- SENATORS' STATEMENTS
- ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
- Economic Action Plan 2014 Bill, No. 1
- Study on Services and Benefits for Members and Veterans of Armed Forces and Current and Former Members of the RCMP, Commemorative Activities and Charter
- QUESTION PERIOD
- ORDERS OF THE DAY
- Privacy Commissioner
- Criminal Code
- The Senate
- Motion to Strike Special Committee on Senate Transformation—Debate Continued
- Role in Parliamentary Diplomacy—Inquiry—Debate Continued
- Promoting and Defending Causes that Concern the Public Interest—Inquiry—Debate Continued
- Motion to Recognize the Second Week of May as International Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Week—Debate Adjourned
- Motion to Honour Soldiers who Fought in the Italian Campaign During the Second World War—Debate Adjourned
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, I rise today to express my outrage at the so-called "art" exhibit that memorializes terrorist murderers as "activists" and "leaders" currently on display at Ottawa City Hall. I know I speak on behalf of all decent and peace-loving Canadians who abhor terror as a means to obtain political ends. For the citizens of Ottawa, this exhibit is a particular travesty, as their taxes are being used to glorify the murder of innocent civilians.
Mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson and his city councillors claim to be powerless to confront this despicable rebuke of Canadian values. They have cast themselves as in the role of defenders of freedom of speech rather than as enablers of hate.
Among those currently being venerated in the heart of Ottawa's city hall today are Abu Iyad, the man responsible for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre in which 11 Israeli Olympic team members and one German policeman were murdered, and Dalal Mughrabi, a female PLO militant who participated in the hijacking of an Israeli civilian bus in which 38 people including 13 children were destroyed. We also have Zuheir Mohsen, who is said to have played a role in the Damour massacre in Lebanon in which more than 300 Lebanese Christians were murdered. And perhaps most lovingly remembered is Khaled Nazzal, the brother of the creator of this atrocity, who was responsible for the 1974 attack on the school in the Israeli town of Ma'alot in which 22 teenagers away on a school trip were assassinated in cold blood.
If honouring such murderers and terrorists is how the City of Ottawa wishes to express its attachment to the value of free speech, then let me use my freedom of speech here in the Senate of Canada to express my utter contempt.
If honourable senators will also permit me another moment, I would like to read into the record the names of the teenagers whose lives were snuffed out in the Ma'alot massacre. Had they been allowed to live, they themselves would now be old enough to be the parents of teenagers of their own. Instead, they were cruelly targeted because of their youth and mowed down with a hail of gunfire and hand grenades.
Today, I wish to remember and honour the memory of Ilana Turgeman, Rachel Aputa, Yockeved Mazoz, Sarah Ben-Shim'on, Yona Sabag, Yafa Cohen, Shoshana Cohen, Michal Sitrok, Malka Amrosy, Aviva Saada, Yocheven Diyi, Yaakov Levi, Yaakov Kabla, Rina Cohen, Ilana Ne'eman, Sarah Madar, Tamar Dahan, Sarah Sofer, Lili Morad, David Madar, and Yehudit Madar.
To the further 68 victims who survived the Ma'alot attack by Khaled Nazzal, albeit with grievous wounds, I have this message: The tribute on display in Ottawa does not reflect Canada or its values. This country will always stand tall in the battle against terrorism and injustice. Canadian values are not ambivalent when it comes to the confrontation between terrorists and innocent life. What is on display in Ottawa is shameful. It is a disgrace. It is not the real Canada.
Hon. Pana Merchant: Honourable senators, the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association and the Brain Injury Association of Canada have designated June as the national Brain Injury Awareness Month in order to elevate awareness of the effects and causes of acquired brain injury; to offer information and educational programs in an effort to improve the lives of brain injury survivors and their families; and to encourage people to play safely, drive defensively and make safe, healthy choices.
The devastation of brain injury goes largely without public attention, recognition, and effective and possible preventative measures.
Honourable senators may be surprised to know that for people to the age of 44, and youth particularly, brain injury is a silent epidemic and is the number one killer and cause of disability. Such injuries are twice as frequent within the male population.
In Saskatchewan alone, more than 2,200 individuals are likely to be inflicted by brain injury each year. Acquired brain injury is a non- degenerative and non-congenital insult to the brain that may result in a diminished or altered state of consciousness, which leads to impaired cognitive, physical and emotional or behavioural functioning.
The triggering of acquired brain injuries might occur from a blow to the head or spinning force on the brain caused by automobile, pedestrian and bicycle accidents, shaken baby syndrome, a child falling from a shopping cart, sports and work-related accidents or losing one's balance.
A second area of acquired brain injury may be the result of a stroke, cardiac arrest, near drowning, anoxia, an aneurysm, meningitis, drug or alcohol abuse and tumours.
The traumatic effects of brain injury can disrupt one's daily life in profound ways, but it can also be slow to develop through subtle yet significant changes of personality, capabilities and altered mobility.
The social, emotional and economic consequences of brain injury are devastating. Survivors, family members, caregivers, support workers and the larger community are all affected, including all involved in the field of neurorehabilitation and recovery. There are no drugs or techniques that cure brain injuries. The only cure is prevention.
I encourage Canadians to support grassroots brain injury associations and learn of the challenges, support and guidance given and received by family members of those inflicted with brain injury. Their experiences of courage and determination are filled with fascinating, remarkable and inspiring stories.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the Governor General's gallery of His Excellency Bruce Alan Heyman, Ambassador of the United States. He is accompanied by his wife, Vicki Heyman. He is the guest of the Honourable the Speaker.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Janis G. Johnson: Honourable senators, it is a great honour to rise and present the United States' new Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Bruce A. Heyman. Ambassador Heyman presented his credentials to Canada's Governor General, the Right Honourable David Johnston, on April 8 of this year after having been confirmed as President Obama's personal representative to our country on March 12 and sworn in on March 26.
Mr. Ambassador, they kept us waiting in Washington, but we're certainly glad you and Vicki finally got here.
Ambassador Heyman comes to Canada after a long and distinguished career in finance with Goldman Sachs, of which he is a 33-year veteran. From 1999 to the end of 2013, he served as regional managing director of the Midwest private wealth management group. His domain covered 13 U.S. states and half of Canada.
Ambassador Heyman is no stranger to the issues facing Canada and is well acquainted with the country's economic dynamics. He has served on the board of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and was a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, as well as the Executives' Club of Chicago.
Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Ambassador Heyman attended Vanderbilt University where he earned both his Bachelor of Arts and M.B.A. in 1980. Today, Bruce is also the proud father of three grown children, David, Liza and Caroline, and he and his wife are very proud of their family.
Aside from his considerable achievements in the world of finance, Ambassador Heyman has also been a board member of the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation and served as a member of the advisory board of Facing History and Ourselves — Chicago chapter. Facing History and Ourselves is an innovative NGO that operates internationally offering professional development programs for educators in middle and high schools on how to effectively impart the lessons of history upon our young people. This is all with the cause of shaping "a more humane, well-educated citizenry that practices civility and preserves human rights." We could not applaud this initiative more.
Honourable senators, please join me in welcoming America's new Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Alan Heyman, and his wife, Ms. Vicki Heyman. We wish you every success during your time in Canada and look forward to working together in meeting our mutual objectives. While our countries share the world's most successful bilateral relationship, we know there remains much to be achieved together in ensuring this strength continues in the years to come.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I, too, would like to welcome His Excellency Bruce Heyman and his spouse Vicki to Canada and to their new jobs. I'd like to be associated with the remarks of my colleague Senator Johnson, particularly with regard to the welcoming of their family with them.
I find it most interesting, Mr. Ambassador, that when you were sworn in on March 26 in the United States as the thirtieth Ambassador to Canada, you did so on a prayer book that you inherited from your granddad who immigrated to the United States from Lithuania. It tells me that you do indeed have a strong sense and appreciation of heritage, family and family values.
Having been an investment banker for many years, during the course of that work your job was to help businesses reach their ultimate potential, and I think that will indeed stand you in good stead as you work in your new job here, which I think you have stated to be economic prosperity for both of our countries.
Aside from all of the issues that you have probably heard about in your many briefings, whether it's Keystone, the Windsor- Detroit bridge, NAFTA or Buy American, one thing I would like you to do if you could, which would help all of us, is convince your colleagues south of the border that hydro is a renewable resource. That would help everybody's prosperity and move us forward.
I welcome you here and I look forward to our working relationship, whether in the Canada-United States Inter- Parliamentary Group or in your official job. Welcome to Canada and bonne chance!
Hon. Douglas Black: Honourable senators, we all recall that our colleague Senator Manning has undertaken to introduce the Senate to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Let me continue his initiative by speaking today about the vibrant Canadian community that is home to almost 18,000 of the good people from that wonderful province, Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Fort McMurray is quite simply one of Canada's most dynamic young cities. It is urban, vibrant and green. It is a caring community, challenged by remarkable growth.
On my most recent visit, I visited the Redpoll Centre where not- for-profit agencies come together to build a stronger, healthier community by providing enriching programs and much-needed services for residents and newcomers.
I toured MacDonald Island Park, the incredible facility that is now Canada's largest recreational, leisure and social centre. I saw plans for the exciting Shell Place expansion, a project that includes a sports and entertainment stadium, community park and space for not-for-profit organizations to better serve that community.
And of course, these are in addition to the excellent schools, arenas and beautiful parks that you will find throughout the city.
Of course, as a hub of massive industrial development, development that has brought prosperity to all of Canada and many places in the United States, Fort McMurray has had to endure more than its fair share of criticism.
It is important that my Senate colleagues know Fort McMurray as a vibrant Canadian city made up of hard-working Canadians who contribute to their community and are proud to call Fort Mac home.
Fort McMurray is helping to build a prosperous Canada, and it and its citizens deserve our vocal support.
As the most recent example of the exciting changes happening, next week Fort McMurray will proudly open its new airport terminal. Almost 30 years ago, the airport was built to serve 250,000 passengers a year, but how quickly things change in the economic heart of Canada's economy.
Last year, the Fort McMurray airport was the fastest growing in Canada. While the average annual passenger traffic growth rate in the country has been about 3 per cent, Fort McMurray grew at a rate of 25 per cent per year.
This new addition to the community, as well as the twinning of the highway from Edmonton, further symbolizes the exciting growth in this community that is so critical to Canada's prosperity.
Please join me in being a Fort McMurray booster.
Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, since 1992, francophones in Newfoundland and Labrador have celebrated their day, la Journée provinciale de la francophonie, on May 30.
Why May 30? In 1987, in the community of Mainland, the flag of Franco-Newfoundlanders and Labradorians was raised for the first time at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Centre scolaire et communautaire Sainte-Anne.
In 1992, the community decided to make May 30 their day in a big way and held a ceremony at Confederation Building, seat of the Legislative Assembly in the capital city of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The provincial government finally decreed in 1999 that May 30 of each year would be the day of the Francophonie in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Honourable senators, the French presence in Newfoundland and Labrador goes back over 500 years, and it is an important part of the province's culture. I want to congratulate this community, which works tirelessly to defend and promote its rights and interests.
I had the privilege, as a francophone senator, to meet with members and take part in the 2011 flag-raising event. I was even able to say a few words. I met with members of the community. I heard from young people, who are proud to be learning French, the language of their grandparents.
I could feel how proud they were of their heritage and their culture. Since then, my thoughts have always been with them on May 30.
I would like to thank the Fédération des francophones de Terre- Neuve-et-Labrador and its members, various francophone community organizations, for their tireless efforts and hard work. Together, they are helping the French language thrive in their community and are promoting that community within their province and within Canada. Thank you.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate, I have the honour to table a letter received from Kensington Palace, from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in relationship to the joint address of the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada to Her Majesty that was delivered directly to Her Majesty by the Speaker of the other place and your Speaker, congratulating the Duke and the Duchess on the birth of Prince George.
Is leave granted to table this letter, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Dennis Dawson: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications on Divisions 15, 16 and 28 of Part 6 of Bill C-31, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, pursuant to the order of the Senate of April 9, 2014, the report will be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate, and the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance is simultaneously authorized to consider the report during its study of the subject matter of all of Bill C-31.
Study on Services and Benefits for Members and Veterans of Armed Forces and Current and Former Members of the RCMP, Commemorative Activities and Charter
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the eighth (interim) report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence entitled The Transition to Civilian Life of Veterans.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?
(On motion of Senator Dallaire, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that at the next sitting of the Senate I will move:
That when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 2 p.m.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate and it relates to the announcement yesterday of the appointment of Justice Gascon to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The leader will recall that I asked him last week about the process that was to be followed to fill that vacancy and he indicated that the government would respect, I think were his words, the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the Nadon appointment.
By all accounts, Justice Gascon is a distinguished jurist and the announcement of his appointment has been universally applauded. I congratulate the Prime Minister on that appointment and wish Justice Gascon well as he takes up his new duties. But I would like the leader to tell us about the process that the government followed in making the appointment yesterday.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): As you said, Justice Gascon is an excellent choice. He will bring his extensive knowledge and considerable experience to the Supreme Court, which is an important Canadian institution.
This appointment was made following broad consultations with eminent members of the Quebec legal community. Consultations included the Government of Quebec, Quebec's Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court, the Canadian Bar Association, the Barreau du QuØbec and the Bar of Montreal. During the consultations, we asked for names and for advice about the skills and qualities required for the position. As for the details, we will respect the confidentiality of the consultation process and not comment on the recommendations themselves.
Senator Cowan: I have a supplementary question. I'm not sure I understand the need for maintaining the confidentiality of the process. I can understand the need to maintain the confidentiality of the discussions that took place, but I'm not sure there's a need — and perhaps if there is you can explain — to keep the process confidential.
Senator Carignan: My answer was about the process. It looks like the process worked so well that a judge was appointed. You applauded the Prime Minister's choice. Your former colleague or friend — I can't call him your leader anymore — Justin Trudeau, said he wanted the judge to be replaced.
He said that he only hoped it would be done quickly. The consultation process was extensive and sought to respect the spirit and the letter of the Supreme Court ruling, while ensuring the vacant position would be quickly filled.
Senator Cowan: Perhaps it was a question of interpretation, Senator Carignan, rather than what you actually said. The interpreter said that you needed to keep the process confidential. Perhaps you meant to say that it was the advice that was received that ought to be kept confidential. Which is it?
Senator Carignan: As I said, there was broad consultation of eminent members of Quebec's legal community, including the Government of Quebec, the Chief Justice of Quebec, the Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court, the Canadian Bar Association, the Barreau du QuØbec and the Bar of Montreal.
Senator Cowan: In 2004, Prime Minister Martin established a process for the appointment of justices saying it would make it more transparent. At that point, he said that the Minister of Justice would appear before a parliamentary committee to present the nominee and to answer questions. When Prime Minister Harper came into office in 2006, he took over that process and enhanced it, with everybody's approval, so that, in addition to the Minister of Justice, the nominee would appear before a committee in the other place. At that time he said this about the hearing before a committee in the other place:
This hearing marks an unprecedented step towards the more open and accountable approach to nominations that Canadians deserve.
I think most observers felt that was a significant improvement and applauded that approach. Prime Minister Harper, to his credit, followed that approach in several subsequent nominations except for the time that Justice Cromwell, from my province of Nova Scotia, another excellent appointment, was made in 2008. At that time, the nomination was announced. Then there was an election and a prorogation, and the appointment was made during the period of prorogation so that there was no parliamentary hearing. At that time, when he was asked why no parliamentary hearings, the Prime Minister restated his "commitment to returning to a formal mechanism through which Parliament can scrutinize future Supreme Court nominees."
I ask why the government apparently has abandoned the approach which it has utilized on each of those occasions and substituted for it the vast consultation process that you described.
Senator Carignan: It is important to keep in mind that Justice Cromwell was appointed in 2008 without the government resorting to a selection committee and without the candidate having to answer members' questions. I imagine that you are asking the question about some future process that might be followed. Perhaps I am jumping to conclusions, but if that is the case, I can respond right away that we are concerned about the information leaked about a process that was supposed to be confidential, and we are currently reviewing the procedure in preparation for future appointments.
Senator Cowan: My comment had nothing to do with future appointments, although obviously what you have said raises concerns about future appointments. My question had to do with this process.
I said that Prime Minister Martin put in place a process which Prime Minister Harper improved upon when he came to office and which he used in the case of a number of appointments. There was one instance, that of Justice Cromwell, where the nomination was made and the intention was to proceed with parliamentary hearings, but, because of the election and because of the prorogation, the appointment was made without the hearing. The Prime Minister then restated his commitment to returning to a formal mechanism through which Parliament can scrutinize further Supreme Court nominees.
My question is: Why did the government not proceed to return to that formal mechanism that your Prime Minister, Prime Minister Harper, used on several occasions? Why did he choose to abandon that process and to proceed to this consultation process that you have described for Justice Gascon?
Senator Carignan: I do not want to repeat what I have already said, but perhaps you are going to force me to do so. I nevertheless want to reiterate — you surely did a press review — that the appointment of Justice Gascon has been applauded by all political parties, the legal community, and experts from all provinces. There is a strong consensus for this appointment.
I hope you aren't criticizing the method used to consult stakeholders, the Quebec government and the Chief Justice. Why did we do that? Because a consensus came out of this consultation and people support the appointment.
Why was the appointment done so quickly? Your friend — I can't really call him your leader anymore — Justin Trudeau recently called on the government to speed up the process and to fill the position as quickly as possible. Your NDP cousins also repeatedly claimed that they wanted the government to act quickly to fill this position.
Senator Cowan: Senator Carignan, I asked a simple question. I said at the beginning that I thought this was a good appointment. It was universally applauded and I congratulated the government on the appointment. That seemed to be perfectly clear. I am not questioning the abilities of Justice Gascon. I asked you a simple question about the process.
Your government had used a process for several appointments — it was not someone else's process, it was your government's process. They followed it for several appointments. They didn't follow it for one appointment and then they explained why they had not followed it. They then followed that same process with respect to the appointment of Justice Nadon. For some reason — and I'm asking for the reason — they chose not to go back to the process they had used before, which the Prime Minister said they would return to, and they substituted for that a process of consultation. Why? I simply want to know why.
I understand what you said about what the process was. I want to know why there was a change. It's a simple question.
Senator Carignan: You said that the previous process was good and you're asking why we changed it, as though the process we chose wasn't good after all.
Just because one approach is good, it doesn't mean that another isn't. In this case, the government conducted a consultation process. Why? Because all of the parties called for this position to be filled quickly, to ensure that this important position on the Supreme Court of Canada did not remain vacant. It was too important. The government consulted stakeholders, and I mentioned the governments, organizations and associations that were consulted.
I was not expecting to get questions on this topic today. I was expecting to hear statements from you congratulating us on our choice.
Senator Cowan: I wouldn't expect an answer from you.
Just so we talk about "there was an urgency about all this," let's go back and look at the timing for the abortive nomination of Justice Nadon.
The Prime Minister announced his choice on the Monday, the parliamentary committee sat on the Wednesday, the order-in- council naming him to the court was issued the following day, on a Thursday, and he was to take up his duties on the Monday — one week from the time that Prime Minister Harper announced his nomination and the date that Justice Nadon was to take up his position on the court. That does not seem like an unreasonably long period of time.
Why did you not follow the same process with respect to Justice Gascon?
Senator Carignan: The position had to be filled quickly because, as you know, Supreme Court justices have important responsibilities. All of the parties, and in particular your friend, Mr. Trudeau, as well as your NDP cousins, wanted the position filled quickly. That is what we did. You should be congratulating us.
Hon. Sandra Lovelace Nicholas: My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Honourable senators, once again I stand before you to ask for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and children. Recently, Canada's Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, Sue O'Sullivan, had renewed her call for the federal government to establish a national inquiry on missing and murdered women. You are all aware that the RCMP has recently confirmed 1,181 cases in Canada over the past 33 years.
According to Statistics Canada, Aboriginal women are three times more likely to be victims of violence, compared to the general public. Ms. O'Sullivan said that the national public inquiry is needed to clarify the scope of the problem. There is an insufficient lack of data and understanding as to why Aboriginal women are significantly more likely to be victims of violence compared to the general public.
Many others are calling for a national public inquiry, including: the Assembly of First Nations, Human Rights Watch, the Native Women's Association of Canada, the Elizabeth Fry Society, the Canadian Women's Foundation, British Columbia's Representative for Children and Youth, along with the Liberal, Green and NDP parties.
As an Aboriginal woman, I have known personally what it means to be a victim of violence. Now I prefer to say I am a survivor, and it demands that I speak to my fellow Aboriginal women and children who have and are at this moment undergoing such monstrous acts.
In view of the rising number of murdered and missing Aboriginal women and Sue O'Sullivan's renewed call, would the federal government reconsider its refusal to establish a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women? Will this government reconsider an inquiry?
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): I would like to thank the senator for her question.
I believe I have already answered this question, but I would still like to reiterate our commitment to taking meaningful action on the tragic issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.
For example, as part of our Economic Action Plan 2014, we have committed an additional $25 million over five years to continue efforts in this area. We have also committed more than $8 million over five years to create a DNA-based Missing Persons Index.
In the last budget, we renewed funding for the Aboriginal Justice Strategy, which is specifically designed to reduce the overall rates of victimization and crime in Aboriginal communities.
We have passed more than 30 measures on justice and public safety, including a measure that will impose harsher penalties for those who commit murder and sexual assault, and another measure that addresses the issue of abduction.
We created a national website for missing persons, developed community safety plans in partnership with Aboriginal communities, and supported the development of public awareness materials.
Need I remind the senator — she surely read the RCMP report on the subject — that, unfortunately, the findings of the inquiry show similar levels of crime, whether we are talking about crimes committed against Aboriginals or non-Aboriginals? Also, most often — roughly 82 per cent or 84 per cent of the time — resolved cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women involve a loved one or a family member.
The aspects relating to domestic violence and community safety are part of the solution and we believe that practical measures such as these will help reduce crime and the problem of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: I hope you don't mean the report that was being thrown around in the other place.
The Prime Minister is in other countries to stop oppression. What about the First Nations oppressed people in this country?
Senator Carignan: I was talking about the RCMP report that provides statistics on missing and murdered Aboriginal women and makes the comparison with non-Aboriginals. The RCMP investigates all alleged crimes. The findings of these reports were made public and I imagine that you read them.
Need I remind you of another practical measure that was introduced, namely the matrimonial real property bill? Despite its title, this legislation gives women living on First Nations reserves the same matrimonial rights as all Canadians, including, most importantly, access to emergency protection orders in violent situations. This is a solid tool that helps fight domestic violence. Unfortunately, the opposition voted against that bill.
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: Thank you very much for that answer.
The Government of Canada has a fiduciary responsibility for First Nations' well-being, and I believe that the government is not doing its job, so why does it continue to ignore its responsibility?
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Carignan: The government is well aware of its obligations, particularly its fiduciary obligations. We are talking about long-standing rulings rendered by the Supreme Court, which set out the government's obligations to Aboriginal peoples. Given the series of concrete measures and actions I mentioned, you should recognize that the government is making every possible effort to ensure that Aboriginal women are better protected.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Colleagues, President Obama announced this week 30 per cent reductions on the biggest single greenhouse gas emissions sector in his economy, which accounts for 30 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
Mr. Harper, very inappropriately and very dismissively, said, well, been there, done that in Canada.
Where he's been and what he's done was to talk about 17 per cent reductions or thereabouts on the coal industry, which accounts for only 13 per cent of our total emissions, and to completely avoid discussion or action on the big sector, the oil and gas sector. How is it that Mr. Harper can sustain this "been there, done that" comparison or dismissal of what Mr. Obama has done when President Obama is actually talking about twice the reduction on three times the emissions?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Listen. I think that this question is about the order that was passed or proposed by President Obama regarding coal-fired power plants. Clearly, we are pleased that the United States is now proposing to follow our example and take action in this sector. We did not wait until 2014 to act. We implemented measures to regulate this sector in 2012, Senator Mitchell. That was two years ago.
Our regulations are stricter and took effect earlier than the ones the United States is proposing today. The regulations proposed by the United States will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 30 per cent by 2030. As for us, Environment Canada predicts that our regulations will enable us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in this sector by about 50 per cent by 2030.
I would have thought, Senator Mitchell, that you would have taken this opportunity to acknowledge the practical measures taken by our government in environmental matters. I thought it would have been a nice way to draw attention to them. That is what I was expecting you to do today.
Senator Mitchell: Clearly, when the leader rushed out the office today, he picked up last week's speaking notes and not this week's speaking notes.
The fact is that the U.S. has taken specific actions against its single biggest emitter, 32 per cent of all emissions. Canada, on the other hand, has taken action against its coal industry, which is one third as much an emitter as the U.S. coal industry is. It's interesting in the extreme that Canada has avoided attacking the emissions of its single biggest emitter, which would be a fair comparison with what President Obama has done.
When will Mr. Harper fulfill his promise that he will take action, as he said, once the U.S. began to take action? The U.S. has now begun to take real action, and they are miles ahead of where Mr. Harper and his tired, tired government are.
Senator Carignan: Senator, you are saying that I am using my notes from last week, but I get the impression that you are using questions from three years ago. The question you asked might have been relevant three years ago, since we took action on this issue two years ago.
Senator Mitchell: Let's look at the facts: The leader keeps extolling the virtues of his government's "record of reduction" of greenhouse gasses. The fact is that, in 2005, there were 737 megatons of emissions of greenhouse gas in Canada, and, in 2020, there will be 735 megatons. There will be no change whatsoever. In the interim, there has been a dip, not because of anything his government has done except, of course, that they couldn't resist the recession. Most of what was done in reductions was done because of actions taken in Ontario, by Ontario, to reduce coal emissions there.
What is this government going to do, and when are they going to do it, to reduce emissions from the oil and gas sector, which is the single biggest emitter of greenhouse gasses in this country? When are you going to do it?
Senator Carignan: How can you say that these results have nothing to do with the government's actions? Canada is the first major user of coal to ban the construction of coal-fired power plants, and our greenhouse gas regulations apply to both existing and new plants. Canada produces less than 2 per cent of global greenhouse gases produced by coal.
In comparison, the U.S. coal sector emits more greenhouse gases than all of Canada. In fact, three quarters of the electricity produced in Canada does not generate any greenhouse gases. Thanks to our actions, carbon emissions will decrease by 130 megatonnes as compared to what your former Liberal government had planned. That is the equivalent of shutting down 37 coal-fired power plants.
I believe, senator, that you should consider the concrete action being taken and congratulate us instead of repeating your questions from three years ago.
Senator Mitchell: There will be, doing what you are doing to this point, zero reductions. In fact, there will be net increases in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and this 17 per cent target that you keep talking about is absolute, fundamental myth and spin. It is, in fact, a lie. I'm not saying you're lying; I'm saying they're lying. That got their attention. They don't like to hear it, but it's true.
The fact is that we are now approaching Paris, the next round of discussion and the next effort to establish reduction targets. Has this government given any thought to what it will establish if it's still in government — pray God that it's not — in the next round of reductions, from the 17 per cent reduction for after 2020? What's the next target? Have you given any thought to what that's going to be?
Senator Carignan: I would have appreciated it if you had at least acknowledged the action we have taken. Instead, you deny it and accuse us of all kinds of things.
So, you would like to know about the next steps? The next steps will ensure that we create wealth and employment while protecting the environment, which we will do without the Liberals' or the NDP's carbon tax, which would have resulted in the disappearance of thousands of jobs and price hikes in Canada.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of a group of participants in the Eleventh Canadian Parliamentary Seminar (CPA).
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Martin, seconded by the Honourable Senator Demers:
That, in accordance with subsection 53(1) of the Privacy Act, Chapter P-21, R.S.C. 1985, the Senate approve the appointment of Mr. Daniel Therrien as Privacy Commissioner.
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): I would like to call question on this.
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, on division.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Runciman, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wallace, for the second reading of Bill S-221, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (assaults against public transit operators).
Hon. George Baker: Honourable senators, the public transit unions are waiting for this bill's presence in the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. I would strongly suggest this matter be referred to the committee.
That's my second reading speech, honourable senators.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
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.
(Bill read second time.)
The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this bill be read the third time?
(On motion of Senator Runciman, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Ringuette, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cordy:
That a Special Committee on Senate Transformation be appointed to consider;
1. methods to reduce the role of political parties in the Senate by establishing regional caucuses and systems to provide accountability to citizens;
2. methods to broaden participation of all senators in managing the business of the Senate by establishing a committee to assume those responsibilities, and to provide for equal regional representation on said committee;
3. methods to allow senators to participate in the selection of the Speaker of the Senate by providing a recommendation to the Prime Minister;
4. methods to adapt Question Period to better serve its role as an accountability exercise; and
5. such other matters as may be referred to it by the Senate;
That the committee be composed of nine members, to be nominated by the Committee of Selection and that four members constitute a quorum;
That, the committee have power to send for persons, papers and records; to examine witnesses; and to publish such papers and evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the committee;
That, notwithstanding rule 12-18(2)(b)(i), the committee have power to sit from Monday to Friday, even though the Senate may then be adjourned for a period exceeding one week; and
That the committee be empowered to report from time to time and to submit its final report no later than June 30, 2015.
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, as I'm in the process of preparing my notes, I'm not ready to speak to this item. I move the adjournment in my name for the remainder of my time.
(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Nolin calling the attention of the Senate to its role in parliamentary diplomacy.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, this inquiry into parliamentary democracy and the Senate is one of a series of seven debates intended to foster a better understanding of the nature of the Senate's work, the principles underpinning the Senate, and the scope of the roles it plays.
Ever since groups of humans began to develop peaceful relationships, they have employed diplomacy. Initially, their efforts were rudimentary. From ancient times through much of the Middle Ages, states and rulers have resorted to envoys only in exceptional circumstances, such as settling affairs, ending wars, signing treaties and arranging marriages.
True diplomacy emerged in Italy at the end of the Middle Ages. The need arose because of the many rulers who shared the peninsula. Initially, missions were temporary, but they gradually became more long-lasting. By the middle of the 15th century, they were becoming more permanent. By the end of the century, diplomatic missions were common across Europe. Francis I is credited with the spread of permanent missions in Europe.
For years, diplomatic missions were entrusted to dignitaries from various lay or clerical orders. Diplomacy became a profession when Napoleon Bonaparte created France's rank- based diplomatic corps. Until the 19th century, the right to be represented by ambassadors was generally reserved for the very powerful, who guarded that privilege jealously.
The use of that title became more widespread over time, and eventually it was used by heads of diplomatic missions all over the world. This diplomacy, which originally had ties to the monarchy, is now referred to as executive diplomacy, since it is the responsibility of the head of state, who ultimately and legitimately exercises the royal prerogatives of his country.
The primary reason for diplomacy and its ongoing goal is to maintain or restore peace. A diplomat's main task is to maintain active relationships that are not strictly concerned with protocol or courtesy.
Philosophers' thinking during the Enlightenment would lead to the democratic emancipation of populations and bring about the development of parliamentarianism. As means of communication and transportation improved, parliaments began to meet with each other and organize forums in multilateral parliamentary assemblies. It did not take much for these new groups to develop relationships and parliamentary diplomacy, which was unique but just as active and effective.
My inquiry examines how, over the past 147 years, Canadian senators have mastered the science of parliamentary diplomacy.
Honourable senators, I will try to be brief because my time is limited, but I would like to start by listing the multilateral and bilateral associations that exist in Canada and indicate when they were created.
The oldest is the association that is made up of Commonwealth parliamentarians, which dates back to 1911.
Next came the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association, which was created in 1955.
The first Canada-United States bilateral association was created in 1959.
In 1960, the Inter-Parliamentary Union was established. It had already been in place since the 19th century, but did not take root in Canada until 1960.
In 1965, Canada and France established their bilateral association, which was followed in 1967 by the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie. The Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association was created in 1980, the Canada- Japan Interparliamentary Group in 1981, and the Canada-United Kingdom Parliamentary Association in 1998.
The Canada-China Legislative Association was also formed that same year, 1998. The two most recent associations — the one that brings together the American countries and the one that unites Canadian and African parliamentarians — were formed in 2001 and 2003, respectively.
Honourable senators, I gave you that list because we senators have enthusiastically embraced, and I might even go so far as to say shouldered, this parliamentary diplomacy effort to a much greater degree than our colleagues in the House of Commons, both in terms of number of participants and ongoing involvement.
Most senators who get involved in these bilateral or multilateral associations do so in a consistent and ongoing manner, which is how they acquire expertise.
Over 60 per cent of senators actively participate in the activities of international parliamentary assemblies. I think that it is to our credit that this Senate activity is recognized. I believe that it is in the best interest of Canadians for their parliamentarians, particularly senators, to develop this expertise through the friendship networks that are formed within parliamentary associations, so that they understand international activities and the international environment.
That understanding is of critical importance. Just think about recent developments in Ukraine. If Senator Andreychuk hadn't been involved, the Senate would have missed an important moment in the history of our civilization. It is because of her involvement that the Senate of Canada was part of recent developments in Ukraine's history.
That is a great example of a senator's active participation and of growing expertise, all of which is in the interest of Canadians.
Honourable senators, in this series of inquiries into the roles of the Senate, it is important to reflect on a role that is shared by nearly two thirds of us who participate in interparliamentary associations and related activities. It is important that we support this effort in parliamentary diplomacy which, unfortunately, is often questioned by those who can only think about the financial sustainability of our budgets. I have nothing against that, but we need to maintain our priorities.
I am thinking about the recent woes with the Canadian branch of the Inter-Parliamentary union. We were questioned and, thank goodness, we were able to ensure Canada's participation in that association for at least one more year.
Honourable senators, I wanted to share some thoughts with you to encourage debate on one of the important roles of the Senate of Canada and its senators.
(On motion of Senator Fraser, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Nolin, calling the attention of the Senate to the activities of some Senators in promoting and defending causes that concern public interest.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, as I wrap up my comments on this item, I want to remind you that, in this series of inquiries into the roles of the Senate and senators, we can't ignore the involvement of some colleagues in what I mistakenly called advocacy. I would have done better to refer to my colleagues' activism in causes that stimulate, provoke and influence public policy.
I think it's essential that we all recognize that effort. We can all think of examples. I won't list them because you all know them as well as I do. The causes that many of us support are often causes that are tricky for people who have to get themselves re-elected to endorse.
I'd like to give you an example. When I came to the Senate in 1993, one of my colleagues, Senator Hastings, told me, "Take your time, select a cause, and make sure it's complex and complicated." He told me that he had decided to support prisoners' rights. Few MPs bother to advocate for prisoners, so it fell to a senator to take up the cause of defending prisoners' rights.
That's a good example of a senator who got involved. Many senators get involved in important causes that give us food for thought when we are creating or changing public policy. It's important to have parliamentarians who are involved, who understand the importance of these causes and who understand what drives them. These committed parliamentarians have become activists and, in many cases, leading voices for these causes.
They do this in the interest of Canadians to ensure that these causes are taken into account when it's time to create or change public policies.
The purpose of this seventh inquiry was to talk about senators' activism as one of the roles of the Senate. The senators who take on these challenges do our institution proud.
Hon. Jim Munson: I'm so happy that Senator Nolin has brought this particular aspect to this debate. I actually have a 26- page speech written, and I will speak to all of the causes in this country. I will do that next week or the week after at the latest.
With that, I wish to adjourn the debate for the balance of my time.
Hon. David P. Smith: First, I just wanted a "60-seconder" with regard to Senator Nolin's discussion of defending causes of public interest and his previous item, as well, which was about parliamentary diplomacy.
Last night I attended the dinner of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and one of the delegates there was a member of parliament from Singapore. I started thinking, "You've got to meet Senator Oh. You've got to meet him." I told him all about it.
So, I told Senator Oh about this. I went and dragged him out of the gallery. They just spent 20 minutes in the office, and tonight they're having dinner in the Parliamentary Dining Room, and they even invited me. Getting to know you — I think it's great for a gentleman in our Senate who's from Singapore to have dinner with an MP from Singapore tonight.
(On motion of Senator Munson, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Asha Seth, pursuant to notice of May 27, 2014, moved:
That the Senate recognize the second week of May as "International Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Week", with the goal of engaging Canadians on the health issues affecting mothers, newborns, and children in Canada and around the world; reducing maternal and infant mortality; improving the health of mothers and children in the world's poorest countries; promoting equal access to care to women and children living in households of lower socioeconomic status, those with lower levels of education, those living at or below the low-income cut-off, those who are newcomers, and those groups who live in remote and sparsely populated areas of Canada; and preventing thousands of mothers and children from unnecessarily dying from preventable illnesses or lack of adequate health care during pregnancy, childbirth and infancy.
She said: Honourable senators, protecting and improving the health of mothers, babies and children lies at the core of this new initiative to recognize International Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week.
This yearly campaign will engage Canadians on the health issues affecting mothers and children in Canada and around the world. I am encouraged by our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who has been a fierce advocate for maternal and infant health on the global stage. Under his leadership, our government has identified maternal, newborn and child health, or MNCH for short, as Canada's flagship development priority.
Canada played a fundamental role in concentrating international attention and resources under the 2010 G8 Muskoka Initiative on MNCH.
From 2010 to 2015, our government will provide $2.85 billion in funding for maternal and child health programming focused on nutrition, prevention and treatment of diseases, increased access to emergency obstetric care, and improved civil registration and vital statistics systems. In total, Canada has mobilized $7.3 billion from G8 and non-G8 partners.
Thanks to these efforts, maternal mortality rates around the world have significantly decreased from 543,000 deaths in 1990 to 280,000 in 2013. And the global number of deaths among children under five has also decreased from more than 12 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.
Last week, our government took action to mobilize the global community by hosting a high-level MNCH summit in Toronto, but how will maternal, newborn and child health remain on the agenda after the excitement of the summit is over? We are limited by disjointed efforts that come and go throughout the year without much notice, sparking discussions for a brief moment like a match lighting up a dark room then blown by the wind.
But with the designation of an international MNCH week, our stakeholders will be able to synchronize resources and make a more meaningful impact. It is now our duty to create a yearly platform that will allow the recognition of our accomplishments and provide significant opportunities to develop MNCH goals and targets after 2015.
The main risks to MNCH will require our attention for many years to come, including the burdens of infectious diseases, under- nutrition, limited access to immunizations and basic health care, and inefficient civil registration and vital statistics systems.
International maternal, newborn and child health week will ensure that our partners at the forefront of this issue can advocate on behalf of women and children in vulnerable populations on a yearly basis. The second week of May leads up to Mother's Day on Sunday. As the world takes pause to appreciate motherhood, they may also join Canada and the extensive network of partners in the global discussion to eliminate health challenges and ensure the long-term quality of maternal and child health services.
In Toronto, I have dedicated 38 years of my life providing the best health care to my patients as a gynecologist and obstetrician in my family practice. This lifetime of experience has been filled with countless healthy deliveries and joyful moments of celebration. "A miracle" is really the only way to describe motherhood and giving birth.
But when complications arise and a child or a mother is lost, it is a tragedy that you can never forget. Sadly, millions of mothers and children around the world are likely to die from largely preventable causes through no fault of their own. Did you know that every minute, 12 children die before reaching the age of five? That is close to 18,000 children under five who die every day. And because civil registration and vital statistics around the world are so badly managed, these numbers are actually only a fraction of the problem.
This is unacceptable when we know that in 99 per cent of the cases death can easily be prevented with basic, cost-effective prenatal and postnatal care like providing antibiotics and warm wrappings; neonatal resuscitation; umbilical cord care; support on hygiene, skin care and breastfeeding; and most important, the identification of newborn infections. This last step is key because infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles, HIV/AIDS, diphtheria, whooping cough and tuberculosis are the primary killers of children under five in developing countries.
Of the 6.6 million child deaths each year, 2.9 million occur within the first month of life, and one million of these deaths occur within the first 24 hours. That shows that the first day of a baby's life is the most critical to their survival.
At home, the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey found that women and children living in households of lower socio- economic status, those living below the low-income cut-off and those with lower levels of education reported maternal experiences like abuse, high levels of stress, symptoms of postpartum depression and higher proportions of at-risk behaviours such as smoking and the use of street drugs prior to and during pregnancy.
I am going to give you an example of the real-life story of a young newcomer who found herself deeply affected by postpartum depression, a condition that can happen after childbirth and that she knew nothing about. Because of this, her abusive husband abandoned her, claimed she was mentally unfit, took her children and left her to fend for herself in a new country. Her lack of education, lower socio-economic status and low income prevented her from accessing services that could have helped her keep her children and escape an abusive situation much sooner. It was not until the police interfered and placed her under the care of a women's shelter that she began to discover some of the services available to mothers like her.
My campaign will aim to reach out to vulnerable newcomers like her so that her story does not repeat. She is still fighting to recover her children and wished to be here but was too afraid to come forth for fear of her husband. I will certainly visit her next week in Toronto to share the great work we are doing here in the Senate to improve MNCH.
Similarly, motherhood at a young age is more common in low- income, immigrant and Aboriginal communities. This brings added considerations and risks, and the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System reports that young mothers are at an increased risk for physical abuse and are also more likely to smoke. Census data revealed that 8 per cent of Aboriginal teenage girls from 15 to 19 were parents, compared to only 1.3 per cent of their non-Aboriginal counterparts.
For these reasons, this campaign hopes to put an emphasis on educating and protecting adolescent mothers and at-risk youth so they may know the tools to prevent complications
On the other hand, a woman who is 35 or over faces an increased risk of abnormalities, pre-term birth and low birth weight and is more likely to develop hypertension, pre-eclampsia and diabetes during pregnancy.
Because one out of every five births in Canada is to a woman age 35 or over, we need a space to leverage private sector expertise and supportive partners who are finding innovative solutions to the challenges of a later pregnancy and delivery.
As I mentioned, I have particular concerns regarding the health of mothers and children in the First Nations and groups living in remote and sparsely populated areas. That is because the data demonstrate that Aboriginal children are more likely to die in the first year of life than other Canadian children, and they experience substantially higher rates of pre-term birth, stillbirth, and infant death.
The Maternal Experience Survey also found that one quarter of Canadian women travelled to another city or town to give birth. This number was considerably higher in northern communities where 23 to 40 per cent of women travelled over 100 kilometers to give birth. In Nunavut alone, this came at a cost of $60 million in plane tickets.
I strongly believe that my campaign will bring focus to some of the issues affecting mothers and children in Canada in a way that has not been done yet.
My campaign targets the causes of death that account for four out of five newborn deaths. These are prematurity, neonatal infections and complications such as severe bleeding during childbirth and high blood pressure during pregnancy.
According to the United Nations, a woman dies every two minutes of pregnancy-related complications.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, where 38 per cent of newborn deaths occur worldwide, 1 out of every 39 women risks dying of preventable or treatable complications of pregnancy during her lifetime, compared to 1 in 3,800 in developed countries. Every year, 40 million women give birth without support from a trained midwife, nurse or doctor. This is a tragedy, as we know that skilled care during labour can prevent 43 per cent of newborn deaths and reduce the number of stillbirths by 45 per cent.
We can clearly see that in many places vaccines remain unavailable, health services are poorly provided or inaccessible, and families are uninformed or misinformed about when and why to bring their children for immunization.
Working with government and global partners to target the leading causes of mortality in mothers and children is a main objective of this motion.
Another issue is the deficiencies in essential nutrients, which can lead to fetal growth retardation, suboptimal breastfeeding, stunting, wasting and vitamin deficiencies. Under-nutrition is responsible for 45 per cent of deaths in children under five, with more than 3 million deaths per year. International MNCH week will aim to provide a space where we can educate Canadians and international partners on good nutritional practices.
Honourable senators, in Canada we can be proud of the many accomplishments in MNCH. The lifetime risk of maternal death in Canada is estimated at 1 in 5,600, as compared with the world estimate of 1 in 140; yet a closer look at the data reveals some disturbing comparative figures particularly among our most vulnerable groups.
Low birth weight is associated with many lifestyle choices, including smoking, poor diet and low body-mass index, and it can be linked to future health risks such as type 2 diabetes, cognitive learning ability and obesity.
With the MNCH summit in Toronto last week, it is the perfect time to designate a space that allows for yearly multi-level partnerships with MNCH stakeholders.
Honourable senators, I trust that you see our moral obligation to bring awareness to this topic and provide a space for the continued discussion of the problem that affects millions of families in Canada and abroad.
I would like to conclude by sharing some of the extraordinary support that this campaign has received from our ministers. The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, said that Canada's work has produced a track record of concrete results and that recognizing the second week of May as international maternal, newborn and child health week will further help to bring increased attention to this pressing issue in Canada and around the world for years to come.
The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, said, "Recognizing Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week will engage Canadians and demonstrate leadership on the world stage so that continued progress can be made. Our common goal is within arm's reach."
The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State for Science and Technology, expressed that "We must continue these efforts sparked by Prime Minister Stephen Harper through the International Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week."
And most importantly, from the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, who inspired and encouraged this proposal, I quote:
Saving the lives of mothers and children is not only a moral imperative, it is also the foundation for building prosperous communities for this generation and the next.
I am overwhelmed by the support this initiative has received, and I congratulate my leader and ministers for taking this issue so seriously. I join them in this fight, for it has been my fight for many years.
I implore the members of this chamber to join me in recognizing the second week of May as international maternal, newborn and child health week so we can ensure that every year mothers and children have a voice in Canada and a space to galvanize the world to help eliminate the preventable deaths of women, children and newborns.
Your vote of support means everything to them and to me. Thank you.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: I would like to start by congratulating the senator for taking an even greater interest in this issue than the Senate does. This is an issue that affects all Canadians.
I want to talk about something you are familiar with: violence against children and the Criminal Code amendment that would ensure that children are no longer subject to corporal punishment as a form of discipline. Does the senator support this measure to educate Canadian parents not to hit their children so that, from now on, parents do not use the Criminal Code as grounds for such actions?
Hon. Leo Housakos (Acting Speaker): Senator Seth, are you asking for five more minutes because your time has run out?
Senator Seth: All right, yes.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Five more minutes.
Senator Seth: My motion, which I am reiterating, is trying to rally international support around improving the health of mothers and children, targeting preventable causes of mortality and morbidity. That is what I am trying to do.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Do you support the fact that to remove the possibility for parents to hit their children for educational purposes and stop the violence against our children, like we had in Quebec, when a child was killed two weeks ago by a father who slapped his daughter on her head?
Senator Seth: Again, here we are only discussing the lives of mothers and children. That is the whole issue, in certain areas. I can't answer your question. It's not pertaining to my motion.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I'm sorry, but I think you need to be more specific. I listened to your speech. You were talking about the native people in this country and the fact that they probably don't have the same kind of treatment in their milieu because of poverty and other circumstances.
With regard to these children who are committing suicide on a very large scale compared to the rest of the children in Canada, do you not think we should at least send a clear message that parents are not authorized to hit their children, whichever community they come from?
Senator Seth: Again, I'll repeat the same thing. My motion is pertaining to saving the lives of mothers and children from preventable causes. We have not reached the stage that you have been talking about. Thank you.
Hon. Josée Verner: I listened carefully to your speech, senator. I would like your opinion on the following. This is a question of saving the lives of women during childbirth, and it is a noble objective. We know that internationally, the vast majority of mothers who die during childbirth are young girls. They are women who are too young to have children.
As Hillary Clinton said in 2010, don't you think we could take a more comprehensive approach to the issue? She said that maternal health and reproductive health should go hand in hand. Reproductive health includes contraception, family planning and legal and safe access to abortion.
I humbly submit that this could possibly help these young girls who are far too young to have children.
Senator Seth: Again, I restate that my motion is trying to rally international support around improving the health of mothers and children, targeting preventable causes. There are many other life-saving strategies that one can highlight without getting into this issue that really would be extremely divisive for Canadians and others. We are talking internationally, so I'm not getting into that. Thank you.
Senator Verner: Indeed, I understand that this is very divisive for Canadians. This even divides people within various legislatures. However, Ms. Clinton's position is not divisive. Unfortunately, while we are avoiding being divisive, these young girls are still dying. We are not saving their lives.
Senator Seth: Our government does not support the reopening of this debate in Canada. Thank you.
(On motion of Senator Nancy Ruth, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Donald Neil Plett, pursuant to notice of May 29, 2014, moved:
That, on the occasion of the visit of Gino Farnetti- Bragaglia to Canada, the Senate of Canada express its gratitude to the four Canadian soldiers who saved his life and cared for him seventy years ago; pay respect to the families of the four soldiers; and honour the bravery and sacrifice of all Canadian soldiers who fought in the Italian campaign during the Second World War.
He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise today to introduce this motion on the occasion of a visit of Gino Farnetti- Bragaglia to Canada. It is my hope that the Senate of Canada will pass this motion expressing its gratitude to the four Canadian soldiers who saved his life and cared for him 70 years ago, paying respect to the families of the four soldiers, and honouring the bravery and sacrifice of all Canadian soldiers who fought in the Italian campaign during the Second World War.
Colleagues, we are living in a time when Remembrance Day ceremonies are being restricted at schools and children are being sheltered from the stories of the battles fought by their forefathers for the freedom of generations to come. Yet, we have groups like Peace Through Valour, led by our former colleague Senator Con Di Nino, who have made it their mission to ensure that these stories and sacrifices will be remembered.
It is estimated that 90 per cent of Canadians are unaware of the contribution made by Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen in the Italian campaign during the Second World War, and even fewer are aware of the touching story of Gino Farnetti-Bragaglia and the four Canadian soldiers who changed his life.
Honourable senators, as you know, the Second World War began in 1939. Very quickly, most of Europe came under German control and, in 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union, resulting in vicious fighting on the eastern front. In 1943, Joseph Stalin asked for help from Canada and other allied leaders in order to ease the pressure of the German attack. Italy, which was under German control, was to be used as a platform to attack enemy territory in Europe and was to serve as a diversion to weaken German resources on the eastern front. This effort became known as the Italian Campaign and was comprised of 93,000 Canadians, along with their allies from Great Britain, France and the United States.
The Italian Campaign was code-named Operation Husky and began with troops landing on the island of Sicily in the south of Italy. Getting men and equipment to the region proved to be extremely difficult and dangerous. Three ships carrying Canadian troops from Great Britain to Sicily for the attack were sunk by enemy submarines in early July 1943. Fifty-eight Canadians drowned, and hundreds of vehicles and guns were lost.
According to Veterans Affairs Canada, on July 10, 1943, the Canadian and British troops came ashore, covering a 60- kilometre stretch of the Sicilian coast while the Americans covered another 60 kilometres. The assault was one of the largest seaborne operations in military history, involving nearly 3,000 Allied ships and landing craft.
After four weeks of battling in challenging, mountainous country, we had taken Sicily, contributing to the downfall of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. There were more than 1,300 Canadian casualties, 600 of which were fatal. The new Italian government surrendered to the Allies.
Germany, after losing Sicily, was determined to hold on to the Italian mainland. On September 3, 1943, Allies came ashore in mainland Italy. Germany set up well-protected defensive lines along the Italian peninsula. The Canadians joined their allies in what amounted to a painstaking crawl up the Italian mainland, soon to face one of the most difficult battles for Canadian troops, now called the Battle of Ortona.
Because of the ancient town's narrow, rubble-filled streets, tanks and artillery were not an option. Canadians were forced to engage in vicious street fighting and had to smash their way through walls and buildings, "mouseholing," as it was called. After a little more than a week, Canadians had liberated the town of Ortona.
Fighting in the Italian campaign continued as the Allies made their way north through many German defensive positions. The Americans had liberated Rome in June 1944. In the fall of 1944, the Allies had broken through Germany's Gothic Line in the north. Fighting continued into the spring of 1945, when the Germans finally surrendered.
Canadians had already been transferred to Northwest Europe to be reunited with the First Canadian Army. There, they joined the Allied advance into the Netherlands and Germany to help to finally end the war in Europe. Canadian casualties in the Italian campaign totaled more than 26,000, nearly 6,000 of which were fatal.
The Canadians who fought in the Italian campaign, like all Canadians who fought in World War II, demonstrated bravery, accomplished much and sacrificed greatly in the fight for the rights and freedoms of others.
During the campaign, four Canadian soldiers specifically touched the life of one young boy. In June 1944, after a deadly battle with Germany in the town of Torrice, four army privates, Lloyd "Red" Oliver, Paul Hagen, Mert Massey and Doug Walker heard a noise in a quiet area near the battle ruins. Believing it was an animal, they looked more closely and found a badly injured, apparently homeless, five-year-old boy, lying there cold and nearly naked. His stomach was bloated so badly as a result of malnutrition that the soldiers said he resembled a bowling pin. His name was Gino. They asked him questions about himself in the hope of locating a family, but he could barely speak. The soldiers brought him back to camp and, after caring for his wounds and providing him with food, they did some investigating and found that he was, in fact, an orphan. The four soldiers took him under their care and became his tutors and mentors. He was given a uniform, made an honorary corporal and became the mascot of the company.
Red taught Gino the English alphabet, numbers and the Bible. The little boy learned very quickly and soon he was able to speak English. He would play around the camp and ride around on his little bicycle as a dispatch driver. He went north with his new Canadian friends for Christmas in 1944, spending the holiday with them in Ravenna.
In February 1945, it was time for the Canadian soldiers to leave Italy and join the First Canadian Army in Western Europe. Of course, Gino could not accompany his Canadian mentors. Some of the soldiers had tried desperately to adopt him, to get him to Canada, but were not allowed. Gino was devastated. He had grown so close to his Canadian friends and their departure was said to be disastrous for him.
They left him with an American soldier, who ensured that he was adopted by a local family in Ravenna. He went to school, but could not be officially registered because nobody knew his real name or place of birth. He did not have a birth certificate or any other documents. In legal terms, Gino did not exist. Only in 1954 did the court give him the name of Gino Farnetti, 10 years after the day he was rescued.
Parts of Gino's childhood were troubling, but he always kept in touch with his Canadian mentors and held onto every letter and poem they had written to him. He calls the four soldiers his guardian angels and remains amazed by the generosity of four boys, who were 19, 20 and 21 years old, to selflessly take a little boy into their care. He remembers the day he was found and noted that he had been seen by British, American and French troops, but it was only the Canadians who demonstrated such compassion and kindness, a true story of the Good Samaritan again.
A few years ago, through the work of a researcher and writer from Bagnacavallo by the name of Mariangela Rondinelli, together with Wartime Friends and other collaborators, the complete story of Gino began to take form. They traced him and met him and, through the gathering of documents, they were able to tell the story of Gino, beginning on the day in June 1944 when he was rescued by four Canadian soldiers.
On December 16, 2012, an official ceremony was held in the Torrice council chamber and Gino was given honorary citizenship of the town.
Two of the rescuing soldiers lived in my province of Manitoba, Paul Hagen and Lloyd "Red" Oliver. Hagen spent part of his childhood in Saskatchewan and part in Manitoba. Although under age, he entered the Canadian Army in 1942 and served until 1947. After the war, he moved to Winnipeg, got married and had three children. He worked with an electrical and heating company in Winnipeg, led Bible camps and loved to design and build, at one point even building a full-sized, working windmill. He later worked for the Manitoba Department of Labour.
Lloyd Oliver, nicknamed "Red" because of his hair, was raised in Miniota, Manitoba. In July 1940, he joined the Canadian Army at the age of 17. When he returned to Miniota, after five and half years overseas, he bought a plot of land to begin farming and worked on the railroad. Shortly afterwards, he met and married his wife in Miniota, where they raised their seven children.
After the army reunion in Orillia, Ontario, Hagen stayed in constant contact with Gino, both via e-mail and telephone. When Gino visited Canada, he stayed for two weeks with the Olivers in Miniota and for two weeks with the Hagens in Winnipeg. Paul Hagen passed away in June 2011, and Lloyd "Red" Oliver passed away in July 2012.
Mert Massey was also born in Manitoba, in the town of Killarney. He helped on his family farm until he was enlisted in the army in 1938. It is then that he met Lloyd "Red" Oliver and, together, they were deployed to several countries, including, of course, Italy. In 1945, he met and married his wife and came back to Canada, landing in Sault Ste. Marie, where they had one daughter. He died just before Christmas in 1989, shortly after his wife passed away, telling his family that he wanted to be with her for Christmas.
Doug Walker was born in Preston, Ontario. In 1939, at age 19, he joined the Canadian Army. He was an avid athlete and even played hockey on the Canadian team in England before being deployed to mainland Europe. He had met his wife prior to departing for war and, in one of his letters, he expressed great concern about the fate of the young boy, Gino, and his hope that the boy could remain within the Canadian Army's care. The two wed upon his return to Ontario and they had four children. When asked about the war, Doug would say that it was horrible and that he did not want to talk about it. He did, however, talk about Gino. Even before they rediscovered each other in 1980, Doug's children considered Gino to be like a lost brother. Doug Walker passed away in 1990.
The four soldiers and their wartime friends had several reunions of the D-Day Dodgers, an intentionally cruel nickname given to the group by Viscountess Astor, a member of the British Parliament, dismissing their contributions as a diversion. They used the term proudly, knowing of the experiences they had had, the battles they had won and the lives that had been lost. After 1980, Gino attended some of the D-Day Dodgers reunions.
Gino is 75 years old and married with two children. He worked as a mechanic before becoming an engineer and working in the oil fields in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Our former colleague, Senator Di Nino, spearheaded a fundraiser for a permanent monument dedicated to the 93,000 Canadians who fought in the Italian campaign. This monument will be unveiled in the spring of 2015 in Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto.
On June 20, Gino Farnetti-Bragaglia will visit Canada and will be reunited with the families of the four soldiers who saved his life, including Private Paul Hagan's wife, Dorothy. I will attend the dinner and would be pleased to present the families with a copy of our motion as passed. I would be happy with other senators taking part in this motion and so, for that reason, I would appreciate your cooperation in passing this motion in a timely manner. I look forward to meeting Gino in person and extending the gratitude of the Senate of Canada to the families of our four heroic soldiers.
(On motion of Senator Meredith, debate adjourned.)
(The Senate adjourned until Thursday, June 5, 2014, at 1:30 p.m.)