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1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 163

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


THE SENATE

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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

Prayers.


SENATORS’ STATEMENTS

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of family members of our late colleague Senator Enverga: his wife Mrs. Rosemer A. Enverga and daughters Rystle, Rocel and Reeza, accompanied by other members of their extended family.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Tributes

The Late Honourable Tobias C. Enverga, Jr.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I received a notice from the Leader of the Opposition who requests, pursuant to rule 4-3(1), that the time provided for the consideration of Senators’ Statements be extended today for the purpose of paying tribute to the Honourable Tobias C. Enverga, Jr., whose death occurred on November 16, 2017.

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to one of our own, a colleague who left us much too soon, the Honourable Tobias C. Enverga, Jr., who passed away on November 16 of this year.

[Translation]

During his five years in the Senate, our colleague was an active, engaged and enthusiastic participant in the chamber and in committee. He brought joy and good humour to his work. Senator Enverga was a warm and friendly man, and we all feel his loss keenly.

[English]

At his funeral mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto, parish priest and good friend Father Ben Ebcas said of Senator Enverga that he lived a life filled with love and a sense of mission — a very kind, caring, down-to-earth person — and he said Filipinos are eternally grateful that Senator Enverga did his best to fill the world with love.

Senator Enverga was very proud to be the first Filipino-Canadian senator. He used his position as a senator to advocate for our multicultural communities. As a Filipino immigrant, Senator Enverga cherished the opportunity that he was given to make a better life for himself and his family in Canada. With that in mind, he worked tirelessly to ensure this same opportunity was afforded to many deserving immigrants who now also call Canada home. He also used his time as a senator to draw attention to some of the most overlooked people in our society, including caregivers and people with disabilities.

Before being named to this place in 2012, upon the recommendation of our former Prime Minister the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Tobias Enverga was already a trailblazer with a history of public service. In 2008, he founded the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation, to assist various community charitable needs. In 2010, he became the first Filipino-Canadian elected to public office in the city of Toronto, as a trustee of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. He was also the very first visible minority to be elected to this board.

For all these reasons and more, Filipino-Canadians all over our country loved “Senator Jun,” as they affectionately called him, but he was especially loved by those in the Greater Toronto Area, where he made his home.

Our thoughts today are with Senator Enverga’s family, especially his wife Rosemer and their three daughters, Rystle, Rocel and Reeza, who will miss him more than I could ever adequately express. Tobias and Rosemer were truly a team, devoted to one another. It is my hope that their deep Christian faith will sustain his family in the days ahead.

On behalf of all Conservative senators, and all senators in this house, I extend sincere condolences to Senator Enverga’s family, friends and staff. I want them to know that we feel their loss, too, and will miss him greatly.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, it is with a very heavy heart that I rise today to pay tribute to our late colleague Senator Enverga. It is tragic for a life to be cut so short, especially when it is a life of devotion and service to family, to community and to country.

[Translation]

Senator Enverga was a man of deep faith, a man who lived his faith. He was always kind and courteous. He listened to people. He helped them.

[English]

He was a proud Filipino and a proud Canadian and, as Senator Smith has noted, a man of many firsts: the first Filipino-Canadian elected to public office in the city of Toronto and the first Filipino-born senator in Canada. As his colleagues, however, we have the privilege of knowing that, for Senator Enverga, his priority was not so much to be the first to achieve these positions but to break down the barriers for others so that he would not be the last in these positions.

[Translation]

A generous man, he was dedicated to many good causes.

[English]

As noted, he founded the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation with his wife, and he helped to relieve poverty in developing countries and to provide disaster relief and, here in Canada, to provide support services for immigrants and refugees in need.

With his strong voice, which often filled this chamber, he advocated on behalf of people whose voices were too soft or went unheard — people with disabilities, children, the most vulnerable in our communities.

(1410)

During Question Period, there was no issue too small, including peas and pulses, or too large, including large rubber ducks and cardboard cutouts, that escaped Senator Enverga’s scrutiny.

He was a relentless presence in the Senate to hold the government to account for the benefit of Canadians, from farmers and small-business owners to immigrants and public servants, and for that we are all grateful.

[Translation]

He was devoted to his family and so proud of his daughters.

[English]

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish to extend my deepest condolences to his family and hope that they find comfort knowing that his lifetime of achievement has made Canada a better place.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo: Honourable senators, I join you today in remembrance of our friend and colleague, Tobias Enverga, Jr. He left us too soon but did so with a lifetime of achievements crammed into a mere 61 years. Beloved by those who knew him well, he is mourned by scores of family members, friends and associates across this country and in his native Philippines.

A devout Catholic, he was a man of faith and works. Senator Enverga championed religious education as well as poverty eradication and disaster relief. He was a proud member of the Filipino diaspora in Canada, and the Filipino community in turn looked to him as a leader, advocate and role model. Together with his wife, Rosemer, he established the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation, which supported relief efforts in the aftermath of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Visayas region of the Philippines in 2013.

Senator Enverga made history as the first Filipino-Canadian to be appointed to the Senate. His time with us in the upper house was too short, but he will be remembered as a colleague who was tirelessly and passionately committed to the calling that brought him to this chamber. He has set an example for us and for all those who knew him to also be tirelessly and passionately committed to the callings in our own lives.

I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Independent Senators Group and all senators to send my deepest condolences to his wife, Rosemer, his daughters, Rystle, Rocel and Reeza, and other family members who have travelled from far and wide to be with us in the chamber this afternoon. We thank you for sharing Tobias with us, albeit briefly, and we pledge to uphold the memory of his good works.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Honourable senators, I would also like to join others here today to express my sadness at the sudden death of our colleague, the Honourable Tobias Enverga, Jr.

Senator Enverga had been with us here for just five years, but in his life he displayed a long-lasting commitment to public service. He worked hard and lent his voice to a number of worthy causes. He was a strong advocate for persons with disabilities, and he has been described repeatedly as a happy warrior, always maintaining a cheerful demeanour even while arguing passionately for or against a particular issue.

He loved this country of Canada, and that love saw him introduce a motion to sing our national anthem together on Tuesdays at the start of our sessions.

Recently he travelled to Manila on my behalf as co-chair of Canada-China Legislative Association to participate in the 38th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary General Assembly. I know that he was well received and fulfilled his role as delegate from Canada with distinction. Many of those who met him there have expressed to us their sadness at his loss.

Senator Tobias Enverga was fiercely proud of his Filipino heritage, and his brethren were fiercely proud of him. Shortly after his appointment to the Senate, he travelled to my home province of New Brunswick to participate in the Asian Heritage Cultural Gala in Saint John. I was also in attendance, and I was struck by the countless numbers of Filipino community members in attendance.

They had travelled from across the province to meet with him and hear him speak. The Filipino Association of New Brunswick still displays a message from him and a photo from that past visit on the front page of their website.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that Senator Enverga held his family dearly, particularly his ladies. He often mentioned them in committee and in conversations with his colleagues. On behalf of the independent Senate Liberals, I offer sincere condolences to them: his wife, Rosemer, and his three daughters, Rystle, Reeza and Rocel.

And to his extended family and friends, I offer my sincere condolences. I’m certain that he will be sorely missed by all those who had the good fortune to have known him.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I too rise today with a heavy heart to pay tribute to our dearly departed colleague and friend, the Honourable Tobias C. Enverga, Jr., and express my sincere condolences to the love of his life, Rosemer. They would have celebrated 35 years of marriage in January 2018. And their three princesses, Reeza, Rocel and Rystle, were always in their father’s heart wherever he was, now in heaven. And to his staff, friends and community across Canada and in the world, and those who are present in the chamber now, please know that your loss is our loss, and you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Senator Enverga, Jun, we called ourselves cousins, bound by a shared history of bloodshed on the Korean Peninsula during the Korean War by his countrymen of the Philippines, who were the first to answer the call for help. On this foundation forged in sweat, tears and blood, we stood on the shoulders of the heroes who served and sacrificed their lives so that we might be strong and free.

He served tirelessly in his capacity as senator, the first Filipino-Canadian to be appointed to the Senate in 2012 by the Right Honourable Stephen Harper. Here in Ottawa, all of us knew how hard our colleague worked. He served on committees from morning till night. He rose in this chamber on debate to defend, to convince and to inspire. Without exaggeration, he probably had the most out-of-town guests of all of the senators in our chamber. They proudly attended the annual Philippines Independence Day flag raising ceremonies or attended his signature events and visited Parliament Hill and their senator.

The outpouring of love and grief at his sudden passing has been immeasurable. The hundreds of wreaths and floral arrangements lining the halls of the funeral home, the changing of the guards of his fellow Knights of Columbus, the choirs of angels whose voices filled the rooms and our hearts, the river of tears, the moving eulogies from family and friends showed us just how much everyone must have received from their beloved senator, long before his Senate appointment.

He was a man of deep faith and conviction. The Bible verses chosen for the Vancouver memorial service for his grieving B.C. community and friends, and scripture readings and songs that moved us to tears in Toronto, speak the truth about the late Senator Enverga and his divine legacy. John 15:12-13 says:

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Jun’s love was far-reaching. His work was done with such joy and abandon. Thank you for your incredible service to Canada. Rest in peace, dear cousin, until we meet again.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

(1420)

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, normally we have notes in front of us to describe another senator that we’re going to miss immensely, but I had a hard time trying to put notes together because, as I gaze across at an empty chair, what I see is the human spirit. We saw the human spirit this morning with the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary medal presentation. We saw a child receiving a medal for caring for his mother who passed away of cancer. He is now nine and has been raising money in his mother’s name from the age of five. You had to be here this morning to feel it.

In the other place, there are 125 Special Olympic athletes who will be honoured on the floor of the House of Commons for their sport and play at the Special Olympics in Austria, many of these athletes have Down Syndrome. It’s a day of spirit.

I’m a great believer, honourable senators, in the human spirit, and Tobias had that.

Today, I’m talking about a connection — and a personal connection — I made with Tobias over the last five years, and that has to do with Down Syndrome. There are three of Senator Enverga’s daughters in the gallery, but Rocel, who has Down Syndrome is sitting with her mom as we speak today.

Tobias and I used to talk about a lot of things because Michael, in my office, has Down Syndrome. Rocel knows Michael, and they have such affection for each other. They have affection every time the Canadian Down Syndrome Society comes here and has an annual meeting. We all get together and we hug. And we love, and we share moments. We shared that because I had a son who had Down Syndrome. He was only a year old, but he was here for a reason. It’s his spirit that is instilled in me and in the work that a lot of us do with those with intellectual disabilities. Tobias and I shared that.

So whether you’re 1, 61 or 31, your age doesn’t matter. What matters is why you’re here and what you do with that time. We talk a lot about that subject. Tobias and I had different points of view. But there’s one thing that I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again — you can seek the wisdom of the ages, but you must always look at the world through the eyes of a child, especially a child with Down Syndrome.

I promised Tobias’s wife only moments ago that we will keep what I like to call “Tobias’s torch” alive when it comes to dealing with people with intellectual and other disabilities.

We’re all here for a certain time, and we all have a chance to serve. Tobias Enverga has served his time here, but his spirit will live on.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Colleagues, I also wish to pay tribute to our colleague but, much more importantly, our friend, Tobias Enverga. I would like to address my comments, if I could, to Tobias’s family, his wife, Rosemer, and their three daughters, Rystle, Reeza and Rocel. I knew Tobias as a senator and a colleague and had come to appreciate his commitment and dedication. He was someone who I, as the whip of our caucus, could always depend on.

I spent the last year and a half sitting on Fisheries Committee with Tobias and appreciated his strength and support at that committee. But few, if any of us, in this chamber really knew or appreciated what an impact our friend had across our great country and overseas in the country of his origin.

Most of us were spellbound by the words of the priest on Monday, at Tobias’s funeral, about the work that he had done in the Filipino community, both here and abroad, how he had organized relief when the massive tsunami hit his homeland. The impact Tobias had here was evidenced by the 1,500-plus people who attended his funeral on Monday and the 1,800 who attended prayers over the three days.

We will all miss Tobias. However, our mourning will subside; yours is just beginning. I assure you that we will continue to uphold you in our prayers, and we wish you God’s peace and know that you will find strength in his love.

I do not very often recite scripture in this chamber, but, if my colleagues will indulge me, I would like to leave you, Rosemer, and your daughters, with these two passages of scripture.

Psalm 116:15 reads:

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

Isaiah 41:10 reads:

Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

We wish you God’s very sincerest blessings.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, I rise today to honour the life of our dear friend and colleague, the late Honourable Tobias C. Enverga, Jr, whose sudden and tragic death is hard to grasp.

Senator Enverga, the first Filipino-Canadian senator, was appointed to the Senate on September 6, 2012. He was a very active parliamentarian, both inside and outside of the chamber. Over the course of his time in the Senate, he was a member of several standing Senate committees and the sponsor of Bill S-218, now in its third reading, that would designate every October Latin American Heritage Month. He was the co-chair of the Canada-Philippines Interparliamentary Group and an executive member of the ParlAmericas group. When he wasn’t speaking in the chamber or questioning witnesses in committee, he could be found advocating tirelessly for persons with disabilities, multiculturalism in Canadian society, and community building.

Above all else, Senator Enverga was one of the kindest, sweetest and most good-humoured people I have had the privilege of working with in the Senate. There are many memories of him that come to mind, but there is one in particular that stands out in my mind that I would like to share with you.

In April 2016, Senator Enverga, I, and the other members of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, travelled to Inuit Nunangat to study northing housing. For the entirety of the trip, he was so engaged in the process and our meetings with witnesses, peppering them with questions sprouting from a deeply genuine concern for their unique situation and overall well-being. He also did what a great Senate committee member and humane person does; he just listened, took it all in without any bias or judgment, allowing himself to truly come to understand the situation and move forward with the knowledge necessary to help remedy it in accordance with the people’s desires.

There is a picture of that trip in the halls of Senator Enverga and I all bundled up in our puffy winter jackets. I think it was in Igloolik, as Far North as I’ve ever been, and I’m sure the same for Senator Enverga. He is sitting in the driver’s seat of the snowmobile, happy as a clam. I found out that he loved nature. What an incredible person. Every time I walk by that picture, it warms my heart in memory of the time that we shared on that trip.

That man in that photo is who I will remember, a friend who had great zest for life and who cared deeply for the well-being of those around him.

His funeral this past Monday, at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto, was inspirational, moving and memorable. My sincerest condolences to his wife Rosemer, his three beautiful daughters, and his family.

Honourable Tobias C. Enverga, Jr., rest in peace, dear friend and colleague.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

(1430)

Hon. David M. Wells: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to our colleague Senator Tobias Enverga.

He was someone who devoted his life to the service of our country and especially the Filipino community, and today a grateful Senate thanks and honours his commitment to our country.

To lose someone of such dedication, someone who was so passionate about helping his community, is truly a heartbreaking loss for everyone. Senator Enverga is an example to all of us in public service. Senator Enverga was never too busy to listen to others, to support his colleagues, his caucus and his community. He was someone of genuine principle who leaves a big hole in our caucus, in our Senate and in the lives of those who knew him well.

As others have mentioned, Senator Enverga will be fondly remembered for his kindness, his sense of humour and his unwavering spirit and commitment to help others. I was fortunate enough to have worked with him continuously over the last five years. I admired his hard work, dedication and sunny deposition, which always included his signature oratorial delivery.

My family and I wish to extend our deepest sympathies to senator Enverga’s wife, Rosemer, and his three beautiful daughters, Rystle, Reeza and Rocel, and to his extended family, as well as to his staff James Campbell, Eric Parungao and Annavic Tapar.

We have lost more than a member of our parliamentary family; we have lost a great friend.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Victor Oh: Honourable colleagues, today we come together to honour and to celebrate the memory of the late Honourable Tobias C. Enverga, Jr.

Tobias was a kind-hearted and generous man. His love of life was exceeded only by his love for his family and friends. Tobias was also a proud Canadian who served our country with fierce loyalty. His death is a great loss for Canada and for the many individuals whose lives he transformed, many of whom are members of the Filipino-Canadian community which he so proudly represented.

Tobias and I were good friends. I remember fondly that on late evenings at work, he would always come to my office so that the two of us could walk to our temporary home together. He would also rush me out of my office on days we travelled back home. He liked to make sure that we made it home, made it back to our respective families as soon as possible.

Likewise, I would always call him every early morning to make sure that he would wake up in time for breakfast. We liked to walk to the Hill together. We took care of each other that way.

It will be hard for all of us to forget the passionate way in which Tobias spoke about issues he cared deeply about.

On one of our last times together, I told him, “Tobias, I went to the Toronto Sunnybrook Hospital to fix my hearing aid.” He asked me, “What happened?” I told him, “Because you speak too loud in the Senate, I have to lower the volume on my hearing device.”

He laughed loudly and said, “Should I lower my voice?” I told him, “No, you should speak louder so that the other side of the house truly pays attention.”

There are so many moments like this one that I could share today, but none would convey the true essence of his character.

For me, it will take a long time to come to terms with the fact that Tobias will no longer be around, that we will no longer hear his voice throughout the chamber.

However, I know that all of us who love him and mourn his loss will continue to move forward, strengthened and comforted by the lasting memories we shared with him.

May you rest in eternal peace, my dear friend Tobias.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Thanh Hai Ngo: Honourable senators, for the past week we have all been trying in our different ways to cope with the dreadful news of Senator Enverga’s sudden passing. It’s not easy to express the sense of loss of such a close colleague. The initial shock is succeeded by disbelief, incomprehension, anger and also concern for his beloved family.

I admire Senator Enverga for his unwavering commitment to others and especially for his devotion to his wife, Rosemer, and his three daughters, Rystle, Reeza and Rocel.

The Honourable Tobias Enverga served in the halls of this great chamber with integrity and fierce determination as the first appointed senator of Filipino origin. The commitment strengthened respect, compassion and inclusion in Canadian society. Through those efforts, his dedication to the Filipino-Canadian community shines as an inspiration to me and so many others. He was truly a rock star for the Filipino community.

I felt fortunate and honoured to have been summoned to the upper chamber on the same day as Senator Enverga, on September 6, 2012. We attended several outreach events together and tag-teamed community issues of mutual interest. I will miss the surprise visits he made to my office on a regular basis, and I will always remember how, in good times and bad, Senator Enverga never lost his capacity to smile and laugh.

[Translation]

Every single thing he did reflected the depth of his love for Canada, and he showed us that caring for those around us is a powerful thing indeed.

[English]

I pay tribute to a devoted parliamentarian, a loving father, a faithful husband and a great man.

Rest in peace, my dear friend.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Salma Ataullahjan: Honourable senators, I too rise today to pay tribute to my good friend and Senate colleague, the late Tobias Enverga. My colleagues before me have very eloquently described Senator Enverga’s good work and achievements both in and out of this place.

In preparing to speak today, I struggled with how I can put into words something that would accurately capture his gentleness, his warmth, his positive attitude and, of course, the twinkle in his eye.

Tobias and I had many things in common. We carried on our shoulders the hopes and aspirations of our respective communities that looked to us for leadership and guidance. Tobias was a profound voice for the Filipino-Canadian community, and those of us who saw him interact with and reach out to his community saw the sense of pride that he felt.

This past weekend at his visitation and funeral, I watched hundreds of members of the Filipino-Canadian community come to pay their respects. I saw what many of us who have spent time at events with Tobias already knew — that he was well loved and respected.

We lost our friend and colleague, but we cannot forget that the Filipino community in this country has lost their voice and their champion here in the Senate of Canada.

His commitment to his community was outweighed only by his commitment to his family. To his wife, Rosemer, and their three daughters, Rystle, Reeza and Rocel, my deepest sympathies are with you.

(1440)

Tobias, you are a gentleman of the old school, and there are few of those who remain. You left us far too soon, my friend. We will miss you. I will miss you. Rest in peace until we meet again.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I will pay tribute to Tobias by using his own words — those he spoke during his many valuable contributions to debate in this place. I loved his speeches. Mind you, I had no choice; he was right behind me.

He was Canada’s first Filipino senator and a first-generation immigrant to Canada. His contributions to debate on many issues had a unique resonance. He began his speech on Bill C-6 thus:

. . . I came to Canada to make a better life for myself, keep in mind that I have worked tirelessly to contribute to Canada, and keep in mind that I made a pledge to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to uphold all the laws of this land. That was the deal I made with Canada’s Sovereign in return for citizenship being bestowed upon me.

That was a powerful introduction to a speech on an issue that was important to him. He concluded just as powerfully:

Honourable senators, I am a proud Canadian — very proud. I understand the hardships that many suffer in order to come here and make a better life for themselves. I also understand that once I have obtained the privilege of citizenship, it symbolizes the agreement between Canada and me.

He also weighed in on Bill C-210, in which he urged consensus:

Consensus is the Canadian way. It is in our DNA as a nation and as a people. It is how we forged our great Confederation in the first place, how we manage to unite many diverse voices and interests in one common country. And we succeeded in doing so without the necessity for violence or armed revolution. We did it by talking about it, sharing our views and listening to each other.

Tobias brought a sense of wonder and appreciation for this place, something many of us who have been here for generations take for granted. That came through in his speeches. Many of us Canadians take things like peace, harmony, justice and prosperity for granted. He did not. He never took his country for granted or the special role the Senate played. Nothing better captures that than his words about our national anthem:

I am very passionate about “O Canada,” as it is part of our tradition, which transcends merely being a song and is more accurately described as a pledge of allegiance for many newcomers to our country.

As such, colleagues, a country’s national anthem is the manifestation of tradition in its oral form and is undoubtedly quintessential to its tradition. Subsequently, our national anthem should make us swell with pride every time we hear it, whether it be at our children’s school assembly or before a hard fought hockey game.

His words, his thoughts, his unique perspective — those are the special and lasting contributions he made to this country and to this place. We’re forever in his debt.

To his wife, Rosemer; his daughters, Rystle, Reeza and Rocel; and to the Filipino community, we are all so sorry.

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, I’m proud to wear a traditional Filipino barong in the chamber today to honour and pay my respects to the first Filipino-Canadian senator in the Senate of Canada — and he was so proud of that — the Honourable Senator Tobias Enverga, Jr., my dear friend. Senator Enverga was a dear friend inside and outside the Senate. He and I formed a special bond because of my close connection the Filipino community through my wife.

Together, Tobias and his wife, Rosemer; and my wife, Evelyn, and I shared very special memories that I will cherish forever. One special memorable moment was the first time Senator Enverga visited us in Nunavut with Rosemer, shortly after his appointment. It was December, and it was bitterly cold and dark, and the sea ice was frozen in the bay. “I want to see what it’s like out there,” he said. “How do the Inuit stay warm in this cold place?”

So he donned sealskin mitts, polar bear pants and a caribou parka, and bravely headed out on the sea ice by snowmobile to experience life in the Arctic in the dead of winter.

He approached that visit the same way he approached life: full of energy, wonder and joy. What I will miss most about “Jun,” as he was known to friends and family, is his great capacity to love. He loved his family deeply. He loved his country, his community and his job.

This was well expressed by his parish priest and good friend Father Ben Ebcas, who said on Monday at his funeral, paraphrasing the Gospel of St. Matthew:

Well done, good and faithful senator. You have been faithful to small matters by being true and brave and filling the world with love.

Many said of Senator Enverga that he had an inability to say “no.” I would argue that he did not have a desire to say “no” because he lived a life of service. As we’ve heard today, he was involved in many charitable organizations and was extremely active in the Filipino community, respected across Canada and throughout the world.

Farewell, my friend. Thanks for all the lives you have touched. You will remain an inspiration to us in our work and in our hearts forever. Rest in peace.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Paul E. McIntyre: Honourable senators, I also rise today to pay tribute to our colleague and dear friend, Senator Tobias C. Enverga, Jr. I echo the remarks made by other senators surrounding his long record of commitment to his country, his community, and to Canada’s diversity and pluralism.

Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened by his death. Senator Enverga and I were appointed to the Senate on the same day, along with Senators Bellemare, Ngo and McInnis.

I extend my sincere condolences to his wife, his three daughters, and his extended family and friends.

Colleagues, we will all remember his strong, powerful voice, filled with passion and emotion, a voice we will not be hearing anymore. But the echo of that voice, like a ghost of the past visiting the inner walls of this chamber, will return, reminding all of us of the importance of our work and commitment as senators, and the true meaning of “house of sober second thought.”

God bless him.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, the sudden passing of Senator Enverga was indeed a shock to all of us, and at times such as these, it is so difficult to find adequate words to offer comfort. However, I want the family and friends of Senator Enverga to know how much we sympathize with them in this time of tremendous sorrow. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Friends, this can be a very difficult place to get to know each other on a one-to-one basis, but I have found during my time here that one of the best ways is when you have the opportunity to serve together on one of our committees. This is where I had the privilege to work with and get to know Tobias Enverga.

Senator Enverga joined our Fisheries and Oceans Committee in December 2015. At first I said to myself, “Oh my, a fellow from downtown Toronto on the Fisheries Committee.” I had my concerns, but I need not have worried, because Senator Enverga quickly became engaged in the work of the committee and showed a great interest in everything we were doing.

Then, he told me one day that he had lived in Newfoundland for awhile and that he had loved it. I asked him what he loved the most about his time there, and he quickly answered, “The people. They were so welcoming to me.”

Right then and there, he won me over.

Tobias had a great sense of humour. It is said that we in Newfoundland and Labrador are known to talk fast, but Tobias talked quickly as well, especially when he got excited about something. I said to him one day — half-heartedly — “By, you talks some fast,” and he replied, “Fabian, you don’t go the speed limit yourself.”

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On another occasion, we were travelling to Nova Scotia as part of our study on search and rescue and we visited a Coast Guard lifeboat station. The officials there took me, Senator Hubley and Senator Enverga out on one of the fast rescue craft for a demonstration. They allowed me to take the wheel, and the man in charge said, “When we get around the point, pull back on those two levers.” He did not say pull back slowly. When we rounded the point, I pulled back both levers with all of my strength and the boat almost stood up straight in the water.

When everything settled down, Tobias said, “I thought we were going to have to call search and rescue ourselves.”

Friends, Senator Enverga was humble, kind, gracious and always willing to do his part. He was a proud and productive member of the Senate of Canada, and our world is indeed a better place because Tobias Enverga was here. We will miss him dearly.

And until we meet again, my friend, may God hold you in the palm of his hands.


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Commissioner of Lobbying

Report on Investigation on Lobbying Activities of Trina Morissette Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report on investigation on the lobbying activities of Trina Morissette, pursuant to the Lobbying Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 44 (4th Supp.), s. 10.5.

[Translation]

The Senate

Notice of Motion to Affect Question Period on December 5, 2017

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

That, in order to allow the Senate to receive a Minister of the Crown during Question Period as authorized by the Senate on December 10, 2015, and notwithstanding rule 4-7, when the Senate sits on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, Question Period shall begin at 3:30 p.m., with any proceedings then before the Senate being interrupted until the end of Question Period, which shall last a maximum of 40 minutes;

That, if a standing vote would conflict with the holding of Question Period at 3:30 p.m. on that day, the vote be postponed until immediately after the conclusion of Question Period;

That, if the bells are ringing for a vote at 3:30 p.m. on that day, they be interrupted for Question Period at that time, and resume thereafter for the balance of any time remaining; and

That, if the Senate concludes its business before 3:30 p.m. on that day, the sitting be suspended until that time for the purpose of holding Question Period.

[English]

Adjournment

Notice of Motion

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

That, when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Monday, December 4, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.; and

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

[Translation]

Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association

Interparliamentary Meeting with the European Parliament’s Delegation Responsible for the Relations with Canada and Third Part of the 2017 Session of the PACE, June 21-29, 2017—Report Tabled

Hon. Ghislain Maltais: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the 38th interparliamentary meeting with the European Parliament’s delegation responsible for the relations with Canada and the third part of the 2017 session of the PACE, held in Brussels, Belgium, and Strasbourg, France, from June 21 to 29, 2017.

[English]

Transport and Communications

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Extend Date of Final Report on the Study of the Regulatory and Technical Issues Related to the Deployment of Connected and Automated Vehicles

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 Thursday, March 9, 2017, the date for the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications in relation to its study on the regulatory and technical issues related to the deployment of connected and automated vehicles be extended from December 31, 2017 to March 1, 2018.

Agriculture and Forestry

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

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry have the power to meet on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, at 5 p.m., even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.


QUESTION PERIOD

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Terrorist Retraining Facilities

Hon. Pamela Wallin: I have a follow up question for the Government Representative in the Senate, because I know you will be seeking information and then share that with us later.

When we were talking last week, I asked you about the words of the Minister of Public Safety about 60 Canadian ISIS terrorists who have returned to Canada. That figure may be at least two years out of date, so I would ask for the inclusion of more accurate numbers when the answer is given to this.

We are told that there may be as many as 250 so-called extremist travellers that may have returned or may be returning, and in addition to that there are so-called ISIS brides, widows and children that may be returning, so we would appreciate any data that exists on that.

I also know, of course, that these are matters of security, but we are told by the minister that charges have been commenced in only two cases of returning terrorists, and none have been pursued to the stage of court. We know it is hard to turn intelligence into evidence, but I think most Canadians want to see these people held accountable, and we must find mechanisms to restrain their efforts to practise their terrorist trade here on Canadian soil.

Can you give us some information on this latter point? In addition to the efforts of the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence, which is supposed to be the retraining centre, are there other specific mechanisms in place to trace, track and bring to justice these folks?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question. I’d be happy to add that to the information I’m seeking. However, I want to take the occasion to remind all senators that national security is a high priority of the government and among the highest callings of a government, and the minister responsible for public safety and security is vigilant in this regard. I look forward to reporting to the honourable senator.

Families, Children and Social Development

Illiteracy in Atlantic Canada

Hon. Diane Griffin: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate. My office has been coordinating with your office and that of the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada. What I have been asking for since September is that I would like to meet with the officials in the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills to have a briefing for Atlantic senators. We’ve all been concerned about literacy and funding for core-based activities in the Atlantic region. We have been waiting since December for this meeting, I am hopeful you can give me some indication that the meeting might occur fairly soon.

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Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I have just been made aware of this request and I will undertake it upon my office to seek to arrange for the meeting as I have done for other senators with similar issues. I would be happy to do so.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Tim and Eleanor Samson . They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Bovey.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of George Elliott Clarke, the seventh Parliamentary Poet Laureate. He is the guest of the Honourable Senator Bernard.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Boniface, seconded by the Honourable Senator Omidvar, for the second reading of Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Hon. André Pratte: Honourable senators, although we are considering Bill C-46 as part of a broader initiative to legalize cannabis, it could just as easily have been tabled if we were not involved in that process at all. That is, if Bill C-45 did not exist.

That is because, as we know all too well, the issue of alcohol and drug-impaired driving is already today a tragic problem.

According to the latest statistics compiled by MADD Canada, in 2013, 6 out of 10 fatal road accidents in Canada involved drivers who had some alcohol and/or drug present in their systems. That adds up to over 1,400 persons killed each year. That is 14 times the number of members in this chamber.

After a rapid decline in the 1980sand 1990s, data shows it is getting more difficult to reduce the number of fatalities resulting from impaired driving, despite repeated law enforcement initiatives and major awareness campaigns.

[Translation]

That is why it is absolutely vital to strengthen the Criminal Code’s impaired driving provisions. The code needs to be updated to reflect the new realities we are seeing today on Canadian roads and in court.

I therefore submit that Bill C-46 is needed, first and foremost, to help us combat a scourge we are already facing. Naturally, the bill will also have to prepare us for what comes next after the legalization of cannabis. What will happen in the aftermath?

[English]

Statistics from the States of Colorado and Washington are worrisome as they indicate a significant increase in the number of fatal accidents involving drivers impaired by marijuana. For example, the more recent report from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission reveals 122 per cent increase between 2010and 2014 in the number of THC-positive drivers involved in fatal accidents.

Experts from both states warn against drawing hasty conclusions from such data and their call for caution is undoubtedly warranted. Nevertheless, the figures provide food for thought.

One thing is certain: We must act as soon as possible to give law enforcement authorities the additional tools they need to face the new realities of impaired driving today. These tools are found in Bill C-46.

As we know, the bill introduces new offences related to drug-impaired driving. These will likely be easier to prove than the current general offence of impaired driving. The bill and related regulations will establish THC concentration limits equivalent to the 80 milligrams of alcohol threshold that is so familiar to us. Such limits are necessary because drug-impaired driving cases are currently less likely to result in charges or conviction than cases of alcohol-impaired driving. The reason for this discrepancy is simple; until now there has been no objective, quantifiable criteria to support drug-related charges.

Some will say that given the characteristics of cannabis and the scientific uncertainties that persist, these limits — that is two nanograms per millilitre of blood and five nanograms per millilitre of blood — are arbitrary. As they stand, however, they are based on the best scientific knowledge available as compiled by the Drugs and Driving Committee of the Canadian Society of Forensic Science.

Studies cited by the committee have shown that drivers with low concentration of THC in their body were more likely to be responsible for a crash than drivers who have not used drugs or alcohol. The higher the concentration, the higher the risk. These studies support the maximum limit of 5 nanograms of THC. They also support the idea that even low levels of THC can impair driving abilities.

That is why the Drugs and Driving Committee concludes:

That in the interest of public safety, a legal limit of two nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood would be the more prudent measure.

However, the committee adds:

If the approach is to focus on the increased likelihood of impairment due to cannabis use, then the five nanograms per millilitre of blood would be a more appropriate Per Se limit.

The government has chosen the most prudent approach by setting a low threshold of two nanograms.

In light of the havoc that drugs are already causing on Canadian roads, my instinct is to support this approach. However, having studied the issue in greater depth and exchanged at length with officials of the government, I believe this minimum threshold of two nanograms will need to be carefully examined in committee. The risk is that this low threshold of two nanograms not only criminalizes Canadians who are not impaired at all, for instance medical marijuana users as Senators Saint-Germain and Gold pointed out last week, but also weakens the legislation itself.

In fact, because of the wording of the bill, a police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that a motorist is impaired by drugs may require that the driver undergo both the Drug Recognition Expert evaluation and a blood test. Given the characteristics of cannabis, it may well be that the expert concludes that the driver is not impaired, whereas conversely, the blood test indicates that the THC concentration in the blood exceeds the minimum threshold of two nanograms. What will happen in the event of such contradictory results?

At first glance, from a legal perspective, there is no problem. The text of the legislation is clear. If you exceed that threshold of THC concentration, you are guilty of an offence. There is no need to demonstrate that you are impaired; the offence is automatic.

The problem is that it leaves the door wide open to a court challenge. Drivers may well challenge the conviction by claiming that their rights were violated by an unfair piece of legislation given that they were in perfect condition to drive this vehicle. What argument can the Crown make to justify the validity of the two nanogram threshold if a government expert — and it is written in the legislation that this expert is a recognized expert — came to the conclusion that the motorist in question was not impaired, even though he had a higher concentration than two nanograms?

[Translation]

There has been much discussion about the mandatory screening set out in the new subsection 320.27(2) of the Criminal Code. Some fear this legislation could violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, while others worry it could lead to an increase in profiling. Speaking for myself, I am convinced by the arguments of those who contend that mandatory screening is constitutional.

As I understand the law, the essential question is as follows: insofar as mandatory screening infringes on one or more of the fundamental rights of Canadians, such as protection against arbitrary detention or unreasonable searches, is that infringement as minor as possible, in light of the expected positive effects of the proposed legislation?

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It is a question of weighing, on the one hand, the extent to which mandatory alcohol screening infringes on individual rights, and, on the other hand, the anticipated benefits of this measure. As for the infringement on fundamental rights, the Supreme Court has already ruled on the random screening of motorists and random breath testing. The court found this to be a matter of imposing reasonable limits on the rights of Canadians, given that the loss of privacy is relatively modest compared to the importance of the public policy goals.

What’s new with Bill C-46 is that, before administering a breathalyzer test to a motorist, the peace officer no longer needs to have reasonable grounds to suspect that the individual in question has committed an offence. Is that alone enough to assert that detaining someone on the side of the road for a few minutes is entirely unreasonable? Does this mean that the breathalyzer test constitutes an unreasonable search? This legislative amendment will definitely result in a greater infringement on people’s rights than under the current law. However, the breathalyzer will still be minimally intrusive, and detention will still last for only a few minutes. I therefore find that the infringement on individual rights will be minimal.

[English]

The question is whether this additional violation of fundamental rights is justified in a free and democratic society. In other words, does the government have good reason to use the measure of mandatory alcohol screening that further infringes upon the rights of Canadians?

My answer is yes, for two reasons. First, the measures put in place in recent years have reached their limits. Second, mandatory screening has proven to be effective in a number of other countries.

Let’s attack the first point. Since the 1980s, the number of impaired driving cases has declined significantly in Canada. However, in terms of more serious accidents, those involving fatalities, the record is much more mixed. In 2015, police forces reported 122 fatal accidents due to impaired driving. This is the same number as in 2001, 15 years ago. In other words, we are no longer making progress.

In the province of Quebec, after a sharp decline in the 1980s and 1990s, the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths has declined more slowly than the other accident categories. Again, we are at a standstill. Those are clear indications that the tools being used right now to counteract impaired driving have reached their limits.

In light of that finding and the fact that 1,400 Canadians die every year in impaired driving accidents, the government cannot stand still. It has a duty to act.

Now, a number of studies have concluded that mandatory screening has reduced the number of impaired driving accidents significantly in countries such as Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. However, those opposed to the measure believe that the findings of those studies cannot be extrapolated to Canada. It is true that we cannot be sure that mandatory screening will be as successful here as it has been abroad. It all depends on how it will be implemented. Canada being the complex federation that it is, we simply cannot know right now what form mandatory screening will take in each part of the country.

However, we can assume that every police force using it will want the measure to be as effective as possible. To that end, they will certainly draw inspiration from the experiences of other countries that have demonstrated that mandatory screening is more effective when it is supported by a robust awareness campaign and when a large proportion of drivers are screened.

With all that in mind, I think it is perfectly reasonable for the government to resort to mandatory screening, even if it infringes, albeit to some extent only, upon the rights of Canadian motorists.

Honourable senators, we can never be sure of how the Supreme Court will settle an issue. Our job as legislators is not to try to guess what the highest court in the land will do. Our job is to vote laws that, to the best of our knowledge, meet public policy goals and safeguard Canadians’ fundamental rights. In my opinion, the section of Bill C-46 concerning mandatory alcohol screening meets this twofold objective. According to all available data, it will help save lives while constituting a minimal infringement on Canadians’ rights.

As for the issue of profiling, in my view, we have reason to be concerned. Nothing I have heard so far from the proponents of mandatory alcohol screening has really reassured me. However, profiling is more of a societal issue than a legislative one. It is not the word of the law that is at issue but the bias of police officers. I believe it is possible to find a balance between efficient impaired driving measures, such as those contained in Bill C-46, and the safeguarding of minorities against discriminatory behaviours.

What should we do? Monitor the situation closely to ensure that mandatory alcohol screening does not lead to abuses. We can use the three-year comprehensive review process to determine whether this new legal tool has led to profiling issues.

In the other place, an amendment that stipulated that the review examine the differential impact of the legislation on specific groups was defeated. I think we should consider a similar amendment here.

Honourable senators, the statistics that I cited earlier show that the situation is urgent. This does not mean that the bill should be rushed through. The issues it raises are too important. However, time is passing. I am not referring to the government’s schedule. I am talking about each day that goes by. Each day, four Canadians die in an accident involving a drug- or alcohol-impaired driver.

So as we go about our work on this bill, let us remember both that the fundamental rights of Canadians are at play, and therefore each word matters, and also that the lives of more than 1,400 Canadians each year are at stake, and therefore each day counts. Thank you.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Do you have a question?

Hon. Vernon White: Yes, I do.

[Translation]

Will you take a question, Senator Pratte?

Senator Pratte: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Your time has expired. Are you asking for five more minutes?

Senator Pratte: Yes, please.

[English]

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator White: Can you advise whether or not you’ve considered an amendment to identify funding for the education program you referred to? I agree; I think education has had a tremendous impact on impaired driving, seat belts and other areas, but I note no funding formula has been arranged for such a program.

Senator Pratte: Did I understand correctly the question, whether I would entertain an amendment that would ensure that education programs are included?

Senator White: Yes.

Senator Pratte: I am trying to think out loud where we could put such an amendment, but I am certainly willing to look at it. I think the government has already announced monies for that purpose, but I would certainly be willing to look at it, yes. Education is obviously a very important aspect of this.

Senator White: If I may, I have a follow-up question. The money they have announced when it comes to drug interdiction has primarily gone toward supervised consumption sites across the country. Very little, if any, has gone to education. It has actually gone to health programs, which the provinces have rolled into supervised consumption sites.

We have actually seen no money directly identified through a national drug strategy or through other programs that deal with addictions or even with impaired driving. I do think we could make a difference, but I appreciate your response.

I guess I just wanted clarity that you would support such an amendment if we were to bring it forward at committee stage.

Senator Pratte: Mind you, I’m not sure. Even if you put in an amendment that the government should make sure education is available, that certainly wouldn’t guarantee what kind of budget the government would put into such a campaign or whatever. I am not sure exactly what such an amendment would advance, but I am certainly not against the principle. We would have to work it out.

Senator White: We can agree that what the government does with something is their problem. When we do something here, it is our problem. If we can agree that at least we look at it, I would appreciate it.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

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Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

International Executive Committee Meeting, April 23-27, 2017—Report Tabled

Leave having been given to revert to Tabling of Reports from Interparliamentary Delegations:

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the International Executive Committee meeting, held in Darwin, Australia, from April 23 to 27, 2017.

Latin American Heritage Month Bill

Third Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Enverga, seconded by the Honourable Senator McIntyre, for the third reading of Bill S-218, An Act respecting Latin American Heritage Month.

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, Senator Jaffer was going to speak to Bill S-218 today, but, unfortunately, she is unable to be here to deliver her remarks. She made a promise to Senator Enverga to speak today and, senators, if you would permit me, I would like to deliver Senator Jaffer’s remarks on her behalf.

Senator Jaffer writes:

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill S-218, An Act respecting Latin American Heritage Month.

Before beginning, I would like to thank the late Senator Enverga for his hard work on this bill. I promised him that I would speak on this bill today, and it is sad that he is not with us today to hear it.

Senator Enverga and his wife have done incredible work for all communities across Canada, especially for Filipino-Canadians. This bill is a reflection of Senator Enverga’s desire to see Canada’s diversity recognized.

Senator Enverga, I thank you for your efforts and determination.

I would also like to thank Senator Galvez, who has supported this bill as a member of Canada’s Latin American community.

I rise to support Bill S-218, which would designate October as Latin American history month, because I truly believe that Canada’s strength comes from its diversity. Each group in Canada makes it stronger.

I know this well because I came to Canada as a refugee many years ago. When I came to Canada, my entire family knew that we, our children and our grandchildren, would be accepted here.

In fact, we knew that we would find more than acceptance — we knew that our culture would be celebrated here. We knew that we could look back to our roots with pride as we joined our fellow Canadians.

The Latin Americans who came to Canada with their languages and cultures are no exception. Even though their history in Canada is a relatively recent one, with the significant majority arriving in Canada after 1970, there is no denying that they have left a remarkable impact on our society.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 census, there 789,000 Latin American Canadians. They are now our teachers, entrepreneurs, artists, activists, friends and neighbours, and, honourable senators, they contribute to this great country.

Senator Enverga put it best when he said the following at the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology:

Here in Canada, the Latin American community is large, vibrant and growing rapidly. Canadians of Latin American heritage contribute to their communities and to the economy in a positive way from coast to coast to coast. A sign of the rapidly growing Latin American Canadian community is that there are civic and cultural organizations spanning all professions and fields that claim and celebrate the common heritage and unite around this commonality to improve their ability to succeed.

I agree entirely. When I think of these successes I think of great artists like Eva Avila, Addictiv, Esmeralda Enrique and Gabriela Echeverry, who left their mark on the music, dance and writing industries through their award-winning works.

I think of the many great Latin American Canadian athletes like Mauro Biello and Keven Aleman, who have made Canada proud when they displayed their talents worldwide.

Finally, I think of the many motivated Latin American Canadians who have run and been elected to both federal and provincial parliaments.

Given more time, I could speak at length about each of them. However, since I do not, I will simply say this: Latin American Canadians deserve recognition. They deserve to know that Canada values them and celebrates the culture and languages that they bring with them.

When we recognize the cultures that make up Canada, we come out an enriched country.

My son and grandson, Azool and Ayaan, have both learned Spanish because they recognize the value of being able to better communicate with their Latin American peers. By celebrating Latin American culture, we can encourage many more Canadians to do the same.

History months, like Bill S-218’s proposed Latin History Month, are the perfect opportunity to provide Latin American Canadians with this recognition.

I would like to share my experience with two other history months to show just how much of an impact these history months have.

In February, I had the opportunity to attend Black History Month celebrations. While I was there, I had the pleasure of eating food from many African countries, watching dancers and learning the rich history and civil rights struggles of Black Canadians.

By listening to the history shared that night, I learned things about Black Canadians that I would have never learned through textbooks or school.

This is one important element of history months — they allow us to learn the history from the people who have experienced it themselves.

This past May, I was able to share my Indian heritage with Asian Heritage Month. During my time there, I was overjoyed to see so many people discover Indian cuisine and dance. I was also incredibly proud when many people came and commented on how they loved the sari I wore to the event.

It was truly a special experience for me to share my culture, and I believe that it is long past time for Latin American Canadians to have the same opportunities.

There are already several smaller instances of this across Canada. Ontario already recognizes October as Latin American Heritage Month, and Toronto hosts its Hispanic Fiesta every September. Vancouver also hosts the biggest Latino festival in the Pacific Northwest of North America—the Carnaval Del Sol, which features Latin American dance, cuisine and music.

I am proud to know that my province of British Columbia hosts such a popular festival that showcases Latin American culture.

However, I also believe that it is time to bring this recognition to a national level.

To conclude I would like to leave you with the words of Senator Galvez at the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology:

People from Central and South America have immigrated to Canada since the 1960s by waves and in larger numbers each time. Most have immigrated due to harsh political or economic conditions in their countries. These immigrants have brought with them a rich cultural heritage, particularly in arts such as crafts, textiles, music, agriculture, fruit products and cuisine, but also perspectives in history and relationships with indigenous peoples.

Honourable senators, it is time for us to recognize this incredible culture that Senator Galvez described. We cannot do this without taking action.

In December 1995, Parliament recognized February as Black History Month, thanks to the hard work of Jean Augustine, Canada’s first Black woman member of the House of Commons.

In 2002, Parliament recognized Asian Heritage Month, thanks to the hard work of our former colleague Senator Vivienne Poy.

With this bill, people will be able to look back and say that we brought Latin American Heritage Month to Canada in 2017 with Bill S-218.

I urge you all to come together in support of Bill S-218 so that we can make this a reality.

Honourable senators, that concludes Senator Jaffer’s remarks. I would like to add a few words in support of Bill S-218 as well. Celebrating months such as Latin American heritage month allows Canadians to celebrate our diversity and recognize the incredible contributions that people from all over the globe make and continue to make to our great country.

I hope that in 10, 20 or 30 years from now, as we celebrate Latin American heritage month, many people will look back and trace its origins to the passionate efforts of Senator Enverga, just like we do for Jean Augustine with Black History Month and Senator Vivienne Poy with Asian Heritage Month. Thank you.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

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The Senate

Role in the Protection of Regional and Minority Representation—Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Seidman, calling the attention of the Senate to its role in the protection of regional and minority representation.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I do wish to speak to this, but I have already reset the clock once, and I have run out of time. If honourable senators would indulge me, with leave of the Senate, I would like to adjourn once again. I promise to speak within the time generously reallotted.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Debate adjourned.)

(At 3:36 p.m., the Senate was continued until tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.)