- SENATORS' STATEMENTS
- ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
- The Estimates, 2015-16
- Canadian Commission on Mental Health and Justice Bill
- Visitors in the Gallery
- Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association
- QUESTION PERIOD
- ORDERS OF THE DAY
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker pro tempore in the chair.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I have received a notice from the Leader of the Opposition who requests, pursuant to rule 4-3(1), that the time provided for the consideration of Senators' Statements be extended today for the purpose of paying tribute in memory of the Honourable Aurélien Gill, who passed away on January 17, 2015.
I remind honourable senators that, pursuant to our rules, each senator will be allowed only three minutes and they may speak only once. However, it is agreed that we continue our tributes to our former colleague under Senators' Statements. We will therefore have up to 30 minutes for tributes. Any time remaining after tributes will be used for other statements. Is that agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I wish to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of our former colleagues, the Honourable Lucie Pépin as well as the Honourable Raymond Setlakwe.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you back to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of family members of our former colleague, the late Honourable Aurélien Gill: his wife, Aline Castonguay; his daughters, Marie-Claude, Carole and Guylaine Gill, and their husbands; 12 grandchildren; and other family members and friends.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Colleagues, I rise today to pay tribute to our late friend and colleague, Senator Aurélien Gill.
Senator Gill retired from this chamber in 2008, following a long and dedicated life of public service. I'm delighted that so many of his family members could be with us today, looking over this place which he served so well. Welcome.
Senator Gill profoundly affected all of us who had the privilege of knowing and working with him. Before being appointed to the Senate in 1998, he served as a teacher, a public servant and a successful businessman in Quebec. In all of these roles he was, as he was throughout his life, a leader.
He was born in Mashteuiatsh or, as it is also known, Pointe-Bleue, Quebec. Following his studies at Laval, he went on to the National Defence College in Kingston, where he studied under some of the country's greatest strategists. It was during this time that he travelled throughout the world and saw firsthand the conditions of other Aboriginal peoples and especially the positive actions that had been taken elsewhere that could be taken here.
Colleagues, sometimes one has an experience that proves to be a turning point, setting the course of one's life. That was such a time for Senator Gill. He resolved to devote his life to our First Nations people — a promise he kept. We are all the beneficiaries of that dedication.
In preparation for today, I reread the tributes paid to Senator Gill when he left this place. Colleagues described his "irreproachable integrity and dedication," his "remarkable generosity", "extraordinary talents, energy and eloquence." He was called a: "leader of intelligence, commitment, confidence, passion and bravery"; a "spontaneous man who showed great generosity in his everyday life"; "sincere, and frank", and a man with a lesser-known "gift for livening up social functions."
But, colleagues, even more than his charming and gregarious nature, it was his devotion to improving the lives of this country's first inhabitants that shone through the most. That is where Senator Gill truly made his mark and where he truly distinguished himself by his vision.
From 1974 to 1985, Aurélien Gill served as Chief of the Montagnais at his home in Lac-Saint-Jean. He went on to found and serve on numerous organizations aimed at creating a world where respect, equality and dignity would prevail — a world where Aboriginals could assume responsibility for their own affairs. He continued this effort throughout his 10 years of service in the Senate, working tirelessly to advance the cause of Aboriginal peoples.
His deep and long-standing connection to his Montagnais roots and to Aboriginal communities at large were evident to everyone who served alongside him in this chamber.
I had the privilege of being his colleague for three and a half years and, in that time, I saw him advocate for First Nations independence with extraordinary passion, eloquence and vigour. He earned the respect and admiration of his many colleagues, engaged us with his fiery speeches, and educated us all on the very serious challenges facing First Nations.
In his last remarks in this place, Senator Gill said:
Certain topics are very difficult, but the issues facing First Nations people must be resolved. A path and a solution must be found. That day is not far off, for the world is changing, and it will change for the better. One day there will be a representative assembly of First Nations. . . . We, the First Nations people, have not only survived, but we have made a contribution; we have worked towards making the world a better place for all Canadians, without exception, without excluding anyone.
He told us that he had "great faith in the future," that it had always been his most profound desire to "live in a just, beautiful and noble society." He brought that goal much closer for all the rest of us.
To his family and friends, thank you for sharing him with this country and with those of us in this place. He is deeply missed.
Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais: Honourable senators, today I rise in honour of a former colleague, Senator Aurélien Gill, who died on January 17, 2015, at the age of 81, after a remarkable and inspiring career.
Senator Gill was an ardent defender of the interests of Aboriginal peoples in Quebec and all of Canada. He was a teacher and became a model of dedication to his community during his term as a senator and in the key roles he played as president and founder of the Conseil Attikamek-Montagnais and chief of the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh from 1975 to 1982 and 1987 to 1989.
Senator Gill also devoted his energy to the establishment of the Montagnais Cultural Educational Institute, the Amerindian Police Council, the Confederation of Indians of Quebec, the Assembly of First Nations and the Provincial and National Aboriginal Advisory Council.
Before being appointed to the Senate, Senator Gill was co-founder and president of Les Gestions Gamac P.N., a holding company that owns Air Roberval, Aviation Québec-Labrador and Air BGM. Senator Gill also held several positions in the public sector, including that of Quebec Director General of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. In 1991, he was made a knight of the National Order of Quebec.
In 1998, the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien appointed Aurélien Gill to the Senate of Canada, where he served for 10 years until he retired in 2008.
Senator Gill made a significant contribution to the Senate through his experience and expertise by serving on various committees, including the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples. Last year, Senator Gill was awarded the Order of Canada for his commitment to promoting and defending the interests of First Nations, particularly the Innu people.
Senator Gill will be remembered for his great accomplishments and unwavering dedication to serving the people of Canada throughout his life.
Thank you for your attention.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I also rise today to pay tribute to a very dear former colleague, the Honourable Aurélien Gill, who passed away on January 17, 2015, at the age of 81 years.
Aurélien was a teacher by trade, but he was also a community builder and activist, as demonstrated by his lifelong dedication to advocacy in the interests of Canada's indigenous peoples. He served as chief of the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh from 1975 to 1982, as vice-president of the Quebec Association of Indians from 1973 to 1975, and as chairman of the Atikamekw and Montagnais First Nations from 1975 to 1976. Senator Gill was also a key participant in the founding of the National Indian Brotherhood, now known as the Assembly of First Nations. He was a generous adviser to indigenous peoples in other countries.
Summoned to the Senate by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien on September 17, 1998, Senator Gill further promoted the cause of Aboriginal peoples through his work on the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples and the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. Part of this work was the recognition of the fact that the relationship between the Aboriginal peoples and the Crowns of both England and France has been nothing short of disgraceful. Yet, despite the erosion of Aboriginal society over the years and the dependence upon government policy, Senator Gill foresaw that Aboriginal peoples might one day control their own destiny.
Such was the vision of Aurélien Gill when on April 30, 2008, he tabled Bill S-234, An Act to establish an assembly of the aboriginal peoples of Canada and an executive council, to establish a third chamber of Parliament. Recognizing the need to break free from the bonds of the archaic, paternalistic Indian Act and the Department of Indian Affairs, this bill would encourage Canada's Aboriginal peoples to play a greater role not only in their own affairs, but also in those of the country as well. An Aboriginal assembly would provide the voice of the peoples recognized in the Constitution Act, 1982.
In the world of inventors, when a person is the first person to think of a product or process, it's called a "flash of genius." Aurélien Gill had that flash of genius when he conceived of his brilliant system of self-government for the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Much thought went into that bill, and I encourage fellow senators to read it. It is much more than just food for thought; it is the template for Aboriginal government in Canada. As Senator Gill put it:
This country will never be complete as long as Aboriginal peoples do not have a place in this political architecture.
He also said:
How can we be anything less than passionate about this, when this concerns the future of our many children, their education, their health, their environment, their pride, their culture and their identity?
After Aurélien's retirement from the Senate in 2008, we remained in contact. I continue to advocate on behalf of his bill, distributing it to numerous chiefs and speaking about it at opportune times. I thank you, honourable Aurélien, for your work and vision. Meegwetch.
Senator Gill is survived by his wife, Aline; three daughters, Guylaine, Carole and Marie-Claude; and 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. I wish Aline and all of you present to know that it was an honour to serve with Aurélien, who taught me much about life among our Aboriginal peoples. We were good friends. He enriched all our lives, and I thank you for sharing him with us.
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I rise today to remember the Honourable Senator Aurélien Gill, whom we are celebrating for his long, dedicated career, which he spent defending the interests of Aboriginal peoples.
Born on August 26, 1933, Senator Gill grew up on the Pointe-Bleue Reserve of the Lac-Saint-Jean area of Quebec and went on to earn his bachelor's degree in pedagogy from the University of Laval. He held notable positions in the public sector as Director General of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs and in the private sector as co-founder and president of Les Gestions Gamac P.N.
Senator Gill was also a visionary. At the age of 42, he became the founding president of the Conseil Atikamekw-Montagnais and chief of the Mashteuiatsh Montagnais community in the mid-1970s and again in the late 1980s. Senator Gill was dedicated to his community and in 1991 was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in recognition of his achievements.
In 1998, Aurélien Gill was appointed to the Senate on the recommendation of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. As a senator, he played an integral role as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples from the beginning of his tenure to his retirement. He also sat on numerous other committees, such as Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration; Legal and Constitutional Affairs; Agriculture and Forestry; Fisheries and Oceans; and many more. Senator Gill served with distinction over the course of his Senate tenure with his insights and contributions to debates, committee work, activities and initiatives. Deservedly, Senator Gill was appointed to the Order of Canada by the Governor General for his life's work and service to the community and to Canada.
On behalf of the Conservative caucus, I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to Senator Gill's wife and three daughters, as well as to the entire Mashteuiatsh community. While they have lost a beloved husband, father and leader, we have all lost an exemplary Canadian senator. Thank you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I had the enormous privilege of joining the Senate the same day as Aurélien Gill. Even at the time, I knew it was a privilege, although it was only with the passage of time that I realized just how much of a privilege it was to be paired, if you will, with such an extraordinary man.
One of the ironies of political life is that Aurélien Gill represented a senatorial division in Quebec called Wellington. Wellington was one of the greatest warriors in the history of England. He was the man who conquered Napoleon, and he was well known, apparently, for his haughty, difficult and even snobby disposition.
Aurélien Gill was anything but those things. Aurélien was a man with an enchanting smile. Just look at any photo of him. He was always smiling. Even as I look at those photos today, I feel like his smile makes me smile.
I think one of the best descriptions of Aurélien that I ever read was in his obituary. Among other things, it said:
Mr. Gill was a unifying force and was always actively involved in his community, region and country. He worked on promoting respect, cooperation and partnership. To his family and friends, he was the epitome of integrity, justice and perseverance.
All these words are true, especially the first descriptor, "unifying force." He was a unifying force. It was hard not to like Aurélien Gill or answer his calls.
The current chief of Mashteuiatsh — like Senator Martin, I have a hard time pronouncing the name of Aurélien's favourite place in the world even though he tried to teach me how for 10 years — Gilbert Dominique, said:
I think he will certainly inspire us because he never gave in or gave up. He believed very strongly that we had rights, that we . . .
—he was talking about Aboriginal peoples—
. . . had rights and we could certainly build our future on that basis.
As Senator Moore said earlier in his tribute, Aurélien Gill never stopped fighting for his people and for his country, but particularly for his people. He taught us what we needed to know about Aboriginal peoples, and we thank him for that. I offer our condolences to his entire family.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I would like to remind you to stay within the three minutes, please.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, I would first like to offer my condolences to the family. I had the opportunity to meet them a few minutes ago.
If it weren't for Aurélien Gill, I might never have known about Pointe-Bleue. The name alone brings to mind a beautiful countryside, a fantastic region, and above all, a place where people help each other and are extremely welcoming. I encourage any of my colleagues who have never been to Pointe-Bleue to go for a visit and maybe have a coffee with his daughters while they are there.
I always knew that Aurélien was proud of his heritage. Some people forget about where they came from, but he did not. He worked his whole life to advance the cause of Aboriginal peoples in a positive and generous manner. I don't think that we who arrived in this land well after the Aboriginal communities have been that generous, and I believe that the example he set of sharing is worth serious consideration.
I would also like to share a little secret with you. If Aurélien were with us today, I can tell you that he would very likely have been asked to participate in a well-known television show called Dancing with the Stars and that his talents as a dancer would have put some participants to shame. After some caucus meetings, I remember going to bed rather late but filled with gladness because his love of life transcended his work in the Senate, where he made a lot of friends.
When I think of everything that he did for his community, I feel I must tell his family that he was a proud man and that they should be proud of him. He was a Canadian who made a great contribution to this country, and I too was always proud to serve with him. He will always be remembered fondly. I will not say goodbye, but rather, until we meet again. I am sure we will see each other again one day and have the chance to get into a bit of trouble and maybe dance a little.
Hon. Charlie Watt: Honourable senators, today I rise to give tribute to our former colleague, Senator Gill.
Long before I was a senator, I worked very closely with Senator Gill. For many years he touched a part of me in a way that some other people probably would not have. That's how close a relationship I had with Senator Gill.
He was Quebec director-general at the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. Before that, he was the vice-president of the Quebec Association of Indians. That was between 1973 and 1975. He was also the chairman of the Council of Atikamekw and Montagnais from 1975 to 1976. So we had many years of experience with each other and in dealing with the different matters that were before us. Actually, I have known Senator Gill for over 40 years.
As some of you senators are fully aware, in his final years he introduced a private member's bill, Bill S-234, to establish an assembly of Aboriginal peoples of Canada, along with an executive attached to it. And we shared his vision for a third house of Parliament — an Aboriginal people's chamber — with support right across the country.
Last week, I hosted a round table with the First Nation leaders, and I can assure you that Senator Gill's vision is still alive in the minds and the hearts of our community leaders today.
Aboriginal people are under-represented in this chamber, and those of us who remain miss him very much. We carry a disproportionate load because the community is growing rapidly, yet Aboriginal representation in this place continues to shrink.
I had an opportunity today to meet with his family. Unfortunately his wife didn't have the strength to come here. The rest of his family is here, including his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I met his three daughters, Guylaine, Carole and Marie-Claude. We are all happy to receive them here in Ottawa.
I would say Senator Gill was most effective and very focused on the matters that he dealt with. I was fortunate to have many years' experience with Senator Gill, a strong advocate for the indigenous people, and I was honoured to call him my good friend.
Thank you, honourable senators.
Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, and to the Gill family, I have another statement to make, but I'm caught up in the moment. I'll say a few words.
I was the new kid on the block in 2003, and Senator Gill was already here. He took me aside and showed me a few things. I'm not allowed to say what they were, but they were all good. Every darn bit of it was good. He was a mentor in my life as well and helped me understand even more about the issue of Aboriginal rights and speaking with one voice.
Hon. Jim Munson: I rise today to talk about World Autism Awareness Day, which is tomorrow. Moments ago I was on the front steps of Parliament, and there was a rally for autism. There were 200 of us there, and it was a feel-good experience. It's the third Autism Day on the Hill, carried out by my dear friend Suzanne Jacobson of QuickStart and KickStart here in Ottawa. She's on the Hill somewhere, and I want to thank her so much because she truly is a champion. Suzanne has made it a beautiful tradition for this day of awareness building to create a banner with pictures of Canadians with autism. You should have seen it today. It was so special.
The "faces of autism" banner includes the pictures and names of 165 people — children, adults and siblings. Some pictures are funny and quirky, others more formal, including graduation shots. Those photos make a powerful statement, and I'm grateful to Suzanne for helping Canadians to better understand what matters most in the ongoing effort to deal with autism as a social, moral and, above all, human rights issue.
In the last two days we had the first ever autism summit with 150 of us — we began with seven or eight of us about 10 years ago — from across the country under the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance, CASDA. The agenda was packed with insightful presentations and demonstrations. It was truly a wonderful time.
Based on the results of a national survey conducted last year to assess autism service needs amongst Canadians, discussions are moving forward. Yesterday, CASDA announced, for example, that it was asked to submit a proposal by the federal government to build a Canadian partnership with this government. I think this is a good thing. If it is successful — and I'm keeping my fingers crossed — there will be a lot of money in the upcoming budget. We're getting closer and closer to a national autism awareness strategy.
Honourable senators, and our guests here, tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day. It is a day to recognize those living with autism and to reflect on how these individuals and Canadians can best ensure that their human rights are respected in this country we call home. It is about inclusiveness and a smart party would have this in their election campaign platform. If all of the parties have it, I'll support all of the parties on this specific issue, and I'll make that deal with everyone.
At this moment and within the current environment, I have never, ever believed more in a national autism spectrum disorder strategy — the absolute need for one, as well as our capacity to achieve one.
Hon. Judith Seidman: Honourable senators, April 1 marks the beginning of Parkinson's Awareness Month, a month-long celebration across Canada to recognize the Parkinson's community. Representatives from Parkinson Society Canada are in Ottawa this week meeting with policy-makers and legislators to discuss how we might build upon our current models of support and care for individuals and families living with Parkinson's disease.
This year, Parkinson Society Canada is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary of dedication to Parkinson's issues. The announcement that Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will be adding Parkinson's disease to the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System is an exciting development for the Parkinson's community. It will allow researchers, medical practitioners and policymakers to access a wide range of substantive data to help to make evidence-based decisions when addressing the community's needs.
Parkinson's is caused by a loss of dopamine in the brain, leading to a number of motor and non-motor symptoms that include tremors, slowness of movement and difficulty with balance and walking, depression, sleep disturbances and cognitive changes. As you can imagine, the needs of the men and women affected by Parkinson's are extensive and require thoughtful consideration from legislators, health program innovators and community care planners.
According to the recent publication of Neurological Health Charities Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, entitled Mapping Connections: An understanding of neurological conditions in Canada, the number of Canadians affected by Parkinson's will double by 2031. If so, this creates some urgency to address the needs of the Parkinson's community. As they have since 1965, Parkinson Society Canada will continue to work through education, advocacy and support services to create a better life for those living with Parkinson's today and through research to see a world without Parkinson's tomorrow.
Honourable senators, Canadians are relying on our leadership to make strong, evidence-based policy decisions that will help individuals affected by complex neurological conditions to have the best possible quality of life.
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2015-16 Reports on Plans and Priorities.
Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present the nineteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, which deals with Bill S-208, An Act to establish the Canadian Commission on Mental Health and Justice.
(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 1723.)
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?
(On motion of Senator Frum, report placed on Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of students from the University of Ottawa and Queen's University who are participating in the Senate Liberal Open Caucus on Youth Engagement. They are the guests of the Senate Liberal Caucus.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Darin Chow, Justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench. He is the guest of the Honourable Senator Batters.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
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, April 21, 2015 at 2 p.m.
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 First Part of the 2015 Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, held in Strasbourg, France, from January 26 to 30, 2015.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate and it's one of a series of questions we've received in response to our invitation to Canadians to ask questions on their behalf.
Today, my question was received from the students who are currently sitting here, as we know, in the Senate Gallery. These students participated in this morning's Open Caucus on Youth Engagement in the Political Process. As you know, since March of last year, we have opened our doors to Canadians to learn, discuss and debate issues. We have members of the press, members of Parliament and the public attend these events, and today we were fortunate to have students, not only from here in Ottawa, from Carleton and Ottawa, but all the way from Kingston, in the lead up to exams, Mr. Leader, to participate in this morning's discussion. Their question is as follows:
This morning, the Senate Liberals opened their doors to hold an Open Caucus on youth disengagement in politics. We had a very interesting, healthy, and fulsome discussion on how to address this issue, but we cannot stop here. How does this government propose to address this issue in a tangible way? As an issue of national importance that impacts on all Canadians, what measures have been taken by this government to actively engage young people in the political process?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for his question. My assistant who prepares for Question Period was starting to fear for her job. I told her not to worry, that people would certainly send you their questions. I saw that your caucus was open to the public and journalists, since some journalists were there today.
As for your question, senator, we are working hard to encourage young people to get involved in politics and the democratic process. A good way to do this is to ensure that people have confidence in the electoral system, the results and the democratic process. That is why we passed the Fair Elections Act, which makes some common-sense amendments to our electoral laws.
The Fair Elections Act requires voters to present a piece of identification before they receive their ballot. This act increases the independence of the Commissioner of Canada Elections, who is responsible for communicating the information from the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer that Canadians need in order to exercise their right to vote, such as when and where to vote and what identification is required.
The bill was founded on the principle of equality and universal suffrage and was widely supported by the public. Polls show that 87 per cent of Canadians believe that voters should have to show a piece of identification to exercise their right to vote. The electoral reform known as the Fair Elections Act uses positive legislative measures and advertisements containing information about voting in order to encourage Canadians — and especially young Canadians — to get out and vote.
Senator Cowan: I agree with the leader that it's important for Canadian citizens to have faith in their electoral system. I think you will agree with me and with most observers that Canadian elections are amongst the fairest and most open in the world. We used to be considered to be a model of electoral reform, a model of how to run elections and encourage people to participate in those elections.
You say that you're concerned about this issue and about encouraging people to vote, particularly young people. Yet, the Fair Elections Act to which you referred was moving in exactly the opposite direction. When you tightened the ID requirements set out in that act, you made it more difficult for mobile voters like students, younger voters, to vote. I think that every observer of the Fair Elections Act, as you called it, had that comment, namely that these so-called reforms made it more difficult for those who were mobile, like our young people, those who are disadvantaged and our Aboriginal citizens, to vote. The so-called reforms that you've introduced have exactly the opposite effect that you wanted to say.
It used to be that the Chief Electoral Officer was able to actively encourage Canadians, including young Canadians, to vote, but the Fair Elections Act put a stop to that. We were fortunate this morning to have Jean-Pierre Kingsley, the former Chief Electoral Officer, speak at our open caucus. This is what he said:
The Chief Electoral Officer has been told to shut up about the importance of voting, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was told to shut up as well. I consider these to be unconscionable attacks on the institutions of this country.
Why is this government intent on stripping powers from Elections Canada? Why is it restricting educational initiatives and the promotion of democracy? Why is it making voting more difficult for those groups, like young people, who already experience difficulties in exercising their democratic rights?
Senator Carignan: Senator, I don't know where you are getting the information that people are being muzzled here in Canada, especially when we have freedom of expression and fundamental rights and the courts provide protection for individuals. One must be cautious and assess the impact of what might be said or written.
The Fair Elections Act strikes a balance between the need to ensure that Canadians have confidence in the integrity of the system and the need to prove one's identity when exercising the constitutional right to vote. You know that a multitude of pieces of identification can be used. I believe that we have struck a balance between the need to identify oneself in order to vote and the need to maintain Canadians' confidence in the electoral system and election results.
That is important, and I believe that the students who are here, like all Canadians, know that if there were doubts about election results, that would discourage people from voting because it would make them cynical about the system and the institutions. That is why we must ensure that people have confidence in the system. I believe that the Fair Elections Act strikes a perfect balance.
Senator Cowan: Leader, I agree with you. I think it's important that Canadians have confidence in the electoral system. I think Canadians do have confidence in our electoral system, which, by and large, is free of difficulties. As I said, we have a model electoral system. No system is ever perfect or absolutely free of abuse, but Canadian elections, compared with elections elsewhere in the world, are remarkably free of such abuses.
However, that was not my question. My question had to do with what steps your government is taking to actively encourage young people to participate in electoral processes by voting. You know as well as I do that the percentage of younger Canadians that are voting in our elections at all levels is declining. That was my question, and their question, about what this government is doing.
I pointed out to you that before your Fair Elections Act amendments came into play, the central part of the role of the Chief Electoral Officer, who is in charge of elections, was to encourage citizens of all ages to participate in the process. However, your government deliberately stripped his power to do that so that he's unable to encourage people to vote. That seems to me to be completely counterproductive and goes completely contrary to the aims that I'm sure you and I would agree are important.
That was the subject matter of the question from our guests today.
Senator Carignan: We discussed that point during Question Period in the sittings preceding the passage of the Fair Elections Act. At that time, we agreed that what was most important was that Canadians have the key information they need to go and vote.
Several committee studies made headlines in connection with the high percentage of people who don't know where to vote. The Chief Electoral Officer will have to publish information that people need to exercise the right to vote and advertise that information, specifically where, when and what kind of ID to bring.
I remember that when I was a student, it was easier back then to vote in federal elections, but people still wondered where they were supposed to vote every time. The places changed all the time. School board elections were in one place, municipal elections in another, provincial elections in another and federal elections in yet another. People sometimes felt a bit lost and didn't bother to vote.
I have run in elections and organized them, and I have often seen people show up at the wrong polling station because they went to the one where they voted in the previous provincial or municipal election. Voters get discouraged by that kind of thing. We need to have systems in place to make sure that people know where to vote. The Chief Electoral Officer will be responsible for deciding where and when voting will take place.
As political parties, it's up to us to come up with exciting platforms that persuade people it is important to vote. It's up to us, as political parties, to do what we have to do to get voters to participate.
I know that you might be in a grey area during the next election when it's time to encourage voters to get out and vote, but I can tell you that we will be busy encouraging people to vote and helping to develop exciting platforms.
Hon. Jane Cordy: I have been listening to your answers. They certainly strayed from the question, because the question is dealing with getting young people involved and getting young people to vote.
Senator Fraser: Not unusual.
Senator Cordy: This morning, in over two hours at our hearings on youth engagement, we didn't hear comments about people having to know where to vote. We didn't hear comments related to voter ID, although certainly those were issues that were raised during the so-called Fair Elections Act debate.
You stated that young Canadians shouldn't be discouraged or cynical. What we did hear this morning, in fact, is that young Canadians are discouraged by the political process. They have become cynical. Less than 40 per cent of young people are actually voting in elections, and that's at the federal level. That's not counting municipal and provincial levels where the voting numbers are even lower.
Senator Cowan's question was related to encouraging young people to get involved in the political process, encouraging young people to vote and he asked what this government is doing. What I'm seeing is, in fact, that the government is doing just the opposite. They are discouraging young people from voting. They are discouraging young people from getting engaged in elections.
As Senator Cowan said, the recent so-called Fair Elections Act specifically prohibits the Chief Electoral Officer from participating in the Student Vote Program.
My feeling is that the Chief Electoral Officer, in light of the numbers of less than 40 per cent of young people voting, should be more involved in encouraging young people to become involved in the political process and in inviting and encouraging young people to vote.
Going back to Senator Cowan's original question: What is the government doing? They have discouraged young people from voting by the restrictions they have put on the Chief Electoral Officer. The question that Senator Cowan has asked is: What is this government doing to encourage young people to become full participants in the political process?
Senator Carignan: Thank you for your question, senator, but it sounds to me as though you want to revert to the status quo and go back in time, and yet you are criticizing the past results and saying that only 40 per cent of young people voted. You want to return to the previous system, but you said yourself that it wasn't working, because only 40 per cent of young people voted.
That is precisely why we passed the Fair Elections Act and took practical, thorough steps to restore Canadians' confidence in our electoral system. Furthermore, we felt it was important that the Chief Electoral Officer emphasize, in his ad campaigns, the essential information that people need in order to exercise their right to vote, in other words, when and where to go and what pieces of ID they need. It is up to us, as political parties and candidates, to engage voters and get them out to vote and to develop political platforms that speak to them and make them want to go and vote.
Without giving away any secrets about our future election platform, I am confident that we will develop policies that speak to all Canadians, especially young people.
Senator Cordy: I certainly am not suggesting that we go back to the way things were. What I am suggesting is that the Chief Electoral Officer be allowed to participate in the Student Vote program. Just allowing him to put ads in the paper to say where and when people should vote is pretty limiting.
The Chief Electoral Officer can currently speak to people under the voting age, but he cannot speak to people over the age of 18 who are eligible to vote about the importance of voting. That was done away with by the so-called Fair Elections Act.
I'm asking what is this government going to do to give the Chief Electoral Officer and his office the ability to encourage young people whose voting numbers are going lower and lower? They are not engaged. What are we going to do to give the Chief Electoral Officer the ability to be able to be involved in encouraging young people to vote so that the majority of young Canadians become participants in the democratic process?
It's a service to the whole country if more people become involved in the political process. Instead of discouraging people from voting, we should be encouraging people to vote.
Senator Carignan: The objective of the Fair Elections Act is to encourage people to vote. That is why the Chief Electoral Officer will have to focus his advertising on the essential information that people need to go and vote, so we can avoid sending out cards that are full of errors, with the wrong names and addresses. People just have to present one of the many pieces of ID that can be used as proof of their identity.
You are also forgetting that the Fair Elections Act provides for an additional day for advance polling, which increases the amount of time people have to go and vote. Above all, we must not do what you are suggesting and revert to the status quo and the results that were so discouraging in terms of voter turnout.
I think that we have to trust in the new legislation. After October 19, 2015, I hope we will see an increase in youth voter turnout.
As far as we're concerned, I can assure you that we will do everything we can to develop policies that will speak to young people and encourage them to get out and vote.
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: I have a question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Leader, may I please ask for clarification? Now that there is an extension of the mission to fight against ISIS, are we going to fight against ISIS for our security, for the security of the people in the region, or for both?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Senator, as the Prime Minister said, we cannot protect Canadians or our communities by simply ignoring this threat. We intend to continue to weaken and neutralize the Islamic State and provide humanitarian support and stability to the civilian populations in order to alleviate the suffering inflicted upon them. It is obviously in Canada's national interest to take part in the global fight against jihadi terrorism.
As we have seen, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair are not taking this terrorist threat seriously. I think they are somewhat out of step with the international community.
Senator Jaffer: I have a supplementary question. With the greatest of respect, I'm not speaking for those two people. Everybody takes the threat seriously, but there are different ways to deal with it.
Leader, you spoke about the terrible situation in the region. One of the things that we see nightly is the terrible suffering of the people in the region. What is Canada doing? What kind and how much help are we giving on a humanitarian basis?
Senator Carignan: Senator, as you know, the government is convinced that we must deal with this crisis. It is not a matter of choosing one solution or another. We support the military mission against the Islamic State as much as the humanitarian mission.
In Iraq, we have managed to feed nearly two million people. We have provided shelter and relief supplies to more than a million people. Half a million children have been able to continue learning thanks to us.
Canada is providing access to clean drinking water to 16 million people in Syria, food aid to over 4 million Syrians and emergency assistance to nearly 3 million refugees in neighbouring countries, such as Jordan.
As you know, in January 2014, Prime Minister Harper saw with his own eyes how much Canada's humanitarian aid is helping the people who have been affected by this conflict when he visited a refugee camp.
We are therefore going to continue to work on both fronts, by extending the military mission and launching air strikes and by providing humanitarian aid.
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Leader, today in Turkey there are 2 million refugees. If you say we fed 2 million refugees, you didn't give me an idea of how long we fed them. Turkey spends $30 million per month on feeding refugees and looking after refugees in their country.
How many refugees are we looking after in Canada?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Senator, Turkey is in a unique position both geographically and geopolitically. That being said, on March 10, 2015, we committed to help resettle 1,300 Syrian refugees. That target was met. All of those people have become permanent residents of Canada. We also increased that commitment to 10,000 more resettlements over the next three years. That brings Canada's commitment to the Syrian community to 11,300 resettlements.
In other words, Canada will be resettling 10 per cent of the 100,000 Syrian refugees that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees asked the international community to resettle.
I would also like to add that Canada increased its commitment and agreed to resettle 3,000 additional Iraqi refugees, which brings our commitment to 23,000 resettled refugees.
I therefore think that Canada is a leader when it comes to resettling refugees. The international community is very appreciative of the extremely important role that Canada is playing both in resettling refugees here and in providing humanitarian aid in the refugee camps.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you, leader, for your response.
Leader, if I heard you clearly, you talked about "committed." I have asked you before and I ask you again: Exactly how many refugees have arrived on our shores?
Senator Carignan: As I explained, the promise we made on March 10, 2015 has been kept. The 1,300 refugees are now permanent residents of Canada. Furthermore, 23,000 Iraqi refugees have been resettled in Canada.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator White, seconded by the Honourable Senator Dagenais, for the third reading of Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, it is a challenge to rise to debate this bill, but it is very important. This bill deals with an issue that is very important to Canadians and, to some extent, to people around the world.
I speak to third reading on Bill C-44, which is one of the two anti-terrorism bills. I do that out of a — I don't want to say a sense of pleasure, of course, because it's very unfortunate that we have to be discussing this kind of an issue at all, but it is necessary and it's a duty for all of us in this chamber. We all know and feel deeply that we protect the safety and security of Canadians.
I think we also know and feel deeply and share that in doing so, we also protect the civil liberties of Canadians, and that really is the issue that is at the very core of Bill C-51, of any further efforts that are made to deal with radicalization. It's certainly the balance that the Senate Defence Committee is trying to find. I am a member of that committee, of course, but I would like to say that our Defence Committee deserves a great deal of recognition and appreciation by colleagues for the work that all members are doing.
We had a great trip to Toronto last week, packed full of meetings with police, other intelligence and policing services, members of the community and so on.
We have been doing a lot of work on this in the committee. We started our study on radicalization and terrorism issues the same day as the Quebec incident, and we had RCMP Commissioner Paulson and the head of CSIS, Mr. Coulombe, before us on the Monday following the shooting on the Hill. We've done a lot of work, and some of that I can share with you today.
I would like to say a couple of general things. First of all, I'd like to congratulate and thank Senator White for his two presentations at second and third reading. I will say two things in particular about that. One, he has actually convinced me that a couple of the concerns that I had perhaps aren't as intense as they should be, which should be happy news to all of you because that will therefore somewhat limit the amount of time I need to speak.
Senator Day: Well done!
Senator Mitchell: If he's never accomplished anything else, he can put that notch on his belt.
I'd also like to say, and this is very significant, that Senator White was extremely careful about the words that he used to describe the problem. He did not in any way, shape or form ever isolate a single group, a single religion, and he was consistent with others in his former profession whom we have spoken to, who have been extremely careful about that. We have spoken to police chiefs, to senior CSIS officials and to RCMP officials, and to a person, they have been extremely careful about the words they use because they understand the power of those words.
I referred to the very enlightened statement made by Premier Prentice around the time of the threats to West Edmonton Mall. I referred to his comments in my second reading speech, and I would draw people's attention to that again. He said that we cannot ever allow ourselves to become what the fear that the terrorists try to engender would drive us to become.
In fact, one of the people with whom we met in Toronto made a very powerful point. They said that fear is the greatest danger to our public security. Fear could also be argued to be one of the greatest dangers to our civil liberties, and it is extremely important that we do not overreact, at least in the way of the words we use to describe the problem. I congratulate Senator White on that, and I appreciate it greatly.
The underlying implication of this bill — perhaps by definition and perhaps only by the stage it is at in the evolution of steps to deal with the terrorist threat here and the terrorist threat we're involved in, to the extent that Canadians may travel elsewhere to fight with terrorists — is that somehow it is laws that are going to be emphasized and the solution to the problem.
Somebody said that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. Again, I come back to a statement made by Senator White in questioning statements made by senior police and senior intelligence officers, which is that you cannot arrest your way out of this problem.
Again, almost to a person, they talked about their greatest successes in dealing with terrorist threat, in dealing with gang threat. For example, in dealing with the radicalization process, as it's now becoming defined, which has parallels in the process of somebody becoming a gang member, people involved with the police in the intelligence community, in my experience, have said that their greatest successes don't come from criminal prosecution; their greatest successes come from prevention.
When they talk about prevention, I'd like to quote in that regard some testimony received from Craig Forcese, an associate professor from the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. He said that we need to be supporting the RCMP's nascent Countering Violent Extremism program.
We deceive ourselves in presenting this as a problem to be solved by prosecutions and penitentiaries. Law is a partial and imperfect strategy, and empirical studies of past de-radicalization efforts suggest that too much coercive law can precipitate exactly the consequences it is supposed to deter.
It is very important that we do not simply see the solution to the terrorist problems as being found only in prosecutions and only in moral laws. There are many other things that need to be done to deal with that particular issue.
I emphasize rhetoric, prevention and preventive programs. Preventive programs involve many things, particularly police community outreach programs. Every police department in the country, major or otherwise, probably has them — every one that I've spoken to does — and not just for terrorism. In fact, they've started them for many other reasons. They want to get to know young people on the corners, where they live, in their communities so that they can bring them into society so that young people can see that the authority of the police is not a threat but is in fact a harbour and to their advantage. That means community outreach programs.
For the police community outreach programs, it also means in this context certain community awareness programs. Many people in the past might have come across somebody, like the shooter on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, whom they removed from their mosque, for example, not ever understanding for a single moment that that person would do what he eventually did. I think now people are beginning to be more aware of the fact that they need to take the next step if they see certain kinds of behaviour or become concerned about somebody's behaviour, but that takes community awareness, and that takes programs, resources and support.
It also is true that prevention, community outreach and dealing with terrorism, for the police, is now a slightly new phase to some extent, or certainly has a new intensity in dealing with terrorism investigations and the radicalization process.
Again, that takes training within police forces, and that takes resources, which brings me to the problem of resources. That's also not addressed in this legislation.
The government has said police need more tools, and I think there's a general consensus that to some extent they do need some more legal tools. But as I said in committee, what's the good of having the tools if you don't have sufficient workers to use them?
We heard from the RCMP that they have taken 600 personnel from other forms of investigation — literally hundreds of files on organized crime investigations, drug investigations, financial crime investigations. It's interesting to note that both drug crime and financial crime can be directly related to the support of terrorist activities. We now know that hundreds of files have been left because the personnel that were dealing with them have been pulled into terrorist files. Who's doing the work that they were doing? Nobody.
The government argues that they had increased national safety, national security financing by one third, but they started to decrease it when they became government. They started to decrease it in 2012. If it was sufficient at one third higher in 2012, when we didn't have the intensity of this terrorist threat and concern, how can it be that that funding level at 15 or 20 per cent reduced since then can still be sufficient? The evidence, the proof, is in the pudding. The fact of the matter is, the RCMP have taken 600 personnel from other investigations and put them onto terrorist investigations, so they don't have the resources.
If you start to then go to the next step of training, the complexity of information-sharing that will be involved to some extent as a result of this bill, but more broadly as a result of Bill C-51, the training that needs to be done throughout the government, throughout municipal police forces and so on, resources are required. We can't arrest our way out of this problem. We can, to some extent, help by preventing our way out of this problem. We need resources once the arrests are made. We need resources at the investigation stage that leads up to any arrests, and we need resources for what's being called the "pre-criminal" stage, where people can be diverted. Community program resources would be ranked high in that area.
More specifically with respect to the bill, the bill addresses the question of protecting human intelligence sources used by CSIS. That change in the bill is required as a result of court cases that have rendered it obvious, made it obvious that CSIS doesn't have the same powers as a police force to extend anonymity protection of the confidentiality of a witness or an intelligence source. So that in itself at one level is a good thing, that they will have the power to do that.
Within certain communities, it's extremely important that people are anonymous, that they're left anonymous because they can be afraid of repercussions. That is absolutely understandable.
The problem — and this is where it's tough to find the balance — is that if a source is given anonymity or protection too early in a process, or at any point in a process, that source can end up not being eligible or available for prosecutions, if it comes to that.
In fact, there is evidence that in the Air India case that a conviction was lost because anonymity, confidentiality, was given. That's not to say that necessarily it was given incorrectly, but it is to emphasize the point that we have to be extremely careful about how we offer that anonymity.
There was expert testimony — at least experts have written as well — that to some extent a potential intelligence source might imply from this legislation that they get protection, that it's a blanket protection for anybody who becomes a source. At least one, probably two, of our legal expert witnesses underlined the fact that we should make this explicit. I will have an amendment that I will move formally at the end of my comments that would call for the necessity of CSIS giving an explicit promise, not in any way implied or implicit, but an explicit promise when they decide to do that to protect somebody's confidentiality and to protect their identity.
I'll read a quote from a Professor Kent Roach, who is the Pritchard-Wilson Chair of Law and Public Policy, the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, who presented to our committee. He says about human sources and the ability to give them this kind of protection:
My concern, though, is that with these new bills we may be sleepwalking into a situation where we're going to make it more difficult to use those offences in practice.
What he's saying is that if we're not careful about how we use this, if we're not explicit about how we use this, we could end up losing successful prosecutions further down the evolution of a certain case. I will move an amendment about that.
The bill also acknowledges in legislation, by definition, that the CSIS organization will be allowed to, as it does now, formally carry out activities outside of Canada, and that raises some concerns. It raises some question because there's also provision in the law whereby they can get a warrant to break foreign laws.
Essentially, as I understand it, not being a lawyer, a warrant is authorization even within Canada to break a law but to do it within a very restricted and monitored way. There is some question about whether you could monitor that as effectively internationally. It's also important to note that the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as an example, which undoubtedly carry out intelligence activities in other countries, don't specify that in their legislation.
It may be that, as Senator Kenny said to me, the toothpaste is out of the tube on this because of the Mosley example and you just can't reinsert it, which is unfortunate because in a way we are publicly authorizing our intelligence agency to break laws internationally. We are actually going to be in a position where judges will be asked to authorize that. That may raise risks for our agents, if they were ever caught doing that in another country, but it also raises the question of reciprocity and how other nations may react to that. That could, in turn, have some consequences with international relations with these countries. As I say, I raise it simply to note it and to offer up caution on the record with respect to this issue, but it may be that we're past the point of no return owing to the way that the matter evolved in the courts.
Another issue that I think is extremely important with respect to this bill is the question of oversight. I think I've hardly ever quoted media reports, let alone editorial or columnist comment, but I really do want to mention that in this case because there is a very powerful piece in the National Post by John Ivison entitled "Tories' behaviour during anti-terror bill hearings borderline anti-democratic." He says, "Parliamentary oversight, which would have ameliorated some of the legislation's excesses, was never considered." He writes, "The reasons why are instructive."
He says that there is evidence of a deep mistrust between the government and the opposition. The argument has been used, at least unofficially, that the reason that the government would be opposed to a parliamentary oversight group is how could they trust other parties? How could they trust the Bloc, for example? How could they trust the New Democrats? Probably they think how could they trust the Liberals? He happens to mention just the Bloc and the New Democrats as being at the basis of the government's concern. He writes:
This strikes me as wandering beyond partisan arrogance into terrain that is borderline anti-democratic.
Would a Bloc MP break a sworn oath of secrecy and endanger national security for partisan advantage? Has NDP Leader Tom Mulcair broken his oath as a privy councillor to keep secret matters revealed to him in that capacity?
I think that's a very powerful observation. Say what we will, disagree as we might — as we often do — the fact of the matter is that the people who come to this chamber and the other chamber do so with, generally I think, high principles in mind and certainly with the safety and security of the people of this country — in the case of the Bloc it may not be exactly the country, but of the people of this country — always in mind.
He also quotes Churchill, and I'm going to quote his quote of Churchill:
As Churchill told the House of Commons in 1947, "We accept in the fullest sense of the word, the settled and persistent will of the people. All this idea of a group of supermen and super-planners making the masses of the people do what they think is good for them, without any check or correction, is a violation of democracy."
Professor Forcese goes on to emphasize this point:
— if you keep pressing the thumb on more powers for police and for the intelligence services and keep ignoring the fact that our review system is broken, you are queuing up another legitimacy crisis. The CSIS Act lasted 30 years more or less unamended because it was enacted with deliberation and balancing power with accountability. In comparison, the post-9/11 measures have lurched from controversy to challenge to new controversy. Policy and lawmakers need to sit down with the Arar commission policy report and take it seriously.
And I emphasize his last line:
Anti-terrorism law cannot be all sails and no anchor.
What are the issues with respect to oversight? One of them is resources. For SIRC, the Security Intelligence Review Commission, I think there's a prima facie case that can be made that they simply don't have enough resources. They have a budget of between $2.7 million and $2.8 million. They have a part-time board of five people, only four of whom are actually appointed at this time. They have 11 people and they are to review — only after the fact, not during or before — the operations of an organization with a $500-million budget and 2,000 people.
Those reviews include, among other things, ensuring now that reporting on the activity of CSIS to the minister is done properly. That used to be done by the inspector general, whose position has been discontinued and whose budget has also been discontinued. So SIRC not only has more work to do as a result of that, but they don't have any more money with which to do it.
This bill will mean that they will have more work to do, because they will have a body of warrants that are called for and allowed for in this bill that weren't allowed for in the past, and they still won't have more resources with which to do it.
But at least there is a SIRC. In the case of CBSA, there is no oversight. In the case of DFATD, there's no oversight. In the case of CIC, there's no ongoing oversight. There's no ongoing oversight at a macro level that can coordinate the many agencies — depending how you count them, probably 14 or 15 — that are involved in intelligence gathering and that will, as a result of Bill C-51, even more be involved in information sharing.
SIRC wrote in recently released documents:
Currently, SIRC reviews still lack the ability to "follow the thread" of a CSIS investigation if it involves another government department or agency.
This was in their own report that was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
SIRC's effectiveness is dependent on (CSIS's) timely provision of information. In those cases where there are delays in receiving information, SIRC is at risk of being unable to complete its reviews and investigations in a timely manner.
So, SIRC itself is acknowledging that it has problems and it's not as though SIRC is a body that's made up of former opposition party members. Deborah Grey is on it and she would have been, I expect, one of the authors of that report. So there's a certain objectivity in their assessment of the problem.
There are really two kinds of oversight we're talking about. There's parliamentary oversight, which would be made up of parliamentarians, as the name would suggest, and I will move an amendment to offer that possibility in this legislation.
There's also bureaucratic oversight in the case which is SIRC, which is also the body that reviews the RCMP post facto. They review RCMP activity. It is called the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission.
So there are those kinds of bureaucratic bodies, but they're very limited in their powers, they're very limited in their resources and, as I say, they don't cover the whole broad spectrum. We need some of that kind of capacity for sure for CBSA.
It was Justice O'Connor who mentioned that there should be what has come to be called a super-SIRC that would review a variety of intelligence-gathering agencies, in addition to CSIS, which it now has responsibility for. These agencies could include CIC, Transport Canada, FINTRAC and DFATD.
He also goes on to say that with respect to the coverage for CBSA, the Canada Border Services Agency, that a new group, which he called the "Independent Complaints and National Security Review Agency," should be formed out of a revamped Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, which is now the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, which I mentioned had one more iteration.
So we do need parliamentary oversight for many reasons: first, for policy direction. I think the intelligence-gathering community and the terrorist investigation community would appreciate that, just a sounding board. We also need it so that there can be a greater link between these organizations and the will of and the sense of the public about what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. This group could also offer up third-party support for budgetary argument, which police chiefs have told me is a huge advantage for them when they have a police commission.
I would also argue that in this context we should have a proper public oversight police commission for the RCMP that could specifically help the RCMP in that way, as is now the case for almost every major, if not every major police force in the country.
I will propose several amendments on oversight. One will be to offer up two additional powers for SIRC. I'm not moving that at this moment, but I will in a few minutes. Another one will be to outline a model for parliamentary oversight and a third amendment will be a short and specific one — which is a sunset clause, essentially — to allow there to be parliamentary review of this bill and these new powers within a certain specified period of time.
I am developing legislation — although I haven't finalized it yet, I will be presenting it, I hope, this session — on an RCMP public commission oversight board. I would like to see, of course, although I'm not moving an amendment in that regard, something done for the oversight of CBSA.
I will finish my comments by mentioning one other thing that was raised in testimony by Professor Roach, whom I quoted earlier, and that addresses the issue of special terrorist prosecutors. There's some evidence that about 20 prosecutors worked specifically on — I think it's the Toronto 18 case. Professor Roach actually argues that this might be a function that should be formalized, that there are special techniques, special burdens, special laws that will now begin to address terrorism that aren't necessarily utilized in criminal cases. It's also true that while prosecutors work very closely with the RCMP as investigations evolve, Professor Roach would argue that that is not so much the case with respect to CSIS and it might be that this special prosecution function could address CSIS.
Those would be my comments. These would be my amendments, and I will read them. I have two and a half pages of them, so it will take me a bit of time to do that.
I'm moving them all at once. That will require a single vote on these amendments. The one amendment will address the question of how identity, confidentiality and anonymity protection is provided, and it essentially will say it should be done explicitly; and three amendments will address better oversight of our intelligence and terrorist investigation activities. The amendments will affect SIRC, giving it a couple more powers. Another amendment will outline how a parliamentary oversight model could be established — what it would be. A third one will call for a sunset clause.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Therefore, honourable senators, I move:
THAT Bill C-44 be not now read a third time, but that it be amended
(a) in clause 2, on page 1, by replacing line 10 with the following:
"having received an explicit promise that their identity will be kept confidential, has";
(b) on page 4, by adding after line 39 the following:
"8.1 (1) Paragraph 38(1)(a) of the Act is amended by adding the following after subparagraph (iii):
(iii.1) to review the practices of the Service in relation to the giving of promises of confidentiality to human sources;
(2) Paragraph 38(1)(a) of the Act is amended by adding the following after subparagraph (v):
(v.1) to monitor any warrant issued under subsection 21(3) that authorizes activities outside Canada pursuant to subsection 21(3.1),";
(c) on page 5, by adding after line 4 the following:
"9.2 The Act is amended by adding the following after section 55:
SECURITY OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE OF PARLIAMENT
55.1 (1) There is established a committee, to be known as the Security Oversight Committee of Parliament, which is to be composed of eight members of both Houses of Parliament who are not ministers of the Crown or parliamentary secretaries, and of whom four must be members of the Senate and four must be members of the House of Commons.
(2) Members of the Committee must be appointed by the Governor in Council and hold office during pleasure until the dissolution of Parliament following their appointment.
(3) A member of either House belonging to an opposition party recognized in that House may only be appointed as a member of the Committee after consultation with the leader of that party.
(4) A member of either House may only be appointed as a member of the Committee after approval of the appointment by resolution of that House.
(5) A member of the Committee ceases to be a member on appointment as a minister of the Crown or parliamentary secretary or on ceasing to be a member of the Senate or the House of Commons.
(6) Every member of the Committee and every person engaged by it must, before commencing the duties of office, take an oath of secrecy and must comply with the oath both during and after their term of appointment or employment.
(7) For purposes of the Security of Information Act, every member of the Committee and every person engaged by it is a person permanently bound to secrecy.
(8) Despite any other Act of Parliament, members of the Committee may not claim immunity based on parliamentary privilege for the use or communication of information that comes into their possession or knowledge in their capacity as members of the Committee.
(9) Meetings of the Committee must be held in camera whenever a majority of members present considers it necessary for the Committee to do so.
(10) The mandate of the Committee is to review the activities of the Service and the legislative, regulatory, policy and administrative framework under which the Service operates, and to report annually to each House of Parliament on the reviews conducted by the Committee.
(11) The Committee has the power to summon before it any witnesses, and to require them to
(a) give evidence orally or in writing, and on oath or, if they are persons entitled to affirm in civil matters, on solemn affirmation; and
(b) produce such documents and things as the Committee deems requisite for the performance of its duties and functions.
(12) Despite any other Act of Parliament or any privilege under the law of evidence, but subject to subsection (13), the Committee is entitled to have access to any information under the control of federal departments and agencies that relates to the performance of the duties and functions of the Committee and to receive from their employees such information, reports and explanations as the Committee deems necessary for the performance of its duties and functions.
(13) No information described in subsection (12), other than a confidence of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada in respect of which subsection 39(1) of the Canada Evidence Act applies, may be withheld from the Committee on any grounds.
(14) The annual report required under subsection (10) shall be submitted to the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons, and the Speakers shall lay it before their respective Houses on any of the next 15 days on which that House is sitting after the Speaker receives the report.
(15) In this section, "Committee" means the Security Oversight Committee of Parliament established by subsection (1)."; and
(d) on page 7, by adding after line 33 the following:
12.1 Within two years after the coming into force of this Act, a review of the adequacy of the oversight mechanisms provided for under the Canadian Security Intelligence Services Act shall be undertaken by any committee of the Senate, of the House of Commons or of both Houses of Parliament that is designated or established for that purpose.".
I will sit down after thanking the counsel and parliamentary clerks' offices for doing great work in getting those prepared.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, with your permission I would like to thank Honourable Senators White, Baker and Mitchell for helping to highlight some of the issues with respect to Bill C-44. I intend to do so as well, but I would also like to outline a little of the process that happened in relation to the study of this bill that concerns me, that I think honourable senators should be aware of and that the record should be clear on. So that, honourable senators, is where I will use my time today; and hopefully it will be helpful.
I want to bring to your attention the very fine work that has been done by this chamber and by various committees. I was on two special committees dealing with proposed anti-terrorism legislation following 9/11. The two special committees were struck and they met. You can see from the observations and recommendations for action by the government in the reports of the committees that they were given close credence by the government and by the courts, as Senator Baker often points out.
One of those studies was in 2007. The report of the Senate Special Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act is entitled Fundamental Justice in Extraordinary Times. I'd highly recommend that. The other study was done in March 2011. That report is entitled Security, Freedom and the Complex Terrorist Threat: Positive Steps Ahead. I recommend those two reports to the attention of honourable senators to be up on the issues.
We have now Bill C-44, which is the short version that was to come out before the unpleasantness that took place on Parliament Hill on October 22, 2014. Bill C-44 came out shortly after that but was in the works before. Bill C-51 has been described by some as an overreaction or a secondary reaction following the October 22 incident on Parliament Hill and the regretful death of a young reservist at the National War Memorial.
Honourable senators, the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence was tasked with studying Bill C-44. The committee members were mandated to impartially examine the bill in order to improve the bill and the legislation.
Our committee began its hearings with testimony from the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Public Safety Canada, on March 9. On March 23 we heard from witnesses from outside government. We heard from Christian Leuprecht, who is a professor at the Royal Military College, and from Garth Davies, who is a professor at Simon Fraser University. That was the first panel.
The second panel on March 23 was Paul Copeland, a human rights lawyer; and Craig Forcese, who is an associate professor, faculty of law, at the University of Ottawa. And, honourable senators, I would like to talk a bit about what else happened on that particular day of March 23. Mr. Copeland and Mr. Forcese advised us that they had submitted documents to our committee which provided in-depth thoughts and suggestions of very serious and important arguments to support their proposed amendments to the legislation. Unfortunately for the committee, these documents were not received before or during the committee hearing, or in fact afterwards.
We could speculate as to why the documents weren't received. If they had been received in only one language, they would have had to be translated before we could receive them. There are many reasons, and that's the probable one, as to why we didn't see these documents, but their submissions were based on these materials that they had submitted.
In some circumstances, while inconvenient, a committee can study documents such as this before the next meeting and certainly before they are expected to conduct clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. However, in this circumstance on March 23, the committee voted, on division, to proceed with clause by clause directly following the meeting of these two panels of very top-notch witnesses.
Without receiving the documentation, the committee voted on division to proceed, leaving no time for committee members to adequately review the documents that had been submitted by the witnesses — nor did we even see them — or to consider any amendments or observations based on the testimony that we had heard from these four very knowledgeable witnesses.
Honourable senators, what is the point in receiving witnesses in our committees when we do not take the time to properly consider what they have stated and review any documentation or suggestions that they have submitted? This is disrespectful of the witnesses and it shows a lack of consideration towards their work, which is aimed at helping us to improve a bill that deals with a very technical, difficult and important subject matter. Why would anyone, particularly those knowledgeable individuals from the legal profession and university professors, take the time to appear before us if we do not consider the evidence which they have submitted?
If we can't attract good witnesses because they know we're not going to pay any attention to what they have to say, and the very best witnesses will not be coming before us, then our work in committee will not be taken seriously and we will not be hearing Senator Baker describe how the very good work of the committees and this chamber are being referred to by justices in the Supreme Court.
Honourable senators, unfortunately what happened during the study of the Bill C-44 prevented us from giving proper consideration to the evidence. I believe that our privileges as senators have been interfered with by not allowing for a proper hearing to take place. The people of Canada do not want a half effort from the Senate of Canada. They want us to do what is right and they expect nothing less of us.
We in this chamber are now being asked to consider a third reading of a bill that has not been properly studied by committee. Our system is designed for honourable senators to be informed by those who sat on the committee and did an in-depth study of the issues. We can't all do an in-depth study of everything that comes before us, so we rely on those who are at the committee to bring back to this chamber an analysis and a synthesis of what we've heard to help all the rest of the honourable senators. That was not done here because of this rush to get Bill C-44 through the Senate — and for what purpose?
One speech was given by Senator White, and the clause by clause was nine days ago. We heard from Senator Baker yesterday, and we could easily have heard from Senator White and Senator Baker after this Monday when we had the committee meeting again, and we didn't have a full slate of evidence on the next bill that we were going for — so for what purpose? We were never told why clause by clause had to take place so quickly after the two panels and before we'd even seen the documentation they referred to.
Honourable senators, what happened here with respect to Bill C-44, I'm sad to say, appears to be part of a pattern, and that is my concern in relation to what is happening here. We seem to have lost the trust that normally exists between the sides and the recognition that one can be taken at one's word in relation to how things are going to unfold. There seems to be a lack of respect for treating the parliamentary system in a manner where we can get the best work done.
Let me give you some other examples of closure. You've seen in Bill C-30 and Bill C-9 where closure was brought, and that's to cut off debate even before there had been any debate at third reading. Bill C-30, the grain bill, was the same, as was Bill C-14 and Bill C-23, all just recently. In addition, Bill C-32 is another one where notice has been given.
Bill C-51 is another bill on which we're being asked to do a pre-study. For what reason, nobody knows. We began a pre-study on a bill where the government has indicated that they will be making amendments, so we're studying a bill before we know what the amendments are.
Senator Downe: Terrible, terrible.
Senator Day: It doesn't allow the Senate to do that particular job of sober second thought once we know what the House of Commons has done, what they have studied, so that we can look at it from a different angle.
Those, honourable senators, are my comments generally with respect to feeling ill at ease with respect to what has happened to Bill C-44 that I find very disappointing.
I will touch on a few points in relation to Bill C-44 because I think it's important to try and highlight some of the points without giving you answers because we haven't had a chance to study this bill to the extent that I would like.
Bill C-44 will allow CSIS to conduct its investigations and surveillance outside of Canada. That's now in there. However, there is a lack of clarity as to when a warrant should be obtained to conduct an activity outside of Canada's borders.
During our hearing, Mr. Forcese stated:
The issue, though, is that it's very unclear when a warrant will be required for extraterritorial intercepts because the trigger, which is implicit domestically, does not exist for the international side. For the sake of the service, it seems to me, it would be useful for Parliament to say that these are the actual circumstances where you have a reasonable ground to believe that a warrant is required.
And, I might add, when the officer should then go before a judge.
The risk right now is that no one will really know until someone litigates the matter. Until then there will be uncertainty, and after that there will be a further scandal because the court may decide that the service has been acting inappropriately up to that point.
That, of course, puts all of the work that CSIS has done up to that time of the court decision in jeopardy. He's saying there is a solution here. Moreover, CSIS will not be constrained to respect the international law and the foreign law during their investigations outside of Canada.
Mr. Forcese mentioned the reciprocity issue, which Senator Baker mentioned yesterday, that the bill brings with it as a result of this. In fact, what would the government say if a foreign agency conducts activities on our soil while breaking our Canadian laws? Would that be okay?
The Air India commission and others have been concerned about the lack of cooperation between CSIS and DFATD. Bill C-51 will somewhat deal with that, but I want to say —
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Day, your time has expired.
Senator Day: I have two pages, honourable senators.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Unfortunately, your time has expired, senator, unless you ask for five more minutes.
Senator Day: May I have five more minutes to finish this? I expect it will be less than that.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Do honourable senators grant Senator Day five more minutes?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Day: Thank you, honourable senators. This is, I hope, helpful to you in determining what some of the issues are.
One must wonder how the government will ensure that CSIS's investigations and activities abroad do not interfere with DFATD's mission. If CSIS is operating outside of Canada, how will that play out with the foreign affairs activities outside of Canada? What are the plans to avoid potential crisis with a foreign country if the activities of CSIS agents were to be discovered by the authorities of a foreign country? Although I understand the secrecy requirements in order to conduct its mandate, I think it's important to make sure that the various Canadian departments and institutions do not work against one another. That, honourable senators, is another issue that has been brought up before us.
The issue of promising confidentiality has been, I think, well enough canvassed. The Supreme Court of Canada, in the Hackett case, recognizes the balancing that needs to take place and the incentives. We need to recognize that there's a difference among criminal investigation, police activity and the gathering of intelligence from the point of view of security. Security intelligence gathering doesn't contemplate going to court. It is important that we understand the difference and draw the balance. This whole idea of promising confidentiality arises out of that balancing.
Allowing our justice system to prosecute terrorists is mandatory, as our courts play a preventative and persuasive role in our nation. If we make it harder for the police and the RCMP to collect enough proof to prosecute a terrorist, the courts might lose this preventative and persuasive role, and crimes might remain unpunished and, in fact, might increase.
The answer to these fundamental issues might be established if an oversight body were created. There has been much discussion about that. The oversight, in my view, should include, because of the various silos that exist in national security agencies in Canada, oversight of CSIS, the RCMP, Foreign Affairs and National Defence, as well as other government departments that are involved in national security, to ensure that there is a balance between our national security interests, justice and international interests.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I have a quick question for Senator Day.
I wasn't part of that committee, but you said that some of the best witnesses were not called. I would like to give you an opportunity to correct that they are "the best witnesses." Surely you didn't mean that those who were called didn't have weight and merit before the Senate.
Senator Day: Thank you for the question. I don't recall having said that, and I have absolutely no idea what best witnesses weren't called. I know there were some excellent witnesses who were called whose evidence wasn't properly considered. That was the point I was making.
Senator Andreychuk: Thank you for that.
Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Would the honourable senator entertain another question?
Senator Day: I would be pleased to do so, depending on my five minutes.
Senator Plett: I know you do not have much time left, but you cited a number of bills that this government rushed through in the past while. One of those bills you mentioned was Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act. While thousands of farmers were sitting there wanting to get their grain out to market, you seemed to think it wasn't urgent that we do that.
I would like to ask you to respond and ask you this: Did you support the Western Canadian grain farmers when they couldn't get their grain out to market?
Senator Day: Thank you very much. I can assure you that I have always supported Canadian farmers, west or east. In relation to the Western Canadian farmers, I supported the opposition with respect to the Wheat Board and the work that the Wheat Board was doing in relation to dedicated rail cars to take wheat to market.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: On debate, Senator Lang.
Hon. Daniel Lang: Colleagues, it was not my intention to rise on this debate, but I feel obligated in view of the fact that I'm Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. I feel that I have an obligation to correct the record with respect to what we've just heard from the grandstanding of the member opposite.
I do have to express my disappointment that he would bring this type of argument to the house when we worked so hard as members, individually and collectively, to make the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence a model committee for the purposes of doing Senate business. I feel that the attack that was just undertaken here in the house is unwarranted and that there's no foundation for it. The senator is very selective with respect to what actually took place over the course of the review of this bill.
Over the course of the hearings on this bill, everyone was given latitude — every opportunity — to question the witnesses that were requested or that had requested to come before the committee for the purposes of the review of the bill. The schedule of witnesses was agreed to by both sides of the house through the auspices —
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, Senator Lang is rising on debate. It's not a question.
Senator Lang: — of the steering committee. Every member had every opportunity to recommend to the steering committee and to the clerk any witness that they wished to appear. As far as I know, everyone who was called for the purposes of this hearing on the deliberation of this bill had the opportunity to appear.
Now, honourable senators, I would like to go through the format of the hearing itself. I want to refer back to the committee member again whose memory is selective.
The fact is that we had agreed to a schedule, a schedule of witnesses and a period of time that this particular bill would be dealt with in the auspices of our Senate hearings.
We went through our hearings. We had all our witnesses that appeared, and we had the opportunity on the last day of witnesses who appeared. In one way, the member is correct. The fact is that there were two witnesses who had appeared and one had a report that had not been tabled with the committee. There appears to have been an error with respect to what took place as far as the distribution of that particular document is concerned.
I should point out, colleagues, that we had a schedule for the following week. We were going to Toronto as part of our responsibilities of the Senate committee, and every member of this house approved that particular visit. We also had a schedule of witnesses to appear on the following Monday for the purposes of our ongoing hearings on terrorism that had been agreed to by the steering committee. Unfortunately, in our particular case, the clerk of our committee was taken ill and certain things weren't done for the purposes of the proceeding on the following Monday.
Also, in the intervening period of time, which the member failed to bring up and was too busy trying to attack the committee and the chair, we had agreed to do a pre-study on Bill C-51, which is closely related to Bill C-44. In fact, we all had common agreement — and anyone at that hearing — that Bill C-44 was in good part largely a very technical bill. Most witnesses agreed what was contained in that particular legislation were practices that had been ongoing with respect to the agencies that were affected by the bill.
I just want to say to the member opposite that it is not uncommon, in any committee, when you have a schedule and your schedule is agreed to and you have a certain time frame where you're going to deal with a piece of legislation, to hear your last witnesses, take a half-hour break and then move into the clause-by-clause consideration of the reading of the bill. This is not uncommon. To make the inference that this is the first and only time that has occurred is totally inaccurate. I want to think the senator would like to rethink the words he spoke earlier.
It's easy for the member opposite to sit there, smile and feel really happy about himself, but I don't feel happy, as the chair, to have a member of my committee standing up in his place and grandstanding, when he knows how hard we work and how hard we've tried to put together this particular committee. I really don't. I'm sure I can speak for your member on the other side who is part of the steering committee.
The other point is that after that half-hour break, when we went back into committee and reconvened, the members opposite, on the leadership of the deputy chair Senator Mitchell, brought forward a series of amendments. I want to put in context that there was enough time for the purpose of the scrutiny of the bill so that any member had the opportunity to bring forward amendments and that amendments were brought forward and dealt with.
I want to say to the house, with respect to the procedure on this bill, it was done properly and it was done with all due care and attention for the deliberation of what any of the witnesses had to say. In my judgment, it was a process that was done and done successfully.
In context to the bill itself, colleagues, I think the bill is a good one. I should point out it's a bill that was prepared well in advance of October 22. It had to do with some very fundamental issues that had to be addressed by Parliament so that the law enforcement agencies and the intelligence community could do the job that we've asked them to do.
To conclude, colleagues, I just want to correct the record. The process was fair, it was deliberate, and fair opportunity was given for every member to consider the bill in its totality, just like we're doing here now.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): I wonder if Senator Lang would entertain a question.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Lang, would you entertain a question from Senator Cowan?
Senator Lang: No.
Senator Cowan: That says it all.
Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Could I ask the Honourable Senator Lang a few questions?
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Would Senator Lang answer a question from Senator Ringuette?
Senator Lang: I will, yes.
Senator Ringuette: I'm not a member of this very important committee that heard witnesses and studied Bill C-44. I was going to ask these questions of Senator Day, but time ran out and I'm kind of happy that I have the opportunity to ask these questions of the chair of the committee.
During your meetings and your study of Bill C-44, did CSIS appear before the committee? Did any Federal Court judge appear before the committee?
Senator Lang: Honourable senators, I don't have the list in front of me. I do know we had technical advice that was given to us, and I believe CSIS appeared. We have had Justice Major in the past with respect to the general question of terrorism. To put it on the record, I'd have to come back and give you a complete schedule because I don't have one in front of me.
Senator Ringuette: During the second reading of Bill C-44, I brought forth my concern with regard to foreign jurisdiction, and I am puzzled by the fact that this piece of legislation is giving the ability to CSIS to ask a Federal Court judge, who only has jurisdiction within Canada, to give a warrant for a foreign nation. It still puzzles my mind.
During the study of this bill, did you have witnesses who clarified this issue? If so, could you clarify it for me?
Senator Lang: Colleagues, that issue was duly deliberated by the committee and was given due consideration. It was felt that in view of court cases in the past, that that particular authority should be granted.
Senator Ringuette: Is that authority solely with regard to terrorism or security? Honourable senator, I do remember just a few months ago that the Government of Canada through, I suspect, an agency of the Government of Canada, was accused by the Government of Mexico of spying on their government.
Is this warrant for CSIS also going to provide an opportunity — from my perspective, illegitimately — for CSIS to spy on foreign governments on behalf of this government?
Senator Lang: Colleagues, obviously any section of the particular bill has to do with security, whether it be terrorism or otherwise. It's subject to the question of the court to determine whether or not the intent of what is being requested would be granted and the terms and conditions then would be outlined for that purpose.
From that perspective of the deliberation of the committee, it was felt it was important for them to do the job that we're asking them to do. Decisions were made accordingly and it's before you for debate today.
Senator Ringuette: I go back to my earlier question. Did you, during the time that you were studying Bill C-44, have witnesses in regard to the ability of our Federal Court judges to give a warrant with regard to foreign nations? Did you have any witnesses with regard to this? Because it's key to Bill C-44. Did you have any witnesses, and what did they say about this issue?
Senator Lang: Colleagues, we had a full complement of witnesses, and all the issues that are in the bill were addressed in one manner or another by the witnesses from various points of view. All I can say to the member opposite is that I want to assure her — I will send her the transcript, if she wishes — that that particular issue was addressed like any other. It was felt that it was important for our agencies to have that responsibility.
Hon. George Baker: Honourable senators, before I comment on one portion of the amendments, of course the entire matter of whether or not a CSIS warrant can be issued for interceptions in a foreign nation is now before the Supreme Court of Canada. Let's not forget that. The reason why this bill is being brought in is to try to correct in the future an error that the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal claim was unlawful and so that would be determined. We all realize from the committee — I attended the committee hearing and was impressed with the witnesses who were there — that the security establishment, as Senator White pointed out, has the authority for foreign warrants and those warrants are issued by the minister on application of the security establishment, but CSIS does not have the power to be issuing warrants for foreign interceptions. The purpose of this bill is to correct it, and the entire question is referred to the Supreme Court of Canada. As of March 5, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear the appeal on the Federal Court of Appeal that said CSIS did unlawful acts for four years.
My point on the parliamentary oversight suggestion in these amendments is very short. It's suggested by the mover that there be four parliamentarians from the House of Commons and four from the Senate. I'm going to vote in favour of that, but I would have preferred to see eight from the Senate.
Senator Campbell: To keep it honest.
Senator Baker: You see, the reasons we're here today trying to correct what the court claims were unlawful acts in these 673 warrants, let's not forget, is that the oversight body didn't do its job. They produced a report at the end of 2013 claiming that they had been examining warrants issued to CSIS for the years 2009 to 2013. They thought it was a great idea that CSIS had been given authority to intercept communications in foreign nations because the Federal Court, in the name of Justice Mosley, had given them permission. Some of us recall Justice Mosley when he was the Deputy Minister of Justice here. He appeared before the Senate committee in front of Senator Day. Of course, he called everybody together and said, "Just a minute, SIRC. I didn't give this authority. Where did you get this understanding?" So SIRC, when they examined these warrants, for three years, didn't read the warrant that they claimed gave CSIS the authority to intercept the communications.
Now, was it that the people at SIRC didn't have perhaps an amicus, a lawyer, a retired judge? We have in this chamber a retired Superior Court judge sitting over there in the front row. We have a retired coroner sitting next to me, Senator Campbell. We have two of the best experts in Canada on the police force who have issued more warrants than we can count, Senator White and Senator Dagenais. We've got lawyers galore in this place who can at least read a warrant.
CSIS made an error in their 2013 report on the 34 foreign warrants that they had examined that derived their authority from a judgment of the Federal Court from Justice Mosley that didn't ever take place. In the future, when we suggest who should be on this oversight committee, we should at least be guaranteed that we would have people who have experience with warrants and who can at least read the law as far as the application of those matters is concerned, or at least provide an amicus curiae to SIRC to do that work for them before they make a tragic error like the one they made in 2013 that got us here today.
We now have the government trying to repair the matter. The bill is important. The government is right; this bill has to be passed. Unfortunately, there's not a retrospective application of the law. I'm always opposed to retrospectivity and retroactivity, and you've heard it many times, but this is one case where perhaps it may be justified. We have all those warrants sitting out there. How can you use them in a prosecution in Canada? There are 673 of them.
Senator Day: It's gone up.
Senator Baker: As the speeches go on. It is a crisis situation. There is a legal argument that backs up why CSIS believed what they believed. The Department of Justice claimed that sections 12 and 21 of the CSIS Act, 12 on national security and 21 the warrant section of the CSIS Act, gave them the authority to stretch a Canadian warrant to overseas operations when you're dealing with Canadians. It is a good legal argument, but the courts have determined that it cannot stand. We'll have to wait for the Supreme Court of Canada on that, but next time I'd like to see an amendment made so that it would be eight senators who would be suggested for oversight and not have four of them from the House of Commons.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?
Some Hon. Senators: No.
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those in favour of the amendment please signify by saying "yea."
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those opposed to the amendment please signify by saying "nay."
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I think clearly the "nay" side has it.
And two honourable senators having risen:
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I see more than two senators rising. Do we have agreement on the bell?
Senator Munson: A 30-minute bell.
Senator Marshall: Thirty minutes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The vote will take place at 4:28 p.m. Let the bells ring. Call in the senators.
Motion in amendment negatived on the following division:
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
THE HONOURABLE SENATOR
(The Senate adjourned until Thursday, April 2, 2015, at 1:30 p.m.)