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2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 17

Thursday, November 21, 2013
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

 

 

THE SENATE

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, 25 years ago a farmer from Midgell, PEI, was elected to the House of Commons as the Member of Parliament for Cardigan. Lawrence MacAulay has been re-elected seven times since then, and he still holds that seat today.

His continued success at the ballot box is remarkable — so much so that just one other Islander, the late Angus MacLean, reached the quarter-century milestone as MP. This achievement is a testament to Lawrence's bond with his constituents and their trust in him, that they repeatedly send him to Ottawa to be their voice in the House of Commons.

I had the privilege of being elected with Lawrence in the federal election of 1988, along with fellow candidates Joe McGuire and George Proud. It was an exciting experience as we four traveled to Ottawa to attend our first session of Parliament. Lawrence is the only one of the four who remains in the other place, and he continues to work with the same unflinching dedication and effort he demonstrated 25 years ago.

He's a fixture at events from one end of his riding to the other, including wedding anniversaries, funerals and benefit concerts. His work lobbying on behalf of Islanders is well known, from funding for the Wood Islands ferry, to foreign herring seiners in PEI fishing grounds, to the expansion of the national park on PEI, and more.

Constituency work is paramount and political stripes are irrelevant when someone needs a hand. In a recent article in the Eastern Graphic, Lawrence said: "Honest to God if you can help an individual who is having a difficult time, that is the most rewarding."

His ability to connect with people is also well known here on the Hill. He keeps up with the lives of parliamentary staff and others around him. He treats everyone the way he would like to be treated. It is that kind of common touch that has gained him such a loyal following

Lawrence would be the first to acknowledge the hard work and support of his wife, Frances, to whom he has been married for over forty years. They make an exceptional team. If Lawrence cannot attend an event, Frances will likely be there. Their attention to the people in the riding is unparalleled.

Honourable Senators, Lawrence MacAulay has made an outstanding contribution to his Cardigan constituents, to the people of Prince Edward Island and to Canada over the past 25 years; and I have no doubt he will continue to do so. Please join me in congratulating Lawrence on his twenty-fifth anniversary as MP for Cardigan, and wishing him and Frances all the best in the future.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

Hon. Denise Batters: Honourable senators, as a proud member of Rider Nation, I am thrilled to rise today to preview Sunday's one hundred and first Grey Cup. This supremely Canadian spectacle will be held in my hometown of Regina and will feature our beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Two weeks ago in this chamber, I wished the Roughriders luck in the Western Semi-Final. Despite the bitterly cold temperatures at that Regina home game, Saskatchewan emerged triumphant over the B.C. Lions. As we in the stands that day struggled to maintain feeling in our fingers and toes with a kickoff temperature of minus 20 with the wind chill, we said it would all be worth it if we won that game — and it was. The Riders won.

The next step on our quest was the Western Final in Calgary. Now, you could be excused if you thought Saskatchewan was again playing a home playoff game as much of Calgary's stands were covered in a sea of green. The Roughriders dominated the game, causing seven turnovers, and stampeded the Stampeders 35-13.

Right after that game, the team was already thinking ahead to this week's challenge. Media reported hearing echoes of "Henry, Henry" from the Roughriders' dressing room because, honourable senators, you can't write a better story than this year's Grey Cup matchup.

You have the heart of the CFL, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, playing in the championship match at home for the first time in front of the best fans in the league. We boast of offensive stars like our leader Darian Durant; the no-stopping-him running back Kory Sheets; the small but mighty receiver Weston Dressler; and John Chick and Big Rider D.

For Hamilton, you have Henry Burris, our former QB whom Rider fans love to hate. Old "Smilin' Hank" won't be able to hear himself think on Sunday as the "thirteenth man" taunts him relentlessly. Also returning to the familiar confines of Taylor Field are Ti-Cats head coach Kent Austin, Rider QB legend and our last Grey-Cup-winning head coach; and our former star receiver, Andy Fantuz.

Honourable senators, all of that will just make a Saskatchewan victory that much sweeter. This year's Grey Cup organizers chose a very fitting theme: Celebration in Rider Nation.

Our diehard fans are primed to rejoice on the "green mile," just as thousands of us did, myself included, after our 2007 Grey Cup win. I am so excited to enjoy the big game, all the fantastic festivities and a Saskatchewan Roughrider Grey Cup victory with my family and

friends in Regina this weekend, whatever the weather. We can't wait to see that coveted cup paraded through Regina by Gainer the Gopher and the whole Rider team next week.

Our Grey Cup victory parade will likely coincide with the green and white comet Ison's closest encounter with the sun. Astronomer Martin Beech made this prophetic statement: "Being green and white, I think it's doom for Hamilton."

Even the sky is displaying its Rider pride. Go Riders, go!

Universal Children's Day

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, on November 19 the international community commemorated Universal Children's Day. My personal thoughts and prayers went out to the girls of Kolkata's red-light district, whom I visited a few short months ago. I travelled to Kolkata, India, with Petra Bosma and Jamie McIntosh of International Justice Mission Canada, which is a human rights organization that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.

When we drove through one red-light district, I was shocked by the number of girls and women I saw. There were thousands of women and girls. There were women of all ages in all kinds of dress. I locked eyes with a woman who looked my age. We stared into each other's eyes. I am sure my eyes were asking why, at her age, she was standing in line to be traded by pimps. The woman of my age stared back at me with an angry glare, and I did not understand why she was mad at me. As we were ending our drive into the district, I saw a young Nepali girl who was no older than 12. Her eyes conveyed the absolute betrayal she felt. Before I could do or say anything, she fled.

When we returned to the hotel, I proceeded to my room and just sat in bed staring at the wall. I felt dirty, overwhelmed and dejected. The more I thought about it, the more I realized why the woman and girl I had come across had looked at me with such anger and betrayal. It occurred to me that they must have felt betrayed because they felt that politicians and leaders alike failed them, and rightfully so. They understand that we have the power to help them, but we choose not to exercise it. Instead, we allow this to continue to happen to them.

The woman who appeared to be my age, who gave me an angry glare, was indeed mad at me because she thought I was judging her. In truth, I had been judging her. I felt a deep regret for doing so. I do not walk in her shoes. I do not face her challenges, and I do not understand her circumstances.

(1340)

One very important lesson I learned while in Calcutta, India, was that women and children who are victims of human trafficking are not interested in our pity or our charity. What they seek is not dependence but rather dignity.

Honourable senators, I ask that you join me in this fight against human trafficking and help the 2 million children who are stripped of their innocence and dignity each and every day. Together, we can help women and children around the world access the most basic and fundamental human rights.

During this international children's rights week, let us remember that every child has a right, and we have to protect them.

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Availability of Chamber Audio Proceedings

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, it has become clear to me and my colleagues on the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration over the past few weeks that there has been a public appetite for, and interest in, the debates of this chamber. In the interests of openness and transparency, which I think are important attributes for a public institution, my colleagues and I on the Internal Economy Committee have authorized the Clerk of the Senate to act on rule 14-7 and make the chamber audio available publicly via the ParlVU webpage.

Second, we have authorized the clerk to have the copyright statement amended in the manner indicated to capture the copyright of the Senate chamber.

My understanding is that this will be in place and take effect next Tuesday, November 26, 2013. I am confident that honourable senators will join me in saying that it is long past time that the audio proceedings of this chamber were made publicly available.

President John F. Kennedy

Fiftieth Anniversary of Assassination

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to the late John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States of America, whose assassination happened 50 years ago tomorrow.

Affectionately known as JFK, he was born on May 29, 1917, the second son of the nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald Kennedy. At an early age, he was hampered with congenital back problems that would trouble him all his days and lead to a round of surgeries. Despite that pain, he served his country with honour in World War II as the heroic captain of PT-109, a torpedo boat, in the Pacific campaign. He was discharged in 1944.

A Democrat, he was first elected in 1946, at 29 years of age, to represent the 11th Congressional District of Massachusetts in the federal House of Representatives. After serving three terms, he was elected as senator for that state in 1952.

Another member of that class of 1946 was Richard M. Nixon. JFK would later outshine Nixon in the televised debates of the 1960 presidential campaign.

More than 68 million votes were cast, and JFK won that November 8 election by a majority of 118,574 votes, the first Roman Catholic to be elected president and, at age 43, the youngest president ever elected then and still.

His inauguration speech, delivered on January 20, 1961, contained phrases that resonate today:

Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce.

The ending words of that speech passed into the world's consciousness:

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

In his all-too-short 1,000 days in office, he faced huge issues and inspired a nation. He created the Peace Corps, which saw American youth volunteer to serve overseas. He was saddled with the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba during his third month in office.

JFK motivated his countrymen with the challenge to send a rocket to the moon in the decade of the 1960s, culminating in Neil Armstrong stepping onto the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969.

In 1961, the Soviets erected a wall dividing Berlin. In a stirring speech on June 26, 1963, at City Hall in West Berlin, JFK confirmed his support for the people of all Berlin with the words:

All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner."

In October 1962, JFK was faced with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sensing a nuclear war, he decreed a naval blockade. His negotiations with Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the U.S.S.R. resulted in the Soviets agreeing to remove all missiles from Cuba and the United States agreeing to remove its missiles from Turkey.

He fought segregation in educational institutions, which led to James Meredith, a black man, being enrolled at the University of Mississippi on October 2, 1962.

On June 10, 1963, JFK made his so-called Peace Speech, calling on the Soviet Union to accept his idea of a peaceful rivalry, not a nuclear one. That speech was pivotal and, on July 25, 1963, the U.S.A., U.S.S.R. and Great Britain signed a nuclear test ban treaty. President Kennedy considered this his greatest achievement.

On October 19, 1960, Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested at a peaceful sit-in. He was denied bail and sentenced to six months' hard labour. JFK, the candidate, phoned Dr. King's wife, Mrs. Coretta King, offering his help. That event linked the civil rights leader with JFK forever.

On November 21, 1963, he asked his National Security Advisor, Michael Forrestall, to "organize an in-depth study of every possible option we've got in Vietnam, including how to get out of there."

That wonderful presidency of energy and hope came to a tragic end the very next day in Dallas, Texas. One can only wonder what good things for the world might have happened had JFK lived.

Yesterday, President Obama presented this year's Presidential Freedom Medals, created by JFK, the first group of which was to be presented two weeks after his death in 1963. They are awarded to those who make:

. . . an especially meritorious contribution to . . . the security or national interests of the United States, or . . . world peace, or . . . cultural or other significant public or private endeavours.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy continues to do that to this day.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

[Translation]

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw to your attention to the presence in the gallery of very distinguished citizens from the province of New Brunswick. I am referring to Professor Roger Lenglet, of the Université de Moncton, and also Helen Bélanger and Daniel Bélanger, Northern Construction executives, from Grand Falls, New Brunswick.

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


[English]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

National Security and Defence

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

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a letter dated November 20, 2013, concerning a request for a government response 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.

[Translation]

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

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a letter dated November 20, 2013, concerning a request for a government response 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.

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

First Report of Committee Tabled

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the First Report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration on the financial statements and financial position of the Senate at March 31, 2013.

[English]

Banking, Trade and Commerce

Report Pursuant to Rule 12-26(2) Tabled

Hon. David Tkachuk: 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 Banking, Trade and Commerce, 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. 209.)

(1350)

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Report Pursuant to Rule 12-26(2) Tabled

Hon. Bob Runciman: 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 Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 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. 211.)

National Health and Fitness Day Bill

First Reading

Hon. Nancy Greene Raine introduced Bill S-211, An Act to establish a national day to promote health and fitness for all Canadians.

(Bill read first time.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

(On motion of Senator Raine, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)

[Translation]

Indian Act

Bill to Amend—First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-428, An Act to amend the Indian Act (publication of by-laws) and to provide for its replacement.

(Bill read first time.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

(On motion of Senator Martin, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)

The Senate

Membership of Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate, seconded by the Honourable Senator Fraser, I move:

That pursuant to rule 12-27(1) of the Rules of the Senate, the membership of the Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators be as follows:

The Honourable Senators Andreychuk, Cordy, Frum, Joyal, P.C., and Tannas.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Pursuant to rule 12-27(1), the motion was deemed adopted.)

[English]

Banking, Trade and Commerce

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study the Ability of Individuals to Establish a Registered Disability Savings Plan

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce be authorized to examine and report on the ability of individuals to establish a registered disability savings plan (RDSP), with particular emphasis on legal representation and the ability of individuals to enter into a contract; and

That the committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than March 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]

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Meet During Sitting of the Senate

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology have the power to sit, Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 3:15 p.m. even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.


QUESTION PERIOD

Public Safety

Correctional Service of Canada—Prison System

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Two years ago, we studied Bills C- 25 and C-10, which were ostensibly meant to fight crime even though, according to Statistics Canada, the crime rate was falling.

According to the Institut de recherche et d'informations socio- économiques, those two bills were going to force Canadian taxpayers to pay $19 billion to build a new prison, plus $2.8 billion for operating and maintenance expenses.

At the same time, the government introduced bills to impose mandatory minimum sentences, life imprisonment for those convicted of three major crimes and life imprisonment without parole if the law was passed. These are all measures that increase prison populations.

We recently learned that Canada's prisons are in such terrible shape that the government closed three of them in September and will have to spend $1 billion on urgent renovations.

Does the government realize that Canadians have figured out it is cutting services, delaying their retirement and cutting employment insurance so that it can pay for prisons that will end up costing us more and more money?

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I do not understand the connection between the question and the building and maintenance of prisons, along with the other measures Senator Hervieux-Payette listed.

I think that people expect their money to be spent appropriately. They also expect the government to take action to fight crime. They especially want the government to make sure that people who commit crimes are punished. People sentenced to jail should serve their time in jail. Criminals go to jail so that they cannot continue to commit violence and crimes and hurt law- abiding citizens.

We do not believe that prisoners should be freed or should be on the streets before their punishment or prison term is fully served in accordance with the law.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: The Leader of the Government in the Senate said that he did not understand the question, but I did not understand his answer either.

My question was the following: when the government spends money to urgently renovate prisons, it is obviously not spending money on building new prisons to ensure that prisoners are suitably detained in accordance with international standards. Therefore, I suspect that the government wants to give a private company a contract to look after our prisons, to turn it into a business as they have done in the United States.

Senator Carignan: Budget 2012 was clear: we will not be building new prisons because the existing system and existing prisons are meeting demand.

You saw the studies. There are fewer spaces required, or less overpopulation than was initially anticipated when mandatory minimum sentences were brought in.

We have no intention of building new prisons.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: I have a supplementary question. I agree with the Leader of the Government in the Senate that we do not need additional space. I do want to point out that 580 Aboriginal woman have been murdered or are missing, and as of yet, almost no one has been found guilty, no one has been charged, no one has been prosecuted and sent to prison. The government does not even want to address the issue.

Let us look at a sector like the financial sector. Every month and every week in the United States we see that the American government has taken action against white collar criminals.

In Canada, it seems that chasing after financial criminals is not on the attorney general's agenda.

(1400)

I am simply asking if, in the eyes of the Prime Minister and his government, there are good criminals — who do not interest you because they committed financial crimes or crimes against Aboriginals — and there are bad criminals, whom you want to catch. The government has not devoted the necessary funds but, then again, if you have no intention of trying to catch them, there is no need for that kind of money. However, the question remains. There is $1 billion to be spent on crumbling prisons. According to recent reports, violence is on the rise. On television last week, we saw images of guards injuring prisoners, hitting them and forcing them to the ground. To me, that is not something we would generally expect to see in a civilized country. We might expect to see that in a non-democratic country.

We are talking about $1 billion, but the need is closer to $19 billion. When will they start dealing with all criminals?

Senator Carignan: If I understood correctly, you are asking when we will start dealing with all criminals?

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Yes.

Senator Carignan: Unless you were in a different room than we were in over the past few years, you should know that a large part of this government's work is ensuring that our streets are safer and that our people are safe.

We have introduced a multitude of bills to toughen penalties for criminals. We have passed a multitude of bills to impose minimum sentences. Unless I am missing something, I believe that you voted against all those bills. Thus, it is rather curious that you are asking when we will deal with criminals. It is an important part of our legislative agenda, which does not seem to be the case for those across the way, especially when we listen to their leader.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: I was not planning on continuing. Unfortunately, you opened another door. Might I remind you that Nortel executives were taken to court in the United States before they were in Canada? In the United States people are arrested for white collar crime every week. They are not out on the streets attacking anyone. However, their actions put many honest people who trusted them with their money out on the streets. Your government is doing nothing to fight that kind of crime.

You do have an absolutely extraordinary crime agenda, but you do not have a plan for arresting criminals. My question is the following: when will you implement your policies instead of misleading Canadians by telling them that they are safe when you are not even exercising the powers under the laws that were passed?

Senator Carignan: Senator Hervieux-Payette, you are the one who said earlier that the crime rate has fallen? Why? Precisely because we are taking care of it on a daily basis.

[English]

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: I find it very ironic that this crowd over here is lecturing us about law and order when the RCMP is standing at the steps of the Prime Minister's Office.

National Defence

Close Combat Vehicle Procurement

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, first it was planes, then it was ships, and now we're back to combat vehicles. There has been a military procurement under way for the past four years called the Close Combat Vehicle, or CCV, program.

The requirements for this vehicle were established based upon our experience in Afghanistan where we lost two thirds of our soldiers to explosive devices, mainly improvised explosive devices. Many of these fatalities and serious injuries occurred in Light Armed Vehicles or LAVs.

Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate advise us when we can expect an announcement on the CCV program so we can acquire vehicles to give our soldiers the protection they deserve on future deployments?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): We are committed, as I have said many times, to providing the men and women who defend our country abroad with the materiel they need. Clearly, it is extremely important that the Department of National Defence and Public Works and Government Services Canada continue their work on the Close Combat Vehicle program.

I said this yesterday, but I think it is worth repeating, because memories tend to be short. We are trying to make up for the decade of darkness that unfortunately raged on before we came to power, and we are still trying to fix the damage caused by that political neglect.

[English]

Senator Mercer: It is very interesting. You say that they take military procurement seriously, but they haven't bought a damn thing. You can't take something seriously and continue to just talk about it. Let's start doing some stuff. Let's start actually spending the money that Parliament has set aside to buy these things.

Well, honourable senators, in my research on this and from their own words, here is what the Department of Defence said:

The CCV project will involve the procurement of 108 CCV, to include Infantry Fighting Vehicle, Forward Observation Officer, Engineer Reconnaissance, and Tactical Command configurations.

Virtually all of our allies have these capabilities. We are exposing our soldiers to danger in the event of future deployment.

Again, could the leader please tell us when we can expect the contract announcement?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: We are committed to providing our soldiers with the materiel they need at the best price for Canadian taxpayers. As I said earlier, the Department of National Defence and Public Works and Government Services Canada are continuing their work on this file.

[English]

Senator Mercer: They are committed to this, they take this very seriously, and there is nothing that has happened. We have no ships. We have no jet fighters. We have no CCVs.

Honourable senators, it seems to me that again this is a no- brainer. Where are the combat vehicles?

We lost a lot of lives in Afghanistan because of old equipment. This new CCV program will save lives, simple as that. Much like the shipbuilding program will create jobs, so could this, and more importantly, it will save lives.

There are three companies, Nexter Systems through Nexter Canada, General Dynamics Land Systems, and BAE Hägglunds, waiting for an answer. The government has spent — get this now — at least $60 million so far on this competition. The companies have spent probably even more preparing for it. There are thousands of combat troops waiting for an answer.

Where are the combat vehicles, leader?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: As I explained to you, honourable senators, the Department of National Defence and Public Works and Government Services Canada are continuing their work on this file.

[English]

Senator Mercer: But where are the vehicles? You guys have not bought a damn thing.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: I have been very clear.

[English]

Justice

Cyberbullying

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I was waiting anxiously to see what the Minister of Justice would bring down on issues of cyberbullying, and yesterday I was looking forward to reading the bill.

As you know, the senators have done an extensive study on this issue. This has been a consensus study, but when I saw the bill — and I have not completely studied it because it was just tabled yesterday — I am shocked with what the bill has. The bill's investigative tools that go beyond cyberbullying were never explained or even mentioned in the backgrounder on the proposed law posted by Justice Minister MacKay's website.

(1410)

The omission has prompted critics, such as the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, to call the cyberbullying law a Trojan Horse for a controversial previous law, since withdrawn by the government, which would have expanded police powers to gain lawful access to electronic communications. Another group has said that this is essentially a cut-and-paste job from previous law on Internet surveillance, and it goes on.

Leader, I am concerned that for such a serious issue as cyberbullying, which the Senate has spent substantial resources and time studying, today we have a justice minister who will give powers to the police to spy on young people to see what they are doing. Is this how you are going to deal with cyberbullying?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, our government is determined to protect children from online predators and exploitation. We have followed through on the commitment made in the Speech from the Throne to better protect children from bullying, including cyberbullying, by introducing this bill to criminalize the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

Cyberbullying reaches far beyond schoolyard bullying and, in certain cases, can become a criminal activity. Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, prohibits the non- consensual distribution of intimate images, and authorizes judges to order the removal of such images from the Internet; to order the seizure of the computer, cellphone or other mobile device used to commit the offence; to order the offender to repay the victim for the expenses incurred to obtain the removal of the images from the Internet or elsewhere; and to issue orders to prevent people from distributing intimate images.

These are tangible measures, honourable senators. As I mentioned yesterday, our government has also taken significant steps, as part of the National Crime Prevention Strategy, and this bill builds on our cyberbullying strategy.

[English]

Senator Jaffer: Honourable senators, with the greatest of respect, this is not another strategy. This is trying to send our young people to jail. It is not a strategy of creating dialogue in our society.

The Senate Human Rights Committee heard from young people who said that on the same day, the same person was a victim, a bully or a spectator — on the same day. Which day are you going to choose, and how many young people are you going to send to jail?

We were told there was an easy way to deal with this issue, which is when a complaint is made about images, the Internet provider would remove the images, and then you would have restorative justice where you bring together the people who are posting the images on the Internet and the people being harmed, and they deal with it in the school and in the community.

How many young people are we going to send to jail? Is it going to be the victim or the bully? Because on the same day, it could be the same person.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Honourable senators, the bill is clear and is part of a comprehensive approach. I explained it yesterday and I will say again that our government has taken tangible measures to combat the negative behaviour associated with bullying and cyberbullying.

As I have already said, under the National Crime Prevention Strategy, our government has committed to allocating $10 million for new crime prevention programs, including anti-bullying programs in schools. Our government has supported and is currently supporting a number of awareness campaigns, such as You(th) are Not Alone, which is a tangible approach designed to increase awareness through campaigns in schools, as well as to ensure that there are consequences for those who choose to continue bullying even after they have been informed of or made aware of it. The comprehensive approach set out in Bill C-13 involves prohibiting the non-consensual distribution of images, seizing devices and compensating the victim when necessary.

[English]

Senator Jaffer: Before I ask my further supplementary question, honourable senators, I would be remiss if I did not recognize the work of Senator Ataullahjan in bringing this issue before us. The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights studied this matter because of her suggestion.

This was work done by the Senate, and I am very disappointed that the Minister of Justice did not see fit to recognize the work the Senate Human Rights Committee has done on cyberbullying, which is being shared all over the world.

Leader, how much money will be set aside for restorative justice so that young people are not thrown in jail?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: As I explained, a number of awareness campaigns have been planned as part of the National Crime Prevention Strategy, which includes $10 million for new crime prevention programs, including anti-bullying programs at schools. This is a whole series of measures for preventing crime.

Obviously, when we focus on youth, we also focus on the scourge that cyberbullying has become. This is why we are taking this situation very seriously and why the Minister of Justice introduced Bill C-13 yesterday in the House of Commons. We will certainly have the opportunity to consider it here and I hope that you will vote in favour of the bill.

[English]

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: I have a supplementary question. Honourable senators, I have not had a chance to study this bill in some detail, but I hear that it does contain provisions that are unrelated to cyberbullying.

I would like to ask the leader, what does the theft of cable television systems have to do with cyberbullying? Why would it be put in this bill?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: A series of measures have been planned to address cyberbullying, from removing images from the Internet, to seizing cellphones or any other mobile devices used in committing the offence. We want to ensure that any device or technology used to commit this crime can be seized and taken away.

[English]

Senator Moore: That doesn't really answer the question. What does the theft of cable systems have to do with cyberbullying?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: There is a whole range of technologies and methods that can be used to engage in cyberbullying, which is why the bill provides for all the options for seizing various technologies or technological devices. I have listed a few of them. Our government intends to combat cyberbullying regardless of the means used to commit this offence.

[English]

Senator Moore: I have a supplementary question. We'll have to see what the study of this bill brings forward, but it looks to me like it's a bit of a grab in terms of providing more electronic snooping, which perhaps today is not permitted under the law.

If we disagree with that and try to have it amended, along with the cable theft provisions, are you then going to say that we are supporting cyberbullying if we don't agree with that?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: This bill responds to the report on cyberbullying produced by the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Cybercrime Working Group after a long consultation process involving Canadians across the country.

(1420)

The group made the following recommendation:

...that the investigative powers contained in the Criminal Code be modernized.

I would like to add that if the police want to use any of these new powers, they will need a judge's authorization, of course. As part of a comprehensive approach to fighting cyberbullying, the government realized that it had to modernize Criminal Code provisions. Once again, I hope that all senators will support these measures.

[English]

Employment and Social Development

Social Housing

Hon. Art Eggleton: To the Leader of the Government in the Senate, tomorrow, Friday, November 22, is National Housing Day. It's an opportunity to reflect on the needs for decent affordable housing for all Canadians. I think we all know how important housing is in our lives. It anchors a person and anchors a family and provides them the foundation to be able to get on with other challenges that they have in life. Health experts also tell us that housing is a key social determinant of health and helps to maintain long-term positive health outcomes.

Unfortunately, according to the Canadian Housing & Renewal Association, over 3 million households in Canada live in unaffordable housing. They spend 30 per cent or more of their gross income on housing that is in adequate and suitable condition. We also know that there is a very low rate of vacancy amongst the rental accommodation in our country, down to 2.7 per cent — and much lower in many of the bigger cities.

We also know, according to this report from this organization, that the government has decreased its investment in social housing over the last three years. What we need is for the government to change course. We need to protect and retrofit current affordable housing, encourage construction of new rental housing and enhance funding to construct new social housing.

Will the government undertake this program, a program that will help house Canadians?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Among other things, Budget 2013 renewed existing measures, including the Homelessness Partnering Strategy and investments in affordable housing, and supported the construction of new housing, particularly in the north. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities stated that these investments "will provide more families with a place they can call home as well as assistance to the most vulnerable in our society".

Habitat for Humanity congratulated the Prime Minister of Canada on his leadership and called these investments "good news for low-income families looking to buy a safe, healthy and affordable... home".

The Mental Health Commission of Canada had this to say about the priority that Budget 2013 placed on housing: "This investment demonstrates the Government of Canada's commitment to the goals and objectives of the Mental Health Strategy for Canada...".

Together with our partners, we have helped 880,000 households find affordable housing. I think that speaks volumes, and even if you do not acknowledge our government's efforts, these organizations sure do.

[English]

Senator Eggleton: Yes, there are efforts in certain areas, and you pick and choose certain groups of people that have been helped in some housing initiatives, but overall you're still missing the mark. Still a consistently high number of people can't afford housing in this country — over 3 million households. This government has also let the operating agreements and mortgages on many of the existing social housing projects in this country expire, which means that more and more people are not getting even the affordable housing that was created up until now. In other words, there is a reduction in many of these housing units.

A bigger effort is needed by this government if we're truly going to tackle affordable housing in this country and if we are going to truly close the gap that exists between some Canadians and the rest of the population. Will the government take action on these going forward? Don't read me the stuff you claimed you've done in the past. What about going forward? What about long-term provisions for the building of affordable housing in this country?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: With the help of our partners, senator, we have helped 880,000 households find affordable housing. Since 2006, we have made historic investments in housing and created 46,000 new affordable housing units. The government provides support for more than 594,000 individuals and families with subsidized housing every year. Go tell those 594,000 individuals and families that our government is missing the mark.


[English]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais moved second reading of Bill C-444, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (personating peace officer or public officer).

He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased today to speak in support of Bill C-444, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (personating peace officer or public officer). This bill is basically identical to previous Bill C-576, which died on the Order Paper when the last Parliament ended. Bill C-444 was reported without amendment by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on April 24 of this year.

[Translation]

The bill has to do with the existing offence of personating a peace officer or public officer. More specifically, it states that the court imposing the sentence on the person shall consider as an aggravating circumstance the fact that the accused personated a peace officer or a public officer for the purpose of facilitating the commission of another offence.

[English]

Prior to 2009, pretending to be a peace officer or a public officer was a straight summary conviction offence. At that time, it carried a maximum of six months in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000 or both.

[Translation]

In 2009, the government changed this offence to a hybrid offence and increased the maximum prison term to five years, where prosecuted by indictment, in the former Bill S-4, the identity theft bill, which came into force on January 8, 2010.

[English]

It may seem that five years is not a high enough maximum term of imprisonment for this crime. In a number of American and Australian states, as well as in the United Kingdom, peace officer personation is punishable by a maximum of a few months or a year or two. There are only a handful of places where the maximum penalty is five years or higher.

(1430)

[Translation]

The maximum five-year sentence takes into account the fact that to be found guilty of the offence, it simply needs to be established that the accused personated a peace officer or a public officer. It does not need to be established that he had specific malicious intent or accomplished something malicious in doing so.

[English]

Some people may impersonate the police for the thrill of feeling powerful or for other relatively minor objectives, such as obtaining information or gaining access to a place. Simply pretending to be a peace officer or a public officer so that others may believe you are in fact one, without any more, is enough to result in a conviction. Such cases may still be dealt with by way of summary conviction proceedings, based on the Crown prosecutor's assessment of all of the relevant circumstances.

[Translation]

However, the maximum five-year term of imprisonment, adopted in 2010, ensures that police and Crown prosecutors have the tools they need to adequately manage serious incidents of this nature and maintain the public's trust in our peace officers and public officers.

[English]

In rare circumstances, police impersonation can be closely associated with other offences. It can, in fact, be used as a tool to make the commission of other crimes easier. Because we live in a society where most citizens are trusting of the police, members of the public may acquiesce to the authority of someone they believe to be a police officer or a public officer. The exploitation of citizens' trust in the police demonstrated by this kind of situation is the most troubling form of the offence; it is especially deserving of condemnation by sentencing courts, as well as by Parliament.

[Translation]

Bill C-444 addresses those specific situations. It obliges a court to consider as an aggravating circumstance the fact that the accused personated a peace officer or a public officer for the purpose of facilitating the commission of another offence.

It is disturbing to imagine how someone could be persuaded to comply with orders, to respect the alleged authority of an individual they believe to be a police officer.

[English]

We are taught from our earliest interactions with our parents and teachers that police officers are safe persons whom we can rely on, especially in difficult or dangerous situations. It is thus not surprising that the vast majority of Canadians instinctively respect police officers' authority and follow their instructions, as we rightfully believe that they are acting to keep us safe.

[Translation]

When criminals take advantage of that trust to defraud us, or worse, put someone in danger, it is not only agonizing for the victims, but it is also more difficult for police officers and public officers to do their work effectively and ensure the safety of our communities. Luckily, these situations are rare, but their serious nature justifies specifically including them in the Criminal Code.

[English]

It is also important to recall that in determining a fit sentence, the court must in all cases take into account all relevant aggravating and mitigating factors. Paragraph 718.2(a) of the Criminal Code describes a number of aggravating factors that apply to all offences. These include, for instance, evidence that the offender, in committing the offence, abused a position of trust or authority in relation to the victim.

In addition to these factors that are specifically listed, the sentencing court always retains discretion to determine if additional circumstances revealed by the evidence are aggravating or mitigating factors that should affect the sentence.

[Translation]

It is already the case in our law that a sentencing judge may consider this form of peace officer personation an aggravating circumstance. What Bill C-444 does is essentially codify this practice in the Criminal Code.

[English]

Bill C444 merits support because it addresses a truly horrific form of criminality that has so many negative consequences onfor the public at large, onfor the ability of police to carry out their functions, and especially onfor any individuals whose trust in public institutions and authorities was used against them to facilitate their victimization.

[Translation]

While this form of conduct continues to be rare in this country, there have been a number of incidents reported in the papers in the last few years. Indeed, just this past April, it appears that there were at least two more incidents of persons personating peace officers. In Calgary, there are recent media reports that a man driving a silver sedan with unauthorized red and blue lights pulled over two vehicles, scaring the innocent drivers. Fortunately, the victims realized that something was not right about the imposter, and called the real authorities or drove to an actual police station nearby. Luckily, nobody was harmed, but this act has surely shaken the trust of Calgarians, who no longer know whether someone is a police officer or not.

[English]

On the East Coast, the Halifax Chronicle Herald reported that criminals have been impersonating local police officers via telephone in order to fraudulently solicit donations for a bogus charity that doesn't exist. The scam artists even claimed that they were police officers fundraising to help combat youth suicide. This disgraceful conduct not only preys on generous citizens but also makes it more difficult for real officers to give back to their communities through legitimate fundraising activities, which are long-standing traditions in police services across our country.

[Translation]

Of course, there was the tragic case in the sponsoring member's riding, which saw a devastating abduction and sexual assault of a teenage girl near Penhold, Alberta. This incident clearly influenced his decision to introduce this bill. During the most recent committee study of this bill, members heard the courageous testimony of the survivor of that very offence, as well as her mother. I applaud the immense strength of that young woman to travel to Ottawa and assist the committee by sharing her story with MPs, as well as with all Canadians.

[English]

She rightly explained to the committee that there should never be shame or stigma in reporting or speaking out against sexual violence. By passing this bill, senators will send a clear message that courts must give serious weight during sentencing to the enduring harm that is caused when criminals personate police officers or public officers for the purpose of committing other criminal acts, including sexual assault and kidnapping.

[Translation]

Every Canadian should know that this can happen and should be encouraged to take appropriate measures to avoid being fooled by this type of deceitful criminal.

[English]

In particular, citizens should continue to trust the police, but they should also recognize that criminals are not above exploiting that trust.

[Translation]

It is difficult to strike a balance. It would be prudent to exercise a bit of caution. It is reasonable to ask to see the badge of someone who seems to be a peace officer, especially if he asks you to follow him, to enter your home or if it seems that he is asking for a donation. You should be respectful and prudent when asking to verify the person's identity. If an imposter runs away when you ask to see his identification, call 911 immediately, report the incident and try to give an accurate description of the person and any vehicle involved while this information is fresh in your mind.

[English]

As senators, we can help educate and inform Canadians about these risks, which many may in fact be unaware of. In terms of Bill C-444, we can also vote to support this legislation and to express our unified condemnation of those who would use our best natures as citizens against us.

[Translation]

I hope that all senators will join me in supporting this very worthwhile bill.

(On motion of Senator Campbell, debate adjourned.)

(1440)

[English]

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Committee Authorized to Study Issues Relating to Foreign Relations and International Trade Generally

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Martin, for the Honourable Senator Andreychuk, seconded by the Honourable Senator Marshall:

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.

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: I believe this motion stands in the name of Senator Fraser, but I regret that I was not in the chamber during the discussion due to some committee business. This is the generic provision that we have had in the Foreign Affairs Committee since I have been here. It helps us when we have delegations who want to meet with the committee, and from time to time there are other issues that Foreign Affairs deals with. This is there not as a specific study but to enable us to perform the duties that traditionally Foreign Affairs and International Trade has had. I can't anticipate too many occasions that we will call on it, except when we have visiting delegations or some crisis issue where a minister may wish to brief us on an ongoing issue of importance to the Senate and to the public.

So I would like to move this motion, with the concurrence of Senator Fraser.

(Motion agreed to.)

Committee Authorized 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

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Martin, for the Honourable Senator Andreychuk, seconded by the Honourable Senator Marshall:

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.

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: — and have heard from Senator Fraser on this. This is the study on Asia-Pacific that we commenced and received approval for from the Senate. We indicated at that time that we might need some money, but we would specifically come to it. But since Asia-Pacific was such a large area, both in trade and security, we wished to start the study and we would separately contemplate some further expenditures.

In the late spring, we did start our studies. We have realized it's an extremely large area, and our evidence to date points to the fact that there are studies and there are other committees in the other place, and elsewhere, and we have been gaining this information.

We wish to continue with the Asia-Pacific study. The committee will determine how they will narrow the study to a more appropriate study. There perhaps will be costs, but they will not be in this calendar year to March 31. If we contemplate it, we will go through the usual practice of requesting it, but at this time we are asking for the continuance of the study, with no costs contemplated in this calendar year.

(Motion agreed to.)

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

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Martin, for the Honourable Senator Andreychuk, seconded by the Honourable Senator Plett:

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.

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: This is the third of our motions. Senator Fortin-Duplessis had generously adjourned it so that I could speak to it today.

I would like to move this motion but explain that we did the study on Turkey. We filed a report. I spoke to it, and I must say I can't remember if there were other speakers, but then it died on the Order Paper here due to prorogation.

The study was completed, and I should say for the benefit of the Senate that it has been one of the most studied reports we have made. I have received very encouraging comments from the ministry involved and from Minister Fast that our study was extremely helpful as he contemplates a relationship with Turkey beyond it being our NATO ally. The Turkish government has also responded to us, indicating that the study was most helpful in their assessment of their foreign policy with Canada.

I know that Senator Fortin-Duplessis wanted to speak to it, but it died on the Order Paper. So what we have to do, I am told by our good table officers, is reintroduce the motion, return it to our committee, and we will then have to go through the process of adopting the report and tabling it here again for the purpose of continued discussion here, hopefully with some anticipation that the Senate might adopt the report. So I move this reference.

(Motion agreed to.)

Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament

Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Changes to Senate's Rules and Practices that will Help Ensure Senate Proceedings Involving Discipline of Senators and Others follow Standards of Due Process—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Elaine McCoy, pursuant to notice of November 6, 2013, moved:

That the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament be authorized to examine and report on changes to the Senate's Rules and practices that, while recognizing the independence of parliamentary bodies, will help ensure that Senate proceedings involving the discipline of senators and other individuals follow standards of due process and are generally in keeping with other rights, notably those normally protected by the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and

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

She said: Thank you, honourable senators. I wanted to put this on the Order Paper this afternoon, but I also know that there is a conversation and what the Bible calls "read, mark and inwardly digest" — numerous conversations and thoughts going on amongst senators all around the chamber. As those thoughts begin to coalesce, I think we will have an interesting public conversation about how we might move forward. I am reliably informed that the Conservative caucus is currently working on some ideas that will go some distance to putting a fair and disciplined disciplinary process in place, and so I look forward to this initiative continuing. But having said all of that, in view of its being a Thursday afternoon, I will at this time adjourn the debate in my name for the remainder of my time.

(On motion of Senator McCoy, debate adjourned.)

(1450)

Aboriginal Peoples

Committee Authorized 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, pursuant to notice of November 19, 2013, moved:

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.

He said: Thank you. Honourable senators, this is a global order of reference and the purpose is to allow the committee to invite witnesses to survey topics that we might wish to study in more depth.

This is exactly what the committee has agreed to do, in pursuit of a rather broad study we have agreed to pursue, but we're going to need to focus it after hearing some background witnesses.

This motion also allows us to take the opportunity to have witnesses appear who might happen to be in Ottawa and available, which happens often with our committee.

So rather than seeking a specific order of reference each time this happens, a delay in getting the motion passed could cause us to miss those kinds of opportunities. Those are two reasons for requesting this motion today, honourable senators.

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

I think the word you used is "global," and that's a good word because you could launch all kinds of fascinating work under this order of reference.

I would like to know whether the committee plans to launch the kind of studies that involve, to be blunt, major expense, such as travel or hiring of outside experts, under this order of reference, or whether it would be your intention to return to the chamber and seek specific orders of reference.

Senator Patterson: Thank you for the question. The answer is no, we would not launch a study requiring travel or significant expenses under this motion. We intend to hear from witnesses who are available on the subject that we have agreed to explore, largely, in Ottawa. When we narrow our focus, we will come back to this chamber with a specific order of reference, and then we may give the Senate a good idea of the scope and cost of our planned study.

Hon. Jane Cordy: I would like to follow up on that, and I appreciate what you said.

In the past, the subcommittee of Internal Economy that has looked at budgets of committees looked specifically at more focused references before allowing funds, for travel specifically, but other funds in general for committees.

To clarify what you have said, if your committee is planning on any travel outside of the National Capital Region, you would come back to the subcommittee on budgets and they would present their report to Internal Economy as a whole, which, in turn, would report to the Senate as a whole, that you would present a more focused objective for the mandate for your committee. Is that what I heard you say?

Senator Patterson: Yes, we would come back to the Senate with specific terms of reference on the subject that we have proposed to study, and following that we would also request the budget from the Internal Economy Committee, yes.

Senator Cordy: Senator Comeau has done an excellent job as past chair of this committee in educating senators in the chamber that if you expect to get travel expenses, your mandate has to be more specific for that reason. Thank you very much for that information.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[Translation]

Official Languages

Committee Authorized 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, pursuant to notice of November 19, 2013, moved:

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.

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

Senator Tardif: Honourable senators, the committee is concluding its study on CBC/Radio-Canada's obligations under the Official Languages Act. This study began in the fall of 2011. Over the past two years, the committee heard from some 40 witnesses representing 74 parties. When the session ended, the committee had planned on inviting back representatives from CBC/Radio-Canada and the CRTC.

We hope to conclude our study with a draft report in February, and we do not anticipate any additional expenses to publish the report. We expect to have it done before June 2014.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Committee Authorized 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.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion? Is there debate? Are there questions?

Senator Tardif: Honourable senators, this study focuses on best practices for language policies and second-language learning, and it began in the spring of 2013. To date, the committee has heard from seven witnesses representing 14 parties.

This is a very interesting study and it is of interest to educators who teach French as a second language and those who teach in immersion programs across the country.

We hope to hear from several more witnesses, including for instance, witnesses from the education field, stakeholders from that field, people from the various provinces and territories, people from the Council of Ministers of Education, young people and parents. We hope to finish our study by June 2015 at the latest.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Committee Authorized 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 pursuant to notice of November 19 moved:

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.

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

(1500)

Senator Tardif: Honourable senators, as you can see, the Official Languages Committee is very busy and has undertaken some very interesting studies. The third one is about the impacts of recent changes to the immigration system on official language minority communities.

As you know, immigration is very important to official language minority communities. For francophone communities, immigration is a way to strengthen the French fact across Canada. There have been several changes to the immigration system, so we believe that this study is relevant and the time is right to study the impact of immigration.

We just began this study in the spring of 2013. We would still like to hear from several more witnesses from those communities, as well as from the departments that deal with immigration. We are not planning to travel outside of Ottawa, and the witnesses will come to Ottawa, so there will be no additional expenses.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[English]

Agriculture and Forestry

Committee Authorized to Study Importance of Bees and Bee Health in the Production of Honey, Food and Seed

Hon. Terry M. Mercer, for Senator Mockler, pursuant to notice of November 20, 2013, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be authorized to examine and report on the importance of bees and bee health in the production of honey, food and seed in Canada. In particular, the Committee shall be authorized to examine this topic within the context of:

(a) the importance of bees in pollination to produce food, especially fruit and vegetables, seed for crop production and honey production in Canada;

(b) the current state of native pollinators, leafcutter and honey bees in Canada;

(c) the factors affecting honey bee health, including disease, parasites and pesticides in Canada and globally;

(d) strategies for governments, producers and industry to ensure bee health; and

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

He said: Honourable colleagues, I am moving this motion with the knowledge of Senator Mockler. The reason we want to proceed today is with the short time period between now and the Christmas break, we want to get a couple of meetings in to start this off. You will notice we have a short reporting period of June 30, 2014, mainly because we think this is an urgent matter in the agricultural sector. It affects all provinces except Newfoundland and Labrador. Newfoundland is actually a province that is doing well in bee production, and we want to know a little more about that too. With your indulgence, we would like to pass this motion today so that we can start the study next week.

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Would Senator Mercer take a question? Does the committee envision travel for this study?

Senator Mercer: Currently we are planning an examination of a list of witnesses and, in the preliminary part, we are going to be here. If we do decide that we should travel, we will be coming back with another reference to go through the process that Senator Cordy pointed out to get the proper approvals. We will probably travel, but it won't be very much.

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Perhaps, since Senator Mercer keeps reminding me that I'm one of the senior senators, I should put on the record that we were encouraged some years ago to have generic, general references so that the committees could have some flexibility within Ottawa. We then went to special studies that incurred money, and of course then there was the problem of how to divide the funds. It would be helpful if Internal Economy would advise us whether we should continue with broad references and that they be the type that have no expenses with them. That way, we would have the flexibility to do the things that I think Senator Mercer wants to do and our committee wants to do, and it would be implied there would be no money under those generic references. That would be helpful.

Senator Fraser: On debate, briefly, in response to the intervention by my esteemed colleague Senator Andreychuk, and also with reference to this study, I agree that this study on bees is very important. What has been happening to bees is alarming, and I am delighted to know that the Senate will be looking at it.

In response to Senator Andreychuk, I have no problem with the kind of general order of reference that you are talking about. I do have this ornery view that when you ask the Senate to vote in favour of something, there should be an explanation, however brief. If it's only a one-minute explanation saying this is just the standard thing to allow us to hear witnesses here on subjects that fall within our general framework, fine, but I have always felt very uncomfortable being asked to vote for something when I didn't know what it was. That's all. I realize this is a chore and a bore for committee chairs, but there you are.

Senator Andreychuk: Just to clarify, I have been here long enough to remember when those general references were then taken to be the opportunity to do studies any which way and deal with Internal Economy. I'm not saying anyone is doing it now but, if it's on the Order Paper for a while, then someone might interpret it creatively again. I would suggest that if there are general references, then we should have some sort of rule that general references are without funds and they are to be used for that flexibility that we're all looking for, or that we have to stand up here and say "no funds". If we had some routine, then I think it would be helpful to all of us.

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.)

Adjournment

Motion Adopted

Leave having been given to revert to Government Notices of Motions:

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(g), I move:

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, November 26, 2013, at 2 p.m.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, November 26, 2013, at 2 p.m.)