- SENATORS' STATEMENTS
- ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
- Treasury Board
- The Estimates, 2012-13
- Study on Emerging Issues Related to Canadian Airline Industry report
- Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
- Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Bill
- Criminal Code
- The Estimates, 2012-13
- Canada—Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity Bill
- Coastal Fisheries Protection Act
- Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group
- Diversity in the Senate
- QUESTION PERIOD
- Canadian Heritage
- Human Resources and Skills Development
- Social Affairs, Science and Technology
- Delayed Answer to Oral Question
- Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
- Answer to Order Paper Question Tabled
- ORDERS OF THE DAY
- Korean War Veterans Day Bill
- Fisheries Act
- Corrections and Conditional Release Act
- Criminal Code
- National Security and Defence
- Access to Justice in French
- Royal Air Force Bomber Command Memorial
Thursday, November 8, 2012
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, on Friday, November 2, I had the honour of being invited to speak at the annual dinner for the French common law program and the Canadian law program.
This French dinner is an important annual event for the University of Ottawa's common law section. It promotes access to justice in French and brings together professors, students and friends of the two programs. The French dinner is also a good opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of lawyers and the academic achievements of the students enrolled in the program.
This year, Nathalie Des Rosiers, a full professor of civil law at the University of Ottawa, won the Bastarache-Charron award in recognition of her outstanding contribution in the area of civil liberties.
The French common law program welcomes 60 new students every year. It is designed to respond to the needs of Franco-Ontarians for both French legal education and legal services and also to train francophones from other provinces.
Students in the French program must take all of their compulsory courses and at least 75 per cent of their upper year courses in French, with French being the language of instruction and evaluation. Lawyers able to practise law in both official languages have a distinct advantage in Canada's national market and in the international market.
The French common law program plays a crucial role in training lawyers in French for the entire country. The needs of francophones when it comes to accessing justice in French are significant. Thanks to this program, we can count on lawyers who can communicate in French and who can meet those needs, while also playing a leadership role in offering judicial and legal services in French in all regions of the country.
Our expectations regarding the next generation of French-speaking, qualified legal experts are high and are justified. Thanks to these students, we can look forward to a society in which everyone's rights are respected.
Hon. Salma Ataullahjan: Honourable senators, others have already spoken of the IPU, but did honourable senators know that the Inter-Parliamentary Union is the oldest multilateral organization of Parliaments, even preceding the League of Nations?
Established in 1889, the IPU recently held its one hundred and twenty-seventh assembly. Over 1,300 delegates from 162 member Parliaments gathered together in the most welcoming of nations — Canada.
For six days, from October 21 to 26, the delegates met in picturesque Quebec City for a unique forum to address the challenges of citizenship, identity and cultural diversity in a globalized world. As one of the most diverse and multicultural countries in the world, where better to have such a discussion than in Canada?
I led a special session on gender-sensitive Parliaments. In the 20th century, one of the greatest changes to democracy around the world was women's increased participation in politics, both as voters and as members of Parliament. Canada has supported this shift.
With our recent role in Afghanistan and our Senate study on women's rights in Afghanistan, I was so pleased to see not one but four women in the delegation from Afghanistan. In fact, this morning we received an email from the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Afghanistan expressing his gratitude.
I wanted to thank Senator Oliver, president of the Canadian group of the IPU, and his team for fostering an environment of mutual respect and understanding. Canada was a gracious host, even going so far as to plan an event for the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha, a major Muslim holiday that commemorates the sacrifice that the prophet Abraham was willing to make of his son. Muslim delegates were missing this celebration in their home countries.
A prayer and a reception were organized by the Canadian IPU staff, which one delegate later said were the most memorable he had ever attended. While the prayer was led by a delegate from Pakistan, the sermon was made by a delegate from Egypt. The delegation from
Oman even surprised us with delicacies from their country. About 80 representatives of Muslim nations joined together, standing side by side irrespective of differences. It was a humbling sight to see.
I wanted to mention the presence of Senator Fortin-Duplessis, Senator Joan Fraser and MP Jean Crowder and the IPU staff at the prayer. It was noticed and greatly appreciated by all.
Honourable senators, I am sure that, like me, you would have been proud to see global unity on our very doorstep.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, commonly referred to as NSCAD, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which marks its one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary this year.
NSCAD traces its roots back to October 1887, when Anna Leonowens, motivated by her civilizing genius, opened for classes the Victoria School of Art and Design in the then Union Bank Building on Hollis Street in Halifax. An inspired and vigorous crusader, she led a group of lady friends of the school in raising seed money of $5,000 in 1887 and 1888.
Anna went on to become tutor to the children of King Mongkut of Siam. Her work and her relationship with the king resulted in the making of the film The King and I starring the late Yul Brynner, a long-running Broadway play and reprised in 1999 in the film Anna and the King starring Jodie Foster.
In 1968, a gallery was established in Anna's name in the historic properties area in downtown Halifax.
Arthur Lismer, later to become one of Canada's legendary Group of Seven artists, was principal of the school from 1916 to 1919. It is he who said, "Art is a vital means of education, a powerful agent in stimulating all those faculties that make for complete living." Interestingly, the school was damaged in the Halifax explosion of December 6, 1917, and Lismer fixed the damaged windows using the glass from prints on loan from the national gallery.
In 1925, the school was renamed the Nova Scotia College of Art. In 1948, its four-year art education program began, and in 1969 it began granting university degrees. In 2003, the college was renamed NSCAD University to better reflect its status as Canada's principal independent university dedicated to the visual arts.
In 2006, I was able to persuade Paul Greenhalgh, then president, and Reverend Laurence Mawhinney, then Mayor of Lunenburg, to join forces to establish the Lunenburg Community Studio Residency Program, where three graduates are provided living and studio space for one year to work on their respective art portfolios. Programs modelled after the one in Lunenburg were opened in 2011 in New Glasgow and Sydney.
In his book entitled The Last Art College published earlier this year, Garry Neill Kennedy, president of NSCAD from 1968 to 1978, wrote the following:
If the College was to be truly relevant, it had to focus upon the ideas that had challenged the art world and which had begun to change not only the content of the visual arts but their very definition. . . . The art world was being reshaped and we were determined that our mission as artists and as educators was to be part of that reshaping.
It is clear that NSCAD has met Dr. Kennedy's challenge and that it continues to fulfill its mission with vigour and panache. Many collections and galleries would be void of works of art if it were not for the endeavours created by graduates of and teachers at NSCAD.
Thus, we extend our sincere congratulations to NSCAD, its Acting President, Dr. Dan O'Brien, its governors, faculty, staff, students — one of whom is my daughter, Alexandra — alumni and supporters, and wish it another 125 years at the vanguard as an independent teacher of the visual arts in North America.
Hon. Janis G. Johnson: Honourable senators, on Tuesday, October 23, the Canadian Arts Coalition's annual Arts Day on Parliament Hill was held. Over 130 arts supporters from across the country came to Ottawa to consult with MPs and senators on the Canadian cultural industry.
Thereupon, I wish to call this chamber's attention to the crucial role played by arts and culture in Canada's social and economic life. Aside from providing Canadians with valuable content and entertainment during their leisure time, the cultural sector is an increasingly significant component of Canada's economy, estimated at 7 per cent of our GDP.
According to the CAC, over 640,000 Canadians are directly employed in the cultural industry. This is more than double the amount of workers in the banking or forestry sectors. That number surpasses a million if indirect jobs are also taken into account, and it is growing.
In the fields of film and television production, music, publishing, periodicals, digital and interactive media, festivals and performing arts, along with museums and other cultural spaces, more and more Canadians are both working and participating in the nation's cultural life. Indeed, attendance to cultural or artistic festivals has gone up by 57 per cent since 2005 and, according to Statistics Canada, 100 million hours were volunteered by Canadians for arts and culture organizations in 2010 alone. This is impressive given the great many time pressures people have these days and also demonstrates that citizens from diverse backgrounds place a great deal of significance on arts and culture in their daily lives.
This has no doubt also produced considerable economic benefits for this country. Aside from employing hundreds of thousands of Canadians in the broad range of fields previously mentioned, public coffers also benefit immensely from arts and culture. In 2007 alone, cultural activities generated $25 billion in revenue for all levels of government. This is in large part due to the size of the overall industry, valued at $46 billion of the Canadian economy, or $84.6 billion if direct, indirect and induced inputs are considered, according to the Conference Board of Canada.
It has also found that for every $1 of real value-added GDP produced by Canada's cultural industries, roughly $1.84 is added to the overall GDP. Further, Hill Strategies notes that the performing arts generate $2.70 in non-governmental revenues for every $1 invested by government.
Notwithstanding our government's commitment to bringing Canada out of deficit, we have not lost sight of the social and economic value that the cultural sector represents to Canadians. Since 2009, the government has maintained or even increased overall funding to arts and culture, namely through the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, the Canada Cultural Investment Fund, the Canada Arts Training Fund and Cultural Spaces Canada, recognizing their importance to the economic recovery.
CAC spokesperson Shannon Litzenberger has stated that "Heritage Minister James Moore has been a vocal champion for arts and culture, working with the coalition to build a stronger relationship between the Government of Canada and the sector." I join Mr. Moore today in reaffirming our government's support for the vital role that arts and culture play in Canada's social and economic life.
Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, I have been in northern politics for a long time. I have been privileged to work with many northern leaders, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, who have helped shape the North in this nation.
From Yukon, leaders like our colleague Senator Lang, from the N.W.T., Nellie Cournoyea, James Wah-Shee, Richard Nerysoo, George Erasmus; and from Nunavut, Inuit leaders like John Amagoalik, Paul Quassa and Jack Anawak have worked to settle land claims, create a new territory and change the map of Canada forever.
Many of these northern leaders continue to have a national and international presence. They are committed to the North. They are experienced and connected. They are capable of representing us in the North and at the national and international levels.
Therefore, I was astounded to read in this week's November 6 Hill Times northern policy briefing the headline "Harper should have appointed Foreign Affairs minister to head up Arctic Council." The source of the headline was none other than western Arctic NDP MP Dennis Bevington, who believes that Canada can be better represented as chair of the Arctic Council by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird rather than Nunavut MP and federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. The Western Arctic MP writes:
Unfortunately, by appointing the health minister instead of the foreign affairs minister to chair the Arctic Council, it is doubtful our chairmanship will be effective on issues that other nations have identified and want action on.
MP Bevington suggests that with an Aboriginal woman and northern resident as the next chair of the Arctic Council, the Conservative government will not deliver "international leadership" required in what he calls this "crisis area of the globe" but instead will "idle through their term."
Honourable senators, what an insult. Think about it. An MP who professes to represent the N.W.T. and all the North as the NDP's critic for CanNor condemns the Prime Minister for appointing as Canada's chair of the Arctic Council an Aboriginal woman who was born and raised in the North, lived on the land and speaks Inuktitut. Moreover, this Inuk woman stands tall amongst accomplished northern leaders I have referred to with her extensive experience.
What I find most astonishing is that MP Bevington says Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, who is from Ottawa and for whom I have great respect, is the only one who can do the job. This is the New Democratic Party speaking — the party which prides itself for its focus on gender equality and respect for minorities.
I do not believe that MP Bevington's constituents in the Western Arctic endorse their MP's negative and misinformed commentary on Minister Aglukkaq's appointment. Rather, I think many would be dismayed at what seems to be a clear demonstration that MP Bevington has no confidence in the ability and commitment of our northern residents and northern leaders to represent our country in an international organization representing circumpolar nations. Instead of celebrating the minister's appointment and the contributions of other prominent Aboriginal women in politics, MP Bevington makes the negative prediction that Minister Aglukkaq will not be effective on the issues other Arctic nations have identified and want action on. As if we want a Canadian chair whose main job is to represent the interests of other nations!
More naive NDP ideology is also contained in the Hill Times op-ed. The Western Arctic MP begrudgingly notes that consultation amongst northerners to develop a Canadian Arctic Council agenda may be a good thing. However, his advice is that politicians should consult scientists on Canada's role in the Arctic Council.
Mr. Bevington should realize that this is exactly what the Arctic Council does in its many science-based circumpolar working groups.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Departmental Performance Reports for 2011-12.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Supplementary Estimates (B), 2012-13, for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the answer of the Government of Canada to the fifth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the fifteenth report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, which deals with the annual report on parliamentary associations, activities and expenditures.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, presented the following report:
Thursday, November 8, 2012
The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has the honour to present its
Your committee, to which was referred Bill S-10, An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions, has, in obedience to the order of reference of June 22, 2012, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.
A. RAYNELL ANDREYCHUK
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the third time?
(On motion of Senator Andreychuk, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)
Hon. Joan Fraser, Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, presented the following report:
Thursday, November 8, 2012
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the honour to present its
Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-290, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sports betting), has, in obedience to the order of reference of Wednesday, May 16, 2012, examined the said bill and now reports the same without amendment.
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.)
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, with the exception of Parliament Vote 10b.
Notice of Motion to Authorize Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament to Study Vote 10b of Supplementary Estimates (B)
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in Parliament Vote 10b of the Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013; and
That a message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint that House accordingly.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-24, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Panama, the Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Panama and the Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and the Republic of Panama.
(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. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government) introduced Bill S-13, An Act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act.
(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. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group on the Eighteenth Bilateral Meeting, held in Tokyo and the Tohoku Region, Japan, from May 20 to 25, 2012.
Notice of Inquiry
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:
I will call the attention of the Senate to the state of diversity in the Senate of Canada and its administration and, in particular, to how we can address the barriers facing the advancement of visible minorities in the Senate workforce and increase their representation by focusing on hiring, retention and promotion.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
On October 31 I asked her about the government's decision to cut off funding for the Canadian Conference of the Arts on six months' notice. In reply, she said:
Honourable senators, the fact of the matter is that the government provided the Canadian Conference of the Arts with 18 months' notice and hundreds of thousands of dollars in bridge money to help them transition to a sustainable model. That is 18 months.
As the honourable senator will know from correspondence from the treasurer of the association, which was copied to me, there is some controversy about that statement. To clarify, would the leader obtain and table in the house the notice that she said the government gave to the Canadian Conference of the Arts, giving them 18 months' notice of termination of their government funding?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question. Of course I did receive the correspondence and went back to check my facts. The facts were as I have stated. The government provided the conference with 18 months' notice and hundreds of thousands of dollars in bridge money to help them transition to a sustainable model. I have confirmed that that is the case. I would be happy to take the remainder of Senator Cowan's question as notice.
Senator Cowan: Honourable senators, the question was whether the leader would obtain and table in this chamber a copy of the notice that her government provided to the council. While she is at it, will she obtain details of, in her words, "the hundreds of thousands of dollars in bridge money," which was to help them transition to a sustainable model?
Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator for the question. I am unable to make that commitment. I will commit to getting further details from the Department of Heritage.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I have here, from Service Canada, Strategic Services Branch, a presentation on the Integrated Operational Plan for 2012-13, which outlines the job cuts to take place within Atlantic Canada.
When I looked at this slide presentation, I was shocked to see what is going to take place in Prince Edward Island. Slide 7 shows that as of April 1 of this year the total number of permanent employees of Service Canada in my province was 113. In 2015 that number will be 61. That is a cut of roughly 50 per cent of Service Canada employees in my province.
My question is very simple, but it is important: Why has the government decided to cut so many positions from Service Canada in my province?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I assume that the honourable senator is using data that was provided in a written response.
As we move toward using new technology, Service Canada deals with much less paperwork, which has resulted in the need for fewer people in some Service Canada centres. I do not have the numbers for Prince Edward Island. I am not sure what document the honourable senator was reading from. That is why I asked if she was referring to a written response that I saw in the last few days with regard to the number of federal government employees in Prince Edward Island. I do not know what document she is reading from or what she is referring to.
I have no reason to believe that the services provided by Service Canada are diminished in any way in any part of the country, including in Prince Edward Island.
Senator Callbeck: I am referring to a Service Canada document on the integrated operational plan for 2012-13, a copy of which I can have sent to the leader's office. This is the document that says we will lose roughly 50 per cent of the employees at Service Canada in the province of Prince Edward Island.
In addition to that, the government is closing the Employment Insurance processing centre in Montague, which is the only centre we have in the entire province. They are closing the Veterans Affairs Charlottetown District Office. The government has already closed the Citizenship and Immigration office and the counter service at Canada Revenue Agency.
Jobs are getting slashed and offices are closing, which means that the level of federal services to Islanders is deteriorating. Why is this government cutting jobs so drastically in my province? Second, why is the government reducing services to Prince Edward Islanders?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the government is not reducing services. Service Canada continues to improve and update its operations to ensure that Canadians are served effectively and efficiently while making the best use of taxpayers' dollars.
I would have to look at the document Senator Callbeck is referring to. I do not believe the honourable senator is correct in stating that the services provided by Service Canada are diminished in any part of the country. Technology is changing and fewer people are showing up at Service Canada offices. They are instead going online. There is a whole host of reasons why Service Canada continues to improve and update its facilities.
Service Canada has been applauded for its efficiency. I do acknowledge that there are always individual cases that come to our attention that are outside the norm, but I believe that by and large the relocation of Service Canada centres has been a tremendous improvement. It better serves the Canadian public, and it certainly saves taxpayers' dollars.
Senator Callbeck: I know technology is changing. There is no question about that. However, why does this affect Prince Edward Island so drastically as compared to other provinces? Would the Leader of the Government in the Senate take my question as notice and come back with an answer?
Senator LeBreton: I do not know what the honourable senator is basing her statements on. I cannot properly answer charges for which there appears to be no basis. The government has contributed greatly to many programs in Prince Edward Island. I have seen no evidence whatsoever that, as the honourable senator charges, the government is not properly serving the citizens of Prince Edward Island. I would argue that the opposite is the case.
Senator Callbeck: I am basing my questions on the document that I have right here. It is a government document put out by Service Canada. I will send a copy to the leader's office, and I am hopeful that she will give me a written response to my question.
Hon. Maria Chaput: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Since the leader will be speaking to people at Service Canada, could she ask them if they have determined whether there are any communities in the provinces, territories or remote areas that still do not have access to these new technologies Service Canada is using in order to streamline its services?
We are well aware that people who live in rural or remote regions do not have access to high-speed Internet or even cable. What will Service Canada do to continue to promote its programs and services to people who do not have access to these new technologies?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, Service Canada does provide service to remote and rural areas where, in many cases, there are accessible Service Canada offices. Service Canada also has mobile facilities that go into more remote areas. It delivers its services in a host of ways.
It is fair to say that the more technologically savvy people become, the more they will use the Internet, but that does not take away from the need of people who do not have access to the Internet, and Service Canada has facilities to deal with those people.
Hon. Vernon White: Honourable senators, my question is directed to the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
An article by Member of Parliament Kirsty Duncan and Senator Jane Cordy appeared this morning on the website iPolitics. The article is critical of decisions taken by his committee in its study of Bill S-204.
Does the honourable senator feel that the committee has been responsible in its study of the bill? Is it not true that members have heard from patients' advocates and that a representative of the National CCSVI Society appeared before the committee on October 18, 2012?
Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie: Honourable senators, as the custom requires, I thank the honourable senator for the question, and I will be pleased to attempt to fully answer it.
With regard to whether I believe that the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has acted responsibly, I can answer unequivocally in the affirmative. It is my clear belief that it has, and that it has followed all the procedures that the committee should follow.
With regard to the second question, the honourable senator is correct. The National CCSVI Society appeared before our committee on October 18. Furthermore, the president of CCSVI Ontario provided two written submissions, the first one on October 3 and the second on October 16.
The committee also has received seven written submissions on behalf of MS patients. I want to indicate to this chamber that our committee considers a written submission in the same standing as a presentation before the committee. As well, I think it would not surprise honourable senators to know that most members of the committee have received many emails from individual MS patients.
Since the honourable senator has given me the chance to respond to what I think is the nature of his question, perhaps I could provide a little more information with regard to the background to this issue.
I think it is no surprise that most people who have been paying attention to matters in general in other countries around the world over the past few years will have been aware of the connection between a proposed medical treatment called CCSVI and a serious medical condition called MS.
It began when Dr. Zamboni, a surgeon in Italy, reported that he had determined a connection between CCSVI and MS and that the use of this surgery, which deals with the narrowing of veins and attempts to reopen those veins, would bring benefit to MS patients. Reports from his surgery and others that followed in various countries were often contradictory in terms of their outcome. This has led to health authorities, including those here in Canada, taking steps to determine the true value of CCSVI surgery, usually under the strenuous support and urging of those in their countries with MS.
As described to our committee recently by three of the world's leading experts on this surgery, including Dr. Zamboni himself, a review of the data that is out there to this point suggests that among the many theories that are being proposed with regard to what CCSVI actually does, currently two are predominant.
One theory is that CCSVI is itself a condition that appears in many people, not just in some of those with MS but in the population as a whole. CCSVI was described as being a condition that likely leads to severe headaches, pressure on the brain, confusion, and other medical outcomes.
The other possibility is the original one, namely, that CCSVI is at least a direct contributor to MS or possibly a cause of MS.
These experts, and all other experts, have indicated that to determine this requires a carefully carried out blinded clinical trial. The experts recommend a trial of this nature involving approximately 100 patients in each trial, in different countries.
Bill S-204 — and this goes directly, I think, to the question that was asked — seems to be based on the experiences of MS patients from around the world, and indeed here in Canada. Bill S-204 proposes a strategy for evaluating CCSVI surgery in the treatment of MS. It includes a recommendation for a clinical trial. The committee is studying that bill and is holding hearings, with witnesses, with regard to the best medical and scientific processes to be pursued to answer the following question: What does CCSVI surgery do?
The world's experts agree that a true blinded clinical trial is the only way to proceed. Only in this way, they say, can doctors be adequately informed to advise their patients as to whether this surgery will affect their MS, whether it will affect the CCSVI condition, what risks are involved in the surgery, and so on.
That is my answer to the honourable senator's question.
Hon. Art Eggleton: I have a supplementary question for the committee. The point of contention has been over hearing from people who have gone through this procedure.
The Hon. the Speaker: I will caution that the rules provide that during Question Period there is no debate. I know that Senator Eggleton is not opening a debate but rather wants clarification to a supplementary question. We will keep it in question-and-answer form.
Senator Eggleton: I am doing that. I am providing some context here.
The issue has been over hearing from people who have gone through this procedure. The contention at the committee has been over whether we should hear from those people. The majority of the committee decided not to hear from those people, even though we had experts. The chair talks about experts. We had experts who came before our committee and said we should hear from these people; they have gone through this and have something to add to the dialogue. Indeed, would the chair of the committee not admit that when we have had other hearings on other issues, whether about poverty, mental health or victims of crime, we have heard from people who have gone through it?
This is not to say we should hear just from people who think they have gone through the surgery successfully. We could also hear from people who have not gone through it successfully or who have had marginal benefits. The point is to hear from them.
In fact, is the point not that many people have been telling us that they have been unable to get follow-up medical treatment in Canada? Is it not a concern of the honourable senator and of the committee that we get follow-up treatment for these people who are being denied it by the medical profession in this country?
Senator Ogilvie: Honourable senators, what I attempted to do in my earlier answer was to show that the hearing we are holding today is the result of the input of thousands of patients from around the world with regard to the need to answer the question of whether or not CCSVI surgery is of direct benefit to MS.
With regard to the last part of the honourable senator's question, at my age, I have limited faculty with retention. Could I ask the Speaker to allow the senator to repeat that very last part?
Senator Eggleton: Should we not be hearing from these people about this issue?
Senator Ogilvie: The issue in the second question was whether any patient should be denied treatment for the medical condition. The answer to that is unequivocally no. It is clear that following the initial examples, where there were reports that such a situation occurred, medical authorities in all countries have taken steps to ensure that that does not occur, and indeed the processes of the medical colleges in provinces have taken significant action in this regard.
Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, I will keep my question simple. One cannot examine or cross-examine a written submission, which was alluded to. One cannot do that. The whole idea was to hear from those who took this treatment and for whom perhaps it failed, and those who took this treatment and for whom perhaps it worked. Why did the majority of this committee say no to free speech?
Senator Ogilvie: I am waiting for the Speaker to give me the authority to respond.
Senator Munson: This is question and answer period now. This is what we are doing.
Senator Ogilvie: I take direction from the Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I assume I have permission.
This issue has nothing to do with the question of free speech, nor does it have anything to do with the ability of individuals to write articulately versus their ability to verbalize articulately.
Furthermore, let me remind honourable senators that the input of thousands of patients around the world with regard to the pros and cons of this has informed the health community around the world and clearly led to all the leading experts demanding a double-blind clinical trial so as to be able to get unequivocally the medical and scientific answers needed to properly advise patients with regard to this surgery.
Hon. Jane Cordy: I think everyone in this chamber agrees that we should have clinical trials. Three days after I brought in the bill in June of 2011 the government announced that they would have clinical trials. I was standing in my living room and actually did a dance of joy. I was delighted.
However, the bill had already been put in place in the chamber that we would have clinical trials.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I will have to require that there be questions of chairs or to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, but we must avoid debate. If there is a direct question, please ask it.
Senator Cordy: Thank you. I have two questions. First, I sent an email to each member of the committee saying that I would be removing the sections related specifically to the clinical trials. Did the chair of the committee receive that email? It was sent to everyone.
Second, we did hear from Dr. Rubin and Mr. Juurlink, who are both experts. In fact, Dr. Rubin is part of the expert panel and said there is nothing like hearing from people face to face; there is no comparison between person-to-person contact and person-to-paper contact.
I ask the question that was previously asked: First, did the honourable senator get my email saying that I would be removing the aspects related to clinical trials? We all believe in clinical trials and are glad the government is doing them.
Second, why are the voices of these MS patients being refused to the Social Affairs Committee that is dealing with Bill S-204?
Senator Ogilvie: I take from the previous intervention that I have permission to respond to the question.
I have received the honourable senator's emails.
With regard again to the issue, MS patients, those who have MS and those who have MS and have been treated with the CCSVI procedure from around the world, have informed the background, I am assuming, to the bill that the honourable senator put forward. It has now reached the point where they should be studied in a clear clinical trial situation so that the comments and evidence they present as a result of their surgery are evaluated by those capable of doing so and against those who have had a placebo treatment to determine those outcomes that are real and those that are not.
Senator Cordy: Perhaps the honourable senator could explain why every single Conservative senator voted on Tuesday to silence the voices of those who have MS?
Senator Ogilvie: Honourable senators, it is my belief that my colleagues fully understand the circumstances and are looking to achieve the very best situation to inform Canadian physicians in order to help those Canadians who suffer from this terrible disease.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: It has always been my understanding that the Senate of Canada is the place of last resort where Canadians can come to have their cause heard on each side of an issue.
I ask the honourable chair if he agrees with that.
Senator Ogilvie: Honourable senators, in answering the initial part of the question, I outlined that the National CCSVI Society made an appearance before the committee representing those persons who are involved with the CCSVI surgery procedure. The president of CCSVI Ontario has made two full written submissions to our committee on behalf of, presumably, the CCSVI patients in Ontario. We, indeed, are hearing their voices.
Senator Moore: I would like to know whether the chair agrees that individual Canadians should have the right and the opportunity to come before whatever committee in this chamber to present their views. I do not mean in a repetitive way, but they should be allowed to come, on each side of an issue, as individuals — not a written brief, not by some representative, but by people who have experienced whatever is being discussed and studied. Does the honourable senator agree?
Senator Ogilvie: Honourable senators, it is my belief that the committees of this Senate are charged to carry out the responsibilities of the Senate directed to them, and they should make the determination as to the best persons to appear before their committees.
Senator Moore: Is it reasonable to think that the best way to determine the study of a cause is that the individuals who are being subjected to the issue are not being permitted to personally come before a Senate committee and have their case heard? I have never heard of this before. I have been on many committees since I have been here, and we always, at every opportunity, on each side of an issue, have people come forward. One does not have to agree with their views, but they are entitled to get their evidence on the record. The honourable senator should be doing that.
Senator Ogilvie: That was not a question.
Senator Moore: Do you agree?
Senator Ogilvie: As I indicated before, I agree that those committees of the Senate charged with direction from the Senate should do their absolute best to get the best evidence before them to answer the question before the committee. That, honourable senators, is what we are doing.
Senator Moore: Would the honourable senator not agree that the best evidence would be evidence coming forth from individuals?
An Hon. Senator: No.
Senator Ogilvie: The answer to the question is that the best evidence on behalf of individuals who have had the CCSVI procedure is from those who can interpret those results and bring them before the committee and those societies that represent those individuals, including the national society and the society of Ontario. They have given their input.
An Hon. Senator: Shame on you.
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 Honourable Senator Hervieux-Payette on May 29, 2012, concerning Northern Canada and First Nations.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette on May 29, 2012)
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) supports the food security of Aboriginal peoples in the North through a number of programs. The Nutrition North Canada Program (NNC) is a retail subsidy that seeks to improve access to perishable nutritious food in isolated northern communities. Launched on April 1, 2011, the NNC Program is budgeted at $60 million, ongoing, and includes $2.9 million in annual support for Health Canada-led, culturally appropriate, nutrition education initiatives that focus on increasing knowledge of healthy eating and developing skills in selecting and preparing health store-bought and traditional or country foods. For example, community activities include: healthy food promotion, cooking classes, school-based projects, in-store tests and grocery store tours.
Through its northern-based Advisory Board, NNC gives users a direct voice in program management that strengthens program responsiveness and accountability.
Moreover, NNC uses the detailed information provided by participating retailers and suppliers to report on and monitor program performance.
Program data indicated that the NNC program is achieving its policy objective. Data for the recent fiscal year 2011-2012 shows that more than 85% of subsidy claim payments are applied to perishable food in the four core food groups — fruits and vegetables, meat and alternatives, milk and dairy products, and bread and other grain products.
Results from the first year of NNC are very encouraging. Food prices in the Northern Food Basket for a family of four have dropped on average 5% and as much as 14%. Prices have dropped by as much as 37% on some individual products, such as 2 litres of 2-percent milk, from the year before the program was launched.
The Program also recognizes the importance of traditional or country foods to the Northern culture and diet. That is why country foods commercially produced in the North are also eligible for the program's subsidy.
In addition to NNC nutrition education initiatives, other Health Canada initiatives help to address issues affecting the food security of Aboriginal people. Health Canada invests in community-based health promotion and disease promotion programs that promote nutrition and improved access to healthy food, including country or traditional foods and store-bought foods.
For example, the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program provides maternal nourishment, nutrition screening, education and counselling, and promotes breastfeeding. Aboriginal Head Start Programs teach children and families about healthy foods to help met their nutritional needs. The Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative supports community-led food security planning to define ways to address food security needs and improve access to healthy food in First Nations and Inuit communities.
Recognizing that food security is a complex issue involving many sectors, Health Canada collaborates with Aboriginal partners, provincial and territorial governments and other stakeholders on initiatives to help improve northern food security. This includes, for example, the 2010 Curbing Childhood Obesity: A Federal, Provincial and Territorial Framework for Action to Promote Healthy Weights which identified increasing the availability and accessibility of nutritious foods in northern, rural and remote communities as a key strategy. This initiative, along with other efforts related to food security focus on knowledge development and exchange, surveillance and monitoring, and policy-related initiatives.
The Northern Contaminants Program at AANDC is another measure that supports access to food. The program was established in response to concerns about human exposure to elevated levels of contaminants in wildlife species that are important to the traditional diets of northern Aboriginal peoples. Early studies found a wide variety of substances, many of which had no Arctic or Canadian sources, but which were, nevertheless, reaching unexpectedly high levels in the Arctic ecosystem.
The National Centre for First Nations Governance, or NCFNG, is a not-for-profit charitable organization created under the Canada Corporations Act, and as such is able to continue in the absence of federal funding. The NCFNG has developed alternate sources of funding and actively seeks funding partners to be independent of federal government funding. These partners comprise entities in the private sector, academia, and First Nations across Canada. Staff at the NCFNG are developing plans to continue delivering services after March 31, 2013, when federal funding ends. NCFNG will continue to operate as an independent, non-profit social enterprise.
The Government of Canada and AANDC will continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal communities, provincial and territorial governments and other organizations to carry out our responsibilities to support access to healthy foods for Aboriginal peoples, and for all Canadians living in the North.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government) tabled the answer to Question No. 44 on the Order Paper by Senator Downe.
Hon. Yonah Martin moved second reading of Bill S-213, An Act respecting a national day of remembrance to honour Canadian veterans of the Korean War.
She said: Honourable senators, it is an honour to table this important bill during Veterans' Week in this historic upper chamber during the sixtieth anniversary of the Korean War years that began on June 25, 2010, and will end with the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the armistice on July 27, 2013. Minister Blaney was sitting, waiting, hoping to time his presence with my second reading statement, but had to be whisked away. I will recognize the work he has done to date.
As Minister of Veterans Affairs, he is naturally interested in this issue. Anyone who listens to our minister speak can see that he is sincerely committed to veterans and that he wants to do everything in his power to serve them. I have witnessed his skillful leadership and want to take this opportunity to acknowledge his contributions and thank him for everything he does for our veterans, including Korean War veterans. I thank him for supporting me and helping me achieve my long-standing goals to promote awareness of and recognize Korean War veterans.
I would be remiss to not acknowledge predecessors — Minister Greg Thompson, under whose watch the Korean War veterans were finally acknowledged for their veteran status and began receiving their benefits; and former Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn, who also shared the passion and dedication to our veterans of all the wars, including our Korean War veterans.
My co-sponsor, Senator Joseph Day, is not present at this time, but he said he would be thinking of us from his location in his travel. Together, we have worked on the wording of this bill to put it forward for your consideration.
As well, I must say that the drafting of this bill was quite a labour of love. Earlier this week, I was working with one of our Senate legal counsel, Suzie Seo, who sat in this chamber on the day that I tabled the bill. She, like myself, was born in Korea. We worked on this together with my executive assistant, Grace Seear, who also is of Korean descent. The three of us sat in my office as we were discussing the drafting of this bill, saying there is some sense of destiny here. It has been a great honour for us, and a labour of love, to bring this bill forward today.
Upon hearing of the process, I had a visitor in my office, Member of Parliament Blaine Calkins of Alberta, who came in quite emotional. He would love to sponsor this bill when it reaches the house. During our conversation, he talked about his great uncle who was buried in the United Nations cemetery in Busan, and no member of his family had been able to travel that distance in the past. I am happy to say that, tomorrow, he and I will be departing for Busan. For him, it is a real journey of destiny to be able to pay respects to his great uncle who is buried on Korean soil. I want to recognize his role.
Of course, above all, the inspiration has come from the veterans themselves, some who have graced us with their presence in this chamber and others we have seen at our commemorative ceremonies. It is for them that this bill has been tabled.
I stand in awe of this historic occasion, the second reading of Bill S-213, An Act respecting a national day of remembrance to honour Canadian veterans of the Korean War, short title: Korean War Veterans Day Act. As I have said in the past and say again now, I owe my life to all those who served and made supreme sacrifices in Korea.
We stand on the shoulders of those whose sacrifices and selfless service have given us the very freedoms we enjoy and often take for granted today. We have not earned these freedoms. Others have. By birth or by process, we have simply inherited the democratic rights and all the benefits afforded to us by our Canadian citizenship. We live in freedom but, as the inscription on the wall of the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C. reads: "Freedom is not free." Many paid the price for our freedom with their lives.
Some might ask why the Korean War and its veterans are deserving of a day that engraves their service and sacrifice into our history. After all, people in Canada know virtually nothing about it. Unlike World Wars I and II that everyone learns about in school, the Korean War is sometimes one page or a paragraph that could easily be overlooked by teachers if they so choose. Some may argue that the calendar is full of lots of other important dates already: April 9, Vimy Ridge Day; May 5, Liberation of Holland Day; May 8, Victory in Europe Day; June 21, National Aboriginal Veterans Day; August 9, National Peacekeepers Day; September 3, Merchant Navy Day; and of course the biggest day of all, November 11, Remembrance Day. But a day to remember the Korean War? Was there even a war, or a conflict, or a police action, perhaps? It is the forgotten war. How can it be so important to be deserving of its own special day?
Honourable senators, let me say for the record, for the annals of our history, that it was more than a police action or a conflict. It was a full-scale war that lasted three years.
On June 25, 1950, the North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel separating North Korea and South Korea, attacking several sites and unloading troops transported by boat on the eastern coast of South Korea. The scale of the attack spoke for itself: it was a massive invasion.
According to the Korea Veterans Association of Canada website:
By the time the civil war of the Koreas had halted, six million of their countrymen — civilian and military personnel — had perished. Nearly half a million Communist Chinese comrades-in-arms of the North Koreans, soldiers of the People's Liberation Army, were killed in action. To add to the bloodbath: The Americans who supplied the largest contingent by far for the United Nations Command suffered 103,284 wounded, 54,236 deaths including 33,629 killed in combat and 8,177 missing in action. Canada's casualties totalled 1,558 including 516 who died.
Imagine the narrow crowded streets of Korea in the 1950s, a country one one-hundredth the size of Canada, a country so devastated and impoverished after 35 years of foreign occupation, a mere five years prior to the breakout of the war on June 25, 1950, a country so far from Canada that people just did not care, except those who volunteered to answer a call for help, our brave Canadians of the Korean War. Six million dead. It would have been a bloodbath indeed.
I recall a story of one of the pioneers of the Vancouver community who, at age 7, was caught in the midst of war. He recalls being unaware of what was happening other than the excitement all around him. He was going through a park region where he had played many times with his friends and, to get to the park, had to jump over bodies that had been piled up in the streets, a bit of hopscotch, so to speak. He recalls being in the forest playing hide and seek with his friends and coming upon soldiers doing target practice on a fallen teenage girl, her head half immersed in the creek. These are the images that the survivors of this war still carry with them to this day.
The Korean War was a war of unimaginable horrors and hardships for all our Canadian soldiers. Korea is a mountainous country, and the soldiers trekked over the most rugged terrain imaginable, with mile-high peaks, carrying loads of more than 50 pounds and freezing under enemy fire.
When summer arrived, they suffered through blistering heat and monsoon rains, and they endured it all in the name of freedom, because our Canadians were all volunteers dedicated to our country and the United Nations. They were determined to free these people from a tyranny that our own government and its military leaders did not know.
I asked a Korean War veteran in B.C. how he did what he did. He was assigned to clear the mines in the rice patties in Korea. Every day, he had to crawl through the fertilizer, which at that time, as honourable senators may know, was human feces. He had to crawl through this ground each and every day to look for mines. Of course, there were no showers or proper hygiene that was even imaginable, so he had to come back and somehow live in the stench that had penetrated every pore of his body. I asked, "How did you do that? How could you have withstood that kind of odour and those kinds of conditions?" He just said, "When I looked at the children, then I knew I could do it. That is why I did it, every day."
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Martin: These are the heroes for whom I stand today with you, honourable senators, to recognize the valour, the courage and the incredible resilience of these brave men and women.
Honourable senators, 26 of our brave fighter pilots were among many others who stood in line and clamoured to their commanding officers for a chance to serve. They served proudly and most of them were decorated for their service. All were attached to a United States Air Force fighter wing. They flew Sabre jet fighters high in the MiG Alley above the Yalu River that separates North Korea from China.
Many of our brave nurses from the Royal Canadian Air Force did the same. They volunteered avidly, insisting on serving. They flew hundreds of missions, transporting the wounded and the maimed from the Korean battlefields.
Our nurses from the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps served our wounded men, both in Korea and in the British Commonwealth Military General Hospital in Japan, where many soldiers underwent surgeries, amputations, treatments for severe burns, removal of shrapnel and bullets, and where some of them died under the care of these brave young women from their home country. Those who died were buried in a Commonwealth military cemetery near Yokohama, along with brave sailors killed on their ship at sea.
Following the signing of the Armistice on July 27, 1953, we must remember the critical role of 7,000 peacekeepers that served once "the peacekeeping years began — observation and patrolling the 244 kilometre DMZ," — the demilitarized zone — "that stretched from the Yellow Sea on the west coast of the Korean peninsula to the Sea of Japan on the east. The Canadian sector included some of their former battlegrounds such as Hill 355, a permanent monument to courage, battle and bloodshed. The troops contended with the same natural elements as that of their predecessors — summer heat, dust, torrential rains and the freezing cold of winter. And in concert, the knowledge that theirs was a dangerous mission, for if the North launched another full scale invasion, the likelihood of their survival would be slim."
The horrors of that war, the terrible suffering — and some of those brave soldiers served in Korea twice, even those who had been sent home the first time with their wounds — yet thousands of them were to return to an uncaring nation, regardless of their wounds or their unquestionable bravery and sacrifice, for news of the war was scant here in Canada and there was no national demonstration of patriotism toward them. For six lonely, terrible decades, hundreds of those Korean War veterans, perhaps thousands, shrank from their fellow Canadians and they shivered with the wretched curse of post-traumatic stress disorder, and many died in their loneliness.
I am told that upon their return they were given train tickets home and were told to get off at the station nearest to their home, and that was that. Sadly, many of them did fade into oblivion.
These are very hard words to say, but so true. These men and women suffered, and their great service to our country and to the world was never acknowledged. They did not go to that war under Canada's flag expecting to receive any honours or anything for their service — which they gave so freely — but they also did not expect to return home to a cold and uncaring nation, one that did not know of their painful sacrifices or of the way they had changed the world by resisting and containing tyranny.
They liberated an entire nation — my own parents, my own people — and they accomplished this remarkable feat thanks to their typical Canadian bravery, their strong sense of justice and loyalty towards the country and their government, towards those who entrusted them with the mission. They did not lose heart when outnumbered by the enemy five to one, or even ten to one, or in the last year of the war when Canada was more interested in sending troops to Germany than sending reinforcements to fight in one of the most horrible and deadly wars ever.
Cold winds sweep across the battlefields of my country of birth, where Canadians fought, chilling the graves of our fallen soldiers left behind by the enemy. They were buried without ceremony, or killed by shelling that covered them with Korean earth.
Almost 400 more Canadians are buried in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery near Busan. They have been there for 60 years, or even longer. Few families or Canadians have gone there to kneel and lay flowers on their graves, or to tell them that we remember their sacrifices.
The Canadian veterans themselves placed a monument to their fallen comrades within that cemetery — a life-sized bronze statue that shows the face of the Canadians who fell there and who rest there. It is one that shows a Canadian, not with the weapons of war, but with the fruits that grow from that war, with children of Korea held safe in his strong arms, the new generation that, by the sacrifice of our brave Canadian countrymen, was to grow up in peace in a land of freedom and amazing opportunity.
They placed that monument there and they paid for it themselves, each as best he could, when the government of the day would not. They paid for and placed a duplicate of that Monument to Canadian Fallen here in our capital of Ottawa, across from the National Arts Centre, so that the citizens of our country would remember those who gave their lives in the Korean War for the cause of peace and to save a suffering people they had never known.
I have an amazing story of former Minister Greg Thompson. When I first arrived, he kept saying to me, "You must come to my office to look at something I brought back from Korea." After many invitations, I finally made it to his office. There, in his office, was the replica of the Monument to Canadian Fallen on his desk — the same one that stands in Confederation Park, which matches the one at the cemetery in Busan. He said: "I was in Korea last year, and I had 30 minutes to spare, so I asked the officials, "Is there a place where I can do some shopping because my wife is a collector of antiques?" He was taken to this narrow alley where there were hundreds of shops upon shops, alley after alley, and he just happened to choose one little shop. When he walked in, because his eyes are trained to look for the things that are the hidden treasures, he went to the back of the shop. It was very cluttered. He said there were boxes and paper and loose pieces everywhere, and very dusty, but he noticed something. It caught his eye, and it was the Maple Leaf, so he uncovered what was underneath the layers of boxes and paper. The minister pulled out this replica of the monument to the Canadian fallen, and it was the Maple Leaf on the arm of the Canadian soldier, which is part of the monument. He said, "There is one just like this near my office in Ottawa," and the shopkeeper said to him, "Yes, that is mine. It is not for sale." The minister replied, "But I must have it. I will pay you for it." The shopkeeper said, "I am the artist who sculpted that, and that was my one copy. I cannot sell it to you."
The minister had to use a translator to explain that he was the Minister of Veterans Affairs and that it would be an honour if he could potentially buy this from the artist and take it to his office. After convincing the shopkeeper that he indeed was the Minister of Veterans Affairs, it was sold to him and transported to his office, where it stayed until the end of his tenure.
Honourable senators, could this have been serendipity, destiny or all of the above? I was so moved by his story of how the minister came upon that replica.
For those left with us, for the families of those who served, their families and their descendents that now include more than 1 million of our citizens — yes, 1 million — let us, please, remember them with the singular honour. Let us give them this day that may cause Canadians, even from mere curiosity, to search for some recorded history of our bravest of brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, those who served and whose inspiring valorous deeds have been locked forever in what pundits call "The Forgotten War." Yes, such irony, and such sorry destiny for those brave thousands, those brave veterans of Canada to be forgotten in a forgotten war.
I urge all honourable senators, just as they unanimously passed the motion to endorse and recognize July 27 as National Korean War Veterans Day on June 8, 2010, to support passage of Bill S-213, the Korean veterans day act expeditiously and unanimously.
Honourable senators, let us stand together now to remember all and let us give them this day. Let us give Canada back to the proud chapter that they wrote in our nation's history.
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I understand that my colleague, Senator Smith, would like to speak, but I do want to reserve the 45 minutes of time for Senator Day, who has requested that he would like to be the critic for the bill.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. David P. Smith: Honourable senators, it is not too often I get inspired to get up and give an impromptu speech, but Senator Martin has certainly inspired me today.
I have been to Korea many times. I used to go there in the 1980s and 1990s and acted on many big legal cases, believe it or not. Virtually all the places Senator Martin has been referring to today I have visited, and Incheon many times. I looked at that bridge, the Bridge of No Return. I never walked across it. It is kind of sad. I hope that some day the two countries will be united. I have gone to the site of the Battle of Incheon to see the MacArthur Statue.
Senator Martin spoke about the graveyard in Busan. I have been to all these places. I remember the exact day when the agreement was reached in July 1953. I was not even a teenager, I was a little kid, and I was in California. I used to spend summers there with my sister, and I remember the exact day. I was following it so closely then.
Honourable senators, recognizing the things that veterans do is very important to our culture, our history and our tradition. The role that the Canadians played in Korea was significant. When I started going over there, people would mention it to me regularly and frequently, and the Korean community in Canada is a fine community. Frankly, I cannot think of a better representative for them to have in Parliament than Senator Martin. I support this bill. It is the right thing to do.
Honourable senators, it is not often that I stand up to speak with no preparation at all, but Senator Martin inspired me to do so today.
(On motion of Senator Tardif, for Senator Day, debate adjourned.)
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. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak to you today about something that has been important to me for years, long before our in-depth studies at the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. Honourable senators should know that my only contribution to this committee was to this study on the recovery of cod and other groundfish stocks and the sustainable management of grey seal populations.
I enjoy eating fish. When I was a kid, the only fish available in Quebec was cod and it came from the Gaspé. Today, with freezing capabilities, we can have fish on the table every day. However, we are talking about an industry, which was just as strong in Quebec as in the Maritimes, that was the subject of a commission of inquiry and unfortunately, today, we can hardly ever consume these products from our own shores.
I often make reference to the fact that the first to prey on our cod were the Europeans who fished for them along our shores. I am sure, honourable senators, you agree with me on that. Then there was the growth of the seal population in that region and elsewhere, although the report focuses only on the Atlantic provinces.
The report is about cod, as well as flounder, skate and hake. These are all endangered groundfish, and while this natural resource is no longer able to multiply, we have a seal population that is growing exponentially.
When studies were being done on the subject in the 1980s with the Malouf report, the seal population was not what it is today. Experts currently estimate it to be between 8 million and 10 million seals. We are talking about a grey seal population of 330,000 to 410,000 specimens and counting.
Grey seals weigh on average between 550 and 800 pounds. This is a far cry from the cute seal pup that looks like a plush toy and warms everyone's hearts. I can assure you that no one wants to find one of these animals in their yard, especially the people who live in this region.
We heard from many scientists, and no one told us that the only thing causing the reduced fish stocks were the seals; however, by inference, scientists were prepared to say that, after analyzing consumption and residue data among seals, there is some evidence to that effect.
I do not have to tell you about all of the drama Canada has faced on the international scene with Brigitte Bardot. She has been less than congenial towards me, but it is pretty easy to tell when people do not know what they are talking about, and we certainly do not base any government decisions on these kinds of people, who have no expertise in the field.
I want to point out to my colleagues that I worked with a team of researchers — veterinarians, an anthropologist, a biologist, Aboriginals and seal hunters who are very familiar with the sector — who helped the Atlantic provinces and the North to prepare a charter for the ethical, respectful harvest of seals.
The grey seal is not a small seal such as those in Nunavut. These seals consume on average 1.5 to 2 tonnes of fish a year; if you consider that we have a seal population of 330,000 to 410,000, this means that they consume a huge amount of fish.
The U.S. has walruses. They are marine mammals like seals, but they do not look like grey seals. They are threatening salmon stocks, and the American government plans on intervening. Even though it is boycotting seal products as a result of considerable lobbying, the California government wants to kill walruses to protect salmon stocks.
All of that to say that the Canadian government thought through its actions, and the committee did not make recommendations based on sentimental information. The committee was being realistic when it agreed that, over a period of four years, 15,000 seals could be culled, but not just any which way. There will not be cruelty, it will be scientifically supervised and all by-products will be saved.
We will not destroy 15,000 seals; they will not be burned, and we will ensure they are turned into a consumable product. These animals will be handled sustainably and will serve other purposes.
Our colleague probably got this information from an organization that promotes vegetarianism. It is probably not a good idea to consume meat in excessive quantities, but for the people on the East Coast and in Canada's North, it is an essential food, and those people are suffering enormously as a result of the Europeans' negative campaigns.
Our colleague thinks that tomorrow morning we can just compensate every person, every seal hunter, and that everything will be fine since similar adjustments were made in the textile industry to respond to the international situation. However, this is a natural resource that can be very useful to the Canadian public and to foreign populations. It is also a question of regulating an animal population that has grown considerably, in large part because there are few predators that attack it. The quota method has been used for other hunts.
Every year, on Anticosti Island in Quebec, a certain number of animals can be killed. In Europe as well, various regulated hunts are authorized, subject to a quota system.
Regulating the presence of animals in an area used by man and animals is not a new practice. I would say that this is a 1,000-year-old practice in Canada.
During our study — and this was the official position of the Liberal Party and my Liberal colleagues — we wanted to ensure that any cull would include developing uses for the animal. This is an essential element that our Conservative colleagues accepted in the recommendations, and it lets the minister know that derived products are extremely good and beneficial.
Among the most well-known are omega-3 fatty acids. Generally speaking, people are not aware that omega-3 fatty acids come from a variety of sources. Omega-3 fatty acids produced from seals are certified by laboratories as being 100 per cent natural. I saw how omega-3 fatty acids are collected from seals in factories in Newfoundland. Factories that can collect these fatty acids exist, as do factories that can make the gel capsules. Unfortunately, campaigns against the market in seal products are having a detrimental effect on progress. Nevertheless, clinicians are saying that this is likely the most useful product for improving Canadians' health.
My colleague is also concerned about the market opportunities for seal products, but he has failed to consider the growing global market and the fact that interest in natural products is increasing exponentially each year. There is a ten per cent increase in the sale of natural products every year, which means that these products have a very bright future.
A company called Tamasu conducted scientific research to examine the possibility of using the heart valves of seals instead of those of pigs in heart surgery. Unfortunately, the negative campaigns had a very detrimental effect on this research. It was determined that there were many advantages to using seal valves, and that prospects were very good for lower rates of rejection. However, we are well aware that the introduction of a new product on the market requires many clinical trials, a lot of monitoring and a great deal of investment. Tamasu had to end its research in this area, and we will all lose out as a result. The need for heart surgery is not something that is going to vanish overnight, and unfortunately, we are now missing out on this additional and important asset.
I would also like to talk about the fact that 50 groups launched a media campaign related to seal products, using social media and other means, on the Chinese market that signed an agreement with Canada. I would like to recognize the fact that the Conservative government signed a very useful agreement to market seal products. Once again, because of the interference of pro-vegetarian groups, we may have to make the same decision as California, Russia, and Scotland, which also have large seal or walrus populations and have had to use a backdoor approach to decreasing those populations without deriving any benefit from it.
European papers recently reported that Russians would be able to purchase canned seal meat in their supermarkets. According to a Russian expert, this will stop the proliferation of these mammals, which consume too much fish. Technologies have been developed to preserve the meat, heart and liver of the seal. Seal liver contains an incredible amount of iron. So much so, that even the Inuit who eat it quite often . . .
May I have five more minutes, honourable senators?
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, is leave granted to extend the time by five minutes?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I would like to comment further on the nutritional value of seal meat. There are markets for it. The government should help set up new industries: omega-3 oils, for which I believe there is already a good market, and the processing and sale of these products. Some people have iron deficiencies and could benefit from the nutritional value of these products. We eat pork and veal liver, and seal liver contains significantly more iron.
I would also like to point out that the Inuit community appealed to the World Trade Organization. We hope to have a decision in favour of the Inuit in 2013. The Inuit are challenging the European position that the Inuit can hunt seal for their own consumption but cannot sell it. The Europeans have forgotten that the Inuit cannot live on seal alone.
In Nunavut, the Inuit must purchase groceries and vegetables. The last time I checked, there were not many potatoes or carrots growing there because the season is quite short. It is not a place where you can find a complete range of foods.
Once that battle has been won and we implement a grey seal regulation system, we will have four years of animal carcasses and all the by-products. We will need to set up this project, and we will need expertise and support. It is not a matter of paying off the seal hunters. It is a matter of processing the harvested animals and ensuring that there is a viable and sustainable industry.
The idea that all scientists oppose the grey seal slaughter is nonsense. Experts appeared before the committee. Some were less enthusiastic, but I can say that others felt there were possibilities. Those who support the Universal Declaration on the Ethical Harvest of Seals are the first to say that if the cull is conducted according to the rules, then there will be no problem meeting the international ethical standards.
It will be important to pay attention to the decision that is made in Europe, and we will make the link between this report, the government's decision and the help given to people to market the products. We cannot have a centre that processes the products in every province; there will be consolidation. Canada is working with Norway on that.
As far as other hunts are concerned, this is roughly a $2 billion industry for Germany alone. Most of our counterparts whom I spoke to are opposed to the seal hunt because there are no seal hunters in their country. It is easy to give in to pressure from animal rights groups and to get them off one's back by saying, "Do not worry, we will vote your way." Things would be different if those countries had seal hunters and a seal population on their shores. Just look at Scotland, which currently kills seals and does nothing with them. I do not think that is the way to go.
As responsible citizens, we will simply ask and hope that the government markets the products and supports the seal hunt.
(On motion of Senator Patterson, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Vernon White moved second reading of Bill C-350, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (accountability of offenders).
He said: Honourable senators, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-350, which, if passed, will help further strengthen the government's track record of standing up for victims and holding offenders to account for their actions.
This is an issue that is very close to the hearts of all Canadians who wish to see the interests of victims placed ahead of those of offenders. That is what this government has told Canadians we will do. This government has told Canadians it would take steps to crack down on crime so that victims would not have to be afraid to walk down the streets; that it would help victims have a greater say in the justice system; and that it would help victims get the help and support they need.
Over the past six years, the government has delivered on these commitments by introducing and passing comprehensive legislative changes, by supporting crime prevention programs, and by ensuring that our police have the tools they need to do their jobs.
The government has also told Canadians on a number of occasions that one of its key priorities is to take steps to ensure that all offenders are fully held to account for their actions. It has delivered on this commitment in a number of ways, most recently by passing important amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, as part of the Safe Streets and Communities Act, or Bill C-10.
The reforms introduced by the Safe Streets and Communities Act will, among other things, enhance offender responsibility and accountability, while strengthening the management of offenders during their incarceration and community supervision. They emphasize that offenders are expected to conduct themselves in a way that demonstrates respect for other people and property. They emphasize that all offenders must obey all penitentiary rules and conditions governing their release, while also actively participating in the setting and achieving of objectives in their correctional plans.
Honourable senators, the legislation before us today is fully consistent with this government's commitments to Canadians and to reforms that have been made to the corrections system in this country. As a result of comprehensive review in the other place, the bill before us today is a strong, effective piece of legislation that will support this government's ongoing efforts to hold offenders to account.
As adopted in the other place, the bill is designed to ensure that an offender fully pays his or her outstanding debts to victims and family members in cases where they receive a cash award as a result of successfully suing a federal government department or agency. Specifically, it ensures that any monetary award owed to an offender as a result of a legal action or proceeding against Her Majesty in right of Canada be put toward the offenders' financial obligations on a pro rata basis, including spousal or child support payments and restitution orders.
As laid out in the legislation, awards from the Crown would first have to go toward paying a spousal or child support order, followed by a restitution order made under section 738 or 739 of the Criminal Code.
Next on the priority list would be any victim surcharge order made under section 737 of the Criminal Code and then any other beneficiary with a judgment against the offender. Any remaining amount would go to the offender.
Honourable senators, this idea of ensuring that offenders are accountable and fully pay their debts to victims and family members is one that this government believes makes a lot of sense.
In most cases the average Canadian who suddenly received a large amount of money would pay his or her debts and bills first and then use the remainder to spend on him or herself. It is the responsible thing to do. It is the right thing to do.
I am sure all honourable senators would agree that the same principles should apply to an offender who is trying to learn how to rejoin society as a productive, law-biding citizen. Bill C-350 will ensure this happens.
The bill also clarifies that the provisions in the legislation will apply to the debts for which the Correctional Service of Canada has received a formal legal notice.
The onus will be on an individual to provide formal legal notice in the prescribed manner about a payment order rather than for CSC to actively search for the debts owed by an offender. It also allows for the exchange of information between CSC and other federal government departments and agencies, subject to other acts of Parliament, as well as the authority to develop regulations governing this exchange of information.
As I noted earlier, honourable senators, Bill C-350 establishes a prioritized set of obligations to respect when issuing awards from the Crown. However, rest assured that the bill does not interfere with any payments made pursuant to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement agreement, which stands in response to a unique social and cultural harm.
Finally, as honourable senators know, an amendment was passed in the other place regarding spousal and child support payments, which brings the bill in line with the language found in the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act.
Bill C-350, as adopted, is consistent with this government's commitment to stand up for the rights of victims and to hold all offenders to full account for their actions.
The government has stated clearly that supporting victims of crime and ensuring their voices are heard in the criminal justice system is a priority and that offenders must be held accountable to their victims, the victims' families and to all of society.
Honourable senators, this government has delivered on its commitment to victims and to Canadians in a number of ways. Bill C-350 builds on this already impressive record. I urge all honourable senators to give it their support.
Hon. Jane Cordy: Would the Honourable Senator White take a question?
Senator White: Absolutely.
Senator Cordy: If this bill goes to committee, will the honourable senator be advocating that victims of crime appear before the committee as witnesses?
Senator White: That is a great question. I am sure it will be a discussion that will take place at committee.
Senator Cordy: My question was whether the honourable senator will be advocating that victims appear as witnesses.
Senator White: If we listen to what the legislation talks about, it is talking about making payments first and foremost not only to victims of crime but also to spousal orders. I am not sure it will be helpful to start bringing people to a committee to say whether they feel we should be taking money from an offender that rightfully should go to them. I do not know if it would help to focus on one group. I would much rather try to focus on what the legislation is trying to do, which is to hold people to account for their actions and, if they have receipt of funds, to ensure the money is paid out to whom it should be.
Senator Cordy: I think that is a no; am I correct?
Senator White: Thank you very much. I think I answered more nicely than that, but I will accept your "no."
(On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Bob Runciman moved second reading of Bill C-217, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (mischief relating to war memorials).
He said: Honourable senators, I have a few brief comments in support of Bill C-217, An Act to amend the Criminal Code in connection with mischief relating to war memorials.
I am pleased to speak in support of this bill just a few days before Canadians will be gathering at cenotaphs across this country to honour the sacrifices of our veterans.
Bill C-217 would amend section 430 of the Criminal Code by adding specific penalties for committing mischief in relation to a war memorial, cenotaph or other structure honouring or remembering those who have served in the Armed Forces or died as a result of war.
For a first offence, this bill would create a minimum penalty of a fine of not less than $1,000; for a second offence, a jail term of not less than 14 days; and for each subsequent offence, a jail term of not less than 30 days.
The maximum penalty for a summary conviction would be 18 months in jail; and for an offence prosecuted by indictment, a prison term not exceeding five years.
There may be those who say that mischief is mischief, regardless of the target of the vandalism. However, our existing section 430 of the Criminal Code separates certain kinds of wilful damage, such as mischief in relation to a place of religious worship and mischief in relation to cultural property. This bill builds upon those existing provisions of the Criminal Code by creating a specific offence for mischief in relation to a war memorial.
I must say that I was not aware that this was a significant problem. It is incomprehensible to me that someone would desecrate a monument to those who sacrificed their lives for Canada. Almost everyone must believe that this is sacred ground. It was always my belief that acts like these are rare, and the punishment likely appropriate to demonstrate society's revulsion.
However, after looking at this issue, I have discovered that vandalism in relation to war monuments is not rare, nor are the sanctions imposed by our courts severe enough to deter anyone from such action. Let us look at the most celebrated of such cases where a man was found urinating on the National War Memorial here in Ottawa in 2006. The charge was withdrawn after he donated $200 to charity, apologized to veterans and completed some community service. Two others caught the same day committing the same act were not even charged because they apologized.
The same thing happened in Kirkland Lake, where a charge was dropped against a teenager who urinated on the memorial wall in that city.
There are many examples of far more serious damage. In fact, this bill was put forward in the other place by MP David Tilson after vandalism at a war memorial in his riding. A cenotaph in Orangeville, newly restored and awaiting rededication, was seriously damaged less than a week before Remembrance Day.
Often these acts of vandalism are not a spur-of-the-moment act by a drunken teen but are deliberate, planned events requiring considerable effort. The timing of the damage, just prior to Remembrance Day in several instances, makes me think it is often intended to make a statement. If so, I cannot think of a more cowardly way to make a point than to show up in the dead of night to defile a monument that honours those who have proven their courage by making the ultimate sacrifice.
In Toronto, a chain hooked to an all-terrain vehicle was used to pull a concrete cross from a cenotaph. In Fredericton, the cenotaph was attacked two days before Remembrance Day in 2009, with a two-metre granite cross displaying a soldier's helmet and gun toppled and broken into pieces.
Here in Ottawa a four-foot-high stone monument set up in memory of Sergeant Marc Leger, killed in Afghanistan in 2002, was knocked over this past summer. In recent years vandals have, more than once, sprayed graffiti on a monument to our war dead in Montreal.
I could go on, honourable senators. There are many examples of this sort of despicable act. On the few occasions when someone is caught, they generally suffer few consequences.
It is difficult to understand why someone would defile what I consider sacred ground. Perhaps, living in peaceful Canada, they have no comprehension of the sacrifice of war. Canada was founded in compromise rather than forged in battle, but the principles on which this great nation is based have been defended more than once on the field of battle.
This Sunday we will gather at war memorials across the country to remember the 114,000 Canadians who have died in wars since 1914. We dishonour the memory of those 114,000 Canadians when we allow a monument to their sacrifice to be desecrated with impunity. This bill, honourable senators, will do something about that by imposing a meaningful, proportionate penalty for such disgraceful conduct.
Honourable senators, I ask you to join with me in supporting Bill C-217.
(On motion of Senator Tardif, for Senator Dallaire, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Mitchell, seconded by the Honourable Senator Day:
That the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be authorized to examine and report on harassment in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and
That the committee submit its final report no later than June 30, 2013.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, I rise simply to encourage my colleagues on both sides to support this motion, and I express my gratitude in advance should they decide to do that. The motion calls for a study by the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence to examine and report on harassment in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Senators on all sides are broadly aware of this issue and of this motion. Suffice it to say that I think it is the kind of study that lends itself very well to Senate committee —
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: On a point of order, I thought this motion had been moved by Senator Mitchell. He has now risen to speak again. I would like clarification.
Senator Mitchell: I am simply saying —
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): For the remainder of his time.
Senator Mitchell: I was just about finished. I am simply saying that this is the kind of study that lends itself well to Senate work and that the Senate committee enumerated in the motion will do an excellent, appropriate job and will do it very well.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Tardif, calling the attention of the Senate to access to Justice in French in Francophone Minority Communities.
Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, I rise here today to speak to the issue of access to justice in French, and I wish to sincerely thank the Honourable Senator Tardif for her inquiry on the matter.
Access to justice is a little like access to health care. We hope to need it as seldom as possible and we even do whatever it takes to avoid it. However, when we do need it, we are often blindsided and in a vulnerable state, which is why it is so important to be able to express ourselves in our mother tongue. For instance, in matters involving matrimonial law, custody of children, mental health issues, and criminal law, the people involved can easily feel overwhelmed by the events and be in a fragile state of mind. And if we add the enormity and the complexity of our justice system, it is easy to understand just how trying the whole experience can be. Under these circumstances, the people involved must be able to fully exercise their right to access justice in the official language of their choice.
Access to justice in French is by no means a given. Senator Tardif has given us a list of lawsuits that have had to be initiated in the name of access to justice in French in Canada. This right, although so crucial, has had to be fought for. And the fight is not over. As Senator Tardif explained, in most provinces and territories in Canada, it is very difficult to access services in French in the legal system. It is unfortunately very likely that, in many provinces and territories, francophone communities will still have to expend considerable resources just to be able to assert this right. This is the most likely scenario, but it is by no means unavoidable.
Today, I would like to talk about my province, Manitoba, which has made real progress in ensuring that people have access to justice in French. I would like to talk about our successes and the challenges we still have to face. But, most importantly, I want to tell you about a province that has made a great deal of progress and that can truly play a leadership role in this regard.
I will begin by talking about one of the darkest times in our history. In 1890, the Government of Manitoba passed two anti-French laws. Denominational schools and parliamentary, legislative and judicial bilingualism were abolished in a single stroke. I am sharing this bit of history because it shows just how far Manitoba's French-speaking community has come and the progress it has made.
The legislation of 1890 left no doubt as to the legislator's intentions. The original provision, section 23 of the Manitoba Act of 1870, which was passed by the Parliament of Canada, read as follows:
23. Either the English or the French language may be used by any person in the debates of the Houses of the Legislature, and both those languages shall be used in the respective Records and Journals of those Houses; and either of those languages may be used by any person, or in any Pleading or Process, in or issuing from any Court of Canada established under the British North America Act, 1867, or in or from all or any of the Courts of the Province. The Acts of the Legislature shall be printed and published in both those languages.
However, the new Official Languages Act of 1890, which was passed by the Manitoba legislature, read as follows:
1(1) Any statute or law to the contrary notwithstanding, the English language only shall be used in the records and journals of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, and in any pleadings or process in or issuing from any court in the Province of Manitoba.
(2) The Acts of the Legislature of Manitoba need be printed and published only in the English language.
The Manitoban government's intention was clear and unequivocal: to get rid of French. Like almost everywhere else in Canada, it was through the courts that Manitoba's French-speaking community advanced its rights. In fact, it was Georges Forest's seemingly innocuous appearance on the scene that led to one of the community's greatest victories.
In 1976, Mr. Forest, a businessman, received a unilingual English parking ticket. This offence, which carried a $5 fine, would turn into a legal saga that would go as far as the Supreme Court of Canada, but Mr. Forest's efforts were worthwhile. As a result of the Forest case, Manitoba's Official Languages Act of 1890 was declared unconstitutional, and French was granted official status in Manitoba. Since 1985, as a result of a reference to the Supreme Court, all laws in Manitoba are passed, printed and published in both French and English.
Government offices, such as the Land Titles Office and the Companies Office, are also starting to offer services in French. We are seeing greater access to justice in French in everyday life.
But the work does not stop once a right is recognized. Once a right is acquired, it must be protected, and the community got together to do just that.
In 1988, the Association des juristes d'expression française du Manitoba was created. This association, which has about 100 members, promotes access to French-language services in the various areas of law in Manitoba and promotes the full use of these services.
The association lobbies the government, promotes French-language legal services, raises awareness among French speakers of their rights and the legal system, and encourages the creation of work tools that facilitate the practice of law in French.
The association plays an important role with the government, legal professionals and the public. I would particularly like to highlight the resources it has made available to French-speaking Manitobans. On its website, www.mondroitmonchoix.com, visitors can find a directory of bilingual resource people and a collection of French articles that explain Manitoba law. For example, people can learn about the civil trial process, from the moment the bailiff comes to your door until the judgment is carried out. There are also articles on small claims court, bankruptcy, taxes, buying a house, renting a home, and many other topics.
Access to legal information is a key part of access to justice. It is not simply a matter of guaranteeing access to the courts in French. We must also do what is necessary to ensure that people are informed of their rights and obligations and how the system works. These efforts are especially important for French-speaking newcomers to Manitoba. Having access to French-language legal resources can help make their integration into Manitoban and Canadian society easier. We cannot expect them to integrate easily if we do not give them the information they need.
Thus, the Association des juristes d'expression française du Manitoba safeguards the French-speaking community's right to access to justice in French.
I have talked about community efforts, and now I would like to focus on government efforts.
First of all, everyone agrees that, at present, there are enough bilingual judges in Manitoba, both at the Provincial Court, where judges are appointed by the province, and at the Court of Queen's Bench and the Court of Appeal, where judges are appointed by the federal government.
I would like to draw your attention to a government initiative that has greatly increased access to justice in French in Manitoba.
As many of you know, in Manitoba we have six bilingual service centres, located in Saint-Boniface, Saint-Vital, Saint-Laurent, Saint-Pierre, Sainte-Anne and Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes — four urban centres and four rural centres. At these centres, you will find employees of departments at different levels of government and community development organizations. These employees always serve you in the official language of your choice.
The government has launched an interesting initiative at the Saint-Pierre-Jolys bilingual service centre. This centre hosts the bilingual itinerant court on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Manitoba's francophones thus have access to service in French at a provincial court.
This is an interesting example because the idea for bilingual service centres comes from a report entitled Above all, Common Sense by Justice Richard Chartier of Manitoba. I mention this report because it should serve as the basis for relations between the government and francophone minority communities.
This is particularly true when it comes to access to justice in French, as we do not have a strong record of many government initiatives that promote and facilitate access to justice in French.
Francophone communities celebrate their court victories. They also celebrate Forest, Desrochers, and everyone else who fought hard for the rights of their fellow citizens. They have reason to celebrate these victories and these brave Canadians who contested government decisions before the courts, and rightly so.
Francophone communities have had their heroes who promoted their rights, and there will be more heroes. However, let us not forget that there should not be so great a need for such heroes. The simple right to have access to justice in the official language of one's choice should not, in a country like Canada, have to be fought for tooth and nail in the highest courts of the land.
In her speech, Senator Tardif commended, as I often do, some of the federal government's fine initiatives in the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality. She also expressed her concerns, which I share, about the results of such initiatives.
Senator Tardif is right to be concerned because there are a number of obstacles that still prevent access to justice in French in Canada. Some of these obstacles are at the federal level, and others are at the provincial or territorial level.
Manitoba has made significant progress when it comes to access to justice, but the fact remains that this progress depends on the political will of the government of the day. Access to legislation and to the courts in French is currently guaranteed under law, but other legal services in French are still subject to government policy. Manitoba was officially bilingual before 1890, but no longer is today. There would be nothing to stop a government that is less sensitive to the rights and needs of the francophone community from changing or abolishing this policy and inhibiting access to justice in French without affecting access to legislation and the courts in French. We know full well that access to justice, real access to justice, is not limited to those two things. There is no constitutional guarantee for Manitoba.
We continue to work to protect the rights of the francophone community in Manitoba. There is no reason that the community cannot achieve future victories by collaborating with the government, instead of through traditional legal challenges.
Communities have often had to resort to the court system because the main problem was often almost psychological. The government too often spends all of its energy on limiting the scope of its obligations whenever francophone communities assert their right to justice in French. Imagine how much better it would be if the government abandoned this historically contentious and legally charged approach and decided to put common sense above all, as indicated in the Chartier report.
(On motion of Senator Chaput, for Senator Charette-Poulin, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Anne C. Cools rose pursuant to notice of November 1, 2012:
That she will call the attention of the Senate to:
(a) the new monument recognizing the aircrews of World War II Bomber Command, called the Royal Air Force Bomber Command Memorial, and to the ceremony for the dedication and unveiling of this monument at Green Park, London, on June 28th, 2012, by Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II, and to the attendance at this ceremony of Marshal of the Royal Air Force His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh; and
(b) the attendance at this ceremony of several members of the Royal Family being Their Royal Highnesses, Marshal of the Royal Air Force the Prince of Wales, and Air Marshal Prince Michael of Kent, and Air Chief Marshal the Duke of Kent, and Air Marshal the Duke of Gloucester, and Air Commodore the Earl of Wessex, and Air Commodore the Duke of York, and also Their Royal Highnesses, the Duchess of Gloucester and the Countess of Wessex, revealing the closeness of the Royal Family to Britain's Royal Air Force and their dedication to the memory of all of those who fell in the Royal Air Force in the Second World War; and
(c) Remembrance Day on November 11, 2012, the day for our Canadian veterans and those who served, when we remember, reflect on, and uphold all those who answered the call of duty, and those who fell in active combat, in their assigned theatres of war particularly in the Second World War, in defence of God, King, and Country, the British Commonwealth and the Allied countries; and
(d) Canadian aircrew in World War II, particularly those who served with Royal Air Force Bomber Command, and who are now celebrated in this new memorial unveiled by Her Majesty on June 28th, 2012, being both those with 6 Group Royal Canadian Air Force, and those with the other Bomber Command Squadrons, including some Canadian senators, who faced many Nazi night fighters and Nazi anti-aircraft guns nightly; and
(e) a Canadian from Alberta, a retired airline pilot, Karl Kjarsgaard, who is devoted to the memory of the efforts and sacrifices of the aircrews of Bomber Command, and to his special contribution to the construction of the ceiling of the Memorial, being the aluminum used to build it; and
(f) our own Canadian Bomber Command memorial located at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta, being a wall of remembrance wherein are inscribed the names of the 10,659 fallen Canadian aircrew as a monument to those who fell in Bomber Command, which for many years was the only Allied offensive against Fortress Europe; and
(g) honour, to celebrate, to uphold and to thank all the remarkable Canadian veterans for their incalculable contributions to humanity during the Second World War and to whom we owe an enormous debt.
She said: Honourable senators, I rise today on this Veterans' Week of Remembrance Day to honour and uphold the brave men in the aircrews from Canada and the Commonwealth who, with unflinching courage, answered the call of duty and served in Britain's Royal Air Force Bomber Command in the Second World War. I spoke on Bomber Command in the Senate on November 5, 2009. Today, I rise again to remember these Canadians, to praise their memory, and to uphold the enormity of their labours and their sacrifice. Let us remember, honourable senators, that on every city block, in every town across this country, there is a family who has a family member who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Honourable senators, Bomber Command, headed by Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, was the Royal Air Force's brave, bold, and dangerous air offensive against the Third Reich, and its well organized and deadly military aggression. Bomber Command's aircrews, lovingly called the "Bomber Boys," placed themselves in harm's way, daily and nightly, to defeat the Nazis and halt Nazi aggression. They were at incalculable risk.
Today I uphold all those who served and all those who fell. I uphold those Canadians who served in Bomber Command from bases in the United Kingdom, particularly those in 6 RCAF Group, called the Canadian Group, and its fourteen bomber squadrons. 6 Group compiled a battle record second to none. I also uphold those Canadians who served in the other Bomber Command squadrons.
Let us recall that the New Testament book, Revelations, informs that war is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. War is the failure of politics. It is a Grim Reaper.
The Second World War exacted an incalculable price. Bomber Command, one part of the war effort, exacted 55,573 young men's lives, of which 10,659 were Canadians. Bomber Command touched, engaged really, Canadian families in every corner of our vast land, as these families sent a family member off to serve. All Canadians in those years prayed for the Bomber Boys.
Honourable senators, because the Nazis had driven the Allied forces off the continent of Europe, there was neither means nor opportunity for Allied forces' offensives against Nazi aggression. Bomber Command, the fight from the skies, the "mastery in the air," was the only possible response and the only Allied offensive against Nazi-occupied Fortress Europe for much of the war.
Winston Churchill, Britain's Prime Minister from May 10, 1940, to until just after the war, described Bomber Command thus in his secret war cabinet memorandum, dated September 3, 1940, titled, "The Munitions Situation." He wrote:
The Navy can lose us the war, but only the Air Force can win it. Therefore our supreme effort must be to gain overwhelming mastery in the Air. The Fighters are our salvation, but the Bombers alone provide the means of victory. We must therefore develop the power to carry an ever-increasing volume of explosives to Germany, so as to pulverise the entire industry and scientific structure on which the war effort and economic life of the enemy depends, while holding him at arm's length in our Island. In no other way at present visible can we hope to overcome the immense military power of Germany, and to nullify the further German victories . . .
Honourable senators, at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, Prime Minister Churchill, American President Franklin Roosevelt and their chiefs of staff approved the Casablanca Directive. This significantly expanded Bomber Command's offensive capabilities and duties. I shall read parts of this directive, titled "The Bomber Offensive From the United Kingdom." It states:
Directive to the appropriate British and U.S. Air Force Commanders, to govern the operation of the British and U.S. Bomber Commands in the United Kingdom (Approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at their 65th Meeting on January 21, 1943)
1. Your primary object will be the progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial and economic system, and the undermining of the morale of the German people to a point where their capacity for armed resistance is fatally weakened.
2. Within that general concept, your primary objectives, subject to the exigencies of weather and of tactical feasibility, will for the present, be in the following order of priority:
(a) German submarine construction yards.
(b) The German aircraft industry.
(d) Oil plants.
(e) Other targets in enemy war industry. . . .
5. You should take every opportunity to attack Germany by day, to destroy objectives that are unsuitable for night attack, to sustain continuous pressure on German morale, to impose heavy losses on the German day fighter force, and to contain German fighter strength away from the Russian and Mediterranean theatres of war.
6. When the Allied armies reenter the Continent, you will afford them all possible support in the manner most effective. . . .
Honourable senators, this directive was clear on the nature and purpose of Allied bomber offensives. It was clear that the Allied forces' intent was to rout the enemy from their occupation of Europe. It was clear that their dedicated focus was to bring the war to an end by their victory. From the skies, the Allied forces and their aircrews, in substantial measure, carried the war to the Third Reich, which had begun it.
The creation of the Canadian 6 Group in 1943 coincided with this significant increase in Bomber Command's operations, which led to D-Day, the decisive invasion of Normandy, on June 6, 1944. Canadian bomber aircrews performed bravely and with distinction, in this unfathomably dangerous, merciless and exacting theatre of war.
War is a Grim Reaper and a wicked master. I repeat: 10,659 Bomber Boys, Canadians, fell. In addition, many were killed in training, in operational accidents and taken prisoners of war. Let us remember them. Let us also remember all those Canadians who served on the ground and at sea.
Honourable senators, I shall quote some Nazi leaders on Bomber Command's bombing operations. Remember, colleagues, Canadians and Brits say "bombing" or "bomber operations." Americans say "missions." Therefore I always use Canadian terms.
Nazi leader Albert Speer, the Third Reich's Minister of Armaments, in his 1976 book Spandau: The Secret Diaries, at page 339 and 340 wrote:
The real importance of the air war consisted in the fact that it opened a second front long before the invasion of Europe. That front was the skies over Germany. The fleets of bombers might appear at any time over any large German city or important factory. The unpredictability of the attacks made this front gigantic; every square meter of the territory we controlled was a kind of front line. Defense against air attacks required the production of thousands of antiaircraft guns, the stockpiling of tremendous quantities of ammunition all over the country, and holding in readiness hundreds of thousands of soldiers, who in addition had to stay in position by their guns, often totally inactive, for months at a time.
In his 1970 memoirs, Inside the Third Reich, Minister Speer wrote about Bomber Command operations over Hamburg in July 1943. These are very famous operations. He said at page 284:
Hamburg had put the fear of God in me. . . .
He tells us something that is very revealing and, honourable senators, I ask that you listen carefully.
Hamburg had suffered the fate Goering and Hitler had conceived for London in 1940. At a supper in the Chancellery in that year Hitler had, in the course of a monologue, worked himself up to a frenzy of destructiveness:
Have you ever looked at a map of London? It is so closely built up that one source of fire alone would suffice to destroy the whole city, as happened once before, two hundred years ago. Goering wants to use innumerable incendiary bombs of an altogether new type to create sources of fire in all parts of London. Fires everywhere. Thousands of them. Then they'll unite in one gigantic area conflagration. Goering has the right idea. Explosive bombs don't work, but it can be done with incendiary bombs - total destruction of London. What use will their fire department be once that really starts!
Honourable senators, Minister Speer's "fear of God" was fleeting, overtaken by calculating Nazi determination. He added, still at the same page:
Fortunately for us, a series of Hamburg-type raids was not repeated on such a scale against other cities. Thus the enemy once again allowed us to adjust ourselves to his strategy.
Honourable senators, next is Joseph Goebbels, the Third Reich's Minister of Propaganda. David Bashow, in his book No Prouder Place, at page 115 cites Minister Goebbels' diary, in epigram to a chapter, Battering the Reich: The Road to Hamburg, as follows:
The damage is colossal and indeed ghastly . . . Nobody can tell how Krupps is to go on . . . It drives one mad to think that some Canadian boor, who probably can't even find Europe on the globe, flies here from a country glutted with natural resources which his people don't know how to exploit, to bombard a continent with a crowded population.
Honourable senators, I come now to the unveiling and dedication ceremony of the new Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, not far from London's Buckingham Palace. On June 28, 2012, our Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, unveiled this memorial. She was joined by many members of the Royal Family, being, Marshals of the Royal Air Force the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales; Air Commodores, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex; Air Marshal, the Duke of Gloucester; Air Chief Marshal the Duke of Kent; and Air Marshal Prince Michael of Kent. They were resplendent in their blue Royal Air Force uniforms. Present also were the Duchesses of Cornwall, of Gloucester, and of Kent, and the Countess of Wessex.
The presence of twelve Royal Family members showed the national importance of this event and the Royal Family's attachment to the Royal Air Force and their esteem and affection for the aircrews who served and fell. All present were mindful of the personal closeness that Queen Elizabeth has to this war when her family, particularly her mother and her father, was a beacon of strength and symbol of resistance across the world. This event was uplifting. The prayers, the hymns, the readings and the blessings were moving and evocative. The presence of some 5,000 aging Bomber Command veterans from home, the U.K. and abroad was sacred. They have grown old as their fallen comrades could not.
Honourable senators, I attended this beautiful and solemn event with a delegation from Nanton, Alberta's Bomber Command Museum of Canada. It was composed of David and Leslie Birrell; James Blondeau; Clint Cawsey; Robert Pedersen; Marylou Slumskie; Mark Turner and his father Ted Turner, a Bomber Command veteran; Doug Summerhayes, son of Jack Summerhayes, who fell in Bomber Command; and Karl Kjarsgaard of the Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) Group.
Honourable senators, Minister of Veterans Affairs Steven Blaney, assisted by Edmonton MP Laurie Hawn, led Canada's official delegation of 42 Bomber Command veterans. The happiness of these veterans was manifest. Their pride in their long-ago efforts and their delight in this recognition was evident, as was the affection between Minister Blaney and them. I thank him.
Honourable senators, those men were extremely happy, but it was a happiness dotted with many tears as they remembered many fallen comrades and battle trials.
Senator Joseph Day of our Senate Veterans Affairs Committee also attended.
The memorial is magnificent and stately —
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I regret to inform the honourable Senator Cools that her 15-minute speaking time is up. Is she requesting more time?
Senator Cools: Yes. Thank you.
Honourable senators, the memorial is magnificent and stately with its tall, white columns. It holds a nine-foot high sculpture by the celebrated sculptor Philip Jackson, of a seven-man aircrew just returned from a bombing operation. His detail in the young men's faces is gripping and poignant. Above them is the memorial's stunning ceiling, a metallic structure of aluminum, whose story is very special for Canada. This aluminum was recovered from a bomber plane of RCAF 6 Group, the Halifax LW682 shot down in 1944. Seven of its eight aircrew were Canadian bomber boys.
Honourable senators, Halifax LW682 was shot down by a Nazi fighter plane on May 12, 1944. It crashed in Nazi-occupied Belgium. All eight aircrew were killed. Five bodies were recovered before the plane sank into a bog with the other three. It lay there, submerged, with these three Canadians entombed for 53 years until it was rescued and surfaced in 1997. Attended by their families graciously flown to Belgium by our Government of Canada, these three fallen Canadians were given funerals with full military honours and laid to rest beside their other fallen comrades. One of the family members in London with us was Doug Summerhayes who was a young boy when his father, Jack Summerhayes, was killed in the Halifax LW682.
Honourable senators, this humane recovery operation was led by Albertan Canadian Karl Kjarsgaard and his Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) team. They also salvaged the plane's aluminum, brought it to Canada and had it melted into ingots. In 2012, for the construction of London's Bomber Command Memorial, Karl Kjarsgaard delivered these ingots to Liam O'Connor, the memorial's gifted and appreciative architect, who was pleased with this Canadian gift of authentic combat remnants. He had them pressed into aluminum sheets in Norway and then returned to England, from whence the plane had flown its final bombing operation that fateful night. Architect Liam O'Connor constructed the memorial's glorious ceiling from these aluminum sheets.
Honourable senators, let us understand that the folklore and history of war memorials are rich in their inclusion of authentic combat remnants, combat relics really. Many opine that this Canadian contribution of bomber plane combat remnants will be remembered as one of the most important in memorial history. I am told that this new war memorial is already very popular and well visited in London.
Honourable senators, I now remember those 30 Canadians of Bomber Command who served in the bombing operation the Dams Raid, the Dambusters, by RAF 617 Squadron, led by a Brit, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, who was awarded a Victoria Cross for this perilous bombing operation. The lead navigator in the Dams Raid was a Canadian, a young fellow called Terry Taerum from Milo, Alberta. I recently held in my hand a photograph of him briefing Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris after the raid. A pilot named Ken Brown, from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, was the only Canadian pilot on the raid. Of the 30 Canadians in the Dams Raid, 14 fell and one was taken prisoner. Let us remember them.
Honourable senators, let us also remember those late senators who served in Bomber Command including Senators Orville Phillips, Richard Doyle and Archibald Johnstone. Prime Minister Churchill, in the House of Commons, on August 20, 1940, said:
The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of world war by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
Honourable senators, I close with a scripture passage that I use particularly around Remembrance Day because for so long it has been connected to Canada's war veterans. I read from the Old Testament, Ecclesiasticus, chapter 44, verses 1, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 14:
Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us. . . .
All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times.
There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.
And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; . . .
But these were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten. . . .
Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.
Let us remember our Canadian veterans and fallen of Bomber Command. Let us uphold them. Let us honour them. Let us love them. Let us always remember that their sacrifice was also their families' sacrifice, and at the end of the day it was Canada's sacrifice.
Hon. Jim Munson: With the spirit of the words that Senator Cools expressed to us today, I will adjourn this debate in the name of Senator Day, although I would like to speak as well. In that spirit, and in the spirit of Senator Martin's words about what was "The Forgotten War," but not really the forgotten war, in Korea, and in the spirit of my own uncle, Lloyd Munson — my middle name is Lloyd, James Lloyd Munson — who served as a tail gunner in a Lancaster bomber and served over the English Canal in Egypt and then was shot down over the Nicobar Islands when posted in Ceylon in 1943 — in the spirit of the words of the Honourable Senators Martin and Cools, and just in the times we live in, three days from now being Remembrance Day, I would like to keep this discussion very much alive. I would like to, for the balance of my time, adjourn this debate.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable Senator Munson is moving the adjournment of the debate in the name of Senator Day.
Senator Munson: I was going to say Senator Day, but I would rather speak before Senator Day. I said Senator Day, but I mean for the balance of my time; I am sorry.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, Senator Munson is moving the adjournment of the debate for the balance of his time. However, I am sure there will be full opportunity for our colleague Senator Day to participate in the debate.
Hearing the motion, honourable senators, is it agreed?
(On motion of Senator Munson, debate adjourned.)
Leave having been given to revert to Government Notices of Motions:
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(g), I move:
That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, November 20, 2012, at 2 p.m.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, November 20, 2012, at 2 p.m.)