Skip to Content
Download as PDF
Text size:

2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 124

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
The Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin, Speaker

THE SENATE

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

The Late Douglas McNeil

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to Douglas "Dugger" McNeil, late of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Dugger McNeil was an athlete, a community man, a politician, a businessman and above all a family man. He passed away in Halifax on January 18, 2015, at the age of 87 years.

First coming to prominence in Halifax as an outstanding all-around athlete, Dugger starred as a defenceman with the St. Mary's Juniors. He actually put himself through school on a football scholarship.

He played in the Montreal Canadiens' organization for four years with the Montreal Royals. His teammates included Dickie Moore, Gerry Plamondon and Jacques Plante. As he put it, and I quote: "In the original six era of the NHL, with such deep talent, backup players spent their days checking the newspaper to see if a regular was hurt because it was the only way to crack the line-up."

When he returned to Halifax after his stint in Montreal, Dugger was player-coach of the Halifax Atlantics senior team, which won the Alexander Cup twice between 1952 and 1954. It was a team he described as one of the finest clubs ever put together outside the NHL. Dugger was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in 2002.

A solid community man, he was one of the original members of the Centennial Arena Commission, which led to the building of a much-needed ice surface in the west end of Halifax.

In 1960 he was elected to the Nova Scotia Legislature, representing the riding of Halifax West for the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia, with a majority of 2,666 votes. In 1967 he was re-elected to the newly formed riding of Halifax St. Margarets, with a majority of 1,120 votes.

As a businessman, he owned and ran Dugger's Mens Wear in Halifax for over 40 years. It is in that capacity that I came to understand what a good man he was. A former colleague, the Honourable Brian Tobin, was to speak in Halifax at a community fund-raiser. To make a long story short, the luggage of the future Premier of Newfoundland was lost by the airline. The event was a black tie affair and it was 6:30 on a Saturday night. Stores were closed, of course.

I telephoned Dugger and told him of our predicament. He had just gotten home from work but told us to meet him back at his store, which we did. A tuxedo was promptly produced and the evening saved. Dugger closed shop with our thanks and returned home. It wasn't until later I learned he was returning to resume his own birthday dinner with his family. That's the kind of generous and considerate man he was. On his next visit to Halifax, Brian purchased a suit at Dugger's.

Predeceased by his supportive wife, Marion, I wish to extend the condolences of this chamber to his family: son Ross, daughters Marie and Mary-Anne, brother Jack as well as his seven grandchildren.

[Translation]

Ste. Anne's Hospital

Hon. Larry W. Smith: Honourable senators, today I would like to talk to you about Ste. Anne's Hospital for veterans.

[English]

The hospital was built in 1917 during World War I when 18 hospitals were established across the country with a promise to care for the Canadian men and women who so proudly served our country.

With the advent of the Canada Health Act and Medicare in the 1960s, the 17 veterans hospitals, except Ste. Anne's, were transferred to be run by the provinces under the strict conditions set out by Veterans Affairs Canada.

The expertise in veterans' care has improved tremendously since its inception; in 2002, a special outpatient clinic for the younger generation of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or operational stress injuries was opened.

[Translation]

In April 2007, McGill University became affiliated with Ste. Anne's Hospital, thereby recognizing the hospital's need for specialized skills as well as the superior quality of the care and services it provides to veterans.

[English]

In Budget 2007, the Government of Canada committed $9 million toward doubling Veterans Affairs Canada's network of OSI clinics to 10. Amongst these clinics, four now offer the in-residence program developed at Ste. Anne's in 2010, and are located in Fredericton, Ottawa, Edmonton and Vancouver.

In addition, the Department of National Defence has an extensive network of specialized care that is not often discussed. The Canadian Forces have 26 mental health clinics at bases across Canada. Within the system, seven are classified as operational trauma and stress support centres and are CF centres of excellence in such areas as PTSD, located in Halifax, Valcartier, Ottawa, Edmonton, Esquimalt, Petawawa and Gagetown. They provide a full range of care, including general mental health care, operational trauma, stress support, psychosocial services and addictions counselling.

In 2009, with the declining populations of veterans from World War I, II and the Korean War, the need to safeguard the expertise of Ste. Anne's became evident. In April 2012, an agreement in principle was reached between the federal and Quebec provincial government to transfer the long-term care sections of the hospital to the province.

The process of negotiation has been complex and is ongoing, and Veterans Affairs has committed to its promise to provide the highest quality care for veterans both young and old. This transfer will enable Ste. Anne's to continue to thrive and provide long-term care to residents in the surrounding area and will allow veterans to always take priority.

At the beginning of 2014, we passed Bill C-31 that allowed for a tax credit for service animals for individualized therapy plans which supports veterans in the healing process.

[Translation]

I am pleased to announce that a new operational stress injury clinic will open in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the fall of 2015.

[English]

As Ste. Anne's is a specialized facility, and part of the community that I come from, it is a pleasure for me to share with my honourable colleagues the progress and news of its evolution.

Should any of you have any additional questions, I would be pleased to speak with you on the subject.

[Translation]

Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Corinne Box, Director of Government Relations, External Affairs Office (Ottawa), Bahá'í Community of Canada. She is the guest of the Honourable Senator Chaput.

On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Bahá'í Minority in Iran

Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, in February 2012, Senator Frum brought an inquiry before the Senate about the rights of minorities in Iran. During that inquiry, I spoke about the rights of the Bahá'í community in Iran.

To this day, the peaceful and apolitical Bahá'í community is being deprived of the right to life, liberty and security of the person, as well as the right to work and the right to education.

The community's children and adolescents are regularly harassed in elementary and secondary schools all over Iran. Worse still, this abuse and harassment is often perpetrated by teachers and school administrators.

Bahá'í students are threatened with expulsion or forced to change schools. There have been hundreds of cases of Bahá'í youth forced to convert to Islam or to use textbooks that denigrate and falsify their religious heritage. Anyone who reports these tactics to the authorities is punished.

(1340)

The Iranian school system produces and distributes books and documents that denigrate the Bahá'í community. A ministry of education form required schools to identify any students from religious minorities and, I quote:

. . . from the perverse Bahá'í sect.

Access to higher education is also limited. It is the official policy of the Iranian government to expel any students from the Bahá'í community. I would like to quote a report from Amnesty International on this subject.

According to a document from the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, which was not made public, Bahá'í students are specifically targeted. It states that they are:

. . . expelled from universities, either during the admission process or during the course of their studies, once it becomes known that they are Bahá'ís.

The United Nations human rights expert in Iran gathered information about the case of four students who were told that they could return to the university if they renounced their faith or agreed to give up their religious practices. These students were allegedly denied admission because they refused to do so.

People who have tried to give members of the Bahá'í community a university education have also allegedly been threatened with legal action.

Honourable senators, access to education is vital to the growth and development of a community. Young people in the Bahá'í community in Iran have the right to an education in an environment that is safe and conducive to development. Today, I would like to express my solidarity in this fight for the right to education, and I condemn any attempt by the Iranian government to infringe upon that right.

Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[English]

World Plumbing Day

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Honourable senators, every year at this time I give all of you the fortunate opportunity to come and give me a hug. Today, March 11, is "Hug a Plumber Day," or officially World Plumbing Day. I invite all senators to join me in honouring plumbers around the world on this occasion of the sixth annual World Plumbing Day celebration.

World Plumbing Day seeks to bring attention and awareness to how plumbing and sanitation systems contribute towards humanitarian goals and health of people around the world. Water is critical for sustainable development and is indispensable for human health and well-being.

Currently, a billion people around the world suffer from a severe lack of access to safe drinking water, and 2.5 billion people have no access to safe sanitation. With respect to global sanitation needs, domestic consumption, industry and agriculture, it is estimated that there will be a 50 to 60 per cent increase in global demand by 2050. Efficient water management has never been so crucial.

The chairman of the World Plumbing Council, Mr. Sudhakaran Nair, stated just last week: "The role of plumbers and the contribution that safe plumbing systems make for community health are vital but seldom acknowledged."

Plumbers play a significant role in maintaining the integrity of water supplies and sanitation systems, which in turn contributes to sustaining the health and well-being of citizens around the world.

The UN declared 2005 to 2015 the International Decade for Action 'Water for Life.' The initiative placed an increased international focus on water-related issues, including access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation. Several international resolutions have been adopted as a result, and studies have been conducted on how to best move forward with collaborative water management.

UN-Water has now launched a post-2015 global goal for water, focusing on securing sustainable water for all and concentrating on five key areas: drinking water, sanitation and hygiene; water resources; water governance; water-related disasters; and waste water pollution and water quality. I look forward to continued collaborative efforts to provide access to safe water and sanitation facilities at a global level. Sound plumbing practices are central to these efforts.

Colleagues, please join me in honouring all of Canada's plumbers today on World Plumbing Day. I will look forward to your coming and giving me your hugs.

Alberta

Education—Gender Identity

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, I rise to express great pride in something that occurred in Alberta yesterday, which underscores, underlines and emphasizes yet again why I, my colleagues from Alberta and all Canadians should be — and are — very proud of Alberta.

Yesterday, in the first session in 2015 of the Alberta legislature, the Alberta government, under Premier Jim Prentice, did three remarkable things. They changed legislation allowing and making mandatory gay-straight alliance groups in schools where any student requests one. Second, they established that parents cannot remove children from classes where sexual orientation is being taught. Third, which is very relevant to our discussion now with Bill C-279, they made another amendment that has added gender expression and gender identity to the grounds for which Albertans will be protected from discrimination.

That has been included in the Alberta Bill of Rights. This is the province of Alberta, where 27 of 28 members of Parliament are in the Conservative government, where a huge majority of Conservatives have been joined by a significant number of Wildrose members, where the Wildrose Party itself supported these amendments. This is a province that many people believe to be quite conservative — small C and large C conservative. This is a province that has made a breakthrough step literally within hours of first opening their session in 2015.

It's particularly relevant to Bill C-279 that we have had two years of debate on. We are now on the precipice of the final stage of passing a bill that would recognize gender identity. All we need to do to make it as good as the initiative that was undertaken in Alberta is remove the amendments.

I raise that and draw to the attention of our colleagues that Alberta has made a tremendous breakthrough and provides and emphasizes tremendous leadership in this important area of rights. I am extremely happy and proud to be an Albertan today.


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Adjournment

Notice of Motion

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 2 p.m.

[Translation]

Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association

Election Observation Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly, October 26-29, 2014—Report Tabled

Hon. Ghislain Maltais: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the Election Observation Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly, held in Kyiv, Ukraine, from October 26 to 29, 2014.

(1350)

[English]

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Extend Date of Final Report on Study of Security Conditions and Economic Developments in the Asia-Pacific Region

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, notwithstanding the orders of the Senate adopted on Thursday, November 21, 2013, and Thursday, June 12, 2014, the date for the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade in relation to its examination of security conditions and economic developments in the Asia-Pacific region, the implications for Canadian policy and interests in the region, and other related matters be extended from March 31, 2015, to September 30, 2015.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Extend Date of Final Report on Study of Issues Relating to Foreign Relations and International Trade Generally

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, notwithstanding the orders of the Senate adopted on Thursday, November 21, 2013, and Thursday, June 12, 2014, the date for the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade in relation to its examination of such issues as may arise from time to time relating to foreign relations and international trade generally be extended from March 31, 2015, to September 30, 2015.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Extend Date of Final Report on Study of the Potential for Increased Canada-United States-Mexico Trade and Investment

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, notwithstanding the order of the Senate adopted on Tuesday, September 23, 2014, the date for the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade in relation to its study on the potential for increased Canada-United States-Mexico trade and investment, including in growth areas in key resource, manufacturing and service sectors; the federal actions needed to realize any identified opportunities in these key sectors; and opportunities for deepening cooperation at the trilateral level be extended from March 31, 2015, to September 30, 2015.


[Translation]

QUESTION PERIOD

International Trade

Food Safety

Hon. Claudette Tardif: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

A few weeks ago, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) on a farm in Alberta.

My honourable colleague and fellow Albertan Senator Black asked you a question on this matter on February 19. At that time, only South Korea had closed its borders to Canadian beef. Since then, five other countries have also closed their borders to Canadian beef: Peru and Taiwan have banned Canadian beef imports, while Belarus, China and Indonesia have imposed additional restrictions.

Leader, what steps is the government taking to reassure the international community regarding the safety of Canadian beef?

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Thank you for your question, senator. As you know, our government continues to proactively engage with our trading partners to ensure that our markets stay open and to reopen markets to Canadian beef as quickly as possible.

With regard to the countries that have imposed temporary restrictions, these markets, while important, represent a small percentage, only around four per cent, of Canada's overall beef exports.

The World Organisation for Animal Health recognizes Canada as a controlled risk status country. We expect our trading partners to continue to recognize this status.

Senator Tardif: Leader, losing the Chinese market is particularly problematic, especially considering Minister Ritz's comments from November of last year. During a meeting of the Agriculture Committee in the other place, Minister Ritz said he was happy to announce that the negotiations and marketing missions in Asia had paid off, and that China had become a major importer of Canadian beef. In addition, Mr. Solverson of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association said, and I quote:

[English]

Having participated in similar promotional events in China, I can tell you that Canadian beef is viewed very favourably and it's important to seize the opportunity to build on that momentum . . . .

Canadian beef exports to China have increased significantly in the last few years. In fact, in September 2014, it was not minimal. Exports to China had already reached 5,850 tonnes. Now that China has closed its border to Canadian beef, it seems that our great reputation in China has quickly vanished and our tremendous progress has come to a halt. It is not known when these temporary restrictions will be lifted.

What steps is the government taking to restore beef exports to China in particular?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Senator, as I said, the countries that imposed temporary restrictions, although important, represent a small percentage, namely 4 per cent, of Canada's total beef exports at this time.

As you know, in 2014, our budget included a $205 million commitment for ongoing programs to fight BSE; measures that you voted against.

Senator Tardif: Leader, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced that the case of BSE discovered in February came from the same farm where a case of BSE was detected in 2010. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been seriously affected by the government's budget cuts in the past few years.

What is the government going to do to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency operate effectively in order to prevent a third case of BSE on the same farm?

Senator Carignan: Senator, as you know, according to the internationally recognized protocols, the agency continues to work with its provincial industry partners and it will keep Canadians abreast of the situation when other information based on scientific data becomes available.

As I said, the agency confirmed that no part of the animal's carcass entered the human or animal food chain. Moving forward we will have to trust the work of the agency and await the results and the scientific data that will be available.

Senator Tardif: The loss of funding for public research into agriculture is particularly problematic, Leader. In fact, in this type of situation we should be increasing support for this inspection agency.

On another related matter, you know that a group of American ranchers in the United States is using the BSE case in Alberta to defend COOL, the Country of Origin Labelling practice, which requires producers to indicate on the product packaging where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Even though the World Trade Organization ruled against the use of this discriminatory practice, the United States government refused to comply.

Leader, Canadian producers have had to deal with this discriminatory practice since 2008. What steps will the government take to address COOL, especially in light of the recent BSE case?

Senator Carignan: Senator, as I said, the World Organisation for Animal Health recognizes Canada as a controlled risk status country. Therefore, our expectation is that our trade partners will continue to recognize this status and that such situations will not be used to establish a practice or as a pretext to violate international agreements. Therefore, we expect our trade partners to continue to recognize this status.

I would remind senators that more than $205 million was earmarked in the 2014 budget to support ongoing programs to combat BSE, and yet you voted against the budget.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Hon. Maria Chaput: I have a supplementary question.

My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate and concerns food inspection.

A few years ago, the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance heard from representatives of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada.

(1400)

This pertained to your deficit reduction plan at the time. The witnesses told us that they had noticed cuts to food inspection services, that the federal government was much less involved and that this field was increasingly becoming a provincial responsibility.

I therefore asked whether this additional responsibility for the provinces would be accompanied by money or funding. I was told no, that they were cutting back on inspections and that inspections would now be a provincial responsibility. I then asked what would happen to the standards. What would happen to site inspections, practices and compliance with the rules? No one could give me an answer, other than telling me that these issues would fall under provincial responsibility.

A number of years have passed. Now that we are more aware of what this means, does the federal government plan on restoring a partnership with the provinces to specifically deal with the food safety and inspection issue?

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Senator, as you know, Canada has one of the healthiest and safest food systems in the world. Economic Action Plan 2014, which allocated nearly $400 million to strengthen Canada's food safety system, included measures to improve food inspection programs and hire new inspectors. This amount is in addition to the $500 million that has already been invested. Economic Action Plan 2014 provided for the hiring of an additional 200 front-line inspectors.

Senator, Canadians need to be confident that the food they buy and serve to their families is safe. That's why our government continues to strengthen Canada's food safety system through the Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan.

We have also implemented stiffer penalties and better screening, especially for E. Coli. We have imposed new meat labelling requirements and taken measures to counter the import of unsafe food. We will continue to work — within our areas of jurisdiction — on prevention and on protecting public health and safety.

Senator Chaput: I have one last question. Is the federal government now involved in on-site inspections, in terms of standards or reviews, or as part of a cooperative effort with the provinces? Is the federal government now involved in on-site inspections in order to ensure food safety?

Senator Carignan: Senator, I am sure that we are on site and that with our front-line inspectors we continue to ensure the safety of the food that ends up on our tables.

[English]

Finance

Revenue Neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend

Hon. Grant Mitchell: I have a question that has come to us from Cathy Lacroix of Toronto, Ontario. Her question has to do to carbon pricing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

There is a third option in carbon pricing: revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend. It is not a tax in the conventional sense and it is not a trading system.

Revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend is a market-driven, job-creating, progressive carbon pricing system that works so well that economists say, even without the emissions reductions it would cause, it would be a great economic tool to promote growth.

British Columbia has instituted a distorted version of a true fee and dividend, yet it is still the best carbon pricing system in the world.

If the federal government would put a true carbon fee and dividend system in place, Canada would benefit economically and would quickly become the world leader in the reduction of carbon emissions.

Will the government please study and consider this third option, a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Thank you, Senator, for sharing that person's question. If she follows politics, she will see that our record is clear and that we have taken strong action on the environment while protecting our economy. We continue and will continue to implement a sector-by-sector regulatory approach in order to reduce greenhouse gases to protect the environment, but also to support economic prosperity.

We have already taken action to reduce gas emissions in two of the major emitting industries in Canada, namely transportation and power plants. We support these measures.

Recently, we also announced our intention to regulate the growth of HFCs, currently the fastest-growing greenhouse gases in the world.

Senator, since 2006, we have made substantial investments in more efficient technology, better infrastructure and cleaner energy, which should make the person who asked the question quite happy. I want to emphasize that we have one of the cleanest electricity generation systems in the world.

We are reducing greenhouse gas emissions without hurting the economy, whereas the Liberals and the NDP have a job-killing carbon taxation plan.

[English]

Senator Mitchell: What this government is doing to "reduce carbon emissions" would be tantamount to the Toronto Maple Leafs' improving the selling of popcorn to improve the performance of their team on the ice. I'm sorry to pick on the Leafs like that, but I just couldn't help myself — right, the Oilers.

Let's get back to the point here. The supplemental question comes to us from Lars Boggild, also from Toronto, Ontario. He is addressing the Conservatives right where they live. His question has to do with pricing carbon without growing government — a perfect balance:

I recognize that climate change is a critical issue of our time. A carbon fee and dividend policy would place a transparent, rising fee on carbon while returning all revenues as a cash benefit to individual households on an equal basis. This would make polluters pay for their activities, but ensure that all households were buffered against increased costs of living from everyday goods and services. It would create strong incentives to reduce emissions, but not grow the size of government or require further tax reforming efforts. It would treat all industries equally, and not pick winners.

On the basis of these observations, Mr. Boggild's question jumps right by the idea of actually studying the carbon tax and dividend to a question that's very specific: "Would the government support a carbon fee and dividend policy?"

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Senator, as we have said many times, we would rather make major investments in more efficient technology, better infrastructure and cleaner energy. We have one of the cleanest electricity generation systems. Our plan is to continue implementing a sector-by-sector approach to reducing greenhouse gases. As we have stated firmly and repeatedly, we, unlike the Liberals and the NDP, have no intention of introducing new job-killing taxes.

(1410)

[English]

Environment

Climate Change

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I have a question sent in by Ms. Laurel Thompson of Montreal, Quebec — a city that both the Leader of the Government and I know well. Her question is quite simple but profound:

Do you think we have a moral imperative to respond to climate change?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, as you know, our environmental record speaks for itself. We are taking strong environmental action while protecting the economy. I believe that our actions clearly show the importance we place on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As we've said from the start, we are taking a continental approach. It is every country's responsibility, and that's what we are doing.

[English]

Senator Fraser: I have a supplementary question. I don't know whether you're just too busy to look at the facts, leader, or whether your cue cards say that you must say things that simply aren't borne out by the facts. If you look at every ranking available, you can see that Canada comes down at the bottom of the list or very close.

In the most recent ranking I have from the Centre for Global Development looking at 27 wealthy OECD nations, basically, in the environmental protection category, Canada ranked twenty-seventh out of 27. We're dropping on the Ernst & Young Global Limited Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index. The Climate Change Performance Index is put out by a German NGO and a worldwide network called the Climate Action Network of over 900 NGOs in 100 countries. This year's ranking looks at 61 countries, including such environmental leaders as Algeria, China and Malaysia. Out of 61 countries, Canada comes in as number 58.

Senator Mitchell: We're worse than China.

Senator Fraser: We come in just ahead of Kazakhstan, our new best friend Australia, and Saudi Arabia. I think I just heard you say that we're trying to create a uniform continental system, working in partnership with our neighbours to the south, but they come in way ahead of us as number 44.

How can you possibly ignore what climate change is doing not just to us now in Canada, where it is having serious effects, particularly in the North, but all over the world where droughts are causing wars, where floods are affecting millions of people, and where the incidence of serious storms is making millions more homeless? How can you not face up to the moral imperative for this country to become a leader and not a laggard on climate change?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Senator, we are the first major coal user to ban the construction of coal-fired power plants. I believe that we should be commended for implementing this practical measure. Everyone knows how much greenhouse gas a coal-fired power plant can produce. We took action.

We are very proud of our environmental record, and I would like to give you a few excellent examples.

First, we introduced the National Conservation Plan, which includes new investments to preserve ecologically sensitive lands, conserve marine and coastal areas and connect Canadians to nature in urban areas. We imposed harsher sanctions for those who violate environmental laws. We granted additional funding to Nature Conservancy Canada. We enhanced the measures to encourage donations of ecologically sensitive land. We are granting additional funding to support the Earth Rangers to teach children about biodiversity and help them get involved in protecting the environment. We brought in tax measures for the production of clean energy and set up a world-class monitoring system for the oil sands. We also renewed funding for sustainable development and technologies in Canada.

As part of Budget 2014, we invested significant amounts in the protection of Canada's national parks and the environment. Recently, we announced additional funding to support improvements to infrastructure related to heritage, tourism, navigable waters and highways in national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.

I believe that these initiatives and my previous answers with respect to greenhouse gas reductions speak for themselves.

[English]

Public Safety

Definition of Terrorist Group

Hon. Grant Mitchell: I'd like to draw the attention of the leader to the distinction between talking and doing — talking and getting results. The results actually do matter. If you've done all of these things and we're still fourth from the bottom of the list, 58 out of 61 in climate emissions achievement, wouldn't there be at least two questions that you should be asking yourself and your Prime Minister? First, maybe what you're doing isn't particularly effective and you should change it. Second, maybe what you're doing isn't enough and you should do more.

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Thank you for your question. You are speaking to someone who is quite aware of the distinction between talking and doing because I hear you asking questions day after day and I see my government taking action.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[English]

Senator Moore: You got his attention. This is good.

Senator Mitchell: Well, it happens to be that is my job. I'm doing everything I can to change it, but it just happens to be my job so I'll keep doing it.

Under the new anti-terrorism bill, there's certainly a concern that the definition of "terrorist act" as something that would impair economic development could be applied to an environmental group or an Aboriginal group or, for that matter, a senator who's standing up to tell you that your government is not doing particularly well with its environmental record.

Could you give us some reassurance that people in this country will still be able to debate the issue and fight against projects that are done poorly and emit inappropriate emissions that could affect climate change? Could you give us some assurance that they won't be deemed and defined as terrorist groups?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: You know that what we absolutely want to avoid is targeting you. You can rest assured that there has been no change to what constitutes a threat to Canada's security. Bill C-51 clearly indicates, in clause 2(i), that activities that undermine the security of Canada do not include, and I quote:

. . . lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression.

Furthermore, section 2 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act specifically states that the definition of threats to the security of Canada does not include, and I quote:

. . . lawful advocacy, protest or dissent . . .

That should reassure you. If you have concerns or paranoid fears about conspiracies, I urge you not to watch football games.

[English]

Senator Mitchell: That doesn't mean you're not out to get me.


(1420)

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Study on Challenges and Potential Solutions Relating to First Nations Infrastructure on Reserves

Eighth Report of Aboriginal Peoples Committee—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the consideration of the eighth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples entitled: Housing on First Nation Reserves: Challenges and Successes, tabled in the Senate on February 17, 2015.

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: At the conclusion of my speech, the adjournment should remain in the name of my honourable colleague Senator Tannas.

Honourable senators, I rise today to continue the debate on the eighth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, entitled Housing on First Nation Reserves: Challenges and Successes, tabled in the Senate on February 17, 2015. This report is comprehensive and provides a lot of information about the complexity of issues related to safe and adequate housing on reserves. The report encases what the committee heard and saw, as straight and forthright as we could make it.

During the first phase of the study that focuses on housing, the committee held 21 meetings in Ottawa and one day of public hearings in Thunder Bay. We travelled to 16 First Nation communities in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia and heard from over 40 individuals and organizations. The report is divided into three parts. The first part outlines the current state of housing on reserves, offering a statistical, jurisdictional and legal framework for housing on reserves. The second part outlines what the committee heard, and the third section outlines what the committee found.

In my speech, I will highlight three areas of the report that I think are particularly important. They are funding for First Nations, Indian Act barriers, and fire safety and services.

First of all, with respect to funding levels, virtually every witness told us that the funding levels that bands receive as contribution agreements from Aboriginal Affairs are inadequate.

As Harold Calla from the First Nations Financial Management Board told the committee:

The problem or overarching issue in addressing the on-reserve housing and infrastructure gaps is the fact that there is just not enough money. You can slice it and dice it however many times you want, but when you throw two dollars up and it lands on the table, unless there is divine intervention, it's still two dollars. Money is going to be needed to address this issue.

In our report, we note:

Witnesses have pointed to a number of financial pressures which have contributed to this situation, including the 2% departmental escalator cap, inflation, the remoteness of many communities, and the population growth on reserve.

For example, Sandy Lake First Nation, located in northern Ontario, said there has been no change in their funding over 30 to 40 years, despite a three-times bigger population.

Honourable senators, the funding formula used by Aboriginal Affairs is inadequate and outdated. In their written brief, the KI First Nation stated:

The funding source expects us to build seven to eight buildings on $383,388. That was the price 40 years ago. They maintain that we can do it for that price [now].

Honourable senators, inadequate funding to a band leads to debt — debt that increases over the years — which then leads to departmental oversight and eventually may lead to third-party management. We all know third-party management ends up costing a lot, and, sadly, it seems that, in most cases, the First Nation does not gain the knowledge of how to manage their financial affairs better.

But, honourable senators, if there's not enough money there in the first case, how can they be expected to balance their books? Even with the best manager, what can they do if there's not enough money to cover all their expenses in the first place? It's a no-win situation.

For those First Nations who have no additional source of revenue, the picture is dismal. Their costs go up, but their funding doesn't increase. They seem to be caught in a vicious cycle, with ever-increasing loads of debt.

Honourable senators, part of the funding problem arises from the 2 per cent escalator cap put on First Nation funding from Aboriginal Affairs in 1997. Since then, the funding for First Nations has not kept pace with either inflation or population growth.

Chief Jonathon Silvestre of Birch Narrows First Nation explained this problem very clearly. He told the committee:

We have received $113,367 for the last 20 years. That has not been indexed to inflation, which, if you peg it at 1.5 per cent conservatively, is only worth $84,741 today.

Eighty per cent more people and 25 per cent less money; how do we overcome these obstacles?

He went on to say:

Just to meet the minimum change due to inflation, our band-based capital should be increased to $152,689, based on inflation at 1.5 per cent for 20 years, which is a 34.7 increase.

Further, the band-based capital should be increased by 80.7 per cent to reflect increased population over the same period, for a new total of $275,773, a $162,106 increase or 143 per cent over our current funding of $113,364. This is just to bring our housing up to the national code and maintain it into the future.

Let me repeat that: Birch Narrows First Nation currently receives annual funding of $113,000, but it should be $275,000 to account for inflation and population growth, a remarkable difference.

Honourable senators, in addition to imposing a 2 per cent escalator cap on funding to First Nations, Aboriginal Affairs has reduced the amount of money available for infrastructure by its internal reallocation of funding for infrastructure to social and educational programs. Aboriginal Affairs' own numbers show that, over the last six years, approximately $505 million in infrastructure dollars has been transferred to social, education and other programs, to try to fill the shortfalls in those areas.

(1430)

Honourable senators, half a billion dollars earmarked for infrastructure for First Nations were diverted elsewhere in the past six years. Clearly, there is not enough money in the Aboriginal Affairs budget to adequately fund First Nations and the so-called "robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul" strategy is not a viable solution.

Honourable senators, I'd like next to say a few words about barriers to housing that arise from the Indian Act. To call the Indian Act outdated, archaic and patriarchal is almost cliché. While some people think that the Indian Act creates barriers for bands who want to develop more homeownership on reserves, in our study we found that wasn't really the case. First Nation communities had found ways to get around these so-called barriers.

Section 91(24) of the Constitution gives exclusive authority to the Parliament of Canada for Indians and lands reserved for Indians. Laws must first be passed by Parliament in regard to land use and tenure on reserve before First Nation governments can make their own decisions about the use of their own lands.

In fact, the main barrier in the Indian Act is at section 29, which states that reserve lands are not subject to seizure under legal process. What this means is that lending money to a band member creates a high level of risk for a bank because, if the mortgage on a house is overdue or somehow defaulted, the reserve land cannot be seized by a bank or other lending institution. In other words, under normal circumstances, a band member would have a hard time getting a bank mortgage for a home on a reserve. The Indian Act and the Constitution Act tie the hands of First Nations when it comes to their own decision making with respect to the use and tenure of reserve lands.

However, bands have gotten around this problem in the Indian Act by using leasehold agreements in which the homeowner has title to the lands for a defined period of time.

One example of this creative option is the A-to-A leasing model currently operating on the Westbank First Nation in British Columbia. This First Nation has used 99-year leasing for commercial development and is now using the same 99-year lease for homeownership. A band member who has a land allotment may lease the allotment to himself or herself and obtain a mortgage from a bank for the lease. In the event of a default, the bank may seize the lease. The bank would then own the use of that land for the remainder of the 99-year lease while the ultimate title of the land still remains with the Westbank First Nation. This is a creative way to create a marketable interest in the land whereby banks may offer mortgages to First Nation members.

Another example of a First Nation that has overcome the land-seizure barrier of the Indian Act is the Lac La Ronge Indian Band in Saskatchewan. Lac La Ronge First Nation expanded upon the leasing idea by forming agreements with the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal. The band council itself formed an agreement with these banks to create a mortgage fund to provide a first guarantor for the loans. Additionally, it came to an agreement with the First Nations Market Housing Fund in 2009 to act as a second guarantor. These arrangements make homeownership and mortgages possible on their reserve.

The other way around the Indian Act is through the First Nations Land Management Act. Under this act, First Nations develop their own land code, and the land provisions of the Indian Act no longer apply to them. We saw some First Nations who operate under the First Nations Land Management Act on our trip. Currently there are over 50 First Nations operating under the act, and this act allows First Nations to have enacted their own zoning and residential land use laws.

However, many First Nations consider the aspect of the Indian Act where reserve lands cannot be seized and they are set aside for the band only not as a barrier but as a positive aspect of the Indian Act because it ensures that reserve land is safeguarded for the communal benefit of band members as a whole and is not broken up by pockets of private ownership. For example, information provided to the committee from the Ojibways of the Pic River First Nation stated that "the overriding principle is the preservation of the land base for future generations. Without our land we lose our community and our identity." This community has looked another other models of land tenure that allows shared land to behave like private property but in a way that is protected.

Honourable senators, the third aspect of our report that I would like to discuss is fire safety. In our report, we noted that the fire death rate on reserves is 10 times higher than in the rest of Canada. A number of witnesses drew a link between overcrowding, the state of housing on reserve and the large number of fire deaths in First Nation communities. There are a number of factors that explain the complex nature of fire services and their delivery on reserve.

John De Hooge of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs explained that on-reserve First Nation residents have a combination of factors that create a difficult circumstance in providing adequate fire services. Factors such as remoteness; lack of fire resources, both capacity and equipment; lack of applicable standards and codes; inadequate fire safety inspection; and inadequate fire safety education for residents all contribute to this enhanced risk. Mr. De Hooge said:

If people don't have their own fire-escape plan, their own smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and what have you, if they believe that the fire service will be there to rescue them, in many cases that is not the case, because the way building materials burn today, as rapidly as they do, if you aren't educated, if you haven't taken your own preventive measures, the risk of injury and loss of life is significantly increased. Education is a key element in saving lives and property.

The Hon. the Speaker: Does the honourable senator need more time to finish?

Senator Dyck: Yes, please.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is five more minutes granted to Senator Dyck?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Dyck: Perhaps the most heartbreaking testimony came from Richard Kent of the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada, who told the committee:

I do fire investigations in my area, and it's very unfortunate when I come to my conclusion on how the fire started, that a basic home fire inspection beforehand would have stopped that fire. The fire would not have happened had we had someone to go in to do a basic home fire inspection.

The tragic death of two children in a house fire on a northern Saskatchewan reserve recently has received a lot of news coverage. There has been finger-pointing and blaming as people try to figure out why this has happened. People are trying to understand what went wrong and to figure out what could have prevented the deaths of these two children and seven other children who have died in house fires on reserves in Saskatchewan in the last year and two months.

In some First Nation communities, honourable senators, we saw homes that have boarded up windows and doors and are in dire need of repairs. Such homes are firetraps. More funds are needed to repair or build homes that are safer for First Nation families.

Honourable senators, this is an interim report. Our committee decided to wait until we heard as much evidence as possible before we made our recommendations; however, there are some recommendations embedded in the evidence that are clear nonetheless. The evidence that we received and the homes that we saw on reserves documented the wide spectrum of housing challenges and successes. We saw communities that resembled well-to-do off-reserve communities, and we saw communities that were in dire need of decent, safe homes for their band members.

The challenge for the committee will be to do justice for those First Nation reserves who face the biggest challenge of not having enough federal funding and not having any other source of revenue. Those First Nation communities who do have their own-source revenue and who are better off financially may be able to leverage opportunities to advance their housing and infrastructure even further, but the poorer First Nations won't be able to do so.

(1440)

The challenge for our committee will be to figure out how to find recommendations to break the vicious cycle of underfunding, increasing debt and severe housing problems on the poorest First Nation reserves.

Honourable senators, I would like to conclude my remarks on this report by thanking all the witnesses that appeared before the committee, the witnesses and the communities that welcomed us on our travels, all committee members that were part of this report, and our capable staff members that supported and continue to support us in our work.

As an addendum, I would like to acknowledge the work and valuable input of Senator Charlie Watt on the committee. His name was inadvertently left off the copy of the report that was tabled in this chamber. His name has been added to the online version of our report. However, I put these remarks on the record for our esteemed colleague Senator Watt.

(On motion of Senator Dyck, for Senator Tannas, debate adjourned.).

Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament

Fifth Report of Committee—Motions in Amendment and Subamendment—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator White, seconded by the Honourable Senator Frum, for the adoption of the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament (amendments to the Rules of the Senate), presented in the Senate on June 11, 2014;

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Cowan, seconded by the Honourable Senator Fraser, that the report not now be adopted, but that it be amended by:

1. Replacing paragraph 1.(j) with the following:

"That an item of Other Business that is not a Commons Public Bill be not further adjourned; or";

2. Replacing the main heading before new rule 6-13 with the following:

"Terminating Debate on an Item of Other Business that is not a Commons Public Bill";

3. Replacing the sub heading before new rule 6-13 with the following:

"Notice of motion that item of Other Business that is not a Commons Public Bill be not further adjourned";

4. In paragraph 2.6-13 (1), adding immediately following the words "Other Business", the words "that is not a Commons Public Bill";

5. In the first clause of Paragraph 2.6-13 (3), adding immediately following the words "Other Business", the words "that is not a Commons Public Bill";

6. In the first clause of paragraph 2.6-13 (5), adding immediately following the words "Other Business", the words "that is not a Commons Public Bill"

7. In paragraph 2.6-13 (7) (c), adding immediately following the words "Other Business" the words "that is not a Commons Public Bill";

8. And replacing the last line of paragraph 2.6-13(7) with the following:

"This process shall continue until the conclusion of debate on the item of Other Business that is not a Commons Public Bill".

And on the subamendment of the Honourable Senator Mitchell, seconded by the Honourable Senator Day, that the amendment be not now adopted but that it be amended by adding immediately after paragraph 8 the following:

9. And that the rule changes contained in this report take effect from the date that the Senate begins regularly to provide live audio-visual broadcasting of its daily proceedings.

Hon. Stephen Greene: Honourable senators, I would like to reserve this motion in my name and adjourn it. Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Greene, debate adjourned.)

Agriculture and Forestry

Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization Program—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Ringuette, seconded by the Honourable Senator Day:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be authorized to study the following:

The assessment and appeals process of the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization Program (CAIS), including the replacement programs; AgriStability and AgriInvest;

The definition, including legal precedent and regulatory framework, and application of the terms "arm's length salaries" and "non-arm's length salaries" as used by CAIS and related programs, as well as a comparison of those definitions and the application used by Revenue Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada; and

That the Committee submit its final report no later than March 31, 2015, and retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

Hon. Denise Batters: Honourable senators, I move the adjournment of the debate in my name.

(On motion of Senator Batters, debate adjourned.)

Recreational Atlantic Salmon Fishing

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Maltais, calling the attention of the Senate to the protection of the Atlantic salmon sports fishery in the marine areas of Eastern Canada, and the importance of protecting Atlantic salmon for future generations.

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, this matter is adjourned in the name of Senator Cowan, and I have spoken to Senator Cowan. He agrees that I might say a few words on this particular matter and then the matter would be reassigned and re-adjourned in the name of Senator Cowan. Is that acceptable?

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: You have the floor.

Senator Day: Thank you.

Honourable senators, this is an inquiry by the Honourable Senator Maltais calling the attention of the Senate to the protection of the Atlantic salmon sport fishery in the marine areas of Eastern Canada. I want to say a few words because salmon fishing is such an important East Coast industry and sport, or has been, and it's deserving of our attention.

The general protection of the Canadian East Coast fisheries industry is a major Maritime economic preoccupation and public policy issue, honourable senators. The future of the Maritime fishery sector should also be of concern to all Canadians. I do appreciate and acknowledge that there is also another fishery on the West Coast, but I restrict my remarks to the East Coast fishery in relation to salmon at this time.

[Translation]

Senator Maltais gave a comprehensive historical overview of the decline of the East Coast fishery. That said, I have a few comments to add.

[English]

Senator Maltais criticizes the current state of our salmon fishery as an ongoing act of pillage. I applaud his choice of strong vocabulary. I also want to reflect on his characterization of the habits of seals. His use of the term "salmon killers and eaters, and river pirates" to describe the long-term effect of the overpopulation of seals, the long-term predators and enemy of salmon, adds to this spicy inquiry.

The toing and froing of salmon decline and seal harvesting is a perspective demanding a balanced discussion, honourable senators. Unfortunately, in spite of considerable effort by Canadians to bring such balance to the fishery controversy, the negative perspective of seal harvesting is played out in the media year after year in a narrow, image-hyped condemnation of the culling of baby seals. It is a phony narrative in which European movie stars and public personalities such as Don Cherry invoke the image of cuddly baby seals as a way of attracting public attention or getting their faces on the cover of popular magazines using seals as props.

[Translation]

The popular media have, in large part, been responsible for promoting a negative image of our efforts to reduce the seal population.

[English]

The media refuse to endorse the urgent need to return Maritime fisheries to the principle of ecological preservation, transparency, restoration and balance, all of which are inherent in the realities of Mother Nature.

Evolution has travelled a long, bumpy, unpredictable road, honourable senators. When Mother Nature is left to her own devices, we survive and ecosystems continue to prosper, but when Mother Nature is challenged by the devices of man, the end result can produce a disastrous ripple effect on employment, ecological stability and the availability of food itself.

Let us put this another way: Mother Nature presides over a world of benefactors and predators. Every action we take to alter this balance can lead to friction, surprises, losses, and the ultimate need for us to clear up the messes that we ourselves have caused or that we have not prevented.

Seals are smart predators, just like the wolves in southern Alberta. Let me explain. Seals gather at the mouth of Maritime rivers to kill salmon, cod and turbot. The average adult seal devours 75 to 100 pounds of salmon each day, and the salmon are killed both while exiting the mouths of the rivers and on their attempted return from the ocean to our inland and Maritime waterways to spawn.

(1450)

I have avid and vivid memories of seeing thousands of salmon in the rivers in the area where I grew up the Saint John, the Kennebecasis, the Hammond, the Little Salmon River and the Big Salmon River before the booming of the seal population, that is.

Today, there are virtually no salmon in any of those rivers. Gone is the sport fishing there, and gone is the commercial salmon fishing in Saint John Harbour. Our lack of action to encourage seal culling, therefore, has hindered Mother Nature. The rapid increase of adult seals is a serious impediment to the vitality and the sustainment of our entire fishing industry in Atlantic Canada.

In the Alberta case that I referred to earlier, westerners know that the same kind of issue is at play between wolves and deer. When major roadways were being redesigned in southern Alberta, the planners decided to provide tunnels at regular intervals under busy highways to enable wildlife to cross under the roads in a grand effort to reduce roadkill. By trying to help the deer population to cross barriers through culverts, the project actually added to their decline. The smart wolves realized that by hiding at the end of the under road culvert, they would be able to make very easy prey of the deer, potentially upsetting Mother Nature's balance.

The Alberta effort to circumvent road barriers in order to save wildlife is an interesting comparison to the fisheries conservation effort at river mouths in Atlantic Canada. This strategy seeks to protect salmon flow of migrating salmon by providing buffer zones in the form of banks at the mouths of the rivers that help to block the adult seals from harvesting the migrating salmon. Sometimes we help Mother Nature, sometimes we don't.

Trying to help Mother Nature by protecting deer in Alberta or limiting the seal culling in the Maritimes can lead to a variety of unintended consequences. However, it is clear that in the Atlantic salmon issue of renewed growth and conservation, and respect for Mother Nature that conservation implies, the demand for culling of seals is not only reasonable, it's urgent.

The long evolution of Mother Nature has culminated in a balance of survival triggers, which preside over a multitude of ecological challenges, but are more and more being interfered with around the planet in so many fields of endeavour. The least of these is certainly not our own Canadian Atlantic fishery. Perhaps this should be our greatest focus, while pursuing conservation strategies. Our challenge is to help Mother Nature, not to challenge her.

[Translation]

During his remarks on this issue, former Senator Fernand Robichaud described the past 20 years as the most critical period for the fishery, which is in decline not only because of the lack of salmon, but also because of the serious decrease in the number of cod and turbot.

[English]

Maritime Canada's economy is deeply affected by the health, or lack of it, of both commercial fishery and sport fishing. Both the Aboriginal community and the Acadians have savoured and relied on seafood in their diets for hundreds of years, and the export of seafood around the Maritimes and beyond has been an anchor of the Maritimes' economy in the past.

The following figures tell some of the story: In New Brunswick alone, several hundred full-time jobs serve and support sport fishing and tourism. But the economic value of recreational fishing in New Brunswick dropped 20 per cent between 2010 and 2012, because of the decline of salmon stock in the Miramichi and the Restigouche rivers. In 2012, New Brunswick's salmon fishery alone was estimated to have contributed $54.7 million to Canada's gross domestic product. Two years later, the figure was estimated to have declined by 20 per cent.

Of extreme importance is the international perspective. In efforts to promote conservation, the role of governments throughout the North Atlantic is critical to the restoration of the Atlantic salmon fishery. Government inaction, evasion and denial in France by way of its surrogate St-Pierre and Miquelon, and in Denmark by way of its surrogate, Greenland, suggests that our foreign affairs personnel have much work to do to represent the financial interests of Atlantic Canada vigorously and effectively on the issues of overfishing, conservation, culling and renewal, but our efforts will not be very effective if we operate in a vacuum.

What we do to restore the North Atlantic fishery urgently needs to be matched by the North Atlantic national players. The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea has declared that ocean harvesting of salmon should cease until the level of health of all target fisheries population is scientifically known, and that river harvesting of salmon should only continue when conservation limits have been exceeded.

Of course, international cooperation is essential to the Maritimes' economic survival, especially when one considers the following: Recent genetic assessment reveals that North Atlantic salmon that were harvested in Greenland originated from a variety of locations, including the Quebec north shore, Labrador, Gaspé, parts of United States and the Maritimes.

In his statement to the Atlantic Salmon Federation in June last year, the President of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Bill Taylor, stressed the urgent need for international cooperation on all aspects of the survival of the maritime and North Atlantic salmon industry. Both Greenland and France have been targeted for criticism. International organizations have pleaded with Greenland to cease North Atlantic salmon harvesting altogether, and France has been urged to participate in the development of an international conservation agreement, but thus far has refused to do so.

Obviously, our Department of Foreign Affairs has a key role to play in all of this. A typical example of the international challenge was an incident less than two years ago when a fishery in St-Pierre and Miquelon intercepted and harvested 5.3 tonnes of salmon that were attempting to migrate to their home rivers in the Gaspé and the Maritimes so that they could spawn and create more salmon.

The governments of the North Atlantic can solve the harvesting issue. The salmon industry desperately needs their collaborative efforts to do so. I believe the government has an important public relations role to play in promoting the maritime economic narrative that covers all aspects of North Atlantic salmon conservation and restoration, and the restoration challenge.

As Canadian parliamentarians, we must speak out on this injustice.

Hon. David P. Smith: Would the honourable senator take a question?

Senator Day: I would be pleased to.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Day's time has expired.

Senator Day: Might I have a short extension?

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are honourable senators willing to grant five more minutes to Senator Day?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator D. Smith: In your opinion, as between Atlantic salmon and Pacific salmon —

Senator Munson: There's no comparison.

Senator D. Smith: — which tastes better?

Senator Day: Thank you for your question. I would highly recommend that you do a sampling yourself. I'm hoping that we can still find an Atlantic salmon for you because, as I pointed out, it's in extreme decline at the present time.

Honourable senators will know that taste is in the mouth of the beholder, so I would leave that entirely to you.

Senator D. Smith: When I go for fish at the St. Lawrence Market, which is a well-known market, I usually see that Atlantic salmon is a little pricier, but then there's quite a difference between whether or not it's farmed or totally wild. How much farming is going on down in the Atlantic area of salmon?

Senator Day: I'm glad the honourable senator asked me that question. I have always felt that farming is an indication of demand. When I learned that salmon farming on the West Coast included cages of Atlantic salmon, that was an indication to me that even the West Coast wants Atlantic salmon.

(On motion of Senator Cowan, debate adjourned.)

(The Senate adjourned until Thursday, March 12, 2015, at 1:30 p.m.)