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2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 15

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

 

 

THE SENATE

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

The Late Mr. Lloyd MacLeod

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Dr. Lloyd MacLeod, an exceptional Islander who passed away on October 9 at the age of 82.

Lloyd MacLeod grew up in Grandview, Prince Edward Island. He attended Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, Macdonald College in Montreal and went on to complete his Ph.D. in soil science at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

In 1970, Dr. MacLeod became the Director of the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Charlottetown, a position he held for two decades, until 1990. There is no doubt that he left a lasting legacy of accomplishment during his time at the research station. He paved the way for the creation of the Harrington Research Farm in 1984 and expanded the centre's environmental research. Among other events, he was director when Prince Charles and Lady Diana became the third generation of the Royal Family to plant an English oak tree in what is locally known as the "Royal Forest" on the centre's ground.

He was well-known for his excellent relationship with Island farmers and making sure he kept in touch with the farming community. He had a good understanding of farming and made a point of knowing his clients.

Lloyd MacLeod was also committed to his fellow Islanders and served as Chairman of the Potato Marketing Board. He was active in his community, serving as President of the Charlottetown Rotary Club, co-founder of the Charlottetown Royalty Rotary Club, Chairman of the QEH Foundation, Chairman of the Friends of the Farm, Chairman of the Eastern School District, and a founder of the men's and ladies' Charlottetown Probus Club. He wrote a book called The Way Things Were, about life on an Island farm during the Depression and Second World War.

Honourable senators, Lloyd MacLeod will be missed by all who had the good fortune to know him. He was an outstanding person who made a lasting contribution to his province and to his fellow Islanders through a lifetime of hard work and dedication. I offer my deepest condolences to his three children and their families and his many relatives and friends.

Philippines

Natural Disaster—Typhoon Haiyan

Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr.: Honourable senators, I rise today to call the attention of the Senate of Canada to the devastation inflicted on my nation of birth, the Philippines, by Super Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda as it is named there. This tragic disaster struck less than a month after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake caused great damage and claimed hundreds of lives in the central region of the Philippines. Super Typhoon Yolanda made landfall with a record-setting sustained wind speed of 314 kilometres per hour on November 8. Despite the evacuation of nearly 1 million people, the awesome forces of nature left nearly 4,000 dead, more than 18,000 persons injured, and 1,602 are still missing. Over 4 million people have been displaced, according to official reports of last night. We can only imagine what the physical damage is to infrastructure and buildings.

Honourable senators, this devastation, this level of destruction, called for the Government of the Philippines to seek help from its friends like Canada. Our government reacted with quick resolve and great generosity. The Honourable Ministers John Baird and Christian Paradis announced Canadian support of $5 million, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced yesterday was increased by another $15 million. The Canadian Forces deployed its Disaster Assistance Response Team, and it is deploying three helicopters that are vital to operate in the topography of the affected Island of Panay. I thank them for this.

Honourable senators, the past week has been a strong reminder of the strength and generosity of our community and of all Canadians, responding to the needs of the hardest hit areas. The government announced that it will match donations by Canadians to charitable organizations, dollar-for-dollar, through the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund. I wish to thank all Canadians for their overwhelming support. I also want to remind Canadians that much more is needed and that your continued support is important to us.

Honourable senators, I join our government in offering my condolences to the families of Yolanda's victims and to the government and people of the Philippines in this time of tragedy. My prayers are with them. I trust that my colleagues on both sides share the sense of loss and powerlessness in the face of nature's terrifying forces. I pray that the people of the Philippines will join together in the face of disaster and stand strong when they rebuild the region once again.

The Late Lieutenant-General J.E. "Jack" Vance, C.M.M., C.D.

Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable colleagues, I rise today to mark and mourn the passing of Lieutenant-General Jack Vance, C.M.M., C.D. General Vance passed away peacefully in Tweed, Ontario, on September 10, 2013. He was 80 years of age.

[Translation]

General Vance joined the Canadian army in 1952 and studied at the Royal Military College in Kingston.

Over the course of his 36-year career in the Canadian Armed Forces, he served in various capacities in Canada and around the world. He commanded 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Germany in 1976, became Chief of Staff for Operations in 1978, Chief of Postings, Careers and Senior Appointments in 1980, and Chief of Personnel in 1983.

[English]

General Vance was appointed Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in 1985, the number two of the Canadian Forces. He held this post until his retirement from the military in 1988.

General Vance was known throughout NATO as being one of the more brilliant manoeuvre warfare technicians in an era when armoured warfare was the dominant theme of all operations conducted by developed countries in Europe. He and his legacy, in writing and also in applying tactics, have remained in the Canadian Forces as an instrument of reference for future operations in the mechanized world.

[Translation]

"Retired" hardly describes General Vance's level of activity following his departure from the Armed Forces. He served as Colonel Commandant of the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, Colonel Commandant of the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, and Senior Military Advisor to the Privy Council for the Somalia Inquiry.

General Vance may be best known as Colonel of the Royal Canadian Regiment. During his appointment, he oversaw many changes and reforms to enable the oldest infantry regiment in the Canadian Armed Forces to face the future with strength and confidence.

(1410)

[English]

I should like to quote from Lieutenant-General Jonathan Vance, son of General Vance, who is currently serving in Naples as part of Allied Joint Force Command of the NATO forces. General Vance also commanded the Canadian Forces on two occasions in Afghanistan. When he received the Vimy Award, he said of his dad:

... I could not have asked for a better role model of leadership and wisdom than you. Many of us curse when we start to sound like our parents... well, just to let you know, more often than not I gave silent thanks... Thanks Dad.

General Vance's life and career stand as a testament to the difference that can be made by one man who demonstrates courage, intelligence and compassion in equal measure. My thoughts are with General Vance's family, as we here in this place pause to honour this truly great man and see the continuance of that family in service of the country through his son.

Canada-India Trade Negotiations

Hon. Asha Seth: Honourable senators, I am very proud of the work of our Prime Minister and of our government in making Canada the only G8 country to have free trade agreements with the United States and the European Union. This has positioned our economy very well for the future.

I am also proud of the continuing work to fulfill our commitment to complete negotiations on the Canada-India economic partnership agreement. On June 15, our eighth round of negotiations was completed, getting us much closer to signing this landmark agreement, which promises to increase trade between Canada and India from $5 billion to $15 billion annually. This represents tens of thousands of jobs for Canadians and countless opportunities for Canadian businesses.

Still, how exactly does the implementation of such an agreement work? What mechanisms need to be in place? Which areas should be prioritized? What roles will the various stakeholders play?

To explore these questions, I will be hosting a discussion and dinner reception this evening on behalf of the Shastri Indo Canadian Institute and the Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce. We will discuss the need for a cohesive and coordinated approach at the national level involving representatives from government, industry, the private sector and academia; the increasingly important role of Canadian provinces and Indian states as emerging players for strengthening the Canada-India partnership; also, the critical role of actions by Indo-Canadians, bridge builders and stakeholders for building comprehensive economic partnerships; and finally, the potential benefits of a Canada-India trade agreement for small- and medium-sized enterprises in both countries, from reduction of trade barriers to the creation of new business opportunities.

Honourable senators, I welcome all of you to join me and Mr. Don Stephenson, Chief Trade Negotiator of the Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, for what will be a riveting discussion in Room 237-C at 6:30 p.m.. Please join us there today.

The Late Alexander Colville, P.C., C.C., O.N.S.

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I wish to be associated with the recent remarks of Senator Hubley in tribute to the late Honourable David Alexander "Alex" Colville, renowned Canadian artist, a Privy Councillor, a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Nova Scotia.

In 1944, Alex joined the army and served as an official Canadian war artist. He recorded the D-Day landings in June 1944, the army's advance in the Netherlands and the havoc wreaked by the Nazis at Bergen-Belsen in Germany. He was the first Canadian to enter that concentration camp when it was liberated. The sight of so many dead humans remained in his consciousness ever after and caused him to "talk a lot about his idea of civilization being this very thin veneer that could be disrupted in the blink of an eye," recalled Tom Smart, author of Alex Colville: Return.

Alex's paintings are in many important collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre national d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, as well as in numerous private collections. He designed the set of coins celebrating Canada's one hundredth birthday in 1967. It's worthy of note that his painting Man on Verandah sold for $1.29 million in 2010, a record for a work by a living Canadian artist.

In an interview in 1984 about the importance of visual art, Alex said:

Art says that things actually mean something and have some sort of co-ordination. I guess I would say that, in an almost literal sense, art is encouraging, even if it's terrible stuff. It points to significance in the universe rather than banality or accident.

Alex gave back to his country and was very much a Wolfville community man, serving in numerous ways, including Chancellor of Acadia University from 1981 to 1991, and a driving force behind the establishment of the Valley Hospice Foundation. In his heartfelt eulogy, Dr. James Perkin, long-time friend, said Alex left behind, along with his paint brushes, three life lessons that he believed and practised: Time lost is lost forever; preparation is always necessary; and ordinary things matter.

He was predeceased by a son, John, and his beloved wife Rhoda, a centrepiece of his life who was often depicted in his paintings. At a tribute to Alex on June 10, 2005, it was she who presented a booklet entitled Rhymes for Alex, all penned by her and one of which reads:

I think the best gift I can give
Is a little advice about how to live.
Now, instead of storing up treasures in heaven,
You're getting your kicks from a Super Seven.
But when we get to be eighty-five,
Provided we both are still alive,
If we sell all our worldly goods, we might
Be just as content with a Super Light.
And I would go guiltless to heaven above
And you could come too, as my only love.

We extend our sincere sympathy to Alex's surviving children, Graham, Charles and Ann, his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before calling for Tabling of Documents, I would like to draw your attention to the presence in the Governor General's Gallery of Mr. Don Stephenson, Chief Trade Negotiator, Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; and Mr. Sriram Iyer, President of the ICICI Bank.

On behalf of all senators, gentlemen, welcome to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Commissioner of Official Languages

Access to Information Act and Privacy Act—2012-13 Annual Reports Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2012-13 reports of the Commissioner of Official Languages pursuant to section 72 of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

[English]

The Estimates, 2013-14

Supplementary Estimates (B)—Schedule 1—Revised English Page Concerning the Amount of Vote 25b under Treasury Board and Original French Version Tabled

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I wish to inform the Senate that there was a typographical error in Schedule 1 concerning the amount for vote 25b under Treasury Board in the Supplementary Estimates (B), tabled in the Senate on November 7, 2013. The correct amount of $275 million is reflected in the French version of the schedule.

I therefore have the honour to table a revised English version of the page concerning vote 25b, along with the French version of the same page.

Anti-terrorism

Report of Special Committee Pursuant to Rule 12-26(2) Tabled

Hon. Hugh Segal: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 12 26(2) of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism, which deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 181.)

Human Rights

Report Pursuant to Rule 12-26(2) Tabled

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 12-26(2) of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, which deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 182.)

(1420)

Aboriginal Peoples

Report Pursuant to Rule 12-26(2) Tabled

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 12-26(2) of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, which deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 184.)

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Issues Relating to Foreign Relations and International Trade Generally

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, in accordance with rule 12-7(4), be authorized to examine such issues as may arise from time to time relating to foreign relations and international trade generally; and

That the committee report to the Senate no later than June 30, 2014.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Security Conditions and Economic Developments in the Asia-Pacific Region and Refer Papers and Evidence Received During First Session of Forty-first Parliament

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade be authorized to examine and report on security conditions and economic developments in the Asia-Pacific region, the implications for Canadian policy and interests in the region, and other related matters;

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject during the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee report to the Senate no later than June 30, 2014.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Economic and Political Developments in the Republic of Turkey and Refer Papers and Evidence Received During First Session of Forty-first Parliament

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade be authorized to examine and report on economic and political developments in the Republic of Turkey, their regional and global influences, the implications for Canadian interests and opportunities, and other related matters;

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject during the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee report to the Senate no later than December 31, 2013.

Aboriginal Peoples

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Federal Government's Responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples and Refer Papers and Evidence Received During First Session of Forty-first Parliament

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples be authorized to examine and report on the federal government's constitutional, treaty, political and legal responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples and on other matters generally relating to the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada;

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the Committee on the subject during the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament be referred to the Committee; and

That the Committee submit its final report no later than December 31, 2014, and that the Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

[Translation]

Official Languages

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study CBC/Radio-Canada's Obligations under the Official Languages Act and the Broadcasting Act and Refer Papers and Evidence Received Since Beginning of First Session of Forty-first Parliament

Hon. Claudette Tardif: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages be authorized to examine and report on CBC/ Radio-Canada's obligations under the Official Languages Act and some aspects of the Broadcasting Act;

That the documents received, evidence heard and business accomplished on this subject by the committee since the beginning of the First Session of the Forty-First Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee report from time to time to the Senate but no later than June 30, 2014, and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings for 90 days after the tabling of the final report.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Best Practices for Language Policies and Second-language Learning in Context of Linguistic Duality or Plurality and Refer Papers and Evidence Received Since Beginning of First Session of Forty-first Parliament

Hon. Claudette Tardif: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages be authorized to examine and report on best practices for language policies and second-language learning in a context of linguistic duality or plurality;

That the documents received, evidence heard and business accomplished on this subject by the committee since the beginning of the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee report from time to time to the Senate but no later than June 30, 2015, and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings for 90 days after the tabling of the final report.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study the Impacts of Recent Changes to the Immigration System on Official Language Minority Communities and Refer Papers and Evidence Received Since Beginning of First Session of Forty-first Parliament

Hon. Claudette Tardif: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages be authorized to study and to report on the impacts of recent changes to the immigration system on official language minority communities;

That the documents received, evidence heard and business accomplished on this subject by the committee since the beginning of the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee report from time to time to the Senate but no later than June 30, 2015, and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings for 90 days after the tabling of the final report.

[English]

Inter-Parliamentary Union

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I give notice that two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to the Inter Parliamentary Union.


[Translation]

QUESTION PERIOD

Official Languages

Linguistic Duality

Hon. Claudette Tardif: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The latest report by the Commissioner of Official Languages indicates that the application of the Official Languages Act and linguistic duality have been undermined considerably. The report talks about the erosion of bilingualism in the public service because of the unintended consequences of budget cuts; the inability to receive service in one's language at airports; the elimination of the long form census questionnaire, which will prevent federal institutions from taking measures adapted to the needs of official language minority communities; the utter failure regarding access to justice in French; a decline in bilingualism outside of Quebec; and so on.

How does the government plan on addressing these serious problems immediately?

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): I thank the Commissioner of Official Languages for his annual report.

We are proud of our government's unprecedented commitment to both official languages, our country's two national languages. We will continue to work on increasing opportunities for Canadians to learn both national languages and enhancing the vitality of our official language minority communities.

I am also pleased to see that the commissioner acknowledges the efforts made by Canadian Heritage and other federal institutions. I assure the honourable senator that we will continue in the same direction.

Senator Tardif: I have a supplementary question. In response to what I would call an appalling record, the Commissioner of Official Languages says that the government does not take the issue of language rights and the associated responsibilities seriously enough. I will quote the report:

Indeed, the federal government does not seem to place a high enough priority on linguistic duality as a Canadian value....When it comes to promoting linguistic duality, the federal government seems to be trailing behind the public instead of leading the way.

The government must do better to address the legitimate expectations of all Canadians.

What tangible steps will the government take to implement the Commissioner's recommendations?

(1430)

Senator Carignan: We have already taken action with the Roadmap. As you know, Canada's official languages shaped our history and our identity, which is why the government adopted the Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages. At approximately $1.1 billion, this is the most significant investment in official languages in our country's history.

As I have said before, the Roadmap supports both francophone and anglophone communities and focuses on three priorities: immigration, education and communities. We are proud to uphold this commitment to official language communities, and we will continue to work with various stakeholders to improve the promotion of our two official languages.

Senator Tardif: Of course, official language communities were pleased to see that the Roadmap was renewed, but we know that a large portion of the Roadmap is in fact recycled money, not new funding. We also know that a portion of the funding has been redirected to objectives other than linguistic duality. For example, the $120 million for language training for immigrants serves economic purposes and helps newcomers learn English in provinces other than Quebec. That is an admirable goal, but it has nothing to do with strengthening our minority communities or improving bilingualism.

I want to come back to the issue of the public service. The Commissioner also stated that budget cuts have diminished the possibility that francophone public servants can exercise their right to work in their language. It is unacceptable for the government to save money by trampling on the language rights that are at the heart of Canadian identity.

What is the government going to do about this shameful step backward within the federal public service in order to ensure that government employees' right to use both official languages is respected?

Senator Carignan: At the beginning of your question, you spoke about immigration. I would like to remind you that, in 2012, Canada welcomed 3,685 francophone immigrants who settled into minority communities, which represents an increase of 4 per cent compared to 2011. Immigration is key to protecting the vitality and development of francophone communities outside Quebec.

As per the Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages 2013 2018, the Government of Canada, through Citizenship and Immigration Canada, is investing in language- and immigration related initiatives. We are convinced that the Roadmap will contribute to promoting immigration and integrating immigrants. It will also help newcomers acquire the language skills needed to integrate into Canadian society.

With regard to the point you made about bilingualism in the federal public service, need I remind you that, in 2011, a survey of federal government employees showed that 92 per cent of them believe that they are able to work in the official language of their choice? Language training will continue to be offered to public servants who need it, and Canadians will continue to benefit from government services in the language of their choice, as always. We would like to thank the Commissioner for his report on official languages, particularly the part about the public service.

[English]

Human Resources and Skills Development

Support for Post-Secondary Students

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. This morning, I had the pleasure of meeting with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations to hear and discuss the issues facing post-secondary education students in Canada.

There are numerous issues the current government continues to ignore, such as rising tuition fees, excessive student debt, lack of job opportunities, lack of funding for Aboriginal education, issues with access to student loans, and the list goes on.

I would like to draw one of these issues to the government's attention.

We all know that attending post-secondary institutions year after year is becoming increasingly more expensive, and, for this reason, many students need to work while attending school. However, when calculating student loans, the government says that if you work during your study period, you may only earn up to $100 a week. Anything above that will be deducted when calculating your student loan eligibility. This is simply unfair.

Will your government end this unfair treatment of working students and let them keep their hard-earned income to advance their education?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): With regard to post-secondary education, no government has done more for young people than our government. In 2012, the proportion of youth aged 17 to 21 taking university or college courses reached a record high of 42.5 per cent. We have put in place additional incentives to increase apprenticeships. We have offered college and university students studying in specialized fields more than the previous Liberal government in terms of the loans they need to complete their post-secondary education. We have also introduced the textbook tax credit and a scholarship tax exemption, and we have expanded part-time students' access to grants and loans. I think that these actions speak for themselves.

[English]

Senator Hubley: Supplementary question, please. Thank you for your answer, and I would certainly compliment you on all the work you do on behalf of our students.

Noting that nearly 60 per cent of students turned to employment during the academic year to cover costs and that a 2011 survey found that working students averaged 18 hours of employment per week, that means a student earning minimum wage in Prince Edward Island would make $180 a week, which is more than the $100 allowable income, and this will be clawed back.

These students are working to help pay not only for tuition but also for books and expenses. Students who are working while in school are often the students who need the financial assistance most. When students cannot get government loans, they are forced to turn to banks and credit cards, both of which have high interest rates and lead to students having extremely high debt when graduating.

Honourable senator, why is your government — a government that claims to focus on jobs — punishing students for working to help pay for their education?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: I do not understand how you can say that we are punishing students when this government has given more to young people than the previous government. No other government has done more than we have. You are accusing us of punishing young people. I do not know what you were doing before, but it had to be improved.

That is why we implemented specific measures. In 2012, the proportion of young people aged 17 to 21 taking university or college courses reached a record 45.2 per cent. You should be congratulating us instead of criticizing us.

[English]

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: I wasn't intending to speak on Senator Hubley's comment, but I don't know what Senator Carignan is talking about. He should go out and talk to the thousands and thousands of unemployed young people in this country.

Industry

Tourism—Canadian Tourism Commission

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, Canada used to be hailed by the world as a top tourism destination, but we have slipped badly. In 1970, we were second in the world as one of the top tourist destinations, and now we have slipped to number 18. We were seventh in 2002, and what's worse is that international travel has dropped 20 per cent since 2000.

(1440)

When we hosted the Olympics in 2010 we spent an estimated $106 million in marketing Canada to the world; we will now merely spend $58 million, a cut from last year's total of $72 million.

The Canadian Tourism Commission estimates that for every dollar spent on marketing, an average of $40 is returned in tourism spending. Now, some of those unemployed students would like to know about that, Mr. Speaker.

Could the leader tell us why the federal government continues to slash the budget of the Canadian Tourism Commission when tourism has proven to be good for Canada?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Tourism is indeed an important industry for Canada. That is why we launched the Federal Tourism Strategy, which is a plan to ensure that Canada continues to create jobs and growth in this sector.

The tourism industry is on the right track. Foreign visitors are spending more and more money in Canada. More and more tourism-related jobs are being created. We continue to welcome a growing number of Chinese, Indian and Brazilian visitors. Our government is taking substantive action to support the tourism industry. We have created a more efficient online visa application processing system, for example. We have introduced multiple entry visas and super visas. Since 2006, we have negotiated and broadened nearly 80 air transport agreements. We are working to eventually have 130 visa application centres worldwide, and we are promoting Canada in key tourist markets around the world.

There are more good news stories for tourism. Last year, the hotel occupancy rate went up. According to the World Economic Forum, Canada's tourism industry ranks among the 10 most competitive in the world.

[English]

Senator Mercer: Honourable senators, the tourism industry in Canada is among the best in the world; there's no doubt about that. We've got some great things for people around the world to come and see, but we're not telling them about it.

Canadian tourism is an $80-billion business. It brings money to local communities, large and small. It employs people, and that is something the Conservative government claims they know something about; yet the Conservative government continues to cut the Canadian Tourism Commission. This has resulted in the downloading of efforts to promote Canada to the provinces that are already struggling with their overall budgets.

Why is the federal government cutting funds that have proven to bring money and jobs to local communities, particularly small communities? Just ask your colleagues Senators Marshall, Poirier or McInnis; they all represent areas where tourism is an important part of the sector. Why, Mr. Leader, are you cutting those funds?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Honourable senators, I think I was clear about the importance Canada places on tourism as an economic sector and as an industry that creates jobs, particularly in Canada. As I said, the government has taken and is continuing to take a number of substantive actions as part of the Federal Tourism Strategy. Senator Mercer should look at the substantive government actions, particularly in tourism, and join me in appreciating the success of this industry and the quality of the support from our government.

[English]

Senator Mercer: I know you seldom want to hear from me on the subject, so let's see what others are saying.

Just last week, Deloitte & Touche reported on similar effects. Last year, several other groups warned that these cuts would hurt the industry. Now, it is pretty clear that they are right.

Deloitte's partner, Ryan Brain, had this to say:

It's clear that strengthening tourism would have a positive impact on Canadian companies and our overall economy.

The Deloitte report was called Passport to Growth. It also suggested other ways to improve travel, including changes to the air travel sector.

Just last spring, the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications recommended phasing out airport rents and transferring ownership to airport authorities as a way to lower expensive air fares and increase tourism activity. I'm glad to see that Deloitte is agreeing with the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications. It is a great report. I would recommend it to Senator Carignan. Perhaps he should read it and then his answers might be a little different.

It remains clear that there are things we can do to increase tourism in Canada, including stop cutting the budget of the Canadian Tourism Commission and start reforming our travel industry. Would this not be a better way to help our Canadian economy, rather than putting up more economic action signs across the country, or buying television spots that advertise new programs that have not yet been approved?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Let us focus on substantive actions. Senator Mercer talked about transportation. I would like to reiterate that we now have a more efficient online visa application processing system. We have created multiple-entry visas and super visas. Since 2006, we have negotiated and broadened nearly 80 air transport agreements to make it easier for tourists to come to Canada. We will eventually have 130 visa application centres worldwide, and we are promoting Canada in key tourist markets around the world.

According to the World Economic Forum, Canada's tourism industry is among the 10 most competitive in the world. Do you not like being the leader of the pack? Canada's tourism industry is one of the 10 most competitive in the world. You seem unhappy about that statistic. You should be celebrating.

[English]

Human Resources and Skills Development

Support for Post-Secondary Students

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. This also refers to the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations and the questions of Senator Hubley.

The days spent in university by our young people are supposed to be the most enriching and happiest days of their lives, but because of the pressures which are mounting daily on our young people, the university days are becoming a source of pain rather than pleasure. The predominant cause is financial pressure, as Senator Hubley mentioned.

CASA reports that 88 per cent of student health directors report a rapid rise in students who have psychological problems and access their services; yet there is a ratio of only one counsellor for every 1600 students currently on Canadian campuses. The current national average has one-in-four students suffering from some form of mental illness.

Can the Leader of the Government assure our students and this chamber that his government is taking this issue seriously and is aware of it and that they will work with provincial counterparts to alleviate this increasing problem for your young students?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, that is why we are continuing to increase the amount and improve the quality of support available to post-secondary students as much as we can. We have taken steps to encourage young people to enrol in training and apprenticeship programs for specialized trades. We have given more to college and university students in the form of post-secondary education loans. We have given them financial incentives, such as tax credits for textbooks. We have eliminated the tax on scholarships and increased access to student loans and grants for part-time students to relieve some of the pressure they face and help them achieve the highest possible success rate. That is why the penetration rate among university students aged 17 to 21 is 42.5 per cent, a record in 2012.

[English]

Senator Moore: It is clear, from these pressures and the statistics that CASA has provided, that what you say is simply not enough. You did not comment on the mental illness aspect of my question.

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I accept that this may be relatively new, with new statistics, but it is a phenomenon, leader, that I would ask you to look into. We can't have one in four of our youth on campuses worried about financial pressure and other conditions that they can't cope with. Maybe the graduation number successes would increase if we did that. I would ask you to take a look at that and refer it to your appropriate colleague in cabinet and have them look at the situation, because I think it's very important.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Thank you for the question. Clearly, we share your concerns regarding academic success. We have taken a number of steps to help post-secondary and university students, as I said earlier.

Therefore, our record and our actions speak for themselves. I would not dare remind you of the Liberal record of cuts to post secondary education, which I am sure added to the stress on the previous generation of students.

[English]

Aboriginal Affairs

Support for Post-Secondary Students

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, I wonder if I might ask a question about Aboriginal education. When is it your intent to remove the 2-per-cent cap on post-secondary education funding?

Just while you're looking up your answer, I might add that there are approximately 10,000 Aboriginal students who are unable to get the funding and continue their education.

Senator Mercer: He can't find a note on that one.

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): The government is now holding consultations on a draft proposal regarding First Nations education. No final decision has yet been made.

[English]

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: You say the final decision has not been made yet. I thank you for that answer, but that final decision has not been made for seven or eight years. How long does it take to come to a final decision?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: If you have any constructive suggestions or comments on how to improve the situation, we would be happy to hear them.

I would remind you that we have built and renovated over 260 First Nations schools since 2006. We have invested new funds in First Nations elementary and secondary education programs, as well as in the operations, maintenance, repair and construction of academic institutions. Once again, we are taking real, substantive action and not just talking the talk.

[English]

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: I have a supplementary to Senator Dyck's question. Is your government looking at this policy with the possibility of removing that cap?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: As I explained earlier, the government is now holding consultations on a draft proposal regarding First Nations education. No final decision has been made in that regard, but we are taking all constructive suggestions and comments into consideration.

[English]

Senator Dyck: I have a supplementary question. With regard to the 2-per-cent cap, we all know the government is soon going to be tabling the First Nation education bill to increase the graduation rate of First Nations students on reserve. If that's successful, of course, then we're going to have even more First Nations students who are going to be graduating from high school and wanting to go on to post-secondary education. There's going to be greater demand. It's important that that cap be removed because there's going to be even more and more demand.

We know the socio-demographics that say the Aboriginal population is young and growing, so the demand is increasing already. If your bill is successful, as you claim it's going to be, then it will be even greater. I would suggest that the government take this question seriously and look at it from an economic point of view.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: We are aware of your passion for this subject. We share it and we will take your suggestion into account. I will share your concern with the minister, and I can assure you that the proposal that is being drafted with regard to First Nations education will take into account all of the constructive comments and suggestions that are made.

[English]

Hon. Jane Cordy: I have a supplementary question. Thank you for your comment, leader, that you were looking for constructive comments. As Senator Dyck said, the fastest growing demographic in Canada is the young Aboriginal population. If we don't start putting money into increasing the levels of education for this particular group, then Canada is going to be worse off for that.

Our Social Affairs Committee actually did a study on post secondary education, and every First Nations and Aboriginal witness whom we had before our committee said that it was essential that the cap be removed because the cap wasn't allowing enough funding to keep up with the levels of the growing population.

I wonder if perhaps you would have a look at the report that we did and the witness testimony before the committee, particularly from the Aboriginal and First Nations groups, before finishing up your study.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: As you know, all of the work done by the Senate and its committees is always taken into account when decisions are made and policies are developed.


[English]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Coastal Fisheries Protection Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Fabian Manning moved second reading of Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act.

He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to support Bill S-3, an Act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act. The purpose of Bill S-3 is to enable Canada to ratify the international Port State Measures Agreement to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The proposed legislative changes had been first introduced as Bill S-13. Prorogation of Parliament resulted in the requirement for the legislation to be reintroduced in the Senate, and it has been now renamed as Bill S-3.

The Senate committee on Fisheries and Oceans studied Bill S-13 between November 8, 2012, and March 5, 2013. During this study, the Senate committee heard testimony from officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Oceans and Environmental Law Division of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, the President of the Fisheries Council of Canada, and others.

(1500)

The Port State Measures Agreement negotiations focused on illegal fishing and transshipping on the high seas — what we call IUU fishing, or illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. IUU fishing is an issue of grave concern. The agreement deals with the worldwide problem of IUU fishing, which has deep economic and environmental consequences. The committee heard that the estimated economic loss from IUU fishing averages between US $10 billion and US$23 billion every year.

The agreement ensures that there is a cohesive and collaborative effort to sustainably manage the resources contained in our oceans. Canada signed the Port State Measures Agreement in 2010 and needs to follow up, through this commitment, by ensuring that our legislation is amended to fulfill our international commitments.

Some of the most important stipulations in the Port State Measures Agreement include establishing standards for the information to be provided by vessels seeking entry to port, continuing to deny port entry and service to vessels implicated in pirate fishing unless entry is for enforcement purposes, and setting minimum standards for vessel inspections and the training of inspectors.

Mr. Speaker, the proposed legislative changes are widely supported by the fishing industry and are necessary in order to fulfill our international commitments. The only criticism from the President of the Fisheries Council of Canada was that it took too long to negotiate and to ratify this agreement. Let's not delay this bill and hold up the implementation of measures that enable Canada to effectively combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Fish is a highly traded food commodity. As such, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing rapidly became a global problem with significant economic, social and environmental consequences. IUU fishing operators gain economic advantages over legitimate fish harvesters through lower cost of operations by circumventing national laws and regulations; they also undermine conservation and management measures of regional fisheries management organizations and other international standards.

Once IUU fish enter the market, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish them from legally caught fish. IUU fishing will remain a lucrative business if the benefits of landing and selling such products continue to outweigh the costs associated with being caught.

IUU fish in the market can depress prices for fish products to unprofitable levels for legitimate fish harvesters. Canadian fish harvesters are susceptible to price fluctuations in international markets as approximately 85 per cent of fish caught in Canadian waters are exported, representing more than $4 billion annually.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, often referred to as pirate fishing, puts at risk the livelihood of legitimate fishermen around the world. It has an impact on the conservation and protection of our fisheries. Pirate fishing is a global problem that undermines responsible fishing and has consequences on food security, safety at sea, marine environmental protection and the stability of prices for fish products in some markets. IUU fishing also poses serious potential threats to marine ecosystems of fish stocks. By strengthening the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, we will protect this vital resource and support the international fight against pirate fishing.

Canadian fishermen feel the impacts of pirate fishing, including depletion of stocks from overfishing, unfair competition with illegal fish products, and price fluctuations created by illegal fish products in foreign markets. We need to continue to be leaders in the fight against threats to our fishery in order to maintain a fair and stable market environment for our high-quality fish and our seafood exports.

The proposed amendments to Canada's Coastal Fisheries Protection Act will help us to do just that. The amendments represent the next steps in our effort to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

There are some loopholes now where fish can be caught illegally and then moved to another vessel, which can then legitimately say that it did not catch those fish illegally. Bill S-3 proposes a new definition of "fishing vessel" that includes container vessels and any type of transshipment vessels so that transshipment at sea of fish that has not already been landed will be caught under this act. Also, if a country is fishing outside of the authority or the control of a regional fish management organization — if it is just fishing without any compliance with the international norms — then fish caught by that vessel would be subject to intervention under this act.

Mr. Speaker, the proposed amendments to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act will expand our capacity to deal with illegally caught fish from other jurisdictions. We will now have the ability to deal with illegal fish product imports in the efficient way required by the Port State Measures Agreement.

Canada can be proud of our already strong port access regime for foreign fishing vessels. Among other measures, Canada does not allow entry to vessels on the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing vessel lists of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization or the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. The IUU vessel lists are a key tool for combatting pirate fishing globally. These lists include not only the fishing vessels but also any vessel that helps fishing vessels engaged in illegal acts. For example, if they provide fuel or transshipping products or packing materials, all of those activities will be covered and included in the list.

Arrangements have already been undertaken among several regional fisheries management organizations to share their lists so that members can take the necessary action to deny port entry or services to listed vessels. This makes IUU fishing more and more difficult and expensive. The proposed changes to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act set out even tougher prohibitions against the importation of illegally caught fish and other living marine organisms. Contravention of these provisions would be an offence under the amended Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, with penalties specified under the act. Together, these measures will help dry up the profits from illegal fishing activities.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in close collaboration with the Canada Border Services Agency, would carry out monitoring and enforcement with a view to minimizing impacts on legitimate cross-border trade of fish and seafood products.

Canada has a large stake in the fisheries, and a lot of the stocks we fish are straddling stocks — stocks of fish that move from one area to another in the ocean. This means that to protect our fisheries we have to protect them inside and outside of our exclusive economic zone. When we combat illegal fishing that takes place elsewhere in the world, it has a far-reaching, positive effect here in Canada. Preventing illegally taken fish and seafood products from entering Canadian markets is also a priority for Canada's major trading partners. Stronger controls at the border will help maintain our reputation as a responsible fishing nation and trading partner.

Mr. Speaker, the amendments to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act that are before you will strengthen and clarify Canada's domestic rules and reinforce our leadership role in the global fight against pirate fishing. I am very happy and proud of the government, which is taking action against this global problem that has an impact on our fisheries here at home.

Hon. Fernand Robichaud: Would the honourable senator take a question?

Senator Manning: Yes I will.

Senator Robichaud: You said in your speech that the Canada Border Services Agency would be in the position to prevent illegal fish processed food from entering the country. I totally agree that we should prevent that, but how can we identify these products as being illegal or caught illegally?

Senator Manning: Thank you for the question. The purpose of the amendments is to give opportunities to share lists of vessels that are part and parcel of illegal fishing throughout the world, and by sharing the information that the Canada Border Services Agency has with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, for both groups to collaborate on the information that they have in order to minimize impacts of cross-border trade of fish and seafood products.

(1510)

By moving this forward in Bill S-3, we give strength to the organizations to be able to share the information as gathered. Right now there are some issues with the sharing of the information — what belongs to Canada Border Services Agency, what belongs to Fisheries and Oceans, and other agencies that are out there. Hopefully, through Bill S-3, the amendments put forward, we will be able to bring all the information that is out there together in order to be able to minimize, where possible.

Are we saying that this will solve all the problems that are put forward, Mr. Speaker? Chances are it will not. Pirate fishing goes on throughout the world in many places. The thing is that it's not necessarily those that are in Canadian waters; it's to help a global problem. By addressing it here at home, with the cooperation of other countries that have already signed on to this, such as the European Union and the United States, hopefully it will become a global response to illegal fishing, a global response to pirate fishing, and therefore we will address the concerns that we have here at home also.

(On motion of Senator Fraser, for Senator Baker, debate adjourned.)

Business of the Senate

Motion to Change Commencement Time on Wednesdays and Thursdays and to Effect Wednesday Adjournments Adopted as Amended

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Martin, seconded by the Honourable Senator Poirier:

That, for the remainder of the current session,

(a) when the Senate sits on a Wednesday or a Thursday, it shall sit at 1:30 p.m. notwithstanding rule 3-1(1);

(b) when the Senate sits on a Wednesday, it stand adjourned at the later of 4 p.m. or the end of Government Business, but no later than the time otherwise provided in the Rules, unless it has been suspended for the purpose of taking a deferred vote or has earlier adjourned;

(c) when the Senate sits past 4 p.m. on a Wednesday, committees scheduled to meet be authorized to hold meetings for the purpose of receiving and publishing evidence, even if the Senate is then sitting, with the application of rule 12-18(1) being suspended in relation thereto; and

(d) when a vote is deferred until 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings, if required, immediately prior to any adjournment but no later than the time provided in paragraph (b), to suspend the sitting until 5:30 p.m. for the taking of the deferred vote, and that committees be authorized to meet during the period that the sitting is suspended.

Hon. Elizabeth (Beth) Marshall: Honourable senators, I would like to move an amendment to the motion.

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Elizabeth (Beth) Marshall: Honourable senators, I move that the motion be amended::

By replacing the initial paragraph by the words "That, for the remainder of the calendar year 2013,".

The Hon. the Speaker: Is there debate, honourable senators?

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I would just like to say that I'm pleased to see this amendment brought forward from the government's side, colleagues. It is an encouraging sign of, on at least some occasions, openness to negotiation and to new ways, perhaps, of addressing problems that in themselves may not be new. I do congratulate the government for having taken this step. It doesn't go quite as far as I would have chosen, but even a half step — this is more than a half step; let's say a three-quarter step — is a good thing.

We on our side have been distressed about this motion, both in this session and in the last session. The reasons — they are several — were well enunciated by my colleague Senator Tardif and by other senators in the debate before we rose for the Remembrance Day week, but let me repeat: This motion does something that is counter to one of the fundamental traditions, conventions and principles of the Senate. This house of Parliament, unlike the House of Commons, does not habitually allow committees to sit while the Senate is sitting, and there's a good reason for that. There's a very good reason for that. It is essentially that in the Senate we're supposed to pay attention to the business of the chamber and to the business of the committees on which we sit. To pass a motion requiring that significant numbers of senators be in two places at once, which is essentially what this new procedure does, goes counter to that fundamental principle. We haven't yet managed to clone senators, and until the day we do, it's going to be very difficult for us to sit in two places at once.

But that's what this motion does. This motion says that the Senate can sit until government business is concluded on Wednesday, whenever that may be, and that committees can go on and sit in their regularly scheduled slots even while the Senate is considering government business. As we know, government business frequently addresses very serious issues in which all senators take a significant interest.

The committees that meet on Wednesday afternoon are not, shall we say, among the — I don't want to say less important, but the less heavy-duty committees that we have. Social Affairs, Banking, Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and Foreign Affairs are committees that carry a heavy, heavy load, and their members all take that work extremely seriously.

What are we saying to them? We're saying to them: You can't do both. You can't have it both ways. I think that's unfortunate, to say the very, very least. I think it's unfair; it's contrary to our traditions. I also think it's unnecessary.

I appreciate that from the point of view of the government, it's nice; I do appreciate this. I can remember when our side was in government, and we hope one day to be there again. It is very convenient to have a certain degree of predictability about the timing under which we can consider government business, if one happens to be sitting in the government. But how necessary, how actually necessary is this motion?

Colleagues will recall that a comparable motion was in effect, as Senator Tardif reminded us, in the last session of Parliament. It was indicated to us then that it was only sort of an experiment and we would revisit it. Well, here we are again, and I'm very glad that we're going to have, I hope, an occasion to revisit it. By my rough count, from June 2011 to June 2013, the Senate sat on 56 Wednesdays — 56. On only 15 of those Wednesdays did we find it necessary to sit past 4 p.m., and I would note that on one of those days we sat until only two minutes past 4 p.m.. In total, of the 15 days when we sat past 4 p.m., on seven of those days we sat for less than 45 minutes beyond 4 p.m.

So it seems to me that it ought not to be beyond the wit of man or woman or senators to find another way to tackle the fact that our abbreviated sessions on Wednesday do curtail the time available for chamber work, without impeding the work of committees.

Let me just toss a few ideas at you to get us thinking about these things. My colleague Senator Chaput noted in her speech that we might sit on Fridays. Alternatively, it might be more convenient for some people if we sat on Monday evenings. These two propositions may not garner massive support, but I have a couple of other ideas. One is that on Wednesday, instead of sitting at 1:30 p.m., we could sit at 1 p.m. We're all here anyway in the building for caucuses, so it would not be extremely burdensome for us to have to sit at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, and then perhaps run the sitting to 4:15 p.m. That would give us that 45-minute margin of extra time that I was talking about a few minutes ago. We might even say stretch it to not 4:15 p.m. but 4:30 p.m., and shift the committee sitting times, which now begin at 4:15 p.m., to 4:30 p.m.. It is not going to inconvenience committees in general to have the afternoon and evening sessions shoved back 15 minutes. I don't think that would be the end of the world, but it might solve the perceived problem of not having enough time on Wednesdays to examine government business.

(1520)

I will say for the record that I also have difficulty with the argument that government business matters but other business does not. You may recall my impassioned outbursts a couple of weeks ago about how "Other Business" is the business for all senators, not just for the government, and I think it deserves just as much respect and consideration as government business does as we go about our work.

However, in practical terms, I think what the government is trying to achieve is to make sure government business gets a good crack of time on Wednesday. As I'm trying to suggest, I think that we could logically achieve that goal without damaging the Senate's other practices, traditions and rules.

[Translation]

I repeat: I am pleased that the government has agreed to shorten the period for which this motion applies. I hope that before we come back after the break for Christmas and New Year's, we will all be able to work together to negotiate a new and reasonable approach that will be acceptable to both sides of the chamber, because as I said, I am convinced that that is possible. I am convinced of it. Let us work together. Let us try to do so.

I thought that the Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament would be a good place to consider this issue, but it is not necessarily where it should happen. It could be done through more informal negotiations.

Let us take advantage of this opening we have here. Let us take advantage of this opportunity that has presented itself to demonstrate that we are capable of coming to a constructive compromise. Compromise is in keeping with the best Senate tradition, and I think that we must take advantage of this opportunity.

Lately, times have sometimes been tough, but those tough times have made us even more aware of how fragile and beautiful our institution is. Let us take advantage of this opportunity.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[English]

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, in response, and in the spirit of cooperation and negotiation which we have an opportunity to do as deputy leaders on both sides, I would add that in what you shared with us regarding the record or number of days in which we had to sit past 4:00, that there were 15 days, 7 of which were less than 45 minutes after 4 p.m. That speaks to the fact that in the last session, over a two-year period, that arrangement did work.

This motion, for practical reasons, simply gives assurances to committees that are meeting that they can call witnesses, that we can schedule them as such, and that we can look at how we can work effectively on Tuesdays and Thursdays, knowing that on Wednesdays we have a set schedule.

In the numbers that you provide, senator, I propose that what we had been doing was effective, and that's something we can consider as one of the options, as you outlined. For those who live farther away on either coast, I'm sure that coming in on a Monday evening is not an attractive option.

However, as you stated, as an opportunity to be constructive and to move forward, this amendment could be supported today so that we can take the next steps.

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, I think we should reflect on what has been going on around here for the last few weeks and the scrutiny under which this chamber has come by the public, by the media, and reflect on one thing that has been consistent throughout the whole piece. Everybody has talked about the quality of the work of the committees of the Senate. Nobody has denied that. The media have acknowledged it, the public have acknowledged it, and Senator Baker told us the number of times that the Supreme Court has referenced Senate committee reports. He also noted that not once did they reference a committee report from the House of Commons. This is the premier, quality work we do here. It bothers me that we're changing the rules that could allow us to water that down.

I try to attend the chamber as much as I can, much to the chagrin of the government, I'm sure, but I also try to make sure that on a regular basis I attend the three committees that I'm on and not miss them.

It's important that we not do anything to take away from the quality of the work that we could do at committees. I remind everyone that, on occasion, chairs of committees will come in and ask for special permission to allow their committee to meet when the Senate is sitting. When asked the question, they usually have a good answer: that the minister is available only at that particular time, or that a special witness could only appear at that time. Once the answer is given, usually the opposition says, "Certainly, let's do that."

We do accommodate these things, but I'm concerned that we are making this change. A change between now and the end of this calendar year, which is not that far away, is still a change. I'm concerned that it becomes a precedent upon which a more permanent change will happen. Then, if we do have permanent change, that will take away from the quality of our work.

I think Senator Fraser has made — not in the form of an amendment but in the form of a friendly suggestion — some good ideas. Maybe sitting at 1 p.m. and going to 4:30 p.m. works and solves everybody's problems.

I am concerned, though, that we need to ensure that the quality of the work of all committees is protected and that it's not watered down by the demand that some of us need to be here in this chamber and not in our committees.

I do remind some of the more senior members of the government, who have been here a while, that when the shoe was on the other foot, when we were the government and they were the opposition, as their numbers decreased, how difficult it became for them to manage their time because they needed to be on different committees.

We on this side are on at least two committees, some of us are on three, and one or two of us may be on more. That becomes a problem of managing this place. When you manage this place, you don't manage just the government side; you need to manage the participation of all 105 of us. In the case of the opposition, that means ensuring we have an opportunity to make sure that we have our people at committees. If we have to have people in the chamber and we have committees going on at the same time, that complicates that management process and I think we need to consider that.

That's why, honourable senators, I cannot support this motion, even in its amended form.

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: I wish to respond to Senator Mercer. I think he thinks I'm one of the senior members here. I'm sure he meant that in years of experience, not age.

I think we should look back. There were times when we used to sit on Wednesdays much beyond four o'clock. Perhaps the recent record doesn't bear it out, but we certainly did before. I think that if we want to give priority to the committees, we should do so by having a fixed time. The reason I say that is I find it difficult for chairs to come in here and ask for special dispensation because we have a minister. That sends the wrong signal to the average person who wants to testify and should be able to testify before the committees. That is the opportunity for the public to input, to be on the record. One of the good things about our committees is that we do that. We don't have a pro forma way. We don't say that they're on for three minutes only, et cetera. They come from a long way and, if they come for a fixed time, they're trying to get back on airfares that are cheaper, et cetera.

(1530)

I rather like having the fixed time for committees so that we give a clear signal to the public that every input is as valuable as that of the minister.

Hon. Daniel Lang: Honourable senators, I'd like to join this debate for a couple of comments.

I want to say to Senator Fraser that I appreciate some of the ideas that she brought forward in respect of how to deal with the very real situation we face on Wednesdays. I think we've all faced situations on Wednesdays with witnesses who have come a long way, as Senator Andreychuk indicated, yet, at the same time, we don't know if we're going to be able to hear them because of what's going on in the Senate itself.

I think that with what she presented a little bit earlier as far as timing in the Senate may be, at least, a compromise to meet our obligations here as well as in the committee hearings.

I, like Senator Andreychuk, would prefer to have some certainty — not just from the point of view of witnesses but also from the point of view of our own individual schedules — to know that when 4:30 p.m. comes, that's what is going to happen and we're going to pursue our other responsibilities.

Hopefully, this motion will pass and we'll be able to find some room to negotiate and meet everybody's objectives. At the end of the day, it is the institution. It's how we run this institution and we should have some flexibility to be able to make changes that are logical and meet the objective that we all would like to achieve.

Therefore, I would like to say to Senator Fraser that I appreciate her comments.

The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators: On division.

(Motion in amendment agreed to, on division.)

The Hon. the Speaker: The next question is on the main motion.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion as amended?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators: On division.

(Motion, as amended, agreed to, on division.)

[Translation]

Library of Parliament

First Report of Joint Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the first report of the Standing Joint committee on the Library of Parliament (mandate of the committee and quorum), presented in the Senate on November 7, 2013.

Hon. Marie-P. Charette-Poulin moved the adoption of the report.

[English]

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, as a member of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament, I do want to make one comment before we vote on this.

I'm concerned about the activities of the committee in the sense that I've been a member of the committee for — I think this is my second year. I think it's been a strenuous job being a member of this committee. It's been strenuous in the sense of we can't get the committee to meet, and there are a number of us who would like this committee to meet. There are very important subjects to talk about. The Parliamentary Budget Officer normally reports through this committee. That may be why the committee is not meeting, Mr. Speaker. I'm not sure.

If we're going to have this committee, and if we're going to approve this report, I think it's incumbent on the committee, and Senator Charette-Poulin is the joint-chair, not the chair. There is a joint-chair from the other place, a newly elected one, I must say, and a good fellow from Nova Scotia.

I'm hoping that we're going to see some activity out of this committee in this session, because we sure didn't see a lot of activity the last time, and I think honourable senators need to know that as they vote on this report.

The Hon. the Speaker: Further debate? Are senators ready for the question?

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

Human Rights

Committee Authorized to Study International and National Human Rights Obligations and Refer Papers and Evidence Received since Beginning of First Session of Thirty-seventh Parliament

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer, pursuant to notice of November 7, 2013, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights be authorized to examine and monitor issues relating to human rights and, inter alia, to review the machinery of government dealing with Canada's international and national human rights obligations;

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject since the beginning of the First session of the Thirty-seventh Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than June 30, 2014.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is there debate? Are honourable senators ready for the question? Senator Fraser.

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Colleagues will know—and Senator Jaffer is just the first to bump into this — that I always like to ask chairs of committees who are asking to do studies what is involved. Are we looking at travel? Are we likely to look at particularly expensive matters or not? I see she has more than one motion, so I would not mind if she gave those answers to whatever she has coming.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you for that question, senator.

The Human Rights Committee has two kinds of studies. We have ongoing studies where we look at issues that are occurring on a yearly basis, and this first study is on issues that will come up on a yearly basis that the steering committee will recommend to the committee, so all the four references are there. They are ongoing references that happen every year. In these four references, there will be no travel. For example, on the cyberbullying study, we're just going to be doing ongoing work. We do not expect to travel and we do expect some budget, but not much of a budget.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Committee Authorized to Study Issues of Discrimination in Hiring and Promotion Practices of Federal Public Service and Labour Market Outcomes for Minority Groups in Private Sector and Refer Papers and Evidence Received since Beginning of First Session of Thirty-ninth Parliament

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer, pursuant to notice of November 7, 2013, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights be authorized to examine issues of discrimination in the hiring and promotion practices of the Federal Public Service, to study the extent to which targets to achieve employment equity are being met, and to examine labour market outcomes for minority groups in the private sector;

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject since the beginning of the First session of the Thirty-ninth Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than June 30, 2014.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Committee Authorized to Study Issues Pertaining to Human Rights of First Nations Band Members Who Reside Off-Reserve and Refer Papers and Evidence Received during First Session of Forty-first Parliament

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer, pursuant to notice of November 7, 2013, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights be authorized to examine and report on issues pertaining to the human rights of First Nations band members who reside off-reserve, with an emphasis on the current federal policy framework. In particular, the committee will examine:

(a) Rights relating to residency;

(b) Access to rights;

(c) Participation in community-based decision-making processes;

(d) Portability of rights;

(e) Existing Remedies;

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject during the First session of the Forty-first Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee submit its final report no later than December 31, 2013.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(1540)

Committee Authorized to Study Issue of Cyberbullying and Refer Papers and Evidence Received during First Session of Forty-first Parliament

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer, pursuant to notice of November 7, 2013, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights be authorized to examine and report upon the issue of cyberbullying in Canada with regard to Canada's international human rights obligations under Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child;

That, notwithstanding rule 12-16, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights be empowered to hold occasional meetings in camera for the purpose of hearing witnesses and gathering sensitive evidence; and

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject during the First session of the Forty-first Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee submit its final report no later than June 30, 2014, and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings for 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Committee Authorized to Study Prescription Pharmaceuticals and Refer Papers and Evidence Received during First Session of Forty-first Parliament

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie, pursuant to notice of November 7, 2013, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology be authorized to examine and report on prescription pharmaceuticals in Canada, including but not limited to:

(a) the process to approve prescription pharmaceuticals with a particular focus on clinical trials;

(b) the post-approval monitoring of prescription pharmaceuticals;

(c) the off-label use of prescription pharmaceuticals; and

(d) the nature of unintended consequences in the use of prescription pharmaceuticals.

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject during the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee submit its final report no later than December 31, 2014 and that the committee retain until March 31, 2015, all powers necessary to publicize its findings.

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

Senator Ogilvie: Honourable senators, this is a reintroduction of the order of reference passed by the Senate. It contains four important aspects of the total study, two of which have been completed and the reports approved by the Senate. The third one on off-label use was completed before we broke in June. The report is in the final draft and will go to the committee if this motion is adopted. That leaves us to complete the fourth and final phase of the overall study, which is the nature of unintended consequences and the use of prescription pharmaceuticals.

Honourable senators, there has been no travel involved to date and none anticipated, and the budget for our committee is the lowest of all committees.

Senator Mercer: I hate it when he brags like that.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[Translation]

Official Languages

Committee to Study Application of Official Languages Act and Relevant Regulations, Directives and Reports and Refer Papers and Evidence Received since Beginning of First Session of Forty-first Parliament

Hon. Claudette Tardif, pursuant to notice of November 7, 2013, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages be authorized to study and to report on the application of the Official Languages Act and of the regulations and directives made under it, within those institutions subject to the Act;

That the committee also be authorized to study the reports and documents published by the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, the President of the Treasury Board, and the Commissioner of Official Languages, and any other subject concerning official languages;

That the documents received, evidence heard and business accomplished on this subject by the committee since the beginning of the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee report from time to time to the Senate but no later than June 30, 2015, and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings for 90 days after the tabling of the final report.

(Motion agreed to.)

[English]

National Security and Defence

Committee Authorized to Study National Security and Defence Policies, Practices, Circumstances and Capabilities and Refer Papers and Evidence Received during Fortieth Parliament and First Session of Forty-first Parliament

Hon. Daniel Lang, pursuant to notice of November 7, 2013, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be authorized to examine and report on Canada's national security and defence policies, practices, circumstances and capabilities; and

That the papers and evidence received and taken and the work accomplished by the committee on this subject during the Fortieth Parliament and the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament be referred to the Committee; and

That the Committee report to the Senate no later than December 19, 2014, and that the Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 90 days after the tabling of the final report.

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

Senator Lang: I wish to bring to senators' attention that this is an order of reference. It's quite broad. It is similar to one passed in this house a number of years ago. It's going to permit the Defence Committee to hear witnesses on a variety of issues that fall within its mandate.

I'd like to bring to your attention that in the next forthcoming weeks we intend to follow up on a number of reports that were tabled in this house and accepted by this house, namely that of the reserves and also the report on the Arctic that we did a number of years ago, to get an update in respect to what has happened since we did those reports.

No matter which committee does a report, it's important that we follow up and report back to the chamber when we find out exactly how our recommendations were accepted by the government and what was and was not implemented. It's important from the perspective that the reports and the work we do as committee members and as committee chairs are taken seriously at the end of the day. If we don't follow up, the departments won't take them seriously because they can just deal with them on a one-time basis.

I'm putting forward motions on all the areas for which we have responsibility. When we do a report, as we did on the issue of harassment this past session — and all senators recognize how important that study was — we follow up a year hence. In that case, we want to follow up so we know exactly what has happened within the RCMP and we can report back to the house.

That's the purpose of this motion, and I look forward to reporting back to the house at a later date.

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Would Senator Lang take a question?

Senator Lang: Yes.

Senator Fraser: I'm not disputing at all the importance of the work done by your committee. Over the years, indeed, you have done well by the Senate in terms of attracting public attention to the important work that this committee has done. I'm just trying to get a sense for other colleagues who don't sit on the committee of what we're talking about in terms of Senate resources. Are we talking about travel? Are we talking about hiring outside experts? You don't give us precise numbers at this stage, I know, but can you give us some indication of the scope of the work that lies ahead?

Senator Lang: I should point out, colleagues, that this is a general principle motion. We will be bringing forward a motion at a later date to give clear terms of reference for future studies of this committee, both in security and defence. At that stage we will present to the chamber and to all members, and also obviously a budget, if it's required. We're working on that as we speak. We've had a number of organizational meetings, along with our steering committee, and I expect to be able to report progress to the house.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Committee Authorized to Study Services and Benefits for Members and Veterans of Armed Forces and Current and Former Members of the RCMP, Commemorative Activities and Charter and Refer Papers and Evidence Received during Fortieth Parliament and First Session of Forty-first Parliament

Hon. Daniel Lang, pursuant to notice of November 7, 2013, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be authorized to study:

(a) services and benefits provided to members of the Canadian Forces; to veterans who have served honourably in Her Majesty's Canadian Armed Forces in the past; to members and former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and its antecedents; and all of their families;

(b) commemorative activities undertaken by the Department of Veterans' Affairs Canada, to keep alive for all Canadians the memory of Canadian veterans' achievements and sacrifices; and

(c) continuing implementation of the New Veterans' Charter;

That the papers and evidence received and taken and the work accomplished by the Committee on this subject during the Fortieth Parliament and the First Session of the Forty first Parliament be referred to the Committee; and

That the Committee report to the Senate no later than December 19, 2014, and that the Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 90 days after the tabling of the final report.

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

Senator Lang: Once again, this motion has to do with the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. This particular order that we're requesting from the chamber pertains to Veteran Affairs, and it will be delegated to the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs. It will permit the subcommittee to do its work.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Study on Services and Benefits for Members and Veterans of Armed Forces and Current and Former Members of the RCMP, Commemorative Activities and Charter—Committee Authorized to Request a Government Response to the Ninth Report of the Committee Tabled during the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament

Hon. Daniel Lang, pursuant to notice of November 7, 2013, moved:

That, pursuant to rule 12-24(1), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the Government to the Ninth Report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, entitled: A Study of the New Veterans Charter, tabled in the Senate on March 21, 2013, during the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament, and adopted on May 2, 2013, with the Minister of Veterans Affairs being identified as minister responsible for responding to the report.

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

Senator Lang: I have a couple of observations, colleagues. This motion is the result of a report tabled in the last session and approved by the members of the Senate. We are now asking for it to be reintroduced into the Senate so that we can get a government reply in respect to the Veterans Affairs report that was tabled. This will give us the necessary authorization.

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I should know the answer to this, but I don't. It's a report from the previous session. Do you have to bring back the report and bring it formally to the Senate in order to request a government response? I don't think this motion does that. Perhaps the Speaker might help.

Senator Lang: Mr. Speaker, colleagues, my understanding is that we have to bring this motion forward in order to reactivate the report for us to pursue the necessary answers to the questions that we've raised in respect to the Minister of Veterans Affairs. I suppose I could say to colleagues we could leave it silent, but this motion reactivates it and ensures it's on the Order Paper and it's going to be responded to.

Senator Fraser: I think the key point, as my learned colleague observed, is that this report and the one in your next motion have already been adopted by the Senate, so they do not actually have to be revived. They're there. Now all you're doing is asking for a response. Have I got that clear?

Senator Lang: That's correct. "Reactivate" is not necessarily the word, but we're asking for permission to proceed with the report that was accepted by the Senate to get a response from the Minister of Veterans Affairs.

The Hon. the Speaker: As Senator Fraser had asked the chair for clarification, I concur with the explanation that has been given by colleagues.

Senator Lang: Everybody wins.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is it wish of the house to adopt this motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Study on Harassment in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police—Committee Authorized to Request a Government Response to the Fourteenth Report of the Committee Tabled during the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament

Hon. Daniel Lang, pursuant to notice of November 7, 2013, moved:

That, pursuant to rule 12-24(1), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the Government to the Fourteenth Report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, entitled: Conduct Becoming: Why the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Must Transform its Culture, tabled in the Senate on June 18, 2013, during the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament, and adopted the same day, with the Minister of Public Safety being identified as minister responsible for responding to the report.

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

Senator Lang: Colleagues, not unlike the last motion, this is the result of a report that was tabled and accepted in the last session, and we are asking for a government response. As you recall, that motion was adopted last session, and now we're going forward again to request the Minister of Public Safety to continue to work on the response to the committee's report.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, November 20, 2013, at 1:30 p.m.)