Skip to content
Previous Sittings
Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 65

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Senate met at 2:20 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.



Hospice and Palliative Care

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about end-of-life hospice palliative care. This is an issue that affects us all, whether we are planning palliative care for a family member, a loved one, or planning it for ourselves.

October 8 marked World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. On that day the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association launched what they are calling their Month of Action. Their goal is to encourage Canadians to advocate for quality hospice palliative care from all levels of government.

Throughout the month, they will be providing Canadians with resources so that they can engage the media as well as their provincial and federal representatives on this issue. The aim of the association is to dispel several myths surrounding the palliative approach to care.

The first myth is that palliative care is most appropriate for patients who will likely die within weeks. In reality, a palliative care approach means focusing on improving quality of life and focusing on pain and symptom management for those with life-limiting illnesses.

The second myth is that starting palliative care signals the stopping of treatment and that it marks the end of chronic disease management. In fact, honourable senators, some treatments are effective for improving symptoms and increasing quality of life, and so they continue as a comfort measure.

Third, it is commonly believed that only specialists can provide palliative care. Honourable senators, a palliative care approach should be part of providing comprehensive primary care and should be part of the skills and competencies of all health care providers who are caring for patients with serious life-limiting illnesses.

Another myth is that raising the topic of palliative care with patients and caregivers robs them of hope. In fact, it is very important for patients to be able to articulate what is important to them through advance care planning. Individuals are able to reflect on their own values and wishes and to communicate their future health and personal care preferences.

Honourable senators, this Month of Action will culminate with a conference entitled "Palliative Care Matters: Building National Consensus" here in Ottawa from November 7 to 9.

Honourable senators, Margaret Ann Jacobs, National President of the Catholic Women's League of Canada, recently wrote a letter to Health Minister Jane Philpott. In the letter she asks the government "to identify palliative care as an insured health service covered under the Canada Health Act [and] to develop a national strategy for uniform standards and delivery of palliative care as defined by the World Health Organization." I believe this is a reasonable request by the CWL that would benefit all Canadians.

Hospice palliative care can be provided in places such as a hospital, a residential hospice, at home, or in a long-term care home. We know that most Canadians want hospice palliative care. Unfortunately, fewer than 30 per cent have access to such care. Honourable senators, hospice palliative care should be accessible to all Canadians, no matter where they live in our great country. Thank you.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of sailors from the Royal Canadian Navy as well as the Canadian Coast Guard, who were honoured in a ceremony in the Senate Chamber earlier today. They are: Raymond Cuza, Nicholas Frith, Isabelle St-Denis, Brandon Bonnar, André Aubry, Emilie Beland, Matthew MacDonald, Brett Poulin, Krisztina Rekeszki and Corinne Simard. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Mercer and of the Honourable Senator Lang.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Navy Day

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, today we celebrate Navy Day here on Parliament Hill, a day set aside by the Navy League of Canada, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the Canadian Coast Guard to show our respect to those who serve our country at sea.

I'm pleased, along with Senator Lang and several colleagues from all parties in the other place, to co-sponsor events today.

When it comes to performance, Canada's navy and Coast Guard are second to none. They are giants amongst much larger nations in both performance and capability, with some of the most professional and well-trained sailors in the world.

This morning we had a ceremony here in this chamber, hosted by the Speaker, to meet 10 exceptional sailors and to honour them for their extraordinary service and to say thank you for all they do for us.

I would like to say a few words about the first five sailors we honoured this morning.

A Victoria, British Columbia, native, Leading Seaman Nicolas Frith joined the Canadian Coast Guard in 2012. He has worked in the maritime field since he was 14 years of age. In the last four years, he worked his way through the ranks of the Coast Guard fleet up to acting quartermaster on board the Canadian Coast Guard ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the vessel on which he currently serves as a deckhand. He was recognized for his contribution in training the next generation of mariners.

Raymond Cuza joined the Canadian Coast Guard in 2007. Throughout his career, he has worked primarily in the positions of deckhand, leading seaman and twinehand. He currently serves on the CCGS Leonard J. Cowley, which is primarily tasked to the Fisheries and Oceans' conservation program where fishery patrols are conducted off the coast of Newfoundland up to and including the 200 nautical mile limit. Mr. Cuza was instrumental in saving the life of one of the search and rescue specialists who fell into the cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean during an attempt to render aid to injured mariners.

Born in Sandy Point, Nova Scotia, Master Seaman Brandon Bonnar joined the Royal Canadian Navy as a boatswain in 2006. He has served on HMCS Charlottetown, Ville de Québec, and Toronto. In 2008 he deployed to Kandahar Airfield as a member of the Joint Task Force Afghanistan, and in 2015 he deployed on Operation REASSURANCE based in Lask, Poland. Master Seaman Bonnar consistently demonstrates outstanding leadership, providing junior sailors with an exceptional role model in his lead-by-example style.

Master Seaman Matthew MacDonald enrolled in the navy reserves in 2001 as a port inspection diver with HMCS Queen Charlotte, Charlottetown's Naval Reserve Division, near his hometown of Souris, Prince Edward Island. He is a clearance diver, considered among the most skilled underwater operators in the world. In 2008 he was posted to Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) in Halifax where he was immediately deployed to RIMPAC 2008, the world's largest international maritime exercise.


And last, but certainly not least, Master Seaman Brett Poulin, a native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, enrolled in the Regular Force in 2004 as a naval communicator and served on HMCS Calgary, Vancouver and Algonquin. One of the highlights of his time at sea was participating in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics where he was engaged in hailing vessels entering the Olympic security zones. He is an integral part of Base Information Services Esquimalt's security section where his performance as second-in-charge is exceptional. He regularly assumes the responsibility of the unit security supervisor, effectively and efficiently maintaining all aspects of unit security.

As you can see, honourable senators, we do indeed have the best sailors in the world. You are about to hear about five more sailors from Senator Lang, who will be speaking about them next.

Thank you, honourable senators, and thank you to all the sailors for keeping us safe. I encourage you to join us this evening at a reception at the Sir John A. Macdonald building to honour Canada's navy and Coast Guard.

Hon. Daniel Lang: Colleagues, I'm pleased to join with Senator Mercer and the Navy League of Canada to recognize the next five outstanding sailors from the Royal Canadian Navy.

Before I do, I must remind you, honourable senators, that Canada is a proud maritime nation. Our history has been shaped by the seas and waterways, by the early sailors who came from Europe on tall ships, and by those who explored our waterways in the canoe.

Today's celebration of Navy Day is in recognition of that spirit of exploration, adventure, leadership and courage in service to Canada.

Our next five award recipients are the following:

Isabelle St-Denis is a shift supervisor at the Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre in Quebec City. She graduated from the Canadian Coast Guard College navigation program in 1984 and has served for 32 years.

Ms. St-Denis is being recognized for her strong dedication, commitment and unflinching determination to provide on-the-job training to the next generation of MCTS officers, an aspect of her work that she holds close to her heart. Ms. St-Denis works in the Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre program, and her willingness to support future MCTS officers is a testament to the pride, professionalism and passion that can be found in all employees of the Canadian Coast Guard.

Originally from Sudbury, Ontario, Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class André Aubry enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1998 as a marine engineering mechanic.

His calm-under-pressure attitude and superior skills as a marine engineer were called into play on the evening of February 27, 2014, when HMCS Protecteur suffered a catastrophic engine room fire at sea. He immediately took action, raised the alarm and attempted to extinguish the fire with the help of two trainees. Despite being initially successful, the fire re-flashed with greater intensity as the carbon dioxide extinguishers sputtered out. Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Aubry's quick action bought time for the damage control teams to react, and he had the foresight to seal off the door and order the rigging of the fire hoses for the attack teams. For his actions, he was awarded the Medal of Bravery.

Born in Gatineau, Quebec, Lieutenant Emilie Beland joined the Royal Canadian Navy as a maritime surface officer in 2007 in Ottawa. From 2007 to 2012, Lieutenant Beland pursued her university studies at the Royal Military College of Canada, graduating with a bachelor's degree in psychology. During university, she also qualified as a ship's team diver. Following her graduation, Lieutenant Beland successfully completed one year of MARS training in Esquimalt. Upon conclusion of her training, she was posted to HMCS Iroquois, Athabaskan and Goose Bay as a bridge watchkeeper.

In addition to her primary responsibilities on board ship, she also took on the duties of diving officer and unit public affairs representative. In 2016, she successfully completed the deck officer course and joined the ship's company of HMCS Toronto, where she assumed the duties of the deck officer.

Lieutenant Krisztina Rekeszki, RCN Western, is currently the operations officer in the Joint Logistics Operations Centre at Maritime Forces Pacific Headquarters in Esquimalt. She is responsible for ensuring that efficient and effective logistic plans are in place and provides direct logistics support to all units of Canada's Pacific fleet, whether at sea or in foreign ports. A graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada with a degree in business administration, Lieutenant Rekeszki completed her tour as Assistant Head of the Logistics Department in HMCS Calgary and obtained her Head of Department qualification in 2015. She also participated in numerous exercises at sea, including RIMPAC 2014, the world's largest international maritime exercises. Her efforts directly contributed to the success of HMCS Calgary in its demanding program, which included the ship's twentieth anniversary celebration.

Leading Seaman Corinne Simard is a dedicated naval reservist with HMCS Donnacona in Montreal. Her personal and professional qualities, combined with her stellar academic accomplishments, have made her an exceptional representative for the Royal Canadian Navy. Leading Seaman Simard joined the RCN in 2007 and since then has distinguished herself with unparalleled involvement in the life of HMCS Donnacona. As a resource management support clerk, she is part of the team relied upon to keep the administration and financial management of the Naval Reserve Division running smoothly. Leading Seaman Simard has an impeccable work ethic and is consistently a high performer within the unit.

Honourable senators, these are your 2016 Navy Day award recipients. Please join with me in congratulating them, along with the Navy League of Canada, for putting on this fantastic program in support of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.


Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of participants in the Parliamentary Officers' Study Program.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


Amherst Island

Energy Project

Hon. Bob Runciman: Honourable senators, I would like to speak to you today about a very special area of eastern Ontario that is at great risk because of the reckless policies of the Ontario government.

Amherst Island, located west of Kingston in Lake Ontario, is a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland, which may explain why it remains unspoiled.

It's a place of narrow carriage roads, heritage buildings and the largest concentration of dry stone walls — many of them nearly 200 years old — in all of Canada.

It is also an internationally recognized Important Bird Area. Naturalists come from across the continent for a glimpse of up to 10 species of owls that winter there. It is directly on the migration path of dozens of bird varieties.

But soon, if the Ontario government has its way, it will become home to 27 giant industrial wind turbines, each more than 500 feet tall.

That's a 50-storey building plus.

The construction of this massive project will cause incalculable damage to the natural and cultural environment. This is why this development is opposed by organizations dedicated to the preservation of wildlife and by such eminent Canadians as Margaret Atwood and Dr. Roberta Bondar.

This project on its own will be catastrophic for Amherst Island, but when combined with a dozen other turbine developments planned for the northeastern side of Lake Ontario, it spells disaster for migratory birds. This collection of megaprojects will create a wall of wind turbines that will stretch for many miles, directly along a major migration route.

Honourable senators, I realize many of you in this chamber support renewable energy, as do I. Fair enough. Groups such as Nature Canada also support renewable energy but oppose this development because of the location. It is in a spot guaranteed to wreak havoc on the bird population.

And we need to take one other thing into consideration: This is a trade-off with no upside. Ontario has a vast surplus of electricity generation capacity, so much more than it needs that it is selling electricity to economic competitors in New York and Michigan for pennies on the dollar.

Ontario hydro customers subsidized power for other jurisdictions to the tune of $1.4 billion last year, and it's expected to rise to $1.8 billion this year.


The cost to Ontario taxpayers for this project alone, based on the terms of the contract, is estimated at more than $500 million over the next 20 years to produce power we do not need. The cost of cancelling this project would be far less than the cost of going ahead.

As former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty famously said about the cancellation of gas plants in southern Ontario, "It's never too late to do the right thing." And the right thing in this case is to cancel this project.

Thank you, honourable senators.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Nicholas Flynn, a retired gentleman from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. He is accompanied by his daughter, Jane Marie Obst, a member of the Federal Public Service Ottawa, and his son David Flynn, a school administrator from the Toronto area.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Special Olympics Hill Day

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, today is a special day because today I met Brennan White, and perhaps you met people today like Brennan White. Brennan has Down's syndrome, he's a Special Olympics athlete, and this is "Special Olympics Hill Day."

And Brennan, as usual, along with Special Olympic athletes, teaches us a lot about good things, about winning at life, about love, about giving good hugs and why Special Olympic athletes matter in our country. At the end of the day, with Special Olympic athletes on this Special Olympics Hill Day, and every day, there are three words in my vocabulary: inclusion, inclusion, inclusion.

Ever since I walked into the Senate, almost 13 years ago, I've devoted my work here to those with intellectual disabilities — autism, you name it, or any other intellectual disability, and Down's syndrome of course — and the role that they play in our society. If senators haven't met them today, they have an opportunity to meet them tonight at 5:30 in the Commonwealth Room. They have met parliamentarians and they have been here discussing the positive impact of Special Olympics on the lives of thousands of Canadians.

I am pleased to let you know that Senator Nancy Greene Raine, along with Mike Lake, my friend over on the other side, joined me today in a soccer game that we played on Parliament Hill at noon. It ended in a 4-4 tie, and it was a competitive tie. I managed to throw the ball to a Special Olympics athlete, who scored the tying goal with seconds to go. They are so pleased to see parliamentarians participating in something that is very important. There are fitness and health issues involved — you name it. It was a fun and memorable experience for everyone.

There has been an advertisement on television showing a man who is lifting weights and you hear him saying "Show me the money," and then at the end he says, "It's not about the money." But guess what? It is about the money at the end of the day, because in the 2018 budget — not this budget in 2017 — we're hoping that the new finance minister will be as generous as the previous finance minister, Jim Flaherty, who was so kind to the Special Olympics with sustainable funding for five years. We're a sports movement, we're not a charity, and it matters in this country.

I want senators to keep in mind that this event is in the Commonwealth Room tonight at 5:30. Mark Tewksbury and other Special Olympic athletes will be there. The Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Carla Qualtrough, will be there.

At the end of the day, they are winning at life, and I remind you of their motto: "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." So today, honourable senators, I've been brave in the attempt. Thank you very much.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Pamela Keith, Lois McNary and Becki Allen, from Special Olympics British Columbia. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Campbell.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Special Olympics

Hon. Larry W. Campbell: Honourable senators, I thank my colleague, Jim Munson, for all of his work over the last 13 years. It just seems like yesterday.

I'd like to recognize Becki Allen. She is a Special Olympics B.C. athlete and has been for 10 years. She competes in rhythmic gymnastics and has competed at the highest levels of the Special Olympic Canada 2014 Summer Games that were held in Vancouver. Not only does she compete rhythmic gymnastics, but also in swimming, five-pin bowling, soccer and softball.

To Becki, Special Olympics means "doing my best and making new friends." And on top of all of this, she has a job at a major food wholesaler in British Columbia. She also has a cat, which we share in common. We spent a bit of time today discussing cats.

Becki is truly an inspiration to British Columbians and Canadians, with her dedication and devotion to sport. And I'd like to recognize the two members of the Special Olympics B.C. committee who are with Becki.

Lois McNary has been involved with Special Olympics in B.C. for 33 years and she is the vice-president of sport. Pam Keith has spent 11 years with the Special Olympics B.C. She is the past provincial chair and she is the Special Olympics assistant coach for Becki Allen's team. Not only is she the assistant coach, but her daughter Courtney is the coach of the program with the Delta Rhythmic Gymnastics program. The Special Olympics in British Columbia have over 4,600 athletes in 57 communities, and they're supported by over 3,900 trained and dedicated volunteers.

I add my voice to that of Senator Munson in the hope that the new finance minister will carry on the tradition of the previous finance minister and ensure that there is solid funding for these groups. This is important to our communities and is important to our country. And I salute Becki. Thank you.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Christopher Kim, Jack Kim, Erica Park, Veronica Kim, Sydney Choi, Danny Yeo; all directors of Hanvoice, accompanied by Scott St. John, Juno Award winning violinist; Juno nominated violinist Min-Jeong Koh; violinist Yehonatan Berick, cellist Rachel Mercer; and Hanvoice pioneer Audrey Park. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Martin.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


Senate Modernization

Ninth Report of Special Committee Presented

Hon. Linda Frum, Member of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization, presented the following report:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization has the honour to present its


Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Friday, December 11, 2015, to consider methods to make the Senate more effective within the current constitutional framework, now reports as follows:

In its first report tabled on October 4, 2016, your committee examined the issue of Question Period in the Senate, and now recommends the following:

That the Senate direct the Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament to amend the Rules of the Senate to formalize the current practice of inviting Government ministers to appear in the Chamber during question period to answer questions from senators, and regularly invite such ministers.

That the Senate also periodically invite Officers of Parliament to answer questions during Question Period using the same method as that used for Government ministers.

That the Senate direct the Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament to amend the Rules of the Senate such that question period should be limited to two days per week with one day being devoted to questions for a Government minister and one day devoted to questions for the Government Representative in the Senate or committee chairs.

Respectfully submitted,


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

(On motion of Senator Frum, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration two days hence.)


Indian Act

Bill to Amend—First Reading

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate) introduced Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Indian Act (elimination of sex-based inequities in registration).

(Bill read first time.)

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

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



Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Deposit Report on Study of the Issue of Dementia in Our Society with Clerk During Adjournment of the Senate

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit with the Clerk of the Senate a report relating to its study on the issue of dementia in our society between November 10 and November 17, 2016, if the Senate is not then sitting, and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber.

Transport and Communications

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Extend Date of Final Report on Study of the Development of a Strategy to Facilitate the Transport of Crude Oil to Eastern Canadian Refineries and to Ports on the East and West Coasts of Canada

Hon. Michael L. MacDonald: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, notwithstanding the order of the Senate adopted on Monday, June 20, 2016, the date for the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications in relation to its study on the development of a strategy to facilitate the transport of crude oil to eastern Canadian refineries and to ports on the East and West coasts of Canada be extended from November 17, 2016 to March 31, 2017.


Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, pursuant to the motion adopted in this chamber Thursday, October 20, 2016, Question Period will take place at 3:30 p.m.

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the following answers to oral questions raised by Senator Ngo on April 19, 2016, concerning international human rights reports; and by Senator Carignan on April 21, 2016, concerning the Canada-Quebec infrastructure agreement.

Foreign Affairs

International Human Rights Reports

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Thanh Hai Ngo on April 19, 2016)

The Government of Canada is committed to advancing human rights everywhere, including in Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Russia, Bahrain, and Iran.

The Prime Minister has asked that the Minister of Foreign Affairs ensure that the human rights reports are produced with full rigour and greater transparency. The Minister of Foreign Affairs continues to work with departmental officials on this issue.

The 2015 human rights report on Saudi Arabia has been made available through the Access to Information Act and was released on April 15, 2015. The release of the human rights report was one step as we work to provide greater transparency on human right assessments.

Infrastructure and Communities

Canada-Quebec Infrastructure Agreement

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Claude Carignan on April 21, 2016)

The Government of Canada continues to work closely with the Government of Quebec on the New Building Canada Plan.

Of the $1.8 B under the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component (PTIC) of the New Building Canada Fund (NBCF), a Canada-Quebec agreement for the Small Communities Fund was signed in May 2015 with a total funding of $176,947,348 which will go to small communities. Infrastructure Canada is working collaboratively with the Province of Quebec to approve projects prioritized by the Province in order to quickly flow the remaining funds.

At the ministerial level, Canada and Quebec agreed on a template agreement for projects prioritized by the Province under the National and Regional Projects (NRP) component of PTIC. The template agreement will accelerate the financing of these projects.

Under the National Infrastructure Component of the NBCF, an agreement was also signed with the Port of Montreal Authority for a total of $43,666,667 in order to optimize their capacity and efficiency to ultimately increase both the competitiveness of the Port and Canada's economic growth.

We are proud to make historic investments in infrastructure, including $60 billion in new funding for public transit, green infrastructure, and social infrastructure.


Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Bill

Bill to Amend—Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Harder, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Bellemare, for the second reading of Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act.

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

Hon. Senators: Question!

The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Harder, seconded by the Honourable Senator Bellemare, that this bill be read the second time.

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 Harder, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications.)

Citizenship Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Suspended

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Omidvar, seconded by the Honourable Senator Gagné, for the second reading of Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act.

Hon. Nicole Eaton: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak in regard to Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act.

Honourable senators, you will recall the poetic words of Senator Omidvar, who spoke of the provisions of this bill in weeks past. We should never be surprised by those who wax poetic when they consider the magnitude of being granted citizenship in Canada.


When Senator Omidvar talked about the glory of Canada, about standing shoulder to shoulder, side by side, and playing our part in building this wonderful country, that brought to mind fond memories of the saga of my own family, which settled in Canada over 400 years ago.


Long before there was a Canada, Louis Hebért arrived in New France. He came to that settlement — a community in its infancy — in service to Samuel de Champlain, for whom he was apothecary. He chose to stay in this new country, begin a family and take up farming. To say that life in 17th century New France was difficult is a gross understatement in the extreme.

His daughter, the first baby born in the new settlement, was Guillemette Couillard, who herself had nine children. I am her direct descendant. There are 11 generations between us.

In similar fashion, my husband's great-great grandfather, Timothy Eaton, left his home in Northern Ireland in 1854 at the age of 20 and moved to Georgetown, Upper Canada. There he found work as a junior bookkeeping clerk at a small general store and also worked as a peddler. Through hard work, persistence and sacrifice, he went on to build a retail empire through the T. Eaton Company.

In both these stories, our people came to this country prepared to work, prepared to build and prepared to put down roots and stay in the country in which they chose to live.


Our two stories, like that of Senator Omidvar, illustrate how this country was a land of hope for our ancestors, a place that promised to reward hard work and moral fibre, a place where people could contribute to building a great country.


Canada has been, is, and if we remain prudent, always will be a place of refuge on the threshold of opportunity. We have a history of nation building, an individual, a family and a community at a time.

This is an honest reflection of what got us here in the past 150 years and indeed in the generations who came before that. So, then, permit me to address Senator Omidvar's creative metaphor of this bill as a house, one that you'll recall was a dwelling with a strong foundation, lots of windows, lots of light, but with a strong protective roof.

In the spirit of this, what about ensuring that the dwelling's doors and windows are secure and that the people dwelling in it are safe and protected? Is its design sustainable and conducive to allowing its inhabitants to thrive?

I agree with my honourable colleague's assertion that equality among citizens is an absolute foundation. That is why we must apply rigour and strategic effort to the notion of who is worthy to be granted the privilege of Canadian citizenship and ensure that the requirements in the run-up to being eligible for it are robust enough.


I strongly believe that, as Senator Omidvar pointed out, when immigrants integrate, they prosper. While that is a noble aspiration, it must not be confused with the goals of this bill or with the former legislation that it would dismantle.


Honourable senators, you will recall that Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, sought to: one, reinforce the value of citizenship by strengthening the requirement for it; two, deter citizenship of convenience; three, improve the tools we have to maintain program integrity and combat fraud; and, four, increase efficiencies to help qualified applicants acquire citizenship faster.

Now, with Bill C-6 we are faced with proposed legislation that will: one, remove the grounds for revocation of Canadian citizenship relating to national security; two, remove the requirement that an applicant intend to continue to reside in Canada if granted citizenship; three, reduce the number of days during which a person must have been physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship and provide for getting credit for time spent in Canada as a permanent resident; four, reduce the requirement to demonstrate knowledge of Canada and one of its official languages to applicants between the ages of 18 and 54; and, five, authorize the minister to seize any document on grounds that it was fraudulently or improperly obtained or used.

One might say that these two perspectives, that which was under Bill C-24 and that which yet may be under Bill C-6, reflect a fundamental and pendulous dichotomy. We believe that citizenship is a privilege. This government seems to consider it a right. Therein lies the difference: The privilege of citizenship, once merited, brings access to rights under Canadian law.



We have learned from the values that helped shape and build this country from its inception, some 150 years ago, that privileges must be earned and not perceived as rights.


It's this cold reality that informs some of the issues I have with the proposed provisions of this bill. It's particularly true in the case of the first changes included in Bill C-6, specifically repealing the authority to revoke citizenship for dual citizens convicted of treason, terrorism or espionage. We believe that Canadian citizenship is highly valuable and that committing crimes such as those enumerated is deserving of measures of a highly serious nature.

I don't agree with my honourable colleague that this regimen for dealing with grievous offences like these is how Canadians understand justice. It might be a different story were revocation in instances such as this to render dual citizenships stateless. Let me remind you that the provision in this regard contained in Bill C-24 respected Canada's obligations under the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and would not render such offenders stateless.

These provisions do not adversely affect dual citizenship other than for those who perpetrate these very serious crimes against the state and its citizens. It's that simple.

Not so simple, however, is the case of Zakaria Amara, the architect of the so-called Toronto 18 terror plot. As the ringleader of this heinous plan, he sought to detonate truck bombs, open fire in crowded areas and storm the CBC and CSIS. It was his aim to overtake this very building of the Parliamentary Precinct, Centre Block. His ultimate goal? To take hostages and to behead the Prime Minister and others — in plain language, to wreak total havoc upon Canadian society.

Such plans by an individual determined to harm others at any cost, based in the detestation and hatred of Canada and the values it stands for, are more than sufficient cause for revocation in cases of dual citizenship. Such clear and violent disaffection for one's adoptive country speaks volumes of the total disregard for having been granted the privilege of Canadian citizenship.

Let us not mock the abject seriousness of this element of the debate with the jingoistic posturing of "a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian" versus "a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist." How insulting this is to law-abiding Canadians.

Those who undertake sedition and commit treason and terrorist acts do not put down roots here; they do not share any sense of Canadian identity. They do not respect this country's democratic principles, and in so doing, they deem themselves no longer worthy of the privilege of Canadian citizenship. In the parlance of the housing metaphor, how safe, how secure, are home and hearth if they are to be destroyed by acts of terrorism?

I found something that I thought might be interesting to you. It deals with revocation. Twenty-two countries in Europe allow denaturalization for terrorism or other behaviours contrary to the national interest. They include Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Australia just introduced a bill this last June, and Britain can render you stateless.

Let us move on to the next provision that would repeal the measures introduced in Bill C-24 requiring citizenship applicants to declare their intention to reside in Canada. Under the provisions of this act, the declaration of the intent to reside was required to obtain citizenship but no longer applied once citizenship was granted. Once citizenship is granted, a citizen has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada, as guaranteed by the Charter.

In her speech, Senator Omidvar said, ". . . naturalized citizens who have signed off on the intent do not know whether they can leave or not." As a consequence of this, Senator Omidvar asserts that Bill C-24 ". . . creates two classes of citizens: those who have to think twice before moving abroad and exercising their mobility rights, and those who do not."

With all due respect to my honourable colleague and to those on whose behalf she speaks, this is not a legislative matter requiring repeal. Rather, it is a communications issue requiring redress, and it is something with which Minister McCallum and his department should deal with immediately. After all, a citizen is a citizen is a citizen.

Let us hear what stakeholders have to say on this matter when the bill is referred to committee for study.

Again, with all due respect to my honourable colleague, the provisions the government now seeks to repeal weren't put there to encourage attraction to Canada. Intent to reside is a symbolic declaration of an immigrant's determined desire to put down roots; to embrace and contribute to Canadian life, very much the way she has; and to demonstrate the significance and importance of their choice to seek Canadian citizenship, not as a means of fostering a warm and fuzzy feeling about becoming a Canadian.

Directly related to the declaration of intent to reside is the requirement for physical presence before obtaining Canadian citizenship. Bill C-24 has lengthened the period of time required, from three of five years to four of six years. Colleagues, I am at a loss to understand what makes the four-year period seem so onerous and so unwieldy that it must be changed. Four years is not considered too long to spend studying for an undergraduate degree. A postgraduate degree, such as law or medicine, can take many more than four years; yet, the effort and hard work all seem more than worthwhile on convocation day.

Honourable senators, the same must be said about the time spent in Canada awaiting the granting of citizenship.


Investing four years is surely worthwhile if we consider the intrinsic value of Canadian citizenship.


Two years ago, when Bill C-24 was introduced, we believed, as we still do, that Canadian citizenship is a pledge of mutual responsibility and a shared commitment to values rooted in our history. A Canadian passport is not an instrument of convenience. It should be seen as a badge of dedication, an affirmation of all that we stand for, and those who are privileged enough to bear it do so as an affirmation that they want to be here, want to build a future here and want to adapt to the Canadian way of life.

A fundamental element of Canadian life is to know and understand our country, its history, its human geography and the way it's governed, and to understand that we communicate in two official languages.

Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship is Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's guide to facilitate this, and what a most excellent tool it is.

The next step in this bill's repeal of Bill C-24's measures is to eliminate the need for knowledge and language testing for those aged 14 to 17 and those over the age of 55.

Senator Omidvar, on behalf of the government, indicated that it was thought that testing youth in the age bracket unnecessary and possibly wasteful as they will learn language and gain knowledge about Canada in the schools they will attend here. I would encourage the government to perhaps undertake some consultation with provincial education ministries before making such assumptions.

In my province of Ontario, the overhead Citizenship Education Framework is a key component of public school social studies curriculum, but this information occurs progressively, year after year, in grades one through six, which precludes youth aged 18 from benefiting from it.

We would have, under the provisions of this bill, teens new to Canadian citizenship who, though they literally have the world at their fingertips through their electronic devices and cellphones, will receive no testing on this country and its languages. How kind it is of us to ensure that we create a ghetto of ignorance and social exclusion for these youths instead of promoting knowledge of their new home and familiarity with its languages — not to mention how difficult it would be for them to find part-time employment if they don't speak the language.

What's more, media reports shed light on a case whereby a New Brunswick high school was overwhelmed by the influx of Syrian refugee students. In July of this year, Global News reported that a lack of support, including access to full-time translators, led to what frantic staff called communication breakdowns and culture clashes between Syrian refugee students, classmates and teachers at a New Brunswick high school.


They reported that more than 2,700 pages of documents reviewed by the Canadian Press detail the concerns of overwhelmed educators as they dealt with a sudden influx of students who didn't speak English, may have been out of school for years, observed different religious practices and came from war-affected countries.

The reports went on to cite issues of tardiness and absenteeism among the 29 Syrian students and cultural confusion about gender roles. Such teachers complained about students refusing to speak English and using peer pressure to deter others who were trying.

Yes, these poor children were refugees, but the same could easily be said if they'd been new immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship. Stories such as this make it clear that applying evidence-based policy development would surely not see testing requirements eliminated.

Rather, in the face of such reports, it would seem that additional programming, and by no means less, is required if immigrant youth are to effectively integrate and settle in and future situations like this are to be avoided.

Let us move on to the matter of removing testing requirements for persons over 55. Senator Omidvar observed that:

Removing testing requirements for younger and older Canadians removes a potential barrier to citizenship and the sense of belonging that comes with it.

Senator Omidvar also indicated that this policy is compassionate as it recognizes that language acquisition gets more difficult with age. Colleagues, this chamber is, for the most part, filled with Canadians over 55. I'm sure you must share my bewilderment over the government's decision in this regard.

Deliberately removing the testing requirement for older persons seeking citizenship removes the motivation to take government sponsored language training made available to immigrants. This is no less than cultural banishment and ageism, and I find such discrimination on the basis of age and ethnicity offensive, if not downright appalling.

To once again visit Senator Omidvar's house metaphor, we have a dwelling in which older members, as well as their younger teen children or grandchildren, who know little to nothing of the community in which they now live, must stay inside. They are ghettoized by our very charitable intentions. This government suggests that Bill C-24 created two tiers of Canadians. The decision to remove testing requirements for both the young and the late middle aged — and that is what that age range of 55 to 64 is these days — is regressive and certainly prohibits any kind of inclusion of these groups in the full extent of Canadian life. How archaic. How sad. How punitive.

When questioned about why the government would choose to do this, Minister McCallum indicated, in a recent briefing on this bill, that the government was returning the age criteria to that which had been in place for the last hundred years. Yes, Minister, but, after all, this is 2016, isn't it?

Minister McCallum also mentioned that the measures contained in Bill C-6 were part of the Liberal campaign platform. While it does enumerate related measures under the banner of "Opening the Door to Prosperity," the platform makes no mention of any of the provisions contained in this bill. Similarly, the minister's mandate letter only mentions the repeal provisions for dual citizens, intention to reside and international students' time spent in Canada.

This is not a case of evidence-based policy informing legislation. This initiative was not fueled by extensive consultation. Sadly, the reality, it seems, is that this is a most partisan piece of legislation, which seeks to undo improvements to the citizenship program only because they came from the previous government.


Honourable colleagues, in her recent speech on this bill, Senator Omidvar mentioned several times that this is a matter of rights.


To this I say that it is indeed a matter of rights, once citizenship is granted. I again assert that citizenship is a privilege, not a right. The discussion of rights versus privileges will undoubtedly be a key element of the study of this bill in committee, and I look forward to hearing expert insights in this regard.

Before I conclude, I wanted to share with you new research from the World Bank that shows that Canada is among the four countries in the world that consistently attract the top tier of highly skilled immigrants.

Yet the research also shows that the highly skilled members of the next generation appear to be less tied to any particular location or national identity but instead have connections and mentalities that are much more global in nature than those of their predecessors.

Add to this the recent findings from a CBC/Angus Reid poll that found that a majority of Canadians prefer an immigration policy that will enhance our economic prosperity over one that emphasizes the needs of people in crisis around the world.

The same study also found that, by a factor of almost two to one, Canadians would prefer that minorities do more to fit in with mainstream Canada rather than to encourage cultural diversity in which groups keep their own customs and language and remain siloed. These realities remind us that we need a strong immigration program like the one Bill C-24 delivered and that Bill C-6 now seeks to dismantle.


Debate on this bill covers a number of issues: linguistic rights, the education of immigrants, and the whole issue of public safety.


These were the same issues with which we grappled when we studied, debated and ultimately passed Bill C-24. We should perhaps remind ourselves of this throughout the course of our review of this legislation and determine whether it is in Canadians' best interests to leave a more robust citizenship regime in place and thus amend this bill before us to ensure just that.

Hon. Frances Lankin: Senator, will you accept a question?

Senator Eaton: With pleasure.

Senator Lankin: Thank you very much. I was interested in the distinction you made between the issue of the seniors and English or French language acquisition and the other parts of the bill that were part of a campaign commitment to repeal the former government's legislation.

You indicated that the minister mentioned that this was taking it back to a position that had been in place for 100-plus years but that you didn't understand the evidence-base to that.

I wonder if you could help us to understand what the evidence-base was for the change that was made by the previous government?

Senator Eaton: Thank you for your question, senator. The Weizmann Institute, several years ago, declared that, at 55, you are middle aged. You became old at 80. Old age was 80 and up.

I am sure that, in your work, you've seen older people who come here at an older age to be part of a family group and who really have to stay within their community because of the language restraint. I really think that, if you want to come to a country and feel the strong motivation to be with your children for whatever reason or for safety reasons, you have a strong motivation to go to language classes and learn enough to go to a grocery store by yourself, take the bus by yourself, go to a movie and understand it, take part in life.

So I don't understand why something that's been in place for 100 years was not re-examined. Why did he just take it back to 55? Why not 60? Why not put it up? The Dominion Institute really thinks that we shouldn't retire until we're 74 now.

Their data is that, in the old days, the old age pension started at 65 because the idea was you worked until you were 65 and data showed that you were dead at 66. Now, men are living into their late 70s and women into their 80s. Considering the language and competency, why wouldn't they take that into effect for people coming to this country?

Senator Lankin: Would you accept another question, please?

Senator Eaton: Yes.

Senator Lankin: Supplementary to that, I was wondering whether or not the previous government had an evidentiary base for the change they made. I understand the general trends in aging, in employment and aging and what you are referring to. You make a point about the linkage, there, that might be relevant, but it's not an evidentiary base with respect to the immigration or language acquisition.


I don't know if there was an evidentiary base to that decision when it was taken. It doesn't take away from your point that perhaps it is an area that should be looked at in general.

You referred to my work, and I do know in Toronto, and you'll all know this, of organizations like WoodGreen and others where tremendous work is done where there are seniors from the Italian, Greek, Chinese and Thai communities who all interact together with the various languages. I'm talking about seniors, in this case, and there is a tremendous opportunity for people in many parts of our country to come together and to socialize and to come outside of their communities.

So I come back to the point that the change that's being made resets back to what was. Do you not think that these longer-term kinds of enquiries to get the evidence and to find out what is the best practice could be done from a base that had been in place, as opposed to a base that's been put in place without evidence for that change, either?

Senator Eaton: I completely agree with you. I can't remember what the evidence was, but I can certainly try and find it, and perhaps we could have that in committee, too. It would be a very good idea to do that. Thank you.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Senator Eaton, will you answer another question?

Senator Eaton: With pleasure.

Senator Jaffer: Senator, I listened to you very carefully; I know you put a lot of thought into your speech, and I thank you for that. I think our strength in the Senate is having this opportunity for debate.

Senator, the first question I have to ask you has to do with when an immigrant comes to this country and works towards citizenship. It's a privilege for that person to get their citizenship. But when their children are born in Canada, would you accept that they are, then, Canadians and it is their right to be citizens and it's their right to live here, and that the child who has a right to citizenship is in a different category from the person who has the privilege of getting it?

Senator Eaton: You worked a long time as a citizenship lawyer. I do not have your background in citizenship. My understanding is that if you become a Canadian citizen and you have a child here, the child is a Canadian citizen. My understanding is that if you come here and you're not a Canadian citizen and you have a child here, the child is a Canadian citizen.

Senator Jaffer: Sorry, I may not have made myself clear. What I'm saying is that when a person comes to this country and then they acquire a Canadian citizenship, to me that's a privilege because they have come from outside and they have acquired Canadian citizenship. That's a privilege that we give.

But when, after a few years, their child is born in Canada and gets citizenship as a right, that is not a privilege. That's the right of the child. Would you not agree?

Senator Eaton: Yes, I would agree.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you. I don't want anybody to think I hold a brief for terrorists, but the problem is if that child, as one of the 18 who was a child of Canada, got into trouble, or if our child gets into trouble, do we say, "You've gotten into trouble, we don't want you, go back to your parents' country?" That's what we are doing with Bill C-24. And that is the reason why we are looking at this change, because a child of Canada is always a child of Canada, no matter what he does, good or bad.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Eaton: I think that's a very complex issue if the child is born in Canada to parents who acquired Canadian citizenship. But if he's brought up in a milieu where they keep their dual citizenship and the child is still a dual citizen and is taught to hate Canada and wants to destroy Canadians, then I think he should go and live in a country where he agrees with their way of life and their set of values.

Senator Jaffer: This will be my last question.

Senator, the challenge with that is in the case that you were talking about where that person was not a dual citizen. What it showed is that in places like Pakistan and Iran it doesn't matter: You are forever an Iranian, and you are forever a Pakistani.

So they didn't opt to have dual citizenship. The parents' country of origin may have said that they will be dual citizens forever. They didn't opt for it. But again, I come to this question to you, Senator Eaton: When do we say this child has made mistakes, he was a Canadian child, we don't want him, and we tell him to go back to the country of his parents?

Senator Eaton: Maybe what we should do is make an amendment, senator, for those people who cannot renounce their dual citizenship. In other words, I don't know for how many generations dual citizenship lasts for Iran. Are you Iranian 10 generations from now? We should find that out, because that's interesting.

If a child is born and is automatically assumed to be a dual citizen, maybe that's an amendment. But not in every country do you keep your citizenship for generations to come, so perhaps a differentiation should be made there.

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Thank you. Senator Eaton, will you take a question?

Senator Eaton: With pleasure.

Senator Omidvar: Thank you for your thoughtful remarks. Whereas you and I may disagree with the intent and the values behind this bill, I think we both agree that this is indeed a most precious Canadian house.

My question to you is related to what I heard you say about the intent-to-reside clause in the bill being a symbolic gesture, with no real consequences for those who check off, either intentionally or unintentionally, because lives change, this box in their citizenship application.

I think many lawyers would disagree with you and say that representing yourself in one way and then, in later life, acting in a different way, because of the way life progresses, becomes a real problem for citizenship applications.

On what evidence are you basing your claim that intent-to-reside is a symbolic declaration with no legal consequences?

Senator Eaton: In Bill C-24, it was always understood that when you became a permanent resident and you applied for Canadian citizenship, you checked off the box that says yes, you intend to reside in Canada. It was a symbolic thing: I want to stay in Canada and I want to make a life here. But if the day after you got your Canadian citizenship you were offered a great job in Hong Kong or London, you are free to take off, just the way you and I are.

Senator Omidvar: Would you take another supplementary?

Senator Eaton: Yes.

Senator Omidvar: I wonder if you spoke to prospective citizens, like I did, many of whom were completely perplexed by this intent-to-reside criteria and simply delayed their application because they weren't clear on it.

I wonder if you looked at the statistics for the downward spiral in citizenship applications since Bill C-24 was called into life. My research tells me that it is, in part, directly related to the intent-to-reside clause.

Senator Eaton: I don't think the statistics have anything to do with Bill C-24. If anything, I think perhaps people who were just going to get a citizenship of convenience were deterred, but I would also say to you — and I said it in my speech — I think it was a matter of communication. It was badly communicated, and I admit that.

But a person who becomes a Canadian citizen has every right of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that everybody in this room has, and I don't think any citizenship lawyer would say differently.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I regret that I have to interrupt the debate but there is time left, Senator Eaton, should you wish to entertain other questions that senators wish to ask after Question Period. It's entirely up to you.

(Debate suspended.)


Pursuant to the order adopted by the Senate on December 10, 2015, to receive a Minister of the Crown, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness appeared before Honourable Senators during Question Period.


The Hon. the Speaker: On behalf of all honourable senators, I would like to welcome Minister Goodale. He is with us today to take part in proceedings by responding to questions relating to his ministerial responsibilities.

As was the case in previous weeks, I would ask colleagues to limit themselves to one question and, if necessary, one supplementary question. This will allow as many senators as possible to take part in Question Period, and we have a long list.


Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

RCMP—Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries—Senate Recommendations on Bill C-7

Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Opposition): Thank you, minister, for being here with us today. This morning, in La Presse, we learned about a worrying situation. Post-traumatic stress disorder within the RCMP has increased by 175 per cent in eight years, going from 1,427 cases in 2008 to 2,423 cases in 2011, and nearly 4,000 cases this year. Annabelle Dionne, a member of the RCMP with PTSD, had to be transferred to Ottawa in 2011 so that she could receive the appropriate care. She said that that is just the tip of the iceberg. Members of the RCMP do not always report cases of PTSD for fear of losing their jobs or being passed over for promotion.

The Senate passed Bill C-7, as amended, on June 21. This bill seeks to establish a framework for labour relations and collective bargaining within the RCMP. The Senate proposed amendments to the bill to give members of the RCMP the right to negotiate the most basic issues, such as workplace health and safety; equipment and conduct-related matters, particularly harassment; as well as the use of a real arbitration and reparations process.

However, it seems as though the House of Commons has not done anything about Bill C-7 since the beginning of the session. Twenty-two months after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the RCMP's right to negotiate a collective agreement and five months after the extension your government requested of the Supreme Court has expired, members of the RCMP are still waiting. Minister, can your government clarify its position on Bill C-7, as amended by the Senate? Will the government seek to obtain another extension from the court, will it support Bill C-7 as amended, or will it simply introduce a new bill?


Hon. Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Your Honour, first let me say thank you for the opportunity from this honourable house to meet with you and to respond to questions. This is a relatively new innovation in our parliamentary system, a good one, and I welcome the opportunity to be here. Thank you for your courtesy.

Honourable senator, I think there were two parts to your question. First the latter part, dealing with Bill C-7, the house disposed of that bill in the month of May or June. The Senate dealt with it extensively, made a number of proposed changes in the draft bill and sent the message back to the house just as Parliament was adjourning for the summer.

My colleague the President of the Treasury Board and I have the Senate recommendations very much under consideration now. We are consulting with the RCMP, the Treasury Board and labour experts in order to come to the best possible conclusions about the Senate's recommendations. I expect to be meeting once again with the President of the Treasury Board in the next short while to determine the exact nature of our response to the recommendations that the Senate has put forward.

We understand that those recommendations were made with the best of intentions. We will try to respond constructively just as quickly as we can, and we certainly thank the Senate for the advice that was given with respect to Bill C-7.

On the issue of PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder — the professionals in that field now advise us to describe that condition as post-traumatic stress injuries, PTSI — this is something that the Senate, of course, has worked on in terms of a specific study; so has the House of Commons with another study and report on PTSI.

In my mandate letter, the instruction that I have from the Prime Minister is to develop a comprehensive national strategy dealing with post-traumatic stress injuries as they particularly affect first responders, who are more vulnerable than most to this very serious and debilitating condition. We want to develop the capacity to detect the disorder at a very early stage, to prevent it wherever that is possible, to conduct the necessary research so that we can all fully understand it, to avoid the stigma associated with it and to make the appropriate treatments readily available to all first responders and emergency personnel wherever they function in Canada.

We are at this moment putting together the elements of that strategy. We have benefited from the Senate report and from the house report. We have benefited from a number of national round tables that we held across the country, where we invited all of the practitioners and experts to sit with us and share the value of their expertise. We are putting the elements of the strategy together. It will obviously have financial and budget implications that need to be taken into account, but we're very well advanced with the ideas.

Over the weeks and months immediately ahead, I hope to be in a position to respond not only to the house and to the Senate, but most importantly to that incredibly valuable group of Canadians who are first responders, who stand ready to defend their fellow citizens and to come to their aid in emergency situations. They deserve strong policy and support with respect to PTSI, and that is what the government is determined to deliver. Thank you for your question.

Proposed National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Mr. Goodale, thank you very much for being here, sir. My question relates to Bill C-22, An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

This isn't the first time that Parliament has debated proposals of this kind of parliamentary oversight. The Senate has had at least two committees that have referred to the need for this parliamentary oversight.

There is also Bill S-220 that was debated in this chamber. It was a private member's bill by Senator Hugh Segal and Senator Roméo Dallaire, taken over after they left by Senator Grant Mitchell, who is now your government's whip here in the Senate. I'm also aware that Paul Martin's government produced a bill along the same lines, but your current Bill C-22 doesn't seem to have taken a lot of the good work that has been done in the past.

Let me refer to a couple of points, and maybe you could react to those because they are causing me concern as well as a number of other senators.

The Segal-Dallaire bill provided that the committee would consist of nine members, three from the Senate and six from the House of Commons. By contrast, your government bill says that the committee is to consist "of a Chair and up to eight other members." It then provides that the committee is to consist of "not more than two members who are members of the Senate." "Not more than" two members from the Senate and "not more than" seven members from the House of Commons. That is, your bill provides for a maximum number of members but no minimum; there's no minimum at all. If the bill passes with its current wording, we could find ourselves with a national security and intelligence committee of parliamentarians established with no members from the Senate at all.


And that isn't all. As drafted, the bill doesn't require the inclusion on the committee of any members of the opposition parties in the House of Commons. The bill says that no more than four members may be members of the government party. But, as drafted, the committee could consist of just four members of the House of Commons from the government party. That's the way it is worded.

This leads me to another key difference between Bill C-22 and the Segal-Dallaire bill. The Segal-Dallaire bill provided that a member could only be appointed to the committee after formal approval by their respective chambers. That provision is notably absent in your government's bill, which doesn't have any requirement for parliamentary approval of the Prime Minister's choice of committee members.

So as drafted, we could end up with a committee with representation from only one of the two Houses of Parliament and committee members all chosen from the government party, chosen by the Prime Minister, with no need for approval by Parliament at all.

Could you explain the logic of this particular approach, or am I misreading and misunderstanding what you're hoping to achieve in Bill C-22?

Hon. Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Thank you, senator, and I appreciate the question. I'm happy to offer you I think considerable reassurance that the dire mathematical result you have described is not at all the government's intention; and if the language in that regard in the draft legislation needs greater clarification, then that clarification can certainly be provided.

The intention is a committee of nine: two from the Senate, seven from the house and four from the government — meaning the other five would not be from the government party. If there's a risk of a dysfunctional situation because of there being no minimum or because of the phrase "up to" that you've referred to, we can certainly consider with the draftsmen the proper corrective language to make sure the intention is clear.

If that matter is not already dealt with satisfactorily as the bill goes through the house, if the Senate still sees defective language, then I would certainly welcome your suggestions as to how to remedy the language and make sure the intention is clear and not confusing.

The bill does provide that, as the Prime Minister prepares the orders-in-council that will be necessary for the appointment of the members who will serve on this committee, he is obliged to consult with other party leaders and with members of the Senate, which he will do, I'm sure, in very good faith, in order to get the best advice about the skilful and distinguished members of both houses who would perform this function.

This will be an extraordinary innovation in Canada's national security architecture. We've never had this before. Most other countries have. In fact, among our major allies, we're the outlier now, the anomaly, for not having a committee of parliamentarians to provide this critical review and scrutiny function.

As you indicated, this defect has been pointed out by various groups and organizations for quite some time. Committees of the Senate; committees of the house; the Auditor General about 10 years ago; at least two, maybe three, independent national inquiries; expert opinion from the academic community — they have all suggested for a very long time that Canada needed this element in our review and scrutiny architecture for national security and intelligence.

As you point out, one of my predecessors, Anne McClellan, when she was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety, introduced a piece of legislation to this effect. That was in 2005 or late 2004. It did not pass before the election came along in 2006 and the government changed. Mr. Harper's government was not inclined to pursue the idea, but we identified this a long time ago as a defect and a deficiency in our structure that we intend to remedy, and we're very anxious to get it right.

I have had the opportunity to consult both with former Senators Segal and Dallaire, and they have given the draft legislation high marks, as have independent experts like Professor Forcese, for example, and Professor Wark. But this is a work-in-progress. We are more than willing to take on all good advice to make sure that we have an effective committee of parliamentarians that does the job in protecting the public interest that Canadians would demand.

Our goals are twofold: number one, to ensure that our security and intelligence and police organizations are effective at keeping Canadians safe; and number two, equally important, to simultaneously ensure that they are safeguarding our values, rights and freedoms and the open, inclusive, generous character of our country. Those two things need to be achieved together, and I'm very anxious to have a committee of parliamentarians that will contribute to those goals.

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Day, since you had a very lengthy question to begin with, I'm wondering if you could hold your supplementary question until towards the end.

We have a long list of questioners. I would ask senators to please keep your preambles as short as possible so we can get to as many senators as possible.

Gun Violence

Hon. Don Meredith: Minister Goodale, thank you so much for coming to our chamber today. Minister, you and I have spoken briefly on the topic of youth violence and gun violence in this country.

Minister, there is a 200 per cent increase in Toronto this year alone. The figures have shot up again: 18 in the first couple of months, 49 right here in this city.

Minister Goodale, what initiatives have you undertaken with our border services, as well as our police agencies across the country, to address this growing problem and to prevent guns from falling into the hands of especially our young people?

Hon. Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Senator, thank you. Indeed, we have had the opportunity to discuss this issue, just as I have had a number of conversations with various members of our own GTA caucus, members of Parliament and senators from other parts of the country too, where the problem of guns, gangs and drugs is of serious concern.

We made a commitment in our platform a year ago to work with police forces, provincial and municipal governments, and others, in the development of a guns and gangs strategy to effectively reinforce what law enforcement, municipal organizations and provincial governments are doing on the ground in local communities to deal with this very serious and disturbing set of issues.

Part of the advice that we've received is focusing on making sure you've got healthy communities, so that means investments in job creation, good community infrastructure, access to education and life development opportunities. A major portion of that was included in the last budget. There is yet more to come. We are in consultations right now with my provincial counterparts, as well as with mayors and police forces across the country, about how best to structure our support system for the guns and gangs task forces.


It is not a case of exactly the same solution in every municipality or region of the country. We need to build flexibility into this, but we have made a financial commitment, and I'm looking forward to future discussions with my cabinet colleagues about how we can best deploy this at the earliest possible time.

This is a serious issue. People have the right to live in safe and secure communities, and young people have a right to an optimistic future, and we intend to invest in both.

Strategy on Youth

Hon. Don Meredith: Thank you very much for mentioning education. When I look at the lack of opportunities, especially for visible minorities, indigenous youth across this country, and those who fall into marginalized neighbourhoods across our urban centres, and in terms of just the approach, I'm delighted that the government has made necessary investments. But don't you think it is time we have a national strategy on youth across this country, once and for all, that will take into consideration mental health, arts and sports, education, employment, opportunities for these young people to be contributors to this great country? Don't you think it is time that we have that comprehensive strategy? Thank you.

Hon. Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P., Minister of Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Senator, thank you, and that's one of the very strong commitments that was made by the Prime Minister at the time of the last election. That's why he has assigned himself the responsibility for youth, and he is the Minister for Youth in our government. He has assembled a very interesting and exciting youth advisory committee of young people from every corner of the country. Many of the elements of what you've described, including the mental health component, are part of the work that the Prime Minister is working on as Canada's Minister of Youth.

Emergency Response Support

Hon. Scott Tannas: Minister, thank you for being here. I'm from High River, Alberta, a little town of 11,000 people in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. In June 2013, High River was ground zero for the great floods in Alberta. We had devastation, as it is widely known, that went into the hundreds of millions of dollars in our tiny community. More than 80 per cent of the homes, businesses and infrastructure was damaged, much of it severely. I think it is still the largest disaster recovery program claim in Canadian history. There was certainly an enormous response.

The second disaster was the response by the Province of Alberta in their administration of this program.

I was a parliamentarian and was asked to be involved in attempting to resolve a number of claims. In my community of 11,000, there were 5,000 household claims made. I was shocked and angered, in so many instances, to have Alberta bureaucrats blame the federal government for the problem of not being able to resolve claims.

They simply said that the rules and regulations and guidelines around adjudicating the claims and what was covered and what wasn't were too vague, and therefore they could not satisfy the claim one way or another, and claims were left in limbo for years. Some are still open.

In past instances in Alberta, they pointed to the fact that previous federal governments had clawed back money where they said there was too loose an interpretation by the province. They didn't want to repeat that problem, especially with the tens of millions of dollars at stake, and so they simply did nothing.

In light of this, there's no other word other than "unsatisfactory execution" of the disaster recovery program in Alberta, in arguably its most important moment in decades.

Will you convene an independent review of the DRP response to the flood of 2013 to make sure the misery suffered by thousands of claimants results in a better system for the next group of claimants?

Hon. Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P., Minister of Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Honourable senator, thank you for the question. I am more than happy to make a personal inquiry into the status of the recovery effort and claims process in relation to the High River flood.

We all watched in horror as the flood water rampaged through southern Alberta. The country obviously wanted to make a quick, effective and generous response. I would be more than happy to examine the status of the recovery payments to see where they stand and where the difficulties were and what lessons need to be learned from that sad experience.

One thing I had to deal with as a new minister in a new government was another tragic set of circumstances in Alberta, which was the fire at Fort McMurray. That wildfire is the biggest fire disaster in Canadian history. I'll check on the status of the flood that affected southern Alberta two or three years earlier.

In the case of the fire, we were cognizant of the degree of human angst that had to be dealt with locally, and I'm pleased to say we were in a position to work with the Government of Alberta to expedite the process. And while the fire raged from about May 1 to the end of May, we had the first cheques flowing from DFAA, the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements, before the end of June, and we continue to work with Alberta to ensure the process functions quickly and smoothly.

I will check whether there are any outstanding problems from the flood situation from three years earlier and if there are corrective measures that need to be taken, I will certainly take them.

Carbon Tax

Hon. Denise Batters: Minister Goodale, in our home province of Saskatchewan, the Trudeau government's stated intention to impose a carbon tax is of critical importance. A recent Regina Leader-Post article quotes your government's own working group report. The report rather coldly states that:

As the market adjusts to the reality of carbon pricing, the overall make-up of the economy will change. This will create a period of transition where some firms will need to change production processes and some individuals may need to change employment.

Minister Goodale, has the Liberal government quantified this? How many jobs will be lost in Saskatchewan? If you don't know this information, how can your government plow ahead with a carbon tax without having this crucial information?

Last week Premier Brad Wall spoke about how many Saskatchewan jobs he would be willing to lose in the name of a federal carbon tax. His answer: Not one. I agree.

How many Saskatchewan jobs are you willing to lose to a carbon tax?

Hon. Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P., Minister of Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Honourable senator, that question is not directly within the purview of public safety, but I won't shy away from answering.

The policy is intended to create jobs, not reduce jobs. In the case of Saskatchewan, the premier has estimated that the revenue from a policy of carbon pricing is likely to generate something in the order of $2.5 billion. Every single cent, every penny, of that money would remain in Saskatchewan, entirely at the discretion of the Government of Saskatchewan. If Premier Wall so decides, that would allow his government to eliminate the provincial income tax in Saskatchewan. It would allow him to eliminate the property tax in Saskatchewan on farmland, homes and businesses. It would allow him to invest in innovation and technology. It would allow him to create a modern, competitive, successful economy with great growth potential for the future.


The whole idea here is to make sure, through carbon pricing, that provinces have the flexibility to design the program that works best for their province, to retain every cent of revenue for the province and to have the wherewithal to invest in innovation, productivity, economic growth and job generation for the future — not job losses but job generation.

In addition to that, in Saskatchewan, the Government of Canada will be investing in science like carbon capture and sequestration, and investing in new infrastructure like power grids that can connect Saskatchewan heavy industry to hydro power that is completely carbon-free. They will also invest in major water development and conservation projects to control those floods that are caused by the impacts at least of climate change, to better control those flood waters, to prevent the damage that occurs in downstream areas like southeastern Saskatchewan and across the boundary into the province of Manitoba and cities like Brandon — to control those water flows to develop irrigation and agricultural diversification and to broaden and expand the economy of Saskatchewan.

Done properly and respectfully, this can be a very positive initiative.

Senator Batters: Minister, in response to that, I again quote Premier Brad Wall: "Then what is the point? It sounds like a bureaucratic merry-go-round." According to the Regina Leader-Post, your federal government's working group report says that a carbon tax's heaviest burden would be borne by low-income people and remote communities. It also says that Canadian companies could lose market share to firms from low-carbon countries — what this report calls "carbon leakage."

Minister, I note our province's huge $1.3 billion carbon capture technology investment at Boundary Dam. This world-class project will capture 800,000 tons of carbon this year, the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road. Saskatchewan also has other amazing technologies that use innovation to reduce emissions: carbon sinks in our farmland and forests.

Yet, Minister Goodale, your Liberal government has not yet told Saskatchewan that we will receive proper credit under a carbon tax system for any of these incredible innovations.

We in Saskatchewan prefer carbon capture to carbon leakage. Will you push your cabinet colleagues to give Saskatchewan the credit it deserves for these carbon-reducing gems? Can you please ensure that Prime Minister Trudeau does not yet again drop the ball on Saskatchewan?

Mr. Goodale: I always have for 42 years done my very best on all occasions to get the very best deal for Saskatchewan, and I'm delighted to have succeeded at that over the years.

With respect to carbon capture and sequestration, it's very interesting technology. I'm pleased to have been the first Minister of Natural Resources back in the late 1990s and the early part of the 2000s to have invested federal dollars in carbon capture and sequestration in Saskatchewan. It has proven to be a very useful kind of innovation for the future.

Indeed, that can be part of the solution, as can other investments in science and technology, investments in infrastructure that connect heavy industry in Saskatchewan to hydro power, and the investments the premier spoke of at the Global Institute for Food Security and at the Crop Development Centre at Outlook.

All of those things are important and valuable, and it is extremely important that Saskatchewan get credit for all of them.

Amendments to Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Thank you, minister, for being here once again.

Minister, my questions are on Bill C-51. Before I go to this subject, with what Senator Day was saying on Bill C-22, may I suggest that for Senate, instead of putting "may appoint," you use the words "shall appoint." Then there will be no doubt that there will be senators on that committee.

Minister Goodale, I know you are doing consultations on Bill C-51 and that these consultations are ongoing. It would be useful for us to know when these consultations will finish and when you are planning to table a bill on Bill C-51.

Minister, I want to share this very quick note with you. I'm very concerned when there are consultations on human rights. The issues discussed in Bill C-51 are around human rights. How do you consult on human rights? It affects some people's rights, and I'm really worried that the tyranny of the majority can affect human rights.

But my question is more practical. There have been many instances of CSIS agents visiting law-abiding citizens at home and at work in a manner that can be summed up as intimidation. Many people call me saying that Bill C-51 is alive. Liberals promised to deal with it right away. Minister, it's been a year. CSIS is knocking on the doors of innocent Muslims — and I'm not exaggerating on that. I get calls all the time from people saying, "Trudeau said he will deal with Bill C-51. This will stop." When will it stop?

Hon. Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Senator, I very much appreciate the question, and I appreciate the passion with which you expressed it, because many of those sentiments, I'm sure, are shared very fervently by all of us.

In the platform, we laid out eight or nine things that we would do in response to what we considered to be the errors in Bill C-51. The first and most prominent of those was to create a committee of parliamentarians to provide the oversight that should have been provided when the law was changed two years ago but wasn't. But we're going to remedy that situation by creating the committee of parliamentarians. That's in Bill C-22.

It received second reading in the house. It's before the House of Commons standing committee now. In the next number of days, Minister Chagger and I will be dealing with our ministerial appearances before the committee, and I hope that the bill will be arriving in the Senate for your consideration very shortly.

That was commitment number one, and we're well advanced in delivering on that.

Commitment number two was to create a new initiative to deal with community outreach and counter-radicalization. I'm happy to report that the money necessary to get that started was included in Mr. Morneau's budget in the spring, and we are now in the process of recruiting the individuals who will serve in that initiative to make Canada the very best it can be at identifying the issues around radicalization in advance and then intervening in the appropriate ways effectively to head off tragedies before they begin.

The Aga Khan has often said that Canada is the finest expression of pluralism the world has ever seen. If we wish to retain that record and reputation, we have to get very good at this whole process of counter-radicalization — understanding it and dealing with it effectively.

Some municipalities across the country are way ahead. The City of Montreal is well advanced, as is the City of Calgary and others across the country. We need to build that network and knit it together. That process is now under way.

We also indicated there were six specific legislative amendments that we would be dealing with in respect of Bill C-51. One is the paramountcy of the Charter — to make sure that the Charter is fully respected and complied with. Second is protecting the right of civil protest so that it is not diminished. Third, we need a more precise definition of "terrorist propaganda" than the rather broad language that is used in the legislation now.

Fourth is clarifying the rules around appeals of registrations on no-fly lists, where the language in the statute as it presently stands is not satisfactory. There are issues around warrants when they're used for activities in relation to the Communications Security Establishment and the Department of National Defence. That needs to be clarified. Then there is providing a three-year review of all of Canada's anti-terrorism laws.

Those were the specific commitments that we made at the time of the platform. All of those will be implemented.

We are now consulting with Canadians about what else they want to see included in their national security framework so that we can shape it not as some kind of pale replica of what once was Bill C-51, but shape it for the future as Canadians would want it shaped. Canadians did not have the opportunity for this kind of consultation two years ago. We are determined that they are going to have their say.

We are conducting round tables and town hall meetings. I'm meeting personally and individually with a long list of subject matter experts on all sides of this equation. We're conducting an online consultation as well. Everyone is invited to participate in that. To date, we've had over 9,000 responses, in terms of specific considered responses, and there are about another 7,000 that you would, I guess, put in the form of petitions or form letters. But that's a very significant amount of input, and the website will remain open until December 1 for Canadians to have their say.


When all of that is assembled, we will report to Canadians on what we heard so that Canadians will have a full scope and a full assessment of what their fellow citizens had to say, here. The government will then shape its legislation, as early as possible in the new year, based on the input that we have received.

We understand it's urgent, we understand Canadians expect us to get it right, and we want to do just that.

Oversight and Scrutiny of Security Agencies

Hon. Frances Lankin: Thank you, minister, welcome and thank you very much for joining us.

My question follows a little bit on the repeal of Bill C-51 and your commitments, and I appreciate the time frame you've put on it.

Let me move to a secondary issue. You made reference in answer to an earlier question to Bill C-22 and the establishment of a committee of Parliamentarians — not a parliamentary committee. I understand the difference and I support you in that.

However, there has been, over the years, a call for a broader response with respect to review or oversight of a number of agencies. So if we take a look at Justice O'Connor and the call for what has been nicknamed "super SIRC," that's something that has not been talked about more recently in terms of the government's response and I wonder if in fact you have a government view, on that recommendation from Justice O'Connor.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the time for Question Period has expired. With leave, can we give Minister Goodale a few minutes to answer?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Hon. Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Thank you, honourable senators, and thank you for the question.

Adding the committee of parliamentarians is one essential element in our security architecture that we simply must do because that has been a gross deficiency for a very long time and we need to fix that deficiency. But it's not the only thing we need to do in the review and scrutiny architecture.

There are some very important agencies of the Government of Canada that function in this domain that have no direct oversight agency at all. I think of CBSA, the Canadian Border Services Agency, as one and I know Senator Moore has been very vigorous in putting forward ideas and specific legislation about how to fill that hole in the architecture.

But as Senator Moore and others have suggested, in addition to a function where you can examine complaints with respect to the behaviour of specific officers or at certain locations or in relation to certain functions, you do need some kind of pan-government agency that's not stuck in a silo somewhere but can actually move from agency to agency — and there are about 20 of them within the Government of Canada that have a security and intelligence function — and take a look at their activities at the expert level.

The committee of Parliamentarians would function above and beyond that, but in collaboration with a more comprehensive review agency of experts.

Some people have suggested a super SIRC, and others have suggested different kinds of vehicles, but it is something that is under active consideration. We are very anxious to get the committee of Parliamentarians in place, but in addition to that there are other gaps and defects in our review and scrutiny system and we intend to move on those as well.

The Hon. the Speaker: I'm sorry, Senator Lankin, the time for Question Period has expired.

Thank you very much, Minister Goodale, for being with us. I'm sure all senators would like to join me in thanking you for being with us today.


Citizenship Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Omidvar, seconded by the Honourable Senator Gagné, for the second reading of Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act.

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: I wanted to follow up on the questions Senator Jaffer had posed to Senator Eaton when they were discussing the comparison between Bill C-6 and Bill C-24, and we were talking about Canadian citizens who are Canadian-born.

It seems to me the honourable senator was advocating for the revocation of citizenship for those Canadian-born citizens who have dual citizenship. But it's quite easy to imagine where you have two Canadian-born citizens, one with dual citizenship and one without, and if you're going to revoke the citizenship from the one with dual, then you're applying a penalty that's different. You're creating two classes of Canadian-born citizens.

How do we get around that? It doesn't seem to me that it's correct or legally proper to have different penalties for the same offence. Let's say that person had committed terrorism and was found guilty of that. Why should one get one penalty and the other get something different?

Hon. Nicole Eaton: Thank you for the question. Unlike the United Kingdom, we believe we cannot make someone stateless. The United Kingdom has passed a law that if you commit treason or terrorism, they can render you stateless. We don't believe that in Canada.

So the answer to the question you're asking — how can I give two different penalties — is that if the person is a dual citizen and they commit treason or terrorism against Canada and it's accepted by a Canadian court of law, they have another choice. They can go and live in another country.

(On motion of Senator Jaffer, debate adjourned.)

Canada Border Services Agency Act

Bill to Amend—Sixth Report of National Security and Defence Committee Adopted, as Amended

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Lang, seconded by the Honourable Senator Raine for the adoption of the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (Bill S-205, An Act to amend the Canada Border Services Agency Act (Inspector General of the Canada Border Services Agency) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, with amendments), presented in the Senate on June 22, 2016.

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Moore, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cordy:

That the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be not now adopted, but that it be amended in amendment No. 1:

(a) by deleting "and" at the end of subparagraph 1(e)(i); and

(b) by adding the following after subparagraph 1(e)(i):

"(i.1) replace lines 24 to 27 with the following:

"than a prosecution for an offence under this", and".

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Thank you, dear colleagues. As you know, last week I adjourned this item and my adjournment was on Senator Moore's amendment of the committee report. As promised to Senator Moore and Senator Lang, I did go and read all the committee proceedings on the weekend.

Although I have comments with regard to the bill in general, I have no more comments and I agree with Senator Moore's amendment.

An Hon. Senator: Question.

Senator Ringuette: I hope that we will all agree to add it to the current report, but I restate that when we arrive at the discussion of the full report, after accepting the amendments, I have some issues I want to bring forth to the chamber.

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.


The Hon. the Speaker: Continuing debate on the motion for adoption of the report, as amended.

Senator Ringuette: Thank you. As I just mentioned, I read the committee proceedings. I concur with the objective of Senator Moore with regard to the Border Services Agency providing an oversight body and providing for citizens as well as non-citizens in certain areas. To have means to complain and seek correction is certainly a very good intent. I agree with Senator Moore, and I agree with the amendments that were put forward by the members of the committee. The committee did a fantastic job, with a great slate of witnesses and stakeholders.

One of the problems — and I discussed this yesterday with Senator Moore — I think the bill seeks to do two different tasks, and that's why there are some unclear articles with regard to process.

The first task is one of, I would say, an ombudsman's position, to hear complaints, to investigate and to report and seek remedy from the agency itself, and on a yearly basis report the data of these complaints and the results to the minister and to both houses of Parliament. That in itself is an immense task to ask of a body that is usually called an ombudsman's office.

The other task we see with this bill is one of an oversight body. Many of the senators in this chamber have been advocating for such an oversight body, which would also include parliamentarians, as a very important move forward for Canada. Also, we would be in step with other countries with regard to an oversight body dealing with the nation's security and different organizations, whether you're looking at CSIS, the RCMP or the Border Services Agency.

So we see both of these tasks in the bill, and it gets very complicated. In certain areas it intertwines. I would like to see both of these tasks put in place with regard to the Border Services Agency. I have one Border Services Agency post a kilometre from my home. As a matter of fact, as a student I worked for the Border Services Agency for a few summers, so I understand what happens at the agency. Basically, that is a fundamental concern.

I also discussed with Senator Moore the fact that if you look at the bill, proposed subsection 15.2(1) reads as follows:

The Governor in Council shall appoint an Inspector General of the Agency after consultation with the leader of every recognized party in the Senate and House of Commons and approval of the appointment by resolution of the Senate and House of Commons.

Of course, that issue was also raised during the hearings of the committee with regard to where that includes independent senators in the framework of this bill. I can understand this bill was put together in 2014, and the entire new notion and future notion of independent senators was not really in the picture to the extent that it is now and will continue to be.

I honestly contemplated amending this proposed section so that all senators and members of Parliament would have an equal say in the consultation process as well as in the approval process, which I think is normal. But Senator Moore informed me a few hours ago that it seems most of the bills dealing with officers of Parliament have these kinds of clauses that we will have to correct, maybe in the form of an omnibus bill, to look at all of them and correct them so that all senators are consulted and approve nominees for officers of Parliament. We will have to look at that.

That being said, I will not amend the proposed section. I want to see this bill move forward to the House of Commons and hopefully create some form of pressure on the other place, for them to understand that it is very urgent that parliamentarians from both houses take part in this security review body, that Canada needs to be within the 21st century with regard to providing oversight for this entity that deals with our security, but we are not privy to what is going on within.

That is serious business, and that is why I will not table an amendment. I will support that this bill be sent to the House of Commons as soon as possible so that the Senate Chamber and the bill put forth by Senator Moore creates a sense of urgency in the other place.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted, as amended.)

Third Reading

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

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: I would ask that the bill be read the third time now.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.


Senator Moore: Honourable senators, I want to thank the committee, Senator Lang and Senator Carignan. We had very good discussions in committee, and through the work of everybody on the committee, I think we have arrived at a very good bill.

I also appreciate the comments today of Senator Ringuette. We had discussions about this, and we heard Minister Goodale say today that, sadly, Canada is an outlier. We don't have a complaint mechanism. We don't have an overview. This may not be perfect but, as Senator Ringuette has said, at least it will show the urgency that the Senate feels about these issues. Hopefully we can get the bill over to the House of Commons and dealt with.

I've spoken to Minister Goodale on this bill a number of times over the past few years. He knows something should be done, and I'm hopeful that he will take, if not all of this bill, certainly key parts of it when he's considering what he will bring in by way of legislation.

Senator Lang: Question.

The Hon. the Speaker: On debate, Senator Jaffer.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I know everyone is anxious to pass this bill, but because it's going to the other place, I want to put some things on record.

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about Bill S-205, An Act to amend the Canada Border Services Agency. If passed, this bill will create the position of inspector general of the Canada Border Services Agency. This inspector general will have the authority to report on and make recommendations about the activities of the CBSA and to review complaints about the CBSA's conduct.

Before I begin, I would like to thank Senator Moore for his untiring work on this bill and his cooperation with the Senate National Security and Defence Committee. He has worked for many hours and months on this bill, and I thank him for his commitment to creating an effective accountability structure for the CBSA.

Honourable senators, I want to share a story with you to show just why Bill S-205 is so important. It is the story of a woman named Lucia Vega Jimenez. Three years ago, Jimenez was stopped in Vancouver's SkyTrain station because she did not have her fare after boarding. She was interviewed and arrested shortly after, since she had been previously deported, and was judged a flight risk who would not show up for future proceedings. The Mexican consulate in Vancouver would later reveal that this was because Jimenez feared being sent back to horrifying abuse that she faced back home. Nurses and officers who dealt with her even noted "horrific scars" from the violence she had suffered.

Jimenez was put into Vancouver airport's detention centre, a CBSA-run jail. This would be the beginning of her tragic story. While she was in captivity, the CBSA denied Jimenez access to legal advice and necessary medical and mental help. By the end of the month, Jimenez died after she hanged herself in her own cell — a tragedy that could easily have been prevented if her needs had been met.

Honourable senators, we live in a great country. We suffered a terrible scar when Jimenez took her own life.

This kind of treatment and lack of transparency is hardly unique to Jimenez's case. The Toronto Star reports that over 80,000 migrants have been jailed by CBSA without charge over the last 10 years. About one third of these migrants are put into facilities meant for the criminal population.

Honourable senators, it is important to remember that people who the CBSA deal with every day are not necessarily criminals. The CBSA often deals with people who have faced overwhelming challenges and have fled from their countries, or are people seeking a new life in Canada. These are people with needs that must be accounted for.

Jimenez herself was not a dangerous criminal by any stretch of the imagination — she was simply a woman who was trying to escape from the abuse she faced in her home.

Under the current system, there is no independent review process that reviews complaints about the CBSA or the actions of the agency. The CBSA's activities and conduct can only be examined by an internal review process.

There is a pressing need for an independent body that can conduct this kind of review in a transparent manner. The death of Lucia Vega Jimenez only became public a whole month after she passed away. The deaths and mistreatment of many others like Jimenez remain shrouded in mystery to this very day.

Notable among these cases is that of Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan. Hassan was the youngest son of a family that had fled from war-torn Somalia, seeking a better life in Toronto. After struggling with severe mental health issues and several arrests, Hassan was placed in CBSA detention for future deportation in 2012.

On June 11, 2015, Hassan's parents received a call from the CBSA telling them that their son was dead in a hospital and asking, "What do you want us to do with the body?"

To this day, almost no information has been given, despite many requests from the family. They know nothing about why Hassan was taken to the hospital, who took him there, when they took him there or what caused his death. Even today his family still searches for a complete story of why Hassan died.

I believe that the bill will give much-needed accountability and transparency to the CBSA to prevent tragedies like that of Jimenez and Hassan. Bill S-205 will create the office of the inspector general, that will provide the CBSA with accountability and balanced structures, without reducing the agency's power to deal with threats to Canada's national security.

Under this bill, any person may make a complaint to the inspector general with respect to anything done by the CBSA, its employees or its agents. If the inspector general should find that the case is well-founded, he or she would report to the Minister of Public Safety and the President of the CBSA with a report of the case and recommendations. In this case, the complainant could also bring their case before the Federal Court for a remedy. These reports will also provide the CBSA with the opportunity to learn from its mistakes and shortcomings and to improve as an agency.

Bill S-205 also gives the inspector general the duty to table an annual report regarding the challenges that the CBSA faces before each house of Parliament. I wholeheartedly encourage this, as it would both provide the public with transparency concerning the state of CBSA and provide Parliament with the tools to improve it.

I also believe that the inspector general could play a vital role in assisting the national security and intelligence committee of parliamentarians as it examines the CBSA. Their insight could help the committee make informed decisions about reforms to the agency.

I would like to conclude by sharing another story, which I hope will drive home just how vulnerable some people in CBSA care can be, and how we owe them a system that will not allow this abuse.

In January this year, when a 16-year-old Syrian minor known as "Mohammed" tried to claim refugee status at Fort Erie, he was taken into CBSA custody and confined in a Toronto detention centre. He was kept in isolated confinement for over three weeks under Canada's immigration laws.

Honourable senators, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of how terrible this treatment is. For an adult, prolonged isolated confinement is internationally considered to be cruel and unusual treatment and often has psychological consequences. For minors, the negative effects of this treatment are amplified and have serious effects on the development of their brains. Any length of isolated confinement of minors — much less prolonged isolated confinement lasting three weeks — violates the UN convention against torture. This is not the kind of treatment that the CBSA should ever be permitted to force upon anybody.

Mohammed's words in a CBC interview this February still haunt me:

Three weeks in detention, I'm feeling sad, and I cry all the time. The room, the iron on the windows, I'm afraid.

These are the words of a boy who is scared and confused, who doesn't understand why such a terrible thing happened to him. It's my hope that with this bill, these kinds of incidents can be exposed more often and acted upon, so that we can no longer fail these most vulnerable people.

Honourable senators, I am deeply concerned, as I know are you, that cases like those of Lucia Vega Jimenez, Abdurahman Hassan and Mohammed are happening in Canada. While the CBSA has the mandate of providing border services to protect national and public security, one of our country's most fundamental values is the respect of a human's right to life, liberty and security of person.

I believe that Bill S-205 proposes a reasonable and effective compromise between these two interests, by introducing an accountability structure into the CBSA while allowing it to fulfill its mandate.


Honourable senators, the CBSA has been given a considerable amount of power to protect Canada from those who wish to do it harm. I ask you today to support this bill to ensure that this wide mandate and power is balanced with a proper accountability structure. In doing so, we ensure that the vulnerable people who arrive at our border every day are protected too. In doing so, we will ensure that no more tragedies like that of Jimenez, Hassan or Mohammed will ever happen again.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill, as amended, read third time and passed.)

Food and Drugs Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Raine, seconded by the Honourable Senator Eggleton, P.C., for the second reading of Bill S-228, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibiting food and beverage marketing directed at children).

Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak in support of Bill S-228, which is sponsored by Senator Nancy Greene Raine. This bill will put into place a major recommendation from our Senate report on obesity, produced by the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology and called Obesity in Canada: A Whole-of-Society Approach for a Healthier Canada.

I would like to thank the senator for taking this first step in putting these recommendations into action, and I am happy to second her bill.

I also was pleased to hear the Minister of Health say yesterday that restricting marketing to children was "the right thing to do" during her announcement about other aspects of that same report and dealing with issues facing Health Canada, which is very welcome indeed.

When we started our obesity study, I had not yet come to appreciate the magnitude of the problem in Canada. Each year, 48,000 to 66,000 Canadians die from conditions that are linked to excess weight. Since 1980, the number of obese adults in Canada has doubled, and for children the number has tripled. That, to me, spells epidemic.

Being obese can put an individual at an increased risk of serious medical ailments, including heart disease, cancer, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. The Heart and Stroke Foundation has said that Canadians who are obese at the age of 40 could expect to have six years taken off their life expectancy.

It is not just our health that we should be worried about. As the prevalence of obesity increases, so do the costs associated with it. Obesity costs Canada between $4.6 billion and $7.1 billion annually in health care costs and lost productivity.

It was numbers like these that led to the regulation of the smoking industry back in the 1970s. Countless lives have been spared as a result, and it is time that we do the same with respect to the food industry. This bill will help to do that.

The bill is very specific in its scope: a ban on advertising food and beverages to children under the age of 13. Currently the industry is self-regulated, and they will tell you that they are doing a good job of minimizing the exposure of impressionable young minds to products that can hurt them. One need only look at the statistics to know that this is not true.

First of all, many of the companies involved in the food industry are not part of that protocol to start with.

A 2014 study released in the International Journal of Obesity showed that the amount of advertising has actually increased since the industry adopted voluntary measures in 2007. This is coming from a study by McMaster University. Food advertisers are constantly trying to find new and innovative ways to sell to children. With young Canadians spending more and more time online, specifically on social media sites, they are bombarded with these advertisements. Even the games they play on their phones are sometimes, in one way or another, geared towards convincing them to buy food or drink. Known as "advergames," they are free to play because they are actually an ad for a specific product.

Earlier in this debate, Senator Lankin asked if this bill would take into account developments, technological or otherwise, in advertising messages being delivered. Senator Greene Raine said that she had received assurances that this bill is medium-neutral and would cover all forms of advertising. This would include advergames as well as other imaginative methods that advertisers use to get their messages to children.

Unfortunately children are particularly susceptible to this kind of target advertising. One study found that children exposed to junk food ads increased the amount of unhealthy food and beverage choices they made as quickly as 30 minutes after seeing an ad, and children today are exposed to an average of five food ads an hour, 90 per cent of which are for an unhealthy food or beverage.

Research has shown that children under the age of 13 do not consistently understand the persuasive intent of the advertisements they see. In 1980, when Quebec passed its ban on advertising to children under the age of 13, they used this as a defence for infringing on the free speech of advertisers. In 1989, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed.

Detractors of the bill might say that it's ultimately up to the parents to decide what their child consumes, but it's not all that simple. With so many Canadian families requiring dual incomes, many parents do not have the time to prepare healthy meals for their families seven days a week. This issue is particularly acute for Canadian families living in poverty. In fact, one in eight Canadian households is food insecure. That's some 3.9 million Canadians.

Senator Greene Raine said herself that she believes government shouldn't unnecessarily interfere with our lives; yet she still sees the need for advertising regulations in the food and beverage industry. I'm in total agreement.

It's time for the federal government to step in to support parents who are trying to make correct nutritional choices for their children. It is important that this bill introduce a ban on all food and drink advertising to children, not just those considered treats or junk food.

Excess sugars can often hide in foods you would not expect. Many popular cereal brands contain upwards of 7.5 teaspoons of added sugar. That's 1.5 teaspoons more than the daily recommended intake of sugar for children ages 2 to 18.

Our Senate report on obesity recommended that nutrition labels specify how much sugar has been added to a product, anything to make it easier for a parent to be able to make a healthier choice.

That's why I support this bill. It is clear that the current system of self-regulation in food and beverage advertising is failing. Regulation in this area is one of a number of actions we should take as legislators to aid Canadian parents in providing a healthy diet for their families and to fight obesity.

Many food and beverage companies will not be happy about this, but it is not our job as senators to assist these companies in selling their goods, especially when they can be unhealthy and target children. It is our job to guarantee that they work within a regulatory framework that minimizes the harm that can be done to Canadians, particularly our children.

(On motion of Senator Petitclerc, debate adjourned.)


Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Bill (Sergei Magnitsky Law)

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Andreychuk, seconded by the Honourable Senator Tkachuk, for the second reading of Bill S-226, An Act to provide for the taking of restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights and to make related amendments to the Special Economic Measures Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to Bill S-226, the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, known as the "Sergei Magnitsky Law."

This bill, as the summary states, is "to provide for the taking of restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights."

It also proposes related amendments to the Special Economic Measures Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

For decades Canada and its citizens, in various ways and forms, have tried to strengthen human rights, locally and internationally.

Canada was instrumental in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent protocols, covenants and agreements which today form a network of international human rights instruments.

The Senate contributed through the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights to this body of work. In a groundbreaking report entitled Promises to Keep: Implementing Canada's Human Right's Obligations, tabled in December 2001, the Senate committee looked at the instruments available for implementing human rights concerns.

The strengths and weaknesses of the systems were analyzed, and Canada's adherence to these instruments was also part of the study.

I respectfully suggest that perhaps new senators, as well as others, may wish to look at that study to gain a greater understanding of the complexity and the progress made toward international standards for human rights adherence. In other words, the machinery of implementing human rights: words into action.

There are multiple examples of human rights violations around the world that need to be addressed; Canada must continue to be a voice for justice, rule of law and human rights adherence.

Bill S-226 seeks to strengthen the Canadian government's capacity in the protection and promotion of internationally recognized human rights. Threats of illegal detention, torture and death are used to silence political dissidents and human rights activists in their own countries and elsewhere. Moreover, impunity counters the effectiveness of our machinery for human rights protection. Increasingly we see certain countries disregarding international standards, treaties and agreements.

We must continue our efforts through international treaty bodies, the United Nations, regional groupings and every means possible to ensure that the human rights standards are not only adhered to but strengthened for the modern-day situation. Therefore, there is an urgent and apparent need for a renewed effort to protect our international human rights system.

The legislation before you, honourable senators, marks a positive step forward for Canada as we work toward bridging this accountability gap.

In the preamble of the bill, it says:

Whereas adding gross violations of internationally recognized human rights as a ground on which sanctions may be imposed against foreign states and nationals would further Canada's support for human rights and advance its responsibility to protect activists who fight for human rights. . . .

At present, as stated in Bill S-226, the Special Economic Measures Act:

Authorizes the Government of Canada to take economic measures against a foreign state or national for the purpose of implementing a decision, resolution or recommendation of an international organization or association of states, or in cases of a grave breach of international peace and security that resulted or is likely to result in a serious international crisis.

Section 4(1) of the Special Economic Measures Act states that:

(b) by order, cause to be seized, frozen or sequestrated in the manner set out in the order any property situated in Canada that is held by or on behalf of

(i) a foreign state,

(ii) any person in that foreign state, or

(iii) a national of that foreign state who does not ordinarily reside in Canada.

Bill S-226 is adding a sanction provision for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. This would be a ground on which sanctions may be imposed as contemplated in this act.

This would serve many purposes. First, it would allow the government to indicate internationally that human rights are an equal pillar in our foreign policy framework.

Second, it would signal that Canada would not enable gross violators to utilize Canada as an enabler for these violations.

Third, the bill, enacted, would be an immediate tool and resource for the Canadian government to act.

By way of example, when the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, passed in March 2011, was formulated after the situation in Tunisia. When we piece together a bill in quick order, it often leads to legislation that requires amendments, which causes delays for justice. To have this tool ready and available at the discretion of the government to utilize with the prescriptive conditions sends the right signal internationally and equips Canada to take action positively against perpetrators of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.

Fourth, it would allow Canada to exercise, defend and promote internationally recognized human rights and freedoms in one more valuable measure internationally.

Bill S-226 seeks to add internationally recognized gross human rights violations into the Special Economic Measures Act or SEMA.

Bill S-226 amends section 4 of the act to include responsibility for or complicity in "extrajudicial killings, torture or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against any individuals in any foreign country."

Moreover, Bill S-226 amends section 4 of the act to protect those individuals who seek:

(i) to expose illegal activity carried out by government officials, or

(ii) to obtain, exercise, defend or promote internationally recognized human rights and freedoms . . .

In other words, the defenders of human rights.

Furthermore, Bill S-226 seeks to amend subsection 35(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to render a permanent resident or foreign national inadmissible if found engaging in or instigating any sanctionable offence under SEMA or "for being a foreign national who is subject to an order or regulation made under section 4" of Bill S-226.

Honourable senators will remember the tragic case of Sergei Magnitsky. Bill S-226 is inspired by this case. Sergei Magnitsky was a lawyer living and practising in Moscow. While working for an American investment firm based in Moscow in 2008, Mr. Magnitsky uncovered a $230 million corruption scheme implicating numerous Russian interior ministry officials.

Following his testimony against these officials, Mr. Magnitsky was arrested on comparable accusations of tax fraud. He spent the next years imprisoned, suffering in unsanitary and deplorable conditions.

Denied a proper trial, his arrest and subsequent conviction were marred by a lack of transparency and due process. Despite developing gallbladder stones and pancreatitis, he was repeatedly denied adequate medical treatment.

One evening in early November 2009, several armed guards entered Mr. Magnitsky's cell. As he lay on the cold, damp floor writhing in pain, Mr. Magnitsky was brutally beaten. The injuries sustained from this beating, coupled with his already ailing health, proved too much. On November 16, 2009, at the age of 37, Sergei Magnitsky succumbed to his injuries and died in pretrial custody. He was survived by his mother, Nataliya; his wife, Natasha; and two young sons.

Mr. Magnitsky's case reflects the plight of countless brave individuals working to expose the illegal activities carried out by their governments in the pursuit of freedom, justice and democracy.

Mr. Magnitsky's case was unique due to his meticulous documentation of his treatment and abuse while in Russian custody.


While in prison for 358 days, Mr. Magnitsky produced 450 criminal complaints. Despite this evidence, not one of Mr. Magnitsky's abusers was brought to justice. Rather, he was posthumously tried and convicted by a Russian court on July 11, 2013.

Honourable senators, Mr. Magnitsky's sacrifice reflects the plight of countless activists and dissenters all over the world. Moreover, his case exemplifies the challenges facing our international human rights machinery.

In part, the bill before you today would call on the Government of Canada to seek justice on behalf of Sergei Magnitsky against all those involved in his illegal detention, torture and death. However, the bill moves beyond that: It would enable Canada to take a leadership role toward strengthening effective accountability for violations and crimes under international law. The bill takes into account the need to target gross human rights violators, wherever they or their assets may be hiding. It seeks to utilize internationally recognized human rights instruments, standards and definitions.

So why now for Bill S-226? For many reasons, as I have stated, but one of the most compelling is that the world is now more interconnected. Mobility and cyberspace allow negative activity to penetrate our borders. Therefore, it is important to give our government the tools to prevent, thwart or act to be sure that we are not enabling those who disregard basic human rights.

Vladimir Kara-Murza, deputy leader of the People's Freedom Party and coordinator of the Open Russia Movement, noted the following in an article in The Globe and Mail published on March 10, 2016:

For all the similarities between the Soviet era and present-day Russia, there is one major difference. While members of the Soviet Politburo were silencing dissent and persecuting opponents, they did not store their money, educate their children or buy real estate in the West. Many of the current officials and Kremlin-connected oligarchs do.

Sergei Magnitsky is illustrative of other such cases in the world. This bill contemplates that.

I also want to note that this bill does not bind the government, it empowers it. It gives to the government a tool to add to its deliberations in pursuit of Canada's foreign policy goals.

In adopting this legislation, Canada would join other parliamentarians in calling for justice. I note in particular the adoption of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act in the United States, passed by both houses and signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 4, 2012; a resolution passed in the European Parliament calling on the European Council to introduce "Magnitsky list" sanctions against Russia; a resolution passed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe; the unanimous adoption of a motion by the Justice and Human Rights Committee in Poland; a parliamentary petition launched in Sweden; and the unanimous adoption of a resolution by the Dutch Parliament.

I wish to remind honourable senators of actions previously taken in this chamber. Earlier this year, the second report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade was adopted. Our witnesses Mr. William Browder, Ms. Zhana Nemtsova and Mr. Vladimir Kara-Murza outlined the dire human rights situation in Russia and noted countless incidents of politically motivated oppression. Ms. Nemtsova spoke about the death of her father, Boris Nemtsov, a prominent Russian opposition leader who was assassinated inFebruary 2015 near the Red Square in Moscow. Mr. Kara-Murza, another key opposition member, described how he was targeted and likely poisoned, though fortunately he survived.

The committee concluded in its report with the following:

The Committee calls on the Government of Canada to condemn all foreign nationals implicated in the Magnitsky case and to impose sanctions against those individuals and others responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights in a foreign country, particularly when authorities in that country are unable or unwilling to conduct a thorough, independent and objective investigation of the violations.

I wish to also remind colleagues that this chamber adopted a motion in May 2015 that called for the Government of Canada to seek justice for Sergei Magnitsky and to take action against perpetrators of human rights violations in Russia and beyond. A corresponding motion, introduced by former MP Irwin Cotler, was unanimously adopted in the House of Commons.

Honourable senators, these actions lay the foundation for the adoption of Bill S-226.

Before concluding, I wish to honour and thank Mr. Bill Browder and Mr. Irwin Cotler for their tireless hard work and dedication to this cause. Mr. Browder's passionate crusade to seek justice for his friend and former lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, has shaped policy across much of Europe, the United States and now Canada.

Honourable senators, let us ensure that the bravery of activists like Mr. Sergei Magnitsky and Mr. Boris Nemtsov are not forgotten. Let us continue to uphold Canada's reputation for the protection of international human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law.

I urge the swift adoption of this timely and critical bill.

It should be noted that all major political parties pledged to pass the Magnitsky bill during the election. This bill ensures that we proceed on those promises.

Thank you, honourable senators.

Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, I am the critic from the Senate Liberal caucus for this bill, but I totally support it. I don't know if that's a contradiction or not.

I support this bill to ensure that those individuals responsible for the corruption and human rights abuses in Russia are held personally accountable for their actions. By now, all of us are familiar with the state of public institutions in Russia where democratic hopes raised by the collapse of communism have been overwhelmed by a quarter century of corruption masquerading as a free market and repression standing in for governance.

We have all have heard the list of Russian activists, journalists and parliamentarians who have faced prosecution, persecution and worse for standing up to the powerful interests in that country. The NGO Reporters Without Borders, for example, was careful to explain that Russia's rise in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index was due to worsening conditions elsewhere and not because of any progress made there. In fact, the organization stated that:

A witchhunt is being waged against independent media, which are increasingly branded as a "fifth column" seeking to destabilize the country.

The enduring features of the situation in Russia include the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for violence, including sometimes deadly violence, against journalists.

And it is not just reporters who need to fear for their safety simply because their work displeases the powerful. Earlier this spring, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate heard from Mr. Vladimir Kara-Murza, a leading figure in the NGO Open Russia, a vocal critic of the Putin regime. He recounted a health scare he experienced in Moscow, but "health scare" doesn't begin to describe it. He told our committee:

In May of last year, I slipped into a coma as a result of severe poisoning of unidentified origins that led to multiple organ failures. Medical tests showed an abnormally high concentration of several heavy metals in the blood, and medical experts told my wife that my chances of survival were 5 per cent.

The good news is that he recovered. The cause of this episode was never fully determined, but it does call to mind a long list of Kremlin critics who come down with terrible diseases, many of them fatal.


Less mysterious was the fate of the former Deputy Prime Minister, whose daughter appeared before the committee. She testified that the leader of the Russia pro-democracy opposition was shot and killed last May in the shadow of the Kremlin. The loss to his family needs no explanation, and according to his daughter, his assassination "left an enormous void in the entire democratic movement in Russia." It is reasonable to assume that may have been the very intent.

But perhaps, as Senator Andreychuk has stated, the most prominent example is that of Sergei Magnitsky, which is due in no small part to the efforts of his former colleague William Browder, who has done so much to call international attention to his case and achieve justice for what happened to him.

A tax lawyer, Magnitsky worked for a law firm hired by Browder's capital management company. They were investigating the theft of corporate seals and related documents. This theft, as we heard earlier, involved officials from the Russian Interior Ministry and led to the discovery of a $230 million tax fraud involving forgeries, shell companies and other complicated legal — to use the term loosely — proceedings.

As the investigation proceeded, Magnitsky came to the conclusion that far from being the source of the fraud, the company was, in fact, the victim of misconduct by corrupt officials and their associates. Unfortunately for Mr. Magnitsky, those officials were very well placed to turn the tables on Mr. Magnitsky, and he was charged with the crime and imprisoned. During this time, his health deteriorated because he was subjected to abuse and denied vital medical care. He died in custody in 2008.

However, even though he had died, the Russian government still tried and convicted him of tax fraud in July 2013 — about as strong a case of adding insult to injury as one can possibly imagine.

A more detailed description can be found in the book that Senator Andreychuk referred to as well, called Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice, which Mr. Browder wrote. To those who have not read that, I urge you to do so. The parliamentary library has a copy, if you don't feel like spending the money. It's on Heather Reisman's list of book picks. I read it about a year ago, and it's a tremendous read for anyone who wants to know much more detail.

However, Mr. Browder's book and his public activity have not, obviously, endeared him to the Kremlin and as a result he, too, would face numerous charges if he ever returned to Russia.

Key to Mr. Browder's fight for justice and remembrance of his friend is what has come to be known as the Magnitsky legislation: laws to ensure that those officials responsible for abuses of power like the one that befell Mr. Magnitsky would face sanctions to the effect that they, and their money, would no longer enjoy free access to the world economy.

The United States of America has passed legislation that would freeze the U.S. assets of any of these individuals, prohibit any transactions involving those assets to the United States and bar any travel to the United States by them personally.

Senator Andreychuk's bill would have a similar effect. A similar bill is currently in the House of Commons. Last year, a motion supporting such action passed in the house and was unanimous, as Senator Andreychuk indicated. At the time, then-Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler, a long-standing advocate of justice for many around the world, including Mr. Magnitsky, said:

The unanimous support of this motion sends a clear signal to human rights violators in Russia and around the world that they will be held to account for their crimes. By imposing sanctions, we can impose meaningful penalties on human rights violators and deter future violations.

And deterrence is the key. It is worth remembering that the whole Magnitsky story began with tax fraud. If there is one thing I have learned after spending years studying tax evasion, it is that until the perpetrators face real, personal consequences for their actions, their behaviour will continue. And so it is with those who abuse their positions of authority to enrich themselves and their cronies.

Unfortunately, again as Senator Andreychuk highlighted, despite earlier unanimous support of the principle, the actual legislation has hit a bump in the road with concerns being expressed by some in the government about the harm it might do to Canada's re-engagement with Russia. But the question is: Re-engagement on what terms?

During the 2015 election, again as Senator Andreychuk has highlighted, the parties were supportive of this bill. The Liberal Party of Canada, for example, stated that it:

. . . believes that, by imposing sanctions, we can impose meaningful penalties on human rights violators and deter further violations. A Liberal government will introduce legislation, modelled on US Magnitsky legislation, to impose sanctions against Russian officials responsible . . . .

That, senators, is pretty clear.

Well, we have a Liberal government, and as a long-time supporter of the Liberal party, I'm very pleased with many of the initiatives they have taken, such as the $444 million to the Canada Revenue Agency for overseas tax evasion, the child benefit and the list goes on and on.

But where is the action on this legislation? I, as a Liberal Party supporter, call upon the government to live up to the commitment they made in the election. And I call upon Minister Dion to bring forward the required legislation, which the previous Parliament supported, so we can pass this important legislation and send the Russian government a message that re-engagement is on our terms, not just on their terms.

To that end, I support Senator Andreychuk in this bill.

(On motion of Senator Bellemare, for Senator Harder, debate adjourned.)

Linguistic Plurality Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Jaffer, seconded by the Honourable Senator Hubley, for the second reading of Bill S-222, An Act for the promotion and advancement of Canada's linguistic plurality.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 4-15(3), I ask that this item be again adjourned in my name for the balance of my time.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Jaffer, debate adjourned.)


The Senate

Motion to Urge the Government to Take All Necessary Steps to Bring into Force by Order-in-council the Provisions of C-452—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Boisvenu, seconded by the Honourable Senator Dawson:

That the Senate urge the government to take all necessary steps to bring into force as soon as possible by order-in-council the provisions of C-452 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons), chapter 16 of the Statutes of Canada (2015), which received royal assent on June 18, 2015.

Hon. Yonah Martin: Honourable senators, I move the adjournment of the motion in my name.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Committee Authorized to Study the Role of Automation in the Healthcare System

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie, pursuant to notice of October 20, 2016, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology be authorized to examine and report on the role of automation in the healthcare system, with a particular focus on robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing, in:

  • Direct patient healthcare;
  • Indirect patient healthcare; and,
  • Home healthcare.

That the committee submit its final report no later than December 31, 2017, and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

He said: Honourable senators, this is an order of reference motion for the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. The committee is very enthused about moving forward in this area, which is one of the most remarkable developments in general, let alone with its potential impact on the health area. In consideration of the time of the meeting today, I will not speak any further. I should indicate that I hope the motion will be seconded by Senator Eggleton.

Hon. Joan Fraser: Would Senator Ogilvie take a question?

Senator Ogilvie: Certainly.

Senator Fraser: Do you plan to travel or incur other extraordinary expenses for this study?

Senator Ogilvie: Thank you, senator. I can assure you we will have no extraordinary expenditures, but the issue of travel would be determined by the total work plan if this motion is approved. We do not anticipate any extensive travel; I can assure you of that.

Senator Fraser: Would this essentially be travel within Canada?

Senator Ogilvie: Yes.

Hon. Art Eggleton: We haven't travelled in years. Don't hold your breath.

I second the motion. I think this is going to be a terrific study about things that are going to impact the health care system of this country tremendously.

Hon. Michael Duffy: Thank you, colleagues. Senator Ogilvie, could you give us, just in 30 seconds, what the difference is between direct patient health care and indirect patient health care? Home health care I think we know and direct patient health care we know. Indirect patient health care, it sounds exciting.

Senator Ogilvie: Thank you, senator. Yes, it does at first glance sound like an unusual situation with regard to health care. The issue here is, for example, delivery of health care in remote areas, the North and so on. I should just add that it's anticipated these technologies will allow that to occur with much greater benefit to the patients.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

National Finance

Committee Authorized to Meet During Sitting of the Senate

Hon. Larry W. Smith, pursuant to notice of October 20, 2016, moved:

That, for the purposes of hearing the Minister of Finance, during its consideration of Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act, the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance have the power to meet, even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.

He said: Honourable senators, I will make this very short. We tried to solicit the Minister of Finance to come before us to discuss Bill C-2. We have had some challenges up to this point. We approached his office again, most recently about a week ago. There seems to be some cooperation in that we would like to try to offer him a time that he would like to meet with us so that we could get this done and go through the process of looking at Bill C-2 with the minister himself.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)


Relevance of Full Employment

Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate) rose pursuant to notice of September 28, 2016:

That she will call the attention of the Senate to the relevance of full employment in the 21st century in a Globalized economy.

She said: Honourable senators, I know it's getting late, but I would still like to speak to my inquiry, which has to do with full employment in a globalized economy.

Canada is at a crossroads, as are most industrialized countries. Economic growth is slow, and there is nothing to indicate that it's going to improve significantly. On the one hand, our population is aging so quickly that some of our country's communities are withering. On the other hand, commodity prices remain lower than ever, and their rebound will be limited by the constraints of sustainable development. Our prosperity depends largely on an abundance of labour and our natural resources. Clearly, that can't last forever.

Economically speaking, we have hit a wall, considering the prospect of slower growth combined with weak demographic dynamics. This does not bode well for our future prosperity. We need to make a major shift, and quickly, in order to establish a new foundation to improve the standard of living of Canadians.



There are two main avenues the government can follow. The first one is enlarging income support programs and the welfare state, and hence creating new "entitlements," as if this would generate the wealth to pay for them. We all know that a society cannot progress that way.

The other avenue is engaging ourselves in the pursuit of full employment, and this is what I want to pursue.


Honourable colleagues, this summer I was invited to attend a conference on the relevance of full employment in the 21st century in the context of a forum organized by the Canadian Association on Business Economics. I was asked to take part in a session on full employment organized in honour of economist Mike McCraken, whom some of you may know. He founded the association and the company Informetrica and helped create economic forecasting models.


Mike died a year ago at the age of 75. Mike was a proponent of full employment.

The question I was asked to answer in this conference is whether full employment is still a relevant concept in the 21st century. My answer was, and still is, yes, indeed. And this is what I want to share with you.

Let me start by saying that full employment does not mean zero unemployment. It does not mean that people only work in life. It does not mean that all people are obliged to work and to accept low-quality jobs.

On the contrary, full employment is about individual economic independence, freedom and opportunity. It's about economic security. It's about professional and social mobility, and it is about social inclusion. It is also about adaptation, flexibility and security.

In a free and peaceful world, individuals need to be gainfully employed so that they can participate in the creation of wealth.

Full employment is a macroeconomic concept. In a free and democratic world, it means creating the macroeconomic conditions so that everyone who wants to work can find suitable employment. In such an economic world, workers are in demand, and there are incentives for employers to offer decent jobs.

In the first part of the 20th century, full employment was mainly a man issue. In the second part of the 20th century, it incorporated the woman cause. Now it is also about youth, minority groups and indigenous people finding decent jobs.

At its core, it is always about social integration.

Full employment is a social goal and an economic goal also. It is about pursuing long, durable economic growth. It is about enabling people to better their qualifications and to promote productivity. It is about improving the well-being of all citizens and pursuing a better distribution of income.

Pursuing full employment also goes hand in hand with pursuing trade and commerce in a globalized world, but doing that in an orderly manner where displaced workers are taken care of not by monetary compensation only but by being trained and offered a good job in new sectors of the economy.


Pursuing full employment is entirely consistent with pursuing a better environment and decisive targets for fighting global warming.


Employment, environmental and economic targets are not contradictory. It is quite the opposite. Full employment is a triple-E issue, in other words.


Before going any further, let us look at how famous economists have defined full employment. In my opinion, the clearest definition of full employment came from economist Lord John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s, and I quote:

Full employment is a situation in which everyone who wants to work at the prevailing wage rate is able to find employment near their home in their area of expertise.

Lord Beveridge, a contemporary and a great admirer of Keynes, elaborated on this concept. He said:

Full employment is defined as a state where there are slightly more vacant jobs than there are available workers.

For the past few years, Statistics Canada has been releasing data about the number of vacancies, and it is clear that Canada is a long way from full employment. In the first quarter of 2016, Statistics Canada reported 328,000 vacancies and 1.3 million unemployed workers in Canada. On average in 2015, there were 5.8 unemployed workers per available job.

The local and regional data are even more surprising. For example, in 2015, there were 13.6 unemployed workers per vacancy in Newfoundland, 19 in Nunavut, 11.6 in New Brunswick, 6.6 in Quebec and 4.4 in Alberta.


That said, the employment situation is relatively good compared to some European countries. Indeed, Canada enjoys relatively high employment rates; that is, the proportion of people of working age who are employed is higher than the OECD average. Around 70 per cent of people between 15 and 64 years of age have a job. However, the proportion of people above 65 is growing, and we need a larger workforce to tackle this issue.

Unemployment is relatively high in Canada. Indeed, it averages around 7 per cent, with wide regional variation: 12.3 per cent in Newfoundland and 5.5 per cent in British Columbia.


Other than those actively seeking work, many unemployed workers have become discouraged. Far too many of them are struggling with addictions in devitalized communities.

We are here to talk about whether full employment is a worthwhile goal for the 21st century. Is it old fashioned to raise the issue of full employment? I will try to get at the answer by asking other questions. For example, is it old fashioned to want young people to get paid for doing the work they were trained to do?

The official unemployment rate for young Canadians aged 15 to 24 is 13.2 per cent, and 46 per cent of young people work part-time. The proportion of young people not working, not seeking work, and not studying is quite large. According to the OECD, they represent over 10 per cent of the population, which is much higher than in a number of other countries.

Is it old fashioned to hope that aboriginal peoples looking for work can find good paying jobs? I don't think so. Is it old fashioned for us as a nation to want to create wealth and distribute it more equally? Is it old fashioned to want to implement tools that will enable workers and businesses to adapt to more intense global competition? I don't think so. Is it old fashioned to want to help people who settle in Canada find decent jobs? No, it's not.


The pursuit of full employment is as important today as it was in the past. Another reason why the pursuit of full employment is so important today is that the economy is increasingly globalized. Each country has to adapt more and more quickly to those economic changes. As Barack Obama said so eloquently in the House of Commons in June, globalization and free trade are matters of fact; they are not ideological choices.

Because they are so entrenched, it is futile to fight against them, so we had better adapt. The pursuit of full employment makes this easier because it helps to address the fear that walks hand in hand with change.

Similarly, the pursuit of full employment makes adaptation to technological change easier.

Pursuing full employment does more than partially compensate for a limited time those who are mainly affected by change. By investing in their permanent adaptation to change, it keeps them active participants in society. At the same time, it creates wealth for society.


For example, with the United States once again threating our forestry products' market access, which could cause the loss of thousands of jobs in Canada, we need to do more than provide partial unemployment compensation to bridge the gap between employment insurance and old age security for displaced older workers in the industry. We need to take measures similar to the targeted initiative for older workers.


There are other reasons to pursue full employment on a continuous basis. It prevents inflation in a growing economy, and it helps curb labour shortages by encouraging labour mobility.

Society should strive to achieve low unemployment rates because they are still useful indicators of the demand for gainful employment. For example, Alberta and Saskatchewan achieved unemployment rates as low as 3 per cent in the recent past.

Employment rates should also be taken into account because many people would like to work and are not looking for work, for all sorts of reasons. Employment rates capture this dimension.

In practice, what does a full employment policy really mean? When teaching at university, I researched that question with my friend and colleague Lise Poulin-Simon, who died in 1995. We did an in-depth study in the 1980s about labour market institutions and policies in countries well known for their success in that area. We wrote books about it. I updated this research in the 1990s and recently.


I have much to say about how we go about pursuing full employment that I have no time to explain here. This is why I intend to launch a set of inquiries on the subject. I will follow the procedure that Senator Nolin adopted for the reform of the Senate.

I hope these inquiries will interest other senators.


I hope that these inquiries will interest many senators, because I am convinced that a national conversation on full employment and concrete measures to achieve it would improve Canada's economic growth and better position Canada in the global economy.

That said, I am not the only one to maintain that full employment, just like price stability, is an objective we must strive to attain.

I am not the only one to claim that the pursuit of full employment must be a concrete objective and should not be considered as the result of an economic growth strategy. Sustainable economic growth flows from a strategy that focuses on the creation of quality jobs for all those who want to work.

The International Labour Organization's agenda for productive employment and decent work espouses from the outset this approach whereby the pursuit of full employment through appropriate economic policies supports the creation of decent jobs.

In its 2013 World Development Report entitled Jobs, the World Bank sets out a series of recommendations on this subject and urges economists responsible for public policy in this area to change the paradigm. It states:

Jobs are the cornerstone of economic and social development. Indeed, development happens through jobs. People work their way out of poverty and hardship through better livelihoods. Economies grow as people get better at what they do, as they move from farms to firms, and as more productive jobs are created and less productive ones disappear. Societies flourish as jobs bring together people from different ethnic and social backgrounds and nurture a sense of opportunity. Jobs are thus transformational—they can transform what we earn, what we do, and even who we are.


In summary, a full employment strategy is still relevant in the 21st century. It should strive for high employment rates for all groups and for all regions of the country. The unemployment rate by itself is no longer a sufficient indicator.

Finally, promoting full employment may require a change in perspective for policy-makers and a change in culture among some interest groups in society. So let us start a national conversation on the subject.

(On motion of Senator Mitchell, debate adjourned.)


Softwood Lumber Crisis

Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

The Hon. Ghislain Maltais rose pursuant to notice of October 20, 2016:

That he will call the attention of the Senate to the softwood lumber crisis.

He said: The situation is urgent, given that 250,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada are in danger, particularly in Eastern Canada. Producers, workers and forestry companies are extremely worried. The comments from the legislative deputy regarding full employment were a massive understatement, considering that we could lose up to 250,000 jobs. I would have expected her to urge her government to resolve this situation as soon as possible.

Negotiations have been very difficult, according to Raymond Chrétien, negotiator for the Quebec government. In the softwood lumber dispute, Canadian producers will be the biggest losers, and yet, we are still hearing about full employment. Quebec has been neglected in the softwood lumber negotiations, and yet, we are still hearing about full employment. In the softwood lumber dispute, Quebec's regions are being devastated, and yet, we are still hearing about full employment. All of Quebec will be affected, the Maritimes will be affected, and Ontario and the central provinces will be affected, and yet, we are still hearing about full employment. On September 15, Canadian producers lost $2 billion, but yet again, we are hearing about full employment.

Need I remind this chamber that softwood lumber is at the very core of Canadian identity? When the French first arrived in Canada, the first thing they did when they did not find any gold or spices was create an economy based on lumber. They built the first shipyards in Quebec City, at Lévis and Lauzon, to build ships and transport lumber to Europe.

After conquering the French, the British found that there was a fortune in lumber and they kept the Davie shipyards in Quebec City going. They built hundreds of ships with Canadian lumber. When steamboats replaced sailing ships, mechanization ensured that companies from the British Empire, the paper mills, set up shop in Canada, first in Newfoundland and then in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta.

They transformed lumber into paper for over 150 years. That is how each of the cities in these regions was founded, and people were well paid because they had a high cost of living.

I come from a northern region that was opened by paper mills. What happened when the paper industry went into decline with the arrival of new technologies? Softwood lumber replaced paper mills. It represents a fortune in exports for Canada. I am talking billions of dollars. Over 250,000 very well-paid Canadians have depended on this industry for their livelihood.

Today, their jobs and their industry are in jeopardy. What are government MPs doing? They are visiting the regions, telling industry representatives and workers to stay quiet so as not to harm the negotiations. One would think we were under the Stalin regime, Mr. Speaker. On the contrary, workers and the industry are concerned. Billions of dollars are at stake. This government needs to act now.

Need I remind you that, in 2006, the Conservative government renewed the softwood lumber agreement making it possible to return $5 billion to the industry and its employees? The Conservative government renewed the agreement for five years with a two-year option, which expires in October. Meanwhile, the Liberal government is setting up committees, consulting, making visits, and producing reports. How are the negotiations with the Americans going? What is happening?

Some Hon. Senators: No one knows.

Senator Maltais: When are you going to ask the government what it is going to do to reassure this industry and these workers who make their living from it? We are talking about a full employment economy and the future, but the future is in a few days from now when families have to buy groceries to eat. I beg you to give them an answer. The culture of secrecy is over because we live in a democratic society in 2016. It is time for the government to take its responsibilities and reassure these companies and these workers. I invite all senators from Canada's softwood lumber regions to add their voices in calling the government to account.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

(The Senate adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m.)

Back to top