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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 147, Issue 26

Thursday, May 6, 2010
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


THE SENATE

Thursday, May 6, 2010

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

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

The Late Glen Scott Shortliffe

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, with profound sadness, I wish to record the death on May 4 of Glen Shortliffe, whose long and remarkable career as a senior federal public servant culminated in his appointment in 1992 as Secretary to the Cabinet and Clerk of the Privy Council.

Glen Shortliffe was a man of prodigious energy and ability, commitment, high motivation and integrity. His directives to subordinates and his advice to colleagues and ministers never needed to be parsed or deconstructed. They were offered in the plainest English and argued with clarity and force. He mastered policy and public administration equally well. He was familiar, from experience, with Canada's international responsibilities and had a great understanding and love of this country in all its variety.

His friends and former colleagues will remember him fondly. Most Canadians will not have known him personally. However, their country has lost a loyal son and a most able and accomplished public servant.

Group of Seven

Hon. Nicole Eaton: Honourable senators, Autumn Sunlight, The Tangled Gardens, Falling Snow, The Northland, Beaver Meadow, The River Drivers, Sunken Road — 90 years ago this month, these and dozens of other paintings went on display for the first time as the first exhibit of the Group of Seven at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

[Translation]

This exhibit was daring and even revolutionary. The exhibit's program summed up the group's intent in a single sentence:

Art must be created and nurtured in a country before it can become a true homeland for the people who live there.

To achieve this objective, the seven painters chose to express their shared idea of Canadian identity by painting the rugged landscapes typical of the Canadian North.

[English]

The images in these works of art included a stand of birch in the dense Algonquin bush; an island of pines off the shore of Georgian Bay, crouching under the weight of a stiff northwesterly wind; and the sudden stirring of cool waters in an Algoma lake as a summer storm gathers strength.

For seven conspicuously Canadian artists — Carmichael, Harris, Jackson, Johnston, Lismer, MacDonald and Varley — these scenes are worthy subjects of artistic interpretation.

[Translation]

Visitors were very enthusiastic about this new approach, saying that it was a deliberate rebellion against the methods and scenes imported from other countries, and that it was the first time the true nature of Canada was represented. One critic even said the group's works were some of the most powerful of the new century.

[English]

This reaction comes as no surprise to us. Today, the Group of Seven's paintings are such iconic images that it is hard to imagine there was a time when they were not beloved.

However, 90 years ago the country's artistic establishment was astonished and angry. The group's work was called sinister and the products of deranged minds. The striking colours of their paintings were likened to bowls of Hungarian goulash. One detractor christened the new style the "Hot Mush School" for the resemblance of the images to porridge.

A more penetrating critique came some years later from historian Frank Underhill. He saw the group's work as more mythical than real, as representing how we Canadians would like to see ourselves, rather than who we truly are.

Despite the criticism, the Group of Seven's artistic vision of Canada not only endured, it continues to resonate strongly among Canadians as the defining representation of the harsh beauty of our country and an authentic expression of our national character.

[Translation]

Victory in Europe Day

Sixty-fifth Anniversary

Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, on Saturday, May 8, we will commemorate the sixty-fifth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. I am very proud to pay tribute to the great and noble feats our soldiers accomplished in this war.

Sixty-five years after the end of the Second World War, the accomplishments of our soldiers continue to fill us with pride. We will never forget. We will always remember their service to Canada and the rest of the world.

A number of our soldiers were in England as early as 1940, to defend the local people against the attacks of the German V2s. The sailors protected our coasts, accompanied our ships across the Atlantic, and prevented the enemy from bringing death to our inland waters. Those who joined the air force protected threatened populations from above.

I salute the contribution of our soldiers who suffered the consequences of the Dieppe landing in 1942. I honour those who participated in the landing in Sicily in 1943 and who masterfully carried out the Italian campaign.

I pay tribute to those who successfully executed the Normandy landing in 1944 and to the members of the second wave who went on to liberate the French city of Caen.

I salute the Aboriginals who had to overcome enormous cultural challenges to serve their country in the Canadian Forces.

I cannot forget our soldiers who liberated the Netherlands, where the people remain grateful to this day.

All of these true heroes fought courageously to restore peace and freedom to the people of Europe, Asia and the Pacific.

I also wish to salute the men and women who worked behind the scenes to ensure a victorious outcome to the Second World War. Among them, I want to honour the war brides of our soldiers.

Nursing sisters devoted themselves to tending and comforting soldiers wounded in combat.

I want to pay tribute to the thousands of women who enrolled in the Canadian Women's Army Corps. The work these women did both at home and abroad helped our country make its valuable contribution to the 1939-45 campaign.

I feel a deep sense of reverence for the 42,000 Canadians who gave their lives during that war. Canada will always be grateful to them.

Honourable senators, I wanted to remind you all about the admirable courage of these brave men and women and the contribution they made. Sixty-five years on, these men and women continue to make us proud to be Canadian.

Economic Prosperity

Hon. Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis: Last week in Gatineau, representatives of the world's most prominent business associations joined with business leaders, academics and Government of Canada representatives at the Canada-European Union Forum and the G8/20 Business Summit, organized by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The meetings were especially timely, because Canada is currently negotiating a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with Europe and is getting ready to welcome world leaders to the G8 and G20 summits in June.

The global recession has affected businesses and families in Canada and around the world, but our country has weathered the recession better than any other and is considered a model for the rest of the world.

I would like to congratulate the Canadian Chamber of Commerce for the fine job it did in chairing the meetings and helping to develop the international business agenda the G20 leaders will work on when they meet in Toronto in less than two months.

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Heads of international business associations and Canadian CEOs like Rick George, of Suncor, and Bruce Ross of, IBM Canada, pointed out how interconnected our economies are and said that we must come up with new technologies and strategies to overcome obstacles and harness the potential of global development.

Canada's Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Peter Van Loan, stated at the opening session that the negotiations between Canada and the EU could lead to an even more exhaustive agreement than the North American Free Trade Agreement, and I quote:

What we want is the most ambitious trade agreement we've have ever had.

Canada must diversify its international trade, and an agreement with the European Union, whose economy is similar to Canada's, would definitely have major benefits.

In fact, the Government of Canada estimates that the agreement would boost Canada's GDP by $12 billion by 2014.

Our government wants Canada to take the lead in negotiating an exhaustive agreement designed to boost efforts to eliminate global trade barriers. Success in negotiating an agreement would send a powerful message to the rest of the world that economic health comes from trade and mutual investment, not from building barriers.

[English]

Reconstruction of Post-War Countries

Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators will not be surprised to hear that I enjoy parades. Yesterday, I watched with great pride the parades of our veterans in my country of birth, Holland. Thousands of Dutch people welcomed and encouraged our veterans, knowing that this may be the last time they have such a gathering.

My attention was particularly caught by the parade of close to 2,500 young Canadians dressed in red jackets provided to them by Veterans Affairs Canada, I believe. These Canadians walked the routes that both my father and father-in-law fought through in World War II, routes that brought them to the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery.

Both my father and father-in-law remember losing colleagues who are buried in Groesbeek. They were killed on the last push into Germany, when we lost so many soldiers in the Hochfeld. Each year, when contingents of Canadian soldiers and civilians participate in the Nijmegen marches, we stop to commemorate the sacrifices of Groesbeek.

This brings me to the second dimension of the war, and that is post-war reconstruction. In 1946, I arrived at Pier 21 in Canada on a Red Cross ship as a six-month-old in the arms of my mother. I was immediately put on a Red Cross train and brought to Quebec City where my father was serving. We arrived in 1946 because my father was one of about 40,000 troops that stayed overseas at the end of the war to repair all the equipment that the Canadian government would leave in Holland and Belgium — not tanks and guns, but trucks, bulldozers, jeeps, dump trucks and bridges — to help them rebuild their economies. That effort was generous, but of course it cost us less than it would have to bring them back.

However, my son, who recently served in Sierra Leone and saw a country trying to rebuild itself, wonders why and how we lost the concept that after a war, countries need support to rebuild and reconstitute themselves in order to become nation states that are not sources of conflict, and to respect good governance, the rule of law, human rights and gender equality. Why have we lost that generosity in this era when it is so drastically required?

Emergency Preparedness Week

Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, this first full week of May is Emergency Preparedness Week. As events of recent weeks, both globally and locally, remind us as we go about our daily business, we should always expect or hope for the best, but also be prepared for the worst or the unexpected.

Be it the recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland, the oil spill off the coast of Louisiana, the tragic subway bombings in Moscow, the horrific school stabbings in China or the VIA Rail accident that claimed the lives of a father and two children on Tuesday in Edmonton, natural and manmade disasters, tragedies and accidents can have long-lasting and even permanent effects for those who are affected by them.

On the other hand, with appropriate emergency response capacities, or sometimes through sheer dumb luck, potential damage from such incidents can be contained. The recent attempted Times Square car bombing and the fire that was successfully fought in Ottawa at a metal recycling plant fall into this latter category.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, I became aware of the whole issue of emergency preparedness largely through the deliberations of our Standing Senate Committee on Security and Defence, as well as the many legislative and regulatory amendments adopted by the federal government over the years.

The work of our committee and that of our counterparts in the other place, along with the initiatives undertaken by the current government and its predecessors, have contributed to the development of constructive measures that have improved Canada's efforts regarding civil preparedness. Emergency preparedness is a very demanding field that requires a multidisciplinary approach and close coordination among various jurisdictions.

I am proud of the contributions made by everyone working on the ground and by those who have made an effort to convey the importance of emergency preparedness. I am impressed by the efforts made by all levels of government, which are constantly enhancing their emergency response capacity, thereby acknowledging that this work is never complete.

[English]

Honourable senators, I leave you with this thought from a 2008 report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence:

Every country is beset by natural and human-made disasters from time to time — from tornadoes to floods to ice storms, from terrorist attacks to flu epidemics to water quality failures. These are, by definition, emergencies. The crucial difference between emergencies and disasters almost always comes down to one thing: preparedness.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of the Girls Midget Team of Manitoba, which is participating in the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Ottawa.

They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Plett.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Fourth Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Presented

Hon. Joan Fraser, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the honour to present its

FOURTH REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill S-215, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (suicide bombings), has, in obedience to the order of reference of Wednesday, March 31, 2010, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

JOAN FRASER
Chair

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

(On motion of Senator Comeau, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)

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[English]

Bill to Amend—Fifth Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Presented

Hon. Joan Fraser, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the honour to present its

FIFTH REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (Protecting Victims From Sex Offenders Act), has, in obedience to the order of reference of Monday, March 29, 2010, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

JOAN FRASER
Chair

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

(On motion of Senator Fraser, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Study on Current Social Issues of Large Cities—Second Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie, Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its

SECOND REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Thursday, March 18, 2010, to examine and report on current social issues pertaining to Canada's largest cities, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, and requests, for the purpose of such study, that it be empowered to engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

KELVIN KENNETH OGILVIE
Deputy Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix A, p. 340.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

(On motion of Senator Ogilvie, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Study on Accessibility of Post-Secondary Education—Third Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie, Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its

THIRD REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Thursday, March 18, 2010, to examine and report on the accessibility of post-secondary education in Canada, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, and requests, for the purpose of such study, that it be empowered to engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

KELVIN KENNETH OGILVIE
Deputy Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix B, p. 348.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

(On motion of Senator Ogilvie, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)

[Translation]

Fisheries and Oceans

Budget and Authorization to Travel—Study on Issues Relating to Federal Government's Current and Evolving Policy Framework for Managing Fisheries and Oceans—Third Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson, Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has the honour to present its

THIRD REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Thursday, March 25, 2010, to examine and report on issues relating to the federal government's current and evolving policy framework for managing Canada's fisheries and oceans, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, and requests, for the purpose of such study, that it be empowered to travel inside Canada.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

DENNIS GLEN PATTERSON
Deputy Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix C, p. 354.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

(On motion of Senator Patterson, report placed on Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)

Official Languages

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services and Travel—Study on Application of Official Languages Act and Relevant Regulations, Directives and Reports—Second Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Maria Chaput, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages has the honour to present its

SECOND REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 to examine and report on the application of the Official Languages Act and of the regulations and directives made under it, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, and requests, for the purpose of such study, that it be empowered:

(a) to engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary;

(b) to adjourn from place to place within Canada; and

(c) to travel inside Canada.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

MARIA CHAPUT
Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix D, p. 364.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

(On motion of Senator Chaput, report placed on Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)

[English]

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Budget—Study on Issues Related to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Generally—Third Report of Committee Presented

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has the honour to present its

THIRD REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, to examine such issues as may arise from time to time relating to foreign relations and international trade generally, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2011.

Pursuant Chapter 3:06, to section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

A. RAYNELL ANDREYCHUK
Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix E, p. 374)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

(On motion of Senator Andreychuk, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)

Budget—Study on Rise of China, India and Russia in the Global Economy and the Implications for Canadian Policy—Fourth Report of Committee Presented

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has the honour to present its

FOURTH REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, to examine and report on the rise of China, India and Russia in the global economy and the implications for Canadian policy, respectfully requests funds for the period ending on December 31, 2010.

Pursuant Chapter 3:06, to section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

A. RAYNELL ANDREYCHUK
Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix F, p. 382.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

(On motion of Senator Andreychuk, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)

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Agriculture and Forestry

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services and Travel—Study on Current State and Future of Forest Sector—Second Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Percy Mockler, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry has the honour to present its

SECOND REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Thursday, March 11, 2010 to examine and report on the current state and future of Canada's forest sector respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, and requests that it be empowered to:

(a) engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary for the purpose of such study; and

(b) travel inside Canada.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

PERCY MOCKLER
Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix G, p. 390.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

(On motion of Senator Mockler, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)

[Translation]

The Honourable Wilbert J. Keon, O.C.

Motion to Place Inquiry on Notice Paper Adopted

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(a), I move:

That the following inquiry be placed on the Notice Paper for Tuesday, May 11, 2010:

"By the Honourable Senator Comeau: That he will call the attention of the Senate to the career of the Honourable Senator Keon in the Senate and his many contributions in service to Canadians."; and

That, notwithstanding rule 37(4), during proceedings on this inquiry no senator shall speak for more than three minutes.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Climate Change Accountability Bill

First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-311, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change.

(Bill read first time.)

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

(On motion of Senator Mitchell, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)

[English]

Income Tax Act

Bill to Amend—First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-288, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (tax credit for new graduates working in designated regions).

(Bill read first time.)

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

(On motion of Senator Comeau, bill placed on Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence, on division.)

[Translation]

L'Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie

Conference of Branch Chairs of America Region, March 11-12, 2010—Report Tabled

Hon. Andrée Champagne: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF) to the Conference of Branch Chairs of the America Region of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, held in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana, on March 11 and 12, 2010.

Meeting of the Political Committee, April 7-8, 2010—Report Tabled

Hon. Andrée Champagne: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF) to the meeting of the Political Committee of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on April 7 and 8, 2010.

[English]

Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association

Bilateral Visits to Botswana and Zambia, February 14-19, 2010—Report Tabled

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 23(6), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association to the Bilateral Visits to Botswana and Zambia, held in Gaborone, Botswana and Lusaka, Zambia, from February 14 to 19, 2010.


QUESTION PERIOD

Public Safety

Long-Gun Registry

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

Today in Ottawa, we heard from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Police Boards. We also heard from the victims and families of victims of the shooting at École Polytechnique, in which 14 women were killed in 1989. These two groups that are different in many ways have a single purpose — to plead for the maintenance of the long-gun registry.

The present government, to its honour, has stressed that it wishes to help victims of crime. It also talks regularly about being tough on crime and supporting police; and yet, it seems hell bent on abolishing the long-gun registry. Why?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question.

Honourable senators, before I answer Senator Fraser's question, let me set the record straight on the requirements to own a firearm in Canada. A person must submit to a rigorous background check and meet rigid conditions on acceptability. The person must secure a licence to get this firearm. There is a long list of illegal firearms that cannot be purchased in Canada.

Our government is serious about tackling gun crimes. The record shows that our commitment to the system of firearms control is efficient and effective. Since 2006, we have introduced mandatory prison sentences for those who commit gun crimes. We brought in tougher bail rules for serious weapons-related offences and improved front-end screening.

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There is an ongoing debate between police officers who support the registry and the great number of police officers in favour of scrapping the long-gun registry. The government will not turn its back on rural and urban Canadians by continuing to support the registry. Many people in urban Canada belong to shooting clubs. The government believes that the long-gun registry is ineffective and a huge waste of taxpayers' dollars, and that Canada's laws should not make criminals out of duck hunters, farmers and people who belong to sporting gun clubs.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Fraser: I thank the leader for her kind lesson in the mechanics of gun acquisition in this country, although I do not expect I shall ever put it into practice although I know thousands do so.

When police chiefs, police boards and the police association representing about 40,000 police officers across Canada all agree that the gun registry is useful to them and to us in the preservation of public safety, I tend to agree with them. We hear a great deal about how expensive the registry is to operate: $4.1 million in 2009. How can the leader say that amount is excessive against the number of lives that have been saved by it? Long guns kill people. Of the 16 shooting deaths of police officers since 1998, 14 of them were committed with a long gun. In 2007, about 15 per cent of all known firearm homicides in Canada were committed with a long gun. How can the leader stand there and argue that it is a waste of money? I do not follow her logic.

Senator LeBreton: In citing those statistics, the honourable senator made an argument against herself because the long-gun registry did not save those lives. With regard to access, the long- gun registry is part of a huge incomplete database.

Many police chiefs and front-line police officers will say that any police officer approaching a place where they suspect the presence of guns will assume the presence of guns. They do not rely on information from a registry. As good police officers, they assume that presence.

The honourable senator's leader, who has changed his position so many times he is like a spinning top, once said:

No sensible Canadian thinks the problem is the shotgun on the barn door. No sensible Canadian thinks the problem is the target shooter or the legitimate licensed gun owner. The problem is those hand guns.

I remind Senator Fraser that some of her fellow members of the opposition made a commitment to their constituents that they would oppose the long-gun registry. I urge the honourable senator to allow those members to express their view and to vote in accordance with their commitment to their constituents.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Fraser: It will be a frosty Friday before my party needs to learn any lessons from the Conservative Party of Canada about the value of free votes.

I am sorry, but I do not think that the deaths of 14 women at L'École Polytechnique were funny, leader.

An Hon. Senator: Our leader did not say that.

Senator Fraser: The numbers I cited about deaths obviously refer to people who died. However, there are thousands of cases where police believe that the fact that they were able to know that long guns were in the possession of given people, enabled the police to increase public safety and to save lives. By the end of last year, police had seized more than 87,000 long guns for reasons of public safety or after criminal use, enabling them to find and convict the criminals. What does the leader say to the victims and the families of the victims from L'École Polytechnique and to all the other victims, who say we need this registry? Canada needs this registry. How can the leader justify herself before them?

Senator LeBreton: The government says that any criminal activity using a gun is a horrific experience, and there are victims, no doubt. No police officer approaches any facility and assumes on the basis of registry information that there are no guns. The honourable senator cites statistics, but police officers support the fact that the problem is an influx of guns that are not available in Canada because they are on the banned list and are smuggled in illegally. They are part of the drugs, guns and gangs crowd. To those victims and to the honourable senator I say, support the government's much tougher penalties on those who use guns in the commission of a crime. The government could use any future money spent on this long-gun registry, which has not proven effective, on toughening up the laws at the borders, putting more border security agents in place and giving the police more resources so they can ferret out the criminals who operate across the country using illegal guns.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Status of Women

Funding for Women's Organizations

Hon. Grant Mitchell: The honourable leader mentioned a waste of money. What about the $50-billion deficit run up by the government in two and a half years? I guess most of that is waste. Let us have a debate on waste at some time. An honourable senator on this side should move an inquiry on the subject of waste.

Honourable senators, my question is about coincidence. It has been said there are no coincidences in life. When the government cuts the funding for 22 women's groups, it is likely not a coincidence that all those women's groups support gender equality, women's equality, women's choice, women's leadership and any number of things with which this government happens to disagree. What does it say about this government's real right-wing agenda, hidden or otherwise, that it would cut funding to 22 women's groups simply because they do not agree with what women's groups do in this and other countries around the world?

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Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I cannot resist Senator Mitchell's comment about the stimulus package and the deficit that we, as a government, implemented, in collaboration with our world partners, in order to save the economy — and that measure was insisted on by the opposition. However, if the honourable senator is proposing an inquiry about the deficit, how about having an inquiry into where that $39 million from the sponsorship scandal went?

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.

Senator LeBreton: Having said that, with regard to funding programs, as I said a couple of days ago, we have increased the funding for women's programs at Status of Women Canada to the highest level ever. We refocused women's programs to facilitate the full participation of women in the economic, social and cultural life in their communities. We believe in providing funding for programs that allow Canadian women to achieve real results and to improve their lives in a tangible way.

As the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women said yesterday — and as I have said before — funding programs of the government do not last forever.

The fact is, many groups have received new funding this year from the government as part of this increased funding, and 40 per cent of the organizations that received new funding describe combating violence against women as their primary focus.

Senator Mitchell: Let us talk about a specific cut. The leader says funding does not last forever and should not. Funding for MATCH International has gone on for 34 years, eight or nine of which were Mulroney years when she was in the office that probably approved it. Another three or four were Conservative years most recently, and now all of a sudden the funding is cut. MATCH International addresses violence against women and the genital mutilation of women in international locations around the world, and we were helping them.

What would the leader say to women vulnerable to that kind of violence and those crimes, now that MATCH International will not be there to help them because she has cut their funding by 75 per cent?

Think about that, honourable senators.

Senator LeBreton: Senator Mitchell can say what he likes, but his comments are not at all connected with the facts, coincidence or otherwise.

Minister Oda stated that a program evaluation at CIDA found that MATCH faces a number of serious financial and institutional challenges. Canadians want their aid to be effective, focused and efficient. This is not about women's issues or about the entitlement to funding, but about value for money. This government will ensure that it uses its international assistance effectively and accountably so we can make a difference.

Let me be clear, just in case Senator Mitchell did not understand. CIDA officials deemed this project ineligible due to accountability issues. This has nothing to do with ideology; it has everything to do with protecting taxpayers' dollars.

Senator Mitchell: Sure, and going through the G8 initiative to assist maternal health, without choice for women, has nothing to do with ideology at all. Not cutting $800,000 in funding to two groups that are now translating the Bible into two dialects in Africa is not ideological, either.

In order to clear out the issue of ideology, can the leader tell us what criteria the government has used to determine exactly which women's groups will get funding and which will not? Is she able to give me those criteria? She should not simply say it is a question of accountability.

Senator LeBreton: As I pointed out to honourable senators, all of these programs are evaluated by officials at CIDA. In the case of MATCH, officials found serious problems.

I can only relate to what happened when I was Minister of State for Seniors. We had a program called New Horizons. We would receive many applications from seniors groups for New Horizons. The officials at the seniors secretariat would evaluate them. There were always people who had received funds in the past that were deemed to be ineligible, and new groups were given funds. That is the way it works.

This has nothing to do with ideology. As a matter of fact, I mentioned groups the other day in regard to the issue of maternal health. I will not read their comments again, but CARE Canada, Plan Canada, Results Canada, Save the Children Canada, UNICEF Canada and World Vision all said:

It's time to focus on the hope and opportunity that this G8 Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health presents and end the suffering of millions of families around the world. It's time to commit significant and new investments to meet this need. It's time to measure success in lives saved, not political points scored.

That is what our government stands for.

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, one of the 22 women's groups cut was Womanspace, a Lethbridge organization helping women in crisis over the last 25 years. This organization will likely have to close its doors this summer, after it was denied a grant from the federal government. Workers there indicate that there is no other place that they can direct their clients. This issue is of particular concern, since all the social agencies in that city refer clients to Womanspace.

Can the leader tell us why the government would cut such an important and vital organization contributing to the empowerment of hundreds of women, including Aboriginal women?

Senator LeBreton: First of all, the honourable senator used an improper word when she said "cut."

Groups apply for funding through Status of Women Canada — or other agencies of government. Obviously some groups have been successful, year after year. Other groups have been denied the opportunity to have funds.

I reported on Tuesday that Status of Women Canada has increased its budget and has accepted applications from groups that had never been funded before. When a group in a particular community is denied government funding, I know it is hard for them to then look elsewhere. They become so reliant on government program funding that they think it is theirs forever and a day. They do not care about any other organization that may want to access funding, but only that theirs continues.

Senator Losier-Cool asked about another organization on Tuesday. These groups all apply for funding. There is a criteria followed. I do not have the details, but they might have put in a proposal that did not meet the criteria. That does not mean that the government is turning its back on funding women's programs.

I said a moment ago that new funding with the increased money under the Women's Program will go, in part, to new organizations that apply for funding and receive money for the first time, and 40 per cent of those groups are charged with programs to end violence against women.

[Translation]

Senator Tardif: Honourable senators, Status of Women Canada no longer subsidizes research and advocacy, the Court Challenges Program has been abolished, and true pay equity is being denied, yet again, with a vote in the other place.

Now, great organizations and associations such as Womanspace and 21 others have seen their grants cut. I will ask the question again: Why has Status of Women Canada's mandate undergone this ideological change?

[English]

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, it has nothing to do with ideological change. The fact is that Status of Women Canada, under our government, has increased the funding to women's groups.

(1430)

As I mentioned recently, many women's organizations feel that if they make an application to the government, they deserve to be considered, and not have the money go to the same groups year after year. Many groups that have applied for funding have been funded for years, and continue to be funded. We want to ensure that we touch on groups that have never been funded before, groups that are bringing forward innovative ideas. We also want to support groups that have already contributed great work across the country. For that reason, some groups are receiving funds again.

The bottom line, honourable senators, is that it is impossible for the government — and I do not care which government it is, the previous government or this government — to fund everyone. Decisions must be made by Status of Women Canada officials. They work with a set of criteria. Many women's organizations in the country are happy this year because, for the first time ever, the government has listened and has funded their programs.

[Translation]

Finance

Banking System

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question, if it can be answered, may help the government find funds for those women's groups.

Yesterday, we learned that the Bank of Montreal was the victim of Canada's largest-ever mortgage fraud and lost approximately $30 million; at least that is what we know so far. If these allegations are true, it demonstrates that our financial system is fragile, since charges have been laid against brokers, legal experts and bank employees. What is more, these problems were detected as early as 2006. It took four years and a global crisis for them to start to clean house. That surprises me because the Prime Minister boasts to the world about Canada's banking system being the strongest in the industrialized world and not facing the same problems that caused banking systems in the United States and Europe to collapse. In addition, he is still opposed to working with the G20 to establish international standards for these banks.

When will the government recognize the need to strengthen the financial system to ensure that no further fraud is committed, putting Canadian jobs at risk once again?

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): First, honourable senators, our banking system is sound and solid. The Prime Minister is right when he says that our banks should not be penalized or taxed when they conduct themselves properly, thanks to changes that Minister Flaherty brought in.

With regard to the Bank of Montreal and certain allegations, this matter seems to be located in one particular area. That incident is an example of why the government has reintroduced white-collar crime legislation, because this issue is serious. Hopefully, when Bill C-21 is introduced in this chamber, we will study the proposed legislation carefully and support the government's stronger measures to deal with white-collar crimes. Obviously, the situation to which the honourable senator referred, concerning the Bank of Montreal, is centred in one area. I do not see how that incident affects Canada's position in defending our banks on the international stage.

[Translation]

Senator Hervieux-Payette: It will be difficult to convince us that all these changes to the Criminal Code will solve every problem in Canadian society. It seems as though the Conservatives think that amending the Criminal Code is the only solution, and that it will fix everything.

However, since 2006, I have been shocked to see how much this Conservative government claims to be accountable and transparent — we see it every day. There is the problem of losing track of the Afghan detainees; the turmoil with Rights & Democracy; the ambiguities with Guergis and Jaffer; the intimidation of women's rights groups; and now the lawsuit against Conservative member Devinder Shory, who is being sued by the Bank of Montreal for his involvement in mortgage fraud.

When will this government show some transparency and responsibility? I remind senators of the act that we examined and passed with great determination.

When will the government start protecting pension funds and mortgages, to ensure that Canadian families do not lose their savings overnight and that their investments do not end up in the hands of speculators and fraudsters?

[English]

Senator LeBreton: I admire the honourable senator's effort to bring every talking point of the Liberal Party into her question, none of which, by the way, reflect on the government. The honourable senator mentioned many cases. All these situations will be dealt with in the fullness of time.

With regard to Devinder Shory, the honourable senator falls into the practice of the CBC, where simply because someone is named in a civil action, that person is presumed to be guilty. I think that is rather unfortunate. As Mr. Shory, who is a lawyer, indicated, he intends to fully and aggressively defend his good name. That is the extent to which I can comment, since this case is before the courts.

I will put the record, the ethics and the accountability of this government up against several previous governments, a hundred times out of a hundred, because in all cases we have conducted ourselves completely above-board and ethically.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, I have not received an answer to my question. If the leader wants a litany of problems caused by her government, the list will be much longer.

I conclude by asking the leader if she thinks that changing the Criminal Code is the solution to all of these problems.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, obviously, we are trying to strengthen the Criminal Code. No one can solve all the problems, especially the ones that Senator Hervieux-Payette perceives, with changes to the Criminal Code.

However, with regard to white-collar crime, the legislation introduced in the other place will make jail time mandatory for fraud over $1 million by setting a new mandatory minimum sentence of two years for such crimes; it will add new aggravating factors to toughening sentences, such as the impact on the victim and the magnitude of the fraud; it will require judges in all fraud cases to consider demanding that offenders make restitution to their victims; and it will allow affected groups to submit community impact statements to the court.

I grant that these changes to the Criminal Code will not solve all the problems, honourable senators, but they will be a major step forward in changing our justice system. Our government believes the justice system should put victims' rights ahead of perpetrators' rights.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. John D. Wallace moved second reading of Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (auto theft and trafficking in property obtained by crime).

He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak today in support of Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code in respect of auto theft and trafficking in property obtained by crime.

Auto theft and other forms of property crime continue to plague our communities across Canada. As honourable senators will recall, during the last session, the Senate was in the process of reviewing former Bill C-26 when Parliament was prorogued. Bill S-9 reproduces Bill C-26 as it was passed by the House of Commons. Accordingly, Bill S-9 will create a new offence of motor vehicle theft; a new offence to address tampering with an automobile's vehicle identification number, or what is sometimes referred to as its VIN; and new offences to address trafficking in property obtained by crime.

(1440)

Once again, as you will recall, there was strong support for Bill C-26 in the debates in the House of Commons, and there seem to be no outstanding issues with this particular bill. I certainly do hope that given this consensus, Bill S-9 will be able to pass through the Senate without delay, and that it will also enjoy the same support and efficient review in the House of Commons.

Canadians want stronger laws that will tackle auto theft, and they have had to wait far too long for these changes.

As I previously mentioned, Bill S-9 has three main components: the creation of a distinct offence of "theft of a motor vehicle"; second, a new offence for altering, obliterating or removing a Vehicle Identification Number, or its VIN; and third, new offences for trafficking in, and possessing for the purpose of trafficking, property obtained by crime, including the importing or exporting of such goods.

The first component, that is the distinct offence of theft of a motor vehicle, will be a hybrid offence, giving the Crown prosecutor discretion to proceed either by way of indictment or summary conviction, depending on the particular circumstances of the case. The maximum penalty on indictment will be a maximum of 10 years imprisonment or 18 months imprisonment on summary conviction.

Bill S-9 particularly targets repeat offenders by imposing a mandatory minimum penalty for those convicted of a third or subsequent offence. This penalty is not a "third-strike" penalty. It is a proportionate and appropriate response to the issue of repeat offenders, and gives those who are prosecuting these cases the flexibility to seek the mandatory sentence when, in their opinion, such a penalty is warranted.

Why is it that this distinct offence of theft of a motor vehicle is necessary? Property crime, and in particular auto theft, remains an issue of paramount importance for most Canadians. Yes, there has been a downward trend in auto theft rates, thanks mostly to the innovative policing policies and technological advances, but despite that, it still remains one of the highest-volume offences in Canada, averaging about 400 auto thefts per day. Yes, that is correct — 400 auto thefts each day. The goal of this bill is to assist the police in reducing these auto theft rates even further, so that when police apprehend these criminals, the repeat offenders will be incarcerated and removed from the streets.

Auto thefts hit Canadians in their pocketbooks. I know that we have cited the dollar value provided by the Insurance Bureau of Canada many times before, but it is extremely important that it not be forgotten; namely, that the total cost of auto theft to Canadians is approximately $1.2 billion each year. Without a doubt, these substantial costs are ultimately borne by taxpayers, the insurance industry, policyholders, governments and victims.

Even more important, the public safety aspect of auto theft cannot be overstated. Stolen vehicles are often driven recklessly and dangerously, or are involved in police chases, and have on numerous occasions resulted in serious injury, or death, to innocent bystanders.

Auto thefts are often committed as random acts by individual criminals, but increasingly, organized crime is becoming more and more deeply entrenched into the auto theft industry. It is estimated that roughly 20 per cent of all stolen vehicles are linked to organized crime activity. The financial motivation to commit auto theft is high, and indeed the profits made from the theft of motor vehicles form a very substantial source of income for organized crime.

As stated before, organized crime groups participate in the trafficking of stolen vehicles in at least three ways. First, organized crime is involved in the process of altering the legal identity of a vehicle by changing its VIN. Second, they operate "chop shops," where stolen vehicles are disassembled and their parts are trafficked, often to unsuspecting customers. Third, high- end, late model luxury sedans and sports utility vehicles are exported from Canadian ports to foreign locations in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Bill S-9 creates new tools that will address each of these unlawful activities.

This first form of criminal involvement — VIN tampering — is a process that involves stripping the vehicle of all existing labels, plates and other markings that bear the true Vehicle Identification Number, and then manufacturing replacement labels, plates and other markings bearing a false VIN that was obtained from imported or salvaged vehicles.

There is currently no offence in the Criminal Code that directly prohibits tampering with a VIN. Like trafficking, the current Criminal Code provision that is used to address VIN-tampering is the general offence of "possession of property obtained by crime" that is found in section 354 of the Criminal Code.

With Bill S-9, we are taking deliberate and clear steps to prohibit and punish this criminal behaviour. The proposed amendment will make it an offence to wholly or partially alter, obliterate or remove a VIN on a motor vehicle. Under the new offence, anyone convicted of tampering with a VIN could face imprisonment for a term of up to five years on indictment, and up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine of not more than $5,000 on summary conviction.

This will be an additional offence, so that a person could be charged with both "possession of property obtained by crime" under section 354 of the Code, as well as the proposed VIN- tampering offence, which in combination could result in a longer sentence.

It is also important to note that Bill S-9 creates an express statutory exception to ensure that those who must remove a VIN, as part of regular maintenance or repair work undertaken for a legitimate purpose, do not have to be concerned with facing any criminal liability.

An advantage that both the new VIN-tampering offence and the new distinct motor vehicle theft offence would have over the current offence used to cover these activities — namely, possession of property obtained by crime under section 354 of the Code — is that a conviction for these new offences will more clearly and accurately document, as part of their criminal record, a person's involvement in an organized vehicle theft ring. This will most definitely assist police and Crown prosecutors in dealing more appropriately with those particular offenders in any subsequent investigations and prosecutions.

Finally, Bill S-9 will also create new offences that target the trafficking in property obtained by crime, or the possession of such property for the purpose of trafficking. These amendments are extremely significant, and while my comments to this point have focused on auto theft, I want to be clear that the proposed trafficking offences are intended to target more broadly the entire criminal marketing chain that processes the proceeds of theft and other property crimes, including, for example, fraud.

These new offences will, however, also directly address the present auto theft problem. The trafficking in property obtained by crime includes the movement of stolen automobiles and their parts. This is where organized crime is most involved in auto theft, either through car theft rings, "chop shops" that dismantle stolen cars for parts, the act of "re-VINning" a vehicle to hide its identity, or the sophisticated international rings that smuggle stolen high-end luxury vehicles from Canada.

The new trafficking offence broadly defines trafficking to include the selling, giving, transferring, transporting, exporting from Canada, importing into Canada, sending, delivering or dealing with in any other way, as well as offering to do any of the above, in respect of property obtained by crime. This definition addresses the myriad ways in which criminal enterprises seek to get their ill-gotten gains to the eventual market. Bill S-9 also creates an offence of possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking in order to capture this unlawful activity even at its initial stage, where the goods have not yet started to move through the illegal marketing chain.

(1450)

Some might question why these new offences are necessary when the Criminal Code already prohibits the possession of property obtained by crime. Currently, section 354 of the Criminal Code — that is, the general offence of "possession of property obtained by crime" — which carries a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment for property valued over $5,000, is the principal Criminal Code offence that is now used to address trafficking in property obtained by crime. This possession offence does not, however, adequately capture the full range of activities that are involved in trafficking. The trafficking of property obtained by crime is an enterprise crime, and it is what motivates property crime more generally. With these new offences, Bill S-9 will be targeting all of the activities that are undertaken by criminal enterprise, and thereby making it considerably more difficult for organized crime, or individuals, to engage in these types of illegal behaviour.

The proposed new trafficking offences will capture all of the players who are involved in a trafficking operation, such as a chop shop, whereas the existing "possession of property obtained by crime" offence applies only to those who are actually in possession of the property, such as the stolen vehicles. By their very nature, operations such as chop shops have very little inventory at any given time in order to avoid detection and reduce the probability of multiple counts in the event of an arrest. These new offences go to the heart of what motivates property crime generally, and are specifically intended to address the entire chain of criminal acts that together yield the financial benefits that ultimately make property crime so lucrative.

Another extremely important point is that both of the proposed new trafficking offences will also have higher penalties than the existing offence of possession of property obtained by crime since trafficking is considered to be a more serious matter than simple possession. Where the value of the stolen goods in question is more than $5,000, the maximum penalty would be 14 years. Where the value is $5,000 or less, the maximum penalty would be five years if prosecuted as an indictable offence and six months if prosecuted as a summary conviction offence.

The current maximum penalty for possession of illegally obtained property is 10 years' imprisonment when the value of the property exceeds $5,000, and two years' imprisonment when the value does not exceed $5,000 and the prosecutor proceeds by indictment. The proposed new trafficking offence would add an additional four years beyond the penalty range for simple possession over $5,000 in order to reflect the fact that trafficking is a far more serious form of criminal activity. This is consistent with other 14-year maximum penalties that are applicable to other serious property crimes, such as fraud over $5,000, referred to in section 380 of the Criminal Code, and possession of counterfeit money, which is section 450 of the code.

Honourable senators, it is also important to note that these new trafficking offences will make available to Canada Border Services Agency the necessary authority to allow them to detain property, including stolen cars that are about to be exported from Canada, in order to determine if they are stolen and to allow the appropriate police agency to recover them.

Our government has been hard at work introducing legislation that will better protect Canadians from the illegal activities of organized crime. During the last session of Parliament, the Criminal Code was amended when former Bill C-14 came into force, and which now provides the police and justice officials with crucial new tools in the fight against organized crime. As well, our Government also ended the practice of awarding two-for-one credit for time served in custody prior to conviction.

With Bill S-9, our Government is continuing to demonstrate its commitment to making the lives of our citizens safer, by taking the necessary steps to help combat property crime and auto theft, in particular. This legislation provides a strong and much-needed measure to assist law enforcement officers and prosecutors in dealing with criminals who commit auto theft and traffic in property obtained by crime.

I have no doubt whatsoever that Canadians want to see this legislation enacted, and we respectfully look forward to its speedy passage into law.

(On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.)

World Economic Crisis

Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino rose pursuant to notice of April 29, 2010:

That he will call the attention of the Senate to the impact of the recent global economic crisis on Society.

He said: Honourable senators, Aristotle defined economics as a type of practical knowledge that helps a person to identify and obtain those things that are necessary for living well within a society. Over the past two centuries, this definition of economics has led many individuals — Adam Smith, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, John Maynard Keynes, and Amartya Sen, to name a few — to question what living well means.

The results of this questioning proved to be one of the cornerstones for the establishment of democracy. Democracy in North America was partially built on the abhorrence to the corruption and despotism of King George III. Benjamin Franklin noted that, even though the Constitution of the United States was not a perfect document, it would serve the people well as long as it was well administered. He also noted that every society eventually ends in despotism when corruption overcomes what Aristotle would call "natural fairness."

(1500)

The purpose of this inquiry is to raise the following question: Due to our inability to control a small number of morally corrupt individuals, are we allowing a state of despotism to develop — one in which Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, sounds like a latter day George III when he insists that he is only a banker with the social purpose of "doing God's work"? He obviously venerates a different god. I hope Mr. Blankfein's god cares about the pain caused to society, the destroyed careers, the evaporated children's education plans and the shattered dreams. Honourable senators, he peddled billions of dollars of sub-prime mortgages to investors. A Goldman Sachs banker described this product in an email to his girlfriend as "pure intellectual masturbation," with "no purpose."

Honourable senators, as we all know, the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Goldman Sachs with fraud and they are considering criminal charges. Derek De Cloet wrote the following in The Globe and Mail on April 16:

The facts supporting the securities fraud allegations against Goldman align perfectly with what has long been the singular criticism of the firm: that it rarely lets the interests of its customers get in the way of making a dollar for itself.

Honourable senators, greed, corruption and hubris have had a long and fruitful run and are as old as mankind. Some examples are: the Medici family, John Law, Tulipmania, junk bonds, the Savings and Loan crisis, the dot-com bubble, hedge funds, collateralized mortgage obligations, credit default swaps, the Greek financial crisis, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs. For some Canadian content, I include the following: Bre-X, Nortel, Atlantic Acceptance, Earl Jones, the Calgary ponzi scheme, Garth Drabinsky and we are now just hearing about a major mortgage fraud centred in Western Canada, and, of course, we have Mr. Conrad Black. This is truly an impressive list.

Honourable senators, what makes this list even more impressive is that in the past 30 years, we have had as many, if not more, financial frauds and crises than in the preceding 200 years. Why? Have we become more efficient? Or have we lost our moral compass? Actually, it is both. We, as a society, have become more efficient because we have managed to successfully remove social context and ethical consideration from discussions about economic development. This was easy to do. All that had to happen was to realign our focus away from people and their well- being to what statistical analysis stated was the way to make a lot of money.

As we can all appreciate, statistics are a flexible tool. The well- known economist Paul Krugman stated:

Anyone who has seen how economic statistics are constructed knows that they are really a sub-genre of science fiction.

If we take this science fiction and join it to the computational power of our computers, it appears that we have been given the freedom, easily and without conscience, to create and manipulate financial vehicles for personal power and professional gain. A credit mortgage obligation with 125 layers all based on the same pool of mortgages? No problem — especially when you can make a lot of money in transaction fees. Lest we forget, they were all blessed by Moody's and Standard & Poor's.

[Translation]

What is truly intriguing is that this morally bankrupt economic development has been going on unchecked for 30 years. Where are the regulators? It is not as if financial rules and regulations did not exist. If the regulators are not doing their job, why are they not themselves regulated?

Maybe it is because, at least in the United States, most of the regulators, and the regulators of regulators, used to work for Goldman Sachs: Henry Paulson, Tim Geithner, Reuben Jeffrey, Steve Shafran, Neel Kashkhari, Richard Gephardt, to name a few.

The New York Times has dubbed the U.S. leadership "Government Sachs." Lest we allow ourselves, here in Canada, to feel morally superior, let me note the comments of recently retired TD Bank economist Don Drummond.

Mr. Drummond noted that upon accepting the position in 2000, he asked Ed Clark, then TD's president, for advice regarding the role of the bank's chief economist. Mr. Clark said:

I'm going to give you the same answer that my boss at Merrill Lynch gave me when I left the public service, "Here's your office, it's your job to figure out what you do — but whatever it is, you better make the company a lot of money."

[English]

What happens when the financial leadership gets it wrong and their financial vehicles prove to be the equivalent of a Ford Pinto? This is where it gets interesting. Bank and corporate solidarity insist that taxpayers' money be used to prevent taxpayers from losing money. Essentially, the morally bankrupt reason for creating the financial vehicle in the first place provides "both an excuse for greed and an alibi when the disastrous consequences come home to roost," said Mark Freiman, former Deputy Attorney General of Ontario. According to the eminent American economist Hyman Minsky, profit seeking has become the sole basis by which we judge success.

[Translation]

As I have already noted, it was partially through much discussion and argument about the economic nature of man that a foundation was laid down for the development of democracy. What I am concerned about is that economics, the historical handmaiden of societal development, has become the prism through which we view all development.

This new form of economics is not even a science; it is an ideological justification for greed and arrogance with no regard for human needs, human welfare, human morals and ethics. Like a true ideology, this aberration of economics brooks no discussion — after all, how could the statistical facts possibly be wrong? After all, Citigroup's financial models showed the risk of default to be 10,000 to one — and then they defaulted.

Let me quote Mark Freiman again:

This latest meltdown was made possible by an ideology that glorified greed as the best regulator and as such dismissed any arguments for real regulation as sentimental and inefficient. The self-delusion was massive and made reflection unnecessary and real discussion impossible.

Is this self-delusion caused by ignorance and insensitivity? I would like to think so — both of these can sometimes be addressed through education and appropriate counselling. But I fear that the real cause is much more difficult to deal with. I think Minsky is correct: profit seeking — greed — has become the sole basis of economic motivation and has been for many years.

(1510)

[English]

In a speech given by His Highness the Aga Khan at the graduation ceremony at the University of Alberta, on June 9, 2009, he noted:

When we talk about the ethical realm, when we attack corruption, we are inclined to think primarily about government and politics. I am one, however, who believes that corruption is just as acute, and perhaps even more damaging, when the ethics of the civil and private sectors deteriorate. We know from recent headlines about scoundrels from the American financial scene to the halls of European parliaments — and we can certainly do without either. But the problem extends into every area of human enterprise. When a construction company cheats on the quality of materials for a school or a bridge, when a teacher skimps on class work in order to sell his time privately, when a doctor recommends a drug because of incentives from a pharmaceutical company, when a bank loan is skewed by kickbacks, or a student paper is plagiarized from the Internet — when the norms of fairness and decency are violated in any way, then the foundations of society are undermined.

The history of economic development, which led to the establishment of democracy, was full of discussion, dialogue and argument about what constitutes living well for all of society. The past 30 years have shown what can happen when the discussion is narrowed to such an extent that living well applies only to those who can afford to manipulate our economy. What is the result? It seems to me that we are in the process of undermining those whose strength and support constitute the backbone of democracy — the middle class.

Job losses, foreclosures and financial volatility are all causes of marital, family and mental breakdowns, suicides, shattered dreams and rising fear.

This result has not proven to be an obstacle for some. They will craft new financial vehicles, supported by intriguing statistics that allow them to profit from the insecurity and loss of others. In this manner, they can further accumulate both money and power, mostly at the expense of the middle class. Some have described this as "toxic ideas rather than toxic assets."

[Translation]

Democracy was born on the back of corruption and absolutism. Perhaps our current state of affairs is a wake-up call reminding us that we need to re-evaluate and renew our commitment to democracy.

In July of 2008, the British Academy published a report addressing what has become the dangerous process of narrowing of information and self-referencing in the professions, what the British Academy refers to as "siloing of knowledge." The report strongly advises that our public, private and academic institutions need to broaden all public policy discussions in order to ensure that, once again, we take all of humanity into consideration when we discuss what constitutes "living well." Theoretically, this is easily accomplished. All we have to do is make sure that we discuss and argue about not just how to make more money, but about our communal history, faith, science, goals and aspirations. Whether in fact we can do so is another question.

[English]

Two years ago, I became involved in a project called the Forum on Ethics, developed under the auspices of the Christian Jewish Dialogue of Toronto. The Executive Director of the CJDT, Barbara Boraks, is involved with the forum and is a researcher for this inquiry and a more extensive report, which I will ask permission to table.

The forum is conducting research into the possibility of creating sector-specific projects — business, law and military — the goal of which is to address the "silo of knowledge" issue by broadening the scope of discussion within these sectors. Initial responses have led to a number of interesting observations, including a sense that, of the three sectors, the military is the most open to the need to broaden the terms of reference, and business is the least open.

A few notes on each sector may help illustrate this difference. In terms of the military, an initial event about the morality of war held in March 2009 at the Canadian Forces College has led to the creation of a number of specific projects. The goal of these projects is to raise and discuss questions that are of importance to the development of military concepts within a societal context.

In the law, working with the Centre for Legal Professionalism based at the University of Toronto, a project has been identified that would allow law students to gain a broader and deeper understanding of ethical issues relevant to the practice of law within a societal context. There exists an understanding that, without this broader context, the study of law can become self- referencing and separated from its responsibility to civil society. This project will be led by law students.

In terms of business, initial investigation into a business-specific project led to the creation of a draft proposal for the Rotman School of Management located at University of Toronto. This proposal suggested that undergraduate business students meet regularly in small, informal groups. Discussions would centre around business cases and concepts, but with the added dimension of how they relate to broader society and ethical issues. These discussions would be facilitated by graduate students in the social sciences. Discussions with representatives from the undergraduate Bachelor of Commerce program to further develop this proposal did not prove fruitful.

Honourable senators, the latest global crisis should be a wake- up call. However, wake-up calls, like early morning alarms, are never easy to respond to. The only way to proceed is one step at a time. Perhaps we can begin by acknowledging that we have allowed ideas to become ideologies, and we have replaced responsibilities with rules. Ideas and responsibilities can be discussed, argued about and sometimes even resolved. Ideologies and rules are not so compliant.

North America was founded on two guiding principles: "Peace, order and good government" and "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." For many years, as John A. Macdonald and Benjamin Franklin both understood, these principles were not mutually exclusive.

Somehow, over the past 30 years, a small morally questionable element of our society has put these principles at odds with each other. World leaders have reassured us, and continue to reassure us, that the problems are being fixed and safeguards put in place. Although hopeful — and history has taught us otherwise — unless the fundamental principles of ethics, morality, justice and fairness are universally applied, I remain skeptical. I urge colleagues to engage in debate on this issue, after which I will reply and ask permission to table my report, which is now being translated.

(On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

The Senate

Motion to Urge Government to Provide for the Participation of Haitian Women in the Reconstruction of their Country Adopted

Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool, pursuant to notice of May 5, 2010, moved:

That the Senate of Canada ask the Government of Canada, as regards its assistance to Haiti, to ensure and to prove with known and reliable indicators that Haitian women participate fully and equitably in the sustainable reconstruction and the economic, political and social life of their country; and that a message be sent to the House of Commons to seek its concurrence in this motion.

She said: Honourable senators, the motion that I am submitting for your approval is important to me. This motion is also very important to many women and men for whom Haiti is represented by the faces and names of people who experienced the January earthquakes as a cruel natural catastrophe. This catastrophe took more than 200,000 lives and left more than 1 million people homeless. It also turned the first page in the country's reconstruction. Everyone is full of hope for a brighter tomorrow.

I remember well the government leader's reply of March 30. She could not imagine that the reconstruction of Haiti would not involve women. I thank her for her honesty and know that, in addition to the good intentions, she hopes, as I do, that Haitian women will have a real and measurable role in the reconstruction and post-construction work.

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In fact, these women constitute more than half the country's population; they have shouldered the responsibility for family and social cohesion of their nation for a long time; and for just as long have endured unwarranted abuse and unfair discrimination.

I would like to quote an open letter to major contributors to the reconstruction of Haiti, regarding regional development and gender-based analysis, prepared by a coalition of women who work in Haiti and in other countries around the world. It was posted on the site of the Observatoire sur le développement régional et l'analyse différenciée selon les sexes, or ORÉGAND, maintained by Université du Québec en Outaouais, and managed by Professor Denyse Côté. Honourable senators, I cannot say it any better:

To overcome discrimination and to fulfill their roles as primary care-givers, Haitian women require and are legally entitled to a policy architecture that upholds the full range of their human rights, including social and economic rights. Women's leadership and care-giving work should be recognized and supported by policy and program mandates and transparent resource commitments that enable women to play meaningful, sustained and formal roles in all stages of the relief and recovery process.

Allow me to read another quote, honourable senators, this time from an article by Sophie Perchellet, of the French arm of the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt. Ms. Perchellet writes with intelligence and a sense of deep justice. I quote:

. . . the challenge of this misnamed " reconstruction", is that Haitians must deconstruct the former system before even laying the foundation for a radically different logic . . . of a new Haiti, devoid of the neo-liberal capitalist model that caused the impoverishment and exclusion of the majority of Haitians.

I am sure you will agree with me, honourable senators, that it is time for a new beginning for Haiti, and women must play their proper part in the renewal process. I am not the only one who says so, because you can find the same appeal on the IRIN news site, a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. IRIN says that women's groups were noticeable by their absence from the international donor conference held on March 31 in New York, a mistake that we should all hope will not be repeated.

IRIN also says that more than half of Haitian households were run by women before the January 12 catastrophe, a proportion that will only increase because so many people died in the earthquakes. And yet since January 12, the number of rapes and instances of sexual violence against Haitian women and girls has risen steadily, jeopardizing their full involvement in building the new Haiti.

The top priority in involving women in Haiti is therefore to protect them effectively by funding militias or neutral forces to patrol the refugee camps, providing police and soldiers when needed to rebuild Haiti's police forces and military, and putting in place a true rule of law where criminals will be judged and punished.

More generally, the next step must be to develop and implement training programs for health professionals, police forces, politicians, the army and members of the legal profession in order to identify, prevent and address any form of discrimination and violence against girls and women.

Coming back to the purely practical aspect of involving Haitian women, and in light of the past, present and future importance of their role as family heads, I want to say that women must be consulted as the earthquake damage and the resulting needs are assessed. They know what they have lost and what they need, both for themselves and for the children for whom they are too often solely responsible.

Another priority that will facilitate women's involvement is the development of a health network combining the infrastructure of dispensaries, clinics and hospitals with sufficient human resources, whether local or on loan from other countries. I am talking about doctors, and also nurses, who are often more useful in most cases. According to Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health: Haiti/Zanmi Lasante, Haiti currently needs nearly half a million health care workers.

This health network should also have adequate financial resources and allow women and the rest of the population to have access to medical information and supplies, including with respect to reproductive health. Maternal and reproductive health is an essential priority in Haiti, and Haiti is one of Canada's top priorities in terms of international aid.

Education is another essential network needing to be set up, from preschool to university. Right now, simply sending the children to school will help them feel safe and secure in the wake of the trauma they have just endured. The absence of children during the day will allow women to participate economically or socially in rebuilding their country.

The education network, like the health network, will have to balance the need for infrastructure for the schools and colleges with the need for human and financial resources. What good is it to have schools if there are not enough teachers or supplies? What is more, future generations of better educated citizens can only help Haiti and contribute to its renewal.

Another way of encouraging women to participate is to develop courses adapted either to their traditional activities or to non- traditional activities that will free them from the shackles of their history and allow them to take their place as equal partners with men in the Haitian economy and society. I am thinking of professional training for employment in information technology, in the financial sector and in other non-primary service industries.

Women also have a role to play in politics, which is a key element in many countries coming out of a crisis. Support should be provided specifically to female candidates or women who are politically active in municipal, regional or national politics. This should include logistical support such as equipment, materials, telecommunications services and so forth. This support should also be of a legal nature, including training on international conventions and national legislation, which the Network of women parliamentarians of the Francophonie, which I chair, has already started providing. Finally, support should also come in the form of education so that female candidates or female politicians can receive training tailored to areas that are helpful or of interest to their electors. I am thinking of training in financial management, economics, agriculture and informatics, among other areas.

As soon as the Haitian political leadership gets up to speed, if not before, it will be important to develop and invest in lobbying activities by both civil society and experts, to remind Haitian leaders that all policies, programs, bills and legislation must show equal respect for women and girls.

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As for existing programs and legislation, they must be re- examined and amended as needed to ensure respect for gender equality. Furthermore, we must be sure to carefully examine legislation dealing with property ownership, including farmland, matrimonial property and access to housing, all important issues for women.

Honourable senators, the main theme or common denominator in all these initiatives aimed at ensuring that Haitian women are fully involved in the development of their new country is a gender- based analysis, or GBA. GBA is already a reality in Canada, where it is used in several departments. Status of Women Canada is its driving force. GBA is a structured tool that allows us to look at a policy, program, bill or legislation that has some effect on a significant portion of the population in order to determine if that effect applies equally to women, and if that effect is equally beneficial for women and men.

Gender-based analysis will play a critical role in building a new Haiti because it will give women their rightful place in the country's economy, society and government. For example, applying GBA to project funding will remove any possible bias in favour of projects that would primarily benefit men, such as construction projects. Using GBA to assess the funding and management of projects in Haiti will promote projects that allow or require women to be hired and prioritize projects that more directly benefit women, such as the construction of hospitals, clinics and markets, maternal and newborn health education, microcredit and women's organizations.

Gender-based analysis is neither a fad nor a politically correct trend. It is a tool whose usefulness has been proven in the 21st century and one that is essential to ensuring respect for women's national and international rights. Status of Women Canada has a small group of GBA specialists, and I am sure that they can educate the Canadian men and women involved in rebuilding Haiti, from nurses to project managers. Without GBA, any project that Canada funds or manages in Haiti will be doomed to fail in terms of respect for women's rights and their full participation.

One half of the Haitian population is prepared to participate fully in building a new country. I urge this august chamber to reach out to these women and to call on the Government of Canada to provide fair support along the way.

Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: In this day and age, in countries at war or recovering from major disasters — and I must say that Haiti has experienced both —

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the honourable senator's time has expired. Do you wish to grant her five more minutes?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Dallaire: Haiti is a country that was already torn apart by internal conflict and humanitarian disasters. We realize that in this day and age, we cannot move forward with development or improve the social situation, for women, men or children, without being assured of a reasonable level of security.

Do you not think that it would be important for Canada to invest in or seek to send to Haiti women from Canadian police forces who speak Creole and French in order to establish this atmosphere of security?

Senator Losier-Cool: I thank you for this very important question. I was in Haiti before the earthquake, about a year ago. I asked women's groups what they needed most urgently, what their priorities were, and they said that security was their priority.

The Honourable Minister Cannon was in Haiti yesterday, where he made an announcement about security projects. When I have the chance, I will send him my speech and make sure that these security projects are fair and include women in the process of creating security. That is the first thing.

Will we send children to school if there is no security? It is all related.

Senator Dallaire: My question had to do with your speech, but also Minister Cannon's announcement from Haiti. We hear announcements of great things, but very few details. And when we look for details, they are hard to find.

I hope you will send your speech to the minister and ask him to respond to your requests concerning women.

Senator Losier-Cool: I will most certainly send it to him. As for the Creole language, I know that the minister was accompanied by Denis Coderre, a member of Parliament who speaks Creole fluently and is familiar with Haiti.

Hon. Andrée Champagne: Thank you, honourable senators. I hope that the very important speech that Senator Losier-Cool just made — a well-structured one that opened our eyes to the living conditions there and also offered us some suggestions — will be kept safe and be part of the documents we will take to the APF general assembly in Dakar in July.

Senator Losier-Cool: I have asked that it be put on the Network of Women Parliamentarians' website and I would be happy to send it.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, are you ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Adjournment

Leave having been given to revert to Government Notices of Motions:

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(h), I move:

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, May 11, 2010, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, May 11, 2010, at 2 p.m.)