- Business of the Senate
- New Senators
- Distinguished Visitors in the Gallery
- Congratulations to New Senators on Appointments
- SENATORS' STATEMENTS
- ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
- QUESTION PERIOD
- ORDERS OF THE DAY
- Genetic Non-Discrimination Bill
- Criminal Code
- Criminal Code
- Criminal Code
- Agriculture and Forestry
- Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament
- The Senate
- National Finance
- Appendix - Senators Lists
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, agreement has been reached to allow a photographer in the Senate Chamber to photograph the introduction of our new senators today. Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that the Clerk has received certificates from the Registrar General of Canada showing that the following persons, respectively, have been summoned to the Senate:
V. Peter Harder
The Hon. the Speaker having informed the Senate that there were senators without, waiting to be introduced:
The following honourable senators were introduced; presented Her Majesty's writs of summons; took the oath prescribed by law, which was administered by the Clerk; and were seated:
Hon. Peter Harder, of Manotick, Ontario, introduced between Hon. James S. Cowan, and Hon. Douglas Black;
Hon. Raymonde Gagné, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, introduced between Hon. Peter Harder, P.C., and Hon. Claudette Tardif;
Hon. Frances Lankin, of Restoule, Ontario, introduced between Hon. Peter Harder, P.C., and Hon. Bob Runciman;
Hon. Ratna Omidvar, of Toronto, Ontario, introduced between Hon. Peter Harder, P.C., and Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer;
Hon. Chantal Petitclerc, of Montréal, Quebec, introduced between Hon. Peter Harder, P.C., and Hon. Claudette Tardif;
Hon. André Pratte, of Saint-Lambert, Quebec, introduced between Hon. Peter Harder, P.C., and Hon. Elaine McCoy; and
Hon. Murray Sinclair, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, introduced between Hon. Peter Harder, P.C., and Hon. Charlie Watt.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that each of the honourable senators named above had made and subscribed the declaration of qualification required by the Constitution Act, 1867, in the presence of the Clerk of the Senate, the Commissioner appointed to receive and witness the said declaration.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien and the Right Honourable Joe Clark, former Prime Ministers of Canada. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Harder.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, today I would like to extend a very warm welcome to seven new colleagues who were granted the privilege of membership in the upper chamber.
Please take a moment to contemplate the historic chamber in which we find ourselves. I never take my presence here for granted. Senators have been sitting in the same seats as you for nearly 150 years. Our chamber is home to many traditions, one of which is hard work. Following in your predecessors' footsteps is a major challenge. The Senate and its members have been at the heart of our democracy since Canada became a country.
Over the weeks and months to come, you will become familiar with the useful work we do in the Senate, which is characterized by high-level debates, indispensable committee studies, and our commitment to Canadians to speak on their behalf in this chamber and to promote measures that are in their interest.
Senator Peter Harder, you spent most of your career in government bureaucracy. Today, you are the Leader of the Government in the Senate. You will face the greatest challenge; I'm told your predecessor did a pretty good job.
Welcome, Peter. We are pleased that we can finally resume the Senate's Question Period, a very important part of democracy that occurs here on Parliament Hill. We will use this opportunity to ask the Trudeau government key questions on matters that concern Canadians and that they seek answers to.
Other senior bureaucrats have sat in this chamber before now. Arthur Tremblay and Roch Bolduc come to mind. They were two senior Quebec government officials who were architects of Quebec's Quiet Revolution. Do not hesitate to be inspired by their exemplary work as you fulfill your duties.
The Senate is the chamber of sober second thought and ensures what I like to call "quality control." The purpose of our second look is to identify any legislative gaps, constitutional impasses and unintended inaccuracies, and to propose amendments to improve bills. As Justice Binnie said so well in his recent ruling on arbitration, the role of the Senate is to act as "the grand inquest of the nation".
Some of our senators have been sitting in the Senate for over 25 years. They have made an invaluable contribution to our institution. I am sure that if you asked, they would be pleased to share their experiences and knowledge with you. You will see that senators work very well together and that we are proud of the collaborative approach that we have adopted.
Senator André Pratte, I am sure that you will put your journalism experience to use in drafting legislation. This chamber already benefits from the contribution of other distinguished journalists, including Senator Joan Fraser, a former editorial writer at The Gazette. You can learn from Senator Fraser's meticulous and dedicated work.
You are also following in the footsteps of one of our very dear friends, Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, a top-notch Conservative political organizer appointed by the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney. In 30 years of public life, I can count on one hand the number of times I have met such a wise, friendly, competent and generous person. His respect for the Senate was exemplary and unwavering. Senator Nolin firmly believed in the Senate's role of international representation. To that end, he was particularly active in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He held a number of positions until his death, including that of Speaker of our chamber. Senator Nolin built a solid reputation on the quality of his interventions. He proved that a partisan appointment is no less worthy. I hope that filling the seat left vacant by Senator Nolin will inspire you in your role and your approach.
Senator Sinclair, former judge, you are now part of the jury in the Senate. Part of our mandate here is to ensure we take a second look at legislation and ascertain whether it needs amendments to provide the best worth for Canadians.
We also ensure that the needs of marginalized Canadians and minorities are considered. We are counting on the experience you've gained by handling key aboriginal concerns over the course of your career, and we will rely on your contributions. You will surely benefit from the advice of other senators, including Senator Andreychuk, another judge, who may be able to help you transition from decision-maker to legislator. We all seek her expertise and wisdom before taking a position, especially on matters relating to human rights and international relations.
Senator Omidvar, I've heard that you have spent nearly three decades fighting to make Canada more inclusive. An expert on immigration and diversity, I anticipate that you too will form an important part of the Senate's work to ensure minority concerns are addressed in the study of bills. Welcome.
I encourage you to seek the advice of Senator Ataullahjan or Senator Jaffer to fully grasp the Senate's current approach to this matter. In addition, Senator Ngo, who was an immigration judge, can surely help you in your deliberations.
I welcome Senator Raymonde Gagné, who was formerly the president of the Université de Saint-Boniface in Winnipeg. We are pleased to once again have a Franco-Manitoban here in the chamber. You and Senator Sinclair are replacing two distinguished Manitoba senators. Senator Maria Chaput, who left recently and who championed French minority language rights across Canada with dignity and determination, worked very hard to help francophone communities retain their identity and continue to survive.
The second Manitoba seat being filled today was occupied by Senator JoAnne Buth. As an agricultural expert, Senator Buth was determined to fight for the agricultural sector in the Senate, as she was very familiar with its needs. She sat on the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, and considered the agricultural industry to be "critical to Canada and to Canada's reputation internationally."
It will be to your great advantage to heed the advice on official languages provided by our colleagues, especially Senator Tardif and Senator Poirier. They are passionate champions of our efforts in this area.
Senator Frances Lankin, the Trudeau Liberal government has appointed a former NDP Ontario minister. I think this is a historical first in the Senate, even though your former colleague Bob Rae made history by crossing the floor in the House of Commons. We look forward to engaging with you in a constructive way. Senator Lankin, you and Senator Harder replace two Ontario senators who were very important in this institution.
The first was Senator Irving Gerstein. I invite you to read his final speech, in which he talked about his role and his views on partisanship in the Senate, which are similar to those of Justice Binnie, who said in a recent decision that partisanship represents the roots and branches of a political institution. Under his leadership, the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee addressed crucial issues, such as improving our knowledge of the illegal world of money laundering and understanding the financing of terrorist activities abroad.
Senator Hugh Segal is the second Ontario senator to be replaced today. Allow me to confirm — and as caucus leader, I am well placed to say this — that Senator Segal is truly an independent thinker. He was appointed to the Senate by Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin even though he had a very Conservative career.
Senator Segal's time in this chamber was remarkable. As the chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, he courageously tackled challenges with the conviction he is known for. We can also qualify his contribution as the chair of the Special Senate committee on Anti-Terrorism as exemplary. Senator Segal said that he did not accept an appointment to the Senate in order to be accommodating and avoid making waves. He posed the following question: If we did not tackle difficult issues, why would we have a Senate?
Senator Chantal Petitclerc, you are already known as a Paralympic wheelchair racing champion. I am sure that your attitude as a go-getter will get you off to a good start with your files in the Senate. You will be replacing the great Senator Andrée Champagne, who served as a Conservative minister of state for youth during her term in the House of Commons. An artist herself, she advocated for the arts all of her life. She was very involved in the cultural community, was a great advocate for the Francophonie, and kept closely in touch with the people she represented. As Conservative as she was, she was appointed by Prime Minister Paul Martin. As you can see, partisanship has never been a problem in the Senate.
Please do not hesitate to seek advice from another great Olympic athlete, Nancy Greene Raine, who will surely be delighted to share her ideas on how you can put your perseverance and determination to good use in carrying out your duties as a senator.
As you already know or will soon learn, our number one priority is modernizing the Senate. Over the past three years, we have increased our efforts to make the Senate an accountable, transparent, relevant and effective institution that respects the best interests of Canadians.
Honourable colleagues, let's be honest. A rather grim chapter in our Senate's history has just come to a close. The rules governing the use of public resources were not strict enough and did not encourage full disclosure, which caused confusion. Under the leadership of the Conservative and Liberal caucuses, we made significant changes and, as a result, our institution has become stronger, more committed and more attentive to the needs of Canadians. We are determined to restore the public's confidence in our Parliament and we will not let old scandals tarnish the reputation of this important democratic institution. However, we have learned an important lesson in humility. We must never forget that our primary purpose here in the Senate is to represent Canadians and their best interests.
We need to pursue our modernization program. Senate operations need to be reformed so that this institution can become the responsible institution it is meant to be. Canadians need us to act as a chamber of sober second thought and, as the inquest of the nation, a legislative chamber of the highest order.
Dear new colleagues, Senator Harder, Senator Gagné, Senator Lankin, Senator Omidvar, Senator Petitclerc, Senator Pratte and Senator Sinclair, we look forward to your contributions towards completing our work to modernize the Senate and to restore Canadians' trust in our institution. Once again, welcome to the Senate. As Benjamin Franklin said, diligence is the mother of good luck. That is what I wish for you. Thank you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Honourable senators, on behalf of the Senate Liberal caucus, I'm happy to welcome our seven new colleagues, including the new Government Leader in the Senate. I know that your diverse talents and experience will bring much to the work of the Senate and to the Parliament of Canada as a whole.
Senator Carignan has illustrated very well the footsteps we all follow when we enter this chamber. The Senate, at the moment, does not enjoy the highest reputation amongst Canadians. Yet, when you look at the list of senators who have served here over the years, you will see that great Canadians have served here and, indeed, have produced truly great work that has made a significant difference in the lives of Canadians. Like so many institutions, the Senate is simultaneously larger than any of the people who serve here, but it is also, of course, defined by us, individually and collectively, for good or for ill.
We all know the challenges we face collectively to earn back the public's trust and confidence. That is an issue of much concern and focus for all of us, as Senator Carignan has said. We have already made a number of changes to address this challenge and continue to propose, debate and implement ways and means of improving the way we do our work. We will continue that work in the weeks and months ahead.
But too often we lose sight of the extraordinary opportunity each of us has been given when invited to come to this place. Truly, it is an opportunity like few others.
Our job is to take our individual life experiences and knowledge, and join together to apply them collectively to the task of law-making for our fellow citizens — to making our contribution to the continuing task of building our nation. Because, in essence, that is the purpose of law-making — to help build a better Canada for all Canadians.
There has been a great deal of discussion about independence and what that means and entails. I plan to speak about that subject in the coming days. Briefly, today, I want to deal with just one aspect, and that is that the Senate has always prided itself on its constitutional role within our Parliament as an independent chamber of sober second thought, and going along with that, on maintaining a level of collegiality amongst members that goes beyond any party alignment. I was reflecting on that as I realized that the best advice I received when I came to the Senate was from a senator on the other side of the chamber. That was my friend, the late Michael Forrestall, a Conservative senator from Nova Scotia.
When I arrived, Senator Forrestall told me that I had been given a unique opportunity to contribute to the Canadian public good. He cautioned me that there would be many issues that would come up on a daily basis, requiring and deserving careful attention and focus. But he advised me to identify a cause — an issue of public policy of concern to Canadians that did not seem to be receiving the attention it deserved — and to concentrate my efforts there. That, I quickly realized, is something that as senators we are uniquely positioned to do. Unlike the members of the other place, we are better able to expand our horizons to look at matters that do not necessarily make the headlines in any particular election cycle, but which are nevertheless important to Canadians.
It was good advice. As I look around the chamber, I see colleagues who have and continue to achieve so much here because they do just that. It's the same when I look at the contributions made by our predecessors.
I have done my best to follow the advice of Mike Forrestall, and even though I won't pretend it was always easy, it has always been deeply fulfilling. Frankly, it is unlike any work I have had the privilege to do in my lifetime. Working to advance important issues of public policy that can make a difference in the lives of our fellow citizens — that is an extraordinary opportunity and a source of great satisfaction and, frankly, humility.
I will conclude by repeating some things I said to a group of then-new senators back in 2010:
Do not believe everything you have heard or read about this place. . . . Take the time to learn about this institution; do not take the words of others. Form your own opinion. Take advantage of the expertise of the officers of the chamber, the clerks, the researchers who support our committees, and the wonderful resources that are available to assist us in our work.
As I said in 2010, I believe you will find, as I did, that your colleagues here — Liberal, Conservative and those that are non-aligned — take their roles as senators under the Constitution very seriously. They work hard to understand and assess all aspects of proposed legislation, listening to Canadians who take the time to come before our committees to express their views on issues before us.
That is our job as legislators in the Canadian parliamentary system. To quote George Brown, one of the Fathers of Confederation, the Senate was designed to be ". . . a thoroughly independent body — one that would be in the best position to canvass dispassionately the measures of this house" — he was referring to the House of Commons — "and stand up for the public interest in opposition to hasty or partisan legislation." That is our role.
It is my belief that all of us, individually and collectively, whether we align ourselves with a particular caucus or not, have a responsibility to ensure that the institution of the Senate operates, to quote George Brown, as "a thoroughly independent body."
As I mentioned, I will have more to say about that in the coming days. For now, let me reiterate, on behalf of my colleagues in the Senate Liberal Caucus, our welcome to each of you. We look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead. I know I speak for all Senators in saying that each of us would be happy to provide any assistance that any of you would like as you find your footing in this unique and very interesting place. My best wishes to all of you as you take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities that lie ahead.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Harder.
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you.
I rise on this, the first possible occasion for a new senator to speak, to say I am both delighted and filled with terror at the prospect of participating in this august body. But I did think, as Government Representative in the Senate, it would be appropriate for me to, on behalf of all new senators, say thank you for the generous speeches of introduction and the courtesies that have been extended. I thought it appropriate for me in this capacity to introduce the senators that were presented to this chamber today. Let me briefly review the accomplishments of these senators.
Senator Raymonde Gagné is from Manitoba. She worked in education for over 40 years and was the first female president of the Université de Saint-Boniface in Manitoba. Senator Gagné is a renowned advocate of French-language culture in education in Manitoba.
Senator Gagné has sat on numerous education and health boards. Her dedication and hard work were recognized when she was named to the Order of Canada in 2015, and her dedication to the community and service to our country is recognized by all. It is indeed my honour to welcome Senator Gagné to the Senate.
Senator Frances Lankin, as was referenced earlier, has come to the Senate from northern Ontario, and in 2012 was named to the Order of Canada in recognition of her immense contributions to social justice, most especially in championing the rights of women and the disadvantaged. She is a fellow of the Broadbent Institute, with expertise in community service, and has been a leader in the development of social and public policy that has improved the lives of so many individuals and families.
In 1990, as a member of the provincial legislature in Ontario, she fought for the rights of same-sex spouses to have access to insurance and medical benefits. She also held the posts of Minister of Health and Minister of Economic Development and Trade. While in opposition, she tabled a private member's bill that received unanimous consent in the banning of restraints of elderly patients.
Her expertise in security issues began when she first served as a corrections officer, one of the first women to work in an all-male institution, much like the house.
From 2009 to 2016, she went on to become a member of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, SIRC, the agency of Parliament responsible for protecting the rights and freedoms of Canadians.
From 2001 to 2011, she held the post of President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Way of Toronto.
Senator Lankin, welcome to this chamber.
Senator Ratna Omidvar also comes to the Senate from Ontario. She is the founding Executive Director of Global Diversity Exchange at Ryerson University. She is a globally recognized expert in migration, diversity and inclusion. Senator Omidvar was born in India and later went to Iran to teach German, where she met her husband, and together they came to Canada. Like many immigrants who came here to build a new life, they were met with many obstacles. It is from this personal experience that Senator Omidvar came to dedicate herself to the successful integration of immigrants and refugees in Canada.
In recognition of this advocacy work on behalf of immigrants, Senator Omidvar was named to the Order of Ontario in 2009 and to the Order of Canada in 2011. She was also named to the inaugural Global Diversity List of The Economist in 2015 as one of the top 10 diversity champions worldwide.
Senator Omidvar, it is my honour to welcome you to this chamber.
Now, I understand that Senator Munson has been known to travel these halls in a wheelchair in support of the Special Olympics and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Well, senator, you now have some real competition.
Senator Chantal Petitclerc is from Grandville, Quebec. At the age of 13, she fractured her spinal cord and lost the use of both legs. She did not let her disability affect her competitive spirit, however, and she began swimming to develop her strength and endurance. She later discovered wheelchair athletics and thus began her long, successful career as an athlete.
She is a world-renowned Paralympic athlete and an incredible inspiration to Canadians living with a physical disability. While competing in the Paralympic Games from 1992 to 2008, she won 21 medals for Canada, 14 of them gold. As of 2012, she holds five world records for wheelchair racing. She is the Canadian athlete who has won the most medals in any given sport, as well as the only Canadian athlete to have won a gold medal in the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games and the Commonwealth Games.
Senator Petitclerc was named to Canada's Walk of Fame in 2009 in honour of her hard work and the dedication that has led her along this inspired journey. She has been named the Chef de Mission for Canada at the 2016 Paralympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro this coming September, and she will lead a delegation of 200 Canadian athletes.
As a proud Canadian, I can confidently speak on behalf of all senators when I say, Senator Petitclerc, that we look forward to watching you, the team and the medals that you come back with to celebrate Canada.
Welcome to the Senate.
Senator André Pratte is also from Quebec. A renowned Canadian journalist and author, he has enjoyed a successful career for over 30 years. He was editor-in-chief at La Presse in Montreal prior to being appointed to the Senate. He is a staunch supporter of Canadian federalism and the co-founder of the Federal Idea, a Quebec think tank on federalism.
He has penned a number of remarkable works on journalism, politics and history, including, most recently, a biography of Wilfrid Laurier. He is a three-time winner of the prestigious National Newspaper Awards. An engaged intellectual, he was one of the instigators and authors of the manifesto Pour un Québec lucide, which sparked vigorous debate in the province.
Senator Pratte, I welcome you to Canada's original think tank, the Senate.
Senator Murray Sinclair is a graduate of the University of Manitoba law school and was, at the time of his appointment to the Senate, a highly regarded Canadian jurist, having just retired from the bench after 28 years. He was the first indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba and only the second in Canada. He developed a reputation for undertaking major inquiries in this country, including for Aboriginal justice in Manitoba, which undertook a groundbreaking study of the relationship between indigenous people and Canada's justice system. That inquiry's report led to a greater understanding of the systemic issues operating in the justice system that have contributed to the overrepresentation of indigenous people in Canada's jails and welfare systems. It also led to a greater understanding of the sources of tension between the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and Canada's police forces.
In 1997, he undertook the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Inquest and wrote a report that has had significant impact on the issue of medical error in Canada. Most recently, he took on the incredible task of Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which delivered a landmark report in 2015 on the history and legacy of Canada's Indian residential school system.
Senator Sinclair is recognized throughout Canada as a legal scholar on indigenous issues and is known and respected for his deep knowledge of indigenous cultures. He has now been given this new forum, here in the Senate of Canada, to continue to advocate for reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. I know I can confidently speak on behalf of all senators when I say, Senator Sinclair, how much your new colleagues look forward to supporting you in this incredibly important task.
We come from various parts of Canada. Our stories are different, but our cause is common: to work with you, all senators, to ensure this institution achieves the support of its people and makes the contribution to public policy that I know each and every one of you individually and collectively would wish us to accomplish. To this, we dedicate ourselves.
Thank you very much.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie: First of all, I would like to acknowledge and congratulate our new colleagues.
Honourable senators, April marks the beginning of Parkinson's Awareness Month, a month-long event to recognize members of the Parkinson's community across Canada.
Parkinson's is a disease of the brain that touches almost every aspect of someone's daily life, including movement, mood, speech, eating, drinking, sleep and cognitive ability.
It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. People with Parkinson's are directly affected by cognitive impairment and dementia. Forty per cent of people with Parkinson's disease experience thinking and problem-solving limitations, and 50 per cent experience memory limitations.
There is no known cause or cure for Parkinson's. In Canada, there are over 100,000 individuals living with the disease.
Parkinson's is not a normal part of aging, but the incidence increases with age. Eighty-five per cent of Canadians diagnosed with Parkinson's are over the age of 65, and by 2031, the Parkinson's population is expected to more than double. Those diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease will increase by 65 per cent.
With more than 10 people a day diagnosed in Canada, chances are that someone you know will be affected.
In recognition of Parkinson's Awareness Month, Parkinson Canada will be raising awareness and funds across the country to continue offering help and hope to people living with the disease. Parkinson Canada offers education, support and advocacy for Canadians impacted by Parkinson's disease. Through their national research program, they have invested more than $25 million into research, making them the largest non-government funder of Parkinson's research in Canada.
This illness changes everything. Together, we can inspire hope in our community for a better life for Canadians living with Parkinson's today and a world without Parkinson's tomorrow.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mr. David Reeves, the recently retired Publications Coordinator at the Senate. Along with him are some of his colleagues. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Moore.
On behalf of all senators, welcome to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to our own David Reeves of the Senate Publications Centre, who retired on February 19, 2016, after 35 years in the public service.
David began his career in the Senate in 1995 as a Text Coordinator, and he became the Publications Coordinator in 1997.
His time at the Senate was marked by meticulous attention to detail and excellent service to individual senators, including myself. David's institutional memory was quite amazing. If asked to find a debate, statement or any sort of extract from the Debates of the Senate, no matter how vaguely described, David would have it for you in moments. He was quite a remarkable resource to have had at our disposal.
We all know that working in this place can result in long days and odd hours of work depending on the importance of the debate, and that the record must be kept. There are constant deadlines to meet for delivery of chamber and committee transcripts. David would always be dedicated to meeting these deadlines, often working double shifts to ensure the availability of these transcripts for our use.
We tend to take these talents for granted around here. However, we really do have some truly wonderful employees who go above and beyond the call of duty to make this place function properly. David was definitely one of those.
Sadly, David will spend his retirement cheering for the Ottawa Senators, says me, a devoted Habs fan. Luckily, he will have his extensive collection of blues albums to help him cope with the inevitable disappointments.
Sincerely, David is looking forward to spending more time with his nieces, Rachel and Stephanie, and nephews, Graham and Martin, as well as travelling and keeping track of this place.
On behalf of current and former senators, I thank you, David, for your many years of dedicated service to the Senate of Canada, and we all wish you the best for a most enjoyable retirement.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Philip Eng, Non-Resident High Commissioner of Singapore to Canada. He is the guest of the Honourable Senator Oh.
On behalf of all senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Victor Oh: Congratulations and welcome to all my new colleagues.
Honourable senators, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to talk about Canada-Singapore relations.
Singapore is the world's only island city-state. Like Canada, Singapore is also a multilingual society, with four official languages: English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil. Both Singapore and Canada have diverse populations that represent a range of cultural values, customs and perspectives.
Both nations embrace values of tolerance, respect, diversity and multiculturalism. Both countries are members of the British Commonwealth, ruled with the Westminster parliamentary system.
As a senator coming from Singapore, I am delighted that Canada was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the Republic of Singapore, on December 15, 1965. Since then, relations between Canada and Singapore have grown to encompass many areas, including governance and the rule of law, pluralism, trade, and Arctic matters.
Our relationship is strengthened by cooperation in multilateral forums such as APEC, WTO, TPP and with dialogue through ASEAN.
As a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, I was part of a fact-finding mission to Singapore in February 2015 to study security conditions and economic developments in the Asia-Pacific region. I would like to thank High Commissioner Philip Eng for his kind assistance and hospitality during our stay there, which made the trip informative as well as pleasant for all members of our delegation.
As a major Asian gateway, Singapore enjoys a vital location to tap the Asian market. China, India and Australia all lie within seven-hour flights. Singapore is the third-largest trade market for Canada within the ASEAN member states.
On a people-to-people basis, the two countries also have strong connections. Canada is a leading destination for Singaporean students to travel to for their higher education, and more than 80,000 Canadians visit the city-state every year.
In December last year, our two countries jointly marked 50 years of diplomatic relations and celebrated Singapore's fiftieth birthday. As one of the world's top financial and trading centres, Singapore is a key ally for Canada and offers a variety of commercial, research and development opportunities for Canadian businesses.
I wish that a resident mission might be established in Ottawa as a first step toward a more robust and dynamic relationship between our two countries in the coming years.
Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, this past March 26 we celebrated Purple Day, the day each year when we wear purple to promote awareness of epilepsy and support the more than 300,000 Canadians it affects. As senators, we wore purple ribbons to show our support.
The idea for Purple Day started with Cassidy Megan, a young lady from Halifax West, home of the Speaker of the other place, the Honourable Geoff Regan. I had the pleasure of working with Speaker Regan to help pass his private member's bill, Bill C-278, An act respecting a day for increased public awareness about epilepsy in 2012. That bill established March 26 officially as Purple Day in Canada.
Through Cassidy's efforts, Purple Day was established to promote awareness worldwide and provide support for those who live with epilepsy. In her own words, she said:
I started Purple Day because I wanted to tell everyone about epilepsy, especially that all seizures are not the same and that people with epilepsy are ordinary people just like everyone else. I also wanted kids with epilepsy to know that they are not alone.
I offer my congratulations and gratitude to Cassidy for all her efforts to promote awareness of epilepsy and for the support that organizations worldwide offer to those living with epilepsy.
Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, this week is also National Volunteer Week, the time when we celebrate and thank Canada's almost 13 million volunteers.
This is the week where we say thank you to our volunteers for making our communities a better place to live and for things like supporting worthwhile charities in their endeavours in scientific research and support for engaging in political activities that help shape our future.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities. They often fill in the gaps where additional supports are needed by providing services that may be lacking. As you know, I had a stroke in September of 2014, and my life was saved by the volunteer fire department in my community, so I owe a big debt to volunteers.
The ongoing support the volunteers provide does indeed make our communities across Canada better places for us all.
Honourable senators, let us not wait until this dedicated week to say thank you to those community heroes who do so much to improve our lives. Let us do it every day.
Hon. Elizabeth (Beth) Marshall: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Nangle, Chaplain to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in WWI, in light of his recent designation by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, responsible for Parks Canada, as a person of national significance in defining Canada's history.
Thomas Nangle was born in St. John's in 1889 and was ordained by the Archbishop of Newfoundland in 1913. When the Great War broke out in 1914, his request to enlist was denied. However, shortly after the devastating battle at Beaumont Hamel in 1916 he was authorized to join the British Army's chaplaincy to attend to the spiritual needs of the many sick, wounded and dying soldiers.
Father Nangle joined troops at the front lines, where he engaged in the gruesome work of locating the fallen, men he knew personally from school and sports competitions in St. John's.
He was very popular among the regiment, regardless of a soldier's denomination, and quickly became united with those whom he affectionately referred to as "Our Boys," even amongst the horrific living conditions, violence and devastation of World War I.
After the war, Father Nangle was appointed as Newfoundland's representative on the Directorate of War Graves and Enquiries and the Imperial War Graves Commission. He returned to Europe in 1919 to mark and document the gravesites where Newfoundlanders were buried, with a decision to erect a sculpture of a caribou at each of the five main battlefields where Newfoundlanders fought and lost their lives.
Father Nangle received funds from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to pursue this project and negotiated with over 250 landowners to acquire the property where the monuments would stand. He also visited the families of the fallen to raise money for the memorials, later to be recognized as the "Trail of the Caribou." Community members of all ages and stripes were eager to help Father Nangle in his commemorative strategy, including six-year-old Harvey White of Twillingate, who wrote to the Father in 1922, and this is what he said:
. . . I had one Dollar gave me four keeping hed of the Class so I ham sending it to you four Bhaumont hamel memorial
that is the spot ware my Fathere was killed July the First 1916.
I ham in closing one Dollar. . . .
Father Nangle also worked to have Newfoundland's National War Memorial erected in St. John's in 1924 so that Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans could pay their respects to the fallen at home. There are two national cenotaphs in Canada to commemorate our brave men and women; the one erected with the help of Father Nangle in St. John's and the one here in Ottawa. Father Nangle left the priesthood in the 1920s, once he completed his work for the war graves commission, and moved to Rhodesia, where he married and had four children. He never returned to his home in Newfoundland and passed away in January 1972, at the age of 83, in Rhodesia.
It is said that the battlefield memorial of Beaumont-Hamel exists today solely due to the work of Thomas Nangle, and what we know of Thomas Nangle can be partly attributed to the research and work of two authors, Mr. Gary Browne and Mr. Darrin McGrath. Mr. McGrath and Mr. Browne co-authored the book, entitled Soldier Priest: In the Killing Fields of Europe Padre Thomas Nangle Chaplain to the Newfoundland Regiment WWI.
Honourable senators, please join me in recognizing Lieutenant Colonel Father Thomas Nangle as a person having national significance in Canada's history.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Major General Al Meinzinger, Deputy Commander of the RCAF; Chief Warrant Officer Gérald Poitras; and Lt. Col (Ret'd) Dean Black, Executive Director of the RCAF Association, as well as several RCAF members.
They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Day. On behalf of all senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, today we welcome to the Senate of Canada the Deputy Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force and other members of the Royal Canadian Air Force so that we can thank them for their service to all Canadians. They represent approximately 13,000 Regular Force personnel and 2,400 Air Reserve personnel, as well as 2,000 public servants working for the Air Force.
The Royal Canadian Air Force was created less than 100 years ago, on February 18, 1920. At that time, the new force was given a provisional establishment of 1,340 officers and nearly 32,000 airmen. The word "royal" was actually added to the Canadian Air Force in 1923.
Honourable senators, for the past few years, I've been proud to rise in this chamber to share with you different aspects of the RCAF's wonderful history. This year, another piece of its brilliant history is being celebrated through the seventy-fifth anniversary of the tremendously successful contribution of the Royal Canadian Air Force to our Second World War effort, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan; 2016 was selected to commemorate that effort because the first Canadian squadrons were established in 1941, 75 years ago, by successful participants in the plan.
Honourable colleagues, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan is described as one of the world's greatest air training programs and remains one of the world's largest aviation training programs in history. This initiative helped train nearly half the air crew that served in the air forces of Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand during the Second World War. The program started on December 17, 1939, and, by the time it came to an end on March 31, 1945, more than 131,000 pilots, navigators, wireless operators, air bombers, air gunners and flight engineers had successfully been trained under the program.
President Roosevelt of the United States described the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan as having transformed Canada into the "aerodrome of democracy." The RCAF continues to be a very important part of the Canadian Armed Forces. As such, its inventory of aircraft must continue to be improved and modernized.
For example, helicopters. Canada has recently taken possession of six Cyclones, of an expected total of 28 Cyclones, to replace the great helicopter that has been serving us for many years, the Sea King. They will be stationed on our frigates on both the East and West Coast.
Honourable senators, the Royal Canadian Air Force Association is hosting Air Force Appreciation Day on the Hill. A reception will take place this afternoon from 5 until 7 o'clock in room 256-S, next door. I invite all of our new colleagues, as well as our not-so-new colleagues, to drop by and meet with our air force personnel, search and rescue personnel and retired air force personnel to thank them for their service to Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2015 Annual Report of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal entitled Providing Fair Access to Justice for Canadians, pursuant to subsection 61(4) of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette introduced Bill S-223, An Act to amend the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code and to make consequential changes to other Acts.
(Bill read first time.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?
(On motion of Senator Hervieux-Payette, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:
I will draw the attention of the Senate to my accomplishments and experiences throughout my career as a parliamentarian.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, today is kind of a special day, but since we haven't had a Leader of the Government in the Senate for some time, the temptation to ask questions was too great. Naturally, as a matter of courtesy, I notified the Leader of the Government in the Senate that we planned to ask him some questions. I even sent him the first question I intended to ask, which is much like the first question I was asked when I became leader of the government. It was a question from Senator Cowan. I thought it was a very good question. I also sent my response to Senator Harder so that he could draw inspiration from it in preparing his response.
My first question is as follows. I have a short introduction to show where I'm coming from. I would like to quote from Justice Binnie's recent report on senators' expenses:
Senators also play a significant role in questioning, criticizing and holding to account the Government.
In order to fulfill their role as "Grand Inquest of the Nation," and to quote Justice Binnie once again, senators must have the ability and the opportunity to ask questions during question period.
Senator Harder, I understand that you will not be a member of cabinet and that you're also not a member of the Liberal caucus. Nevertheless, will you be able to get the information you need to answer questions from senators? In other words, will you speak in this chamber on behalf of the Liberal government? Will your answers be reliable? Will the Liberal government be required to follow up?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question, Senator.
The senator was kind enough to give me not only the question but also the answer. I could hardly improve on the answer that he provided in his own words some two or three years ago.
As the Government Representative in the Senate, it is my obligation to fulfill the role by responding to questions, allowing information that senators seek from the executive to find its way to this chamber.
I would also note and welcome the innovation of this Parliament, where individual ministers have come to the Senate to participate in Question Period. I can assure this house that this practice will continue on a regular basis so that all senators have the opportunity to speak to a rotation of ministers, challenge them and ask questions.
With leave of the Senate, I should also inform you that after this week's session, ministers are prepared to spend 40 minutes, not 30 minutes, in Question Period in the Senate to ensure additional time for questions from all senators. I guess that's a response to seven more questioners that are with us today. I look forward to having the opportunity to ensure that questions and concerns of the Senate are addressed in this chamber directly in Question Period through the flow of information. As the Government Representative in the Senate, if I am not able to answer in the chamber, I will, on your behalf, take the information and concerns of the Senate to the executive, the cabinet of Canada.
Senator Carignan: Leader of the Government, when addressing the chamber, you used the title "government representative" instead of "leader of the government." However, you are taking the seat of the leader of the government, you will use the office of the leader of the government, and you will receive the financial allocation for the leader of the government, pursuant to the Parliament Act.
I received a copy of the Prime Minister's letter congratulating you and appointing you leader of the government. My supplementary question is the following: Are you "leader of the government" or "government representative"? From what I understand, you're the "leader of the government," so, as the well-known quote goes, "To be, or not to be, that is the question."
Senator Harder: The letter from the Prime Minister made clear that I was being appointed Government Leader in the Senate to be styled Government Representative. He asked the indulgence of the Speaker and officers of the Senate to refer to my office as the Representative of the Government in the Senate. I will use those titles and exercise my responsibilities with those titles. It's not unusual in government practice to have titles change as a result of stylized preferences of the Prime Minister.
I look forward to working in this chamber as the representative of the Government of Canada. As the letter from the Prime Minister made clear, I was being appointed Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals): Honourable senators, I have a supplementary.
Leader, we are accustomed to referring to the person in this chair as "leader." I don't know whether you want us to call you "representative," which sounds more American to me.
Are you suggesting that changes will be brought to the Parliament of Canada Act to change the title, which is now in law as Leader of the Government?
Senator Harder: There have been discussions of changes at the appropriate time to the Parliament of Canada Act, of which this presumably would be one. At this time, there are no established time frames for that. Of course, this is not the only issue that would be considered at the time of those amendments coming forward.
Hon. Linda Frum: Senator Harder, welcome. I haven't had a chance to meet you yet, but I look forward to working with you. I congratulate you on your appointment to the Senate. I also congratulate you on your appointment as Prime Minister Trudeau's government "something" in the Senate.
Senator Harder, the Clerk of the Senate has informed senators in a memo that your political affiliation in this chamber is independent. My question to you is: How is it possible to be the Liberal Government Leader in the Senate and an independent at the same time?
Senator Harder: Well, it's easy for me but it may not be easy for others to see this. On the basis of personal experience and conviction, I have decided that I would wish to sit as an independent. It was a natural process for me in considering this Senate appointment.
As the Prime Minister indicated when he spoke with me, he would expect me to sit as an independent, but I will represent the Government of Canada in the Senate. As such, I will have been sworn into the Privy Council and will have the opportunity to attend cabinet as appropriate. I do not view my role as partisan but as representing the government.
I'm sure that this is a work-in-progress that we all will have to work through as we seek new ways of working together. I want to assure you and all senators that I come with a spirit of independence.
In working with my colleagues who are sitting as independents, and indeed all senators, as Senator Cowan has pointed out so eloquently, I come to this with a spirit of independence but also an obligation and a responsibility that I take up on behalf of the government as its representative in the chamber.
Hon. Denise Batters: Welcome, Senator Harder. As leader of the Trudeau government in the Senate, I assume that you support the Liberal government's promise of openness and transparency. As a new senator, I hope you support our collective efforts over the last three years to be more open and transparent in the Senate.
I understand that the process used for your appointment required that you received support from at least one organization. From the advisory board's report, that organization could have been the Bank of Montreal, the Canadian Labour Congress or the RCMP, among others.
In this spirit of openness and transparency, could you please tell the members of this chamber which organization sponsored you?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. It was the Institute for Research on Public Policy.
Senator Batters: Thank you, sir. We appreciate knowing that, because it could be important to know when there might be an issue of potential conflict of interest when the Senate studies or votes on a bill that affects any of those more than 300 organizations that are listed in the advisory board's report.
Could you please tell us which organization sponsored your six new Senate colleagues? If you do not have that information, could you please undertake to provide this chamber with that information?
Senator Harder: I do not have that information, and I will seek as to whether or not I'm able to provide that. Thank you.
Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Welcome, Mr. Leader. The Leader of the Government in the Senate and I have many things in common. One of them is our love for a third language, aside from the two official languages. I look forward to sharing some thoughts with you down the road in that language. Welcome for now.
Leader, you were the head of the Prime Minister's transition team and, as such, you worked very closely with the Prime Minister. So Mr. Trudeau must have been pleasantly surprised when he saw your name on a list of nominees for the Senate. I guess one may wonder if he was really surprised.
I have two questions for you, leader. Did anyone from the government contact you before you filed your application? Did anyone from the government, except the advisory board, contact you after you filed your application?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): No.
An Hon. Senator: That's the kind of answer I like.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the responses provided by the Honourable Stéphane Dion to oral questions posed by the Honourable Senator Jaffer on February 18, 2016, concerning women, peace and security.
(Responses to questions raised by the Honourable Mobina S. B. Jaffer on February 18, 2016)
Minister, my question to you is related to the United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution 1325, which stresses among other things the importance of having women actively involved at all levels of leadership roles during the peacemaking process. One of the biggest barriers to having this goal realized is the education of officials as to the importance of having gender diversity during the peacemaking process. I work hard on these issues, and will shortly be releasing a guidebook for the general public and an alternate version for youth, because I believe the sooner we begin to understand these issues the more accountable officials will have to be on these issues. Minister, your department will surely have the broadest reach when it comes to setting standards for gender inclusion in Canada's foreign affairs. How will you be ensuring that your officials are inclusive in their processes and adhering to the standards we agreed to when we ratified UN resolution 1325?
Global Affairs Canada is demonstrating its commitment to gender equality, to women's full and equal participation in decision-making for peace and security efforts, and to the implementation of UN resolution 1325. Canada takes a leading role on the implementation of UN resolution 1325 and Canada's National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security guides our implementation of this landmark resolution.
We are committed to constructive dialogue with civil society and strive to consult regularly and predictably with women's organizations in Canada to gather their input and feedback on foreign affairs priorities and processes as they relate to the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda. Last month, our Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) hosted consultations with members of the Women, Peace and Security Network — Canada to exchange views and information on the implementation of Canada's National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and on WPS issues generally. START also included a WPS expert in recent Experts' Consultation on Canada's Peace Operations Strategy to gather views on how to incorporate gender considerations into the Strategy. Canada's current National Action Plan will be completed on March 31, 2016. We will renew it in the coming months following consultations with civil society, including parliamentarians.
Global Affairs Canada also mainstreams gender considerations into all stages of humanitarian, stabilization, and development programming to ensure that the specific needs of women and girls are taken into account. Each START project is reviewed for consistency with Canada's commitments related to WPS as each partner organization is required to demonstrate their efforts to include women within their programming, and how each project will affect women and girls. START refers each organization to our National Action Plan, which allows them to understand completely the roles and regulations that Canada has ratified. This process has been highlighted by UN Women as an excellent procedure and has been praised as a model for other donor countries. Moving forward, Canada will continue these best practices and, in the context of renewing the National Action Plan, identify ways to improve them.
As the mission in Syria continues to evolve under your government, can you please inform us how you plan to ensure the standards outlined by UN resolution 1325 are adhered to in the peacemaking process? How do you anticipate ensuring there is gender inclusion and active female leadership during the Syrian conflict resolution process?
Canada strongly believes that sustainable peace is only possible when women are fully involved in the resolution and transformation of conflict. As the only country to appoint a female representative to the Syrian opposition, Canada has credibility engaging Syrian interlocutors on this issue. Taking advantage of this position, Canada consistently advocated for a strong role for women in the Syrian peace process, and has urged the involvement of women in decision-making roles on the opposition's negotiating team. Some progress has been made as 20 percent of the opposition's negotiating team are women.
Canada has funded track II discussions that preceded the launch of the peace process. During these discussions, Canada's representative to the Syrian opposition proposed and lobbied for the inclusion of language on resolution 1325 in documents on the peace process and political transition in Syria. That language was ultimately endorsed in full by a wide range of Syrian opposition stakeholders — including salafi islamist armed factions, the Muslim Brotherhood, tribal leaders, as well as women's groups and civil society stakeholders.
In the lead-up to the current UN-led peace negotiations, Canada's START supported an initiative which provided expert female advisors to assist the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC), and has supported the participation of women in the peace process through the provision of training and expert consultations to all three of the women on the negotiation delegation and to members of the HNC Women's Advisory Group.
Furthermore, on the margins of the Geneva talks earlier this month, Canada's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Canada's representative to the Syrian opposition met with the opposition's Women's Consultative Committee, with a view to empowering and amplifying their voices in opposition circles. Canada successfully lobbied for the formalization of their status as an advisory body to the opposition's HNC. Canada has also sought to give voice to the particular concerns of the Women's Consultative Committee — namely in calling for the release of women and children detained by the Assad regime, both in our public statements, as well as in raising these issues directly with UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. Canada delivered a list of women detainees for release to the UN mediator on behalf of the Syrian opposition.
Canada will continue to advocate for adherence to resolution 1325 in the peacemaking process. This requires relationships of trust, sustained diplomatic engagement, and advocacy with the broad range of opposition stakeholders.
The issue of UN resolution 1325 is complicated, as we cannot dictate what other nations do. However, we can lead by example, and what Canada does can set the tone to our allies on how they should also be held accountable to the commitment to resolution 1325. What is our government doing to ensure gender inclusion at all levels of the conflict-resolution process?
Canada works to increase the participation of women and girls and enhance their role at all levels of mediation and conflict-resolution processes via advocacy and programming efforts. Canada has been an active member in international forums such as the UN, the G-7, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Economic and Social Council, and La Francophonie, advocating for women's full and equal participation in decision-making in all stages of peace and security efforts. For instance, we are supporting work at the UN to prepare women for leadership in peace operations and mediation as per the UN Department of Field Support "talent pipeline" initiative for Directors in UN Peacekeeping and Special Political Missions.
Canada strongly believes that including women in peace processes is essential for achieving long-term peace and thus called for the inclusion of women in the South Sudanese peace mediation and reconciliation process in 2014-2015, and is currently supporting international community calls for inclusion of women in ministerial and decision-making posts in 2015-2016.
In addition, Canada has spoken to the importance of ensuring gender perspectives are part of the early stabilization efforts in Iraq and continues to raise this issue with Coalition colleagues.
Canada also works to include women at all levels of the conflict-resolution processes via various programming efforts. We provide skills-building training to women to help them to actively participate in mediation and conflict-resolution processes. For instance, Canada provided training for young women on leadership, democratic participation and gender issues in Georgia. Canada also funded a project in Somalia aimed at supporting political reconciliation by increasing civic engagement and contributions of women in democratic transition and governance. We also funded similar projects that aim to empower women in various stages of peace operations and peacebuilding in countries such as Burma, Sri Lanka, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Colombia, and Nepal.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Munson, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cowan for the adoption of the second report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (Bill S-201, An Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination, with amendments and observations), presented in the Senate on March 10, 2016.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill, as amended, be read a third time?
(On motion of Senator Cowan, bill, as amended, placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Hervieux-Payette, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Day, for the second reading of Bill S-220, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (international fraud).
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, allow me to begin by welcoming my colleagues and telling them that I may have to call on them soon to sponsor the bills I introduced during this Parliament, as I will be leaving the upper chamber next week. During the last Parliament I introduced six bills, probably for my own satisfaction too, because I firmly believe in the process. I never did that before. These are things that are important to me.
Today I want to talk to you about a bill that means a lot to me, since I spent the better part of my more than 20 years at the Senate as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance and of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, as deputy chair.
I am very proud to give you a report on my studies, my research, and, especially, the exceptional work done by my staff. I want to address the scandal at UraMin, which put Areva into bankruptcy. Areva was a very large French corporation in charge of all the nuclear power plants in France. I'm not surprised that you haven't heard of this. Unfortunately, the person who set up that system is a Canadian named Stephen Dattels. The transaction took place in part here in Toronto and the portfolio was managed in a number of countries.
I would invite you to listen to the account of the UraMin scandal because it is having an impact in Africa, France, Canada, the United States, the Virgin Islands and other places. The events took place in 2006 during the race for uranium. At the time, the large nuclear corporations were vying for leadership in the energy sector, particularly in Europe, since questions were being raised about the pollution caused by oil and gas.
Enter Areva, a nuclear giant with 87 per cent of its shares held by the French government. Headed by President and CEO Anne Lauvergeon, Areva had to fight to acquire uranium deposits and, in particular, lucrative contracts for maintaining nuclear power plants in Africa. That is when Mr. Dattels and company proceeded to acquire many uranium deposits in Africa through a major but questionable African business network. That was when UraMin was born.
The company's executives quickly listed the new business on the Toronto Stock Exchange — the TSX Venture Exchange — and on London's junior stock exchange, AIM. This small company started from nothing. According to Mr. Dattels, he and his partner each invested $50,000 to start the company, which went through all the necessary steps to ensure its credibility with international investors. It was practically a miracle. Once it was listed on Toronto's and London's junior exchanges, UraMin rolled out its communications campaign, disclosing that it owned an incredible quantity of uranium in its deposits, something that was strongly refuted by various investigations conducted in France.
On October 27, 2006, Areva took the bait and officially informed UraMin executives that it intended to buy the company. I would like to you to remember the following figures: on October 27, 2006, UraMin shares were worth $1.46 Canadian and its market capitalization was valued at $471 million U.S.
However, it was still not enough for the Dattels team. After all, the race for uranium was heating up and the price was on the rise. UraMin continued its communications strategy of inflating the quantity of uranium available in its deposits. The company's value continued to balloon.
In the meantime, a series of suspicious events occurred at Areva. There was a conflict of interest that personally involved the CEO, Anne Lauvergeon. Her husband recommended a former banker with a chequered past to conduct the negotiations with UraMin. She acted on the recommendation and hired the shady banker. Something incredible happened. Areva's management decided that it would not conduct a due diligence study on the so-called largest uranium deposit in Namibia, and chose to rely solely on the geological study provided by the vendor. Incredible, but true: only one study for a $2.5-billion acquisition.
Areva then officially announced the purchase of UraMin on July 31, 2007. At the time of the transaction, UraMin shares were valued at $8.28 Canadian, representing a market capitalization of $2.5 billion U.S. In nine months, the value increased from $471 million to $2.5 billion even though there was no uranium.
The French media were very interested in the acquisition of UraMin due to the exorbitant price tag. They discovered a series of schemes and irregularities that occurred over those nine months. Major French media, such as Le Monde and Médiapart, also uncovered a complex network that permeated the political and business worlds in Africa and helped inflate the value of UraMin.
The story hit home for all French people, which comes as no surprise considering that they owned 87 per cent of Areva's shares. A former geopolitics expert even wrote a detective novel called Radioactif based on the facts of the scandal.
Areva's executive responded quickly. Facing media pressure, they panicked. In utmost secrecy, a member of the executive decided to find out more about Ms. Lauvergeon's decisions and actions by hiring private investigators to examine and analyze the thousands of emails the CEO had sent during the negotiations held between October 2006 and July 2007.
Honourable senators, this is a big deal. Some of Areva's former senior executives are currently the subjects of a judicial inquiry. French examining magistrates are taking a close look at the former CEO, Anne Lauvergeon. In May 2005, the national financial prosecutor assigned two judicial inquiries to three of its magistrates. In French law, a judicial inquiry is like a preliminary inquiry in which the evidence is assessed to determine whether the case will proceed to trial.
The first judicial inquiry concerns fraud, fraudulent use of corporate property, bribery of a foreign official, and suspicion of insider trading. The second is for dissemination of false information, presentation of inaccurate financial statements, abuse of power, and forgery and the use of forgeries.
The French magistrates will also consider the role of Canadian financiers in the transaction that led to this matter of state. Canadian authorities have shown no intention of investigating the transaction that led to the collapse of the global nuclear giant. Various audits, including one by the French National Assembly's finance committee — led by socialist representative Marc Goua, whom I have been in contact with — found that Dattels and his associates lied outright about their uranium reserves and deposits in documents issued for both Toronto's TSX and London's AIM.
To add insult to injury, Dattels and his associates published a book detailing the company's success, which is absolutely incredible. The book is UraMin, A Team Enriched: How to Build a Junior Uranium Mining Company. Try to find it: the book is currently unavailable, and nobody knows who has a copy.
The UraMin scandal was far-reaching, but stayed under the radar of Canadian media, except for a series of articles that appeared in La Presse. This media silence in English Canada continued despite my intervention before you, honourable colleagues, in February 2012. I asked the then leader of the government, Senator LeBreton, to put pressure on the Harper government to have the financial unit of the RCMP conduct an investigation into the UraMin affair. Disappointed by the government's inaction, I decided to take the bull by the horns and do my own independent study in the UraMin case, this time from a Canadian perspective.
I would remind you that Quebec is a major producer of various minerals. We have a significant mining sector in Quebec and Canada, and I wouldn't want a similar scandal to occur here at home.
The Constitution gives the Senate, as a federal legislator, one of the most powerful powers an institution can hold. Believe it or not, as senators, we have jurisdiction to legislate on criminal matters. That is why I decided to act on a legislative level following my investigation into UraMin, by introducing Bill S-220, entitled the Combating International Fraud Act.
Bill S-220 is my response to the concerns of our Canadian stock market. As a broker, who passed the exams of the governing body of real estate brokers, and as deputy chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, I could not be more disappointed in the recent scandals that shook the stock market, including those involving Bre-X, Nortel, and UraMin. Note that in each case, it was the shareholders who were left to foot the bill. Very often those shareholders are Canadian retirees who invested in a pension fund for their retirement.
It has always been difficult for Canadian courts to prosecute foreign offenders or Canadian offenders living abroad. The issue is a procedural one. Canadian criminal prosecution is generally determined by territorial jurisdiction. In other words, Canadian courts can generally try individuals for offences committed only in Canada.
However, there are exceptions to territorial jurisdiction in common law. Section 7 of the Criminal Code provides for several types of criminal offences that can be prosecuted by Canadian courts, such as offences committed on board an aircraft, and those related to terrorism, hostage-taking and pedophilia. However, according to jurisprudence, there must be a real and substantial link in order to give extraterritorial scope to an offence that is not stipulated in section 7 of the Criminal Code.
Surprisingly, section 7 of the Criminal Code does not provide for the extraterritorial application of fraud offences. From recent reports about the Panama papers, we know that these transactions are conducted in the shadows. Under the Criminal Code, persons charged with fraud cannot be tried by Canadian courts unless the offence was committed in Canada or it has a real and substantial link to Canada.
In the digital world of the 21st century, limiting the territorial application of fraud offences is archaic. As stock exchanges implement increasingly advanced technology, it is becoming easier for investors and fraudsters to carry out transactions anywhere in the world. Our criminal statutes are no longer appropriate for dealing with today's fraud offences. We must introduce provisions to lay charges in Canada against international perpetrators of fraud and to charge Canadian perpetrators operating outside our country. Therefore, I am proposing that subsection 4.21 be added to section 7 of the Criminal Code.
My review of legislation highlighted several offences that should be given extraterritorial application. The UraMin case shows just how ingenious the perpetrators are and why these offences require extraterritorial application. I have therefore decided to include other fraud offences beyond those involving economic and securities fraud that could put Canadians at risk every day.
To be more specific, extraterritorial application must be given to eight provisions of the Criminal Code, namely sections 380, 382, 382.1, 383, 384 and 392, subsection 402.2(1) and paragraph 403(1)(a).
The first provision is section 380, which deals with fraud offences in general and gives them a broad interpretation. Fraud is defined as the action to defraud someone of any security by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means. Since section 380 provides for the general offence of fraud, we have every reason to give it extraterritorial application.
Given that the UraMin scandal may have involved manipulation of the company's stock price while it was listed on both the Toronto and London exchanges, it is clear that we must add an extraterritorial application to the fraudulent manipulation of stock exchange transactions. It is important to remember that UraMin's stock price somehow increased by 467 per cent from October 2006, when Areva notified UraMin of its interest in acquiring the mining company, to July 2007, the official date of purchase. The purchase price for UraMin increased from $471 million U.S. in October 2006 to $2.5 billion U.S. in June 2007. This dramatic increase occurred while UraMin executives were making questionable promises about reserves and the amount of uranium.
Bill S-220 grants extraterritorial application to section 382, which concerns market manipulation, an offence that involves creating a market for securities that has little or no bearing on their actual value. It includes wash sales, in which a purchase and a sale take place but there is no change in the beneficial ownership of a security.
The third offence that Bill S-220 gives extraterritorial application to is section 382.1. This is another section that Canadian authorities could have used to investigate the Dattels gang. It involves the offence of insider trading and tipping. Prohibited insider trading consists of the purchase or sale of securities using material non-public information that could affect the securities' price. It also covers tipping, which is providing insider information to a third party for that party's benefit or the benefit of the insider.
The fourth provision of Bill S-220 that gives extraterritorial application to section 383 is gaming. This provision concerns the indictable offence of rigging a company's stocks or merchandise.
Bill S-220 also gives extraterritorial application to section 384, which deals with broker fraud. A broker is guilty of an offence if he sells his customer's shares or causes them to be sold while he or his firm or a partner thereof, or the corporation or a director thereof has a direct or indirect interest. My colleagues might remember the Bre-X scandal.
The sixth provision addressed in my bill concerns section 392, which provides for the criminal offence committed by a debtor with regard to his property in order to defraud creditors. It also covers the case of a third party who receives property from a debtor who has fraudulently taken possession of his creditor's property.
Lastly, honourable senators, I want to point out that the last two provisions that give extraterritorial application are not directly related to economic fraud. They have to do with identity theft and fraud, because I believe that identity theft and fraud overseas are a real scourge. To anyone who has a credit card with a chip, if you don't have the kind of wallet that protects it, you need to know that your credit card can be stolen without it ever leaving your wallet.
Identity theft refers to the initial step of obtaining someone's personal information in order to commit an indictable offence that includes fraud, deceit or falsehood as one of its elements, or being reckless as to whether the information will be used for such a purpose. It does not involve the use of the information but the simple fact of acquiring someone's personal information.
I also chose to include identity theft in Bill S-220, because someone who commits identity theft necessarily commits identity fraud as well. Unlike identify theft, identity fraud involves using the personal information of another person, living or dead, for the purpose of committing offences involving fraudulent transactions such as personation and use of a credit card.
Now that I've set out the eight provisions of Bill S-220 that give international scope, now let's look at the fraudsters that my bill would target.
Pursuant to Bill S-220, two types of persons could be found guilty of a fraud offence with extraterritorial application. The first is the person who commits the act, and the other is the person who commits the act and is present in Canada during the commission of the act. Furthermore, Bill S-220 includes a further instance if the act is committed against a Canadian citizen.
The person who commits the act may encompass four different types of people: first, a person who is a Canadian citizen; second, a person who has acquired permanent resident status; and third, a person who is not a citizen of any state and ordinarily resides in Canada.
Lastly, it may be an organization.
The person who commits the act and is present in Canada during the commission of the act refers to a Canadian or foreign fraudster who is present in Canada during the commission of one of the eight aforementioned offences.
Bill S-220 provides a further instance that would enable the Crown to prosecute anyone who allegedly committed an offence against a Canadian citizen. Specifically, if the victim of one of the eight offences in Bill S-220 were a Canadian citizen, there would be grounds to launch an investigation and lay charges against the perpetrator.
In conclusion, adding an extraterritorial scope to specific fraud offences will make it possible to address the problems the Crown is having with respect to various international business transactions. People who commit fraud are well aware of the pitfalls and grey areas that legislation creates and are able to exploit them, hide their own activities and disappear from the authorities' radar. The lack of a Criminal Code provision giving extraterritorial application to certain fraud offences is a major shortcoming in Canadian law. It is proving difficult for the Crown to take legal action in accordance with the rule of territorial jurisdiction and international comity.
There is another restriction on international prosecutions in Canada in addition to territorial jurisdiction. Prosecutions must not contravene the requirement of international comity, which is the recognition that one nation allows within its territory to the legislative, executive or judicial acts of another nation, and the deference and respect due by other states to the actions of a state legitimately taken within its territory. In practice, this requirement would be demonstrated by a nation's willingness to submit an extradition request in order to prosecute an offender.
As I delved into this case, I discovered how complex UraMin's corporate structure was and how difficult it was to untangle. If I were to draw a diagram of all of the companies and players involved, you would think it was a game, not real life. First, the two founders of this company have different nationalities. Dattels is Canadian and his colleague is British. Second, Dattels' office is in London, while his colleague's office is on the Isle of Man. Third, UraMin is registered in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. Fourth, UraMin is listed both in Canada on the TSX Venture Exchange, and in the United Kingdom on AIM, the London Stock Exchange's international market for smaller growing companies. Fifth, the small start-up company's main asset consisted of the rights to deposits in Africa. It's easy to see why prosecutors have difficulty establishing a real and substantial link in this case.
Honourable senators, I would like to conclude this presentation by reiterating the importance of giving extraterritorial application to certain fraud offences, which unfortunately are too often committed in the mining sector. As federal legislators, it's our duty to protect Canadians against all these types of fraudsters, whether they are from Canada or elsewhere.
I made several attempts in Canada to get more information on this case. I can tell you that transparency was sorely lacking, so I went as far as contacting the Commission des valeurs mobilières du Québec, which tried to seek information in Toronto on my behalf. However, we never found out who received that 2.5 billion. I hope that you will consider my bill, and if the government wants to take it up, I'm prepared to hand it over.
(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Hervieux-Payette, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C., for the second reading of Bill S-206, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children against standard child-rearing violence).
Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Honourable senators, I have been working diligently on preparing my notes, but I am not quite finished. I would ask to adjourn the debate for the balance of my time.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Tomorrow?
Senator Plett: I am sorry; is that tomorrow? I apologize: I will make the same speech tomorrow if I need to do that.
(On motion of Senator Plett, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Dyck, seconded by the Honourable Senator Eggleton, P.C., for the second reading of Bill S-215, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing for violent offences against Aboriginal women).
Hon. Donald Neil Plett: I would like to move the adjournment of debate.
(On motion of Senator Plett, debate adjourned.)
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (Budget — international market access priorities for the Canadian agricultural and agri-food sector — power to hire staff and to travel), presented in the Senate on March 24, 2016.
Hon. Terry M. Mercer, for Senator Maltais, moved the adoption of the report.
He said: Honourable senators, Senator Maltais is unfortunately delayed this week and we need to get this passed so that plans can be made for the committee's trip to Western Canada.
Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals): You can see me coming on this I am sure, Senator Mercer.
Senator Mercer: Yes, I can.
Senator Fraser: Is this budget only for a trip to Western Canada?
Senator Mercer: Yes.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Wallace, seconded by the Honourable Senator McCoy:
That the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, when and if it is formed, be authorized to examine and report on Senate practices, and provisions in the Rules of the Senate, relating to committees, including senators' memberships on committees, in order to evaluate whether all senators:
(a) are, in practice, treated equally, and with fairness and equity, irrespective of whether they sit as government members, as opposition members, as members of recognized parties or as independent senators; and
(b) have reasonable and equal opportunities to fully participate in and contribute, through committee work and membership, to this chamber's role as a complementary legislative body of sober second thought, thereby enabling all senators to adequately fulfill their constitutional roles and responsibilities;
That in conducting this evaluation the Rules Committee pay particular attention to:
(a) the process for selecting members of the Committee of Selection, so that all senators can be considered for membership on that committee, and so that the interests of all senators, whether they sit as government members, as opposition members, as members of recognized parties or as independent senators, are represented in the membership of that committee; and
(b) the process whereby the Committee of Selection develops its recommendations for membership of the other committees;
That the Rules Committee also take into account the anticipated increase in the number of senators who are not members of a recognized party and how this emerging reality should be taken into account, including during the current session;
That the Rules Committee recommend necessary amendments to the Rules and adjustments in Senate practice based upon the results of its examination; and
That the Rules Committee present its final report on this study to the Senate no later than March 31, 2016.
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Bellemare, seconded by the Honourable Senator Enverga:
That the motion be not now adopted, but that it be amended by replacing the paragraph reading:
"That the Rules Committee also take into account the anticipated increase in the number of senators who are not members of a recognized party and how this emerging reality should be taken into account, including during the current session;"
by the following:
"That the Rules Committee also take into account the anticipated increase in the number of senators who are not members of a recognized party so that they are able to form a group of independent senators with the resources and rights available to a party recognized under the Rules of the Senate;".
Hon. Elaine McCoy: Honourable senators will recall that the motion in amendment deals with a request to have an investigation into how senators are treated and to ensure that all senators are treated fairly and that they all participate fully. Senator Bellemare spoke on February 2 and amended the motion to address the matter of promoting a third caucus because she thought that it would help to promote a fully participatory and democratically operated Senate. I am standing here today to speak to that notion.
Senator Bellemare said on February 2 that:
The purpose of the Senate is to prevent a political party elected by a simple majority of voters from running the country in accordance with the party's voter base. The Senate must be able to oppose such decisions made unilaterally by the party in power.
She proposed that a third caucus would indeed achieve that aim.
I am inclined to agree with her. In doing some research, I discovered that is one of the reasons the Confederation of Canada occurred. In the late 1850s and through the 1860s, George-Étienne Cartier promoted a federation not only of Upper Canada and Lower Canada but also of the Atlantic provinces. He succeeded in bringing together four provinces in 1867 to form Canada.
He spoke on February 7, 1865, in what we call the "Confederation Debates" here in Canada, about why he had worked so hard to bring about Confederation. Understand that he was speaking about the united Canada. They found themselves in a deadlock between the francophones and the anglophones who formed what they called the "Great Coalition" to find a way out, and Confederation was proving to be that solution. He said:
In a struggle between two — one a weak, and the other a strong party — the weaker could not but be overcome; but if three parties were concerned, the stronger would not have the same advantage; as when it was seen by the third that there was too much strength on one side, the third would club with the weaker combatant to resist the big fighter.
George-Étienne Cartier was proposing how to maintain a balance between interests, and that is the kind of balance that we have managed to foster in Canada for 149 years.
I wouldn't quite follow that precedent in all its respects, but I do think that if we had at least three caucuses in this chamber, all propositions would end up being passed on their merits. All propositions having passed on their merits would actually satisfy the perspectives of more than any one single party. I think that's a desirable outcome that we should be reaching for.
I think we should be reaching for devices that help to promote discussions, debates and negotiations between 105 senators — all distinguished Canadians, all representing regions, all protecting minorities, all working for the best interests of Canadians.
Now, some people do wonder how on earth we might get any business done if we had 105 senators working in this fashion. Again, Senator Bellemare pointed out we have only to look at other upper chambers around the world. They all have more than two parties; they all have more than two caucuses.
Of course, our favourite one to look at often, because that's where we were born, is the House of Lords in England. It actually has 10 groups. It has 814 members at the moment; 178 of them are cross-benchers, which are independent — no party affiliations whatsoever. The rest all have party affiliations.
You might think that must be chaos; surely they can't shepherd all those cats around. Part of their good fortune, you might say, is that they only have 400 seats in the actual chamber; a great many of them don't ever attend. But that's not a solution, obviously.
Among those who do attend and on a regular basis, they get a great deal of work done. They have published their statistics on their website: In the last six years, they passed 145 government bills and 179 private bills, for a total of 324. Of those government bills, they defeated only one; they amended 84, and they put forward 5,967 amendments. That's a lot of work. Of those 5,967 proposed amendments, 1,768 were actually accepted, and 84 of the 145 government bills were amended.
That is a very good example of how more than one caucus can work together in a manner that satisfies the debates and the conditions of close attention to detail and revision, and of making legislation better, and I think it's one that we could emulate.
Many people reach out for historical precedents and are often fond of saying that the founding Fathers of Confederation intended us to be a non-partisan body, but I must say that I disagree with that assertion. My research shows that's not true at all. I went back to the House of Lords Debates and discovered that, in 1867, the person who sponsored the British North America Act, 1867, was Lord Carnarvon. When you hear that name, a lot of you might think of King Tut, because his curse killed him, as you know. But that was Lord Carnarvon's son in the 1920s, not our Lord Carnarvon.
But you will also know that Lord Carnarvon's seat is Highclere Castle, and that's where "Downton Abbey" was filmed, so there's a modern connection in that. This Lord Carnarvon also has another modern connection: His nickname was Twitters. In some sense, you can say the Senate of Canada was tweeted into existence.
I was trying to find out what the composition of the House of Lords was at that time. It's a little difficult to figure out. We started counting. This is a little book called Dod's that the Library of Parliament finally found for us. It lists all the members of Parliament and the House of Lords peers for 1867. We started counting them. We didn't get through all 80 pages of peers, but there were roughly 600 of them. Most of them were members of a political caucus. So, again, that precedent went a long way to establishing the norm of the day.
But even so, when introducing the British North America Act, Lord Carnarvon said that the first list of senators ". . . shall not be nominated under partisan influences. Their names will be a matter of careful agreement, to be submitted to and confirmed by the Crown, and to form part of the Proclamation of Union."
Well, honourable senators, that may have been the very first statement of glossing over the facts that ever was applied to the Senate of Canada, because when I went to look up who the first 72 senators were, it turned out that all but seven of them had been members of the upper chambers of the four provinces involved — all of whom were elected — and the other seven were actually elected to the lower chambers of the Atlantic provinces. So even right from the get-go, the Senate has been constituted with political party caucuses.
I personally have no aversion to political party caucuses in this chamber. I've watched them work; by and large, they work well. People say it's a group of like-minded people. They share values. They trust one another. It's a good way to organize.
That's not my objection to having a political affiliation. I will speak at greater length, but I do think, like Cartier, that having only two such caucuses leads to an imbalance of power. A third caucus is what we should be doing in 2016. I think this is the modern way to organize an institution of this nature.
You must recall that only 9 per cent of Canadians belong to a political party these days — 9 per cent. There are 20 parties registered with Elections Canada, and people don't vote the same from birth to death, like their grandparents did.
We need to reflect a modern society, and this is one way of doing it. The sunlight has just come out and shone upon you all just to support my arguments!
Now, some argue that this is a Westminster model, and we therefore must have a government side and an opposition side — or we must have a majority party and a minority party, so we get yeas and nays — and that's the only way to work. I disagree with that quite strongly. In fact, it took me back to constitutional law when I was a young student of law and A. V. Dicey was a respected constitutional expert. In 1885, when looking at the BNA Act, he said that this assertion to be adopting all the ways and means of the system within the United Kingdom — he called that phrase an "assertion of official mendacity." He said that if preambles were intended to express the truth, then the word "States" ought to have been substituted for "Kingdom," since ". . . the Constitution of Canada, in its federal design, its written form and its potential for judicial enforcement, was clearly modelled on the Constitution of the United States."
And there's much truth in what he said, but probably he overstepped the boundaries.
In later editions of the book, it turned out that he was persuaded by Canadian scholars to take the phrase "official mendacity" out and replace it with "diplomatic inaccuracy." Nevertheless, it is a case of diplomatic inaccuracy to say that we need a government party and an opposition party in order to have a highly functional Senate of Canada. Often people will say that it's not as if this is a confidence chamber, even though we have a responsible government; that's for the other place. But often this argument boils down to — if we don't have these two parties to organize ourselves, we will end up with a bench of irresponsible senators — and that I just don't believe.
Again, I point to the example from the House of Lords where among 600 of them, 178 — almost a third — are independent cross-benchers with no party affiliation, and they take very seriously how they organize themselves. They simply don't demand that any one of them vote in any one particular way, but they find ways of helping and supporting one another with information and research. They form issues groups and they manage to get 6,000 amendments put on the floor.
In fact, Meg Russell, who wrote extensively on the House of Lords, says that:
. . . the Crossbenchers can be seen as playing four important more general roles in the Lords. Individual Crossbenchers may act as expert opponents, honest brokers or catalysts on controversial policies —
— that political parties don't particularly want to initiate —
— and the group overall is sometimes described as being like a jury to whom the politicians in the chamber appeal.
That's a third caucus concept.
If I may, Your Honour, I would like to ask for more time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is five minutes granted, colleagues?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator McCoy: That, I think, is the sort of balance we can achieve here with a third caucus that is dedicated not to obstructing but to helping this country proceed along a legislative branch, an investigative branch and all the other roles that a senator plays. We could get back to doing the jobs that we were all brought here to do in an honourable and responsible manner.
Of course, I'm reminded that our own code of ethics now says that senators shall give precedence to their parliamentary duties and functions over any other duty or activity. Of course, as you heard in your summons today, that is what we are enjoined to do when summoned to the Senate.
I have no difficulty believing that 105 senators, including the seven with whom I am now associated in the Independent Non-Partisan Working Group, are looking to help make this transition to a less partisan Senate. All seven new senators we have welcomed with open arms and all of the senators sitting in every other chair in this chamber, so many of whom I have come to truly respect, are responsible senators. I will not always agree with them.
Senator Marshall is looking at me; we've had our exchanges of opinion, but I've come to respect her. I look forward to working with all of you in the same manner as we move the transition forward and help create a modern Senate for the 21st century.
(On motion of Senator Ringuette, debate adjourned.)
On Motion No. 64 by the Honourable Senator Johnson:
That the Rules of the Senate be amended by:
1. deleting the word "and" at the end of rule 12-3(2)(e) in the English version;
2. replacing the period at the end of rule 12-3(2)(f) by the following:
(g) the Standing Senate Committee on Culture, Communications and Heritage, nine Senators.";
3. replacing rule 12-7(6) by the following:
12-7. (6) the Standing Senate Committee on Transport, to which may be referred matters relating to transport generally, including:
(a) transport by any means,
(b) tourist traffic,
(c) common carriers, and
(d) navigation, shipping and navigable waters;";
4. deleting rule 12-7(9)(a) and re-lettering rules 12-7(9)(b) to (i) as 12-7(9)(a) to (h);
5. deleting the word "and" at the end of rule 12-7(15) in the English version;
6. replacing the period at the end of rule 12-7(16) by the following:
Culture, Communications and Heritage
12-7. (17) the Standing Senate Committee on Culture, Communications and Heritage, to which may be referred matters relating to culture, communications and heritage generally."; and
7. by updating all cross references in the Rules, including the lists of exceptions, accordingly; and
That the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications as it existed before the adoption of this motion continue as the Standing Senate Committee on Transport.
Hon. Janis G. Johnson: Honourable senators, welcome to my new colleagues. It's wonderful to have you here.
Honourable senators, before moving the motion, I would ask leave to make a slight modification to the French version of the notice by changing the word "héritage" to "patrimoine," wherever it appears in the motion, with necessary grammatical adjustments. This would ensure more correct usage in the French.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion in modification adopted.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Johnson.
Senator Johnson: I move the motion, as modified, standing in my name.
The Hon. the Speaker: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Johnson, seconded by the Honourable Senator Enverga:
That the Rules of the Senate be amended —
Shall I dispense?
Hon. Senators: Dispense.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Johnson on debate.
(On motion of Senator Johnson, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition), for Senator Carignan, pursuant to notice of March 24, 2016, moved:
That, in order to allow the Senate to receive a Minister of the Crown during Question Period as authorized by the Senate on December 10, 2015, and notwithstanding rule 4-7, when the Senate sits on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, Question Period shall begin at 3:30 p.m., with any proceedings then before the Senate being interrupted until the end of Question Period;
That, if a standing vote would conflict with the holding of Question Period at 3:30 p.m. on that day, the vote be postponed until immediately after the conclusion of Question Period;
That, if the bells are ringing for a vote at 3:30 p.m. on that day, they be interrupted for Question Period at that time, and resume thereafter for the balance of any time remaining; and
That, if the Senate concludes its business before 3:30 p.m. on that day, the sitting be suspended until that time for the purpose of holding Question Period.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
Hon. Larry W. Smith, pursuant to notice of March 24, 2016, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report on the financial implications and regional considerations of Canada's aging population, including but not limited to:
- federal transfers to provinces, territories and Aboriginal governments to support the increased health care costs associated with the rise in the number of individuals requiring care at home and in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities;
- how the federal government can support economic development in areas with an aging population; and
- other related matters.
That the committee submit its final report no later than December 31, 2017, and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals): Would Senator Smith care to explain?
Senator L. Smith: We are excited about completing this project. You will notice that the date for completion is December 2017. We will try to accelerate that to maximize the roll-out in terms of the promotion of the report.
As you know, we have an infrastructure report that we're working on for completion in 2016. We look at infrastructure and the aging population as two of the major issues facing this government, and we want to make sure we can maximize what we get out of these two studies.
If I understand that your question could be about travel, without asking what the question is, at this particular time we're setting up the action plan. I would ask for your permission to give us a chance to go through the action plan and the types of witnesses that we'd like to hear so that we can make that determination. I would assume that we've always been very frugal on the finance side in maximizing the use of funds, so if we did have some form of travel, it would be focus-planned and minimal compared to some of the other travel that is done by committees. I'm not saying that travel is not warranted, but it's going to be very practical.
I hope that answers your question. I'm trying to copy our new leader in terms of how he answers some of his questions.
Senator Fraser: Sort of, although it leaves hanging a good deal of what I was trying to get at and what I always try to get at on these occasions.
Perhaps I should make it plain that, when I raise these questions, it's not that I oppose travel by committees. On the contrary, I think it does the Senate good and can improve enormously the quality of the ultimate report. But I said in a different meeting yesterday that it's perhaps my Scots ancestors that make me want to be certain that we're spending money wisely and that the Senate has some notion of what it is authorizing when it gives these orders of reference.
My assumption upon reading this, Senator Smith, is that it would be beneficial, quite likely, for the committee to visit at least some regions of the country because they're the ones that are living with the implications of the phenomenon that you're trying to study. Is that a fair assumption on my part?
Senator L. Smith: Senator, I think that is an excellent assumption. I wasn't trying to delay giving the response; it's just that we're trying to align the two studies in the most practical way. Having run the committee studying budgets for travel for the last two years, I think I learned a little bit about value for money and making sure that we understood what the objectives were, what the end results were, so that people taking and using trips for the purpose of enhancing their programs or studies would be well received.
So, if you could give us a shot at making sure that we do our plan properly, then, if there are future questions and we face the committee, we'd love to be able to make a presentation so that people would understand exactly where we're going with this study.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
(The Senate adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m.)