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1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 30

Thursday, April 21, 2016
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

THE SENATE

Thursday, April 21, 2016

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

Prayers.

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before calling for Senators' Statements, I would like to note that we expect that the official photograph for the Forty-second Parliament will be taken on Tuesday, May 3 at 2 p.m. I would encourage as many senators as possible to be present at that time so that everyone can appear in this historical record.

Because of the photograph, it will be suggested at the end of today's sitting that the official start of the May 3 sitting be at 2:15 p.m., after the photograph has been taken.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Congratulations on the Occasion of Her Majesty's Ninetieth Birthday

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it is with great pleasure that on behalf of the Senate of Canada, I join Canadians across the country in offering my sincere congratulations to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, as she marks this historic milestone in her life.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Today, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her ninetieth birthday.

[Translation]

I invite all honourable senators to join me in wishing Her Majesty good health and happiness on this memorable occasion and for many years to come.

[English]

You will notice in the Senate foyer a floral arrangement and a message to Her Majesty in celebration of her birthday.

[Translation]

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Congratulations on the Occasion of Her Majesty's Ninetieth Birthday

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, today, April 21, is the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. We should celebrate wholeheartedly the fact that Canada's head of state is a person of such distinction whose service to our country is in all ways exemplary and exceptionally remarkable.

[English]

Her Majesty has been our sovereign for 64 years. She has known and exchanged views with 13 different Canadian prime ministers, from Louis St. Laurent to Justin Trudeau. She has visited Canada 23 times, once as Princess Elizabeth in 1951 and 22 times as our sovereign. It is safe to say that Her Majesty knows Canada better than most parliamentarians.

She travelled to the Far North, way before it was viewed as representing the unlimited future of the country. She has been welcomed in each and every province. She keeps herself well-informed about contemporary issues in Canada.

As our Queen, she has been present at many historic moments of our history during her reign and has expressed her views when visiting on those occasions. For instance, in 1964, in Quebec, the Queen noted that every Constitution remains perfectible. She lauded le fait français when she said, "Nous sommes fiers du rôle irremplaçable et de la destinée particulière du Canada français."

In our centennial year of 1967, Her Majesty recognized the special nature of Canada: "The duality of the Canadian experience contributes to its greatness, not based on a power struggle but 'par le don, le rayonnement et l'exemple.'" She underlined it again in 1976 in Montreal when she said: ". . . the great generosity of spirit `which such a vision requires' and therein lays 'la grandeur du Canada.'"

Her Majesty is the Queen of each and every Canadian. She is sensitive to our various identities and aspirations and reflects that diversity in her speeches. This is particularly well illustrated by the special relationship that she has with Aboriginal peoples, respecting, as she does, the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

We, as free citizens of a great democracy, exemplary in many respects, should rejoice that we have had such an inspiring monarch. The Queen has been exceptional in her unwavering devotion to honour a pledge made in 1947 that ". . . my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your services."

As our sovereign, Her Majesty has remained above the political fray and jealously kept her credibility of elder statesperson. She is respected and admired worldwide. Her exemplary service provides reassurance that the Crown will protect the integrity of our Constitution through its reserve powers, the ultimate failsafe of our democracy.

We Canadians enjoy one of the most enviable, stable and peaceful societies in the world, possessing a Constitution that has allowed us to benefit from the highest respect of human rights and freedoms.

(1340)

I invite you, Honourable senators, to join me in wishing Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, a most joyful birthday. I wish to express to her our sincere gratitude, respectful admiration and personal allegiance for her dedication that has sustained the vision and dream of Canada as a beacon of peace and freedom.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

Robert Pichette, O.N.B.

Congratulations on French Legion of Honour

Hon. Percy Mockler: Honourable senators, today I would like to talk to you about the French Legion of Honour recently awarded to the renowned Acadian writer and historian, Robert Pichette. He was also raised to the rank of Officer of the French Legion of Honour. Over the years, this prestigious honour has been bestowed on only a small number of Acadians, including Antonine Maillet, Louis J. Robichaud and Gilbert Finn.

Therefore Mr. Pichette finds himself in very fine company.

Mr. Pichette is most deserving of this honour. He is passionate about Acadian history, heraldry and politics and played a key role in a number of major events and important undertakings involving New Brunswick's two official language communities.

[English]

Honourable senators, it was indeed Robert Pichette who, in 1965, had the thoughtful idea to propose a new flag for New Brunswick. We celebrated, two years ago, the fiftieth anniversary of our flag, which was adopted unanimously by the Legislative Assembly of our great province of New Brunswick, on February 24, 1965.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, Robert Pichette worked very closely with Premier Louis Robichaud, serving as his chief of staff and the deputy minister responsible for cultural affairs for our great province.

He was very much involved in drafting the first Official Languages Act, and he had a front-row seat when the Equal Opportunity Program was introduced and our great university, the Université de Moncton, was established.

Robert Pichette is a native of Edmundston, in Madawaska County, and today is loved as a great Acadian, a distinguished fellow Brayon, and a very good friend of all of Acadia.

Congratulations, Robert, and thank you for your enormous contribution to building our lovely province. There is no doubt in our minds that you are an icon and an architect of modern-day New Brunswick.

Acadian senators on both sides of the chamber take their hats off to you. Thank you; you have earned your stripes.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[English]

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of visitors from the Canadian Common Ground Alliance. They are Mr. Michael Sullivan, the Executive Director; Ms. Nathalie Moreau, the Chair; as well as board members Mr. Ian Munro and Mr. Darwin Durnie. They are the guests of Senator Mitchell.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Digging Safely

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, hidden from public view and spanning our country are extensive networks of buried electrical, telecommunication and Internet cables, distribution and transmission pipelines, and water mains and sewer lines.

This infrastructure delivers the services Canadians literally cannot live without: heating, electricity, water, communication, data, Internet and emergency services.

Every year, thousands of buried facilities are needlessly damaged by excavations that occur without first determining the location of underground infrastructure in the vicinity of the digging projects. When damage occurs, services are interrupted, and incidents can lead to injury, death and significant environmental contamination. These incidents also present an economic burden on society.

[Translation]

They put emergency service resources in danger and can result in evacuations, property damage, road work and construction project delays, congestion, loss of data, and disruptions to emergency services and financial institutions.

In Alberta alone, there were more than 2,500 incidents of underground infrastructure damage in 2015. Not only did they cost Alberta taxpayers more than $300 million, but they were also avoidable.

[English]

April is Dig Safe Month across Canada. The April Dig Safe Month campaign reminds homeowners and contractors to "Click or Call Before You Dig."

The damage-prevention process is initiated by a locate request to a notification centre. Responsible underground infrastructure owners and operators are notified of the excavation project prior to digging, enabling them to locate and mark their buried plant and ensure the project is carried out safely.

These services are always free and available by visiting clickbeforeyoudig.com or by calling your provincial one-call centre directly through their toll-free number.

I will soon introduce a bill to protect underground infrastructure. It will require all federally regulated underground infrastructure to be registered with a provincial one-call notification system. It will provide certainty to the digging community that all federally regulated underground infrastructure operators will respond to notifications of planned ground disturbances in the vicinity of their buried plant in a timely fashion.

I would like to recognize Michael Sullivan, Executive Director of Canadian Common Ground Alliance, and his colleagues who are here today. Michael Sullivan has been instrumental in helping to develop this legislation, and I thank him.

I encourage Canadians always to visit clickbeforeyoudig.com before beginning any project that requires digging, no matter the size or scale of excavation. Dig safely.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Congratulations on the Occasion of Her Majesty's Ninetieth Birthday

Hon. Daniel Lang: Honourable senators, like our colleague Senator Joyal, I too would like to salute Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada and the Commonwealth, on this, her ninetieth birthday.

Today, as we reflect on our Queen, I am drawn to the mighty words of King George VI, on the eve of the Second World War, when he stated:

It is to this high purpose that I now call my people at home and my peoples across the seas, who will make our cause their own.

I ask them to stand calm and firm and united in this time of trial.

The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield, but we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to God. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then with God's help, we shall prevail.

May He bless us and keep us all.

King George's call was answered by hundreds of thousands of Canadians, from Yukon to Newfoundland and Labrador, from Vancouver to Toronto to Montreal to Fredericton and Halifax. The sacrifice made by Canadians and all members of the Commonwealth was daunting and monumental. The suffering horrific. The pain, immeasurable. The burdens, left for each individual to carry.

Colleagues, our Queen, as a young princess, hearing this call to service took steps to join the war effort and serve like any other civilian, as best as she could.

Following victory in Europe, King George told Canadians and the world:

. . . let us turn our thoughts to this day of just triumph and proud sorrow, and then take up our work again, resolved as a people to do nothing unworthy of those who died for us, and to make the world such a world as they would have desired for their children and for ours.

This is the task to which now honour binds us.

When called on to assume the Throne, our Queen continued to respond to the call of service, like so many servicewomen and men, civilians and members of the military — our Queen, ". . . shouldering their many burdens, have carried them unflinchingly without complaint."

Last year, in her annual Christmas Message, Her Majesty reminded us that:

. . . the Gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services: "the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Colleagues, on this her ninetieth birthday, I humbly state that our Queen, the Queen of Canada, has been for Canadians our light in the darkness, our great hope and our North Star in an ever changing world.

(1350)

Under her leadership, Canada has — to paraphrase the words of a great song — "flourished great and free, the dread and the envy" of the world.

I am pleased to join with all Canadians to thank Her Majesty for her unflinching service to our country and the Commonwealth and wishing her, on behalf of all Yukoners and all Canadians, a very happy birthday. God Save the Queen. Long may she reign.

The Late J. Philip Vaughan

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, on April 8, Halifax lost one of our most honoured citizens. Phil Vaughan passed away at the ripe old age of 92. He was a giant in all aspects of his life. As such, it would take many senators' statements to adequately honour his achievements and the profound effect he had on the lives he came into contact with. When you read his obituary, it is easy to see that.

A fourth generation Haligonian, Phil grew up in the north end of Halifax. He attended Saint Mary's University, my alma mater. He was class valedictorian. He also graduated with honours from the Nova Scotia Technical College with a degree in civil engineering. He spent many years in the military, retiring his career as Lieutenant Colonel and Regimental Commander of the 5th Field, Royal Canadian Engineers.

Engineering was Phil's passion, evidence of which can be seen all over Nova Scotia. In 1958 he started the consulting firm of J. Philip Vaughan and Associates. You may recognize some of the projects he worked on: the Canso Causeway, the Scotiabank Centre, and the Halifax Dockyard Syncrolift. The syncrolift was the largest device in the world for lifting ships from the water at that time.

I will quote this directly from Phil's obituary.

He loved to socialize and was always pleasant company, kind, generous and gentlemanly. Phil exemplified community service.

Honourable senators, his community service was indeed impeccable. From such things as the Board of Governors of Saint Mary's University to the Halifax Library Board, Phil volunteered for many organizations, including Meals on Wheels, until he was 91 years old.

One of the biggest services he provided was to the Liberal Party, which is where I came to know Phil. He volunteered until he was 91 years old doing everything from canvassing, organizing, fundraising and mentoring new members of the party. Phil was a constant presence. You would see him at every annual meeting and at his local riding executive meetings. He always smiled, shook your hand, and asked you how you are doing, and more importantly, he genuinely cared for the answer.

Phil spent 55 years together with his late wife Hilda and raised seven children. I offer my condolences to Phil's children, his 16 grandchildren and his 17 great grandchildren. Always remember the good times and never forget the contribution that Phil made to his community and, indeed, the country.

Phil, you are already missed.

ANZAC Day

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, next Monday, April 25, is ANZAC Day. That day, we in Canada and across the world will commemorate the one-hundred and first anniversary of the Great War's famous Gallipoli campaign, with its first landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula as part of the Çanakkale Battles. That day marks the remembrance of the Australians, New Zealanders and Newfoundlanders, Canadians since 1949, and the soldiers of other nations who fought in Gallipoli. It is also the remembrance of the Turkish forces who fought and fell in defence of their homeland.

Colleagues, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was the only North American regiment in the fierce Gallipoli campaign. On ANZAC day, let us remember the horrors of war and the noble sacrifices of all those who fought. The Great War was a grim reaper of young men's lives. On ANZAC day, we are called to pause and remember these losses. I shall read the words of Australia's contemporary poet, Rupert McCall:

There on the hill — that un-winnable hill
He is scared but by God, he's committed
There on the hill, so much young blood would spill . . .
In protecting their homeland, the Turks never budge
The high ground is theirs to defend
Death blows a breeze that puts ice in his knees
He prepares now to meet with his end

Colleagues, Mustafa Kemal was one the great commanders of the Turkish forces in Gallipoli. I shall read his tribute to Gallipoli's fallen that has become a tribute for ANZAC Day. He wrote:

Those heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives, you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side in this country of ours. You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears, your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they become our sons as well.

These were Mustafa Kemal’s famous words about Gallipoli’s fallen. These words are probably the finest tribute, the finest call to peace, to turn the great tragedies and sacrifices of young men into lasting friendships among nations.

Thank you.


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Budget Implementation Bill, 2016, No. 1

Notice of Motion to Authorize National Finance Committee to Study Subject Matter

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, in accordance with rule 10-11(1), the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine the subject matter of Bill C-15, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2016 and other measures, introduced in the House of Commons on April 20, 2016, in advance of the said bill coming before the Senate;

That the committee be authorized to meet for the purposes of its study of the subject matter of Bill C-15 even though the Senate may then be sitting, with the application of rule 12-18(1) being suspended in relation thereto.

National Security and Defence

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Issues Related to the Government's Current Defence Policy Review

Hon. Daniel Lang: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(j), I give notice that, later this day, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be authorized to examine and report on issues related to the Defence Policy Review presently being undertaken by the government;

That, pursuant to rule 12-18(2)(b)(i), the committee be authorized to meet from June to September 2016, even though the Senate may then be adjourned for a period exceeding one week;

That the committee be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit with the Clerk of the Senate its report if the Senate is not then sitting, and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber; and

That the committee table its report no later than December 16, 2016, and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings for 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

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

(1400)

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals): I wonder if Senator Lang could explain to us why he's seeking leave for a motion that would launch a project lasting until the end of the year and why, if it's so urgent, this notice of motion was not brought in earlier.

Senator Lang: Colleagues, I want to thank the senator for her question, and I want to clarify for the record a number of reasons why that particular motion is here.

A number of weeks ago, we received a letter of invitation from the Minister of Defence to ask us if we were prepared to participate in the review of the defence policy of Canada, specifically in the area of peacekeeping. Since that time, a number of discussions have gone on with the minister's office and other bodies that are involved in such a review to try to ascertain exactly what would be asked by us as a committee in answer to the Senate with respect to those responsibilities.

I should point out that we the Senate committee had a meeting this past week. We discussed thoroughly what our involvement would be and if we were prepared to participate. Committee members were unanimous that we should participate. The motion is here because that meeting took place at the beginning of the week.

I should point out that it would not be in the normal course of events for us to put a motion forward and ask for unanimous leave to deal with the motion on the same day. The only reason it's here is because once we adjourn, we will be gone from the Senate for the following week. As time is marching on, I wanted to ask colleagues whether or not they would give us the authority to begin the work and the planning required to do such a review and look at how we would go about that.

I want to assure my colleague that if any financial commitments have to be made, obviously we will have to come back for that authority. But it's a question of time.

I should point out that the motion is written in a very broad sense because it allows us to look at all aspects of defence review over the course of this coming year, with a responsibility to report back to this body in December of this year.

I think what we brought forward is a reasonable request. I hope I've answered the deputy leader's questions. I think it's very advantageous that we do participate, and I was glad to see that it was unanimous.

Senator Fraser: I'm torn. I always think it's a good thing when ministers of the Crown — whatever party — turn to the Senate for help and advice. I think that is a pattern greatly to be encouraged. Frequently, when it does happen, they want it all done yesterday. We can do a lot of things yesterday, but I still believe that this motion could have been brought yesterday. The Defence Committee met earlier this week. We could have had the notice of motion yesterday or the day before.

I shall not deny my leave now, but I would ask all committee chairs to operate with that modicum of respect for this chamber.

Senator Lang: I appreciate the comments from the senator. I'll take full responsibility for not having this motion before you. We did have a meeting yesterday, just prior to the house convening, with the parliamentary secretary in respect to what he expected our role would be. That was one of the reasons for the delay, plus the fact that there was just an overwhelming amount of work done in the last number of days. All I can say is we've done the best we can with what we have, and I appreciate the support the senator is prepared to provide for the motion.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker: Accordingly, it is ordered that this motion be placed on the Orders of the Day for later this day.

Human Rights Abuses in Iran

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to the egregious human rights abuses in Iran, particularly the use of torture and the cruel and inhuman treatment of unlawfully incarcerated political prisoners.

[Translation]

La Coalition des femmes de l'Alberta

Access to Health Services in French—Petition Tabled

Hon. Claudette Tardif: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table three petitions from the Coalition des femmes de l'Alberta signed by Alberta residents.

The first petition calls on the Government of Canada to guarantee access to health care services in French, which is essential to the development of francophone communities.

Employment Insurance for Caregivers—Petition Tabled

Hon. Claudette Tardif: The second petition from the Coalition des femmes de l'Alberta calls on the Government of Canada to expand the Employment Insurance program to include compassionate care leave for caregivers.

Legal Services in French—Petition Tabled

Hon. Claudette Tardif: Finally, the third petition calls on the Government of Canada to deal with the issue of access to legal and judicial services in French.


QUESTION PERIOD

Infrastructure and Communities

Canada-Quebec Infrastructure Agreement

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Leader, as you know, there are infrastructure programs in place. One of those programs, which has been around for a number of years, is specifically designed to help municipalities and requires a framework agreement in order for the funding to be transferred, particularly to Quebec. It appears that an amount of at least $1.8 billion is to be included in such an agreement between Ottawa and Quebec so that this money can be transferred to cities and municipalities that desperately need it. Quebec's economy also desperately needs that money, as we can see from the province's economic statistics, particularly those regarding unemployment.

The budget was recently tabled, and it provides for additional funding, but an agreement still has not been signed, despite repeated requests from various sectors in Quebec. I would like to share with you what Yves-Thomas Dorval, President of the Quebec Employers Council, had to say about this just a few days ago. He said, and I quote:

It's no longer a matter of years, months, or even weeks. Decisions need to be made in the coming days, at least on this amount [of $1.8 billion].

My question for the leader is the following: Does the government intend to do everything necessary in the coming days to sign the Canada-Quebec agreement, at least to transfer the $1.8 billion that has been languishing in the Government of Canada's coffers for two years now?

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Let me begin by thanking the Honourable Leader of the Opposition for his question. It is, of course, an important question and one that I had hoped would have been able to be addressed at the Minister of Infrastructure's appearance yesterday, which unfortunately didn't take place. I regret that and will take steps to have an early opportunity for the minister to answer questions in this chamber.

In the meantime, I want to assure the Leader of the Opposition that the government is anxious that the agreements flowing from commitments made on infrastructure are undertaken as quickly as possible, and I will inquire as to the precise timing and circumstance to which he is referring.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Can the Leader of the Government tell us what the problem is? Is it in Quebec City or in Ottawa?

[English]

Senator Harder: I'm not in a position to comment.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: I'm not asking you to comment, leader. I'm asking you to answer the question. Why can't this agreement be signed?

We saw Prime Minister Trudeau walking through the metro with his credit card and announcing $775 million over three years for public transit in Montreal, but the Mayor of Montreal and representatives of provincial departments weren't there with him. Clearly, the agreement is the crux of the problem of how to direct the investments in infrastructure. The government promised to act quickly. It added some money, but there is no framework agreement. Where is the problem?

(1410)

[English]

Senator Harder: I reiterate, Your Honour, that the expectation of the government is to conclude as quickly as possible, and I will inquire precisely on the timing, as requested by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition.

Employment and Social Development

Employment Insurance Benefits

Hon. Rose-May Poirier: My question is for the government leader in the Senate. The Trudeau government proposed to shorten the waiting period for EI to one week instead of two, effective January 1, 2017. Leader, I have a simple yes or no question. Will the claimants receiving benefits one week earlier lose one week of EI benefits at the end of the claim period?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I will find out that information and respond.

Senator Poirier: Although the measure is well-received in our area, the concern in my area is the potential extension of the black hole, where families have no income between the end of their EI benefits and the start of their new seasonal work. If your government's new measures effectively allow only the same number of weeks to be drawn and not the addition of one week, these families may need more help at the end of their benefits, not at the beginning when they have just received their last paycheque. With this one week of waiting time reduced, will this measure actually help the families of these seasonal workers or will it make it harder for them to make ends meet at the most critical time of their year?

Senator Harder: It is certainly the hope and expectation of the government that the measures undertaken will be of assistance to those affected.

[Translation]

Transport
Allotment of Time on Bill C-10

Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais: Could the Leader of the Government explain why the government is imposing time allocation on Bill C-10 in order to benefit Air Canada at the expense of former Aveos employees? I hope it's for reasons other than to cover up the incomprehensible and unacceptable about-face by the Prime Minister and his Minister of Transport now that they are in power.

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I take note of the honourable senator's question and will respond in writing.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: As we said previously, time allocation motions are used in emergency situations and at the end of a parliamentary session, neither of which applies in this case.

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Opposition): Senator Dagenais raises an interesting point. Today, Minister Dominique Anglade asked Ottawa to delay passage of the bill in order not to hinder her transaction with Air Canada. How do you explain Minister Garneau's insistence on passing the bill quickly, when Minister Anglade is asking us to slow down? Is Ottawa listening to Quebec? Is the federal government in communication with the Government of Quebec?

[English]

Senator Harder: I want to assure the Honourable Leader of the Opposition that the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec are in close communication on this subject. I would hope to be able to report to this house agreement on how to proceed as soon as possible.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: How do you explain your decision to move too quickly on one file and not quickly enough on another? Is there a way to find the right speed for dealing with these issues?

[English]

Senator Harder: Again, Leader of the Opposition, it is my hope that we can proceed in an expeditious fashion with this measure. I will inquire of the Minister of Transport the state of his discussions with his counterparts.

Public Safety

Royal Canadian Mounted Police—Auxiliary Constable Program

Hon. Daniel Lang: Colleagues, I'd like to direct a question to the government leader as well. I believe notice was given to him on the subject that I'm about to raise.

On March 9, the Minister of Public Safety appeared at the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs. At that time I raised a concern that had been brought to my attention about the future of the RCMP Auxiliary Constable Program, which I'm sure many senators can relate to with respect to the regions they represent and the importance of that program for the community, for those who have volunteered and, most importantly, for the policing within their regions.

Colleagues, the volunteer program has served Canadians and the RCMP for well over 50 years. In view of an unfortunate accident approximately one year ago, it appears to be slowly demolished by the administration.

I should point out to the government leader that since raising this issue in the committee, I have had numerous calls and correspondence from many Canadians who are concerned about this program slowly being dismantled.

First, so that the government leader understands and so that he has this information, the government has taken away the ability of these volunteers, these auxiliary constables, to participate in RCMP ride-alongs in the evenings. Over the past 50 years, they've always been called upon to do that.

I was quite surprised that there is also a discussion taking place about changing their uniforms. They had fought for those and had come to an agreement with government over the years that there would be a clear association between an auxiliary constable and a full-fledged constable. In my judgment, that is unacceptable.

Why is the government dismantling one of the most important volunteer programs in Canada, the RCMP Auxiliary Constable Program?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): First I'd like to thank the honourable senator for giving me notice of the question.

I would like to acknowledge, on behalf of the government, the importance that is given to this program of RCMP auxiliary services provided in local communities. I should add that at one point my brother was one of those auxiliary officers, so I've heard from him on this matter as well.

I note that Minister Goodale, whom you referenced, responded to your question during the March 9 meeting of the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs by recommitting the government not only to the intent of the program but also to examine the questions that you raised. He will be reviewing the matter and will report back, as he indicated to you.

I will add to that remit my own voice, with his office and with the minister directly.

Senator Lang: I want to thank the government leader for his response. If you will recall, the other day I pointed out the importance of the ability to question the government within this chamber, because it brings another public conversation to issues that may not necessarily meet the priority list in the other place — although, as we all know, this is a very important issue for Canadians.

I would ask the government leader, in his review of this matter and when he next approaches the government in this regard, if he could find out whether a survey of the members of the auxiliary program was done, or consultations with local communities, territories or provinces, prior to the decision's being made by the RCMP administration. If so, will he ask the government to table the surveys and the results they received, if such an initiative was undertaken; and if there was not such an initiative, why not?

Senator Harder: Senator, I'd be happy to make that undertaking.

Infrastructure and Communities

Allocation of Resources

Hon. Don Meredith: Government Representative in the Senate, it is regrettable that yesterday the minister was not able to appear before us. However, could you undertake to forward this question with respect to the criteria we use to allocate resources, especially to municipalities such as Toronto, which is in need of $2.8 billion — $800 million needed for housing repairs and so forth? I think this has implications for other municipalities across this country.

Would the Government Representative undertake to solicit from the minister the criteria that will be used to allocate these resources, given the crumbling infrastructure across Canada?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you, honourable senator, for your question. Of course, I will undertake to do so. In making that undertaking, I would note the positive response to the commitment the government made by the Mayor of Toronto in particular.

(1420)

Hon. Frances Lankin: Honourable senators, my question to the Government Representative builds on the previous senator's question.

I had hoped yesterday to be able to ask the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities with respect to the allocation of dollars that have been announced in the budget and with respect to the criteria. I'm interested in the criteria that would include unorganized townships. I represent a community in Northern Ontario that is part of an unorganized township and we have a local services board. We don't have a municipal structure.

In the budget speech, some of those dollars are allocated towards small infrastructure projects such as community centres and those kinds of things. They are important for vast areas of the country that are not represented under municipal governments. I'm interested in the criteria and also when the criteria will be available for communities to apply.

Senator Harder: Again, I thank the honourable senator for her question and will undertake to get that information to her. In doing so, I recognize the importance the government attaches to having the infrastructure program be relevant for all Canadian communities, both large and those that are unorganized and rural.

Foreign Affairs

UNESCO—Resolution Condemning Israeli Activity in Jerusalem

Hon. Linda Frum: My question is for the Government Leader in the Senate. Last week the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, adopted a resolution condemning all Israeli activity within the city of Jerusalem. This decision blatantly and intentionally ignores the historical connection the Jewish people have with Jerusalem and, more specifically, the Temple Mount, the holiest of Jewish historical sites.

Every year Canada sends millions of dollars in funding to UNESCO, an organization mandated to help bring peace and security. What is this government doing to hold them accountable and to send a strong message that this blatant rewriting of Jewish history is completely unacceptable?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I note the honourable senator's question. It is a matter that the government takes seriously, and I will inquire precisely to be able to respond to the question.

Natural Resources

Pacific NorthWest LNG Project

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): My question is also for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Leader, liquefied natural gas provides a significant economic opportunity in Canada, especially in my home province of B.C. Many of the projects are expected to create thousands of construction jobs, generate hundreds of long-term careers and provide substantial and beneficial economic spinoffs. Yet the LNG projects are continually being delayed by this government and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

In regard to the recent delay of the Pacific NorthWest LNG, B.C.'s Minister of Energy and Mines stated last month:

I'm confident that any remaining questions can be answered completely and quickly. They have to be. Jobs for British Columbians should not be held by unnecessary delays.

Continuing:

After all, this just isn't any project. At $36-billion and 18,600 jobs, Pacific NorthWest LNG would be the largest private sector investment ever in Canadian history.

The Trudeau government has promised to be transparent and to work with provinces. Yet there is this delay and British Columbians are waiting in the meantime and their livelihoods are directly impacted. My questions, leader, are these: Will the process be transparent and fair? Will it be clear to those who are waiting? How long will this process take? What assurances can you give British Columbians that process that directly affects their lives will not go on and on?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I thank the honourable senator for her question. I would reiterate the importance attached to economic growth and the ability to use our natural resources in the national interest. These are complex processes, and I will make inquiries with respect to the state of those negotiations at this time.

Senator Martin: I can appreciate that. The processes are very complex, but lives are being impacted. We're talking about tens of thousands, and this is a priority for British Columbians.

Given the scale of the project and the impact, will this project be a priority file that will be looked at sooner rather than later? What assurances can British Columbians have from this government?

Senator Harder: Honourable senators, economic development in British Columbia is a high priority for the government and this is a high priority in that context. I can give that assurance to the honourable senator.

Senator Martin: Lastly, we are taking care of Canadians here at home, but this is a huge global industry, and we are already behind because of these delays. I would also like to know what the government is planning to do to ensure that Canada does not lag behind and gets completely left out of this very important global industry.

Senator Harder: Again, honourable senators, I note the very important nature of this question and will add to my inquiry the notion of expeditious decision making.

[Translation]

Health

Stop Smoking Initiatives

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

I recently saw a Government of Canada advertisement encouraging people to stop smoking. I would like to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate what the government's communications plan is and what Health Canada and all federal departments are doing to promote awareness and prevention and encourage Canadians to stop smoking.

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, this is a very important subject for Canadians and public health. I will inquire of the ministry the precise answer to the honourable senator's question, but there's no doubt that this is a highly important initiative and one to which all Canadians should pay attention, even senators who smoke.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: I understand that you will be providing us with the details of the plan. Could you add a second part to your answer and tell us whether the Trudeau government intends to come up with a similar plan to prevent marijuana use?

[English]

Senator Harder: I will add that to my inquiry.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, this morning I had the distinct pleasure and honour to attend the Governor General's Awards in commemoration of the Persons Case.

Today, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of the five outstanding 2016 recipients of those awards. They are Ms. Monique Bégin, Ms. Marie-Thérèse Chicha, Ms. Dee M. Dooley, Ms. Ruth Elwood Martin and Ms. Sheila McIntyre.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


ORDERS OF THE DAY

The Senate

Motion to Affect Question Period on May 3, 2016, Adopted

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of April 20, 2016, moved:

That, in order to allow the Senate to receive a Minister of the Crown during Question Period as authorized by the Senate on December 10, 2015, and notwithstanding rule 4-7, when the Senate sits on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, Question Period shall begin at 3:30 p.m., with any proceedings then before the Senate being interrupted until the end of Question Period, which shall last a maximum of 40 minutes;

That, if a standing vote would conflict with the holding of Question Period at 3:30 p.m. on that day, the vote be postponed until immediately after the conclusion of Question Period;

That, if the bells are ringing for a vote at 3:30 p.m. on that day, they be interrupted for Question Period at that time, and resume thereafter for the balance of any time remaining; and

That, if the Senate concludes its business before 3:30 p.m. on that day, the sitting be suspended until that time for the purpose of holding Question Period.

He said: Honourable senators, the Minister of Finance will be here on Tuesday, May 3 for questions from senators for a period of 40 minutes.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Question!

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(1430)

Constitution Act, 1867
Parliament of Canada Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Mercer, seconded by the Honourable Senator Day, for the second reading of Bill S-213, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 and the Parliament of Canada Act (Speakership of the Senate).

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: It has been a hectic few weeks for me, and I am working hard to get my notes prepared to speak to this item. I am not quite ready, so I would like to adjourn for the balance of my time.

(On motion of Senator Plett, debate adjourned.)

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Vernon White moved second reading of Bill S-225, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (substances used in the production of fentanyl).

He said: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak on a very important piece of legislation, Bill S-225, an Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This enactment amends part 1 of schedule 6 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to add certain substances used in the production of fentanyl so that they will be regulated as Class A precursors.

Precursors are chemicals frequently diverted from legitimate activities to the illegal manufacture of drugs. In 1988, the United Nations addressed the problem of the diversion of precursors to illegal markets or uses by adopting provisions within the Convention against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Canada signed this convention in 1990, committing itself to controlling the movement of precursors into, out of and within Canada.

In 1997, Canada enacted provisions within the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The CDSA allows for the control of precursors and the establishment of regulations for their import, export, production and distribution. The Precursor Control Regulations provide a regulatory framework that allows Canada to fulfill its international obligations with respect to the monitoring and control of precursors used in the production of illegal drugs. The regulatory provisions governing the registration and permit requirements for import, export and production of Class B precursors came into force on January 1, 2004.

In the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and in the Precursor Control Regulations, there exists a number of precursors that have been listed to lessen the potential for illegitimate, illegal manufacturing of controlled drugs in Canada. Bill S-225 will add to the list of precursors those ingredients used in the manufacture of fentanyl in an attempt to combat the illegal manufacture of fentanyl. According to a recent report of the United Nations, no other country consumes more prescription opioids on a per capita basis than Canada. Between 2009 and 2014, there were at least 655 deaths in Canada where fentanyl was determined to be a cause. There were another almost 400 cases where fentanyl was found to have been ingested by people who died from overdose. Fentanyl has become the leading cause of opioid deaths in Ontario for the first time since Canada's prescription painkiller crisis began more than a decade ago. Between 2009 and 2013, there were 466 accidental fentanyl-implicated deaths in Ontario.

Fatal overdoses have steadily increased. In British Columbia, for example, since 2010, 211 died, reaching 474 deaths in 2015. An alarming number of drug overdose tests in recent months has prompted B.C.'s chief health officer to declare a public health emergency. In fact, more than 200 overdose deaths in the province during the first 90 days of 2016 have been linked directly to fentanyl abuse.

As examples: In Montreal, in the summer of 2014, there were at least 25 overdose deaths — six of them in just one week in June — linked to fentanyl-laced heroin.

Police in Moncton, New Brunswick found two dead men inside an apartment this past November, with a package of fentanyl powder they purchased online.

In Durham region, east of Toronto, there were 11 fentanyl overdoses — eight of them fatal — in November and December of 2015.

Since last summer, 16 deaths and dozens of non-fatal overdoses have occurred on the Blood First Nation reserve near Lethbridge, Alberta, with a population of only 12,000.

Seizures across Canada of a little green pill or fentanyl powder, being manufactured primarily by criminal organizations and dealers alike, who are able to buy the ingredients, are going through the roof, and the importance of us helping law enforcement and health officials sooner rather than later is key to taking on this epidemic.

Fentanyl is a highly potent drug that many recreational drug users take unknowingly, putting them at high risk of an overdose. Most recreational drug users don't expect the extreme drowsiness, difficulty breathing and slowed heart rate, sometimes as low as 30 beats, that can come after popping one little green pill. It's a strong opioid, meaning that it is fully synthetic and manmade, prescribed by doctors to help patients manage chronic pain. It's estimated to be 80 times as powerful as morphine and hundreds of times more powerful than heroin. The drug is increasingly used to cut cocaine and heroin, dramatically boosting potency, often with fatal consequences, as we've seen. Combined with alcohol or other drugs that slow the central nervous system, it becomes even more dangerous.

When the drug is processed in a clandestine lab with no quality controls, it is difficult to get the dosage right, making it potentially even more dangerous. It is killing both inexperienced newbies and hardened addicts. Fentanyl is the king of opiates and a killer drug.

Illicit fentanyl is currently flooding Canada's markets, often stamped as oxycontin, and retailing for as little as $10 a pill, an indication of how cheap it is to manufacture. Often manufactured in China, it easily enters Canada. It can even be ordered online, and suppliers assure buyers their packages won't get seized.

China is reported as the main source of illegal fentanyl in Canada, both as a complete product and in the sale of ingredients. There have been discussions between Canadian and Chinese authorities, and it is hoped that they will take steps to combat this from their point of sale. However, we need to understand that, even when the Chinese market is under control, we need to do what we can do to stop the flow of those ingredients into the country from any other source country.

As a result, it is extremely important that we take the responsibility for adding precursor ingredients to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This would give the police and health authorities one more tool to combat the illegal and illicit fentanyl trade in Canada.

Honourable senators, the illegal manufacture of fentanyl is killing Canadians today, and removing the illegitimate access to precursors will help to combat this tragic situation.

I urge all honourable senators to support this bill, which is a significant step toward protecting the health of Canadians from this killer drug.

Hon. Art Eggleton: Could I ask Senator White a question?

(1440)

I appreciate what you're saying about the dangers of fentanyl; I quite agree. How is this going to be stopped? How do you perceive this being stopped since the so-called war on drugs seems to be a failure generally in stopping illegal drugs from coming into the country? With the kind of bill you have here, what do you think will be the real effect of it?

Senator White: Thank you very much for the question, senator.

The challenge with precursors is that today, although the sale of fentanyl is illegal, the sale of precursors that make fentanyl is not illegal. I do not think the war on drugs is one we could ever win anyway, but we had to fight it and will continue to fight. When it comes to the precursors, I could have gone online last night and ordered all four ingredients, and they would have been at my house in a week. Unless we make them illegal, we can't stop that. The challenge we have today isn't about the pharmacological drug called fentanyl; it's about a basement-grade drug that's being cut with other illegal drugs, sold and is killing people. This is really becoming a death trap for addicts.

Senator Eggleton: Do these precursors have any other usefulness within society that could create some unintended consequences of the bill?

Senator White: They have another use, as does fentanyl have another use in society as a legally pharmacy-prescribed drug. When they are listed, it means they cannot be used by people for reasons other than prescription reasons. You could apply for permits to buy them, as we do with the precursors for crystal meth amphetamine or Methamphetamine. We already have a number of precursors on our list. This adds to the list to ensure that health officials, Border Services agents, and police services across the country have an opportunity to ensure that the ingredients are used only for their intended purpose.

Senator Eggleton: The enforcement of this would be under criminal law, and there would be prosecutions against anybody who attempts to import any of those precursors for that purpose.

Senator White: That's correct.

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: You talked about the ingredients. Are they delivered by Canada Post? If you can get them in one week, they are not arriving any other way. Are there mechanisms to detect the drugs? We want to ensure that we have those mechanisms in airports to detect substances. We have dogs trained to do that. Do we have mechanisms to stop the delivery of the drugs to the client?

Senator White: The challenge we have with trying to stop them before they're delivered is that they have to be unlawful to move in the first place. Today's challenge is that there is nothing unlawful about me going online and ordering these precursors. The minute they're unlawful, Border Services agents and others can start getting involved in identifying the source distribution centres they are coming from. We could provide a list of Chinese companies shipping precursors here today, for example; but we can't do that unless these are listed. There is nothing wrong with buying these today over the Internet, by phone or by any other means. In fact, the two individuals found dead in New Brunswick in an apartment had purchased the precursors online and purchased some finished product. They died as a result of using the finished product powder.

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals): What are the precursors of fentanyl? To what extent can you be sure that you are providing a list that will achieve what you want it to achieve? Often we know that when people are producing drugs in a lab, if ingredient A is banned they find a close relative of ingredient A that is not on the banned list.

Senator White: I'm glad Senator Ogilvie is sitting in front of me because I would love to get him to read these words. The four ingredients are Propionyl chloride, 1-Phenethyl-4-piperidone, Aniline, and 4-Piperidone.

It's agreed that in some cases, as we saw with bath salts a few years ago, it takes small change to continue the manufacturing. In this case, I dealt with law enforcement officials, justice officials and health officials to make certain that I was not missing any; but I guarantee something else will be made tomorrow that will kill Canadians as well.

When I talk about the war on drugs, these are the kinds of things we can continue doing well: Building more drug treatment centres and getting more access to early intervention programs in our schools will change the focus on drug interdiction in this country.

Hon. Daniel Lang: I want to follow up on that, if the senator will take a question.

Senator White: Always, sir.

Senator Lang: I commend Senator White for bringing this forward because it is important to all Canadians. You stated it very well. This is not an issue that only Canada faces. Other countries face similar situations. Do you have any information for the house on what's happening in the United States of America or the U.K.?

Senator White: Honourable senators, Australia has already listed some of these precursors. Last month, I was in the United States on a visit to Washington, D.C., with congressmen and senators. A number one concern among U.S. legislators is the fact that we are not up to speed with our precursor list. They are seeing a dramatic amount of fentanyl precursors and fentanyl product moving across their northern and southern borders to fulfill the demand in their own states. Every country is fighting the same battle at the same time; and we have to figure out how to get in step with each other. The United States is seeing a lot of importation from Canada to the United States.

Senator Lang: You said we were falling behind on the list you had identified. Are there other chemicals that they recommend putting on the list as well that can have similar effects?

Senator White: If I may, I wrote an article yesterday for National Newswatch about fentanyl. I received an article from Alberta that identified another drug we need to look at called W18. It's 50 times stronger than fentanyl but has not yet hit the streets at the same level. I anticipate being back here in a month or so to ask for something similar in respect of W18 once we have our heads around the precursor challenges we face with W18.

(On motion of Senator Campbell, debate adjourned.)

(1450)

National Security and Defence

Committee Authorized to Study Issues Related to the Government's Current Defence Policy Review

Hon. Daniel Lang, pursuant to notice of earlier this day, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be authorized to examine and report on issues related to the Defence Policy Review presently being undertaken by the government;

That, pursuant to rule 12-18(2)(b)(i), the committee be authorized to meet from June to September 2016, even though the Senate may then be adjourned for a period exceeding one week;

That the committee be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit with the Clerk of the Senate its report if the Senate is not then sitting, and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber; and

That the committee table its report no later than December 16, 2016, and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings for 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

He said: Colleagues, first of all, I want to express my appreciation and on behalf of my committee that honourable senators are prepared to consider this bill.

I have given all the reasons why this motion is here. I want to assure members that if approval is given today, we can expedite our business and I'll be back in the Senate in the near future with respect to further aspects of that particular motion.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[Translation]

The Honourable Céline Hervieux-Payette, C.P.

Inquiry—Debate Concluded

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette rose pursuant to notice of April 12, 2016:

That she will call the attention of the Senate to her accomplishments and experiences throughout her career as a Parliamentarian.

She said: Honourable senators, usually when we say our goodbyes, we are a little sad. I am pleased to say that after 21 years in this august chamber, I did my duty, I served this institution to the best of my ability, and I have no regrets. That is what I wanted to say to begin with.

However, my most important duty is to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this adventure. I would first like to thank the Senate staff: the administration, security — in fact, I was given a very formal salute this morning by the security staff — the officers of the Senate who help us present our various questions properly, the translators, who are very important to us francophones, the hard-working stenographers, and our pages, who seem to get better looking every year.

All of these people make our lives and our work as senators much more enjoyable. Of course, I must recognize a few people in my office. You must understand that after 21 years, I have a rather long list, because every year, I made a point of hiring students for a year or two to help them pay for their studies. For that reason, there was a lot of staff turnover.

Nevertheless, I did have an assistant by the name of Maximilien Depontailler who had the patience to stay with me for 10 years, although he left my office just recently to go and work for a minister.

I hired another young man, Alexis Fafard, from my hometown of L'Assomption. He is a very talented future lawyer. I also hired a young Nova Scotian named David Hamilton, a distinguished economist who is very passionate about politics and whose father was president of the Central Nova Federal Liberal Riding Association. I want to thank my latest recruit, Louise Mercier, a producer and author who is helping me clean up and file the 50 boxes of documents I have accumulated.

I also want to thank all my colleagues in the Senate Liberal caucus, those who have a title, those who do not, and those who attended our meetings and helped us to keep going through the tough times. In order of importance, I want to thank the Speaker of the Senate, who sat in our caucus for a number of years and who is enjoying a remarkable career here.

I would be remiss if I did not thank Stéphane Dion, who appointed me Leader of the Opposition in the Senate when he was Leader of the Liberal Party. That was a demanding role, since I was simultaneously the chief election organizer in Quebec and I had to represent Mr. Dion on occasion. During that time, I was probably working for minimum wage.

The most important of all is the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, who appointed me to this place in 1995. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I accepted the appointment reluctantly, but were it not for the referendum, I am not sure I would have left the comfort of a well-paid job in the private sector to come and work in the Senate for half my salary. However, I did it for the future of the country, our children and all Canadians. We were on the eve of a referendum that was extremely brutal and difficult.

At that time, many colleagues accompanied me in going door to door, and I believe that those who did not experience the pain of saying "we need to save Canada and prevent the country from being divided in two" cannot understand how unimaginable that was for me. We are all Canadians, and whether we are from Eastern, Western or Central Canada, we all helped to build this nation and we are all part of it. In short, we are the fibre of this country.

I would also like to acknowledge my Liberal friends who sat with me in the House of Commons in the six years that I was there. There are no farewell speeches in the House of Commons. You say your goodbyes on the night of the election if you lose, and let me tell you, I really did not get a chance to say goodbye. However, I worked with a wonderful team, which included Senator Joyal. I think that the Liberal team, now under the direction of the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, cares about the well-being of Canadians, as demonstrated in the generous policies it is developing and the special attention it is giving to our indigenous brothers and sisters, for whom I have a great deal of affection.

We need to close the outrageous gap that exists between our fellow Canadians, whether we are talking about people living in Northern Canada or those who are still sleeping on the streets of our big cities.

I would also like to acknowledge the parliamentarians from the other parties in the House of Commons and the Senate. We now have independent senators. I hope that they will enjoy serving Canadians in this institution as much as I have done.

Looking back on what I accomplished while I was here, I am particularly proud to have participated in creating the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas, or FIPA, which later became ParlAmericas. I was the president of that network for nearly 10 years. With the help of the 35 countries in the Americas, I witnessed democratic growth in many of those countries and saw what an important role female parliamentarians play there. We had some extremely positive meetings, and I have to say that, today, I am especially distressed by the events in Brazil and the obstacles that people in that country now have to overcome. I hope that they will get back to a system that works as soon as possible.

As the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, I appreciated the efforts to justify the Senate's existence. We had bills that limited our terms to eight years, and at one point, the subject of elections brought out the partisan worst in our chamber. I think that my colleagues and I came up with a reasonable policy, and we reached a compromise, which is the very essence of parliamentarians' work. One of those compromises was the suggestion that our terms be limited to 15 years like those of our counterparts in the House of Lords. I was here for that debate, and I participated in the discussion. That's what's important: discussion, making compromises, and reaching consensus so that this institution can serve the people, particularly minorities, indigenous peoples and the provinces. Above all, we must act in accordance with the Canadian Constitution.

My bills will remain on the Order Paper for this session, and they offer policy directions that my fellow senators and the government may follow. I would not object if the government surprised us tomorrow morning by passing my bill on women on boards of directors. I have every reason to believe that my bill on violence against children will be passed in the House of Commons because the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, who wholeheartedly subscribes to the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, accepted the committee's recommendation to repeal section 43 of the Criminal Code, thereby making it illegal to discipline children by hitting them.

(1500)

My other bills focus on improving governance. They are headed in the right direction and seek to achieve equity and better distribution of wealth in Canada. Right now, I think we are setting a very bad example. Yesterday, when I was speaking to my bill, I gave you some statistics on how Canada and the United States are headed in the completely opposite direction with respect to the distribution of wealth.

The issue of fraud is obviously important to me. Canadians are very active around the world, especially in the mining sector. You regularly receive documentation from this sector. It's important to point that out, because people need to remain honest and hold on to their integrity.

I have heard about discussions held in Chile with our copper producers about the importance of respecting the environment and workers. Is legislation necessary? It might not be the best way. Ideally, we should respect other jurisdictions and ensure that the people working in these sectors abide by the laws.

One bill that is particularly close to my heart is the one that is a sort of celebration of our seal hunters. It is meant to serve as a lesson to our friends in Europe, who banned the purchase of seal products and penalized our shore workers. My bill has nearly passed third reading. Honourable senators, I hope that you'll vote in favour of this bill and that it will pass in the House of Commons.

I recently moved a motion to give compensation to the workers at the Chalk River nuclear plant who were exposed to radiation. I gained quite a reputation in the region, even though I wasn't able to visit very often. However, when the Senate acts to restore fairness between former Department of National Defence personnel and Chalk River workers, former federal public servants, it has a duty to do so in a way that ensures that all Canadians are treated equally.

I also want to say to each of you that I hope you will continue working hard to find the right formula, the modus operandi, for a renewed Senate, to ensure it has clear rules and to facilitate the consensus building that will make for better policies.

I took my duties as a senator very seriously, to try to improve the work of the other place, which was at times imperfect. I sometimes voted against Liberal bills. Naturally, I voted against Conservative bill more often. However, my objective each and every time was to stay true to my principles and values as a Canadian. Being a member of the Liberal Party, I was guided first and foremost by the philosophy underlying liberalism, in other words, the Charter of Rights, free enterprise and a federated country that runs smoothly.

On the eve of my birthday, I feel I am giving myself a gift by saying goodbye to you all here today. I love you all, and I hope you will continue your good work.

I will conclude with a delightful little phrase, as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her birthday today, an important phrase that we have said many times: God Save the Queen!

[English]

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Colleagues, Senator Hervieux-Payette has given clear instructions and directions that she doesn't want any tributes and she doesn't want anybody else to participate. As I hope I made clear yesterday, we are independent and we don't take direction or instruction from anybody, even a colleague.

I want to say a few words, and I hope that I will speak on behalf of all of us. Senator Hervieux-Payette has been a distinguished parliamentarian, both in the House of Commons and in the Senate for many years. Outside of the Senate, she has been an activist on behalf of many good causes. She is a woman who has expressed strong opinions, and not all of us agree with all of those opinions all of the time, but I think all of us respect her right to express those opinions and admire her tenacity and her dedication to the causes in which she believes.

I hope I speak on behalf of all of us, Céline, when I say thank you for the service that you have provided not only to the Senate but to the Parliament of Canada and the people of Canada. We wish you a long and healthy retirement. We know that for you retirement doesn't mean putting your feet up; it means that you will now have more time to devote to the causes that you will continue to support. We know that when we stray away from those causes, we will hear from you. We can run but we can't hide. Thank you. We do appreciate you and wish you all the best in the future.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Thank you.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, out of respect for Senator Hervieux-Payette, who did not wish to have formal tributes, but seeing that this is her final sitting, I wish to add a few words. As deputy leader, I sat with Senator Fraser and know the priorities that you have and how much you are dedicated to your causes. I also know the tenacity that Senator Cowan spoke of, I have definitely seen that and do respect that.

As you depart from our chamber, after having served many years, and knowing you have a family that demands your attention, on behalf of our caucus, we wish you good health and may the rest of your journey continue.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, if no other senators wish to speak, this item is considered debated.

(Debate concluded.)

Adjournment

Motion Adopted

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

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(g), I move:

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 2:15 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at 2:15 p.m.)