Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 55
Thursday, May 1, 2014
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker
- SENATORS' STATEMENTS
- ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
- Foreign Affairs and International Trade
- Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Bill
- Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament Bill
- Fisheries and Oceans
- QUESTION PERIOD
- ORDERS OF THE DAY
- Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
- Boards of Directors Modernization Bill
- National Health and Fitness Day Bill
- Canadian Commission on Mental Health and Justice Bill
- Criminal Code
- Criminal Code
- National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Bill
- Health Care Accord
- Appendix - Senators Lists
Thursday, May 1, 2014
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Colleagues, again this year I rise to read into the record the names of journalists who were killed in the preceding year, either in the line of duty or simply because they were journalists whose work displeased someone.
The list comes from the Committee to Protect Journalists. In 2013, they were in Bangladesh: Ahmed Rajib Haider; in Brazil: Walgney Assis Carvalho, Rodrigo Neto, Mafaldo Bezerra Goes, José Roberto Ornelas de Lemos; in Colombia: Édison Alberto Molina; in Egypt: Tamer Abdel Raouf, Mosaab al-Shami, Ahmed Abdel Gawad, Mick Deane, Ahmed Assem el-Senousy, Salah al-Din Hassan; in Guatemala: Carlos Alberto Orellana Chávez; in Honduras: Juan Carlos Argeñal Medina, Aníbal Barrow; in India: Sai Reddy, Rajesh Verma, Narendra Dabholkar, Rakesh Sharma, Jitendra Singh, Nemi Chand Jain; in Iraq: Jamal Abdul-Nasser Sami, Raad Yassin Al- Baddi, Wassan Al-Azzawi, Nawras al-Nuaimi, Kawa Garmyane, Wadih Sa'ad al-Hamdani, Alaa Edward Butros, Bashar al-Nuaimi, Mohammed Ghanem, Mohammed Karim al-Badrani; in Kenya: Bernard Wesonga; in Libya: Saleh Ayyad Hafyana; in Mali: Claude Verlon, Ghislaine Dupont; in Mexico: Alberto López Bello, Daniel Alejandro Martínez Balzaldúa, Jaime Guadalupe González Domínguez; in Nigeria: Ikechukwu Udendu; in Pakistan: Ayub Khattak, Aslam Durrani, Mirza Iqbal Hussain, Haji Abdul Razzaq Baloch, Mehmood Jan Afridi, Malik Mumtaz; in Peru: Luis Choy; in the Philippines: Joas Dignos, Fernando Solijon, Mario Sy, Rogelio Butalib, Jesus "Jessie" Tabanao, Vergel Bico, Richard Kho, Bonifacio Loreto, Mario Vendiola Baylosis; in Russia: Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, Mikhail Beketov; in Somalia: Liban Abdullahi Farah, Mohamed Ibrahim Raage, Abdihared Osman Aden, Mohamed Mohamud; in Syria 33 journalists are dead: Molhem Barakat, Yasser Faisal al-Jumaili, Mohamed Yamen Naddaf, Mohamed Ahmed Taysir Bellou, Mohammad Saeed, Nour al-Din Al-Hafiri, Abdel Aziz Mahmoud Hasoun, Muhammad Hassan Al-Musalama, Shahir al- Muaddamani, Muhammed Tariq Jadua, Fidaa al-Baali, Yara Abbas, Youssef Younis, Abdul Raheem Kour Hassan, Amer Diab, Mahmoud Natouf, Ghaith Abd al-Jawad, Amr Badir al-Deen Junaid, Walid Jamil Amira, Mohamed Saeed al-Hamwi, Youssef Adel Bakri (Youssef Abu Jad), Loay al-Nimir, Issam Obeid, Abdel Karim Nazir Ismail, Mohamed al-Mesalma, Yves Debay, Bassem Fawaz al- Zabi, Saif ur Rehman, Imran Shaikh, Suhail Mahmoud al-Ali, Abdullah Sobhi al-Ghazawi, Mohamed Abd Al-Rahman; in Tanzania: Issa Ngumba; and in Turkey: Olivier Voisin.
Honour them all, colleagues.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I would like to draw your attention this afternoon to three distinct groups of visitors in the gallery.
First are Mr. John Rafferty, President and CEO of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind; Amber Mousseau, a client of the CNIB; as well as other CNIB employees. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Seth.
On behalf of all honourable senators, welcome to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker: We also have Miss Camille Munro, Miss World Canada 2013, accompanied by her mother as chaperone. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Meredith.
On behalf of all honourable senators, welcome to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker: We also have a group of 16 Grade 9 students, along with their chaperones, from the King's School in Winnipeg. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Plett.
On behalf of all honourable senators, welcome to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Don Meredith: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize a young woman who is an inspiring voice for social justice and a passionate advocate for children and youth.
Camille Munro is the reigning Miss World Canada and the first woman from Saskatchewan to earn that title in 50 years.
At 23, she has graduated from the University of Regina, with honours, with a Bachelor degree in Human Justice. She currently works with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. She is fluent in both official languages and makes use of her Miss World Canada mantle to spread a message of opportunity and inspiration for young people everywhere.
Last September, she took that very same message to Bali, Indonesia, representing Canada among 137 other countries. There, Camille Munro scored the highest achievement for Canada in the long history of the Miss World Contest.
I must tell you that as the fourth African-Canadian ever to serve in the Senate of Canada and as a long-time volunteer Executive Director at the Greater Toronto Area Faith Alliance, delivering life and job skills for young people, I was especially proud to learn about her background, her values and her commitment to volunteerism. Over the years, Camille has been involved with a number of organizations, including the United Way; Dress for Success, Regina; and Ontario's Dancing Classrooms, an integrated anti-bullying program. She has worked alongside motivational women striving to empower women, including young offenders, with professional development tools and skills.
Camille feels privileged to wear the Miss World Canada crown and finds joy in being of service to her community. As a humanitarian, her work falls directly in line with the Miss World Canada mandate of "Beauty with a Purpose."
Her long list of highlights of her year of service across Canada includes stops at the 48th Annual "Show of Hearts" Telethon for Variety, the Children's Charity in Vancouver; the first annual "Dreams Come True" Royal Children's Ball for the South Saskatchewan Cystic Fibrosis Chapter in Regina; and the Black Business Professional Association's 32nd Annual Harry Jerome Awards.
Maya Angelou once said: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Miss World Canada Camille Munro, by her words, has made many people feel good about their capacity to achieve and, by her example, makes us all feel a bit more optimistic about the future of our world and of this country.
Honourable senators, I invite you to join me in acknowledging Camille Munro, the reigning Miss World Canada. She is an excellent ambassador for Canada, a good example for our youth and certainly a daughter of the soil worthy of the recognition and encouragement of my honourable colleagues in the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize two young farmers from Prince Edward Island who were recently recognized for their work in the farming industry. Andrew and Heidi Lawless of Kinkora, Prince Edward Island, were named Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers for the Atlantic Region for 2014 in a recent ceremony held in Truro, Nova Scotia.
Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers Program is an annual competition which recognizes farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the contribution of agriculture.
The Lawlesses were chosen for this reward for growing a high- quality product in an environmentally friendly manner and running a business with careful management practices, management of finances and production and human resources.
Andrew and Heidi own and operate Hilltop Produce Limited with Andrew's parents in Kinkora.
Both Andrew and Heidi have a farming background and developed their hard work ethic and passion for farming at a young age. This young couple has excelled in the farming industry by setting goals to grow and enhance the family farm by seeking new contracts, new markets, pursuing new environmental initiatives and tapping into programs available to young farmers.
Their farm has grown significantly in the past 10 years and now grows 40 million pounds of potatoes for the processing market. Additionally, they have invested in new storage warehouses and equipment with new technology allowing them to store potatoes year round. They have joined in a partnership with a neighbour to construct a potato washing facility that will provide all Island farms with a high-speed, high-volume service that will increase their profitability and offer a more consistent and competitive product.
Andrew and Heidi are not only busy farmers but busy parents, as they have three young children. As well, Andrew is the captain of the local Firemen's Association, involved in the Atlantic Agriculture Leadership Program, and they are both very active in their children's schools, church and 4-H.
I would like to congratulate this young farming couple and wish them continued success into the future.
Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Honourable senators, discrimination and intolerance are widely condemned in Canada. But, colleagues, there is an exception. It has come to light, yet again, that bigoted, ignorant and discriminatory attitudes toward Christians are accepted in Canada.
Last week, the Ontario and Nova Scotia law societies pre-emptively rejected future graduates of Trinity Western University's law school, all because the school's covenant agreement is in line with Christian values. Specifically, because the school's covenant prohibits the act of sex outside the traditional definition of marriage, critics believe they are discriminating. However, the school does not prohibit gay students or even non-Christians from enrolling, and the rule also applies to unmarried heterosexual couples.
This shameless hypocrisy from those claiming discrimination is profound. In 2001, the BC College of Teachers tried to deny accreditation of Trinity Western's teaching degree because the school insisted upon the same covenant from its students. The court ruled in favour of Trinity Western University because "For better or worse, tolerance of divergent beliefs is a hallmark of democratic society."
Tony Wilson, an atheist bencher of the B.C. law society, voted for Trinity Western University, stating:
I voted the way I did because of something called the rule of law, which among other things, dictates that courts and administrative bodies like ours shouldn't cherry pick the laws we like from the ones we don't.
Some who have voted against Trinity Western University have suggested that one cannot properly teach ethics at a faith-based institution. Does this mean that lawyers of faith are not qualified to teach ethics at non-Christian universities because of their beliefs?
Other critics have suggested that the school would create intolerant lawyers who would discriminate against gays and lesbians, despite no difference in the school's curriculum.
Would the nearly 70 per cent of Canadians who identify as Christian also be considered unfit to practise law in Canada?
How about lawyers who received their undergrads from Trinity Western? Have they, too, been so tainted by Christian orthodoxy that they are unfit to practise law? We have lawyers practising in Canada who have graduated from faith-based law schools in the United States. Should we now strip them of their licences?
Trinity Western's covenant agreement is far from hate-based or discriminatory. The agreement reads, "members [must] pursue truth and excellence with grace and diligence [and] treat people and ideas with charity and respect." All people.
I would like to congratulate the provinces who have respected the rule of law and freedom of religion and who supported Trinity Western's law school, and I hope that the university will take this to the Supreme Court so they can once again rule against discrimination and in favour of democracy.
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute today to Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq elder Noel Knockwood, who passed away on April 10, at the age of 81.
Mr. Knockwood was the Mi'kmaq spiritual leader since 1974 and served as a keptin and spiritual leader for the Mi'kmaq Grand Council.
Born on the Shubenacadie Reserve in 1932, Mr. Knockwood attended the Shubenacadie Indian residential school. He became an outspoken critic of the residential school system and what he described as "cultural genocide." He was part of the class action lawsuit that won reparations for the residential school victims. Mr. Knockwood was honoured by Nova Scotia for his efforts with the province's Meritorious Medal for Human Rights in 1991.
Mr. Knockwood was a Korean War veteran who served over a year in the conflict with the Canadian military.
Beginning in the 1970s, Mr. Knockwood began a lifelong spiritual journey dedicating his life to Mi'kmaq culture and reintroducing many Mi'kmaqs and Nova Scotians to Mi'kmaq culture, teachings and the way of life. His efforts led the Province of Nova Scotia to recognize Native spirituality as a religion and, as a result, legally recognized traditional Mi'kmaq marriage ceremonies.
In 2002, he was also awarded an Aboriginal Achievement Award for his work in restoring Native spirituality in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Mr. Knockwood became a shining cultural light for many young Nova Scotian and New Brunswick Mi'kmaq people. He earned a BA from Saint Mary's University in Halifax as well as a diploma from the Coady institute at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He also helped found the Transitional Year Program at Dalhousie University in Halifax for Native and Black students, and he helped design the school's Mi'kmaq Cultural History program.
Mr. Knockwood also served as Nova Scotia's first Aboriginal sergeant-at-arms for the Nova Scotia legislature from 2000 to 2005.
A spiritual mentor to many and a champion of Mi'kmaq culture, Mr. Knockwood left an indelible mark on Nova Scotia and Mi'kmaq culture. Noel Knockwood will be remembered for the many contributions he made, not only to the Mi'kmaq community but to all Nova Scotians. I would like to express my sympathy to his family today in the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Asha Seth: Honourable senators, May 1, 2014, marks the historic launch of the first ever National Vision Health Month. For many years, I have hoped to establish the month of May as a national platform for the discussion of vision health, prevention, research and, of course, solutions for those living with blindness and vision loss.
For many years I had hoped to establish the month of May as a national platform for the discussion of vision health, prevention, research and, of course, solutions for those living with blindness and vision loss. Today, I can thank all of you for unanimously supporting me in making this vision a reality. This yearly campaign will bring awareness of the startling rates of blindness affecting Canadians of all backgrounds and ages.
I know that from now on, every senator in this chamber is with me in the battle to decrease the increasing rate of vision loss. Age- related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and all the other eye diseases — these are the names of our enemies. We need prevention, education, access and research. These are the tools we have to stop them.
As Speaker Kinsella mentioned, today I am happy to have Amber Mousseau and the CNIB in our chamber. Amber has dealt with vision loss, but with proper support and access to treatment, she has been able to obtain her MBA and is now a valuable member of HRSDC's project management team and also a CNIB ambassador.
It makes me proud to have them here on a day when the entire Senate stands together to recognize National Vision Health Month.
Honourable senators, vision loss in Canada may be on the rise, but all this month, we are rising to meet the challenge.
As Helen Keller once said, "The only thing worse than being blind is having no vision."
We have envisioned a day with no blindness, but only through our unity of will and determination to end the root cause of vision loss will we succeed.
Join me in bringing this vision to light.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, presented the following report:
Thursday, May 1, 2014
The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has the honour to present its
Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Thursday, November 21, 2013, 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, 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 and outside 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.
(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix, p. 808.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?
(On motion of Senator Andreychuk, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-25, An Act respecting the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band Order.
(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.)
Hon. Hugh Segal introduced Bill S-220, An Act to establish the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.
(Bill read first time.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?
(On motion of Senator Segal, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)
Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(a), I move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans have the power to sit at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that the application of Rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.
Honourable senators, I am asking for this on behalf of the committee because we have agreed to hear from an all-party committee from Newfoundland and Labrador consisting of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the leader of the Liberal Party and the leader of the NDP Party in relation to the shrimp fishery issue. They will be travelling to Ottawa, and there is always a concern about getting out of here in time. That is why we bring this forward and ask for permission to sit so that we can accommodate our visitors.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I would like to read a short excerpt from the debates of the House of Commons on Monday regarding the tragic situation in the Central African Republic, and I quote:
What is more important is that the Liberal Party, as well as the NDP, would like to put Canadian soldiers' lives in danger out in the region. My question to them is this: who is going to pay to have all of these soldiers go out there? Is it Canadian taxpayers?
The question is this: Why is Canada staying away from a mission that is basically in line with all the expectations the international community has of Canada from a peacekeeping point of view, a mission that we are completely qualified for — we even have the language and cultural skills —when we could be a determining factor in the creation and implementation of a United Nations mission?
Why are we throwing money out the window instead of using our skills to save lives and perhaps even prevent genocide in the Central African Republic?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Thank you for your question, Senator Dallaire. As you know, our government is very concerned that the security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic is deteriorating, and we are especially concerned about the suffering caused by civilians and the impact of the crisis on neighbouring countries.
As you know, so far, Canada has provided over $16 million to help meet the widespread humanitarian need and $5 million to support efforts by the African Union and France to restore security in the country. Canada contributes a considerable amount of money to the UN peacekeeping budget and is supporting the efforts of the United Nations, France, especially, and the African Union in this crisis.
I can assure you that Canada will continue to closely monitor the situation in the Central African Republic and that we are very concerned about what is currently going on in the country.
Senator Dallaire: I have a supplementary question.
I would never question what the Leader of the Government in the Senate says, but I have doubts about the technical response he gave, because what I read came from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in response to a question asked in the House of Commons three days ago. He asked why we would go to that country, because it costs money, and why we would risk the lives of our soldiers. However, the United Nations is not asking for some paltry sum of money. It wants us to serve as the backbone of a mission that would provide protection and potentially prevent a genocide from happening. This would be achieved by having our soldiers on the ground, of course, but also by having diplomats help set up such an important and high-risk mission.
We are being told that this is not important and that we will not spill blood there or spend our departments' money, aside from the amounts you already mentioned, to protect these people.
However, that goes against everything we've done in the past and the way the Armed Forces were designed — to use force in accordance with chapter 7 in order to protect millions of people.
Why are we refusing to offer our skills? Just because we're involved in Ukraine does not mean we're unable to help. We're capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time; surely we're able to address this need. Is there something more fundamental going on here that we should know about why we can't help the United Nations in Africa?
Senator Carignan: I would like to reiterate that we are concerned about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic. We have spent more than $16 million to help meet the widespread humanitarian need and $5 million to support the African Union and France in their efforts to restore security in the country.
We will continue to support the efforts of the United Nations, France and the African Union in the current crisis. We will continue to closely monitor the situation. The United Nations, France and the African Union are there right now with our support on the ground.
Senator Dallaire: I'd like to ask another supplementary question. I didn't ask what you are doing; I asked why you are not doing what really needs to be done to address the true needs.
Mr. Leader of the Government in the Senate, the department's speaking notes that you rattled off about this catastrophe are essentially the same things I heard 20 years ago when I was in the middle of a genocide and my country, and others as well, told me exactly the same thing. We are concerned, but not that concerned, because it is not in our interest. We will toss some money at it in the hopes that it will end, sooner or later.
Where is this fundamental desire to show leadership, which a middle power like Canada could express in order to replace a former colonial power that is creating problems? God knows I can provide examples. Even in the Central African Republic, it is better to have the presence of the European Union, with its mishmash of structures, than to have a former colonial country as the foundation for a United Nations force.
I ask that you direct my question to your ministers: Why is Canada refusing to take part in United Nations missions for which our forces have internationally recognized skills that can make a significant difference on the ground?
Senator Carignan: Canada is present through its efforts to support the United Nations forces, France and the African Union. You cannot downplay the effort Canada is making right now. Financial aid is being provided in coordination with the United Nations to meet humanitarian needs. You cannot minimize Canada's effort in this.
Senator Dallaire: I don't want to minimize what is being done. I just want you to know that I am not only saddened, but embarrassed by what we are doing right now. We should be living up to our potential, saving lives and helping to avoid the same situation we allowed to happen 20 years ago. Since then, we have worked to set up the International Criminal Court and prevent such atrocities and the massive use of child soldiers, which we claim to be concerned about. I am ashamed of your response. Money is not the answer. We need soldiers and diplomats on the ground to separate these entities and protect people.
Why are you refusing to answer the question? Why is our country showing the international community that it has lost its courage instead of taking risks and saving more lives?
Senator Carignan: I think that when you say you don't want to minimize the importance of our contribution and you talk about more than $16 million and $5 million to support the efforts of the African Union and France to restore security in the country as though it were just a few bucks, you are being rather disparaging.
Canada must continue to work with the United Nations by supporting the efforts of the United Nations and France — a country that Canadians have a great deal of respect for — in their work in the Central African Republic.
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Leader, I have observed how you answered the questions on the Central African Republic, and I honestly believe you are genuine when you say we are doing something.
I am a daughter of Africa. I have drunk the water of the Nile, so I am very emotional when it comes to issues of Africa.
Senator Dallaire and I were in Darfur when the genocide was occurring there. We gave tremendous amounts of money, but wherever I went the women said to me that we provided just 100 soldiers. Those soldiers brought knowledge and Canadian values, and in their time off they helped the people build their country.
Yes, we are providing $16 million plus $5 million, but that's not the only thing that Canada is known for. Canada is known for the knowledge of the soldiers and peacekeepers who go abroad and save lives.
This is not about providing dollars to France and the African Union. Yes, we have done that and it is very important. This is about protecting our reputation and providing the knowledge that we have to protect the people the best way that Canadian soldiers know how.
I have seen them. I have gone with them into areas where it is very dangerous, and they have been welcomed because they are soldiers in the true sense, with a heart. We need to provide soldiers with a heart in such a terrible situation.
Senator Carignan: Senator Jaffer, I think we need to put things into perspective. As you know, Africa is the primary recipient of Canadian international aid; it receives nearly half of our aid dollars. Approximately 80 per cent of the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health goes to sub-Saharan Africa. Canada is the second largest donor to the World Food Programme, which sends about 60 per cent of its aid to sub- Saharan Africa. We are also a major donor to The Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Our government has untied food aid, an approach we think is more effective because it saves more lives. Every year, we target our development investment to produce concrete results. I don't think you should belittle Canada's significant contributions to Africa.
Senator Jaffer: Leader, I am the first person to say that, yes, we give a lot of aid to Africa. Being an African, I am very appreciative of this, but I am also aware of all of our mining companies who are benefiting very much from the raw resources of Africa and of the tremendous money Canada is making from Africa as well.
This is not a question of giving money to Africa. This is about saving lives of children. Two thousand people have died; 643,000 are internally displaced; and 100,000 are refugees. We said many years ago, "Never again." There is a genocide happening in the Central African Republic. When are we going to act to save lives?
Senator Carignan: Senator Jaffer, I described our current contributions to aid for Africa. These are life-saving initiatives. How can you say that 80 per cent of the funding from the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health does not help save lives? You should acknowledge and honour the importance of Canadian aid in sub-Saharan Africa. You should recognize it. You can't accuse us of not trying and not saving lives. Your comments are unwarranted.
Senator Jaffer: Leader, I am very disappointed in your answer. I am not talking about providing maternal health care in Sub- Saharan Africa. My question is this: When are we going to send peacekeepers to the Central African Republic?
Senator Carignan: If you want to talk about the Central African Republic again, I'll give you the same answer I gave Senator Dallaire. We are supporting the African Union, France and the United Nations in their peacekeeping efforts, and we will continue to keep a close eye on the changing situation on the ground. We are concerned about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation, and we will continue to work with the United Nations in particular.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, yesterday, I spoke about the future free trade agreements with Europe that need to be negotiated with all of the other countries and that will likely not come into force for another two years. The issue came up again yesterday at the meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, of which I am a member, where Mr. Poloz, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, made this statement, and I quote from his presentation:
Competitiveness challenges continue to weigh down our export sector's ability to benefit from stronger growth abroad. Given the importance of the export sector to an open economy such as ours and given the growing wedge between Canada's exports and foreign demand, the bank has deepened its analysis of the export sector, specifically non-energy exports.
That means that, right now, the Bank of Canada is conducting an in-depth analysis of the problems that our country is experiencing with competitiveness, particularly, according to the Governor of the Bank of Canada, as it concerns pricing, the quality of goods and innovation.
I would therefore like to come back to the question that I asked yesterday. I don't want the same answer, namely that we have the Supplementary Estimates (A) through (F) on innovation. Competitiveness is a package deal that includes workers and pricing. Germany is the second largest exporter in the world, and it has high wages, extremely high-quality social services and a highly skilled workforce. Despite all that, Germany is still the biggest exporter.
When will your government implement mechanisms to support our business people, particularly those who own medium-sized businesses, so that they can benefit from this and other free trade agreements?
What mechanism will your government put in place to ensure that our companies are supported in their search for new foreign markets?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Listen, senator, I believe that signing free trade agreements is one of the mechanisms you mentioned that will help our companies export and create wealth. We are aware of the importance of trade to the Canadian economy. Our government delivered results in 2013. We signed an historic free trade agreement with the European Union, which you mentioned, and an unprecedented 10 foreign investment promotion and protection agreements. We also have a global markets action plan, and our marketing efforts will draw on all our foreign resources in order to help Canadian exporters achieve better results. During the 13 years the Liberals were in office, they signed only three free trade agreements.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: It is better to sign a trade agreement that benefits Canada than a trade agreement with several countries that benefits them. I submitted the document with my research. By the way, I have been doing the research with my office staff. I have not created any jobs. My staff is working with me on the files, and let me tell you that the situation is not enviable in the slightest. We have signed agreements that do not benefit us at all. We have actually lost ground. Our trade deficit has gone up. I would like to believe that the action plan works like a magic formula and all you have to do is wave a wand to make the exports happen. It does not work like that. Our business community is lacking a great deal of support.
What program have you or will you put in place to ensure that our companies become exporters, as in the case of Korea, Germany and Japan? We cannot base our entire future and competitiveness on trade with the United States. We have always said that this is a very narrow vision. The agreement with Europe is not in effect and may never be because there are a lot of players. It is complicated to get to the end result. I obtained the document you told me about yesterday. It is actually a marketing document, not an agreement. Aside from that, could you tell me what program will be in place to support our private companies? I have yet to see such a program in Bill C-31.
Senator Carignan: As I explained, we will continue to work and negotiate free trade agreements and partnerships.
You mention the fact that the United States is not our only partner. It is exactly for that reason that, on October 18, 2013, our Prime Minister and Mr. Barroso announced that Canada and the European Union had reached an agreement in principle on this comprehensive trade agreement.
We are also working on a free trade agreement with South Korea. You should acknowledge the government's efforts and the real action we are taking and congratulate rather than criticize us.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Either you do not understand my question or you do not want to understand it. I am asking you: What are the problems?
With respect to the free trade agreements, the numbers are there. The Governor of the Bank of Canada is telling us that we have a deficit and that we have to find ways to support the competitiveness and export capability our businesses. He is worried about that. I think he knows what he is talking about as he is the former president of the corporation that provides Canadian export financing. He has special expertise in this area and he is concerned, as we are, about this issue.
Instead of telling us about agreements with the European Union and South Korea that are not in effect and agreements that are in effect but have produced no results, I would like you to answer my question: What programs will you implement to support businesses and Canadian exports of goods and services?
Senator Carignan: I think your question is now more specific. I will mention the plan to promote trade, which will bring to bear all of Canada's diplomatic resources in order to promote our economic priorities in key foreign markets. We are including the concept of economic diplomacy as one of the main elements of Canada's overall foreign policy. At the same time, Canada will continue to support a robust development program and a principled foreign policy. We want to further harmonize our humanitarian aid, trade and foreign policy efforts, and this will have positive outcomes for Canada and its partners around the world.
Our government is concentrating on what is important: job creation and economic opportunity. Our objective is to increase the number of Canadian businesses in emerging markets from 11,000 to 21,000 and to promote SMEs. It is an ambitious goal, but Minister Fast, who is in charge of this area, is convinced that Canadian small and medium-sized businesses will rise to the occasion.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: First, I commend the initiative of our embassies in supporting our business people. However, I would point out that Germany, for example, has offices in Canada's major cities in order to create partnerships between the private sector and the government. The Canadian German Chambers of Commerce spend millions in Canada each year in order to export to Canada. Currently, we have no mechanism, no organization. The Canadian German Chambers of Commerce look after trade, not the embassy of Germany.
South Korea too has had state partnership mechanisms in place for more than 25 years.
When are you planning to establish an organization whose sole role will be to ensure that our businesses can penetrate foreign markets, assuming that the agreements you have spoken about are signed?
Senator Carignan: I feel that I was clear in my reply about the specific diplomatic resources that are focused on economic priorities in key foreign markets. I also pointed out the many free trade agreements that our government has signed.
Rather than trying to belittle the work that our government has been doing, I believe that you should be congratulating us for the concrete actions we have taken to promote the economy and our foreign exports. As a country, Canada is an economic success. Many studies and reports describe our country's economic performance. You should be proud rather than constantly focusing on one negative aspect of the whole.
Hon. Jean-Claude Rivest: Presciently, yesterday, in response to a question from the opposition, the Leader of the Government in the Senate spoke about Mirabel airport. This morning, Aéroports de Montréal announced the final demolition of the Mirabel terminal building.
Leader of the Government, can you confirm this decision announced by the president of the Mirabel airport authority?
If so, does the Government of Canada have a plan to use the land that will become vacant as a result of this misadventure?
During the planning process and the development of this land, will the federal government consult and work with the provincial and municipal authorities?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Authorities such as ADM manage their assets independently. You probably know that the land occupied by Mirabel airport — it should have been called "Trudeau," actually — is in an industrial area. There are agreements with the municipality. Aéroports de Montréal has a long-term lease on the land, which allowed and still allows for businesses there. Bombardier is one company that already has a facility beside the runway.
As for destroying the terminal building, I will refer you to the independent decisions of Aéroports de Montréal.
Speaking of destruction, your question reminds me of something Senator Mercer said yesterday about the sensitivity required when taking possession of expropriated lands. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you about the farms and houses in Mirabel that were burned down one by one in front of the owners when the land was expropriated for the airport. That is a glaring example of a government's lack of sensitivity.
Hon. Leo Housakos moved second reading of Bill S-4, An Act to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act.
He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise in my place today to begin second reading of Bill S-4, the Digital Privacy Bill.
This bill will provide new protections for Canadians when they surf the Web and shop online by making important amendments to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, commonly known as PIPEDA.
Colleagues, PIPEDA sets the rules for how private sector businesses collect, use and share personal information, including names, age, banking records, shopping history and more.
This information is required by many companies and organizations to conduct their regular business. In certain contexts, it can also reveal a great deal about an individual and in the wrong hands can be used to commit fraud, identity theft and other forms of harm.
The Digital Privacy Bill will establish stronger rules to ensure that the privacy rights of individuals are protected, while at the same time allowing businesses to use personal information to support their normal, day-to-day business activities.
Colleagues, protecting Canadians is one of five key principles under the government's Digital Canada 150, a plan for Canada to take full advantage of the economic opportunities of the digital age. The Digital Privacy Bill will better protect consumers online, simplify rules for business and increase overall compliance with PIPEDA.
I would like to take this opportunity to describe the key elements of the bill before us and how it will improve Canada's private sector privacy legislation.
First, and most significant, the Digital Privacy Bill will require organizations to tell individuals if their personal information has been lost or stolen if there is a risk that they could be harmed as a result.
As part of this notification, organizations will also have to tell individuals what steps they can take to protect themselves from potential harm — actions that can be as simple as changing their credit card PIN or email password.
At the same time, the bill will require organizations to report these potentially harmful data breaches to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
These changes will enable consumers to protect themselves and will encourage companies to better protect this information.
With the passage of this bill, organizations that choose to deliberately ignore these requirements will be subject to fines of up to $100,000 for every person kept in the dark.
Those are stiff penalties that can add up quickly depending on how serious the violations are, and they show how much importance the government attaches to protecting Canadians' personal information.
The Digital Privacy Bill will also require organizations to maintain records of all data breaches and to provide these records to the Privacy Commissioner on request.
This will allow the commissioner to fulfill the required oversight role and verify that organizations are reporting breaches as required. Organizations that deliberately cover up a data breach by not keeping these records, or by destroying them, could face fines of up to $100,000 per offence.
The second key element of the Digital Privacy Bill is the creation of new requirements whenever an organization asks an individual for their approval to collect, use or share their personal information.
This new measure will establish stronger protection for the privacy of more vulnerable segments of the population, such as children.
These changes will require organizations to clearly communicate to their target audience their request for consent to collect personal information. Organizations will also be required to check whether the target audience is able to understand the consequences of sharing that information.
As children and adolescents spend more and more of their time online, it is important that they understand clearly the choices in front of them before they hand over private information about themselves.
The concept of informed consent is at the very core of PIPEDA, and this amendment strengthens this aspect. Informed consent means not just that individuals are told of what is being done with their information, but that they understand the potential consequences of clicking "yes" or "no."
The stronger rules included in this bill will make sure that individual Canadians, in particular children and adolescents, can understand the potential consequences of the choices they make.
A third important element of this bill is a new set of limited exceptions to allow organizations to share personal information without consent, in situations where it is needed to protect individuals from harm.
These situations include allowing organizations to report suspected cases of financial abuse to the appropriate authorities, to provide information that will allow police to contact and communicate with the family of an injured or deceased person or to share information to detect and prevent fraud. All of these exceptions are clearly defined and limited to circumstances where sharing this information is in the best interests of the persons involved.
Let me give you an example. Colleagues, let's assume that a bank or a financial advisor currently suspects that one of their elderly clients is a victim of financial abuse.
Suppose that the bank reports that there are frequent and irregular withdrawals from the client's account and that it believes that the client is being forced to withdraw those amounts; the bank might be prevented from informing interested parties such as the police, the public curator or the client's next of kin.
These amendments will remove that obstacle and ensure that suspected cases of financial abuse can be reported to protect the interests of seniors.
The Digital Privacy Bill will also reduce unnecessary red tape by making sure that companies are able to use personal information to support their normal day-to-day business activities without undermining individual privacy.
Colleagues, what makes PIPEDA internationally respected as a balanced and fair set of privacy protections is that it recognizes that there are some circumstances where the requirement to obtain permission for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information wouldn't actually improve anyone's privacy.
Instead, in some circumstances, such a requirement only serves to impose an unnecessary burden on business.
The bill before us will make it easier for businesses to collect, use and share information to manage employees, to conduct due diligence when buying another company, or to process insurance claims.
These proposed amendments are broadly recognized as reasonable and balanced changes that ease the burden on business without undermining the privacy of individual Canadians.
The fifth and final key element of the Digital Privacy Bill is a suite of changes that will ensure that the Privacy Commissioner has effective tools to protect Canadians' privacy.
Bill S-4 gives the Privacy Commissioner the ability to negotiate voluntary compliance agreements with organizations.
Those agreements enable organizations to make a binding commitment to take the measures needed to comply with the legislation.
This allows organizations to be proactive and work collaboratively with the Privacy Commissioner to quickly correct any privacy violations that may have been discovered. In exchange, organizations can avoid costly legal action. At the same time, the agreements are binding and provide a mechanism for the Privacy Commissioner to hold organizations accountable in court and make sure that they follow through on promises to fix privacy problems.
The Digital Privacy Act also gives complainants and the Privacy Commissioner up to a year after an investigation has been completed and the Commissioner's report has been published to apply to the Federal Court to order an organization to comply with the law or award damages.
Under the current law, complainants have only 45 days to make such an application. In many cases, that is not enough time for an organization to voluntarily address the problem or for the complainant to prepare a proper application.
Thanks to this change, an organization will have enough time to take voluntary measures or negotiate a compliance agreement while maintaining the ability to take the matter to court.
Finally, the Digital Privacy Bill will provide more flexibility to publicly release information about non-compliant organizations, if the commissioner considers it to be in the public interest to do so.
This change will make sure that Canadians are informed and aware of issues that affect their privacy. It will also provide the Privacy Commissioner with a strong tool to encourage organizations to comply with the law, or face public scrutiny.
In conclusion, senators, the time has come for Parliament to move quickly to amend PIPEDA to ensure that it continues to protect the privacy of Canadians. By better protecting consumers, streamlining rules for business and increasing compliance, the Digital Privacy Bill will make Canadians safer and more secure. Canadians expect that their online transactions are secure, that their privacy is protected and that their families are safe from online threats.
It is incumbent upon us to ensure that the legal framework provides the protection citizens expect. The Digital Privacy Act will strengthen Canada's framework by making sure Canadians are informed that their privacy has been put at risk and by holding to account those organization that would deliberately break the rules.
I urge my honourable colleagues to join me in supporting this important piece of legislation.
Hon. George J. Furey: Will the honourable senator take a question?
Senator Housakos: Of course.
Senator Furey: First, thank you for your remarks. There are many good points in the bill that will help with respect to Canadians' privacy.
Proposed paragraph 10.2(3) talks about an organization disclosing personal information without the knowledge or consent of an individual and it prescribes two conditions: One is if the disclosure is made to an organization, a government institution or other part of a government institution that was notified of the breach, and the other is if it is to prevent harm.
I realize that the bill hasn't been studied yet, but are you satisfied that the bill properly prescribes what we mean by "organization," both a dispensing organization and a receiving organization?
Senator Housakos: Is your question in regard to a warrant list disclosure that could be demanded on the part of certain companies?
Senator Furey: What I am reading from is proposed paragraph 0.2(3), which states:
In addition to the circumstances set out in subsection 7(3), for the purpose of clause 4.3 of Schedule 1, and despite the note that accompanies that clause, an organization...
Does the act properly prescribe what we mean by an "organization"? In this case it would be a dispensing organization, and then the next part talks about an organization that receives information.
Senator Housakos: The way I understand the act, it covers all private sector companies. There are different privacy laws that cover government agencies, provincial and federal. The way I understand the bill, it covers all private sector companies.
Senator Furey: Thank you. This particular section as well, Senator Housakos, speaks about an organization disclosing personal information without the knowledge or consent of the individual.
It prescribes two conditions under which that can be done. At some point down the road, should not the act allow for individuals to find out what, if any, private information has been passed on about them?
Senator Housakos: Right now the act prescribes that companies have to disclose if there is a data breach. They have to inform the individual and the Privacy Commissioner. That would be an issue that would be worthy of discussion when it is sent to committee.
(On motion of Senator Furey, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to notice of April 30, 2014, moved:
That when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 2 p.m.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette moved second reading of Bill S- 217, An Act to modernize the composition of the boards of directors of certain corporations, financial institutions and parent Crown corporations, and in particular to ensure the balanced representation of women and men on those boards.
She said: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to you about Bill S-217, which I am sponsoring, but I would like to begin by underscoring the importance and urgency of encouraging the integration of woman into boards of directors.
Although I don't often do this, allow me to commend the Government of Canada's initiative in this area. One year ago, on April 5, 2013, to be precise, the former Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister of Status of Women, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, announced the makeup of an advisory council whose mandate would be to promote the participation of women on corporate boards in both the public and private sectors. Its goal was to increase opportunities for women to serve on corporate boards. The minister at that time said:
"[This] makes good business sense for Canadian women and for the Canadian economy....businesses with more women on their boards are more profitable and routinely outperform those with fewer."
Unfortunately, the report from the advisory council, which was supposed to be released last fall, has yet to be released. In the meantime, there has been a cabinet shuffle. I would remind everyone that, in Economic Action Plan 2012, Prime Minister Harper committed to creating this advisory council to make it easier for women to serve on corporate boards. Also, to refresh the memories of my colleagues across the floor, I will quote the section of Economic Action Plan 2012 entitled "Women on Corporate Boards."
Economic Action Plan 2012 announces the creation of an advisory council of leaders from the private and public sectors to promote the participation of women on corporate boards.
Here is what the action plan says about this program:
Canadian women have high levels of education and business experience. Many lead successful businesses and are active members of corporate boards. Yet they remain under- represented on boards of directors and in top leadership positions. Increasing opportunities for women to serve on corporate boards makes good business sense for Canadian women and for Canada's economy. The Minister for Status of Women will work with the private sector to promote the participation of women on corporate boards and champion their leadership. Through the creation of an advisory council of leaders from the private and public sectors [and I know that Ms. Leroux, who runs Mouvement Desjardins, is a member], the Government [according to Mr. Harper] will work with the private sector to link corporations to a network of women with professional skills and experience.
Unfortunately, we are still at square one two years after this announcement. Therefore, my bill is certainly good news. It will be able to help the Prime Minister keep his promise.
Honourable senators, it is time that the government and we in this chamber took note of this situation, which is both socially unjust and economically counterproductive.
For the past five years, I have been introducing bills to promote female representation on boards of directors. For the past five years, I have been explaining to this chamber, the media, provincial governments and many groups that Canada would benefit tremendously from having more women on boards of directors and that we need legislation to make that happen within a reasonable period of time.
Some members of the media — such as The Globe and Mail — have been very receptive to the idea, and some provincial governments have been open to the idea or even determined to change things — Quebec has introduced legislation and Ontario is about to — but I have still not made much headway with my Conservative colleagues. I hope that Minister Ambrose's initiative and the Prime Minister's Economic Action Plan 2012 promise will encourage my colleagues opposite to view my bill favourably.
At this point in the preamble to my speech, I would like to clarify what is in my bill and what is not.
Bill S-217 would not establish quotas for women on boards of directors. The concept of quotas is not consistent with the spirit of the bill, and the concept of quotas for women even less so. That is why you will not hear me speak of quotas, but instead of balanced representation of men and women.
The bill's short-term goal is to promote female representation on boards of directors, first, to give 52 per cent of the Canadian population the same access to economic decision-making positions as men and, second, to provide for more diverse and therefore more effective decision-making.
In the long run, the bill would balance the gender makeup of boards of directors and could benefit both men and women. In other words, Bill S-217 protects against imbalances in the composition of boards of directors, no matter which sex is underrepresented.
In a moment, I will explain how this issue affects our economy. For now, let me make a common-sense comparison: No good investor in Canada or elsewhere would think of putting all his or her money in a single product. To guard against economic risk, it is preferable to invest in a diversity of products. How, then, could a board of directors, which also faces economic risk and must make strategic decisions that may affect the future of a company, not itself be diversified? How could ignoring the skills of half of the population — women in this case — not hinder the performance in our country?
One of the arguments made against my bill relates to the fear some men have that they will be forced to choose a woman at the expense of a qualified man, as if there are not enough qualified women in Canada to sit on boards of directors. I would respond by asking them this: Are you sure that all the men sitting on boards of directors were chosen for their competence, and are you sure that our boards of directors are the best they can be?
Obviously, the answer is "no." We must shatter the old beliefs that women have some biological liability that prevents them from being equal or even superior to men.
Achieving balanced representations of boards of directors will undoubtedly force some people to change their views on women, and some will also have to leave their comfort zones to find the feminine skill sets most suited to a given business. After all, if you want to succeed in business, it is better to be pragmatic than dogmatic.
So you see now that Bill S-217 is not about women; it is about all of us. This is not a bill for women or against men; it is a pragmatic bill that would optimize the effectiveness of our boards of directors while rectifying a social injustice.
Let me add that diversity on boards of directors is not just about sex. It is also about culture and age. Our businesses, particularly our export-oriented businesses, need a sound understanding of their products and their market. To achieve this, they need boards made up of women and men from different backgrounds and different generations.
Honourable senators, I told you that the purpose of my bill is twofold: to improve the economic performance of our businesses and to rectify a social injustice. To back that up, I would like to refer to a very interesting report by two researchers, Sylvie St- Onge and Michel Magnan, entitled "Women on Corporate Boards: Taking Stock and Future Research," and an article by Sophie Landrieux-Kartochian entitled "Women in leadership, better corporate performance?"
I will conclude this speech on economic performance. First, allow me to address the issue of social justice.
Gender equality is not optional. It is a fundamental individual right.
Is democracy acceptable when women are not allowed to vote? No. Is the market economy acceptable when women are excluded from decision-making roles? No. Is a society acceptable when it allows its political, economic and legal powers to be dominated by one sex? Again, I say no.
Nothing can justify that half the population with equal skills is excluded from positions of power. Nothing can justify that Canadian women contribute to pension funds through their work, but do not have an equal say in strategic decisions regarding the investment of that money, which takes the form of majority shares in most of our major corporations. Nothing can justify that half of the skills of the Canadian population go unused because of their absence on boards of directors.
Why are women not as well represented as men on boards of directors?
Studies show that people who analyze candidates' potential for advancement tend to select men because they have a masculine perception of leadership or power and cannot picture a woman in a leadership role.
Accordingly, we can presume that this bias comes into play when positions are filled at companies and also at the head of companies.
A 2010 study shows that according to female directors themselves, stereotypes and the old boys' club culture are the biggest obstacles. The business community is influenced by traditional values and education and is full of prejudice and preconceptions about women. I am not the only one to say so. The governing bodies of corporations more or less consciously tolerate the inequalities that lead to the exclusion, non- recognition and non-integration of women in business.
Although no one may say out loud that they do not want women on their board of directors, there may be indirect discrimination. The requirements candidates must meet to become board members may appear to be neutral and justified, but they may exclude women from or limit their access to board positions. For example, the current trend of seeking board members who are current or retired CEOs automatically excludes qualified female candidates as few women are or have been CEOs because of this systemic problem.
According to a 2010 study conducted by Catalyst, in the United States only 3 per cent of the 500 or 1,000 largest corporations are headed by women. Consequently, despite the fact that the requirements are the same for men and women, they do not create a level playing field for women.
Honourable senators, with respect to the social injustice I have described, some of us may still wonder if it is appropriate to legislate rather than to wait for things to evolve on their own.
I would respond by quoting the conclusions of a 1998 study funded by York University's School of Business and carried out by Ronald Burke, entitled: Women on Canadian Corporate Boards of Directors: Getting the Numbers Right! The conclusion reads as follows:
The pattern of findings [in the study] contained elements of both optimism and pessimism regarding increasing the numbers of women serving on corporate boards. The optimistic conclusions are based on the importance of a strong track record, business expertise and appropriate business job titles in attaining directorships. More and more women are acquiring these credentials....The reasons women joined boards would also appeal to male board members because they were board and business related....
The pessimistic slant on these findings stems from the fact that the nomination process is still pretty much the result of the "old boy's network". Many qualified women would not be visible to this small, important but insulated group of men. Thus it is unlikely that the small percentage of current board members that are women will change appreciably in the short run.
Should we embrace the study's optimistic conclusion or its pessimistic one? Let's look at the figures: according to research by Catalyst — a Canadian organization as well as an American one — in 1998, women held 6.2 per cent of the seats on the boards of directors of Canadian companies in the Financial Post 500 ranking. In 2013, that figure was 15.9 per cent of those same seats. That is an increase of 9.7 per cent in 15 years, an average annual increase of 1.55 per cent. At that pace, we can hope to achieve parity in 22 years, something I will probably not be around to see.
However, the situation of women on boards in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom contrasts with that of women in other countries that have passed legislation that sets targets for their presence. In France, for example, the watchdog organization Ethics and Boards reveals that women's representation on the boards of companies in the CAC 40 index doubled between 2009 and 2011 and reached 20.7 per cent. Most of those companies had already exceeded the 20 per cent threshold for the presence of women, a threshold not required by law until 2014.
Norway, which has a law that requires boards of directors of companies listed on the stock exchange to be made up of 40 per cent women, saw the rate increase from 7 per cent in 2002 to 44 per cent in 2011. It is important to remember that this started out as a voluntary process and, when that did not work, the Norwegian government eventually passed a law. In Spain, which has a law that requires boards of directors to be made up of 40 per cent women by 2015, the rate increased from 3 per cent in 2006 to 10 per cent in 2011.
This experience shows that, with government intervention, the representation of women on boards of directors increases rapidly. What is more, when such legislation is in place, women are more likely to put their names forward to become a member of a board of directors, since they no longer worry about or feel the pressure of being the only woman on the board or being in the minority.
As for Canada, two provinces have already shown leadership by directly addressing the issue of women on boards of directors. In 2006, the Government of Quebec passed An Act regarding the government of state-owned enterprises, which requires that women make up half of these enterprises' boards of directors. This year, the Government of Ontario asked the Ontario Securities Commission to make recommendations on the best way to require a disclosure regarding gender diversity.
More specifically, the OSC's proposal calls for amending the requirements of Form 58-101F1 of National Instrument 58-101 regarding the disclosure of women on boards and in senior management. I have made some representations to the OSC.
The proposed amendments would essentially provide for improved disclosure of the representation of women on boards of directors and in senior management for issuers listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and other non-venture issuers that are reporting issuers in Ontario.
In other words, under this proposal, which is now in the process of being adopted, the issuer will disclose on a voluntary and annual basis whether they are complying with requirements such as their own policy on the representation of women on boards of directors. If they are not in compliance, issuers will have to explain why.
Honourable senators, it's also worth remembering that in October 2013, the giant Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan took a much more radical stance. It proposed to the OSC that TSX-listed companies that do not have at least three women on their boards be delisted, and we are talking about a private sector enterprise. This is a far stricter measure than the OSC proposal and the voluntary "comply or explain" approach, but I believe that Wayne Kozun, a senior vice-president of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan at the time, has a legitimate argument:
This is something that people have been trying to promote for over a decade, and the numbers just are not showing any substantial progress in increasing female representation on boards of directors.
In its proposal to the OSC, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan also noted by way of comparison that in 2011 the United Kingdom introduced a system similar to the draft amendments to Ontario's National Instrument 58-101, namely, the voluntary "comply or explain" approach. While the policy's initial results were dramatic, the increase in the number of women on the boards of directors at the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies quickly stabilized to remedy the situation. British authorities recommended developing a mandatory quota policy to ensure consistency and increase female representation on boards.
Even though this is an attractive idea, it is not, as I mentioned, the goal of my bill. As you now know, my bill does not require the boards of directors of the corporations subject to it to be 50 per cent women and 50 per cent men. Instead, it calls for balanced representation of at least 40 per cent men and 40 per cent women. However, this bill would come into effect gradually. The corporations in question would have three years after the bill comes into force to ensure men and women each hold at least 20 per cent of the seats of their boards. The 40 per cent objective would have to be met six years after the bill comes into force.
Fellow senators, we can put an end to this injustice. That is why I introduced Bill S-217 to accelerate the process. This is especially important because this imbalance appears to be affecting the performance of our businesses and our economy. This is the point I would like to expand on now.
Based on studies conducted by Catalyst, McKinsey, Forbes, Crédit Suisse, KPMG and other organizations of similar size over the past 10 years, it seems that balanced representation on boards of directors has become synonymous with economic efficiency and profitability.
In particular, these studies mention better financial results, a bigger talent pool, the promotion of innovation and creativity, improved client perception, enhanced performance against non- financial indicators and the assurance of better governance.
More specifically, studies conclusively determined that there is a link between greater female representation on boards of directors and performance. The study conducted by Catalyst in 2004, entitled: The Bottom Line: Connecting Corporate Performance and Gender Diversity, continues to serve as a reference. It established a direct correlation between the presence of women on boards of directors and financial performance by examining a sample of 353 large American companies, as ranked by Fortune 500, from 1996 to 2000. The companies were divided into quartiles based on the gender diversity of their top management teams. Representation of women on top management teams averaged 20.3 per cent in the top-quartile companies and less than 2 per cent in the bottom- quartile companies. Overall and sector by sector, the study showed that companies in the top quartile perform better than companies with fewer women. The average return on equity for top-quartile companies was 35.1 per cent higher and the total return to shareholders was 34 per cent higher than for bottom- quartile companies.
Similarly, some researchers believe that having more women on boards of directors is a good thing because men and women have different and complementary individual characteristics. This new trend in research values differences and distinctive assets.
These researchers try to compare the attributes, skills and contributions of men and women in management positions or on boards of directors in various areas, such as aptitude (wisdom, diligence and so on), style of interaction (ability to compromise, concern for individuals), leadership style (democratic, transformational, trust-based), decision-making style, attitude toward risk, competitiveness, concern for interpersonal relationships and human factors.
The financial frauds that occurred in the early 2000s prompted researchers to compare the principles, ethical behaviour, moral development and ethical reasoning of men and women. For example, they tried to determine if having more women on boards of directors would protect organizations from financial or economic crises.
On the whole, the study results confirm the presumed characteristics of women. It was concluded that women deserve more recognition and should be called upon more often because they complement what men bring to the table and have added value. For example, researchers looked at biological differences to try and determine whether the recent stock market crisis in the financial sector could be explained by hormonal differences or the fact that men and women have different testosterone levels and how that affects their behaviour when faced with risk. Some authors go so far as to recommend that organizations place more value on so-called "feminine" qualities. That echoes the premise of the resource dependence theory, according to which organizations that have more women in management roles use their resources more wisely and create a greater competitive advantage.
In addition to studies on profitability, other studies still support the idea that there is a link between having more women on management teams and financial performance. They are backed by stock market valuation. The first study of this kind was in 1999, 15 years ago now, and it looked at the evolution of stock prices of companies that went public. It demonstrated that having women on the management team could potentially increase short- term performance. This observation held true over three years as prices and business profitability increased.
A second study in 2003 based on a sample of 638 large American Fortune 1000 companies had similar results. The comparison between the companies with the most women on their boards of directors and those that had none or few showed that there was a link between having more women on boards of directors and the companies' value.
Another study of 110 of the largest French companies listed on Euronext also showed that having more women on boards of directors and management committees had a positive effect on the performance of companies.
Let's move on now to other points in favour of this bill.
I will stop there, but a number of other studies also have shown the economic value of female directors. Let me conclude with a pair of quotes of people whom most of us know very well.
Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton and Christine Lagarde, the first woman to be managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said the following about this issue. Ms. Lagarde said:
If you bring more women to the job market, you create value. It makes economic sense, and growth is improved.... It's really important to actually measure and to then identify what policies need to be fixed in order to give access, open up the economy, remove the barriers, and not just the cultural barriers, but the economic barriers as well, the tax barriers.
Ms. Clinton said:
For many of us, the argument for women's equality, for women's rights, was first and foremost a moral argument and it was a political argument.... But I think where it is now an economic argument is in many cases a maturing of the argument that women's rights are human rights but also a very important way of enlisting greater support.
Honourable senators, the economic argument for more women on boards of directors does not obscure the fact that simply ensuring the equality of men and women is reason enough to have more women in companies' decision-making bodies.
I also want to add that while many studies have examined the impact female directors have on their organizations' performance, there is no similar study for men. As such, there is no proof that male directors have a positive impact on the performance of their companies. Is this equal treatment for men and women? If you own shares, you already know that actually it is not a great performance. You can see how much we remain subject to a gendered view of our society.
Honourable senators, implementing new practices regarding female directors and candidates for directorships is both a political and a moral issue: as citizens and legislators, are we not in favour of gender equality? Since, as you will agree, gender equality is a key moral principle in our society, any justification that would stop this equality at the boardroom doors is an unbearable and unacceptable contradiction.
I want to conclude by citing a woman who is well known in media circles. Sheryl Kara Sandberg is Chief Operating Officer of the internet giant Facebook and a member of its board. On page 159 of her book Lean In, Sandberg writes:
For decades, we have focused on giving women the choice to work inside or outside the home. We have celebrated the fact that women have the right to make this decision, and rightly so. But we have to ask ourselves if we have become so focused on supporting personal choice that we're failing to encourage women to aspire to leadership. It is time to cheer on girls —
— and I have three daughters and five granddaughters — k
— and women who want to sit at the table, seek challenges, and lean in to their careers.
Honourable senators that is why I invite you to make an independent judgment and support Bill S-217. Thank you.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Raine, seconded by the Honourable Senator Gerstein, for the second reading of Bill S-211, An Act to establish a national day to promote health and fitness for all Canadians.
Hon. Daniel Lang: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to a topic we are all concerned about and that is the promotion of healthy living for all Canadians.
Bill S-211 seeks to recognize the first Saturday in June as national health and fitness day. This bill follows in the tradition of government initiatives such as ParticipACTION and anti- smoking measures introduced by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, including the Tobacco Products Control Act, the Non- smokers' Health Act, and the Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act. We can say in good part that these initiatives that were taken many years ago have caused the majority of can Canadians to turn their back on smoking.
Today Bill S-211 would serve as yet another building block in Canadians' commitment to taking responsibility for their day-to- day health.
I'm pleased to be associated with colleagues such as Senator Nancy Greene Raine, Canada's gold medal Olympian who has made skiing and promoting healthy lifestyles her life's work. Also, I can't let this time go by without mentioning Yukon's own MP Ryan Leef who has launched a border-to-border initiative during which he will run the equivalent of 27 marathons, from the north to the south borders of Yukon this July.
These are just two examples of parliamentarians who hope to inspire active and health lifestyles by example.
Yukoners should be among the healthiest and most active of all Canadians due to our proximity to snow-capped mountains perfect for skiing and snowboarding, and the mountainous terrain for summer hiking, running and biking.
Unfortunately, honourable senators, as is happening everywhere in Canada, there is an increasing rate of inactivity in Yukon, resulting in a large number of our fellow Canadians struggling with their weight. These rising rates of obesity are at the root of subsequent increases in preventable diseases, such as diabetes, placing added pressure on our already heavily burdened health care system.
This lack of focus on promoting healthy activity is also adversely affecting the most vulnerable of our society: our children. Currently in Canada only 50 per cent of children are getting the recommended minimum three hours of active play per week outside of school. Just over 4 per cent of children are meeting current physical activity guidelines, which includes physical activity in school. In 2012 Health Canada found that 31 per cent of Canadian children aged 5 to 17 were considered overweight or obese, labelling it a public health concern.
Dr. Mark Tremblay, Director of Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Canada, stated:
It's a wake-up call that we need to make some fundamental shifts. We need to stop saying "we can't" because the health of the population is at stake here.
These statistics can be linked directly to the easy access to calories and fast foods. Consequently, this is also true for our First Nations population in Yukon. Ashley Russell of Kwanlin Dun First Nation says:
We're used to more natural sugars, from berries and things that we harvest right from the land...
— as opposed to complex sugars found in excess in processed foods.
The problem of obesity and inactivity among Canadians is not one easily resolved. There are many factors that perpetuate the problem. However, the first step to resolving any issue is to have people acknowledge that it exists.
The timing of the proposed date in the legislation is well thought out, and I feel it will be one of the keys to its success. Occurring in June, it will encourage Canadians heading into the summer months to focus on getting themselves and their children active. This initiative brings us back to the summer outdoors and away from the TV, the gaming consoles, the computer, the iPad and other distractions of everyday life.
To date, councils from across the country have endorsed this concept and are taking different approaches. Some have proclaimed the day to raise awareness of the importance of increased physical activity and making healthy choices. Others have marked the day with local events and initiatives celebrating and promoting the importance and use of local health and recreational sports and fitness facilities to boost participation in healthy physical activity. Endorsement of the concept should ultimately drive up participation rates and help promote our common interest in encouraging Canadians to live healthier lifestyles.
Honourable senators, I am pleased to report that in Yukon the municipalities of Whitehorse, Faro, Teslin, Watson Lake, Mayo, Carmacks and Dawson City have all passed resolutions in support of national health and fitness day. Our one remaining municipality, Haines Junction, will be proclaiming their fitness day next week.
Additionally, I have written to every chief and council in Yukon, inviting them to also show their commitment to the health and well-being of their communities by publicly supporting Bill S-211.
This all brings us closer to the sponsor's goal of 300 municipalities passing resolutions in support of Bill S-211. Once we achieve that goal, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities will add its endorsement to that of the Canadian Medical Association, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and other key organizations across the country.
I urge honourable senators to do their part to encourage municipalities in their home provinces or territories to pass resolutions in support of this day.
Yukon is a territory that places an important emphasis on getting healthy. This is exemplified not only by the full endorsement by all our municipalities, but also by various projects and recent local initiatives. A joint project between the federal and Yukon governments and the Kwanlin Dun First Nation is geared toward screening Aboriginal people between the ages of 20 and 39 who may be at risk for diabetes.
Whitehorse, our capital city, has awarded, for the first time in its history, the keys to the city to two of Canada's Olympic athletes. The recipients are brother and sister Graham and Emily Nishikawa, who both competed as skiers in the Sochi Olympics. This is a clear indication that the City of Whitehorse feels that this active brother and sister duo are exemplary athletes of Whitehorse who serve as deserving role models, especially for our young people.
National health and fitness day will become a focus for educating the public, particularly our young people, on the value and necessity of taking action to improve their lifestyles. It's my hope that it will also serve as a springboard to more in-depth and meaningful discourse surrounding what else can be done to make Canada a happier, healthier and more active country.
Hon. Jim Munson: I wish to adjourn this motion in my name. I had promised Senator Raine I will speak next week, and I will have all kinds of innovative and new ideas of how senators can get in better shape, running around Parliament Hill and all those things. I don't want to give away my secrets right now, but a promise made is a promise kept: next week.
(On motion of Senator Munson, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Cowan, seconded by the Honourable Senator Fraser, for the second reading of Bill S-208, An Act to establish the Canadian Commission on Mental Health and Justice.
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I see that this item is at day 14. I'm not speaking today, but would ask that all honourable senators allow me to reset the clock on this bill.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): This bill was tabled by me in June of last year. It died on the Order Paper. I tabled it again on November 6. Are you the critic on the bill? Can you tell me who the critic is? There are people who want to talk to folks on your side as well as ours about it. They also need to know when this will come forward. Can you advise me whom I should refer people to?
Senator Martin: I can let you know that the critic will be the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Senator Cowan: I know where to find him, so that will be good.
(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Hervieux-Payette, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Fraser, for the second reading of Bill S-206, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children against standard child-rearing violence).
Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Honourable senators, this has been adjourned in the name of Senator Andreychuk. I am the critic on it, so I will be speaking and Senator Andreychuk would like to say a few words on it at the beginning of next week. When I am done, I will adjourn it in her name again.
Honourable senators, I do not agree with very much of what Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau ever had to say. However, I did agree with one statement that he made, that there is no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation. I also believe that there is no place for the state in the loving homes of parents who are trying their best to raise their children in a responsible, loving manner.
I rise to speak to Bill S-206, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, protection of children. Colleagues, I am disappointed that we are again discussing this legislation in the Senate. The vast majority of Canadians see this as a frivolous waste of time that could be used to discuss important legislation.
As most honourable senators know, this is far from the first time this issue has been brought to the attention of Parliament. Bill S-206 is the seventh bill that Senator Hervieux-Payette has tabled related to section 43 of the Criminal Code.
Bill S- 206 is virtually identical to Bills S-214, S-204, S-209, S- 207 and S-21, the first of which was introduced 10 years ago, in 2004. As a result, we have already had extensive discussion on this issue. However, as I said, I am the critic on this bill, and I will take this opportunity, then, to tell you again why I am categorically opposed to this legislation.
The honourable senator has proposed a bill to repeal section 43 of the Criminal Code in its entirety. Section 43 of the Criminal Code reads as follows:
Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.
To summarize, section 43 provides a defence to parents, caregivers and teachers against a charge of assault when they use reasonable physical force to correct a child's behaviour.
Assault is broadly defined in Canadian criminal law to include any non-consensual use of force against another person. This can include non-consensual touching, threats and forcible confinement. Section 43 of the Criminal Code provides important protection for parents from criminal liability and flows from the parental duty to protect and educate their children. It is a limited defence to the non-consensual application of force to a child.
In 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the constitutionality of section 43 on the basis that it reflects a reasonable balance of the interests of children, parents and Canadian society. The court held that section 43 is consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In my view, the following quote from the Supreme Court of Canada provides a succinct summary of the court's position with respect to section 43:
While children need a safe environment, they also depend on parents and teachers for guidance and discipline, to protect them from harm and to promote their healthy development within society. Section 43 is Parliament's attempt to accommodate both of these needs. It provides parents and teachers with the ability to carry out the reasonable education of the child without the threat of sanction by the criminal law. Without s. 43, Canada's broad assault law would criminalize force falling far short of what we think of as corporal punishment. The decision not to criminalize such conduct is not grounded in devaluation of the child, but in a concern that to do so risks ruining lives and breaking up families....
In 2004, the Supreme Court significantly limited the scope of section 43, making it clear that: no object may be used, such as a ruler or belt, when applying the correction; the child's head cannot be hit or slapped; the child must be able to learn from the situation and so can only be between 2 and 12 years of age; the corrective force used is reasonable and minor, and the physical effects are trifling and transitory; the force does not cause harm or raise a reasonable prospect of harm; the method of correction must not be degrading, inhumane or harmful; and the person must not be acting out of frustration or a loss of temper. Therefore, this interpretation demonstrates, in explicit terms, that any unreasonable corrective force is already prohibited by law.
The court indicated that the defence is even more limited for teachers. Teachers may not use corporal punishment under any circumstances. The Supreme Court of Canada held that teachers may only use reasonable corrective physical force to maintain order or enforce school rules, such as removing a child from a classroom or securing compliance with instructions.
This bill has been called "the anti-spanking bill" by many, but, colleagues, this goes well beyond taking away a reasonable, responsible parent's ability to spank. It takes away their ability to parent. By repealing section 43, the general assault provision of the Criminal Code would be applied to any parent, teacher or guardian who chooses to use force against a child without their consent. This means that a statutory defence based on "reasonable correction" could no longer be used.
Considering that section 265 of the Criminal Code prohibits the non-consensual application of force, and section 267 of the Criminal Code prohibits forcible confinement of another person without lawful authority, by repealing section 43, parents who, for example, physically put a child who is having a temper tantrum to bed or restrain an uncooperative child in a car seat could risk being charged and convicted of a criminal offence.
Any person who has raised small children will understand how many times a day in the course of normal parenting there is non- consensual touching or the threat of it. Ordinary everyday activities include dressing a child, feeding a child, getting them into the car, to school, back home and bathed and put to bed. Just think about the situation where a young child refuses to go to school. How is a responsible parent to get a child to school without picking up their child against their will and carrying them? Honourable senators, this is not child abuse. This is normal, everyday parenting.
When it comes to discipline, we need to assure parents that we recognize a difference between an open-handed disciplinary spank to a child's bottom and a closed-fisted punch to the head, and our law explicitly reflects that difference.
The honourable senator has continually suggested that by spanking a child, a parent is being violent. Disciplining a child has absolutely nothing to do with abuse or violence. Webster's Dictionary clearly defines "violence" as: "exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse." Any application of force fitting the definition of violence, therefore, is already prohibited by law.
This past Sunday, in our church service in Manitoba, we had a missionary who had spent two years in Bolivia reporting to our congregation. He reported to the congregation about his family's experience in Bolivia. He had with him, on the platform, a three- foot length of 1-inch rubber hose, which he showed us while explaining that this was what some people use in some of the colonies in Bolivia to discipline their children. That, honourable senators, is abuse. That is violence, and that is rightfully prohibited in Canadian law.
In proposing this bill, the honourable senator has unfortunately lumped child discipline and child abuse into the same category. Many of the studies cited by the senator also lump spanking or minor corrective physical discipline with child abuse and confuse correlation with causation, skewing any conclusions.
There is not a senator in this chamber who condones parental violence. However, I would assume that most of us have been the recipient of some physical discipline, and I do not believe any of us endured psychological harm as a result.
I would suggest that providing support for parents through education is a better way to address any concerns about methods of child discipline. Our government currently supports parenting education programs that promote non-physical disciplinary options for children and alternative disciplinary choices. For example, the Public Health Agency of Canada supports the Nobody's Perfect parenting program across the country. This program provides parenting education and support to parents of children from birth to age 5. Within a group setting, the program discourages the use of physical punishment and promotes positive discipline while parents learn about their child's health, development, safety and behaviour. The program builds parents' skills and confidence and provides them with practical information on non-physical forms of discipline.
Educational programs like this offer parents the freedom to choose to parent however they see fit. By repealing section 43, we would be taking away the already minimal options they have to provide physical discipline when necessary. The evidence demonstrating the long-term negative effects and psychological harm suffered from parental violence or physical abuse is clear. However, when it comes to lawful, reasonable, physical discipline, the evidence to suggest there is any negative impact on the child is simply not there.
As Dave Quist, the executive director of the Institute of Marriage and Family commented:
... we must ask ourselves, does the state have a role in the raising of our children? I believe the state only has a role in limiting society's rights and freedoms if those rights and freedoms are deemed to be harmful to society and its members. There is no evidence that the state needs to interfere in this issue.
Colleagues, if we were to pass this bill, we would add to the growing inconsistencies that already exist in our laws with respect to the responsibilities and freedoms afforded to parents in the raising of their children.
Some of these inconsistencies are the following: On the one hand, a child needs the consent of both parents to go on a school trip, yet that same child can have an abortion in Canada without parental knowledge or consent.
This bill would take away a parent's ability to give their child an open-handed swat on the bottom. In the meantime, parents are allowed to raise their child transgender if the child indicates that he or she feels like the other gender. They are allowed to raise their child transgender or gender neutral from birth, and they can give hormone blockers to children as young as 10 to prevent puberty so as to remain consistent with the gender of choice. Evidence shows that most children raised as transgender go back to their birth gender at puberty. Leading gender identity expert and advocate Dr. Ken Zucker confirmed that gender confusion is often temporary and that when a parent's six-year-old son says that he is a girl, parents should say "No, you are a boy." However, this harmful practice is still allowed in Canada.
Our laws need to be consistent in giving parents the freedom to raise their children how they please, while consistently prohibiting parenting practices that are proven to be harmful.
I have spoken to many Canadians about this issue, and not only do they believe that this bill is a tremendous waste of time, but they think it is harmful and they agree that a parent should be free to decide how to discipline their child as long as it is reasonable and not abuse.
In 2004, on the night before the Supreme Court was due to rule on the legality of section 43 of the Criminal Code, a survey was conducted by Sun Media of 1,000 people across Canada —
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.
Senator Plett: — gathering their current opinions —
It is amazing how when a media outlet is not to the liking of the members opposite, they find this survey not acceptable, but if the Toronto Star had done this, it would be right.
Senator Campbell: I don't like any of them.
Senator Plett: — opinions on the use of force such as spanking by parents to discipline their child. This study found that 64 per cent of the people surveyed support the use of force such as spanking by parents to discipline a child.
Senator Mitchell: How hard?
Senator Plett: I would encourage the remaining 36 per cent who don't support that not to spank their children.
Senator Munson: A back hand? What is it?
Senator Plett: Only 7 per cent of respondents supported criminal charges for parents who spank their children.
Senator Hervieux-Payette continues to use Sweden as an example for Canada to follow with regard to parental discipline. Over 30 years ago, Sweden prohibited the use of force in child rearing. However, a study was conducted by Marjorie Gunnoe, Professor of Psychology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in which she conducted 2,600 interviews pertaining to corporal punishment, including questioning 179 teenagers about getting spanked by their parents. She concluded: "The claims made for not spanking children fail to hold up. They are not consistent with the data."
She also found that those who were physically disciplined performed better than those who were not in a variety of categories, including school grades, an optimistic outlook on life, the willingness to perform volunteer work and the ambition to attend college.
Another study published in the Akron Law Review examined criminal records and found that children raised where a legal ban on parental corporal punishment is in effect are much more likely to be involved in crime. Jason M. Fuller at the University of Akron School of Law noted that Sweden's child abuse rates have exploded over 500 per cent, according to police reports — not the Sun Media — since the spanking ban. Even just one year after the ban took effect and after a massive government public education campaign, Fuller found that "not only were Swedish parents resorting to pushing, grabbing and shoving more often than U.S. parents, but they were also beating their children twice as often." He also found that from 1979 to 1994, Swedish children under seven endured an almost six-fold increase in physical abuse and that by 1994 the number of youth criminal assaults had increased by six times the 1984 rate.
Colleagues, while it is useful to do international comparisons and look to other countries for law reform ideas and models, it is difficult to compare directly countries' legal approaches to social issues due to differences in legal systems. The majority of countries that have adopted a ban on corporal punishment have done so through the use of a civil or family law ban. More importantly, these jurisdictions do not define assault to include applications of force that are transitory and trifling, as does Canada. Any ban by other countries also operates against the backdrop of a different criminal law than what we have here in Canada. Canada's definition of assault is, in fact, one of the broadest in the world.
Colleagues, in the honourable senator's last speech to the chamber, she said the following:
... we still have a long way to go. We consider violence that is clearly excessive, visually intolerable and out of line, we might say, to be abuse. Nonetheless, we still accept insidious violence, violence in small doses, which is just as cruel and detrimental to the harmonious development of children.
If the senator has empirical data to share with the chamber demonstrating that spanking and minimal corrective force are just as detrimental to the development of children as excessive violence and abuse, I would be happy to hear those statistics. However, we all know that this is contrary to all evidence surrounding child abuse, not to mention that it is insulting to those coping with the lasting effects of child abuse to suggest that a child who receives an occasional spanking is just as hard done by and that the impacts of their experiences are the same.
If we repeal the defence in section 43 of the Criminal Code as part of a ban on corporal punishment, we as a government would be inappropriately crossing a line into where the government rather than the parent is determining how to raise a child. The current law, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada, represents the best balance to protect children from abusive parents.
Physical discipline and physical violence or abuse are two separate issues. I think we are smart enough as a society to understand the difference, and I believe our laws should explicitly reflect that difference. Our current laws reflect this balance perfectly.
On Monday of this week, I had the opportunity and pleasure to spend a few hours speaking to students at a public school in Rosenort, Manitoba. One of the classes I spoke to was a Grade 12 world issues class, where we discussed many global and foreign affairs issues. As well, we discussed some of the legislation we are currently dealing with in the Senate. When I told them about Bill S-206, they could not believe that we would be discussing this type of issue. So I took the liberty of conducting a poll of the students, asking how many supported a parent's right to spank as a disciplinary measure. Every hand in the classroom went up, senators — 100 per cent. One very respectful and well-adjusted young man said: "I was spanked. And I thank my parents for that."
Another student, a young lady named Kelsey Siemens, who had remained very quiet throughout our entire discussion, raised her hand next. When I acknowledged her, she started speaking in a very serious and quiet tone and I was a little worried and concerned that I might have said something wrong. She said, "I was spanked as a child, and now I suffer from a psychological condition. It is called respect for others."
Honourable senators, I urge you to keep section 43 of the Criminal Code intact to protect reasonable, loving parents from the risk of criminalization and to vote, once and for all, against Bill S-206.
(On motion of Senator Plett, for Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Ringuette, seconded by the Honourable Senator Tardif, for the second reading of Bill S-210, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal interest rate).
Hon. Ghislain Maltais: Honourable senators, Bill S-210 is once again before the Senate. We have heard from stakeholders. Considering the potential application of such a bill, which, in any case, has to do with the Criminal Code, I will use this second part of my intervention, which will be brief, to simply remind everyone that when we talk about credit, we must remember, and these are not my words, one of the great French ministers of finance, Talleyrand, said, "credit is a necessary evil, but as necessary as it is, it can also kill you if you abuse it."
However, in a free and democratic society like ours, I don't think we need to take everyone by the hand.
These days, the quality of training for all Canadians, the quality of the financial information and financial literacy in Canada, means that all Canadians can receive proper guidance when it comes to credit.
Now, I agree that there are always exceptions to the rule, but we must not rob Peter to pay Paul simply because credit that is misused or abused can lead straight to bankruptcy. Conversely, credit that is used properly is necessary for many small and medium-sized businesses and even for some individuals in order to achieve success in their profession. Whether it be young professionals who are just entering the job market or young entrepreneurs who want to start a business or take over their parents' business, they need this credit.
The key point is whether that credit is being abused. In the case of this bill, an amendment to the Criminal Code with regard to credit is a double-edged sword. It is extremely important that no one's freedom be restricted. Fundamental freedom in a democratic country like Canada means the power to choose and to choose wisely, but also to accept the consequences of one's choices. That is the problem we have in Canada, where there are people who have too much credit card debt.
Today, credit is relatively easy to get compared to 30 or 50 years ago, when buying a car or a house was unaffordable and almost impossible to do. Unfortunately, some people got in over their heads and they are suffering the consequences. I believe that our duty as legislators is to ensure that our young people get a good financial education. However, young people do not learn to manage credit at school. Usually it is their parents who teach and guide them in this area. However, if the parents have been misguided, they will not be able to give their children good advice.
As we consider the future of Canadians, we must be generous on one hand and strict on the other. That is the whole issue with the Criminal Code. I will come back to that later and talk about the specific clauses of the Criminal Code.
(On motion of Senator Maltais, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Lynn Beyak moved second reading of Bill C-501, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day.
She said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise in the Senate this afternoon to address the second reading of Bill C-501, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day. This day will formally designate the third Saturday in September every year as Canada's national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.
Bill C-501 calls for a nationwide designation of a special date to commemorate the historical role of these traditional activities and celebrate the part hunting, trapping and fishing play in Canada's heritage, social fabric and economy.
Honourable senators, I am speaking to Bill C-501 in memory of my late husband, Tony, and our many happy years together as owners and operators with our two sons, Jason and Nick, of Windy Bay Lodge on Lake of the Woods in northwestern Ontario. Our resort was just north of Rainy River, Tony's hometown, on the border of Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota — truly God's country, a sentiment I'm sure you all feel about your own regions. Rainy River has the distinction of sitting at the very end of Yonge Street, the longest street in the world, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, starting in Toronto on Lake Ontario and ending in Rainy River on Lake of the Woods, nearly 2,000 kilometres away.
In 2017 we will celebrate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Confederation. In the lead-up to that celebration, it is important that Canadians know about, appreciate and celebrate our history and the traditions that helped define who we are as Canadians today.
Hunting, trapping and fishing were an integral part of the life of Canada's Aboriginal peoples and first settlers, and the availability of fish determined where people settled. Hunting, trapping and fishing were the first forms of trade and formed the very backbone of Canada's financial structures. These activities helped set the tone as well as the direction of our economic and social development.
In Northern Canada, hunting, trapping and fishing are vital to the livelihood of our communities on both a cultural and an economic level. These activities fuel the economy of Northern communities by attracting more than 400,000 visitors each year.
Tony and I and our family were very privileged to host and meet guests from all over the world, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and for sport's fans, Kevin McHale from the Boston Celtics basketball team.
The value placed on hunting, fishing and trapping in this country is over $10 billion per year. More than 65,000 Canadians are employed in the different sectors of the fur trade, and the fur trade contributes $800 million to the Canadian economy, including more than $450 million in exports.
The world's top designers are using Canadian fur in their collections, and fur garments are sought-after status symbols for customers in China, Russia and South Korea. In fact, the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement removes border taxes from mink, which will provide Canadian exporters a new edge in this expanding market.
Fur provides important income in regions where alternative employment opportunities are scarce, such as mining. Trapping beaver, muskrat and other animals provides trappers with food and money for the new equipment and supplies needed to maintain a land-based life.
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal trappers alike hunt beaver and other fur animals for food. Meat not eaten by the trappers and their families is returned to the forest to feed our wildlife through the long, cold winters.
The fur trade also maintains centuries-old artisan craft traditions. Fur garments are individually cut and sewn by skilled artisans. The men and women of the North American fur trade are proud of the skills and traditions they maintain to this day.
As a young woman born in downtown Toronto and raised in Agincourt, just northeast of the city, Rainy River was a whole new world to me and a completely different way of life, but one which I came to respect and love. I learned that hunting, trapping and fishing gave birth to our great nation, a nation so cold, harsh and unforgiving in winter that survival was often uncertain. We still have six-foot snow drifts at my home in Dryden. When I left last Friday, 15 centimetres more were falling. I think I will stay in Ottawa.
The love of their land and the commitment and persistence of our ancestors became dear to my heart, and Bill C-501 acknowledges and celebrates the courage, sacrifices, adventures and triumphs of our loved ones.
Honourable senators, if you close your eyes for a brief moment, I believe each of you will recall some of your own ancestors' stories passed down from generation to generation and of the loved ones who helped with their own courage and bravery to found this great nation.
Hunters, fishers and trappers are environmental stewards and recognize the need for ongoing conservation and restoration.
I would like to acknowledge and personally thank the following organizations and individuals for their continued support and efforts toward this bill. The list is long and encompasses all regions of our great nation: Canadian Outdoors Network, Alberta; Alberta Fish & Game Club Association; British Columbia Wildlife Federation; Delta Waterfowl Foundation; Friends of Fur; Ducks Unlimited Canada; Fur Institute of Canada; Hunting for Tomorrow Foundation; la Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs; Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters; Outdoor Caucus, our own; Conservative Hunting and Angling Caucus; Prince Edward Island Wildlife Federation; Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation; Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation; Wildlife Habitat Canada; Safari Club International; and the Canadian Sportsfishing Industry Association.
I echo the Speech from the Throne in stating that:
Since Canada's earliest days, our economy has been built on our abundant natural resources. Directly and indirectly, the natural resource sector employs 1.8 million Canadians, many in skilled, high-paying jobs. Resource development generates 30 billion dollars annually in revenue that supports health care, education and programs Canadians cherish.
Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to provide an additional $15 million over two years to extend the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program. This program brings partners together to support the common goal of conserving and protecting Canada's recreational fisheries and is making it a whole new life for fathers, sons, daughters and moms to get together to go fishing.
In conclusion, honourable senators, I am pleased to state that Bill C-501 has all-party support in the other place and is co- sponsored here by my honourable colleague Senator George Baker, a friend and enthusiast outdoorsman himself. This bill also has the support of every provincial and regional outdoor federation across the country.
I believe it is crucial to honour the heritage of those who have gone before us and to bring special recognition to those who participate in hunting, trapping and fishing today. Bill C-501 addresses that.
Honourable senators, please join me in supporting Bill C-501, that every third Saturday of September be known as National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day.
Thank you. Merci.
(On motion of Senator Fraser, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Callbeck, calling the attention of the Senate to the growing need for the federal government to collaborate with provincial and territorial governments and other stakeholders in order to ensure the sustainability of the Canadian health care system, and to lead in the negotiation of a new Health Accord to take effect at the expiration of the 2004 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care.
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I am going to speak today on the inquiry addressing the growing need for the federal government to collaborate with provincial and territorial governments to ensure the sustainability of the Canadian health care system.
I would like to thank Senator Callbeck for initiating this debate and for the work she has done on the Social Affairs Committee on examining the health accord.
Federal leadership is required to assure equality in access and quality of health care across all Canadian jurisdictions. We all recognize that health care in Canada is a provincial, territorial and federal responsibility. However, federal guidance and leadership is necessary to prevent regional health care disparities from growing within a national system where jurisdictions are operating on their own and in many cases against each other. This can foster inequalities in health care services. All Canadians should have access to the health care services they need and it should not depend on where they live.
Whether it is by championing a new health accord or by some other means, the federal government cannot just walk away from its national health care responsibilities. Regrettably, on March 31 this year, the federal government has allowed the 2004 health accord to expire without any intentions of forging ahead with a new agreement. It has also discontinued funding the Health Council of Canada.
Instead, the federal government plans to follow through on massive health care cuts while also unilaterally changing the Canada Health Transfer formula with the provinces and territories to a per capita scheme that will disproportionately punish smaller provinces with larger rural population bases.
My province of Nova Scotia will be one of the provinces hardest hit by these health care reforms by the federal government. Every provincial and territorial government will see substantial federal health care funding cuts except for Alberta, which will actually see funding increased under the new Canada Health Transfer scheme.
The current health transfer formula incorporates population share and income level of a province or a territory. The new per capita formula will only take into account the number of residents living in a specific province or territory, completely ignoring such factors as income, demographics, geography or any other unique conditions of a province or territory. This narrow view of each province or territory's health care funding realities underlines the federal government's approach to federal-provincial-territorial relations. In other words, the federal government prefers to walk away and wash its hands of the health care issue and let the provinces and territories fight it out for themselves.
Nova Scotia is due to receive $23 million less this coming fiscal year under the new per capita health transfer formula. At a time when health care costs in Nova Scotia already account for an estimated 45 per cent of provincial spending, Nova Scotia would not be able to make up for the loss of funding brought on by the expiration of the health accord.
Nova Scotia has an aging population — the second-oldest in Canada. With an aging population comes a higher prevalence of chronic illnesses. Age and chronic illnesses are two major stress factors on our health care system. We also have a fairly ruralized population, which complicates delivery and also increases the costs of health care services. At a time when more federal assistance is needed, the federal government has chosen to walk away.
Prime Minister Martin understood that federal leadership was integral to bring together first ministers to strengthen health care services across Canada. His efforts led to the 2004, 10-year plan to strengthen health care. At that time, first ministers recognized that:
... improving access to care and reducing wait times will require cooperation among governments; the participation of health care providers and patients; and strategic investments in areas such as: increasing the supply of health professionals...; effective community based services, including home care; a pharmaceuticals strategy; effective health promotion and disease prevention, and adequate financial resources.
The federal government followed through with the commitment to inject $41 billion to provinces and territories for health care needs over the course of the 10-year accord. The money also came with conditions that the funding was to be used to tackle certain areas of health care system in need of reform.
As a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, I had the pleasure to participate in the study to assess the progress of the 2004 health accord. The committee released its findings in April of 2012. Our findings were encouraging. Significant strides had been made in addressing wait times and the staffing levels of health service professions and overall access to health services was found to be improving. Although most witness testimony was positive, it was determined that there was still much room for improvement: specifically, pharmaceutical cost burdens, injury and disease prevention strategies, health care silos and general primary health care reform. Unfortunately, the improvement in wait times and staffing levels was attributed more to an infusion of funds than true reform and innovation as was intended. In order for progress to continue, the committee concluded:
... there is a need for federal leadership in promoting health- care reform across jurisdictions. For witnesses, federal investments in electronic health-record systems are critical to promoting the integration of different health-care sectors and promoting collaboration among health professionals, though there was a need to prioritize interoperability and uptake among health-care professionals. The committee also heard that they would result in increased accountability by allowing for the monitoring of quality and performance of health systems.
Our report also stated:
Though provinces and territories are primarily responsible for health-care delivery in Canada, the committee heard that it was important that the federal government, working in collaboration with the provinces and territories, take a leadership role in establishing a Canadian Health Innovation Fund that would identify and promote the adoption of best practices across health-care systems. Furthermore, it could ensure that its investments in research are resulting in innovation in health-care delivery across Canada.
Our report offered 46 recommends for the 2004 health accord moving forward. The writing seemed to be on the wall when the government responded to our committee's report and they didn't address a single recommendation presented by the committee, seeming to dismiss the committee's report altogether. It is not surprising that the federal government has now decided to abandon any leadership role in health care and has left the provinces and territories to go it on their own. As the Nova Scotia Citizens' Health Care Network stated:
The biggest impediment to progress in implementing the 2004 Health Accord has been the withdrawal of the federal government from the essential role of national coordination in health care policy. There is a deficit of political leadership in health care, especially at the federal level.
They go on to say:
Developing national approaches on health system issues and promoting the pan-Canadian adoption of best practices and innovation is the glue that keeps Medicare together. This role cannot be performed by provinces and territories alone. As a result of the vacuum in federal leadership, the health care system is fragmenting more than ever, into 14 separate systems operating independently from each other. This fragmentation undermines the core principles of the Canada Health Act, especially comprehensive coverage and portability between provinces and territories.
Canada's health care system, as well as the well-being of Canadians as a whole, requires the concerted effort and cooperation of all governments — provincial, territorial and federal. What is required is an engaged federal government, a federal government not content with walking away from the responsibilities that have historically made Canada such a strong federation.
We do have a Minister of Health and a health department at the federal level. Currently, federal-provincial relations are at what some have called a low point and others have called adversarial, but my hope is that this will change. I choose to believe there is a willingness on all sides to come together, because if all levels of government do not work together, it is the health of Canadians that will suffer.
It is my hope that the federal government will recognize the importance of their leadership role and will facilitate the necessary steps to bring first ministers together and will renegotiate new health agreements moving forward — agreements reached in consultation with the provinces and territories. Federal leadership should be used to lay the groundwork for true reform and innovation within the system. That is how our health care system will improve right across the country.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
(On motion of Senator Fraser, debate adjourned.)
(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at 2 p.m.)