Debates
Download as PDF
Text size:

1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 123

Thursday, May 18, 2017
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

THE SENATE

Thursday, May 18, 2017

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

Prayers.

[Translation]

Royal Assent

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the following communication had been received:

RIDEAU HALL

May 18, 2017

Mr. Speaker,

I have the honour to inform you that Ms. Patricia Jaton, Deputy Secretary to the Governor General, in her capacity as Deputy of the Governor General, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bill listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 18th day of May, 2017, at 10:32 a.m.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Wallace

Secretary to the Governor General

The Honourable
    The Speaker of the Senate
        Ottawa

Bill Assented to Thursday, May 18, 2017:

An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts (Bill C-37, Chapter 7, 2017)


[English]

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

National Seal Products Day

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, I am delighted to rise today wearing seal garments made in Nunavut to note that on May 16, 2017, Bill S-208, An Act respecting National Seal Products Day, received Royal Assent, and that an overwhelming majority of MPs from all parties — and this doesn't happen every day — voted to support a bill from our former colleague, now retired, Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette, that will recognize May 20 as a day to celebrate the importance of the sealing industry to many Canadians.

To many indigenous and non-indigenous people throughout the territories and Nunavik (Quebec), Nunatsiavut (Newfoundland and Labrador), seal is an important source of food, clothing, tools, oil and income. The seal also has great spiritual significance to Inuit.

As senator for Nunavut, I was privileged to stand in this chamber and speak to the bill on second and third reading. I recited the long history and the unbreakable bond that the Inuit of my home territory of Nunavut have with seals. I spoke of the respect that the Inuit have for seals, demonstrated by their use of every single part of the animal.

Of course, there are misguided, ignorant people who will continue to claim that the seal hunt is a cruel and unnecessary practice, or will blatantly employ distorted and outdated images of the seal hunt to shamelessly raise funds for their organizations. I will not give those views credence by quoting them, but I will ask this question: How can anyone who eats meat, pâté de foie gras, owns or wears leather, slept under a down-filled duvet, or used glue, for that matter, turn around and condemn seal harvesters for their practices?

It is unconscionable and paternalistic to tell cultures that their practices are wrong, simply because we approach an issue from a different perspective. This is the same superimposition of morality that I railed against when the EU ban on seal products was first introduced.

Colleagues, I would like to wish everyone a very happy Seal Products Day in advance of Saturday, and would encourage you to partake in some seal, if you find it available, or support local economies by purchasing Canadian seal products, including rich omega-3 seal oils.

I hope that with each successive Seal Products Day, we can help more and more Canadians to see the importance of supporting the sealing industry in Canada, and we can also celebrate growth in our markets for this rich protein and related products and fashionable fur garments.

Quviasukpunga natssiup qissinginit sannaugait ulluqaqtittaunialiqmat.

Thank you.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Patrick MacNeil from Nova Scotia. He is accompanied by his son, Vince MacNeil, and his daughter, Sue Collins.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Honourable Howard Wetston, C.M.

Congratulations on Appointment to Order of Canada

Hon. Percy E. Downe: Colleagues, in the brief time I have available for statements, I would like to highlight two good-news stories. The first is last Friday our colleague and friend Senator Wetston was at the ceremony where he received his Order of Canada. As colleagues know, parliamentarians cannot receive the Order of Canada, but Senator Wetston received his last year. The official ceremony was on Friday for the presentation by the Governor General. We want to congratulation him. He is, as you know, a native of Cape Breton, a fellow Maritimer. He has a resumé that is extremely long.

When I first met him, he was a Federal Court judge, where most people would stay; he went on to do many other things. If you have 20 minutes, I urge you to sit down and read all the things he has done since then. They are a credit to Canada, and it is a credit to the Senate that he wanted to join us. We look forward to having him for many more years.

Congratulations on your award, Senator Wetston.

Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials

Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, I have a second good-news story to report in that the government announced they will proceed with the Magnitsky bill, which was driven in the Senate by our colleague Senator Andreychuk. Others who spoke on that in a very positive manner were Senators Wells, Moore, Frum, Gold, Saint-Germain, Woo and Duffy.

This bill was driven by the efforts of Bill Browder, and for those who have time over the summer and have not read the book yet, I urge you to read Red Notice. It is available from the Parliamentary Library. If you don't feel like spending the money, you can get it on loan. It's an incredible story about the corruption and problems in Russia currently, and this bill hopefully will address those things.

I will conclude by quoting the Honourable Irwin Cotler, the former Minister of Justice, who appeared before our committee and said:

. . . the importance of the naming and shaming of human rights violators so that they cannot, in effect, leverage their culture of criminality and corruption and come to Canada, purchase houses here, vacation here and send their children to schools here and to launder their assets. In other words, we need to protect the integrity of our country's sovereignty, economy and our rule of law.

With the leadership of Senator Andreychuk and the other senators who spoke, it appears we have done that.

Thank you, colleagues.

Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence of Mr. Rick Hansen at the bar of the Senate. Mr. Hansen joins us on the occasion of the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Man in Motion World Tour. He is a guest of the Honourable Senator Black.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

(1340)

Richard M. (Rick) Hansen, C.C., O.B.C.

Thirtieth Anniversary of the Man in Motion World Tour

Hon. Douglas Black: Honourable senators, I rise today to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the Man in Motion Tour and to celebrate an outstanding Canadian, Rick Hansen.

Inspired by his friend and mentor Terry Fox, Rick pushed his wheelchair out of Vancouver on March 22, 1985, and for the next two years he wheeled throughout North America and to over 34 countries, wheeling an incredible 40,000 kilometres.

The Man in Motion Tour raised $26 million for spinal cord research and, in doing so, changed the way Canadians view people with disabilities, but more importantly, changed the way many people with disabilities view themselves.

Rick Hansen grew up in British Columbia, and like many young British Columbians, he was passionate about fishing, sports and the outdoors.

When Rick was 15, his life changed forever. Returning home from a fishing trip, Rick was thrown from the back of his pickup truck, sustaining a spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the waist down.

After months of rehabilitation in Vancouver, Rick had to learn to deal with his new life. Inclusion and accessibility were not on the minds of many Canadians in the 1970s, and being confronted with a disability often meant a life of confinement, obstacles and pity.

Rick decided that wasn't going to be his life and he made the decision to see the world not in terms of what he couldn't do, but in terms of what he could do.

And act he did. He has become an international advocate for the disabled. He has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for spinal cord research. He has motivated and uplifted thousands of people with physical challenges and through this work and through the work of his foundation he has encouraged governments and Canadians to join with him in creating a movement to remove barriers in the physical environment to liberate the full potential of people living with disabilities.

His goal, and the goal of the foundation, is to ensure that physical barriers — barriers to employment, education and transportation — are eliminated. This can guarantee that Canadians living with disabilities will become fully engaged as productive citizens.

Rick Hansen is one of our most celebrated Canadians and his ongoing work is an inspiration to us all.

Honourable senators, I ask you to do your part to thank and acknowledge Rick Hansen and to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Man in Motion World Tour by doing what you can to ensure that Canadians with disabilities have improved physical access and, therefore, full opportunities to be active contributors to Canadian society and Canadian prosperity.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of the 11 recipients of the Consortium national de formation en santé awards of excellence: Josée Jobin, Danika Richard, Janice Bernard, Stéphanie Bérubé, Valérie Séguin, Véronique Simard, Alice Norquay, Marika Robillard, Alexandre Corriveau, Dah Adamiatou Konate, and Taylor Aymar.

They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Gagné.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Haitian Flag

Two Hundred and Fourteenth Anniversary

Hon. Marie-Françoise Mégie: Honourable senators, I am proud to rise on this Thursday, May 18, as the first Haitian senator to mark the 214th anniversary of the Haitian flag.

A powerful symbol of national identity, the red and blue "bicolore" represents the pride of a united community wherever it may be. Haitians are driven by a strong desire to integrate and have always been committed to participating in the development of their host country.

The first wave of Haitians to arrive came to Quebec and became involved in education in order to address an important need at the time. Professionals and workers from other sectors were soon to follow. They actively contributed to building the social and economic fabric of Canada.

Honourable senators, I tip my hat to all Canadians of Haitian origin. I invite them to keep coming together and live by the motto below the coat of arms in the middle of our flag: "L'union fait la force" or "Unity makes strength."

I would now like to speak a few words of creole to mark the occasion: Zanmi Ayisyen mwen yo, an nou kontinye pote drapo a byen wo!

Happy flag day. Thank you.

[English]

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mr. J.P. Veitch, spouse of the Honourable Rona Ambrose. He is accompanied by his two children, Makena and Garrison Veitch, and also by Mr. Jim Chapchuk, the father of the Honourable Rona Ambrose.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Anti-Semitism

Hon. Linda Frum: Thank you, Your Honour. While I am on my feet, I would like to thank Senator Downe for his gracious words. I also want to acknowledge all his hard work in seeing the government adopt the Magnitsky Act. You deserve a lot of the credit, as well.

Honourable senators, last week B'nai Brith Canada released its annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents. The audit found that 2016 ". . . was a record-setting year for anti-Semitism . . .." Unfortunately, almost every year in the last decade has been a record setting one.

There is cause to be deeply concerned. Anti-Semitic incidents in Canada rose by 26 per cent this year over last, and were higher than the previous high set in 2014.

Holocaust denial, having accounted for only 5 per cent of documented anti-Semitic cases in 2015, jumped to over 20 per cent of cases in 2016.

A total of 1,728 anti-Semitic incidents were reported across the country last year. That's about five per day.

Colleagues, these trends are alarming. It is important as we, as senators and as leaders in our communities, continue to work to counteract these hateful forces. As Canadians, we cannot be complacent. As peaceful and tolerant as our country may be, it is important that we always denounce hatred in all its forms.

I want to express appreciation to B'nai Brith Canada for their ongoing vigilance, documenting and exposing the growth of anti-Semitism in Canada.

Additionally, I support the organization's call for the vigorous enforcement of Canada's hate-crime laws in those instances where exhortations for the destruction of the Jewish people are made in public spaces or in places of worship. In that vein, I would like to commend B'nai Brith and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs for their efforts to amend the Criminal Code to make the vandalism of religious buildings a hate crime with Bill C-305. I look forward to being the critic of this legislation when it is debated in the Senate.

Meanwhile, let us make it known that here in Parliament, all people of goodwill stand with the Jewish community against prejudice, intolerance and hate.

Thank you.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Team Broken Earth

Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, today I'm pleased to present chapter 19 of "Telling Our Story." Team Broken Earth is a volunteer task force composed of more than 1,000 physicians, nurses and other health care professionals from across Canada and the United States who are committed to delivering and improving healthcare in impoverished nations.

The team was initially assembled to support the relief effort in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 and left the people of Haiti in dire need of medical assistance. Team Broken Earth has expanded around the globe to bring much-needed support to Nicaragua, Guatemala, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Today, May 18, Team Broken Earth is undertaking its third orthopaedic trauma symposium in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The symposium is intended to upgrade knowledge and skills for those medical professionals in Haiti who are practising orthopaedic trauma care.

(1350)

The 2017 mission team consists of doctors and medical professionals from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta who are sharing their skills and knowledge with the doctors and medical professionals of Haiti.

Colleagues, you would not know by visiting the Team Broken Earth website, but the existence of this tremendous, life-changing organization is because of the desire of one Newfoundlander and Labradorian to do his part in making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than us.

Dr. Andrew Furey is an orthopaedic trauma surgeon in my home province. Shortly after the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Dr. Furey felt compelled to offer his services to assist those in need. He formed a team of three — himself; his wife, Dr. Alison Furey, a pediatric emergency room doctor; and orthopaedic surgeon Will Moores. Together they travelled from Newfoundland to Haiti where they spent a week volunteering to help fix some of what was broken.

When Dr. Furey returned home, he founded Team Broken Earth. The team now has over 1,000 volunteers who continue to provide ongoing medical care. In addition, to help make the region more self-sufficient and to develop sustainable community programs in Haiti, the team provides medical training to Haitian doctors and healthcare workers.

Mother Teresa once said:

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

In 2010, Dr. Andrew Furey cast a stone that gave birth to Team Broken Earth. The ripple effect of his actions and those who so freely give of their talents and time has changed and improved the lives of countless people who graciously and most appreciatively receive and accept this gift.

Dr. Furey tells us that he received his inspiration from his parents. One so happens to be our Speaker, The Honourable George Furey, and the other his lovely wife Karen.

Dr. Furey was once quoted as saying:

They've created a great learning and family environment. I feel spoiled by the environment they created.

Your Honour, the world is a better place today because of Dr. Andrew Furey, whether he was spoiled or not. I know you and Karen are extremely proud of Andrew's accomplishments, just as Newfoundland and Labrador is proud of our native son as well.

I ask all honourable senators to join with me in congratulating Dr. Andrew Furey and Team Broken Earth for making such a positive difference in our world and to wish them continued success in the future.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Charles Mayer, former minister of the Canadian Wheat Board and Agriculture in the government of the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement Implementation Bill

Twelfth Report of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee Presented

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

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

TWELFTH REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-31, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine, has, in obedience to the order of reference of March 7, 2017, examined the said bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

A. RAYNELL ANDREYCHUK

Chair

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

(On motion of Senator Baker, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading later this day.)

Canadian Human Rights Act
Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Fifteenth Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Presented

Hon. Bob Runciman, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the honour to present its

FIFTEENTH REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, has, in obedience to the order of reference of March 2, 2017, examined the said bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

BOB RUNCIMAN

Chair

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

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

Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association

Bilateral Mission, January 16-25, 2017—Report Tabled

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the Bilateral Mission to the Republic of Tunisia and the Arab Republic of Egypt, held in Tunis, Tunisia and Cairo, Egypt from January 16 to 25, 2017.

Banking, Trade and Commerce

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Extend Date of Final Report on Study of the Development of a National Corridor in Canada as a Means of Enhancing and Facilitating Commerce and Internal Trade

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

That, notwithstanding the order of the Senate adopted on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 and Tuesday, December 6, 2016, the date for the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce in relation to its study on the development of a national corridor in Canada as a means of enhancing and facilitating commerce and internal trade be extended from May 31, 2017 to June 27, 2017.

Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Anne C. Cools Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 5-6. (2) I give notice that, two days hence:

I shall call the attention of the Senate to the January 30, 1923, Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations agreed to by the Greek Government and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, which Convention provided for the compulsory population exchange of Turkey's Greek Christians for Greece's Turkish Muslims, which population exchange caused monstrous anguish for those affected: and to the fact that this forced population exchange in Asia Minor was the brainchild of Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos: and to Bruce Clark's 2006 book Twice a Stranger that records Venizelos' words on his paternity of the idea, at page 55: The government should be aware that our moral standing in the civilized family of nations has been terribly diminished as a result of the arson and other acts of violence which the Greek army allowed itself to commit in Asia Minor, . . . . We urgently need, therefore, to regain the moral esteem of the world, and the compulsory population transfer must be carried out in such a way that this measure — which in itself is assuredly a barbaric one — will more readily be accepted as an action of last resort, carried out with the care and sympathy of a civilized people for the plight of those who face compulsory transfer. Faced with the protests that this measure will undoubtedly arouse in foreign countries, I am prepared publicly to acknowledge the `paternity' of this idea, and to defend it. Whatever remains of the prestige I have enjoyed internationally will help to moderate the indignation.

(a) And to the Great War Allies 1919 Paris Peace Conference, and their 1919 Inter-Allied Commission of Enquiry into the Greek occupation of Smyrna and the surrounding districts, and this Commission's review of the Greek Army's invasion and occupation of Smyrna in Ottoman Anatolia, that year, on May 15, that lasted five years: and to the damning findings of this Commission of Enquiry Report on the Greek Army assaults: and

(b) To the Lausanne Peace Treaty between the Allies and the Government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, negotiated by Turkish General Ismet Inönü and Britain's Foreign Secretary, Lord Curzon, whom, in 1922 Britain's new and Canadian born Prime Minister, Andrew Bonar Law had dispatched to Lausanne, Switzerland to negotiate this Peace Treaty, that was signed on July 24, 1923: and

(c) To the British M.P. David Walder's 1969 book The Chanak Affair, being the averted war at the Dardenelles seaport Chanak, between the Allies and

the Turkish Grand National Assembly Forces: and to Walder's words on the Greco-Turkish War at Smyrna and the Greek Army's collapse, at page 170:

The morale of the Greek army had snapped completely. For too long it had been kept in position in Anatolia, badly supplied, apparently neglected by Athens, constantly harried by the enemy. When the Turks advanced the Greek army disintegrated as a fighting force. Soldiers refused to obey their officers, officers refused to obey their generals. The retreat became a rout. Reinforcements hastily sent to Smyrna refused to disembark. Discipline gone, the Greek army became a vengeful, frightened mob. On its way to the coast it vented its fury on Turkish civilians, killing and plundering, burning villages, and defiling mosques by slaughtering pigs, abhorrent to Moslems, within their precincts. Some units still preserved their discipline and managed therefore to put up some resistance to the Turks, but in the majority of cases panic supplanted reason, and the path to the sea was marked by a trail of abandoned artillery and ammunition and piles of discarded rifles and equipment. . . . . On September 3rd the Greeks, realising their position was hopeless, had called upon their former allies to use their influence to bring about an armistice. To no avail. It would have been a hopeless task in any event.

(d) And to the Treaty of Lausanne, which ended the Allied Forces occupation of Turkey that began on November 13, 1918, two days after the November 11 Armistice that ended the Great War's hostilities, except with Turkey, which Lausanne Treaty brought the peace and was a great diplomatic achievement for the British and Turkish peoples: and this Treaty's words:

The British Empire, France, Italy, Japan, Greece, Roumania and the Serb-Croat-Slovene State of the one part, and Turkey of the other part;

Being united in the desire to bring to a final close the state of war which has existed in the East since 1914,

Being anxious to re-establish the relations of friendship and commerce which are essential to the mutual well-being of their respective peoples,

And considering that these relations must be based on respect for the independence and sovereignty of States,

Have decided to conclude a Treaty for this purpose, . . .

(e) And to the Lausanne Treaty Article 59 that noted the Greek Army's belligerent acts in Turkey's Anatolia, which were contrary to the laws of war, saying:

Greece recognizes her obligation to make reparation for the damage caused in Anatolia by the acts of the Greek Army or administration which were contrary to the laws of war. On the other hand, Turkey in consideration of the financial situation resulting from the prolongation of the war and from its consequences, finally renounces all claims for reparation against the Greek Government.

(1400)

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Dr. Eldon Hay, Emeritus Professor at Mount Allison University, and his daughter Ms. Nancy Hay, a social worker and regional director for the Health Science Association of British Columbia. 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!


QUESTION PERIOD

The Senate

Political Experience of Senate Applicants

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): My question today is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, concerning the government's nomination of Madeleine Meilleur as Commissioner of Official Languages. Madame Meilleur served 13 years in the legislative assembly of Ontario and held several different cabinet positions in the Liberal governments of both Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne.

On Wednesday, Madame Meilleur said in an interview that she had applied to become a senator after retiring from provincial politics in June 2016. She went on to say:

[Translation]

I thought I could contribute as a senator, but the Prime Minister made it clear that he did not want any politicians in the upper chamber.

[English]

The criteria established by this government for appointment to the Senate does not exclude past political involvement. In fact, it explicitly states that past political activities would not disqualify a nominee. Could the Government Leader please tell all honourable senators why the Prime Minister has decided that he will exclude this group of Canadians from appointment to the Senate? Have the criteria and application process changed? If so, when was the change made and was it communicated to the applicants?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question and want to assure him and all senators that the criteria he has stated are, in fact, the criteria. I cannot speak for Madame Meilleur's comments but simply to assure would-be senators who have had political experience or other actions that are described in the criteria for consideration that they remain valid today.

[Translation]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Illegal Immigration

Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: My question follows up on the question I asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate last week about illegal immigration. The president of the union representing Canada border services officers informed us that the massive and illegal entry of immigrants into Canada is jeopardizing Canada's security. Therefore, I would like to know whether the government intends to make available to friendly governments, including the United States, through legislative means, financial information on illegal money laundering related to terrorist activities. I am referring to amendments that the government wants to make to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.

I would like to know how, on the one hand, the government is preparing to collaborate with the U.S. by sharing information on Canadian criminals — in particular those that pose a risk to national security — while, on the other hand, it is refusing to cooperate with the U.S. government by refusing to provide information on illegal immigration activities that are taking place within its own jurisdiction and are jeopardizing national security.

Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate explain this inconsistency?

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senators for his question. I want to assure him and all senators and Canadians that the Government of Canada takes the security at our frontier, particularly that with the United States, very seriously. The ongoing cooperation is at a very high level. Secretary Kelly made his visit here early in his assumption of the Homeland Security portfolio in the United States. Minister Goodale has had several meetings with him since, and the Government of Canada is seeking ways of cooperating further with the Government of the United States to ensure the security of all Canadians with respect to our border.

[Translation]

Senator Boisvenu: Government Representative, I am sure that Mr. Trudeau's government has the safety of all Canadians at heart. However, what we are all trying to understand is why, on the one hand, the Canadian government is about to bring in a law that will allow it to share information on Canadians who launder money to fund terrorist activities, but on the other, it is refusing to share information with the Americans on the human smuggling networks that bring immigrants into Canada illegally.

Can you explain the logic behind that?

[English]

Senator Harder: As the senator will know, the legal basis for sharing information with our American friends is determined by statute, and the Government of Canada is bound by those statutes. While there have been some discussions about how that could be refurbished and enhanced, we are, as a government, bound by the statutes as they exist.

Environment

Fossil Fuel Industry—Subsidies

Hon. Rosa Galvez: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate. Recently, I travelled to the Maritime provinces with the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee to investigate Canada's transition to a low-carbon economy.

Discussions centred on alternatives to current energy resources, with the intention to reduce our carbon footprint. Witnesses questioned the government's commitment to green energy development, given the longstanding and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies. An expert international research organization has estimated subsidies of $3.3 billion in 2015 alone.

It is challenging to assess the government's true and real contribution when the Department of Finance has refused to provide its strategy to phase out current subsidies, as we learned from the Auditor General's report earlier this week.

Senator Harder, Canadians want to trust the government to keep its promises and international commitments. We need transparency. Our credibility as a global leader in combatting climate change will be tarnished if we cannot explain the contradiction between continuing fossil fuel subsidies to a mature and well-developed industry and the absence of similar incentives for sustainable clean-energy initiatives.

(1410)

Inconsistency damages our country's reputation. Thus, with respect to these issues, and given the urgency of reducing carbon emissions to respond to the critical threat of anthropogenic climate change, my question is this: What are the forms, figures and facts of present subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, and what is the concrete time frame to end these subsidies?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question, for her lifelong and career-long interest in this subject, and for her participation in the various fora in which the Senate considers these matters.

I want to use the occasion of responding to acknowledge that the government thanks the Auditor General for his work and his recommendations with respect to the Department of Finance.

I will come back to that in a moment, but let me first reiterate that the government has a strong plan to invest in clean growth and will help create middle-class jobs and get the country on the path to a low carbon economy. In doing so, we have made a commitment with our partners in the G20 to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025, and we are on track to meet that target.

Over the past decade, Canada has phased out eight of nine tax preferences that supported fossil fuel exploration or production. Most recently, the budget that has yet to come to this place, Budget 2017, proposes to change the tax treatment of development expenses for oil and gas producers to keep them from reclassifying them as exploration expenses, which are taxed less.

As a result of these actions, there is only one remaining federal tax expenditure relevant to the G20 commitment, and eliminating policy measures that subsidize the production or consumption of fossil fuels is an important step in addressing climate change. Going forward, the government continues to provide analysis and support on these matters which respect to the work of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

With regard to the Auditor General's comments earlier this week, I want to reiterate in this house that the Prime Minister has caused an order-in-council to be produced, which will facilitate access by the Auditor General to the records of this government. It is not within the authority of the Prime Minister to provide access to cabinet documents of the previous government, which were also the subject of the Auditor General's comments earlier this week.

[Translation]

Infrastructure

Invest in Canada—Selection Process for President

Hon. Claude Carignan: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Last Tuesday, I asked Minister Champagne a question about the new Invest in Canada organization, which is being created as part of omnibus Bill C-44. Minister Champagne replied with the following:

At present, we are recruiting the CEO for this organization.

Yesterday, however, at the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee, Louis Marcotte, Director General, Investment and Innovation, International Business Development, Global Affairs Canada, told me that the selection process for the CEO position at Invest in Canada has not yet begun.

My question is very simple. Has the process begun, yes or no? Who is giving us the correct answer to this question, Minister Champagne or Mr. Marcotte?

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I want to thank the honourable senator for his question. It's nice to see him across the aisle again, rather than having to look all the way up. I will determine the answer to his question. I would simply note that the minister responsible is Minister Champagne, and the official is not from his department.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: I heard the witness giving his presentation yesterday at the banking committee. What should the committee make of his testimony?

[English]

Senator Harder: Of course, I cannot judge how the committee should deal with the witness's testimony. I will endeavour to answer the questions that the honourable senator has posed.

Fisheries and Oceans

Atlantic Fisheries Fund

Hon. Fabian Manning: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and it concerns the Atlantic Fisheries Fund, which was announced in early March.

The only mention of this new fund in Budget 2017 is on page 247, which states:

Amounts shown are notional. Actual funding profile for the $325 million Atlantic Fisheries Fund is subject to further discussions with provinces.

Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate please make inquiries and provide us with more information on this fund? For example, what timelines and conditions are associated with this funding? As well, when will this money start flowing, and how will it be used?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question, and I would be delighted to do so.

Senator Manning: While you're doing that, leader, could you also make inquiries and tell us the cost-share ratio between the federal government and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador?

Senator Harder: I will indeed.

[Translation]

Finance

Parliamentary Budget Officer

Hon. Claude Carignan: Honourable senators, my question is once again for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Yesterday and last week, I asked you about the Parliamentary Budget Officer's mandate, which could be modified under Bill C-44. In response, one of the things you said was, and I quote:

I want to assure the house that it is the intention and expectation of the government to grant greater independence to the Parliamentary Budget Officer and to do so legislatively.

However, Division 7 of Part 4 of Bill C-44 says that, from now on, the Parliamentary Budget Officer will report to the Speakers of both Houses and that he will have to have his annual work plan approved by them.

Leader, to your knowledge, are there other officers of Parliament who have these sorts of limitations imposed on them?

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I thank the honourable senator for his question. As he well knows, because he is engaged both in the work being done in pre-study here and in the work in the other place, these provisions in the budget are being debated by parliamentarians in both chambers. It is the view of the government that the legislation being presented through Bill C-44 with respect to the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer strengthens the independence and provides greater security of administrative oversight, independent of government. That is the view of the government with respect to the legislation that is presently before Parliament.


[Translation]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Canada Labour Code

Bill to Amend—Message from Commons—Disagreement with Senate Amendments

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that a message has been received from the House of Commons, which reads as follows:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

ORDERED,— That a Message be sent to the Senate to acquaint Their Honours that this House has disagreed with the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act.

ATTEST

MARC BOSC

The Acting Clerk of the House of Commons

Honourable senators, when shall this message be taken into consideration?

(On motion of Senator Harder, message placed on Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting.)

Business of the Senate

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 4-13(3), I would like to inform the Senate that when we proceed to Government Business, the Senate will address the items in the following order: third reading of Bill C-31, followed by all remaining items in the order that they appear on the Order Paper.

[English]

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement Implementation Bill

Third Reading

Hon. George Baker moved third reading of Bill C-31, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine.

He said: Honourable senators, I have very few words to say at this stage. I would like to see the bill passed as soon as possible. This was impressed upon me by Canadian business persons who are interested in entering into businesses in Ukraine, and it is a matter of urgency that this agreement be passed into law.

Ukraine has ratified the agreement. They ratified it weeks ago. As all senators know, this trade agreement started with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He signed the original agreement, and that was followed by the present Prime Minister and ministers of the Crown in this particular administration.

(1420)

A great deal of credit belongs to the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Senator Andreychuk, who has been personally involved in this matter for years, and members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Senator Downe is the deputy chair, Senator Ataullahjan, Senator Bovey, Senator Cools, Senator Cordy, Senator Dawson, Senator Eaton, Senator Gold, Senator Smith, Senator Harder, Senator Housakos, Senator Marwah, Senator Ngo, Senator Saint-Germain, Senator Wells and Senator Woo.

They have done a great job with this trade agreement. The urgency is there, and I would submit to senators that we now pass third reading of this bill. It passed the House of Commons by a vote of 304 to zero, and I think and am hoping that it would pass this chamber without the necessity of a vote. Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: I'm speechless now. Thank you.

Senator Baker has made some comments, and I want to make some other comments. I would thank Senator Baker for being the sponsor of this bill. It underscores that the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement is important to Canada and not just to Canadian-Ukrainian business people and the community. In fact, the opportunities are there for all of Canada in many sectors, and I think it's important. I will come back to that in a moment.

I want to thank the committee. We have discussed the CETA agreement and Bill C-31. We thought it was important to deal with CETA first because it was the overarching agreement of significance to Canada and the template for future trade agreements.

The Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement is very much in tune with that. Ukraine is at a point of reaching towards European standards. Today the former Prime Minister Mr. Yanukovych is in town. He has indicated that there is no movement in Ukraine to back away from Europe and European standards or, in fact, NATO and the security of NATO, although that may take a bit longer.

So this agreement provides for many opportunities. We felt it was important to look at CETA and then concentrate on the Canada-Ukraine trade agreement. I want to thank my deputy, as usual. He's my conscience. He rarely tells me if I'm on the right track, but he certainly tells me when I'm on the wrong track, and I need that kind of support; it's been reassuring.

To the steering committee, Senator Saint-Germain and Senator Ngo, we have approached this in many ways.

We were able to efficiently discharge our duties because of the approach we took that if in fact the standards are of a level that we would demand of any trading nation, and that they are reaching towards those standards, there is no compelling reason not to enter into an agreement with Ukraine.

Last night we had the privilege of hearing witnesses who had approached me, but actually, it was Senator Baker who put them on the list. They were from something called Refraction Asset Management. I'm going to quote from their testimony yesterday when they were asked as to why they would do business in Ukraine. The answer from Mr. Tabsh was:

I think the easiest way to help promote an interest and further development involving companies going into Ukraine is to help get rid of that risk premium associated with the area, which can be done by showcasing the support in promoting investment; the government standing behind investments and saying, "Listen, we're right here beside you." We would like to participate, we think that there is merit in this; we think that there is an opportunity here and we are willing to participate alongside. Getting everybody aligned and a couple of examples to showcase that and to say, "Listen, guys, this is not as bad as it looks. We're willing to step in there and to show that level of commitment," will go a long way to getting people to look very deeply at what those opportunities can look like.

We know that Ukraine is facing war in essence with the illegal annexation of Crimea and the Donbass area, and we know the other pillar they must deal with is to curtail corruption, reinforce their judiciary, bring in the rule of law, bring security and stability. I think that they are doing it. In the words of this company and others, Maidan is now in a position of incremental forward movement that we should take into account and support.

In addressing this trade agreement, businesses are saying there are opportunities. The agreement is an assurance that the Government of Canada believes that there is merit in doing business and there are opportunities. What I quoted was that if you overcome the initial headlines we read about, when you get down into Ukraine, you will see the kinds of small businesses, women entrepreneurs that we can link to. Those opportunities, of course, are with the diaspora, the Ukrainian community, but they're not limited.

One sector this group is involved with is, of course, energy. They see an infinite number of possibilities to make Ukraine's energy needs independent from Russia and to utilize renewable energy, particularly wind energy, and we have those kinds of technical capabilities.

Other areas of concentration include the aeronautics field and, of course, education. As a country, Canada has done much to reinforce the police force. Significantly, the police force is now the most trusted institution in Ukraine, which is remarkable. The Canadian investment there from the previous government and continued through this government was with the goal of working at the street level to bring security there. We are now working with the upper echelons of the police force to ensure that there is some institutional accountability.

I could spend much more time on this subject, but I want to thank all parliamentarians for the work that has been done on this issue, but particularly the members of the committee. We studied Ukraine as a committee some years ago, when independence came, and we marked the difference between Ukraine and Russia and their possible developments.

The Ukraine of today is where we thought it might be 20 years ago, and perhaps we were forward thinking or perhaps we underestimated how long transforming a society takes.

I believe that Ukraine is being measured by the international community. Ukraine is cooperating with the international community. The trade agreement is a visible way in which we can encourage the forward movement into prosperity for Ukraine.

I thank all members of the committee for their diligence and particularly their questions. We came from different directions with different capabilities and understanding, but we all came to the conclusion that this was worthy of support at this time, and I thank all participants.

Hon. Percy E. Downe: Colleagues, I want to say a few words, and all the good words have been taken so I will be very short. All the significant points have been made.

Unlike other trade deals that have come before our committee, there wasn't a dissenting voice on this one. People understood that not only was this a trade deal, it was a trade deal plus. This was a deal to support Ukraine; this was a deal to support Ukraine politically; this was a deal hopefully to support them through trade. Time will tell. We're optimistic. As Senator Andreychuk has indicated, we have all kinds of Canadians interested in doing trade.

(1430)

We have a large Canadian population of Ukrainian descent that hopefully will be particularly interested, but all Canadians will be interested in doing trade.

But it sends a message as well. The country is in difficult straits for a host of reasons. As some of you may know, Senator Andreychuk and I are barred from visiting Russia and I believe after this deal goes through that visa exemption will not be lifted for us either.

It is for those reasons that it's not insignificant for Ukraine, that it sends a message, and I was particularly pleased that all the members of the committee understood that instinctively, that we were doing much more than a trade deal here. I thank Senator Baker and Senator Andreychuk for their leadership on this file.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Bill to Amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Act and Other Acts and to Provide for Certain Other Measures

Message from Commons—Motion for Concurrence in Commons Amendments and Non-Insistence Upon Senate Amendments—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the message from the House of Commons concerning Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Act and other Acts and to provide for certain other measures:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

ORDERED,— That a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours that, in relation to Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Act and other Acts and to provide for certain other measures, the House:

proposes that amendment 1 be amended by replacing all the words after the word "construed" with the following:

"as affecting the right or authority of the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act to ensure that police operations are effective.";

respectfully disagrees with amendments 2 and 4(a) because the government has introduced legislation to repeal secret ballot provisions for other public servants in order to achieve balance in workplace relations, further proof of the government's intention to maintain a good-faith relationship with bargaining agents, including any future bargaining agents for RCMP members and reservists;

respectfully disagrees with amendments 3, 6, and 7 because, while agreeing with the removal of restrictions specific to the RCMP in order to allow meaningful discussions in good faith on topics of importance to RCMP members and reservists, such as harassment, removing restrictions on collective bargaining that have applied to the rest of the public service would upset processes that have worked for over 40 years;

proposes that amendment 4(b) be amended to read as follows:

on page 19, in the English version, add after the words "implementation of the term or condition;" the word "or";

proposes that amendment 4(c) be amended to read as follows:

on page 20,

(i) replace line 7 with the following: "sation Act.";

(ii) delete lines 8 to 19;

proposes that amendment 4(d) be amended to read as follows:

on page 21, replace lines 1 to 32 with the following:

"(a) doing so would require the enactment or amendment of any legislation by Parliament, except for the purpose of appropriating money required for the implementation of the term or condition;

(b) the term or condition is one that has been or may be established under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pension Continuation Act, the Public Service Employment Act, the Public Service Superannuation Act or the Government Employees Compensation Act; or

(c) doing so would affect either of the following:

(i) the organization of the public service, the categories of members as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act or the assignment of duties to, and the classification of, positions and persons employed in the public service, or

(ii) the right or authority of the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act to ensure that police operations are effective.";

respectfully disagrees with amendment 4(e), 5, 8, 9, and 10 because they would result in two different grievance processes applying to RCMP members, because the specialized grievance and appeal processes established under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act function well, and because allowing RCMP members to file identical grievances under two acts could undermine the Commissioner's ability to ensure effective police operations.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate) moved:

That the Senate concur in the amendments made by the House of Commons to its amendments 1, 4(b), 4(c) and 4(d) to Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Act and other Acts and to provide for certain other measures;

That the Senate do not insist on its amendments 2, 3, 4(a), 4(e), 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 to which the House of Commons has disagreed; and

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

He said: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to the motion to accept the position of the other place with respect to Bill C-7, a bill that provides a new labour relations framework for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and reservists. I believe that this bill will bring the RCMP, an iconic Canadian institution, into the modern era and demonstrate to members and reservists who serve Canadians from coast to coast to coast that we value their service and dedication, and their work on behalf of all of us in both small and large communities.

This bill will mean that, for the first time in the RCMP's long and storied past, members will have a collective bargaining model tailored to the RCMP — a model that balances organizational interests with individuals' freedom of association, a value enshrined in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This bill, which has resulted in this message, is also an example of the Senate of Canada doing its job of sober second thought, and fulfilling this chamber's complementary function to that of the House of Commons. Let me begin by thanking Senator Campbell, the bill's sponsor, for the benefit of his hard-nosed determination to get the bill right. I would also thank the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence for its diligence and thorough examination of the bill.

The committee listened to several hours of testimony from many different stakeholders bringing different and often opposing perspectives. Both Senators Campbell and Carignan, the bill's critic, raised important issues — opportunities, as it turned out, for improvement to the original legislation.

[Translation]

It was Senator Carignan who said the following:

Who knows? Perhaps we will find ways to improve this bill, since the Senate has a duty to ensure that bills are consistent with our country's legal framework, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The critics and the bill sponsor worked together and with committee members, keeping the best interests of the RCMP as an organization front and centre. Naturally, that includes the best interests of the women and men who risk their lives on behalf of Canadians to, as their motto states, defend the law.

[English]

As a result of this good work, the Senate improved the bill. This chamber sent back to the other place a bill that was stronger, and I'm very pleased that the message from the other place addresses key concerns raised by the Senate.

At a general level, Bill C-7 has several key elements, which reflect the clear preferences expressed by RCMP members during consultations with members that occurred in the summer of 2015. Members were clear that they wanted a labour relations framework that provided for a single, national bargaining unit; a union primarily focused on representing RCMP members; and the recourse to binding arbitration if a collective agreement cannot be negotiated.

Bill C-7 creates this framework. In addition, with this message, Bill C-7 removes RCMP-specific restrictions on what may be included in a collective agreement or an arbitral award.

Second, it puts in place a more targeted management rights clause to better define the authorities that the RCMP Commissioner needs to ensure effective police operations.

These two amendments, taken together, broaden the scope of what can be discussed and potentially incorporated into a collective agreement. These subjects could include matters commonly associated with harassment and workplace wellness, appointments and appraisals, and measures to mitigate the impact of discharges and demotions of RCMP members.

These two amendments, I would emphasize, effectively address the major criticisms of Bill C-7 as originally drafted and presented to this chamber.

This chamber has made more meaningful individual RCMP members' Charter-protected freedom of expression, while balancing those interests with the legitimate imperatives of the RCMP as an organization.

Without doubt, honourable senators, the government has listened to the concerns raised here and expanded what may be included in a collective agreement or an arbitral award. These include rates of pay, hours of work, and leave provisions, such as designated paid holidays, vacation leave, sick leave and parental leave. It also allows proposals related to matters that were covered by the RCMP-specific restrictions in Bill C-7 to now be negotiable.

These amendments will help set the stage for meaningful discussions in good faith around the bargaining table on issues of great importance to the workplace well-being of RCMP members and reservists. In Canada's one hundred and fiftieth year, and the RCMP's one hundred and forty-fourth year, it's about time.

There are certain provisions that are not on the table because, quite frankly, Canadians cannot afford to be without the services of the RCMP. For that reason, Bill C-7 prohibits RCMP members and reservists from striking, and should there be an impasse in collective negotiations, the bill calls for binding arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism.

In addition, as I explained when we last discussed this bill, since 1967, matters that are of broad cross-sectional interest, such as pensions, are excluded from bargaining and dealt with under other legislation to ensure that the public interest is taken into account. Pensions therefore are dealt with under the Public Service Superannuation Act.

Further, the federal government has traditionally consulted with employee representatives on pension issues and is committed to continuing this practice, particularly with respect to the RCMP. In the case of the RCMP, the requirement for a Pension Advisory Committee is enshrined in the RCMP Superannuation Act.

This committee, which consists of RCMP regular members and representatives of RCMP senior management, makes recommendations on the administration, design and funding of the pension benefits.

Honourable senators, this system has been in place for over 40 years, since the inception of collective bargaining in the federal public sector.

It is the same system in place for the rest of the public service. It has been very effective and provides a good replacement income post-retirement for our dedicated men and women in uniform.

Let me explain why the government cannot accept the requirement for a mandatory secret ballot vote for the certification of a bargaining agent to represent RCMP members and reservists.

The government believes there should be choice between secret ballot and a card check system. A secret-ballot-only system is inconsistent with providing a fair and balanced process for certification and properly recognizing the role of bargaining agents in that process.

Bill C-4 puts the discretion of certification back with the Public Service Labour Relations Board whether there will be a secret ballot or a card check system. The board will ensure that members' interests are reflected in the choices made. The government also disagreed with expanding the mandate of the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board to hear grievances on a wider range of matters relating to terms and conditions of employment. In fact, such an expansion would create duplicative grievance processes for RCMP members, under the RCMP Act and the PSLRA.

(1440)

This could potentially lead to conflicting decisions and undermine the commissioner's ability to ensure effective police operations. The RCMP members' right to file grievances and appeals to address workplace issues is best served to be administered pursuant to the RCMP Act.

[Translation]

It's clear that the government has gone to considerable lengths to answer our Senate colleagues' important questions.

[English]

The government is committed to supporting RCMP members and reservists by providing them with a meaningful process for collective bargaining. With this message, I submit to this chamber that the RCMP will have that meaningful process for members to exercise their freedom of association.

In closing, I would like to end with highly anecdotal, yet deeply compelling, evidence of this chamber's work with respect to Bill C-7. According to a well-trusted source in Newfoundland, over the last weekend, in reference to the sponsor of the bill, two RCMP officers in their squad car reportedly remarked, "You the man, Larry."

I agree with them. Senator Campbell is the man. I look forward to this chamber debating and reflecting on this message, and bringing the RCMP into a 21st-century labour relations situation.

The Hon. the Speaker: Will the honourable senator take a question?

Senator Harder: Yes.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Senator Harder, are you aware that WestJet pilots had a vote on forming a union just a week or so ago?

Senator Harder: Yes, I am.

Senator Plett: Are you aware of the results of that?

Senator Harder: Yes, I am.

Senator Plett: Are you aware of what system they used in voting?

Senator Harder: Yes, I am.

Senator Plett: Thank you. So you know the issue. How can you say that a secret ballot is not the best system in the world? We have heard here that a secret ballot system is one that will be manipulated by the management, and we have heard that having a card-check system will be manipulated by the unions.

The proof is now in the pudding that a secret ballot vote will not be manipulated. We now know that. Why would we want to change anything from what we had? Ninety-seven per cent of people voted in that election and 62 per cent were in favour. I would say that's pretty good proof that the secret ballot system works.

Would you not agree with that, yes or no?

Senator Harder: That's a quick question. Senators, it's important to — and we certainly will in the message I moved today — have the occasion to have a refreshment of our debate on Bill C-4.

This is with respect to Bill C-7, and yes, there is an element here that I just referenced with respect to the RCMP and the government's desire for consistency purposes and, frankly, for public policy purposes to have the mandatory secret ballot that was imposed in one of our amendments with respect to the RCMP and in amendments on Bill C-4 in the Senate to remove those because of the government's commitment, both in its election platform and in the debate in this chamber and the other chamber, when the previous government moved to change the system from that which had existed and served Canadian labour relations so well.

Senator, I certainly am aware, and I would simply say that it is important that, no matter what the result, people have confidence in the fairness of the system that is in place, and that is the system that has served us so well.

Senator Plett: Will you take another question?

Senator Harder: I will.

Senator Plett: Thank you. Sometimes there is a saying, "What part of 'no' did you not understand?" I did not understand most of that "no," or if the answer was "yes," I did not understand that. My question was: Do you believe that the secret ballot system worked very effectively in this particular vote? Before you answer, do you believe that?

Second, of course, you now said, "Well, I was talking about Bill C-4." You were the one who raised in your debate the secret ballot; I didn't.

And if you can't give me an exact answer now, I will give you some time, because I will ask this question again when we debate Bill C-4 and maybe you can have an exact "yes" or "no" at that time. Please, if you have one now.

Senator Harder: Senators, of course it's legitimate to raise it in the context of Bill C-7, because it is one of the elements of Senate amendments that the House of Commons, in its wisdom, has rejected. I'm simply referencing the consistency between the Government of Canada's and House of Commons' views on collective bargaining as expressed through the amendments on Bill C-7 and on Bill C-4.

With respect to the specific question the honourable senator has asked, I don't think it's my business to determine whether a particular vote in a particular situation is the right vote. That is for the unions and the employers to determine in the collective bargaining process. Did it work well? How do I know? Obviously, it is a process that is advancing the collective bargaining interests of the unions that are seeking to organize, but I am policy-neutral. I just want to make sure, as does the Government of Canada and indeed the House of Commons, that the system itself has integrity and fairness.

Senator Plett: Of course, you are not policy-neutral or you would not be advocating for something. Policy-neutral means you don't have an opinion on it and you would not be advocating. So I would consider that's not quite correct.

You say it may not be your place to do this, and it may not be my place, but I will go out on a limb and say I think it worked pretty well and it's a good system.

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan: The Senate proposed an amendment to the House of Commons to broaden the notion of grievance to include all issues related to the interpretation or application of the collective agreement, as well as directions and other instruments issued by the employer, such as policies, for instance; it would then have been possible to refer all of these matters to adjudication.

I would like to know if the House of Commons agreed to the Senate's proposed amendment, and if not, why not.

[English]

Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for his question. The House of Commons determined that for the grievance process, it would important for the RCMP Act grievance process be the one that's respected and not an additional path for grievance, so there would not be parallel paths, as the Senate had proposed. That seemed to the House of Commons and the government to be sensible, and that certainly ensures that a broad range of grievance issues are part of that process.

With respect to what can be negotiated, because we had this large debate a year ago with respect to exemptions, the government has largely accepted the amendments that were proposed in this chamber and argued so eloquently by Senators White and Campbell. That is, in a sense, the heart of the amendments that the House of Commons has accepted.

(On motion of Senator Carignan, debate adjourned.)

Tobacco Act
Non-smokers' Health Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Petitclerc, seconded by the Honourable Senator Bellemare, for the third reading of Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers' Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, as amended.

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak 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.

I was not able to attend the Social Affairs Committee hearings when they dealt with Bill S-5 because the Foreign Affairs Committee, of which I am a member, meets at the same time. I did, however, take the time to read all the transcripts of the meetings. I want to thank the committee members for the excellent questions posed to the witnesses. I believe that your work, your comments and your amendments have made Bill S-5 better legislation.

As stated by the health minister at the committee hearings, Bill S-5 is promoted as a balanced piece of legislation that is aimed at protecting youth from inducement to nicotine addiction and tobacco use, while allowing adults to legally access vaping products as a less harmful alternative to tobacco. The bill will also lay the ground work to support the government's efforts to implement plain packaging.

(1450)

We all know how deadly smoking tobacco can be and we are all too familiar with the statistics. In 2015, 15 per cent of Canadians were regular smokers — that's nearly 4.5 million Canadians. In addition to that, 115,000 more Canadians became regular smokers in 2015. Governments have worked hard to reduce smoking rates in Canada and to discourage young people from starting to smoke. Despite these efforts, nearly 37,000 — I repeat, 37,000 — Canadians died from tobacco-related illnesses in 2015.

The Minister of Health has set an ambitious goal of lowering the percentage of smokers to under 5 per cent by 2035. Bill S-5, as stated by the minister, is a key element in the federal government's broader tobacco control agenda.

Honourable senators, I am a strong advocate for a smoke-free Canada. I believe we must make every effort to keep tobacco products out of the hands of our children and young people. Bill S-5 continues the efforts to deter tobacco use. Bill S-5 will also bring in controls to regulate the growing vaping industry.

The vaping industry is still relatively new. Vaping products have been available in Canada for about 10 years. I must admit that I was aware of vaping, but I wasn't too familiar with how vaping products work and how they are sold until I started researching vaping for this bill. I quickly learned that vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the water vapour produced by an electric device called a vaporizer, which is also known as an e-cigarette.

Over the last 10 years, vape shops have opened up across the country and they offer a wide variety of e-vaporizer devices and e-liquids. According to numbers presented at committee by the Canadian Vaping Association, there are over 800 retail and manufacturing facilities in Canada, employing over 5,000 Canadians and generating over $350 million in revenue.

The e-liquids offered for sale come in hundreds of flavours and can have nicotine added in varying quantities. The customer can choose the level of nicotine they want in their vapour and the store mixes it in for them on the spot. As vaping is tobacco free but can still contain nicotine, the industry has been promoting e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco. However, because of the availability of so many flavours, many of which could appeal to young people, it is important that this bill restricts access of vaping products to adults.

Currently, the vaping industry is self-regulated and is operating in the absence of federal regulations. Adherence to the self-regulations by those agents operating in the industry is done on a voluntary basis. As Daniel David, Chairman of the Electronic Cigarette Trade Association of Canada, stated at the committee:

ECTA is a self regulatory organization for the vapour products industry, active since 2011. During this time, we have developed and implemented regulations and compliance standards that respond directly to consumer needs, evolving technology and trends and the ever growing body of scientific research on vaping and harm reduction. Our members voluntarily submit to ECTA requirements and uphold the highest standards in retail, manufacture and wholesale. We embrace the critical need for an appropriately regulated vapour product industry.

I commend the vaping industry for recognizing the need for regulation and taking the initiative to develop a program in the absence of federal regulations, but I believe it is time for this legislation and I believe there is a need for mandatory federal regulations to protect the health and safety of Canadians.

As the Health Minister stated in committee:

The prevalence of a number of products, including in particular vaping products and their use, is growing rapidly. These are less harmful than tobacco products and they have the potential to bring about public health benefits if they reduce tobacco related death and disease. However, they also have the potential to bring about harms if they entice youth and non-users of tobacco to develop a nicotine addiction or lead to tobacco use.

If Bill S-5 is to be fair and balanced piece of legislation that is aimed at protecting youth from inducement to nicotine addiction and tobacco use as the government is proposing, it should, as the Canadian Vaping Association stated, "ensure that maximum benefits are realized while minimizing potential harms."

A fine balance has to be struck to ensure that adults are able to legally access these products, particularly as a tobacco cessation alternative. At the same time, promotion of the products will also be regulated so that Canadians, particularly young Canadians, are not enticed to take up vaping. The amended legislation provides the flexibility for medical practitioners to promote these devices as a tobacco cessation method for those who are looking for help to quit smoking.

The Canadian Lung Association acknowledged the challenge of finding this balance when appearing at committee during study of this bill. Amy Henderson, Public Policy Manager with the Canadian Lung Association, testified:

We understand that there are advantages of electronic cigarettes or vaping products, mainly getting people off smoking. However, e-cigarettes are less harmful but not harmless. This is especially important for lung disease.

We recognize that the balance in this bill is between preventing youth from picking up vaporized products and allowing adults who smoke to use them. But we also really want to make sure that young people don't start using vaporized products. People who have already quit smoking don't go to vaporized products and people who have never smoked go to vaporized products.

From all the evidence presented at committee and during debate on this bill in the Senate, it is clear that vaping seems to be a safer alternative to smoking tobacco. However, caution must be exercised when describing vaping as "safe" or "healthier" because, as the Canadian Lung Association rightfully points out, vaping may be less harmful but vaping is indeed not harmless.

The reality is that it is impossible to know the long-term effects of vaping or the effects of inhaling vapour and particularly vapour containing nicotine at this point in time. When asked about this at committee, John Britton, Director of the UK Center for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, testified:

Those things I expect to cause lung damage in the long term.

We would expect the spectrum of damage to include a similar spectrum of lung disease to existing smoking, but at a much lower level of risk. So there will, in my opinion, over the next 50 years, be a handful of cases of lung cancer caused by vaping. But that has to be set aside the likelihood of tens of thousands of cases of lung cancer caused by smoking.

He went on to say that we won't know the full effects of vaping or how safe it is or isn't until two or three decades have gone by.

There were concerns expressed that the perception of vaping being a "safe" alternative to smoking tobacco will entice not just youth but any Canadian to start vaping and then the potential is there for them to move on to tobacco use. Senator Seidman raised this important point in committee and asked if e-cigarettes would re-normalize smoking and undermine decades of progress made by anti-smoking campaigns. We already know that 26 per cent of young people between the ages of 15 and 19 in Canada have tried e-cigarettes.

It is important to acknowledge the potential that vaping products have to drastically lower the prevalence of a wide range of health risks associated with tobacco use. If more tobacco users switched to vaping, it can be viewed as positive because, as smokers will tell you, it is very difficult to quit this habit.

Dr. Peter Selby, a Clinician Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, testified at committee and stated:

. . . a sobering fact from our research is that despite the most motivated patient and the most motivated person making an attempt to quit, most of them will go back to smoking within three to six months. That is the reason why we are very interested in looking at ways in which people can reduce the harm from tobacco use, especially because most of the people, as you know, die from the smoke and not the nicotine.

Evidence shows that vaping is most likely a less hazardous alternative to smoking tobacco. An e-cigarette is able to provide the nicotine a smoker is addicted to but eliminates the tobacco smoke which contains the toxins that can lead to serious health issues.

Finding and maintaining the right balance in Bill S-5 was not an easy task. I am reassured that the amended bill mandates the Minister of Health to undertake a review of the provisions and operation of the legislation three years after Royal Assent and every two years after that. A report on the review must be tabled in each House of Parliament no later than one year after the day on which the review is undertaken. I believe this clause is very important in order to assess and ensure that the legislation is achieving and maintaining the balance for which it strives. It is important to evaluate a bill such as Bill S-5 regularly so that changes can be made based on the data that is gathered.

I have spoken about the vaping aspects of Bill S-5 and I would like to take a few moments now to talk about the other major feature of this bill. Bill S-5 will establish the foundations for the introduction of mandatory standardized and plain packaging requirements for tobacco products.

Much has been said by Canada's tobacco manufacturers against instituting the plain and standardized packaging policies the federal government is proposing. However, studies from around the world where these policies were put in place show that these initiatives related to plain packaging have had success.

(1500)

David Hammond, Associate Professor, University of Waterloo, who conducts research on tobacco use and e-cigarettes, including how products are designed, marked and used by consumers, said this in his testimony before the committee:

It is a fact that Australia experienced the largest ever decline in smoking prevalence after plain packaging was implemented. The most extensive analysis to date determined that after adjusting for tax increases and other measures that were implemented over the same time, plain packaging resulted in more than 100,000 fewer Australian smokers. If plain packaging were to have the same impact in Canada, that would translate to 190,000 fewer smokers. The scientific evidence on plain packaging includes close to 100 published scientific studies, which are consistent with the Australian data.

He went on to say:

The evidence is clear: cigarettes in plain packaging are less appealing to try. They increase perceptions of risk and they enhance the impact of health warnings. That's not only the opinion of the scientific community; it's also been established in legal rulings from the British High Court and the High Court of Australia.

As the Health Minister pointed out, tobacco packaging is one of the few remaining channels available to the tobacco industry for the promotion of their products. Ultimately, the federal government's goal is to restrict any type of promotion for tobacco products. Currently there are strict regulations when it comes to tobacco packaging and health warnings. Tobacco companies, however, have found ways around these restrictions to continue to promote their products on the packaging. Standardized plain packaging will close this avenue of promotion.

Tobacco industry representatives have raised the alarm that plain packaging of tobacco will fuel the counterfeit and contraband tobacco industry. The Health Minister refuted this in her appearance at the committee, citing that there was no evidence to support that claim. Mr. Hammond, of the University of Waterloo, said:

I would like to address some misinformation presented to this committee about plain packaging and illicit tobacco. There is a range of different information sources on illicit tobacco in Australia, including data from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Services. These sources do not indicate any increase in illicit tobacco from plain packaging. In fact, there is only one source that suggests that plain packaging has increased illicit tobacco, and that's the tobacco companies.

Honourable senators, there is no refuting that contraband tobacco remains an important issue in Canada. However, there is no data that the standardized and plain packaging elements in this bill would increase contraband tobacco in Canada. Our greatest weapon against contraband tobacco is by lowering demand for tobacco products across Canada. Lowering the smoking rates in Canada and eliminating the contraband tobacco trade requires a multi-faceted and multi-pronged approach, including law enforcement and border restrictions. Keeping the plain packaging elements in this bill goes to the core of what the government is trying to achieve with this legislation, and that is to reduce the number of Canadians who smoke.

Honourable senators, I would like to thank Senator Petitclerc for sponsoring Bill S-5 and for her hard work in guiding this legislation through the Senate. I would also like to thank Senator Seidman, who is the official critic of the bill, and who worked to make Bill S-5 better.

I am always supportive of legislative efforts of any government to reduce smoking rates in Canada, whether it is legislation restricting flavoured tobacco, which appeals to young people, or the legislation curbing the illegal tobacco industry. We have to continue our efforts to reduce smoking. Many Canadians are dying needlessly every year because of lung disease and cancers caused by smoking.

I also want to thank the committee members again for the excellent discussions on Bill S-5 during committee study. I believe that you have made Bill S-5 better legislation. I also believe the amendments help Bill S-5 better achieve the balance the Minister of Health is striving for in this legislation.

I support Bill S-5 and the government's efforts to regulate e-cigarettes and vaping products and the efforts to establish the groundwork to introduce mandatory plain and standardized packaging for tobacco products.

(On motion of Senator Carignan, debate adjourned.)

National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Bill

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Harder, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Bellemare, for the second reading of Bill C-22, An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and to make consequential amendments to certain Acts.

Hon. Diane Griffin: Honourable senators, today I rise to speak on Bill C-22. At second reading, I am going to keep my comments to the general intent of the legislation that involve parliamentary privilege and committee structure rather than discussing the more technical elements related to the types of information that the committee can review.

I support any legislative initiative that strengthens parliamentary oversight of our national security institutions; however I hope my comments are useful to the National Security and Defence Committee when considering amendments for Bill C-22.

Respecting the structure of the national security oversight committee, I argue that as a statutory committee, it should have equal representation of both the House of Commons and the Senate.

Honourable senators, this is not a new idea. Senator McIntyre recognized yesterday that this recommendation stems from the 2004 Report of the Interim Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security. This committee was an advisory committee created by Prime Minister Martin to provide evidence-based policy "recommendations to establish a mechanism through which Parliament could provide more active security and intelligence."

This advisory group looked at three different options for a parliamentary committee and all options would have the chair elected. The three options: one, a separate Senate and Commons national s o committee; two, a joint committee with proportional representation; and, three, a joint committee with equal representation of both the House of Commons and the Senate that would have equal co-chairs and vice-chairs.

The advisory committee, as a result, recommended a joint committee with equal representation as this structure would "emphasize certain qualities of the Senate that would contribute to the committee's future success." Because of the longer tenure of senators, the committee would be better placed to retain corporate memory and be able to work through prorogations and dissolutions of Parliament. Moreover, the report highlighted that an increased number of senators would highlight a cultural shift where:

It would help foster the collegial, non-partisan atmosphere, necessary for the committee's eventual success, and together with the adoption of many of the more collegial Senate Rules of Procedure, better allow it to follow issues to their logical conclusion.

Honourable senators, Bill C-22 passed in the other place along party lines, with the government members supporting it and the opposition members disagreeing.

National Security and Law Professor Craig Forcese comments:

. . . the absence of cross-party buy-in and an accrual of partisan acrimony reduces the prospect that the [oversight committee] will work, at all. The members of [the committee] will need to consolidate around a shared mission, shared professional culture and shared mores of behaviour.

I view this as the responsibility of the Senate to create a national security oversight framework that has cross-partisan support and gives our colleagues in the other place an opportunity to achieve consensus. The oversight of our national security deserves no less.

I trust that the Senate National Security and Defence Committee will consider the evidence-based policy from the Prime Minister Martin era report in greater detail and look to call members of the advisory committee to understand their rationale on why they recommended a joint parliamentary committee with equal representation of both Houses of Parliament.

(1510)

I will now discuss my concerns about the government's proposal to create a committee of parliamentarians to ensure secrecy of information.

There is a difference between a joint parliamentary committee on national security oversight and a committee of parliamentarians, and it is more than semantics. As parliamentarians, we must be careful in waiving our parliamentary privilege. Again, according to Professor Forcese, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia all have oversight committees that do not waive parliamentary privilege.

The issue for the government is that parliamentarians have the absolute privilege of freedom of speech within parliamentary proceedings. Government is concerned that this may create a legal vacuum where a parliamentarian can reveal classified information without sanction. I reject the government's assertion. Although within their chambers, parliamentarians are immune from criminal prosecution, they are still subject to sanction by Parliament through a contempt motion if they breach confidentiality. Contempt of Parliament is any action that is an offence against the authority or dignity of the House of Commons or the Senate. Punishment can include imprisonment.

I do not believe it is appropriate to have a debate at second reading regarding the range of punishment. I only raise it to challenge the government's incorrect assertion that a parliamentarian can disclose classified information with impunity. Parliamentary privilege does not conflict with Canada's national security, rather parliamentary privilege is complementary.

The privilege of freedom of speech that concerns government is the same privilege that is given to parliamentary witnesses, some of whom may be whistle-blowers. Freedom of speech allows committee witnesses to disclose potential wrongdoing without fear of breaching the Security of Information Act or prosecution. Under Bill C-22, the committee of parliamentarians does not afford witnesses this safeguard; however, a joint parliamentary committee would.

Therefore, the privilege of freedom of speech must be maintained for both parliamentarians and witnesses; otherwise, how will witnesses disclose classified information to the committee?

Honourable senators, I further draw to your attention that the Criminal Code prohibits perjury or providing misleading information in a judicial proceeding. Under section 118 of the Criminal Code, judicial proceedings include evidence given before the Senate or the House of Commons or one of their respective committees. It is unclear whether the proposed committee of parliamentarians is a judicial proceeding, which raises the question: Do witnesses have a legal obligation to be truthful in front of a committee of parliamentarians when compared to a parliamentary committee? The government is keen to waive parliamentarians' freedom of speech; however, why is the government so eager to waive these other protections and privileges associated with a parliamentary committee?

Honourable senators, the evidence-based policy of the 2004 Martin-era report recommended that the oversight committee be a creature of Parliament so that it can compel witnesses, documents and records. I quote again from that:

The duties and functions of the Parliamentary Intelligence Committee will be carried out within the institution of Parliament. The Parliamentary Intelligence Committee and its members will enjoy the rights, powers, privileges and immunities of Parliament constrained only by the undertakings inherent in the swearing of the oath(s).

A question for the committee to examine is why is the government not following that recommendation? As the advisory body was created directly in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, why now are parliamentarians being further constrained beyond the undertaking inherent in the swearing of oaths? More recent Canadian proposals recommend a committee of parliamentarians, but this is a trend that our Commonwealth allies — namely, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — have moved away from. In fact, New Zealand specifically protects parliamentary privilege in its oversight committee law. The idea that Canada must move slowly and that maybe in five years Canada could adopt a parliamentary committee model is strange. Canada did not achieve dominion status yesterday. We are celebrating our one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Confederation, so it is disrespectful for government to imply that parliamentarians lack the ability to treat national security matters seriously and that we cannot learn from our Commonwealth colleagues.

I again quote the 2004 Martin committee report which rejects moving slowly:

We strongly believe that a structure which must rely on the gradual evolution and expansion of access, powers, and remit would be inappropriate for Canada.

Although it may be an exaggeration to state that parliamentary privilege began with the 1689 Bill of Rights and dies with Bill C-22, we must not be so willing to give up our rights, especially our right of expression, simply to satisfy the concerns of the national security community and submit ourselves to the control of the executive.

Honourable senators, we have two primary tools to hold the government to account: Our voice and our vote. By voting for Bill C-22 without any amendments, we must be careful that we do not lose our voice. I support sending Bill C-22 to committee for further analysis to ensure that the Senate is treated as equal in status to the other place and so that our voice is preserved. Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Carignan, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

The Estimates, 2017-18

National Finance Committee Authorized to Study Supplementary Estimates (A)

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of May 16, 2017, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018; and

That, for the purpose of this study, the committee have the power to sit even though the Senate may then be sitting, with rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[English]

Adjournment

Motion Adopted

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of May 17, 2017, moved:

That, when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(1520)

National Anthem Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

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

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak in opposition to Bill C-210, An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender).

As our nation prepares to celebrate its rich, 150-year anniversary in just a few weeks, it is critical that we continue to remember the values and traditions that fostered the existence of our great nation. It is only through these shared ideals of altruism, patriotism and determination that we have formed the Canadian identity of today.

Furthermore, I can think of no better representation of these shared ideals than our nation's national anthem, "O Canada."

Originally penned by Judge Robert Stanley Weir prior to the beginning of World War I, "O Canada" was composed to stand as a symbol of national pride that would outlast Weir and the Great War. Although it did not become our nation's official anthem until 1980, this song — this poem — has remained iconic even through the passage of time.

If we are to allow this legislation to pass, it is, in my opinion, that we would be doing a great disservice to our nation. A nation's national anthem is not meant to be edited and revised periodically, but rather, it is meant to stand the test of time and to allow us to remember where we came from.

This legislation seeks to amend a particular line of the anthem in the interest of gender inclusion, but as members of this chamber of sober second thought, we must reflect on the consequences of such a change and the dangerous precedent that it would create.

Senator Nancy Ruth, when she spoke on this bill, made it clear that if we were to pass this legislation, we would, in effect, be reverting to the original text of the anthem. To examine this claim, I took the time to look into the history of our nation's anthem and find out how it became what we know today.

In 1908, Judge Weir released his first draft of the anthem, in which the line in question read as follows:

True patriot love thou dost in us command.

As previously stated, this was a draft and, similar to many other poets, Weir spent the following years revising the text.

We took the liberty of contacting Mr. Stephen William Weir Simpson, the grandson of Judge Weir, to inquire as to why Judge Weir continued to revise his text and not leave the aforementioned line intact. Mr. Simpson informed us that Judge Weir's reason for the later revisions was solely to improve the poetic qualities of the text. After the most notable revision, in 1913, the line then read:

True patriot love in all thy sons command.

Mr. Simpson made it clear to me that the reason for this revision had nothing at all to do with the Great War, as many of my colleagues have erroneously suggested, but, in fact, the line was said to be representative of all Canadians and the role that they played in keeping our country strong. Since then, this line has remained unchanged.

It is important to note that Weir, the author of the text, was the individual who made the change, not Parliament. This begs the question of why we, as parliamentarians, believe we have the right to alter a piece of literary work without the consent of its author.

As Mr. Simpson pointed out, this is not the first time that Parliament has altered, or attempted to alter, his grandfather's text. In 1980, without the consultation of the Weir family, and certainly without the consultation of Judge Weir, the government thought it necessary to revise the refrain of the song to remove what parliamentarians of the time referred to as "repetitiveness." The refrain of the song used to read:

O Canada, glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

To clarify, Mr. Simpson stated that he is opposed to any revision of his grandfather's work. However, he said that if Parliament were to make any revisions to the text, he would only be comfortable with reverting the anthem to this original wording.

In doing this, the anthem would effectively be revised by the author, the individual whom I believe is the only rightful editor of this work.

As some of my colleagues may recall, this is not the first time that a bill of this nature has been debated in this place. In 2002, Bill S-39 sought to make a similar revision to this line of the anthem. At the time, Mr. Simpson wrote a letter to Senator Anne Cools, succinctly expressing his thoughts on the matter. Senator Cools has been kind enough to share this letter with me and allow me to present it to all of you, as I believe it expressly states the reasoning of the Weir family's objections, and it begins:

Dear Senator Cools: I am delighted you're on board opposing the proposed move to alter the words of O Canada; in the family's estimates, Parliament has done enough damage already.

This expressly points to the government's revisions of 1980, which I will once again stipulate that the Weir family was never consulted on. The government of the time, for whatever reason, did not think the thoughts and the wishes of the Weir family to be relevant in debate, which is regrettable, to say the least.

Mr. Simpson then goes on to reference the government's revision of the first line of the refrain, which at the time read:

O Canada, glorious and free!

And later was revised to read as:

God keep our land, glorious and free!

Mr. Simpson addresses the intent of the original text in the following way:

Judge Weir's concept, according to my mother, was that it was up to individual Canadians to support Canada, and not leave the job up to some deity.

To say that the beauty and grace of this nation are our responsibility to foster is a strong sentiment indeed, for we, as Canadians, must always put our country before ourselves.

The letter continues:

In respect to the "stand on guard" issue, in his own words, Judge Weir explained: "This song of mine was not a translation in any respect . . ., it was an independent composition of which the central idea was: `We stand on guard for thee.' Written six years before the Great War, this sentiment was not at all intended in a military sense, but rather as a warning to guard against the insidious forces of dissension from within our own household." It is indeed regrettable that, had the 1921 revision been popularly known, there would have been no need for any changes.

Judge Robert Stanley Weir spent 13 years composing and editing his version of "O Canada," and through the course of mere months of closed-door deliberations, the government effectively trampled on the meaning of the original text. Today, however, we are not yet debating whether or not to revert the lyrics to Judge Weir's revised version. In fact, this debate transcends the concept of gender inclusion. Today, in this chamber, we are debating whether or not we believe literary integrity to be a cornerstone of our society. We are debating whether or not to set a new course and to do the best we can to adhere to Judge Weir's wishes.

(1530)

Symbols of a nation's heritage are intended to be static. They are not intended to be altered or adjusted as we see fit.

As so many of my esteemed colleagues have echoed, our national anthem is not ours to change. As Senator Fraser said, we are not poets.

This anthem is the sole property of the Canadian people, a vast majority of whom are adamantly opposed to this revision of the text. Furthermore, I would submit that the only rightful revisions to this text would be those directly endorsed by Judge Weir. As Judge Weir has since passed on, it is obvious that any legitimate revision of his work would be a revision that he himself penned.

While I firmly believe the anthem to be gender neutral in its current form, some of my colleagues wish to amend this line of the anthem in the interest of explicit gender inclusion.

I would suggest that the words "thou dost in us command" from Judge Weir's first draft achieve this goal, while respecting the memory of Judge Weir and the integrity of his work.

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Therefore, honourable senators, I move:

That Bill C-210 be not now read a third time, but that it be amended in the schedule, on page 2, by replacing the words "in all of" with the words "thou dost in".

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: It is moved by Senator Plett, seconded by Senator Wells that Bill C-210 be not now read a third time but that it be amended in the schedule, on page 2, by replacing the words "in all of" with the words "thou dost in."

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

Hon. Elaine McCoy: I would like to study this amendment at greater length, in the event that there may be a point of order. In any event, I would like to take the adjournment today.

(On motion of Senator McCoy, debate adjourned.)

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Thirteenth Report of Committee—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the thirteenth report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (Budget—pursuant to rule 12-7(1), consideration of financial and administrative matters—power to hire staff), presented in the Senate on May 16, 2017.

Hon. Leo Housakos moved the adoption of the report.

He said: Honourable senators, essentially, I rise to explain the request by the Committee on Internal Economy on behalf of the Subcommittee on Communications for allocation of funds to support the Subcommittee on Communications in its work.

As everyone knows, a couple of years ago, as per the recommendations of the Blueprint communications report that established our new structure of communications in the Senate of Canada, we have allocated the responsibility of dealing with media requests to the Subcommittee of Communications, chaired by myself and Senator Cordy, who also have the honour of being the chair and deputy chair of Internal Economy.

In the attempt to put the model into place over the last two years of dealing with issues of management and media relations, my office undertook to provide staff assistance to manage this particular dossier. Many of you know the individual has been given that authority under the guidance of me and Senator Cordy and the Subcommittee on Communications.

Now that the model has been concretely put into place and is functioning, my office is in bad need of getting back its staff who I generously allocated to conduct this work over the last few months. As a result, the subcommittee is requesting the allocation of a budget.

The budget is within the guidelines of what a Senate office would be paying a senior policy adviser and not to exceed that amount. This work would be filled on a contractual basis. Of course the committee determined that it would be best that it be done on a contractual basis because subcommittee chairs and deputy chairs come and go. They should have the flexibility to have an individual there who would be able to work comfortably with the committee and the two co-chairs.

That is it in a nutshell, honourable senators. I would be more than happy to take any questions.

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: To understand the process, a subcommittee reports to the whole committee of a standing committee. So the Subcommittee on Communications of Internal should report and make recommendations to the entire committee.

Could you indicate to us, Senator Housakos, who on the Internal Economy Committee made the motion supporting this request and who seconded that motion?

Senator Housakos: Off the top of my head, I don't have the actual minutes of that meeting, but I suspect that the motion was moved by a member of that committee and seconded by a member of that committee. I also suspect, if I remember correctly, that the decision of Internal Economy in support of that motion was a unanimous one.

Senator Ringuette: Are you saying that this request by the subcommittee was approved and voted upon by the entire Standing Committee on Internal Economy?

Senator Housakos: Absolutely.

Senator Ringuette: My other question is what is the purpose, Senator Housakos, of the Senate communications team? What is their budget? How many employees do they have? Why would Internal Economy request a separate communication person, whereas all other committees of the Senate use the communication team of the Senate that is already in place? They have processes and so forth. Some we may not agree with; we are not all wise owls. But could you indicate to us what the budget of the communications team is? How many people are there, and what is their raison d'être?

(1540)

Senator Housakos: I'd be happy to do that, given that I know most of our colleagues took a great interest in this important issue a couple of years back, where we went through an exhaustive process of review and brought in Blueprint communications. Senator Dawson and I and Senator Eggleton and a number of others spent a lot of time, consulting extensively, of course, with senators, the press gallery, the administration. We took a great deal of time to put together a comprehensive report. I invite all colleagues who have forgotten the result of that report to go back to it and read it in-depth. It's a report we are proud of.

There were some solid recommendations that came out of it. As a result, we have re-engineered the Communications Directorate in the Senate, and I think we've all seen the results.

Based on the communications consultation that we did at the time, it was determined that the directorate was not equipped effectively to give quick, transparent responses to media when it came to media relations.

It also became crystal clear, both from the Press Gallery and from the administration and the Senate that there was a far too cumbersome process in place for them to receive media requests, to get approval from the various leaderships and caucuses, and His Honour.

Sometimes it took, I think the report said, six or seven days before they adequately responded to media requests, and I think all of us in this business know how important it is to be prompt and accurate when it comes to media requests. As a result, the model that we have in place right now has a Subcommittee on Communications, which is a working group. That group gives guidance to our Communications Directorate on institutional issues and, to be clear, colleagues, strictly institutional issues, not political issues. It does not represent or go into the issues regarding caucus opinions of our work; it responds to requests that affect the institutions.

Particularly, most of the requests that come in affect Internal Economy directly. As a result, the chair of the subcommittee and the deputy chair, who, I reiterate, happen to also be the chair and deputy chair of Internal Economy, which gives the added weight of making sure that the responses we give to the media are backed up by a solid authority and that we give them the information, of course, that is concrete and transparent and that we do so in a timely fashion.

I think we have all seen in the last two years how the relationship between the Senate and the Press Gallery has improved drastically. In large part, it has been because of that model.

To go further on your question, currently, the directorate that's in place does not do media relations. They do outreach. They do promotion of committee work. They do promotion and branding vis-à-vis the institution. They do a lot of our footprint when it comes to social media. We have all seen the invention of a Senate Twitter site that wasn't there before. We've all seen the wonderful work they've done with the actual website that has become cutting edge and modern, to the point where the House of Commons just announced last week their own re-engineering of their website. I invite you all to see it; it looks pretty much like a carbon copy of what we've done over the past two years. So we're proud of the fact that we are also leaders when it comes to communicating right now as a Parliament.

Again, the role of the Communications Directorate is very specific. It's consistent with the recommendations we got from the Blueprint report, outreach, promotion of committee work. Even when it comes to committee work responses to media, that's not their role. It is the responsibility of chairs and deputy chairs of committees to do media relations. Just to be crystal clear, the objective that we had here was to make sure that, when we deal with the press, it's senators who speak on behalf of the Senate, and they are the ones who are giving direct answers. Thus, that's why we have created the model in this structure.

Furthermore, to answer your question more specifically, there are about 22 employees in the directorate, and it's a budget of a little over $1 million.

Senator Ringuette: You will understand why I move the adjournment of the debate in my name. Thank you.

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

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Those in favour of the motion, please say, "Yea."

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Against, "nay."

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: In my opinion, the nays have it.

Senator Duffy.

Hon. Michael Duffy: I wonder if the chair would answer a question. The report that's on the website says that this would be —

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Senator Duffy, are you speaking, or are you — You are speaking, and you are including a question in your speech, I presume.

Senator Duffy: I was asking a question, Your Honour. I wasn't exactly clear where we are in the process.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: I'm sorry; time has run out to ask questions of Senator Housakos. We have entertained a motion. But you can speak.

Senator Duffy: Thank you, Your Honour, and thank you, colleagues.

I find it interesting that it's quarter to four on the last day before we take a 10-day recess, and those who have not been here as long as some others, those who are relatively new, may find it interesting that, often, in the last hour of the last day before a recess, at this time, items are brought before the Senate in which there is expected to be rather quick approval.

Senator Housakos wants this report approved, yet I notice that it talks about a sole-source contract for this person. Why would the Senate of Canada want to have a sole-source contract? Wouldn't we be open? This is a town full of communications experts. Why would we not ask for a competition? On the terms of reference, is the person to be appointed to this job bilingual, completely fluent in both official languages? We have a very active media in both languages. There is nothing in the committee report that talks about terms of reference of what the qualifications are. The Senate HR department has spent a lot of time building a model of what the job description should be for these various positions, and yet there is no job description that I can see of any completeness attached to this very brief and skimpy report. It strongly suggests to me, colleagues, that we want to take a long, hard look at this before we rubber stamp this request.

Some Hon. Senators: Question!

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: A question to Senator Duffy.

Senator Housakos: I would eat Senator Duffy's time up to answer the question that he posed to me, but it deserves an answer because there was a lot of misinformation in his premise.

First, there is nothing skimpy about this report. This report is a spinoff of a consultation report based on Blueprint recommendations to this chamber approved two years ago. That report was the end result of more than 14 months of consultation. Furthermore, the Subcommittee on Communications has taken this decision, has reviewed this, while we have been going on with our model of media relations for over a year and a half.

Furthermore, Senator Duffy, you should know — you've been here long enough — that the Subcommittee of Communications also encompasses many people from all sides of this chamber, including all caucuses, including yours. Your caucus is well represented at the Subcommittee of Communications. Your caucus is well-represented at the Internal Economy Committee. We have been looking at this. We have approved this unanimously at Internal Economy, including members of your caucus. We've approved this unanimously at the Subcommittee of Communications, including members of your caucus. So there is nothing last minute or short term about this, Senator Duffy.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Senator Housakos, what is your question?

Senator Housakos: My question to Senator Duffy is: If he has such a keen interest in the process of communications and media relations, he, like all senators, is welcome to come to the Subcommittee of Communications and participate in our deliberations. I ask him: Why hasn't he shown up since he has such a keen interest?

(1550)

Senator Duffy: Your Honour, I read the CIBA reports; I listen every week; and, frankly, I'm not impressed.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: I would like to speak in this debate. I am not ready right now, obviously, because this has been a somewhat spontaneous debate. I have some very important questions, but I need to do a bit of research.

Your Honour, I would like to move the adjournment of the debate.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: I am sorry; that's contrary to practice. You can't move a second adjournment of the debate when that has been defeated in a previous motion.

Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Senator Cools.

Senator Cools: Unfortunately, I am not well enough prepared. I do not understand the hastiness of this debate or the rush to judgment on it; I really do not understand it. However, I can say to you that I have been here for many years and I have never before seen this particular situation in this chamber, where senators are denied the opportunity to speak. It has always been understood, by my thinking and my training in this place, that these institutions and its members should be reluctant to deny senators the opportunity to speak on a question.

It begs the question: What is the rush to judgment on this report? There are many issues here. The House of Commons has a much larger membership than we do, and they do not find the need to create the kind of apparatus that is currently proposed in this thirteenth report of the Internal Economy Committee.

There are many other questions that should be answered. I would love to know, for example, whether or not the Director of Communications, Mélisa Leclerc, has confirmed that she and her enhanced department could not provide this service.

There are many serious questions here. Your Honour, I would like the opportunity to look into them in a much more serious and prolonged way than a two-minute exchange. I think we owe it to ourselves to do justice to this matter. This report has just reached us. There is no reason in the world that it cannot stand a one- or two-week debate.

With that, I appeal to members to understand what is at risk and at issue here. Some of us would like to speak and to examine the issues.

Senator Housakos keeps speaking about media. Well, the tendency of media is usually to choose the senators that they feel can speak in the media. The media is a tricky and strange animal.

Your Honour, you know that over the years I have done much media, and for 20 years I was the public face of the Senate. Media is no stranger to me, and I do interviews all the time. In any event, I would like to look at the issue and I am asking senators if they could not indulge us just for a day or two.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: I am sorry, senator, but the practice is clear. It is laid down in the custom of this chamber that when an adjournment motion is defeated, the debate continues for the disposition of that, unless there is another motion that is dealt with by the chamber that would be in order.

Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Resuming debate.

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Your Honour, I would briefly like to join in the debate. There is not much that I think can be added, given the competent representation that Senator Housakos has made in defending his report. It's excellent. I want to say that I have huge respect for his work, and for the work of Jane Cordy and this committee, in completely restructuring our communications profile. There is ample evidence of tremendous success and change in a very positive way.

The narrative that people hear from us about the Senate is fundamentally different than it was in the past. People are talking about a refreshing new Senate. They are talking about the work we are doing and the amendments we are making. That doesn't happen by accident; it has happened because this has become an extremely well-managed process. When I say that, I want to emphasize that it is not simply the senators involved in the committee but also Mélisa Leclerc and her staff, who have been outstanding.

I want to recognize the work of Jacqui Delaney, who will be replaced by this position. Jacqui Delaney has been doing two jobs. She has done the job for Senator Housakos as a senator, which involves specific senatorial interest advocacy, and also, to some extent, certain kinds of political work. That is perfectly legitimate. However, because Senator Housakos has been good enough to donate her time, as it were, to the Senate as a whole, she has also reflected the Senate through various communications responsibilities, one of which has been to push back, in a professional way, with respect to reports that are not entirely accurate.

I can't say enough about how successful and effective Jacqui Delaney has been, but we have expected a lot of her and of Senator Housakos. The proposal he is making today will simply rectify that and allow Jacqui Delaney to work full time, and specifically for Senator Housakos as a senator, and allow the communications department to obtain expertise with respect to the other side of what she has been doing so that we can continue to reflect this Senate in what I believe is an extremely positive way and, in particular, to have a relationship with the media where we respond quickly and where we work to correct media reports that may not be as accurate as they should be. Everybody makes mistakes; I'm not criticizing the media in that regard.

That's why I'm supportive of this proposal. I want to thank Senator Housakos for the work he has done with the communications group but also for the work he has done to develop this proposal today.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Did you have a question, Senator Ringuette?

Senator Ringuette: Yes, for Senator Mitchell.

Senator Mitchell, as a member of the Internal Economy Committee, you've just highlighted and praised Mélisa Leclerc and her team. What part of her 22-member team is not expert enough to provide the service that Internal Economy is seeking?

Senator Mitchell: Let me outline some of the tremendous ongoing work.

Senator Ringuette: No —

Senator Mitchell: I have to tell you that they have a lot to do. They have huge demands from Senate committees. Currently, they have much more work than the 22 can do. They are doing such a good job that there's a huge demand from individual senators and from committees. It's almost infinite. As I say, they have created this huge demand because they are so good.

Let me tell you about the volume of work they have done. For the first 10 years I was here, I stood in this chamber, and elsewhere — and others did, too — begging to get a website that was appealing and that we could search and navigate in an intuitive way.

For 10 or 11 years, I was looking for a virtual tour. When I was in the Alberta legislature we developed a virtual tour whereby children could go to the website, click on this and that, and learn things about the Alberta legislature. I talked about the virtual tour for 11 years in this place.

For years, we talked about creating an electronic newsletter so that we could communicate to the public what it is we do in this place. How else would we disseminate that except as part of a structured communications strategy? They have developed profiles such that we provide a human face to the Senate.

It was about six to eight months after Mélisa Leclerc started and we set up this new structure that we got a website that began to work and that was modern. In fact, it is extolled across the way. They want one just like it.

(1600)

We got an e-newsletter, an electronic newsletter and practically every senator has been in it. If you haven't yet, you will be. We got a virtual tour. We worked with Carleton University and got it done in two months. Carleton said it had never been done as quickly, and Mélisa Leclerc and her staff went out and got a virtual tour.

This place is humming. This is modern-day communications. It doesn't much better than this. It isn't as good as this in any legislature in any chamber, any institution like ours across the country. You know what? They are really, really busy.

Jacqui Delaney has been working beyond reasonable expectations to do two literally full-time jobs, and I think it's absolutely appropriate that, one, the 22 have more than enough to do and therefore can't be expected to do this; and that, two, we resolve the issue with Senator Housakos' staffing and make sure that we have a dedicated, high-level professional, bilingual person who knows the media and can continue that excellent work in an effective way. That's why we need this position.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Before I go back to Senator Fraser for her speech, are there further questions for Senator Mitchell?

Senator Ringuette: I don't disagree with what Senator Mitchell has just said regarding the improvement in the institution's communications, and that includes that the Senate Communications team works also for all Senate committees.

If the issue is that they are being overworked, then probably the best option would be to add an employee to Senate Communications. This is not a request for an additional staff for Senate Communications. This is a request for a specific person to act only on behalf of the Senate, Internal Economy and the media at a cost of $108,000 per year. That's the issue we're looking at right now.

My question again to you, Senator Mitchell, is why, when we have a structured and relatively well-operating Senate Communications team, can that team not offer the same level of service to the Internal Economy Committee as it offers to all other Senate committees?

Senator Mitchell: The fact is that this is communications about the entire Senate. The job of the Communications structure is to communicate about the entire Senate, and what they do is communicate. When you get a standing committee, communicating isn't the focus of their job. The focus of their job is energy and environment, and then they communicate something about it.

It is a comprehensive role of the Subcommittee on Communications to communicate, and ergo, given the volume of work that involves, it's not unreasonable to expect that we would have a full-time person doing it.

Senator Ringuette: My supplementary includes an example. A very important issue in the last few weeks had to be addressed by the Senate Ethics Committee, and it was a first in regard to that report. There was never a need to have a specific, distinguished, contractual media person to help that committee deal with the issue. Senate Communications did an excellent job in regard to that issue.

If there would ever need to be a media relations person for this entire institution, which is a different role, then they should not be assigned to a specific committee. They should be assigned to the institution as a whole because that person would be speaking on behalf of this entire institution.

I ask you again, Senator Mitchell, where is the logic that there should be separate treatment for separate Senate standing committees?

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Senator Mitchell, you have three and a half minutes left. There are two other persons who want to question you as well.

Senator Mitchell: An institution like this is complex because it blends the partisan or political with a non-partisan institutional presentation. There are any number of models we could use. We could have had the Speaker as the spokesperson, I suppose, but the Senate decided this would be structured under a Subcommittee of Communications.

If you want to debate the model, great, but between now and the time we change the model, we need to have this job done and done effectively.

Senator Housakos: I have a question for Senator Mitchell. In this proposal or any other proposal that went forward, were these proposals not based on recommendations of the Blueprint report which were unanimously supported by this chamber?

Number two, the reason we created the Subcommittee on Communications of Internal Economy, was it not because at that time the report concluded that the bureaucracy managing media relations for us were not quick enough, transparent enough and did not speak clearly enough on behalf of senators? We thought by setting up this subcommittee of Internal Economy, representative of all caucuses, all leaderships — of course, those who work on this working group recognize that in addition to Senate representation from all sides, leaders from all caucuses have their directors of communications attending these meetings. We even have a leader from this institution who sits on this subcommittee. We thought that would give quicker responses and create a better synergy between senators and the press.

And the last question I have: In the year and a half we have tried this model, what has been the feedback from the Ottawa press gallery?

Senator Mitchell: I would say in answer to your first three questions, yes, yes and yes. I couldn't say it better myself.

In answer to your fourth question, the feedback has been outstanding.

I just heard a panel discussion on CBC last week, and it stuck with me so vividly. They said it's really refreshing to deal now as a media with the Senate. It's been an outstanding success, and I don't think it is unreasonable that we should support this report and this budget to sustain that success and to ensure this continues to be done as professionally as it has been done.

[Translation]

Hon. Lucie Moncion: Adjournment is not being granted because senators voted against it. There seems to be some confusion about the issue now before us. Senator Mitchell, why would senators refuse to have a longer debate on the issue? You are opposed to further debate while other senators are requesting it. That does not mean that we want this to drag on for months. People simply want to understand.

I would like to know why you are refusing to grant a few more days to fully grasp the situation.

[English]

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Senator Mitchell, you have run out of time. Are you asking for more time to answer the question?

Senator Mitchell: Sure.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Is leave granted?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Leave is not granted.

Senator Fraser, on debate.

(1610)

Hon. Joan Fraser: Thank you, Your Honour. I find this whole thing increasingly unsenatorial, and the longer I have listened, the more confused I have become.

This report was presented to the Senate two days ago. It hasn't been hanging around for a long time. Senator Bellemare is unhappy with the point I'm making, but —

Senator Bellemare: No, no, no. Go ahead.

Senator Fraser: Furthermore, it appears the report is doing something unusual. It is not the usual routine, for example, the power to print and publish your proceedings. It would appear that this is a single-person item, which is highly unusual.

We have single-person votes on things like officers of Parliament. We had one in the other day and voted that we would approve his nomination and we'll be getting, I assume, the proposed new Commissioner of Official Languages, and at the end of that, the Committee of the Whole will vote on that one.

But this is a single-person staffer element, and I'm really confused about the appropriate nature of this move and about the need for it. Listening to the questions, I became more and more confused about the need for it, and I was quite distressed when we denied Senator Cools the adjournment. She said quite clearly that she only wanted it for a day or two, and a day or two would bring us to the first Tuesday after the break week, so she would have time to research this matter. Senator Cools is, after all, not only one of the two deans of the Senate — so it's not only that she is experienced in that sense — but she is extremely experienced in financial matters in relation to this institution. I'm confident that her research would be, in fact, useful.

But now I find that I would also like to do some research on this matter given the confusion that has arisen in my mind, if not in others'. One of the things I would really like to know a little more about is the salary scales and the decision about salary. Long-standing members of Internal Economy will know this has been a long-standing point of irritation with me in the Senate.

I think we need a little more time to consider this.

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Joan Fraser: Therefore, honourable senators, I move:

That the report be amended to provide that, in the Summary of Budget, under Professional and other services, that the sum of $108,000 be deleted and replaced by $250,000.

An Hon. Senator: Agreed.

Senator Fraser: I personally will vote against the adoption of this amendment, but in order to achieve proper researches, I would first like to move the adjournment of this debate for the balance of my time. If I can't do that, let's have a vote and come back to the main debate.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: It has been moved by Senator Fraser, seconded by Senator Cools, that the report be amended to provide in the summary of the budget that the sum of $108,000 be deleted and be replaced by the sum of $250,000.

On debate.

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: I cannot help but be thankful for the wise words of Senator Fraser. She has been, in the past, a very active member scrutinizing budgets and particularly asking questions about committee budgets and why and why and why, in this chamber. We have all appreciated her wise words.

I certainly understand the purpose of her amendment. I, too, would like to further my research in regard to what this amendment would mean. Therefore, I move the adjournment of the debate in my name.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Ringuette, debate adjourned.)

The Senate

Motion to Strike a Special Committee on the Arctic—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Watt, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cordy:

That a Special Committee on the Arctic be appointed to consider the significant and rapid changes to the Arctic, and impacts on original inhabitants;

That the committee be composed of ten members, to be nominated by the Committee of Selection, and that five members constitute a quorum;

That the committee have the power to send for persons, papers and records; to examine witnesses; and to publish such papers and evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the committee;

That the committee be authorized to hire outside experts;

That, notwithstanding rule 12-18(2)(b)(i), the committee have the power to sit from Monday to Friday, even though the Senate may then be adjourned for a period exceeding one week; and

That the committee be empowered to report from time to time and to submit its final report no later than December 10, 2018, and retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 60 days after the tabling of the final report.

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, I had hoped to speak to this motion yesterday, and in light of the time this afternoon, I would like to adjourn further debate on this motion in my name.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Patterson, debate adjourned.)

Motion to Amend Rule 4 of the Rules of the Senate—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr., pursuant to notice of February 28, 2017, moved:

That the Rules of the Senate be amended by replacing rule 4 by the following:

"Prayers and National Anthem

4-1.(1) The Speaker shall proceed to Prayers as soon as a quorum is seen, and, on a Tuesday, shall then call upon a Senator or guests to lead in singing the bilingual version of O Canada.

Guest singers

4-1.(2) The Speaker may invite guests to enter the galleries to lead in singing the National Anthem."

He said: I wish to adjourn the debate for the balance of my time.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Enverga, debate adjourned.)

(1620)

Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

Committee Authorized to Meet During Sitting of the Senate

Hon. Richard Neufeld, pursuant to notice of May 17, 2017, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources have the power to meet at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at 2 p.m.)