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2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 52

Thursday, April 10, 2014
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

THE SENATE

Thursday, April 10, 2014

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

Prayers.

[Translation]

Royal Assent

Notice

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the following communication had been received:

RIDEAU HALL

April 10, 2014

Mr. Speaker,

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will proceed to the Senate Chamber today, the 10th day of April, 2014, at 4 p.m., for the purpose of giving Royal Assent to certain bills of law.

Yours Sincerely,

Stephen Wallace
Secretary to the Governor General

The Honourable The Speaker of the Senate Ottawa


[English]

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

World Autism Awareness Day

Hon. Leo Housakos: Honourable senators, in 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared April 2 World Autism Awareness Day in an effort to raise awareness of the consequences and startling rise of autism around the world.

Thousands of families in our great nation and beyond are dealing with the difficult issue of autism. Indeed, our colleague Senator Munson spearheaded the bill recognizing World Autism Awareness Day in October 2012. I'm proud to say that the bill was fast-tracked and received unanimous, non-partisan support at every level of government.

Raising awareness is always the first critical step when dealing with any crisis of this nature and the campaign on autism has expanded admirably. One example is the Light It Up Blue project through which private citizens, corporations and political entities in Canada and abroad use blue lighting in buildings and landmarks commemorating the effort to combat a disorder that, according to researchers worldwide, incredibly now affects one in 68 children, representing a 30 per cent increase since 2008.

We all continue to hear about the critical issue of early diagnosis and intervention, and of two-year waiting lists at hospitals, autism clinics and service centres in our provinces. Many parents are facing financial ruin when, having no other choice, they have to turn to expensive private care.

There has been progress. Many organizations and individuals are working diligently on this cause across the country. For example, at a recent conference in Montreal organized by Autism in Motion and the Giant Steps School and Resource Centre, a wide variety of leaders from the autism community — including medical experts, researchers, educators, grassroots organizations, parents and autistic adults — came together to discuss the state of services in that great Canadian city.

Senator Seidman attended a roundtable discussion at the conference and I applaud our colleague for her efforts.

Honourable senators, in my discussions with parents of autistic children, I was particularly touched by their concerns that, while it is already difficult to tap into services for minors, the availability of services seems to disappear completely after the age of 21. They worry about what will happen to their kids after they are gone.

Yes, intelligent efforts do exist. I'm particularly proud that our government included in the last federal budget an amount of $11 million to support training programs for autistic adults with the hope of assisting them into the workforce. Indeed, some corporations have also recognized that these individuals often possess talents and skill sets that are very valuable. These efforts must continue. Our investment in

Canada's autistic community must continue. Whether focusing on research and early intervention, family support services or job training where possible, honourable senators, the time has come to develop a genuine, committed and coherent national policy on autism.

National Volunteer Week

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, this week is National Volunteer Week. It is time when we pay special attention to the volunteers who help us feed the homeless, raise money for cancer research, or help get politicians elected. It is a time when we should simply say "thank you."

As a fundraiser for most of my life, I've relied on volunteers to get this job done. I'm sure many of you have, as well. Without volunteers, it would not be possible to do what some think is an easy task.

Volunteers give their time without expecting to be paid; volunteers give their time without expectation of any kind of reward. Volunteers just want to give back to their communities.

This year, Volunteer Canada is encouraging people to "call the Volunt-Hear Hotline and participate in a national conversation about volunteer recognition." The purpose of this exercise is to call and leave a brief statement to say thank you to a volunteer for their efforts so they can share that with our communities. It reminds us all, I think, that we do not say "thank you" enough to our volunteers.

Remind yourselves, honourable senators, what you care about and what you do for such causes in your life. Remind yourselves that giving back to your community is a noble task and one that we all should encourage.

This week is a time when we say "thank you" to our volunteers. I encourage you all to do just that when you're back in your communities this weekend and, indeed, every time you are near the people who give of themselves to make our communities better.

Honourable senators, say "thank you" to a volunteer.

Ukraine

Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Hon. Stephen Greene: Honourable senators, I wish to take these three minutes to salute Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine's interim Prime Minister.

As we all know, Mr. Yatsenyuk has on his plate a horrible mix of almost insolvable domestic and external problems, all of which are at the boiling point, and each of which has to be solved at once, immediately and simultaneously.

Besides the military threat posed by Putin on Ukraine's borders, as well as on Ukraine sovereign soil, this young leader, 39 years old, is charged with raising revenues, slashing spending, expanding the military and equipping it, unifying the country, getting rid of the subsidies that have kept Ukraine under Russian influence, raising foreign capital, negotiating with the IMF and the World Bank, stamping out corruption, running national elections in May, and transforming every government institution to comply with EU standards.

When Mr. Yatsenyuk took office, he was initially booed in Kiev's Independence Square because he was looked upon as a humourless technocrat with no public relations skills.

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Since then, he has gained accolades from his fellow Ukrainians for tackling so many of the issues that plague his country. It's the little things that have caught people's attention. For example, he's flown economy on his many trips to European capitals. Where some leaders have failed with clumsy efforts to bring levity to a serious and tense situation, such as the Ukraine, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk has even managed this delicate task, proving that he is not so humourless after all. While at a press conference with Prime Minister Harper, who was describing his efforts to expel Putin from the G8, the young leader, to the delight of Ukrainian journalists, interrupted our Prime Minister by saying, "If there's an empty seat at the G8, we'll take it."

Mr. Yatsenyuk's challenges are multiplied by the battle for the hearts and minds of Eastern Ukrainians. As we know, Putin is trying to seduce these people by authoring various provocations and telling them that their quality of life will suffer if they align with the West. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is not in a position to buy their votes. On the contrary, he is ending subsidies on many of life's necessities and raising taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, certainly not a popular move.

He was quoted as saying:

I am absolutely sure that I won't hear applauses with this kind of austerity package, but someone has to do this. And someone has to take responsibility.

I hope he does hear applause for these measures. I hope he hears applause for delivering the type of leadership that can get much needed transformational measures to pass. He knows these are essential for Ukraine's future as an independent country. For these reasons and many others, I hope he hears applause. On that note, I wish and request that our chamber should add to the applause.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of participants in the Canada-Africa Internship Program from the Lesotho National Assembly, the Parliament of Uganda, the Zambia National Assembly and the High Court of Zambia. They are visiting the Parliament of Canada to learn about our practices.

They are guests of Senator Jaffer and of Senator Enverga.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

Ms. Jacqueline Blay

2014 Champlain Prize Recipient

Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, I have the privilege of speaking to you today about an exceptional woman, a francophone historian from Manitoba who is always working tirelessly and diligently, often unnoticed, for her community.

I would like to quote from the press release issued by Manitoba's Les Éditions des Plaines on April 9, 2014:

Historian Jacqueline Blay has been awarded the 2014 Champlain Prize for Volume 2 of Histoire du Manitoba français, Le temps des outrages (1870-1916), published by Les Éditions des Plaines last fall.

The Champlain Prize jury members "unanimously praised the quality and relevance of this work, which fulfills a duty to remember by exposing, for the first time, the constitutional betrayal suffered by two of Manitoba's founding peoples, the French Canadians and the Metis, after their lands were converted into a province of Canada.

Jacqueline Blay very carefully reveals the truth about the concerted attacks on the language, education and religious rights of the Metis and French-Canadian peoples and the political manoeuvring that led to the hanging of Louis Riel. This detailed study, the result of outstanding research, reads like a story of resistance to assimilation."

The awarding of this prize is remarkable, since it is the first time an author has won the prize a second time for a work in the same series, in this case, Histoire du Manitoba français. It is also the first Champlain Prize for Les Éditions des Plaines, which is delighted that one of its authors has been given this honour.

Regarding the Champlain Prize, I would like to point out the following:

Created in 1956 by the Conseil de la vie française en Amérique in order to encourage literary production among francophones living outside Quebec in North America, the Champlain Prize also aims to generate a special interest among Quebecers in their fellow francophones in North America.

Congratulations, Jacqueline, and thank you for your important contribution to Manitoba's French-language archives. As you so eloquently said:

Manitoba's French-language archives are meant to be discovered and explored. They tell a story that must be told, a story that is — now, more than ever — of interest to younger generations who have expressed a deep desire to learn about the battles and victories of previous generations.

Mr. Robert Lepage, C.C., O.Q.

Glenn Gould Prize Recipient

Hon. Diane Bellemare: Honourable senators, Robert Lepage, a great Canadian artist from Quebec who has gained international acclaim for his multidisciplinary productions, has won the prestigious Glenn Gould Prize for his life's work. This prize, created by the Glenn Gould Foundation, was presented on March 31 by the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston. This is one of many national and international awards that this Québécois artist has received.

Robert Lepage has had a rich artistic career, and it impossible to do him justice by summarizing it in a few short minutes. Robert Lepage is a playwright, director, actor and producer. In 1984, he received the award for best Canadian production for Circulations. In 1985, he received international recognition for The Dragons' Trilogy.

While working as the artistic director of the National Arts Centre's French-language theatre program in Ottawa he continued to pursue his artistic work, producing such plays as Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream, which he directed at the Royal National Theatre in London.

In 1994, Lepage founded Ex Machina, a multidisciplinary production company, which drew him into the world of film. Known for his theatrical productions that employ new technologies on stage, Robert Lepage has also produced operatic works in various countries, including at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where he presented pieces by Wagner. He has also collaborated with Cirque du Soleil, and many of you would have seen, during the 400th anniversary celebrations in Quebec City in 2008, the world's largest architectural projection, titled The Image Mill.

Robert Lepage uses multidisciplinary techniques to take the spectator to modern, extraordinary and universal worlds that deal with the human condition. He is an icon in the artistic community and an inspiration for Canada's francophone artists. His work is proof that French culture is very vibrant in North America.

His works and I am certain that he will be pleased that I am pointing this out are living proof that art and culture nourish the soul, but also the body. His productions create jobs and generate income for actors; authors; set designers; all manner of technicians such as electricians, sound mixers and lighting technicians; opera singers; puppeteers; computer graphics technicians; camera operators; makeup artists; costumers; film producers; arts managers; carpenters; set painters; architects and so many more.

Honourable senators, let's salute the genius of Robert Lepage, who is proof that art enriches our lives and also creates many jobs. In fact, did you know that, according to Statistics Canada, in 2013 there were 650,000 jobs in cultural industries in Canada? Culture is an important sector, especially when we consider that, in the same year, there were 445,000 jobs in the agriculture, hunting, mining, quarrying and oil and gas sectors combined.

Thank you for your attention.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Information Commissioner

Special Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, pursuant to subsection 39(1) of the Access to Information Act, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Special Report to Parliament of the Information Commissioner of Canada, entitled: Interference with Access to Information: Part 2.

[English]

Auditor General

Public Sector Integrity Commissioner—Case Reports of Findings in the Matter of an Investigation into a Disclosure of Wrongdoing Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a report of the Auditor General of Canada, pursuant to subsection 38(3.3) of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.

[Translation]

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 National Security and Defence Committee Tabled during the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament—Government Response Tabled

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 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.

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Disability Tax Credit Promoters Restrictions Bill

Eighth Report of National Finance Committee Presented

Hon. Joseph A. Day, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, presented the following report:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance has the honour to present its

EIGHTH REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-462, An Act restricting the fees charged by promoters of the disability tax credit and making consequential amendments to the Tax Court of Canada Act, has, in obedience to its order of reference of March 6, 2014, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Your committee has also made certain observations, which are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

JOSEPH A. DAY
Chair

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 764.)

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

(On motion of Senator Buth, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)

[English]

Aboriginal Peoples

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services and Travel—Study on Challenges and Potential Solutions Relating to First Nations Infrastructure on Reserves—Fourth Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, presented the following report:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples has the honour to present its

FOURTH REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, to examine and report on challenges and potential solutions relating to First Nations infrastructure on reserves, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015 and requests, for the purpose of such study, that it be empowered:

(a) to engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary;

(b) to adjourn from place to place within Canada; and

(c) to travel inside Canada.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

DENNIS GLEN PATTERSON
Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix, p. 770.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

(On motion of Senator Patterson, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)

The Senate

Motion to Photograph Royal Assent Ceremony Adopted

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

That photographers be authorized in the Senate Chamber to photograph the Royal Assent ceremony today, with the least possible disruption of the proceedings.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

First Nations Control of First Nations Education Bill

Notice of Motion to Authorize Aboriginal Peoples Committee to Study Subject Matter

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(d), I give notice that later this day, I will move:

That, in accordance with rule 10-11(1), the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples be authorized to examine the subject matter of Bill C-33, An Act to establish a framework to enable First Nations control of elementary and secondary education and to provide for related funding and to make related amendments to the Indian Act and consequential amendments to other Acts, introduced in the House of Commons on April 10, 2014, in advance of the said bill coming before the Senate.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Black April Day Bill

First Reading

Hon. Thanh Hai Ngo introduced Bill S-219, An Act respecting a national day of commemoration of the exodus of Vietnamese refugees and their acceptance in Canada after the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

Canada Labour Code
Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act
Public Service Labour Relations 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-525, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Public Service Labour Relations Act (certification and revocation—bargaining agent).

(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.)

[Translation]

L'Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie

Bureau Meeting, February 5 to 7, 2014—Report Tabled

Hon. Andrée Champagne: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 34-1, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the delegation of the Canadian Branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF) respecting its participation at the bureau meeting of the APF, held in Rabat, Morocco, from February 5 to 7, 2014.


[English]

QUESTION PERIOD

Health

National Pharmacare

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question today comes from Dr. Danielle Martin, a family physician in Toronto. Dr. Martin was the founding board chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare and is currently Vice President, Medical Affairs and Health System Solutions at Women's College Hospital in Toronto. Colleagues will know that her recent presentation to the U.S. Senate has received enormous attention and support in Canada.

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Dr. Martin's question is as follows:

As a family physician working in the trenches of Canadian health care, I often see patients who do not take their medications because they cannot afford them. One of my patients is a taxi driver whose South Asian heritage and sedentary job have predisposed him to his current medical problems of diabetes and high blood pressure. In spite of working long shifts and being careful in his spending, he cannot support his family and pay for his medically necessary medications. I worry, as he does, about the complications he may experience in the coming decades, some of which could be devastating such as heart attacks, strokes, and blindness, because he cannot both feed his family and buy his needed medicine.

Stories like this are all too common across Canada. A recent study by Law and colleagues found that 1 in 10 Canadians does not fill a prescription or take medication as prescribed because of concerns about costs. This turns out not only to be an issue that adversely affects self-employed and precariously employed Canadians, but also an issue of profound regional inequity that should be of deep interest to our federal government. A patient with congestive heart failure might face out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions varying between $74 and $1,332, depending on which province she calls home.

At the time that our cherished Medicare system was developed in the 1950s and 1960s, and even into the 1980s with the passage of the Canada Health Act, the bulk of health care was provided by physicians and in hospitals. Today our systems are rapidly transforming to meet the needs of an aging population that is living longer with chronic disease. Indeed, we know that 2/3 of Canadians over the age of 65 take 5 or more medications. The needs of Canada's aging population cannot possibly be met without appropriate access to life-saving medications in the community. By far the most administratively simple and equitable solution would be to expand our public insurance plans to include coverage of medically necessary medications alongside those things currently mandated under the Canada Health Act.

Furthermore, pharmaceutical costs are rapidly increasing across both public and private insurance plans in Canada. National Pharmacare, with a national formulary and bulk buying of medications, could reduce costs by between 10 and 42 per cent, saving up to $10.7 billion annually.

The 2003-2004 Health Accords called for a National Pharmaceutical Strategy that would represent baby steps toward this vision, but the NPS died on the vine and the Health Accord has not been renewed.

My question is: Will this government put National Pharmacare on the agenda?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): I would like to thank the Honourable Senator Cowan for passing on Dr. Martin's question.

We are committed to offering a strong health care system that is funded by the government and based on the Canada Health Act. We are currently investing record amounts in the provincial and territorial health care systems. In fact, we will give the provinces and territories the highest health transfers in the history of Canada. This unprecedented funding will reach $40 billion by the end of the decade. It will make the system more stable and predictable.

We are committed to working with the provinces on innovative ideas and improving health care models. Our government will never balance the budget on the backs of the provinces and territories. Since we came to power, health transfers have increased by nearly 50 per cent.

To respond more specifically to Dr. Martin's question, here is a summary of the facts. It is important to work with the provinces. The federal government has allocated a great deal of money in the form of provincial transfers. When it comes to the delivery of health care programs, it is up to the provinces to set up programs that will meet the objectives of the Canada Health Act.

[English]

Senator Cowan: Thank you for the response, Senator Carignan, but I would remind you that Dr. Martin's question was specifically in relation to a national pharmaceutical strategy. If your government is not prepared to commit to the development of a national pharmaceutical strategy by itself, will it commit to working with the provinces to develop such a strategy?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: As I mentioned, we are committed to working with the provinces on innovative ideas and improving health care models.

[English]

Hon. Art Eggleton: If I may, honourable senators, because the leader talked a lot about the expenses involved, it's worth noting what Dr. Martin says here and what we heard in testimony before the Social Affairs Committee dealing with the health accord. There could be substantial savings of taxpayers' dollars and money in the health care system by going to a national pharmacare program that would produce a national formulary instead of one for each of the provinces; and it would bring in more bulk buying of medication. This could mean a substantial saving in costs.

She particularly asked you about a national pharmacare program. I know you support that because one of the committee's recommendations was adopted unanimously in this chamber, with no dissenting voice whatsoever. Recommendation No. 28 states:

That the federal government work with the provinces and territories to develop a national pharmacare program based on the principles of universal and equitable access for all Canadians; improved safety and appropriate use; cost controls to ensure value for money and sustainability; including a national catastrophic drug-coverage program and a national formulary.

That was supported unanimously in the Senate, so I take it, senator, that you would be willing to now advance this idea to the government.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: As I said, our government provides the provinces and territories with the tools they need to deliver health care services in their respective regions. We announced a long- term stable funding arrangement that will see transfers reach an historic level of $40 billion by 2020.

Our government has also expressed an interest in participating in the bulk buying of medication program that the provinces are working on. We will continue to work with the provinces and territories to find innovative ways to meet their needs with respect to the provision of health care services.

[English]

Senator Eggleton: Please bear in mind, Senator Carignan, that when it comes to the provision of health care services, you talk about the provinces, but the federal government is also a provider of health care services, for example, to Aboriginal communities, the Armed Forces, the RCMP, government employees, et cetera. In fact, when it comes to expenditures on health care service provisions, we rank in the middle of the provinces. We're the fifth largest in the country. Do we not have an obligation as a provider to be with the provinces in the development of these programs?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: My answer is the same: we are committed to working with the provinces.

[English]

The Senate

Senate Ethics

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I rise as Chair of the Conflict of Interest for Senators Committee to ask the Honourable Leader of the Government in the Senate to clarify his recent press release of April 3, 2014, with respect to the process of ethics in the Senate.

It has come to my attention that the release could infer that the actions were taken by the government and not by the Conflict of Interest Committee on its own initiative. In fact, the committee constantly reviews its mandate, and the Conflict of Interest Code for Senators; and the measures adopted were as a result of that process.

May I have an explanation?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): I would like to thank the honourable senator for her question. That was obviously not the purpose of the press release. The press release was my statement, on behalf of the government, in support of the committee's work on senators' conflicts of interest. The press release conveys my full support for the committee's fair and impartial recommendations.

To better serve the public, we talked about the modernization of the Senate. I believe that these amendments to the code achieve that objective with respect to the inquiry process. During a recent question period here, that point was raised, and I thanked members on both sides of this chamber for their work. In particular, I publicly thanked Senator Eggleton and Senator Joyal for their work on this issue.

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate them again for such a fine example of non-partisan cooperation.

[English]

Pre-study of Fair Elections Bill

Hon. Hugh Segal: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, because of the government's role with respect to the agenda of this place before we may rise sometime in June or a bit thereafter. It relates to the work now being done by the Senate committee in terms of pre-study of Bill C-23, the work being done in the other place by a standing committee of the House of Commons, and the various witnesses who are coming forward to offer suggestions and advice with respect to possible amendments to that legislation.

Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate able to assure us, whatever emerges from both the committee work here, the committee work in the other place and whatever may be decided by the government with respect to any potential amendments, that we will have ample time in this chamber in the discharge of our responsibilities for sober second thought to review that fully and to discuss those amendments and others that may emerge before we have a final vote on the matter in this place?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): In every pre- study, bills are studied here, in the Senate. Recommendations and suggestions are made to the House of Commons, which also studies bills at second reading.

Once the bill has been passed in the other place, it comes back to the Senate and returns to a Senate committee to be studied together with any amendments made by the House of Commons. The Senate will have a second opportunity to exercise its role and function as a chamber of sober second thought.

[English]

Broadcast of Senate Proceedings

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, I want to say congratulations to the leader for supporting the committee the way he has in the house. In his answer, he suggested this is all part of modernizing the Senate. One of the key elements of modernizing the Senate would be to televise it. What is the leader's personal opinion about televising the Senate?

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): You are aware that the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has a Subcommittee on Communications that is conducting a study on broadcasting the proceedings of the Senate. Then the Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament will study the amendments to be made to the Rules of the Senate to reflect this innovation here in the chamber.

When the committees have completed their studies and assessed the costs, they will share their recommendations with us.

Employment and Social Development

Income Inequality

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Earlier this week, I spoke to you about a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. I invite my colleagues to consult another study that I have been reading, which is entitled: All in a Day's Work? CEO Pay in Canada.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said that at 1:11 p.m., on January 2, 2012, or midway through the first work day of the year, most of the 100 top-earning CEOs in Canada had already earned $46,634, or the entire annual salary of most Canadians working full time.

By the end of 2012, each of those 100 CEOs had pocketed $7.96 million, or 171 times more than the average Canadian man and 194 times more than the average Canadian woman. As you know, we have not reached parity.

What does the government intend to do to learn from the financial crisis, reduce wealth inequality, and follow the lead of other jurisdictions that have started to rein in compensation that has nothing to do with the productivity of the people who earn the average salary of a Canadian in half a day?

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Since I have already answered questions on pay equity, our concern is to create jobs to ensure that Canadian families have more money available, especially by lowering taxes.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: There is a problem that you are not seeing. Perhaps you can look into it. In Switzerland, in March 2013, a proposal to provide shareholders with veto power over executive compensation, as well as ban hiring bonuses and severance pay, received the public's support during a referendum. People who live in Switzerland voted on these senseless gaps.

In the United States, as we speak, a new rule requires corporations to at least disclose the ratio between the compensation of their senior executives and that of their employees. You would agree that 171 times the average salary does not make sense.

In light of these examples, could you tell us what the government will do — the same government that wants to create a single securities commission — to fix these ridiculous discrepancies? Shareholders are losing out on massive amounts of money, which is being pocketed by these executives.

Senator Carignan: Statistics Canada has released the results of its survey of financial security and confirmed that Canadian families are in a better position under this government than they were under the previous government.

Statistics Canada also noted that the median net worth of Canadian families is up 44.5 per cent from 2005 and almost 80 per cent from 1999. This increase was driven by the middle class. Furthermore, the Statistics Canada report entitled Income of Canadians, 2011, released in June 2013, indicated that Canadian families at all income levels have seen an increase of approximately 10 per cent or higher in their net pay since 2006.

Canadians at all income levels benefit from the tax breaks introduced by our government. Because of the tax relief provided by our government, the average four-person Canadian household has seen its tax burden drop by $3,400 compared to 2006 levels.

Our action plan has not increased the tax burden, and all of that is due to our government and the best finance minister we could have had.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: My question was about executives and your answer was about the middle class. I know that your answer was prepared for the other place where they talk about the average Canadian family.

However, I want to talk about another group of people who currently receive massive amounts of money that are not representative of the work they do. The huge gap between the incomes of executives and the incomes of the people who work for their companies is an insult to many Canadians. What will the government do to reduce the discrepancy between the middle class and executives?

Senator Carignan: The government will continue to grow the economy and create jobs for the middle class. It will pursue its goal of lowering taxes for Canadian families.

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[English]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Adjournment

Motion Adopted

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to notice of April 9, 2014, moved:

That when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

First Nations Control of First Nations Education Bill

Aboriginal Peoples Committee Authorized to Study Subject Matter

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to notice of earlier this day, moved:

That, in accordance with rule 10-11(1), the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples be authorized to examine the subject matter of Bill C-33, An Act to establish a framework to enable First Nations control of elementary and secondary education and to provide for related funding and to make related amendments to the Indian Act and consequential amendments to other Acts, introduced in the House of Commons on April 10, 2014, in advance of the said bill coming before the Senate.

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, as Chair of the Aboriginal People's Committee, I would like to take a moment to explain this request.

Although the subject of education reform has long been called for by First Nations, including the National Indian Brotherhood's landmark policy paper "Indian Control of Indian Education" in 1972, I believe it was our Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples' report, tabled December 7, 2011, that helped bring us where we are today in making this request for a pre-study of this bill.

That report was entitled Reforming First Nations Education: From Crisis to Hope.

I'd like to take a moment to quote our esteemed former colleague and the previous chair of the committee, Senator St. Germain.

In introducing that report, he said:

Education is the vehicle that lifts us all up. Our first recommendation, which calls for a First Nations Education Act is intended to design a new and better vehicle. The second recommendation puts the necessary fuel in the vehicle, to get us where we need to go. The cost — in lost opportunities — of not meeting this challenge is unacceptably high, both for First Nations and for Canada. This is a Canadian issue, not an Aboriginal issue, and we must all shoulder our responsibility as Canadians. This is an urgent moment in our shared history. Together, Canadians must act decisively, and boldly. Canada must succeed.

Honourable senators, the committee's recommendations — and there were only four — called for the development of a First Nations education act in consultation with First Nations, which recognizes the authority of the First Nations for on-reserve education. The committee's second recommendation called for statutory authority to be given to the minister to provide for First Nations education, based on regulations which would consider cost drivers, including language preservation.

Honourable senators, the bill, which was introduced in the other place today, does indeed provide for an act to enable First Nations to have control, to be funded, to support language and culture, and it calls for an ongoing process of meaningful engagement.

The bill also should be considered in the context of the budget tabled this year, which promised significant incremental funding for First Nations education, starting in 2016, on top of the current expenditure levels on education. It called for an annual increase of funding for First Nations education at 4.5 per cent thereafter, eliminating the invidious and much complained of 2 per cent cap. Education funding will be based, it was promised, on the provincial education funding. There is also a transition fund over four years beginning in 2015-16, and a commitment of $500 million of education infrastructure over seven years.

Honourable senators, the committee did agree that this is an important matter, which has resulted from work done in this Senate, and in light of the timelines for the implementation of the new budget, implementation of the new act, the requirement to consult with First Nations on the necessary regulations to put the act into force, the committee would request that we study the bill immediately now that it has been introduced in the house.

I want to mention also that Senator Dyck initiated an inquiry in this chamber that talked about the serious challenges facing First Nations in education in Canada and the need to make significant improvements.

Honourable senators, I would urge you to support this motion for a subject matter study of Bill C-33.

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, I would like to say a few words about this motion. I am definitely in support of it. The idea of a First Nations education act is critically important to the welfare of First Nations across Canada, and especially to our young people. As we all know, the First Nations population is young and growing. Over half of the population is under the age of 25, and on-reserve education has not had the resources to give them an education at the same level as students who live off- reserve receive.

I think it's important for us to have a look at this bill as soon as we can so that we get a very good understanding of it and have a good chance to go into it in great detail so that it gets as close an examination as possible. It's also important to note that the various Aboriginal organizations themselves have not yet had a chance to look at the details because they weren't involved in the drafting. They will be getting a chance to see it for the first time today. They will be going through it with a fine-toothed comb and giving their opinions to us as to what they think of the bill.

With regard to our report released in 2011, when we first initiated that study, we weren't really as a whole committee thinking that we were going to recommend changes in funding. But as we conducted the study — and I don't like to be partisan — and as members on this side pushed and pushed and pushed, we did get that recommendation of funding into our report. There was a resistance originally, and we pushed. We pushed and pushed and as a committee we struggled with it and came to an agreement, and we included the funding. Now I am particularly glad that's in the report because in my heart of hearts, I believe that helped push the government to make the historic announcement in Stand Off, Alberta, which recommended funding.

That funding won't come into effect until 2016-17. Nevertheless, it's a step that many of us never thought we would see, so it's a good sign. I'm very much in favour of our going ahead with the pre-study so we get a chance to examine it, think about it deeply and make recommendations I hope the government will look at and, if necessary, make the necessary amendments. As I said, I'm in support of it.

One of the most important things we'll have to look at is what role the various First Nations organizations have in developing the regulations, because this is framework. There has to be a commitment to work in close association, real consultation, accommodation and collaboration in order for this to proceed. I know they will be looking for that themselves, and let's hear what they have to say.

(1430)

The Hon. the Speaker: Question?

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[Translation]

Business of the Senate

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I regret to inform the chamber that the Honourable Jim Flaherty, the former Minister of Finance, passed away just minutes ago.

The sitting of the House of Commons has been suspended. Out of respect for the death of our colleague, member of Parliament Jim Flaherty, I propose that we suspend the sitting until the Royal Assent ceremony. During the suspension, we will determine whether we need to make any changes to the Royal Assent ceremony, that is, whether Royal Assent will be signified by written declaration or whether the Governor General will be present. I think this would be the right thing to do, out of respect for former Minister Flaherty.

[English]

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when I put the question "Should the Senate suspend?" in light of the sad news we just heard from the Leader of the Government in the Senate, I would recommend that we attend the resumption by a 15-minute bell.

If you hear the bells ringing prior to 3:30, you will know that the decision has been made by Rideau Hall to accept Royal Assent by written declaration.

Should you not hear the bells until 10 minutes before 4, at 10 minutes before 4 the bells ringing would indicate that His Excellency will come for Royal Assent, and has determined that there are members in the other place who can be summoned to come for the formal ceremony. Hopefully, that is clear.

I will put the question. It is moved by the Honourable Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Carignan, seconded by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, Senator Cowan, that the Senate suspend.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker: We suspend to the call of the bells.

(The sitting of the Senate was suspended.)


(The sitting of the Senate was resumed.)

(1600)

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Colleagues, we are still awaiting the return of the Clerk from Government House. His Excellency the Governor General has agreed to Royal Assent by written declaration.

The Speaker advised the chamber that we would resume the sitting at 4 o'clock, which is why we are now in session.

Fisheries and Oceans

Budget—Study on the Regulation of Aquaculture, Current Challenges and Future Prospects for the Industry—Fourth Report of Committee Adopted

Leave having been given to proceed to Other Business, Reports of Committees, Other, Order No. 4:

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (budget—study on the regulation of aquaculture, current challenges and future prospects for the industry in Canada), presented in the Senate on April 7, 2014.

Hon. Fabian Manning moved the adoption of the report.

He said: Honourable senators, this is a report from the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans in relation to our travel plans for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

[Translation]

Communication from Government House

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore informed the Senate that the following communication had been received:

RIDEAU HALL

April 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker:

I regret to inform you that the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will not be proceeding to the Senate Chamber today.

Yours sincerely,

Patricia Jaton
Deputy Secretary to the Governor General

The Honourable The Speaker of the Senate Ottawa

Royal Assent

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore informed the Senate that the following communication had been received:

RIDEAU HALL

April 10, 2014

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 10th day of April, 2014, at 3:40 p.m.

Yours sincerely,

Patricia Jaton
Deputy Secretary to the Governor General

The Honourable The Speaker of the Senate Ottawa

Bills Assented to Thursday, April 10, 2014:

An Act respecting the election and term of office of chiefs and councillors of certain First Nations and the composition of council of those First Nations (Bill C-9)

An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the National Defence Act (mental disorder) (Bill C-14)

(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at 2 p.m.)