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1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 118

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

THE SENATE

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

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

Prayers.

[Translation]

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

CBC Program—"Canada: The Story of Us"

Hon. René Cormier: Honourable senators, today I want to join my voice to that of many Canadians who continue to speak out against the historical choices that were made when producing the content for "Canada: The Story of Us", the docudrama that our public broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada, commissioned from Bristow Global Media to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary.

I first want to thank all those who agreed to sign the letter that we are sending to the president of CBC/Radio-Canada, so that we might get some answers about the future content, broadcast, and distribution of this documentary.

[English]

While we recognize that producing a docudrama capturing great Canadian history was an enormous challenge due to Canada's cultural, linguistic and historical diversity and complexity, we do believe that some of the information, facts and events represented or left out of the docudrama may very well mislead Canadians from coast to coast to coast from truly enjoying the wealth of their heritage.

It is my strong belief that it is in our public broadcaster's very mandate and moral responsibility to provide an accurate representation of the history and the diversity of our Canada, the very emblem of "The Story of Us."

[Translation]

As noted by many Canadian historians, citizens, and community leaders, some of the information represented in or left out of the docudrama may very well mislead television viewers on the history of Canada.

Despite the apology from the head of the CBC, we believe that our public broadcaster must provide further explanation to Canadians about the content, broadcast, and distribution of this docudrama.

Furthermore, considering the fact that this series is meant to be used as a teaching tool in Canadian schools and at our tourist centres to share our common history;

Considering the fact that this series ignores the fact that indigenous peoples were on this land for a thousand years and leaves out one of the key events that shaped our country, the deportation of the Acadians;

[English]

Considering the very fact that the contribution of the First Nations and the Inuit people, Metis, Québécois, Acadians, francophones and other cultural minority groups in our great history has been minimized and at times omitted from the docudrama;

[Translation]

Considering the fact that the 1991 Broadcasting Act states that CBC/Radio-Canada must reflect Canada and the country's regional diversity in its national and regional programming, we are asking the President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada, Hubert Lacroix, to provide more information about funding allocated to this production and our public broadcaster's intentions with respect to the future use and distribution of this controversial series;

[English]

As we celebrate the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of Confederation, we must ensure that our next generations understand and remember that Canada's history started millennia before Confederation with the First Nations and that significant events occurred centuries before Confederation with the Vikings and great explorers such as Cabot and Cartier. Our history must also be remembered for its dark periods of land expropriation from the First Nations, the great deportation of the Acadians, the residential schools and the treatment of minority groups well before and after Confederation.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, I want to assure you that, by taking this step, we are in no way questioning the existence of our public broadcaster. Indeed, we believe that CBC/Radio-Canada is essential to the maintenance, development, and expression of Canadian identity.

[English]

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Brigadier-General Blaise Frawley, Director General — Space, of the Royal Canadian Air Force; retired Lieutenant-Colonel Dean Black, Executive Director of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association; and several other members of the Royal Canadian Air Force. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Day.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Air Force Day on the Hill

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Honourable colleagues, as I have done in the past, I rise today to thank the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force for their service and to invite each of you to do the same tonight at Air Force Day on the Hill, a reception sponsored by the Royal Canadian Air Force Association.

The Canadian Air Force was created in 1920, and on April 1, 1924, it became known as "The Royal Canadian Air Force." Shortly after, it became a separate service equal in status to the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Navy.

But the history of Canadians' military service in the air goes back to before the time that we had our own national air force; 25,000 Canadian pilots served with the Royal Flying Corps, as part of the British Empire flying service, during the First World War, 1,600 of whom died during their service.

So it is indeed a service that has been a fundamental piece of the evolution of the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole and in supporting Canada's role on the world stage.

For almost 100 years, in peace and war, the RCAF has served the country while it continues to contribute to the effectiveness and the recognition of our military forces throughout the world. Canadian pilots played a significant role in the Second World War as the fourth largest Allied air force, with more than 215,000 personnel by late 1944, 215,000 in the air force alone.

They have also served in the Korean War, in NATO operations and in UN peacekeeping missions in the Middle East and Asia. Of course, our air force is a key component in the surveillance of continental security, in close military cooperation within the North American Aerospace Defence Command, commonly known as NORAD.

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Today, with approximately 13,000 Regular Force and 2,400 Air Reserve personnel, the RCAF continues to provide responsive and effective air power in our Armed Forces, for example, in search and rescue missions.

Air Force Day on the Hill is an exceptional occasion for an enriching experience of knowledge and learning, an opportunity for parliamentarians to meet RCAF personnel and aerospace industry professionals in a friendly and informal setting. The reception will take place today, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in room 256. I look forward to seeing you there.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Jim Yip, son of K. Dock Yip, the first lawyer of Chinese descent in Canada, as well as Susan Eng, past Chair of the Ontario Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Families; Amy Go, past National President of the Chinese Canadian National Council; Keith Wong, former Executive Director of the Chinese Canadian National Council - Toronto Chapter; Avvy Go, Clinic Director of the Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic; Yew Lee, Former Co-Chair of the Ontario Redress Committee, and; Robert Yip, Director of the Chinese Canadian National Council - Ottawa Chapter. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Oh.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Chinese Immigration Act

Seventieth Anniversary of Repeal

Hon. Victor Oh: Honourable senators, as Canadians across the country gather to celebrate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Confederation, it is important that we take time to remember a darker period in our nation's history.

May 14 marks the seventieth anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese Immigration Act, also known as the Chinese Exclusion Act. It was a part of laws that restricted immigration and discriminated against Chinese immigrants. During this special year, it is important that we learn about all aspects of our nation's history, the good and the bad.

People of Chinese background have been in Canada for many generations. However, many that came to our country experienced isolation and hostility.

In 1885, the federal government imposed a $50 tax on every Chinese immigrant entering Canada. This tax was increased to $500 in 1903, roughly the equivalent of two years' salary.

The government later introduced the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923. This legislation banned virtually all Chinese immigrants from entering the country and made those already here to feel unwelcome.

It was not until 1947 that the federal government repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act. However, restrictions on Chinese immigration to Canada were not fully removed until the revised immigration policy was introduced in 1967.

Today, Chinese-Canadians are one of the largest ethnic groups in Canada and have gone on to make valuable contributions to all walks of our society. Prominent examples include the first Chinese lawyer, Kew Dock Yip, whose son and nephew are here with us today in the Senate Gallery.

Let's also not forget Senator Vivienne Poy, who was the first senator of Chinese descent to sit in this chamber.

Today in the gallery there are community activists who successfully campaigned for the federal government to redress and apologize for Canada's harsh immigration policy. Among them are Susan Eng, Amy Go, Avvy Go, Yew Lee, Keith Wong and Robert Yip. The apology was an important step towards reconciliation to reaffirm to Chinese Canadians that they are full and equal members of Canadian society and that their contributions played a valuable role in shaping Canada into what it is today.

I hope you will all join me in thanking them for their efforts.

Tonight, Senator Dyck, Senator Woo and I are hosting an event to mark the seventieth anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Don Kennedy, the spouse of the Honourable Senator Hartling. He is accompanied by Reverend Steve Bérubé, Minister for St. Paul's United Church in Riverview, New Brunswick, and his wife, Sue Bérubé. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Hartling.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

Inauguration of L'École Claudette-et-Denis-Tardif

Hon. Raymonde Gagné: Honourable colleagues, it is with great pleasure that I inform you of the inauguration of the French school Claudette-et-Denis-Tardif, in Sherwood Park, Alberta, last Friday.

The Franco-Albertan community has been waiting a long time for this school, which is named after our honourable colleague, Senator Claudette Tardif and her husband, Denis. The school presently has 87 students and hundreds of new students are expected to register in the next few years.

I know that we would all like to congratulate our honourable colleague for this well-deserved honour. It is not by chance that this community, which lobbied hard for a French school, chose to name it in honour of such active and devoted leaders.

It is not surprising that a school so named is looking to the future and already planning its expansion. I am convinced that it will educate a new generation of proud francophones. Its students will not have to look far to find their role models.

Honourable Senator Tardif, I congratulate and thank you. This honour demonstrates the extent to which senators can help and inspire their communities. Long live École Claudette-et-Denis-Tardif!

[English]

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Ken and Janet Harnden, and Jim and Linda Parkinson. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Plett and are visiting from Belleville, Ontario.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

National Holocaust Memorial Day

Hon. Marilou McPhedran: Your Honour and colleagues, the UN designates May 8 and 9 as a time of remembrance for victims of World War II. Today, I'm wearing the Holocaust remembrance pin designed by Holocaust survivor Hanka Kornfeld-Marder, to represent a commitment to remember the innocent victims of the persecution and atrocities of the Nazi extermination camps during World War II.

Yesterday was truly an honour to have worn this pin in a room full of survivors, diplomats, parliamentarians and conscientious citizens at the National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony. With Senators Gold and Wetston, I heard the Prime Minister acknowledge Canada's shame in turning away an entire ship of Jewish refugees, resulting in over 250 lost lives.

Our country has been significantly shaped by the approximately 40,000 Holocaust survivors who resettled in Canada after World War II. In 2011, Canada became the first country to sign the Ottawa Protocol on C-combating Antisemitism, an international action plan to help nations measure their progress in the fight against anti-Semitism.

It is important to highlight and remember these terrible instances in history as we need to ensure that the statement, the promise, "never again," actually becomes true. Certainly, we need to focus every day on the human rights of all peoples to ensure that their human security and dignity are upheld — we all deserve to live our rights. But today is about acknowledging the truth of the Shoah.

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Despite overwhelming evidence, an admission and apology from the German government decades ago, revisionists persist in diminishing or denying the Nazi Holocaust. Most revisionists, however, do not deny that millions of Jews were exterminated, along with some other victims; rather, they trivialize the human suffering by arguing that the number of deaths was greatly exaggerated.

Playing a numbers game when it comes to genocide is not what May 8 and 9 are about. Honourable senators, let us use this day to acknowledge that our world has not been able to keep the promise of "never again" and that our vigilance against human rights violations on a massive scale like this is ever needed.

Western Hockey League

Regina Pats

Hon. Denise Batters: Honourable senators, the City of Regina has "Pats fever!" Our major junior hockey team, the Regina Pats, is battling it out in the Western Hockey League final for the first time since 1984.

The western final is tied at one game apiece. And, starting tonight, the Pats take on the Seattle Thunderbirds in Seattle, Washington, for a three-game stand. So, honourable senators, your loyalties don't have to be divided. It's Canada versus the U.S. — you can all cheer for the Pats!

Led by our steady head coach John Paddock, the Regina Pats were the number one Canadian Hockey League team for much of this season. We boast star players like Sam Steel, Adam Brooks and Austin Wagner.

It's already been quite a year. All of Regina was thrilled that we won the bid to host next year's Memorial Cup national championship, so it's really exciting to consider the prospect that the Regina Pats could enter that tournament next year as the defending Memorial Cup champions!

It's been said that the Memorial Cup is the toughest championship to win, so to even have a shot to win it twice in a row is a real rarity.

The last time the Regina Pats won the Memorial Cup was way back in 1974, when we had luminaries like Dennis Sobchuk, Clark Gillies and Ed Stanowski.

This year the Pats certainly haven't made it easy on our tickers this playoff run, needing a game seven to advance in round one, many overtime contests and heart-stopping, game-saving stops by our goalie, Tyler Brown.

Honourable senators, when I was in high school and university, I had the privilege of being the Regina Pats' organist for six years. The excitement of this year's playoff run has made me want to tickle the ivories once again to help cheer our team on to victory.

I want to thank the entire Regina Pats organization for an incredible season. This includes the Pats ownership team, who are always striving to be the best, on and off the ice.

I wish the Regina Pats the very best of luck in their Western Hockey League final series. Regina will be cheering them on all the way to the Memorial Cup — this year and next! Go Pats go!


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Statute Law Amendment Proposals

Document Tabled

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a document entitled Proposals to correct certain anomalies, inconsistencies and errors and to deal with other matters of a non-controversial and uncomplicated nature in the Statutes of Canada and to repeal certain Acts and provisions that have expired, lapsed or otherwise ceased to have effect.

Study on International Market Access Priorities for the Canadian Agricultural and Agri-Food Sector

Seventh Report of Agriculture and Forestry Committee Tabled with Clerk During Adjournment of the Senate

Hon. Ghislain Maltais: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that pursuant to the order of reference adopted on Thursday, January 28, 2016, and to the order adopted by the Senate on Thursday, May 4, 2017, the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry deposited with the Clerk of the Senate, on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, its seventh report, entitled Market Access: Giving Canadian Farmers and Processors the world. I move that the report be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting.

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

[English]

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Twelfth Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Leo Housakos, Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, presented the following report:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has the honour to present its

TWELFTH REPORT

Your committee, which is authorized by the Rules of the Senate to consider financial and administrative matters, now reports that it has reviewed the Senate Administrative Rules and recommends as follows:

1. That the existing Senate Administrative Rules be replaced by the revised Senate Administrative Rules (SARs), appended to this report. The new SARs will come into force on November 1, 2017; and

2. That the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel be authorized to make clerical corrections and editorial and consequential changes as may be required.

Your committee also recommends that the new Senators' Office Management Policy, adopted by the committee on April 13, 2017, supersede the nineteenth report of the committee, adopted by the Senate on February 28, 2013, and the twenty-fifth report of the committee, adopted by the Senate on May 28, 2013.

The committee reports that Senators' Office Management Policy will come into force on November 1, 2017. The new policy is also appended to this report for your information.

Respectfully submitted,

LEO HOUSAKOS

Chair

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix, p. 1889.)

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

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

[Translation]

Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament

Seventh Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Joan Fraser, Chair of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, presented the following report:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures, and the Rights of Parliament has the honour to present its

SEVENTH REPORT

Pursuant to rule 12-7(2)(a), your committee recommends that the Rules of the Senate be amended by:

1. replacing rule 3-6(2) by the following:

"Adjournment extended

3-6. (2) Whenever the Senate stands adjourned, if the Speaker is satisfied that the public interest does not require the Senate to meet at the date and time stipulated in the adjournment order, the Speaker shall, after consulting the Leader of the Government, the Leader of the Opposition, and the leader or facilitator of any other recognized party or recognized parliamentary group, or their designates, determine an appropriate later date or time for the next sitting.";

2. replacing rule 4-2(8)(a) by the following:

"Extending time for Senators' Statements

4-2. (8)(a) At the request of a whip or the designated representative of a recognized parliamentary group, the Speaker shall, at an appropriate time during Senators' Statements, seek leave of the Senate to extend Statements. If leave is granted, Senators' Statements shall be extended by no more than 30 minutes.";

3. replacing rule 4-3(1) by the following:

"Tributes

4-3. (1) At the request of the Leader of the Government, the Leader of the Opposition, or the leader or facilitator of any other recognized party or recognized parliamentary group, the period for Senators' Statements shall be extended by no more than 15 minutes for the purpose of paying tribute to a current or former Senator.";

4. replacing rule 6-3(1)(a) by the following:

"Leaders

(a) the Leader of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition shall be allowed unlimited time for debate; and the leader or facilitator of any other recognized party or recognized parliamentary group shall be permitted up to 45 minutes for debate;";

5. replacing rule 6-5(1)(b) by the following:

"(b) the time remaining, not to exceed 15 minutes, if the Senator who yielded is the Leader of the Government, the Leader of the Opposition, or the leader or facilitator of any other recognized party or recognized parliamentary group.";

6. replacing rule 7-3(1)(f)(ii) by the following:

"(ii) the leader or facilitator of any other recognized party or recognized parliamentary group may speak for up to 15 minutes;";

7. replacing rule 12-5(c) by the following:

"(c) the leader or facilitator of any other recognized party or recognized parliamentary group, or a designate, for a change of members of that party or group.";

8. replacing rule 12-8(2) by the following:

"User fee proposals12-8. (2) When the Leader or Deputy Leader of the Government tables a user fee proposal, it is deemed referred to the standing or special committee designated by the Leader or Deputy Leader of the Government following consultations with the Leader or Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and the leader or facilitator of any other recognized party or recognized parliamentary group.";

9. replacing the definition of "Deputy Leader of the Government" in Appendix I by the following:

"Deputy Leader of the Government

The Senator who acts as the second to the Leader of the Government and who is normally responsible for the management of Government business on the floor of the Senate. The Deputy Leader is also generally responsible for negotiating the daily agenda of business with the Opposition and other recognized parties and recognized parliamentary groups. In the absence of the Deputy Leader, the Government Leader may designate another Senator to perform the role. The full title is "Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate". (Leader adjoint du gouvernement)";

10. replacing the definition of "Deputy Leader of the Opposition" in Appendix I by the following:

"Deputy Leader of the Opposition

The Senator who acts as the second to the Leader of the Opposition and who is normally responsible for negotiating the daily agenda of business on the floor of the Senate with the Government and other recognized parties and recognized parliamentary groups. In the absence of the Deputy Leader, the Opposition Leader may designate another Senator to perform the role. The full title is "Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate". (Leader adjoint de l'opposition)";

11. replacing the definition of "Leader of a recognized party in the Senate" in Appendix I by the following:

"Leader or facilitator of a recognized party or recognized parliamentary group

The Senator who heads a group of Senators recognized as a party or a parliamentary group under the Rules. (Leader ou facilitateur d'un parti reconnu ou d'un groupe parlementaire reconnu)";

12. replacing the definition of "Leadership" in Appendix I by the following:

"Leadership

A term commonly used to refer to various positions in the Senate, notably the leaders or facilitators of the recognized parties or recognized parliamentary groups, their deputies, their designates and the whips. (Dirigeants)";

13. replacing the definition of "Recognized party" in Appendix I by the following:

"Recognized party or recognized parliamentary group

A recognized party in the Senate is composed of at least nine senators who are members of the same political party, which is registered under the Canada Elections Act, or has been registered under the Act within the past 15 years. A recognized parliamentary group in the Senate is one to which at least nine senators belong and which is formed for parliamentary purposes. A senator may belong to either one recognized party or one recognized parliamentary group. Each recognized party or recognized group has a leader or facilitator in the Senate. (Parti reconnu ou groupe parlementaire reconnu)";

14. adding the following new definitions to Appendix I in alphabetical order:

(a) "Facilitator of a recognized parliamentary group

See "Leader or facilitator of a recognized party or recognized parliamentary group". (Facilitateur d'un groupe parlementaire reconnu)"; and

(b) "Recognized parliamentary group

See "Recognized party or recognized parliamentary group". (Groupe parlementaire reconnu)";

15. by deleting the definition of "Leader of any other recognized party in the Senate" in Appendix I; and

16. updating all cross references in the Rules, including the lists of exceptions, accordingly.

Respectfully submitted,

JOAN FRASER

Chair

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

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

[English]

Statute Law Amendment Proposals

Notice of Motion to Refer Document to Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the document entitled Proposals to correct certain anomalies, inconsistencies and errors and to deal with other matters of a non-controversial and uncomplicated nature in the Statutes of Canada and to repeal certain Acts and provisions that have expired, lapsed or otherwise ceased to have effect, tabled in the Senate on May 9, 2017, be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

[Translation]

The Senate

Notice of Motion to Extend Wednesday's Sitting and Authorize Committees to Meet During Sitting of the Senate

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, notwithstanding the order adopted by the Senate on February 4, 2016, the Senate continue sitting on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, pursuant to the provisions of the Rules;

That committees of the Senate scheduled to meet on that day be authorized to sit after 4 p.m. even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto; and

That the provisions of rule 3-3(1) be suspended on that day.

[English]

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, pursuant to the motion adopted in this chamber on Thursday, May 4, 2017, Question Period will take place at 3:30 p.m.


[Translation]

QUESTION PERIOD

Delayed Answer to Oral Question

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question raised by the Honourable Senator Lang on February 15, 2017, concerning the RCMP and collective bargaining.

Public Safety

RCMP—Collective Bargaining

(Response to question raised by Hon. Daniel Lang on February 15, 2017)

Bill C-7, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act, will bring the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) labour relations regime into compliance with the Charter by providing a national framework for RCMP members and reservists to unionize should they choose to do so. The government is examining the Senate amendments to assess their legal and labour impacts. This examination takes into consideration the particular circumstances of the RCMP as a police organization and the alignment of the labour relations regime applicable to RCMP members and reservists with the regime applicable to the rest of the federal public service. The Government will respond to the Senate amendments shortly.

The RCMP is treating all interested employee organizations consistently and remaining impartial during the certification process as required by the Public Service Labour Relations Act. For these reasons, the RCMP is not allowing any organizations to use its resources. This approach is consistent with standard labour practices, including how the Government of Canada manages similar issues with bargaining agents representing public service employees. The RCMP takes its responsibilities under the law seriously and has always been and will continue to be neutral during the certification process.


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[English]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Tobacco Act
Non-smokers' Health Act

Bill to Amend—Twelfth Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the twelfth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers' Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, with amendments and observations), presented in the Senate on May 2, 2017.

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie moved the adoption of the report.

He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to recommend to you the twelfth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology with regard to Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers' Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Bill S-5 proposes to amend the Tobacco Act to regulate the manufacture, sale, labelling and promotion of vaping products and certain other tobacco products, particularly with respect to the sale and promotion of these products to minors.

I want to thank committee members for what was a remarkable process. This bill had an enormous public and industrial interest. As committee members, we were besieged with forceful observations of various kinds. I believe that the committee had very good discussions on all key issues, with solid arguments from all sides and a good balance of perspectives from witnesses.

I also want to thank our analysts, Sonya Norris and Marlisa Tiedemann, for their excellent support and clear explanations, and our clerk, Shaila Anwar, for her handling of the procedures and some forceful intervenors.

For the purposes of its consideration of Bill S-5, the committee held five meetings, heard from 21 witnesses and received well over 35 briefs and countless emails and other types of submissions on this bill.

Members of the committee and, in particular, the sponsor of the bill and the critic of the bill, dealt with the issues in a constructive and collaborative manner, which permitted the committee to adopt 10 amendments and to make a number of observations.

Honourable senators, you will learn more about the amendments during the debate, especially from the sponsor and the critic of the bill. At this time, I will simply note that amendments 1 through 8 are largely of a technical nature. These amendments were proposed by the sponsor of the bill, Senator Petitclerc, and incorporate clarifications and precisions to the language in the legislation that were recommended by various witnesses and stakeholders who appeared before the committee.

The first eight amendments clarify terminology, affect the regulations around tobacco and/or vaping products, their sale and promotion, or make consequential or coordinating amendments.

The ninth amendment was proposed by Senator Seidman, the critic of the bill, and proposes to add a new clause to the bill that would require the minister to undertake a review of the provisions and operations of the act and to table this review in both Houses of Parliament.

The tenth amendment was proposed by Senator Dean. In his remarks during our clause-by-clause consideration, Senator Dean indicated that the intent of his amendment was to ban menthol and cloves as flavourings for certain tobacco products.

However, it has been brought to my attention that the amendment brought forward at committee was not in the right format and requires a correction. I understand that Senator Dean, as the mover of this particular amendment in committee, intends to correct this situation at third reading. As an aside, I would indicate that this was purely an issue of the language and has nothing to do with the substance of his amendment.

Before I conclude my remarks, I would also like to make one final comment with respect to observations that have been appended to this report.

Committee members raised concerns about the need to strengthen some of the regulations to prohibit non-medical professionals from providing medical advice on smoking cessation. Committee members also expressed the need for clear, rigorous standards for nicotine and other e-liquid concentration levels and the need for accurate labelling.

Finally, the committee heard disturbing reports regarding the production and sale of contraband tobacco and has an observation, based on witness testimony, in that regard.

On behalf of the committee, I recommend the report to you.

Hon. George Baker (The Hon. the Acting Speaker): Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

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

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

Senate Modernization

Fifth Report of Special Committee—Motion in Amendment—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator McCoy, seconded by the Honourable Senator Ringuette, for the adoption of the fifth report (interim) of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization, entitled Senate Modernization: Moving Forward (Caucus), presented in the Senate on October 4, 2016.

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

That the report be not now adopted, but that it be amended:

1. by replacing the paragraph starting with the words "That the Senate direct the Committee on Rules" by the following:

"That the Senate direct the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament and the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration to draft amendments to the Rules of the Senate and the Senate Administrative Rules, and to report thereon to the Senate by May 9, 2017, respecting the following:"; and

2. by replacing the paragraph starting with the words "That the Senate direct the Committee on Internal" by the following:

"That the Senate direct the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration to prepare amendments to the Senate Administrative Rules, and to report thereon to the Senate by May 9, 2017, to provide all groups (caucuses) of senators with funding for a secretariat and research projects, regardless of whether the caucuses are organized with or without political affiliations.".

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I note that this item is at day 14, so I move the adjournment of the debate for the balance of my time.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Seventh Report of Special Committee—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Massicotte, seconded by the Honourable Senator Moore for the adoption of the seventh report (interim), as amended, of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization, entitled Senate Modernization: Moving Forward (Regional interest), presented in the Senate on October 18, 2016.

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Honourable senators, before I start, I seek leave to distribute, in both official languages, sections 21 and 22 of the Constitution so that you can better understand the comments that I'm about to provide you.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Is leave granted for the distribution of the document?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

[Translation]

Senator Ringuette: Honourable senators, it won't be easy for me to speak on the subject of the regions in the context of the seventh report, which deals with the modernization committee's recommendations 11 and 12.

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The committee's primary mandate was to review and modernize our operating rules while respecting the Constitution. It seems many senators misunderstand our fundamental role, the structure of the Senate, as described in section 22 of the Constitution, or a combination of the two. Let us therefore clarify the role that senators play based on the fundamental structure of the Senate.

[English]

In its April 2014 decision, the Supreme Court clearly stated in paragraph 54:

The implementation of consultative elections would amend the Constitution of Canada . . . . It would modify the Senate's role with our constitutional structure as a complementary legislative body of sober second thought.

Senators, our fundamental role is as "a complementary legislative body of sober second thought."

The Supreme Court decision further confirmed our role in paragraph 56:

The framers of the Constitution Act, 1867 deliberately chose executive appointment of Senators in order to allow the Senate to play the specific role of a complementary legislative body of "sober second thought."

As often as I read our Constitution, I am amazed at the foresight of the Fathers of Confederation in constituting an equal, balanced Senate via its four divisions. It does prevent any one group from having the control of the institution and/or the Senate being controlled by a majority caucus or group.

Honourable senators, our role is to provide sober second thought, period. How we do so is via the prism of views from the citizens of our province and our life experience.

Throughout its April 2014 decision, the Supreme Court based its findings on the architecture of the Constitution and the political structures within our federation. At the Modernization Committee, on February 15, 2017, Senator Joyal stated:

We have to understand the fundamental role of the Senate. The Senate is the voice of the regions. That's why it is structured the way it is structured. It is supposed to balance the various regional interests so that a majority doesn't decide at the expense of a minority.

I am very humbled by Senator Joyal's constitutional expertise. It seems to me that too often we are mixing apples and oranges, and we may have done so for a long time.

First, our fundamental role is not being the voices of the region; it is, as stated by the Supreme Court in 2014, to provide sober second thought. How we provide sober second thought is via our provincial representation in a Senate structure of four equal divisions.

Second, I agree with Senator Joyal's statement that the Senate structure is based on divisions/regions as per section 22. Section 22 does not state that the Senate shall consist of partisan caucuses or independent groups for that matter. Constitutionally, it has not been structured on the existence or provision for partisan caucuses, which I'm sure is an issue for discussion at another time. However, under the heading of "Representation of Provinces in Senate," section 22 states:

In relation to the Constitution of the Senate of Canada shall be deemed to consist of Four Divisions:

. . . which Four Divisions shall . . . be equally represented in the Senate . . . .

As a senator representing the citizens of the province of New Brunswick, I should sit in a senatorial division of the Maritimes. Honourable senators, our Senate structure is clearly defined in the Constitution at section 22.

The Constitution further defines the structure of the Senate at section 21, which states:

The Senate shall . . . consist of One Hundred and five Members who shall be styled Senators.

This is our fundamental structure: 105 members styled "senators," deemed in a Senate consisting of four divisions. Just as each senator is equal, so is each division. This is parity and equality, so that no one group can dominate the institution in its sober second thought, and of course this fundamental structure should be reflected in our Rules enabling that sober second thought.

Triggered by Senator Joyal's statement, I set out to ask constitutional experts to express how Senator Joyal's statement related to section 22. Since I have not asked that their comments be made public, I will refer to them as professors 1 to 5.

Professor 1 wrote the following note to me:

Now that the Senate is no longer (for the most part) captive to partisan duties, there is a real opportunity to give effect to article 22 which was not realistic in the past when the Senate normally voted on party lines.

Professor 2 indicated:

In essence, I strongly agree with both senators —

He was referring to Senator Joyal and me.

— that not only clause 22 of the Constitution Act, 1867, by the very existence of Canada rested on creating an upper house of the regions from the debate in Quebec City in 1864 and later Charlottetown . . . it is indeed time to see how we can return the Senate as an upper house of the regions.

Professor 3 indicated that the Senate has not done enough in terms of its structures, procedures and informal practices to perform its regional role.

Professor 4 wrote:

Section 22 is not only basic to the composition and function of the Senate, it is fundamental to its constitutional purpose within confederation.

Professor 5, in a four page paper, concluded:

The Senate should be seen by the public to be composed of senators from each of the territorial divisions of Canada in equal numbers. That should be done, for example, by having senators sit by divisions in the chamber, with newer senators at the rear so that seat assignments are more or less automatic.

Honourable senators, professors 1 to 5 all appeared as expert witnesses before the Modernization Committee but were never asked the crucial question in regard to our structure and section 22 of the Constitution. May I also add that at no time was this pertinent question in regard to our structure in section 22 raised before the Supreme Court of Canada.

The order of reference of December 11, 2015, creating the Senate Modernization Committee, included the following:

That a Special Committee on Senate Modernization be appointed to consider methods to make the Senate more effective within the current constitutional framework;

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In essence, honourable senators, to comply with our Constitution, we should be structured, as per section 22, of four divisions. Our operating rules should confirm those divisions to ensure effectiveness in our fundamental role of providing sober second thought.

The seventh committee report does not comply with our current constitutional framework, nor has the committee even questioned section 22's implication.

I am also a strong believer in our freedom of association within our Charter of Rights. I have no issues, nor would it undermine the Constitution, if senators associated themselves in different groupings or caucuses on the second level. This would occur outside the scope of our operating rules, but recognized and financed under our administrative rules if it would help senators fulfill their fundamental role in providing sober second thought. It's so simple; it's right there.

Structured by divisions/regions does not preclude membership in a partisan or issues-based grouping or caucuses. Maybe the public would look upon the Senate more kindly if they saw senators of all stripes, or of no stripes, coming together once a week for a few hours to discuss how they might better serve Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes, the West, collectively, regardless of their views on individual bills or policy. That's actually why we're here and how we got here 150 years ago.

I would also like to point out that the Massicotte-Greene questionnaire in June 2015 queried the issue under question 2B18 as follows:

In your ideal Senate, do you have comments with respect to Senate regional caucuses?

Eighty-one per cent said yes to regional caucuses; fifteen per cent had no comments; and four per cent said no.

So 81 per cent of senators, almost all from partisan caucuses, recognized that the Senate should operate on a regions/divisions basis, which is quite telling. I guess secretly, behind the curtains, we recognize intuitively, as senators, that the Fathers of Confederation were right in having the Senate consist of four divisions.

Given that 81 per cent want regional caucuses, can someone explain to me why these overwhelming responses are not reflected in the Modernization Committee report on page 29?

Page 29 starts with the following sentence:

Regional representation is one of the modern purposes of the Senate, recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Again, may I emphasize that I represent the citizens of my province. It is true that for senators from Quebec and those from Ontario, they represent their province and also structurally constitute a region or a division.

May I have five more minutes?

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Ringuette: Honourable senators, regional representation is certainly not a "modern purpose" of the Senate, and that's the starting line of this report.

Needless to say that reading page 29 and Recommendations 11 and 12, I am very disappointed. It also reads: ". . . to require standing committees to consider regional impacts in their reports by way of observations . . . ." and ". . . to make available sufficient funds for committees to travel to all regions . . . ."

Honourable senators, honestly, that is nothing more than the status quo. There's no modernization there. I view it as a state of denial, since we are resisting complying with our Constitution in the very first place.

Then we have Recommendation 12, which is nothing more than window dressing, as if the Senate committees are not already travelling to regions to gather their perspectives.

Just as all senators agree, within our sober second thought process we ask if a bill complies with our Constitution. That's the first question we ask.

The current question before us is how we senators accept that the Senate structure still does not comply with the Constitution as per section 22. We ask that of anything that comes in front of us, except for ourselves.

Honourable senators, for the reasons stated above, I cannot endorse the minimalist approach in this seventh report. I recommend that the Modernization Committee provide sober second thought on the issue of regions within the constitutional framework, as per their mandate and order of reference.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

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

Tenth Report of National Security and Defence Committee—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the tenth report (interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, entitled Military underfunded: The walk must match the talk, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on April 13, 2017.

Hon. Daniel Lang moved the adoption of the report:

He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise and speak about the report tabled on April 21, 2017, from the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence entitled Military Underfunded: The walk must match the talk.

The report represents a significant effort to examine and report on issues related to the Canadian Armed Forces which the Minister of National Defence recommended that we consider on behalf of the government.

At the outset, I wish to thank the members of the committee for their contributions to the study, especially the Deputy Chair, Senator Jaffer, and I also very much want to say that I appreciate the guidance offered to us by Senator Kenny. I'd also like to thank the members of the Independent Senators Group for their cooperation and support. They joined the study when we finished hearing from most of the witnesses and I wish to note that their recommendations and contributions were appreciated.

Colleagues, with this report your committee has completed part one of two specifically focused on the Canadian military and the Defence Policy Review.

Before I get into the substance of the report entitled Military Underfunded: The walk must match the talk, I wish to acknowledge the work of the staff, whose contributions were invaluable, specifically our committee clerk, Adam Thompson; the political staff, specifically my Director of Policy, Naresh Raghubeer; Senator Jaffer's Legislative Assistant, Alex Mendes; Senator Carignan's Policy Adviser, Roy Rempel; and our Library of Parliament researcher, Marcus Pistor.

In our report, colleagues, the committee noted that Canada's military is at the breaking point. Our committee learned that over and over again, governments have been underfunding the military and we're becoming more and more reliant on others for protection. This is unacceptable.

During the committee hearings, we learned that it will take an additional $2 billion per year in new monies simply to maintain current military operations.

Colleagues, Canada is a maritime nation and we're very blessed. We have the longest coastline in the world, which must be protected and defended from new and emerging threats.

Our military must also be fully prepared to respond to national emergencies, as they are doing with the current flooding in Quebec, to support search and rescue on our coasts and in the High Arctic, and to respond to international missions as requested by the government.

Colleagues, your committee found that today, Canada is falling short of fully participating in the defence of North America as a member of NORAD. This must change. We also have obligations to Canada's security and defence, as well as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, which we are also failing to meet.

According to figures compiled for the committee by the Library of Parliament, in conjunction with the Parliamentary Budget Office, we learned that Budget 2017-18 has Canada spending 0.88 per cent of our GDP on the military — the lowest in our country's history — despite commitments made during the 2015 election by the current Prime Minister, which the report cites on page 3.

Let me read those commitments:

We will not let Canada's Armed Forces be short changed, and we will not lapse spending from year to year. We will also reinvest in building a leaner, more agile, better equipped military including adequate support systems for military personnel and their families.

Colleagues, I do not mean to single out one government. Successive governments have spoken eloquently about the need to support our troops, but their actions — or, rather, their inactions — have left the military in a sad state. In fact, Canada has not been spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence since 1989 — 29 years ago. This has contributed to a decline in the capabilities of our military and we must rebuild it. That's why our committee made 16 bold recommendations to address decades of neglect.

Our first recommendation is that the Government of Canada make the necessary defence investments to ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces are fully equipped and trained to carry out Canada's key defence priorities effectively: the protection of Canadian sovereignty, including in the Arctic; the defence of North America under NORAD; and full participation in NATO, as well as the United Nations and other multilateral international operations.

Our second recommendation, and perhaps the one that will have a significant impact, is that "the government present a budget plan to Parliament within 180 days to increase defence spending to 1.5 per cent of GDP by 2023 and 2 per cent of GDP by 2028." This will mean an increase of $36 billion over the next 11 years to reflect GDP. It will also mean a reversal of the shrinking portion of overall spending that the Department of National Defence has faced in recent years. This is illustrated in charts in the report.

Our third recommendation is that the government implement a long-term funding framework to secure stable and sustained investments to renew the core capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces, while increasing transparency and accountability and eliminate the issue of lapsed funding for the operational needs of the Canadian military.

The report notes that over the last five years, the military has lapsed $7.2 billion in funding because of inefficiencies in planning and our broken procurement system where, as one witness put it, "everyone is accountable and no one is accountable." This is unacceptable.

Our fourth recommendation is that as funding for the defence of Canada is increased the government systematically provides funding for these identified priorities in the Defence Acquisition Guide and that it update the guide to reflect: First, the specific project; second, whether the project is funded or unfunded; third, when each project will be funded; and, fourth, when the acquisition will be completed.

Colleagues, the Defence Acquisition Guide is established by the military as their priorities. The document should be more readable to allow Parliament and Canadians to track how military procurement is progressing.

Our fifth recommendation calls on the government to report to Parliament within 180 days on progress made under the Defence Renewal Transformation Strategy and annually thereafter. The current government committed to implementing the recommendations in this report but Parliament has not seen any sign that they are following through.

Our sixth and seventh recommendations call on the government to complete a national security review and a foreign policy review by 2018 and then conduct a legislatively mandated review of the military every four years. This will allow for a regular national discussion around our military and will serve to inform Canadians about issues better and to allow Parliament to address ongoing challenges.

Our eighth recommendation calls on the government to work with both the Senate and the House of Commons to establish a cross-party consensus on issues related to the military and veterans issues.

This is very important for the military and in this new era of non-partisan politics, it would be a significant value — for the government, the military and the taxpayers — if we were to find ways to establish more cross-party consensus in this area.

Our committee recommended that this could be achieved through more meetings between parliamentarians in their constituencies with the three services, air force, navy and Armed Forces; by having the Prime Minister work more closely with the Leader of the Opposition and the third party on matters of national security and defence and by calling on Parliament to establish a special joint committee on military procurement to increase accountability.

When it comes to protecting Canada and Canadians, the committee urges the government to explore opportunities to coordinate an integrated joint cyber defence strategy with the United States. We also call on the government to designate satellites and radar installations as critical infrastructure and seek ways to secure the full spectrum of all critical infrastructure assets against significant threats, including the electromagnetic pulse, by 2020.

Currently, there's no plan to counter the electromagnetic pulse threat. This threat, which is either from solar flares or an explosion in the atmosphere, can cause all electronic circuits and wires to stop working.

The U.S. declassified information about the electromagnetic pulse threat over 15 years ago, yet Canada has been slow to respond. Acting to insulate our electricity grid against an EMP threat is not political, it is common sense. We should also understand that the nuclear capabilities of North Korea have increased to the point where they pose or are beginning to pose a significant threat to North America, as well as our allies in the Pacific, specifically Japan and South Korea.

Colleagues, our fourteenth recommendation reaffirms the committee's call for Canada to become a full partner with the United States on ballistic missile defence, provide strategic locations for radar installations and collaborate on overnight research and technology partnerships.

Our fifteenth recommendation addresses the broken system of military procurement in which, as one witness put it, "everyone is accountable and no one is accountable." We have multiple departments involved and a significant under capacity to ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget.

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To address these challenges, we recommend that the Minister of National Defence appoint a lead negotiator and interlocutor for each procurement project valued over $1 billion and assign responsibilities and accountability. We also recommend that the government transfer responsibilities for all defence and Coast Guard procurement from Public Services and Procurement Canada to the Department of National Defence, establish a major military procurement agency within the Department of National Defence and take the steps, on an interim basis, to ensure that current major procurement projects proceed expeditiously and responsibly, both by (a) contracting procurement experts while training, deploying and developing a plan to retain in-house staff; and (b) by ensuring direct ministerial oversight of all major procurements to ensure that they advance on time and on budget.

Colleagues, this is part one of two of our defence policy reports. Our committee firmly believes that we must make the investments to protect Canada and Canadians. We must also fix the broken procurement system to ensure that these investments are effectively procured. Our military deserves no less. I ask for your support in adopting this report.

(On motion of Senator Eggleton, debate adjourned.)

The Senate

Motion to Encourage the Government to Evaluate the Cost and Impact of Implementing a National Basic Income Program—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 Dawson:

That the Senate encourage the federal government, after appropriate consultations, to sponsor along with one or more of the provinces/territories a pilot project, and any complementary studies, to evaluate the cost and impact of implementing a national basic income program based on a negative income tax for the purpose of helping Canadians to escape poverty.

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Bellemare, seconded by the Honourable Senator Harder, P.C.:

That the motion be amended to read as follows:

That the Senate encourage the federal government, after appropriate consultations, to provide support to initiatives by Provinces/Territories, including the Aboriginal Communities, aimed at evaluating the cost and impact of implementing measures, programs and pilot projects for the purpose of helping Canadians to escape poverty, by way of a basic income program (such as a negative income tax) and to report on their relative efficiency.

Hon. Patricia Bovey: We are all better off when we are all better off. Those words from The Gardens of Democracy, so simple yet complex, became the mantra of my late husband. It is true. We are all better off in every aspect of life when we are all better off. What do we need to do for every dimension of society to be better off?

The answer is layered and involved. Poverty must be substituted with human dignity. Our citizens need to be fulfilled, contributing members of society, able to care for themselves and their families with pride and self-confidence. All must have the ability and means to make their own decisions according to their circumstances, needs and wants.

Senators, I add my voice to support Motion No. 51 and the call for a basic income program. I salute Senator Eggleton for his initiative and work on poverty issues and his strong voice for those who have none.

Building on Manitoba's 1970s Dauphin Mincom pilot project, we learned last week that the Government of Ontario will launch a Mincom project in Lindsay, Hamilton and Thunder Bay. My guess is that the results will likely be similar. Like projects are now running in various parts of the world. Canadian and international research on poverty is compelling, with concerns articulated by London's Citizens' Economic Council:

How can citizens on lower incomes get a fair deal? . . . life costs more if you're poor.

Neil Richmond, co-founder of OneSqin, commented:

Gender inequality compounds poverty, and small purchasing decisions have the power to change the world.

Last September, U.K.'s Royal Society of the Arts' Inclusive Growth Commission published their interim report, Growing Together, highlighting a conclusive early finding, the need for:

. . . economic and social policy to move closely together at all levels of government, as in Britain for the first time more than 50% of people living in poverty are in work —

This underlines the importance of investment that builds social infrastructure on the same scale as physical infrastructure.

Canadian figures are similar. The majority of those in poverty are in work, precarious work, short term, low-paying contracts and sporadic seasonal work. Another concerning societal shift is the widening gap between rich and poor.

Ten years ago, Valerie Tarasuk, of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine, noted Canada has no anti-poverty strategy when she wrote:

There is precious little indication of political interest in addressing the very serious problems of poverty that underpin hunger and food insecurity in our country . . . Welfare incomes continue to be set at levels well below basic costs of living in most jurisdictions, and low-income families . . . are facing increasing hardships . . . .

Are we any better off 10 years later? Few disagree that everyone deserves an adequate standard of living. I was surprised to learn that $37,500 is still considered the basic annual baseline income for a family of four, despite the poverty line being $40,000. Some metrics set $50,000 as a baseline. LIM, the low-income measure, includes income, basic needs of food, housing, clothing, education and entertainment. We know the current crisis of housing costs in Canada's large cities and the myriad issues in the North — housing, insulation, water, the price of food — with milk costing more than soft drinks and alcohol.

So, colleagues, I ask: What would your priority be as a family of four living on $37,500 or even $50,000? Your rent or mortgage, food, your children's school books, seeing the dentist, taking medications as prescribed, clothes for your growing children or the occasional movie? How would you juggle those core necessities? How do we create a fair playing field when our regional situations, North to South, large city to rural, are so different?

"Living on the Edge: Taking a Look at Poverty" is a Winnipeg United Way poverty simulation tour. With a facilitator, groups walk a metaphorical mile in the lives of Winnipeggers experiencing poverty and face the issues they deal with, the expected and the unexpected.

Recently, I met with those involved over many years in Manitoba's food banks and social agencies and heard their stories, concerns and dedication to turning these tides.

In the 1970s Dauphin Mincom project, incomes were topped up to a minimum guaranteed level. Two findings particularly resonated with me.

Health costs, one of the most expensive issues governments face, were reduced by 8.5 per cent, with an almost 10 per cent reduction in hospitalization. High school completion rose from 80 per cent to 100 per cent, or, put another way, the dropout rate fell from 20 per cent to 0 per cent. Both gains were lost when the study was truncated. What worked? Why were the gains not sustained?

The self-esteem and self-confidence garnered by ensuring a minimum income and not facing penalties if they got a job were critically important. Recipients felt respected, able to make their decisions and plan their expenses, without worrying each month whether they would be able to cover rent, food, medications, child care or transportation.

Senators, we all know that the sense of feeling human and pride, self-reliance and self-confidence are critically necessary for personal well-being.

Let me tell you the story of Big Bill. He had had a good career, but circumstances changed, forcing him to live marginally. Homeless, he dumpster dove for food. When found, he was virtually inarticulate. He then became a regular user of Winnipeg Harvest, always bringing his belongings with him. Personal cleanliness was an issue. No one commented. His situation was well understood. He was fed at Harvest and given work to do. With proper nutrition, his intelligence became apparent. One day, he arrived without his stuff. He had a place to live, a room in a Main Street hotel. His sense of well-being grew until he was a victim of theft and again brought everything with him.

But one day, he arrived well-dressed and clean. Staff were surprised. Compliments reigned. His response? "I just had my birthday. I turned 65. I get OAS. Now I feel like a citizen, as good as everyone else." Thereafter, he voted and took part in normal daily life. That security of basic income was transformational.

Another story involves a gang member from a Winnipeg inner-city reservation, a client of Winnipeg's Social Planning Council. Substance dependent and involved in crime, he had been in and out of prison. With his wife's sudden death, this now single father of four was determined not to return to prison. His struggle to stay clean was tough. He succeeded. A job was a significant factor, as was the much-needed moral support from others. That success, with its financial security, gave him pride and self-esteem.

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In 2013, 1,334,930 children lived in poverty, almost one of every five in Canada. More than one third of children in poverty lived in a household with at least one family member employed full time. One in seven Canadians using homeless shelters is a child. We know those situations lead to higher rates of mental and physical health issues.

The report the Impact of Poverty on the Current and Future Health Status of Children noted:

Child poverty in Canada is a significant public health concern. Because child development during the early years lays the foundation for later health and development, children must be given the best possible start in life. Family income is a key determinant of healthy child development. . . . On average, children living in low-income families or neighbourhoods have poorer health outcomes. Furthermore, poverty affects children's health not only when they are young, but also later in their lives as adults.

Children deserve nutritious food. One cannot learn on an empty stomach.

These challenges affect us all — teachers working with children in poverty, health care workers, social agencies, policing agencies and more. Effecting change will entail full societal collaboration between governments, charities, schools, the private sector and community centres. We must find collective constructive ways to empower and enable sustained personal and community improvements. There is not one fix to this huge problem, but a job and guaranteed minimum income, not handouts, have already proven to be first critical steps. People do want to work. We all want to be self-sufficient and make our own decisions.

In pondering these imponderables, I equate basic income to equal access to all opportunities — food, housing, water, education, health and jobs.

Subsidized child care is absolutely essential for women to work. Access to education and training to gain necessary skills is imperative. Access to public transport is vital to get people to work.

Those with disabilities have added challenges. I commend grocery store and bank initiatives to hire and support financial investment programs for young adults with disabilities. A friend of my daughter has benefited from both. In her late 30s, she realizes that given her medical condition, she will never be able to work full time, and that will be low income. Nonetheless, she is already planning for retirement, setting aside as much as she can. Her bank matches her savings and she meets regularly with a financial counsellor they provide.

We all agree that education is the key to reconciliation. I was struck several years ago to learn of three northern Manitoba families who pooled resources to buy a townhouse in Winnipeg for their children while they attended university. Each parent took every sixth week off work to be parent in residence, ensuring a safe and healthy home atmosphere for their youth. I applaud that commitment to the importance of education and a good living experience. Those young people have all been able to take their place within their professions.

You have heard me talk of my graduate student from Ghana. Since arriving in Winnipeg last fall, he has volunteered weekly at the university's food bank. He sent me his impressions:

I was thrilled with the thoughtful idea of making food available so that those that need help with food will have access to it. I couldn't help but also imagine the number of lives such an exercise will touch in other parts of the world. Food is a basic need which should be available to everyone no matter the social class.

Volunteering at the foodbank is one of the best things I enjoy doing. It is interesting to observe how clients interact and share ideas among themselves. Most of these clients have amazing potential and ideas but lack the means (wealth) to implement them. I was stunned when I realized one of the clients, a woman, was very fluent in four different languages (Greek, English, French, Spanish).

I couldn't help but think that if only it wasn't just food that was provided but also the provision of support to push these individuals (clients) to maximize their potentials.

Volunteering at the foodbank has taught me not to be wasteful with food because someone somewhere may also need it.

Coming from Ghana, I have made it a life goal to start a campaign in Ghana where food will not be allowed to expire but rather be given to those who really need it. As humans.

I don't have the means to feed every person that needs food but I will never be comfortable knowing that someone is hungry while I am satisfied.

Let's shift perceptions. Those in poverty are not a drain on society, costing taxpayers, but they have the potential as producers, societal assets, not liabilities. Their skills can move our economy forward. They will spend the money they earn.

I challenge us to adopt a guaranteed annual income so citizens can live their lives with dignity. We need to ensure equal opportunities to education, healthy foods, housing and water, in the south, in the north, in urban and rural areas. Let's give hope for tomorrow.

Colleagues, the 1970 Special Senate Committee on Poverty released a report addressing the situation of Canada's poor, recommending a guaranteed annual income in the form of a negative income tax. Not viewed as a panacea for all society's problems, guaranteed income was viewed a game-changer. That report, emphasizing the working poor, detailed issues which, alas, still exist today and have worsened. Its words still hold true:

On economic grounds there is a powerful case for enabling the poor to stand on their own feet. On humanitarian grounds, the case for action is compelling, especially in the case of those who are unlikely ever to be able to fend for themselves. The intangible and immeasurable factors of human well-being, social betterment, and communal harmony are in themselves reasons to push ahead. . . Whether they will receive it is a test of the sincerity with which Canadians hold the ideals they profess.

Remember, a key issue leading to the 1919 Winnipeg strike was a living wage. Wouldn't it be wonderful, finally, to reach that goal of 98 years ago and the vision of the argument of 50 years ago and honour all our citizens, immigrants and refugees with the dignity they deserve.

Senators, we are all better off when we are all better off. Thank you.

Hon. Art Eggleton: Unless there are any others who wish to take the adjournment or speak to the matter, I'd like to give the closing remark just for 60 seconds.

The Hon. the Speaker: Are you going to speak now?

Senator Eggleton: One minute.

The Hon. the Speaker: The minister is here now.

Senator Eggleton: I can wait until after the minister speaks.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the minister is now here. He's a few minutes early, but with the consent of the Senate, we can commence with Question Period. Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker: Agreed.

(Debate suspended.)


QUESTION PERIOD

Pursuant to the order adopted by the Senate on December 10, 2015, to receive a Minister of the Crown, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities appeared before honourable senators during Question Period.

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, today we have with us for Question Period the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. On behalf of all honourable senators, minister, welcome to the Senate.

Ministry of Infrastructure and Communities

Performance Measurement Framework

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Good day, minister. Thank you for joining us.

A recent report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer stated:

The Government has provided no performance measurement framework with which to evaluate the NIP's —

—new infrastructure plan —

—performance, and only limited visibility on tracking how the money is being spent.

Budget 2017 announced the data initiative for infrastructure which will support efforts to

Track the impacts of infrastructure investments so that governments can report back to Canadians on what has been achieved.

However, the budget provided no further information except to state that more details will be announced in the coming months.

Minister, your government has already spent billions of dollars with no performance measurement framework. How much longer will this continue? When do you intend to set up the criteria for performance measurement?

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: Thank you so much for the question and also thank you so much for having me. I have a little sore throat, but I'm absolutely honoured to be here. This is such a beautiful, beautiful place.

You're absolutely right that one of the challenges that we faced when we took over the government and I took over the ministry was lack of data to demonstrate to Canadians the outcomes and the achievements that we wanted to have through the infrastructure investments that we are making. So that is why we divided our plan into two phases, and phase one is to make immediate investments into fixing the existing infrastructure that we have, where we can actually measure outcomes as quickly as possible.

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For example, it could be replacing the existing track system, tracks on the transit, or refurbishing existing affordable housing units. That allowed us to have some time to craft our long-term plan for the next 10 years. Under that plan, we are focused on outcomes.

We have three broad outcomes that we want to achieve. Obviously, we want to grow the economy and create jobs, but also build inclusive, welcoming places where everyone has a chance to succeed. The third outcome we want to achieve is a greener, clean economy. We will measure that. We have developed a chart that will allow us to track the performance and also measure how we are achieving those results, then report to Canadians.

Another thing we are exploring is that there are different departments that deliver infrastructure. How do they work together and how do we create a horizontal reporting mechanism working together? We're working on those things and as we launch our long-term plan, you'll be seeing the efforts on that end as well.

Senator Smith: Sir, that sounds like great news. The simple question is this: When do you anticipate actually getting data or results, information out to Canadian taxpayers and of course parliamentarians?

Mr. Sohi: Now that the Budget Implementation Act is in place and once that is approved, my next step will be to sit down with the provinces and territories, because we sign bilateral agreements with them, and through that process we will engage with them. Every province has a different method of reporting, and we want to make sure we're working with them in order to facilitate their reporting and how that matches with the other federal reporting. Our approach will be nimble and flexible enough to reflect those realities. By the end of this year and the first quarter of next year, our goal is to conclude all those bilateral agreements, then start delivering.

Canada Infrastructure Bank

Hon. Elizabeth Marshall: Welcome back, minister. My question is on the Canada Infrastructure Bank. There has been much discussion on it lately. We're aware that the government has committed $35 billion to the bank, and we also understand that funding will start in the current fiscal year. We understand that $15 billion will be paid out over the next 11 years and an additional $20 billion will be paid out in capital or equity financing, which will be repayable.

Can you tell us the terms and conditions attached to the $20 billion in capital or equity financing?

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: Thank you so much for that question. The creation of the Canada Infrastructure Bank is just one additional tool that we want to make available to our municipal and provincial partners to deliver infrastructure.

We have committed to invest $180 billion over the next 12 years. Out of that, less than 10 per cent will be delivered through the bank. The rest of the money will go through the traditional grant system that is available.

Our goal through the bank is that despite our making historic investments, there still lacks a lot of infrastructure that needs to be built, new infrastructure. We feel, and we believe, that we can mobilize private capital so we can leverage public dollars to mobilize private capital to build more infrastructure.

The status of the bank is that legislation is part of the Budget Implementation Act. We have just launched the search for the CEO, the chair and the board members, and once the legislation passes, by the end of this year, we will have the bank up and running for our proponents and applications of the projects they want us to fund.

Gordie Howe Bridge—Cost Recovery

Hon. Percy E. Downe: Minister, welcome back to the Senate of Canada.

Canada recently approved an additional $2.5 billion for the Gordie Howe Bridge in Windsor, where the cost will be now up to $4.8 billion. Could you tell us what cost recovery you have for that significant expenditure of taxpayers' dollars and how long it will take you?

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: The total cost of the Gordie Howe International Bridge is not known yet because we are in the process of selecting the final contractor who will build that bridge. But the structure is designed in a way that all the cost will be recovered through tolls, the user fees that people will pay who are going to use the new bridge. Only one exists now, which is privately owned. So the cost recovery model is to recover the cost. It will take a lot of time, because you want to structure it in a way where there's not too much burden on immediate users, you spread the cost over decades, that all the users pay for the use of the bridge. But at the end of the day, it will be cost-neutral to the government.

Funding for African Nova Scotian Communities

Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: Mr. Minister, thank you for this opportunity. I was recently at the announcement of funding for the Akoma Family Centre, where they were awarded $250,000 by the Government of Canada in Nova Scotia. The Akoma Family Centre provides residential services for children and youth, with a range of programs that are dedicated to enhance their well-being. The services Akoma makes available to these vulnerable families in contact with child protection services include counselling and social work, recreational programs, community opportunities, health services and parenting education. Agencies such as this one are working hard to strengthen our communities but are so often underfunded.

The Government of Canada recently released a strategy called Investing in Canada Plan, and the plan promises to make historic, new investments in infrastructure and to provide communities across the country the tools they need to prosper and innovate. The Government of Canada acknowledges that investments in rural communities will help grow local economies and build stronger more inclusive communities. The 54 Black communities in Nova Scotia have all suffered from exclusion, racism and economic deprivation since their early settlement in the 1700s.

Mr. Minister, would you please elaborate on how much of the proposed $2 billion infrastructure funding will the Government of Canada invest in African Nova Scotian communities, given their historic and current marginalization and lack of economic stability?

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: Thank you for your question, senator. You are absolutely right that, as a government, we have a responsibility to those people who traditionally do not feel part of the economy because they have been excluded for generations or marginalized for generations. Our goal of building inclusive and welcoming places absolutely ties into the question that you are posing. That is why we focused on investing $25 billion into social infrastructure, which means more affordable housing, more shelters and more efforts to reduce homelessness.

In addition to that, we are also creating a $2 billion fund that will focus on rural, Northern and remote communities. We're also creating a fund called cultural and recreational infrastructure — $1.3 billion — that will support the communities that you are referring to, to build the capacity, whether it's a recreation or drop-in centre or a youth drop-in centre. We're looking at all of those options.

Once we have gone through the budget process, we will sit down with the provinces and territories and start to draft the plan that best meets their needs on a unique basis, instead of having a cookie-cutter approach that doesn't fit every province. We will do that under the small communities fund, the recreational and cultural fund, as well as existing funding that is available to us, whether it's the Building Canada Fund or the Gas Tax Fund that goes directly to local communities.

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Climate-Resilient Infrastructure

Hon. Rosa Galvez: Good afternoon, minister, and thank you for being with us today. My question for you concerns infrastructure investment and climate change.

The mandated support of investing in infrastructure, including clean energy, local water and waste water treatment facilities, and buildings, is carried out through schemes, such as the Green Municipal Fund, to the tune of $700 million since its inception.

However, with the undeniable effects of climate change resulting in more extreme and unpredictable weather events such as the flooding currently affecting the National Capital Region, it is important for Canadians to know: Are these projects designed to take into account future extreme weather events to make buildings not only green but resistant to the negative effects of climate change; and is our present infrastructure equipped to resist these disasters in terms of human and reconstruction cost?

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: Thank you, senator, for that question. I was in Nunavut last week and had a chance to visit a construction site where the city of Iqaluit has to replace underground pipes because of the impact of climate change on permafrost. They're really feeling the impact there on infrastructure.

Under our plan, we are focused on supporting communities to adapt their infrastructure to the impacts of climate change, as I saw in Iqaluit. Under the green infrastructure plan that we have launched as part of Budget 2017, we will be investing close to $20 billion that will focus on three areas. One area is to improve environmental quality, such as water and waste water, particularly in the remote and rural communities, and indigenous communities, where people don't have safe and clean water to drink.

Another focus will be on mitigation. How do we invest in technology that allows us to be more sustainable and not produce greenhouse gas emissions?

The last component is the adaptation component, such as flood mitigation, the impact of climate change and all those areas we are focused on. We'll be investing in those three areas and supporting local communities to make sure they have the right tools available to them.

Nunavut—Sewage Infrastructure

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Thank you for coming to Nunavut last week, minister, and visiting Iqaluit and Pangnirtung. I'm sorry I wasn't there to welcome you. I was on duty travel with the Senate Energy Committee in Atlantic Canada.

Your announcement about funding for water infrastructure in nine communities of Nunavut was very good news, but I wish to ask you about a serious barrier to future progress on constructing much-needed solid waste and sewage improvement projects in Nunavut, which I'm happy is a priority of your ministry.

However, there is a current Transport Canada regulation prohibiting construction of new sewage lagoons and waste sites within four kilometres of an airport runway. Unfortunately, this rule would prevent much-needed infrastructure upgrades in virtually all of Nunavut's small communities. There isn't a sewage lagoon, whether we like it or not, that is outside four kilometres of any airport runway.

You learned about this issue in Nunavut, I believe, and I'm wondering if you would employ your good offices, with your cabinet colleague the Minister of Transport, to see if you could together find a workaround or exemption for this pressing problem.

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: Thank you, senator. I felt really honoured that I had a chance to go visit the North. It's a phenomenal place, a beautiful place. Also, being there, I saw the impact and the needs, whether they're waste water or clean water.

You're absolutely right: The $200 million or so that we announced will help 19 communities with clean water to drink. Solid waste, waste water, garbage and household waste is a real problem. I had a chance to visit some of those sites. The problem you have identified has been identified to me by the territorial ministers as well.

I will have discussions with my counterpart, Minister Garneau, to find out what the best solution is, because we need to find a solution. There are communities where they have no other choices — and what we can do to assist them in dealing with the lagoons and also the overcapacity in that the garbage sites are filled and they have nowhere to take them. It is about how we can help them with their recycling problems and with diverting some of the garbage going to landfills so they produce less, so that demand is less. We will work with them on those areas, and I'll take it up with Minister Garneau.

Vegreville Case Processing Centre

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Welcome, minister. Like others in this chamber and other Canadians, I'm very concerned about your government's determination to close the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada case-processing centre in Vegreville, Alberta. This plan to eliminate 280 jobs from the community represents almost 10 per cent of their labour force. If your government made an assault of this scale against jobs in your community, it would mean a loss of over 37,000 jobs for Edmontonians.

Instead of strengthening the middle class, you will be decimating it in Vegreville. The community could lose more than 7 per cent of its population, home values will drop by 30 per cent and municipal revenues will fall by an estimated 15 per cent. As the town of Vegreville has noted, there's no compelling reason for CIC to make this move. It is unjustifiable. Albertans are already suffering many hardships, which you and your government should well know.

Minister, can you today reassure this chamber and the residents of Vegreville that you, as an Alberta Member of Parliament and a minister at the cabinet table, will do everything in your power to see this decision reversed?

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: Thank you, senator, for that question. I can tell you that I have met with the mayor of Vegreville many times, and I have met with other representatives from that community. There is an impact on that community, and we don't deny that, but there's also a compelling business case.

We committed to reducing processing time for immigration applications. If somebody wanted to sponsor their spouse, under the old system, it used to take three to four years. Our goal is to bring it down to one year. We want to improve family-class immigration, so parents and grandparents can come here faster instead of waiting 10 to 12 years. We want to get the processes faster and other applications. There's a backlog of lack of services in the immigration sphere. The idea is to improve those services.

The challenge that immigration is facing is that they're having a hard time finding people to work in Vegreville. They have the capacity to hire more people, but they can't, because they can't attract people to work. They're having difficulty. There are students working, which is not wrong, but they're doing full-time jobs.

Also, the nature of the work has changed. It's not the clerical work that is required anymore. More analysis is done on the applications, so we need more expert staff, which is lacking in that facility.

We understand the impact, but I hope that you also understand that we want to be responsible for how we use taxpayers' dollars, we want to improve services to Canadians and have a net gain of jobs in Alberta. It is not a loss of jobs in Alberta. It's definitely a loss of jobs in that particular community, but all those jobs are moving to Edmonton, and there will be more people hired to replace those vacancies, as well as the opportunity and transition for those people who work in Vegreville to move to Edmonton to work. There are people going from Edmonton to work in Vegreville now.

Those are real challenges that immigration is facing with respect to that particular site.

Toronto Community Housing Corporation

Hon. Art Eggleton: Welcome, minister. In 2015, I headed a mayors' task force that was commissioned to look into the state of Toronto Community Housing Corporation. We released our report in January of last year.

What we reported was not encouraging. We found a $2.6 billion repair backlog at the corporation. Without significant new investment, up to 7,500 units may have to be closed over the next eight years. A further 4,000 could slip into critical condition.

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Toronto Community Housing Corporation is the largest social housing provider in Canada, second in North America only to the New York housing authority. It houses roughly 110,000 tenants and there are a further 174,000 on the wait-list just to get in. Closing units is not a good idea.

TCHC, as it is known, has hit a crisis point. By the end of 2017 the city will have spent $870 million to address this shortfall, but only a third of the $2.6 billion in critical funding it needs right now.

The repairs needed at TCHC are the kind of shovel-ready projects that the federal government highlighted in last year's budget as a target for infrastructure spending. Federal funding is needed just to get these units back to a basic level of livability.

My question, minister, is this: When can the City of Toronto expect to receive the financial support from the federal government on this project?

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: Thank you so much, senator, for that question. Our government believes that access to affordable and appropriate housing is so fundamental for Canadians to succeed. I can't imagine a situation where someone doesn't have a decent place to live. How will they participate in the economy and community overall?

Under our phase 1 plan, we focused on affordable housing and repairing the existing stock of housing. I'm proud to tell you that under that plan we have refurbished close to 90,000 existing affordable housing units that could have been displaced because of the challenges that you have identified.

On top of that, we built 6,000 new affordable housing units for indigenous communities on reserve, along with investments into schooling.

As part of the long-term plan, Minister Duclos, who is responsible for this particular area, has developed a national housing strategy. Under that plan, we will be investing close to $11 billion to support local communities, including Toronto. Torontonians received their fair share of funding in phase 1 in last year's budget, which was allocated to them.

Under the long-term plan, we will definitely be able not only to repair what we have, but also to build new housing, both affordable and social, and to make investments into dealing with homelessness crises that major urban centres are facing.

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Canada Infrastructure Bank

Hon. Éric Forest: Thank you, minister, for giving us an opportunity to share our concerns with you. On a personal note, I would also like to thank you for the trust you put in the people of Rimouski by authorizing a large $39-million infrastructure project for the City of Rimouski and its academic community.

Minister, Bill C-44 is at second reading stage in the other place, and the Senate committees have begun examining it. I do not understand why the government picked Toronto as the home of the Canada infrastructure bank.

[English]

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: Thank you, senator, for that question. I want to stress the point that regardless of where the bank is located, every community will benefit from the creation of the infrastructure bank. We're working on a number of projects that we can possibly fund through that initiative. The reason Toronto was chosen as the location for the headquarters is that the role of the bank is to structure financial deals and infrastructure-related expertise, and the financial sector is available in Toronto, whether they're major banks whose infrastructure branches or departments are located there, whether they're institutional investors or whether they're pension funds. So they have that support system available in Toronto for us to be successful.

The bank is not going to be a large organization. It will be a small, nimble organization. But the real gains are where the projects will be built. For projects built in Montreal, they will see immediate jobs in that city, or Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary, or in rural areas, where we could possibly build inter-provincial transmission ties to reduce dependency on coal-fired generation. That's where the opportunities exist. I am very confident that we will be able to build the infrastructure necessary but also to create economic opportunities for communities across the country.

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo: Minister, thank you for your presence in our chamber. I have a follow-up question in regard to the Canada Infrastructure Bank. What is the role of public-private partnerships in the structuring of projects that will be supported by the Canada Infrastructure Bank?

Accordingly, what is the relationship you see between the bank and the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships, which already exists and is doing a good job?

Mr. Sohi: Thank you, senator. The Canadian Council on Public-Private Partnerships was present yesterday when I made the announcement about the location, and also the search for the leadership. They're very supportive of the creation of the bank, because they see the more infrastructure that we can build, the better our communities will be.

They will still be involved in the procurement process, in the actual building of the infrastructure, as they have already done in various areas. Canada has gained the reputation of being a world leader when it comes to public-private partnerships and we want to tap into that knowledge and expertise. We feel that the bank and the P3 sector will complement each other's efforts to achieve the results that we want to achieve.

Parliamentary Budget Officer

Hon. Paul E. McIntyre: Welcome, minister. My question is in reference to the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the new infrastructure bank.

As a servant of Parliament, the Parliamentary Budget Officer reports to Parliament and parliamentarians with research and analysis, including an analysis of the infrastructure bank. My understanding is that in the last months, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has raised concerns as to his role vis-à-vis the infrastructure bank.

Minister, can you assure this chamber that the Parliamentary Budget Officer will continue to be in a position to conduct an analysis on the infrastructure bank, and can you assure us that the Parliamentary Budget Officer's access to information regarding the infrastructure bank will not be restricted?

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, P.C., M.P., Minister of Infrastructure and Communities: Thank you for that question, senator. On the relationship of the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the bank, I will get back to you with a more detailed answer, because I don't have the answer available at this time. But I can assure you that the infrastructure bank will be responsible and will be accountable to Parliament. It will report on an annual basis to Parliament and it will be subject to the same scrutiny that other Crown corporations are subject to, that are created by the federal government. That accountability exists.

Also, within the bank, we will create a mechanism where they have to have their own internal audit done, as well as on top of the bank being accountable to the Auditor General. We are creating those mechanisms to make sure that public accountability is demonstrated to the appropriate officials: elected officials, and those who provide oversight into those decisions. On the particular relationship, I will definitely get back to you.

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I'm sure you'll wish to join me in thanking Minister Sohi for being with us for a second time.

Thank you, minister.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


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ORDERS OF THE DAY

The Senate

Motion to Encourage the Government to Evaluate the Cost and Impact of Implementing a National Basic Income Program—Motion in Amendment—Adopted

On the Order:

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

That the Senate encourage the federal government, after appropriate consultations, to sponsor along with one or more of the provinces/territories a pilot project, and any complementary studies, to evaluate the cost and impact of implementing a national basic income program based on a negative income tax for the purpose of helping Canadians to escape poverty.

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Bellemare, seconded by the Honourable Senator Harder, P.C.:

That the motion be amended to read as follows:

That the Senate encourage the federal government, after appropriate consultations, to provide support to initiatives by Provinces/Territories, including the Aboriginal Communities, aimed at evaluating the cost and impact of implementing measures, programs and pilot projects for the purpose of helping Canadians to escape poverty, by way of a basic income program (such as a negative income tax) and to report on their relative efficiency.

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: I remind honourable senators if Senator Eggleton speaks now it will have the effect of closing debate on this matter.

Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, I want to take 60 seconds to put this matter in context. First, let me thank Senator Bovey and all the other senators who have contributed to the debate on this motion. I know there are some people who may like or dislike the idea of basic income or are not sure about it.

This motion only says that the federal government should help to support the initiatives of the province. That was clearly the wording in the amendment we just adopted, and it added in the Aboriginal communities. It relates to projects in terms of basic income, to help in the evaluation and the various other aspects of it. That's simply all this motion does, and I would appreciate your support.

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?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators: On division.

(Motion agreed to, on division.)

Ethics and Conflict of Interest

Second Report of Committee—Debate Continued

Leave having been given to revert to Other Business, Reports of Committees, Other, Order No. 32:

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Andreychuk, seconded by the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C., for the adoption of the second report of the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators, entitled Consideration of an Inquiry Report from the Senate Ethics Officer, presented in the Senate on May 2, 2017.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, we are still awaiting communication with respect to this particular matter, so I suggest that pursuant to rule 12-30(2), that this matter be adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate.

Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Debate continued.)

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