- SENATORS' STATEMENTS
- The Grey Cup
- The Honourable Don Meredith
The Honourable Anne C. Cools
- University of Saskatchewan
- Remembrance Day
- Mr. Terry Bigsby
- Distinguished Visitor in the Gallery
- ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
- QUESTION PERIOD
- Public Safety
- Legal and Constitutional Affairs
- Foreign Affairs
- Science and Technology
- Veterans Affairs
- Public Safety
- Delayed Answer to Oral Question
- Human Resources and Skills Development
- ORDERS OF THE DAY
- Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament
- Study on Current State and Future of Energy Sector
- Food Banks
- Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
Hon. Larry W. Smith: Honourable senators, I rise today to share with you my excitement about the upcoming hundredth anniversary celebration of the Grey Cup, which will be held in Toronto at the end of this month. Two weeks ago CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon, the great Russ Jackson and the Grey Cup were actually here in this chamber.
To understand what the Grey Cup means to sports-loving Canadians, we must take a look at history. In 1823, Web Ellis broke the rules while playing in a rugby match by running the ball forward, which was the first time such a move had taken place. This led to the development of what we call football. In 1874, the first recorded football game took place at Harvard University versus McGill. In the 1880s, the Montreal Wing Wheelers had a powerful team and the game began spreading throughout Canada. In 1882, the Canadian Rugby Football Union was formed, and in 1909, Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada at the time, donated the Grey Cup as a symbol of amateur football supremacy in Canada. The Grey Cup has survived two world wars, the Great Depression, the short-lived U.S. expansion, and the abuse of travelling with winning teams from coast to coast in Canada.
Over multiple generations, some great stars have enjoyed successful careers in the CFL. Many will remember Normie Kwong, Jackie Parker and Sam "The Rifle" Etcheverry in the 1950s, Russ Jackson and George Reed in the 1970s, and more recently, Doug Flutie, "Pinball" Clemons and "Gizmo" Williams, not to mention today's stars, Calvillo, Lulay and Henry Burris.
The league has also had individuals who have made significant contributions to the growth and continuity of the CFL, names as such as Jake Gaudaur, former player and commissioner; Sam Berger, owner of the Alouettes through the 1970s; Hugh Campbell, responsible for the success of the Eskimos through the late 1970s to the late 1990s; Tom Shepherd, who never wavered in helping the Saskatchewan Roughriders to stay alive through the lean years. Flip ahead to today. The outstanding owners who saved the league in the late 1990s, namely David Braley and Robert Wetenhall in Montreal along with Bob Young in Hamilton, and the resiliency of the Saskatchewan Roughriders community-owned team have helped create a much stronger CFL as it exists today.
Looking ahead to the future, Ottawa will re-enter the league in 2014 or 2015; and will the CFL add a tenth team in the Maritimes in the near future?
Great Grey Cups: For the older patrons, it was the 1962 Fog Bowl in Toronto played over two days because of the fog that suspended the game in the fourth quarter. For the boomers, it was the Ice Bowl in Montreal before a packed house of 68,000-plus fans at the Big O in minus 20 degree temperature. I froze that day, thank you. There was the U.S. invasion in 1995 with the Baltimore Stallions winning as the first and only U.S. team to win the Grey Cup in Saskatchewan. Finally, in 2009, there was the thirteenth man 28-27 Alouettes' victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Thank you, David.
It is also important to outline the recent development of football with the youth of our country. Never has football been stronger than it is presently at the CIS university level. The most recent phenomenon has occurred in Quebec over the past 20 years, where amateur football is now dominated by young francophones playing at Laval, University of Montreal and University of Sherbrooke. This transformation has also translated into a higher scholastic success rate in high schools where 82 per cent of boys playing football graduate and go on to CEGEP and university versus the dropout rate for boys at 40 per cent.
The history of the league has been marked by the difference between the haves and the have-nots as a result of shifts in power from one part of the country to another, much like the other shifts that have taken place across the country over the years.
The unique selling feature of Canadian football is its three downs, its long and wide field and its rules leading to the statement, "It's never over until the final whistle blows," or the last three minutes are an eternity in the CFL. Canadian football is a game for every Canadian. The CFL is woven into the fabric of Canada. Every year at Grey Cup time, Canadians sit together in their homes, at parties, in restaurants cheering for a game that is truly Canadian. Many sports pundits have compared the Canadian game to the U.S. version. It is not comparable. Both games are great; Canada's game is unique. I will finish in 30 seconds.
As a child, my dream was to be a running back like the great George Dickson. I learned that being Canadian is special and I will never forget the Grey Cups that I competed in.
As my former coach, Marv Levy, now in the NFL Hall of Fame, said to us at half time during a game with our great rivals, the Ottawa Roughriders, "Where would you rather be? At this time, in this place and against this team!" Happy hundredth anniversary, Grey Cup.
As Marv Levy, our former coach, said, it is only my clock that counts, and it was four minutes and 45 seconds.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, last week the Canadian Cancer Action Network and the Canadian Cancer Society released a report on the financial impact of having cancer in Canada. The results were shocking.
The report's overview states:
A study of national wage loss from cancer showed that 91 per cent of households suffer a loss of income or rise in expenses as a direct result of a cancer diagnosis. For some, these pressures become a "perfect storm" leading to serious financial distress — hardship so severe that some families never recover.
Wage losses from cancer are about $3 billion a year. Caregivers will lose nearly one quarter of their workable hours. Fifty-five per cent of Canadians say they would have to use their savings or take out a loan to pay for cancer drugs. Nearly one in five Canadians has no private supplementary health insurance at all.
The cost of cancer drugs can be tremendous. About half of new cancer treatments are taken at home, and since most provinces do not cover medication taken at home, patients may be responsible for some or all of the cost. Even those people with private supplementary insurance may be deeply impacted. The course of treatment for some of the newer drugs can run up to $65,000, which means that the individual who is fortunate enough to have insurance might have to co-pay up to 20 per cent, or $13,000.
This is why it is becoming more and more important that we have a national catastrophic drug coverage program in this country. As we all know, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, of which I was member, issued a report in 2002 that called for the expansion of drug coverage to include protection against catastrophic prescription drug costs. In 2004, the First Ministers agreed to a 10-year plan to strengthen health care and vowed that:
No Canadian should suffer undue financial hardship in accessing needed drug therapies, and that affordable access to drugs is fundamental to equitable health outcomes for all our citizens.
The National Pharmaceuticals Strategy that followed had a number of goals, including a national catastrophic drug program, but work on this strategy stalled in 2006 and has now been abandoned. Canadians can still be left without assistance if they are stricken with a disease, like cancer, that requires expensive drugs.
Honourable senators, no Canadian should lose his or her home, declare bankruptcy, lose their savings or choose the cheaper treatment option because they have been diagnosed with cancer or any other life-threatening illness. I urge the federal government to take a leadership role in creating a truly national catastrophic drug program so that all Canadians have access to the prescriptions they need.
Hon. Vernon White: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to an honour that was received by members of this place. These awards are presented to deserving recipients who are and have made a significant difference here and beyond. Organized by the Planet Africa Group, these awards are identified to highlight deserving individuals who make a profound difference in society and in the lives of people of African heritage.
On Saturday, October 27, Planet Africa Awards recipients included not one but two members of this place. Senator Don Meredith was awarded the Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award for his work in the community, particularly in the area of youth advocacy and community activism for his ability to bring people together to work on issues like gun crime while bridging the gap between police and the community. On that same day, Senator Anne Cools was awarded the Transformation Award. Senator Cools has been a leader in her community and has represented the issues in this place for more than 20 years.
Both senators bring vast experience to this place and provide each of us with their knowledge and history as we try to better represent Canadians in our daily work.
Honourable senators, please join me in congratulating our friends and colleagues, Senator Don Meredith and Senator Anne Cools, in the deserving receipt of their respective 2012 Planet Africa Awards for their many years of service to those in need.
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to the success of the Science Ambassador Program at the University of Saskatchewan and associated middle schools across Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Science Ambassador Program was started in 2007, sponsored by several University of Saskatchewan-affiliated colleges, Cameco, Areva, NSERC and the provincial governments of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The program places senior undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Saskatchewan with communities in remote areas of Saskatchewan and Manitoba where there is a high proportion of Aboriginal students. This program aims to inspire and engage students in northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba in science, a field of study where Aboriginals are severely under-represented.
Dr. Julita Vassileva, as the NSERC/Cameco Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, initiated the Science Ambassador Program. Under her leadership, 40 ambassadors have reached more than 3,000 students during six-week or longer practical terms in participating schools. Over the last several years, I have had the pleasure of hearing the science ambassadors speak glowingly about their experiences in helping students learn science through hands-on, fun activities. The unexpected benefit of the program is that the ambassadors learn a lot about the Aboriginal cultures of the communities where they are placed.
Honourable senators, I am glad to report that this program really is getting kids interested in science. There has been a marked increase in enrolment in optional science courses from students who have participated in the Science Ambassador Program at Margaret Barbour Collegiate in The Pas, Manitoba.
Honourable senators, the Science Ambassador Program aims to inspire lifelong science education through fun and innovative projects. This past August, I took part in one such project in which an air cannon was made from a garbage can and plastic film to create a cannon-shaped drum. Beating on the drum creates an air wave through an aperture that is aimed at the target, a Styrofoam cup on someone's head. One can feel the air rush by their face as it knocks the cup off. I trust this example illustrates how the Science Ambassador Program offers students a fun way to learn science.
I would like to thank all the sponsors for their support of this program and the student ambassadors from the University of Saskatchewan who have made a difference in their host communities. Furthermore, many thanks to Dr. Julita Vassileva for initiating such a great program, the benefits of which are beginning to unfold.
Hon. Pamela Wallin: Every year on Remembrance Day, and this Sunday will be the ninety-third, we honour those who served and fought for Canada and who sacrificed their lives. We do this because a nation's story is built upon its past and on the backs of those who were willing to serve. Some went overseas with adventure in their hearts, while others tackled the war as a job that simply had to get done. They fought to defeat evil, to defend their buddies and to defend Canadian values.
Canada went into the First World War as part of the British Empire. Still, nearly one tenth of our population at that time joined the war effort — nearly 620,000 people. Thousands were wounded and more than 66,000 died. Their battles are a tale of tragedy and triumph — battles such as Passchendaele and Vimy Ridge. Vimy will now be commemorated on the new $20 bill. We will remember them.
In the years that followed, Canada began to emerge as a truly independent state. When the Second World War began, over a million Canadians volunteered for active duty, taking the fight to the enemy. More than 40,000 were killed in action and thousands more wounded.
Canadians fought in almost every theatre of operation. We remember D-Day, where 15,000 Canadians crossed the landing beaches. We remember them. Then came the Cold War, where NATO and the Soviet Union struggled to keep each other at bay, but when conflict erupted on the Korean Peninsula, nearly 27,000 Canadians fought under the blue flag of the United Nations. Five hundred and sixteen lost their lives, and we remember them, too.
Today, wars are not fought by million-man armies, and the enemy may be a plane flown into a building, or a computer hijacker half a world away. That is why we are still in the fighting business. Canadians are still deployed in Afghanistan, and 158 have lost their lives there in the line of duty. We remember them, too.
Canada is also engaged in more than a dozen peace support operations around the world. Then there was the Libya operation. Here at home, we fight floods and ice and protect leaders at summits and athletes at Olympics. Canada has a strong and proud military heritage, and once again Canada is a courageous warrior, a compassionate neighbour and a confident partner.
We remember the service of our veterans past and present and think about what it means to us. We show our respect by wearing a poppy. If we see a veteran wearing his or her medals, we should all say "thank you" and take a moment to hear their stories. Attend a ceremony; they are important displays of remembrance.
When honourable senators go home or back to the office today, they can show the thousands of Canadian Forces now deployed overseas support by sending them a message posted on our Write to the Troops electronic bulletin board. Visit www.forces.gc.ca. It is halfway down the page. Our troops should know that Canada stands with them. They are risking their lives for the same principles as those who went before: to defend freedoms we now take for granted, such as saying what we want, practising our faith, following our cultural traditions, and enjoying our lives in safety and security. These all come from the valiant sacrifices of our veterans and of those who still follow in their footsteps today.
Let us never forget them.
Hon. Nancy Greene Raine: Honourable senators, recently I attended the Manning Innovation Awards Gala at the Ottawa Convention Centre, hosted by Senator Pamela Wallin and Minister James Moore. Many here will know that this event has been honouring Canadians innovators of all ages for the past 31 years.
I was very impressed with the evening and the outstanding quality of the 2012 award recipients. There is no question that Canada is home to many talented innovators. Winners this year included a blood transfusion management system, a medical imaging scanner being heralded as a breakthrough medical research tool, targeted plant nutrition products from Manitoba that are increasing crop production, and, manufactured in the interior of British Columbia — my home province — compostable utensils made from wood veneer.
Terry Bigsby of Lumby, B.C., won a Manning Innovation Award for developing Aspenware, laminated compostable utensils made from wood veneers, and for developing the patented commercial process and equipment that is now producing 35,000 units per hour. The utensils are sold throughout Canada, and the product has huge international potential.
Mr. Bigsby, a former second-generation industrial arts teacher, shares a real passion for wood and woodworking with his father. Aspenware's totally compostable utensils are made from renewable and inexpensive leftover wood like aspen and birch. I have learned that one Aspenware fork will biodegrade in 49 days or less and leave behind nutrient-rich soil. Aspenware currently has currently 20 employees operating in Vernon, B.C. I commend the Bigsbys and their team on their innovative success. Imagine how good it will be to have no more plastic knives and forks in our garbage.
Honourable senators, it is through great minds and hard work that innovators achieve success in Canada. I commend the Manning Awards Foundation and their sponsors for continuing to encourage and foster such growth in our country. Congratulations to all recipients of this year's innovation awards.
Hon. Larry W. Campbell: Honourable senators, yesterday Colorado and Washington became the first U.S. states to legalize the possession of marijuana. However, the State of Oregon failed to pass their law. Colorado's Amendment 64 will allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana; however, the public use of the drug is still banned.
Washington's measure establishes a system of state-licensed marijuana growers, processors and retail stores. Washington had a wide variety of sponsors and supporters for the legislation of marijuana, ranging from public health experts, high-tech executives, two justice departments and two justice department top officials in Seattle. According to campaign manager Alison Holcomb, "We are declaring victory."
Supporters of the Colorado constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana declared victory and the opponents conceded defeat after returns showing the measure garnering nearly 53 per cent of the vote.
A measure that would have had Arkansas become the first southern state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, appeared headed for defeat by 51 per cent with about 80 per cent of the polls in.
In Oregon, the marijuana laws failed to pass. Initiative 80 would have called for some of the nation's most lax marijuana laws legalizing and regulating the production, sale and possession of marijuana for adults.
Recent polls show that 75 per cent of the population in British Columbia agrees that marijuana laws should be changed.
I would like to point out to honourable senators that the report I just read was prepared this morning in my office by a 14-year-old student doing his high school "day at work." He is the great-grandson of the Honourable Bud Drury.
Honourable senators, I will leave you with a few words from John Hickenlooper, Colorado's governor:
Federal laws still say marijuana is an illegal drug, so don't break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Rose-Marie Losier-Cool.
On behalf of all honourable senators, welcome back to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (elder abuse).
(Bill read first time.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?
(On motion of Senator Carignan, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette presented Bill S-214, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (protection of children).
(Bill read first time.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?
(On motion of Senator Hervieux-Payette, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, last week the National Aboriginal Women's Summit was held in Winnipeg. The summit focused on the issue of the more than 600 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. The Native Women's Association of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations have called for a national inquiry and a national action plan. Territorial and provincial ministers from Justice, Aboriginal Affairs and Status of Women participated in the summit, but the corresponding federal ministers did not participate.
My question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate is this: Could she tell us why Minister Nicholson, Minister Duncan and Minister Ambrose did not attend the summit, which was aimed at solving the problem of missing and murdered Aboriginal women?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): As honourable senators know, the government does attach a great deal of importance to this very serious issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. The Ministers of Justice and Public Safety met in Regina at the end of October with their provincial counterparts where this issue was a major topic of discussion. The federal government and the ministries involved are working with our provincial and territorial counterparts to further develop strategies to coordinate efforts and share expertise on this issue.
I believe there is a high level of interaction and cooperation amongst all levels of government. As honourable senators know, in January of this year, a comprehensive missing women's report was released providing 52 recommendations. The provinces acknowledged that our government has already implemented most of these recommendations at the federal level.
Senator Dyck: I am glad to hear that the government attaches a great deal of importance to this issue, but I would like to ask if the leader could find out and report to this chamber what other activities the ministers were engaged in that took precedence — in other words, took priority — over attending this important summit on missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Winnipeg.
Senator LeBreton: With regard to the participants at the meeting, I am not absolutely certain how the meeting was structured, and I am not in a position to comment on the schedules of the various ministers of the Crown.
The honourable senator knows full well that this is an issue that I have spoken to many times in this chamber. We have done a great deal of work in this area, including creating the National Centre for Missing Persons, funding the Girls Action Foundation to support young Aboriginal women and, of course, supporting women's shelters through the Family Violence Initiative. Those are just a few of the things that the government has done, among many.
Honourable senators would not expect me to know exactly what the ministers were doing at that time. I am not even sure of the structure of the meeting as to whether it was strictly provincial-territorial. I do not believe it was a federal-provincial meeting. I am quite certain it was not. I am quite certain it was a meeting of the provinces and territories. The ministers certainly are supportive and have worked very closely with the provinces and territories. As I have already mentioned, the provinces and territories have acknowledged that there have been great strides made at the federal level with regard to the 52 recommendations, most of which have been enacted.
Senator Dyck: I thank the leader for that answer. I am glad to know that the federal government is undertaking some initiatives, but the federal ministers were invited. My question was if the minister could find out — and I do not expect her to know at this moment — where they were and what they were doing, and tell us in this chamber what took precedence over their attendance at this important summit in Winnipeg.
Senator LeBreton: There is no doubt that this is an important summit, honourable senators, but I do believe that, for anyone who is in public life and who works on serious issues like this, it is not a question of finding out about their other activities. That is not the way people run their lives. They do not miss certain meetings because others are more important. There might have been other events; I do not know.
With regard to providing an answer as to what they were doing in other areas that may have been very important as well, I do not think it serves anyone's purpose to be stacking one organization up against another and then assuming that one is more important than the other. The important issue here is the full cooperation between the provinces and the territories, and the fact that the federal government is taking a lead role in this and that the provinces and territories have acknowledged it.
Senator Dyck: Honourable senators, I wish to thank the leader for that answer, but there were three federal ministers who could have attended: the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and the Minister of Status of Women. If this issue really were so important, one would have thought at least one minister could have attended. Does the leader not agree?
Senator LeBreton: Again, as I pointed out a moment ago, honourable senators, I do not think it is proper, nor would it be the appropriate thing to do, to pit any organization against another. Ministers of the Crown have many responsibilities, senators have many responsibilities, and members of the House of Commons have many responsibilities. To assume that because a certain individual was unable to participate in a meeting and participated in another meeting would then make one more important than the other is, I think, improper and incorrect. I will not go back and start comparing what ministers do and, somehow or the other, leave the impression, unfairly, that they do not take this matter seriously.
Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, I take the minister at her word, that she is sincere about this and that this is an extremely important issue that has been going on for years. However, one can only talk the talk so long. Three ministers had an opportunity to attend this very important summit with respect to missing Aboriginal women — three ministers. That means three parliamentary secretaries. That means six different offices had an opportunity to respond positively, to come to this extremely important conference.
You cannot just talk the talk, minister. It is time that this government started to walk the walk.
Senator LeBreton: We do not know that, honourable senators. We do not know whether the ministers had the opportunity to respond positively. What I am saying, honourable senators, is that it is irresponsible for anyone to suggest that when a minister, or a senator, or a member of the House of Commons attends one event, that it is at the expense of another. I think that is improper, and I do not think that is what was intended. To impugn motives is unfair to the ministers, and undermines all of the great work that the government is doing in this area.
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary question to Senator Dyck's question.
I have asked this question before. I am a senator from British Columbia. In the last week I have had some very difficult, uncomfortable moments. In my province —
Senator Stratton: Oh, oh.
Senator Jaffer: If you have finished sighing, Senator Stratton, in my province there has been an inquiry on missing fish. That commission cost $25 million. There have been women missing from my province and from other provinces in Western Canada and there is no national inquiry. One must ask, are missing fish more important than missing women?
Senator LeBreton: That is outrageous.
Senator Mercer: You are absolutely right; it is outrageous.
Senator LeBreton: I would have thought better of Senator Jaffer.
This is a serious issue. There are many serious issues facing the government and the citizenry of this country. Again, it is sort of like what the honourable senator is suggesting with regard to the ministers' participation. She is suggesting that a government — any government — would play one issue against the other. That is irresponsible, and it does not even acknowledge the great work the government has done.
We created the National Centre for Missing Persons; we funded the Girls Action Foundation to support young Aboriginal women; and we are supporting women's shelters for family violence initiatives. We have worked hard with the provinces and territories. This is a very serious issue. Obviously, it has been an issue that has plagued the country and the governments of various stripes for many years. We take it very seriously. The situation that these women and these families face is horrendous, but to suggest for one moment that elements of the government or elements of other departments of government in some way diminishes the efforts in other areas is ludicrous.
Hon. Charlie Watt: Honourable senators, my question is for the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. I was expecting to appear before the Legal Committee today to begin consideration on my private member's bill. Can the chair explain why it was cancelled and why the other bill will be considered instead?
Hon. Bob Runciman: The senator's bill has not been cancelled by the committee, honourable senators. The steering committee gave consideration to the numbers of bills that were in the queue, if you will, to be considered by the committee. On the bill that we will be dealing with today, we were ready, essentially, with witnesses.
I do not think there is any intention on the part of the committee not to deal with the honourable senator's bill. Steering did discuss the arrangements with respect to timelines. We have a government bill that has been referred to the committee, which is next in order of precedence, and then we will be dealing with the honourable senator's bill.
Senator Watt: Honourable senators, my understanding was that the past practice of the Legal Committee was that private member's bills were heard in the order in which they were received. The bill was referred to the Legal Committee on June 7 of this year, while the bill now about to be studied was referred on October 25. That is barely two weeks ago. Has the policy been changed? If so, why has it been changed?
Senator Runciman: I want, again, to give the honourable senator the assurance that there is no intention on the part of the committee to avoid dealing with the legislation that he has tabled in the Senate. There are a significant number of new senators, as he is well aware. This is a complex issue and there is a briefing required for our members and, I am assuming, for some of his as well. Also, there is the question of lining up and scheduling witnesses.
There is a whole range of issues that had to be considered by the committee. Once again, there was no intent on the part of steering to avoid dealing with the honourable senator's bill. We hope to do so in a timely way.
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, according to a recent study presented to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, the government's efforts to promote Canada abroad as a destination for post-secondary studies are not producing the expected results.
This study, which evaluated the imagine education in Canada program launched by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the Council of Ministers of Education Canada in 2008, revealed that Canada is generally not the first choice of foreign students.
Given that the program is coming to an end and that the number of foreign students attending Canadian universities has plateaued in the past few years, what does the government plan to do to improve Canada's international reputation as a top destination for education?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, there is a lot of detail in the information the honourable senator seeks. I will be happy to get a response from the Department of Foreign Affairs with regard to foreign students.
Senator Tardif: I appreciate the honourable senator looking into it.
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, the same report called for a number of improvements in the marketing of Canada as a study destination, such as raising Canada's profile as a destination for advanced scientific research. Unfortunately, many opportunities to support advanced scientific research have fallen victim to government cuts in recent years. Unique scientific research centres in the North, like the PEARL research station and the Kluane Lake Research Station are shutting down because of funding cuts. The world renowned Experimental Lakes Area program, which offered unmatched opportunities for scientists in the world, is being cancelled. Recently, the government has cut nearly 100 of Canada's top researchers and scientists at the National Research Council and is slashing funding for basic research to focus instead on research dictated by what can be easily commercialized.
If we want to have a credible brand abroad as a top-notch destination for advanced scientific study, does the government not believe that our record on investing in research should match the image that we want to project?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question. I would argue that our record does speak for itself. We have invested more in science and technology than any government in Canada's history. We made important new investments in science and technology in our Economic Action Plan 2012, including new funding for Genome Canada, the National Research Council, the research granting councils and more.
Honourable senators, I know it is difficult to acknowledge this, but this is a fact: Canada is ranked number one in the G7 for our support for higher education, research and development. We have invested heavily to develop, attract and retain the world's top researchers here in Canada. In September, we announced the 70 recipients of this year's prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, a program that our government launched in 2010. This program, for those who do not know, ensures that Canadian post doctoral researchers have the support that they need.
Senator Tardif: Honourable senators, the leader has put forward a list of programs that the government has supported, but let me put forward a list of cuts that have been made by the government: the elimination of the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy; the elimination of the position of national science advisor; and the elimination of Environment Canada's famous ozone science group, which invented the UV index now used around the world to inform the public. This was eliminated this year.
These examples — and I could give other examples as well — demonstrate an erosion of the capacity to collect evidence and to bring evidence forward into public debate in Canada. Although the government has been spending millions to celebrate the War of 1812, there has been no celebration of Canada's scientific achievements. Why is the government gradually chipping away at the very advanced scientific capacities that we are trying to promote?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, this is getting like a broken record. These are all things that the honourable senator has said before. Again, Canada stands number one. In some of the organizations she suggests, other scientific bodies or other universities have picked up that work. Just because there has been a program in place for some considerable period of time does not mean that it goes on forever. There are other programs and other bodies that fill in and take the place of some of these organizations that have outlived their usefulness.
I would argue that a government that has put more money than any other government in the history of the country into science, technology, research and education and is ranked number one in the G7 is a pretty good record to stand behind.
Hon. Andrée Champagne: Madam Leader, maybe it would be interesting to let Senator Tardif know that, two weeks ago, our Minister of Health was in Montreal at the Penfield Institute. I was honoured to be by her side as she gave $41 million to the institute, which is studying epigenomic science. Would that not be interesting for the senator to know?
An Hon. Senator: Well said; tell her more.
Senator Champagne: I think it is a fantastic science. It will be helpful to each and every Canadian, and they were given $41 million.
Senator LeBreton: That is an excellent question. The answer to the honourable senator's question is yes, it would be good if that was pointed out.
While I am on my feet, I would like to thank the honourable senator, as a member of the Senate, for having been part of that important announcement. We have many senators who participate in these wonderful announcements on behalf of science, technology and research. I thank Senator Champagne for asking the question as to whether it is good information to know. The answer is, it most definitely is.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, a veteran who was the head of the combined veterans' associations, a gentleman called Cliff Chadderton, 11 years ago at a conference between Veterans Affairs and DND at the ADM level, said that, even back then, the veterans since the first Gulf War had more combat time than a whole raft of World War II veterans. Many hundreds of thousands of those never crossed from the U.K. to the mainland, or to Italy, but stayed there in various reinforcing roles. He also said that new veterans are in far more complex operations than they were facing at that time. This was even before Afghanistan started, which has simply exacerbated that situation.
The World War II veterans had a program called long-term care. If a veteran was injured and, in later years, required long-term care, whether directly related to that injury or not, we had infrastructure to meet that requirement. We had 19 hospitals for near-term and long-term care. We are just about to close Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue as a veterans' hospital and just keep a wing for surviving veterans.
Can the leader tell me why the new generation of veterans, who have all that combat time and experience and who are injured, have, under the New Veterans Charter, no long-term care at all?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I know that the honourable senator referred to Cliff Chadderton. He did great work and is to be commended for everything he has done on behalf of veterans. There is no doubt, honourable senators, that we have a new cohort of veterans who faced situations quite different from those faced by veterans of the Second World War and, indeed, the First World War. They all faced their own unique and often horrendous situations.
I answered a question yesterday, honourable senators, outlining all of the services provided through National Defence to our veterans coming out of Afghanistan, the new veterans, as we call them now, and I would be very happy to repeat that answer or to provide additional information by written response.
Senator Dallaire: I thank the leader for the listing, although it did not exactly respond to the question. However, the listing is good to have in Hansard. I would be most appreciative of a written response.
I am seeking the following information: We had the old veterans charter written in 1943 while we were still at war and taking casualties. We had nearly 30,000 casualties before we saw the first shot fired because of a whole variety of training accidents and so on. That charter covered from cradle to grave, and beyond for survivors. The program included what the individual might need by way of extra care in later years. It was provided because the philosophy was a lifelong commitment.
In 1953 the Pension Act came in, and that covered the Cold War. Then the Cold War ended. We won that one. We thought we might enter a new world order, but we entered a new world disorder and ended up with more combat troops being committed in the last 20 years than we had even in Korea, if one looks at the total. We have more people with combat time now than we had in Korea, yet what the troops are getting now does not reflect that similar philosophy of cradle to grave or that covenant with them for the long term.
Could the leader query the minister about this change of philosophy? Although they are still getting shot at, still getting injured and still dying, why are we less in a position to want to provide them long-term care than we were in those days when they were also under fire?
Senator LeBreton: I think I answered that question as well. We have enhanced the Veterans Charter immensely, including many programs, and I do believe I answered this very same question, honourable senators.
We have done a great deal of work with National Defence and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans have access to programs and health services that are unprecedented. These have never been available in the past, as I pointed out a few days ago. There are always work to do; there is always individual cases requiring individual attention, but I think it is fair to say, honourable senators, that we have a very solid record in supporting our veterans, whether they be from the Second World War — because there are no longer veterans of the First World War — the Korean War or conflict, and of course the host of veterans who served in peacekeeping measures and in the Bosnian conflict, and Afghanistan and Libya.
Senator Dallaire: Honourable senators, I hope to get a straight answer to my question. In previous questions, I have never spoken about long-term care. I am talking about it for the first time today. What I would like to know is not everything the government has done — yes, it has done a lot. Bill C-55 did not really change the new veterans charter; it tweaked it.
We tweaked it with Bill C-55.
Could the leader please query why the long-term care philosophy is no longer there, and, in fact, things end at the age of 65, whereas in the old Pension Act we went cradle to grave? That is my specific question for the leader.
Senator LeBreton: Here is my specific answer. Through the New Veterans Charter, veterans have access to earnings loss benefits, permanent impairment allowance, job placement services, career counselling, training, operational stress injury clinics and rehabilitation services. As well, as Senator Dallaire is no doubt aware, the disability benefit is one of the many financial benefits provided under the New Veterans Charter. Our most injured veterans are guaranteed at least $58,000 a year, as well as a one-time payment of $293,308.
Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, I would like to go back to a subject addressed earlier in Question Period. The Leader of the Government in the Senate chastised my colleague Senator Jaffer for linking the inquiry of the missing salmon in British Columbia to the missing Aboriginal women. I want to draw the leader's attention to an article that appears in the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network National News quoting our colleague Senator Brazeau:
If we can have an inquiry into declining salmon stock in Canada, I'm sure we can do the same for our missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
That is Senator Brazeau, according to the news.
I have called on and supported an inquiry because this would be the right thing to do.
If the minister will not listen to me, would she please, for once, listen to Senator Brazeau?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): The purpose of my comment to Senator Jaffer was that there are many important issues that face the government, and one should not be traded off against the other.
Senator Mercer: It was the right thing to do, Senator Brazeau said, and we agree with him.
Senator LeBreton: There was obviously a need, as a result of public demand, for the Cohen inquiry into the salmon fishery, and there has been a public demand to which the government has responded in a meaningful way regarding this very serious issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
As I answered to questions from Senator Dyck, both Ministers Nicholson and Toews met in Regina at the end of October with their provincial counterparts where this issue was a major topic of discussion.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question raised by the Honourable Senator Callbeck on November 23, 2011, concerning seniors' benefits.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck on November 23, 2011)
Senator Callbeck cited figures from a 2009 report commissioned by the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) that found that most seniors who are not receiving Old Age Security (OAS) benefits have annual incomes under $10,000.
The same report shows an improvement in overall take-up rates for the OAS program. According to the report, which is based on tax-filers data, the take-up rate for the OAS pension is roughly 97 per cent and the take-up rate for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) increased from 75 per cent to 87 per cent from 1996 to 2006.
Overall OAS take-up rates continue to improve. Based on HRSDC estimates, in 2008, the take-up rate for the OAS pension among tax-filers was 98 per cent and the take-up rate for the GIS was roughly 91 per cent.
The Department uses a variety of approaches to reach individuals who may be eligible for OAS benefits. This includes activities targeted to seniors who face barriers or who are hard to reach through conventional service delivery channels.
Service Canada works with service delivery partners to provide information sessions on Canada's public pension programs to vulnerable populations and assist them in accessing benefits.
The Government has also significantly simplified the application process for the GIS.
- Since 2002, Service Canada mails pre-printed application forms to potentially eligible non-recipients, identified using income tax information.
- Since 2007, GIS recipients can have their benefit automatically renewed as long as they file an annual income tax return. Roughly 95 per cent of GIS recipients have their benefit automatically renewed.
- In addition, the Department sends GIS renewal applications annually to GIS recipients who do not file a tax return by April 30.
The Government has made significant investments to improve the lives of seniors and continues to improve services to help ensure that eligible seniors receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
- Budget 2011 enhanced the GIS for the lowest-income seniors. Since July 1, 2011, eligible single seniors receive up to $600 in additional annual income and eligible couples receive up to $840 in additional annual income. About 680,000 seniors benefit from this measure. It represents the largest increase to OAS income-tested benefits for the lowest income seniors in a quarter of a century.
- In addition to the GIS top-up, Budget 2011 provided an additional $5 million for the New Horizons for Seniors Program increasing the budget from $40 million to $45 million. This program supports projects that ensure seniors contribute to and benefit from activities in their communities.
- Budget 2011 also extended the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers program by investing $50 million over two years to continue supporting the reintegration of older workers into the workforce.
- The Government has taken unprecedented action to support seniors and combat elder abuse through a number of means, including television and print advertisement campaigns in November 2011 and February 2012 to increase awareness of elder abuse and provide Canadians with essential information on where to go for information and support.
- The National Seniors Council (NSC) was established in 2007 to advise the Government on all matters related to the health, well-being and quality of life of seniors. The NSC has submitted four reports to date containing recommendations for action on its previous priorities, namely elder abuse (2007); low income among seniors (2009); volunteering among seniors and positive and active aging (2010); and the labour force participation of seniors and near seniors and intergenerational relations (2011).
- The Government will provide seniors and pensioners with about $2.5 billion in additional targeted tax relief in 2012-2013 through several key measures implemented since 2006, including:
- Increasing the Age Credit by $1,000 in 2006 and by another $1,000 in 2009. In 2010, the Age Credit provided up to $980 in tax relief for eligible seniors.
- Doubling the maximum amount of pension income that may be claimed under the Pension Income Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000, benefiting nearly 3.3 million pensioners.
- Implementing pension income-splitting for pensioners, allowing seniors and pensioners to allocate up to one-half of eligible pension income to their spouse or common-law partner for tax purposes.
- Increasing the age limit for RRSPs from 69 to 71 years of age, allowing more flexible phased retirement arrangements.
Budget 2012 introduced several measures relating to the OAS program:
- To ensure that the OAS program remains sustainable and reflects demographic realities, the Government will gradually increase the age of eligibility for OAS and GIS benefits from 65 to 67. There will be no reduction to seniors' pensions. This change will start in April 2023, with full implementation by January 2029, and will not affect anyone who is 54 years of age or older as of March 31, 2012.
- To improve flexibility and choice, starting on July 1, 2013, the Government will allow for the voluntary deferral of the OAS pension, for up to five years, allowing Canadians the option of deferring take-up of their OAS pension to a later time and receiving a higher annual pension.
- To improve services for seniors, the Government will put in place, starting in 2013, a proactive enrolment regime that will eliminate the need for many seniors to apply for OAS and GIS. This measure will reduce the burden on many seniors of completing application processes.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, (Amendments to the Rules of the Senate), presented in the Senate on November 6, 2012.
Hon. David P. Smith moved the adoption of the report.
He said: Honourable senators, it is a pleasure to rise to speak to the third report of the Rules Committee. As honourable senators know, the Senate gave itself a revised set of rules and I trust all honourable senators will keep it by their bedside for bedtime reading.
Our objective in that project was to make the rules easier to understand and use, but to make only minimal substantive changes in clear and understandable language. We did, however, intend to continue reviewing the rules, as the committee can do under rule 12-7(2)(a), and to come back with more substantive changes. We have started that process and the report before honourable senators is the first result of that work, although it is more in the nature of housekeeping; it is just a one-page report.
The report makes three proposals which I shall address in turn. The first proposal is to make the provision in the rules that the Speaker can leave the chair when the sitting is suspended or while the bells are ringing. In other words, he or she does not have to be chained to the chair and in a straitjacket.
The glossary already indicates in the definition of suspension that the Speaker can leave the chair when the sitting is suspended, but the provision relating to bells is new and reflects general practice. I am sure honourable senators will agree it is a reasonable measure.
The second change would establish the membership of the Official Languages Committee at nine, as it was before the revised rules took effect. As such, it is really a correction. No senators have been named to fill the three vacant positions, so this causes no transitional difficulties.
The third change is in the nature of a clarification. Rule 12-8(2) allows the referral of the user fee proposal to either a standing or a special committee. Rule 12-22(5) then provides for the automatic reporting of the proposal 20 sitting days after it was referred to a properly constituted committee. The wording of rule 12-22(5) currently refers to a standing committee only, leaving unclear what would happen if the user fee proposal were referred to a special committee. We propose simply to make this provision apply to any committee to which a user fee proposal is referred.
As I said at the outset, these proposals make only minor changes to the rules. I commend them to honourable senators for consideration and adoption. We are continuing our work reviewing other provisions and they will be brought forward when we reach the broadest possible consensus.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, on behalf of the members on this side, we support the three minor changes to the rules. They are straightforward and establish that we can start proposing minor changes to the rules. As they get more difficult, obviously, we will place more care in how we approach them.
I wish to commend all members of both the subcommittee and the full Rules Committee for the very serious manner in which they have looked at approaching this work. They are working on behalf of all honourable senators, and on behalf of the institution as well, and they are taking their responsibilities seriously.
I recommend that we adopt this report. I would suggest we might want do that now.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Some Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, entitled: Now or Never: Canada Must Act Urgently to Seize its Place in the New Energy World Order, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on July 18, 2012.
Hon. Richard Neufeld moved the adoption of the report.
He said: Honourable senators, I wish to rise to make a few remarks about the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources report Now or Never: Canada Must Act Urgently to Seize its Place in the New Energy World Order. It was deposited with the clerk on July 18, 2012, by agreement of the Senate. It was a report that was chaired by Senator Angus, well known to everyone in this room as a senator and a chair who did a very good job. We started working on this report in 2009, went through an election and a few other hiccups and finally finished it in 2012.
Obviously, when one starts talking about energy as it relates to Canada and the world, there is an awful lot of information to be digested and a lot of information that we wanted to get out to people across Canada about Canada's energy resources.
I would like to thank Senator Angus again for his good work in moving this committee forward. It was a unanimous report. This is not always easy — something that takes that long and can be very controversial — and I think he did an astounding job in accommodating the viewpoints of everyone on the committee.
We were helped greatly by two people who helped us write the report. After we had all this information and started looking at how we develop a report that would be readable and that people would take an interest in, it became pretty hard to figure out how we would actually move all the information that we had received from 2009 to 2012 into a report that could fit on one shelf. We enlisted the help of Peter Tertzakian, a well-known person from Alberta who has a vast knowledge of the oil and gas industry and has written a number of books about it, and a writer by the name of Sebastian Gault to help us with the process. They worked very hard at that, within some very short time frames, and brought it down to a 65-page report. I think that is probably unheard of, to try to encapsulate everything into 65 pages that are very readable. I would encourage all honourable senators, if they have some time and are not too tired after reading the new rules, to read the report to find out some very good information.
I would also like to thank our clerk and staff from the Library of Parliament who did an awesome job of keeping up with all that work from 2009 to 2012.
We started this report when I came to the Senate and became a member of the committee. A number of us brought forward the idea that we need to start talking to Canadians about our energy resources and how valuable they are to all Canadians — not just to some Canadians — and to the world. We need to involve more people in what we do, how we do energy in Canada, how we look after the environment in Canada and how we look after all of those things that would be attached to developing oil and gas reserves across the country, from coast to coast to coast, because it truly is from coast to coast to coast.
We thought we would try to produce a report — and that is why we got it down to 65 pages — that would be easy for the public to read, if in fact they wanted to. They could understand it; it is not written in legalese. They could understand more about our energy.
I realized this from when I was the Minister of Energy and Mines in British Columbia for eight years. I was fortunate enough to hold that post for that long. Although I was quite involved with the oil and gas industry because of where I lived all my life — it was not new to me — many people in the Lower Mainland, even in British Columbia, did not understand that we had an oil and gas industry in British Columbia. The knowledge and the literacy about the subject were not there.
I brought the idea to the table with Senator Angus and others, as did some other senators, that we had to provide something that we could distribute to the public so they could become more knowledgeable about oil and gas.
People do not realize how intertwined the oil and gas industry is in our everyday lives, regardless of who we are or where we live. It is something that we take for granted because we have become accustomed to it. People generally do not know about the industry. Other than when they drive up to the gas pump, fill their car at the price of $1.35 a litre and they are upset about that, they do not realize how much more the oil and gas industry is involved in their lives.
I would like to read for the record a few things about how the oil and gas industry is intertwined in our everyday lives.
I talked about fuelling up a car. From where I come from, people often talk about wanting more asphalt and better roads. One can see a lot of asphalt driving around Canada. Good roads are the bottom of the barrel; the bottom of the barrel of the oil is the asphalt. There are those who think that if on Friday afternoon we do not have an oil and gas industry that by Monday everything will be fine, but the world does not work that way.
Tires on cars and skis — Senator Raine will understand skis — are made from oil and gas. Crayons are, too. When we buy the four-litre jugs of milk from the grocery store, the containers are plastic. That plastic comes from oil and gas. Water pipes, roofing shingles, golf balls — for those who play golf — fishing rods, shampoo, hand lotion, linoleum, soft contact lenses, food preservatives, disposable diapers, make-up, lipstick, fertilizer — almost everything one can think of has some involvement with oil and gas.
Senator Tkachuk: We can't get it from wind.
Senator Neufeld: One could get some of that from wind; one could try.
Regardless, it is involved in our lives in a way that most people do not understand or maybe do not appreciate.
The difficulty of trying to deal with oil and gas in an environmental sense is also very difficult. We try to do that.
The report lists 13 priorities. If I have time, I will get to a few of them. However, I would suggest that if honourable senators want to look at the report, please look at those 13 priorities. They are interesting and straightforward. I also encourage other members of the committee to stand up and speak to the report. I am sure they will. I know that the deputy chair, who was there through the whole development of this report, wishes to speak and others would also like to speak as well.
Honourable senators, I wish to provide some statistics about energy in Canada and how fortunate we are to have the abundance of energy that we do. That is what makes our lives and living in Canada so great. If we look around the world and at countries that do not have energy, we see a totally different lifestyle than we see in Canada, where we have energy at our fingertips. That energy is relatively cheap, depending on the region of Canada in which one lives. It is cheap energy compared to other places in the world. We are fortunate to have that.
The following comes out of Europe; it is not a Canadian statistic. The International Energy Association is a think-tank in Europe that focuses on energy. The IEA projects that the global demand for oil will rise by one third from 2010 to 2035. In 2010, we consumed about 85 million barrels of oil a day.
China and India will account for 50 per cent of that growth. When one takes the population in China and India and starts thinking about those people wanting to live the same lifestyle and having the same things that we enjoy in Canada at relatively cheap prices, they will need to access that much more oil.
Fossil fuels will remain the dominant supply for decades to come. That is envisioned by any organization that has any knowledge about oil and gas. We will continue to use fossil fuels.
We will continue to use fossil fuels in different ways, as technology teaches us how to use it differently, which it has over the past decades. We use fossil fuels much differently today than we did 20, 10 and 5 years ago. Technology will continue to help us. In fact, when one looks at alternative supply and energy-efficiency gains from technology, that will not offset the demand of increasing consumption by one third by 2035. Oil and gas is with us for a long time; we must learn how to use it differently.
World production in 2011 was 86.5 million barrels a day. Of that, Canada is ranked sixth in the world. When I say we have an abundance of oil and gas, I mean it. That certainly shows up. We do not hear much about Canada when it comes to those things — we hear about the Middle East, Venezuela and others due to the amount they produce— but Canada is sixth in world production at this time.
For proven reserves in Canada, we are third. "Proven reserves" means that oil and gas and fossil fuels can be accessed with today's technology and at the rates the market will bear for that product. We are third in the world at 173 billion barrels of oil. Saudi Arabia is the leading supplier at 260 billion barrels of oil and Venezuela has a supply of 211 billion barrels of proven reserves, which are those I have spoken about. We also have unproven potential in the oil sands of an estimated 315 billion barrels. That would put us at number one. There are an awful lot of fossil fuels in Canada, and we should be accessing them to continue to be able to live our lives as we live them today.
With respect to greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands, there is a lot of talk about greenhouse gas emissions. I appreciate that we have to look at that carefully and decide how to deal with that, but 6.9 per cent of Canada's total greenhouse gases come from oil and gas, and the oil sands produce 0.1 per cent of greenhouse gases globally. Honourable senators will hear a lot about greenhouse gases from one of the members of our committee.
Canada is third in natural gas production, with 70 trillion cubic feet of proven reserves and a further potential. The 70 trillion cubic feet is proven reserve that one could produce today at the price today, although that price is very depressed and has been for the last couple of years. We know there is 70 trillion cubic feet of reserve, but the unconventional potential is 1,304 trillion cubic feet with today's technology, and that deals with shale gas and shale gas alone.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I regret to inform the honourable senator that his time is up. Is he prepared to ask for more time from the chamber?
Some Hon. Senators: Five more minutes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Five more minutes. Please continue.
Senator Neufeld: That is what is driving the LNG proposals on the west coast of British Columbia.
So honourable senators know, when I was minister in British Columbia at the end of 2007 and early in 2008, we had approved in the province an LNG import terminal in Kitimat. That is how fast the advent of shale gas took place. That has now changed to an export terminal, with about five more proposed to be built on the West Coast, all along the coast of the U.S. and also on the East Coast of Canada. There is a lot of natural gas, and it is the cleanest burning fossil fuel we know today. It will take the place of coal and electricity generation and I would assume modes of fuel to a great degree, and we see some of that happening on the East and West Coasts now.
Canada is third in hydroelectricity production and has significant potential in wind biomass and geothermal. We are often told that we are energy hogs and that we put too much greenhouse gas in the air. We are always being chastised — I am familiar with this — by Europeans, and we never respond and talk about how clean our energy sources are, especially electricity energy sources across Canada. We have 75 per cent clean energy production in electricity all across Canada. That is surpassed only by a few countries around the world. Most of them still burn a lot of coal.
I use one example: Denmark. In British Columbia, we are always being compared to Denmark. Why do you not do what Denmark does? Look at all the wind generation they are building. Yet when I checked out Denmark, I found they are still developing 50 per cent of their electricity with coal. They are building windmills, but on top of that, their price per kilowatt hour is 35 cents, compared to an average in Canada of probably about 9 cents.
When we hear these kinds of things, we should always be proud of Canada. I am proud of Canada, and I always talk about how great Canada is.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Senator Neufeld: I think all of us should be doing that. Are we perfect? No. Can we do better? Yes. Should we do better? I believe we will, as technology takes us there, but we should not be one bit unhappy with how Canada does things today because we are leading in the world.
I would like to provide a few more statistics, honourable senators. In 2011, energy brought in approximately $165 billion, or 10 per cent of the total Canadian GDP. There are 294,000 direct jobs, or 2 per cent of the total Canadian employment, in our oil and gas industry. Capital expenditures in oil and gas extraction were $55 billion. Total government revenue — that is the provinces, territories and the federal government — was approximately $26 billion. In 2008, energy services stock represented approximately 27 per cent of the value of the Toronto Stock Exchange, second only to financials at 30 per cent. It is significant in our lives, and all of us should know it.
I will end with a quote from the conclusion of the report. I did not get to any of the priorities, but honourable senators can read about them. I quote:
If Canada is to successfully meet these challenges, there is an urgent need for us to change. Change means diversifying our markets. Change means innovating. Change means consuming energy efficiently. Change means improving our environmental performance. Change means earning social license. Change starts with each of us as energy citizens.
(On motion of Senator Mitchell, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Robichaud, P.C., calling the attention of the Senate to the importance of food banks to families and the working poor.
Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, in the name of Senator Hubley, this inquiry is on day 14, and I would like to restart the clock on this debate, calling the attention of the Senate to the importance of food banks to families and the working poor. I would like to restart the clock in the name of Senator Hubley.
(On motion of Senator Munson, for Senator Hubley, debate adjourned.)
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk, pursuant to notice of October 18, 2012, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade be authorized to examine and report on economic and political developments in the Republic of Turkey, their regional and global influences, the implications for Canadian interests and opportunities, and other related matters; and
That the committee table its final report to the Senate no later than March 31, 2013 and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until April 30, 2013.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Would the chair of the committee take a question?
Senator Andreychuk: Certainly.
Senator Fraser: Could the honourable senator tell us a little more about this study and what is involved? In particular, will there be much in the way of expenses, travel to Turkey, that kind of thing?
Senator Andreychuk: In the Foreign Affairs Committee, we are trying to find strategic issues that we can shed some light on. Turkey has been a country that is significant within the European sphere but also recently has moved internally to make changes. It has an economic growth that has been unbelievable in comparison to other countries around it. It also has some stability.
What is more important is that economically and politically it has changed and is moving into being a significant player on many scenes. We thought it was timely to look at this country beyond our historic relationship with Turkey and see what that might mean to Canadian foreign policy. For example, Turkey is increasingly interested and the Prime Minister has signalled interest in Africa, the Middle East, and investments throughout Eastern Europe and elsewhere. They have been significant in international multilateral initiatives and not in a traditional way. If we could study Turkey, I think we could shed light on a relationship that we have had for some significant time and see whether we could provide answers or suggestions to our government as to what emphasis they should put in their foreign policy towards Turkey.
I should say that the initiative came from your side. We enthusiastically supported it on our side. We thought it was a timely investigation.
We do not intend to go over the whole gamut of the history of Turkey, although it is a very interesting history. We want to take a snapshot of what is happening now in relation to our foreign policy. We do not anticipate any expenses but for a visitation into Turkey at an appropriate time, should our evidence indicate that some interlocutors in Turkey are necessary for our study. We would obviously go to Internal Economy for their clearance of that one trip. That is the only thing we have contemplated at the moment.
Hon. Serge Joyal: It is a pleasure to welcome the honourable senator back from her observation mission to the Ukraine. I am not a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, but would it be in the interest of the committee to look also into the prospect of Turkey's joining the European Union? That, of course, would have an important impact on the trade relationship between Turkey and Canada. I know the issue was a central one a few years ago. It left the radar screen for a while, but for future years it would be an important aspect to review.
Senator Andreychuk: I think that issue is being reviewed. I sit on a number of committees in NATO, and the issue of Europe and its complementarity to NATO leads us to look at the arrangements and discussions between the European Union and Turkey. We are also mindful in Canada that we do not want to intrude in the sovereign rights of Turkey or of any other European state to make the decisions of union. We tread very lightly with regard to comments.
What we probably will take is the consequence of where they are now. We will take that snapshot, I presume, in our look, but I do not think we will have any recommendations or comments on the advisability or otherwise of the Turkish entry into the European Union.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: In the course of the study, will the committee be reviewing the impact of the Syrian situation vis-à-vis Turkey and the implications this might have for NATO and Canada within NATO along with Turkey?
Senator Andreychuk: That has not been the focus. We have been looking at trade and investment. I think there will be some consequence to that, but that is more how Turkey has changed as a result of accepting the refugees into Turkey. That has had an impact on its economy. The destabilization of the area because of Syria will also be taken into account because, again, it impacts Turkey. To start on an analysis of Syria, which we may want to do as a committee at a later date, we do not think would be the opportune way to approach the study now. We want to highlight Turkey as it has been progressing over the last decade and where it appears it wants to go. The Syrian issues, and the adjustments from the Turkish side, are why I think the visitation is important: They are affecting their trade and investment. We need to hear from them how they are adjusting to the rather precarious environment that they find themselves in.
Hon. Michael Duffy: Honourable senators, I wonder if the honourable senator could respond regarding the current status of Turkey and its thinking in relationship to Cyprus and our long-standing, over 30 years, I believe, Canadian military presence there, which only recently ended in the last decade. Does she see in relation to Turkey's new approach to the West a chance for some permanent solution on Cyprus?
Senator Andreychuk: I thank the honourable senator for the question. There seems to be an enthusiasm in this chamber for our study.
With respect, I do not think I will answer the question because I would hope the witnesses would talk to us about the issues that impact Turkey, and that is certainly one issue. I know that when one talks of Turkey, one talks of Cyprus; when one talks of Greece, one talks of Cyprus, but one must look at different parts of that island.
We do know, though, that there are investments and trade initiatives in Cyprus that impact the rest of the world. I have just come from the Ukraine, and Cyprus was discussed. It is a banking investment area. How we touch it will depend on the steering committee and the witnesses. Our focus, however, is not to attempt to look at Cyprus. Our focus is to look at Turkey. Obviously, that issue will come up in one form or another.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are honourable senators ready to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk, pursuant to notice of November 6, 2012, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade be authorized to examine and report on Canadian foreign policy regarding Iran, its implications, and other related matters;
That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee pursuant to the orders of the Senate on Thursday, February 2, 2012 and Thursday, June 14, 2012 be referred to the committee; and
That the committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than December 31, 2012 and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until January 31, 2013.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Joan Fraser: I have the same question, honourable senators. I am assuming that travel to Iran might be a little dicey, but is other travel envisaged here? What would be the other implications of this study for the Senate's resources?
Senator Andreychuk: Answering this question is a little embarrassing more than anything. This study has been completed. It was on the Order Paper and extended. Unfortunately, due to my absence in June, I did not catch that we needed to extend it further. To be absolutely correct, we did not want to just come in and ask for an extension. We reintroduced the order so that we are absolutely correct with the procedures of this chamber. It is simply the fact of an omission. We are putting it back on the agenda and extending it, with the permission of the house.
We finished our study and it was being drafted. We will be looking at it when we return. Members now have the report, so I anticipate there will be nothing left but to adjust and readjust the recommendations or the report for filing here. There is no implication otherwise.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
(The Senate adjourned until Thursday, November 8, 2012, at 1:30 p.m.)