- SENATORS' STATEMENTS
- ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
- Indian Affairs and Northern Development
- National Security and Defence
- Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
- Victims Bill of Rights Bill
- Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources
- QUESTION PERIOD
- ORDERS OF THE DAY
- Business of the Senate
- Agricultural Growth Bill
- Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Bill, 2014
- The Senate
- Motion to Recognize the Necessity of Fully Integrated Security throughout the Parliamentary Precinct and the Grounds of Parliament Hill and to Invite the RCMP to Lead Operational Security—Allotment of Time—Motion Adopted
- Motion to Recognize the Necessity of Fully Integrated Security throughout the Parliamentary Precinct and the Grounds of Parliament Hill and to Invite the RCMP to Lead Operational Security—Motion in Amendment Negatived and Motion Adopted
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of a distinguished delegation from the Republic of Turkey, led by His Excellency Cemil Çiçek, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, I would like to congratulate Prince Edward Island's Jeannette Gallant, who was recently named the 2014 National 4-H Volunteer Leader of the Year.
This honour is certainly well deserved. Ms. Gallant, who is from Wellington, Prince Edward Island, has been involved with 4-H for decades. She was originally a member of the Evangeline 4-H Club and now serves as its co-leader. She is also on the executive of the Summerside 4-H District Council.
P.E.I. 4-H Council president Sally Ripley had this to say about Ms. Gallant:
She embodies so many of the qualities of our very valuable volunteer leaders. Our organization would stop operating without the countless hours of time and talents these individuals share with our membership across the Island.
For more than 100 years, 4-H Canada has been one of the most highly respected youth organizations in the country. Nationally, it has more than 25,000 members. In my home province, it remains a very popular community-based program with over 550 members in 23 clubs across the Island.
We have all heard that 4-H helps young Canadians learn to do by doing, creating the engaged, confident and responsible leaders of tomorrow.
Volunteers like Jeannette Gallant are the reason that 4-H remains so successful and makes such a significant impact on Canada's youth. Through their enthusiasm and dedication, these volunteers play a pivotal role in the lives of club members and effect positive change in their communities and in the world around them.
Please join me in congratulating Jeannette Gallant on this outstanding recognition, and in thanking all volunteers across the country for their contributions to the 4-H program.
Hon. Stephen Greene: Ladies and gentlemen, last Friday, February 20, I had the privilege of being asked by our Minister of National Defence, Jason Kenney, to replace him at a special ceremony in Halifax honouring the work of HMCS Toronto.
The significance of the honour was that this was not a decoration conferred by the Canadian government or the Canadian Navy. Rather, it was conferred on HMCS Toronto by the Government of the United States and the U.S. Navy.
Moreover, this decoration is only the sixth time in the U.S. Navy's history that the honour has been given to a foreign ship. The last time was 45 years ago, during the Vietnam War, when it was given to an Australian ship.
To mark the occasion, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operation for the U.S. Navy, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a six-time winner of the Distinguished Service Medal, came up to Halifax to bestow the U.S. Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation on the captains and crew of HMCS Toronto, whose home port is Halifax.
While the details of the mission of HMCS Toronto are not for publication, I can say it concerned their stationing off the east coast of Africa, where it engaged in capturing significant amounts of drugs and arresting many vessels. Almost more significant than the hundreds of millions of dollars in drugs that HMCS Toronto seized was the information gleaned from cellphones and computers captured on board these illicit vessels. This information resulted in prosecutions in various countries from Mexico to Afghanistan.
Part of the citation reads:
By disrupting the flow of narcotics to such an extent, HMCS Toronto struck significantly at the funding of terrorist and criminal activity. Operating across the entire breadth of the Area of Operations for extended periods, the officers and crew met every commitment and demonstrated a superb level of readiness, teamwork and perseverance. The exemplary work contributed notably to the coalition goal of maintaining the maritime commons for legitimate activity for the benefit of all nations and reflects the finest traditions of the Royal Canadian Navy.
That's from the U.S. Navy.
Please join me in applauding this wonderful honour bestowed on the Royal Canadian Navy by our marvellous ally, the United States of America.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of participants in the Parliamentary Officers' Study Program (POSP).
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the proclamation of New Brunswick's provincial flag. The symbols on the flag, a gold lion and a ship with its oars in the water, were found on the original coat of arms granted to the Province of New Brunswick by Queen Victoria in 1868. The gold lion across the top of our flag represents our province's ties to the House of Brunswick in Germany. That same House of Brunswick has ties to the Royal Family and the monarch. The ship is symbolic of the great shipbuilding history that New Brunswick has.
The creation of the New Brunswick flag followed the proclamation of the Canadian flag, the fiftieth anniversary of which was celebrated just last week. So it was a week after the proclamation of the Canadian flag that the New Brunswick flag was proclaimed.
I have spoken previously in this chamber about the Royal Military College flag being the inspiration for the Canadian flag, which was suggested by Dr. George Stanley, a professor at RMC and later Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick. The motion to adopt the Canadian flag was moved through Parliament by the Honourable John Matheson, who died recently.
Like the Canadian flag continues to do for Canada, the flag of New Brunswick instills pride in the people of New Brunswick. At the time of proclamation, the premier was Louis-J. Robichaud, New Brunswick and Canada's first Acadian premier from Saint-Antoine, New Brunswick. Mr. Robichaud later served as Senator Robichaud in this chamber. While Mr. Robichaud was indeed the premier at the time, his administrative assistant, Robert Pichette, is largely credited with the final design for the flag. Mr. Pichette, who still resides in New Brunswick, enlisted the help of Lieutenant-Commander Alan J. Beddoe, a friend from his days in the military, to help draw the original design for the flag. All of this took place in just two weeks, and there was a reason for the two-week time frame.
Under threat of a clandestine opposition plan to introduce a motion to implement the Red Ensign with the province's coat of arms as the official flag for New Brunswick, Premier Robichaud's assistant, Mr. Pichette, had to act fast. The premier was on holidays at the time, and Mr. Pichette had little time to wait for his return.
When the premier returned, he was supportive of what had been done, and he announced the creation of the new New Brunswick flag in his Speech from the Throne at the provincial legislature on February 24 of that year. Ontario and Manitoba are the two provinces which still use the Red Ensign with their respective coats of arms.
So within 10 days, in February of 1965, New Brunswickers became the proud recipients of two flags, symbolizing a strong and proud people in the province of New Brunswick and forming part of a greater Canada, of which we are equally proud.
Hon. Claudette Tardif: Honourable senators, I would like to inform you of an important case that will have a major impact on the language rights of francophones in my province.
On February 13, the Supreme Court heard Her Majesty the Queen v. Gilles Caron. Mr. Caron is a francophone resident of Alberta who was charged with a violation of the province's traffic laws. The ticket was written in English only. In his case, Mr. Caron challenged the constitutionality of Alberta's Languages Act. The act stipulates that the province's laws and regulations are enacted, published and printed in English.
Alberta's current language regime is based on the Supreme Court's 1988 ruling in Mercure. In that case, the judges ruled that the linguistic obligations that predated the creation of the province had not been constitutionalized and could be amended or abrogated by legislation. Consequently, the legislative assemblies of Alberta and Saskatchewan adopted a legislative framework holding that English-only laws and regulations were valid.
The Supreme Court will have to determine whether the official bilingualism regime that existed in the vast territory known as Rupert's Land was constitutionalized and still applies in Alberta and Saskatchewan. To do that, the Supreme Court justices will have to examine a massive amount of historical evidence. The judges will have to consider the status of the order in council on Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory from June 23, 1870. That decree concerned the Crown's commitments to the Metis following the insurrection of Louis Riel's government and the annexation of Rupert's Land, which would become Saskatchewan and Alberta. At that time, the Crown guaranteed that all of their civil, religious and property rights would be protected.
Mr. Caron's lawyers believe that civil rights included the French language, even though that was not explicitly said, because at the time, the Metis made up the vast majority of the population in the Prairies and most of them were francophone.
Honourable senators, allow me to quote Franco-Saskatchewan lawyer Roger Lepage, Counsel for Mr. Caron, who said:
This case is very important for all Canadians, but especially for the francophone Metis and the francophone minority in western Canada. The violation of linguistic rights created an open wound that has festered for 145 years. It led to devastating assimilation.
The president of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne, Marie-France Kenny, described the February 13 hearing as historic, and I quote:
These hearings mark the end of a journey for a Franco-Albertan who, from the moment he felt his linguistic rights were violated, decided to go the distance to ensure his rights were respected.
Whatever it is, the Supreme Court ruling will send a powerful message on its vision of the Canadian federation and the importance of linguistic duality among the fundamental values that define our country.
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the First Annual Statutory Report pursuant to Section 2 of the Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act, Statutes of Canada, Chapter 38, 2014.
Hon. Daniel Lang, Chair of Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, presented the following report:
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has the honour to present its
Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Thursday, June 19, 2014 to study security threats facing Canada, respectfully request funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015 and requests, for the purpose of such study, that it be empowered:
(a) to engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary; and
(b) to travel inside Canada.
Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.
(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix A, p. 1612.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?
(On motion of Senator Lang, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)
Hon. George J. Furey, Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, presented the following report:
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has the honour to present its
Your Committee has approved Supplementary Estimates (C) for the fiscal year 2014-2015 and recommends their adoption. (Appendix A)
Your Committee notes that the proposed Supplementary Estimates total $900,000.
PIERRE CLAUDE NOLIN
(For text of appendix, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix B, p. 1619.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?
(On motion of Senator Furey, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-32, An Act to enact the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and to amend certain Acts.
(Bill read first time.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?
(On motion of Senator Martin, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)
Hon. Richard Neufeld: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(a), I move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources have the power to sit at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 24, 2015, even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that Rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, but no one should think that my job consists solely of asking you questions. The matters I bring up pertain to the work that I do at the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee.
Last month, your government informed us in a press release that it was cracking down on tax evasion and aggressive international tax avoidance by forcing banks to report incoming and outgoing international electronic transfers of $10,000 or more.
One year earlier, your government put in place a hotline to encourage Canadians to report international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance strategies. These measures seem honourable, but are trifling given the lack of results. To staunch the flow of money, we have to plug the holes.
According to Joseph Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, it would be easy to put an end to tax havens by requiring banks of G7 countries to stop dealing with countries of convenience that have no transparency such as Barbados or the Turks and Caicos.
Leader of the Government in the Senate, does your government intend to prohibit Canadian banks from doing business with these delinquent countries that accept billions of dollars accruing from tax evasion and unpaid taxes?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Senator, as you know, our government has an excellent record for fighting international tax evasion and tax fraud.
In fact, from 2006 to March 31, 2014, the CRA audited 8,600 international tax cases. It identified, and is in the process of collecting, more than $5.6 billion in unpaid taxes. As a result of our aggressive action on this file, Canada now has one of the most extensive tax treaty networks in the world.
We have nearly 750 more inspectors today than we had when we took power, and we continue to hire more. The message is being sent. Furthermore, we have increased the size of our international audit program by over 40 per cent.
You mentioned the issue of transfers over $10,000, including electronic transfers. This was done as part of our 2013 action plan, which gave the Canada Revenue Agency improved tools to crack down harder than ever on tax evaders.
In fact, since 2006, our government has introduced more than 85 measures to improve the integrity of the tax regime, including the Offshore Tax Informant Program and the mandatory requirement to report international electronic fund transfers if they exceed $10,000.
An article recently published in the daily La Presse — I'm not sure if you read it — addressed the effectiveness of recording electronic fund transfers or declaring international fund transfers if they exceed $10,000. The article said that this measure had brought about concrete results. This is the type of measure we are adopting, but unfortunately it is the type of measure that you vote against.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I don't think we will agree on your conclusions.
Despite all of your efforts to go back to 2006, I'd like to talk about now, year by year. According to sociologist Alain Deneault, Canada seems to play a key role in financial development in the Caribbean.
TVA points out that in several Caribbean islands, Canadian banks are the main places of business and it is doubtful that these banks are only collecting deposits from small investors or that they create a lot of jobs for Canadians.
Moreover, according to CBC, Canadian banks have 75 subsidiaries in tax havens from Switzerland to Singapore. For example, the CIBC and Scotiabank have branches in the British Virgin Islands, the Royal Bank has branches on Jersey Island, in Switzerland, in the Cayman Islands and in the Bahamas, while the Bank of Montreal has a branch in Luxemburg, and TD Bank has a presence in Bermuda and Barbados. Everyone is getting value for their money, except that the money should go to the government.
The organization Canadians for Tax Fairness states that the federal and provincial governments are losing close to $8 billion in revenue every year. That is far from your $5 billion over nine years. It is in this context that Mr. Marceau, MNA in the National Assembly of Quebec and former Minister of Finance, hopes to have bank executives appear before the Committee on Public Finance to ask them to explain themselves.
Mr. Leader, does your government really want to plug the holes and recover $8 billion every year, which would greatly help your budget? If so, will it call a royal commission into the matter to shed light on the situation and take real action?
Senator Carignan: Senator, as you know, we have implemented measures that have had tangible effects. Our government has introduced over 85 measures to improve the integrity of the tax system. The measure regarding electronic fund transfers of over $10,000 is an example of a practical measure. People can no longer transfer more than $10,000 electronically and they have to declare their money if they are carrying over $10,000 with them when they leave the country. You know full well that these are extremely effective measures for combatting tax evasion. We have adopted 84 other measures like that one since 2006. If you want to truly combat tax evasion and take meaningful action, I invite you to vote with us in favour of our economic action plans, particularly when we adopt this type of measures, which have a tangible effect, as you may have seen in a recent article in La Presse.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I would like to come back to what was written in Paradis fiscaux: la filière canadienne, a book by Alain Deneault. According to this author, and I am paraphrasing from his interview with Télé-Québec two weeks ago, it is possible to come up with a tax system that would tax corporations on a consolidated basis. In other words, rather than taxing large corporations branch by branch, the entire corporation would be taxed on the basis of its revenue and profit. That way, the entire profit would not be transferred to tax havens.
When asked about tax evasion during a recent interview with Radio-Canada, former Quebec finance minister Monique Jérôme-Forget spoke out against thieves who steal from the government. With $8 billion lost, I think it is safe to refer to those people as thieves.
Mr. Leader, is your government ready to review the entire tax system to deal with the theft of its resources, which leads it to unfairly cut public services and without which it might achieve its dream of balancing the budget?
Senator Carignan: Senator, we will continue to work based on concrete measures. During the 2013-14 fiscal year, the Canada Revenue Agency dealt with over $46 billion in taxes. What is more, during this fiscal year, there was a marked increase in voluntary disclosures of foreign assets as compared to the previous year, which proves that tax cheats are feeling the squeeze like never before. We will continue to take concrete measures and adjust those measures in order to achieve the desired results.
If you really want to combat tax evasion, as your questions suggest you do, I invite you to vote in favour of our proposed measures in our economic action plans, when such measures are part of those plans.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: In fact, to pick up on what we were talking about during question period last week, I was saying that if we had a real budget, I might be inclined to support it. Instead, we generally get a repertoire of all sorts of measures that have nothing to do with a budget.
I would remind you, by the way, that since 2009, you have signed 16 information exchange agreements with tax havens. I give you top marks for that. André Lareau, tax law professor at Université Laval, told us that in Canada, the exact name of the person or business has to be provided in order to obtain information. I would remind you that these people do everything they can to hide from the authorities — as a lawyer, you are all too aware of that — and there are a number of ways to mask a transaction without indicating the person's name.
When he appeared on Tout le monde en parle last year, Alain Deneault explained that there is a clause in the agreements that enables a Canadian company to report its assets in a tax haven and bring them back into Canada without paying taxes if it brings them in as dividends.
Mr. Leader, can you explain why your government is negotiating agreements that will enable people to avoid paying taxes — agreements that will enable tax evasion?
Senator Carignan: Senator, I don't watch Tout le monde en parle regularly, and certainly not religiously. I don't know what was in the interview you mentioned, but since we have agreements with countries to tackle tax evasion, I think those measures are, as you said, good measures that, together with our other measures, are producing results. That's why more and more people are voluntarily disclosing foreign assets. The number of disclosures is much higher than in the previous fiscal year. This proves that tax cheats are feeling the squeeze, and we will keep doing what we're doing.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I'm sure you have good intentions, but as far as I can tell, I'm not the only one tuning in to Tout le monde en parle. There are millions of us in Quebec. Yesterday, anti-austerity protesters occupied the headquarters of the Canadian Bankers Association in Montreal to speak out against tax evasion. I'm sure you've read in the Quebec papers that HSBC is in hot water for that. The general public will not be fooled. People know that they are the ones paying the price for the lack of political will to crack down on tax cheats. People know that they are the ones bearing the brunt of government service cuts, that they are the ones shouldering tax and fee hikes, and that the higher retirement age wouldn't be an issue if the government could collect all of the taxes it's supposed to.
They know that in order to retain the remaining capital the government has reduced corporate taxes, which have fallen from 38 per cent in 1981 to 15 per cent today. That was something good we did for them, and therefore we expect them to do something good by paying their taxes.
However, our legislation and measures currently do not have enough teeth. I will provide you with some figures.
The government's stated objective is to recover $44 million in 2014-15 — I am talking about people who have hidden money from the taxman — and $389 million in 2015. However, organizations such as the Tax Justice Network and other Canadian experts say that $155 billion in taxes is not paid every year.
I believe that there is still work to be done, and I invite you to study this issue as you prepare your next plan. If you could recover even 25 per cent of the $155 billion, you would have much more leeway in governing.
Do you agree, leader, that we still have a long way to go?
Senator Carignan: Senator, we must continue to work on tax evasion. You seem to have some very good ideas and to have Mr. Trudeau's ear. Perhaps you could run in the next election and become the finance minister in order to implement your suggestions.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: You are tempting me because if I were the Minister of Finance, you would be in the opposition. I completely agree.
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and it has to do with fire safety. As you probably know, two more very young children, toddlers, were killed in a fire in northern Saskatchewan this month. Last year, five children died in fires in Saskatchewan. This year alone the total is four.
What will the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs do to mitigate, to reduce the number of Aboriginal children in Saskatchewan dying due to fires?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Thank you, Senator Dyck, for your question. As always, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims' family and community.
It is my understanding that the tragedy you mentioned is being investigated by the provincial fire protection authorities.
While that is happening, we should be pleased to see that the First Nation and the community of Loon Lake are moving forward in a spirit of cooperation. We remain committed to continuing to support the First Nation so that it can guarantee its members effective fire protection.
Senator Dyck, since 2006, our government has invested nearly $185 million in fire protection services on reserves. We also provide additional funding to help First Nations buy fire trucks, build fire stations and acquire fire protection equipment. In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, this funding helped to purchase 32 fire trucks and fire protection equipment, as well as to build 15 fire stations.
Our government has made a commitment in this regard and it plans to be involved on an ongoing basis. Once again, as I said, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims.
Senator Dyck: Thank you for that answer. I'm sure everyone here is just horrified at what's happened, and we're all grieving the loss of such young children.
However, as I said, last year a number of children also died — five children. In the Pelican Narrows First Nation, which is part of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, children died last year in January. Since that time, fire safety has not improved, and the chief said the federal government has not increased any funding for fire safety on the reserve.
A year after these children died, the reserve still has not seen any increase in their funding, so the federal government hasn't really stepped up to the plate to do anything to mitigate the circumstances. Why has that happened? Why hasn't the funding been increased? We know there is a problem. Why hasn't somebody come forward and done something to increase the funding so that these children don't die?
Senator Carignan: Senator, as I say every time a person loses his or her life in a fire, these are difficult situations. I saw on the news recently how three-year-old twins died in a fire. Such occurrences are always tragic. I think every community wants to do whatever it can to reduce the risk of fire and, more importantly, the number of lives lost. That is why our government invested nearly $185 million in fire protection services on reserves, not to mention the additional funding to help First Nations buy fire-fighting equipment.
I can assure you that we will continue to support the reserves in purchasing this safety equipment.
Senator Dyck: Thank you for that answer. It's quite clear that there's not enough funding going to First Nations for fire safety, for housing, for repairs, et cetera. If you look at our report from the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, it says quite clearly that there's an increased risk of 10 times. The death rate from fires is 10 times higher on reserves than it is in the rest of the country.
A number of witnesses drew a link between overcrowding, the state of housing on reserves and the large numbers of fire deaths in the communities. We also noted that 37 per cent of houses on reserves need major repairs and that the situation is such that families are living in condemned houses and are being overcrowded. This all contributes to living in a tinderbox, a house that will burn down quickly because it doesn't even have a proper roof; it just has a big blue tarp on top.
More funding has to go. Why has your government not provided more funding?
Senator Carignan: Senator, to prevent fires, we provide money for the purchase of equipment and for firefighting services. Education and awareness also play a critical role in fire safety. We will continue to work with First Nations communities and organizations on this.
You know that we are also working with the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada on prevention. We will continue this work with Aboriginal communities and their representatives to help prevent the risk of fire.
In another life, I was the chair of the public safety committee for Quebec municipalities, where the issue of fire safety was raised by communities, cities and towns because there were concerns about the response time and the provision of equipment. It is impossible to reduce the risk to zero, but I think that as a community, as a government, we have to take the necessary steps, as we are doing, to provide proper fire protection services, particularly in the case of the reserves that you mention.
Senator Dyck: Thank you. The funding situation is so bad that one of the communities we visited, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug in northern Ontario, said their population has increased by three times and yet they have had no increase in funding over that period of time. Even though there's supposed to be a 2 per cent escalator, they have had no increase at all. If they had at least the 2 per cent — although it should be greater than 2 per cent — their funding today would be almost 40 per cent higher than it is currently. That's the level they should at least be at, yet they're not there. Why not? Why hasn't the government provided sufficient funding to First Nations like the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug in remote northern Ontario?
Senator Carignan: Senator, I think we have to help all communities and continue to support the services as we are doing by providing substantial envelopes. As I said, since 2006, $185 million has been paid out. In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, just in terms of equipment purchases, we are talking about 32 trucks, 15 fire stations and a variety of fire protection equipment, because it isn't just trucks. There are other types of equipment that can be used to fight fires and rescue people. That is what we will continue to do, senator.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: I have a supplementary question. It is also for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and it also pertains to that tragic situation where those two infants died so unnecessarily on that reserve.
You mentioned, leader, that your government has spent $185 million on trucks. On this reserve there was a pumper truck. The reserve was serviced by piping and fire hydrants, but the pumper did not mate up with the fire hydrants. It couldn't hook up because it wasn't matching equipment.
I'd like to know who oversaw that. Who would make sure that, when those dollars are spent, that equipment worked properly in the best interests of the people living on the reserve?
Senator Carignan: That's a good example, senator. It shows that money isn't everything and that we must also work with the associations to focus on prevention. We need to provide training, especially on this issue. We are pleased that the First Nation is working with the Loon Lake community and that they are moving forward in a spirit of cooperation to provide effective firefighting services.
Since this tragedy is being investigated by the provincial fire protection authorities, you will understand that I will not say more on that specific case than what I have already said.
Senator Moore: Well, they may not be appropriate with regard to this specific case, leader, but surely there must be a process in place whereby whoever is purchasing the equipment for fire prevention on a reserve must make sure that that equipment works with the infrastructure that's in place. So, whether it's on this reserve or any other, I'd like to know who is in charge of making sure that happens.
I think it's pretty important, because this may exist in other reserves across the country. Surely there must be some kind of oversight mechanism. I understand your comments about training, and I appreciate that. A study is going to take place with regard to this tragic situation, and I appreciate that. But the fact that the situation would exist that that pumper couldn't have answered the call on this night is pretty tragic and I'd like to know who would have the responsibility to oversee that and make sure that did not happen.
Senator Carignan: Senator, as you know, the provincial fire protection authorities are currently investigating this particular case. I'm sure you understand why I cannot comment.
Senator Moore: I understand that, leader, but if you don't want to comment on it now, I'd like you to take it under advisement and maybe come back to us with an answer to that one.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: During the course of the study that Senator Dyck mentioned, it came out that — and it's interesting you mentioned Quebec — the chief who was responsible for fire protection in the province of Quebec on the reserves reported that there's no central depository of information with regard to fires: the causes, the responses and the value of the losses. Present at the same hearing was the chief of the fire department for the national capital, Ottawa, and he said the same thing exists nationally.
So I'm wondering: Would your government consider the establishment of a central depository or someone — I don't know what title you would put on the person — who would be responsible to accumulate that sort of information, to provide guidance for firefighting and to perhaps provide assistance for people when they're trying to determine what their insurance coverage should be and the equipment they should have? Would you consider that?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Senator, as I said, you keep talking about aspects related to training. That will surely be a focus of the investigation by the provincial fire and safety authorities. I'm sure you understand why I cannot comment.
Senator Moore: Just to follow up: I'm not asking you to comment — I understand — on the existing situation with regard to the loss of those two infants, but I would like to know whether you would consider putting in place an office that would house the information pertaining to losses by fire: the causes, the amount, the equipment that was available and what perhaps should be available. Would you consider that?
Senator Carignan: Senator, if you want, I invite you to send your suggestion to the minister in writing, given your obvious desire to improve fire prevention. We will continue to work with the communities and fire associations I mentioned earlier to focus on effective intervention with the appropriate equipment.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I have to inform the chamber that the time for Question Period has expired.
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 4-13(3), I would like to inform the Senate that as we proceed with Government Business, the Senate will address the items in the following order: Bill C-18, Bill C-47, then Motion No. 86 and Motion No. 82, followed by all remaining items in the order that they appear on the Order Paper.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Plett, seconded by the Honourable Senator Frum, for the third reading of Bill C-18, An Act to amend certain Acts relating to agriculture and agri-food.
Hon. Claudette Tardif: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak at third reading of Bill C-18, An Act to amend certain acts relating to agriculture and agri-food, better known as the agricultural growth act.
The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, of which I am a member, had the opportunity to hear from several witnesses during the study of Bill C-18. The stated purpose of this bill is to support innovation and increase access to international markets by modernizing Canadian standards so as to comply with the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants 1991, better known as UPOV 91.
The agricultural growth act is an omnibus bill. As I expressed in my remarks during second reading of this bill, this is a large and fairly technical piece of legislation and the sheer scope of Bill C-18 is an issue. By grouping together many different amendments to various existing legislation, bills cannot be debated in full and do not have the chance to be thoroughly examined as they should. It puts parliamentarians in a difficult situation, as they often agree with parts of the bill but are opposed to others, and are forced to vote for all of the changes at once.
Honourable colleagues, although Bill C-18 amends nine different acts, the vast majority of the discussion during the committee's study of this bill was on the subject of the proposed amendments to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act. We also heard some witnesses comment on changes to the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act and the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Penalties Act. Little to no discussion was held on changes to the Feeds Act, the Fertilizers Act, the Seeds Act, the Health of Animals Act, the Plant Protection Act and the Farm Debt Mediation Act.
Most witnesses agreed with the provisions of Bill C-18 and were in favour of this bill. They supported changes to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act which will align Canadian legislation with UPOV 91. They were optimistic that these changes would help facilitate trade and create innovation. They believe that farmers will have access to better plant varieties as the international community currently prohibits certain types of plant varieties from entering the Canadian market because of a lack of protection of intellectual property rights in the current Plant Breeders' Rights Act. On this matter, Rick White from the Canadian Canola Growers Association stated:
A number of the amendments contained in Bill C-18 are expected to foster innovation in agriculture and provide for more responsive government decision-making. In particular, we applaud the government for proposing changes to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act to bring Canada in line with UPOV 91, the international standard adopted by Canada's major competitors, while providing an exemption for farmers to save seed for use on their farm.
That having been said, no bill is ever perfect and there are always concerns. I can assure honourable senators that I asked every witness who came before the committee to comment on concerns they had identified or that were raised by other witnesses, or to clarify their understanding of the proposed legislation.
As I'm sure you would all agree, it is our role as senators to ensure that all voices and all different opinions on a bill are heard. Those voices include those of the minorities that we are here to protect. It does not matter how many people one group or organization represents. Whether a group has a membership of thousands or several hundred, every Canadian has a right to be heard.
I will outline some of the concerns that were raised during the committee's study of Bill C-18.
Contrary to what my honourable colleague Senator Plett stated while speaking at third reading last Thursday, there were four witnesses, not two, who did not support Bill C-18: Food Secure Canada, the author and researcher Devlin Kuyek, les AmiEs de la Terre de Québec and the National Farmers Union. In addition, a few of the groups or individuals who supported Bill C-18 had some reservations and two of these groups, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Canada Organic Trade Association, provided recommendations to improve the bill.
Last week, in response to a question by the Honourable Senator Bellemare, my colleague across the way said that the witnesses from the province of Quebec who came before the committee were all in favour of the bill. Allow me to quote Ms. Gagnon-Légaré, from Les AmiEs de la Terre de Québec. She said:
As far as the more general issue of adopting UPOV 91 is concerned, we have some very, very serious concerns at Les AmiEs de la Terre.
The main area of concern with Bill C-18 is the changes to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act, which gives breeders significantly more "rights" while giving farmers a "privilege." Although witnesses were generally pleased with the amendment moved by the government in the other place, which specified that farmers could stock and store seed for propagation purposes on their own holdings, some witnesses were concerned that the breeders were given exclusive rights to the potential detriment of the farmers' privilege. Bill C-18 empowers the government to modify the farmers' privilege on a case-by-case basis through regulations.
Through my questioning of the witnesses, it became apparent that most were unaware that the farmers' privilege could be restricted or revoked through regulation by the Governor-in-Council. In Bill C-18, the minister has the power to exempt, to change and to exclude. Although the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food assured the committee that he would not implement any regulation that would restrict the farmers' privilege without consultation, circumstances can change. The catch-all phrase appears to be, "Don't worry, we will consult."
Honourable senators, it is important that people who both agree and disagree with the government's view be consulted. This is something that this government has a lot of difficulty with. I do not question the minister's goodwill, but I am preoccupied with the fact that the farmers' privilege could be revoked or restricted through time.
During his testimony, Mr. Boehm from the National Farmers Union stated:
The breeder is given an extensive list of exclusive rights and the farmer a privilege, which is conditional and could be revoked.
Mr. Holmes from the Canada Organic Trade Association also expressed concerns. He stated:
— we are still concerned that the bill can introduce regulations that may withdraw or restrict the farmers' privilege on a crop-by-crop basis or for specific groups of farmers.
Many witnesses stated that they expected to be consulted for any regulatory change to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act. That is why I proposed an amendment to Bill C-18 to make it explicit that the Governor-in-Council may make regulations but only after consultation with the Plant Breeders' Rights Advisory Committee. This amendment would have guaranteed that the farmers' privilege would not be restricted or revoked through regulations without consultation with the Advisory Committee.
Honourable senators, the amendment I brought forward was a suggestion from one of the witnesses who testified before the committee. Unfortunately, members of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry on the government side voted against this amendment.
Another aspect of Bill C-18 that raises some concerns is the fact that it opens the door to a system of end-point royalties. This system would allow plant breeders to collect royalties on harvested material.
Currently, royalties are paid at the point of seed sale. Some witnesses, such as the National Farmers Union and the Canadian Organic Trade Association, criticized this system, which would further benefit large corporations. In a document submitted to the committee, the National Farmers Union explains that the fact that farmers have the explicit power under Bill C-18 to save and store their seed for propagation of the plant variety is a threat to the plant breeders' profit. The National Farmers Union said:
This interpretation further devalues the farmers' privilege in Section 5.3 (2) by simply moving the royalty collection point from the point of seed sale to the sale of the harvested crop.
Mr. Banack from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture said that in the event that end-point royalties are collected, the federation wants the government to engage in robust consultation to ensure that any such royalties are reasonable and supported by industry.
When he appeared before the committee, Mr. Holmes, from the Canada Organic Trade Association, who is concerned that this type of system penalizes farmers who choose to save their seeds, proposed that the committee pass an amendment providing that end-point royalties do not exceed royalties collected at the initial sale of seeds. This would protect organic farmers, who often must resort to this practice because of the low availability of organic seed.
That is why I moved two amendments addressing that issue. Also, there is no definition for the terms "end-point royalty" and "système de redevance de fin de chaîne" in the bill. Once again, these amendments were not accepted.
Another concern that was raised by some witnesses was that the government is relying too much on private funding to foster innovation in the agricultural industry. Professor Gray, an economics and biodiversity researcher from the University of Saskatchewan, provided the following explanation, and I quote:
— do not expect that Bill C-18 will create a cascade of private research investment into wheat, barley or similar open pollinated crops. . . .
There is a real danger that we could make a situation that's not great a lot worse if we actually withdraw more from public research before the private research is able to generate enough revenue.
Several witnesses, such as researcher Devlin Kuyek and representatives of Food Secure Canada, the National Farmers Union, AmiEs de la Terre de Québec and the Canada Organic Trade Association, all expressed their concerns regarding the privatization of research and development in agriculture in Canada. They believe that we should be wary of policies that restrict public funding of scientific research.
On this matter, Mr. Mooney from Food Secure Canada explained:
— I think we see a decline in innovation. When you have an oligopoly in the marketplace, you don't get a lot of innovation. There's no incentive to innovate. There's an incentive to advertise.
Therefore, the idea that the private sector will make up for the decrease in the number of public scientific studies conducted in Canada, as the government believes, has no merit. Devlin Kuyek, an agricultural researcher, said, and I quote:
The more royalties that are collected, the idea is that that will go into research and development, or plant breeding. I think that's a stretch. Again, most of these companies who will collect the royalties will be outside of Canada. They won't be doing plant breeding in Canada. To think that that would go into plant breeding in Canada is quite a stretch.
Furthermore, in order to protect their discoveries, private companies rarely share their studies and are even less willing to share their genetic products. Some witnesses pointed out that private studies are leading to a standardization of plant species, which is already starting to cause problems. Ms. Gagnon-Légaré, from Les AmiEs de la Terre de Québec, said:
. . . by adopting standard UPOV 91, Canada could . . . adversely [affect] the current level and the expansion of agricultural biodiversity.
I would like to turn my attention to changes in the Administrative Monetary Penalties Act. Mr. Dave Solverson, from the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, stated:
We're supportive of monetary penalties for abuse. . . . on any other animal cruelty thing, we believe a strong deterrence through fines is better than regulating the whole industry because of the bad acts of one or two, so we are supportive of a strong monetary deterrence.
However, Mr. Solverson did express some concern on the subject. He explained:
. . . we do have some concern with how this is implemented, more than with the authority granted in the proposed bill. . . . It is not clear that there will be a continuum within minor, serious and very serious. . . . This is down to implementation and is not something we have a suggestion for the committee to amend, but we did want to register this concern.
Although I realize that changes to section 4(2)(b) of the Agriculture and Agri-food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act only increase the maximum penalties allowed and not the minimum, I invite regulators to clearly outline the amount of penalties associated with different violations so that it is clear for all parties involved.
It is clear that the proposed changes to the Advance Payments Program are very much appreciated by the groups affected. I'm also in favour of a number of these changes. However, a comment that came up in testimony was that the current loan limit of $400,000 doesn't cover the real operating costs for farmers. Mr. Banack from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture explained that his operating costs were around $800,000 to $900,000. He also said that members of the federation were disappointed that the advance payments limit has not been increased since 2006.
Honourable senators, it is clear that, contrary to what my honourable colleague on the other side tried to portray, there are several concerns with Bill C-18. From the reduction in the funding of public research, the potential restrictions to farmers' privilege, the concerns with end-point royalties, the insecurities with the administration of monetary penalties and the insufficient Advance Payments Program limit, it is obvious that, although modernization of Canada's agricultural legislation is needed, we must ensure that a good and fair balance is achieved between the protection of our Canadian farmers and that of the plant breeders.
I proposed three amendments to Bill C-18 that would have dealt with some of the concerns raised by witnesses. The members of the committee on the other side chose to vote against all three amendments, without debate and without explanation.
In conclusion, despite the concerns identified by some witnesses, I do recognize that many elements of Bill C-18 are positive and that the bill has merit.
It will be important, however, to closely monitor the impact of this bill that allows for changes by order-in-council, strengthened ministerial powers and incorporation by reference without public debate or parliamentary oversight or consultation. The alignment of Canadian legislation with UPOV 91 will need to be monitored, as will the regulations that will come into force in upcoming years.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: 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.).
Hon. Paul E. McIntyre moved third reading of Bill C-47, An Act to correct certain anomalies, inconsistencies and errors and to deal with other matters of a non-controversial and uncomplicated nature in the Statutes of Canada and to repeal certain provisions that have expired, lapsed or otherwise ceased to have effect.
He said: Your Honour and honourable senators, as you may recall, I spoke on this bill at second reading on December 11 of last year, and Senator Baker eloquently spoke on February 3 of this year. Therefore, I do not intend to repeat all that has been said. In a nutshell — and Senator Baker made reference to it when he spoke on second reading — this bill has been studied in both the House of Commons Justice Committee and our Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Reports from both committees were tabled in their respective places, and the bill before us today is an amalgamation of both committee reports. The Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Program, which was established in 1975, is a periodic legislative exercise aimed at correcting anomalies, inconsistencies, archaic expressions and errors that have crept into federal statutes. It is also used to repeal federal statutes and provisions that have ceased to have effect.
Pursuant to the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Program, the proposed amendments cannot be controversial and cannot involve the spending of public funds.
Therefore, they cannot affect anyone's rights, create new offences or subject a new class of persons to an existing offence. Therefore, since an amendment must not be controversial, approval of each amendment requires the consensus of the committee. This means that if a single member of either committee objects to a proposed amendment, it will not be included in the bill. Both committees have completed their work, colleagues, and the Department of Justice has prepared a bill based on the reports of the two committees.
As with previous bills of this nature, the MSLA bill usually receives three readings in each house without debate, since the amendments have already been considered and approved by committees of both houses. I thank you, honourable senators, and look forward to an expedited passage of this bill.
(On motion of Senator Fraser, for Senator Baker, debate adjourned.).
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to notice of February 19, 2015, moved:
That, pursuant to rule 7-2, not more than a further six hours of debate be allocated for the consideration of motion No. 82 under "Government business", concerning security on Parliament Hill.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, before starting debate, let me note the special provisions governing Motion No. 86. First, the debate lasts a maximum of two and a half hours. Second, no amendments can be received. Neither the debate, nor the Senate, can adjourn until the motion is decided on. The leaders can each speak for 30 minutes and other senators for 10 minutes. Finally, if a standing vote is requested, the bells are for one hour unless there is a leave for shorter bells. The vote cannot be deferred.
On debate, the Honourable Senator Martin.
Senator Martin: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Motion No. 86, which states that pursuant to rule 7-2, not more than a further six hours of debate be allocated for the consideration of Motion No. 82 under "Government Business," concerning the necessity of a fully integrated security throughout the Parliamentary Precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill.
Motion No. 86 is a motion that will ensure an efficient and timely debate on Motion No. 82.
Motion No. 82 is an important government motion, identical to the one debated and adopted in the house on February 16.
The shocking attack on Parliament Hill on October 22, 2014, is already some months ago. While some honourable senators may argue that a notice of motion for Motion No. 82 was given in the Senate on February 5 and debate only began on February 17, the issue of security that the motion addresses certainly isn't a new one. The matter of security is of critical importance not only for parliamentarians but also for our staff and the public who frequent the Hill on a daily basis. Adoption of Motion No. 82 is a priority in light of the growing security threats, which we have unfortunately experienced first-hand already.
In our daily discussions, the deputy leader opposite and I have not been able to come to an agreement on the allocation of time for Motion No. 82. This motion to allocate a maximum of six hours of debate for Motion No. 82 is simply a step we are taking today to ensure an efficient and robust debate, as well as the adoption of Motion No. 82 in a timely manner.
Therefore, I urge all honourable senators to adopt Motion No. 86.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Your Honour, colleagues, once again the government is abusing the power it has under the rules to impose time allocation to cut off debate on government business. And I digress to say there is a report before the Senate that would give to the government the same power, which I could reasonably assume they would abuse in the same way, with respect to non-government business. So let's be careful about that. But we're dealing with government business here, and the government certainly has the right, in appropriate circumstances, to bring in time allocation to limit debate.
But there is absolutely no need for this motion at this time. There has been no obstruction, there has been no delay, there has been no reason why we couldn't have a reasoned debate on a very, very important issue — an issue we all agree is an important one, namely the issue of the security for ourselves as parliamentarians, for the people who work here and for the people who visit the Hill. This is very important, and the events of October 22 are, as Senator Martin said, indelibly imprinted in our minds, and the government has said that they are the impetus for this motion before us today.
When the government gave notice of the motion and then introduced it, we asked questions and we've asked for clarification and I think, to say the least, the responses from the government have been confusing. Indeed, today Senator White is reported in the press as saying, "Well, of course the RCMP will be reporting to the Commissioner of the RCMP."
Well that's central to the whole discussion we've had. And I think all of us have understood the fundamental importance of the separation of powers between the legislative branch and the executive branch. The government has attempted to reassure us that nothing in this motion will derogate in any way from the rights and privileges of Parliament and the rights and privileges of those of us who work here.
Therefore, I hope as we go forward that we are all agreed that that is absolutely fundamental to the mandate we are giving to our Speaker to negotiate on our behalf with the Speaker of the House of Commons and with the appropriate officials to put this new regime in place. But had the government been more forthcoming, had they offered a fuller explanation, had the motion been clearer in the first place, had they offered the clarifications that we asked for in the course of debate both on the point of order and on the main motion itself, then we would have been able to proceed to a vote on this last week.
The fundamental questions were asked after the events of October 22. The House of Commons commissioned the Ontario Provincial Police to study the role of its security personnel. The RCMP asked the OPP to look at their performance on that day, and we have had in place for some time a joint House of Commons-Senate Security Advisory Committee co-chaired by Senator White and Speaker Scheer. They were, as we know, carrying out their responsibilities. They went to Washington to see how the those in Washington handle security in a bicameral legislative environment and they were obviously looking at other alternatives. But without allowing those processes, which were the right processes, to proceed to a logical conclusion so that we would have the informed recommendations of their work, the government rushed in and proposed this motion without apparently any consultation with any parliamentarian other than the Prime Minister.
Had the proper process been followed and had we been assured that the alternatives, whatever they were, had been properly explored and examined and compared, and then told that this was a recommendation from the joint committee on security, then we could have proceeded with some confidence to vote on this motion last week. But even apart from that, there has been no delay, there has been no threat of any delay, there has been no obstruction on the part of anybody on this side of the house, and I want the record to show that.
For that reason, we feel this motion is unnecessary and it is premature for the government to abuse the power which it has to divert us from the issue which ought to be before us, which is that fundamental issue of the separation of powers.
I hope that as we conclude this debate, as we proceed to a vote, we are as one in this house in making it absolutely clear that the security of the Parliamentary Precinct must be under the control of the houses of Parliament and it cannot be under the control of a person who reports to the Government of Canada. There is a difference between the Parliament of Canada and the Government of Canada.
The houses of Parliament have to control the Parliamentary Precinct, and, as I've reread the discussions that have taken place here, I don't think anybody is disputing that basic principle. I hope that the current Speaker will be our Speaker who will be negotiating on our behalf with his colleague, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and with the appropriate officials of the RCMP to come to a service agreement that will unify the security forces, will enhance the security for parliamentarians, for those who work on Parliament Hill and those who visit Parliament Hill. But I also hope that the ultimate control, the ultimate direction of what takes place next will rest with Parliament as represented by our Speakers. I hope and it is my understanding that the intention is that the joint security committee will in some way remain in force as an advisory body to our Speakers.
I would like to point out in conclusion just one difference, one nuance between the situation as I understand it in the House of Commons and the situation here. Here the issue of the control of the Parliamentary Precinct is vested in our Committee on Internal Economy. In the House of Commons, it's my understanding that that power is vested in the Speaker of the House of Commons. Here, our Speaker chairs our Committee on Internal Economy, so that it really is in his capacity as chair of that committee that he will be negotiating on our behalf, although he also has that role as the representative of our institution as our Speaker.
I hope colleagues are, as I say, of one mind, of one understanding of the importance and the acceptance of that fundamental separation of powers, and the responsibility for the security of the Parliamentary Precinct will be under the ultimate authority of parliamentarians and not of the Commissioner of the RCMP.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, which Senator Joyal referred to in debate last week, clearly spells out that the Commissioner of the RCMP reports to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. How the government will reconcile that clear statutory authority with what all of us agree must be the underlying principle of the service agreement, we'll leave for them to decide. We raised a point of order last week to draw the attention of colleagues and that of the Speaker to the fact that clear provisions in the Parliament of Canada Act and in the RCMP Act have to be dealt with. We suggested they could not be dealt with by way of a motion in the Senate or the House of Commons, but rather by way of amendment.
With those remarks, colleagues, I regret very much that the government has found it necessary to introduce this totally unnecessary closure of our debate. I would much prefer that we were talking about the merits of the motion before the Senate so we could proceed in an orderly manner, as we were, to vote on it.
Hon. Larry W. Campbell: Honourable senators, it is sincerely my hope that before I leave this place I won't be hearing "timely and efficient" again and again from the government side. It sort of denotes that somehow we're untimely and inefficient, but I have yet to see that instance in this chamber. I've yet to see the day when this side stands up and tries to stop something that obviously is going to go ahead. Why would you think that we would delay or why would we deny? Do I look suicidal? This motion deals with us, with the public and with our staff. It deals with our safety. Unfortunately, I wasn't here on October 22 as I was in a much safer place, Ukraine.
Surely to God we cannot be saying that anybody here is not interested in the health and security of this place. We immediately struck a committee. We immediately started work on it. In less than four months, we armed a whole security guard. We brought in the RCMP outside the gates. We set up outside perimeters. There are things going on here that you don't know anything about but that are ongoing to protect us as a government. Yet, we are accused of not being timely and not being efficient.
The genesis of having a single security force on the Hill came as the result of this committee finally, after years and years — as pointed out by both sides — of ignoring the fact that we should have not two separate security forces but one security force. You can't imagine how the hair went up on the back of my neck when I first realized that the Prime Minister was actually transferred from the RCMP to security on the other side. I have no idea how that came about, but if there is a more dangerous position to put somebody in, I would be hard pressed to see it. Yet, we don't see that anymore.
We hear there's a growing security threat. Will somebody please tell me where this threat is? Is it some deranged, psychotic, cocaine-addicted human being who gets a gun — and we won't get into the long-gun registry — and comes to the Hill? Do we honestly believe that this guy was tied to ISIS or to any other terrorist organization? The commissioner says that he has a movie that could help us on that. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, we haven't been able to see it; and we should be able to see it before we start getting into what we're going on about here.
I wish somebody on the other side would articulate the security threat. If you could articulate that security threat to me, and it was so dire and so imminent, then we wouldn't even be having this argument. We wouldn't even be having this discussion. We would be moving forward, as we did immediately after that incident.
There are some myths going around out there. I have no idea where this 45-minute lockdown delay between the other side and us came about. Everyone I talked to said there was no delay. Shots were fired and we were locked down. Now, there may be some interpretation of exactly what a lockdown means to a civilian, but I'm telling you that when shots are fired and the police say "stay in this room and don't leave," you're locked down. You're not going anywhere. This is just another bit of intrigue or maybe even misstatement that we hear here and just accept, as we just accept the imminent threat.
Has the government lost confidence in our committee? Has the government lost confidence in the subcommittee on security that's moving ahead? If you've lost confidence, just tell us and we'll go away. I love hanging out with them, but I can do other things. I can find other things to do. Just tell us. Don't give us something and then disregard it and go on. The last time we did this — took something from a subcommittee and didn't act on it — we got the Auditor General.
I beg of you to think about this. We're not going to stand in your way. Let's get a debate going. Let's start talking about it. Let's get it to committee. Let's figure out where we're going. For God's sake, stop using the sledgehammer every time you feel like it. It belittles you as a government. It shows somehow that you're having a little bit of anxiety, but about what, I don't know. I can count, honourable senators; you win, I know it, but don't embarrass us by doing this. Don't embarrass us by continually saying this. At least start the bill and see what's going on.
Hon. Elaine McCoy: Honourable senators, I too get up to speak against the closure motion on principle. As my colleagues have said over and over, there's no decent reason to restrict debate on any issue of importance. Certainly, there was no indication that debate on the main motion would take too long.
I did get up to say that I would move an amendment and ask that it be passed. This motion would have the effect of preventing that subamendment. One wonders if the trigger for bringing closure would be to deny yet another suggestion for an improvement on a motion, which is merely another excuse for closure.
Whenever you close down ideas and close down debate, you have to understand that you're dealing with an intellectual bully — someone who's bankrupt in terms of the confidence to allow full discussion of alternatives and options before settling on one that appears to have optimum benefits.
On principle, I speak against the closure motion.
I too am a strong advocate of the principle of separation of the legislative and executive branches; and the principle of the Senate and the House of Commons maintaining full authority over their precinct, procedures and ongoing processes. Motion No. 82 is not clear, in my view, as to preserving that most important privilege and responsibility for the Senate and the House of Commons.
The amendment on the table in respect of reporting to the two Speakers of the two houses goes some distance and meets the intent as laid out in debate and is clear as to why that mention was put forward. I would have gone further and added the words "under the sole authority of the two houses," which would clarify. We haven't forgotten, I trust, that the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been told by his political master, the Minister of Public Safety, that he must not meet with anybody without the minister's approval. You remember that.
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
Senator McCoy: That order hasn't been rescinded, nor, to my shock and horror, has the commissioner indicated that he would stand on the traditions of his office and demand that he be allowed to conduct his job with integrity and without political interference. If that gives you any confidence in the Commissioner of the RCMP or in the entire force, then I urge you to think again. That is not the kind of confidence that I would have that would allow me to rest assured that that agency would do what it needs to do in the full preservation of the authority of the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada.
I will leave my remarks at that, for the moment, and I will speak again on debate on Motion No. 82.
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I want to address a point that might sound legalistic to some of you, but in reality, if we want to be effective, as the Deputy Leader of the Government has mentioned, we have to understand very well what the text means.
I would like you to take the text of Motion 82 and read it again. What does it say? Bear importance to each and every word. It says:
. . . and call on the Speaker, . . . to invite, without delay, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to lead operational security . . . while respecting the privileges, immunities and powers of the respective Houses . . . .
I underline what it says: "call on the Speaker, . . . to invite, without delay."
That doesn't mean that the Speaker will have to oversee the RCMP once the RCMP is in. If you read the French text, it says:
. . . qu'il demande, sans délai, au Président, . . . d'inviter la Gendarmerie royale du Canada à diriger la sécurité opérationnelle . . .
I paused a second and I said to myself, "What is the status of the Speaker of the Senate versus the status of the Speaker of the House of Commons?" It's quite clear that the author, the drafter of that motion, was thinking of the other side because if you look into the Parliament of Canada Act and ask yourself about the status of the Speaker in the other place, section 50 of the act governs it. I would like to quote it because, in my opinion, it's quite clear. Section 50 of the Parliament of Canada Act is entitled "Establishment and Organization" and deals with the Board of Internal Economy. Subsection 50(1) states:
There shall be a Board of Internal Economy of the House of Commons, in this section and sections 51 and 53 referred to as "the Board" —
— and the important thing —
— over which the Speaker of the House of Commons shall preside.
So in the other place, the Speaker is really, to put it in simple terms, the boss. He's the guy who runs the place, if you read subsection 50(2). And subsection (4):
The Speaker shall inform the House of Commons of any appointment made to the Board . . . .
In other words, he's the one who manages the membership of the Board.
Further on, in subsection 52.1(1):
Where the Speaker deems that there is an emergency, the Speaker may exercise any power of the Board.
It's even more compelling. He's the board, more or less. In any emergency situation, he doesn't even have to take the initiative of calling the board. He is the ruler. He is the boss. He makes the decision, and once the decision has been taken:
(2) The Speaker shall report to the Board any decision made under subsection (1) at the meeting of the Board immediately following the decision.
In other words, this motion to call on the RCMP to lead the security falls very rationally under the concept of the other place.
But insofar as our Speaker is concerned, there's no comparison at all. If you take the Rules of the Senate, what does it say about the status of our Speaker? Rule 2-1(1) states:
The Speaker shall:
(a) preside over the proceedings of the Senate;
He presides over the proceedings of the Senate, as Mr. Speaker sits in the chair. The Speaker shall also:
(b) rule on points of order, the prima facie merits of questions of privilege and requests for emergency debates; and
(c) preserve order and decorum.
That's the status of our Speaker.
Our Speaker doesn't have any administrative responsibility per se. Why? It's for a very simple reason. It is because our Speaker, according to the Constitution, is a government appointee. I will read section 34:
The Governor General may from Time to Time, by Instrument under the Great Seal of Canada, appoint a Senator to be Speaker of the Senate, and may remove him and appoint another in his Stead.
So our Speaker, being a government appointee, doesn't have the responsibility of the administration of this place because the administration of this place rests with us.
That's what the Parliament of Canada Act says in section 19. Subsection 19.1(1) says very clearly:
In this section and section 19.2 to 19.9, "Committee" means the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets, and Administration established by the Senate under its rules.
It is the Internal Economy Committee appointed by us — again, appointed by us, not by the government — that has the sole responsibility to administer this place. That's why, for most of the time, the Chair of Internal Economy has been a senator. In the past, it was our esteemed colleague Senator Tkachuk. Senator Kinsella was appointed Chair of Internal Economy, only in the last part of his term. Honourable Senator Nolin is now Chair of Internal Economy. But that has nothing to do with the status of the Speaker. Nowhere in the rules or the Parliament of Canada Act or the Constitution does it say that the administration of this place is in the hands of the Speaker.
This motion, as much as it calls on the Speaker to invite — it's worth the time that this motion lasts. But if I would be the RCMP representative, I would say, "Show me the boss. Who is the boss in this place? I want to negotiate." It won't be the Speaker. Once this motion is adopted as it is written, once the Speaker has called on the RCMP to lead security, then this is it. This motion's text doesn't invest the Speaker with any additional responsibility to look after the security of this place. It's still with the Board of Internal Economy.
Senator Moore: Yes, it is.
Senator Joyal: So if we adopt this motion and we ask our Speaker to call upon the police and the RCMP and the Speaker does so to give way to the substance of this motion, then this is it. The Speaker has no more responsibility. The RCMP can say, "I don't want to see the Speaker; I want to see the Board of Internal Economy," because there is nothing that says that in the future the Speaker will remain as the Chair of Internal Economy, unless we want to amend the Rules of the Senate — I'm looking again at Senator Tkachuk — or the Parliament of Canada Act and we provide that the Chair of Internal Economy is the Speaker.
With this motion, honourable senators, as it is written, there is an open gap for the future. There is an open gap in the immediate term and an open gap in the future because in the immediate term the Speaker has only one responsibility — to invite the RCMP.
Senator Moore: That's it.
Senator Joyal: And once it's done, that's it. It seems to me the amendments introduced by Senator Cowan ask the RCMP to report to the Speaker, and "to report to" means to be responsible to in legal text. To report to somebody means to be responsible to. This amendment is essential, in my opinion, if we want the Speaker to continue to exercise his responsibility insofar as this Parliament lasts. The life of this motion is as long as this Parliament lasts. So once it's over, when we have a new Parliament, if the honourable Speaker is not the chair of the Internal Economy Committee, all the responsibility in relation to the management of security will still be in the hands of the Internal Economy Committee. I think it's proper to do it that way. Why? Because when it is within the hands of the Internal Economy Committee, it remains within the hands of all honourable senators. Why? Because our Speaker is appointed by the executive government and can be removed at the will of the executive government. This is the law of the land as it stands now, honourable senators.
Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I have found myself so often saying, "Here we go again; what's the rush?" Well, here we go again; what's the rush?
This motion to allocate time for the debate on Motion No. 82 is either unnecessary or actively bad. Either way, it does not deserve our support. I think primarily it's unnecessary. As various speakers have pointed out, we already have a subcommittee of the Internal Economy Committee that was composed of very knowledgeable people to begin with and who have been doing very careful, thorough work to study what should be done and, equally important, what should not be done in terms of security on Parliament Hill. It's a joint committee, and I have great respect for its members. They are in a better position than anyone else to know what should or should not be done about security on the Hill because that's the work they've been doing.
So this motion, which arrived out of the clear blue sky one fine morning, is unnecessary. We should trust the people we are already trusting to do the work.
However, the alternative view of this motion is that it is actively bad. Let me give you my reasoning on that. If, for some reason that certainly escapes me, the adoption of this motion is somehow necessary for changes to be made in the way we handle security on the Hill, that is all the more reason not to rush things, not to bring in a guillotine on debate. Because if this motion is necessary to achieve change, then this Senate should know what it is being asked to do with this motion. And we know so little. We know so little.
There has been some discussion about the role of the Speakers, and in particular the role of our Speaker. Much of that discussion has tended to create confusion, in my view, rather than clarity. Let me just read to you some of the things that Senator Carignan said in his speech on the main motion last week.
. . . it is important to note that this motion specifies that the new roles and responsibilities should be coordinated through the Speakers' offices. The Speakers will maintain the separation of parliamentary powers and so on.
Well, the motion doesn't actually say that. The motion, following on the arguments advanced by Senator Joyal, calls on the Speaker in coordination with his counterpart in the House of Commons to invite without delay the RCMP to lead operational security throughout the Hill and in the buildings. Note that Senator Carignan said that the motion specifies that the new roles and responsibilities should be coordinated through the Speakers' offices, but the actual motion calls for coordination only of the original invitation. It doesn't say a word about the roles of the Speakers after the invitation has been issued. I think that's an important omission, and for some reason, we've already seen a vote in the other place where the government refused to accept an amendment to clarify the ongoing role of the Speakers. We have an amendment before us proposed by Senator Cowan that would make a similar clarification to the Senate motion. How shall I say this? I'm not optimistic that the government will accept that amendment, either. Do you think I'm being too cynical here?
Senator Cowan: You're wavering.
Senator Fraser: Well, we can try.
The other thing Senator Carignan said was that we have a plan to deploy the new security measures over the next few months. Who are "we"? Certainly, our Internal Economy Committee has not, to the best of my knowledge, been given information about such a broad plan. They have, thanks to the work of that special committee, made changes, but this statement by Senator Carignan says that "we" — whoever "we" are — have a plan to deploy the new security measures over the next few months.
Wouldn't it be nice if someone were to tell this Senate, which is being asked to vote on this matter, what that plan consisted of before we were asked to vote on it? Wouldn't that be revolutionary?
In his speech last week, Senator Dagenais said, and I'm quoting from the English translation — forgive me, Senator Dagenais, it happens to be the one that's on my desk:
Some of us who have experience in security were consulted, and the motion from the Leader of the Government is in line with our expectations.
It quickly became evident that it was unavoidable to make the RCMP responsible for all security operations. This was the path we had to take to maximize effectiveness.
"Some of us who have experience" — I don't know who they were, apart from Senator Dagenais himself. I have yet to see any evidence, and I have yet to hear any persuasive argument that it was "unavoidable to make the RCMP responsible for all security operations." Surely the time to advance the evidence of that unavoidability is now. But no, that would take time. That wouldn't be timely or efficient. We have to vote for a pig in a poke. We don't know what we're being asked to vote on. We don't know because we haven't had time to learn whether this motion, had it been in effect before October 27, would have made a scintilla of difference to the events of that tragic day.
What we should have done, instead of bringing down the guillotine and ramming this motion through, was send it back to a committee. Normally we don't send motions to committees, but we could do it on something this important to examine precisely what it is that the Senate is being asked to vote on, to agree on. We have no such opportunity.
One more time, and even more seriously than usual, we are being asked to vote on a motion whose implications we cannot understand because we do not have any evidence or really any of the reasoning on which this motion is based because we must be timely and efficient. It is not efficient to vote for something that you don't understand and that has possibly vast ramifications. That is not the way a Parliament should operate, and it's certainly not the way a Parliament should operate in the case of something as important as the issues presumably addressed by this motion.
I would urge honourable senators to vote against time allocation.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: I have a little problem because I was not aware that we only had ten minutes, so I prepared my usual speech. Perhaps, colleagues, I will read as much of it as I can with my time and then I will use the rest on the next speech. That will preserve it.
Honourable senators, I rise to speak in opposition to Deputy Leader Senator Martin's motion of today, pursuant to Senate Rule 7-2. Her time allocation motion will limit and terminate debate on Senator Carignan's February 17 motion to unite Senate and House of Commons protective forces. Time allocation, and all closure motions, are unsatisfactory and displeasing. On principle, I assert that motions that unnecessarily abrogate and terminate Senate debate are undesirable, objectionable, and always liable to my opposition. Closure, in any and all of its forms, should be used rarely, in extreme cases, and only by necessity; never in debates that have barely begun. Never to be used on a whim, they must be moved only by ministers of the Crown, of whom there are none in this Senate. I repeat: Time allocation motions are supposed to be moved only by ministers of the Crown. There are none here.
Honourable senators, closure procedures need some explanation. Chapter 12 of Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, sixth edition, is so dedicated. Titled "Closure, The Previous Question, Time Limits on Speeches, and Time," its paragraph 519.(1) states, at page 159:
Closure is a method of procedure which brings debate to a conclusion and enables the House to secure a decision upon the subject under discussion. Closure was introduced as a rule to the Standing Orders in 1913.
Remember this book is about our Commons House. Paragraph 518 informs:
The closure rule in Standing Order 57 permits a Minister to move a motion intended to bring debate on any question to an end with the House deciding that question under consideration. The "previous question" may be moved by any Member, pursuant to Standing Order 61(1), to attempt to preclude the moving of amendments to the question then before the House. . . . When considering bills, a Minister, pursuant to Standing Order 78, may bring forward a motion to allocate specified amounts of time to various stages of a bill.
Honourable senators, as I said, there are no government members here, no ministers of the Crown in this place. Consequently, there are no personnel here who have the power to make an item a government measure, and government business. Only a minister credentialed and appointed by our sovereign can do this.
If adopted, Senator Martin's Rule 7-2, closure motion, will abrogate and limit to six hours, the scant debate on private member Senator Carignan's motion. He is a private member. On the Order Paper, this will be listed as an order of the day under the rubric "Government Motions." But it is clear and well-established law, that the closure procedure may only be used by ministers of the Crown, which Senators Carignan and Martin are not. As all of us, they are private members, who at best may be described as government supporters, but they are not members of her Majesty's government. This has created huge difficulties for the Senate. I wish the Prime Minister would resolve these difficulties, and recommend our worthy colleague Senator Carignan to the Governor General for ministerial appointment, thereby resolving this legal and constitutional grey zone in which the Senate has been compelled to function for the last many years. This is not good.
Honourable senators, our books of authorities agree that only government members, ministers of the Crown, may lead the two houses of parliament, and may move such measures. As I said, there is no such a member here. No senator here is a member of the cabinet and government. Senators Carignan and Martin, both good people, are not ministers. The result is that no senator here is authorized or credentialed by our sovereign to move such motions. The Senate is perpetually in a legal bind. Our Senate rules prescribe that the government has priority in and over Senate business. Senate Rule 4-13.(1) states:
Except as otherwise provided, Government Business shall have priority over all other business before the Senate.
I am probably the only person left here — I think Senator Tkachuk did as well — who voted on that rule in 1991.
This rule, on government business priority, was only adopted in 1991. Then, and for many decades before, our constitutional regime and practice presupposed, for sound constitutional and parliamentary reasons, the understanding that the Government Leader in the Senate must be a minister of the Crown.
Honourable senators, I shall review the conditions for ministers to access these closure motions. Josef Redlich wrote on this closure and its origins, begun in 1881 by then-British Prime Minister William Gladstone, to respond to an unprecedented and large Irish obstruction in the House of Commons on the Coercion Bill. I shall cite Mr. Redlich in his 1903 three volume work, The Procedure of the House of Commons. In Volume 1, Chapter 3, titled, "The Urgency Procedure and the Introduction of Closure 1881-1888," Mr. Redlich wrote, at page 164:
The resolution brought in by Mr. Gladstone with the object of preventing further Irish obstruction upon the Coercion bill is one of the most remarkable documents in English parliamentary history. Its contents may be characterised in one word. It proclaimed a parliamentary state of siege and introduced a dictatorship into the House of Commons. The new rule, called for shortness, the urgency rule, reads as follows:
That, if upon notice given a motion be made by a minister of the Crown that the state of public business is urgent, upon which motion such minister shall declare in his place that any bill, motion, or other question then before the House is urgent, and that it is of importance to the public interest that the same should be proceeded with without delay . . .
There are three prerequisites to the use of time allocation motions, none of which apply in these instances. I repeat: These three prerequisites for the proper use of closure procedures do not apply to Senator Carignan's measure. Closure may be moved only by a minister of the Crown, on a government measure or bill, and only for an urgent and pressing need, which is that of the public interest. The books of authorities agree on these three pre-conditions, particularly that of the minister of the Crown.
Honourable senators, Senator Carignan's measure cannot be assisted here by the closure and time allocation process of Rule 4-13.(1). This Rule gave government business priority over all Senate business, and was adopted in 1991 largely on the premise that the Senate government leader would always be a member of the government. I voted on all of that.
In short, a minister of the Crown would always be a member of the Senate. Senator Carignan, dear, good man that he is, is a private member in this place, not a minister. He has no power from Her Majesty to move a government measure in this place.
Alpheus Todd explains that the parliamentary reason for Crown ministers' membership in the two houses, which is their embodiment of the monarch, the sovereign's authority. The legislative role of the Queen, the sovereign in the two houses of parliament, is now executed by the membership of Crown ministers in parliament's two houses. In 1869's, On Parliamentary Government in England, Volume I, Mr. Todd wrote, at page 2:
It is the distinguishing feature of parliamentary government that it requires the powers belonging to the Crown to be exercised through ministers, who are held responsible for the manner in which they are used, who are expected to be members of the two Houses of Parliament, the proceedings of which they must be able generally to guide, and who are considered entitled to hold their offices only while they possess the confidence of Parliament, and more especially of the House of Commons.
That the Leader of the Government in the Senate must be a Crown minister is a distinguishing feature of parliamentary and responsible government. Mr. Todd, in Volume II of the same work, with the margin heading "Legislative Rights of the Crown," informs at page 316:
Since the establishment of parliamentary government, the Crown has ceased to exercise its undoubted prerogatives, as an essential part of the legislature, by the direct and personal intervention of the sovereign. Its legislative powers are now effectually put forth in both Houses, and especially in the House of Commons, by means of responsible ministers, who, availing, themselves of the influence which they possess as members of Parliament, serve as the mouthpiece and representatives therein of the monarchical element in our constitution. Contemporaneously with the introduction into our political system of the constitutional usage whereby the sovereign abstains from exercising direct and external authority over the Houses of Parliament, in matters of legislation, we find the modern machinery for the control of business in Parliament on behalf of the Crown coming into play.
Honourable senators, I come now to the vital fact that Senator Carignan's motion to unite the two parliament house's protective and defensive staffs needs a Royal Consent to be debated here by us. This Royal Consent may only be signified here by a Crown minister.
This absence of a minister in the Senate is a constant problem. The Royal Consent is required here to permit debate on anything that affects or touches Her Majesty's prerogatives, as the third constituent of parliament, and as its head.
The Governor General, as chief commander of all our land and sea forces, and as the power source for all peace officers, police forces, holds an important role in the defence of her parliament, and its environments. So does the Queen's and the Governor General's man, the Senate gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, an officeholder by letters patent, always well trained in the defence and protective arts.
Canada's whole defence and protection is contained in the ancient common law phrase, pacem domini regis, the peace of the lord king, now the peace of our sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth II. Our sovereign queen is the head of Parliament, described as caput, principium, et finis, that is the head, the beginning and the end. We must be mindful that privileges, lex privilegia, are the words chosen to express the queen's prerogatives that are delegated to chosen officeholders, for example, judges' privileges. Our privileges are derived of the king's royal prerogative, the lex prerogativa. The Royal Consent, like the Royal Recommendation, is required before a minister can move his measure, but in this Senate, it must be signified by a minister.
Honourable senators, about the royal consent, Beauchesne's Rules & Forms of the House of Commons of Canada, 6th Edition, says, at paragraph 727.(1):
727.(1) The consent of the Crown is always necessary in matters involving the prerogatives of the Crown. . . . This consent may be given by a special message or by a verbal statement by a Minister,. . . . if the consent be withheld, the Speaker has no alternative open except to withdraw the measure.
On the prior signification of the royal consent and the royal recommendation, Alpheus Todd, in his already cited, Volume II, wrote at page 317:
Thenceforth, the rules of Parliament, which prohibit the introduction of a Bill to appropriate any portion of the public revenue, except at the recommendation of the crown, through a responsible minister, and which require the consent of the crown before either House can agree to a Bill affecting the royal prerogative — together with the admitted right of ministers, so long as they retain the confidence of the House of Commons, to regulate the course of public business — have secured the rights of the sovereign, as a constituent part of the legislative body, as unmistakably, if not more effectually than by the direct interposition of a personal veto. `The authority of the crown in England,' says Lord Derby, `does not depend upon the veto which her Majesty theoretically possesses to impose upon Acts of Parliament after they have passed, but upon the right and proper influence which she exercises over her ministers, and through them, over both branches of the legislature, which gives her the opportunity of exercising her judgment upon measures before they have been submitted to Parliament, not after they have received its assent.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Cools, unfortunately your 10 minutes have run out.
Senator Cools: It would concern Senator Carignan very deeply.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The rules are clear in this case that there are only 10 minutes allocated.
Senator Cools: The whole motion is unfair.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I hadn't intended to speak on this particular matter, rather leaving it to our leadership to make our comments, but I did the same thing on another motion.
I said there are a lot of questions going around in my head, and there were a lot of questions going around when I saw a motion to invite the Auditor General in here. I didn't speak, and I wish I had because I could have at least had on record some of the questions that I had. As chair of the Finance Committee, I had a different type of relationship with the Auditor General. I knew that we had the Auditor General look at our systems two years prior to inviting him back in, and I knew that we had outside auditors as well. Those were all questions going around and now, not having dealt with that motion as a group to the extent we should have, and dealing with that action to the extent we should have, we didn't define how the Auditor General should work in this very different environment from the normal type of environment that the Auditor General is responsible for.
We're all suffering the results of that lack of action now. There are countless hours of energy that have been spent by our staff and by us that could have gone into doing things senators should be doing for the people of Canada, which we are putting into this exercise by the Auditor General, who is defining what we should be doing. That is because we allowed ourselves to be rushed into a situation thinking that's the best panacea, get it off the deck, get it off the table, the Auditor General is now looking into it, we don't have to debate it any more.
Are we not in a parallel situation here? By bringing closure, are we not doing exactly the same thing? Senator Joyal just raised a very interesting legal analysis that we should all have some time to think about it. Maybe he's right, maybe he's not, but thank goodness we have it on record.
I'm concerned that perhaps this motion is not the right way to deal with this particular type of situation. If we want to bring the RCMP in, are they the best organization to do that? Do we need to change the RCMP Act, because that's not going to be federal policing when they're acting as security here on Parliament Hill? Do we need to change the Parliament of Canada Act? If we do, and as Senator Campbell said earlier, then shouldn't we get on with this and have committee hearings in the way we do things so well?
Bring in experts who can help us with respect to divisions of power within Parliament, who are familiar with parliamentary procedure and can help us from the point of what amendments, if any, might be necessary. Bring in experts on policing that can help us with respect to whether the RCMP is the best body, with all of the other challenges that the RCMP has now, including financing and adjusting to the 21st century. They have huge governance problems and those of us on committees studying the RCMP know that. Is this the right time to give them another type of activity that doesn't fit into their normal activity? Are we just trying to push this thing off the table?
Why, after one or two speeches, are we saying we've got to move this thing along? What happens if we don't get this motion passed until next Friday or the Friday afterwards? What's the deadline? Are we trying to follow the House of Commons and their closure, their guillotine action, and say we have to do the same thing so that the Prime Minister can then say, "I've got two motions here, ladies and gentlemen. Let's go to an election based on these two motions, I've looked after things." This is not the responsibility that we have as parliamentarians in the Senate.
We accept the privileges of being senators, and we have to accept the responsibilities. The huge responsibility that we have is to preserve this institution, preserve what has been built over almost 150 years. We've had some fine tuning, but it has worked well, and we take that from the time we're appointed here until we leave to build on that, to protect it, to improve upon it. Is closure on a motion that maybe shouldn't even be a motion, which doesn't allow us to study this, doesn't allow debate, doesn't allow any sort of in-depth thought, meeting our responsibilities as senators to protect this institution on something as fundamental as security?
I say no.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Given that I see no further senators are rising on debate, is the chamber ready for the question?
Some Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
Some Hon. Senators: No.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, all those who are in favour of motion can you signify by saying "yea"?
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those that are opposed to the motion can you signify by saying "nay"?
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: In my opinion, the "yeas" have it.
And two honourable senators having risen:
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I see two honourable senators rising.
Hon. Elizabeth (Beth) Marshall: Thirty minutes?
Hon. Jim Munson: Thirty minutes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, we have agreement for a 30-minute bell. Thus, we will call the vote for 4:49 p.m.
Call in the senators.
Motion agreed to on the following division:
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Marshall:
That the Senate, following the terrorist attack of October 22, 2014, recognize the necessity of fully integrated security throughout the Parliamentary precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill, as recommended by the Auditor General in his 2012 report and as exists in other peer legislatures; and call on the Speaker, in coordination with his counterpart in the House of Commons, to invite, without delay, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to lead operational security throughout the Parliamentary precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill, while respecting the privileges, immunities and powers of the respective Houses, and ensuring the continued employment of our existing and respected Parliamentary Security staff;
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Cowan, seconded by the Honourable Senator Fraser, that this motion be not now adopted, but that it be amended by inserting immediately before the words "while respecting the privileges, immunities and powers of the respective Houses" the words "reporting to the two Speakers", so that this portion of the motion would read: "to invite, without delay, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to lead operational security throughout the Parliamentary precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill, reporting to the two Speakers, while respecting the privileges, immunities and powers of the respective Houses. . .".
Hon. Elaine McCoy: Thank you, honourable senators. I wish to urge senators to adopt the motion, as amended. At the very least, even though the amendment doesn't go all the way to clarify, it does give a better indication that the Senate will continue to take on full responsibility for itself, as will the House of Commons.
We had chapter and verse, very ably recited by Senator Joyal, as to what our responsibilities are historically, legislatively and constitutionally in Canada, and we should undertake to fulfill our responsibilities in the manner prescribed for us.
I also want to speak today to the motion itself, the concept of inviting the RCMP to take control of security of the Parliamentary Precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill.
The Leader of the Government in the Senate the other day asked us to imagine what might have happened if the RCMP had been in control when Greenpeace rappelled off the House of Commons, inferring that had they been in control that would not have happened.
Well, since that occurred — which as you know was a publicity stunt — look what has happened. Somebody with security in mind spent hundreds of thousands of dollars putting new fences around Parliament Hill, installing bollards so that no vehicles could come in without control and putting in three lanes of barricades, the likes of which I haven't seen since I watched a James Bond movie and saw some kind of border control of an Iron Curtain country.
We now have to come through this barricade. Even when I say, "It's Senator McCoy coming through," the RCMP officer insists on opening the trunk of the car. Whether he expects to see some kind of dwarf ninja secreted there, I don't know. Then we get onto the Hill, and we see at least twice as many, if not three times as many, RCMP cruisers parked and sometimes patrolling around, and they've locked the doors to the buildings themselves.
All of this in response to a publicity stunt, rappelling down the side of West Block, all in charge of the RCMP. And what happens? The first real threat to anyone's security is when a gunman gets on the Hill and into the building and shoots live ammunition. Who brings him down? One of our own; the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons.
I'm told the man with the gun was within hand's reach of the RCMP. He ran right by them. They stood there with their mouths open or some equally useless operational response and then scampered after him into Centre Block where parliamentary security was dealing with the issue.
What was the state of communications? It was confusing and wrong. For the longest time, we thought there were two gunmen. It was chaos.
This is not what you would call a confidence-building precedent in which to rest our trust for the security of the Parliamentary Precinct and Parliament Hill. If I thought that this was a one-off with the RCMP, I might have greater confidence, but it's been like this for 10 years. Ten years ago there was Mayerthorpe in the province of Alberta, where RCMP officers lost their lives because they had inadequate procedures in place to deal with a potentially lethal risk. They operated within standard operating procedures for the time, but those SOPs, as they're known, were inadequate.
You'd think if that was 10 years ago, they would have learned better. Then you think, how did they handle the so-called security threat at the airport in Vancouver? They totally misread it, totally misread the Polish émigré. They tased him to death. Dziekanski was dead on arrival. Not only that, just last week one of the police officers was finally convicted of lying under oath about the incident. Wonderful.
The RCMP that we used to have so much confidence in. It was yet another operational incident in which they failed to respond adequately and in which they even lied about.
Even more recent is the incident in Moncton, New Brunswick. The RCMP responded to the report of a violent gunman. It was the Keystone Cops. There was an independent review of their activity, which was released recently, and the situation was chaotic for two main reasons. One was that there was no adequate access to and knowledge of equipment, and the other was called "communications." They didn't know what to do. There was no leader. They didn't tell one another where they were. They were just amateurs, which caused the death of one or more of their brethren.
Operational security: These are the experts? The RCMP perhaps has many skills in other areas, but this isn't one of them.
Not only that, they have no expertise in the inner workings of the Senate or, no doubt, the House of Commons, but I can't speak to that issue because I know the Senate. I don't know the House of Commons. I'm a senator. I can tell you, they have no adequate knowledge of the Senate.
It is, therefore, not in our best interests to cede, give up or let go of our authority and put it in the hands of an agency that has not only been ignorant of our own procedures, privileges and responsibilities, but has not shown adequate competence in the field.
Now, if nothing else, I would expect the Senate and senators to have the courage and wisdom as a council of elders to stand back and look at the evidence; sober second thought.
Senator White has a law enforcement background. No doubt, he feels more emotionally attached to his colleagues on these other forces than do many of us and can sympathize and empathize with them. I'm not saying it is an easy matter to respond to a crisis, but that's not the kind of oversight and situational analysis that we need in order to plot the best path forward.
I would suggest that we at least accept the amendment that is on the floor to this motion, and for that to go back to our colleagues in the House of Commons and to have some further sober second thought put into how we proceed in light of these challenges that we all face in the 21st century.
Hon. Carolyn Stewart Olsen: I am rising on a point of personal privilege, if that's acceptable.
The Hon. the Speaker: State your concern.
Senator Stewart Olsen: I would like to express my extreme discomfort and, may I say, disgust at the allegations about our New Brunswick RCMP, calling into question their response to such an incident.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Senator Stewart Olsen: I would ask the senator to withdraw her accusations. Perhaps I understand where you're coming from and that you wish to keep your privilege, but not at the expense of the reputations of those gentlemen who were killed in the line of duty.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, Hear.
Senator McCoy: Your Honour, if I may reply, I was taking my comments from an independent report on the behaviour of the RCMP in New Brunswick, and I am more than happy to provide a copy of that report to the senator from New Brunswick so that she too can see the criticisms that were levelled upon the RCMP in the aftermath of that event.
Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Honourable senators, I just want to remind everyone here that a motion is only good for the life of a Parliament. We have a law that says that Parliament will be dissolved and a vote held on October 19, which is in a few months, so this motion will no longer be valid.
If the intention really was to invite the RCMP to lead operational security, the first step would have been to amend the Parliament of Canada Act, and the second step would have been to change the Rules of the Senate.
From my point of view, this motion is a waste of time. Undertaking negotiations, with all of the energy that will demand of all parties, just to end up in September realizing that the motion is no longer valid demonstrates serious ignorance about the Senate as an institution.
Having said that, for the record I would like to quote some comments by a colleague whom I deeply respect, Senator White. This is from a February 16 article in the Hill Times. Here is what our colleague Senator White said:
Asked about the concern being raised over parliamentary privilege, Senator White said he thinks it's a healthy discussion and it raises questions that need to be worked out.
So, we have not worked out these questions. Then the article says:
"I was a commanding officer in the RCMP. The reporting structure I had was directly to the commissioner of the RCMP," said Senator White, Ottawa's former chief of police.
Then Senator White says further:
The concern is, constitutionally, security and the premises of Parliament Hill are the responsibility of the two Speakers. If the commanding officer heading up policing and security is accountable to the [RCMP] commissioner — who's accountable to the minister — then the Speakers don't have a place there. So the question is: where are the Speakers' responsibilities?
When you review the comments from our honourable colleague, many questions have been raised, and we don't have the answers to them. It is understood that the RCMP reports to the commissioner, who reports to the minister. That is in the law, the RCMP Act. This motion is not amending the RCMP Act.
Then, of course, he says that the premises of Parliament Hill are the responsibility of the two Speakers. Senator Joyal indicated earlier that that is not exactly the reality. The reality is that the Speaker of the House of Commons has certain responsibilities, and Your Honour, your set of responsibilities are entirely relevant to this institution.
In light of those facts as well as the fact that this motion will become null and void come September, we have to ask ourselves the following questions as an institution charged with taking an objective second look not only at legislation but also at other issues. First, why is this such an urgent matter considering that the internal economy committees of both houses agreed to give a mandate to a group of people who were supposed to report to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Speaker of the Senate, who is also the chair of the Senate Internal Economy Committee? Those are the rules.
First of all, there is a process that needs to be understood. We are here to debate a motion that, in a few months, will no longer be legal. The Senate and the House of Commons were on track to discern the how and the why of the issue.
I would also like to come back to some of the terms of the motion, specifically at the end: ". . . ensuring the continued employment of our existing and respected Parliamentary Security staff." It mentions "employment," but with whom? Will these people remain employed by the Senate? Will they become employees of the RCMP, with all the training that entails in Regina, and at the same pay scale? In the event that these employees suddenly have a new employer, how will they keep the benefits they have accumulated?
It is a major question. As Senator White said so well in his comments to the Hill Times, there is no answer. We are being pushed into accepting a motion to initiate a process that will demand a lot of energy from everyone and require changes to at least two statutes, only to end up with the dissolution of Parliament in September and nothing in return for our efforts.
This motion, and this is my belief, was moved solely for the purpose of serving as an ongoing reminder to Canadians that we are all in danger, as is Parliament. With that in mind, in this constant line of communication, the important thing is to continue to use the word "terrorist" in every possible way. That is what we have before us, and as the arguments I just made demonstrate, the strategy behind this motion, I believe, has no basis.
If the government was serious about the proposed objective, it would have introduced two bills: one to amend the Parliament of Canada Act and another to amend the RCMP Act. Above all, honourable senators, it would have respected the process that the two chambers had undertaken, which involved people with expertise in security.
All that is to say that I am also concerned about what such a change can mean for our Senate security officers. For our part, we are examining these motions from a technical perspective, in terms of procedures and so forth. However, our staff members have a completely different perspective on this motion. It raises concerns for them that are unwarranted, especially given the fact that in September, when the election is called, this motion will no longer be valid.
Those are essentially my arguments. I believe that we shouldn't spend any more time on this motion. However, given that we must follow the procedures in place, I will comply, but in all honesty and logically, I don't believe in it.
Senator McCoy: Point of order.
The Hon. the Speaker: A point of order, yes, Senator McCoy.
Senator McCoy: Given the importance that we are placing on the role of the Speaker in the Senate, as distinguished from and very different from the role of the Speaker in the House of Commons, and your role being to preside over debates and to ensure appropriate procedures are taking place, as I'm listening on the simultaneous interpretation to the valid comments of my colleague, Senator Ringuette, she addresses you as "monsieur le Président," I hear the voice in translation saying in English "Mr. Speaker." That is incorrect.
I am making a request on all behalf of all senators that you instruct the translating service, the interpreters, to use the term "Your Honour" when translating "le Président" to English in the future.
Thank you very much.
The Hon. the Speaker: On that very question, the word "Speaker" is quite acceptable and the words "monsieur le Président" is also quite acceptable in the French version. The word "Speaker" is acceptable.
Senator McCoy: But it leads to confusion.
The Hon. the Speaker: You can use "Your Honour," but I will answer to "Speaker," "monsieur le Président" or "Your Honour."
We're still on the time of Senator Ringuette. Senator Cools has a question for Senator Ringuette.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Senator Ringuette, this motion absolutely refuses to admit that because it uses the word "Parliament" all the time, but the motion uses the word "Parliament" to mean the two houses, but Parliament is really three constituent parts, as you know, the Senate, the House of Commons and, of course, the Queen.
I am wondering if anyone has considered that Her Majesty is an active constituent part of Parliament and that, as we know, she is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Canada. When Her Majesty, for example, is in Canada, she is looked after and her person is secured by the Armed Forces of Canada. As a matter of fact, I think they fly to England, pick her up and bring her back here.
In the instance of Her Majesty coming here for a royal visit, or any member of the Royal family, usually the Hill is ablaze with military fellows. In the event of such a visit, if this motion were to pass, who would be in charge of security here and in charge of our security as well, the military or the RCMP?
Senator Ringuette: That's an excellent question. I think the Queen is the honorary commander —
Senator Cools: Not honorary, actual.
Senator Ringuette: The actual Commander of the Canadian Army, but maybe we would be surprised that it would be the British security agency that would take over for Her Majesty's visit.
Senator Cools: That is not possible. There are specific rules about this. I am speaking about the power relationship of the three separate constituent parts of Parliament to each other. The characteristic of Parliament as an institution is that it is a collective noun but it describes three separate institutions that operate and function quite independently, each one with its own set of laws. That is the issue that is not being addressed, that separate operational independence.
The Hon. the Speaker: Before I give the floor to the next speaker on debate, I just want to clear up Senator McCoy's point. Section 34 of the Constitution Act, 1867, states:
The Governor General may from Time to Time, by Instrument under the Great Seal of Canada, appoint a Senator to be Speaker of the Senate, and may remove him and appoint another in his Stead.
So the name "Speaker" is quite acceptable. You could have raised the question in French. The French word for Speaker is "orateur," which is less in use. Now we're using the words "monsieur le Président" or "madame la Présidente," so the word "Speaker" is quite acceptable.
On debate, Senator Campbell.
Hon. Larry W. Campbell: Thank you, honourable senators. I feel that I have to speak to the comments of the honourable senator from Alberta, whom I quite respect and I treasure her ideas greatly. However, 20/20 hindsight is perfect and talk is cheap.
It's only through the oversight of the RCMP that we know about the difficulties that they've had over the years and the fact that they are the largest police force, the most visible and involved in virtually every portion of the justice system that we know. I think we have to understand that they are under the microscope.
This is not about the RCMP, however. Nobody here is arguing that the RCMP could not set up a security service, could not run a large organization involving security, except for perhaps Senator McCoy. The fact of the matter is that they are qualified.
How long has it been since we've been kicking this issue around on the Hill? I've been here nine years; it was long before my nine years that there was an attempt to reach an agreement where we would have joint security for the Hill.
Nobody can argue that separate security systems in one building are anachronistic and, quite frankly, dangerous. We agreed on that, but we couldn't agree on whether the other place or this place would get together and figure out how it would be done. We simply refused to deal with the issue. You would think that when you've had people crawling on the roof of your building, even though it was a peaceful demonstration and nobody was in danger, that fact should not be forgotten. Certainly, it should be recognized that people who would want to do us harm would take notice of the incident and the lack of security.
We've been forced to act. It seems like I've been speaking too much on this, but we did what we were supposed to do here. We set up a subcommittee under the two houses. We met, made decisions and made changes. In all honesty, I don't know if at the end of the day we still could have ended up with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police being in charge of security on the Hill. The decision wasn't made as to who should run the security; rather, the decision was made that we required total and full Hill security in whatever form that might take.
What happens to the present security staff? Where do they go? I can tell you with some certainty that they would not be considered on an equal footing with the RCMP. I can speak to that from experience. It's not that they aren't good or that they aren't well-trained. It's just that they aren't Mounties. That's the simple bottom line. What's going to happen to them? How do we treat them? How do we make them know that we respect what they do and what they have done in the past? What's it going to cost? God knows the government is chopping here and chopping there as we all try to get our government in order. What's it going to cost to go through this process?
Right now, costs are pretty minimal as we've got the people in place. We just have to figure out how we're going to go about guarding and how it will work; and then you add the RCMP.
I have no idea what the cost will be, but I can tell you one thing: You can't sit in a car outside. You cannot do static security on the Hill. Senator McCoy is right in that fact. The danger came through the ranks of the RCMP and got to the Hill. That's one of the issues we have to deal with when we look at unity.
Do we just unify the security on the Hill? Do we ignore the gate to the door? Well, we ignored the gate to the door the last time, and we know what happened. We believe in looking around the world and visiting different places to see their security. We need security that goes not only to the gate but also outside the gate, as they have in Washington, D.C., where they have overlapping jurisdiction with the Washington police, the Metropolitan Police Department. In the event that anything takes place, they can help; and they're always on the same wave length and on the same phone line.
What do we know about this incident? We know that a person took a gun and killed a member of the Armed Forces at the cenotaph. We know he came across the street, commandeered a car and drove onto the Hill. Where was security on the Hill that should have been advancing to the front doors, which is where you want to protect? What happened there? We keep talking about hindsight. We'll find out about that from the OPP. They will tell us what happened. Certainly, there was a breakdown. The fact that we need to go from the Hill to the gate is obvious, I believe. We need to control the whole Hill.
We could do this by changing the RCMP Act and having the Mounties take over. It would seem like the normal course of action. It would seem like the logical thing to do. Yet, we find ourselves in this interesting predicament where we will pass a motion, but, as Senator Ringuette said, we'll have no force after September, unless of course there is a bill sitting in the pipe to change the RCMP Act or to change the Parliament of Canada Act. However, we have no indication of that happening. You're going to have to change at least one of them to make it permanent. We're going to end up with another constitutional challenge; and I'm not sure whether the RCMP has jurisdiction to take over on the Hill.
I would urge you to consider this motion for way down the road. Consider how long it's going to be in effect. It's not just going to be in effect for us, as was pointed out by Senator Joyal. This will live on forever, so we had better get it right. This rush to judgment is of great concern to me because we are not taking the time to look at it. We have our security in place right here, but we don't have it on the whole Hill, I agree; but we aren't taking the time to figure out how to go about it. We're saying, "This is what we're going to do, and once it's done, then we'll go back and we'll do these other things and change these other acts so we can figure out where everybody will fall into place."
What happens if the Mounties do not agree to a contract that says that the two Speakers are in charge of the Hill and that they answer to the two Speakers? I really ask you to think about this. If you want to know what happens, pick up the phone tonight and call any of the mayors that have the RCMP as their municipal police force. It's just a given that they serve the citizens of Burnaby, but they answer to the commissioner. They don't answer to the mayor. They don't answer to the B.C. police commission. They do not answer to any of the oversight bodies provincially that they are contracted to.
I truly believe that you would need to change the act, and you would need a change in philosophy to have them answer to our two Speakers. I'm not saying it couldn't be done. I'm not saying that it wouldn't be a fine service. I'm simply saying that we don't know. We certainly haven't looked at it past the point of keeping this place safe.
I know that you're going to vote against the amendment and for the motion and pass it. But remember, 10 or 15 years from now when the wheels fall off the wagon again, they're going to be looking at us as they say, "What the hell were these people thinking when they did this?"
Remember, it's sober second thought that we supply here. We're the ones that take a look to see where we're going on this and what the pitfalls are. Rushing willy-nilly into this is not doing our job; rather, it's doing a great disservice to this place.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, I have a lot of things to say about this motion.
At first glance, this motion seems straightforward. It seems to address an easy administrative matter, but that is not exactly the case. This is a philosophical question, a question of privilege, a theoretical question about a larger parliamentary issue that goes beyond details and administrative matters.
In my opinion, and my colleagues agree, this is clearly a complex question with many facets that I would like to discuss, including parliamentary privilege and questions concerning the management of Parliament buildings with a different police force, whose traditions and culture are very different from those of our current security officers.
What I'm saying is this may look like — for those who couldn't understand my French, who are probably the francophones, especially — at face value, at first and superficial consideration that this seems like one of those things: Get 'er done! It's easy. It's administrative. It's procedural. But, in fact, it isn't. It isn't simply procedural or administrative even at the level of organizing and managing it. We have some serious organizational questions that need to be addressed and colleagues have addressed them very well, but I will emphasize and add to them, I hope.
There are also some very important philosophical questions, particularly the questions of parliamentary privilege and of the separation of the Senate and the House of Commons. I will begin with that, because it is a fun story.
I was a parliamentary intern here, which is a scholarship to work in Parliament. Ten Canadian students get it a year. One of the parliamentarians that I worked with 40 years ago, Senator Eymard Corbin, was a senator when I arrived here and this is his chair, so we've gone full circle. When I was here — and I can't remember which side it was — one side of the building had polished floors and the other side of the building didn't. It was very noticeable and I asked why it was like that. It was because there is such a distinction and such an importance placed upon the distinction between the independence of the two houses and of their management.
There are many traditions throughout the history of this place that are endemic, implicit and explicit in the actual operations of this place right now and that honour that tradition: the separation of these two houses. One of those, I believe, at that time and I think now, is the separation of the security of the two houses. So it may just simply look like security could be run more efficiently by one group, but, in fact, there is an underlying expression of the separation reflected in the way in which we and our guards are structured.
Before I go any further, I want to make it very clear that our guards acted extremely well on the day of that event. They did exactly what they had to do, even though none of them were armed. It was one of the parliamentary guards who was the first person to engage that shooter. He was wounded doing it and he wasn't armed.
As was said by a colleague — I think Senator McCoy — it was in fact a member of the parliamentary staff, Mr. Vickers, who stopped the shooter in the final instance. That's not to take anything away from the RCMP, who in that video we all saw were pursuing that shooter without cover, often, many of them, down that hall and showing great courage as well. But it is also true that, as Senator Campbell said, that they had the responsibility up to that front door and that shooter made it through that front door. So I think there is a question that they, at least, have to organize and prove that they can organize the outside, before you would imagine that they could properly organize the inside.
That brings me to the procedural — the nuts and bolts. We're not even clear whether the commissioner wants to do this. In fact, his immediate statement in the press, which may or may not be true, after it was announced, was that it wasn't finalized and confirmed in his mind at all.
I can imagine the commissioner wouldn't want to do it for any number of reasons. One is that he has a whole range of pressures on his agenda at this time. He has a whole new reality of dealing with terrorist threats, homegrown terrorist threats and the export of homegrown terrorists right now. He has to reallocate his resources. Three hundred of his RCMP have now been placed into the area of dealing with terrorism. His budget has been cut 15 per cent since 2012. He's having trouble recruiting RCMP officers because of the tarnished image of the RCMP these days. Again, that's not to take anything away from the great people in the RCMP, but there are certainly cultural problems.
So I'm not even certain that the commissioner wants to do it. If the commissioner doesn't want to do it, and can't be focused on it because he has all these other pressures and can't make it a priority, then I'm not sure that we would want him to do it.
That leads me to another nuts and bolts question. It wouldn't be that the commissioner would actually have two bosses: the Speaker here and the Speaker on the other side, which is difficult enough to imagine. The commissioner would in fact have three bosses. He would have the two Speakers; he would have a minister; and he might have de facto a fourth boss, which is his act, which gives him some separation from the minister. Certainly it wouldn't be the commissioner who would be sitting with the two Speakers to manage this place. It would be a more junior officer who would have less authority, one would think, and therefore might be more prone to difficulties in operating in an environment where he had in fact three bosses: his commissioner and the two Speakers. So there's that problem.
There's also a cultural problem. I'm not referring to the problem of the culture that I've dealt with, and a number of us have been talking about for several years now, which is the culture of harassment. This is perhaps not completely pervasive, but it's certainly a factor in the organization. I know that that remains a problem. I expect that might be less a problem for a force on the Hill, because this is a very visible place and there are many powerful people — women, in particular — concerned about those issues. I think that there would be little risk of harassment issues on the force here, although I can't say that for sure. There certainly would be risk.
An Hon. Senator: Oh, oh.
Senator Mitchell: Well, that's true. I have misspoken myself. It is an organization that is, to some extent, riven with harassment issues and do we want to import those until that cultural issue has been factored? If there is an issue of respect for women, in particular, in that organization, do we want to import that to the Hill until it has been resolved? I would say we do not.
There's another issue, which is that an argument is made by the RCMP that they are a paramilitary organization and, therefore, they need to be organized and managed differently. They do not need a police com like all the other police forces do because they're a paramilitary organization. They don't need a union because they're a paramilitary organization. I don't personally believe they should be a paramilitary organization, but I believe that's part of their culture at this point.
Is that the kind of culture that creates the kind of welcome environment that the Canadian people deserve when they appear on the Hill? I'm not saying that the RCMP are rude or are not considerate people. The young officers that are graduating and coming here as their first appointment seem to be very polite and good with me. However, is a militaristic, paramilitary culture the kind of culture that would be most appropriate to be managing the guards and establishing the protocols for guarding us and the Canadian people within this precinct? That's a question that we haven't had time at all to answer.
The other question, though, the higher philosophical question, is the question of privilege. That privilege and its importance have recently been reaffirmed by the Supreme Court. I think we are beginning to allow ourselves to be fast and loose with that privilege.
Think of the letter that we were asked to sign and that most of us signed — I regret it in many respects now — written for us by the Auditor General. We signed to say that somehow we could waive our privileges, both solicitor-client privileges and our parliamentary privileges. Without much thought, probably, or with some thought, at least many of us signed that because we thought we were doing the right thing and because we thought that would demonstrate that we were prepared to cooperate. Of course, why would we have to sign a letter to prove that we were prepared to cooperate? But we can't give up that privilege. It's not for me to sign away the privilege that was accorded this institution by the Constitution of Canada. We played fast and loose with the privilege of this institution in that instance.
It's also true that now we're in a predicament because we rushed through our relationship with this contract with the Auditor General. I guess 40 people find out this week, and that's public now because I read about it in the newspaper. Who leaked that, I don't know, but 40 people are actually going to receive — I want to say an accusation letter — their report. Some of that analysis may well be that the Auditor General thinks that a trip or a meeting that a senator decided was absolutely within the purview of their job shouldn't have been considered to be within the purview of their job. That is us relinquishing our privilege. It's not for the Auditor General to tell me what my job is. He may be able to comment on what he thinks about the rules, but then to go the next step and even name somebody for doing something that that person legitimately felt was their job? It might even have been within the rules of Internal Economy, which under the Parliament of Canada Act is the final authority on what our job is and how it's defined.
Again, we're in a position where we're beginning to relinquish this very valuable parliamentary institution, parliamentary philosophy, this underpinning, of privilege. Now we're putting ourselves in a position with this motion, without really even having had time to consider it. It is a motion that we didn't have any say in writing, I don't think, that was forced on us not by the other house but by the government in the other house. We don't report to the government in the other house. They shouldn't be establishing how it is that we run this precinct — not a minister, not a prime minister. It's not their role to do that. We are relinquishing our privilege, a very important piece of parliamentary tradition, to a government-driven, government-designed and government-written motion, government being the cabinet, the Prime Minister, the minister.
The Hon. the Speaker: Before you continue, are you asking for five more minutes?
Senator Mitchell: Yes, thank you.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are five more minutes granted? Agreed?
Senator Mitchell: Thank you. I didn't realize I'd gone on that long. There's one true law of the physics of speaking in the Senate. When somebody else is speaking, it seems like it takes a long time. When you are speaking, it seems very fast. At least that's my experience.
I think there are these two philosophical, principled issues. One is the question of privilege, as I say, and it's not entirely distinct. The other one is the question of the separation of these two chambers. A corollary of that is the separation of that chamber from this chamber and both chambers from the auspices, the control and the direction of government. I think we began a slippery slope in the way we structured the relationship with the Auditor General over the audit in relinquishing privilege. We are furthering that slippery slope now in taking at face value that somebody who reports to government should be running the very critical aspect of protecting this precinct. We are further compounding the problem by accepting, without a suggestion or hint of being allowed to amend it, a motion written for this independent institution by the government. We are here as a check on government, not as employees of government. It is extremely important that we understand that the implication of this motion is exactly that. We are further relinquishing our privilege, and the Constitution says that we shouldn't be doing that. We have an obligation first to that Constitution, first to the people of Canada, first to maintain the privilege and the independence and the traditions of this place to the extent that they allow us to do the job that that Constitution has defined that we should do.
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to Senator Carignan's February 17 motion. I note that today is only February 24. In my view, this question has moved along in terrible haste. I begin by restating, yet again, that I oppose the use of closure on this motion, and that I oppose this motion itself.
The reasons that I oppose this motion are actually articulated in the motion. I thought I could begin by speaking about the motion just a little. The motion begins by saying:
That the Senate, following the terrorist attack of October 22, 2014, recognize the necessity of fully integrated security throughout the Parliamentary precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill . . .
Colleagues, it is impossible for the Senate to recognize the necessity of anything with no evidence put before us. I do not know how the necessity for this full integration has been decided. Senators know nothing about it. We know nothing about what necessity entails. We do not even know about the costs. This is very difficult. I cannot support something when I do not know what it is, to put it quite simply. How was necessity proven?
The second matter, as I continue on Senator Carignan's motion, which continues ". . . as recommended by the Auditor General in his 2012 report . . ." Well, fine. What on earth does an Auditor General have to do with Senate security, the precincts, the questions of privilege, the two houses' privileges, and even the difficulties we have as independent chambers?
Honourable senators, I belong to that group of people who do not believe that the Auditor General should even be making recommendations in this area, because these are policy questions, not audit questions. There is a body of academia that studies the invasion of successive auditors general. I am not speaking of any auditor general, in respect of moving into the policy streams, away from audit streams.
The next issue in Senator Carignan's motion is "and as exists in other peer legislatures. . . ." We have no peer legislature in Canada. There is only one Senate and there is only one upper house in the Parliament of Canada.
The next sentence of the motion says, "and call on the Speaker. . . ." Well, we are senators and the Speaker is one of us. We have many ways to communicate with the Speaker, but none of them is calling upon him. I do believe we should have found a way in these issues and are finding ways — the Speaker is leading in this — to have better dialogue and communications with each other.
Honourable senators, the motion continues, "in coordination with his counterpart in the House of Commons. . . " The Speaker of the Senate, as I have said many times before, is not of the same nature as the Speaker of the House of Commons. The Speaker of the Senate is of a vice regal nature. He is the King's man. He is very high in precedence in Canada because of that vice regal nature. The Speaker of the Senate of Canada is a King's man, and a very good King's man — Queen's man, I might add — but the office is different from the House of Commons Speaker.
Honourable senators, the Commons Speaker is the mouth of the House of Commons. When House of Commons members rise, they address him as Mr. Speaker. We do not address our Speaker; we address each other. We say "honourable senators." Ours is an entirely different relationship. "Counterpart" is not a good term.
"To invite," this term is recurring. That casual, hip talk does not impress me, it does not tell us the kinds of powers and constitutional difficulties we are looking at.
Senator Carignan's motion continues:
. . . without delay, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to lead operational security throughout the Parliamentary precinct and the grounds of Parliament Hill. . . .
Perhaps if this motion had asked the Senate to consider the possibility that the RCMP could play a leadership role that would be different, but this is a conclusion that somebody else has dreamed up, looking to declare that the two houses have concurred.
The motion says:
. . . while respecting the privileges, immunities and powers of the respective Houses, and ensuring the continued employment of our existing and respected Parliamentary Security staff.
Honourable senators, the best way to respect the privileges, immunities and powers is to honour and obey them. The privileges, immunities and powers are such that the two houses, as intended, for centuries, can operate as independent and separate institutions.
Parliament has not sat together as one group for centuries. It separated in the late 1300s. Not only is the Senate one of the houses of Parliament, but it is the house of the Parliaments. It is the only house where Her Majesty can assemble the three estates together, as Parliament. The Senate, the upper house, is also the house of the Parliaments. The expression is "the Parliaments." Our Clerk of the Senate is also the Clerk of the Parliaments.
Honourable senators, I want to say this: I find the whole motion and the rush to judgment on it very disturbing. I find it especially disturbing. We know very little as senators about what actually transpired that day, last October 22, but one cannot help but be aware of what we read in the newspapers.
I wish to record here a particular newspaper article written by Josh Wingrove of The Globe and Mail published Monday, December 22, 2014. It is headlined "Several questions unanswered two months after Centre Block shooting."
If we are looking to overhaul, re-haul, redo, reconfigure security here on the Hill, in and outside of the precincts, I would have thought that we would do so by a serious study on these difficult issues. Now I would like to read from this Globe and Mail article by Josh Wingrove. Mr. Wingrove writes:
Two months after the Centre Block shooting, several probes continue in secrecy with no official account of the attack. Separate Ontario Provincial Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, coroner and forensic-pathologist investigations are ongoing and unfinished.
We should learn more of these several reports. Continuing, I read:
Tensions have emerged between the RCMP and House of Commons over the handling of the response and the investigation, and members of both sides believe they fired first at Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau in the final shootout.
This is not healthy. This is disturbing. Another paragraph states:
RCMP who had been chasing the shooter heard the gunfire and took cover, delaying their entrance to the building. Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was struck at least once by a plainclothes guard —
— that would be a House of Commons protective staff —
— stationed atop the short flight of stairs into the rotunda . . . . It didn't stop Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau, though, and he ran down the Hall of Honour toward the Library of Parliament. A second plainclothes guard shot at him, halfway up the hallway and across it, as he ran by, sources say, lodging a bullet in the opposite door leading to an NDP caucus meeting. Some guards believe that shooter also struck Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau, and Mr. Vickers himself has suggested Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was struck several times. . . .
Colleagues, this is most upsetting. I think we should think long and hard and well, and try to discover much more about what is actually going on. Wingrove continues:
House of Commons sources say many of their guards shot Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau that day, both before and during the final showdown, including Mr. Vickers, who is said to have slid on his back to fire at the gunman. "It was our guys, and Vickers," but not RCMP who finally brought him down, one House of Commons guard said. Another House of Commons source stressed Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was dead as Mounties who had chased him inside arrived. But the RCMP Commissioner suggested it was RCMP who first returned fire in the final shootout, when asked specifically if it was "Sergeant-at-Arms Vickers who actually did shoot" Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau.
In an Oct. 23 news conference, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said "Mr. Vickers and others did engage" Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau outside the Library, with Mr. Vickers and Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau shooting at each other. "The suspect repositioned himself to get a better shot at Mr. Vickers, when our [RCMP] officers engaged, and you may have heard the sort of multitude of shots." Mr. Paulson went on to say that "Mr. Vickers did shoot," and was "engaged in that, as were some of his [House of Commons security] team members, as were some of my [RCMP] team members."
One must wonder why the RCMP Commissioner is talking about deadly force activities in the House of Commons, which is not on his watch. This is quite disturbing, I find. Your Honour, with your great sense of integrity and that very sharp mind, I hope that you will probe and get a handle on this so that we can better understand what really happened in our ken.
The Globe and Mail continued:
The gunfight was captured, meanwhile, by House of Commons cameras, footage that has been provided to police but not been released publicly.
Why was the footage inside the precincts handed over to the RCMP? We should know about all these investigations. We should take no action until we know. This is very important, these next four statements from Wingrove's article, "Several questions unanswered two months after Centre Block shooting":
From the minute Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was dead, tension has emerged between RCMP and House of Commons security.
This tension is worrisome.
House of Commons guards say they received late, and therefore misleading, information from Mounties, who told them a gunman was on his way to Centre Block from the National War Memorial after Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau had already been killed. The warning, of course, referred to Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau, but was not delivered in time, and left guards scrambling to lock down Centre Block for fear of a second approaching shooter, sources say.
To reach Centre Block, Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau made his way across the Parliament Hill grounds, hijacking a car before sprinting into the building. Those grounds are RCMP turf, and Mounties were unable to stop him. Once inside, he was under jurisdiction of House of Commons security.
A day after the shooting, RCMP held a press conference where they played video of Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau's approach to Parliament Hill. That Oct. 23 press conference left Mr. Vickers and others in the House of Commons upset — "aghast," one source said — because the videos revealed details of security measures, namely camera locations, on Parliament Hill. House of Commons security say RCMP, who failed to stop Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau's advance, allowing him to reach Centre Block, went "aggressively" public the next day to counter questions about whether their efforts fell short.
My final quote from The Globe and Mail is:
After the shooting, the OPP were called in to investigate how the RCMP responded.
Honourable senators, I have just put these upsetting accounts to the Senate so that we can begin to properly understand the situation, the background and the environment that our two Speakers will be operating in, most particularly, alleged tensions between the RCMP and the House of Commons protective staff.
Honourable senators, it is very unfortunate that this sort of thing is in the public press. I do not like it at all. I belong to that group of individuals who believe that you support the people who protect you and all those fine principles. Such political disagreement cuts to the quick.
I note that none of these questions has been put to us as senators. We know very little of the full range of what those proposed new security forces will be doing. All we know is that a motion has been put through the Senate very hastily seeking and forcing a positive response.
Honourable senators, it is interesting that the House of Commons did not adopt a joint motion, and did not send us a message asking us to concur, but the two motions are identical motions and were not written by anybody who knows anything about the Senate.
Honourable senators, earlier today I was expressing my own dismay at the fact that these two motions were moving ahead under very stringent and harsh conditions, mostly a closure motion. I would like to appeal, yet again, to the senators across the way to avoid using these drastic measures, because there has been no obstruction whatsoever to Senator Carignan's initiative. Quite frankly, I was looking forward to a good, healthy and rounded debate on the subject matter, because even though these events occurred here on the Hill, we on the Hill know remarkably little.
In the face of all of this, earlier today I had said members opposite, supporters of the government, should prevail upon Prime Minister Harper to make Senator Carignan a minister.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is five more minutes granted to Senator Cools?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I had prevailed upon them, saying that they should prevail upon the Prime Minister to recommend Senator Carignan to the Governor General to be appointed a minister so that we can honour the age-old traditions that the leaders in both chambers, both houses, should be members of the government. They should be cabinet ministers.
The motion that Senator Martin relied on for her closure motion was created in 1991, when for the first time a rule was introduced that government business had priority over other Senate business. Before that, government business proceeded like any other bill.
It seems we have to prove now that the Constitution intends that the Leader of the Government in the Senate, as in the Commons house, should be a minister. Having looked up many of the books of authorities, such as Beauchesne and Bourinot, I decided I should look to the Salaries Act. The long title of the Salaries Act is "An Act respecting the salaries of certain public officials."
Most senators here may not know much about the appropriation process, but this is the act that dictates the salaries to be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the Prime Minister and to ministers of the Crown.
I looked up this act very carefully and made sure it was up to date, because I had not looked at this act for years. This Salaries Act has a section 4 headed "SALARIES OF MINISTERS FROM APRIL 1, 2004," and it's current. This was current right up to a few days ago, February 4, 2015.
Section 4.1(3) says:
Despite subsection 4(2), . . . the annual salary of the following ministers, being members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, is $67,800 . . .
Interestingly, though, that subsection lists from subsections (a) right through (z) the many ministers by responsibility, such as the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, et cetera. I went through, looking, checking every one, looking for the "Leader of the Government in the Senate," and, colleagues, I found it. I found it, as I did find the "Leader of the Government in the House of Commons."
These two minister leaders are contained in section 4.1. Subsection 4.1(3)(o) states:
(o) the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Subsection 4.1(3)(z.3) states:
(z.3) the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.
Honourable senators, my point is that the Salaries Act proves that the Leader of the Government in the Senate is supposed to be a minister of the Crown. We have been working in a very grey area of law here where our leadership call themselves government leader and deputy leader, but they are private members just like you and I are.
This has bothered me, because I do think that the Constitution, as I gave some references and precedents earlier, intends that the leaders of both houses be members of the cabinet, ministers, because responsible government is achieved in that way.
In any event, I thought that I should put that on the record so that we can understand that the system and our rules, which all say "government leader" and "government business," are all premised on the presence and the membership in this place of a member of the government, a minister. I think, colleagues, the Senate should accept no less. The Senate, for donkey's years, has had a minister as leader, and it is that minister's governmental credentials given by the Governor General that allow him to move measures and call them government measures or government actions.
Honourable senators, I just wanted to record this, because we as senators are existing in a very grey area here. I do not think the Senate should exist in a semi-grey legal and constitutional area. We should stand firmly on the law of the Constitution.
Honourable senators, having said that, colleagues, I put to you that this ghastly event that happened on October 22 last was a terrible and horrible thing. We should be dealing with this based on very sound principles, trying to keep the politics and the personal and professional interests and conflicts, if we can, to a dull roar as a minimum.
Senator Nolin, I am counting on you to lead on that. Thank you, senators.
The Hon. the Speaker: Continuing debate. Are senators ready for the question in amendment?
Some Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Cowan, seconded by the Honourable Senator Fraser, that this motion be not now adopted but that it be amended by inserting immediately — shall I dispense?
Some Hon. Senators: Dispense.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: No.
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
The Hon. the Speaker: Those in favour of the motion in amendment will please say "yea."
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker: Those against will please say "nay."
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: Definitely the "nays" have it.
And two honourable senators having risen:
Hon. Elizabeth (Beth) Marshall: Thirty minutes?
Hon. Jim Munson: We have agreed on a 30-minute bell.
The Hon. the Speaker: Thirty-minute bell. We will have the vote at 6:50 p.m.
Call in the senators.
Motion in amendment negatived on the following division:
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
The Hon. the Speaker: Now, continuing debate on the main motion.
Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Colleagues have heard from many on this side about our questions, concerns and reservations in connection with this motion. The fact that we have just rejected an amendment that would have helped to clarify at least one element of our concerns, for me, in particular, intensifies my unwillingness to support this motion as written.
This has nothing to do with a reluctance to have good, solid, effective security on Parliament Hill. I come to work here, too. I don't want to feel unsafe any more than anyone else does, but, as I suggested earlier today, there remain so many questions, so many unanswered questions. As a number of people have noted, we surely should have learned from our recent experience that it is not a good idea to adopt a motion when we don't understand what it means. We don't.
Senator Campbell said that what we do here will have its effect long after all of us are gone, and I fear that's true because, as we all know, one of the strengths, but also one of the foibles, of the Senate is that change comes slowly, very slowly. Then, when it does come, too often it comes as it is coming now, in a sudden fit of sentiment that, "Oh, we must do something. We must do something, and never mind if we abandon our duty to examine."
I hope that we and our successors do not live to rue the day. I fear that we and they will. I cannot support this motion as drafted.
The Hon. the Speaker: Continuing debate? Are senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: No.
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
The Hon. the Speaker: Those in favour of the motion please say "yea."
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker: Those against please say "nay."
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion, the "yeas" have it.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Hon. the Speaker: On division.
(Motion agreed to, on division.)
(The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, February 25, 2015, at 1:30 p.m.)