- SENATORS' STATEMENTS
- ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
- QUESTION PERIOD
- Delayed Answers to Oral Questions
- International Cooperation
- Fisheries and Oceans
- Foreign Affairs
- ORDERS OF THE DAY
- Safe Food for Canadians Bill
- Fisheries Act
- Official Languages Act
- Corrections and Conditional Release Act
- Conflict of Interest for Senators
- Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
Hon. Pana Merchant: Honourable senators, it is with sadness, great respect and the best of memories that I rise to mark the passing of our esteemed colleague, the Honourable Herb Sparrow, Member of the Order of Canada, Honorary Doctor of Science McGill University, who died on September 6, 2012. He was 82.
The gratitude and pride of the overflow crowd in the city of North Battlefield, his city, was on display during the celebration of his life of service: alderman; Kinsmen; Mason; Shriner; co-founder of the School for Retarded Children; co-founder of the Battlefords Sheltered Workshop for physically and mentally challenged citizens; honorary life Rotarian; Junior Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Young Man of the Year; United Nations Environmental Leadership and Certificate of Distinction for Soil Conservation recipient, whose leadership and dedication have brought about significant change to farm practices not only in the Canadian farming context but to world agricultural farming practices; Battlefords and District Citizen of the Decade for the 1980s; strong supporter of the Battleford Boys and Girls Club, the Salvation Army, the Battleford's Indian and Metis Friendship Centre and the North Battleford Homeless Shelter; founder of school meal programs to ensure that students from poor families got enough nutrition to learn properly; successful businessman; farmer-rancher; long-serving senator; caring philanthropist; and good-natured, humorous friend and proud Canadian.
The prairie experience and prairie people played a pivotal role in shaping his soul, character and way of life. Senator Sparrow was a staunch defender of the Senate and the importance of its independence from the other place. He regretted the politicization of this place because he felt that this impaired our capacity and our value as a chamber of sober second thought.
Senator Sparrow was a valued friend of my family for three generations. He offered me welcome advice and assistance through the benefit of his long experience, and I was particularly grateful to him.
I ask honourable senators to join me in conveying our sincere condolences to his wife Lois, his six children, their spouses, and his grandchildren and great grandchild.
Hon. JoAnne L. Buth: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to former Senator Herb Sparrow. Senator Sparrow was a remarkable man. He made significant contributions to the Senate and good governance of our country, but, true to his roots as a farmer and businessman, Senator Sparrow's greatest impact was undoubtedly in the field of agriculture, particularly in the advancement of sustainable farming practices and the prevention of soil degradation.
While chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, he helped author the highly influential study, Soil at Risk: Canada's Eroding Future, which focused attention on the seriousness of soil degradation. It is widely credited for increasing government programming for soil conservation and driving changes in farming practices. As a testament to its authority, Soil at Risk remains one of most requested publications produced by the Senate.
Senator Sparrow later founded and became the first president of Soil Conservation Council of Canada, where he pioneered the Save our Soils Program. For his decades of tireless work educating Canadians and the world about the problems of soil degradation, he received many accolades, including induction into the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame, an honorary doctorate from McGill University and the Order of Canada.
Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet Senator Sparrow, but his work has made a considerable and lasting impact on me and many other agricultural professionals. His efforts brought much-needed attention to not only the issue of soil erosion and sustainability but also the importance of Canadian agriculture as a whole. The words of a farmer interviewed in Soil at Risk certainly echo the sentiments of Senator Sparrow:
This is soil that belongs to our children and its loss guarantees they cannot be as prosperous as we are.
I am pleased to say that Senator Sparrow's diligence has contributed greatly to the ability of Canadian farmers to prosper today and into the future.
Honourable senators, please join me in saluting this exceptional Canadian.
Hon. David P. Smith: Honourable senators, I also rise to pay tribute to the late Senator Herb Sparrow. He was a long-time friend, a colleague, a fellow Liberal and a fine senator.
I was born in Toronto and I guess I am thought of as a Toronto guy, but, believe it or not, Herb Sparrow and my sister Cay, my only sister, who has lived in California for over 60 years, were born 16 days apart in Saskatoon.
I really got to know Herb in the fall of 1964 when I went with Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson to the annual convention of the Saskatchewan Liberal Association at the Bessborough Hotel. Herb was elected president of the party. Of course, four years later, Prime Minister Pearson appointed him to the Senate.
I got to know him really well. I was, of course, very young in 1964, 48 years ago. I was just a kid, but I was out there as the National Director of the Young Liberals and Keith Davey's right-hand guy. I spent the next couple of years helping to organize for the 1965 election, and I spoke to Herb Sparrow all the time.
I will never forget being in Mr. Pearson's suite when Ross Thatcher walked into the room, but I will not go into that now as it is not that relevant. There are some memories that one will never forget, and that is one of mine.
Herb Sparrow and I kept in touch over the years. We were friends. When I came to the Senate, we were seatmates. Regardless of who was speaking, Herb would make a joke every two or three minutes. His jokes were always witty and funny, and he would poke me in the ribs as he told them. I will never forget one time when I asked Herb whether he had heard the story about the Saskatchewan farmer who retired to B.C. Some of his neighbours went out to visit him the next summer and asked how he liked the mountains. The man replied, "I do not; they block the view." Herb must have laughed for five minutes over that. I think he stole that joke from me.
Ironically, Herb Sparrow lived for many years on Walker Drive in North Battleford. Believe it or not, Walker Drive was named after my wife's grandfather, who was a lawyer in Saskatchewan and the mayor of North Battleford. After he died in 1928, they named Walker Drive after him. I guess Herb thought so much of him that he moved to that street. I have very fond memories of Herb; and we will miss him. I wanted to rise and pay my respects.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I also rise to pay tribute to the late Senator Herb Sparrow. I will not repeat what has been said of his accomplishments because I hate repetition. Herb and I had a lot in common. He was a rancher, and I was a rancher for a while. I was a chicken farmer, and he was the Mr. Chicken of Saskatchewan and North Dakota because he owned a Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in that area. My first business was Brownies Recipe Fried Chicken, which was a takeoff of Colonel Sanders. Herb always called me a phoney. He was a great guy.
I remember that Herb was a great Liberal, but more than that, he was a great Canadian. He was principled, honest and decent, and he espoused integrity. As well, he had a genuine sense of humour that would last forever.
We roasted Senator Lawson in Vancouver at the Bayshore Inn, where all the downtown folks were spiffed up. When Herb walked in, one person asked, "Who the heck is that?" I said that he was Herb Sparrow, one of the roasters. Someone said, "Really? How did we pick him?" I said, "Just wait." Herb rose to speak and blew the entire crowd away. The people were in tears. They recently did an event for me. They asked whether I could find Herb Sparrow. I said, "Yes, I can, but I do not want to find him right now. He is up there, and I do not want to go up there right now."
Politicians from all parties could learn from a man like Herb Sparrow. I recall Herb establishing in his mind what was right and what was wrong with this place. He took a stand on various issues, and I will mention two of them. The first was the gun registry, which he thought was ridiculous. He stood his ground and voted the way he thought. The second was the Toronto airport deal whereby the process would deny people access to the courts. I can remember Herb saying that this would never happen in his lifetime. He stood up and voted the way he saw the entire issue.
Senator Mercer: I remember that.
Senator St. Germain: I learned from him a little bit; and, more important, we should all learn from him because he was a decent and good human being. He will be missed by thousands of people who knew him right across this country. I thank honourable senators for giving me the opportunity to say a few words about Herb Sparrow, not only a great senator but also a good friend.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I wish to be associated with the remarks of my colleagues and to touch on one of the items that Senator St. Germain mentioned. The government bill in respect of the Toronto airport had a little clause in it that, as mentioned, denied due process to the parties and the opportunity to have their case heard under the rule of law. That Liberal bill was defeated by one Liberal vote against; and the voter was Herb Sparrow, a man of deep integrity, who was making sure that Canadians would have due process available to them. I was not here at the time, but I remember reading about the case.
When I came here, I got to know Herb and his fabulous sense of humour. For me, who better was there to go to for advice, to try to emulate and to have as a mentor? He was a mentor to me, and that comical, full and robust relationship continued after he left this place. He was a dear friend and a stalwart Canadian. I shall miss him. I offer my deepest sympathy to his family.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, the last time Herb Sparrow and I talked was after the Conservative government put an end to the gun registration program. It was a celebratory phone call over a program that saw Herb on the same side as many of us on this side of the chamber. He was joined by others on the Liberal side, of course. He represented the best interests of the province of Saskatchewan, be they farm interests on the treatment of animals, the gun registration or, most important, the rights of Canadians to take their issues to court. He defended it even when he believed his party did not. He was always a Liberal — no question about it — but at least this side got to adopt him once in a while.
He was accorded accolades from the Chamber of Commerce and the Kinsmen Club; and he was awarded the United Nations Environmental Leadership Medal for his work on soil conservation. He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame and the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame; and he was awarded the Order of Canada in 2009.
Herb was my friend. There were many people at his funeral. At funerals, there are people who are sorry to see you go and people who are happy to see you go. However, honourable senators, I knew that Herb Sparrow was well-liked when I went to a roast for him after his retirement. I was sort of the token Tory speaking at that roast, and we had the most wonderful time. There were more people there than at the funeral. It was a fabulous event, and we had a wonderful time.
He was a good man who represented all in our province. I express my deepest condolences to his wife, Lois, and to his wonderful sons, daughters and grandchildren. Our province is a better place because he lived among us. Rest in peace, Herb.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before proceeding with other senators' statements, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of a distinguished delegation from the People's National Congress of China led by the Honourable Ma Wenpu, member of the China-Canada Legislative Association and Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the National People's Congress of China, accompanied by colleagues from the People's Republic of China and His Excellency Zhang Junsai, Ambassador of the Peoples' Republic of China to Canada.
On behalf of all honourable senators, welcome to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Marie-P. Charette-Poulin: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who has chosen to step down after leading our province with a quiet strength for 9 years and after 16 years at the helm of the Ontario Liberal Party. Premier McGuinty is a man whose strong family values are reflected in the legacy he leaves for Ontario families and future generations. He has strengthened our education system by reducing classroom sizes and bringing in full-day kindergarten. He has responded to Ontarians' concerns about health care and has worked hard to reduce hospital wait times. Our province now boasts greener energy generation. Its economy is well positioned and its deficit is in decline.
On September 25, we celebrated Le Jour des Franco-Ontariens et des Franco-Ontariennes, another significant part of Premier McGuinty's legacy. When this day was first celebrated in 2010, the premier proudly declared:
This unique day is a reminder of the inclusive character of the province and also serves to pay tribute to all Franco-Ontarians and francophones of all origins, who, for 400 years, have been contributing to Ontario's development.
Honourable senators, under Premier McGuinty's leadership, the Ontario government has been committed to making improvements to francophone services and to recognizing the francophone community's numerous contributions to the quality of life in Ontario. Amongst the many enhancements made is the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner, which was created to ensure the continuity of these improvements.
I wish to thank you, Premier McGuinty, for your vision and for your leadership. Dalton, on behalf of all Ontarians, I want to thank your wife Terri and your family for the many sacrifices they have made as you served the people of Ontario selflessly, with strength, compassion and conviction.
Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: Honourable senators, I rise today to mark a happy event, even though we have lost a great Canadian.
On September 27, at the Salaberry Armoury, in the presence of guest of honour Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice of Canada, and Senators Jean-Guy Dagenais and Vernon White, we awarded 50 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals.
The medals were awarded to people in four specific categories: those who stand up for the rights of victims of crime, police officers recognized for their social commitment outside work hours, members of the military working abroad, and individuals who toil anonymously to improve the quality of life in their community.
I would first like to thank Minister Nicholson for being so generous with his time and for honouring the people who attended the medal ceremony with his presence. Minister Nicholson is greatly appreciated for his attention to and concern for the victims of crime, which he has demonstrated from his very first day on the job as the Minister of Justice of Canada.
Personally, I hold the minister in very high esteem for the great empathy he has always demonstrated for families who experience unspeakable tragedies such as the murder of a family member or the disappearance of a loved one as a result of crime.
As I said in my introduction, my colleagues, Senator Jean-Guy Dagenais and Senator Vernon White, honoured me with their presence and joined my team in applauding the outstanding contribution made by these Canadians, who have moved us with their courage, their dedication and their involvement. I would like to thank my colleagues once again for attending the event.
Honourable senators, this ceremony was our way of commending the extraordinary and largely unrecognized contribution made by these 50 individuals to Quebec and Canadian society and the meaningful action they have taken in this country and around the world. We chose these individuals easily and without compromise, taking into account the extent of their commitment, because, in our minds, they had all distinguished themselves in some meaningful way. Whether police officers, military personnel, victims' rights advocates or just ordinary engaged citizens, they are excellent role models for us and for those in their communities, in their workplaces and in their families.
In closing, I would be remiss if I did not underscore the wonderful job done by the two individuals who were mainly involved in organizing the event and who were responsible for its success, since all of the recipients invited to attend on September 27 accepted our invitation to be recognized.
Such tremendous organization required near-perfect logistics, and I would therefore like to commend the excellent job done by Chief Petty Officer Second Class Mario Richard, who coordinated the Canadian Forces resources put at our disposal. The professional quality of the ceremony was unanimously applauded by all the participants and their guests.
I would also like to thank my Senate communications officer, Isabelle Lapointe, who served as master of ceremonies for the evening. I applaud her professionalism in planning and organizing the event and her consistent efforts to make the ceremony a success.
In conclusion, one of parliamentarians' most gratifying jobs is recognizing Canadians for their dedication to making our world a better place. Clearly, the awarding of the Queen's Jubilee Medal goes beyond the mere political and happy symbolism surrounding it. This medal is much more meaningful to recipients, who are received in this way with all the honours conferred upon them by their outstanding professional and social commitment. To them, on the evening of September 27, 2012, Canada and its Governor General thanked them.
Thank you to the recipients for helping to make Canada the best country in which to live.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Senator Benjamin Nwandibe Obi of Nigeria. He is the guest of the Honourable Senator Segal.
Senator, on behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear
Hon. Pierre De Bané: Honourable senators, I would like to add my voice to those of my colleagues in honouring the late Senator Sparrow. Senator Sparrow played an extremely important role. The report that he produced as the chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture is by far the most printed and most widely distributed report in Canada, with over 50,000 copies. This report has become a standard work on the development of agricultural policy throughout the entire world.
Most of us knew Senator Sparrow. He was a very generous and sincere man. He was truly in touch with ordinary Canadians.
Honourable senators, I wish to emphasize that point. Herb Sparrow really wanted to be close to the people, to feel their problems and their experiences. I will remind senators that one day he went undercover as a homeless man, with $1.50 and some food stamps, and lived with the street people on skid row in Vancouver for a full week. This is the type of man who really wanted to feel what homeless people, poor people, are living through.
If it is true that sincerity really is reflected in one's actions, what he did in his province for the poor people, for the students who were handicapped and for others proved how much that man was really one of the most inspiring senators we have had. I want to add my voice to those of my colleagues to pay tribute to him and to offer to his family my sincere condolences.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2011-12 annual reports of the Commissioner of Official Languages, pursuant to section 72 of both the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2011-12 annual report, pursuant to the Official Languages Act.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by the Senator Jaffer on May 8, 2012 concerning international cooperation and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by the Honourable Senator Dallaire on May 17, 2012, concerning the RADARSAT Constellation Mission.
I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by the Honourable Senator Chaput on September 26, 2012 concerning the rural municipality of Taché.
Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by the Honourable Senator Eggleton on June 21, 2012, concerning Statistics Canada—Information on Income and Labour.
I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by Senator Jaffer on June 6, 2012 concerning women's rights in Afghanistan.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer on May 8, 2012)
Canada has committed and made important contributions to global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals particularly through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). CIDA's mission of leading Canada's international efforts to help people living in poverty relates to all of the Millennium Development Goals.
CIDA supports the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals through its three program channels — bilateral, multilateral and Canadian partnership. The Agency is especially active in the areas of food security; education and gender equality; and, health, including maternal, newborn and child health.
It is important to note Canada's role, under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, in mobilizing global action to reduce maternal and infant mortality and improve the health of mothers and children in the world's poorest countries. In June 2010, under Canada's Presidency, the G8 launched the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, which aims to save the lives of women and children in developing countries. In cooperation with select non-G8 nations and organizations that joined the Muskoka Initiative, the G8 committed a total of US$7.3 billion in new and additional funding over five years (2010-2015).
Canada committed $1.1 billion in new and additional funding to the Muskoka Initiative, while maintaining existing Maternal Newborn and Child Health programming at $1.75 billion over five years, for a total commitment of $2.85 billion. CIDA is working with bilateral and multilateral partners and Canadian civil society to implement the Muskoka Initiative. Canada is proud to have used its G8 Presidency to champion the Muskoka Initiative, which helped pave the way for the UN Secretary-General's Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health, which is a multi-stakeholder effort launched in September 2010 that has raised approximately US $60 billion. In addition to contributing to reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, these two initiatives also contribute to the achievement of combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, as well as reducing the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
Canada's contribution to the Muskoka Initiative is achieving results. For example, in Mozambique, Canada supported a nation-wide campaign in 2011, which vaccinated nearly 4 million children against measles and resulted in an 80% reduction in measles cases compared to the same period in 2010. In Haiti, Canada is contributing to the development of new maternity and paediatric wards and providing equipment for maternity clinics and community health centres. These institutions will serve a population of 1.4 million people. In Ethiopia, Canada supported community health days for nutrition, which resulted in 1.5 million children under five years receiving regular vitamin A supplements and 1 million children aged two to six receiving regular deworming treatments.
For more information on how Canada is contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, please consult Annex 1.
As part of the Government's Aid Effectiveness Agenda, CIDA undertook a comprehensive review of all its multilateral programming to ensure that its funding to multilateral institutions remains focused on the most effective institutions, is linked with clear objectives to make a real difference on the ground, and is aligned with Government of Canada and CIDA priorities. Consistent with this, CIDA works with multilateral partners that have endorsed the Goals, ensuring that Canadian aid dollars support their achievement.
The Management Accountability Framework provides national governments and other development stakeholders with a systematic approach to identify and analyze bottlenecks, and recommend collaborative solutions. This framework has now been applied in 37 countries with the support of national governments, including in four Sahel countries where the frameworks specifically address food and nutritional security. CIDA supports this effort, as well as work being done by United Nations Development Program to help develop a global consensus on a new development framework for 2015 and beyond.
CIDA's disbursements for the fiscal year 2011-12 to multilateral partners involved with addressing the Millennium Development Goals were as follows:
United Nations Women $ 14.32 million The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) $ 175.49 million United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) $ 38.34 million United Nations Development Program (UNDP) $ 91.8 million United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) $ 61.5 million World Health Organization (WHO) $ 146.86 million World Food Programme (WFP) $ 402.61 million
As part of Canada's aid effectiveness agenda, the Government also announced in 2009, that 80 percent of CIDA's bilateral programming would be focused on 20 countries, which were chosen based on their real needs, their capacity to benefit from aid, and their alignment with Canadian foreign policy priorities. CIDA's bilateral programming towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals is concentrated in the Agency's 20 countries of focus, which are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Ukraine and Vietnam, as well as the Caribbean region and West Bank and Gaza.
(For Annex 1, see Appendix, p. 2601.)
(Response to question raised by Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire on May 17, 2012)
The RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) is designed to provide complete coverage of Canada's land and oceans at least once per day, up to four times daily in the high Arctic, as well as provide greatly improved operational capability and reliability.
The Government of Canada remains committed to the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) and maintaining Canada's leadership and expertise in Earth observation and radar technology.
The Government recognizes that Canada has niche capabilities in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technologies, and that a mission like the RCM requires the work and dedication of highly skilled scientists and engineers.
The Canadian Space Agency continues to work with its Prime Contractor Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) to complete the design phase of RCM.
At this time, the Government is reviewing options for completing the RCM. This review requires careful due diligence, so as to ensure the project is completed in a cost effective manner.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Maria Chaput on September 26, 2012)
On August 1st, 2012, the Rural Municipality of Taché sent a letter to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans concerning the Experimental Lakes Area and enclosed a resolution of the Rural Municipality acknowledging their continued support. On August 15th, 2012, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans responded to the letter.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada believes universities and non-government research facilities are better suited to conduct the type of research that has been done at the Experimental Lakes Area, and the Department is working to transfer operations to an organization that is better positioned to do studies based on fundamental ecosystem manipulation.
Departmental officials are working diligently to find another operator for the facility, so that this important work can continue by another party better suited for this type of research.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Art Eggleton on June 21, 2012)
The Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) was designed to provide national-level data on family and individual financial well-being. To track Canadians' labour market activity and income, SLID produced two types of information: static measures for a particular moment in time (cross-sectional) and transitional measures over a period of time (longitudinal). The vast majority of uses of and products derived from SLID were released through an annual publication called Income in Canada and were based on the point-in-time measures (or cross-sectional information). This information is what allows the monitoring of overall trends among specific subsets of the population. There were, however, some uses based on the longitudinal information, for example the monitoring of the persistence of low-income.
Statistics Canada published the last release of the longitudinal component of SLID in 2012. To replace SLID, Statistics Canada will develop and conduct a new survey in early 2013 to produce annual (cross-sectional) estimates on income. This new data series will continue to provide year-to-year trends in income over time. Approximately 90% of the current data tables from the Income in Canada publication will still be available. However, there will be less information, particularly on the labour market component.
Statistics Canada is investigating possibilities to provide longitudinal information to its users, in a different way than what was produced in SLID.
Before making the changes to its programs, Statistics Canada conducted a thorough review of its activities to manage resources while maintaining a balanced national statistical program that accurately measures the economy and society. By focusing resources where they are most needed, Statistics Canada continues to provide high-quality, reliable and timely information at a lower cost to Canadians that is sustainable into the future.
(Response to questions raised by Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer on June 6, 2012)
Question #1: Investing in the future of Afghan children and youth through development programs in education and health is one of Canada's four priorities in Afghanistan. How much time, money and resources have we invested in achieving this priority? What are our plans for the future?
From 2006-2012, CIDA provided $125.9 million to support education initiatives, some of which are funded solely by CIDA, and others which are multi-donor with results at the national level. The majority of our support to education initiatives directly targeted access and quality of girls' education. Key results include:
- Over 4,000 CIDA-funded community based schools across Afghanistan have provided education to approximately 125,000 students - more than 84 percent of whom are girls;
- CIDA has trained over 3,000 community based education teachers, the majority of whom are female;
- CIDA has helped to raise the quality of teaching in the classroom by supporting training opportunities to more than 130,000 teachers, including almost 40,000 female teachers;
- Almost 100 community-based preschools have been established to support early childhood development for hundreds of young children, the majority of whom are girls;
- Over 2,000 girls have entered Teacher Training Colleges;
- CIDA has implemented 561 small-scale physical school improvement projects, such as boundary walls and latrines, to support girls' access to education; and,
- More than 1,600 school construction/rehabilitation projects have been completed or are in progress across the country to enhance access to education, particularly in remote areas.
In addition to the $125.9 million spent on education initiatives, CIDA also supports the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund - Recurrent Cost program. This support provides for wages, benefits and other payments for government employees, most notably teachers and principals, and operating costs of schools.
CIDA overall support for health from 2006-2012 was $169.35 million — the majority of which has been targeted for maternal and child health initiatives, some of which are funded solely by CIDA, and others which are multi-donor with results at the national level. Key results include:
- The percentage of children 12-23 months who receive routine diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT) vaccination has increased from 34.6% in 2006 to 85% in 2011;
- The percentage of pregnant women aged 15-49 years that received at least one antenatal care visit by a skilled health provider has increased from 32.3% in 2006 to 74% in 2011;
- The proportion of births attended by a skilled health worker increased from 18.9% in 2006 to 34% in 2011;
- Since 2008, CIDA funding to tuberculosis control activities has contributed to the detection of 113,062 cases (64% of which were women), thus helping to control the spread of the disease. As a result, 87% of detected women (62,953 cases) were treated successfully;
- The distribution of multiple micronutrient powder to 230,000 children aged six months to five years to help prevent diarrhea, blindness and death;
- The distribution of iron and folic acid supplements to 127,000 pregnant or lactating women for 180 days to ensure healthy pregnancies, deliveries and babies; and,
- The training of more than 100 health facility personnel and nearly 900 community health workers on the administration and benefits of micronutrients.
Key results in Kandahar Province include:
- The construction of a maternal waiting home equipped with basic supplies, including patient beds and office equipment;
- Maternal and neonatal health care training for health care workers;
- The delivery of a safe motherhood information campaign;
- The training of 264 health workers on Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses and the administration of essential vaccines and medication to women and children under-five; and,
- The provision of Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care supplies and medical equipment.
What are our plans for the future?
In November 2010, the Government of Canada announced the parameters for its engagement in Afghanistan for the period of 2011 to 2014. Canada's non-combat role for that period focuses on four areas: investing in the future of Afghan children and youth through education and health; advancing security, the rule of law and human rights; promoting regional diplomacy; and delivering humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. Women and girls were identified as a specific area of focus for Canada's development efforts.
Education: CIDA's current programming in education is focussed on improving the quality of and access to basic education for Afghan children and youth, with a particular focus on women and girls. Key objectives include:
- Supporting community-based education (CBE) to increase access to education, especially of girls;
- Investing in the formal system for the long-term benefit of all students; and
- Getting qualified teachers, especially women, into schools.
Health: Improving maternal, newborn and child health is a key commitment announced by the Prime Minister at the G-8 meeting in Muskoka (2010). CIDA's current programming in health focuses on:
- Increasing equitable and gender-sensitive health services to mothers, newborns and children;
- Continuing to be a leading donor to polio eradication; and,
- Enhancing healthy nutritional practices by mothers, and for the benefit of newborns and children under five.
More recently, at the July Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan, Canada announced it will continue to maintain a significant development presence in Afghanistan by building on the priorities, experiences and successes of our current engagement. This pledge included an additional $227 million for continued CIDA programming between 2014- 2017, including programming in education and health, as well as the Canadian Government's unwavering long-term support for Afghan women and girls.
Expectations of accountability and reforms in areas such as governance, anti-corruption and advancing the rights of women and girls represented an important component of Canada's announcement. These expectations were formally captured in the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework signed between the International Community and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Question #2: What steps are we taking to ensure that the small advances we have made in the education of girls are not destroyed when we leave Afghanistan?
At the July 2012 Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan, the Canadian Government announced a commitment to development programming in Afghanistan until 2017. This included a pledge to continue to offer programming in education, especially as this sector supports the advancement of women and girls. This demonstrates a long-term Canadian commitment to girls' education and enables CIDA to adopt a long-term programming focus rather than a limited focus on short-term results.
In order to maximise the potential for CIDA's projects to generate benefits for Afghans beyond the timeframe of specific investments, CIDA ensures that key determinants of sustainability are factored into the education projects that it funds. The following section illustrates how some of these key determinants have been taken into account in CIDA's support for girls' education.
Support provided by CIDA and other donors to the education sector, as well as direction coming from the highest levels of the Afghan Government, have helped entrench a clear commitment to girls' education into a number of Afghan Government policy documents and action plans. In addition to supporting the development of these policy frameworks, CIDA has also helped build the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Education to implement and oversee the policies and action plans that promote girls' education. This is another key determinant to ensuring a long-term return on our investments in girls' education, i.e. (i) ensuring that functional institutions (from the national level down to the community level) are reinforced during the lifespan of our projects and (ii) self-sustaining after our projects end. To this end, CIDA works closely with the Afghan Ministry of Education to ensure that each education project aligns with the Ministry's own plans and priorities, and that future budgets are made available in the Government's plans and budgets to absorb the long-term operating costs of our projects (e.g. infrastructure maintenance, salaries). CIDA's partners on the ground also work with community groups to ensure that initiatives are sustainable beyond the lives of specific projects. This can be achieved when projects are implemented by communities themselves (e.g. school construction).
Another successful approach has been the engagement of communities themselves in girls' education. For example, the CIDA-supported Education Quality Improvement Program has established more than 10,000 School Management Committees. These committees give communities a platform to advocate for education (including the education of girls) at the community level, while at the same time holding their government accountable for effective education service delivery.
Another successful example has been CIDA's support for Community-Based Education (CBE). CBE has not only been successful in increasing girls' access to education, but also in empowering girls and their communities to take ownership and responsibility over the issue of girls' education. Through this focus on community ownership, CIDA-supported programming has taken root, and processes have been put in place to transfer the responsibility for CBE to the Ministry of Education to in order to ensure quality, sustainability and oversight.
Our experience in Afghanistan has shown that the creation of a strong institutional base at the national level and at the community level, backed by full cooperation and involvement, reflecting local needs and aspirations, and consistent with Afghanistan's wider development strategy, are keys to ensuring that gains reached through CIDA investments are sustained.
Question #3: Information on Resolution 1325
CIDA has made a firm and unwavering commitment to women and girls in Afghanistan and will continue to build on our common commitments under UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. This includes close monitoring of the impact of the security situation on women and girls, and working to address the threat of gender-based violence.
Under Canada's Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security (WPS Action Plan), CIDA is obligated to support projects in fragile and conflict-affected states, deliver training for staff sent to the field, ensure our humanitarian partners have codes of conduct, support women in management positions at CIDA, and engage in policy dialogue.
CIDA's Afghanistan Program focuses on promoting increased participation and representation of women, including through protection measures such as supporting women's human rights and reducing gender-based violence. During the last five years, CIDA has been supporting 8 projects for a total of $20.99 million that directly (but not exclusively) supports women's participation and addresses protection issues through promotion of women's rights and protection from gender-based violence.
As per the WPS Action plan, CIDA is required to track the number of projects in fragile or conflict-affected states that address the four areas of Prevention, Protection, Participation and Representation, and also includes Relief and Recovery.
CIDA supports women's right to protection including support to raising awareness and strengthening of various policies, programs and legislation, which aim to reduce gender-based violence in the country. For example:
- Multi-year core funding to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has been pivotal in preventing the back-sliding of women's rights in the country and was key to supporting changes to the Shi'a Personal Status Law and the drafting of the 2009 Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law. AIHRC is also supporting the reconciliation agenda to address victims of violence and women's rights.
- CIDA's Responsive Fund for the Advancement of Women (RFAW) has supported over 30 Afghan community service organisations. Sub-projects have supported awareness of violence against women (including the EVAW law and elimination of family violence), women rights awareness, the development of shelters, and initiatives to support women's leadership and participation in the political process.
Participation and Representation:
- Through the Responsive Fund for the Advancement of Women, CIDA also supported the Afghan Women's Network's (AWN) participation at the Bonn 2011 and the Tokyo 2012 international conferences on Afghanistan, which was instrumental in enhancing awareness and understanding of Afghan women's priorities and concerns. AWN members noted that they felt that their voices were finally heard.
- Specific to women's political participation, CIDA has supported 4 projects before, during and after the 2009 provincial and 2010 national parliamentary elections. In Afghanistan's past Wolesi Jirga Election, 406 female candidates competed for the 249 seats in Parliament. Through CIDA, Canadian support provided training to nearly 80% of women candidates and elected officials in both provincial council and parliamentary electoral processes.
Relief and Recovery:
- Basic needs must be met in order for women to meaningfully engage in decision-making and peace processes, and for their rights to be upheld. To this end, CIDA funds a number of projects that address enhanced access to, and quality of, girls education, and initiatives in the area of maternal and child health.
Policy and Programming:
The Afghanistan Program supports Canada's Action Plan, and Security Council Resolution 1325 through a mix of programming and policy dialogue.
- The Program includes reference to Canada's National Action Plan for the Implementation of the United Nations Security on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), which provides guidance to support planning and Agency compliance with the Government of Canada. In addition, the Program is supported through the assistance of gender equality technical service both in Ottawa and in the field. Field support includes a local Gender Equality consultant;
- CIDA continues to play a key role in liaising with the Afghan government, donors and civil society organisations to promote greater coordination and programming in support of women, peace and security issues;
- CIDA continues to support the decision-making capacities of women and girls in partner communities to take ownership and promote their engagement in both development and peace processes;
- CIDA continues to support key, respected local organisations such as the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and the Afghan Women's Network. These partners are setting and supporting the pace of change for women through their community level work, and via their links with the Afghan government;
- CIDA has recently undertaken a Humanitarian Assistance review to examine CIDA's humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, and how to best meet changing needs in the evolving Afghanistan context. The review includes an assessment of the Afghan humanitarian context which addressed two primary issues: accessing people in greatest need (including women and girls); and, opportunities to support local Afghan humanitarian organizations; and,
- The design of the Afghanistan Program's human rights pillar is underway and will have a focus on women's rights. Both the Humanitarian Assistance and the Human Rights sectors will take into consideration Canada's Action Plan on Peace and Security, and how to best support it.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (Bill S-11, An Act respecting food commodities, including their inspection, their safety, their labelling and advertising, their import, export and interprovincial trade, the establishment of standards for them, the registration or licensing of persons who perform certain activities related to them, the establishment of standards governing establishments where those activities are performed and the registration of establishments where those activities are performed, with amendments), presented in the Senate on October 4, 2012.
Hon. Percy Mockler moved the adoption of the report.
He said: Honourable senators, as chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, it is my duty to outline the nature and the purpose of the two proposed amendments in the report before us.
First, I would like to take this opportunity to thank members of the committee for their work on this file, which began in June 2012. Over the course of these past months, we heard from the minister and his officials, as well as from numerous stakeholders who have an interest in this particular piece of legislation in order to improve the quality of life of Canadians.
Honourable senators, the committee heard from 22 witnesses in total, and we spent approximately 12 hours reviewing Bill S-11, entitled the Safe Food for Canadians Act.
As a committee, we have done our due diligence and have come to agreement that this is a good bill and a fair bill.
Members of the committee did not always agree on the specifics, but we do agree that it is a good bill, a real, positive step in the right direction.
I would like to thank members of the committee for their hard work, their dedication and their support as we worked with the witnesses and the stakeholders. I would also like to take this opportunity, honourable senators, to thank Senator Plett, in particular, who, as sponsor, did an admirable job in representing the government's position with respect to Bill S-11, the Safe Food for Canadians Act.
Honourable senators, I would be remiss if I did not mention the role that Senator Peterson played in the study of Bill S-11, the Safe Food for Canadians Act. Senator Peterson took his responsibility very seriously.
Honourable senators, it is also fitting to pay tribute in a special way today to Senator Peterson who acted as the critic to the bill and who has been a valuable member of our committee.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Senator Mockler: Yes, this bill is a step in the right direction because we all participated in it. Bill S-11, the Safe Food for Canadians Act, aims to consolidate food provisions now administered and enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency under four statutes into one act and to strengthen oversight of food commodities being traded interprovincially and also internationally.
It is fair to say that, in the spirit of the bill, we collectively have the same objective, namely, food safety and security for Canadians.
However, the committee did find the need for two amendments. Honourable senators, please bear with me in informing Parliament that the first proposed amendment is technical in nature and corrects the English version of the bill in clause 51, line 34, on page 21. Clause 51 of the bill prescribes the regulatory authority of the Governor-in-Council to bring into effect the legislation.
Subclause 51(c) permits the government to prescribe inspection marks and grade names and currently refers to "any food company" when in fact it should refer to "any food commodity." The French version of the bill is correct. It is only the English version that must be corrected. The committee unanimously agreed that this change was necessary.
Honourable senators, the second proposed amendment deals with clause 68 of the bill. Subclause 68(1) requires the minister to undertake a review of the provisions and operations of the act every five years, while 68(2) requires him to provide Parliament with a report on the review.
Honourable senators, a majority of the members of the committee agreed that it would be beneficial to provide some greater specificity with respect to the nature of the review that is to take place and also to ensure that the minister assesses the resources that CFIA provides for its administration and enforcement. The proposed language in the amendment would achieve that purpose.
I should say, honourable senators, that there was some disagreement. However, due diligence and great discussions happened for this area of the bill. Some senators felt that it would be better for someone other than the minister — and I want to repeat this — some senators felt that it would be better for someone other than the minister to be responsible for the review of the legislation. To that end, Senator Peterson proposed an amendment that would mandate the Auditor General to conduct a resource audit of the CFIA.
Honourable senators, Bill S-11, the Safe Food for Canadians Act, will consolidate into one law the food provisions from four statutes currently enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the CFIA. The objective of the bill is to improve oversight of food commodities being traded interprovincially and internationally.
In the end, the majority of members felt that the Auditor General already has broad authority to conduct audits, including at the CFIA, and that it would be inappropriate to direct the Auditor General in this way because he already has the authority and the jurisdiction to conduct any audits. Therefore, honourable senators, that proposal failed and the amendment before us now, which was proposed by Senator Plett, was adopted by the committee.
I would like to thank members of the committee again for their thorough examination of this report, which is an important piece of legislation for all Canadians.
Honourable senators, the majority of members felt that the Auditor General already has broad authority to conduct audits, including at the CFIA, and that it would be inappropriate to direct his work in this way.
Before closing, I would like to thank all members of the committee again for their thorough examination of this important piece of legislation, which permitted our witnesses and stakeholders to be heard.
Honourable senators, I understand that Senator Peterson also wishes to speak to this bill at third reading before his retirement at the end of the week. I would therefore hope that all senators would adopt this report today to allow him to have that opportunity.
Honourable senators, thank you very much.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, I would like to make a few comments about this report. Before I begin my substantive comments, I would like to thank our colleague Senator Mockler for his recognition of the great work of Senator Peterson. I know that all of us on our side are going to miss him tremendously, deeply and greatly, and I am sure that most of our colleagues on the other side will as well. I think it is a testimony to how we rise above partisanship every once in a while in this place that Senator Mockler would have recognized him as kindly as he did. The rest of my speech will probably not demonstrate that particular element of the Senate, because I have a couple of things on my mind.
Senator Mockler made the point that the report was comprehensive, that 22 witnesses had been called, one of whom I understand was the minister and the first witness, and that many questions were answered. I am sure that is the case. However, as I consider the state of this issue currently, there is the state of E. coli issue, which is a reflection of the need for this kind of legislation and this debate. It strikes me that even after the appearance of the Minister of Agriculture, there is one huge question that remains unanswered. Clearly, the Minister of Agriculture was unable to answer that question. That question is: How could it be that a government that has been in government for seven years; that has a responsibility to the people of Canada for food safety; that has a responsibility to the agricultural industry and certainly to the beef industry to sustain its credibility nationally and internationally; was not surprised, it would seem, by this kind of issue, when the listeriosis issue occurred on their watch? How is it that this E. coli issue could have arisen, given all of those observations? That question has yet to be answered.
There are two views of what might have happened. One belongs to some critics of both the minister and the government who would say that the minister did not have enough resources and that the government cut funding and did not have enough inspectors. I think one can make a relatively good case, if not an excellent case, that the government has cut funding — it certainly is cutting it now — and that perhaps there are not enough people, because, some would say, a very small portion of those people whom the government has hired has been applied to this particular area of meat review.
If it is the case that the government does not have sufficient resources to do this adequately, then one could argue that it might not be the minister's fault because the minister simply could not get the money from the government. However, that would underline a problem with the government's competence in dealing with this important issue. Mr. Harper happens to be from a riding that is probably within an hour of the XL plant. If the government requires more resources, why could it not figure out how to get adequate resources to manage this issue, to manage this process, properly? That would be a logical conclusion from the observation that the government did not apply enough resources, so maybe it is an overall incompetence conclusion of the government, the Prime Minister and all those who would tell Mr. Ritz whether or not he could have extra money and extra resources. That, in itself, would be a conclusion that would be very disturbing, given the consequences of this issue, for Canadians, the Canadian beef industry and any of us who want a piece of beef on our plate and some sense of certainty that it will not make our children sick. But that is not the government's answer.
The government's answer to that accusation was no, they have actually put hundreds of millions of extra dollars into food processing since 2008 and the listeriosis problem where 22 people died on this government's watch. They have hired hundreds of new people, 700 new people. That makes the issue of competence/ incompetence even worse, even more significant, because if, in fact, the minister has had experience with the listeriosis issue, which was much the same kind of problem as the E. coli issue, so it was not a surprise and he has had experience; and if the minister actually has put tens of millions of dollars more into it, he certainly has the financial resources, which is the government's case; and if he has hired hundreds of more people — and certainly that was Minister Ritz's reaction, that clearly he has all the people he needs — then what would be the reason that he cannot deliver on a proper process that gives us a sense of security that our beef is safe to eat, not just for Canadians but for the world?
That raises directly the question of the minister's incompetence. It was not a surprise because he has dealt with it before with listeriosis; he has all the money that he says he needs because he says he has put tens of millions of dollars more into it, apparently, we are to take him at his word; and he has 700 more employees. If one gives a manager all of the things that they would probably need in order to do a job and they still do not do that job, then whose fault is that? It certainly bears upon the competence, the incompetence, of the minister. Then one starts to question up the line, the person to whom he reports. That is, of course, the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister knows that something went wrong with listeriosis; otherwise, why would he have given the minister extra money and people? Now that he has done that, the minister still cannot deliver.
Therefore, we have an incompetent minister. Logically, that is the conclusion that we are driven to. We have to question those up the line, namely the Prime Minister, to whom that minister reports and, ultimately, at whose desk the buck stops, if I can stay that.
That question has not been answered. How could it be? It was not a surprise, but it is a huge responsibility to Canadians and people around the world who eat the meat and to the agriculture industry, which is reeling from BSE, which is just barely recovering and has to deal with this.
The government has the money and has the people, but it cannot deliver. When it comes to leadership, leadership must get results. It is not enough to give excuses. It is not enough to spin. Leadership must produce results. In this case, two times in four years they have not produced the kind of results that, at a very basic level, Canadians and the beef industry should be able to expect. Absolutely, as a matter of course, they should be able to expect that our meat would be safe and would be properly reviewed.
If it is not that the government cannot deliver with the resources, one must ask: Why is it? What is it about this government that has rendered it incompetent in this process? I will talk about this more when we get this omnibus bill, but I think we have to start to ask what this government has ever done that demonstrates competence almost anywhere. It cannot build a pipeline in Canada — in six years and nine months — to diversify our projects, diversify our markets for energy. One cannot fathom that that would be the case and that a government that would claim to be competent cannot do critical things for two of our most critical industries. It cannot build a pipeline to diversify our products and it cannot get safe meat that we would feel safe about on our plates.
Why is that? I think it may be the nature of the ideology that drives them. That ideology, at a fundamental level, says the private sector can do everything better than the public sector, better than government, except maybe war and military things.
Let us investigate that. Either it can or it cannot, but when one looks at the problems we have with the pipeline and with adequate consultation with Aboriginal peoples, for example — which is the constitutional responsibility of the Government of Canada and which has been, one would say kindly, delegated to the private sector, although I would say abdicated to the private sector — then one begins to see a pattern. It has been borne out with lack of government review of the meat processing process. Somehow they have put the onus more and more on the industry, on the private sector, on these companies to do it. The government has abdicated their responsibility; and it might just be that the evidence is that as powerful an incentive as economic forces, markets and meeting demand and supply considerations are on the private sector, perhaps there are just some things the private sector cannot do as well as they would do if they were properly monitored by government.
It may not be, although I think it is, that in fact the minister is incompetent or that Mr. Harper is incompetent, although there is a building case to make that point. It is certainly the case that the ideology is incompetent to meet at least this particular consideration. I ask the question: Where is it that we see evidence that this ideology has made a society better, made an economy stronger or made people's lives better? I ask that question and I do not get an answer. It certainly has not made people's lives better in Brooks when they work at the XL plant. It has not made people's lives better if they have been sick or in the beef industry, in particular. Ask whether being driven by this ideology the way that this government is driven has resulted one way or another in an incompetent management of this particular process, the meat processing monitoring case.
I wanted to make that point, and I think it is the elephant question in the room, if I might put it that way. It would be really interesting to hear from Mr. Harper and from Mr. Ritz on why it is they cannot do this basic, fundamental thing that the people of Canada, or at least 33 per cent of them, support them to do.
Hon. Jane Cordy: Is the senator willing to take a question?
Senator Mitchell: Yes.
Senator Cordy: I know in Nova Scotia people are concerned about E. coli, and the sales of beef have gone down, which is of concern to a number of people in the area. This is ironic because the contamination has taken place in Alberta and should not affect Nova Scotia. However, if one travels anywhere in Canada they will find people are very concerned about E. coli and the safety of beef.
It was under the same minister's watch that we had the listeriosis crisis. We know that at that time the minister spoke somewhat lightheartedly about death by a thousand cuts and also that, on hearing that someone had died, he said he hoped that it was Wayne Easter, who was the agriculture critic. I think that was a horrid thing for anyone to say, let alone the minister.
When the honourable senator was speaking about the E. coli crisis we are in now, it made me nervous for many of the reasons he spoke about. I wonder if he would share that concern because when questioned about it, the minister in the house and certainly the Leader of the Government in the Senate spoke about having done all these things, including putting millions of dollars into extra monitoring and hiring hundreds of people and hundreds of inspectors. Yet, that makes me even more nervous because if the money has been spent — millions of dollars extra into the Department of Agriculture and into the inspection process — and if we have hired hundreds of extra inspectors, my first question would be what else could be the problem? Could the honourable senator answer that? That answer from the minister makes me more nervous than saying we will put more money into it and we will hire more inspectors. That has already been done, so why are we having another crisis? Of course we are concerned about the health aspect, but we should also be concerned about people in the beef industry. It is decimating the industry and the trust in the beef industry from the province of Alberta, particularly.
My second question is that part of this bill, I understand, is that the minister will now be responsible for monitoring how well the system is working and, as Senator Mockler said, it is not the Auditor General who will be doing that. I wonder if the senator would comment on that.
Senator Mitchell: I thank Senator Cordy. The issue of trust is extremely important. I am hearing stories of people going to grocery stores and there is no chicken. There is lots of beef but no chicken. It is purely anecdotal, I grant you that, but I was on Air Canada this week and they were handing out the menu and they crossed off beef and in handwriting they put on salmon. Is that not an indictment of this government's ability to deliver clean, safe meat that we can have a sense of security about?
It is unbelievable that this is happening again four years later. If the Prime Minister was any kind of manager and leader he would call in Mr. Ritz and say, "You are fired." He would put someone in there who can do the job, or at least try again. How many times does this have to happen before Mr. Ritz gets fired? Will he get a third and fourth chance? Twenty-two people died the first time. Could I have five more minutes, please?
Twenty-two people died of listeriosis. No one apparently has died of E. coli, but it is up to 15 people, and a young girl in Calgary had kidney failure and they operated and saved her. Who knows what the long-term consequences are. This is not some political spin issue. This is not just saving the government's skin. This is about fundamental health and safety for Canadians so they can put a piece of meat on their child's plate and have a sense of security that they will not get sick from it, and this government cannot deliver that most basic of services. They will say it is not our fault; it is the private sector. It is your fault. You have to make sure the private sector can deliver on that. They did not in the listeriosis case, so why did the government not pick their socks up and get tougher and more specific and stringent?
In answer to the second question, which was the question of throwing money at the problem, it is amazing to me that that is really what their answer amounted to. If the government cannot deliver with all the resources, and they keep saying we have the resources, then de facto, it is saying we just threw money at the problem. That raises another fundamental question, not just an ideological problem, because your ideology does not work; we know that.
The fact is that it is a question about management. I have often said this and I will ask this question rhetorically again. If the President of Toyota hated cars, what kind of company would Toyota be? The Prime Minister of Canada hates government and now we are seeing what kind of government we get. If you hate government, you do not listen to your public servants; you do not have faith that they can give you advice and that you might just want to follow it; and you do not have a sense of how to manage that organization. If you hate your organization, how could you ever begin to inspire the people to do what needs to be done, to listen to them and to manage them effectively? That is another problem because this government hates government, and it cannot manage it.
We see it over and over. We see it with record deficits. We see it with skyrocketing debt. We see it with a pipeline they cannot get built. We see it with food safety, which is now the second time.
My point is their ideology problem: They hate government and they cannot manage it. It is very clear that a real, fundamental level of incompetence is running this government.
Finally, there is this idea that the minister, coming out of all of this, having been an absolute abject failure twice in critical areas, now will be charged with monitoring, managing and reviewing himself. It is almost incomprehensible. Who came up with that idea? Which genius thought of that? Let us take this fellow who clearly cannot do his job and have him monitor and assess how he is doing his job. I wonder what his answer would be.
Senator Mockler: Honourable senators, I have heard the honourable senator opposite saying that it is not just political spin. With what we have witnessed here, there is no doubt in my mind that if he were to go back to Webster's Dictionary, Mr. Webster would have a different view of his comment about it not being political spin.
I listened carefully when the honourable senator mentioned cuts and cutting funding on resources and inspectors. I think there is too much fear mongering in what I have just heard. For the record, I need to bring to the attention of Parliament what our government says — and it is easy — on the question. It is also very easy to use the word "incompetent."
I would like to answer the honourable senator's two or three questions. Our government ordered an independent investigation of the Canadian food safety system following the listeria outbreak in 2008. The government committed to addressing each and every one of the 57 recommendations from the investigation led by Ms. Sheila Weatherill.
In September of 2009, we announced an initial investment of $75 million to respond to all of these recommendations. Among other things, we are providing Canadians with the information they need to reduce the risk of food-borne illness through a new food safety web portal and national public information campaigns.
In 2010, the Speech from the Throne reaffirmed the government's commitment to food safety.
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!
Senator Mockler: I will answer the question; please listen. It was a good question, and here is the answer.
In Budget 2010, we delivered an additional —
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the 15 minutes of Senator Mitchell's time has been exhausted, as has the extra five minutes. Is there further debate?
Some Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Some Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Mockler, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wallace, that the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Bill S-11, An Act respecting food commodities, including their inspection, their safety, their labelling and advertising, their import, export and interprovincial trade, the establishment of standards for them, the registration or licensing of persons who perform certain activities related to them, the establishment of standards governing establishments where those activities are performed and the registration of establishments where those activities are performed, with amendments, be adopted.
Those in favour of the motion will signify by saying "yea."
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker: Contra-minded will signify by saying "nay."
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
An Hon. Senator: On division.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted, on division.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the third time?
(On motion of Senator Carignan, 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 Harb, seconded by the Honourable Senator Poy, for the second reading of Bill S-210, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act (commercial seal fishing).
Hon. Mac Harb: Honourable senators, I am very proud to rise today to continue debate on Bill S-210, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act, which would prohibit commercial fishing for seals and disallow the issuance of commercial licences for seal fishing.
I would like once again to thank honourable senators for supporting the debate of this important national and international issue. I look forward to a debate that leaves behind emotion and focuses on the facts, facts that will be more closely examined when the bill moves on to committee.
A poll done in June of this year by Environics Research tells us that 69 per cent of Canadians support the passing of this bill. Seventy-one per cent of Canadians oppose using tax dollars to promote the hunt and 85 per cent of Canadians would approve the use of tax dollars to put a program in place to transition sealers into other employment opportunities. This is the reality that we, as politicians, have been ignoring for far too long. When it comes to the commercial seal hunt, the government needs to face this reality and accept the facts.
There are no viable markets for commercially hunted seal products. The majority of Canadians have called on their government to stop propping up the commercial seal hunt with their tax dollars.
The government should support Canada's Inuit and other First Nations whose seal products are exempt from the European seal trade ban and who can benefit from their unique access to the EU market.
Seals are not responsible for the lack of fish. Scientific evidence shows it was government inaction and misguided action on the fishery that was responsible for the depletion of the cod stocks and its continuing struggles to recover.
Finally, Canada's $5 billion commercial fishery needs the government to step up and meet its national and international commitments to establish sustainable ocean management practices.
Honourable senators, the commercial seal hunt is clinically dead and has effectively ended. Although there are 14,000 issued commercial sealing licences, only a few hundred sealers took part in the 2011 hunt. The 2011 landed value of the seal hunt was just over $730,000. Sealers earned an average of $3,000 that year, before deducting costs such as fuel, food and ammunition.
The commercial seal hunt accounted for only 0.002 per cent of the provincial GDP of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2011.
Prior to the opening of the 2012 hunt, the largest seal fur buyer in Canada closed its doors to seal products.
In February of 2012, the Newfoundland government "loaned" $3.6 million to a Norwegian-owned company operating in the province to buy and stockpile pelts. Due to that loan, almost 70,000 seals were killed in this year's hunt and the pelts were dumped in warehouses. What will they do next year — another $4 million taxpayer-funded loan?
Honourable senators, the markets are gone. More than 34 countries, including Canada's number one and number two trading partners, the United States and the European Union, have banned the trade in commercial seal products. Last winter, Russia also banned trade in seal products. Switzerland and Taiwan are now working on bans. This trend reflects the growing international concern, supported by a new landmark report published just this fall in the international journal Marine Policy, which concluded that the commercial seal hunt is inherently inhumane given the conditions under which it operates.
Honourable senators, the government misled sealers in early 2011, saying they would soon start shipping seal products to China. However, the Chinese have not and may never open markets for these products. A few weeks ago, more than 50 Chinese organizations, representing tens of millions of supporters, sent an open letter to each honourable senator, saying that Canada's push to send seal products to China has caused "irreparable damage to Canada's reputation in China" and that the Canadian government is "out of touch with the latest developments in China."
The government is also out of touch with how Canadians want their tax dollars spent. Remember, 71 per cent of Canadians are opposed to using their tax dollars to promote the commercial seal hunt and 67 per cent of Canadians are opposed to any tax dollars being spent to support the commercial seal hunt, but their money keeps on pouring down the drain.
Along with funding million-dollar loans to a foreign-owned company with no customers, Canadians will be on the hook for $10 million spent on a futile challenge of the EU ban at the World Trade Organization. The European General Court dismissed a 2011 attempt to have the ban overturned, and legal experts agree that the ban respects international protocols for banning trade. There is no doubt in my mind that the WTO challenge will fail — and it should.
Canada has routinely carved out exemptions from trade agreements to protect our cultural industries and our values. Should we now tell the 27 EU member states that while we maintain the right to protect our values, we deny them the right to protect theirs? It may also be worth stating the obvious: The EU is not ordering Canadians to stop the hunt; it is simply respecting the democratic choice of its own citizens not to have these products brought into their countries.
As many as 100 European parliamentarians are now calling on Canada to withdraw its challenge of the EU seal ban prior to the upcoming vote on the multi-billion dollar Canada-Europe trade agreement. Remember, this agreement could boost Canada's gross domestic product by $12 billion annually and increase bilateral trade by 20 per cent. The government is risking it all for an industry with no visible life signs. It is unbelievable.
The fact is that even these futile efforts are not helping the sealers. The sad reality is that sealers are being abandoned by their government. They are being let down and deceived. Sealers are the victims of this government's lack of action.
The proposed medical use of seal heart valves has failed clinical tests. Canadians are not buying the product. Canadians are not eating the meat and, not surprisingly, the rest of the world is not, either.
To quote John Furlong of the CBC, who writes on the fisheries:
How much experimenting can we do to market seal meat? Only a handful of Newfoundlanders can gag it down. Why do we think there's a broader market somewhere?
It is a good point.
Honourable senators, the old days of the seal lamp oil markets are gone. The commercial seal hunt will never be what it once was. We have to move on to an industry buyout. Sealers are facing hard times and all they are getting is lip service.
The government has to sit down with the stakeholders in the industry and talk realistically about an industry-wide buyout. I am talking about the formal end of the commercial seal hunt, while allowing subsistence hunting to continue. Fishermen who hold sealing licences would receive financial compensation and economic alternatives would be developed in the communities most affected. This solution was used to end the commercial whale hunt in Canada, and it worked.
The good news is that a buyout would cost less than the subsidies required now just to prop up the sealing industry.
I believe these sealers themselves will be supportive. A survey done by Environics Research last year indicated that two thirds of Newfoundland sealers holding an opinion were in support of a sealing licence buyout. The people interviewed were not just sealing licence holders; they were active participants in the commercial seal hunt. While polling shows that most Canadians do not want tax dollars used to subsidize the sealing industry, Canadians overwhelmingly support funding a transition program for sealers.
Let us put it in perspective. In 1992, after the collapse of the northern cod fishery, the Canadian government provided nearly $4 billion to help fishers and plant workers adjust to the closures. Before the 1992 moratorium, the cod fishing industry was worth $250 million a year. The funds needed for a buyout of the sealing industry is far less in comparison to what the government has spent on other buyouts.
The government could turn its relationship with animal rights groups from a problem into a solution. Humane Society International (Canada), IFAW, PETA, and Canada's various environmental groups are more in touch with national and international opinions on these issues than politicians will ever be.
There is a way to take advantage of this plentiful natural resource in a different, sustainable way. Just this week, we learned of a new initiative in the United Kingdom where tourists can pay to tour Britain's largest seal colony during breeding season for the first time in its history. The non-profit sector can help. Let us draw on their expertise, research and broad bases of support to find meaningful investments into viable initiatives in lieu of the commercial seal hunt.
Let us now turn to the situation facing Inuit and First Nations hunters. Canada's Inuit are experts at living off the land in a very challenging environment. I would like to take a moment to explain how the government's action — or should I say inaction — has made their challenges that much more difficult. Inuit and First Nations people in Canada have been hunting seals for thousands of years to survive. They have an inherent right to do so. The European Union acknowledged and respected this right when drafting its commercial seal products ban.
The government knew the EU ban was coming and it had a responsibility to ensure that northern hunters' access to the market remained open. Instead, it opted to take a back seat as communities in the North struggled to cope with these changes. The Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami was pressured into an appeal of the EU ban because the government did nothing to make the northern exempt status work in their favour. The Inuit problem with marketing their product is not their problem or an EU problem; it is the Canadian government's problem. The problem here is not the market but the lack of government marketing support, plain and simple.
When the EU ban went into effect, Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Member of Parliament for Nunavut, said in a statement, "in these difficult economic times . . . northern sealers need our support now more than ever." However, where was that support? Where is it now?
The federal government chose instead to use the Inuit hunt as a decoy to defend the failing, larger commercial seal hunt. Our Inuit communities have been badly used by the government as the public relations face for the commercial hunt, despite the fact that their traditional subsistence hunt bears no resemblance to the relative new kid on the block, the commercial seal hunt. That strategy has certainly not saved the commercial hunt and it has caused great harm to the northern hunters.
Unlike the commercial sealers who get a fraction of their annual income from the commercial hunt, for some Inuit and Aboriginal hunters, the sale of seal products is the only source of income in a region that is going through difficult times.
Let us look at the situation. The unemployment rate in July 2012 for Nunavut was 14.8 per cent compared with the national rate of 7.3 per cent. Half of Inuit adults earn less than $20,000 per year. They face serious issues involving lack of housing, poverty, illiteracy, poor health and food insecurity.
The EU exemption created a unique opportunity for the government to work with the hunters and their communities to create a viable and value-added industry. This could have led to widespread economic development creating lasting jobs in the North.
Canadians are asking now: Why did the government not use this exemption to promote economic development in these struggling communities? Why did the government not facilitate the labour training programs, processing plants, training programs, certification facilities, labelling processes, marketing initiatives and shipping facilities, taking concrete action that could generate real jobs and real export opportunities for these hunters?
Now, honourable senators, let me move to dispel the myth of the cod and the seals.
Despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, the government stubbornly defended and fueled the myth that seals are responsible for the depletion of the cod stocks. It set higher quotas than the DFO scientists recommended and considered sustainable. It called for the slaughter of seal populations in direct contradiction to best practices and scientific expertise, and why? Because it was politically expedient to do so.
As honourable senators know, the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has undertaken a study into the grey seal population on Canada's East Coast. I am concerned that the reason for the study was to justify the minister's predetermined desire for a cull, but I appreciated the opportunity to hear wide-ranging testimony from those involved in the fishery, both scientists and fishers.
We heard from many expert scientific witnesses who have spent their entire career studying these complex marine ecosystems. I am here to tell honourable senators frankly that they would be hard pressed to find a single scientist appearing before the committee who would agree with the premise that seals are responsible for the low number of cod in our waters. Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence, sadly, fishery legislation gives broad discretionary powers to the ministers who can make decisions irrespective of science-determined guidelines, targets and principles, a matter I will discuss at more length in a moment.
Honourable senators, it is widely acknowledged that overfishing and poor fisheries management brought the cod to the brink of extinction in this country, but still the current government curries political favour by ignoring the science, even lifting the moratorium on cod fishing in some areas, despite the fact that it remains endangered. Then they blame the seals.
However, seals are not to blame. New research coming out of a 2011 study by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientist Kenneth Frank showed that the collapse of the cod in the 1990s was caused by human overfishing, resulting in a population explosion of plankton-eating forage fish, such as herring and capelin. The forage fish population exploded by 900 per cent after the cod collapse. At these levels, they competed with cod and sometimes ate cod eggs and baby cod, hampering the cod recovery. It was not the seals.
Eventually, the overpopulated forage fish ran out of food and their population started to decline. Around 2005, the ecosystem went into a "recovering" state, where cod populations began rising again. Now, honourable senators, the cod are recovering on the Scotian Shelf and on the Grand Banks, despite or perhaps because of the abundance of grey seals and harp seals in these areas.
You can see that seals and fish can live side by side peacefully.
Scientists like Ken Frank and Boris Worm concluded that changes in forage species could explain both the failure to recover and the subsequent recovery of cod stocks. And, given that seals feed primarily on forage fish, one can reasonably conclude that the reduction in the number of seals will lead to another increase in forage fish populations, which could have a negative impact on the recovery of cod stocks.
However, in order to score political points, the government continues to increase seal hunting quotas and dismiss evidence that shows that the steady rise in the commercial hunt and targeted slaughter is definitely not in the best interest of our fisheries and oceans.
Honourable senators, Canada has one of the world's most valuable commercial fishing industries, worth more than $5 billion a year and providing more than 130,000 jobs. It is the true economic mainstay of approximately 1,500 communities in rural and coastal Canada. Unfortunately, the government is failing to manage responsibly this precious resource and important industry.
The Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on Sustaining Canada's Marine Biodiversity released a report this past February that called the government to task. In fact, they said:
Despite pledges on conservation and sound policies, Fisheries and Oceans has generally done a poor job of managing fish stocks, planning for whole ecosystems and protecting marine biodiversity.
Honourable senators, this report accuses the government of failing to protect our oceans, leaving the nation's ocean species at risk. Its chair, Professor Jeffrey Hutchings, who has appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, said that the government has failed to meet national and international commitments to sustain marine biodiversity. He is not the only one to think so.
Allow me to quote Ecology Action Centre's Marine Conservation Coordinator, Dr. Susanna D. Fuller:
Canada is one of the few countries in the world that has failed to have enforceable rebuilding targets. . . . We do not have timelines, targets or recovering harvest rules for commercially fished species. . . .
Two decades following the cod collapse there has been no meaningful rebuilding of cod and the northern cod stocks are considered endangered . . .
. . . the failure of fisheries management is the primary reason for stock collapses in Atlantic Canada. . . . Efforts to improve fisheries productivity should first look at the human impacts rather than seek other explanations that would not require us to change fishing practices.
Ironically, honourable senators, the Royal Society report singled out the excellence of the work done by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientists in their efforts to meet Canada's commitments on marine biodiversity. Now these scientists and their work are on the government's chopping block. This is what this government does when science gets in the way of political ideology. It shuts down the science and fires the scientist.
The Royal Society report found that the 1996 Oceans Act, which would have helped move Canada towards sustainable ocean management and provide some checks and balances on the minister's discretionary powers, has not been effectively implemented. This delay has led to the politicization of the fishery decision-making process. A broad management plan might have prevented the reopening of the cod fishery in these areas, and we might be seeing the results today with stronger cod numbers.
The Royal Society report tells us that other developed countries facing the same pressures as Canada have done much better. For example, in Australia, Norway and the United States, it is science, not politics, that determines key decisions about fisheries.
It is not just this expert panel calling on the government to fulfill its obligations. In fact, the Newfoundland Minister of Fisheries, Darin King, in a letter submitted to the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, called on the government to take steps. Minister King pointed out that Newfoundland Premier Dunderdale had written to the Prime Minister in April 2011, reminding him that her province has long advocated that fisheries management decisions, particularly those pertaining to the setting of total allowable catches, be based on scientific evidence.
He is right. The cod reopenings and the fact that the federal minister ignored his own scientists' warnings about the vulnerability of the harp seal herd in 2011, setting the total catch 25 per cent higher than the scientists recommended, tell us all we need to know about decisions being made based on scientific evidence.
Honourable senators, because of a lack of management protocols, policies have been created based on hypotheses, public perception and, of course, political expediency. For instance, since the number of seals has increased since the 1970s and since it has taken some time for cod stocks to recover, the government is assuming that those facts are related and is therefore calling for more seals to be hunted and slaughtered.
However, scientists tell us that seal populations are currently only a fraction of what they were 100 or 200 years ago, before the advent of the modern commercial hunt, when, incidentally, there was an abundance of cod.
Marine scientist Dr. Heike Lotze told Fisheries Committee members that 100 to 200 years ago, most populations of seals and other marine mammals were much more abundant than they are today — a lot more — and, as a result, I believe it is not correct to assume that we have a problem, as some would point out.
When we talk about seals and fish populations, we have to realize that both have been much higher and that they have both been negatively affected by human activity. Commercial seal hunts or culls are not and should not be used as population management measures. Frankly, honourable senators, it is a waste of taxpayers' money and simply irresponsible.
We need a science-directed approach to fisheries policies, and we just are not getting it. While this government holds press conferences and throws good money after bad searching for non-existent markets for the seal hunt, our oceans and the multi-billion dollar fishery industry that depends upon them are being put on the back burner.
It does not have to be this way. According to Dr. Hutchings, DFO scientists have been working for years to incorporate a precautionary approach to identify target limits and reference points. It is part of the sustainable fisheries framework of DFO to do this, but it has not yet been done.
We also need to address a serious problem identified by the Royal Society report, namely, the major conflict of interest at Fisheries and Oceans Canada between its mandate to promote industrial activities and its mandate to conserve marine life and ocean health. We know all too well which mandate takes precedence when push comes to shove with this government. Short-term gain leads to long-term pain.
Canada can no longer claim to be a world leader in ocean and marine resources management. We have lost our international credibility when it comes to our environmental policies. Scientists are being silenced and facts are being ignored in the interests of short-term economic and political gains.
Sealing no longer provides a livelihood in East Coast rural communities. The commercial hunt has been dealt a mortal blow by the changing demands of the marketplace. However, the government continues to misdirect scarce public resources trying to conjure markets out of thin air and futile battles against our major trading partners. Our international reputation takes a beating every spring as the boats head out to the seal herds and Canadians join millions of people around the world calling for an end to a hunt that has no modern relevance.
The seal population is also facing climate change challenges in declining numbers. This is a one-way evolution, and it will not turn around tomorrow or five years from now. This government cannot allow nostalgia or political expediency to cloud the facts. The conversation has started. The topic is no longer taboo, even here on Parliament Hill.
It is time for real leadership that recognizes its responsibilities to support sealers and to transition those left high and dry by the end of the commercial seal hunt; its responsibilities to Inuit and First Nations hunters with viable markets to develop; and its responsibilities to the majority of Canadians who have been calling for a formal, dignified and proactive end to the commercial seal hunt.
Along with this, and perhaps most importantly, it is time that the government take its responsibilities as the steward of an ocean nation seriously and fulfill its national and international commitments to sustain marine biodiversity and to ensure that we have healthy, safe and prosperous oceans now and in the future.
Honourable senators, I am asking you, in the same spirit and courage in which we came together to support second reading of this bill, to show the same courage by supporting the motion to send this bill on to the Fisheries Committee for an open and in-depth public hearing. We owe it to the sealers, we owe it to Canadians, and we owe it to the international community to explore this issue with the help of informed experts and with the help of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Further debate? Will Senator Harb accept a question?
Senator Harb: Yes.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, I will come back with a speech of my own after hearing the speech today about the great economic concerns of the honourable senator.
Is the honourable senator aware of whom we are serving by banning seal hunting and not fighting for these hard-working people? European parliamentarians have in fact exploited our fish off the coast of Canada and, of course, none of this is mentioned. If we are living this experience, there are two predators: the fishermen from other countries and, of course, the seals.
We must also take notice that we now have a population of nearly 10 million seals. Yesterday I was watching a Suzuki video about bears that are nearly extinct from of a lack of food, because they do not have access to seals any longer. In fact, the seals have no predators and that is the problem.
We are talking about control of our resources and about an industry that is limited but necessary to the coastal population. How does the honourable senator reconcile the fact that he would like to put these people out of work and have some respect for the European parliamentarians who are now in the process of adopting a policy at the European Parliament to start killing seals because the seals are consuming all of their fish?
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Senator Harb: I thank the senator for the question. Let me put it this way: This is not about us and them. This is about us, collectively. We cannot have it both ways. We live in a global community. We have had poll after poll across the country showing that the majority of Canadians do not want the commercial seal hunt to continue.
By the same token, our number one trading partner, the United States, in 1974 banned the importation of commercial seal products. Our number two trading partner, the European Union, with 27 countries, has also told us they do not want our product. Now we have Russia, which used to be a very big proponent of the commercial seal hunt, saying no.
On an annual basis, honourable senators, we have millions of people — and my office has received in excess of 700,000 to 800,000 emails in support of this bill. These are people. We have to listen to them. We cannot just turn around and say that because Europeans have killed a few hundred seals, we will not support this bill. No. On the contrary, we have to listen to our own people who are telling us that the time has come to end the commercial seal hunt.
Another result is there is no market. The market is dead, finished. Why are we putting our heads in the sand? Why do we not tell the sealers the truth? Why are we being so obnoxious and rude to our trading partners, our own people and the sealers, Newfoundlanders, who expect better?
We have the minister who went to China and came back saying we have a trade agreement with China to sell seal products, so sealers in Newfoundland started packing seals and waited to start shipping them to China. What happened to that agreement? We found out there was never an agreement. In fact, 50 organizations from China have written an open letter to each and every honourable senator saying that they are insulted.
Not only that, not long ago, someone in one of the provinces said it is okay if Europe shuts down; we will sell to the Chinese because they eat anything. What an incredible insult to a population of 1.2 billion people who know better and are telling us they do not want it. Where is it? Who is there? Tell me, who wants this product? Name them.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I did not expect a very clear answer. I want to point out to all honourable senators that there was a call to the commission of the European Union on October 13, 2012, to investigate the reduction of fish stocks owing to natural predators, such as sea lions, seals and cormorant. They will draw up and implement management plans to regulate the population in cooperation with the affected member states. The parliamentarians in Europe voted for that study to control the population: 461 voted for, 141 voted against and 42 abstained. In Europe, when the problem is at their door, they act and take the decision. I do not know if my colleague is serving the interests of the Chinese or the Europeans, but we are here to serve the Canadian people.
Senator Harb: It is a false notion that if one kills the sea lions or the seals then the fish will recover. In fact, honourable senators, the United Kingdom has done that, has culled the population, and the result is still unknown. They do not know whether or not the fish recovered. Norway did the same thing in 1980, 1990 and 2003. They do not know the result. Iceland did the same in 1982. They said there was no formal evaluation and culled biomass fluctuated without trend. Namibia did that in 1993; South Africa did it in 1993 and 2001. California did that with the sea salmon in 2005 and 2007. I will name the rest for the record.
The Baltic States did that to try and save the cod, as did California. British Columbia did so, as well as Alaska.
In each situation where they went after the seals or sea lions in order to save the fish, there is no proof whatsoever that the fish came back. We have to let this out of the way. Killing the seals does not ensure that the fish will come back. In fact, the opposite is happening in some areas.
Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: I find it ironic that Senator Harb talks about debating without emotion when in fact it is emotion based on misinformation that drives the animal welfare movement and that is behind this bill.
Anyone who knows anything about seals — I have hunted and eaten seals, along with many of the people in my constituency — knows they eat fish. Scientists told the Fisheries Committee that a mature grey seal eats a tonne to a tonne and a half of fish a year, yet Senator Harb talks about an illusory world where fish and seals live in perfect harmony. If these huge predators do not eat fish, what does he think they eat? Does he think they are vegetarians?
Senator Harb: There has been a study, which I would be happy to make a copy of and deposit in this chamber, showing that the grey seals are not responsible for the cod depletion. I would be happy to table that study. I know the committee did not have a chance to see that report, but I will table it in order to prove the point based on science, not emotion.
When the Department of Fisheries and Oceans appeared before the committee, they told us that the diet of the seal in terms of cod is 1 per cent to 24 per cent. That is a major variation. That could be almost nothing or it could be up to 24 per cent. Rather than turn it around and say they want to slaughter every single seal in the ocean because they might be able to save the cod, why do they not first try and figure out the reality of it, which is the minister's mismanagement of his department when it comes to the fisheries policies, the fisheries strategies, the national strategies that have to be put in place but that are not there? Forget that. Every civilized country in the world has a proper management plan. We are one of the very few countries without a proper management plan for our fisheries.
Why were the fisheries opened when they should not have been? The decision was not based on science. It was based purely on politics. Remove politics from the decisions and allow the bureaucrats and the scientists to make those decisions, and I assure honourable senators that we would not have to beat up or club any harp seals.
Senator Patterson: I think my question was answered: They do eat fish.
Does Senator Harb understand that the Inuit depend on selling meat and high-quality leather to make their subsistence hunting viable? Does he understand that the European ban and the animal welfare movement have combined with devastating effect on the income of the Inuit from this renewable resource economy they have practised for thousands of years? The bill will finish the job started by the animal rights groups, and I would like to ask whether Senator Harb recommends that Inuit should be on welfare rather than pursuing their traditional way of life. That is where they have been driven by the animal rights movement, of which he is a spokesman, and by this bill, which will finish the job.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I regret to inform the senator that the time for his speech is over. Is he prepared to ask the chamber for an extension in order to reply to Senator Patterson?
Senator Harb: Yes, please.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is time granted, honourable senators?
An Hon. Senator: Five minutes.
Senator Harb: I do not know where my colleague received his information. Obviously it is completely wrong and is based on false fact. The EU Regulation 14, and I quote it for the record, specifically deals with Inuit exemption:
The fundamental economic and social interests of Inuit communities engaged in the hunting of seals as a means to ensure their subsistence should not be adversely affected. The hunt is an integral part of the culture and identity of the members of the Inuit society, and as such is recognised by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Therefore, the placing on the market of seal products which result from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit and other indigenous communities and which contribute to their subsistence should be allowed.
The honourable senator needs to get his facts straight. That is what this government is doing, trying to use the Inuit as a decoy in their fight at the WTO, trying to muddy the water.
If this government is serious about helping the Inuit, they will put programs in place to help them in the certification of product, training, and processing facilities. The government should do all that because the EU has said they will buy the product from the Inuit. All they want is for someone to certify that the product comes from Inuit communities. What is the honourable senator doing to lobby his government so they will get off their rear ends and do something to help the Inuit people? What is he doing?
Hon. Ghislain Maltais: Honourable senators, I know that Senator Harb is a good person. In his zeal to defend this cause, he stated at the beginning of his speech that only a few people in Newfoundland eat seal meat. Yet, these few people to whom Senator Harb is referring are full-fledged Canadians. I am from the north shore of Quebec. The few people in Eastern Canada and the Atlantic regions who eat seal meat should be treated the same as all Canadians.
I would therefore like to give Senator Harb the opportunity to say that the few people in Newfoundland who eat seal meat are full-fledged Canadians. I submit this respectfully.
Senator Harb: Honourable senators, I am not the one who said that. It was Mr. Furlong, who was a CBC reporter at the time. If the honourable senator wants Mr. Furlong to change his opinion, then he can always ask him to do so. However, if I am being asked whether the people of Newfoundland are Canadians, then the answer is yes, of course, they are Canadians.
In the end, the question that must be asked is as follows: if seal meat is a delicacy that everyone loves, why is it not on menus across the country? Why are we trying to force Europeans to eat something that we refuse to eat ourselves?
Senator Maltais: Honourable senators, that was not the question. Senator Harb quoted a CBC reporter. However, he was aware that those words could be hurtful to people in Newfoundland and the Atlantic region.
Therefore, I would like to ask the honourable senator to apologize on behalf of this man, whom I do not know but whom the senator knows very well, and not to quote him in this chamber anymore. I also very humbly ask Senator Harb — and I know he is a good person — to simply get his facts straight about people in the Atlantic region.
Senator Harb: Honourable senators, I would just like to say that Mr. Furlong is a great Newfoundlander and a great Canadian.
He is a stauncher supporter of seals than many of my colleagues here. I will just quote what Mr. Furlong, a well-known journalist in Canada, said on CBC:
How much experimenting can we do to market seal meat? Only a handful of Newfoundlanders can gag it down. Why do we think there's a broader market somewhere?
Senator Maltais, I do not understand what the problem is.
Senator Maltais: Senator Harb continues to repeat comments that I find to be insulting to the people of Atlantic Canada, especially those he mentioned who are from Newfoundland and Labrador.
I believe that when a wise senator makes an unwitting error, he will do the right thing, and that takes care of the matter. I do not wish to discuss the seal hunt today because, believe me, we will do so in due course. However, as a Canadian, I am offended by what Senator Harb has repeated.
I concur that they are not your words, but I would ask that you please do right by the people of Atlantic Canada.
(On motion of Senator Carignan, for Senator Manning, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Chaput, seconded by the Honourable Senator Hubley, for the second reading of Bill S-211, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act (communications with and services to the public).
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, I still have some research to do in order to put together my notes. I know that Senator Chaput would have liked me to speak to this issue today. However, for that reason, it is not possible. Therefore, I move the adjournment of the debate for the remainder of my time.
(On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu moved second reading of Bill C-293, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (vexatious complainants).
He said: Honourable senators, I am honoured to rise here today as the sponsor of Bill C-293, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (vexatious complainants).
This bill was the initiative of my colleague, Roxanne James, the Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre, who originally sponsored the bill in the other place. We are at second reading stage of this bill.
I would like to highlight in this chamber the wonderful work of my colleague Roxanne James who introduced her bill in the House of Commons in September 2011. Ms. James' efforts will help to improve the complaints system in the correctional system of Canada. Her bill will not only help to save taxpayers' money, but it will also add another stone to the reform of the federal correctional system.
Bill C-293 makes three major changes to the corrections and conditional release systems. First of all, it amends the legislation by adding subsection 91.1, which allows the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada to prohibit an offender who constantly submits complaints and grievances that are vexatious or frivolous from submitting any more such complaints. Once an offender is designated as a vexatious complainant, that individual will have to justify their complaints more rigorously.
Second, subsection 91.1 requires the commissioner to review each prohibition annually and give the offender written reasons for his or her decision to maintain or lift it.
Third, subsection 91.2 allows the Governor in Council to make amendments as needed to the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations concerning the complaints and grievances regime with respect to offenders who are subject to a prohibition under subsection 91.1.
Lastly, the bill amends the heading before section 90 to add the word "complaint."
Why are these changes needed? First of all, as a Conservative government representative of victims of crime, I, like many Canadians, was shocked to learn how much some inmates abuse the complaints and grievances system at the Correctional Service of Canada.
When I visited Canadian prisons, I was told by the managers of these institutions that many of the complaints filed are vexatious, frivolous and made by a small group of criminals. Complaints include an omelette that is too small; ice cream that is too cold; and not being allowed to buy a pedicure set. Pedicure sets include razor blades that are prohibited in Canadian prisons.
I also learned that one inmate complained when the shirts were changed from white to blue. He alleged that the Correctional Service of Canada made this decision to hide dirt on the clothing provided in order to avoid washing the clothes and to spread disease.
Another inmate complained that a washing machine was making too much noise. After the machine was repaired, the inmate complained that he was not informed of the repairs. He filed another complaint, demanding a copy of the repair certificate.
Honourable senators, in light of these frivolous and obviously vexatious complaints, you can see how Bill C-293 would strengthen the foundations of the complaints and grievances system at the Correctional Service of Canada, by targeting four objectives.
First, reducing the number of vexatious complaints will make it easier to manage well-founded complaints. This will ensure that criminals have fair, quick and consistent access to the complaints and grievances system. When inmates abuse the system by making dozens or hundreds of frivolous complaints, they paralyze the system for processing complaints made by other criminals.
In committee on March 27, 2012, the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, Don Head, said the following in this regard:
Last year 25 inmates submitted over 100 grievances each. They are the frivolous or vexatious grievers who are the focus of this bill. Within this group of 25 there are a small number who submit many hundreds, as in more than one per day.
Some inmates submitted between 500 and 600 complaints each in the past year alone, which represents 15 per cent of all the complaints filed.
Second, this bill would allow the Correctional Service of Canada to prevent an unacceptable waste of taxpayers' money.
The Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada was very clear about the savings that could be achieved. Don Head told the same parliamentary committee:
In grosso modo terms, in looking at the 25 individuals filing more than 100 complaints a year, in terms of following the process defined in this bill, I would say it's between $250,000 and half a million dollars a year, just with those 25 individuals.
I would like to point out that there has been a steady increase in the number of complaints every year. In 2009, 25,000 complaints were filed, and in 2011, 29,000 complaints were filed for approximately 14,500 incarcerated criminals.
The increase in the number of complaints is spiralling out of control and it must be stopped. These criminals who are creating an unacceptable backlog in the complaints management system must be stopped.
Third, Bill C-293 targets vexatious, frivolous complaints that lead to the poor use of resources in Canada's correctional system.
The Office of the Correctional Investigator's 2012-13 Report on Plans and Priorities indicates that, for this year, 36 people are employed by the Correctional Investigator to analyze these complaints and grievances. Yet, according to Justice Canada's 2012-13 Report on Plans and Priorities, the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime has only 10 employees to serve all victims of crime in Canada. As a responsible government that is dedicated to striking a balance between the rights of criminals and the rights of victims, we are acting diligently in this matter.
Vexatious complaints are disruptive to inmates who have begun a rehabilitation process, because the correctional system must focus its resources on a minority of criminals who abuse the system. It is time to put an end to this abuse.
I think that the fourth objective of Bill C-293 is the most important one. It seeks to put accountability back at the centre of the criminal's rehabilitation efforts.
Like MP Roxanne James and the members of our government, I believe in rehabilitation. A prisoner has a duty to use the resources that are provided to him to become a responsible citizen. It is the responsibility of the correctional system to support the inmate in his efforts to take charge of his life. Nonetheless, a release is earned and requires a strong commitment by the inmate. Abusing a complaints system by burdening it with hundreds of frivolous complaints that are not made in good faith does not contribute in any way to a healthy rehabilitation.
Take the example of Valery Fabrikant, who killed four of his colleagues at Concordia University in August 1992. Since the first day of his incarceration, he has deposed thousands of unfounded complaints. The result of the situation is that a full-time employee has been assigned just for the administration of his complaints — a full-time employee for one inmate.
I want to point out that once the prohibition comes into effect, a criminal who abuses the system will no longer be able to submit any complaints or grievances without the commissioner's consent.
Under the bill, the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada will conduct an annual review of the situation in order to ensure that the prohibition is still justified.
Honourable senators, Bill C-293 is effective, fair, tough legislation. It will help reduce the abuse of the grievance system by a handful of criminals.
This bill will allow the Correctional Service of Canada to free up resources in order to better meet its legal obligations and to ensure that responsible criminals have access to a fair, quick grievance process, which will give our correctional institutions credibility.
I will close by thanking Member of Parliament Roxanne James for standing up for honest citizens and victims.
I also want to thank the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, who voted in favour of this bill.
I would like to mention that Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia publicly supports this bill by declaring that with the savings, we will be investing in long-term rehabilitation programs for inmates and that is a very wise decision.
Honourable senators, I ask you to support Bill C-293, because the money that is saved and reinvested will further facilitate the rehabilitation of criminals who have made the decision to take charge of their lives and become responsible citizens.
(On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.)
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators, (five year comprehensive review of the Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, pursuant to section 53 of the Code), presented in the Senate on October 2, 2012.
Hon. Terry Stratton moved the adoption of the report.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)
Hon. Grant Mitchell, for Senator Neufeld, pursuant to notice of October 4, 2012, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources be authorized to examine and report on emerging issues related to its mandate:
(a) The current state and future direction of production, distribution, consumption, trade, security and sustainability of Canada's energy resources;
(b) Environmental challenges facing Canada including responses to global climate change, air pollution, biodiversity and ecological integrity;
(c) Sustainable development and management of renewable and non-renewable natural resources including but not limited to water, minerals, soils, flora and fauna; and
(d) Canada's international treaty obligations affecting energy, the environment and natural resources and their influence on Canada's economic and social development.
That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject since the beginning of the Second Session of the Fortieth Parliament be referred to the committee; and
That the committee submit its final report no later than June 27, 2013 and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
(The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, October 17, 2012, at 1:30 p.m.)
ANNEX 1: THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND CANADA'S CONTRIBUTIONS
(See page 2583.)
Millennium Development Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty & Hunger
Despite the setbacks caused by the recent food, fuel and financial crises, the world is poised to surpass the target of halving extreme poverty by 2015. Based on United Nations projections, the global rate of extreme poverty in 2015 will be 15%, well below the Millennium Development Goal target of 23%. In spite of this achievement, children who belong to families at the bottom of the economic ladder are still facing slow progress in reducing hunger and in receiving adequate nutrition. For this reason, CIDA investments in basic nutrition have more than tripled since 2006-07, reaching $205 million in 2011-12. CIDA's efforts to make sufficient and nutritious food more available and to strengthen food assistance and nutrition programs are achieving significant results:
- As the world's largest provider of vitamin A supplementation since 1998, CIDA has contributed to doubling the number of children receiving two doses of vitamin A supplements each year from 41% in 2000 to 86% in 2010, resulting in a global reduction in child deaths.
- In 2011, with the support of Canada and other donors, the World Food Programme helped reach 99.1 million people in 75 countries with 3.6 million metric tonnes of food.
- As of May 2012, CIDA provided supplementary feeding to 328,000 beneficiaries in Ghana through projects targeting vulnerable children under five and pregnant and lactating women, as well as people living with HIV/AIDS. Also in Ghana, a CIDA-supported project aimed at training community based volunteers and trainers in Community Management of Malnutrition has trained over 5000 community-based agents in 14 priority districts during 2010, resulting in an increased number of children admitted to in-patient or out-patient community malnutrition care facilities within the three northern regions of the country.
- In addition, Canada is currently taking an active role in the G8 New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition, which is designed to stimulate greater private sector investment and engagement to increase agricultural productivity and reduce poverty in Africa. Canada's support for the New Alliance includes substantial investments in Ghana, Ethiopia and to multilateral agricultural development organizations and mechanisms.
Millennium Development Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
The past 10 years were marked by an impressive advancement toward universal primary education (UPE). The poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa have made the most progress in primary school enrolment, with the region's primary enrolment ratio increasing by 31% to approximately 77% in 2008, in spite of the large increase in the population of school age children since 1999.
Progress towards universal primary education has been impressive in some countries where CIDA invests heavily in the education sector. For example, thanks to the contribution of Canada and other donor countries, Mali has seen its primary enrolment rate increase from 44% in 2002 to 73% in 2010, while it has increased in Mozambique from 55% in 2002 to 80% in 2010, and in Tanzania from 77% in 2002 to almost 100% in 2010. CIDA's bilateral aid to education in Africa reached $165 million in 2010-11, exceeding our commitment to provide $150 million annually by 2010-11.
Millennium Development Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
While global progress has been made on Millennium Development Goal 3, the target of eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005 has been missed. In the developing regions as a whole, 96 girls were enrolled in primary school for every 100 boys in 2008, compared to 91 in 1999. Eliminating gender disparity at all education levels by 2015 may still be possible, but other indicators for Millennium Development Goal 3 show slow progress. For example, women in developing countries still do not enjoy the same opportunities for full and productive employment as men. As well, in parliamentary representation, while global proportion of seats held by women continues to rise slowly, averaging 19% as of January 2010, a third of developing countries still have less than 10% or no female representation in parliament.
CIDA has been a key player in promoting gender equality in international fora through the development and delivery of joint statements, focused on gender equality issues, at executive board meetings with multilateral institutions. The Agency was instrumental in facilitating the creation of UN Women in 2010, through negotiating the founding resolution for the new agency and developing and supporting their strategic plan and budget. CIDA has also provided analysis and strategic direction to the World Bank in the development of their Gender Equality Action Plan and World Development Report on Gender and Development.
In the Philippines, the CIDA-funded project, Gender Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women (GREAT Women), is promoting a gender-responsive enabling environment for women's economic empowerment from the national to the local levels. This includes a combination of policies, programs and institutional mechanisms that facilitate the growth of women's micro-enterprises to become small and medium enterprises. Through this project, eight national and 18 local policies were adopted to economically empower women. Gender analysis tools were developed by seven of 11 National Government Agencies. In addition, 33 Local Government Units (LGUs) have used gender and development and women's economic empowerment tools for the formulation of policies and review of programs, projects and services. These measures have led to some important results: 710 new women-owned micro-enterprises; provision of approximately $1 million by Local Government Units to women-owned micro-enterprises; and, up to 40% increase in income for some women's businesses.
Millennium Development Goal 4 and 5: Reduce Child Mortality & Improve Maternal Health
Global data suggests substantial progress has been made to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health since 1990. As of 2010, the number of maternal deaths has declined by almost half and the number of child deaths has declined by over a third. However, progress in most developing countries still falls short of the rate of decline required to reach Millennium Development Goal 4 and 5, unless progress is accelerated in the next three years.
This remains particularly true for sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, which account for 95% of maternal deaths each year. The two regions also bear the highest rates of child mortality: in sub-Saharan Africa 1 in 8 children dies before age five, and in Asia the ratio is 1 in 15.
According to the World Health Organization, two-thirds of child deaths are preventable, as the main causes of under-five child mortality include pneumonia, diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, measles, and HIV. Malnutrition is also estimated to contribute to more than one-third of all child deaths. Research and experience show that most of the children who die each year could be saved by low-tech, evidence-based, cost-effective measures, such as vaccines, antibiotics, micronutrient supplementation, insecticide-treated bed nets, improved family care and breastfeeding practices, and oral rehydration therapy.
The major direct causes of maternal morbidity and mortality include haemorrhage, infection, high blood pressure, unsafe abortion, and obstructed labour. Reducing maternal mortality requires a focus on strengthening health systems, including increasing the number of skilled health workers (e.g., midwives, skilled birth attendants, nurses, obstetricians, etc.); access to emergency obstetric, antenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum care; and access to voluntary family planning services.
In June 2010, under Canada's Presidency, the G8 launched the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH), which aims to save the lives of women and children in developing countries and accelerate progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, as well as contributing to Millennium Development Goals 6 and 1. Along with other non-G8 nations and organizations that joined the Muskoka Initiative, a total of US$7.3 billion was committed in new and additional funding over five years (2010-2015). The Muskoka Initiative served as a catalyst for the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health, a concerted, multi-stakeholder effort that aims to meet health-related Millennium Development Goals. The Global Strategy has raised approximately US$60 billion in financial, policy, and service delivery commitments since its launch in September 2010.
Under the Muskoka Initiative, Canada committed $1.1 billion in new and additional funding between 2010 and 2015, while maintaining existing Maternal, Newborn and Child Health programming at $1.75 billion over five years — for a total contribution of $2.85 billion.
Canada's support focuses on strengthening health systems, reducing the burden of disease, and improving nutrition to deliver integrated and comprehensive health services for mothers and children at the local level, where the need is greatest. CIDA is delivering Canada's Muskoka Initiative in a number of partner countries with high maternal and child mortality (80% of programming is focused on sub-Saharan Africa), with a focus on ten countries and complementary support to multilateral, global and Canadian partners.
For example, in Tanzania, Canada is helping over 43 million people access primary health care and Maternal Newborn and Child Health services, through 4,600 local health facilities, increasing the percentage of births in a health facility attended by a skilled birth attendant from 46% in 2004 to 51% in 2010.
By supporting the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, Canada is improving access to immunization in Africa, Asia and South America, preventing more than 5 million deaths since 2000. Immunization coverage in eligible countries for three doses of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine increased from just over 65% in 2000 to almost 80% in 2011.
Millennium Development Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
The rate of new HIV infections is declining and fewer people are dying from HIV/AIDS due to the 13-fold increase in access to anti-retroviral treatment (ART) between 2004 and 2009. Malaria rates have declined due to the use of insecticide-treated bednets and combination therapies. Tuberculosis rates, too, are declining due to the implementation of focused interventions.
Canada continues to be an active player in global efforts to address HIV/AIDS pandemics. CIDA's contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is $1.58 billion since 2002. Their programs are estimated to have saved 7.7 million lives, which includes results from the distribution of 230 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets to prevent the spread of malaria.
As a result of a CIDA project in Ethiopia supporting the distribution of health commodities and equipment such as mosquito nets, birthing kits, and obstetric equipment, Canada has contributed to an increase in the proportion of children vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT3) to 88% in 2011-12 (compared to 86% in 2010-11 and 73% in the base year 2007). The project has also contributed to an increase in the proportion of children vaccinated against measles to 86% (compared to 82% in 2010-11 and 65% in the base year). The cumulative number of anti-malaria bed nets distributed to Ethiopian households in malaria prone areas rose to 37 million, maintaining a rate of 100% coverage of malaria prone areas (versus 91% in 2007).
Millennium Development Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Progress on environmental sustainability targets, including biodiversity, improving water and sanitation, and the living conditions of slum dwellers, is significantly lagging behind. Although the target for access to clean drinking water is likely to be met, it is estimated that 1 in 10 people will still not have access. Forest cover and wildlife populations are declining in many regions, while greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase.
Canada is a key supporter of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Results achieved since the inception of the Global Environment Facility, through the support of CIDA and other international donors, include: support for more than 30 climate-friendly technologies for energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable urban transport, and methane reduction; environmentally sound disposal of at least 38,000 tonnes of waste related to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 20,000 tonnes of obsolete pesticides; phasing out 296,000 tonnes of ozone-depleting substances; and, protection of 30 river and lake basins, five ground water basins, and 20 of the planet's 64 large marine ecosystems. These important developments support efforts to address the protection of biodiversity and international waters, climate change, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.
In Ethiopia, CIDA's Managing Environmental Resources to Enable Transition project (MERET), achieved the following results: 149,122 farmers having rehabilitated agricultural land; and, 96% of participating households creating and maintaining farm and community physical and natural resource assets such as terracing and water sources. Overall, the project was successful in supporting natural resource management, increasing productivity in food-insecure communities, and building household and community resilience to shocks. Following favourable results achieved during the period 2007-2011, Managing Environmental Resources to Enable Transition project activities have been incorporated into the natural resource management component of the World Food Programme Country Programme for Ethiopia 2012-2015.
Complementary to these activities, CIDA is playing an important role in shaping the Government of Canada's $1.2 billion contribution to Fast-Start Climate Change Financing over three years (2010-2012). Almost $1 billion has been allocated to date, of which $651.8 million is through CIDA programming. The majority of these funds ($450 million) have gone to repayable contributions, while $201.8 million has been disbursed to select multilateral and bilateral adaptation activities that help reduce poverty and decrease vulnerability in the countries that need it most.
Millennium Development Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
It is estimated that aid will increase at 2% per year between 2011 and 2013, as compared to the average of 8% per year over the past three years. Aid to Africa is also expected to rise by just 1% per year in real terms, compared to the average of 13% over the past three years. Canada doubled international assistance by 2010-2011 from 2001-2002 levels, bringing Canada's total international assistance to
$5 billion by 2010-2011. Canada has met its commitment to double aid to Africa by 2008-2009 from 2003-2004 levels. In April 2008, Canada untied 100 percent of Canadian food aid, and in September 2008, the Government announced its plan to fully untie Canada's development assistance by 2012-2013 — we are 99% there. Canada has also provided debt relief to highly indebted poor countries and contributed to building trade capacity for least developed countries through the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-related Technical Assistance. Canada is also a leader in improving access to essential medicines in developing and least-developed countries, such as through advanced market access and support for child immunization.
The international community is collaborating to increase the effectiveness of aid and development cooperation as demonstrated by the launch of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. The Global Partnership is a multi-stakeholder forum mandated to facilitate knowledge exchange, monitor progress of aid effective commitments, and seek out opportunities for effective development cooperation.
Canada, through its CANZ alliance (Canada-Australia-New Zealand) actively engaged with the international community to firmly establish the Global Partnership by June 2012. Most notable is the inclusive approach broadening the effective development cooperation dialogue to include the private sector, and emerging economies alike. Moving forward, Canada will continue to engage with all of its development partners to improve the effectiveness of its development cooperation.