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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 146, Issue 54

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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



Afghanistan—Fallen Soldier

Silent Tribute

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before we proceed, I ask honourable senators to rise and observe one minute of silence in memory of Private Jonathan Couturier, who recently died tragically while serving his country in Afghanistan.

Honourable senators then stood in silent tribute.


Fortieth Anniversary of the Official Languages Act

Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, those of us of a certain age can remember the days when French and English were two solitudes. It was a time when the equality of the two languages was not obvious.

Today, the gaps between the two languages have been closed thanks to action that focused on a committed future. Yes, concerned leaders took action so that the history and culture of the Canada we know would reflect a past conveyed by language.

This year, we mark the fortieth anniversary of that action, the Official Languages Act.

Significant progress has been made in the years since this act came into effect on September 7, 1969, designating French and English as Canada's two official languages.

My parents, the late Alphonse and Lucille Charrette, were at the forefront of the French struggle in Ontario in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s to promote bilingualism and access to French-language services in our province. That is why I am so proud to have been able to see the day when the efforts of the earliest defenders of minority rights paid off.

As for me, following in their footsteps, I had the privilege of playing a central role in setting up a regional station for Radio-Canada in northern Ontario in 1978. Technology gave the francophone minority access to radio and television services in its own language.

The question is: Would this decision have been made without the Official Languages Act?


Honourable senators, the benefits of that seminal event are evident in this place where we work, and in the nearly 200 federal institutions that are subject to the Official Languages Act. However, despite advancements in the equality of status and use of both languages, we must be vigilant. The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, in its 2008-09 report card, noted that many institutions are not adequately meeting their linguistic obligations.

As we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the act, let us ensure, as parliamentarians in the Senate of Canada, through our standing committee, that the letter of the law is respected as well as its intent and purpose. Additionally, let us celebrate the fact that this act gave Canada its international trademark.

As John Erskine, the President of the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers, stated this month:

The Official Languages Act sets Canada apart from any other nation. It has shaped our Canadian society and institutions. In pan-Canadian polls, youth enthusiastically endorse and support the importance of a bilingual Canada and language research demonstrates the academic, social and societal benefits of bilingualism.

Manning Innovation Awards

Hon. Pamela Wallin: Honourable senators, it was my distinct pleasure to participate in the twenty-eighth annual national presentation of the Manning Innovation Awards, held earlier this month in Vancouver.

The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation celebrates accomplishments of outstanding Canadians whose curiosity and hard work have led them to create and develop products that are making a real difference in the lives of people. The work of the young innovators, some of them still in high school, is breathtaking.

Supritha Nilam from St. Catharines has been working with the University of Guelph to develop anti-oxidants for plants. Ryan Peng from Saskatoon developed a high-speed flash exposure for compact digital cameras. Annie Wang and Julie Xu of Calgary developed a new way to study patients with cystic fibrosis. Caitlin Newnham of London, Ontario, motivated by her mother who suffers from chronic pain, developed a new pain relief substance using hot peppers and leeches that is already being recognized by the medical and pharmaceutical world.

The Manning Innovation Awards are also presented to those who are mid-career and still making stunning breakthroughs. Brent King of Calgary developed a device which positions patients' limbs for optimum operating positions. The SPIDER Limb Positioner improves the surgeon's ability to perform delicate work and reduces costs because one needs less staff.

Jeffrey Quail of Winnipeg is the inventor of the Shocknife, a device for police self-defence training. The Shocknife blade delivers a non-injurious but painful shock that creates the sensation of a real encounter. This enables officers and soldiers to be better prepared to survive and win in such an attack.

The Dave Mitchell Award of Distinction was presented to Cameron Piron of Toronto for his amazing new table that allows a much more sophisticated breast MRI technique that will lead to the early diagnosis of cancer and, we hope, replace the painful mammogram.

The EnCana Principal Award went to Dr. Robert E. Burrell of Edmonton for his antimicrobial burn wound dressings using silver to prevent infection and promote healing. The Acticoat products are the world's first commercial application of nanotechnology.

All products are not only invented in Canada, but are being developed or marketed here.


What an outstanding group of Canadians who inspire us all, and who now join our new Senate colleague, Senator Ogilvie, as a Manning Award winner. Senator Ogilvie — and he will correct me, I am sure, if I am wrong — invented a gene machine to help modify DNA.

The Late Douglas Fisher

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to the late Doug Fisher. Doug Fisher was a giant of a man. He was oversized in everything he did: war veteran, librarian, teacher, miner, forest ranger, political giant killer — he defeated C.D. Howe — member of Parliament, hockey fanatic, political commentator and journalist par excellence.

For me, the passing of Doug Fisher marks the end of the Canadian giants of journalism — Blair Fraser, Bruce Hutchison, Charlie Lynch and Bill Wilson, just to name a few. All of those journalists were members of the fourth estate. They understood war and understood peace. Each was a coherent, cogent writer who had a deep, facile knowledge and sense of Canadian history, Canadian politics, Canadian personalities and international affairs. That knowledge radiated in each of their columns. We will not see their kind again.

Doug, whom I first met when he was running as an NDP candidate in Toronto, was different. I was an active organizer in York Centre when he ran a distant third as the NDP candidate; but we came to know each other, and I came to respect his erudition.

Doug, as many men on the left of the political spectrum, abhorred Liberals. He had that secret streak: He was a secret admirer of conservatism. This streak seems to run through many of our friends in the NDP. However, we shared some common interests. He was a book lover, and whenever we met on the street or for coffee in the West Bloc we played a little game. He would ask, "Have you read this book?" I would say, "Yes, and by the way, Doug, have you read this book?" "Of course," he said. We were both voracious readers. He read everything. He was a collector of newspaper clippings, which became a treasure trove for him when he launched his career as one of Canada's most informed, intuitive and political journalists.

He made some exceptions in his hatred of Liberals. He admired John Munro, especially because John shared his love of hockey when Doug served as chairman of Hockey Canada. Doug, as you recall, co-authored a definitive history of Canada's sporting heroes. Doug admired John Turner and John Diefenbaker because, like him, they were fervent believers in Parliament.

We also shared an admiration for my late father-in-law, known as "What-a-Man, Sniderman," who was an outstanding baseball pitcher and hitter in the 1920s and 1930s in Canada.

Honourable senators, the fourth estate has fallen and become fragmented. No longer will we see giants such as Doug Fisher, so influential in the public affairs of this nation. We are the worse for it and we will not see his like again.

My condolences to his family and his many sons, some of whom have followed in their father's footsteps and taken up distinguished careers in the media.

It is said that stars light our horizon long after the stars themselves have vanished in space. Doug's memory and his prodigious written record will live with us as a bright testament to his greatness and brilliance. He will be remembered as a man who wore proudly the mantle of every man.

Canada Army Run

Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, I rise to draw your attention to the staging of the 2009 Canada Army Run in Ottawa on September 20, 2009, and by doing so, to express my continued support and admiration for the men and women of Canada's military.

According to a press release issued by the run's organizers:

Under sunny skies and perfect running conditions, 11,000 civilians and military personnel from across the country ran, walked or wheeled side by side in the 2009 Canada Army Run, a unique event that has become the fastest growing run in Canada.


Created last year as a way for soldiers to thank Canadians for their support, the Army Run includes half marathon and 5K races that raise money for the Military Families Fund and Soldier On.

Honourable senators, an event like the Army Run comes at a good time, as some people are calling for an earlier end to our commitment to the Afghan people.


Honourable senators, while losses in Afghanistan have been considerable and are growing with the recent rise in troop levels, our military aid and humanitarian efforts have been increasingly integrated, as recommended by the Manley report. To fold our tent and steal away now would be a betrayal of the UN, our NATO allies and, above all, the people of Afghanistan, only 6 per cent of whom, honourable senators, wish for a Taliban return.

NATO troops, and in particular Canadian troops, are viewed with surprising favour. Now is not the time for negativism but rather for renewed courage and creative thinking so as to refocus our efforts in concert with our military and aid workers.

Consider the opinions expressed by Christopher Alexander, Canada's first ambassador and former United Nations special envoy in Kabul. Widely viewed to be one of the world's foremost authorities on Afghanistan, Mr. Alexander stated in The Globe and Mail of September 17, 2009:

Yes, this mission is taking longer than everyone had hoped, or than we expected because the conflict is getting worse. So we need to have a serious discussion about how we can succeed with the investments that we are prepared to make. . . . Our success is measured in our ability to protect Afghan communities, but we only manage that if we have the numbers to do it, to be present everywhere that the enemy wants to be present.

Sonia Verma, who authored the article, succinctly summarized Mr. Alexander's argument:

There are a multitude of problems facing Afghanistan, and foreign involvement there, but they are not insurmountable....

Honourable senators, I am in strong disagreement with those who want us to renege on our responsibilities to the Afghan people, responsibilities which were confirmed in a bipartisan parliamentary motion of 2008. Canadians have never cut and run and it is certainly not in our best interests to do so now.



Canada's Economic Action Plan

Third Report Tabled

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, Canada's Economic Action Plan, A Third Report to Canadians.


Ministerial Statement on H1N1 Flu Virus Tabled

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a statement made by Minister Aglukkaq on September 17, 2009, concerning the H1N1 flu virus.

Privacy Commissioner

Access to Information Act and Privacy Act—2008-09 Annual Reports Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the annual reports on the administration of the Privacy Act and on the administration of the Access to Information Act within the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada for the 2008-09 fiscal year, pursuant to section 72 of both acts.


Speaker of the Senate

Parliamentary Delegation to the Holy See, Romania and Slovenia, May 14-24, 2009—Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I ask for leave of the Senate to table a document entitled: "Visit of the Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate, and a Parliamentary Delegation, Holy See, Romania and Slovenia."

Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.


Canada's Economic Action Plan

Third Report—Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): I give notice that, two days hence, on behalf of the government:

I will call the attention of the Senate to Canada's Economic Action Plan — A Third Report to Canadians, tabled in the House of Commons on September 28, 2009, by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable John Baird, P.C., M.P., and in the Senate on September 29, 2009.



Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

Infrastructure Stimulus Fund

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced the government had delivered on 90 per cent of the infrastructure measures approved by Parliament in February.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Cowan: I welcome the applause. It was unexpected. A closer look at the numbers reveals that no more than 12 per cent of the projects are actually underway and creating jobs.


Some Hon. Senators: Shame, shame!

Senator Cowan: Honourable senators, this situation exists more than eight months after the Minister of Finance told Canadians that it would take him only four months to deliver on his plan to kick-start the economy.

While this government is engaged in an unprecedented media buy to promote its approach in dealing with the economic crisis, shovels are not in the ground and unemployment is on the rise. When will the government realize that providing stimulus to our economy and meaningful help to Canadians means delivering on commitments, not issuing press releases and staging photo opportunities?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for outlining the incomplete research of the critic in the other place, the Honourable Gerard Kennedy.

The government is delivering on the Economic Action Plan that will stimulate economic growth and create jobs by committing more than $7.6 billion in federal funds for more than 4,700 provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure projects worth over $21 billion to create and preserve jobs nationwide. This commitment includes over $3 billion of the $4 billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund that has been committed to more than 2,900 shovel-ready projects.

Under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, 381 projects have begun, and a further 66 projects will begin this fiscal year at colleges and universities across Canada. The government has launched the Green Infrastructure Fund, which will provide $1 billion over five years to support sustainable energy and municipal wastewater management. The first project in Yukon has begun. The government has doubled the Gas Tax Fund to $2 billion per year and accelerated first payments to municipalities. Red tape has been reduced, and the funding application has been simplified to one page.

It is improper to indicate that this spending has been otherwise. I was in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, on Friday and Saturday to deliver the keynote address to the Victorian Order of Nurses. I was driving along the Trans-Canada Highway between Deer Lake and Corner Brook where I saw a significant amount of construction. A large sign indicated that the work was part of the federal infrastructure program and, unless Gerry Byrne has crossed the floor in the last two hours, I do not think he is a Conservative member of Parliament.

Senator Cowan: I do not quarrel that there are jobs in the industry of issuing press releases and erecting signs.

Honourable senators, to illustrate my point, the Prime Minister's economic statement clearly indicates that $174 million has been committed to projects in my home province of Nova Scotia. However, the report provides details on only five initiatives that are underway. These combined five federal investments are worth $5.5 million. Honourable senators, where is the remaining investment of $160 million that the government has committed to infrastructure funding in my province? Where are those monies providing Nova Scotians with the jobs that they need to support their families?

Senator LeBreton: To set the record straight on the honourable senator's comment about press releases and signs, major construction was taking place on the Trans-Canada Highway, in addition to the sign. As I mentioned, it was not in a riding held by a Conservative. As the honourable senator well knows, it takes more than a flick of a switch to flow funding to places where it is needed most. The provinces and the municipalities are involved in all these infrastructure agreements. Tremendous progress has been made. The money has been committed and, as the Minister of Transport said in the other place, the provinces and municipalities have to put the work out to tender, award the contracts and obtain the necessary materials.

These projects are well in place with 4,000 shovel-ready projects on the go. The honourable senator can travel to any part of the country, as the Liberal leader did in Burlington, to find projects that are underway but the infrastructure program in question was not completed because it was not to begin until next spring. As the honourable senator knows, the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund will continue for two years, and the government stands by its number of 90 per cent. The proof is everywhere across the country where shovels are in the ground. Projects are underway at universities, streets are being repaired and bridges are being built.

I believe that most Canadians acknowledge that the stimulus funding is working. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development credited the government for Canada's good economic record, and said that the stimulus package had much to do with that record.

Senator Di Nino: The polls tell us that.

Human Resources and Skills Development


Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I have questions for the Leader of the Government in the Senate on unemployment statistics. The labour statistics recently released indicate that from August 2008 to August 2009, there was a 47 percent increase in the number of unemployed people in Canada; from 774,000 to 1,136,000. In July 2009, 788,000 people were receiving Employment Insurance, which is an increase from July of the previous year.

I will not continue the debate with the honourable senator in respect of my home province of Ontario and the city of Toronto. I stand by the figures that I provided last week, and I hope that the leader will respond in writing to those figures more specifically. It is clear from these statistics that although the number of EI beneficiaries in Windsor, Hamilton, Leamington, Chatham-Kent, St. Catharines, Niagara and Oshawa grew in July at a slower pace than during the previous year, they still grew.

We are in a situation of apparent success with respect to selling the government's economic plan, which I have read. However, I fail to understand how the plan affects the ground level in my province, city by city, area by area, and sector by sector. Certainly, the situation is worse in the United States. We look at the United States as a demand pull for some of our jobs, but it will not happen in the next year or two. As brilliantly crafted as the action plan is, and I congratulate the government for that, it is not doing the job.

I have a suggestion for the Leader of the Government in the Senate: Given the disagreement on both sides of the house over the numbers, why do we not convene a Committee of the Whole and invite officials from Statistics Canada to appear so that there might be an open debate of the issue to settle the facts in the interests of all Canadians? Perhaps a plan can be developed that will put people back to work.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, there is no doubt that the worldwide economic downturn has had severe consequences for the economies of all countries. There is no doubt that it has had a severe impact on employment, in particular in the manufacturing sector.

There was an excellent report in today's paper on Work-Sharing 2009, a government initiative that has had an uptake far beyond expectations. Under the program, industries have been able to keep people working through job sharing, and those workers have been able to collect Employment Insurance benefits without losing their jobs. As the honourable senator knows, a government bill is before the other place to extend EI benefits by five weeks for long-tenured workers, benefitting 190,000 workers. A moment ago, I mentioned that the expansion of work sharing is protecting 164,000 jobs. We froze EI premiums for two years and employers can file records of employment electronically.


We have invested a lot. The minister has worked very hard with her departmental officials to address concerns. There is no doubt that a significant amount of money being paid out in EI benefits is contributing to the deficit. .

Honourable senators, some parts of the country are suffering more than others. Windsor is a case in point. It also happens to be the area that has been the largest benefactor of stimulus spending to provide jobs.

There are other parts of the country where people have not been seriously affected.

I do not need to remind the honourable senator that we went through the entire decade of the 1990s when unemployment fell below 9 per cent in only one year.

We are dealing with a unique situation caused by the worldwide economic downturn. The proof of the government's programs is in the response we are getting from unemployed people, the people who participated in job retraining and the companies and people who participated in work-sharing programs. That is not, in any way, to take away from the fact that we still have a serious problem. Unemployment rates are obviously too high. As we know, and as has been proven in the past, when a recovery starts to take hold, unfortunately the unemployment numbers lag behind.

I can assure the honourable senator that the government is doing everything it can and people acknowledge that. The government is completely focused on economic recovery. That is what we are here to do. That is what people want us to do, including people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own because of the global economic recession.

Senator Grafstein: I have no quarrel with the work-sharing plan. I have looked at it carefully and I think it is working well. The action plan is brilliantly crafted. I congratulate the government on that.

However, that is not the problem. The problem is not to take one job and to split it into two or three pieces so people can work. The real problem is to create new full-time jobs. That is the issue.

When I look at the action plan, I have difficulty determining what we will do about the jobs that we know are lost and will never come back. We know manufacturing jobs have been lost. What new jobs are we creating as a result of the government's plan?

The stimulus package is, in my view, a first-aid bandage. It does not provide long-term, new jobs for the economy. It provides short-term jobs for construction and infrastructure that will evaporate quickly after the renovation plan and other plans disappear. What are we doing with these billions of dollars to create a new economy so we can have long-lasting, productive, full-time jobs and careers for young Canadians?

Senator LeBreton: The government is doing a considerable amount of work on the new economy and the new jobs that will be created by the new economy. As part of this program, the minister brought in a significant job retraining segment to deal precisely with those people. The jobs they are in now will never come back. We know that. The auto sector has jobs that will not come back, but there are new technologies.

The Prime Minister was in Guelph the other day at an opening of a facility which will produce new automotive technology. Those are new technological jobs. The government has put significant money into research and development in the high-tech industry. That is where all of the new jobs are.

The honourable senator suggests that the government is only putting a band-aid over this by creating jobs because of this worldwide economic downturn. That does not give us the credit that we should be getting and are getting generally from the business community. Unfortunately, that credit is not coming from people such as the honourable senator. We are putting money into universities where the new jobs of tomorrow will be nurtured.

The OECD has said the stimulus has been very helpful to Canada, as it has been to other countries around the world. The Governor of the Bank of Canada said in the last few days that governments are continuing with their plans and the stimulus package, but the private sector will be making its way back into the market at some point in time. The private sector is the area that will be creating these new jobs of the future.

The Senate

Debate on Employment Issues

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, would the minister be open to a suggestion that the Senate consider the question of this lagging problem with joblessness when the next Statistics Canada report comes out for September? The numbers we have heard today go back to July and August. If the problem continues, would the Leader of the Government in the Senate be open to having an emergency debate to deal with this issue so that we could have views from both sides of the house about how we might deal with this problem in a more coherent fashion?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, that is not for me to say; that is for the Senate to say. I can assure the honourable senator that if I were to suggest, as Leader of the Government in the Senate, that the Senate should do A, B or C, I would be roundly roasted. It is for the Senate to say whether, in its collective wisdom, senators want to study any subject matter. This subject is not within my purview.


Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Language Rights Support Program

Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The new language rights support program is due to come into effect before the end of the year. Minister Moore has not yet announced the names of the individuals who will make up the expert committee responsible for selecting the files to be funded by the program.

The committee will be made up of four representatives of the two official language communities, that is, two members representing anglophones in Quebec and two members representing francophones outside of Quebec, along with four legal experts and one mediator.

Can the minister tell us how the experts will be selected and when the committee will be formed?


Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for the question. It is similar to a question that she asked before we broke for the summer.

She obviously knows how committed the government and minister are to this matter. I will take the question as notice and come back with information from the Minister of Heritage as to what the criteria and timeline are for the appointment of this body.


Senator Chaput: Can the minister ensure that this will be done quickly? We were told that the program would be in place by the end of the year. Minister Moore must select the experts immediately.


Senator LeBreton: Yes, I certainly will. I have been asked questions about this before. The honourable senator is aware of the announcement that the government made on September 9, which indicated that the University of Ottawa will administer the new program with regard to minority language rights. The honourable senator is aware of that announcement. That was a commitment.


This new program will rely on the knowledge of a panel of experts who will be responsible for selecting the files to be supported by the program. I have been asked about protection of minority languages many times, and I did not want the opportunity to pass to make people aware of the actions of the government on September 9 with regard to the University of Ottawa.

Office of the Prime Minister

Access of Members of Parliament to Economic Update Event

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, yesterday the Prime Minister presented his economic report card away from Parliament Hill, in Saint John, New Brunswick, because he supposedly "wants to get out of the capital, talk to real people right across the country."

However, the Prime Minister was supposed to report to members of Parliament on the progress of implementation of stimulus measures the government approved in this year's budget. Despite this commitment, elected Liberal officials, including New Brunswick member of Parliament Brian Murphy, Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe; and the Liberal Member of the Legislative Assembly, Abel LeBlanc, were not allowed to enter the site where the Prime Minister was giving his address; they were turned away.

Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us whether having a Conservative party membership card was a requirement to be on the guest list?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, I noticed the pictures in the paper of the Prime Minister with that well-known Tory, James Irving.

In answer to Senator Cordy's question, going back to when the Economic Action Plan was first tabled in late January, the government made a commitment, and the Leader of the Opposition put us on what he called "probation." The Liberal opposition in the other place asked for three reports; one in March, one in June and one in December. The opposition did not ask for one in September. We offered to provide four reports, which is why we provided the one in September.

Having said that, this is a big country, and citizens from across the nation must be involved in the democratic process. The Prime Minister went to Saint John, New Brunswick, to release the third quarterly report. At the same moment, the report was tabled in the House of Commons for all members of Parliament.

With regard to Mr. Murphy and Mr. LeBlanc, I was not at the event handling the entrance of individuals. The honourable senator has given me information that I was unaware of, so I do not have a specific answer as to what the circumstances were when Mr. Murphy and Mr. LeBlanc turned up at the door. Maybe they did not let anyone know in advance they were coming; I have no idea.

Senator Cowan: Maybe they were not invited.

Senator LeBreton: Maybe they were not invited, but I can think of many events that we have not been invited to, so we can debate that argument until the cows come home. The fact is that the Prime Minister chose to go to Saint John, New Brunswick, a beautiful city and very much a part of Canada. I think it is clear that, unlike what some people around this town may believe, there is a real country out there beyond the bounds of the city of Ottawa.

Senator Cordy: I agree there is no better place than Atlantic Canada.

Security was the excuse given at the door to prevent unwanted guests from entering. Brian Murphy tried three times to enter the meeting and was refused for security reasons. How democratic is that?

Will the leader define these security concerns? Were they security concerns that opposition members might criticize the government's inaction? Would unwanted guests have spoiled the Prime Minister's photo opportunity? What were the security criteria? How is it that a sitting member of Parliament and a sitting member of the legislature in New Brunswick do not meet security criteria?

Senator LeBreton: Usually, security officials handle the entrance and exit of people at the various events that the government participates in. Those individuals are not the responsibility of the government, per se.

As a member of the cabinet, if I have to answer questions about who was or was not allowed into what meeting, Question Period would be reduced to even less importance than some people sometimes place on it now.

Senator Comeau: Sending in the big guns now.

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, it is interesting that Saint John MP Rodney Weston said the event was under tight security because the Prime Minister was involved, and that partisanship played no part in the exclusion of Liberal members.

Many of us on this side of the Senate understand the need for security around any prime minister, including this one. It is important that proper security be provided to the Leader of the Government of this country. I know many people on this side have the highest level of security clearance possible, including former ministers of such sensitive portfolios as national defence, et cetera.

My questions are: Who drew up the guest list? Who were the people who cleared people for security reasons? Would some of the people on this side who have that kind of security clearance been denied admittance?

Senator Cordy forgot to mention some of the people who were in attendance, such as a number of local Conservatives, including Senator John Wallace, Senator Percy Mockler, former Saint John Progressive Conservative MP Elsie Wayne and New Brunswick Conservative leader David Alward. They were given front-row seats for the event.

If it was to be a partisan event, then maybe the Conservative Party of Canada should have paid for the rental of the hall and for all the advertising that went with the event. Of course, that is not what they do in this government. No, no; if there is a way to tear money out of the hands of Canadians to pay for Conservative biased advertisements, they will.

Who drew up the list, and why were elected officials in this country denied access to this meeting?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, this question comes from a former executive director of the Liberal Party. We do not take any lessons from Senator Mercer as to who does what. I will not repeat some of the things that I have heard went on in the past.

I will not answer a hypothetical question about what would have happened if Senator Eggleton had appeared at the door, or someone with security clearance. That question is totally hypothetical, and does not warrant an answer.

Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, I am taken aback by the flippancy of the response. I was in a country where the opposition was held away from their place of duty for reasons of security, and that action led to a catastrophic failure of democracy. We have MPs representing people of this country, on this side as well as on the other side, who are not a security risk and yet were refused entry. Security is the ultimate responsibility of the person who institutes the event. The Prime Minister is ultimately responsible for the security.

The Hon. the Speaker: Order. Honourable senators, I regret to advise that we are about a minute or two beyond the time allotted for Question Period. We will now call for delayed answers.

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.



Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to present four answers to oral questions raised by Senator Jaffer on June 16, 2009, concerning Foreign Affairs — Democratic Republic of Congo; by Senator Milne on June 17, 2009, concerning National Defence, joint support ship program; by Senator Jaffer on June 17, 2009, concerning Citizenship and Immigration, temporary foreign work permits for exotic dancers; and by Senator Jaffer on June 23, 2009, concerning Citizenship and Immigration, Sri Lanka, humanitarian aid.

Foreign Affairs

Stabilization of Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

(Response to question raised by Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer on June 16, 2009)

From 1993 to March 31, 2009 Canada granted refugee status to 5,547 women from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of these, 3,134 had claimed asylum in Canada and were recognized as refugees by the Immigration and Refugee Board and 2,413 were selected overseas for resettlement in Canada as part of Citizenship and Immigration Canada's refugee resettlement commitments.

National Defence

Joint Support Ship Program

(Response to question raised by Hon. Lorna Milne on June 17, 2009)

The Joint Support Ship (JSS) Project has not been cancelled. This project remains a key priority for the Government and the Department of National Defence. The Government has acknowledged that there is a need to consider alternate approaches to ship procurement for the federal fleet and continues to seek input from key stakeholders on options for a long-term sustainable shipbuilding strategy. The next steps for the Joint Support Ship project have not yet been determined and the Department of National Defence is considering a number of options.

The JSS are intended to replace the Canadian Forces' Auxiliary Oil Replenishment vessels, which provide at-sea support to naval task groups. The JSS will also provide additional joint capabilities and support the enforcement of domestic maritime security as well as Canadian participation in international operations.

The original JSS procurement process consisted of three phases. The first phase, Pre-Qualification, identified industry teams capable of fulfilling the project requirements. The second phase awarded Project Definition contracts to two industry teams selected to develop project implementation and in-service support proposals in response to a Request for Proposals. The final phase, Project Implementation, would select one of those industry teams to design and build the ships and provide long-term in-service support. After careful review and evaluation of the bids submitted by two industry teams, the Department concluded that the bids did not meet the mandatory requirements for the number of ships needed within the cost expectations that had been set. The entire procurement process was carried out in close consultation with industry to ensure best value for Canadians' tax money. Unfortunately, a number of cost factors, such as materials, had escalated significantly beyond what was anticipated by either the Department or industry. However, the procurement process has allowed the Crown the opportunity to garner valuable experience on its approach that will inform decisions on the way ahead.

In the meantime, the Canadian Forces will maintain the current fleet of Auxiliary Oil Replenishment Vessels in order to ensure the safety of the men and women in uniform who are providing at-sea support to maritime operations. Although the JSS procurement process has yet to be finalized, the Navy reviews its long-term plan on a regular basis to make certain that it has the ships available to carry out all tasks.

Citizenship and Immigration

Temporary Foreign Work Permits for Exotic Dancers

(Response to question raised by Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer on June 17, 2009)

Exotic Dancing remains a legal occupation in Canada, and to refuse a work permit strictly on the basis of an applicant's occupation would be contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Government has tabled Bill C-45 (first reading June 17, 2009) in order to allow the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism to issue instructions, based on objective evidence, to allow officers to refuse work permits to applicants who otherwise qualify but who could be at risk of being subjected to humiliating or degrading treatment, including sexual exploitation, due to their individual circumstances.

If Bill C-45 is made law, it is possible that the Minister could issue instructions relating to individuals at risk due to their circumstances and the type of work they are proposing to do in Canada, including exotic dancing.

Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka—Humanitarian Aid

(Response to question raised by Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer on June 23, 2009)

Since January 2008, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has been offering expedited service to applicants who have identified themselves as being affected by the situation in Sri Lanka and who have permanent resident applications near completion at the Canadian High Commission in Colombo. Additional oral instructions were given at the end of April 2009 to incorporate the CIC Call Centre and the Case Processing Centre (CPC)-Mississauga in these measures. On June 3, 2009, CIC issued these instructions in writing by publishing an Operational Bulletin.

New and existing applications from Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons who have close family members (spouses, dependent children, parents and grandparents) in Sri Lanka can benefit from expedited processing. The applicant must self-identify to CIC as being directly and significantly affected by the current humanitarian situation. Applicants who notify the CIC Call Centre or CPC-Mississauga, and who meet the necessary sponsorship criteria, will have their application forwarded to Colombo where the visa office continues to expedite the rest of the process for assessing a family class application.

From June to the end of August 2009, CPC-Mississauga has facilitated over 200 sponsorship applications, representing over 600 permanent resident applicants. Pursuant to our instructions, these applications were either self-identified upon receipt of the application at CPC-Mississauga or through the CIC Call Centre.

As of July 31, 2009, the visa office in Colombo had issued over 1900 permanent resident visas in all categories including almost 900 visas to persons in the family class (i.e. spouses, children and parents), almost 200 visas to family members of protected persons in Canada and 100 visas on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Total visa issuance in the first seven months of 2009 represents an increase of 22 per cent over the same period in 2008.

In addition, two temporary duty (TD) officers were sent to the visa office in Colombo for a period of 6 weeks each during June through September 2009. TD assignments for visa offices are considered on a quarterly basis and Colombo's TD needs will be re-assessed regularly. Additional support from CSIS has permitted a large number of additional background interviews to be completed over the April to May period.

The Canadian High Commission does not have access to Sri Lankan detainee camps. All applicants must travel to Colombo to submit their applications and supporting documentation (including passports and police certificates), and undergo processing, including medical examination. As of the beginning of June 2009, the High Commission had only been notified of a few cases of people who had been released from camps and who were expected to travel to Colombo to submit applications.

Finally, CIC cannot predict exactly how many sponsored applicants in Sri Lanka will come to Canada. Historically, Sri Lanka has been among the top source countries of permanent residents. Between 1998 and 2007, an annual average of approximately 4,600 persons from Sri Lanka became permanent residents1.

(Footnote to Delayed Answer)

1Facts and Figures 2007: Immigration Overview—Permanent and Temporary Residents


Point of Order

Speaker's Ruling

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, on September 15, Senator Tardif raised a point of order respecting a senator's statement earlier in the sitting.


The statement referred to a variety of government bills, including some that have already passed and at least one that is currently in the Senate. Senator Tardif suggested that the statement had not respected the criteria of rule 22(4). A number of honourable senators participated in debate.

Senator Stratton offered a suggestion that the issue of the appropriate topics for statements might be addressed through the caucuses, to ensure that there is a clear and general understanding of the subjects that can be raised and those that should be avoided.


The Speaker has addressed the issue of the appropriate use of Senators' Statements in a number of recent rulings, at least four in the past two years. Honourable senators have been urged to use statements for the intent and purpose for which they were designed, and to make them in a manner that respects the dignity of this honourable house. Senator Stratton's suggestion is a good one, and I hope that it will be acted upon. If it does not resolve this persistent problem, the Speaker will be obliged to intervene, using the power granted under rule 18(1) to maintain order, to cut off the statement and to recognize another honourable senator.


Constitution Act, 1867

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator LeBreton, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Comeau, for the second reading of Bill S-7, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Senate term limits);

And on the motion of the Honourable Senator Murray, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Atkins, that the original question be now put.

Hon. Bert Brown: Honourable senators, I rise to speak on this issue of Bill S-7, Senate term limits. I have consulted with Dr. Peter McCormick and Dr. David Elton for a Supreme Court reference of 1980, A Federal Legislative Act. Dr. Peter McCormick is head of political science at the University of Lethbridge and a constitutional consultant. Dr. David Elton is a former head of political science at the University of Lethbridge, now Professor Emeritus, and also an expert on constitutional issues.

In the authorization of Parliament in relation to the upper house, they felt that Parliament cannot alone change the features or the essential characteristics given to the Senate as means of assuming regional representation in the federal legislative process.

Both Dr. David Elton and Dr. Peter McCormick conclude that Bill S-7 is not unconstitutional.

Senator Cowan's argument is that a two-term prime minister could appoint every single member of the chamber. Senator Cowan's objection appears to be somewhat naïve. There are no references to senators' need or requirement to be partisan, as in Liberal, Conservative or Progressive Conservative, or even whether all senators could some day be independents. There are no such references in the Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1982.

Bill S-7 does not propose to change the features or the essential characteristics given to the Senate as means of assuming regional representation in the federal legislative process.

In conclusion, I would like to point out that a majority of one in the Senate by any political party is no different from a party with 100 per cent majority with respect to provincial representation.

With regard to voting, a majority of one is all that is needed if the votes in this chamber continue to be based on partisan affiliation, and not as they were intended to be, that is, with provincial affiliation.

My justification is found on page 7 of the Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1972. I wish to quote from those two constitutional acts, which state:

22. In relation to the Constitution of the Senate Canada shall be deemed to consist of Four Divisions:

1. Ontario;

2. Quebec;

3. The Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island;

4. The Western Provinces of Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Alberta;

which Four Divisions shall (subject to the Provisions of this Act) be equally represented in the Senate as follows: Ontario by twenty-four senators; Quebec by twenty-four senators; the Maritime Provinces and Prince Edward Island by twenty-four senators, ten thereof representing Nova Scotia, ten thereof representing New Brunswick, and four thereof representing Prince Edward Island; the Western Provinces by twenty-four senators, six thereof representing Manitoba, six thereof representing British Columbia, six thereof representing Saskatchewan, and six thereof representing Alberta; Newfoundland shall be entitled to be represented in the Senate by six members; the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories shall be entitled to be represented in the Senate by one member each.

Partisanship, honourable senators, is the weakness of the current Senate.

Lastly, I would like to state that I fully support the Prime Minister's desire for term limits. While eight years is a step in the right direction, I believe that two six-year elected terms would give more meaning to the voter than a single eight-year term. The power of the voter lies in their ability to elect or defeat a parliamentarian based on the parliamentarian's performance. Future elected senators should be subject to the will of the voter.

(On motion of Senator Tkachuk, debate adjourned.)


Victims of Human Trafficking Protection Bill

Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Phalen, seconded by the Honourable Senator Banks, for the second reading of Bill S-223, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to enact certain other measures in order to provide assistance and protection to victims of human trafficking.

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, I want to put a few words on the Order Paper today with respect to this bill. If the Honourable Deputy Leader wishes to adjourn the matter, of course, the item is in the name of Senator Dickson and I am prepared to leave it there.

Bill S-223 was first introduced to this chamber by former Senator Phalen. Shortly after the introduction of that bill, he retired. The bill had been introduced at an earlier time, and he had hoped that, this time, it would make much further progress. Shortly after Senator Phalen's retirement, I was approached by the deputy leader, who said that the Minister of Immigration was interested in this bill, and asked if I would be willing to consider amendments.

I had meetings with the staff of the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, and amendments were put forward. This process was carried out in an extremely cooperative and friendly manner. The result is that a group of amendments to this bill has now been presented to me and, frankly, the amendments have met with my approval. I think we can proceed with this bill, if it is agreeable with the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, in order that this bill be dealt with in committee, and the amendments brought forward at that particular point in time.

Honourable senators, I do not think there is any question that there is interest on both sides of this chamber in ensuring that trafficking is not permitted in this country, and that anything that can prevent the most egregious aspects of trafficking should be dealt with, and dealt with as quickly as possible.

With those few words and my thanks to the Deputy Leader of the Government for his cooperation in this matter, I conclude my remarks.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the item stands adjourned in the name of the Honourable Senator Dickson.

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, Senator Dickson is not in the chamber at the moment, but I am sure that if he were, he would agree with me that he does not need to speak further on this subject. Therefore, I think we should follow the suggestion of Senator Carstairs that this matter be sent to committee to examine the bill in its entirety, as well as some of the amendments that might be proposed.

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

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I have no doubt that Senator Dickson would greatly approve of Senator Carstairs' work, and she deserves an enormous round of applause for what she has achieved. However, for the record, the practice is that the person whose name is holding the debate should be spoken to. I have no doubt that Senator Comeau is acting in good faith and with good knowledge of Senator Dickson's wishes, but the senator in question should still be spoken to.

Senator Comeau: I can assure all honourable senators that Senator Dickson is completely in agreement with the comments I made earlier. I think he made the comments that he wished to make. We are completely in agreement on this item.

The Hon. the Speaker: I thank Senator Cools for the important point she raised and for the clarification by Senator Comeau.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read second time.)

Referred to Committee

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the third time?

(On motion of Senator Carstairs, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights.)

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Lapointe, seconded by the Honourable Senator Tardif, for the second reading of Bill S-226, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (lottery schemes).

Hon. Michael L. MacDonald: Honourable senators, I wish to address Bill S-226, with regard to lottery schemes, for a few minutes. This bill will restrict video lottery terminals and slot machines to racetracks and premises dedicated solely to gambling.

Although I admire Senator Lapointe's tenacity and confess to some empathy with his concerns regarding the negative effects of video lottery terminals and the fact that this bill has been previously introduced five times in this chamber, it does not change the fact that there are a number of federal and provincial agreements in regard to gaming that have been established for a number of years. The federal government, in adopting this bill, would, in effect, revoke all these agreements.

I respectfully submit that it would be inappropriate, and indeed irresponsible, for the Government of Canada to adopt such a bill, and I encourage all honourable senators to defeat this initiative.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is there further debate?

Hon. Joan Fraser: I have a question for the honourable senator. I understood that there was some debate about the point the honourable senator raises. Can he offer legal evidence that the bill would have the effect of abrogating those agreements?

Senator MacDonald: I cannot myself offer legal evidence, but I will check with my colleagues. I am advised we will bring copies of the agreements to committee.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: On division? Let me put the question to the house more formally.

All those in favour of the motion will please say "yea."

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion, the "nays" have it.

And two honourable senators having risen:

The Hon. the Speaker: Call in the senators. Will the whips please advise as to whether it is a one-hour bell or a shorter bell?

Hon. Terry Stratton: If the chamber agrees, it is a half-hour bell.

The Hon. the Speaker: It is a half-hour bell. It being five minutes after 3:00, the bells on the vote will be for 25 minutes to 4:00. Does the chair have permission to leave?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.


Motion agreed to and bill read second time on the following division:


Bryden Hervieux-Payette
Callbeck Hubley
Carstairs Joyal
Chaput Lapointe
Cook Losier-Cool
Cools Mahovlich
Cordy Mercer
Cowan Moore
Dallaire Munson
Dawson Murray
Day Pépin
Downe Peterson
Eggleton Poulin
Fairbairn Prud'homme
Fraser Ringuette
Fury Robichaud
Grafstein Stollery
Harb Tardif—36


Brazeau Manning
Brown Meighen
Carignan Nancy Ruth
Comeau Ogilvie
Duffy Patterson
Eaton Plett
Finley Rivard
Frum Segal
Gerstein Seidman
Greene Stewart Olson
Housakos Stratton
Johnson Tkachuk
LeBreton Wallace
MacDonald Wallin—28



Referred to Committee

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the third time?

(On motion of Senator Lapointe bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.)


Governance of Canadian Businesses Emergency

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Hervieux-Payette, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Pépin, for the second reading of Bill S-235, An Act to provide the means to rationalize the governance of Canadian businesses during the period of national emergency resulting from the global financial crisis that is undermining Canada's economic stability.

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have not yet had the time to prepare my notes or to give this very important bill my full attention. I would ask that the debate be adjourned in my name.

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

(On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.)


Study on Credit and Debit Card Systems

Fourth Report of Banking Trade and Commerce Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce entitled Transparency, Balance and Choice: Canada's Credit Card and Debit Card Systems, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on June 30, 2009.

Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, I move:

That the report be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 131(2), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Industry being identified as ministers responsible for responding to the report.

The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable 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.)


Budget Implementation Bill, 2009

Study on Elements Dealing with Employment Insurance—Sixth Report of National Finance Committee Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion by the Honourable Senator Day, seconded by the Honourable Senator Banks, for the adoption of the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, entitled: The Budget Implementation Act, 2009, tabled in the Senate on June 11, 2009.

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I believe that all interested parties have spoken about this report. I do not have any more information to add. If honourable senators agree, I move that the question be put.

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

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament

Second Report of Committee—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion by the Honourable Senator Oliver, seconded by the Honourable Senator Brown, for the adoption of the second report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament (amendments to the Rules of the Senate— reinstatement of bills from the previous session of the same Parliament), presented in the Senate on March 11, 2009. —(Honourable Senator Oliver)

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, this is a very important committee report. Senator Oliver is not in attendance at this time to comment on the report. I therefore move adjournment of the debate in his name.

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

(On motion of Senator Comeau, for Senator Oliver, debate adjourned.)

Third Report of Committee—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report of the Standing Senate Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament (amendments to the Rules of the Senate — questions of privilege), tabled in the Senate on May 12, 2009. —(Hon. Senator Oliver)

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, Senator Oliver being absent, I move adjournment of the debate in his name.

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

(On motion of Senator Comeau, for Senator Oliver, debate adjourned.)


Hon. Anne C. Cools: Senator Oliver is currently holding the adjournment. Is Senator Comeau trying to rewind the clock?

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Yes.

Senator Cools: Good. I understand. Thank you.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators that poses a little bit of difficulty for the Speaker. The rule is very clear. I know there has been a seeping practice and I would invite honourable senators to reflect upon the intent of the rule. Maybe we should either expunge the rule or make modifications to apply when, for very good reasons, we need to rewind the clock.

I simply point that out because that is my job.

(The Senate adjourned until Wednesday September 30, 2009 at 1:30 p.m.)