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1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 108

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

THE SENATE

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

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

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, I will be speaking about autism tomorrow. There's an autism summit going on in Ottawa, and I hope honourable senators can come tonight to room 160-S where we have a reception planned after the deferred vote tonight between five and seven.

Some break weeks are better than other break weeks, and I found that out during the Special Olympic World Winter Games in Austria from March 16 to 23. Imagine 3,000 athletes from 105 countries, and as soon as it was time to say goodbye, as we left the historic city of Graz in Austria, the drive through the rolling countryside was filled with memories of an emotional week with new friends, Special Olympic athletes from all around the world.

What a week to remember. These were games where athletes with intellectual disabilities demonstrated the ability to win, the ability to care and the ability to love; and of course Team Canada was front and centre, winning gold, silver and bronze.

But at Special Olympics, it doesn't matter whether you finish first, last or anywhere in between because, as they say in this sport movement, it's about winning at life. It didn't matter to anyone that the spectacular opening ceremonies in the picturesque town of Schladming were drenched with rain. You only had to feel the energy in the stadium to know that it was the place to be.

It is hard to describe the emotion of watching Team Canada, led by Olympic gold medallist and world figure skating champion Jamie Salé, enter the open air stadium. I felt so much pride and excitement for our athletes, who had spent years preparing to compete on the world stage.

Our Special Olympics athletes were from all across the country. Being in their presence was a reminder of what an inclusive Canada looks like. From hugs to fist pumps, it was a time to share in the pure joy of winning and sometimes in the sorrow of losing, but nobody really loses at Special Olympics.

Everywhere you looked, there were Canadian flags and supportive families, and it's the families who are at the core of this movement. It is their belief in the athletes that connects us all. We can cheer, the federal government and corporate sponsors can support, but it is the Special Olympics family where it all begins.

Whether it was watching Peter Snider from Waterloo, Ontario, blasting across the finish line in snowshoeing, or Véronique Leblanc from Moncton, New Brunswick, in speed skating, it was clear that these games were about sport, about competition and, most important, about inspiration.

For one week in Austria, the sporting world took notice of 3,000 athletes who competed for the love of sport and for the love of each other. We can all learn from Special Olympic athletes what humanity should look like. We can learn about gratitude — about being grateful for participating in society just like anyone else — and about when a hug means everything or when sharing a moment is the only thing that matters. I shared in many moments in Austria, and I will always remember the tears flowing as I handed out medals in the main square. In that instant I thought, "This is what inclusion looks like."

In Special Olympics there is an oath: Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.

That is a lesson for all of us. 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 students and faculty from the Enactus Group at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and guests from Enactus Canada. These nine students represent a team of 80 students at Enactus Memorial who recently won the Enactus World Cup for the second time.

I would also like to recognize with them from Newfoundland and Labrador, members of Parliament Yvonne Jones, Ken McDonald and Gudie Hutchings and the Enactus Memorial Faculty Advisor, Ms. Lynn Morrissey.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Engagement of First Nations' Culture in Religion

Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, the issue of residential schools and their effects, mostly bad, and some small iota of good, has risen recently. The government, a number of years ago, apologized. So have the churches. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has reported and our society as a whole is beginning to take notice, I hope.

Governments at all levels are responding and trying to ameliorate the situation of Native people by providing more funding. In the recent budget, the federal government provided $205 million over five years for education. Climate change adaptation got $18 million over five years and off-reserve housing received $225 million over 11 years. Infrastructure received $4 billion over 10 years, and last year in the 2016 budget, there was $8.4 billion allotted for that cause. Health received $828 million. Languages received $50 million over three years, and there was $300 million for Northern housing, and $240 million of that to Nunavut, providing a total of $5.666 billion.

The provinces are opening their education curriculum to include a history and story of residential schools that occurred in their areas.

What about the churches of our country? This is what I want to deal with. The churches were at the forefront, on the ground, daily, yearly, decades, almost 100 years in some instances, in charge of Aboriginal children, using their control dominance and free hand to indoctrinate religion and the White culture and ways into the minds of Native people to rid the child of his or her Indian-ness. What are the churches doing to right the wrongs of the past century?

I'm suggesting that there be a national engagement and process begun, like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to engage with Aboriginal peoples of our country, to see how the cultural practices and spiritual beliefs can be incorporated into the churches' teachings, rituals and practices.

Such an undertaking and engagement should begin as a sign of sincerity and honest openness, and they may find there is some merit and worthiness in the practices and beliefs of Native people. I truly believe the religions of our country will be enriched by this process and eventual adoption.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Shona Armstrong, niece of the Honourable Senator Lang, accompanied by her husband, Zac Unger, and their three children: Percy, Maccabee and Zeek, who are visiting from California.

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

Battle of Vimy Ridge

One Hundredth Anniversary

Hon. Daniel Lang: Honourable senators, as I prepare to depart for Vimy Ridge, France, as a member of the Senate, it is my honour to rise today, as others will rise across this nation, in solemn tribute to a momentous battle a century ago.

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Colleagues, a recurring question in the great debate of our national identity remains: What major event marked the debut of a distinctly Canadian nation?

In answer I ask Canadians to recall our greatest generation, our forefathers, many who toiled in our vast western frontier, provincial hinterland, and Arctic expanse; of men and women who did not object to the rigors of war and the sacrifices of a comfortable life; and of a nation who saw conflict and tried to end it, that was given the impossible and overcame it, that began a war as one of many and returned home a heroic few.

I pay tribute today, colleagues, to the four Canadian divisions that advanced where the British and French were repulsed; to a fighting spirit born in the northern fields of France; and to an ethos that continues among our serving citizens to this day.

As many will recall with pride and with patriotism the events of April 9 to 12, 1917, and the Battle of Vimy Ridge, I pause with deep affection and gratitude rather for those 3,598 Canadians whose efforts that day did not bring them the reward of return or long life.

Instead they marched forward, dodged every countermeasure the Germans threw their way, carried on, but halted at a time and in a place no one could have known brought with it the end.

Those who fell and are immortalized in the grand tower of this Parliament would have found relevance in the great words of the benevolent and wise General Pyrrhus of Epirus.

Gold will I none, nor price shall ye give; for I ask none;
Come, let us not be chaff'rers of war, but warriors embattled.
Nay; let us venture our lives, and the sword, not gold, weigh the outcome.
Make we the trial by valour in arms and see if Dame Fortune
Wills it that ye shall prevail or I, or what be her judgment.

Of her judgment, we Canadians have been blessed by fortune. We have been made wealthy by our inheritance from their sacrifice. And we have intoned the virtue of peace, order and good government shielded by our women and men who stand on guard.

During the ninetieth anniversary commemoration of that historic battle, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada noted:

In any national story there are moments and places, sometimes far from home, which in retrospect can be seen as fixed points about which the course of history turns, moments which distinguish that nation for ever. Those who seek the foundations of Canada's distinction would do well to begin here at Vimy.

For their valour, perseverance and internal sacrifice, and "to all those who serve the cause of freedom," we remain thankful.

God bless Canada, God Save the Queen.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Ms. Suzanne Jacobson, Founder and President of QuickStart - Early Intervention for Autism, of Deliah Farrell, from Carleton University's Equal Voice Chapter who is shadowing the Honourable Senator Bernard for the day, as well as family members of the Honourable Senator Bernard, including her spouse, George Bernard, her daughter Candace Roker and son-in-law David Roker, and their children, Damon and Gavin Roker. They are all guests of the Honourable Senator Bernard.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

World Autism Awareness Day

Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: Honourable senators, I rise today to bring awareness to autism spectrum disorder. The term "spectrum" reflects the diverse challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism. I commend my colleague Senator Munson for his tireless work in advocating for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. I would like to underline the importance of his leadership that led to the adoption of An Act respecting World Autism Awareness Day and the landmark Senate report, Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis.

Thank you, Senator Munson, for your vital work.

I would also like to highlight the work of the charitable organization QuickStart - Early Intervention for Autism. Suzanne Jacobson, Founder and President of QuickStart, raises awareness and initiates programs to cut wait times, build capacity and promote improvements in early identification and intervention.

Yet despite all the work that has been done, there is still much stigma and silence around autism. Consequently, this often leads to lack of diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in the early years, which is especially significant for families who live on the margins, families who live in neighbourhoods of deep poverty, racialized and immigrant communities. Early diagnosis and early intensive behavioural therapy or intervention services are crucial in order to assist children with autism in reaching their full potential.

Of particular concern to me is the need to bring knowledge, awareness, analysis and action to African Canadians about autism spectrum disorder. Equally important is the need to create more awareness in the communities of people directly affected by autism spectrum disorder, and their advocates, about the additional burden of race and racism as well as barriers that African-Canadian children and adults with autism spectrum disorder must deal with over the course of their lifetime.

As a grandmother of two amazing boys, one who lives with autism, and his older brother who has an acquired brain injury, I am painfully aware of the multiple barriers that they face now and that they will face in the future. As a family, along with their parents, we use all of our resources to ensure they have the support and programs they need to ensure that they have a bright and promising future.

But private family resources are not enough. In the recent release of their report on the cost of raising children, Campaign 2000 noted that the cost of raising children with disabilities is much higher than average. For families, the financial burden is substantive.

We must be concerned about those children with diagnoses who have long waiting lists for inadequate public services. We ought to be concerned about those families who suffer in silence because they are not aware of the services in their area or they do not even have appropriate services in their communities.

Every child in Canada living with autism deserves to have early intervention and the level of support they need to live full, productive lives. There is an autism services crisis in Canada, and we need a national autism spectrum disorder strategy that addresses critical need for funding and policies.

Honourable colleagues, let's not be silent but stand together for equal rights for all children and families who are dealing with autism.

Refugee Rights Day

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today, on Refugee Rights Day, to thank Canadians for welcoming Ugandan refugees into Canada 45 years ago.

My father, Sherali Bandali Jaffer, a member of Parliament who had fought for Uganda's independence, and my family went from being Ugandans to being stateless overnight. My father fled Uganda as a person targeted to be killed. He barely managed to escape, leaving just as the Ugandan army had arrived at our home to take him. My husband was also detained.

Honourable senators, we lost everything. We lost our belongings, we lost our homes and, most of all, we lost our country, Uganda.

There were global efforts to give us asylum, under the leadership of the United Nations High Commissioner.

I would like to thank Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan and His Highness the Aga Khan for their hard work to get us asylum outside of Uganda.

Honourable senators, every hour we hear of refugees fleeing their homes by foot, boat and plane. I ask you not to turn a deaf ear to their pleas. These people flee because their families will be maimed, raped or killed if they stay in their homeland.

In Turkey, I met a Syrian father whose story emphasizes this. He said:

I stayed in Syria as long as I could. I thought things would improve, but when the bombs kept raining down near my home, I knew I had to flee.

The day we fled, my two eldest boys were captured. I never saw them again.

Two days into our journey we were struck by bombs. I lost my youngest child, and my eldest daughter lost all her limbs from barrel bombs.

I was a father to 6 children, but now half my family is gone and my daughter is in pain every day.

I did not want to flee my home, but I did to save my family.

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Honourable senators, there are thousands of people making this decision to leave their homes to save the lives of their families. On this refugee day, I would like to ask Canadians to continue to be compassionate as they were 45 years ago, when they opened their doors to my own family.

World Autism Awareness Day

Hon. Leo Housakos: Honourable senators, did you know that in 2016, one in every 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder? One in every 68. Compare that to one in every 150 children who received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in 2002. This is astonishing increase in just 14 years. This phenomenon has a profound effect on individuals, families and our nation as a whole.

My wife Demi and I were touched first-hand by this issue the day our dear friends, Mary Gouskos and Nick Katalifos, received the diagnosis of autism for their son Emmanuel.

Through them, we have seen first-hand the challenges and struggles that families dealing with autism are facing and applaud all who have stepped up to meet these challenges.

Early diagnosis and intervention are critical, yet the medical system is unable to keep up while the rates of autism continue to soar. Parents complain of the increasingly high costs of therapies while the public system has failed to provide adequate services. Schools across Canada are bursting at the seams as they try to keep pace with the rising number of students with autism.

And it's only going to get worse unless the federal government takes immediate steps to address the state of autism policy in Canada.

This simple yet startling reality was put front and centre 10 years ago by our own Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology in 2007, in its report Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis. The report called for a national autism spectrum disorder strategy — even back then — at the heart of which would be a plan to broaden educational and professional training opportunities for Canadians with autism.

A good start came under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, when the federal government allocated $11 million over four years to support training programs for autistic adults with the hope of assisting them into the workforce. Indeed, some corporations have also recognized that these individuals often possess talents and skill sets that are very valuable.

Many private organizations are attempting to fill those gaps. Take the example of Montreal's Giant Steps School and Resources Centre for Autistic Children. The school offers a comprehensive approach, including a variety of therapies and teaching methods.

But sadly, it is the only school in Quebec dedicated exclusively to autism. So, as you can imagine, there are more children on the waiting list than there are those receiving the help they desperately need and deserve.

While Giant Steps School must be commended, without sufficient support from the federal government, they and other organizations like them are facing a daunting task. The fact remains that we are not doing enough to support its efforts and other similar programs throughout our nation.

Every child is born with the same potential to achieve greatness, but each and every one of them has the ability to do it at a different speed and in different ways.

Indeed, when society learns to harness all of our children's strengths and leaves not a single one behind, only then will society truly maximize our combined potential as human beings.

Whether focusing on research and early intervention, family support services or job training, the time has come to develop a government-led, committed and coherent national policy on autism.

It has been a decade since our report was released, but senators haven't forgotten the daily struggle of these Canadians — nor will we.


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

President of the Public Service Commission

Certificate of Nomination and Biographical Notes Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the certificate of nomination and biographical notes of Patrick Borbey, the nominee for the position of President of the Public Service Commission of Canada.

[English]

Non-Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran Bill

Tenth Report of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee Presented

Hon. Percy E. Downe, Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, presented the following report:

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has the honour to present its

TENTH REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill S-219, An Act to deter Iran-sponsored terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations, has, in obedience to the order of reference of October 5, 2016, examined the said bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

RAYNELL ANDREYCHUK

Chair

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

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

Canada Prompt Payment Bill

Twelfth Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee Presented

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the twelfth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, which deals with Bill S-224, An Act respecting payments made under construction contracts.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 1471.)

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

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

President of the Public Service Commission

Notice of Motion to Approve Appointment

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

That, in accordance with subsection 4(5) of the Public Service Employment Act, S.C. 2003, c. 22, ss. 12 and 13, the Senate approve the appointment of Patrick Borbey as President of the Public Service Commission, for a term of seven years.

The Senate

Notice of Motion to Resolve into Committee of the Whole to Receive Mr. Patrick Borbey, President of the Public Service Commission, and that the Committee Report to the Senate No Later Than One Hour After it Begins

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

That, at the end of Question Period on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, the Senate resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole in order to receive Mr. Patrick Borbey respecting his appointment as President of the Public Service Commission; and

That the Committee of the Whole report to the Senate no later than one hour after it begins.

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Transport and Communications

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Issues Related to Federal Public Money on Loan to Bombardier Inc.

Hon. Leo Housakos: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications be authorized to examine and report on issues related to the 373 million dollars of federal public money on loan to Bombardier Inc., including but not limited to the overall value for investment on behalf of Canadians; and

That the committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than June 7, 2017 and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

Fisheries and Oceans

Committee Authorized to Meet During Sitting of the Senate

Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(a), I move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans have the power to meet on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at 6 p.m., even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Role of Churches in Achieving Reconciliation with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, I give notice that, pursuant to rule 5-6(2), two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to the role of churches, particularly the need for recognition and acceptance of aboriginal practices and spirituality, in achieving reconciliation with the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, pursuant to the motion adopted in this chamber on Thursday, March 30, 2017, Question Period will take place at 3:30 p.m.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Genetic Non-Discrimination Bill

Message from Commons—Amendment from Commons—Concurred In

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Eggleton, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Tardif:

That the Senate concur in the amendment made by the House of Commons to Bill S-201, An Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination; and

That a message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint that house accordingly.

Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about Bill S-201, An Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination, introduced by Senator Cowan on December 8, 2015.

This is one of the most studied pieces of legislation in our Senate's recent memory and it now returns back to the Senate having passed the house with an amendment.

While I have on multiple occasions expressed my support for the substance of this bill, notably that it creates rules to govern the use of genetic personal information, I've also made clear my apprehension about the constitutionality of legislation given that Bill S-201 could be interpreted to regulate matters which fall under provincial jurisdiction.

In fact, it's for this very reason that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice voted to gut the bill, and once that attempt failed have made it known that the next step is to refer this bill to the Supreme Court of Canada after the legislation receives Royal Assent.

I am interested and would be very curious to see the response from the Supreme Court on the issues of constitutionality that the government will refer, but I do not wish to delay this process in any way.

As Senator Eggleton explained in his remarks, Bill S-201 and Bill C-16 create a conflict with each other. If the passage of Bill S-201 is followed by the passage of Bill C-16, the amendments related to genetic discrimination would be replaced by the changes that Bill C-16 seeks to implement. This is because both pieces of legislation propose changes to an identical clause of the Human Rights Act.

Honourable senators, I understand many of you have strong opinions on Bill C-16. However, to make it very clear, this amendment neither supports nor opposes the intent of Bill C-16. It simply ensures that the intent of Bill S-201 is protected in the event that Bill C-16 does become law. Therefore, I'll be supporting the coordinating amendment that is now before us and I invite you to do so as well.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Canada Labour Code

Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Continued

Leave having been given to revert to Government Business, Bills, Third Reading, Order No. 1:

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Bellemare, seconded by the Honourable Senator Harder, P.C., for the third reading of Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act.

Hon. Scott Tannas: Honourable senators, I'm here to talk about Bill C-4, which accomplishes the repeal, effectively, of bills from previous Parliaments: Bill C-377, known as the Union Transparency Act, and Bill 525, which was an act to incorporate secret ballot voting into union certification.

I hope it would be useful for senators who were not here to get a history lesson on these bills, in particular Bill C-377, but a history on both bills because they were two separate bills and two entirely separate debates and circumstances. I'll start with Bill C-377, which is a private member's bill that was put forward by a member in the other place.

I can tell you that there were very passionate, strong feelings from the proponents of that bill in the other place, and there were stories that they provided of intimidation that they had received in their participation in union affairs in their previous careers. That formed the inspiration for those folks to draft this private member's bill on their own and to put it forward.

The bill was essentially designed to force very significant financial transparency by unions. The bill attempted to bring what I think everybody agrees is largely a provincial issue into the federal realm using the tax act.

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The timeline was that the bill actually passed in the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament, third reading on December 12, 2012. It came before the Senate, obviously, the next day, December 13, 2012. It then sat on the Order Paper here, in our place, for five months before second reading took place on May 7, 2013.

Then in the final days of the First Session of the Forty-First Parliament, in June — many of us remember it well — we undertook furious, passionate debate, and we ultimately passed it with an amendment on June 26, 2013. Conservative Senator Hugh Segal and others here spearheaded a last-minute amendment that allowed us to pass it on third reading and send it back to the other place. The truth is we knew that by sending it back to the other place, it would die on the Order Paper because prorogation was imminent, but we did it and sent it back to the other place rather than passing it.

After prorogation, there was a Speech from the Throne. Bill C-377 was reinstated in the House of Commons on October 16, 2013, and found its way back in our laps again, this time without the amendments that we had put forward in the previous June but back in its original state. It came to us for first reading on October 17, 2013.

Second reading occurred 13 months later — are you seeing a pattern here? — on November 25, 2014.

Senator Mercer: It was still bad legislation.

Senator Tannas: Then we waited until June 2015 for final reading, seven months later.

I want to make clear that Bill C-377 was something that many senators on both sides were never comfortable with, and that was evidenced continually by the fact that it languished for so long on the Order Paper here. Each time we waited until the last possible minute to pass it, as we did with an amendment in the first place, and when it turned up again after prorogation, we held onto it as long as we could before we finally passed it on the final sitting day before the 2015 general election.

I want to talk about what it was like for many of us, but in particular for me. I heard those pleas from colleagues talking about the need for something to be done around transparency, stories of union members who got up and asked a question about how much somebody got paid or how much of their dues were going to support political organizations or other organizations, and they were told to sit down, that that was not their business. Worse yet, some of them were approached in the parking lot and told that that was inappropriate.

It's clear to me that there is a need for transparency that does not exist in the unions today, but it was also made abundantly clear to many of us, I think, that this bill was not going to solve that problem or potentially went a little too far, some would say a lot too far.

Nonetheless, I felt pressure not to undo the work that my colleagues in the other place had put forward. Many of our colleagues who were passionate advocates of the bill were extremely frustrated with the intransigence of the Senate. There's no question about that.

Colleagues, I've often wondered whether or not Bill C-377 would have passed if we had had a secret ballot here. I think I know the answer. I think we all know the answer, and that brings me to Bill C-525.

This is a bill that was brought forward to bring secret ballot voting on union certification with respect to federally regulated industries. Bill C-525 came to the Senate on April 10, 2014, for first reading and I was the sponsor of it. There were speeches made by myself, Senator Baker, Senator Fraser, Senator Cowan, Senator Bellemare and others.

Senator Fraser and Senator Cowan said the bill was not needed, that it was a solution in search of a problem, and that union intimidation is not an issue. They pointed to the fact that there were virtually no complaints by anybody that they had been intimidated by their union. No single person had made a complaint against their large union that they had been intimidated — not surprising to many of us. But that was one of the pieces of the argument put forward on the other side, that there was no evidence of union intimidation.

Senator Fraser and Senator Bellemare's main arguments against Bill C-525 were on the delay in the timeline between the call for a vote and the vote actually taking place. That delay is where there was an opportunity for intimidation by the employer.

On the other hand, in her speech, Senator Bellemare actually stated a few points of support for a secret ballot. She did in fact abstain at third reading, but here are some of her words: Secret ballot can contribute to the increased credibility and legitimacy of unions; the membership card accreditation system has existed since the early days of unionization; it's proven useful in the past, but one can see how this system might have to be reviewed in the 21st century.

She quotes Mr. Larry Seiferling, a lawyer from Saskatchewan who worked with both unions and lawyers, who testified at the committee and said:

There are a number of problems I've seen in my practice associated with card-based certification that can only be corrected by employees having the right to vote by secret ballot before a union is certified.

He told the committee that the secret ballot is important to ascertain that democracy is pursued within the workplace. According to his testimony, a secret ballot is the closest thing we have to ascertaining that a majority of employees want to join a union.

Other than these major arguments, there were a few short points made against secret ballot: It makes it harder to unionize; it will require more resources from the board; and the bill needs safeguards to properly protect employees.

But another problem with the bill was discovered by Senator Bellemare and Senator Cowan, which was a drafting error in the bill. It didn't involve the concept of secret ballot voting, but it was a piece of the bill from which an amendment had taken out the substance and left this little piece that essentially took away some powers from the regulators that had to do with employee relations and certification and decertification.

We heard testimony, however, at committee that those powers were derived in a number of places and that there was a workaround for them that got the boards and other regulators to the same point that they were before the bill. Nonetheless, it was a drafting error, and knowing we had a drafting error caused difficulty for many of us to vote for it, even though intellectually we may have been in support of a secret ballot.

Nonetheless, we did pass the bill. We passed it with a promise, which many of us heard, that the drafting errors would be fixed in an upcoming budget implementation bill, and that promise was never fulfilled.

I'd like you to consider some points before I put my amendments forward. Number one, where we are going to go and where we were before is this: There will be no secret ballot for certification of a union, but there must be a secret ballot for decertification of a union, and there must be a secret ballot for switching from one union to another. How does that make sense? If there is not a calculation in there that is an imbalance, I can't explain it. I asked witnesses. Nobody could tell me why it is that a secret ballot is absolutely necessary when one union is going against another but not when a person is wanting to make a full and informed decision on whether or not to begin a union.

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It made no sense to me. I think it is an essential, logical inconsistency that is the elephant in the room every time we meet to talk about this with the unions.

The vast majority of Canadian workers today are under the auspices and the jurisdiction of the provinces, and the vast majority of those workers have mandatory secret ballots. Today, seven provinces use mandatory secret ballots: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan. So we are going to go back to a time that has long passed when, in fact, seven out of 10 of our jurisdictions have gone in the other direction.

Here's another little fact: The majority of Canadian workers support secret ballot for unionization. Interestingly, unions have never publicly released an opinion poll of their members on whether or not they support secret ballot. I think we know the reason why; because there is one public opinion poll out there from Léger Marketing, a reputable, well-known firm across this country, that says 83 per cent of Canadian unionized workers support the idea of a secret ballot vote.

I think we have additional evidence. As you know, before Bill C-4 went into committee, we were all swamped with thousands of emails from people talking about this bill. If you read those emails, they all talked about the unfairness, the targeting and the nastiness of Bill C-377. Not a single one of those emails spoke about the secret ballot. They were not told about it. When they were told to fill in their form and send it off, they were not told, "Oh, by the way, we're getting rid of secret ballot. Aren't you happy about that?" Not one email in the thousands we got before this bill went to committee specifically said from those citizens that they wanted to get rid of secret ballot.

The Hon. the Speaker: Excuse me, senator, your time has expired. Are you asking for five more minutes?

Senator Tannas: Yes.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Tannas: We've heard the argument that secret ballot causes fewer unions to be certified. That's not our problem. That's a decision for workers to make. Our job is to make sure that they have the proper atmosphere to make an informed choice without fear of intimidation, either from an employer who knows how they voted or their colleague who knows how they voted.

Unions need to focus on the fact that perhaps their value-for-money proposition has changed. Perhaps the employer and employee power balance has shifted; perhaps a lack of transparency of where dues go, what level of compensation the leadership enjoys and what outside non-workplace activities are being funded. Those are some things that unions need to consider, but I do not believe that it is credible to say that the secret ballot somehow is the enemy of free and informed choice.

Therefore, I'd like to put forward amendments that will do two things. They will retain the secret ballot vote and will fix the problems in the drafting errors that were made in Bill C-525 when it was passed two years ago.

I have it here, Your Honour. Shall I read it?

The Hon. the Speaker: Please.

Senator Tannas: These are lengthy. They have been developed by the clerk in consultation with both the Library of Parliament and the law clerk, and they are detailed.

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Tannas, the amendment, even though it's lengthy, has to be read completely for the record.

Senator Tannas: Yes, I'm going to. Thank you.

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Scott Tannas: Therefore, honourable senators, I move:

That Bill C-4 be not now read a third time, but that it be amended,

(a) by deleting clause 1, on page 1;

(b) by deleting clause 2, on pages 1 and 2;

(c) by deleting clause 3, on page 2;

(d) in clause 4,

(i) on page 2, by replacing lines 30 to 36 with the following:

"4 Section 39 of the Canada Labour Code is replaced by the following:

39 (1)If, on receipt of an application for an order made under subsection 38(1) or (3) in respect of a bargaining agent for a bargaining unit, the Board is", and

(ii) on page 3, by replacing line 1 with the following:

"satisfied, on the basis of the results of a secret ballot representation vote, that a majority of the employees in the bargain-";

(e) by deleting clause 5, on page 3;

(f) by deleting clause 6, on page 4;

(g) by deleting clause 7, on pages 4 and 5;

(h) on page 5, by adding after the heading "Public Service Labour Relations Act" after clause 7, the following:

"7.1 Paragraph 39(d) of the Public Service Labour Relations Act is replaced by the following:

(d) the authority vested in a council of employee organizations that is to be considered the appropriate authority within the meaning of paragraph 64(1.1)(c);";

(i) by deleting clause 8, on pages 5 and 6;

(j) by deleting clauses 9 to 11, on page 6;

(k) on page 6, by adding after line 35 the following:

"11.1 Subsection 100(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:

100 (1) The Board must revoke the certification of a council of employee organizations that has been certified as a bargaining agent if the Board is satisfied, on application by the employer or an employee organization that forms or has formed part of the council, that the council no longer meets the condition for certification set out in paragraph 64(1.1) (c) for a council of employee organizations.";

(l) by deleting clauses 14 and 15, on page 7; and

(m) by deleting clause 16, on pages 7 and 8.

The Hon. the Speaker: In amendment, it was moved by the Honourable Senator Tannas, seconded by the Honourable Senator Unger, that Bill C-4 be not now read a third time but that it be amended — may I dispense?

Hon. Senators: Dispense.

The Hon. the Speaker: Question? Senator Tannas' time has expired again. Do you want to ask for time to answer a question, Senator Tannas?

Senator Tannas: Yes, please.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Hon. Frances Lankin: Thank you, Senator Tannas. I appreciate you taking the time to go through the history of this.

I'm actually not going to ask you questions on the content or the philosophical underpinnings of it. I want to ask a couple of procedural questions, if you could help me.

Without being able to reference in real-time against the bill, is the effect of this amendment to replace the language that was in the previous bills that you referred to that was passed with respect to secret ballot vote and to correct the error in the drafting? It would refer it back to what had been passed before; is that correct?

Senator Tannas: That's essentially right. My understanding is that if we reinsert "secret ballot," it then creates the problem that was there before, so that's why we have to put that additional amendment.

Senator Lankin: Thank you. As I am learning the ways of the Senate, my understanding is that there is a convention that we look to called the Salisbury Convention. It suggests that if a party that forms the government has campaigned on a commitment and has been given the popular mandate by the people, when this comes to the Senate, we won't overturn or make major amendments to the bill in such a way as to overturn, destroy and gut the intent of the commitment that had been made during the election.

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I think what I'm reading is that this, in fact, would revert back to the previous bill that had been passed before election campaign and would thus gut the commitment that the current government has made in the campaign and is fulfilling by this. Could you speak to that issue, please?

Senator Tannas: Let me say a couple of things. First of all, we've already crossed that Rubicon here in this chamber with our actions on the RCMP bill. We specifically put secret ballot into the RCMP bill in this place.

I think we have intellectually already made a move in this area. You can say, "Well, back then the RCMP wasn't," but I suspect part of the same promise was that the government would move to allow for unionization of the RCMP. That promise was probably made to the same set of ears that the other two were.

I think it's also it's fair to say that we have pretty good evidence from the emails that we received that the public was really not aware of what was there. The workers who sent us the passionate emails on Bill C-377 did not understand that component of it, and the Liberal Party platform did not go into any pains to talk about what specifically Bill C-525 was. We also have the evidence and the comfort that this is supported by the vast majority of unionized workers.

I agree. It is something that I considered, and I think we all have to consider it as we make our choices about sober second thought on the right thing to do here. To me, it's been dealt with.

[Translation]

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I would first like to point out to Senator Tannas that I have received a number of emails from people suggesting that we repeal Bill C-525. People are quite anxious to see this bill repealed. I have also received a considerable number of emails on Bill C-377. People know that these two bills are part of Bill C-4 and that they have to be repealed.

[English]

Another thing I would like to point out about what you said, before I attack your amendment, is the fact that the actual or the proposed system of accreditation for unions does not involve a secret ballot. It does. It's written, the conditions, and more so all the processes of certification of unions that will be re-established, and that's the point. This is where it's different from what's going on in other provinces. It is managed by a tripartite board, where the employers are represented — the employers, unions and the government. The tripartite board just managed the system of certification of unions, so if something goes wrong with respect to employers, the employers can phone their employers' representative.

[Translation]

Colleagues, I will be brief. I will confine my remarks to the amendment before us because I believe that we have said enough about this bill. I rise today to urge you to vote against this amendment.

[English]

I invite you to vote rapidly against this amendment. Make no mistake, colleagues, even though Senator Tannas is very convincing and is a very nice guy, this amendment —

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Bellemare: Yes, of course he is a nice guy. I always thought so, but make no mistake: This amendment is not as friendly as its mover, as the sponsor. This amendment is not a friendly amendment. Be careful.

If adopted, it will bring us nowhere. Every one of you knows that this amendment will be rejected in the other place because it is an electoral promise and because it is a good thing to do. Also, it is the equivalent of voting against more than half of the bill.

Some of you may wonder, and I think it's important to explain, why this amendment is being introduced now and why it was not introduced in committee. It is useful to put on the record that this amendment is presented at third reading because it would likely have been ruled out of order at the committee stage. Let me elaborate on this subject.

[Translation]

Colleagues, the amendment proposed by Senator Tannas seeks to remove from Bill C-4 all the clauses having to do with repealing Bill C-525, and it corrects certain errors. This amendment seeks to uphold in the Labour Code the certification system provided for in the bill introduced by members in the other place. It also corrects the errors that slipped through in December 2014.

[English]

In other words, if adopted, this amendment would have the effect of withdrawing, from Bill C-4, the abrogation of Bill C-525. If amended in this way, since Bill C-4 would abrogate Bill C-377 and correct the technical errors of Bill C-525, this could not have been done in committee because it goes against the principle of the bill adopted at second reading.

[Translation]

There are indeed rules on the admissibility of amendments presented in committee and it is up to the chair of the committee to enforce those rules. One of these important rules stipulates that amendments must respect the scope and principles of the bill. Senate Procedure in Practice states, on page 141:

An amendment must respect the principle and scope of the bill, and must be relevant to it. It is a fundamental principle that "[a] committee is bound by the decision of the House, given on second reading, in favour of the principle of the bill, and should not, therefore, amend the bill in a manner destructive of this principle."

The amendments moved today would not have been admissible in committee because they are contrary to the principle of Bill C-4 and narrow its scope. The principle of the bill is to restore the balance in labour relations that existed before Bill C-525 and Bill C-377 were passed. Bill C-4's summary is very clear, as was the testimony of the Minister of Employment, Patty Hajdu, before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. In her testimony, she stated the following:

[English]

Let me begin by explaining to you our government's objectives with Bill C-4, and that is to restore fairness and balance in labour relations between unions and federally regulated employers. . . . Bill C-4 seeks to repeal Bill C-377 and Bill C-525, two bills which disrupted that balance. Honourable colleagues, that fairness and that balance matter both in the substance of the bills and in the process through which the legislation was brought forward. Unfortunately, those bills failed in both regards.

It is clear that the amendments of Senator Tannas go against the principle of restoring balance and fairness in labour relations. Indeed, both Bill C-377 and Bill C-525 changed the balance in labour relations against unions and in favour of employers. Taking one bill out is an attack to the principle of the bill. This is why those amendments could not be presented in committee.

[Translation]

Basically, Senator Tannas could not present these amendments in committee because, as I said, the Senate approved the principles of Bill C-4 at second reading.

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The rules regarding amendments presented at third reading are more lenient, even if these amendments have the effect of blocking the bill.

[English]

The rules concerning the acceptability of amendments in third reading are different from those governing the amendments at committee stage. It looks like the amendments of Senator Tannas are receivable, even though they are not pertinent and are equivalent to voting against an important part of the bill.

[Translation]

I said earlier that these amendments are not "friendly" because they go against the very principles of the bill. For that reason, I urge you to vote against them.

In fact, dear colleagues, when we really think about it, no amendment can really fix the problems contained in Bill C-377 or those created by Bill C-525. It is impossible to correct the imbalance in labour relations that the passage of these bills created without repealing them. No amendment can correct Bill C-377 to make it constitutional, respectful of privacy, or better balanced with regard to employers without the bill becoming unrecognizable. Similarly, no amendment can fix the fact that Bill C-525 is not the result of the tripartite consultation process used in federal labour relations.

In short, no amendment can transform these bills into two good bills. They must be repealed because they promote unstable labour relations and threaten the economic growth of the middle class. If a government wants to make changes to union accountability or accreditation — and I do mean a government and not individual members — it must start the process from square one with the parties involved, namely, the unions and employers.

During the campaign, the government promised to repeal this legislation. The House of Commons passed Bill C-4 with the support of over 70 per cent of its members. The Senate still has the power to refuse to pass the bill, but it would be ill-advised to do so. I therefore ask you to vote against this amendment and to pass Bill C-4 as quickly as possible.

(On the motion of Senator Ringuette, debate adjourned.)

[English]

National Anthem Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Lankin, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Petitclerc, for the third reading of Bill C-210, An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender).

Hon. Marilou McPhedran: Your Honour, colleagues, this bill is currently adjourned in Senator Wells's name. I seek consent to return to the adjournment in his name at the end of my speech.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is that agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Senator McPhedran: Thank you so much. Today, more than 5 million children and youth in Canada were required to participate in our national anthem. More than 2.5 million girls yesterday, today and tomorrow, in fact more than 190 times in just one year, were excluded because they are not "sons." Boys are also negatively affected when Canada makes them complicit in this exclusion more than 2,000 times in their expected student lives.

Words matter. Words inspire, and words encourage. But words damage those they exclude and those they make complicit in that exclusion.

The words "in all of us" do not exclude. If other countries choose to perpetuate racism or sexism or other forms of xenophobia in their anthems, this does not excuse Canada. Words hurt.

I ask honourable senators to use our power to end this damage to the youth of Canada and to respect the gender equality embedded in our Constitution for all of us.

(On motion of Senator McPhedran, for Senator Wells, debate adjourned.)

Canada Evidence Act
Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Thirteenth Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the thirteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (Bill S-231, An Act to amend the Canada Evidence Act and the Criminal Code (protection of journalistic sources), with amendments), presented in the Senate on March 9, 2017.

Hon. Serge Joyal moved adoption of the report.

He said: Honourable senators, I seek leave because I am standing in for Senator Baker who has requested that I introduce the report today. Senator Baker was the chair of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. I did attend, of course, the meetings of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and I need your concurrence to be able to act on his behalf in that capacity.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Joyal: Thank you, honourable senators. I'll look at my watch. I will try to keep my remarks short.

Bill S-231 is entitled an Act to amend the Canada Evidence Act and the Criminal Code (protection of journalistic sources.)

Honourable senators will remember that that private member's bill on the Senate floor was introduced by our colleague Senator Carignan, following, as you know, a lot of reports in the media in relation to investigations that took place against journalists in the improper, I should say, legalistic context.

The bill introduced by Senator Carignan was the object of extensive debate and study at Legal and Constitutional Affairs. I would like to list just a few names of the witnesses that we had the opportunity to hear. We had, of course, a coalition of Canadian media, including the Toronto Star, the National Post, The Globe and Mail, French CBC, English CBC, Le Devoir, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, la Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec. We heard also from representatives of the Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers, from lawyers from the firm Gowling. We also heard lawyers from Canadian Media Lawyers Association. We heard the Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, plus, of course, experts from the university community and, of course, authors and retired journalists.

The committee had an extensive opportunity to delve into the proposed legislation. Your committee comes forward with five groups of amendments. The first amendment deals essentially with the definition of journalist. The original definition of journalist didn't contain the elements of restitution or the elements of, I should say, pay that are essential to try to circumscribe the group of journalists that would be covered by the bill.

For the purposes of the bill, we proposed that the definition of journalist include "a person whose main occupation is to contribute directly, either regularly or occasionally, for consideration." The word "consideration" is very important. Consideration can be anything, of course: It could be money, it could be access to certain benefits and it could be compensation of any sort.

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The essential element of the definition is an individual who is a journalist, as I say, who contributes directly, either regularly or occasionally, for consideration to the collection and dissemination of information. That is the first amendment, and it stems from the representation we had from the police associations and, of course, from the coalition of news media. So it's essentially the expression of that preoccupation they had.

The second amendment is in relation to extending the journalist protection to those who were journalists when a situation happened and they chose not to reveal their sources. So in other words, it would extend the definition of journalist to those who have been journalists in the past but might find themselves in another professional capacity or who have ceased to be a journalist.

The third amendment, and my personal comment in relation to it is I think it is an important one, states that when a court has to authorize the disclosure of information, the bill provides that there be two elements that the court would consider, and your committee is adding a third one. That third element is essentially that due consideration was given to all means of disclosure that would preserve the identity of the journalistic source.

In other words, when a person seeks to authorize the disclosure, it has to pay due consideration to all other means of disclosure that would have preserved the journalistic source. The authorization to disclose the journalist's source comes only when we have spent all other ways to provide the source.

The fourth amendment is essentially to extend the warrant procedure to those of a general purpose. The list of the bills included search warrants and other warrants provided in the code but not the general warrant of section 487.01; section 487 was essentially the amendment that we made.

Finally, the last amendment was also requested by the coalition of media, which is essentially that when a judge is requested to issue a warrant, he or she will have to balance what we call the public interest on one side and the prosecution of criminal offences on the other side.

The judge would find themselves in a situation where they would, in fact, have to act as an investigator to find if the protection of public interest has been sufficient as promoted, of course, by those seeking the warrant.

So we have provided that there will be a special advocate there, at the request of the court, to balance the requests of the police forces on one hand and the serving of the public interest on the other. The special advocate would be there to speak on behalf of the public interest.

I will mention again that the amendment was proposed by the witnesses that we heard from. So then the amendment would read:

The judge to whom the application for the warrant authorization order is made may, in his or her discretion, request that a special advocate present an observation in the interests of freedom of the press concerning the conditions set out in the bill.

In other words, it's to balance the bill. In a nutshell, honourable senators, you will understand that the study of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee was extensive with the list of witnesses we've heard from. The subject is of great interest, honourable senators. You might have read in the paper last week that the Court of Appeal of Ontario made a decision in relation to a magazine called Vice regarding the disclosure of journalistic sources. The issue is still pending, and it is an issue that we have to address as a country.

Many other countries have already addressed it. In the United States, and in other parts of the western world, countries such as France, Britain, New Zealand and Australia, which are comparable to us in terms of democratic parameters, have protection for journalistic sources and I think that your committee has done its due diligence in studying this bill. I'm happy to report on behalf of the deputy chair of the committee, Senator Baker, that with the consideration of those amendments, I think your honourable chamber can continue to debate the bill at third reading.

Thank you, honourable senators.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

It was moved by the Honourable Senator Joyal, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cordy that the report be adopted.

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

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

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

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

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it being almost 3:30, the minister who is to appear is a person with a disability and we will need at least five minutes to ensure that he's set up properly for Question Period.

With leave of the Senate, I recommend that we suspend for five minutes.

Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(The sitting of the Senate was suspended.)

(1550)

(The sitting of the Senate was resumed.)


QUESTION PERIOD

Pursuant to the order adopted by the Senate on December 10, 2015, to receive a Minister of the Crown, the Honourable Kent Hehr, the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence appeared before honourable senators during Question Period.

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before proceeding to Question Period, let me apologize for that rather lengthy five minutes. It appears that the minister was recalled for votes, so may I suggest that in the future we wait until the minister is actually at our door before we suspend. We could have continued with 20 to 25 minutes of debate.

Honourable senators, pursuant to order of the Senate, we will now proceed to Question Period. Today we have with us the Honourable Kent Hehr, P.C., M.P., Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence.

Minister, on behalf of all senators, welcome to the Senate.

The Senate

Equality of Senators

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Minister, welcome to the Senate of Canada. My question today is not for you at this point. It's a question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I have not had a chance to ask these questions before.

This is my first opportunity to question the government leader on remarks he made last week to the CBC differentiating between the two classes of senators, those who are appointed under the old partisan process, in his view, and those who have been appointed on the basis of merit, again in his view. I think this is an important issue that we bring up because it's an issue that affects all of us in this room and it affects the way we're either going to work together or not work together.

After making a clear class distinction between two senators, Senator Harder said:

I don't want to suggest that one class of senators is inherently superior to another class of senators [but] to be able to have, in the Senate, senators of the quality of Murray Sinclair —

— sir, a tribute to you, of course —

— is a tribute to the modernization, and a more independent, less partisan Senate.

Senator Harder, your comments were disrespectful to your fellow senators, dismissive of the work we do in this chamber and in committee, and harmful to the relations that we have amongst each other in this place. It's one of the issues that we're talking about, often together, trying to get people to work together in a cohesive manner but something that gets the legislation done, respecting the fact that we are the loyal opposition on our side.

Senator Harder, would you address us and apologize for your comments, or do you still maintain that there are two classes of senators? Help us out, sir.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the senator for his question and don't want to defer too much time with respect to the guest that we have, but his question is entirely appropriate. I want to have the early occasion, as his question itself presents, to assure all senators that it was not my intent in expression nor my intent in practice to suggest that all senators are not equal. The need for all senators to work together is the basis for moving forward.

I want to take this early opportunity to speak to all senators and to assure all senators of my commitment to work together on government business, on Senate public bills, and to advance the interests of the Senate as we move forward.

(1600)

Senator Tkachuk: Apologize.

Senator Smith: As a supplementary, Senator Harder, because it is so important to all of us in this room: Is an eminently qualified gold-medal athlete, for example, appointed to the Senate under the current system better than an Olympic athlete appointed under the former system? We have two outstanding world-class athletes that we all respect and like.

[Translation]

Second, is a former mayor of a town in Quebec — he knows who he is —

[English]

— appointed to the Senate under the current system better than a former mayor of a town in Quebec appointed under the former system? Is a respected jurist from the Prairies appointed to the Senate under the current system better than the respected jurist from the Prairies appointed under the former system? Last, would a farmer appointed under the current system be a better individual than a farmer appointed under the previous system, if the government ever so decided to make this appointment?

Could you please explain the difference between senators appointed by the current Prime Minister and those appointed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Prime Minister Paul Martin, who are members of this place and contribute to work on behalf of all Canadians?

Senator Harder: Again, I thank the honourable senator for his question. Absolutely, they do. Let me assure all senators that the unequivocal answer is that, of course, all senators work together and are working in a collaborative fashion as we modernize the Senate. I welcome that collaboration across whatever the appointment process was. I do, though, want to acknowledge that the appointment process in place is different and it does allow Canadians to see that process in play.

With respect to the question from some senators with respect to apology, I did not use the word "apology." But if that is the word one wants, I apologize to all senators who interpreted my remarks in that fashion. That certainly is not how I hope you have learned how I work over the course of now almost a year, and it is not my style to act with that kind of language or divisiveness. To that extent, please, let's move forward.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: I always find it strange when apologies are qualified. I had an apology here a few weeks ago that if Senator Plett was offended — if he was offended — I apologize.

I want to follow up on this. I do apologize, minister, to you, that we are taking valuable time away from your time here, but my question is a follow-up to our leader.

Following on your comments about the so-called merit-based appointments that are apparently an anomaly in this chamber, thanks to the Trudeau government, leader, you are anxiously agreeing to have senators who are appointed through the traditional system come and join your eminently superior caucus.

In your caucus, leader, of three — one a Liberal, one a Conservative and, of course, yourself — how are you able to work so closely and collaboratively with senators who, according to you, leader, were not appointed based on their merits? Do they become better or more qualified and more merit-based once they have crossed the floor?

Senator Harder: Let me simply say how pleased I am to work with the senators to whom the honourable senator refers. Nothing could be closer to proof of wanting to work with all senators as wanting to work with Senators Mitchell and Bellemare.

The Hon. the Speaker: I'm sorry, Senator Plett, but the agreed-upon process by the leaderships is that we will start with two questions from the opposition side with one supplementary to the leader; then we will go to the leader of the independent Liberals, then two independents, and then back. After we have exhausted Question Period, if you have supplementary questions, you will be called upon then.

Ministry of Veterans Affairs

Health Assessment Process for Veterans

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Thank you, Your Honour and colleagues.

Mr. Minister, thanks for being here. I want to tell you about our group of independent senators. When we became independent Liberal senators, one of the initiatives we undertook was to call upon any member of the public who would like to have a question posed to a representative of the government, that they should get in touch with us, and we would have the question answered.

I have for you, sir, a question from Mr. Stuart Mills of Bass River, Nova Scotia, a lovely part of the world. Before I ask the question precisely, let me elaborate a bit to set the context.

You'll understand that veterans, if they're suffering from a physical disability or a mental disability, like post-traumatic stress, have difficulty and many more challenges getting in and out of the house, and some of them can't leave the house. At the end of their career in the military, they're being asked by Veterans Affairs to prove their disability over and over again. I think that's what he's getting to in this question:

Why, when we as veterans are released medically, do we continually have to fight with Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of Veterans Affairs to prove that our injuries during our time in the service were in fact caused from the soldier's time in service?

Hon. Kent Hehr, P.C., M.P., Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence: Senator, I appreciate the question. I'd like to start by congratulating Senator Smith on his new role as leader of the Conservative Senate. I can see he's going to serve this nation with a great deal of pride and honour in that role. I thank you for serving in that capacity.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Mr. Hehr: As for your question, Senator Day, I think it's a good one. We have to better reflect as to how we can take existing medical information available to us at Veterans Affairs Canada so that a veteran can have his medical records proceeded with and his benefits applied in a reasonable fashion.

I think it was wise of the Prime Minister to make me Associate Minister of National Defence. Part of that role is to close the seam for us to ensure that, when a man or a woman who has served this country so bravely and boldly releases from the military, that they release with their medical records intact, that they release with a diagnosis, that they release with their pension cheque in order and the benefits that are due and owing to them in place, as well as a diagnosis that we can readily go back to and deal with.

However, I can also say that, as a department, since we've come into power, we are taking a broader approach to this. We know that many ill and injured soldiers come to our department years after service to ask for an interpretation of whether their illness or injury stems from their military service.

Through my deputy, Walter Natynczyk, we have adopted a practice of giving soldiers a "benefit of the doubt" approach, where if a claim comes in, we look at the situation and the service records and we give it that lens. It is almost a "tie goes to the runner" approach, or even better, because the men and women who have served this nation deserve that approach. We can say we're getting quicker with our processing times and in terms of providing an answer to people when they have a disability claim through our department.

Canadian Forces Ombudsman

Hon. Pamela Wallin: Mr. Minister, thank you very much for being here with us today. We really appreciate it. It's great.

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More than half of the 2,000 investigations of the Canadian Forces ombudsmen — we know there are two — involved end-of-service transition complaints, as was just being discussed, particularly from the ill and injured. Echoing his four predecessors, the ombudsman is asking to report directly to Parliament instead of to the minister.

While he does report outside the chain of command, his budget and activities must be approved by the very department he's investigating. Critical reports are not well received and budget approvals are often delayed, a pattern that he called insidious.

You and your deputy, DM Natynczyk — we all know his history — we know you care and we know you get this, so for the sake of veterans, would you recommend to your colleagues that the ombudsmen, the two of them, be given true independence by making them officers of Parliament?

Hon. Kent Hehr, P.C., M.P. Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence: Thank you for the question. I can say that I have a great relationship with my ombudsman in his role as critiquing and also supplying me with information as to how we can better serve our ill and injured soldiers. It's one of those roles that I believe serves me. He works with me to develop policy. He advises me of policy decisions and actually does a lot of things that assist me in my daily role in the fact that he's travelling across the country, meeting with veterans, stakeholders and organizations to do his work.

I can only speak for my ombudsman in the fact that I believe the role we have with him working with me is a better role for us actually developing public policy solutions to issues facing veterans.

In fact, many of the ideas that went into our platform we ran on — in fact, the mandate letter that I'm following — have stemmed from the ombudsman's recommendations, whether they come from financial security where we raised the early loss benefit to 90 per cent of a soldier's pre-release salary, or raising the disability award to $360,000, or moving on many other issues around family support, the caregiver support. These were direct recommendations of my ombudsman and his work directly with me.

So I can only speak to the relationship I have with my ombudsman. It works very well the way it is. I think the way it works is that we're actually partners in developing these solutions to veterans' issues. I'm very proud of this and it's one I want to keep the same, at least with my ombudsman.

Federally Funded Infrastructure Projects—Hiring of Veterans

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Thank you, minister, for joining us. As you can see, this is a most interesting place. You should come more often.

My query goes to an objective in your mandate letter relating to the improvement of career and vocational counselling for returning veterans and the opening up of opportunities for them in federally funded infrastructure projects, roughly $186 billion. There will be lots of jobs for lots of people, hopefully for our veterans, too.

In my experience, targets matter. What gets measured gets done. Have you set hiring targets for federally funded infrastructure projects and the hiring of veterans? What are these targets? Can you share them with us? What is your progress to date against these targets?

Hon. Kent Hehr, P.C., M.P. Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence: Thank you very much for the question. There's no doubt that we want to assure that veterans and their families have opportunities to build their lives following their military service.

I can say that Budget 2017 brought in many things that will help address the issues you're discussing. We brought in an education benefit that will see a soldier after they've completed six years of military service be able to get $40,000 to be able to go to post-secondary; after 12 years, $80,000 to go to post-secondary.

We've also developed a plan where if people don't want to go back to school, if they're looking for a career opportunity through a real estate licence or go back to dog grooming or some unique opportunity like that, they can have access to a $5,000 professional training course that can allow for more jobs and better outcomes. So we're reacting to this.

We've also done career training to allow for job coaching as well as placement that will help people get jobs both in the public sector, so they understand the Veterans Hiring Act and how we prioritize that, as well as finding jobs in the private sector.

But if you look at your specific question with respect to us doing a better job of getting veterans' jobs within my department and otherwise, yes, we've hired a priority secretary to allow us, underneath that, to have a veterans hiring unit where we accept resumés. People have come into our department — in fact the whole of government — and we have been able to help them get positions within the public sector. We just implemented that in the last year, so we're really hoping to have good results.

I've also directed a letter to all of my cabinet colleagues asking them to bring a greater focus on hiring veterans. As well, my Deputy Minister Walt Natynczyk has directed a letter to other deputy ministers encouraging them to do the same. We're taking a whole-of-government approach to the issue that you just brought up.

Participation of Veterans in Sesquicentennial Celebration

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Welcome, minister. I've had the opportunity to work with you already on ways that we can support our Korean War veterans. I want to express my appreciation for the work you've done so far.

This is a question I've asked many times, but it is already April, and July 1 is just a few months away. I'm worried about the confirmation of the participation of our key veterans, from various wars and conflicts, in the official Canada Day celebrations. It's important for them to be able to wear their uniforms, their medals and to be part of the main program, to be on that stage and be involved in whatever way.

Your colleague Minister Joly was in our chamber. I didn't get to ask this question but I spoke to her immediately after, and she said that because they were veterans, they would be under your purview. When we had spoken, you had mentioned that there are plans being made by her department. So I'm wondering if your officials and staff and her officials and staff are meeting. Are there details on the participation, the inclusion of our veterans in any of the official Canada 150 ceremonies and events?

Hon. Kent Hehr, P.C., M.P. Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence: Senator Martin, I appreciate your leadership in recognizing the contributions of those who served in the Korean War. It is really admirable the way you've gone about this and passionately advocated for their due recognition, as well as their share of our nation's gratitude and service.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Mr. Hehr: I can say I have looked very fondly to the participation of Korean War vets during November 11 ceremonies. In fact, I look forward to next year when we recognize the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong. I know under your leadership, we recognize Korean War vets every July 27 right here in Ottawa as a result of your hard work and effort.

I do know that this is a big year in commemoration. I will be leaving tomorrow to go to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. We also have the Battle of Passchendaele this year, as well as the seventy-fifth anniversary of Dieppe.

I don't have a specific answer to your direct query, but I will do my level best to have some coordination between my office and Minister Joly's office to get you a proper answer.

Senator Martin: Thank you very much.

[Translation]

Canadian Forces Ombudsman

Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais: Minister, I am pleased to be speaking to you as a senator, and especially as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence and the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs. It is interesting that you are also the Associate Minister of National Defence.

We have had several occasions in recent years to hear the testimony of the Canadian Forces Ombudsman and the Veterans Ombudsmen, and neither one complimented National Defence and Veterans Affairs officials on the issue of implementing recommendations.

The government spends more than $10 million of Canadian taxpayers' money on these two offices. That is a lot of money spent on reports that are often ignored.

Minister, could you undertake today to ensure that the ombudsmen's reports are given due consideration and that your government exercise greater diligence in handling the complaints of our brave men and women in uniform, who serve or have served in the Canadian Armed Forces?

I presume that you will answer in the affirmative. In that case, what concrete action do you intend to take starting today?

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[English]

Hon. Kent Hehr, P.C., M.P. Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence: Senator, you are a very wise man. Of course, I'm going to answer yes. I value the role of the Veterans Ombudsman. In fact, my doors are always open to him. We meet regularly and we follow a lot of recommendations he makes.

In fact, much of our platform in the previous election was based on the Veterans Ombudsman's recommendations, as well as many of the results we have delivered for veterans and their families. For instance, the opening of the nine offices that were closed under the former government, the hiring of more staff, the ability to be able to decrease the disability award, return the earning loss benefit to 90 per cent of a soldier's pre-release salary, as well as the ability to get a caregiver allowance and the education benefit we just came out with were all a result of not only veterans and family members asking for these, but from direct reports for the Veterans Ombudsman.

I can say that the Veterans Ombudsman recently came out with a report that showed the progress that our government has made on following through on his recommendations. In fact, it was his last report that was issued some three weeks ago. I would encourage you to take a look at the progress our government has made. I can say we pay attention fully to what the ombudsman is saying. In fact, we have a regular standing meeting where we discuss issues and ideas on how to make veterans' and their families' lives better. Advice taken and we will continue to foster that relationship.

Services and Benefits for Veterans

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Minister, welcome to the Senate of Canada.

At the Senate Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, we have been looking at ways to create a defined, professional and consistent system for veterans as they leave the Canadian Armed Forces. Basically, what we're looking at, the professional way in which they're able to join the Armed Forces, they should have the same professional way when they leave. You know this better than I ever will. For example, their assessments, their pensions and all the services they are entitled to are not all in place when they leave. I've been asking the ombudsman, when they have appeared before our committee, why do we not wait until all this is in place before the soldier is discharged? From what I understood, he said it was an issue of governance.

Why can't we wait to discharge a person who has served our country with great sacrifice until all the services he or she is entitled to are in place? Is this an issue of governance?

Hon. Kent Hehr, P.C., M.P. Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence: Honourable senator, great question. I will say that's why the Prime Minister has named me Associate Minister of National Defence. There's a clear separation between my role and the current Minister of National Defence. He's busy on certain things around national safety issues, what we're going to do throughout the world, where my role is specifically to work with him on closing the seam and ensuring we have a smooth release process for people leaving the military.

Here's one of the real things all of us should know: Twenty-seven per cent of the men and women who leave the Canadian Armed Forces struggle in some way through either lack of appointment, lack of shelter, inability to personalize and get back on track. We believe that because of this role of creating me as Associate Minister of National Defence, we can close the seam and professionalize a release service that the Chief of the Defence Staff Vance so readily talks about.

We do a great job of bringing people into the army, of getting them into basic training, deploying them on missions, sending them abroad and getting them the training and techniques they need to do great tactical work on behalf of the Canadian people. We don't do a good job of releasing them. It has become incumbent upon us to do that, not only for their benefit, but our benefit in attracting people to the military. We don't want the Canadian public with the belief that when a person leaves the military, their lives are in disarray as a result of their service.

We're committed to getting this right. We're committed to keeping people in the military longer, to allow them to have things lined up with Veterans Affairs Canada so they have all the information about the communities they're going to, to better support them in this transition. That's the work we're doing right now, and our hope is to land this within the time frame we have as government.

But the hard work has been done. It's not easy, because we've developed this system over the course of 40, 50 years. In my department, I have veterans who are 20 years old and some who are 104. It's a wide variety of services, and the military has done things in this fashion for a long time. This is not as easy as it sounds, but we're working on it and I believe we'll get there.

Mental Health Services

Hon. Gwen Boniface: Good afternoon, minister. I wanted to thank you for coming. My question really evolves around the budget, and it was proposed to create a centre of excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions for our veterans, with a focus on the creation and dissemination of prevention, assessment and treatment of PTSD.

I have two related questions. How many centres would there be, as our veterans, as you know, are spread out across the country? Would the centres have the ability to refer members to appropriate health practitioners, should that path be determined to be the best option for them?

Hon. Kent Hehr, P.C., M.P. Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence: Honourable senator, thank you for that question. The core of what we do at Veterans Affairs Canada is look after the mental health needs of veterans and their families. We're doing a better job of understanding the role that military conflict and service plays on the individual as well as the family. Part of better supporting that rubric of care is the creation of a centre of excellence for PTSD and mental health issues.

What this will do is look at research, best practices here nationally as well as abroad, compile that, and be able to disseminate that through our network of 4,000 mental health professionals we have working with Veterans Affairs Canada throughout Canada, working with our 11 OSI — operational stress injury — clinics, as well as our 8 partnership operations with the Department of National Defence to disseminate the best practices.

I can also say what is helping on the mental health files is that we have hired 400 frontline workers since we came into power. This has allowed us to get down to an average of a 25-to-1 case-manager-to-soldier ratio, which is along the lines of best practices of social work and other military agencies across the globe who strive for that, and also reopening the nine offices allows that point of contact for people to at least have a place to go.

We're working on this in a number of ways, not only through the centre of excellence, but retooling staff, by ensuring our numbers are the right mix for people to get support, as well as moving on a whole host of other initiatives that we believe will have better results for the people who have served in our military.

First Nations, Metis and Inuit Veterans

Hon. Daniel Christmas: Good afternoon, minister. I wish you safe travels on your journey to Vimy Ridge. A drum group from my community is also going to be there. I'm sure they'll welcome you.

Minister, as you know, the Prime Minister is determined to reset Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples. He has said where measures are found to be in conflict with the rights of indigenous peoples, where they're inconsistent with the principles of good governance, where they simply make no public sense, they will be rescinded. While indigenous veterans did receive an apology from the government in 2000 for its unfair treatment of them, its settlement with them did not match revisions made available to non-indigenous veterans.

In recognition of the Prime Minister's commitment to indigenous peoples, and in the spirit of reconciliation, will you commit to reviewing the settlement made to indigenous veterans, in ensuring that veterans or their families receive parity with revisions provided to all other veterans?

Hon. Kent Hehr, P.C., M.P. Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence: Honourable senator, I thank you for the question, and also I want to recognize the vast numbers of First Nation, Metis and Inuit people who have served in our military over the years that we have been a nation. In fact, during our 150 years of existence, with our birthday coming up, I believe there's been no group that has participated at greater rates in the military in many of our conflicts than our indigenous people. That service has to be duly noted, recognized and celebrated by not only my department but the people of Canada.

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I do know that I've talked with people readily and often about our role in nation-to-nation relationships and understanding that we have to do a better job of assessing what has happened in our communities, what is fair treatment and what is the fair role of the government with what has happened with our indigenous peoples, and of course. My office is always able to look at any issue that comes up, so I'd appreciate you bringing that to our office's attention.

RCMP Veterans

Hon. Vernon White: Thank you very much, minister, for being here today. My question relates to RCMP veterans.

Up until a couple of years ago, RCMP employees received their health benefits directly from the federal government of Canada. A couple of years ago they were removed by the RCMP and actually put into provincial health care programs in an effort, I think, to save money, but it did result in a loss of benefits for members.

RCMP veterans presently receive benefits from VAC through a memorandum of understanding, and not as direct VAC clients. The concern of members is that as they retire, if there's an effort to save money because it's a cost recovery program back to the RCMP, that in fact that will be lost as well in the future.

I'm looking to see whether or not there's a commitment from the government to actually entrench RCMP veterans into the Veterans Affairs charter, rather than have them as a member under a memorandum of understanding.

Hon. Kent Hehr, P.C., M.P., Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence: Thank you very much, senator. You're perfectly correct: Our engagement with the RCMP is based on a memorandum of understanding, primarily for numerous reasons. One is the provision of pension benefits, should they have a disability. The second is health care benefits that align underneath the agreement we have under the Pension Act. As well, we provide services to RCMP members at our operational stress injury clinics, should they need that. We also provide access to case management support as a result of illness or injury through the operations of their role as RCMP officers.

I can say that your primary issue is going to depend on RCMP and their leadership, whether they would like to make changes to the existing memorandum of understanding or whether they would like something different. You have to remember that Veteran Affairs Canada, based on the decision of the RCMP leadership, has maintained the memorandum of understanding and we will not turn away any RCMP member who needs help or service. We will always abide by that memorandum of understanding.

Further than that, that has to be decided upon by RCMP leadership and their members.

Veterans Independence Program

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals): Thank you, minister, for being here today. My question is with regard to the Veterans Independence Program, or VIP, and its benefits for the surviving spouses of veterans.

The Veteran Affairs Ombudsman first reported on this back in 2010, calling it unfair. It was brought up again in December 2013, but the problem has never been corrected.

As you will know, if a veteran and his wife receive both housekeeping and groundskeeping services, his widow can continue to have both. If a veteran and his wife do not receive either benefit, a low-income widow can apply and receive both. But if a veteran and his wife receive only one of these services, either housekeeping or groundskeeping, his widow can never apply for the second, even if she is low-income.

The ombudsman has stated that access to VIP services should be based solely on needs, not on arbitrary criteria.

Do you plan to finally fix this inequity?

Hon. Kent Hehr, P.C., M.P., Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence: Senator, our primary mandate is to provide services and benefits for veterans and their families whether they are just leaving the military or if they come to us years after they have served. That is why we are very happy to provide funding to eligible veterans and their families so they can access home and community care and support services to meet their physical, mental and social needs.

It's important that veterans can remain healthy and independent in their own homes and communities, and that's what the VIP program is designed to do. These benefits include home care services, personal care, housekeeping, grounds maintenance and access to meals.

The VIP program is one of our most popular programs, and it's quite generous in the support it offers, so veterans can stay in their home as they age.

With regard to your question, what I will say is that as long as a veteran was in receipt of a disability pension or the War Veterans' Allowance, a surviving spouse can apply for both housekeeping and grounds maintenance if they are considered low-income and demonstrate the need of these services in order to remain independent in the home.

Lifelong Pensions

Hon. Paul E. McIntyre: Minister, welcome to Senate Question Period.

My question has to do with lifelong pensions. Your mandate directs you to re-establish a lifelong pension as an option for injured veterans. However, I note that the 2017 Budget is silent on this issue, as was the 2016 Budget.

The government is providing more money for veterans but is leaving the pension question unanswered. Minister, when will the government finally commit to reintroducing the option of lifetime pensions for disabled veterans?

Hon. Kent Hehr, P.C., M.P., Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence: Thank you for the question. Our government remains fully committed to providing an option for a lifetime pension for our veterans. This was fully noted in the budget speech of 2017, where we showed that we will lay out the plans for what this will entail and release them before the end of 2017.

But we haven't just sat around and not worried about veterans' issues in the interim. Instead, we've really moved great yards forward in terms of providing financial security to veterans and their families. In Budget 2016, we did raise the earning loss benefit to an ill or injured soldier from 75 per cent of a pre-release salary to 90 per cent of a pre-release salary.

We also raised the disability award from $310,000 to $360,000. As of April 1 this year, that means 67,000 veterans that have suffered some illness or injury as a result of military service since 2005 will be receiving a cheque. These are people who have received the disability award.

We went back and did this retroactively to ensure that people were seen as being party to what our government believed was the fact that the disability award was too low. So we are moving on financial security because we know that's very important to our veterans. Budget 2017 obviously focused on other issues, like getting them to return to work as well as educational options. Rest assured, senator, we remain committed to a pension for life option through the disability award for our veterans.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the time for question period has expired. I'm sure all honourable senators will want to join me in thanking Minister Hehr for being with us today.

Thank you, minister.


[Translation]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Bill

Bill to Amend—First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-22, An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and to make consequential amendments to certain Acts.

(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.)

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[English]

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Bill to Amend—Twelfth Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the twelfth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (Bill C-224, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (assistance — drug overdose), with amendments and observations), presented in the Senate on March 7, 2017.

Hon. Murray Sinclair moved the adoption of the report.

He said. Honourable senators, this report was introduced by Senator Baker as the deputy chair of the committee, and because of family reasons he's unable to be with us. He's requested that I explain the amendments contained in the report. Therefore, I ask for the agreement of the Senate in order to be able to do so.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Sinclair: Thank you, colleagues, thank you, Your Honour.

Since I am pinch-hitting for Senator Baker, I must start by saying I will be brief.

This bill is known as the Good Samaritan bill. It's intended to be a bill to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in order to allow for those who are assisting people who are suffering from an overdose to be able to get medical assistance without fear that they themselves will be prosecuted for either possessing or using drugs at the same time.

The bill was introduced in the House of Commons as a private member's bill by Member of Parliament for Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Ron McKinnon. The intention was to address the serious issue of the number of young people who were dying from overdoses, particularly in relation to fentanyl and its various definitions, noting that many of those drug overdoses involve situations where the victim was rarely alone but with others, but often was abandoned in order to fend for himself or herself and unable to obtain proper medical assistance.

At the committee, when this report was first considered, we had the benefit of listening to the testimony of a mother who talked about her son who had overdosed on a drug in the company of a number of his friends, all of whom tried to offer him assistance while he was going through his overdose problems for a number of hours, but who did not call for assistance because they were afraid that they would be criminally prosecuted for using drugs with him. As a result, the bill was introduced.

This bill has passed through the house, and was considered by the committee. The committee heard from a number of representations, particularly from those in police authority, who supported the bill generally, and as a result of the presentations that were made and consideration by committee members, the bill is being reported back for approval with amendments. I would like to run through those amendments quickly.

In the bill, we have made some amendments that are grammatical in nature. The first one in clause 2, pages 1 and 2, where the phrase that has been changed makes it clear that a person who is being given assistance is not only the one who is not going to be charged but those who are with him also will not be charged. In line 16 of that particular provision you will note that the amendment that was added at the committee level refers to a person not being charged, as originally set out in the bill, but also not being convicted because the intention was to ensure that people understood that they were protected from a conviction in the event that they were rendering assistance. That was the criteria, so long as they are rendering assistance, then they cannot be charged and cannot be convicted.

In line 19 of the bill, we clarified a situation that was brought to the committee's attention where it originally provided that those who had sought assistance and remained at the scene of the crime might unintentionally exclude those who sought assistance by taking a victim to the hospital and therefore may no longer have been at the scene of the drug overdose. So therefore we have changed the wording by removing the word "and" and replacing it with the word "or" in order to clarify that both those who remain at the scene and those who accompany the victim to the hospital are also protected.

The bill at clause 3, in lines 1 and 2, the committee approved an amendment that changed the provision that the exemption under subsection 2 applies to any person, including the person suffering the overdose, so as to clarify that it's not only the person offering assistance who is exempted from prosecution and conviction, but also the person who suffers from the overdose, essentially clarifying the provisions of the bill.

The bill, incidentally, simply exempts those who are assisting someone from prosecution from being convicted or charged with a simple possession offence. It doesn't allow for other offences to be exempted, just a simple possession offence.

We also considered the fact that many people who are with drug users, who might be suffering from an overdose, may be under some court supervision order of some kind, either a bail order, a probation order or a parole provision, so logic told us that if they were subject to being prosecuted for that offence, just because they were there, that they should also be exempted in order to encourage them to call for assistance and to stay and to help the victim of the overdose.

Clause 4 was added after the provision in the bill by a clause that refers to the administration of justice controls such as pretrial release, probation orders, conditional sentence or parole so that again it only relates to simple possession offences.

If someone would otherwise have been charged or could have been convicted of another offence other than simple possession, they cannot be substitutionally convicted of a judicial control violation as well.

The same holds true for any condition of a person in clause 5 that has been added — any condition of a person's pretrial release, probation order, conditional sentence or parole relating to an offence under subsection 4.1 that may be violated as a result of the person seeking emergency medical or law enforcement assistance for their or for another person's overdose is deemed not to be violated. So they won't be suffering additional convictions on their record. The intention was again to encourage people to offer assistance.

The evidence before the committee was that drug overdose problems in recent years have skyrocketed, particularly with the use and the facility of importation of drugs such as fentanyl and carfentanyl and other variations of it now, and as a result, the intention is to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in order to allow for those who are suffering from an overdose and those who are assisting them to be able to do that without worry of being convicted.

Finally, I want to draw to your attention an observation that has been appended to the report which says:

The committee strongly supports the intent of the bill and has adopted the amendments to strengthen and clarify the bill. The committee encourages the Senate and the House of Commons to consider the proposed amendments as expeditiously as possible.

So that the measures in the bill may be implemented as quickly as possible, recognizing the importance of the bill itself as amended.

Thank you, senators.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read second time.)

Third Reading

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

Hon. Larry Campbell: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(b), I move that the Bill C-224, as amended, be read the third time now.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Campbell, seconded by the Honourable Fraser, that this bill, as amended, be read the third time now. On debate, Senator Campbell.

Senator Campbell: Honourable senators, I'd like to thank Senator Sinclair for stepping in for Senator Baker. He reflected well on Senator Baker and his words.

I would like to thank Member of Parliament Ron McKinnon for introducing this bill.

I have to tell you that I thought our world had changed when I introduced this in November 2016. At that time, I advised you that 600 people had died in British Columbia up until that time. By the end of 2016, we had 914 people who had died and we were averaging three people a day in British Columbia.

In the first two months of 2017, we had 219 deaths. I simply can't say enough about the ruin and the dismay that's going on in the province.

I hope that once we pass this bill today, some of these numbers will go down because, as I said before, I've been to hundreds of these deaths and in many cases I know that this person did not die alone. Somebody was there, but because of the worry about being arrested, if they're addicted and going through withdrawal and being in jail, they walked away.

Quite frankly, I can't blame them, knowing the situation that they're in.

Along with Bill C-37 that will be coming to us, I hope very soon that we'll be able to see these numbers drop. To give you an example, in 2007 we averaged 16.8 deaths every month in the province of British Columbia. In 2017, we're averaging 109. We've gone from 16 to 109. We thought we might start to see it drop off, but it hasn't. It hasn't dropped off, and not only in British Columbia; it's coming east and it's spreading across.

We're starting to see these numbers hit other communities. If senators think that this is a big city problem, I can tell that you that per capita, some of our smallest towns are suffering from this epidemic at a much higher per capita: for instance, Kelowna, Prince George, cities of this size. It is also through the Prairies in small towns, and through the East Coast in small towns. It's affecting all of us.

I wish we'd had this here sooner, but it's the process that we go through. I want to thank the committee for taking a look at this bill. I believe, with the amendment, it's making it better, and not just a better bill from the point of view of the grammatical, but a better bill from the point of view of how it will work.

I would urge every senator to vote for this. We have to stop this massacre. That's the only way to describe it. We have to stop it. If this was anything else, if this was any other medical condition we would be up in arms; we would be motivated; we would be pushing everyone to do something to keep these people alive.

I thank you for your attention.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Frum, seconded by the Honourable Senator Pratte, for the second reading of Bill S-232, An Act respecting Canadian Jewish Heritage Month.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today and give my full support to the creation of a Jewish heritage month in Canada. On a personal note, I want to thank Senator Wetston for giving me this opportunity to be the critic of this bill. I am really proud to be the critic of this bill.

Recognizing a people's contribution to Canada is important because it highlights a community and the work that the community has done in Canada. The contributions and achievements of that community are highlighted and Canadians learn of the contributions that community has brought to Canada.

We also recognize the history of that community in Canada.

It is so important in a multicultural society to recognize the diverse stories of every community. Right now, we recognize Black History Month and Asian Heritage Month. Only through understanding each other can we build a better Canada. That is why I support this important bill, because it allows us to highlight and understand one another.

I want to thank Senator Frum for presenting this bill in the chamber and for the work she has done to bring this bill to our chamber.

Honourable senators, I arrived in Canada in 1975. I arrived here as a qualified lawyer, but with no job prospects. It was one of my greatest fears that I would arrive in Canada as a refugee and not be able to work in my chosen professional of law.

There was one individual, Jack Kowarsky, who believed in me. He was the one who gave me a real start even though I had no experience in Canada.

He did not look at my background, my faith, the colour of my skin or anything else. Instead, he looked at how he could support someone who was new in our country. It was then that I learned Jack Kowarsky's values came from his Jewish faith and the community he was raised in. The Jewish faith community taught him that he should always support the people of the community that he lives in, that it is important to contribute to the people in the space you occupy. For that, I am forever grateful to Jack Kowarsky.

Honourable senators, if there is a community whose heritage must be recognized in Canada, it is the Jewish community. The Jewish people's contributions to Canada cannot be overstated. In fact, their very existence in this country is a major achievement that every other minority community can appreciate.

Jewish heritage begins in this country before Canada even existed as a nation.

After the fall of New France, Jewish people were finally able to openly settle in Canada. They no longer had to pretend to be Catholics to gain entry and acceptance into Canada. The Jewish people were the first people who had to force Canadians to reflect on how to interact with other communities. They boldly forced that reflection upon Canadians by establishing Shearith Israel, North America's first synagogue, in Montreal in 1768.

Suddenly, Canadians needed to consider if they wanted a pluralistic and inclusive Canada or an exclusive Canada. It is that very reflection set upon by the immigration of Jews to Canada that has set the pathway towards the inclusive country that we live in today. Jewish heritage set the foundation of what Canada's inclusive ideology is built upon. Without that foundation, other minority communities may have had no place here, and what a tragedy that would have been.

But, honourable senators, as we all know, being a minority in Canada is not always easy. It is a constant uphill fight for recognition and equality. Yet, the Jewish community has never shied away from facing this challenge. They were the first to lead the way for other minority communities immigrating to Canada.

(1700)

In 1807, Ezekiel Hart, from Trois-Rivières, became the first Jew in the entire British Empire to be elected to office. Unfortunately, he was denied his seat on the basis of his religion. He was told that he could not take office because the oath of office had the words "on the true faith of a Christian" written in it. After countless anti-Semitic letters and presentations, unfortunately, Parliament expelled him.

[Translation]

Ezekiel therefore returned to Trois-Rivières to face his constituents, but the people of Trois-Rivières refused to let this blatant anti-Semitism undermine the trust they had placed in him. He was elected again in 1808. That time, he swore the same oath as all the Christians but, once again, it was not enough, for he was expelled a second time because of his religion.

That, honourable senators, perfectly sums up the history of the Jews in Canada. They showed perseverance in the face of persecution and resilience in the face of anti-Semitism.

[English]

It is the same theme when it comes to Jewish immigration. In 1939, during the start of the Holocaust, Frederick Blair, the then-director of the immigration branch was asked how many Jewish people would be allowed into Canada after the war. I'm very embarrassed to tell you that he replied:

None is too many.

"None is too many." That was the common attitude toward Jewish people during the worst genocide in human history. Yet, despite that attitude, or perhaps in spite of that attitude, in our Parliament today we have a number of parliamentarians of Jewish heritage. We have the fourth largest Jewish population in the world, and we have nearly 6,000 Holocaust survivors in Montreal alone.

Persistence in the face of persecution, resilience in the face of anti-Semitism.

Honourable senators, when a community from any part of the world comes to Canada, we encourage them to hold onto their values. We know that their contribution to Canada comes directly from their values. Those values become Canadian values. It is the greatest strength of our country.

Honourable senators, the persistence and resilience of the Jewish community are built into the values of Canada, the value of never giving up when things get tough, the value of staying strong in one's conviction in the face of adversity, the values of education, hard work and community. It is those values that have led to so many success stories amongst Jewish Canadians.

[Translation]

I would like to share some of these success stories with you. In 1919, Max and Esther Bergman came to Canada from Erlich, Russia. They arrived with nothing but the will to work and a simple bagel recipe. After 18 years of hard work, Max opened his own business in 1939, a Russian bagel bakery, at a cost of $900 a month with a down payment of $10, a small fortunate at the time. Three families moved into the small apartment above the bakery: the Bergmans, the Newmans and the Rabinoviches. Everyone worked hard to contribute to the bakery's success.

[English]

On Thursdays, after all the staff members were paid, Esther would host a large feast for everyone and thank them for their hard work. At the end of the feast, Max would ask his staff for a favour. If they wanted to work the next day, he needed some of their wages to buy more flour. Everyone contributed; no questions asked. They all understood that the only way everyone could survive was if everyone helped one another. No one went without.

[Translation]

Today, Max Bergman's grandson owns Bagel King, Mmmuffins, Michel's Baguette and, now, Second Cup. It all began with a bagel recipe brought over from Russia and a willingness to help one another in good times and in bad.

Honourable senators, we are going through a difficult period right now. Intolerance towards minority communities is on the rise, and traditionally liberal-minded states are enacting increasingly restrictive immigration policies. In 2013, Statistics Canada reported that 56 per cent of religiously motivated hate crimes targeted Jews, and that hate crimes committed against Muslims and other minority communities had increased considerably.

[English]

The Jewish people have gone through tremendous turmoil over the centuries. If there is any silver lining that can be derived from these terrible instances, it is the deep understanding that we rise and fall together.

The Jewish community is very diverse. There are the Sephardic Jews, the Ashkenazi Jews, Moroccan Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Orthodox Jews and Reform Jews. What binds all of them together is not only the name of their faith but an understanding that communities rise and fall together. It is a profound and innate understanding that we can learn from that Canadians rise and fall together.

Only through working together to combat hatred and bigotry with the best interests of our community in mind can we all rise together. Like the Jewish people, despite all of our diversity, Canadians are also bound together.

Honourable senators, I mentioned that the Jewish people have often led the charge for equality on behalf of all minority communities. In the late 1960s, they did exactly that. During that time, anti-Semitism was once again on the rise in this country. For three and a half years, the Jewish community worked diligently to pass anti-hate propaganda legislation. The Jewish community worked first to add religion as a characteristic of an identifiable group and then later passed anti-genocide legislation that included those identifiable groups. There were intense arguments about how adding religion to an identifiable group would pose a threat to freedom of expression, even though it was already determined that it would not.

Yet, despite the unwarranted opposition, the Canadian Jewish communities worked together to lobby the government to pass this incredibly important bill. They forced the government to take the moral stance that hatred would not be tolerated in Canada. It was first introduced on November 11, 1966, as Bill S-49, then as Bill S-5, then as Bill S-21 in 1969. It finally passed in this chamber on June 5, 1970, by a vote of 40 to 22.

Today, because of the efforts of the Jewish community and the efforts of countless others, we have anti-hate propaganda legislation in this country that protects religious minorities.

Honourable senators, I started this speech by talking about the great contributions that the Jewish community have made to Canada. In communities across Canada, there are schools and hospitals that have been made possible because of the contributions of the Jewish community and Jewish families.

I would like to offer one example and talk about one in particular, the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. The Mount Sinai Hospital has the best maternity ward in Canada. In fact, they are the best in many different areas of medicine in Canada. Millions of dollars have been invested into the Mount Sinai Hospital by many generous Jewish families. I'm very proud to say that amongst us we have Senator Wetston and Senator Frum, who have worked very hard for the people in their area and for Mount Sinai Hospital.

(1710)

Mount Sinai Hospital is a prime example of the Jewish community's contribution to Canada. Only 8 per cent of the patients in Mount Sinai Hospital are Jewish, yet the only reason that it stands is because of the contribution of generous Jewish families.

The Jewish community has shown that looking after their own community also means looking after all Canadians. That is the culture of philanthropy that exists in the Jewish community.

I have seen this not only on a large scale, like offering services and infrastructure, but on a very personal level. I have found in my life, whenever I have needed support, when I have had real problems, it has been men like Art Vertlieb and Mark Weintraub who have stood by me. Both men have reminded me repeatedly through their actions that faith is not a sword that should separate us but, rather, a shield that should bring us together.

Honourable senators, recognizing Jewish Heritage Month in Canada is more than just recognizing the achievements and tremendous contributions of the Jewish people here. Senator Fraser has already mentioned the incredible culture of generosity and philanthropy within the Canadian Jewish community, and I echo that. It is also about recognizing the tremendous hardship that the Jewish people have endured both within and outside Canada. It is about recognizing those values taught in the synagogue or passed down through the millennia by family members. It is about understanding that we need to work every day to ensure that those values, and the values of every minority community, remain part of the fabric of our country. It is about not repeating the mistakes of our past. It is about giving every community the opportunity to set down its roots in Canada to contribute and thrive. It is about standing up to hate in all of its forms. That's the story of Jewish heritage in Canada, and I proudly support it.

Honourable senators, I humbly ask that you also support this bill. When we pass this bill, we will be saying to the Jewish community, "We salute the work you have done in Canada."

I would like to leave you with a quote from The Holy Quran. It is a quote that sits by my bedside, and to me it describes why we have months that recognize different communities:

O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other, not that ye may despise each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you.

(On motion of Senator Gold, debate adjourned.)

Senate Modernization

Third Report of Special Committee—Motion in Amendment—Debate Suspended

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Eggleton, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Day, for the adoption of the third report (interim) of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization, entitled Senate Modernization: Moving Forward (Committees), presented in the Senate on October 4, 2016.

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Day, seconded by the Honourable Senator Fraser:

That the third report of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization be not now adopted, but that it be amended:

1. by replacing the words "Senate direct the Standing Senate Committee on Rules Procedures and the Rights of Parliament to amend" by the words "Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament develop and propose to the Senate, by May 9, 2017, amendments to";

2. by replacing the words "as the basis for such changes" by the words "as an initial basis for its work on the amendments, but also taking into account any other relevant factors identified by the Rules Committee";

3. by adding the following new sentence at the end of the first point under the heading "STEP 4":

"For the purposes of overall proportionality on standing committees, senators not in a caucus or

recognized group shall be considered collectively as a group."; and

4. by adding the following immediately before the word "ONGOING":

"STEP 9:

The principle of proportionality shall also apply to the composition of subcommittees.".

Hon. Stephen Greene: Honourable senators, I rise today to endorse the third report of the Senate Modernization Committee. This report deals with the way we select committee membership and steering committee members.

Let me say at the outset that, like many of the initiatives that come from the special committee, this report is also a compromise amongst its committee members. Senators all have different views on how the Senate is to modernize, but all senators, I hope, recognize the need for the Senate to modernize. This report recommends new procedures that modernize the manner in which we select senators to serve on the various standing committees in a way that emphasizes the principle of equality of all senators.

This is a very important principle, as we realized earlier today, because a senator is a senator is a senator. The recommendations put forward by the special committee were meant to ensure the equality of representation amongst all groups in the Senate, partisan and unaffiliated, on the various committees, using the principle of proportionality.

While the report deals with committee membership and the selection of chairs and deputy chairs — and I support those recommendations — it doesn't go far enough for me in one particular area, because it doesn't recognize the uniqueness of the Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. Under the proposal before us, the Internal Economy Committee would be treated like any other standing committee, like it is now. Its membership would be decided by the Selection Committee and then ratified by the Senate.

The Hon. the Speaker: Excuse me, Senator Greene, but I have to interrupt you.

(Debate suspended.)

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it being 5:15, I must interrupt proceedings, pursuant to rule 9-6. The bells will ring to call in senators for the taking of the deferred vote at 5:30 p.m., on the subamendment moved by the Honourable Senator Carignan to the amendment on Bill C-6.

When we return and deal with that, you will have the balance of your time, Senator Greene. My apologies.

Call in the senators.

(1730)

Citizenship Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Motion in Amendment Adopted—Motion in Subamendment Negatived—Debate Continued

On the Order:

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

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator McCoy, seconded by the Honourable Senator Ringuette:

That Bill C-6 be not now read a third time, but that it be amended,

(a) in clause 3, on page 4, by replacing line 1 with the following:

"3 (1) Subsection 10(2) of the Act is repealed.

(2) Subsection 10(3) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(3) Before revoking a person's citizenship or renunciation of citizenship, the Minister shall provide the person with a written notice that

(a) advises the person of his or her right to make written representations;

(b) specifies the form and manner in which the representations must be made;

(c) sets out the specific grounds and reasons, including reference to materials, on which the Minister is relying to make his or her decision; and

(d) advises the person of his or her right to request that the case be referred to the Court.

(3.1) The person may, within 60 days after the day on which the notice is received,

(a) make written representations with respect to the matters set out in the notice, including any humanitarian and compassionate considerations — such as the best interests of a child directly affected — that warrant special relief in light of all the circumstances and whether the Minister's decision will render the person stateless; and

(b) request that the case be referred to the Court.

(3.2) The Minister shall consider any representations received from the person pursuant to paragraph (3.1) (a) before making a decision.

(3) The Act is amended by adding the following after subsection 10(4):

(4.1) The Minister shall refer the case to the Court under subsection 10.1(1) if the person has made a request pursuant to paragraph (3.1)(b) unless the person has made written representations pursuant to paragraph (3.1)(a) and the Minister is satisfied

(a) on a balance of probabilities that the person has not obtained, retained, renounced or resumed his or her citizenship by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances; or

(b) that sufficient humanitarian and compassionate grounds warrant special relief in light of all the circumstances of the case.

(4) The Act is amended by adding the following after subsection 10(5):

(5.1) The Minister shall provide a notice under subsection (3) or a written decision under subsection (5) by personally serving the person. If personal service is not practicable, the Minister may apply to the Court for an order for substituted service or for dispensing with service.

(5.2) The Minister's decision to revoke citizenship or renunciation of citizenship is final and is not subject to judicial review under this Act or the Federal Courts Act.";

(b) in clause 4, on page 4,

(i) by replacing line 2 with the following:

"4 (1) Subsection 10.1(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:

10.1 (1) If a person makes a request under paragraph 10(3.1)(b), the person's citizenship or renunciation of citizenship may be revoked only if the Minister seeks a declaration, in an action that the Minister commences, that the person has obtained, retained, renounced or resumed his or her citizenship by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances and the Court makes such a declaration.

(2) Subsections 10.1(2) and (3) of the Act are re-", and

(ii) by adding after line 6 the following:

"(3) Subsection 10.1(4) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(4) If the Minister seeks a declaration, he or she must prove on a balance of probabilities that the person has obtained, retained, renounced or resumed his or her citizenship by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances.

(5) In an action for a declaration, the Court

(a) shall assess, on a balance of probabilities, whether the facts — acts or omissions — alleged in support of the declaration have occurred, are occurring or may occur; and

(b) with respect to any evidence, is not bound by any legal or technical rules of evidence and may receive and base its decision on any evidence adduced in the proceedings that it considers credible or trustworthy in the circumstances.";

(c) on page 4, by adding after line 7 the following:

"5.1 Subsection 10.5(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:

10.5 (1) On the request of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Minister shall — in the originating document that commences an action under subsection 10.1(1) on the basis that the person obtained, retained, renounced or resumed his or her citizenship by false representation or fraud or by knowingly concealing material circumstances, with respect to a fact described in section 34, 35 or 37 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act other than a fact that is also described in paragraph 36(1)(a)or (b) or (2)(a) or (b) of that Act — seek a declaration that the person who is the subject of the action is inadmissible on security grounds, on grounds of violating human or international rights or on grounds of organized criminality under, respectively, subsection 34(1), paragraph 35(1)(a)or (b) or subsection 37(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.";

(d) on page 7,

(i) by adding after line 16 the following:

"19.1 A person whose citizenship or renunciation of citizenship was revoked under subsection 10(1) of the Citizenship Act after the day on which this Act receives royal assent but before the day on which all of subsections 3(2)to (4) come into force, is deemed never to have had their citizenship revoked.", and

(ii) by adding after line 21 the following:

"20.1 If, immediately before the coming into force of section 4, a notice has been given to a person under subsection 10(3) of the Citizenship Act and the matter was not finally disposed of before the coming into force of that section, the person may, within 30 days after the day on which that section comes into force, elect to have the matter dealt with and disposed of as if the notice had been given under subsection 10(3) of the Citizenship Act, as enacted by subsection 3(2).";

(e) on page 8, by replacing lines 16 to 25 with the following:

"25 Subparagraphs 40(1)(d)(ii) and (iii) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are replaced by the following:

(ii) subsection 10(1) of the Citizenship Act in the circumstances set out in section 10.2 of that Act before the coming into force of paragraphs 46(2)(b) and (c), as enacted by An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act, or

(iii) subsection 10.1(3) of the Citizenship Act in the circumstances set out in section 10.2 of the Citizenship Act before the coming into force of paragraphs 46(2)(b)and (c), as enacted by An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act.

26 Paragraphs 46(2)(b) and (c) of the Act are replaced by the following:

(b) subsection 10(1) of the Citizenship Act; or

(c) subsection 10.1(3) of the Citizenship Act."; and

(f) in clause 27, on page 9, by adding after line 9 the following:

"(3.1) Subsections 3(2) to (4), subsections 4(1) and (3) and section 5.1 come into force one year after the day on which this Act receives royal assent or on any earlier day or days that may be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.".

And on the subamendment of the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Martin:

That the motion in amendment be not now adopted, but that it be amended by replacing the words "written notice" by the word "notice".

The Hon. the Speaker: The question is as follows: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Carignan, seconded by Honourable Senator Martin:

That the motion in amendment be not now adopted, but that it be amended by replacing the words "written notice" by the word "notice".

All those in favour of the motion in subamendment will please rise.

Motion in subamendment of the Honourable Senator Carignan negatived on the following division:

YEAS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Batters McIntyre
Beyak Mockler
Boisvenu Neufeld
Carignan Ogilvie
Dagenais Oh
Doyle Plett
Eaton Raine
Enverga Runciman
Frum Seidman
Greene Smith
Housakos Stewart Olsen
MacDonald Tannas
Maltais Tkachuk
Manning Unger
Marshall Wells
Martin White—33
McInnis

NAYS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Bellemare Joyal
Bernard Lankin
Boniface Marwah
Bovey Massicotte
Brazeau McCoy
Campbell McPhedran
Christmas Mégie
Cools Mitchell
Cormier Moncion
Day Munson
Dean Omidvar
Duffy Pate
Dyck Petitclerc
Eggleton Pratte
Forest Ringuette
Fraser Saint-Germain
Gold Sinclair
Griffin Tardif
Harder Verner
Hartling Wallin
Hubley Wetston
Jaffer Woo—44

ABSTENTIONS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Cordy Lovelace Nicholas
Downe Mercer
Kenny Watt—6

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, we are now resuming debate on the amendment to Bill C-6 as amended.

Hon. Senators: Question.

The Hon. the Speaker: The question is as follows: It was moved by Honourable Senator McCoy, seconded by Honourable Senator Ringuette that Bill C-6 be not now be read a third time but that it be amended as follows:

May I dispense?

Hon. Senators: Dispense.

All those in favour of the motion will please say "yea."

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker: All those opposed to the motion will please say "nay."

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

(1740)

The Hon. the Speaker: We will try that again. All those in favour of the motion will please say "yea."

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker: All those opposed to the motion will please say "nay."

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker: The "nays" are louder, but in my opinion the "yeas" have it.

And two honourable senators having risen:

The Hon. the Speaker: I see two senators rising. Do we have an agreement on the bell?

Some Hon. Senators: Now.

The Hon. the Speaker: One-hour bell.

Some Hon. Senators: Now.

The Hon. the Speaker: We will proceed to the vote.

Motion in amendment of Senator McCoy agreed to on the following division:

YEAS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Bellemare Joyal
Bernard Kenny
Boniface Lankin
Bovey Lovelace Nicholas
Brazeau Marwah
Campbell Massicotte
Christmas McCoy
Cools McPhedran
Cordy Mégie
Cormier Mercer
Day Mitchell
Dean Moncion
Downe Munson
Duffy Omidvar
Dyck Pate
Eggleton Petitclerc
Forest Pratte
Fraser Ringuette
Gold Saint-Germain
Greene Sinclair
Griffin Tardif
Harder Wallin
Hartling Watt
Hubley Wetston
Jaffer Woo—50

NAYS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Batters Mockler
Beyak Neufeld
Boisvenu Ogilvie
Carignan Oh
Dagenais Plett
Doyle Raine
Eaton Runciman
Enverga Seidman
Frum Smith
Housakos Stewart Olsen
MacDonald Tannas
Maltais Tkachuk
Manning Unger
Marshall Verner
Martin Wells
McInnis White—33
McIntyre

ABSTENTIONS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Nil

(On motion of Senator Eaton, debate adjourned.)

Senate Modernization

Third Report of Special Committee Adopted as Amended

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Eggleton, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Day, for the adoption of the third report (interim) of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization, entitled Senate Modernization: Moving Forward (Committees), presented in the Senate on October 4, 2016.

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Day, seconded by the Honourable Senator Fraser:

That the third report of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization be not now adopted, but that it be amended:

1. by replacing the words "Senate direct the Standing Senate Committee on Rules Procedures and the Rights of Parliament to amend" by the words "Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament develop and propose to the Senate, by May 9, 2017, amendments to";

2. by replacing the words "as the basis for such changes" by the words "as an initial basis for its work on the amendments, but also taking into account any other relevant factors identified by the Rules Committee";

3. by adding the following new sentence at the end of the first point under the heading "STEP 4":

"For the purposes of overall proportionality on standing committees, senators not in a caucus or recognized group shall be considered collectively as a group."; and

4. by adding the following immediately before the word "ONGOING":

"STEP 9:

The principle of proportionality shall also apply to the composition of subcommittees.".

Hon. Stephen Greene: Honourable senators, I rise today to endorse the third report of the Senate Modernization Committee. This report deals with the way we select committee membership and steering committee members.

Let me say at the outset, like many of the initiatives that come from the special committee, this report is a compromise amongst committee members. Senators have different views on how the Senate is to modernize, but all senators, I hope, recognize the need for the Senate to modernize.

This report recommends new procedures that modernize the manner in which we select senators to serve on the various standing committees in a way that emphasizes the principle of equality of all senators. This is a very important principle. As some of us demonstrated earlier this afternoon, a senator is a senator is a senator.

The recommendations put forward by the special committee work to ensure the equality of representation amongst all groups in the Senate, partisan and unaffiliated, on the various committees, using the principle of proportionality.

While the report deals with committee membership and the selection of chairs and deputy chairs, and I support those recommendations, it does not go far enough for me in one area, because it does not recognize the uniqueness of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.

Under the proposal before us, the Internal Economy Committee would be treated like any other standing committee, like it is now. Its membership would be decided by the Selection Committee and then ratified by the Senate. The position of chairperson would be assigned to one of the caucuses or groups in the Senate based on negotiations between the various leaders and the facilitators.

(1750)

Well, the Internal Economy Committee is not like other standing committees. Its work is not predominantly legislative or policy. Rather, the work of Internal Economy is management, budgetary and administrative in nature. Its work affects each and every one of us professionally and personally.

When the Chair of Internal speaks, it is rarely on behalf of just the committee; it is usually on behalf of the Senate as a whole. Moreover, the chair, in his or her public comments, is perceived by the general public as speaking for the Senate as a whole. For this reason, I much prefer that the Senate as a whole, this entire chamber, elect the steering committee of Internal and, naturally, by way of secret ballot.

Honourable senators, it just isn't modern to have such an important position allotted to a particular group based on negotiations and then having only the committee itself elect the chair of a committee that affects us all from very few candidates.

All senators should have a say in who represents them on administrative matters and who speaks for them publicly on these matters.

I won't make an amendment because I don't want to slow the proceedings down, but I hope the Modernization Committee will look at this issue this spring and come back with another recommendation. I note that it is on the work plan but it has no priority. In the meantime, we should pass what's before us and do it soon.

Canadians from coast to coast are watching. As some of you may know, I was recently in Halifax speaking with students at Dalhousie University, and I can certainly tell you that those students are following our efforts to modernize the Senate. I was very impressed. They are expecting all senators to grab this opportunity to move the Senate a mighty step towards a Senate where decisions are based on sober second thought.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion in amendment agreed to.)

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Eggleton, seconded by the Honourable Senator Day, that the report, as amended, be adopted.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

An Hon. Senator: On division.

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

Sixth Report of Special Committee—Debate Continued

Leave having been given to revert to Reports of Committees — Other, No. 5:

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Tannas, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wells for the adoption of the sixth report (interim) of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization, entitled Senate Modernization: Moving Forward (Speakership), presented in the Senate on October 5, 2016.

Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, if could I have leave to revert to Item No. 5, which is the sixth report of the Modernization Committee concerning the speakership, all I want to do is adjourn debate.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Fraser, debate adjourned.)

Banking, Trade and Commerce

Motion to Authorize the Committee to Study the Operations of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments and the Chambers Banking Ombuds Office—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Ringuette, seconded by the Honourable Senator Lankin, P.C.:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade, and Commerce be authorized to:

(a) Review the operations of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI), and ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office (ADRBO);

(b) Review the agencies' interaction with and respect for provincial jurisdictions;

(c) Review and determine best practices from similar agencies in other jurisdictions;

(d) Provide recommendations to ensure that the FCAC, OBSI, and ADRBO can better protect consumers and respect provincial jurisdiction; and

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

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I know that this motion has been on the Order Paper for a while. I do plan to speak to it. Senator Ringuette and I have had some discussion about this. I promised her that I would deal with it, if we don't deal with it in the Banking Committee ahead of time.

With that, I'd like to adjourn the debate in my name.

(On motion of Senator Tkachuk, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

Court Challenges Program

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Chaput, calling the attention of the Senate to the Program to Support Linguistic Rights, the importance of ensuring public financing of court actions that seek to create a fair and just society, and to the urgent need for the federal government to re-establish the Court Challenges Program.

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I certainly want to speak to this inquiry, which was introduced in another Parliament by the Honourable Senator Maria Chaput, then revived by the Honourable Senator Gagné. I have a personal interest in this inquiry for a very particular reason. In 1983, after the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I was the Secretary of State for Canada. I humbly admit that I was behind the Court Challenges Program, which was created under the Charter. It is on that subject that I wished to speak to you at greater length this afternoon.

Like you, I feel that the hour is late, so I will take a cue from television by asking you to stay tuned for the next instalment. With your support, honourable senators, I would like to adjourn debate for the remainder of my time.

(On motion of Senator Joyal, debate adjourned.)

Relevance of Full Employment

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Bellemare, calling the attention of the Senate to the relevance of full employment in the 21st century in a globalized economy.

Hon. René Cormier: Honourable senators, this inquiry currently stands in the name of Senator Mitchell. However, he has informed me that he will not be using the balance of his time remaining. Consequently, I move the adjournment in my name.

(On motion of Senator Cormier, debate adjourned.)

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