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Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 39

Thursday, May 19, 2016
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


Thursday, May 19, 2016

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



Journalists Lost in the Line of Duty

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals): Honourable senators, again this year, I rise to inform you about a number of journalists killed around the world last year, simply because they were journalists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists tells us that last year, 72 journalists were killed: 7 while they were on dangerous assignments, 18 in crossfire or while covering combat, and 47 who were simply murdered because they were journalists.

As a small gesture to honour them, I wish to read their names into the record.

In Bangladesh: Ananta Bijoy Das, Avijit Roy, Faisal Arefin Dipan, Niloy Neel, Washiqur Rahman Babu.

In Brazil: Djalma Santos da Conceição, Evany José Metzker, Gerardo Ceferino Servían, Gleydson Carvalho, Israel Gonçalves Silva, Ítalo Eduardo Diniz Barros.

In Colombia: Flor Alba Núñez Vargas.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Soleil Balanga.

In France: Bernard Maris, Bernard Verlhac, Elsa Cayat, Georges Wolinski, Guillaume Barreau-Decherf, Jean Cabut, Moustapha Ourrad, Philippe Honoré, Stéphane Charbonnier.

In Ghana: George Abanga.

In Guatemala: Danilo López.

In India: Jagendra Singh.

In Iraq: Adel Sayegh, Jalaa al-Abadi, Fadel al-Hadidi, Firas al-Baher, Thaer Al-Ali, Yahya Abdul Hamid.

In Kenya: John Kituyi.

In Libya: Muftah al-Qatrani.

In Mexico: Armando Saldaña Morales, Filadelfo Sánchez Sarmiento, José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, Rubén Espinosa Becerri.

In Pakistan: Arshad Ali Jafri, Zaman Mehsud.

In Poland: Ukasz Masiak.

In Somalia: Daud Ali Omar, Hindia Haji Mohamed, Mustaf Abdi Noor.

In South Sudan: Adam Juma, Boutros Martin, Dalia Marko, Musa Mohamed, Randa George.

In Syria: Ahmed Abu al-Hamza, Ahmed Mohamed al-Mousa, Ammar al-Shami, Batoul Mokhles al-Warrar, Humam Najjar (Abu Yazan al-Halabi), Jamal Khalifeh, Jomaa Al-Ahmad (Abu al-Nour al-Halabi), Kenji Goto, Mohammed al-Asfar, Noureddine Hashim, Obada Ghazal, Thaer al-Ajlani, Wasem Aledel, Zakaria Ibrahim.

In Turkey: Fares Hamadi, Ibrahim Abd al-Qader, Naji Jerf.

In Ukraine: Serhiy Nikolayev.

In the United States of America: Adam Ward, Alison Parker.

In Yemen: Abdullah Qabil, Bilal Sharaf al-Deen, Khaled al-Washli, Hazzam Mohamed Zeid, Mohamed Shamsan, Monir Aklan, Youssef al-Ayzari.

Honour them. They died to serve the truth.

Grandma Gil Won-Ok

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about a courageous woman whom I recently had the honour to meet. She is Grandma Gil Won-Ok, a World War II military sexual slavery survivor, or so-called "comfort

woman," the euphemism that is used to describe her and others. Grandma Gil flew from South Korea to be in Toronto for the world premiere of the documentary The Apology at the 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.


The National Film Board of Canada documentary was directed by Toronto-based filmmaker Tiffany Hsiung, Executive Producer Anita Lee and seasoned film editor, Mary Stephen.

I wish to congratulate everyone involved in the production of The Apology for being the second-most popular film of the festival.

The award-winning documentary features the lives of Grandma Gil from Korea, Grandma Cao from China and Grandma Adela from the Philippines, who were among the estimated 200,000 young girls and women that were forced into military sexual slavery during World War II by the Imperial Japanese Army.

Grandma Gil was born in Pyongyang, North Korea, and separated from her family at the young age of 13, when she was forcefully taken to a "comfort station" and held captive for five years. Tragically, while enslaved in the comfort station, she caught syphilis and had her uterus removed, leaving her void of hope of having a family of her own. Ashamed and unable to return to her home, she survived by working as a peddler on the streets in South Korea.

Today, honourable senators, Grandma Gil — at almost 90 years of age — is mother to an adopted boy whom she found homeless. He grew up to be a pastor and is lovingly devoted to his mother as she is to him. She courageously rose above her pain to become a spokesperson and leader among the surviving grandmas. In fact, Grandma Gil recently went to the United Nations in Geneva with 1.3 million signatures collected from around the world urging the Secretariat of the UN Human Rights Council to act justly on behalf of the surviving comfort women.

Following the screening of the film, in a private moment she clutched both my hands and said to me, "Work hard and do as much as you can while you are `young,' before you become too old like me." These words from Grandma Gil, who continues to be a voice of truth, have been cemented into my heart and will not be forgotten.

As we enter the seventh decade since the end of World War II, the wounds of the surviving victims of military sexual slavery have remained open for far too long, and they deserve the restoration of their honour and dignity.

I hope all honourable senators will join me today in paying tribute to Grandma Gil and all the courageous survivors of this terrible past and honour them today.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Telling Our Story

Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, I believe I would receive full agreement within the Senate Chamber today in stating that we all have the fortunate privilege to live in the greatest country in the world.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Manning: Canada is a beautiful and diverse country where people from all walks of life are welcome to live and prosper.

With those thoughts in mind, quite some time ago I stood in this chamber and announced a plan of mine to attempt to shed some light on my province of Newfoundland and Labrador and to capture for all of you, and for other Canadians, something of the essence of that remarkable, beautiful and special place I am so blessed to call "my home."

Needless to say, the research and development of the factual history, stories and information has taken me much longer than I anticipated. Ensuring the accuracy of what I will be saying, making sure I have all the correct data, including dates, times, names, and so on, was imperative.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are well known for passing along their heritage and culture both in story and in song, so separating fact from fiction has been challenging at times but certainly extremely interesting and informative.

Colleagues, I'm now ready to begin presenting, what I hope to be on a regular basis to this chamber, what I will refer to as "Telling Our Story." I will speak of places, people and events that are part of our unique and distinct history. There will be sad moments as well as happy moments. There will be stories of triumph and stories of tragedy. I will tell you about our culture, our heritage and the people and events that have shaped us into this exceptional and wonderful place we are today. I will address many of the myths, misunderstandings and outright misrepresentations that have been spoken about us.

For instance, my next statement in this chamber and the first chapter in "Telling Our Story" will be to speak to you about a very special anniversary in our province this year — the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, an event that indeed changed the course of history in my province.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have played many notable, significant and important roles in shaping this great country. From our efforts during times of war and peace, to our politicians, our athletes and our regular citizens, we have been there, and I want to tell you about it.

Prior to Confederation in 1949, our world on that rock in the Atlantic Ocean was a much different place. I will talk about days before Confederation and days since March 31, 1949.

I'm excited about the opportunity to enlighten and educate my colleagues here in the Senate, and indeed all Canadians, about what I truly believe is the greatest treasure on Earth — my home, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Please stay tuned. I hope you enjoy each and every chapter of "Telling Our Story."

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Medical Assistance in Dying Bill

Hon. John D. Wallace: Honourable senators, you will recall that I spoke yesterday during Senators' Statements about the need for our Senate Chamber to do everything possible to ensure that we complete all of our senatorial consideration and work on Bill C-14, medical assistance in dying, in order that Parliament be able to meet the June 6, 2016 deadline imposed by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Unfortunately, and not uncommon with me, my comments extended beyond my allotted three-minute time period and consequently I was unable to conclude all of my remarks. I will do that now.

As I stated yesterday, Senate leaders Carignan, Cowan and Runciman are quoted in the media as saying that the Supreme Court's June 6 deadline will not be met.

Regardless of what each of us might think of the merits of Bill C-14, and all of that will undoubtedly be thoroughly scrutinized and debated when the bill is before the Senate, it would be totally unacceptable if we, as members of this chamber, did not complete our legislative work on this bill such that it would, in whatever form it may finally take, meet the Supreme Court's imposed deadline of June 6.

There is sufficient time between now and June 6 for all of the legislative work on this bill to be completed. As I pointed out yesterday, there are 18 calendar days, excluding Victoria Day, from May 20 to June 6, 2016. On a matter of this national importance to all Canadians, it is now time for all of us in this chamber to roll up our sleeves and get to work on this bill.

We have sufficient time, but we must be prepared to make full use of it. That could involve working days that we would not otherwise sit, including all of next week and weekends, if necessary, as well as extended late evening hours during our remaining sitting days. We must do whatever it takes. Canadian citizens should expect nothing less from us, and we should expect and require nothing less of ourselves.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


Commissioner of Official Languages

2015-16 Annual Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2015-16 Annual Report of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.


Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

EXCO Meeting, April 28-30, 2015—Report Tabled

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to the EXCO Meeting, held in Sabah, Malaysia, from April 28 to 30, 2015.


L'Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie

Bureau Meeting and Ordinary Session, July 6-10, 2015—Report Tabled

Hon. Paul E. McIntyre: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canadian branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF) respecting its participation at the Bureau Meeting and the 41st Ordinary Session of the APF, held in Bern, Switzerland, from July 6 to 10, 2015.

Official Languages

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

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(a), I give notice that later this day I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages be authorized to meet at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 30, 2016, even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that the application of rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.


The Senate

Notice of Motion to Have All Documentation Provided to the Auditor General by Each Senator who was Subject to the Comprehensive Audit Returned to Each Senator Respectively

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That all documents, information, papers and reports provided to the Auditor General of Canada by each Senator who was subject to the comprehensive audit by the Auditor General pursuant to the motion adopted by the Senate of Canada on June 6, 2013, be returned intact and complete, including any copies thereof, to each Senator, respectively, within thirty (30) days of the adoption of this motion.


Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, pursuant to the motion adopted in this chamber on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Question Period will take place at 3:30 p.m.


Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Opposition): Do I understand correctly that Question Period is starting now?


The Hon. the Speaker: Is there agreement otherwise? As there is an order from a previous day, it can be changed, but there has to be agreement from both sides. Is there agreement from both sides?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker: Then we will go to Question Period.



Government Initiatives to Assist Manufacturing Sector

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate and has to do with Canada's manufacturing industry.

Tuesday, Statistics Canada reported that manufacturing sales decreased 0.9 per cent in March. Sales were down in 16 of 21 industries, including transportation equipment, aerospace products and motor vehicle parts, which represent over 88 per cent of Canadian manufacturing. Ontario manufacturing sales fell 1.9 per cent, while sales in Quebec fell 1.4 per cent. Some people think that these numbers aren't so bad because they were expecting worse. I cannot stress enough how important the manufacturing sector is to Canada's economy. It represents 10 per cent of Canada's GDP and accounts for over 1.7 million jobs across the country.

What is the federal government doing to help create the conditions necessary for the success of our manufacturing sector, particularly with regard to tax cuts and expanding global trade opportunities?


Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. Like all honourable senators, I would share his view that the manufacturing sector in Canada is hugely important for our gross domestic product and indeed for our economic future.

It is with those objectives in mind that the Government of Canada has introduced in its budget a number of measures to promote innovation and productivity in this sector.

I would also reference the commitment and indeed the discussions that have already taken place with respect to ensuring that the common economic space of North America enjoys high-level political attention. We have had the visit to the United States by the Prime Minister, and later next month we will have the North American Leaders' Summit, which is another occasion to reinforce the need for a seamless border across this common economic space.

I would also point to the work being done in the context of the G7 to ensure that the protectionist sentiment expressed in some jurisdictions is counterbalanced with a Canadian voice that speaks about the need for open and free trade amongst nations.


Senator Carignan: Leader, in January 2015, the London Free Press asked the leader of the Liberal Party what he thought was the most pressing issue for southwestern Ontario. He answered, and I quote:

A large part of it is transitioning away from manufacturing-based employment as a driver in the economy. . .

Am I to understand from the answer given by the Leader of the Government in the Senate that Prime Minister Trudeau has changed his mind and now thinks that the manufacturing sector is important?


Senator Harder: Once again, I thank the honourable senator for his question. I'm not a regular reader of the London Free Press, so I haven't seen the quote. But I can assure the honourable senator and all senators that the Prime Minister of Canada has continued to have a strong voice for the manufacturing sector, and indeed, his efforts and the efforts of the Government of Canada in this regard are and have been noted.


Senator Carignan: I invite the Leader of the Government in the Senate to read the London Free Press from time to time. It contains a lot of important information on Canada's regions.


Senator Harder: Indeed, I will read it as regularly as the honourable senator I'm sure does.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Leader, Manitoba Pork has called on the federal government to reverse a decision by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to change the sanitation requirements preventing the devastating PED virus in swine herds in Western Canada. The virus has resulted in the deaths of almost 8 million pigs in the United States alone.

Our federal government is unwilling to work with the farmers in Manitoba. Canadian farmers expect that when they ask for help, the federal government will listen and act; however, the Minister of Agriculture has shown a total disregard by expressing that he will not intervene. It is his job to stand up for Canadian farmers and to demonstrate that he is willing to work with the pork industry towards a solution.

Leader, this is another example of where this Liberal government is out of touch with Canadian farm families and will continually ignore the needs of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector. I also have a letter from the Western Canadian Swine Health Alliance asking the minister to address the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's transport biosecurity.

Mr. Leader, can you tell us why the Minister of Agriculture is refusing to meet with the people that he in fact is supposed to represent across the country and why he will not intervene? Can you, leader, assure us that he will do this before we have an epidemic in Canada that will cause the bankruptcy of hundreds of farmers and the slaughter of millions of pigs because of the epidemic?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question and can assure him that I will bring this issue to the attention of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture.

I would also, in the context of his question, suggest — I'm using the syntax of Barry Goldwater's famous speech — that excessive language in defence of old-style partisanship is not virtue; moderation in defence of less partisanship is no vice.


Senator Plett: I think it is entirely objectionable that you would suggest something like that. It is not a partisan issue when I speak about the Canadian farmers. For you to suggest my speaking about Canadian farmers and the problems they are having in any way is bad language or in any way is partisan — again, leader, I ask you to intervene and set up a meeting with the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay and the Manitoba pork producers.

Senator Harder: I want to assure the honourable senator that I will bring this to the attention of the honourable minister.

The Senate

Meetings with Officials on Provincial Issues

Hon. Carolyn Stewart Olsen: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Senator Harder, the question of Senate modernization is at the top of most of our minds, and I believe one thing we must begin to do better as senators is to emphasize the provincial aspect of our roles.

Having received only very late notice that the Premier of New Brunswick would be in Ottawa meeting with the federal government last week, I spoke with all of our New Brunswick senators and tried to organize a meeting between us and the premier. All of us were ready to try to accommodate, but unfortunately the premier was unable to meet. I believe this is something we can and we must change.

Our founding fathers intended for us to represent the interests of our home provinces at the federal level, and one of the ways we can do that is by regularly meeting with our provincial colleagues when they come to Ottawa, as well as in our home provinces.

I'm asking you, Senator Harder, in your role as Leader of the Government in the Senate, to bring this forward on your schedule and extend your role to assist senators in meeting with their provincial counterparts when they come to Ottawa on government business. I think it would be very helpful for all of us.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I very much welcome the question that the honourable senator has raised, and it is in keeping with the excellent speech presented by Senator Seidman yesterday with respect to the regional and provincial nature of this body. I would be happy to do that.

For my own part as a senator from Ontario, I have already raised this very issue with the premier's office and with the Clerk of the Privy Council in Ontario to ensure that when the Ontario premier is next in Ottawa that there be an opportunity for the premier to meet all senators to discuss the issues confronting Ontario in the forum of senators from that province.

I would be happy to raise this in other corridors to make this, hopefully, a practice that premiers would be welcome to participate in and one that would be welcomed by all senators so that we can meet the expectations that you have so well and clearly defined.



Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons

Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: Honourable senators, Leader of the Government, in February, many mothers whose young daughters were at the Laval youth centre came out publicly to comment on the government's delay in implementing Bill C-452, which seeks to protect young girls from child prostitution and give the police the tools they need to respond more effectively. This type of crime has seen the sharpest rise in Canada, especially in Quebec. Last year, in Ontario alone, six times more pimps were arrested and the majority of the victims were from Quebec.

My question is the following: After seven months in office, when will the Minister of Justice implement this bill that was passed unanimously in the House of Commons and here in the Senate?


Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I would like to thank the honourable senator for his question. I would be happy to speak with the responsible minister and report back.


Senator Boisvenu: Leader, I would also like you to ask the minister the following question: When the bill was passed at the other place, the Liberal Party justice critic, who was in opposition then, supported the bill. That same critic is now the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice and no longer supports the bill. I would like to know what is behind that about-face in the current government.


Senator Harder: Again, I will inquire and report back.

Fisheries and Oceans

Chinook Salmon

Hon. Nancy Greene Raine: Honourable Leader of the Government in the Senate, I am from British Columbia. I have learned that all the wild stocks of chinook salmon are listed as stocks of concern. DFO's Enhancement Program survival rate for chinook has steadily declined for the past 30 years and is currently too low to effectively rebuild the runs and provide fishing opportunities. These are the salmon that traditionally were called the "king salmon." If we lose them, it will be a tragedy.

Omega Pacific is a private hatchery located in the centre of Vancouver Island. They have demonstrated how to increase the survival rate and have attained up to 25 times greater returns than the DFO hatcheries.

When Minister Tootoo appeared before the Fisheries Committee, he mentioned that his department is collaborating with Omega Pacific, but I fear they're not being included in enough research studies into the salmon survival rate.

Can the Leader of the Government provide this chamber with a status update on DFO's negotiations with Omega Pacific and the department's plans to sustain the chinook salmon? There's a huge potential for both tourism and food fisheries should these stocks be rebuilt.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question, and I would be happy to take this and report back.

I have to acknowledge that I have contributed to the depletion of the chinook salmon, but only by a modest amount, and it is always enjoyable.


Foreign Investment—Home Ownership

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I have a question for the leader.

Home ownership is a dream for many Canadian families, but rising housing prices have become one of the biggest challenges for Canadian cities, particularly my home city of Vancouver and the region. There are concerns that housing prices are being driven up by foreign, non-resident purchases, but this has not been conclusively established as yet.

As such, last year our Conservative government committed to a comprehensive study by foreign homebuyers and then to coordinate with provinces to develop a joint response, if that was deemed necessary.

Leader, given the importance of foreign investment into Canada's economy, what is the Liberal government doing to address this very important and growing issue?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question and would be happy to report back.

Senator Martin: Additionally, would you also find out or ask the question about what the Liberal government is doing or planning to do specifically to ensure law-abiding Canadians wishing to buy a home are not losing housing opportunities to buyers using potential loopholes or illicit money or in other manners?

Senator Harder: Be assured I will add that to my inquiry.


Canadian Heritage

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission—French Language Music Industry

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The CRTC was supposed to hold hearings in Quebec City on November 16 about the review of the regulatory framework for French-language vocal music applicable to the French-language commercial radio sector. A few days before the hearings, they were postponed to a later date. I understand that the Leader of the Government may not necessarily listen to French radio from the Quebec City area every morning, but can he tell us why the hearings were postponed and why, six months later, the CRTC has not yet set a new date?


Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question, honourable senator. You are right in your observations with respect to my musical tastes.



Point of Order—Speaker's Ruling

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I am ready to rule on the point of order raised by Senator Carignan, the Leader of the Opposition, on May 3. The senator questioned the role and function of Senator Bellemare as the Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative as well as that of Senator Mitchell as the Government Liaison. Neither of these positions is recognized in the Rules of the Senate. Further, he asked whether these two senators would be entitled to the additional remuneration provided for the Government Deputy Leader and the Government Whip under the Parliament of Canada Act.



The point of order gave rise to comments from several others senators, including Senator Harder, who stated that Senator Bellemare and Senator Mitchell were the Government Deputy Leader and the Government Whip respectively. He explained that they are to be styled the Legislative Deputy and the Government Liaison in accordance with the Government's preference, in order to emphasize a non-partisan, independent approach to their functions, similar to his own as the Government Representative. After hearing the arguments I reserved my decision, although I did agree to hear additional points the following day from Senator Carignan, Senator Bellemare and Senator Fraser. Subsequently, in addition to considering the issues raised by honourable senators, I conducted my own research to better understand the issues relevant to this point of order.


Let me begin by quoting the letter I received from Senator Harder, to which he made reference during his interventions on the point of order:

The Honourable Senator Diane Bellemare will serve as the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate. In keeping with the non-aligned, independent model announced by the government, the position of Deputy Leader of the Government will be styled "Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative".


Similarly, the Honourable Senator Grant Mitchell will serve as Government Whip to be styled "Government Liaison". This reflects his role in supporting the Government's Representative in facilitating the passing of government legislation and contributing to the effective functioning of the Senate in a non-partisan and open way.

Copies of this letter were sent to the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Senate Independent Liberals, Senator Bellemare, Senator Mitchell and the Clerk.


This letter, like Senator Harder's intervention on May 3, confirms that Senator Bellemare is the Deputy Leader of the Government, while Senator Mitchell is the Government Whip. Their remuneration is one that flows from this fact under the Parliament of Canada Act and requires no further comment.


The ways in which the incumbents of the government leadership positions are appointed have varied over time. Based on past practices, it is perfectly appropriate for the Government Representative to designate the occupants of these positions, with whom he will work extremely closely. I also note that past practices provide freedom to each leadership group to work out how it will divide the various roles for which it is responsible. The language at the start of Appendix I of the Rules makes clear that the definitions it contains are not rigidly constraining, but adaptable as circumstances and context require.

The real question at issue in this point of order is, therefore, how these senators can be styled.


In considering this issue it is helpful to take account of a range of past experiences that demonstrate that formal titles need not be rigidly binding. Some reasonable level of flexibility as to how positions are designated in practice can be accepted.


A first illustration of this is to be found in the title of the Usher of the Black Rod. For centuries, the title had been "Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod." When the first woman was appointed to the position in the Senate in 1997, the executive changed the title to "Usher of the Senate." Subsequently, the Senate decided, through the adoption of a report of the Rules Committee, that the position should be referred to as "Usher of the Black Rod," which has been the title employed since then. The process of modernizing the title was started by government action, despite hundreds of years of precedent, and was characterized by a high degree of sensitivity to changing societal realities and a level of adaptability that gave a good result.

Flexibility also characterizes the designations used by many senators from outside Quebec. For that province, senators must be appointed for specific defined geographical areas. Elsewhere, senators are appointed for the entire province or territory. Despite this fact, we have a long standing-practice of allowing senators to adopt a designation indicating that they are focused on a specific area — perhaps their residence or an area of personal significance and meaning. Some of these designations can get quite specific indeed, as when our retired colleague Senator Stollery used the designation of "Bloor and Yonge." To take some examples among current senators, Senator Munson's commission states that when appointed he was "Of Ottawa, in the Province of Ontario," but he has chosen the specific designation of "Ottawa/ Rideau Canal" within the province. Although Senator Plett's commission does read "of Landmark, in the Province of Manitoba," and his designation is also "Landmark," that is because he has made that choice. If he had not done so, he would not have a specific designation. Let me also note that senators may change these designations as they wish, a fact best illustrated by looking at Senator Cools' case over her many years of contribution to this institution. Her commission states that she was a resident "Of the City of Toronto, in the Province of Ontario" at the time of her appointment. Her current designation is "Toronto Centre-York." Once again, this demonstrates adaptability, within reasonable limits.

Another example of this capacity to adjust is found in our practices surrounding political affiliations. Senators have, within limits, been allowed to determine their own affiliation. This practice has been accepted, as it does not have a direct impact on proceedings. For example, our colleague Senator McCoy initially adopted the designation "Progressive Conservative," when appointed, although that was no longer a recognized party in the Senate, before becoming "Independent Progressive Conservative," and now using the designation "Independent." Although details of practices relating to political affiliation have evolved over time, the basic principle remains that the Senate has shown a level of flexibility to accommodate senators' reasonable wishes. This can be particularly important at times that the political landscape is evolving at a pace that exceeds the institution's capacity to make formal changes. A level of accommodation is required to take account of this fact.


Let me also note the history of the position of Speaker pro tempore. The Constitution Act, 1867, does not provide for a deputy speaker of the Senate, unlike the situation for the House of Commons.


To accommodate occasional absences of the Speaker, Parliament in 1894 passed legislation enabling the Senate to select a senator to preside when the Speaker was absent. To remove doubts about the validity of this law, the British Parliament then passed a statute in 1895. Almost one hundred years later, in 1982, when the possibility of establishing a Deputy Speaker was under consideration, the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee determined that the proper creation of the office would require legislation, which it did not think should be pursued at that time. While the committee acknowledged that it was beyond the authority of the Senate itself to formally establish the office of deputy speaker, it determined that the Senate could create a sessional position of a senator to replace the Speaker. This was the basis of the position of Speaker pro tempore, who takes the chair when the Speaker is absent. This idea was accepted by the Senate, and it was only later incorporated into law. Once again, a flexible approach was adopted to deal with an issue in a creative way that has served us very well.

These examples from the Senate show how a reasonable and adaptable approach can be acceptable, and can serve the institution well. If we look outside our house, I would remind honourable senators that, for a number of years after 1993, the Reform Party in the House of Commons used the term "caucus coordinator" rather than whip. As one of these coordinators, Mr. Chuck Strahl, explained in September 19, 2001, "[t]his was an attempt to try to describe the role given to that position, which is to co-ordinate the activities of the group." He went on to state that "[t]he standing orders are completely silent on the term caucus co-ordinator. It does not exist in the Parliament of Canada Act as far as the extra salary to a caucus co-ordinator. It does not exist that the caucus co-ordinator meets with other caucus co-ordinators. It talks about whips because it is the tradition of the House to call them whips." The House of Commons functioned during this period with a term being used that was not in its Standing Orders.


Stepping outside the parliamentary realm, honourable senators will know that, despite the fact that particular statutes make provision for specific ministerial offices, there has always been some level of flexibility as to how the individual occupying a particular post will be designated in practice. I refer, for example, to the appointment of the Honourable Anne McLellan as Solicitor General in 2003 styled as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Her designation as Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness instead of Solicitor General came in advance of Parliament deciding to abolish the office of the Solicitor General and to the establishment of the position of Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. More recently, the current Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development is styled Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Once again reasonable adaptations to formal provisions are allowed in practice.


Taken together, these examples indicate that formal requirements need not always be rigidly binding. There can, within reason, be a level of adaptability that takes account of specific circumstances. Indeed the Senate has shown such flexibility in the past, and continues to do so. We have benefited from this.


In the days since this point of order was raised, Senator Harder has been addressed as both the Government Leader and the Government Representative. Under either title, no one was in any doubt who senators were speaking to. They were speaking to Senator Harder. I expect that the same will apply to Senator Bellemare in her capacity as Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative, formally the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, and Senator Mitchell as Government Liaison or Government Whip. Proceedings have not been indecorous or disorderly. The examples outlined above show that flexibility on such points can be reasonably understood as being in keeping with our parliamentary tradition and practice. As such, I am satisfied that the use of titles other than those formally established under the Rules, is, within reasonable limits, acceptable.

This leads to the conclusion that there is no point of order. That being said, I do recognize that there is a risk of such a reasonable approach being carried to an extreme. As such, it might be desirable for the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament to review the entire issue and recommend more detailed guidelines and practices to the Senate.

The Senate

Motion to Suspend Today's Sitting to Receive Messages from Commons Withdrawn

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, pursuant to Rule 5-10(2), I ask that Government Notice of Motion No. 13 be withdrawn.

(Motion withdrawn.)

Motion to Affect Question Period on May 31, 2016, Adopted

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of May 18, 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 31, 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.

She said: Honourable senators, I want to tell you that in two weeks we will be receiving Minister Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Non-Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Tkachuk, seconded by the Honourable Senator Baker, P.C., for the second reading of Bill S-219, An Act to deter Iran-sponsored terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations.

Hon. George Baker: Honourable senators, I want to say a few words about this particular bill, which I support in principle. Before I do, you might notice that I've changed position in the chamber and Senator Manning sent me over a note saying that he thought I was being promoted. I have to clarify this point.

The day before yesterday, the whip said to me, "I'm going to put you in the front row." I said, "Well, that's good. Why is that?" He said, "You're a PC, aren't you?" I said, "Well, no. I was a Liberal, but I did run for the PCs way back in the 1960s." In fact, it was the year that Senator Manning was born. Then the whip clarified that it was because of the Privy Councillor designation.

I've been following case law fairly closely, as you know. It's my practice every morning — and sometimes every evening — to read case law. I've noticed that the Senate is now quoted seven times more than the House of Commons in tribunal and board hearings, quasi-judicial bodies as well, including subjects involving immigration appeals, human rights appeals, and even in the disciplinary appeal procedures of nurses, doctors and lawyers throughout Canada. Seven to one in the past six months. All of those references to the Senate and to senators have to do with committees and the operations of the committees.


As far as our courts are concerned — provincial courts, superior courts, courts of appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada — Senate committees are quoted three times more than the House of Commons is quoted. And that's been fairly consistent. In the last three months, there are some 16 cases, but I won't go over those right now. However, I will make reference to a couple that were rather interesting.

In R. v. Trohan, 2016, ABQB 1, the Alberta Queen's Bench, the superior court of Alberta, at paragraph 30, starting and continuing at 31, 32, 33, it quotes extensively from the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs regarding our debates on the faint hope clause.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal in R. v. Goleski, 2014, BCCA 80, being appealed, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce was quoted extensively, starting at paragraph 66, and when you get up to paragraph 76 the court turns to the reason for its examination of the Senate committee.

In none of these cases, by the way, is the House of Commons mentioned. It is the same legislation. The reason for mentioning this, Your Honour, is I'm going to suggest that the real examination of this bill that's under consideration now should be done in committee, where we really do our good work.

The Court of Appeal, paragraph 76, said:

The parliamentary record relating to the additional words is sparse.

In other words, they couldn't find out why certain words were put in a particular act of Parliament. Then they go on to say:

It appears as if the words actually originated in the Senate, not for the purpose of shifting the persuasive burden to the prosecution.

The case of R. v. Baumgartner, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, on appeal, quotes Senators Frum, Carignan and Joyal extensively. That's been done twice now in two particular court proceedings. Fortunately, Senator Carignan was in committee at the time because we're constantly being referenced in committees, not in the chamber. That's interesting. It was good that Senator Carignan attended the committee hearing and he's quoted extensively, along with Senator Frum.

Then we go to 2016, Federal Court 80, a case called Shehzad v. Canada, in which the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology is quoted extensively. It goes into the actual proceedings and the transcript of proceedings of that particular committee, which is extensively quoted.

I note that our Speaker in the chair used to be a chair of our Finance Committee. Next is a case called Hilas v. Canada, 2016-1 CTC 129, and of course they go in again with extensive quotes from the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. They quote Senator Bellemare extensively, and other senators.

We go then to Canada and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency, CAF-237, in which again the Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology is quoted extensively.

Finally, that will give you some indication of why the bill that's before us at present should be examined, as it always is, in Senate committees so that future references to that bill by quasi-judicial bodies and our courts will take the testimony and the questions by senators in that committee into consideration.

I should make reference to the fact that there's a recent case out of the Quebec Court of Appeal that recognizes the great work of Senator Joyal. It says, at paragraph 24:

Senator Joyal insists on the constitutional provision relating to the office of the Governor General and the need for unanimity to either transform or abolish the Senate.

Excellent job, and that's the Senate Reference Case.

Finally, I won't go into the cases in the last three months, but I will next time I speak at the beginning because I think it is important to have on the record the real work of sober second thought of the Senate. When senators speak in committees, you can be assured that they will be quoted, that they will be read seven times more than the House of Commons right across Canada in the quasi-judicial bodies and tribunals and three times more than the House of Commons in our courts.

Finally, I want to take notice, before I mention something about the bill, that the Clerk of the Senate and his role of keeping records was the subject in a matter in the Tax Court of Canada 2016, TCC 28 two weeks ago. It refers to the important role of the Clerk of the Senate. I'm always interested in these things because I was once the chief clerk and law clerk of a provincial legislature and I know how important it was to keep the records at that time.

Senator Cowan: Is that before Senator Manning was born?

Senator Baker: That was a year after he was born, actually.

The importance of the role of the Clerk and the whole case involved section 7 of the Publication of Statutes Act. It goes on, section 9 of the Publication of Statutes Act, in which it says that:

The Clerk of the Senate shall furnish certified copies of any of the acts mentioned in section 3 to any person applying for a copy, a sealed version of the act required.

And so on. It goes on. The role of the Clerk of the Senate and the issue brought to the court was: Must the Senate Clerk's certified copy of the act be before the court? In other words, must his certified copy be entered as evidence and the Clerk cross-examined with the certified copy of any change in legislation because it's his role to keep a copy of all of this certified copy? Fortunately for us, the Tax Court of Canada ruled that the Senate Clerk certified copies and the Senate Clerk public acts need not be before the court. If he were required, we wouldn't see him at all. I thought I would mention that because it's a recent case of a week ago.

In conclusion, let me say that I think this is a good bill, it is a private member's bill, and I would hope that it would go to the Foreign Affairs Committee — Senator Martin — because they are examining legislation similar in character to the subject matter of this legislation under review.

That's my recommendation. Thank you.

Hon. Elaine McCoy: Would the honourable senator take a question?

Senator Baker: Yes, indeed.

Senator McCoy: I'm always delighted to hear the citations you bring to our attention so frequently and so diligently. I have, as you know, asked you to teach me so that facility doesn't leave when you leave in January. You are leaving far too early it seems to me.


Let me ask you a question. By way of a preamble, as we are renewing and modernizing the Senate, we are looking for ways to be accountable and transparent, and one of the measures that we might adopt is performance indicators.

One of the performance indicators that might be of use is the impact we have on Canadians and on civil society. The citation index is a performance indicator that academics have adopted for judging their own work. What would you think about systematizing the work you have been doing following our citations into a performance indicator for the Senate of Canada?

Senator Baker: That is an excellent idea. One of the reasons the Senate and its committees are so often quoted today is because about 20 years ago — and I have been reading case law for 45 years on a daily basis. It just interests me. I was an MP for 30 years, and I follow a bill right through to the very end.

I noticed a substantial increase in the use of Senate committees after the publication by Sullivan and Driedger. The Clerk is an expert, and he has written some marvellous, wonderful articles in learned magazines.

The ruling in Driedger regarding the interpretation of statutes starts with, "Well, it is in its ordinary sense as it applies to the section of the act that it is in," and then the final key is "and the intention of Parliament." Any judge who has to interpret a piece of legislation must go through this procedure; and then the question is asked, like the Supreme Court of Canada always does: "the intention of Parliament." That's a heading. You see with all of our laws that the courts go to the intention.

Now, it is logical. We're getting into June. This is the "deemed" month in the House of Commons: deemed to have been read a second time, deemed to have been reported to a committee, deemed to have been dealt with in the committee, deemed to have been reported back without amendment, and deemed to have been read a third time — in one motion, in one day.

Some Hon. Senators: Shame.

Senator Baker: "Shame" is right. We see it every time this time of the year in which a bill is not examined at all. Why? Because it goes to the Senate, and the Senate's role is to do all of those procedures that the House of Commons does not do.

There are two times of the year when they don't deal with legislation at all. When they do deal with it, it is in a very inadequate manner. So the Senate has filled that role. Without the Senate, what would our courts do? What would our judges do? What would our quasi-judicial bodies do, without the Senate examining the legislation and actually delving into the intention of it?

Senator Fraser one day asked a simple question to CSIS. The question was, "Who did you check with? Why didn't you double-check this particular thing?"

The director of CSIS looked at this transcript and, in a court proceeding that followed, explained to the judge how the entire procedure of CSIS had changed due to this exchange with the senator in the committee.

Sometimes the individual parliamentarian does not realize what their responsibility is, especially in the Senate; in the House of Commons, no, because the House of Commons is a political institution. That's why the Supreme Court of Canada, in its recent judgment, said that the Senate is a chamber of sober second thought, and also for the investigations we carry out, and that's what they rely on.

However, the Senate does not have jurisdiction to go against the wishes of the people. That is a condition of our operation; that is, our role is not to defeat legislation but to make it better, to interpret it — and in this particular case, to interpret it for our courts, quasi-judicial bodies and tribunals.

It would be easy to do an index. I subscribe to Westlaw/ Carswell and Quicklaw, and the free ones that are available on the Internet, because you can't be guaranteed that a case will be reported in either one of them. There is no overlapping in some cases.

It is easy with these search mechanisms on the Internet today, but it is not cheap. It costs $6,000 or $7,000 for a subscription to one of these agencies.

It would be easy to do up such an index. The Library of Parliament has a contract with Westlaw/Carswell, and they can certainly assist us in the future. It is an excellent idea that you have suggested.

Senator McCoy: Would you accept another question?

Senator Baker: Yes.

Senator McCoy: I take it you are speaking today as the critic on the bill in front of us, S-216.

Senator Baker: Yes.

Senator McCoy: This is another question in a somewhat different direction. I'm intrigued by the approach you have taken, and I want to commend you for it. It seems to me that what you are telling us is that you believe in the principle of the bill; that you believe it should go to committee for a thorough, thoughtful review; and that that is a pre-eminent Senate role. To be a good critic of a bill does not mean you have to be in opposition to the bill. Do I understand your position correctly, sir?

Senator Baker: Absolutely. I highlight the fact that we're constantly trying to adjust in the Senate to make the Senate more relevant. You will notice that there are not many professors of law or lawyers or judges who do not recognize the value of the Senate because of its contribution.

Need you communicate that? I don't know. It is one of these things. Somebody might ask the question: Why do you need a Court of Appeal? Why? You have a provincial court, you have a superior court and you have the Supreme Court of Canada. Why do you need a Court of Appeal? The Court of Appeal only deals with transcripts. The Court of Appeal shows deference to the lower court and then makes a judgment on the law.

Why do you need the Court of Appeal? You need it as the final judgment in a province. Superior Court, the authority in the province, is the Court of Appeal. That's it. That's why you need the Senate for that final check.

I don't know if anybody has ever kept a record of this, but we have left bills on the Order Paper how many times? How many times did we turn around and say this bill would shock the conscience of the community, would bring the administration of justice into disrepute? And what did we do? We left it on the Order Paper. These are mainly, of course, private members' bills; they're not government bills that sweep through the Commons and then end up in the Senate, and we have to make a judgment on them.

To answer your question, without the Senate, without that examination in committee, and without the excellent senators that we have — and I have noticed over a period of time that the multiplicity of references signifies that the quality of our senators has been constantly going up as we have gone on. You can take it from me, from reading case law, that right now we have perhaps the best group of senators we have ever had in this institution.

(On motion of Senator Fraser, debate adjourned.)


La Capitale Financial Security Insurance Company

Private Bill—Second Reading

Hon. Dennis Dawson moved second reading of Bill S-1001, An Act to authorize La Capitale Financial Security Insurance Company to apply to be continued as a body corporate under the laws of the Province of Quebec.

He said: Honourable senators, before beginning my speech on the bill I want to tell the Honourable Senator Baker that 39 years ago next week, on May 24, I was elected to the other chamber. When I arrived, I was always impressed by the speeches he made at that time and I was always intimidated because, as it was then and remains today, he is a tough act to follow.


I am pleased to move second reading of Bill S-1001, An Act to authorize La Capitale Financial Security Insurance Company to apply to be continued as a body corporate under the laws of the Province of Quebec.

I believe that this bill is not controversial. It is simply a private bill requested by a private insurance company to allow it to apply to change from being a federally regulated insurance company to being a provincially regulated, in this case Quebec-regulated, insurance company.


La Capitale Financial Insurance Company was incorporated in 1993 under the Insurance Companies Act and was originally known as Penncorp Life Insurance Company. Its name was changed to the La Capitale Financial Security Insurance Company in 2014, and its principal business activity is the City of Mississauga, Ontario.

La Capitale Financial Security Insurance Company wishes to be a corporation under the laws of the Province of Quebec. Since there are no provisions authorizing an insurance company governed by the Insurance Companies Act of Canada to be continued under the laws of the province, a private bill is required. This will allow La Capitale to apply to be regulated under the laws of the Province of Quebec.


La Capitale Financial Security Insurance Company (CFSIC) belongs to La Capitale Civil Service Insurer Inc. (CCSI). These two insurance companies are part of the La Capitale Financial Group. La Capitale has two divisions, the personal insurance division and the property and casualty insurance division. It comprises six insurance companies, five of which are provincially incorporated under Quebec law.

Through its personal insurance subsidiaries, La Capitale is the tenth largest insurance company in Canada. As of December 31, 2015, La Capitale's assets under management totaled $5.8 billion, and the company had 2,699 employees serving one million Canadians.


For a corporation to cease being governed under a federal charter to receive a provincial charter, federal legislation has to be passed in the form of a private bill because the Insurance Companies Act of Canada does not contain any provisions for the transfer of a corporation from a federal charter to a provincial charter. Obviously, it should. But we have limits on what we can change, and, trust me, changing the Insurance Companies Act of Canada is not something that I want to take on by myself.


Honourable senators, La Capitale has undergone all the required prerequisites for the introduction of this private bill, including the publication of a notice in the Canada Gazette and certification of the petition by the Senate's examiner of petitions.

I also want to point out that this bill does not set a precedent. Since 1994, five such initiatives have been taken by life insurance companies that have moved from federal charters to provincial charters in the Province of Quebec. The first was Bill S-3 in 1994, followed by Bill S-27 and Bill S-28, both of which were passed in 2001. In 2011, we had Bill S-1002, and in 2012, Bill S-1003.

Honourable senators, since La Capitale cannot be continued under Quebec law until this bill receives Royal Assent, this bill must be passed quickly. I respectfully recommend that Bill S-1001 be referred to a committee, perhaps to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, for study as soon as possible so that, hopefully, we can pass it quickly.

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak to Senator Dawson's Bill S-1001.

As you know, there is no room for partisanship in this chamber. Even though my colleague had his red glasses on when he read his notes, his remarks on La Capitale's desire to be continued under Quebec law were very objective.

In that spirit of collaboration, I am pleased to support Senator Dawson's approach to passing this bill quickly. This is about efficiency. The company can be regulated under Quebec's Autorité des marchés financiers like all of the other companies in the La Capitale group.

I invite honourable senators to pass this bill at second reading right now, so it can be sent to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs as quickly as possible. I think that this is a simple formality and that we'll be able to pass the bill at third reading in the Senate in a reasonable and appropriate amount of time, in the interests of the company, its shareholders and its policyholders.

I would like to congratulate Senator Dawson on his arguments in favour of the bill, which convinced of us of the merits of this bill on La Capitale.

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

Hon. Senators: Question!

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read second time.)

Referred to Committee

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

(On motion of Senator Dawson, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.)


Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Sixth Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (Committee budget—legislation), presented in the Senate on May 17, 2016.

Hon. Leo Housakos moved the adoption of the report.

He said: Honourable colleagues, in consideration of the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration that was tabled, this report contains a recommended budget allocation for the Joint Standing Committee for Scrutiny and Regulations in an amount of $3,540. This number represents the Senate's 30 per cent portion of the total budget application for an $11,800 request. The budget is to cover witness expenses, working meals, snacks, books, subscriptions and printing.

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

Senator Martin: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)



Official Languages

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services and Travel—Study on the Challenges Associated with Access to French-Language Schools and French Immersion Programs in British Columbia—Second Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the second report of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages (Budget—study on the challenges associated with access to French-language schools and French immersion programs in British Columbia—power to hire staff and to travel), presented in the Senate on May 12, 2016.

Hon. Paul E. McIntyre moved the adoption of the report.

He said: Honourable senators, the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages was given the authorization to study the challenges associated with access to French-language schools and French immersion programs in British Columbia.

The committee has already been contacted by stakeholders with a direct interest in the issues in question. The study will start over the coming weeks and we plan to table a report no later than December 15, 2016.

The committee sees this case study as a follow-up to the report that it tabled last year entitled: Aiming Higher: Increasing bilingualism of our Canadian Youth. The main purpose of the study and travel is to examine the opportunities for learning French and the French education programs in British Columbia so that we can gain a better understanding of the situation and make well-founded recommendations.

We chose British Columbia because this province represents a typical case where challenges exist in both French-language schools and French immersion schools. The fight for equality in education and access to French immersion programs is affected by a lack of available spaces, a shortage of qualified teaching staff and funding that can barely keep pace with registration.

The federal government is transferring millions of dollars to the Government of British Columbia to encourage French minority-language education and French second-language instruction.

The committee's request for funding reflects it intent to travel during the week of October 3, 2016. The committee members wish to visit various sites in and around Vancouver and Victoria, as well as hold public meetings in Vancouver.

In closing, I would like to point out that the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages does not often travel. The committee strongly believes that this travel is extremely important to the drafting of its upcoming report.

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

Hon. Senators: Question!

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)


Inter-Parliamentary Union's Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Fraser, calling the attention of the Senate to the work of the Inter-Parliamentary Union's Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Senator Ataullahjan wishes to speak to this and has asked that I adjourn this for the remainder of her time.

(On motion of Senator Martin, for Senator Ataullahjan, debate adjourned.)

Official Languages

Committee Authorized to Meet During Sitting of the Senate

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals), pursuant to notice of earlier this day, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages be authorized to meet at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 30, 2016, even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that the application of rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.

She said: Colleagues, as we all know, it is likely that the Senate will sit at six o'clock on Monday after the break. The regular meeting time for the Official Languages Committee is 5:30 on Mondays, and this motion simply seeks permission for the committee to sit in its regular sitting time on that day, even though the Senate may then be sitting.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)


Motion Adopted

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

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the 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 Monday, May 30, 2016, at 6 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 Monday, May 30, 2016, at 6 p.m.)

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