Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
3rd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 147, Issue 39
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I
received notice earlier today from the Leader of the Government who requests,
pursuant to rule 22(10), that the time provided for the consideration of
Senators' Statements be extended today for the purpose of paying tribute to the
Honourable Senator Pitfield, who resigned from the Senate on June 1, 2010.
I remind honourable senators that, pursuant to our rules,
each senator will be allowed only three minutes, and they may speak only once.
However, is it agreed that we continue our tributes to Senator Pitfield under
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: We will, therefore, have 30
minutes in total. Any time remaining after tributes will be used for other
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, today we bid farewell to a colleague, the Honourable
Senator Michael Pitfield, after almost 28 years of service in the Senate of
In announcing his decision to retire early from this
place, the senator stated, in part:
I believe that service to our nation is the highest
privilege that a Canadian can undertake.
Our former colleague has lived these words from a young
age and devoted his professional work to this belief. All honourable senators
are aware of Senator Pitfield's long career, which began in 1959 when he went to
work for the Honourable Davie Fulton, Minister of Justice under Prime Minister
John George Diefenbaker. Only 16 years later, in 1975, he became the
youngest-ever Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet upon
appointment by Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
The former Prime Minister named Michael Pitfield to this
place, the Senate, in 1982, where he has sat as an independent for almost three
decades. The senator was active in the work of the Senate committees, perhaps
most notably as Chair of the Special Committee of the Senate on the Canadian
Security Intelligence Service, which was instrumental in the establishment of
the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS.
I would be remiss if I did not highlight Michael
Pitfield's valuable contribution to our shared community of Ottawa, most notably
with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, where he served as a member of
the board for many years, including as its chair. Seven years ago, a chair in
cardiac surgery was established at the University of Ottawa in Senator
Pitfield's name. It is a sad coincidence that both Senator Pitfield and Senator
Keon retired from this place this spring.
As is well known, honourable senators, Senator Pitfield is
the honorary Chair of the Parkinson's Society of Canada, a position that is no
doubt tremendously meaningful as he has waged a personal fight against this
dreaded disease for some time. It must be difficult for Senator Pitfield to want
to contribute as much as ever to the work of this chamber but to have that
desire tempered by physical constraints.
Senator Pitfield's decision to retire early from the
chamber is one that I fully respect, as I am sure we all do. It is my sincere
hope that this decision will aid in his overall well-being and that he leaves
this place knowing he has made a significant contribution.
Thank you, Senator Pitfield, for your lifetime of service
to our great country and your work in the Senate of Canada. On behalf of the
Conservative caucus, I wish you nothing but the best.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to our colleague, Senator
Michael Pitfield, on the occasion of his early retirement from the Senate.
We all came to the Senate out of a desire to make this
country the best that it can be. For Michael Pitfield, this desire has been the
defining purpose of his entire life. It would have been easy for him to pursue a
lucrative career in the financial world, but Michael Pitfield chose to follow
his own path and, fresh out of law school, he entered Canada's public service.
He began, as the leader has said, in the office of the
Honourable Davie Fulton, Minister of Justice in the Diefenbaker government, and
there he worked alongside a few people you may have heard of — Brian Mulroney,
Marc Lalonde and Lowell Murray. Still in his 20s, he worked on groundbreaking
public policy studies including Grattan O'Leary's Royal Commission on
Publications that studied Canada's troubled publishing industry and Kenneth
Carter's Royal Commission on Taxation, whose recommendations continue to
resonate decades later. Michael Pitfield was even part of a special committee
tasked by Prime Minister Lester Pearson with creating a new national honour: the
Order of Canada.
Michael Pitfield has always been intensely proud of the
Canadian tradition of an independent public service. During his many years in
the public service, he served under four prime ministers, Conservative and
Liberal. However, there is no question his name will be most
closely associated with the era of Prime Minister Pierre
Elliott Trudeau. During that time he became the Prime Minister's closest adviser
and most senior public servant, the Clerk of the Privy Council.
There were so many challenges and so many achievements in
those years, but today I will only mention two. First, there was the patriation
of the Canadian Constitution in 1982 that included the Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms. In his words:
The patriation of the Constitution marked the
successful evolution of our country to maturity, without the trauma so many
other nations are forced to endure during the course of their own
development. There was a national will to build together, on the principle
of "the greatest good for the greatest number."
Second, there was his work to help build a highly
professional, dedicated public service that attracted some of the best and most
able minds from across the country. When he left the public service in 1982, he
told a gathering of deputy ministers that together they shared the supreme test
of professionalism in the public service, which, in his view, was, "to walk with
courage the thin line between policy and politics."
Senator Pitfield took that test seriously. When he was
summoned to this chamber in December 1982, he chose to sit as an independent, a
status he maintained until his resignation on June 1, 2010.
His contributions in his years here were many and varied.
Soon after Senator Pitfield arrived, he became Chair of the Special Committee of
the Senate on the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. The committee was
asked to study the bill to establish the then proposed civilian service, CSIS,
which was to take over the intelligence services that had been conducted up to
then by the RCMP.
After three months of close examination, the committee
tabled its report. Its concern was unambiguous — protection of security must be
balanced with the preservation of individual rights. As Senator Pitfield said
The raison d'être of a security service is the
maintenance of a free and democratic society. But if an agency has too much,
or inadequately controlled power, it can be a threat to individual rights.
On the other hand, if the security of the state is not sufficiently
protected, there is a danger of the weakening of a society in which freedom
and democracy should flourish.
These words are prescient, honourable senators.
To achieve this delicate balance, the committee proposed,
and the government accepted, a number of significant amendments to the bill,
which passed in June 1984.
Throughout his years here, Senator Pitfield served on
numerous Senate committees, has spoken out on national issues, such as the
Clarity Act, taught university courses, and worked to improve both Canadians'
understanding of their federal government and their access to participate in the
work of that government.
An Ottawa Citizen editorial accurately said of
Michael Pitfield that he "epitomized. . . what is meant by the phrase `public
service."' He did everything early — academically and professionally — so I
guess it follows that he chose to resign from the Senate early, too.
Unfortunately, however, as Senator LeBreton has said, that was because of his
long battle with Parkinson's disease.
Honourable senators, Senator Pitfield has the deep
satisfaction of knowing that he dedicated his life to a deserving cause: service
to his fellow Canadians. Thanks to his work, Canada truly is a better place.
Senator Pitfield, if you read these remarks, please accept
our profound thanks and our very best wishes to you, to your three children,
Caroline, Tom and Kate, and to your grandchildren.
Hon. Pierre De Bané: Honourable senators, I rise
today to pay tribute to the Honourable Michael Pitfield. Like many of you, I am
sad to see him leave us, because there are very few Canadians who can say they
have contributed as much as Senator Pitfield has to making the country a better
place and enhancing the well- being of their fellow Canadians.
Senator Pitfield began serving Canada in the armed forces,
first as an officer cadet in the Royal Canadian Army and then in the Royal
Canadian Navy. After studying law at McGill University, he began working for the
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada in 1958.
So began one of the most illustrious careers in the Public
Service of Canada.
Senator Pitfield went on to work in the Privy Council
Office, serving as a member of the special committee that created the Order of
Canada, Canada's highest national order. After several years in the Privy
Council, he was appointed Deputy Minister of the Department of Consumer and
Corporate Affairs. I served at that time as Parliamentary Secretary of the
Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, so I had the chance to see Mr.
Pitfield almost daily. What impressed me about Senator Pitfield was to see the
way he always thought about the impact of a particular policy on the Canadian
people. He felt it was his duty to give an unbiased point of view, thinking only
about the good of the people of our country.
Like all clerks of the Privy Council, he played an
important role in organizing the machinery of government so that the elected
people make the decisions and no one else. Senator Pitfield participated, like
his predecessors and all the clerks who have succeeded him, in putting in place
a system that allowed the representatives of the people to make the decisions.
Honourable senators, who can forget the essential role
played by Senator Pitfield in the patriation of our Constitution? Some of the
most profound speeches that I have heard in this chamber were given by the
Honourable Senator Pitfield on the Constitution of our country and on his vision
of our country.
Honourable senators, for all that, I would like to tell
Senator Pitfield how much we will regret his leaving this chamber and how much
the whole country is forever indebted to him.
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, it is a
privilege to be able to pay tribute to Senator Michael Pitfield as he retires
from the Senate.
Senator Pitfield brought to our chamber an impressive
background in the field of public administration, coupled with solid credentials
in academia. His brilliant career in government included his appointment as
Clerk of the Privy Council, the highest position in the public service. He also
taught at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and was later named fellow of
the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. He was also a member of the
first board of trustees of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, an
institution that our colleague Senator Segal knows very well.
Assigned to the Privy Council, Senator Pitfield was
responsible for, among other files, most of the preparatory work leading to the
creation of the Order of Canada, providing its name and establishing its
independent chancery. His role is well described in Christopher McCreery's book
The Order of Canada: Its Origin, History, and Development. He later became
Deputy Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs and supervised the "Time-
Reader's Digest Act" to stimulate the industry of Canadian publications. In
1975, as was said, at the young age of 37, he was appointed Clerk of the Privy
Council and Secretary to the Cabinet by Prime Minister Trudeau. While serving in
this position in the last Trudeau administration, he became head of the team,
along with former Senator Michael Kirby, involved in the patriation of the
Constitution and the establishment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. That is when I had the privilege to work closely with him.
In leaving the Public Service in 1982, he refused to
receive the Order of Canada to avoid any impression of a conflict of interest.
It was this innate sense of probity that led him to sit as an independent
senator when he was summoned to the Senate.
As a senator, he continued to be active in important
issues of public administration. Each time Senator Pitfield stood up in the
Senate to speak on national issues such as the Clarity Act or the reform of the
Senate, his views always had a profound influence in the sober second thought
and debate taking place in our chamber. All senators knew that what he had to
say would be meaningful, well thought out, and based on his long experience and
deep reflections on public administration. Senator Pitfield's views on Senate
reform were equally clear. He said:
It is essential to recognize what is uniquely Canadian
to avoid seduction by what can be taken discreetly from other systems
because it simply happens to look good in another context. Chances are that
transplants would cause, in practice, grave distortion to our own system of
Senator Pitfield brought a superior sense of professional
and selfless service to our chamber. We all benefited from his wisdom and
insight, but, beyond his intellectual depth, Senator Pitfield was a real
gentleman who was courteous and respectful of different points of view. He
inspired other senators through his integrity, keen intelligence, independence
of mind and vast experience. Senator Pitfield represents the best that the
Senate can be.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I join
these tributes to Senator Michael Pitfield on his retirement from this place.
Senator Pitfield is a fine man and a senator who is deeply endeared to many of
us. He was appointed here on the advice of then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott
Trudeau on December 22, 1982 to sit as an independent senator.
Honourable senators, we know about Senator Pitfield's
great devotion to our country and of his great work in the public service. He
always believed, as he said in his press release, that "service to our nation is
the highest privilege that a Canadian can undertake, and for 50 years I have
striven to serve Canada as a senior public servant and senator." He believes
this deeply and his great contribution as Clerk of the Privy Council reveals
that and portrays that.
Honourable senators, Senator Pitfield had a very
well-tuned and well-stocked mind. He was a brilliant man. However, there is
another side of him that I knew of that I would like to speak of today. I speak
of his spiritual side, his relationship with God. Senator Pitfield's life plan
and life's journey always included time for prayer, meditation and reflection.
When time permitted, he loved to get away to the beautiful monasteries of
Quebec, particularly the Benedictine monastery at Saint-Benoît-du-Lac and the
Cistercian or Trappist monastery in Oka. He and I had discussed this many times.
Honourable senators, good service is important, and good
service, as Martin Luther King once said, depends on "a heart full of grace and
a soul generated by love." Senator Pitfield embodied this.
I bid Senator Pitfield farewell from the Senate and I say
to his family above, who are watching and listening, that he was deeply esteemed
in this place. Every time he spoke, he held the undivided attention of every
Having said that, and wanting his children and
grandchildren to know that he was a good servant, I say to Senator Pitfield, and
I know his health has not been good: Have the best retirement you can possibly
Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, I was
very sad to hear about the resignation of my colleague and friend, the
Honourable Michael Pitfield. I wish him well, knowing that he has made a
much-appreciated contribution to Canadian public affairs for many years.
For half a century, the name Michael Pitfield has been
synonymous with leadership excellence in public administration. He is held in
very high esteem by parliamentarians, public servants, academics, students and
business people, both in Canada and abroad.
When I worked at the Privy Council Office as deputy
secretary, I was able to appreciate the values Michael Pitfield had left behind,
values such as professional rigour and personal integrity. After I was sworn in
as a senator in 1995, I continued to look to him as a model of balance, careful
deliberation and refined elegance.
All Canadians share the memory of one image, a moment that
calls to mind our country's ongoing progress, in which the Honourable Michael
Pitfield played a key role. Of course, I am talking about the famous photograph
of the signing ceremony marking the repatriation of our Constitution, showing
the late Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, his clerk, Michael Pitfield, and
I thank Michael Pitfield for passing on his values as a
senior official, but especially as a parliamentarian in the Senate of Canada. He
has personified an institution that cherishes noble values.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, these have
been wonderful and wonderfully eloquent tributes to Michael Pitfield, and richly
deserved. All that remains for me to do is to express my profound sadness at the
circumstances that have led to his departure from this place; my sadness also
that we are to be deprived of his intellectual gifts and his quiet, though
passionate, commitment to public service.
It has been noted that our respective careers, his and
mine, began in the same place. It is also a fact that they diverged radically
from earliest times. Nevertheless, I do want to record with the greatest of
pleasure that our relationship from different perspectives and different posts
over the years has been an unfailingly agreeable and pleasant one, thanks in
large part to his own objectivity and his own innate gifts of kindness and
Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, we were sad
to learn of the resignation of our colleague, Senator Michael Pitfield. He will
be greatly missed.
A member of this chamber for 27 years, Senator Pitfield
rose above partisan politics and was the voice of wisdom, always remaining
focused on finding the best way to serve the common good of all Canadians.
Those of us who had the opportunity to listen to him here
will remember how we listened attentively and with respect to each of his
speeches, which were characterized by intellectual rigour, independence of mind
and clarity of thought. Every one of his speeches should be reread by all of us
and serve as models for our own contributions to the debates of this chamber.
By agreeing to sit in the Senate in 1982, Mr. Pitfield
continued his previous commitment to putting his immense talents at the service
of all Canadians, without exception.
He was very young when he entered the federal public
service and he quickly reached the highest levels. His significant contribution
to major policies over three decades — the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s — has been
recognized by everyone.
Canada owes Senator Pitfield a great debt of gratitude. We
hope that his remarkable career will inspire many young Canadians to follow in
We regret that illness is preventing him from further
participation in the work of this chamber. However, we wish to assure him that
his contribution will not be forgotten and we thank him from the bottom of our
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before
proceeding to Senators' Statements, I would like to draw your attention to the
presence in the gallery of Yvon Vallières, President of the National Assembly of
On behalf of all senators, I welcome you to the Senate of
Canada, Mr. President.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators,
I would like to talk to you about a most serious situation in terms of
preventing mass atrocities and potentially even genocide against the Baha'i
community in Iran.
Honourable senators, I rise to draw your attention to the
extremely difficult situation confronting the Baha'i community of Iran. With
roughly 300,000 members, the Baha'i community is Iran's largest non-Muslim
Honourable senators may be aware that the Iranian
government, ever suspicious of religious minorities, systematically persecutes
leaders from the Baha'i community in violation of domestic and international
laws. Seven members of the group that coordinated the social and spiritual
affairs of the Baha'i community in Iran have been imprisoned for two years on
trumped-up charges. Their trial took place this past Saturday. It has now
concluded and the verdict is eagerly being applied.
However, state-sanctioned persecution also extends to the
broader Baha'i community. The Iranian government has sanctioned arbitrary
arrests and detention, mass expulsion from educational institutions, and denial
of employment in the public sector, along with the incitement of hatred and the
constant threat of violence.
As a member of the United Nations' Secretary-General's
Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention I can say that there is no clearer
example of a nation leading its way into a potential genocide scenario. It is
meeting all the criteria.
Having banned the elected bodies and the ad hoc groups
responsible for seeing to the needs of the Baha'i community, the Government of
Iran is now attempting to prevent Baha'is from having any form of community
life, a flagrant denial of the religious freedoms outlined in Article 18 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The government's efforts to identify and monitor
individual members of the Baha'i community are a particularly troubling part of
the strategy to eliminate the Baha'i community of Iran as a viable entity. In
the past, aggressive efforts to identify members of a minority group often have
been the precursor to deliberate and premeditated violence in the form of ethnic
cleansing and, ultimately, genocide.
Individual members of the Baha'i faith have been summoned
to government offices and asked to identify members of their communities who are
involved in planning religious gatherings and other events. Others have been
ordered to leave their homes or to sign agreements stating that they will no
longer speak to specific individuals. The Ministry of Intelligence also disrupts
events and asks those in attendance if they are members of the Baha'i
administration and how they are receiving the messages from the international
governing body of Baha'i in the United Kingdom. As well, the government has been
known to spread misinformation about the Baha'i community, claiming that they
are spies and that they encourage other Iranians to take whatever action they
wish in response to baseless allegations against members of the Baha'i
community. We are watching genocide in slow motion in Iran.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish
to draw the attention of honourable senators to the presence in the gallery of
Dr. Doo Ho Shin, a pioneering leader and leading pathologist in the province of
British Columbia and a distinguished member of the National Seniors Council. He
is a guest of the Honourable Senator Martin.
On behalf of all honourable senators, welcome to the
Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have
the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2009-10 annual report of
the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner in relation to public
office-holders, pursuant to paragraph 90(1)(b) of the Parliament of
Hon. Dennis Dawson: Honourable senators, I have the
honour to table the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport
and Communications, entitled: Plan for a Digital Canada.
This is the first web-based report issued by the Senate in
(On motion of Senator Dawson, report placed on the Orders
of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the
Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of
the Senate, I will move:
That, at the end of Question Period and Delayed
Answers on Tuesday, June 22, 2010, the Senate resolve itself into a
Committee of the Whole in order to receive Ms. Suzanne Legault respecting
her appointment as Information Commissioner;
That television cameras be authorized in the Senate
Chamber to broadcast the proceedings of the Committee of the Whole, with the
least possible disruption of the proceedings;
That photographers be authorized in the Senate Chamber
to photograph the witness, with the least possible disruption of the
That the Committee of the Whole report to the Senate
no later than one hour after it begins.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the
Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of
the Senate, I will move:
That in accordance with section 54(1) of the Access
to Information Act, Chapter A-1, R.S.C. 1985, the Senate approve the
appointment of Ms. Suzanne Legault as Information Commissioner.
Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, I give
notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That, pursuant to rule 95(3)(a), the Standing Senate
Committee on Official Languages be authorized to sit between Monday,
September 13, 2010 and Friday, September 17, 2010, inclusive, even though
the Senate may then be adjourned for a period exceeding one week, for the
purposes of meeting outside the city of Ottawa in relation to its study of
the application of the Official Languages Act and of the regulations
and directives made under it.
Hon. Bob Runciman: Honourable senators, I give
notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That in the opinion of the Senate, the government
should consider the establishment of a tuition fund for the families of
federal public safety officers who lose their lives in the line of duty and
that such a fund should mirror the provisions of the Constable Joe MacDonald
Public Safety Officers' Survivors Scholarship Fund, in place in the province
of Ontario since 1997.
Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, I give
notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs,
Science and Technology have the power to sit on Tuesday, June 22, 2010, even
though the Senate may then be sitting, and that Rule 95(4) be suspended in
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators,
my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I asked a
question recently about the implementation of Bill C-293, regarding
international humanitarian aid to combat poverty, CIDA's primary mandate. The
honourable Leader of the Government indicated at the time that she would make
inquiries and get back to me with her response.
More recently, I read a new CIDA report addressing that
very subject. I would like to call the honourable senators' attention to the
first key point set out in that report.
The report fills the act's requirement in terms of
disclosure. However, the act does not appear to have had any real impact on the
way in which the Canadian International Development Agency manages official
development assistance, in particular poverty reduction. Although we are meeting
the technical dimension of the law, is it possible that the staff have not
applied the changes to procedures, doctrines and methodologies to focus on the
objective of that law imposed upon CIDA?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I will make inquiries as to the status of the honourable
senator's previous question, which I took as notice, and I will take the
honourable senator's question today as notice. I will ask that a response be
provided as quickly as possible, hopefully before the Senate adjourns for the
Senator Dallaire: Honourable senators, I thank the
leader for her support in this matter. However, I am not the only one looking at
this issue. The Canadian Council for International Co- operation has been
vociferous in arguing that CIDA has not shifted gears and has not moved into the
arena of poverty reduction. Even more, there seems to have been a policy change
with regard to non-governmental organizations that receive support from CIDA.
The policy change is that CIDA will support NGOs that provide technical aid and
development to countries that require it, but it does not have a responsibility
toward NGOs that have a role in providing eyes and ears on the ground, and that
have an influence on government policy, to hold the government accountable for
implementing the policies of international aid.
Is it possible that those who have criticized that new
policy might be the ones who are not receiving any more funding, as is the case
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, that is a
bit of a stretch. However, as I have said before with regard to CCIC, this
organization currently has a proposal before CIDA. I cannot comment because I am
not sure of the status of the proposal. As I have said before, and I will say
again, our government is working to make aid more efficient, effective and
As the honourable senator knows, we have raised aid to the
highest level ever. The budget rose by 8 per cent, or $364 million, this year
alone. For future years, foreign aid spending will be frozen at the record level
of $5 billion. Canadians want results and they want to know their tax dollars
are making a difference. We are working with aid organizations to provide
delivery where aid is needed most. One of the measures the government undertook
was to untie food aid so there would be direct benefit to those countries and
groups receiving this aid.
With regard to the various organizations that apply for
aid, these organizations are all carefully considered by qualified public
servants at CIDA. As I have said before, for all the organizations that receive
approval, no matter what organization or under what program this funding takes
place, the government tries to make decisions according to need, and as
recommended by officials. Simply because an organization has received funds for
a long time does not mean this funding will continue in perpetuity. Other
organizations request funding and we must take all requests into consideration.
Senator Dallaire: The leader might be right that
because funding has been effective for the last 40 years, that does not
necessarily mean it will continue to be effective. They are good; then one day,
bingo, they are bad and they do not receive money. That is not what I consider a
mature process in terms of agencies of this complexity.
However, what troubles me more is that we are now at the
end of June and the budget year started on April 1. Anyone with any business
planning knowledge realizes that by April 1, they have to at least have a feel
for whether they will have funds. All we are hearing from Minister Oda is that
they are studying this matter. They can study this matter until the moment the
organization dies and then they no longer have to worry about it.
Can the leader give me a feel for when the minister and
that organization will take the courageous decision of continuing to help this
effective organization that has been the backbone of many NGOs in this country,
or can they have even more courage and tell them they will not receive a cent?
Senator LeBreton: Senator Dallaire is the one who
makes the assumption that the organizations are effective. The honourable
senator seemed to indicate that we are not proceeding with funding to
organizations that have been effective.
As I have said before, and I will say again, CIDA
officials review all these requests for funds. Obviously, we want funds to go to
those who are on the ground, working directly with groups that are in need. We
have focused aid on 20 countries, as the honourable senator knows, and have
established three priority themes for CIDA: food security, children and youth,
and economic growth.
Honourable senators, many organizations apply for funds,
whether through CIDA or other agencies of government. The government and the
officials who look at these applications have to take into consideration whether
new groups that request funding should be denied funding because another
organization has funding in perpetuity.
Senator Dallaire: The NGO world is a humanitarian
world, where they require humanitarian space. They use that concept, which makes
them functional because they are at arm's length and not held to any political
or military structure. They operate independently. However, they need funding.
They receive funding from various civilian organizations, they raise funds
themselves, and they receive funds from governments. The whole of the developing
world operates that way.
If an NGO, working independently, finds that the
government may not be performing its role effectively in meeting the demands
that we read about in the newspapers, and in providing capabilities in the
field, and if the NGO criticizes the government, is that criterion used in
possibly preventing the NGO from receiving funding from the Canadian government?
Senator LeBreton: That is absolutely not the case,
honourable senators. As I have said before, we have increased aid and we have
untied food aid. CIDA has funded many worthwhile programs.
The speculation in the media that there is a relationship
is incorrect. We rely on solid information provided to us by public servants in
CIDA. Obviously, a lot of money is involved here. I believe that Canadians of
all stripes expect the aid money to be distributed on a fair and equitable
basis, but they also want to know that it goes directly to those who need help
Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, there is
obviously a chill in the air. I asked these questions a couple of weeks ago.
Many of these groups met with my honourable colleagues in the other place, Ken
Dryden and Anita Neville. The groups hosted a round table on the importance of
the "public voice." Representatives from 16 organizations, including the
Canadian Council for International Co-operation and Oxfam, voiced their concerns
on Monday over proposed cuts and the delay in budgetary processes. They say
these cuts and delays are due to their criticism of this Conservative
government. The affected groups spoke of the impact felt by their organizations
and, most important, the people they serve. One project on the Conservatives'
chopping block was to have helped 600 families in Ghana.
Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us
when the Harper Conservatives will cease imposing these punishing cuts on their
Senator LeBreton: I cannot answer the honourable
senator's question because the statement he made is not correct. I cannot answer
a question that has no validity.
Senator Munson should know that we have increased aid
funding. We can always find people on all sides of every issue. We will always
find groups that perhaps have received funding and did not receive the amount of
funding they thought they should have. I note that the honourable senator did
not mention the many other groups that did receive funding.
This course of events is normal for any funding project of
any government, no matter what stripe. We will always find people who are upset
that their project was not funded, when the project across the street was
funded. This is the reality. The premise of the honourable senator's question is
Senator Munson: Honourable senators, these
organizations are not fringe groups; they are NGOs. The leader talked about
groups. This issue is a classic wedge issue used to divide. These NGOs are not
fringe groups. They have validity.
Mr. Gerry Barr, President of the Canadian Council for
International Co-operation, concluded at Monday's round table: "The message is:
Be careful what you say, the price you pay will be high."
Considering the government just spent $1.9 million on the
infamous fake lake media centre for the upcoming G20 meeting, how can the leader
justify not renewing the $1.7 million funding for the Canadian Council for
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the
particular individual mentioned has a point of view. I do not know who hosted
the round table. I have my suspicions, but the fact is, while many of these
organizations that have applied for funding have received their funding, many
have not. We have increased funding to many organizations.
Senator Munson mentioned the pavilion that is being
planned for the G8 and G20 summits and I ask if he was working for Prime
Minister Chrétien when the APEC summit took place in Vancouver? There are many
pictures of leaders standing in front of a lake, and guess what, honourable
senators? It was a fake lake.
An Hon. Senator: Say it ain't so!
Senator Munson: Just reflecting on your answers,
most of them are fake as well.
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, with all of
the years that Senator Munson was involved in the media, and then especially
where he ended up, I am not surprised at all by that weak response.
Hon. Francis Fox: My question is for the Leader of
the Government in the Senate and concerns the national securities commission the
government wants to create.
At a joint press conference in Montreal yesterday,
Alberta's Minister of Finance, Ted Morton, and Quebec's Minister of Finance,
Raymond Bachand, reiterated their clear, precise and unequivocal request to the
Government of Canada, specifically, that it reverse its decision to create a
national securities commission in Canada.
Furthermore, they added that they expect other provinces
to join them when they take their case before the Supreme Court of Canada. At
the press conference, Mr. Morton said:
We are not opposed to improving the present system. We
want to know what it is in the present system that Ottawa objects to. Why
has the federal government been unable to say exactly what needs to be
fixed, so that it can work with the provinces? It refuses to do so.
The minister was of course referring to Canada's current
I ask the minister, is the federal government willing to
accept this joint recommendation made by the two ministers and consult with the
provinces to try to avoid making a mess of federal- provincial relations in this
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, for some time I have been aware of the views of the
Province of Alberta and the Province of Quebec.
The Minister of Finance has proposed a Canadian securities
regulator. I noticed there was some reference that we should test this before
the courts. That is exactly what the government intends to do and has done.
With regard to the national securities regulator, it is a
voluntary, opt-in plan. It seems to be supported by many financial experts that
this would be advantageous for Canada, but any particular province that does not
want to participate has that right.
Honourable senators, I rarely quote the Toronto Star,
but an editorial of May 27, said:
The opposition Liberals . . . should join the
governing Conservatives in backing the move and seeing it through
We are well aware of the concerns and the objections of
the Provinces of Quebec and Alberta. It is a voluntary system. Many other
provinces and financial experts say that this is good for Canada. When people
choose to invest in this country, rather than having to make their case to 13
securities regulators, they will make it to 1. If Alberta and Quebec decide not
to join in, investors will be making their case to 3 regulators, but that is
still better than 13 securities regulators.
Senator Fox: Honourable senators, allow me to say
that the policy of openness toward Quebec announced in the last election
campaign has turned into a closed-door policy for both Quebec and Alberta.
Alberta's finance minister has called on the federal
government to explain what is wrong with the current passport system. The
federal government refuses to even discuss with the provinces possible changes
that would allow them to take part in this project, or the federal government's
withdrawal from a system that, according to most international authorities like
the OECD and the World Bank, and most financial institutions in Quebec and
Alberta, is working quite well.
Both ministers have expressed their concern and said that
while discussions are being held and preparations made for hearings before the
Supreme Court, the flaws and gaps in the current investor protection system will
They also indicated that if Mr. Flaherty truly wanted to
protect investors better with this Canada-wide commission, then he should
quickly amend the Criminal Code and make the necessary changes to better protect
Canadians from financial crimes.
Does the government intend to accept this recommendation
from these two finance ministers in order to better protect Canadian investors,
instead of waiting around doing nothing until the Supreme Court makes its
ruling, which might take more than two years?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the
reference to the Supreme Court is to ensure that a national single securities
regulator falls within the jurisdiction of the authority of Parliament.
Honourable senators, I do not know how many times we have
to say this and how many times the Minister of Finance has to say this, but this
new regime will be voluntary for provinces and territories that wish to
participate. It will make use of existing strengths in local and regional
regulators with a broad network of local offices, but if the Province of Quebec
and the Province of Alberta do not wish to wish to join, that is their choice.
If they at some point wish to join voluntarily, that is their choice as well.
I do believe they have that right. They have the right to
continue on with their own securities regulator. The government is not doing
anything to interfere with that right. However, there are also eight other
provinces and three territories that support a single securities regulator, as
is their right. I fail to see, Mr. Morton's comments notwithstanding, what is so
difficult to understand about a system that they do not have to join unless they
Senator Fox: Honourable senators, Mr. Morton's
joint recommendations are to the effect that the Criminal Code should be amended
now to improve the protection of investors in this country. That was the gist of
my question. Why does the government not act now to protect investors?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I am sure
that the Minister of Finance and the Department of Finance officials take
suggestions and comments by the various provincial ministers of finance
seriously, and I am sure they are crafting a response.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, in view of
the fact that several provinces are contesting the right of the federal
government to establish this commission under the rubric of its commerce power,
I am sure the federal government made the right decision in referring the draft
bill directly to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Would the Leader of the Government in the Senate undertake
to get a written statement from the Prime Minister or the Attorney General
stating why they would not do likewise in an exactly similar situation where the
federal government is purporting to have the authority to act unilaterally on a
number of matters affecting the Senate and several provinces are contesting
their authority to do so?
Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator asked if I
will ask the Prime Minister. No, I will not. We had sound constitutional advice
on the legislation proposed regarding reforming the Senate. It withstood the
constitutional test. Furthermore, with regard to constitutional changes of this
nature, there was a precedent in 1965, when Senate tenure was changed under
Prime Minister Lester Pearson.
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, last week it
came to light that the government had decided that 206 of Nova Scotia's
lighthouses had been deemed surplus. Does this mean that these lighthouses will
be left to rot if ownership of the lighthouse structures is not transferred to a
private owner or to a community group?
On Friday, I heard Minister Shea on CBC Radio announcing
this issue. I was more confused when she finished explaining about the
lighthouse fiasco than when she started. This government is spending millions of
dollars claiming to promote Canada at the G8 and G20 summit meetings with the
construction of fake lakes and fake lighthouses. However, at the same time, they
have decided to rid themselves of any responsibility toward maintaining the real
lighthouses along our real coastlines.
Many small communities rely on these historic structures
for much-needed tourism dollars during the short tourism season. To say that
dumping the lighthouses is a great opportunity for those communities is an
insult. In this struggling economy and with decreasing populations in those
small coastal communities, how does this government justify stating this is a
good thing for those communities? This is nothing but the downloading and
dumping of the responsibilities of the federal government.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, our government fully supports the principle of heritage
lighthouse protection under the act to conserve and protect these significant
examples of Canada's coastal heritage. In recent years, the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans has successfully transferred ownership of several
lighthouses to outside interests while maintaining the navigational lights for
the Coast Guard program.
At the moment, this very issue is the subject of study by
the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. As I said to Senator
Rompkey earlier today, this is an important issue and I look forward to the
deliberations of the committee and the recommendations they submit on this
Senator Cordy: It would have been good if the
Senate committee had been allowed to finish its study before the decision was
made by the federal government to dump the lighthouses from small communities.
In talking about opportunities, Minister Shea said:
Well, it is an opportunity, yes, for communities and
that's why, as part of the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, that's why
we've brought this legislation in because communities came to us, because
politicians got together and said, "We have to do something to protect the
lighthouses that have cultural and heritage value." So that's what we're
It is interesting she said that "politicians got
together." The sponsor of the heritage lighthouse bill in the other place was
Gerald Keddy. When he was asked for a response to this subject by the media, his
office would not even return the phone call. So much for politicians lining up
in support of this policy.
It is reported that many of the sites that these
lighthouses stand on are contaminated. Does the government have a plan to clean
up the sites before they are transferred to new owners, such as community
groups, or will the new owners and community groups be expected to foot that
bill, as well?
Senator LeBreton: I appreciate very much that
Senator Cordy accurately described the words of Minister Shea. The issue of
heritage lighthouses and the importance of lighthouses to our navigational
safety is one that has been with us for some time. Technologies have changed the
requirements and needs for lighthouses and their operators.
There is obviously a significant heritage component. These
issues are of great concern, especially to people who live in coastal
communities, whether it is the navigational safety issue or the preservation of
a heritage lighthouse.
As I said a moment ago, I look forward to the continuing
deliberations of our colleagues — though politicians they may be — on both the
Liberal and Conservative side in the Senate. I am hopeful they will have some
constructive and meaningful recommendations.
Senator Cordy: My question was whether or not the
government has a plan to clean up those sites before transferring ownership to
Senator LeBreton: A contaminated site would not
have just happened as of February 2006. I do not have information on the
severity of this matter, so I will take the question as notice.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before
calling for Orders of the Day, I draw the attention of honourable senators to
the presence in the gallery of Grand Chief Richard Nerysoo, a former Leader of
the Government of the Northwest Territories, and a distinguished delegation from
the Gwich'in Tribal Council. They are guests of our colleague the Honourable
On behalf of all honourable senators, welcome to the
Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the
Government): Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 27(1), I wish to inform
the Senate that when we proceed to Government Business, the Senate will address
the items in the following order: second reading of Bill C-2; second reading of
Bill C-34; second reading of Bill C-11; consideration of the third report of the
Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights; Bill S-4; followed by the other items
as they appear on the Order Paper.
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino moved second reading of Bill
C-2, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the
Republic of Colombia, the Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the
Republic of Colombia and the Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and
the Republic of Colombia.
He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak today
about the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. The Government of Canada has
made clear the priority it places on implementing free trade agreements to help
Canadian businesses compete in international markets.
Canada is a country that relies on trade. Given our high
level of production and our small market size, it is essential for us to have
access to foreign markets. Canada's prosperity depends on it. The recent
fragility of the world economy has highlighted the fact that it is both
important and urgent that we increase the scope of our trade and investments and
break into new markets.
Thanks to its dynamic trade program, Canada is an
international leader, showing that protectionism is not the way to increase
stability and prosperity.
In this age of fierce global competition and as emerging
economies continue to climb the value chain and establish themselves in an
ever-widening range of sectors, we must seek out more trade and investment
opportunities for our businesses. By pursuing an active trade agenda, including
bilateral, regional and multilateral negotiations, the government is working to
secure access to markets around the world through enforceable rules, and is
creating new opportunities for Canadian companies.
Canada has several long-standing free trade agreements in
force, notably the North American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. and Mexico,
and separate bilateral agreements with Chile, Costa Rica and Israel. The
government has also implemented new free trade agreements recently with the
European Free Trade Association and Peru on July 1 and August 1, 2009,
respectively. In 2009, we signed a free trade agreement with Jordan. Canada has
also signed a free trade agreement with Panama on May 14, 2010. The government
continues to pursue ambitious trade agreements with other important partners
around the world as well.
At the Canada-European Union Summit last May, negotiations
towards a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union
were launched. In April, the third round of negotiations took place, in spite of
significant logistical challenges related to the Icelandic ash cloud.
The government has remained committed to advancing ongoing
free trade negotiations with other partners, including South Korea, Central
American countries, the Caribbean community and the Dominican Republic. It is
also seeking out other new opportunities. For instance, Canada has started
exploring deeper trade ties with India. Canada is also currently involved in
technical discussions with Japan.
The Canada-Colombia agreement is an integral part of this
strategy. A closer economic partnership with Colombia will reduce tariffs for
Canadian exporters and increase opportunities for Canadian investors and service
providers. Colombia is already a significant trading partner for Canada.
In 2009, two-way merchandise trade totalled $1.335
billion. Colombia's market is growing steadily and offers a number of
opportunities for Canadian exporters. Over the past five years, Canadian exports
have increased by 55 per cent.
Colombia is also a strategic destination for Canadian
investment. Canadian investment stocks in Colombia were worth approximately $800
million in 2009.
The Colombian market is dynamic and exciting. With 48
million people, its gross domestic product per capita has nearly doubled since
2002, while poverty has declined nearly 20 per cent. Even though the gross
domestic product growth rate in Colombia decreased from 2.5 per cent to minus
.02 per cent in 2009, this decline was consistent with global economic declines,
and it is estimated that Colombia's growth rate will again reach 2 per cent or
higher in 2010.
Colombia's sound macroeconomic policy and improved
security under its current leadership have generated these favourable economic
conditions. What is more, in a recent survey, the Fraser Institute showed that
Colombia's overall scoring for attraction for investors has improved steadily
In the World Bank study Doing Business 2010,
Colombia ranks as one of the top 10 business environment "reformers." Overall,
out of 183 countries ranked, Colombia rose 16 positions, reaching thirty-seventh
place in the category "ease of doing business." Colombia also ranked fifth out
of the 183 countries with regard to its abilities to protect investors' rights
through the application of the rule of law.
It is this commitment to improving the business climate
that has made Colombia a solid trading partner and a market that is brimming
with opportunities for Canadian exporters, investors and service providers — the
types of opportunities that Canadian companies across the country are looking
This past year, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick,
Nova Scotia and P.E.I. exported in excess of $52 million worth of products to
Colombia. A trade agreement would benefit industries across these provinces,
including industries such as paper and paperboard, fertilizers and oil.
Canadian manufacturers of mining equipment in Ontario and
Quebec would see tariffs on their products in Colombia immediately decrease by 5
to 15 per cent.
In fact, since 21.6 per cent, or one fifth, of Canadian
exports come from Quebec, $130 million in 2009, that province has a lot to gain
from this agreement, particularly in terms of jobs in the paper, paperboard,
copper and machinery sectors.
The immediate removal of Colombian tariffs from such
cornerstone crops as wheat, barley and pulses will provide benefit to the
Prairie provinces and make these products even more competitive in the Colombian
In addition to improving market access, a free trade
agreement with Colombia will help secure Canadian investments in the region by
providing greater predictability and protection for investors. Colombia is an
established and growing destination for Canadian direct investment abroad,
particularly in the oil and gas sector.
Overall, this free trade agreement offers all the
traditional benefits one would expect from such an agreement, such as exports,
services and investments.
It also aims to develop a closer partnership between
Canada and Colombia in the areas of environment and labour.
The government has signed with Colombia solid agreements
on labour and the environment, in addition to the free trade agreement.
The environmental agreement clearly shows that stimulating
economic growth through increased trade goes hand in hand with protecting the
Under this agreement, Canada and Colombia have committed
to guaranteeing high levels of environmental protection. The two countries must
effectively strengthen their own national legislation and not soften or weaken
it to encourage trade or investment.
Canada and Colombia are both committed to ensuring that
trade does not come at the expense of the environment. In support of both
countries successfully meeting their obligation under the agreement, it sets
outs a framework for undertaking cooperative activities that will allow our two
countries to advance our shared environmental priorities.
The Canada-Colombia labour cooperation agreement is a
strong and comprehensive agreement as well, and it is one that will help improve
labour standards for Colombian workers in many different sectors.
This agreement commits both countries to ensuring that
their laws respect the International Labour Organization's 1998 Declaration on
Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The declaration covers a wide range
of workers' rights, such as the right of freedom of association; the right to
collective bargaining; the abolition of child labour; the elimination of forced
or compulsory labour; and the elimination of discrimination.
Through these provisions, Canada and Colombia have shown
their commitment to improving labour standards. Among other things, it commits
both countries to provide acceptable protections for occupational health and
safety and for minimum employment standards, such as minimum wages and hours of
work. Canada is also committed to helping Colombia make the most out of this
agreement. This is why the agreement is complemented with a $1 million
labour-related technical cooperation program.
The government is already working with Colombia on
programs to promote and enforce internationally recognized labour standards.
These include programs such as labour inspection, enforcement of labour rights,
social dialogue and occupational health and safety.
With these initiatives, we will help Colombia enforce its
domestic labour laws and meet the very high standards in the Canada-Colombia
labour cooperation agreement. All of these elements contribute to strengthening
our partnership with Colombia.
It has become increasingly apparent that Canada's economic
prosperity and its commitment to democratic governance and the security of its
citizens are linked with those of its neighbour.
It was with this in mind that the Prime Minister announced
in the summer of 2007 that the Americas would constitute a key foreign policy
priority for his government.
He stated that Canada's vision for the region and our
strategy of renewed engagement in the Americas would be based on three
interconnected and mutually reinforcing pillars: strengthening and reinforcing
support for democratic governance, building a safe and secure hemisphere, and
enhancing the prosperity of citizens. Canada and Colombia enjoy this rapidly
deepening bilateral cooperation.
The Canada-Colombia free trade agreement, the agreement on
labour cooperation and the agreement on the environment are part of a suite of
instruments Canada uses in its engagement with Colombia. All of these efforts
will help solidify ongoing efforts by the Government of Colombia to create a
more prosperous, equitable and secure democracy. The Government of Colombia has
taken positive steps towards this goal.
Colombia has demonstrated its continued efforts to curb
violence against trade unionists. The government continues to fight against
impunity and continues to promote security and peace. The Government of Canada
recognizes that challenges remain in Colombia, and at the core of Canada's
engagement in Colombia is the protection and promotion of human rights.
In recent years, personal security has improved. The
global community and international organizations present in Colombia recognize
that personal security conditions of the vast majority of urban Colombians have
The Colombian government has made considerable progress in
its fight against illegal armed groups, such as paramilitary and rebel groups.
The Government of Canada also recognizes the efforts that have led to the formal
demobilization of over 30,000 paramilitaries and the weakening of the two
primary guerrilla groups in that country. This tangible progress proves that
Colombia's efforts to break the cycle of violence are not in vain.
With the support of the international community,
government authorities and civil institutions have undertaken a series of
actions that are contributing to increased peace and prosperity. It is vital for
Canada and other countries to pursue policies of engagement and support for
peace in Colombia.
Honourable senators, in the last five years Canada has
disbursed over $64 million in Colombia through the Canadian International
Development Agency. CIDA projects have allowed for the development of policies
and programs that take the rights of children and youth into consideration and
help protect these children from violence. Projects have also prevented the
recruitment of children into illegal armed groups and ensure the reintegration
of the mobilized youth into their communities. Other projects have supported
environmentally sustainable agriculture to provide alternative livelihoods to
growing illicit crops. This also contributes to food security for poor
In addition, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade, Canada's Global Peace and Security Fund has disbursed over
$18 million since 2006. This fund is helping to promote peace in Colombia and
the region and is also promoting the protection of victims' rights, the
strengthening of the Colombian judicial system and demining activities.
The Canada-Colombia free trade agreement is a strong
complement to these efforts, and the government stands behind the idea that
economic growth, through liberalized, rule-based trade and investment, can
contribute to alleviating poverty and create new wealth and opportunities for
Colombians. Other countries are choosing to enhance their partnership with
Colombia as well. Canada's main competitor in the Colombian market, the United
States, has already completed an FTA with Colombia. Colombia is also pursuing
ambitious free trade agendas with others.
The European Union recently concluded negotiations for a
free trade agreement with Colombia. The members of the European Free Trade
Association began national consultations to implement an agreement with
Canadian businesses and workers expect their government to
conclude trade agreements that allow them to compete in international markets on
a level playing field.
The government must respond to these expectations and
support businesses and the Canadian economy in order to create opportunities for
the people of Canada and Colombia.
This agreement is the way to do that. For this reason, I
ask all colleagues to support the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement.
Hon. David P. Smith: Honourable senators, I rise
today in support of Bill C-2, an act to implement the Free Trade Agreement
between Canada and the Republic of Colombia, the Agreement on Labour Cooperation
and the Agreement on the Environment entered into by Canada with the Republic of
Colombia on November 21 of 2008.
Honourable senators, I want to state that the Liberal
Party supports this legislation. We support the initiatives that improve market
access for Canadian business and particularly in a situation where increased
economic engagement will help strengthen Canada's influence on Colombia in the
area of human rights.
First I would like to talk about the history of this bill.
This journey goes back to 2002, when the Liberals were in power and the then
Minister for International Trade was the Honourable Pierre Pettigrew. He
announced that Canada and the Andean countries — that is Bolivia, Colombia,
Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela — had agreed to begin exploring the possibility of a
free trade agreement.
I have had the opportunity to visit four of these
countries. The irony is that the one country I have not visited is Colombia.
The countries launched exploratory discussions in November
of that year, met on four occasions, and there were some pretty frank and open
exchanges on a wide number of issues. As part of the process, the Minister for
International Trade held domestic consultations with business, citizen-based
organizations, individual Canadians, as well as provincial and territorial
governments. All indications pointed to a broad support for a free trade
Not all of the Andean community countries were in a
position to move forward on the free trade negotiations at the same pace, but
Canada proceeded to negotiate with Colombia and Peru, who were ready and
willing, and so free trade negotiations began. The Canada-Peru Free Trade
Agreement came into force on August 1 of 2009. The Canada-Colombia agreement was
signed in November of 2008, as I said earlier.
Honourable senators, I believe — and our party believes —
that ratifying this trade agreement involves little economic risk for Canadian
industry. Existing Colombian tariffs on Canadian exports are significantly
higher than Canadian tariffs on Colombian exports. The agreement will benefit
Canadian businesses and we support initiatives that improve market access for
Canada and Colombia are complementary economies. There is
little direct competition between the two economies as we produce and export
different goods. How much are we talking about? The two-way Canada-Colombia
merchandise trade represents approximately $1.35 billion per year, and that is
the 2008 figure. Of that, Canada exported $703 million to Colombia, primarily in
cars and other motor vehicles, manufactured goods, wheat, paper and pulses. Our
imports were about $644 million from Colombia in goods such as coffee, bananas,
coal, oil, sugar and flowers. Therefore, the balance is in our favour.
This agreement will eliminate tariffs on Canadian exports
to help make Canadian goods more competitive in a range of sectors, including
mining, agricultural products and agri-food products.
While Canadian businesses will greatly benefit from the
agreement, free trade will also have a positive impact on Colombians. Colombia
has had its share of problems and we hear about them frequently. The drug trade,
corruption and human rights violations have been part of life in Colombia.
Critics of this bill point to these as reasons for not proceeding with the bill.
However, there are many ways to promote human rights. We believe that increased
economic and political engagement and having a bona fide economy will help
address the root causes of violence and improve the human rights situation in
While Colombia has made progress toward reducing violence
and human rights abuses, there is still a long way to go. However, achieving
further progress in Colombia depends on growing Colombia's legitimate economy.
Through free trade, Canada can help to build that legitimate economy and create
jobs and opportunities for all Colombians, including the most vulnerable.
Human rights are at the core of Liberal values. Therefore,
our colleague in the other place, the Honourable Scott Brison, worked with the
Colombian government to agree to specific human rights reporting requirements on
the part of both countries. The Colombian government agreed and, on March 24, so
did the Canadian government. As a result, Canada and Colombia signed a treaty
requiring both countries to report to their own parliaments on how the free
trade agreements are impacting human rights in their respective country, as well
as in the other country.
The human rights aspect and these reporting mechanisms
that have been agreed upon were crucial and a catalyst in making the overall
When the Colombian minister was in Ottawa several weeks
ago, I attended the briefing and the question-and-answer session that Scott
Brison convened for Liberal parliamentarians because I was quite interested in
In Canada, this gives Parliament the tools to better
engage civil society groups, businesses, and other experts in both Canada and
Colombia. It strengthens the public's ability to monitor the human rights
situation in Colombia, and holds both governments accountable on an ongoing
Honourable senators, this is the first human rights
reporting requirement in any free trade agreement in the world. It sets a new
gold standard for human rights reporting in free trade agreements. The amendment
was motivated by a desire for greater public oversight in the area of human
rights and the belief that human rights are deeply intertwined with economic
As with Canada's free trade agreements with Chile and
Costa Rica, and NAFTA, the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement includes side
agreements on labour cooperation and the environment. With the labour agreement,
both countries agree to respect and enforce internationally recognized labour
standards and principles, such as the right to freedom of association, the right
to collective bargaining, the abolition of child labour, the elimination of
forced or compulsory labour, and the elimination of discrimination.
In view of these side agreements on labour cooperation and
the environment, I think it is disappointing that the NDP has, once again,
chosen not to support a free trade agreement. I cannot resist pointing out the
following facts. First, the NDP have opposed all of Canada's free trade
agreements. The NDP is calling for an independent and comprehensive human rights
impact assessment, but the NDP already does not believe that the agreements on
labour cooperation and the environment will be effective. Furthermore, they
argue that the agreements will enable large multinational corporations to
exploit Colombian workers.
Now, I know a lot of people in the NDP; most of them are
fine, decent people with good principles and they believe in what they say, but,
regrettably. the NDP always agree with whatever the Canadian labour unions say.
That is a reality and I think it is regrettable. They favour keeping the
Canadian tariffs higher so that it hurts us in eliminating tariffs on our
Honourable senators, I believe in a free enterprise
system. It works. Sure, there are controls on it. About 30 years ago, as an MP
at the time, I was the Canadian delegate on a committee that met for several
summers in Vienna studying disability. On the weekends, we would sometimes go to
different cities. I had gone behind the Iron Curtain a number of times, going
back as far as 1969. One weekend, we went to Prague. The life on the streets was
dead; it seemed grey. Beautiful buildings were there, but the city was kind of
dead. About three weeks ago, I took my wife there before we got on a boat to go
down the Rhine on a wine cruise. We spent two days in Prague. Twenty-nine years
later, the life on the streets was buzzing. There was economic activity
everywhere — in the stores and shops, and with the tourists. It was
unbelievable. There is no other city with as many statutes on buildings as
Prague. They are beautiful.
Prague's previous version was a socialist version.
Regrettably, it was the most extreme form of socialism, namely, communism in its
totalitarian state. I will never forget when we left to come back in 1981 and
crossed the Czechoslovakian border into Austria. Looking up at the border fence,
one saw a tower on each side with a couple of men with guns that were pointing
inward. I remember thinking that a society where the guns at the border are
pointing inward has a much bigger problem than when the guns at the border are
pointing outward to defend itself.
Today there are no check stations; one just drives through
at the border because of the Economic Union.
There are certain realities that our friends in the NDP
will have to come to grips with. One of them is that we live in a global
economy. If one is not competitive, then one will not make it. We want to be
competitive. This is a situation where human rights scrutiny were tied to the
changes that got rid of the tariffs.
At the risk of sounding corny, honourable senators, I like
it when the two major parties see eye to eye on issues such as this one. The
Bloc also opposed this for vague reasons that I will not get into. Quite
frankly, I want to give a good chunk of the credit to Scott Brison, who has
managed this in a non-partisan way. He was there and achieved a united front on
Trade with Colombia is already taking place but without a
rules-based system to encourage stronger labour rules and human rights. This
agreement will give muscle to the effort to have stronger rules on labour and
the environment, which can only help Colombia.
We have examined these free trade agreements and the
provisions in the side agreements. I think the agreements are in the best
interests of both countries. Much progress has been made.
In closing, I want to read an email addressed to Member of
Parliament Scott Brison that he gave to me today:
I want to add my sincere thanks and congratulations.
This is an excellent example of how a first-rate MP can make an invaluable
contribution. I was in Washington last week where the business people with
whom I spoke were in despair about their lack of progress on this issue.
It is signed by former Conservative minister Perrin Beatty
on behalf of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. I like it when we see
representatives from the two major parties put partisan issues aside to do what
is in the best interests of this country. That is why we support this
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are
honourable senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is
it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
(Motion agreed to and bill read second time.)
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore:
Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the third time?
(On motion of Senator Di Nino, bill referred to the
Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.)
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino moved second reading of Bill
C-34, An Act to amend the Museums Act and to make consequential amendments to
He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak to
Bill C- 34, the final step in the creation of a new national museum of
immigration for Canada. Increasing our support for our national museums was a
Conservative campaign commitment. Creating a new national museum at Pier 21 in
Halifax was a commitment we made in the Speech from the Throne.
Honourable senators, on a dreary rainy day on August 21,
1951, as a 13-year-old boy accompanied by my mother and father, my first
close-up glimpse of Canada was the Port of Halifax and Pier 21. Hundreds or
maybe even thousands of confused, scared and excited men, women and children
were processed as new immigrants to Canada. I wish I could say the experience
was positive, but that was then.
We followed tens of thousands and were followed by tens of
thousands of other wide-eyed, hopeful and eager future Canadians from every
corner of the world whose contribution to building our country has been widely
and frequently praised.
I speak on behalf of all of them when I say that I am
proud to present and support this bill. It will be the second new national
museum created by our government. It is only the sixth national museum created
in the 143 years since Canada itself was created, and it is only the second
established outside the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Until 2008, all national museums
were located in the National Capital Region. This is despite the fact,
honourable senators, that the Museums Act, adopted in 1990 under a Conservative
government, clearly states that a national museum can be anywhere in Canada.
We believe that the national museums belong to all
Canadians. Anyone familiar with this proposal will understand that the Canadian
Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is a good choice for Canada. This immigration
museum will allow current and future generations of Canadians to appreciate the
richness and history of immigration in Canada. Immigration has played an
important role in building our nation. Today, hundreds of thousands of
immigrants from all over the world continue to arrive in Canada every year. As
we all know, Canada is a land of immigrants.
It is the City of Halifax that has played such an
important and historical role in shaping Canada's diversity. This new museum
will be situated partly in the Pier 21 building — where I landed so many years
ago — that served as a primary gateway for more than one million new immigrants
to Canada from 1928 to 1971.
That site holds special significance for one in five
Canadians today. It served as the port of departure and return for approximately
500,000 Canadian troops that fought during the Second World War. The Pier 21
museum was originally established to tell the story of immigrants, war brides,
displaced children and Canadian military troops that passed through its doors.
As I said, one in five Canadians can trace a relationship to this site. It has
also been designated as a National Historic Site by the Historic Sites and
Monuments Board of Canada.
For these reasons, Halifax is the ideal location to honour
the legacies of those who built Canada. At no time has immigration played a
greater role in Canadian history than during the 20th century. Today, almost 20
per cent of Canadians were born outside the country. Without immigrants, Canada
would not be the country it is today.
As the Prime Minister said in Halifax at Pier 21 last
In every region . . . new Canadians make major
contributions to our culture, economy and way of life. . . Anybody who makes
the decisions to live, work and build a life in our country represents the
very best of what it means to be Canadian.
This bill will officially recognize the Canadian Museum of
Immigration at Pier 21 as a national museum under the Museums Act. It will
establish the museum as a new federal Crown corporation with the same status as
the other national museums. Like those museums, the Canadian Museum of
Immigration at Pier 21 will provide services in both official languages. In
short, the museum will celebrate the experiences of immigrants as they arrived
in Canada, the vital role immigrants have played in building Canada, and their
contributions to all aspects of Canadian society.
In conclusion, honourable senators, it is important to
thank some of the driving forces behind the creation of this new national
museum. Senator Cowan will recognize that this first person is one of the most
dynamic people we have ever met. I, too, was one of her victims many years ago.
Ruth Goldbloom, chair of the Pier 21 Foundation, is truly
the leader behind the creation of Pier 21; she is quite a lady. John Oliver and
Wadih Fares are the current and past chairs of the Pier 21 Society and Robert
Moody is the current CEO of Pier 21. As a result of their action and leadership,
the impact of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 will reach far
beyond Canada. It will be a valuable source of knowledge and expertise that will
place it in a position to benefit the entire world.
In closing, honourable senators, for me — and I suspect
for all of the others whose voyage brought us to this wonderful land — this is a
great day, one that further recognizes our role and our contributions to this
great country. As well, it needs to be stated that over many years, Canada and
Canadians opened their arms — and, indeed, opened their hearts — and embraced
all new aspiring citizens as full and equal partners. Together we have built the
most respected and envied country in the world. I urge all honourable senators
to support this bill in honour of all Canadians who risked, persevered and
contributed to its success.
Hon. Serge Joyal: Will the honourable senator
accept a question?
Senator Di Nino: Yes.
Senator Joyal: Thank you for your presentation. I
support the objective of Bill C-34. In reading it, however, I have a question in
relation to section 2. If you have a copy of the bill in front of you, it is the
second paragraph at the top of page 2.
It states "capacity and powers"; it is paragraph 15.6(1).
I will read it so that all honourable senators understand my question.
In furtherance of its purpose, the Canadian Museum of
Immigration at Pier 21 has, subject to this Act, the capacity of a natural
person and, elsewhere than in Quebec, the rights, powers and privileges of a
Could you explain to us why the new museum would not be
able to act in Quebec in the same capacity that it would act somewhere else in
Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, I will make
sure the officials fully and properly explain this paragraph, but my
understanding is there is a separate immigration agreement with the Province of
Quebec. The intent was not to interfere with that relationship that exists
between the Government of Canada and the Province of Quebec on the issue of
Senator Joyal: I understand the point; I was a
member of Parliament when that agreement was entered into by the federal
government, and renewed by successive Canadian governments. I see that the
Leader of the Government agrees with me. On many instances when those agreements
lapsed, they were renegotiated and renewed — and they work well, in my opinion.
The point here is that we are talking about a museum, as
you said yourself, like any of the other five museums in Canada, be it the
National Gallery or the newly refurbished Museum of Nature that Her Majesty will
have the opportunity to see at the end of this month. Those museums can operate
in the same capacity all over Canada without any impediment because of other
agreements that the Government of Canada might have with the Province of Quebec
in the cultural field.
Therefore, I do not understand exactly why this museum,
which will be incorporated under a federal act, will be barred from acting in
Quebec in the same way that other federal museums act in Quebec, being federal
corporations under the act that creates them. I have some difficulty in
In Quebec, as I am sure the honourable senators know,
there is Grosse Île in the St. Lawrence River that hosted the immigrants coming
from Ireland. Our colleague Senator Dawson reminded us last week of the death of
a famous Canadian of Irish descent, an historian who recorded the history of the
Irish immigrants in that area. In that capacity, that National Historic Site is
fully operative in Quebec on the same basis that we will want Pier 21 to become
operative — for the benefit of all Canadians, wherever they are and wherever
they come from.
That is why I am puzzled by this mention in that section
of the act, which refers to the fact that the new museum will not be able to act
the same way in Quebec.
Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, I am not sure
I will be able to give you any better answer than I did the last time, other
than to say that in the briefings that I received on this, that issue did not
come up. However, when I was skimming through it, I too noticed it and wondered
why not in Quebec?
I am making the assumption that there was agreement
between the federal government and the Province of Quebec that would not allow
this kind of an act to be valid in Quebec. However, I will undertake to ask the
officials and respond to the honourable senator, either directly or through a
response at third reading when we bring it back from committee.
Senator Joyal: Thank you, senator.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, I want to congratulate Senator Di Nino on his speech this
afternoon. I am delighted to support this initiative. It is one of the few
initiatives that I am sure we are promised in the Conservative agenda. I hope
this will not lead to other things, Senator Di Nino, but on this issue, we
thoroughly agree. I am delighted to support this initiative.
I would like to reflect on what the honourable senator has
said today and to speak tomorrow. Therefore, I would ask that the debate be
adjourned in my name for the balance of my time.
(On motion of Senator Cowan, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Judith Seidman moved second reading of Bill
C-11, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Federal
She said: Honourable senators, I rise today in the Senate
to support Bill C-11, the balanced refugee reform act. If passed, the
legislation will allow Canada to help those who truly need Canada's protection,
and to do so much more quickly. I encourage all honourable senators to support
The proposed reforms outlined in the bill have received
support from all parties in the House of Commons, as well as from stakeholders,
Canadians and the media. In response to concerns raised in good faith by
parliamentarians, the government has agreed to significant amendments that both
reflect the input and have resulted in a stronger piece of legislation.
These amendments, honourable senators, create a reform
package that provides for even faster processing than the original proposal for
claimants from safe countries of origin and for those with manifestly unfounded
claims. The amendments also ensure that all failed refugee claimants, regardless
of where they come from, would have access to the new Refugee Appeal Division at
the Immigration and Refugee Board.
This is a monumental achievement for all involved. It
demonstrates the kind of democratic consensus that can be achieved through the
cooperation and collective efforts of all parties in Parliament.
Honourable senators, Canada is one of the largest
recipients of asylum claims, even though we are relatively isolated
geographically. People come from great distances from around the globe to seek
asylum here. We have an asylum system that exceeds the requirements of UN
conventions on refugees and torture and, indeed, the Canadian Charter of Rights
However, all parties recognize that we also have a broken
system characterized by ongoing large backlogs and slow processing times. It is
a system at risk because too many who are not refugees try to use it as a back
door into Canada, abusing our generosity and violating our laws.
We have some 60,000 people in the asylum queue, the
largest number of asylum claims of any developed country. It takes nearly two
years for a refugee claimant to get a hearing at the Immigration and Refugee
Board of Canada. Additionally, that independent tribunal determines that nearly
60 per cent of our asylum claimants are found not to be in need of Canada's
protection; in other words, they are not genuine refugees. That is why,
honourable senators, we need to reform the asylum system and why the government
introduced Bill C-11: to enhance procedural fairness for asylum claimants and,
at the same time, more quickly remove the false claimants who abuse our
It has been imperative to find a way to deter abuse, so
that those who really need protection get that protection faster. Band- aid
measures have been tried and have failed. Full-scale reform is necessary. Bill
C-11 represents an historic opportunity to put in place an asylum system that,
in the words of former IRB Chair, Peter Showler, is both fast and fair.
In essence, honourable senators, this bill provides for a
new information-gathering interview at the independent Immigration and Refugee
Board early in the claims process; independent decision makers at the Refugee
Protection Division of the IRB who are not political appointees; a new
facts-based refugee appeal division, something refugee advocates have requested
for a long time; protection for bona fide refugees in about three to four
months, rather than 19 months; removal of false claimants in about a year,
rather than several years, which would yield about $1.8 billion in savings for
taxpayers over five years; the possibility to fast-track the processing of
claims from designated countries of origin, as well as the identification and
expediting of manifestly unfounded claims; a new pilot program of assisted
voluntary removals for failed claimants; and $540 million in new resources for
the refugee system, including a 20 per cent increase in the number of refugees
resettled in Canada from refugee camps and urban slums and a 20 per cent
increase in settlement support for government-assisted refugees.
The government has been open to thoughtful improvements to
the proposed legislation. Following the introduction of the bill, the minister
has put great effort into listening to stakeholders, parliamentarians and
Canadians. The proposed reforms are long overdue and would focus our resources
on providing protection to those who need it.
Honourable senators, Bill C-11 would put in place
authority to designate country of origin. This list would include countries with
a strong record of human rights and protecting their citizens, and which are not
normally refugee producing; it would probably list no more than a handful of
countries at any time. Canada needs such a tool to deal with spikes in claims
from particular countries, claims that are often later abandoned or withdrawn,
suggesting that they may not have been well founded to begin with.
The government has worked with our colleagues in other
parties to make further changes to respond to continued concerns around the
designated country of origin policy. Bill C-11, with the amendments adopted by
the Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, would result in faster protection
for those claiming asylum who truly need it. It would help Canada to maintain
our strong humanitarian tradition by protecting the persecuted. It would also
expedite the processing and removal of people who do not need Canada's
protection and who would otherwise take advantage of Canada's generosity.
Canada's asylum system is designed to protect those
fleeing persecution. If we do not focus the resources of this system on
providing protection to those genuinely in need, then we are doing a disservice
to those individuals and putting at risk our ability to help those who truly
need our protection.
These proposed new measures honour the principles of
fairness, effectiveness and respect for human rights of all. Through them, this
government is honouring the values that Canadians hold dear. I encourage all
honourable senators to support this bill, so that Canada can continue to help
those individuals from around the world who truly need our protection.
(On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.)
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report
of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (Bill S-4, An Act respecting
family homes situated on First Nation reserves and matrimonial interests or
rights in or to structures and lands situated on those reserves, with
amendments), presented in the Senate on June 15, 2010.
Hon. Janis G. Johnson: Honourable senators, as the
Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, I am pleased to provide
an explanation of a series of amendments to Bill S-4, An Act respecting the
family homes on reserves and matrimonial interests or rights. As per rule 99, a
senator presenting a committee report must explain each amendment for the
benefit of the Senate.
To understand the significance of the amendments, one must
first grasp the essential elements of the legislation now before us. Bill S-4
proposes to eliminate a gap in the law. As honourable senators know, the Supreme
Court of Canada determined two decades ago that provincial and territorial laws
governing matrimonial real property do not apply on reserve lands. No federal
law exists as the Indian Act is silent on this matter.
The consequences of the resulting gap are well known and
can be devastating for those individuals — often Aboriginal women and children —
who may be forced to leave the reserve and sever their ties to their community.
Bill S-4 proposes a two-part solution: a mechanism whereby
First Nations can design and implement their own laws in this area, and
immediate protection from the implementation of a federal regime. This solution
grew out of a lengthy process of research, consultation and engagement. During
its review of Bill S-4, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights heard from
more than 30 witnesses representing several national Aboriginal organizations,
First Nations, independent lawyers, human rights experts, and the federal
The committee heard that there is opposition to this bill,
but the overriding message, and a point that all witnesses could agree on, is
that a solution is needed.
After considerable discussion and debate, the committee
agreed to adopt an amended version of Bill S-4. The committee believes that
setting aside Bill S-4 would have serious consequences. Although the proposed
legislation is not perfect and may not satisfy all stakeholders, it would close
a legal gap that denies those individuals living on reserve the same rights and
protections as those living off reserve. While moving ahead with an amended
version of Bill S-4 risks alienating some stakeholders, not moving ahead is
certain to lead to more suffering, particularly for the more vulnerable members
of society who are often Aboriginal women and children.
Honourable senators, the committee adopted a total of 12
amendments. The first one grew out of a recommendation made by several groups,
including the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the
Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs and the Federation of
Saskatchewan Indian Nations. It amends clause 2 to clarify that judges must take
into consideration agreements reached through traditional dispute resolution.
This amendment accommodates the fact that some communities may use mechanisms
such as elders' councils to resolve disputes related to relationship breakdowns.
Although Bill S-4 already accommodated traditional dispute resolution
mechanisms, this amendment makes recognition more explicit.
The next four amendments address clause 21 and emergency
protection orders. The first change requires that an emergency protection order
be issued by a judge situated in the province where the family home is located.
The second change clarifies that a peace officer or other person may apply for a
protection order on behalf of someone else.
Clause 21 currently includes a list of factors a judge
must consider when making an order for emergency protection, such as history of
family violence and the best interests of children. The next amendment adds
another factor, the applicant's ties to the community. The period of time that
the applicant has habitually resided on the reserve can be used as an indication
of the individual's tie to the community. Several witnesses called for this
amendment. The final amendment to clause 21 permits regulations to stipulate how
a peace officer shall serve an emergency protection order in special
circumstances such as when the person to be served cannot be located.
There were also amendments to clause 22 and clause 23. In
both cases, the amendments responded to comments about the collective nature of
reserve lands by several witnesses, including the Assembly of First Nations, the
Native Women's Association of Canada, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian
Nations, the Anishinabek Nation, the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians
and the Chiefs of Ontario. The amendments clarify that First Nations may take
representations to the courts in regard to collective interests, both when a
judge hears an application to change or revoke an emergency protection order and
for rehearings of such orders.
The next amendment addresses clause 25 of Bill S-4. This
clause lists several factors that a judge must consider when making exclusive
occupation orders. The amendment adds two factors to the list — collective
interests and a person's ties to the community. Again, this amendment responds
to comments from several witnesses who appeared before the committee.
Witnesses also suggested amending clause 26, which
addresses applications by a survivor for exclusive occupation of the family
home. The amendment specifies that First Nations may take representations to the
courts in regard to their collective interests when a survivor applies for
exclusive occupation of the family home.
The final three amendments to Bill S-4 are more technical
in nature and respond to recommendations from legal experts and other witnesses
who appeared before the committee. Clause 31 has been amended to clarify who is
bound by the lease of the family home during a period of court-ordered,
inclusive occupation. The lack of clear language in the original draft
legislation was an oversight, and representatives from the Canadian Bar
Association, the Province of Manitoba and the Department of Justice all
recommended the amendment.
The next amendment adds a new clause, clause 50.1, to Bill
S-4. This new clause, suggested by representatives of the Department of Justice
along with other witnesses, allows for the appeal of an order made under the
The final amendment addresses clause 57, and clarifies the
authority to make regulations when something is to be prescribed under the bill.
Honourable senators, the 12 amendments I have outlined to
help strengthen Bill S-4 clarify language and address technical weaknesses that
otherwise can hamper implementation and application. Furthermore, the amendments
respond to the comments from witnesses who appeared before the committee and
recommended changes. It is my belief that these amendments strengthen the bill
and, in so doing, will help secure support for this important legislation.
I emphasize that, as a committee, we heard strong
testimony about the need to close this legislative gap related to on-reserve
matrimonial interests and rights.
Bill S-4 aims to protect the rights of some of Canada's
most vulnerable citizens and, for that reason, this legislation is necessary.
Many witnesses made this point during their testimony before the committee, even
as they were noting some of its deficiencies. A representative of the Federation
of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, for instance, described the bill as encouraging
and said that if a woman's relationship breaks down, or in the event of the
death of her partner, whether by marriage or common law, laws should be in place
to ensure her rights are met, regarding matrimonial real property. The point was
echoed by a representative of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Chiefs, who
. . . I want to note that it is positive in the sense
that we are finally addressing this issue of matrimonial real property in
the First Nations community.
The committee also heard from the Minister of Indian
Affairs and Northern Development, who was passionate about delivering a
legislative solution to this issue. He is quoted as saying:
The bill is not perfect, but it allows us many
solutions that can be developed in the field and many alternatives that can
be developed with First Nations.
However, having no alternative is not an answer. We
cannot say that the issue is tough, so we will not wrestle it to the ground.
We need to wrestle it to the ground.
Honourable senators, I am pleased to report this bill with
the amendments I have outlined. The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights
conducted a thorough review of the proposed legislation, considered the
testimony of both supporters and opponents and adopted the amended version now
before us. As the chair of the committee, I believe Bill S-4 strikes an
appropriate balance between protecting rights of individual Canadians and
accommodating the collective interests of First Nations, and I look forward to
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore:
Honourable Senator Dyck, do you have a question?
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Yes, I do.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore:
Honourable Senator Johnson, will you accept a question?
Senator Johnson: Yes, I will.
Senator Dyck: My question is with regard to clauses
22, 23, 25 and 26. These clauses were all amended by adding words with respect
to collective interests of First Nations. The intention of the amendments may be
good, but have either the committee or the honourable senator received any
feedback from the people who proposed those amendments to see if they agree with
the intention of them?
Senator Johnson: That is an interesting question.
We have had absolutely no feedback at this time. I will report to the honourable
senator when we do.
Senator Dyck: My suggestion would be that having a
judge rule on the collective interests of a First Nation implies that a judge,
who is probably at a provincial court level, has authority to rule on what is
seen as an inherent right to self-govern. The intention may be good, but the
outcome of the amendments may worsen the situation with regard to First Nations
who have an inherent right to self-government. The interpretation may weaken the
case for First Nations' rights to self-government. I wonder if the honourable
senator will pose that interpretation to the people who suggested those
Senator Johnson: I will do that.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I was
listening to the senator with some interest. Several times, I heard her say that
the bill was not perfect, and then I understood her to say that the bill has
been amended 12 times, including a clause that is brand new. If I am wrong,
correct me, senator.
It seems to me that what the honourable senator is saying
does not inspire confidence. She begins by saying it is imperfect, then goes on
to say that it has been amended 12 times, 12 amendments, and one clause is new,
which means that that clause has not had second reading in this place.
Honourable senators, I also observed that she said the
amendments are drawn from comments, I think she said, from several persons, but
they are all First Nations people.
Honourable senators, from where I sit, simply listening,
not having followed the bill and not being well acquainted with it, it seems
that many First Nations people had problems with this bill, which the honourable
senator admits is imperfect. Why have we not arrested the progress of the bill
and studied the matter more perfectly to produce a better bill in the long run?
Senator Johnson: I thank the honourable senator for
the question. Obviously, Senator Cools did not attend any of the hearings. I
will give the honourable senator a bit of history.
Bill C-47 started in the House of Commons in a different
session. This version of the bill was introduced in the Senate as Bill S-4. We
had considerable, lengthy hearings, and experienced senators discussed the bill
with us. Amendments were made after intensive discussions and hearings.
It is the best we can produce; it is excellent; and it is
going forward. It will proceed from here to the House of Commons where, of
course, parliamentarians will review it. I am sure the honourable senator could
attend those hearings as well.
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I have no doubt
that many senators gave the bill their attention or that the bill had other
forms and lives previously. My question had to do with the response of First
Nations to the bill. The honourable senator indicated that the minister said the
bill was imperfect. Therefore, she admits to this house that the bill is still
considered imperfect. However, she asks us to vote for it.
Senator Stratton: Do not put words in her mouth.
Senator Cools: Then the honourable senator can
clarify. I did not put words in her mouth. If Senator Stratton wants to speak,
he can get up and speak.
Senator Stratton: The bill started in this chamber,
not the other.
Senator Cools: It does not matter. Does Senator
Stratton feel he has to come to Senator Johnson's protection? She is a strong
woman; she can speak for herself.
Senator Stratton: Yes, she is.
Senator Johnson: Honourable senators, is Senator
Cools asking a question or giving a speech?
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore:
Would the Honourable Senator Johnson like to respond to the question posed by
the Honourable Senator Cools?
Senator Johnson: The Standing Senate Committee on
Human Rights Committee has adopted Bill S-4 as amended.
Senator Cools: Your Honour, it is out of order to
cut off a senator when that senator is in the middle of a sentence. Unless a
senator has called upon you, Your Honour, asking about a point of order, you
should let me finish first before you rise.
All I was trying to say, honourable senators, is that I
was responding to what — we can talk to His Honour. This is the Senate's
Speaker, not the House of Commons' Speaker.
I was saying that I was listening to Senator Johnson with
some care. What the senator said raised alarms that something is not as proper
as it should be. If I was erroneous or wrong in what I heard or understood, I am
happy to say so. I only want clarification.
The way Senator Johnson said it and what she said did not
invite confidence. That is all. I made no slight and do not mean to hurt the
honourable senator in any way. I have great respect for Senator Johnson.
I only say that it does not inspire confidence when the
senator begins by saying that the minister said the bill is imperfect and then
points out that many First Nations peoples also said there is something wrong
with the bill. If the bill needed so many amendments, we should know why.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore:
Honourable Senator Johnson, I regret to inform you that your time is up.
Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Some Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It
has been moved by the Honourable Senator Johnson, seconded by the Honourable
Senator Comeau, that consideration of the third report of the Standing Senate
Committee on Human Rights (Bill S-4, An Act respecting family homes situated on
First Nation reserves and matrimonial interests or rights in or to structures
and lands situated in those reserves, with amendments), presented in the Senate
on June 15, 2010, be now adopted.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted, on division.)
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore:
Honourable senators, when shall this bill, as amended, be read the third time?
(On motion of Senator Johnson, bill placed on the Orders
of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable
Senator Hervieux-Payette, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Tardif,
for the second reading of Bill S-205, An Act to provide the means to
rationalize the governance of Canadian businesses during the period of
national emergency resulting from the global financial crisis that is
undermining Canada's economic stability.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators,
in light of the fact that a number of working groups will be meeting, including
the G8 and the G20, and a number of proposals will come out of these very
important meetings, I propose to give my speech in support of this bill once I
have received the necessary documentation and I have all the national and
(On motion of Senator Hervieux-Payette, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable
Senator Martin, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wallin, for the third
reading of Bill C-268, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum sentence
for offences involving trafficking of persons under the age of eighteen
Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, I rise
today to speak on Bill C-268. At first glance, it seems easy to support this
bill. It involves a horrible crime. It involves some of our most vulnerable
members of society — our youth. It also comes from a sponsor that has championed
this cause. I applaud Joy Smith for her dedication and work on this issue.
However, honourable senators, if you believe in
evidence-based public policy, the evidence heard at the committee does not
support the imposition of mandatory minimums as proposed in this bill.
Human trafficking is deplorable and reprehensible. It is
an illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of commercial sexual
exploitation or forced labour — a modern-day form of slavery. In 2005, the
government of Prime Minister Paul Martin brought in amendments to the Criminal
Code to devise specific offences for human trafficking. MP Joy Smith pointed out
before the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology:
"The legislation was well drafted and has provided important tools for all
police officers, prosecutors and judges, as well as a means for compensation for
Prosecution under this new legislation, honourable
senators, has been slow. We heard from witnesses before the committee that there
have been only five convictions for human trafficking in Canada since 2005.
There are currently 32 cases before the courts; whereas, in other countries with
similar legislation, such as the United Kingdom, there have been 110 convictions
for human trafficking since their legislation was put in place in 2002.
To underscore my first concern about this bill, I want to
mention the five cases that have resulted in convictions. Two of the convictions
were for trafficking adults and the remaining three were for trafficking people
under 18 years of age. Since Bill C-268 specifically concerns minors, I will
focus on those three cases.
The first case was the Imani Nakpangi case in May 2008.
This was the first conviction for human trafficking in Canada. Mr. Nakpangi
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I
regret to interrupt the honourable senator, but it is now four o'clock.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the
Government): I stand on a point of order. My understanding is there is a
house order allowing a minimum of 15 minutes. The table may be able to help Your
Honour on this, but there was a house order extending the time by 15 minutes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore:
Thank you, Senator Comeau. Senator Eggleton, I apologize. Please continue.
Senator Eggleton: This man pleaded guilty and
received a five- year sentence; he received three years for trafficking a
teenager and two years for living off the avails of a teenage prostitute, to be
The second case was the conviction of Michael Lennox Mark
in June 2008. He pleaded guilty to trafficking a 17-year-old girl and procuring
three others — one under 18 — to become prostitutes. He received two years for
the trafficking charge, and two years for procuring, to be served concurrently.
However, after receiving credit for time served in pre-trial custody, he spent
only one week in jail for the crimes.
The third conviction involving a minor was in Gatineau,
Quebec. In April 2009, Laura Emerson pleaded guilty to human trafficking by
exploiting two women — one a minor — and living off the avails of a prostitute.
Her sentence was seven years.
Honourable senators, what can we conclude from these first
three convictions? We have one conviction that seems unacceptably short,
although we do not know all the facts that were before the court. On the other
hand, we had another conviction with significant penal sanction and which sends
a strong message concerning the seriousness of the crime. The third conviction
is somewhere between the two.
I do not think we can conclude much from only three cases,
except that we should not make public policy based on such a small sample, and
based on examples with such divergent outcomes and for reasons that are not
available to us.
This legislation is still in its infancy. As Barry
MacKillop, the Director General of Law Enforcement and Border Services at Public
Safety Canada, said before the committee, which was echoed by other witnesses:
Any time we introduce any new laws, there is a certain
period of awareness, both on the application side — from the police,
prosecutors and judges — and from the public in recognizing what the new
Unfortunately, I think this bill is based more on ideology
than on fact. The judges are too lenient and the perpetrators should be punished
I point out that this view was not the prevailing one of
the witnesses who came before the committee. Most of the witnesses had
confidence in the judicial process. The superintendent from the RCMP said, and
was echoed by others: "I have faith in the judicial system in this country to
exercise the justice that is required with respect to individuals who are
charged before the court."
However, do mandatory minimum sentences work? The majority
of witnesses before the committee said no, and they opposed the use of mandatory
minimum sentences for many reasons. Of the five witnesses who expressed an
opinion on whether they favour mandatory minimum sentences, three opposed
mandatory minimum sentences and two were in favour, including Ms. Smith, the
sponsor of the bill.
The three witnesses opposed to mandatory minimum sentences
were a university researcher, a lawyer and a child rights activist. The first
objection was based on their utility. Michael Spratt from the Criminal Lawyers'
Association pointed out: "There appears to be little empirical data that shows
they are effective . . . in specific deterrence and general deterrence." In
other words, mandatory minimum sentences will not deter subsequent offenders.
Perpetrators do not consider how long a sentence they might receive before
committing the crime.
The second major reason against mandatory minimum
sentences for human trafficking is that two negative scenarios will probably
arise in many cases. If the Crown decides to charge an accused with human
trafficking, the case likely will go to trial. As Mr. Spratt pointed out, if
someone's culpability is at the lower end of the scale, with no criminal record
and that person knows that no matter what the person does before trial, that
person will receive a minimum sentence of five years, that individual will take
their chances at trial.
As Jamie Chaffe, from the Canadian Association of Crown
Counsels, pointed out:
Once we have a trial, we are into a very challenging
case for the Crown, particularly in these types of offences. We are dealing
with witnesses who are young and who have often suffered post-traumatic
stress. . . . We have issues around interpretation and translators; we have
issues around memory.
He further pointed out that going to trial can have a very
harmful effect on the victims. Witnesses who are young and who have often
suffered post-traumatic stress often find it very difficult to go through
This could have serious consequences, honourable senators;
this could result in fewer convictions and defenders might not receive the
justice that they deserve. It is no surprise then that all three of the
convictions to date for human trafficking of young people in Canada involve a
plea bargain; they all involved a plea bargain.
Depending on the complexity of the case, the second
scenario that can happen is that the prosecutor will drop the human trafficking
charge in favour of a plea bargain to a lesser charge to ensure a conviction,
thereby eliminating the purpose and effectiveness of the human trafficking
legislation. In the plea bargaining taking place, they have not had what they
need to obtain that kind of conviction. That is the one thing we are finding
Honourable senators, mandatory minimum sentences may also
lead to another consequence that was identified before the committee. The
International Bureau for Children's Rights — which is active in this area —
pointed out that some perpetrators of human trafficking have been victims
themselves. In a study of human trafficking in Quebec, they found that young
girls involved in human trafficking, either recruiting or running the ring,
participate to obtain a higher ranking within the gang to escape prostitution.
This bill will effectively criminalize the victim.
Criminalizing the victim with mandatory minimum sentences, the judges will have
no option to consider mitigating circumstances during sentencing. That option is
This highlights the last major problem I have with
mandatory minimum sentences. They limit or remove discretion from judges.
Proponents of mandatory minimum sentences will say that is exactly what they
want to do; they do not trust the judges to make the right decision.
However, honourable senators, judges are the ones we want
to make the decisions. They can interpret the laws and apply justice in a fair
and just manner, and their decisions can be reviewed. If the prosecution does
not like the outcome of a case, or does not like the sentence handed down to an
offender, there is an appeal process. We all know that. This process ensures we
have an open and transparent system; a system that has served Canada well as a
nation for 143 years.
Honourable senators, I believe we are missing a crucial
step that would more effectively combat human trafficking than this bill. That
crucial step should be in place before we pass a piece of legislation that is
based on limited facts and ideological perceptions.
We need a national strategy on human trafficking.
On February 22, 2007, Member of Parliament Joy Smith was
successful in passing, with all-party support, a motion in the House of Commons
that called on Parliament to condemn the trafficking of women and children
across international borders for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and to
immediately adopt a comprehensive strategy to combat the trafficking of persons
worldwide. Honourable senators, it has been three years since that motion passed
unanimously and nothing has been done about it. No strategy has been developed.
It is not as though we do not have many examples to guide
us along the way. A great framework to follow was laid down in 2007 in the House
of Commons in the Status of Women Committee report. By the way, Joy Smith was
vice-chair of that committee, as well. It was entitled Turning Outrage into
Action to Address Trafficking for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation in Canada.
In that report, they did not call for mandatory minimum
sentences. Instead, they said that the major barrier to combating trafficking in
Canada resulted from the failure to enforce the laws that Canada currently has.
They found that the lack of education about human trafficking in the police
forces and in the judiciary was the main culprit for this problem.
The committee, therefore, recommended that the federal
government consult with national and provincial bar associations to establish a
strategy to increase the legal community's awareness of victims of trafficking,
and to improve and encourage continuing legal education relating to trafficking
The committee also recommended that all levels of
government should increase funding to the police and the judiciary to better
investigate and prosecute cases of human trafficking. That is what came from the
Status of Women committee report and its vice- chair, Joy Smith.
We could also learn from the United Kingdom, a country
that has a national action plan and which was identified by witnesses as doing
well in combating human trafficking. The U.K. action plan focuses on covering
the broad areas of prevention — prevention is very important here as we do not
want more of these incidents to happen — investigation, law enforcement,
prosecution and providing protection and assistance to victims.
The plan sets out a number of action points, with
timetables for implementation. They view this as a balanced approach that
addresses the need of victims, prosecutes the offenders, and tries to prevent
the crime in the first place.
Furthermore, honourable senators, even though they have
substantially more data on convictions than we do — I mentioned the figure of
110 — and have reviewed their action plan twice since it was introduced in 2007,
guess what? They do not have mandatory minimum sentences.
Honourable senators, in conclusion, human trafficking is a
reprehensible crime. We need to make sure that the victims are safe, secure and
in a state where they can rebuild their lives; and we need to effectively
prosecute, punish, but also rehabilitate offenders. Let us not forget that.
It was said in committee that maybe we should just lock
them up and not worry about them; but if we care about the victims, then we must
care about preventing new ones. Offenders will be back on the street again after
their prison time is up, whether there are mandatory minimums or not, and we do
not want them to reoffend. Therefore, we should be interested in rehabilitation.
I believe, honourable senators, that this bill has good
intentions, but it has the wrong conclusion.
Hon. Jane Cordy: Will the honourable senator take a
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I
regret to inform the honourable senator that his time is up. Are honourable
senators agreeable to an extension of five minutes?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Cordy: I thank the honourable senator for
an excellent speech. Yesterday, I mentioned in my speech that I also do not
believe that mandatory minimum sentences work. I hope that this bill helps, but
I am doubtful that mandatory minimum sentences will help.
The honourable senator did an excellent job of describing
why mandatory minimum sentences do not work. He said that perpetrators do not
think about mandatory minimum sentences when they are planning a crime. I
believe that is probably true for any kind of crime, but particularly in this
case, because, with trafficking, the chances of their getting caught, charged
and convicted are minimal. We know that last year, the only ones who were found
guilty and convicted were the ones who actually entered a guilty plea.
He also talked about our judicial system. We have the best
judicial system in the world and yet we are not allowing judges to have any
leeway whatsoever, or any discretion. He talked about the example where some of
the victims actually became traffickers, and we have done nothing in order to
help these people. I would think if we have the best judicial system in the
world, then we should allow our judges to have some discretion.
One of the things the honourable senator did not mention,
which I also heard at the committee, was that sometimes mandatory minimum
sentences become maximums. We do know that if someone has been found guilty of
such a heinous crime as trafficking those under the age of 18, then we would not
like what started off as a mandatory minimum sentence to become a maximum
penalty that they should receive. At least, I do not believe it should become a
maximum penalty. Could the honourable senator comment on that?
Senator Eggleton: I thank the honourable senator
for the summary.
Yes, there is that risk. What is important here is to look
at the victims, both in terms of the ones who have been victims and the ones we
want to prevent from becoming victims. That is why a strategy and an action plan
such as they have in the U.K. is the kind of thing we really need to have.
The Crown counsel representative — I think to the surprise
of some members of the committee — said that if there are mandatory minimum
sentences, then there will not be as many guilty pleas because they will fight
it. If it is five years, they will fight it. That is where it brings into play
the fact that some of these victims have been so stressed and it has been such a
traumatic experience for them that the Crown's counsels are concerned that they
will not be able to get a conviction if it goes to trial. The way it is now — as
they have in the three cases involving people under 18 — they are able to work
out a plea bargain to not put those victims through that situation.
We need to make sure, as has been done in the U.K., that
the judges and the prosecutors appreciate the fact this is a serious crime and
we have to get the appropriate penalties. However, we must leave some
flexibility in the system, so we do not re-victimize those victims and we do not
put them through that terrible, stressful condition if it is felt that they
cannot go through it. Leave that kind of flexibility in the court.
We have the best court system anywhere. It is not
infallible; they make mistakes — that is why we have an appeal process. However,
I think our system is quite capable of handling it and we will handcuff them if
we put in mandatory minimum sentences, and we risk that very kind of thing
happening — where the minimum could become the maximum.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore:
Honourable senators, it being 4:15 p.m., pursuant to the order adopted by the
Senate on June 15, 2010, I declare the Senate continued until Thursday, June 17,
2010 at 1:30 o'clock, the Senate so decreeing.
(The Senate adjourned until Thursday, June 17, 2010, at