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2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 158

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
The Honourable Leo Housakos, Speaker

THE SENATE

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Air India Flight 182

Thirtieth Anniversary of Terrorist Bombing

Hon. Daniel Lang: Colleagues, I rise today to pay tribute to the victims of terrorism, specifically to the 329 victims of Air India Flight 182 which took off from Vancouver 30 years ago today. Aboard the flight were 268 Canadians.

Kaniskha, the call name for the aircraft, went down off the coast of Cork, Ireland, as a result of bombs placed in suitcases by Canadian-based Sikh terrorists. At the time, this terrorist attack was the worst civil aviation disaster in the world. It was the work of terrorists who were seeking revenge on the Indian government in their bid for a separate Sikh homeland.

Colleagues, the horrific tragedy that unfolded that day is unforgiveable. One cannot imagine the sadness that Ms. Ann Venketeswaran of Beamsville, Ontario, feels having lost her husband, and that her two children, David and Ester, feel at losing their father, or the sadness of Mr. Susheel Gupta of Ottawa, whose two children will never know their grandmother.

In the gallery today, colleagues, is Ms. Chandra Vaidyanathan, who lost her brother that fateful day.

Colleagues, this Canadian tragedy tore apart 329 families and left wounds that will never heal. Those who carried out the bombing of Air India Flight 182 were radical Sikhs. While they do not represent the vast majority of the Sikh community, they have managed to find aid and comfort within the community from supporters and sympathizers to their political cause of Khalistan and Sikh nationalism, and from groups like the Canadian-based World Sikh Organization.

Challenging this radical message was not easy. In Vancouver, the Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh, the future premier and later a federal minister, condemned the radicals and for that was attacked, severely beaten and continues to face threats today. The Sikh newspaper publisher, Mr. Tara Singh Hayer, was attacked and later assassinated for speaking out against the terrorists.

In Ontario, Sikhs like Mr. Balraj Deol and Mr. Gurdev Mann, who spoke out against radicalism, were attacked and physically beaten. Journalist Kim Bolan of The Vancouver Sun, a PEN Literary Award recipient, has been vilified by radical Canadian Sikhs and has had her house shot up while her children were inside for reporting on the terrorists and their sympathizers. CBC journalist Terry Milewski has had death threats and has been sued as a means of silencing him.

Colleagues, Sikh radicalization is still with us in Canada and it must be confronted. The glorification of terrorists at Sikh temples and in parades must end. We must enhance our hate laws and seek prosecution for promoters and glorifiers of terrorists.

On this day, as we remember the victims of Air India Flight 182, let us also remember the people of Cork, Ireland, who helped recover the bodies and opened their arms and homes to many Canadians, like 15-year-old Ester, who was sent to identify and recover her father's body.

Let us also honour those courageous Canadians who speak out against terrorism and radicalization.

To the families of the victims of Air India Flight 182, on behalf of the Senate of Canada, we pledge to you that we will remember them.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Armenian Genocide

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, as we continue to reflect on the impact of the First World War and its commemoration, let us remember that April 24 of this year marked the one hundredth anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

I would like to bring to the attention of honourable senators a new book recently launched to coincide with the centennial commemorations of the Armenian genocide, which details Canada's specific response to that genocide in 1915-16.

The book is titled The Call from Armenia: Canada's Response to the Armenian Genocide, and it is written by Aram Adjemian, who is, as it happens, also a research assistant in my office. The book is illustrated with hundreds of archival documents, illustrations, photographs, advertisements, newspaper articles and editorial cartoons to enhance the reading experience. The book also presents new research regarding Canada's specific reaction to atrocities perpetrated on the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire from the late 19th century to the 1920s.

[Translation]

It is appalling that roughly 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives. That represents 22 per cent of all civilian victims of the First World War.

[English]

At that moment, Canadians' reaction to the Armenian genocide was substantial, although information about it has been forgotten over time. Canadians were most engaged following the First World War. Large-scale fundraising drives for Armenian relief and well-organized letter-writing campaigns motivated the Canadian government, aware of its increasing international influence, to write a series of official communiques to Great Britain on the issue.

Let us not forget that the Ottoman Empire was allied with the German Kaiser against Canada and the Allies during the War. Here is a brief excerpt of a letter sent by the Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs under Prime Minister Robert Borden's Union government, Newton W. Rowell, which outlined Canada's position as the Peace Treaty with Turkey was being deliberated on February 20, 1920:

. . . the undersigned suggests that the Canadian Government should place itself on record as absolutely opposed to the return of any of the Armenian provinces of Turkey to Turkish rule and that this view should be communicated at once to His Majesty's Government.

[Translation]

Allow me to read part of the testimonials on the back of the book, which include one from our former colleague, Senator Roméo Dallaire:

[English]

This interesting work sheds new light on one of modern history's forgotten catastrophes and serves as further evidence of Canadians' enduring concern for human suffering around the world.

I believe this book fills a void in the scholarship relating to the Canadian reaction to the Armenian genocide. It should be particularly useful for those who have an interest in the topics of genocide and human rights studies, Canadian missionary involvement abroad and religious movements in Canada, and the early years of Canada's international capacity on the world stage.

Yes, honourable senators, Canada was on the right side of history.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

(1410)

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mrs. Chandra Vaidyanathan here as part of the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. She lost her brother in the Air India terrorist attack 30 years ago. Mr. Susheel Gupta is also here for the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. He lost his mother in the Air India tragedy. They are guests of the Honourable Senator Lang.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Prime Minister

Ramadan—Iftar at Prime Minister's Residence

Hon. Salma Ataullahjan: Honourable senators, yesterday evening, I had the honour of attending the first ever Iftar at the Prime Minister's residence. During the Islamic month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Iftar is the meal that is eaten at sunset, when the fast broken.

In attendance were members of the Muslim community, along with Prime Minister Harper; Minister for Multiculturalism Jason Kenney; Minister of State Tim Uppal; and myself. The Muslim community is one of the most diverse in the world and last night's guests were no exception. There were Canadian Muslims in attendance who originated from all over the world — Burkina Faso, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Bangladesh and others. We joined together to break the fast and, as they stood side by side in prayer at 24 Sussex Drive, it was an emotional experience. They felt this was truly their home.

Honourable senators, Muslims are not new to Canada; they are part of our history. The first Canadian census of 1871, just four years after Confederation, found 13 European Muslims among the population. The first Canadian mosque was built in Edmonton in 1938, when there were nearly 700 Muslims in Canada. Prime Minister Harper recognized this, paying tribute to the first recorded Muslims to arrive in Canada. The Prime Minister said:

This house belongs ultimately to all Canadians, and I hope all Canadians, especially our Muslim friends and neighbours, share in these blessings tonight.

Honourable senators, I am proud to have taken part in such an historic occasion and I hope that it becomes an annual tradition.

Air India Flight 182

Thirtieth Anniversary of Terrorist Bombing

Hon. David P. Smith: Honourable senators, I hadn't intended to speak today, but I was moved by Senator Lang's words about the tragedy of the Air India flight. By a fluky set of circumstances, when that plane was going down the runway, I was just parking my car in a hotel parking lot that was right beside it as I was going to a wedding reception. I watched it go by slowly. It said "Air India." I was with my wife and I actually said, "I wish I was on that plane," because I had never been to India — although I have been 20 times since.

I could see men in turbans looking out the window. I was close to it and I literally watched it take off. When I heard the terrible news the next day, I realized that I had seen the last few hours of all those people on it. I have huge respect for the Sikh community. That was a dramatic and emotional experience. My feelings are with you. Thank you for mentioning that, Senator Lang. That was a very dramatic moment for me and I will never forget it.

I hope none of that stuff happens again. Who knows, but I certainly hope it doesn't happen in this country.


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Prince Albert National Park of Canada

Amended Waskesiu Community Plan—Document Tabled

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have two sets of documents. First, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the amended Waskesiu Community Plan for Prince Albert National Park of Canada.

Riding Mountain National Park

Wasagaming Community Plan—Document Tabled

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I also have the honour to table, in both official languages, a document entitled: Riding Mountain National Park: Wasagaming Community Plan.

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

Twelfth Report of Aboriginal Peoples Committee Tabled

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the twelfth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples entitled: On-Reserve Housing and Infrastructure: Recommendations for Change.

With leave of the Senate, and notwithstanding rule 5-5(f), I move that the report be placed on Orders of the Days for consideration later this day.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

(On motion of Senator Patterson, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration later this day.)


QUESTION PERIOD

Public Safety

Long-Gun Registry Data—Federal Court Ruling—Rule of Law

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

This morning, the Federal Court of Canada had to force the Harper government to produce the Quebec long-gun registry data because the court did not believe the word of this government would be kept and that they would not destroy this data.

This is a bit of uncharted territory, but what I want to know is this: Why has your government put itself on the wrong side of the law?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Our government is pleased that it kept its promise to get rid of the costly and ineffective long-gun registry. Parliament clearly expressed its will, which was respected.

[English]

Senator Moore: Leader, I don't think anybody is denying the policy and the wish of the Harper government with regard to the winding up of the long-gun registry. However, I mentioned this last Friday in my remarks here with regard to the Bill C-59, Division 18. It's clear that the government has broken the law regarding the destruction of the gun registry.

The Information Commissioner of the country received a letter in writing from the Minister of Public Safety confirming he would make those records available. There is no doubt about that. The court didn't trust that the Quebec data would be kept; therefore, the ensuing court action to cause the records to be delivered to the court by 10 o'clock this morning by the minister and the commissioner of the RCMP.

I would like you to explain to Canadians why they should follow Canada's laws when we're not seeing that example being set by our own government.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Senator, as I have said repeatedly, the will of Parliament was expressed clearly and was respected.

(1420)

[English]

Senator Moore: It's one thing to have a preference, and it's another thing to say, "I'm going to implement them," but you just can't do that when the law says otherwise, I would suggest.

As you've said, the government has said, and even today the Ministry of Public Safety says: "The will of Parliament has been clear on multiple occasions: All copies of the registry are to be destroyed."

The will of Parliament meant nothing to this government in the past, it being held in contempt — the very same Parliament which today the government conveniently says is supreme. How can you explain to Canadians why the government does not need to obey the contempt ruling of the House of Commons and the rule of law?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Senator, as I said, the will of Parliament was clearly expressed numerous times and was adhered to.

As you know, Bill C-59 was passed yesterday at third reading and will receive Royal Assent sometime in the next few hours.

[English]

Senator Moore: It was mentioned earlier this week that the eight hundredth anniversary of the Magna Carta was last Monday. It's clear the Harper government has trampled over virtually every federal body that presents a challenge to its philosophy or its plans. I will read a few examples, and then I will ask my question.

The list is long. It includes the Supreme Court, the Veterans Ombudsman, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Parliament itself, the Federal Court, Elections Canada, the public service, scientists, the CBC, Statistics Canada, Environment Canada, the Charter of Rights, the prison ombudsman, the Information Commissioner, the Military Police Complaints Commission, the Rights and Democracy group, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the head of the Canadian Firearms Program, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the National Science Advisor, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the RCMP Public Complaints Commission, and now we have the rule of law.

Can you explain to Canadians why the Harper government considers itself above the rule of law, above the Magna Carta?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Senator, as I explained, the principle of the supremacy of Parliament and the will of Parliament were expressed clearly and repeatedly and have been acted upon.

[English]

Senator Moore: That was expressed and that was acted upon. But when the contempt ruling was issued, which triggered the past election, that wasn't adhered to or acted upon. So do we get to pick and choose?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Senator, on election day, Canadians will have an opportunity to vote for the government they want based on the platform it lays out over the course of the campaign. In the case of the gun registry, Parliament expressed its will clearly, precisely and repeatedly, and its will has been adhered to.

[English]

Senator Moore: I think you said that earlier, but it seems to me that it's not a matter of Parliament being able to say, "Well, we've decided this today, and we're going to follow that action, but we may not later on. We'll get back to you."

I'm suggesting to you that it is highly improper for the government to say, "In this case, we're going to follow the rule of Parliament — even though we may break the law, even though we're going to pass a law that will say, `The law that we broke, it's okay."'

I don't remember you or any other party in Canada telling the public that they were going to advance that kind of program. I don't remember your leader, the leader of any other party, or any other party platform, saying, "Don't worry, folks. We're going to pass a law somewhere along the line that's going to okay the law we just broke."

Maybe kings and queens are subject to the rule of law; maybe Parliament, but maybe our Prime Minister is not. Explain that to Canadians.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Senator, maybe you should pay attention to the election platform put forward by your leader, Justin Trudeau, who goes on and on and on in every available forum about how, if he becomes prime minister, he will reverse pretty much everything our government has done and erase our record on strengthening penalties and modifying our approach to the economy. It's pretty clear that your young leader is not ready to be prime minister. He is obviously completely out of touch with the people on the ground who want the government to treat criminals more harshly.

[English]

Senator Moore: Leader, I guess you think it's probably okay and acceptable for a leader to say, "I make the rules — not Parliament, not the people of Canada. I make the rules," which is what your leader has said, and he's on record.

How do you explain that to Canadians?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Senator, as you know, we will be passing other bills today. It seems pretty clear that Parliament passes laws.

As for the topic that you first asked about, at the beginning of your series of questions, Parliament expressed itself very clearly numerous times, and the will of Parliament was respected.

Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament

Status of Matter before Committee

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Given that the chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament is not here, if I may, I would like to direct my question to the deputy chair.

[English]

Last week, I tabled a motion of privilege. I know there was a meeting today —

[Translation]

The Hon. the Speaker: I'm sorry to have to interrupt you, but you are not allowed to ask the deputy chair of the committee any questions. In the chamber, the rules are very clear. In Question Period, the opposition is allowed to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate questions.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Well, the committee chair is not here, so I will direct my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. He will probably reply that he doesn't know the answer, but I will ask him anyway.

I would have liked to know what came out of the deliberations at this morning's meeting of the Rules Committee, specifically regarding what action our institution plans to take in response to my complaint. Will there be an investigation and, if so, who will be in charge of it? My question is for you, leader, and I hope you can give me an answer.

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): You will have to ask the committee chair that question.


[English]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading

Hon. Lynn Beyak moved third reading of Bill C-61, An Act to amend the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act.

She said: Honourable senators, I rise today to voice my support for Bill C-61, the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area act. The goal of this bill is to provide formal and legal protection to about 10,000 square kilometres of Lake Superior for the benefit of future generations. Passing this bill will result in the establishment of the world's largest freshwater protected area dedicated to conservation.

In addressing Bill C-61, it is important to remind ourselves that Canada is a marine nation. We are bounded by three of the great oceans of the world — the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Arctic — and much of our southern border is bounded by the world's largest freshwater lake system, the Great Lakes.

(1430)

Canada has the largest coastline in the world: 243,000 kilometres, in fact, and another 9,500 kilometres along the Great Lakes. Approximately 7 million Canadians live along these impressive coastlines, participating in ocean-related activities that contribute significantly to our national economy. Containing some of the world's richest fishing grounds, marine mammal and marine bird populations of global importance and spectacular seascapes of wave-battered coasts, our marine environment forms part of the very essence of what it means to be Canadian.

By establishing marine-protected areas, we can help the oceans to further provide us with the environmental, social, cultural and economic services we value. As the Prime Minister demonstrated when he announced the National Conservation Plan in 2014, Canada is committed — both nationally and internationally — to protecting its extraordinary marine and Great Lakes environments for the benefit of present and future generations.

We have allocated over $56 million directly to marine-protected areas related efforts through the Health of the Oceans Initiatives and the National Conservation Plan. Our government has also added over 19,000 square kilometres of protected marine waters, representing over 31 per cent of the waters currently protected through the designation of three marine national wildlife areas in Nunavut under the Canada Wildlife Act and marine-protected areas under the Oceans Act in British Columbia, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories.

As our first marine-protected area announcement since taking office in 2006, our government signed the agreement to establish Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, which we seek to formally designate with this bill, adding another 10,000 square kilometres to our ever-expanding marine-protected areas network.

Finally, our government has announced, funded and supported work on additional marine-protected area initiatives across the nation. Should all of these proposals come to light, Canada could see our protected waters increased by almost 90,000 square kilometres within the next few years, more than doubling the surface area we currently protect.

National marine conservation areas are places meant to encourage public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of Canada's marine heritage. Much like our national parks, the establishment of national marine conservation areas signals to Canadians and international visitors alike that these areas are the best Canada has to offer — world-class destinations for those who wish to experience first-hand our unique marine, natural and cultural heritage. They also provide opportunities to diversify the economies of more remote coastal communities.

In conclusion, honourable senators, the establishment of Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area is another example of this government's commitment to the protection of Canada's precious marine and Great Lakes waters, and I encourage all honourable senators to support the passage of Bill C-61.

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I will offer just a few words with respect to this particular bill. We're going to be seeing three of these bills and they are all interrelated. I thank the Honourable Senator Beyak for her comments and letting us know the government's intention with respect to future national marine conservation areas.

This particular bill, Bill C-61, is the second bill that fits under the general legislation of the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act. There's one on the West Coast now in existence that involves the Haida nation and now this one in North Superior, which includes a few islands but is primarily the water area and the lakebed.

It was necessary for the Province of Ontario to transfer the title to the federal government. The federal government has been administering this particular area since 2007 under an agreement with the Province of Ontario. But the Province of Ontario was insisting upon retaining certain rights, not on the lakebed or the islands, but rather with respect to legislation. The wording given to us was that "The province wishes to retain jurisdiction over the administration and management of water transfer and water taking within the national marine conservation areas."

This particular bill, Bill C-61, provides that the Ontario laws will apply to this marine conservation area and others that may come along in the province of Ontario. It's quite interesting to see that wording, that a federal statute adopts a provincial statute in part with respect to water being taken out of the lake or the transfer of water.

I also wanted to make sure that if there are any changes to the law in the province of Ontario — those clauses that are adopted as part of federal law — that those changes will automatically be adopted so that someone doing research on this need only research the Ontario sections to know what the law is federally in relation to that particular watershed.

I think, honourable senators, those are the comments I would like to make, other than, of course, with respect to each of these to point out how important this kind of initiative is to the people of Canada. We're all very supportive of this, both sides of this chamber. In fact, the other place was so supportive of this that they didn't even bother to look and see what was in these bills. I think it was important for the leadership on this side to ensure that we did our due diligence in relation to the particular matter.

Bill C-61 was introduced at first reading on June 2 in the House of Commons. They didn't do anything with it until June 17. On June 17, they deemed first reading, they deemed it went to committee, and they deemed it was back from committee and did third reading. That was all on June 17 and then they sent it along to us.

When we are aware of that kind of thing happening, it's not enough to say the people of Canada want this so we'll do it; we have to make sure that we do our due diligence and ensure this is done properly. I was pleased that we heard from witnesses — government witnesses, of course. We heard from Alan Latourelle, Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada; Kevin McNamee, Parks Establishments; as well as Rob Prosper. From the private sector, we heard from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Éric Hébert-Daly, the Executive Director, and he was supportive and anxious that we moved forward with this. In fact, in his submission he said he was so anxious to see this bill pass that he had reduced his written submission substantially so as not to hold up the process.

I won't hold it up any further either, honourable senators. I think we should go to third reading on this matter.

Senator Munson: At least we talked about it.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed.)

(1440)

Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading

Hon. David M. Wells moved third reading of Bill C-64, An Act to amend the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act.

He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise in support of this important piece of legislation that extends the moratorium on oil and gas activities on the Georges Bank.

This bill reflects our government's firm belief that energy security, economic growth and environmental protection can go hand in hand; indeed they must go hand in hand.

Bill C-64 is another example of how we are doing that. As all senators know, our government has made clear its steadfast commitment to responsibly developing Canada's vast oil and gas reserves, to create jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians. But we've been equally clear that developing our resources cannot come at any price. As the Minister of Natural Resources has said many times, environmental protection is and must always be a top priority.

This legislation illustrates our unshakeable resolve to protect ecologically important and environmentally sensitive areas such as Georges Bank. That's why this bill moves to amend the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act to prohibit all petroleum development in Georges Bank until at least 2022.

Further extensions may be taken down the road, but 2022 reflects our immediate priority and the immediate priority of the province of Nova Scotia and other local stakeholders and partners.

Nova Scotia and Canada are partners in the management of the oil and gas resources in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area. Both governments work together to promote oil and gas development and, in cases like this, to protect the environment.

It also reflects the current U.S. policy for the large portion of Georges Bank that falls within American jurisdiction.

Bill C-64 is a smart, collaborative and responsible approach. The unique currents and geography of Georges Bank make it a breeding ground for a host of fish species and other marine life. It also supports a number of key commercial fisheries, and its habitat is a rich source of food for whales and seabirds. We must protect this ecologically sensitive area, and are proud to do so.

Bill C-64 is another illustration of how our plan for responsible resource development is working. As you know, our responsible resource development plan is focused on four key objectives: making the regulatory review process for major projects more predictable and timely, reducing duplication, strengthening environmental protection, and engaging Aboriginal groups in every aspect of resource development. This comprehensive approach is delivering results.

Let me begin with the regulatory review process. Our government understands that our regulatory regime must be as efficient as it is effective.

That's why we have legislated beginning-to-end timelines for the review of major projects. It gives potential investors the kind of predictability they need to make investment decisions.

We have also made significant progress eliminating the costly and time-consuming duplication of effort in federal and provincial review processes. In doing so, we have created efficiencies and savings across the system.

In both instances, our focus has been on regulation that gets results.

I know the Minister of Natural Resources and our government will continue to work with industry and our provincial partners to further improve our regulatory framework.

Our government has also been unequivocal that no major resource project will proceed unless it is safe — safe for Canadians and safe for the environment. That is why we are taking what is already one of the most robust offshore regulatory regimes in the world and making it even stronger.

For example, under the Energy Safety and Security Act, we have introduced key changes to Canada's world-class offshore liability to modernize and strengthen it in collaboration with the provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. This includes raising absolute liability to $1 billion, as well as greater accountability, increased transparency and new enforcement measures to round out the offshore board's toolkit.

Our respective governments also collaborated on the Offshore Health and Safety Act that I introduced in May 2014 here in the Senate, which brings greater clarity to the roles and responsibilities of employers and workers in the Atlantic offshore. The safety of offshore workers and the authority for offshore occupational health and safety has been enshrined in law. The act ensures that the new rules apply to health and safety of workers in transit to and from offshore platforms. There are also clear and specific enforcement powers for officers responsible for occupational health and safety, operational safety and conservation.

These measures reinforce the important changes that regulatory bodies, including the offshore boards, are making to further strengthen safety, initiatives such as forming a common approach to safety culture and sharing lessons learned and best practices.

The competence of our joint, independent regulators has been a major part of keeping workers safe offshore and developing our resources safely and responsibly.

Now, just as we will not compromise the safety of workers, we will not compromise environmental protection. That's why we have Bill C-64 before us today. And that's why we have also enhanced marine, rail and pipeline safety for the transportation of oil and gas. In each case, we have been guided by the three key pillars of incident prevention: preparedness and response, liability, and compensation.

This includes major increases in surveillance, inspections and safety audits, as well as the powers of enforcement.

We are also implementing recommendations from the independent expert panel on tanker safety to develop response planning and resources designed for each specific area in which those resources would be deployed — in other words, response plans and clean-up resources tailored to the geography of a region, its tanker traffic and its environmental conditions.

We have started with the four areas where there are current or projected high levels of tanker traffic. They are Saint John and the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Port Hawkesbury in Nova Scotia, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and lower British Columbia.

In our approach to responsibly developing Canada's resources, our government also recognized the importance of engaging Aboriginal communities in all aspects of development.

This includes ensuring that our Aboriginal partners are engaged in the creation and development of our world-class safety systems, from prevention to preparedness and response. They have the local knowledge and expertise needed to make these systems work. They must play a key role in resource development, and they do.

Our commitment as a government is to continue building and strengthening relations with our Aboriginal partners so that they can benefit fully from the economic opportunities.

As I said earlier, all of these efforts have critical application to the changing environment of our offshore oil and gas industry. There is no room for error. We must do everything we can to protect and preserve the environment for future generations, and we are.

This moratorium on oil and gas activities on Georges Bank is clear evidence of that. I urge all senators to support this essential piece of legislation.

Thank you, colleagues.

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): I, too, would like to add my support for this bill, although I'm sure that Senator Wells will forgive me if I don't share his enthusiasm for the record of the government in these matters. But on this issue I think they have worked collaboratively with the government of my province of Nova Scotia, and as I said the other day, the government of Nova Scotia will, once this bill is passed, introduce mirror legislation into the Nova Scotia legislature that will provide the legislative framework for this moratorium on a go-forward basis.

I share his views about the importance of preserving the richness of Georges Bank, but I did want to draw to the attention of senators that it's not all sunshine and roses out there; there are some clouds on the horizon. One of my staff members brought to me this morning an article which appeared in The Boston Globe on June 16, which I think should be a warning to us that we have to be vigilant about these matters and that Georges Bank is not entirely Canadian with respect to jurisdiction.

This report, which appeared in the June 16 edition of The Boston Globe, said that the New England Fishery Management Council, which is the council that oversees the region's fishing industry, voted Tuesday to reopen approximately 5,000 square miles of Georges Bank to fishing. That decision has to be approved by federal regulators at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. But if it were so ratified and approved, it would open 70 per cent of the areas previously closed on the Georges Bank.

Whatever we do here must be complemented by what the Americans do. Otherwise, our efforts will not be as fruitful and important as we think they are.

(1450)

With that warning, I join Senator Wells in urging colleagues to support this bill.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed.)

Canada National Parks Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson moved third reading of Bill C-72, An Act to amend the Canada National Parks Act.

He said: Honourable senators, I rise to voice my support for Bill C-72, the Qausuittuq National Park of Canada act.

The purpose of Bill C-72 is to protect just over 11,000 square kilometres of Arctic wilderness and part of the homeland of Inuit under the Canada National Parks Act for the benefit of present and future generations.

For Nunavummiut, Qausuittuq National Park has been and continues to be used by Inuit, forming a vital cultural, historical and natural component of the heritage of Inuit. For Parks Canada, the park is an excellent representation of the Western High Arctic natural region of the National Parks System.

Negotiations to establish a national park in the northern-most of 39 natural regions that constitute our Natural Parks System began in 1996. Parks Canada determined that the best landscape to represent this region was located on Bathurst Island. Lands were first provided interim protection while Parks Canada undertook the necessary studies, consultations and negotiations to achieve the national park proposal that is now before the Senate in the form of Bill C-72.

The creation of Qausuittuq National Park was also a commitment in the government's Northern Strategy: Our North, Our Heritage, Our Future. The development and operation of this new national park will help implement this strategy by protecting our environmental heritage, contributing to the cultural and economic well-being of Inuit, their social well-being and exercising our Arctic sovereignty.

Passage of Bill C-72 will deliver on a commitment by the government in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to complete the work to protect Bathurst Island as a national park by 2015. Promise made; promise kept.

As the Throne Speech observed, Canadian families want to enjoy a clean and healthy environment. The creation of new national parks contributes to sustaining a healthy environment by protecting an important wildlife habitat that sustains local communities such as Resolute Bay, Nunavut.

Finally, in the 2015 Budget Plan, the Minister of Finance observed that:

Canada's national parks provide outstanding examples of our country's natural landscapes, generate significant economic activity by attracting visitors from Canada and abroad, and provide Canadians with access to our natural heritage.

To that end, the budget plan stated that:

The Government is further expanding our protected areas and will be taking the final steps to establish Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area — the world's largest freshwater marine conservation area — and the Qausuittuk National Park on Bathurst Island in Nunavut in the near future.

The final steps, honourable senators, will be the passing in the Senate of Bill C-72.

Since the establishment, development and operation of both the Lake Superior and Qausuittuq protected areas are fully funded, we can begin to immediately deliver the environmental, recreational and economic benefits associated with these two great initiatives to local communities.

During the feasibility study for this project and in determining a final boundary, Parks Canada consulted Inuit organizations, local communities, the territorial government, conservation organizations and the mining industry. It was the latter two stakeholders who actually first proposed the boundary we are considering today.

One of the final phases included an assessment of the proposed park's mineral and energy potential. It indicated that an area on the eastern portion of Bathurst Island possessed a high mineral potential. Wildlife studies also indicated that eastern Bathurst Island contained part of the calving grounds of the Peary caribou. As a compromise, The Mining Association of Canada and the Canadian Federation of Nature, now Nature Canada, jointly proposed a two-pronged approach for the future of Bathurst Island.

First, they proposed the boundary contained in Bill C-72 that excluded some of the area of high mineral potential.

Second, for the area that was excluded, they recommended that the area be under an interim protection order prohibiting mineral exploration and development until such time that the future of the Peary caribou is determined. Ultimately, this proposed boundary was adopted by the Governments of Canada and Nunavut, as well as the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

In December 2014, the Government of Canada put in place a five-year period interim land withdrawal under the Territorial Lands Act that, among other things, prohibits mineral exploration and development in the area to the east of the national park boundary. During this five-year period, a forum will be organized for the objective of creating a plan for the management of this area.

The creation of Qausuittuq National Park is made possible by the fact that Canada and Inuit successfully concluded an Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement, or IIBA, which was signed by the federal Minister of the Environment and the president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association. The agreement sets out the terms and conditions regarding the establishment of this new national park, an agreement that was reviewed and supported by the Government of Nunavut. It makes it clear that this national park will be managed in a manner consistent with the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

Canada and Inuit have agreed to a number of objectives that speak to the collaborative relationship that was developed during the negotiation of the agreement and that will continue through the operation of Canada's forty-fifth national park. The objectives include: to ensure Inuit participation in the planning, management and operation of the park; to respect the rights of Inuit in the Nunavut Settlement Area; to generate economic benefits for Inuit; to recognize the importance of Inuit traditional knowledge for the park area and commit to its use in planning, management and operations of the park; to ensure the integrity and conservation of natural and heritage resources in the park area; to provide protection of the Peary caribou and its habitat through the establishment, development and operation of the park; and to establish the park as part of a system of national parks that showcases the vitality of Inuit culture and the beauty and uniqueness of the High Arctic to all Canadians and to the world.

Qausuittuq National Park will be cooperatively managed by Parks Canada and Inuit to ensure that it remains a living, breathing landscape that supports Inuit practices and culture. Inuit will maintain the right to free and unrestricted access to lands, waters and marine areas for the purpose of harvesting within the park. It should also be mentioned that such harvesting will take place under the watchful eye of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board in an effort to protect species from overharvesting. There will also be a Qausuittuq park management committee to ensure effective cooperative management of the park.

Additionally, Parks Canada will establish an office and a visitors' centre in Resolute Bay. It will help Inuit businesses to take advantage of economic opportunities resulting from the park's creation. The IIBA sets out provisions for preferential hiring of Inuit for park positions, and Parks Canada will expend almost $22 million over seven years to establish and develop the park, while spending $2.6 million annually thereafter to operate Qausuittuq National Park.

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In concluding my remarks in support of this bill, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Senate, both sides of this chamber, and particularly the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, our chair, Senator Richard Neufeld, our deputy chair, Senator Paul Massicotte, and members of the committee for giving this bill the important consideration and study it deserved, even though it was on short notice.

Honourable senators, I urge you to support the passage of Bill C-72 so that within the life of this Parliament, Qausuittuq National Park can become a full member of the Canadian family of national parks, marine conservation areas and national historic sites, protected for future generations.

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I would like to say a few words in relation to Bill C-72. I thank the Honourable Senator Patterson for giving us the background, particularly the importance of balancing the rights and the habitat of the Inuit people who live in the region with the fact that we're setting this particular area aside for all Canadians, in fact for all the world, as a national park.

Qausuittuq National Park is located in the northern part of Bathurst Island. It's interesting that, just below it, there is a national wildlife area that's also a reserve. To the right, which would be to the east of this new park that's being created, is Inuit-owned land, right along the coast. There will be continued activity by the locals who live in the area. In fact, they will help to manage the proper use of the property.

This particular matter, if we decide to vote for it, honourable senators, will come into force on the latter of the day on which it receives Royal Assent or September 1, 2015, so by September 1 of this year we will have another national park.

The earlier matter that we spoke on was a water conservation area. That dealt all with water. This one deals all with land, and it is under a different piece of legislation. It is an amendment to the Canada National Parks Act. The information we have in the bill itself relates entirely to a description of this particular matter. It's going to be added as another national park. There is the description of that national park and then the coming into force clause that I mentioned.

We heard from the NGO CPAWS, which is the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, a not-for-profit organization, and they appeared represented by Mr. Éric Hébert-Daly, and he was very supportive of this particular initiative as well.

I would recommend that we proceed to third reading on this matter, honourable senators.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are honourable senators ready for the question?

An Hon. Senator: Question.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It was moved that the bill be read the third time now. Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed.)

Adjournment

Motion Adopted

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to notice of June 22, 2015, moved:

That when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 1:30 p.m.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Income Tax Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Motions in Amendment, Motion in Subamendment and Subsidiary Motion—Vote Deferred

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Dagenais, seconded by the Honourable Senator Doyle, for the third reading of Bill C-377, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations);

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Bellemare, seconded by the Honourable Senator Black, that the bill be not now read a third time but that it be amended in clause 1, on page 5,

(a) by replacing line 34 with the following:

"poration;"; and

(b) by adding after line 43 the following:

"(c) labour organizations whose labour relations activities are not within the legislative authority of Parliament;

(d) labour trusts in which no labour organization whose labour relations activities are within the legislative authority of Parliament has any legal, beneficial or financial interest; and

(e) labour trusts that are not established or maintained in whole or in part for the benefit of a labour organization whose labour relations activities are within the legislative authority of Parliament, its members or the persons it represents.";

And on the subamendment of the Honourable Senator Cowan, seconded by the Honourable Senator Ringuette, that the motion in amendment be not now adopted but that it be amended as follows:

(a) by deleting the word "and" at the end of paragraph (a) of the amendment;

(b) by adding the following new paragraph (b) to the amendment:

"(b) by replacing line 36 with the following:

`of which are limited to the'; and"; and

(c) by changing the designation of current paragraph (b) to paragraph (c);

And on the subsidiary motion of the Honourable Senator Ringuette, seconded by the Honourable Senator Eggleton, P.C., that the subamendment be not now adopted but that pursuant to rule 12-8(1), it, together with the amendment, be referred to Committee of the Whole for consideration and report, and that the Senate resolve itself into Committee of the Whole, immediately following Question Period on the second sitting day following the adoption of this motion;

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Cordy, seconded by the Honourable Senator Jaffer, that the subsidiary motion be not now adopted but that it be amended by replacing the word "second" with the word "third".

Hon. David P. Smith: Honourable senators, I rise to speak on Bill C-377, which, as honourable colleagues are aware, amends the Income Tax Act, requiring labour organizations to provide financial information to the minister for public disclosure. I'm also speaking to the amendments proposed by Senator Cordy and Senator Ringuette with regard to referring the matter to committee of the whole.

It's important to emphasize at the outset that this is not a government bill. It's a private member's bill, and that member is not running for re-election.

The argument behind the bill is that increased transparency and accountability are required for unions. I agree with that principle in general, but I think this thing has just got screwed up because of the situation we find ourselves in. While transparency and accountability are good, this bill is not. It has many flaws. This should not come as a surprise. Senators studied it, and they made amendments to it. I would have hoped the other place would have put forward the amended Senate version, but they didn't, alas. We shared these valid concerns and came to an agreement, but they just said "no."

Being a positive person, I was struck at how this was a great example of how we can all work together. We were presented with a private member's bill that had many problems. We offered our advice on how to fix them, and we did amend it to deal with some of those problems. The amended bill was passed, with collaborative effort. Sadly, our work was ignored, and here we are with another piece of bad legislation — flawed.

Some of the issues have already been raised by fellow senators, but there are questions dealing with disclosure requirements for officers, directors, trustees and employees who earn more than $100,000, or transactions or disbursements where the value is over $5,000. Colleagues in this chamber agreed that $5,000 was too low, and it continues to be the case in terms of common sense.

First of all, there is the question of the actual constitutionality of the bill, which is again raised by other Senate colleagues. It's a very valid point, and I too want to underline it.

We heard from provincial cabinet ministers that this bill infringes on provincial jurisdictions. Ontario's Minister of Labour, the Honourable Kevin Flynn, argued the bill could result in

. . . costly litigation well off into the future that is going to cost unions, governments and taxpayers a lot of unnecessary money.

We'd have to spend all kinds of money on lawyers. I confess and admit that I'm from a big law firm, or came from, the biggest in the world actually, but who wants to spend thousands or millions of dollars on those guys? Not me.

The Honourable Erna Braun, the Minister of Labour and Immigration in Manitoba, agreed with this point. She said it

. . . clearly delves into the realm of labour relations, which under the Constitution is an area of regulation falling within provincial and territorial jurisdiction . . . .

She also pointed out that the bill is not a product of meaningful consultations with both labour and management organizations.

I was just looking at the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and noticed section 32(1):

32. (1) This Charter applies . . .

(b) to the legislature and government of each province in respect of all matters within the authority of the legislature of each province.

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Do they all have ministers of labour? Of course they do.

Another issue that bothers me — and it has been raised by the Privacy Commissioner and that's significant — is that the bill requires the disclosure of political activities and non-union activities. It's an affront to the freedom of individuals.

In our day and age, when the voter turnout is low, such as the last election at 66.1 per cent and 58.8 in 2008, the last thing we need to do is create a barrier that could potentially scare people away from getting involved in the political process. This is just wrong. How would you even begin to qualify political activities anyway?

Okay, it says political activities is going door to door exercising one's political right to help out local candidates. Is that reportable? It's nobody's business if you choose to deliver campaign literature to someone's door during an election on your own time. Does going to a political rally on one issue constitute political activity? What about phone calls? Ultimately, it doesn't matter. The state has no right to intrude into people's private time, and I think it is outrageous and unacceptable.

Personal political contributions are already on the Internet. Lobbying, under the Lobbying Act, is covered. But the rights of Canadians, the freedoms of Canadians to live and be involved in political activity, without Big Brother watching you, is a fundamental right and it shouldn't be reported on anywhere or tampered with by government. I think it's hard to imagine that this is anything other than a bit of mean-spirited attack on the labour movement.

Some Hon. Senators: No, no.

An Hon. Senator: I don't agree.

Senator D. Smith: Well, I don't suspect you do. There are some significant issues that were included to make life difficult for union members, but ultimately they're going to cause major problems for other industries, for maybe this side's base as outlined by the Investment Funds Institute of Canada, which is the voice of Canada's investment funds industry, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association and other professionals in the investment field. The Investment Funds Institute of Canada has 150 organizations. It says that it has about $1.15 trillion in total assets under management. So this is big business you're going after, not labour as much.

The investment fund industry believes the bill's current language will have " . . . significant and costly unintended consequences for Canada's investment funds industry, to the detriment of the millions of Canadians who own mutual funds."

The issue is the bill's definition of a "labour trust," which inadvertently creates a reporting requirement for all retail mutual funds and other public trusts. I quote from their brief submitted to the standing committee. The bill will impose:

. . . full reporting obligations to, any trust, or investment fund structured as a trust, that is offered for sale to the public if that trust has one security holder or beneficiary that is a member of a labour organization.

Holy cow!

In Canada most publicly offered mutual funds are structured as trusts. Therefore a publicly distributed mutual fund with thousands of public security holders would be caught, and be subject to reporting obligations, if even one of its security holders is employed in a unionized workplace and/or is a member of the union in that workplace.

How do you figure who is a member of a union?

. . . managers of public mutual funds have no practical way to determine if any particular investor in a fund is or continues to be a member of a labour organization. . . . As such, union membership is not information that investment advisers request or have ever requested from investors in the course of providing them with investment advice.

As for the scope of this definition of a labour trust, here is what the IFIC says:

With all of the various fee structures that are available to investors, a mutual fund typically has more than one series of securities. Currently in Canada there are over 9,000 series of mutual funds, each of which could be considered a labour trust under the current definition. Therefore each of these 9,000 funds could be subject to this reporting requirement.

This is a really costly exercise.

The IFIC goes further and argues that the bill may also extend beyond mutual funds:

. . . to any other trusts and pension plans that may have a single member of a labour organization as a participant, even if the trust or fund is not created primarily, specifically or exclusively for . . . a labour organization . . . .

Considering the potential impact of this bill, I don't think it was very well planned. Senator Cowan and Senator Bellemare both made a lot more points than I have time for today, but the Canadian Life and Health Assurance Association said this:

If left unaltered, the definition would require that financial institutions ascertain, at the time of each transaction by each individual client, whether that individual client were a member of a labour organization, and . . . report with respect to [those] individuals.

And this is clearly unworkable in any practical way.

So this is the base that's going to be feeling this. I think there are a lot of flaws here and I just think we should do the right thing and put the brakes on this bill, as we so rightfully did the last time. Let it wither on the vine and maybe in the next session you can fix some of these things and do something, but not have all these dramatic impacts on people that have not even crossed the mind of the people who have come up with the ideas. I think it would be appropriate to let it wither on the vine and fix it.

[Translation]

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. It seems rather strange to be debating this bill a second time. I thought we had concluded the debate on this bill many months ago. There are so many other topics and issues that could be debated in this chamber instead of this bill.

I have the honour to present a letter and a number of emails that I received from Albertans on this topic.

[English]

I'm going to read them to begin my presentation.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Mitchell, are you debating the amendments?

Senator Mitchell: I am absolutely debating the amendment, and thank you very much and it's a great amendment. That's all I'm going to say about it because I want to get to the pith and substance of this issue. Did I not make that point clear when I was speaking French? Thank you for clarifying that.

I received a letter from the Calgary Firefighters Association — International Association of Firefighters Local 255. Mike Carter is the president of that local. I want to point out, of course, that firefighters are amongst those heroes that the Prime Minister and others speak so frequently of and demonstrate so much respect for. Of course, we owe a great deal of our safety and security and quality of life to people like Mike Carter and members of Local 255, the Calgary Firefighters Association. He wrote to me on May 26:

Dear Senator Mitchell,

On behalf of the Calgary Firefighters Association, I am writing to express my concerns about Bill C-377, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (Requirements for Labour Organizations).

As you are aware, Bill C-377 will be debated at Third Reading next week. Since this bill was first introduced, countless constitutional experts have cautioned that it violates Canada's Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedom, and is outside Parliament's jurisdiction.

That comes as no surprise and, as my colleague, Senator Smith, says, they are right.

Back to the letter:

Simply put, Bill C-377 would wrongly intrude on the privacy of individuals, businesses, employers and unions. It ignores the basic facts of the democratic structures of trade unions and the legal frameworks within which trade unions already operate. Furthermore, most provinces and the federal government already have legislation requiring unions to make financial reports available to union members automatically or on request.

On May 7, 2015, Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien told the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee that the bill goes "too far . . . in requiring the disclosure of non-union activities such as . . . political activities, lobbying activities".

As you prepare to vote on the Third Reading of this Bill, we urge you to reflect on the overwhelming testimonies and submissions from witnesses from both the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee and the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, who are independent of any labour organization or one of the organizations lobbying for the bill, called for the bill to not be passed.

This bill is flawed and should be defeated and we urge to vote against Bill C-377, or at the very least, support any amendments that may be tabled to make the bill less egregious.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Carter

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I also received an email from a resident, William Misiewich, from St. Paul, in northeastern Alberta:

As my representative senator from Alberta, I'm asking you to oppose Bill C-377.

This bill is a partisan attack on unions and working people and infringes on our privacy and free speech rights!!

I believe Bill C-377 is unconstitutional, a waste of taxpayers' money, a divider of working people, and will not help get our economy back on track!!

If I might say parenthetically, he knows. He is stating a true fact: This government certainly needs help to get the economy back on track. After all these years of telling us that it is fragile, 10 years later it's still fragile! How long do we have to wait until you fix it? Hopefully, not too much longer. Mr. Misiewich makes the point that this will not help it get back on track. He continues:

So I ask you again, to be my voice and OPPOSE Bill C-377.

I have been a member of a union all my working life. Unions train workers properly and efficiently in their respective fields. They are also properly trained in safety and working conditions.

Respectfully Yours,

Stuart Shigehiro writes:

I am writing this email to ask you to vote against Bill C-377. If you plan on doing so I thank you in advance.

So I accept his thanks. He continues:

I am the Alberta Teacher Association Local # 2 President for South Eastern Alberta.

Again we have a union leader, not someone just speaking for himself or herself. He says:

I represent the views of our members and we are strongly against Bill C-377. We feel it imposes excessive and punitive fines and penalties on unions. It creates costly, burdensome and unnecessary paperwork and regulations for labour organizations and the Canada Revenue Agency. This Bill will also undermine fundamental legal rights and freedoms in Canada guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and other statutes. It would invade the privacy of millions of Canadians. By requiring labour organizations and associated organizations to report the details of every cumulative transaction of over $5,000. For a multicultural, pluralistic, and democratic country that is founded on engrained freedoms this Bill is highly discriminatory. Bill C-377 specifically targets labour organizations for highly detailed reporting and disclosure on a public website. It's profoundly hypocritical.

I will repeat that: "It's profoundly hypocritical." Mr. Shigehiro continues:

All labour unions will be forced to report and disclose at least 24 different detailed financial and activity statements under Bill C-377 for use of their own independent funds. Members of Parliament —

I can't understand. Will you say that again?

Senator Plett: In August, you should vote on it.

Senator Mitchell: Yes. We should vote on Bill C-279, too. Would you do that? Why don't we vote on C-279? Back to the letter.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I know we're all tired.

An Hon. Senator: Order, order, order!

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Would you like to finish your dissertation on Senator Ringuette's amendments? I think it's amazing those firemen knew all about your amendments.

Senator Mitchell: Thank you very much. They were writing in anticipation of amendments and even asked us to make amendments that would make the bill less egregious, so it wrapped in nicely, but thank you for reminding me. Mr. Shigehiro continues:

Members of Parliament disclose using only one financial statement —

And many of them won't tell us where they live in Ottawa, it turns out.

— (with only 14 items) while Senators only report five items in a single statement for their use of public funds. As you can see we strongly urge you to vote against Bill C-377.

I thank you for your time and consideration . . .

That's Stuart Shigehiro. I could go on reading — and I think I will, because I have them here.

From Randy Stallknecht — I know they don't like to hear from the people of Alberta, but we have this organic give and take with Canada, in this case, with the people of Alberta.

We need some order in this place. I will continue:

I am e-mailing you concerning Bill C-377.

I am very concerned as to why the Harper Conservative Government is targeting labour Unions?

Bill C-377 requires MY union to divulge in detail and at great expense ALL activity concerning collective bargaining, organizing, training, conferences, politics, and lobbying??

Why are Union payouts for Pensions and health plans required???

My PRIVATE Union Membership information should remain private and should NOT be used by the Government, anti-Union busting companies or the public at large for ANY reason. When did I lose my right to privacy just because I choose to belong to and support a Union????

Parliament should heed those that have empowered them — again, I am asking you that you OPPOSE BILL C-377.

Mr. Stallknecht, I am opposing that bill.

Finally, I have a letter from Blaine Kellerman, a resident of Alberta, asking us to defeat Bill C-377. He states:

As a Canadian taxpayer, I am concerned about the outrageous costs associated with Bill C-377, its pending infringement on my privacy, and that the bill is unconstitutional and will result in an expensive series of court challenges.

Here is a taxpayer, parenthetically, that wants to save government money — imagine that! Back to his letter:

These are the same concerns expressed by the majority of witnesses who appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce. Even the Conservative members of the committee took the unusual move of voting to express "concerns" over whether Bill C-377 is constitutional, cost-effective, or justifiable under privacy laws, before returning the bill to the Senate as a whole. Similar concerns were also expressed by now-retired Senator Hugh Segal, who has stated that, "(Bill) 377 was badly drafted legislation, flawed, unconstitutional and technically incompetent."

I love this one, which is a quote from Senator Segal, "technically incompetent." I wish MP Hiebert were here to hear that — right here. Mr. Hiebert, this is technically incompetent. No wonder he's not running again. I continue:

In its latest review by the Senate on November 25, Conservative Senator Elaine McCoy noted that the Bill "is an absurdity. It is an affront to labour relations and . . . (the very) nature of Canada."

I agree. As a Canadian taxpayer strongly opposed to the unconstitutionality of this bill and its assault on my rights and the rights of other workers, I urge you to vote against C-377 on third reading, or to abstain from voting on this expensive, invasive, and unnecessary piece of legislation.

Honourable senators don't have to worry. I am not abstaining on this. I am voting against it.

An Hon. Senator: Does Blaine know that?

Senator Mitchell: Blaine is going to know that.

I will take this and send it to him. I'm going to send him the transcripts because we have this relationship with people, and we have to build that.

I remember, as clearly as I am standing here today, the Prime Minister saying that he was going to govern for all Canadians.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Mitchell: He was going to govern for every last Canadian.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Mitchell: According to his rules, which Senator Moore points out he makes up, another promise made and a promise broken.

The fact of the matter is that last time I checked most labour union members in Canada are Canadians — probably all of them are. There may be some immigrant members, but they are all welcome in this country, and they deserve to be treated fairly. I'm sympathetic. I was a stockbroker. I believe in capital markets and competition.

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It strikes me as so odd that governments wouldn't, for example, bring in legislation to give RIM an unfair competitive advantage over, let's say, its competitor Apple. Nobody would ever think to do that.

Essentially, unions are simply another form of corporation in our economic sphere, and they have every right to compete, like any other corporation — but not under this government's regime. This government thinks that unions should be treated differently, not just from corporations but differently from any other number of charitable associations, lawyers' associations, doctors' associations — any other number of groups like that, which won't, as I understand it, be required to report this kind of private information.

The question at the basis of this bill, at the fundamental basis of this bill, is fairness. It simply isn't fair. Why is it that this government somehow feels it can single out unions for unfair treatment, for intrusion into their privacy, for intrusion not into the union's structural privacy but into the very private lives of the individual members of those unions? How is it that a government that says that it's Conservative — that believes fiercely, it says, against the intrusion of big government into people's lives and won't even have a census that will ask people how many rooms they have in their house because that was too much of an intrusion — would contemplate the kind of intrusion that will be required by this bill?

It isn't fair. In bringing in this bill — or forcing the bill the way he clearly must be — this Prime Minister is not in any way, shape or form representing and governing for all Canadians. He's governing quite differently for some Canadians than for other Canadians.

I'm almost afraid to ask. Could I have another five minutes?

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Mitchell: Thank you. I appreciate it; I truly do. Could I make that six? I could go on. I will highlight a couple of other weaknesses.

The fact is that clearly it's not fair. I know that should bother most of us. It certainly bothers us over here. Mr. Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner appointed by this government, I might point out, said this is in response to a question:

I think it goes too far. I think accountability is an important principle that perhaps justifies the disclosure of some information . . . but it goes too far, I think, in requiring the disclosure of non-union activities, such as those that you mentioned, and political activities, lobbying activities. I think in that way it goes too far.

Colleagues, there will be some consequences to this invasion of privacy.

He goes on to express his view that Bill C-377 could be challenged under the Charter. Many legal experts have said that. He spoke of sections 7 and 8 of the Charter, which are generally relevant to privacy protection, and added that freedom of expression and freedom of association could also potentially be invoked by unions or others in making that.

You would think that the leader, Senator Carignan, a lawyer, would absolutely buy these Charter arguments. It's amazing that he doesn't. I know he's saying something over there about them.

The Charter argument has been laid out clearly by a number of governments, including the Government of Nova Scotia, which talks about the intrusion into well-balanced labour negotiations and labour relationships — anytime government starts to mess with that balance, you can start to have real problems — and makes the point that this is an intrusion into Charter rights and will certainly be challenged in the courts.

I quoted the Prime Minister earlier in my speech by saying — he said it, at least; I'm not sure he believes it; at least his actions belie it — he wants to govern for all Canadians.

He also said something else in the context of another debate that would apply here. He said the building of Keystone XL is a no-brainer. In a democratic, fair-minded country like Canada, where its government says it governs for all Canadians, voting against Bill C-377 is a no-brainer and I'm voting against it.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Mitchell, will you accept a question from Senator Ringuette?

Senator Mitchell: Yes, I would.

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Thank you, Senator Mitchell. You've accurately highlighted important issues for Alberta's hard-working Canadians, such as the firefighters and teachers.

I know it's not our national sport officially, but unofficially it is, and that's hockey. Do you know that the National Hockey League Players' Association will be requested because they are a negotiating body; they set the employment rules for the national hockey players?

Senator Carignan: What's the question?

Senator Ringuette: They will also be required to meet the public disclosure that is within Bill C-377. Did you get any comments from the people in Alberta with regard to that group of Canadians?

Senator Mitchell: I didn't actually get a specific comment on that. But I tell you, there is a real tension and sensitivity about our hockey team in Edmonton right now. We get the first draft. We get this young hockey player, Connor McDavid, and this is a hope for the future for our hockey team. Wouldn't it be ironic if this bill somehow caused problems in the negotiation of that particular contract? You can only imagine the despair, dismay and desolation that would create in the culture of Edmonton. We have been down for so long that we need Connor McDavid.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Mitchell, your time is up.

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I move the adjournment of the debate.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Fraser, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cowan, that further debate be adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those in favour of the motion will please say "yea."

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those opposed to the motion will please say "nay."

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I think the "nays" have it.

And two honourable senators having risen:

Senator Munson: One-hour bell.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: A one-hour bell. Do I have your leave, senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The vote will be at 4:38.

Call in the senators.

(1640)

Motion negatived on the following division:

YEAS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Baker Jaffer
Campbell Joyal
Chaput McCoy
Cools Merchant
Cowan Mitchell
Day Moore
Eggleton Munson
Fraser Ringuette
Hervieux-Payette Smith (Cobourg)
Hubley Tardif—20

NAYS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Andreychuk McInnis
Ataullahjan McIntyre
Batters Mockler
Beyak Nancy Ruth
Black Neufeld
Carignan Ngo
Dagenais Oh
Doyle Patterson
Eaton Plett
Enverga Poirier
Frum Raine
Greene Rivard
Lang Runciman
LeBreton Seidman
MacDonald Smith (Saurel)
Maltais Stewart Olsen
Manning Tannas
Marshall Wallace
Martin Wells—38

ABSTENTIONS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Nil

The Hon. the Speaker: Resuming debate on Bill C-377.

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

Senator Fraser: On the amendment.

The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Cordy, seconded by the Honourable Senator Jaffer, that the subsidiary motion be not now adopted but that it be amended by replacing the word "second" with the word "third."

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say "yea."

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker: All those against the motion will please say "nay."

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker: Clearly, the "nays" have it.

And two honourable senators having risen:

Some Hon. Senators: Now.

Senator Munson: We wish to defer the vote to the next sitting of the house.

The Hon. the Speaker: Pursuant to rule 9-10(2), the vote stands deferred to 5:30 p.m. on the next sitting day, with the bells to ring at 5:15 p.m.

Business of the Senate

The Reading Clerk: Senate Public Bills, Reports of Committees, number 1.

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Question.

An Hon. Senator: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 2.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 3.

Senator Cowan: What about item number 1? Can we vote on that?

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Number 1, question.

An Hon. Senator: Question.

The Reading Clerk: Commons Public Bills, Reports of Committees.

Some Hon. Senators: No!

Senator Cowan: Just a second now, which one are we on?

Senator Fraser: Just a moment!

The Hon. the Speaker: Senators, I believe we are on Commons Public Bills, Reports of Committees.

Senator Fraser: Senate Public Bills.

The Hon. the Speaker: No, we're on Commons Public Bills.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Senator Fraser: Your Honour —

The Hon. the Speaker: We went through Senate Public Bills, number 1, number —

Senator Fraser: And we said "question," Your Honour. We called the question.

The Hon. the Speaker: You called the question on which number?

Senator Fraser: Number 1.

An Hon. Senator: Number 1.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is there agreement to go back to number 1 under Senate Public Bills?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Senator Cowan: Mr. Speaker, we're not going back. As soon as the item was called, I said "question," so I think we're on that issue, if I may.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senator, I believe the table heard "stand."

Senator Fraser: No.

Senator Cowan: No.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Senator Fraser: Nobody said "stand."

Senator Cowan: I said "question."

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!

Senator Martin: Stand.

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!

The Hon. the Speaker: I will ask again. Would the house be kind enough to revert back to item number 1 under Senate Public Bills?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Senator Cowan: We're not reverting.

The Hon. the Speaker: There's no consensus to revert.

Senator Cowan: Are we on number 2 now?

The Hon. the Speaker: We're on, we're on —

Senator Cowan: Mr. Speaker —

Senator Munson: We said this.

Senator Cowan: We were on Senate Public Bills. We got to number 1. I said "question." I then heard Senator Martin say "stand," and then there was a fuss. So, you have now ruled that that item stands.

Now we would then move to number 2, I would have thought, which is Bill S-201.

The Hon. the Speaker: I heard "stand" on item number 1 and item number 2, and I think the table did as well.

Senator Fraser: That's really appalling.

Senator Cowan: Go ahead.

Senator Fraser: I also said "question."

Senator Cowan: Where are we now?

The Reading Clerk: Commons Public Bills, Reports of Committees, No. 1.

Canadian Human Rights Act
Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Twenty-Fourth Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee—Motion in Amendment—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Runciman, seconded by the Honourable Senator Batters, for the adoption of the twenty-fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (Bill C-279, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity), with amendments), presented in the Senate on February 26, 2015;

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Mitchell, seconded by the Honourable Senator Dyck, that the twenty-fourth Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs be not now adopted, but that it be amended by deleting amendment No. 3.

Some Hon. Senators: Stand.

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Question.

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Why don't we have a question on that, Bill C-279? I thought you guys were all for votes. No? You've got to govern for all Canadians.

The Hon. the Speaker: Shall I repeat the question?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Senator Mitchell: There's democracy in action. Good work.

The Hon. the Speaker: Somebody has to debate or move the adjournment of the bill, please. On debate? Stand?

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Stand.

Hon. Claudette Tardif: Question.

Senator Mitchell: Unbelievable.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is someone willing to adjourn the bill or is somebody willing to debate on the bill?

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Adjourn.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is somebody willing to adjourn?

Hon. Michael L. MacDonald: I adjourn the bill in my name.

The Hon. the Speaker: It is moved by the Honourable Senator MacDonald, seconded by the Honourable Senator Patterson, that further debate be adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Senator Fraser: On division.

The Hon. the Speaker: On division.

(On motion of Senator MacDonald, debate adjourned, on division.)

Business of the Senate

The Reading Clerk: Senate Public Bills—Second reading. Number 1, resuming debate on the motion.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 2.

Senator Martin: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 3.

Senator Martin: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 4.

Senator Martin: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 5.

Senator Martin: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 6.

An Hon. Senator: Stand.

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 7.

Senator Fraser: The clerk called the next item before I said "stand."

An Hon. Senator: Somebody said "stand."

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): On your side.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I heard clearly after number 6 was called Senator Fraser said "stand" and the clerk moved on to number 7.

I understand we're getting towards the end of a long session with a very vigorous, vibrant debate, but let's try to maintain a certain degree of decorum.

(1650)

Senator Fraser: Yes, right. What a good idea.

The Hon. the Speaker: Let's please try to get through the scroll in an orderly fashion, in the senatorial manner that we are accustomed to.

The Reading Clerk: Number 7.

Senator Cowan: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 8.

Senator Martin: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 9.

Senator Martin: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 10.

An Hon. Senator: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 11.

An Hon. Senator: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 12.

Senator Martin: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Commons Public Bills, Second Reading. Number 1.

Senator Martin: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 2.

Senator Martin: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Reports of Committees, Other. Number 1.

Senator Cowan: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 2.

Senator Martin: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 3.

Senator Martin: Stand.

The Reading Clerk: Number 4.

Study on the Medical, Social, and Operational Impacts of Mental Health Issues Affecting Serving and Retired Members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Services and Benefits Provided to Members and their Families

Seventeenth Report of National Security and Defence Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventeenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence entitled: Interim Report on the Operational Stress Injuries of Canada's Veterans, tabled in the Senate on June 18, 2015.

Hon. Joseph A. Day moved the adoption of the report.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

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

Twelfth Report of Aboriginal Peoples Committee and Request for Government Response Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the twelfth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples entitled: On-Reserve Housing and Infrastructure: Recommendations for Change, tabled in the Senate earlier this day.

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson moved:

That the twelfth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples entitled: On-Reserve Housing and Infrastructure: Recommendations for Change, tabled in the Senate on June 23, 2015, be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 12-24(1), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development being identified as minister responsible for responding to the report.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

Agriculture and Forestry

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

On the Order:

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

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

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

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

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

Hon. Elizabeth (Beth) Marshall: I wish to adjourn this item for the balance of my time.

(On motion of Senator Marshall, debate adjourned)

The Senate

Role in Protecting Minorities—Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Nolin calling the attention of the Senate to its role in protecting minorities.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, this is one of the inquiries of the late Honourable Speaker, Senator Nolin, and it's one that calls the attention of the Senate to its role in protecting minorities.

I recently received a very eloquently prepared piece that was written by the publisher of the Korean War Veteran, an Internet journal for the world's veterans of the Korean War. His name is Vince Courtenay. He is a Windsor, Ontario, resident. It was sent to me on June 15, 2015.

It was during the week where there was continual media coverage and a lot of additional external pressures and maybe, much like today, emotions were high. In receiving his words that were so poetic to my eyes, ears and heart, it seemed quite ironic and in a way undeserved because I know that all honourable senators in this chamber have very important issues or special groups of people that they champion. All honourable senators know the work I have done with the veterans of the Korean War, and it was a late realization for me personally, even though I was born in Korea, the country that they went to serve and protect, that I didn't really know my parents had protected me from their pain and they didn't talk about it much.

It was only in coming to the Senate that I realized there was this opportunity to do such work and to serve a minority, a group that had been forgotten in a war that, to this day, at times is referred to as "The Forgotten War" — but no more, because we all know in this chamber that we unanimously adopted a motion to recognize Korean War veterans and we saw the adoption of the bill, the Korean War Veterans Day Act.

On this day, where His Honour has asked us to be senatorial in our deliberations, perhaps it is fitting to share these words with you. Vince's title is "Reflections on the splendour and meaning of our Canadian Senate."

Some of you may have already seen this. I did forward it. Those who are listening to our proceedings now will also have an opportunity to hear these words, if they haven't yet heard them. I think it has all the more meaning because of the fact that it's coming from someone who willingly went across an ocean to protect a people he didn't know. He was willing to die for other people, but also for Canada, in the defence of freedom and democracy.

This is what Vince Courtenay, a Korean War veteran, now in his nineties, has sent to all of us:

There is a thin brass rod across the aisle just inside the doors of the Canadian Senate. One must walk around it to enter the Senate Chamber.

Yet none can do so without the expressed invitation of a Senator. No Member of Parliament from the House of Commons, which is just down the Hall of Honour, may enter without that invitation and accompaniment. Not even the Prime Minister of Canada may enter without it.

Yet it is a thin rod that any public school girl or boy could easily shove aside, or dash around it. Yet nobody does. Nobody ever has; neither Member of Parliament, nor Prime Minister, nor prelate, nor policeman, nor student.

Nobody ever does because there is high respect for the institutions of Canada, and because the Senate of Canada is the senior of the two venerable houses of our nation's governing Parliament. It has been so since 1867.

(1700)

The brass bar is only symbolic, for those who need such to remind them, and most do not. What forms the real gate to this chamber is unseen, but it is known and felt; a propriety, a respect not just for those appointed to work there, but for the highest governmental body in Canada, for the democracy that is this free nation.

In those countries ruled by ruthless dictators and conquerors the brass bars have been kicked open and trampled upon many times. In such places cruel leaders have usurped the free will and history of a people, to put them under their yoke.

In Canada, such a thing is not even thinkable.

If even a single individual tried to break through and harm the occupants or the institution — and therefore the historic forces of our evolving Canada — many would place their lives on the line to repel him.

If armies tried to do as much, to topple the highest of our government houses, one could venture that virtually every Canadian would place his or her life at risk to defend it and keep our nation free.

Canada is more than land and people.

It is spirit, history, tradition, hope!

It is the milieu of our lives and as we and our forefathers have willed, the font of goodness, the fierce enemy of cruelty and injustice, and to the best to our abilities, the peacekeeper for troubled people in varying places in our world.

To desecrate or denigrate one of the pillars of our triumvirate Parliament would strike on the spirit of one of the greatest, most free, and what we are trying to form into the most generous and caring of nations in this world.

Let us pass by that brass bar in the Senate of Canada, by invitation and in accompaniment of a senator, as others have been privileged to do.

Once beyond, walking up the red carpet with a felt-solemnity, one passes the clerks' tables and their reference books. He passes the places of the government leader and deputy government leader among the benches to the left, and those of the opposition leader and deputy opposition leader and others on his right.

At the end of the red carpet is the gold hued speaker's chair, from which the Speaker of the Senate conducts and manages each day's business.

Behind the speaker's chair are two thrones, side by side. In one, the Queen of Canada sits to address the nation, if she should come here.

At other times, her representative, the Governor General of Canada uses it on occasions such as the opening of Parliament. From there is read the throne speech that tells Canada's people what its government — not just the House of Commons, but the Senate of Canada, as well — plans and hopes to achieve in each coming year.

One might see above the thrones a marble bust in the likeness of a young Queen Victoria; the Queen of the British Empire at the time Canada became one unified nation in 1867.

And on the walls along the sides of the chamber are eight splendid canvases that depict scenes from what in those contemporary times was called the Great War for Civilization, but is now chronicled in the world's history as World War One.

The paintings do not depict a penchant for ferocity or a pervasive militarism such as is exuded in countries whose rulers wantonly subjugate their people by force of arms, and threaten to conquer and do harm to their neighbours.

They glow with a sense of the time that this great nation evolved from those days at the beginning of that great conflict, when our citizens by law and custom were subjects of a world empire.

They depict a time when there was fusion of all of the peoples of our great land, the burial of prejudices between them, all hewing together in one grand national spirit; suddenly, like a different light rising above our majestic mountains, our rugged shores, on a day of splendor and magnificent glow, the Canadian people became one.

It was the majestic rising of a great new Canada, no longer the ward or adjunct of a global power; now a unified nation of unique people, free people, strong people, just people.

There was a Second World War 20 years on, and our nation punched well above its weight. A tenth of the population went into uniform, fighting tyranny in Europe and in Africa and Asia. Many who had served in the Great War and were still able, once more served in our country's swelling forces.

Then, 65 years ago this month, veterans of that Second War and thousands of younger Canadians volunteered to defend the fledgling nation of the Republic of Korea. More than 26,000 Canadians fought, and some died, throughout the three years of the Korean War.

They went there in selfless nobility, to defend the brass bar of South Korea; to uphold and defend the symbolic gate that protected the people of that democratically elected new nation. Its new system of government was just two years old when it was invaded by would-be conquerors on June 25, 1950.

Many who remained in the service later saw Canadians do similar things in many other nations around our world; and after most of them were well into retirement, they saw descendants continue such noble missions, including for an entire decade, in the war in Afghanistan.

That splendid spirit has evolved. In a quiet magnificence, people from throughout the world have come to our Canadian shores. Maintaining their own heritage and language but adopting Canada's as well, they have claimed Canada as their own, and stand fast and true for our nation.

They have helped to enrich and toughen the fiber of the Flag that represents us, under which the spirit and the people of Canada may fulfill its wonderful, evolving destiny.

My goodness, let us move forward together and rise on new days more strong and more free and more good, continue improving the lot of our land and our people, and giving of its abundance and of our skills and wills and our hearts to those who are less blessed.

Let us not tear asunder that which sustains us and by reckless experiment or revolutionary zeal and try to eradicate the forces of spirit that secure and protect and ensure that our people are well governed and well served. Let us not through rash action or reaction destroy what the brass bar represents, or why it is there.

An unfettered oligarchy that passes its leader's laws unchecked has been the undoing and scourge of many lesser nations of much longer history, such as some of those that we generously assist today.

Let us rejoice that in another 24 months our Canada will mark its 150th birthday — a very youthful nation by the clock of world history; an energetic and most blessed one by the standards of this new century.

Our Governor General will approve for our Monarch the issuing of a medal of commemoration to some. All will have earned and deserve it. With our hearts and minds together and the sorrows of this day passed, we can move forward.

We can open this great land of magnificent resources and remarkable, good people, and move in harmony and with gusto toward its golden destiny.

Those are my thoughts as I begin my ninth decade. They have wavered at times, as the wind and the currents must do, but have been central in most of my life. I know that in this I am not alone.

These are the words of Vince Courtenay, Korean War veteran. To him and to all those who have served honourably in the Korean War and in other wars, I give sincere thanks on behalf of all honourable senators.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

(On motion of Senator Joyal, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

Royal Assent

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the following communication had been received:

RIDEAU HALL

June 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker,

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 23rd day of June, 2015, at 4:13 p.m.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Wallace
Secretary to the Governor General

The Honourable
    The Speaker of the Senate
        Ottawa

Bills Assented to Tuesday, June 23, 2015:

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (law enforcement animals, military animals and service animals) (Bill C-35, Chapter 34, 2015)

An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act (safety of persons and property) (Bill C-627, Chapter 35, 2015)

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 21, 2015 and other measures (Bill C-59, Chapter 36, 2015)

An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (candidacy and caucus reforms) (Bill C-586, Chapter 37, 2015)

An Act to amend the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act (Bill C-61, Chapter 38, 2015)

An Act to amend the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act (Bill C-64, Chapter 39, 2015)

An Act to amend the Canada National Parks Act (Bill C-72, Chapter 40, 2015)

(1710)

[English]

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer rose pursuant to notice of June 3, 2015:

That she will call the attention of the Senate to the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, and the mandate of Canada's Office of Religious Freedoms.

She said: Honourable senators, as we adjourn for the summer to our comfortable homes, I want you to remember the plight of the Rohingya. The Rohingya from Myanmar have but one hope, a hope that they can one day find a place they can call home. They are being persecuted in Myanmar and forced to flee. They have no home.

I rise today filled with deep emotions to talk to you about the plight of the Myanmar Rohingya who, after months of unjust misery and suffering, are still struggling to find a place that they can call home.

Over the last few months, Rohingya have been fleeing their native country of Myanmar, fearing persecution and hoping to find a home where they can live in peace. Sadly, with promises from human traffickers to transport them to neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Malaysia, where they might be able to find work and live without fear of persecution, the Rhohinga had a brief glimmer of hope — a place they could call home. This hope unfortunately turned into a greater crisis, as officials of these countries cracked down on trafficking and the traffickers fled the boat, threatening to beat, rape or skill any Rohingya who tried to follow. Alas, these Rohingya were left stranded in the Bay of Bengal, trying to determine where to go for shelter — where to find home.

While neighbouring countries like Thailand and Malaysia have offered the Rohingya shelter in temporary camps, the permanent fate of the Rohingya is yet to be determined. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that there are over 810,000 stateless people in Myanmar. They do not have a home. The United Nations found that over 416,000 people are in need of humanitarian aid, with 140,000 of those being displaced people living in dire conditions in camps and others without citizenship in isolated villages.

Speaking about the issue, the United Nations described that access to adequate health care and livelihoods remained a major concern of displaced people and vulnerable communities across Rakhine state, while restrictions on the freedom of movement of hundreds of thousands of people had severely compromised their basic rights to food, health care, education, livelihood and other basic services, leaving them dependent on humanitarian aid.

Recently, American actor Matt Dillon flew to Myanmar to gain a better understanding of the conditions of the Rohingya. He visited the city of Sittwe and described that Rohingya Muslims are unable to move freely within their own city limits, as they are restricted to one neighbourhood, Aung Mingalar. This neighbourhood is closed off with barbed wire and, when Dillon tried to get in or take some pictures, he was stopped by police officers who showed up with guns.

There is a dramatic difference between Aung Mingalar and Sittwe. On one side, there are markets, electricity and a sense of a normal city. On the other side, there is a post-apocalyptic village where buildings are falling apart, shops are permanently closed and no electricity. In addition, food and medicine are scarce, and there is not sufficient farmland or basic government services. Thus, earning money to live is essentially impossible. Rather, the Rohingya depend on the generosity of aid groups or occasional shopping trips to markets outside the ghetto.

George Soros, a financier and philanthropist who has been active in promoting democracy, visited Myanmar in January. In a conference on the Rohingya in Oslo a few weeks prior, he described what he saw as parallels to his youth as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Europe. He explained:

The most immediate threat to Burma's transition is the rising anti-Muslim sentiment and officially condoned abuse of the Rohingya people. . . . they are forced to remain segregated in a state of abject deprivation. The parallels to the Nazi genocide are alarming.

You see, in 1944, as a Jew in Budapest, I too was a Rohingya.

Seemingly, the Rohingya have two rather hopeless options: either live in their land in camps behind barbed wires and call it a home, or take a chance boarding over-capacity boats to find another life in an unwelcoming neighbouring country. In either situation, the Jewish Journal described the Rohingya to be the "world's least wanted people" as they are continuously persecuted, adrift and unwelcome. Similarly, the BBC described the Rohingya as unwanted with an unending plight.

Honourable senators, as we bring greater awareness to this issue, there also needs to be greater affirmative change. The Myanmar government has yet to take any action or provide any guidance on putting an end to the crisis. In fact, the Myanmar government refuses to even recognize the 1.3 million Rohingya as citizens, instead using the term "Bengali" to describe them. Despite having generations of families tied to Myanmar, the Myanmar government considers the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants.

While the Rohingya are so desperate for food and drink that they are compelled to drink their own urine to survive, Myanmar nationals are protesting against the Myanmar government to ensure the Rohingya don't come back to the Rakhine state of the country. Soe Naing, a coordinator for social programs in Rakhine, stated:

We protested peacefully to show our disappointment and concern, and deliver a strong message to the government of Myanmar, UN and INGOs that these migrants must be repatriated immediately and that we don't accept them in the land of Rakhine,

Honourable senators, where would the Myanmar government repatriate the Rohingya when Myanmar is indeed their native land?

Canada has played a huge role in fostering a democratic society in Myanmar. In 1988, Canada imposed diplomatic and economic sanctions against Myanmar in response to the widespread human rights abuses and military crackdowns against protesters.

Canada played a vital role in the release of democratic activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who was a political prisoner in Myanmar for 15 years before finally being released in 2010. She is now the chairperson of the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy. It was after this release and providing $2 million to help consolidate Myanmar's move to democracy that Canada eventually released its sanctions.

As Myanmar moved towards a democratic country, Canada urged its leaders to continue democratic development and improve conditions for human rights by releasing remaining political prisoners and halting conflict in ethnic minority areas. Upon release of the sanctions, Canada committed to continuing to monitor developments in Myanmar and hoped that the changes would continue to be positive. However, in the event the situation in Myanmar deteriorated, Canada was ready to impose sanctions again.

In 2012, our then Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister Baird, met with Suu Kyi to present her with an honorary Canadian citizenship award. Suu Kyi became one of only five people to be granted this honour. When presenting this honour, Minister Baird stated:

We encourage the authorities to continue their reforms in order to ensure greater openness and freedom for the Burmese people.

(1720)

Suu Kyi responded:

Canada has helped us greatly with regard to our movement towards democracy.

She added:

. . . the government of this country must do its best to help its people first. It's no use saying, why aren't other countries helping, until we can prove our government is doing its best to help our people first.

Honourable senators, it shocks me that after spending half a century under military dictatorship and moving to a democratic society, Myanmar has suddenly taken a big step backwards. I am appalled that Aung San Suu Kyi has remained largely silent and has put no effort into resolving the Rohingya crisis. Aung San Suu Kyi only recently addressed the Rohingya issue after international backlash on her silence. She stated in an interview:

. . . the protection of rights of minorities is an issue which should be addressed very, very carefully. It is such a sensitive issue, and there are so many racial and religious groups, that whatever we do to one group may have an impact on other groups as well.

When Aung San Suu Kyi was asked if the Rohingya should be granted citizenship, she dodged the question.

In 2012, when Aung San Suu Kyi accepted her Nobel Peace Prize that she won in 1991 while under house arrest, she stated:

Ultimately our aim should be to create a world free from the displaced, the homeless and the hopeless, a world of which each and every corner is a true sanctuary where the inhabitants will have the freedom and capacity to live in peace.

Why is it, then, honourable senators, that Aung San Suu Kyi is so hesitant to speak directly to the Rohingya and their right to citizenship in their native land? Why has Aung San Suu Kyi done nothing to foster peace and create justice for the Myanmar Rohingya? Is it not the injustices that the Rohingya are currently facing that Aung San Suu Kyi fought against when she was under arrest? We all fought hard for her to be released, and now she is silent.

Honourable senators, I am very pleased to tell you that the Canadian government has played an instrumental role. Canada's Ambassador for Religious Freedom has advocated for an end to the persecution of the Rohingya community when Mr. Bennett recently met with Myanmar's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs during a visit to Burma. Honourable senators, Burma needs to play a more constructive role. Canada supported Aung San Suu Kyi's freedom, and we need to use the same zeal to support the freedom of the Rohingya.

Honourable senators, today I want to recognize Mr. Bennett, the Ambassador of Religious Freedom, for his hard work on this issue, and I want to thank him for all his efforts.

After shifting such positive developments in Myanmar and awarding Aung San Suu Kyi Canadian citizenship, Canada needs to abide by its commitment to Myanmar especially when Myanmar Rohingya are facing unimaginable injustices and are in need of our help. Canada needs to be as vocal and active about the happenings in Myanmar as it was before.

If we strip away religion, race and ethnicity, we are all one and the same. This issue is not about religion or ethnicity, but rather about humanity and compassion. As humanity, what are we doing for our fellow humans who are in need of our support? What are we doing to show our compassion? It is questions like these that have filled my heart with deep emotion.

I want to share with you a story of Mohammed and Dala Banu. The two of them lived in a village in Myanmar where they owned a farm with five cows, three bulls and a herd of goats. The two lived peacefully with their daughter and had a pleasant life. Mohammed lived in the same village as his father, his grandfather and his great grandfather. The family had their roots tied to Myanmar, and it was what they knew as their home.

Unfortunately, their pleasant lives were disrupted when Mohammed was forced to work in slave-like conditions as a carrier without food or water. During this time, his farm became neglected and fell into ruin. His cows and goats started disappearing, and people called him and his family Bangladeshi intruders.

Feeling unwelcome in their own country, the family fled to Bangladesh, where they stayed at a refugee camp. Here, Mohammed and Dala's daughter was brutally raped. This tragedy resulted in her daughter being transferred to Canada, where she is currently trying to establish herself.

Meanwhile, Mohammed and Dala continue to live at a refugee camp in Kutupalong and speak to their daughter when they can. Spending half their lives in refugee camps, having their family torn apart and their home taken away, Mohammed and Dala remain hopeful that one day they will find a home.

They hope that one day there is no cruel army stationed by their village in Myanmar. They hope that there are no dreadful neighbours who are unwilling to accept that they practise a different religion. They hope that one day they will return to their village and restore their farm. They hope that one day their daughter will return from Canada and they can all live together as one happy family in their home of Myanmar. It is these hopes that get them through each day.

Honourable senators, as a proud Canadian, I can never fathom what would I do, where I would go if I were told I was no longer welcome in my own country of Canada, where I raised my family and created my home. This is the current fate of millions of Rohingya like Mohammed and Dala, who have had generations of family in Myanmar and are currently trying to find a place to call home because they are denied citizenship and facing persecution in their native country.

I rise today to urge Canada and Canadians to take a stand against the injustices occurring with the Myanmar Rohingya. As a country that is a leader in fostering change and promoting peace, I aspire that we have the courage to help turn the hopes of Mohammed, Dala and the rest of the Rohingya into reality.

The Rohingya need us to use the same zeal we used before to free Aung San Suu Kyi. They need our voice, they need our support, they need our diplomatic power to have them return to their home of Myanmar and live there peacefully. They need a place to call home.

Honourable senators, we can help as we did to free Aung San Suu Kyi. Thank you very much.

Hon. Salma Ataullahjan: Honourable senators, I would like to thank Senator Jaffer for launching a formal inquiry on this issue. As Chair and Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, respectively, Senator Jaffer and I have great concern for the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma. We have both spoken about the Rohingya on several occasions.

This issue is topical given that World Refugee Day just passed on June 20. There are an estimated 2,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants still stranded at sea. Initially, no neighbouring countries were willing to take responsibility for them. In response to international pressure, Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to take some provided they find resettlement within a year. Thailand has not yet agreed.

This is not a new issue by any means. The Rohingya have been part of the Burmese landscape for centuries, living in peaceful coexistence until a citizenship law in 1982 made them stateless. Canada was the first country to resettle Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh in the early 1990s. Between 2006 and 2010, more than 300 Rohingya refugees settled in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

The violence, however, escalated in June 2012, when widespread rioting between the Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims left 200 dead and thousands displaced. We have seen shocking images of violence in the media. Recently, mass graves were found on the border in Thailand.

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has looked at Burma as part of our study on the Asia-Pacific region. At a meeting this past February, one witness, Duncan McArthur, Partnership Director at the Border Consortium, said:

Targeted at the Rohingya originally in Rakhine State, it has spread over the last couple of years to a more generic religious discrimination targeting Muslims across the country.

Another witness, Kevin Malseed, Program Director at Inter Pares, summed up the situation by stating:

. . . I had a lot of experience in villages where Buddhists, Muslims, Christians lived side by side for decades or a century. There was a certain amount of segregation. Maybe they didn't intermarry very much, although they did sometimes. But there wasn't violence. There wasn't this kind of tension. So a lot of this is a bit of a vicious cycle because you get ultra-nationalists trying to fan these flames, and then you get some of the political and military leadership jumping on that wagon, feeling that maybe that will be the way to go in the next election.

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As of 2013, there were 1.3 million Rohingya Muslims residing in Burma. The United Nations has called them one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. At the same time, Burma has garnered international attention since 2010, when a new government embarked towards political, economic and administrative reforms. In April of 2012, Canada was encouraged by these changes and eased sanctions against the country. A few months later, former Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced that Canada would establish an embassy in Burma. In a statement, Minister Baird said that "Canada stands ready to assist the Burmese government in building on democratic fundamentals, freedoms and rights of the people — including the freedom of religion."

This was prior to the formation of Canada's Office of Religious Freedom in February of 2013. Almost immediately, in March of that year, Andrew Bennett, Ambassador for Religious Freedom, made a statement on the deadly violence in Burma. He expressed that through its embassy, Canada would work with Burmese officials to realize human rights, democracy and religious freedoms.

Recently, in May of that year, Ambassador Bennett visited Burma and met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs. Ambassador Bennett announced funding of over $580,000 for two projects. These projects will promote religious freedom through education and will help build Burma's capacity to respond to violations of religious freedom.

In total, Canada has given more than $8 million to Burma in humanitarian assistance in 2014. This included crucial, life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people in Burma's ethnic regions who are affected by the conflict.

In the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, we are studying the issue of garment workers in developing countries such as Bangladesh. We're examining how we can participate in trade while upholding human rights. This dilemma is similar to what we are facing now in Burma.

Burma is a country of focus in Canada's international development efforts, as well as a priority market in our Global Markets Action Plan. Our total bilateral trade with Burma has grown steadily, from $4.8 million in 2012 to over $26 million in 2014.

In the Human Rights Committee, we learned that Burma will likely be the next major garment exporting nation. This is great for economic development, but worrisome with regards to the already poor state of human rights.

As Burma heads into general elections this fall, Canada will continue to support sustainable economic growth and advance democracy. A positive development has been the ongoing talks for a national ceasefire, although conflict and the migrant crisis continue to escalate.

Worldwide, there has been call for action. There have been protests in London and New York to highlight the persecution of the Muslim minority. There were protests in Calgary at the end of May, and this month there have been protests against it in the Muslim world, such as in Karachi, Pakistan, and Kabul, Afghanistan.

There has been, however, no one to speak out against these atrocities in Burma itself. Actor Matt Dillon visited the region and described the situation as "heartbreaking." He said:

I've been to some places where the threats of violence seemed more imminent. Here it's something else. It feels more like people are going to be left to wither away and die. . . . A lot of people are suffering.

The Dalai Lama recently called on political leader and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do something. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has also expressed similar concern.

Honourable senators, it is consistent with Canadian values to protect and promote the freedom of religion or beliefs in this nation and around the globe. Let us join the call for action and demand all parties to bring an immediate end to the violence. It is up to us, honourable senators, as global citizens, to give a voice to the voiceless.

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: As the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee has been studying the Rohingya issue, I will ask for the adjournment of debate.

(On motion of Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.)

The Honourable Marjory LeBreton, P.C.

Inquiry Withdrawn

On Inquiry No. 60 by the Honourable Marjory LeBreton:

That she will call the attention of the Senate to her 22 year career in the Senate of Canada which officially ends as of her birthday on July 4.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton Honourable senators, due to the fact that I was able to deliver my remarks during tributes last Friday, I would like this inquiry withdrawn from the Notice Paper.

(Inquiry withdrawn.)

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to point out that there is a cocktail in honour of our security forces in the Senate in room S-160. You are all more than welcome to attend.

(The Senate adjourned until Thursday, June 25, 2015, at 1:30 p.m.)