its 366 active employees, 274
completed the questionnaire; that number represents some 75 per cent of the
total workforce. The data I have is based on the results of that survey.
Women represent 66 per cent of its workforce, 11 percentage points above the
public service of Canada. There are only five Aboriginals in the library,
representing a mere 1.37 per cent; persons with disability account for 3.5 per
The number that worries me the most is in regard to visible minority
representation. Only 17 employees out of 274 have identified themselves as
visible minorities. This translates to only 4.64 per cent of the library's
workforce. This is three times lower than the representation of visible
minorities in the Senate administration, yet Canada's visible minority
population is closer to 20 per cent.
This past summer, close to 70 per cent of Parliament Hill tour guides were
women; 3 per cent self-identified as Aboriginals; 3 per cent self-identified as
disabled; and 9 per cent as visible minorities. With the exception of women,
these numbers are not nearly high enough.
When honourable senators look around, they will notice that even the Senate
chamber has been changing. The upper chamber is slowly but surely becoming more
diverse. Prime Minister Harper is committed to diversity. Since becoming Prime
Minister in January 2006, he has made 48 appointments to the upper chamber. The
Senate has never been or looked as diverse as it does today. Nearly 15 per cent
of the appointments since 2006 have been visible minorities or Aboriginals. We
now have senators representing a number of ethnic communities, including Korea,
Vietnam, the Philippines, Jamaica, Pakistan, India and others. This is a huge
improvement. I refer again to my remarks in this chamber in 2005 when I said:
So far in 2005, Prime Minister Martin has summoned 17 Canadians to the
Senate, not even one was a visible minority. Only four of the 105 Senate
seats were held by members of visible minority communities.
In conclusion, I want to remind honourable senators that the Senate of Canada
is in a position where it can become a shining example to other organizations,
including government departments and private sector companies, of the many
advantages of diversity. We have an opportunity right here to show our country
and the world that creating a diverse and inclusive working environment is not
simply about being good, fair or caring; it is about being smart.
I know that the changes under way now may be painful for some employees and
even some managers. Change is never easy. The change needed to create a truly
inclusive workplace is daunting, but it can be achieved and the Senate of Canada
can lead the way.
Honourable senators, as I move into my last few months here in the Senate, it
is my hope that other senators will take up the challenge of ensuring that the
four target groups defined by the Government of Canada decades ago are in fact
treated equally in all respects of the Parliamentary Precinct, including the
Library of Parliament, the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Would Senator Oliver accept a question?
Your speech dealt with cultural diversity, so I am wondering whether you know
how many of the heads of the 16 departments you mentioned are of French-Canadian
Senator Oliver: I did not make that observation, but I would feel
quite strongly that most are totally bilingual.
The Hon. the Speaker: I regret to inform the honourable senator that
his time has expired.
Is there further debate? If no other senator wishes to participate in this
debate, this inquiry is considered debated.
(On motion of Senator Meredith, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Lovelace
Nicholas, calling the attention of the Senate to the continuing tragedy of
missing and murdered Aboriginal Women.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators,
at the conclusion of my remarks, I want to continue the debate reservation in
the name of my colleague, Senator Jaffer.
Honourable senators, I rise to join the inquiry launched by my colleague
Senator Lovelace Nicholas, and joined by Senator Dyck, calling the attention of
the Senate to the continuing tragedy of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
Canada is a blessed and prosperous nation. It should not be frightening or
dangerous to be born here. It was not frightening or dangerous for me or my
children; it is a land of promise and opportunity for us. Yet this is a
dangerous place — far too dangerous a place — if you are born an Aboriginal
Let me read to you from a Department of Justice document dated October 17,
2012 — less than two months ago:
Aboriginal women (First Nations, Inuit, Métis and non-status Indians) are
three and one-half times more likely to experience violent victimization
than non-Aboriginal women. They report higher rates of violence committed by
strangers and more serious forms of family violence. They are also
over-represented as victims of homicide and three times more likely to be
victims of spousal violence than non-Aboriginal women.
Last year, in May 2011, Statistics Canada released a report entitled
Violent victimization of Aboriginal women in the Canadian provinces, 2009.
In 2009, close to 67,000 or 13% of all Aboriginal women aged 15 and older
living in the provinces stated that they had been violently victimized.
Overall, Aboriginal women reported experiencing close to 138,000 incidents
of violence and were almost three times more likely than non-Aboriginal
women to report having been a victim of a violent crime. This was true
regardless if the violence occurred between strangers or acquaintances, or
within a spousal relationship.
Honourable senators, that study — like several from the Government of Canada
that I reviewed — has a special box, set apart from the rest of the report,
headed "Missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada."
That text box begins:
In recent years, it has come to light that many Aboriginal women in
Canada have been murdered or have gone missing.
That is a quote as of December 2010.
For a number of reasons, these disappearances and homicides have been
difficult to quantify through official statistics.
That is the quote that is typically in the box in those reports under the
heading "Missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada."
"Difficult to quantify through official statistics" — the federal government
does not even know how many Aboriginal women have been murdered or have gone
missing. However, they know there are "many." Think about that, honourable
senators. This is today, in the 21st century, in Canada, one of the richest and
most highly developed nations in the world. Our government tells us that
Aboriginal women are disappearing and are being murdered, but it has no idea how
Others have done their best to tell Canadians what is happening. As Senator
Dyck told us last week, in 2005 the Native Women's Association of Canada
launched the Sisters in Spirit initiative to address violence against Aboriginal
women. They conducted research and developed a sophisticated database that led
to the first statistics on this terrible issue. Their conclusion was that there
are over 582 missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
That was in 2010. This work was accomplished with funding provided by the
then-Liberal government. Honourable senators, as we heard from Senator Dyck, the
Conservative government eliminated the funding in 2010.
How many more Aboriginal women should have been added to the database in the
last two years? No one can say, least of all our government. The Native Women's
Association of Canada has been trying to maintain the list as best it can
through other means of funding. Already, as I said, the list is over 600.
This is a list of national shame. Why in a country as rich and advanced as
Canada does a list of 600 murdered and missing women exist? Some researchers
believe there are many more — women who have disappeared without a trace,
except, of course, in the anguish of the hearts of their loved ones.
Honourable senators, the Harper government claims to be the government of law
and order. It has passed one omnibus crime bill after another, including the
last one, which senators will recall was called the Safe Streets and Communities
No wonder they do not want any organization compiling a database like the one
the Sisters in Spirit were compiling. No wonder they eliminated funding, did
their best to silence that group, as they have so many others telling
inconvenient truths about the failure of their so-called tough-on-crime
policies. What have mandatory minimum penalties done to help these women? The
answer is absolutely nothing.
At the time the Harper government stopped the funding, it was reported in the
media that the justification was that "no more research was needed." Imagine —
Aboriginal women are disappearing and are being murdered in striking numbers,
and the government's response is that no further research is needed.
The problem with this, honourable senators, is that the government's own
publications are clear that it is impossible to collect this information from
statistics being collected by the government. In fact, the figures quoted in the
government's own publications are from the research done by the Sisters in
I have said before that this government does not want to allow facts to get
in the way of its policies. That is the only reason I could find for the
shocking decision to do away with the mandatory long-form census and the
inconvenient truths it would reveal, and it is the only reason I can think of
why funding for the Sisters in Spirit initiative was eliminated.
As Senator Dyck told us, the government's replacement for the database is no
replacement at all. The funding is going to a new missing persons unit for the
RCMP, which will not even be up and running until next year — three years after
the Sisters in Spirit funding was cut — and it will be a general database, the
National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains. The only
specifically Aboriginal element will be a link to National Aboriginal Policing
This government does not want to draw attention to the fact of 600 missing
and murdered Aboriginal women.
Senator Lovelace Nicholas provided us with a terrible statistic last week
when she launched this inquiry: 88 per cent of murdered and missing Aboriginal
women left behind children and grandchildren. These women had parents who grieve
without knowing what happened to their daughters, and the problem is continuing.
The numbers of murdered and missing Aboriginal women are growing. According to
the Native Women's Association of Canada, young Aboriginal women are five times
more likely to die of violence than non-Aboriginal young women.
This should not be a partisan issue. It is a Canadian tragedy that we must
address, and we must address it together. Senator Dyck spoke of the pleas she
has heard from those families just to be heard, for attention to be paid to what
happened to their mothers and daughters, to be allowed to be involved in
developing a national strategy for a national inquiry, and simply to tell their
stories, to be heard. Honourable senators, how can we turn away?
Let me put the statistics in some perspective. It has been estimated that if
the rate of missing and murdered Aboriginal women were extended to all Canadian
women, it would be the statistical equivalent of 19,400 missing and murdered
I ask again, how can we as parliamentarians — as Canadians, as spouses,
parents and grandparents — turn away? How can we allow ourselves to stay silent,
to do nothing? Yet despite repeated pleas, the government still refuses to call
a public inquiry. As Senator Dyck has pointed out, three federal ministers — the
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, the Minister of Justice and the Minister for
Status of Women — were invited to attend the National Aboriginal Women's Summit
in Winnipeg a few weeks ago. Not one showed up.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it being six o'clock, is it
agreed that we not see the clock?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Cowan: Thank you, honourable senators.
Others are not silent. Amnesty International has issued two reports on the
rates of violence faced by Aboriginal women in Canada. The last one was called
"No More Stolen Sisters." It was released in 2009. It said:
Unfortunately, the federal government has shown little leadership in
addressing the issue. Most of the positive measures taken to date have been
initiated by individual police services or by provincial and territorial
governments and have not been replicated nationally.
The report looked at many problems facing Aboriginal women in Canada —
problems arising from deep inequalities in living conditions, poverty,
inadequate and overcrowded housing, all of which, as noted by both Amnesty
International and the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations, leave Aboriginal
women at risk of exploitation.
The Amnesty International report went on to note:
In November 2005, national Indigenous Peoples' organizations and the
federal, provincial and territorial governments reached an agreement
intended to close the gap in living standards between Indigenous Peoples and
the non-Indigenous population, especially in the areas of health care,
education and housing. This agreement, which became known as the Kelowna
Accord, was the product of 18 months of roundtable discussions and
consultations. The federal government subsequently announced plans to
allocate Can$5 billion (approximately US$4.6 billion) towards implementation
of these commitments. However, when a new government was elected in 2006, it
rejected both the Accord and the promised spending.
Honourable senators, how many lives could have been improved if this
government had not torn up the Kelowna Accord? Prime Minister Martin's
government had managed to bring everyone together — provincial governments,
territorial governments, Aboriginal leaders — and everyone was working together
on a roadmap for a better future. This was rejected out of hand by the Harper
What do we have now? Just last week, some 250 First Nations chiefs came to
demonstrate here on Parliament Hill, protesting that their rights are being
undermined, that they are not being consulted by the Harper government as the
Constitution requires. AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo said:
There is great suffering that is happening. We are gathered here because
there is anger, and there is frustration and it is real. That which our
people are faced with every single day is life and death.
According to news reports, the demonstration on Parliament Hill was
spontaneously organized, prompted by First Nations' exclusion from consultations
on critical aspects of the latest omnibus budget bill, but of course the anger
and the frustration goes much deeper.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against
Women, the CEDAW, announced a year ago, on December 16, 2011, that it has
initiated an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in
Canada. This inquiry was welcomed by Aboriginal women, family members, numerous
organizations and individuals across Canada. My colleague in the other place,
Dr. Carolyn Bennett, the Liberal Critic for Aboriginal Affairs, wrote to the
chair of the United Nations committee, applauding the committee's decision and
offering assistance. As she explained in her cover letter:
The Liberal Party has consistently called for a Canadian public inquiry
on this issue. Liberal MPs first raised the need for a government-funded
public investigation into how and why the number of murdered and missing
Aboriginal women and girls is so unacceptably high in the House of Commons
in May of 2009. We repeated those calls throughout 2009, 2010 and 2011, and
in last year's federal election campaign, our Party committed to initiating
a national task force to examine the systemic causes of this problem, with
an emphasis on preventing its continuation in the future. We continue to
believe that a public inquiry must take place in Canada, building on the
important work of the provinces and Aboriginal women, and with the terms of
reference established in full consultation with Aboriginal communities,
including victims' families.
I agree. Like Senator Dyck, I welcome Senator Brazeau joining us in calling
for a public inquiry. I continue to believe that it is required. Unfortunately,
so far, the government has refused to call such an inquiry.
Honourable senators, the fact that over 600 Aboriginal women are murdered and
missing is a national shame, and the fact that this government is refusing to
take serious action — and instead the United Nations feels compelled to
investigate —is an international embarrassment. CEDAW investigates only the most
serious allegations of human rights abuses against women. To give you some
context, the last case it investigated in North America involved the horrific
abductions, rapes and murders of hundreds of women in Mexico.
Of course, last December, when the UN committee announced this inquiry, was
the same month that the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of
indigenous peoples issued a statement expressing "deep concern about the dire
social and economic conditions of the Attawapiskat First Nation, which
exemplifies the conditions of many Aboriginal communities in the country." By
"the country," they meant Canada.
The Hon. the Speaker: Order.
Honourable senators, private conversations should occur outside the chamber.
The Honourable Senator Cowan.
Senator Cowan: Thank you, Your Honour. Perhaps some of my colleagues
do not want to hear these inconvenient truths.
Honourable senators, Canadians expect and deserve better — Aboriginal women
deserve much, much better. We proudly take our seat amongst the G8 nations as
one of the most advanced nations in the world — and, all the while, hundreds of
Aboriginal women are murdered and go missing and their families' pleas are met
We have stood in this chamber and debated crime bill after crime bill. Too
many times, I and others have risen to raise the terrible statistics of
overrepresentation of Aboriginal women in our prisons. The Correctional
Investigator of Canada reported that in the last 10 years the number of
Aboriginal women in custody has increased by 86.4 per cent. He also reported
that 86 per cent of women offenders reported histories of physical abuse; 68 per
cent of sexual abuse; and 77 per cent of women offenders have children.
What is the relationship between these statistics and those of murdered and
missing Aboriginal women? What is the relationship between the terrible
statistics on poverty in Aboriginal communities, deplorable housing conditions,
lower education and the circumstances that lead to hundreds of Aboriginal women
being murdered or gone missing? I do not know, but I believe we have a
responsibility to find out.
I hope that this inquiry illuminates some of these issues and that it leads
to a more in-depth study. Too many Canadian women have already been lost — too
many children are growing up without mothers, too many families have lost
daughters and sisters. It should not be dangerous to be an Aboriginal woman in
Canada today, but it is, and that must change.
(On motion of Senator Cowan, for Senator Jaffer, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Mitchell,
calling the attention of the Senate to how the allegations of sexual
harassment and harassment generally can be better handled in the RCMP.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, before I begin my
speech, I would like to announce that this subject is currently being examined
by the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. I will
therefore reserve my right to continue speaking on this topic until I have had
the chance to find out more about the nature and scope of the planned review and
to adapt my speech accordingly. I therefore move the adjournment of the debate
for the remainder of my time.
(On motion of Senator Dallaire, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Cowan calling
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. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I know we are all
waiting to hear from Senator Mahovlich, so I will simply address this issue on
(On motion of Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.)
On motions, Order No. 133, by the Honourable Senator Manning:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans be authorized
to meet at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, even though the Senate
may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation
Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, I would like to request that
we withdraw this motion from the Order Paper, please.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators, that it be
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Irving Gerstein, pursuant to, notice of December 6, 2012, moved:
That, notwithstanding the order of the Senate adopted on Tuesday, January
31, 2012, Tuesday, May 15, 2012, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, and Tuesday, June
26, 2012, the date for the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on
Banking, Trade and Commerce in relation to its review of the Proceeds of
Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (S.C. 2000, c.17)
be extended from December 31, 2012 to March 31, 2013.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
Hon. Percy Mockler, pursuant to notice of December 6, 2012, moved:
That, notwithstanding the order of the Senate adopted on Thursday, June
16, 2011, the date for the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on
Agriculture and Forestry in relation to its study of research and innovation
efforts in the agricultural sector be extended from December 31, 2012 to
December 31, 2013.
The Hon. the 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) rose pursuant to notice
of October 23, 2012:
That he will call the attention of the Senate to the many contributions
of Canadian universities and other post-secondary institutions, as well as
research institutes, to Canadian innovation and research, and in particular,
to those activities they undertake in partnership with the private and
not-for-profit sectors, with financial support from domestic and
international sources, for the benefit of Canadians and others the world
He said: Honourable senators, this is something that Senator Segal and I are
working on. We are still waiting for some further input from a university, so I
would like to adjourn the debate for the balance of my time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(On motion of Senator Cowan, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Francis William Mahovlich rose pursuant to notice of December 5,
That he will call the attention of the Senate to his retirement from this
He said: Honourable senators, as you know, I will turn 75 on January 10,
2013, and will therefore be leaving this place — my team for the last 14 and a
half years. There are a few people I would like to thank before I leave.
Of course, I would like to thank former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien for
suggesting my name as a senator. I would also like to thank my assistants, Lise
Paquette, Don Jackson and Andrea McCaffrey, as well as all the research staff
who have worked in my office over the years. Their hard work and dedication has
been invaluable to me.
They say behind every great man there is a great woman. My wife Marie has
been a wonderful support to me throughout my career and I am grateful to her. I
am sure many senators here would join me in thanking her for her hard work over
the years with the parliamentary spouses.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Mahovlich: Finally, I would like to thank everyone in the
Senate and, indeed, in Parliament. I do not want to mention names because there
are so many people to thank and I would not want to miss anyone, so thank you,
everyone. That includes all senators and MPs, all parliamentary staff, the
clerks and the pages, both past and present. Your work and friendship have meant
so much to me.
I would like to bid adieu to the Senate and leave with these final words:
I have had a wonderful time. Thank you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I
am sure that for most of us, prior to our appointment to this place, our
knowledge of Senator Mahovlich was based on watching and reading about his
exploits as a hockey player. We all admired the skill and grace which he brought
to Canada's national game.
My first significant exposure to the real Frank Mahovlich occurred during a
visit of the Fisheries Committee to the West Coast. Senator Comeau, who chaired
that committee, Senator Cordy and Senator Hubley, who like me were members of
the committee, were there as well, and will remember our visit to the Aboriginal
communities, the seaports and the fishing communities.
Two things struck me then about Frank Mahovlich. First, while he was never
the first to intervene in committee hearings, his thoughtful, probing questions
always cut to the heart of issues and concerns of witnesses who appeared before
My second impression was the way in which word spread like wildfire that
Frank Mahovlich was there. I can still see the fish plant workers unbuttoning
their white gowns to show off their Habs T-shirts; the workers coming up to ask
for autographs on T-shirts, ball caps and hockey sticks; Frank's unfailing
patience in spending time with them all; and, finally, seeing those happy fans
walk away, clutching their treasured mementoes of meeting the Big M.
Since then, I have come to know Frank as a colleague and as a friend, and
this relationship has confirmed those initial impressions. For me, Frank
Mahovlich represents, by his quiet dignity, by his thoughtful remarks and by his
faithful attendance to his duties in committee and in the chamber, a fine
example of a first-class senator. He will be a shoo-in when we establish a
Senate hall of fame.
I will miss him as a colleague in this place, but Shelagh and I look forward
to our continuing friendship with him and Marie, and we wish them well as they
join our Senate alumni family.
All of us wish them a long and happy retirement with their beloved children
and grandchildren, with a little time off for Frank to work on his golf game.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Jacques Demers: Thank you for giving me an hour to speak, Your
This is a special day for me. I asked Senator Carignan if I could speak on
behalf of our team here. He acknowledged that, given my past position, that
would be appropriate.
I do not have a speech written; I want to speak from my heart about things I
have heard and things I have seen that illustrate the quality of this man.
I will just remind us all of a couple of things that we obviously know: six
Stanley Cups and the Hall of Fame.
I started in professional hockey in the WHA when I was 26. I always dreamed
of coaching in the NHL. There was a very important player in the WHA at that
time, Bobby Hull, and I thank him for giving me the opportunity to go to the
Tonight, Frank, I thank you. You came to the WHA in 1974. We played in the
Maple Leaf Gardens and it was sold out for every game. You opened the doors to
bring in Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky. I was in the NHL from 1979 until 2000.
People could say, "There is Mahovlich; there are Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Hull and
Mark Messier." That opened the door for me, and I thank you for that. If you did
not make that move, I would probably not be a senator today.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Demers: Montreal has made some great trades in their time.
Probably one of the greatest was trading players to Oakland to obtain Guy
Lafleur. The second greatest trade has to be the one that resulted in Frank
Mahovlich coming to Montreal. They needed a player of Frank Mahovlich's caliber.
He made the difference to enable them to win Stanley Cups.
Frank, you must acknowledge that if you had not played for Montreal they
would not have won the cup, although it takes 25 players to win the Stanley Cup,
with 20 dressed.
An important memory for me is from only a few years ago. Your beautiful wife
and your family were there the night we celebrated the one-hundredth anniversary
of the Montreal Canadiens. I was honoured to be on the ice and in the picture
that I saw in the office the other day. Some of the greatest players ever in the
history of the Montreal Canadiens were there.
Seeing an anglophone such as Frank Mahovlich come into the Bell Centre and
get the standing ovation he received was very touching. Probably half of the
crowd there had never seen him play, but fathers and grandfathers obviously
talked about Frank Mahovlich.
When people talk about athletes they mention Sandy, Sandy Koufax; Wayne,
Wayne Gretzky; Joe, Joe Montana; le Gros Bill, Jean Béliveau; The Rocket,
Maurice Richard; and so on. There are so many great players. If you hear
"Mario," you think of Lemieux. When we talked about "The Big M," we were talking
about Frank Mahovlich.
I coached some players and worked for some people as GM who had Frank
Mahovlich as a teammate. As Senator Cowan just said, Frank can be described by
the words "dignity," "quiet," and "kind of shy," and in the dressing room he
always kept to himself. However, you could always depend on Frank Mahovlich to
come out to play every single night.
The big players, such as Jean Béliveau and Mario Lemieux, sometimes looked
lazy when seen on television, but that is because they are big. When you saw him
live, you saw a different Frank Mahovlich — and he never took the night off.
When we celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the Russian series, Frank said
that he wanted to ensure that all his teammates received the Jubilee Medal, and
he asked me if I had any left. I said absolutely, and he also gave some to his
former boss and friends Guy Lafleur, Yvan Cournoyer, Serge Savard and Pat
Stapleton. He wanted to make sure that every player got a medal. That is Frank
Serge Savard described Frank Mahovlich as a total team guy, unselfish. Even
if he had not scored in a game, which happened very few times, the most
important thing was that the team won.
Frank, you represent Canada everywhere you go, including Russia and Europe,
with class and dignity. In the world of sports, as in the world of politics,
there is often criticism, but I never heard criticism about the kind of person
Go fishing now; do what you want. You have earned everything that you
obtained. You never took anything away from anyone. You were named a senator
because you deserved to be. As I said, you never cheated on your fans or
I would like you to continue to be the same man you have always been. There
is a tremendous amount of respect for you on this side. This is not political;
this is about a great hockey man who recently worked with Scotty Bowman and
others on a book that describes the 100 best players in the history of Canada,
and Frank Mahovlich was among the top 40.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Demers: I believe I even had you at number 37.
Also included in that group are Doug Harvey, Jacques Plante, Bobby Orr, Wayne
Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, the great Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay. You are very
deserving of being on that exclusive list.
On behalf of our team here, including Senator LeBreton and Senator Carignan,
I wish you the best. You are a great man, you are a friend, and I have the
utmost respect for you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, since Frank misses his brother
all the time, he calls me "The Little M," and he has my back.
The record must show, with regard to The Big M, that statistics do matter.
For the public record and the parliamentary record forever, here are some of
Frank's achievements: Calder Memorial Trophy winner 1958; played in all-star
games from 1959 to 1974; selected to the NHL first all-star team in 1961, 1963
and 1973 and to the second all-star team in 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1969 and
1970; Stanley Cup champion in 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1967 — those were great years
— 1971 and 1973; inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981; and inducted
into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.
Ironically, in 1998 he was ranked number 27 in the Hockey News list of
the 100 great hockey players of the world. In regular season he had 533 goals
and 570 assists, and over 100 points in playoffs.
Number 27, thanks for the memories.
Senator Mahovlich: Excuse me; my wife ranks me as No. 1.
Hon. Claude Carignan: Honourable senators, we did not have the
privilege of playing on the same ice as Senator Mahovlich, but at least we had
the privilege of playing in the same arena.
I take my hat off to you, Senator Mahovlich.
(The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, December 12, 2012, at 1:30 p.m.)