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1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 174

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


THE SENATE

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

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

Prayers.


SENATORS’ STATEMENTS

Tributes

The Late Honourable Tommy Banks, O.C.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have received a notice from the Leader of the Senate Liberals who requests, pursuant to rule 4-3(1), that the time period provided for the consideration of Senators’ Statements be extended today for the purposes of paying tribute in memory of the Honourable Tommy Banks, who passed away on Thursday, January 25, 2018.

[Translation]

I remind senators that, pursuant to our rules, each senator will be allowed only three minutes and may speak only once.

[English]

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Honourable senators, it is with profound sadness that I rise today to pay tribute to my friend and former colleague, the late Tommy Banks, who passed away on Thursday past.

When news broke of his passing, accolades came from across North America. Such was his impact on the music scene. He had started playing jazz piano at the age of 14, and his career was marked by unparalleled success.

He was a founding member of the Alberta Foundation for the Performing Arts, and hosted his own television program, “The Tommy Banks Show.” He won a Gemini and a Juno, and he was an Officer of the Order of Canada.

A piece in the Edmonton Journal over the weekend cited admirers who gave him full credit for founding the city’s art scene. He loved Edmonton. It is fitting that the newest location of Yardbird Suite — a jazz club Tommy Banks helped to found — is located at 11 Tommy Banks Way.

But we here knew Tommy Banks best as a senator of the highest order, serving in this place with distinction for eleven years. He worked hard and performed his duties with the same passion and integrity that had served him so well in his other life. He was supportive of his colleagues but was never one to remain silent when criticism was deserved.

We served together on the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, and I had the great fortune to travel with him often on committee business. He was always knowledgeable and receptive, and he exemplified the role of a senator.

He also brought his musical talents with him to this place, acting as accompanist for the Singing Senators. While we might have lacked the abilities of our bandleader, we enjoyed our performances immensely notwithstanding. It was a privilege to make music with a consummate professional who had performed around the world.

Tommy Banks was a great many things: a jazz pianist, a composer, an arranger, a bandleader, a senator, and for many of us here, a good friend. Though he has left us, his music will live on in the hearts of those who share it.

On behalf of the Independent Liberals and, indeed, on behalf of all of us, colleagues, I would like to offer our deepest condolences to his beloved wife, Ida, his surviving children Jill and Tom Junior, and his four grandchildren, Mallory, Matthew, Thomas and Jenna.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Colleagues, I rise to pay tribute to the late Senator Tommy Banks. I only met him once when he introduced me last year at a Canadian Club event in Edmonton where I was going to talk about Senate modernization.

He told the audience that even though we were celebrating Canada’s one hundred and fiftieth anniversary, the year would also mark the one hundred and forty-ninth anniversary of talking about Senate reform.

Funny, kind, generous, talented and smart as a whip — one only has to read the tributes of Canadians whose lives he touched, especially young musicians, to know that Tommy Banks made his mark.

He was a prodigy — only a teenager when he started performing — and his subsequent career as a musician was as prodigious as it was decorated: Juno and Gemini Awards, lifetime achievement awards, the Order of Canada and the Alberta Order of Excellence are just a few of the honours he received.

His extraordinary talents were more than musical. They extended beyond the piano, the television screen and the conductor’s baton to boardrooms and conference tables across the country and across decades.

Tommy Banks served as chair and member of numerous boards, various foundations and music festivals. At the request of the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, he served two consecutive terms on the board of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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His ability to conduct public policy was sought after, and several administrations asked him to advise the government of the day on important issues, including one of the thorniest, then as now, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Whether this proud Albertan would like the term or not, we would have to call Tommy Banks a renaissance man.

After a 50-year international career in music, he was appointed to this chamber where he continued to perform admirably for more than 10 years. His star quality saw him serve on several committees and chair the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. He sponsored or authored numerous bills, many that concerned Canada’s natural legacy. He also advised the government on setting up parliamentary oversight of security intelligence matters.

Honourable colleagues, brilliance comes in many forms, but seldom does it manifest itself in so many ways in one single person. Such a person was Tommy Banks. I extend my condolences to his family and hope that they find comfort in his legacy of music and his service to our country.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Honourable Thomas Benjamin Banks, who passed away peacefully on January 25, 2018, after a long battle with leukemia.

[Translation]

During his 11 years in the Senate, Senator Banks was active, engaged and enthusiastic here in the chamber and in committee. He was always happy and in a good mood at work.

[English]

During his time at the Senate, he sponsored many bills related to the environment with a focus on preservation and conservation. He led a movement to abolish the property ownership requirement for senators. Now our colleague Senator Patterson is trying to carry on this tradition with Bill S-221. Senator Banks was a very innovative man. He was ahead of his time.

Senator Harder mentioned the various awards that Senator Banks received over his lifetime, but he was also an amazing musician, a jazz pianist, conductor, composer and television personality.

As an aside, when I was a young person, my parents were tuned to CBC and watching the musical shows. You had to watch Tommy Banks. He represented Alberta with pride. With support and passion, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra became known across the country as a premier pops orchestra of the 1970s.

On behalf of all Conservative senators, I extend sincere condolences to Senator Banks’ family and friends. I want them to know that we feel their loss too. We will miss him greatly. Thank you.

Hon. Larry W. Campbell: Honourable senators, I would like to say a few words about my former colleague and friend Tommy Banks. It was brought to my attention, as I had forgotten, that I now am in Tommy Banks’ office across the road. I shouldn’t have forgotten because I had been there on many occasions when the bells were ringing for an hour or so here and we would go and discuss matters of great import in his office. It’s a little known fact that it was one of the last smoking offices in the Senate. It was always a wonder to me that they got the smell of smoke out, but since I am a smoker, it didn’t really matter much to me.

I could go on forever about his achievements and the awards he won. Everyone listed them admirably here. Most of all I remember Tommy Banks as just a good guy, somebody you could talk to. He was very gentle and always honest. Despite all the awards and the levels he rose to through various careers, it never went to his head. He was always there for a laugh, always there if you needed some information on the Senate.

He served on National Finance; he served on the last Special Committee on Illegal Drugs. He was on National Defence and he was on the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.

Most notably, he was the elected Chair of Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources in three separate parliamentary sessions, the thirty-seventh, the thirty-eighth and the thirty-ninth. He was Deputy Chair of the Caucus Task Force of Urban Issues. But most importantly he sponsored the Canada National Parks Act, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act, the Species at Risk Act, the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act, An Act to amend the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, and the Canada Border Services Agency Act. What a breadth of knowledge and interests this man had. He never stopped. He was dedicated and determined, and he did his role as well as anybody that I ever met in this place. Our thoughts go out to his family. Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear hear.

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Senator Tommy Banks was truly a great person, musician and senator. To know him was to love and admire him. He was talented, kind and thoughtful. When we think of his talent, we almost always jump immediately to music. He was an unparalleled musician recognized and beloved nationally and internationally. Several years ago, my wife and I, along with Senator Tardif and her husband, had the good fortune to sit right behind him as he sat performing at a concert at the University of Alberta. It was magical to be right there and see his fingers fly across the keyboard and create the music that captured everyone there.

He did have a limit. He was sure he could not sing. He once told me that he had just been to Lethbridge to play in a jazz concert there. Naively I asked him, “Tommy, in addition to playing the piano did you sing?” He replied, “Absolutely not. I would like to be invited back.”

The true genius that defined his music was reflected in the strength of his public policy work, his grasp of complex and widely varied issues, and his ability to explain and argue. If music was a remarkable talent, so were these. From defence to energy to the environment — particularly water — to culture and the arts, to regulatory and economic matters, Tommy Banks would surprise with the depth of his analysis, questions and argument. He was a delight to work with. He was an outstanding senator. He was proof positive that varied backgrounds and talents enrich the Senate and the work that it does.

Despite all of his talent, it is Tommy Banks as a person that sticks with me the most. I have an overwhelming image of his being kind, thoughtful and unassuming. He was quick to laugh and always positive. He spoke only well of people. He seemed always to care, and he cared deeply about this institution. His essence was reflected in his deep love and respect for his wife Ida. If you saw Tommy out and about in Edmonton, she would always be there with him. Tommy was always making sure she was included. He was supporting and clearly in love with her.

Tommy Banks was a special person, an exceptional world-class musician and an accomplished parliamentarian. It was truly a privilege to have known him.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Silent Tribute

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I would ask that you join me and rise and observe a moment of silence for our former friend and colleague the Honourable Senator Tommy Banks.

(Honourable senators then stood in silent tribute.)

[Translation]

L’Université de Saint-Boniface

Two Hundredth Anniversary

Hon. Raymonde Gagné: Honourable senators, it is now 2018, and I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy New Year.

This year, Manitoba will celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the arrival of Father Norbert Provencher in the Red River colony. This was the beginning of French-language education in Manitoba.

Father Provencher was responsible for establishing a Catholic mission and educating the people. He began this education in his modest home in the fall of 1818, welcoming two young Métis children from the colony. It goes without saying that the beginnings of French education in Manitoba were humble and disorganized. However, the Collège de Saint-Boniface, which is now known as the Université de Saint-Boniface, owes its existence to that first year in the Red River settlement. Father Provencher, the first proponent, laid the groundwork for French education in Manitoba, and the settlement later became the cradle of francophone culture in Manitoba.

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Today, the Université de Saint-Boniface is more prominent than ever in Manitoba’s francophone community and is making quite a name for itself among Canada’s post-secondary institutions. It continues to train leaders who actively participate in building the identity and enhancing the vitality of their community in Manitoba and throughout the world. In addition to its role as an educator, the university is also one of the leaders whose active involvement and influence over the past 200 years have allowed Manitoba to become the dynamic province it is today.

The two hundredth anniversary is an excellent opportunity to encourage an already bold and vibrant community to reach out to the world beyond the borders of its province. The anniversary will provide the opportunity to highlight the history of my home community and alma mater and the things that make them unique, while also looking toward the future. As Gabor Csepregi, President of Université de Saint-Boniface, so aptly said at the launch of the bicentennial activities, and I quote:

Father Provencher wanted to ignite the flame of education, language, and faith. The two hundredth anniversary is a reminder that we need to continue to keep that flame alive, relying on reason, common sense, open debate, critical thinking, persuasive argument, and evidence as we continuously strive for truth, civility, humanity, and devotion to a unique language and culture that brings people together.

I just want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to them and wish them the best of luck with their celebrations, because pride is worth celebrating. Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[English]

The Late Honey and Barry Sherman

Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, I rise today to mourn the loss of two great Canadians, Honey and Barry Sherman.

On December 15, 2017, these two pillars of the Toronto community were viciously murdered in their home. As a result, Canada lost two of its greatest and most generous philanthropists, and in Barry Sherman, Canada lost one of its most accomplished business innovators and job creators.

Only two few weeks before her murder, Honey Sherman was standing right here in this chamber accepting a Senate 150 medal awarded to her and to Barry for their outstanding contributions to Canada. Honey and Barry exemplified the best virtues that the Senate medal was created to celebrate, and indeed of responsible Canadian citizenship itself.

They gave their time, energy and resources to innumerable good causes, including the Sherman Community Campus in Toronto, Baycrest Hospital, Humber River Hospital, the United Way and virtually every other worthy cause in Toronto.

Honey was an involved and passionate board member for countless charitable boards. They also supported a variety of charities abroad, including a refuge in Kenya responsible for rescuing 6,000 orphans from the streets of Nairobi.

Honey and Barry’s contributions to Canada and around the world were endless, as is the grief that those of us who knew them and loved them feel today as we confront the sense of loss and rage that we are left with after they were stolen from us. Their example of loving commitment to their community and their always charitable impulses are a lesson to all of us as to how we can be better citizens.

Let us be inspired by their model to give, to love and to care for each other, especially the most vulnerable among us.

To the Sherman family, including Barry’s sister Sandi Florence and her family, and Honey’s sister Mary Shechtman and her family, and to Honey and Barry’s four children, Lauren, Jonathon, Alexandra and Kaelen, my heart remains broken for you. May the memories of Honey and Barry comfort you and may their legacy live on through you and your children.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, I rise today to mark Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, which takes place every January in Canada.

For Canadians living with dementia, discrimination is one of the biggest barriers to enjoying meaningful and productive lives. Stigma, stereotypes and misconceptions often prevent people from being open about their symptoms or asking for help.

A recent survey by the Alzheimer Society found that while awareness about dementia has increased, stigma and negative attitudes around it continue to persist. It also found that one in four Canadians would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia.

In November 2016, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology tabled a report, Dementia in Canada: A National Strategy for Dementia-friendly Communities. The committee’s report made 29 recommendations aimed at helping the growing number of Canadians who have or will develop some form of dementia as well as those who will care for them.

Together with the passage of Bill C-233, the National Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Act, in June of 2016, dementia has been elevated to a national priority. Strategy will strengthen research, build on innovative work already underway and offer a coordinated pan-Canadian approach to care.

I am confident that the strategy will offer fresh hope to the more than 560,000 Canadians who live with dementia. A world-class strategy will also prepare Canada to care for the close to 1 million Canadians who will have some form of dementia in less than 15 years from now.

Honourable senators, the stigma surrounding dementia is immense and to change that is a difficult challenge. People living with dementia often feel excluded or treated differently because of their condition. Alzheimer’s Awareness Month seeks to change this.

As this special month draws to a close, we must continue to confront these stigmas if we are to improve the lives of those living with dementia.

[Translation]

Commemoration of Islamic Cultural Centre Massacre in Quebec City

Hon. Raymonde Saint-Germain: Honourable senators, last night, hundreds of people from coast to coast to coast came together to commemorate the victims of the shooting that happened on January 29, 2017, at the great mosque in Quebec City. Over the past few days, the victims’ widows and friends and the survivors have launched a resounding and commendable call for unity.

One year ago, six of our fellow Canadians lost their lives because of ignorance, intolerance and hatred. All of them were actively involved in their community and contributed to our society in various ways. They included a university professor, a grocer and businessman, an accountant, a meat plant supervisor, and two computer technicians. Some of them were fathers who left behind very young children.

I am from Quebec City, and this tragedy struck close to home for me, as for us all. I feel directly affected by the fallout from this tragic event. These six men had chosen to make this country their new home, hoping to find a better life of prosperity, tolerance and openness here. They had left their native lands to live in harmony with our shared values, in a country that guarantees and promotes individual and collective rights and freedoms.

As parliamentarians who get to speak in a public forum, we have a responsibility to promote inclusiveness and unity, to give every individual a real opportunity to make a positive contribution to Canadian society. Our message must encourage equality, regardless of colour, religion, political belief, language, or ethnic or national origin. We must also stand guard against and vigorously condemn racist and xenophobic comments and insinuations. Allowing such ideas to spread unchecked creates fertile ground for hate crimes.

May the Centre culturel islamique de Québec shooting go down in history as a tipping point toward greater respect for all forms of diversity. We must build lasting bridges between all our communities if we are to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

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[English]

Hon. Salma Ataullahjan: Honourable senators, as salaam alaikum, which means “peace be upon you.” I rise to speak on the anniversary of the massacre that took place at the Islamic Cultural Centre on January 29, 2017, in Quebec City.

In a targeted act of terror and hatred, six innocent people lost their lives in their place of worship: Khaled Belkacemi, Azzeddine Soufiane, Aboubaker Thabti, Abdelkrim Hassane, Mamadou Tanou Barry and Ibrahima Barry. Additionally, 19 people were wounded, five of them critically, including Aymen Derbali, the 41-year-old father of three who was paralyzed after putting himself in the line of fire in order to save others.

The victims were shot as they prayed. They were killed because they were Muslim.

In the wake of this event, our country, including our politicians, stood together in solidarity to condemn this horrific act of cowardly violence and hatred. On the anniversary of the attack, we have come together again to denounce Islamophobia and racism of any kind. Nevertheless, reported hate crimes against the Muslim community in Quebec City doubled last year. While the shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, acted alone, Imam Hassan Guillet poignantly said:

Before planting his bullets in the heads of his victims, somebody planted ideas more dangerous than the bullets in his head.

In the wake of the attack, the Islamic Cultural Centre received threatening letters and a defaced Quran in the mail. The president of the mosque’s car was firebombed and exploded in his driveway.

Notwithstanding, the community remains resilient. The imam sees signs that things are improving. If the shooter’s goal was to create division and an us-versus-them narrative, in this regard he has failed. The Muslim community has found strength from the outpouring of support from many Canadians across the country. It is my hope that this demonstration of tolerance and acceptance will continue and, moreover, that it will manifest into platforms of sustained dialogue and action.

To all the families affected by this tragedy, you are not forgotten, and you will remain in our thoughts and prayers. May peace be upon you in the name of God and his blessings.

Thank you.

Canada 150 Bell Canada Cup

Congratulations to Red River Wild

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Honourable colleagues, I rise today to congratulate the Peewee Division champions of the Canada 150 Bell Capital Cup, the Red River Wild Peewee hockey team. The Red River Wild from Morris, Manitoba, was chosen to represent Manitoba in the Peewee division of the prestigious annual Bell Capital Cup in Ottawa. This great Manitoba team played against teams from all over the country, playing Yukon in the final and beating them 4-0.

The Red River Wild performed beyond any of their coaches’ or parents’ wildest expectations. Not only was the team undefeated in the tournament, but no team was able to score a single goal against them. They played six games in the tournament, outscoring their competition 39-0. They even came first place in the skills competition.

The team had a wonderful time in Ottawa, playing at the Canadian Tire Centre, taking in an NLH game, visiting the Sens House, touring the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, indulging in some beaver tails and my office was thrilled to host them for a private tour of Parliament. Being New Year’s Eve, the team truly had the place to themselves. Even though it was New Year’s Eve, I want to thank our Usher of the Black Rod in the Senate, Mr. Greg Peters, who was kind enough to take the team into the Senate Chamber for a great chat about the role of the Senate and to take some wonderful photos. Mr. Peters was also generous enough to present the team with a book about the Senate and a commemorative coin.

Unfortunately, I was out of the country during their visit but was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to the team by phone and hear all about their big win. I am told that the team was so dynamic, unified and strong that the people in the tournament kept calling them “the Killer Bees.”

Peter Funke, a lifelong friend of mine, is the father-in-law of Kevin Clace, a parent and a team spokesperson, as well as the grandfather of star player Ethan Clace. I think Mr. Clace characterized the team best when he said they represented the spirit of the Prairies. Every one of those people — those fans, those community members and their sponsors — are the ones who come together to form a piece of team Manitoba, and they all have a part of that championship win.

Colleagues, please join me in congratulating “the Killer Bees” themselves, the Red River Wild Peewee hockey team, the pride of Manitoba, on their stunning achievement.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Parliamentary Budget Officer

Economic and Fiscal Monitor – January 2018
Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, entitled Economic and Fiscal Monitor – January 2018, pursuant to the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1, sbs. 79.2(2).

PBO and Finance Canada Long-term Projection
Comparison—Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, entitled PBO and Finance Canada Long-term Projection Comparison, pursuant to the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1, sbs. 79.2(2).

Justice

Charter Statement in Relation to Bill C-51—
Document Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a Charter Statement prepared by the Minister of Justice in relation to Bill C-51, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act.

Charter Statement in Relation to Bill C-58—
Document Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a Charter Statement prepared by the Minister of Justice in relation to Bill C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Charter Statement in Relation to Bill C-66—
Document Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a Charter Statement prepared by the Minister of Justice in relation to Bill C-66, An Act to establish a procedure for expunging certain historically unjust convictions and to make related amendments to other Acts.

[English]

Internal Economy, Budgets and
Administration

Twenty-third Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Larry W. Campbell, Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, presented the following report:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

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

TWENTY-THIRD REPORT

Your committee, which is authorized by the Rules of the Senate to consider financial and administrative matters, recommends that the following funds be released for fiscal year 2017-18.

Legal and Constitutional Affairs (Legislation)

General Expenses $ 6,000
Total $ 6,000

Respectfully submitted,

LARRY W. CAMPBELL

Chair

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

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

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Fisheries and Oceans

Committee Authorized to Meet During Sitting
of the Senate

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans have the power to meet on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, at 5 p.m., even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)


QUESTION PERIOD

Prime Minister’s Office

Prime Minister’s Travel

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Here we are, back to reality.

My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and it concerns recent reports of the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner into the conduct of the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Trudeau was found to have broken four sections of the Conflict of Interest Act in relation to vacations taken on the private island owned by the Aga Khan.

The Prime Minister broke the law, but it is the Canadian taxpayers who are punished as they paid for the Prime Minister’s vacation, which reportedly cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Sir, could I ask you two questions? What was the total value of the gifts illegally received by the Prime Minister, and second, when will the Prime Minister pay this money back to Canadian taxpayers?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I welcome the honourable senator back from the sojourn of the recess. I see that the passage of time hasn’t dulled his questioning.

In reference to the subject matter he has raised, I want to remind the honourable senators that immediately after the report was released, the Prime Minister took responsibility, as a leader should, and accepted the findings of the commissioner. He has taken steps to ensure that all future family vacations are cleared ahead of time with the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, and he will continue to follow any advice and recommendations of the commissioner as to how to manage his relationship with the Aga Khan.

Senator Smith: Thank you, sir. That is the public answer that has been put forward by the Prime Minister. Just as a comment, as the government has shown us time and time again, they routinely operate under the belief that there’s one set of rules for them and one set of rules for everyone else, and it’s probably the rest of us who are middle class.

Will the Prime Minister take full responsibility for the significant cost incurred by Canadian taxpayers? And taking what you said earlier about following further rules — let’s forget about the future rules, let’s look at the actual case. Will he pay back the money that he spent illegally?

Senator Harder: Again, I want to emphasize that the Prime Minister has taken responsibility from the conclusion of the report. I would also point out that the Prime Minister, as is the practice for all prime ministers, has reimbursed the Canadian public for the personal costs associated with the travel, as appropriate, for the prorating of travel.

Senators will well understand and I’m sure support the notion that the RCMP and the costs associated with supporting any prime minister are borne by the public of Canada.

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Smith, did you have another supplementary?

Senator Smith: It’s a day of all happiness for us to be back, so I wouldn’t want to go further.

Hon. Betty Unger: My question is related to the previous one, also to you, Mr. Harder, as leader. Four years ago this month, as leader of the third party, Justin Trudeau repaid taxpayers for travel and per diem costs for a private speaking engagement that was inappropriately billed, so he repaid that money.

Will he pay Canadian taxpayers for the expenses for his visit to the Aga Khan’s island?

Senator Harder: Again, as I’ve indicated, the Prime Minister has, as is the practice for all prime ministers, repaid those expenses on the basis of the formula of airfare. And the other expenses are those that are appropriate for the support and security of the Prime Minister.

International Trade

Role of Chinese Communist Party in China Communications Construction Co.

Hon. Thanh Hai Ngo: This question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. China Communications Construction Company still wants to acquire the Aecon Group, Canada’s largest construction company, in a $1.5 billion deal.

I think honourable senators should know that CCCC shareholders, late last year, gave the Chinese Communist Party a formal place in the firm. Right now, CCCC is officially 60 per cent owned by the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese Communist Party is now in the corporate structure of this multinational.

I quote an article from The Globe and Mail that says it “shall play the core leadership role and core political role, providing direction, managing the overall situation.”

Can you tell us if the Government of Canada is aware of the Chinese Communist Party’s majority share in the CCCC?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. It’s not unrelated to the questions he asked me before Christmas. I can assure him and all senators that the proposed acquisition, when it comes forward, will be reviewed under the Investment Canada Act.

As the government itself has indicated, it would also be reviewed with respect to the security dimensions of this transaction, and all matters that are relevant will be before the decision makers that are responsible for ensuring that the best interests of Canada are present and party to the decisions made on any acquisition.

Senator Ngo: I have a supplementary question. Would this news be enough for the Government of Canada to launch a full national security review before approving this deal?

Senator Harder: Again, the Government of Canada, and in previous questions in this chamber, has indicated that it will undertake a security review on this proposal when it comes forward.

Canadian Heritage

Olympic Team

Hon. Nancy Greene Raine: My question is for the Honourable Leader of the Government in the Senate. I’ve been following with interest the efforts of speed skater William Dutton from Saskatchewan to be named to the Olympic team. He put a protest in when he was left off the team by Speed Skating Canada and that went to the Canadian arbitration process that all athletes follow when there are issues like this.

His issue is that there was a mandatory need to qualify within the top 16 times in the world. It turned out that two of those 16 times were posted by Russian speed skaters who were subsequently disqualified for doping infractions. He has suggested, and I support him in this, that anybody who is ahead of you on a list like that who got their result through doping and was caught shouldn’t be included in the list of 16 that you have to be better than in order to qualify.

Would you check with the Minister of Sport and see whether the process has come to the right resolution and that Mr. Dutton will be representing Canada at the Olympics in Pyeongchang?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank honourable senator for her question. Before I answer, let me congratulate the senator on having the distinction of being on a stamp. That brings tribute to your career, and it gives us something to lick.

(1450)

An Hon. Senator: Peel off.

Senator Harder: It’s probably peel off, yes.

Of course, I will take the honourable senator’s question to the responsible minister and seek a response.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Canada Border Services Agency—
Detention of Refugee Children

Hon. Victor Oh: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

During my visit to the immigration holding centres in Montreal and Toronto, I witnessed firsthand how the federal government, on behalf of Canadians, detains minors for immigration purposes. This disproportionate practice is never in the best interest of minors because, even when used as a last resort and for a short period of time, it has serious detrimental effects. In the fiscal year of 2016-17, it was reported that over 150 minors were detained or housed with parents or guardians in an immigration holding centre for an average length of 13 days.

The National Directive for the Detention or Housing of Minors issued by the federal government last November recognized that the best interests of the children should be the primary consideration when decisions to detain are made. However, Canada has a legislative provision, in force since 2002, calling for the immigration detention of minors to be used only as a measure of last resort. So attention needs to be paid to how exactly the directive will be put into practice, especially as past efforts have shown little results.

My questions for the Leader of the Government are as follows: First, how many minors, with and without Canadian citizenship, are currently being detained in an immigration holding centre? Could we have this information as soon as possible?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I thank the honourable senator for his questioning on this. He and Senator Jaffer have regularly raised this issue, for which I thank them.

As his question suggested, it is the policy of the Government of Canada that this detention should be a last resort. I’m happy to report that, as the minister reported when asked at his last appearance in the Senate with respect to this, there has been a decline in such detention. I will be happy to determine from the appropriate officials what the numbers are today that the honourable senator is seeking.

Senator Oh: Question two: When will the federal government make available detailed statistics, with breakdowns according to the age, gender and other characteristics, of minors detained for immigration purposes?

Finally, are alternatives to detention consistently available throughout the country, or are there variations?

Senator Harder: I will add those questions to my inquiry.

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answers to the following oral questions: the response to the oral question of October 26, 2017, by the Honourable Senator Frum, concerning Canadian heritage — national holocaust monument; the response to the oral question of November 8, 2017, by the Honourable Senator Wallin, concerning immigration, refugees and citizenship — refugee processing backlog; the response to the oral question of November 9, 2017, by the Honourable Senator Carignan, concerning health — genetic non-discrimination; the response to the oral question of November 9, 2017, by the Honourable Senator Carignan, concerning public services and procurement — national shipbuilding strategy; the response to the oral question of November 22, 2017, by the Honourable Senator Bovey, concerning Canadian heritage — museum collections; the response to the oral question of November 22, 2017, by the Honourable Senator Ngo, concerning immigration, refugees and citizenship — processing of work permits for caregivers; the response to the oral question of November 22, 2017, by the Honourable Senator Tardif, concerning families, children and social development — official languages — minority francophone communities; the response to the oral question of November 22, 2017, by the Honourable Senator Wallin, concerning public safety — citizens involved in foreign terrorist activities; the response to the oral question of November 23, 2017, by the Honourable Senator Munson, concerning immigration, refugees and citizenship — immigration admissibility — people with disabilities; the response to the oral question of November 29, 2017, by the Honourable Senator Wallin, concerning public safety and emergency preparedness — terrorist retraining facilities; two responses to the oral question of December 6, 2017, by the Honourable Senator Stewart Olsen, concerning infrastructure and communities — flood prevention; and the response to the oral question of December 8, 2017, by the Honourable Senator Carignan, concerning transport — national shipbuilding strategy.

Canadian Heritage

National Holocaust Monument

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Linda Frum on October 26, 2017)

The Government of Canada developed the National Holocaust Monument to ensure the Holocaust has a permanent place in Canadians’ consciousness and memory.

The National Holocaust Monument will remain partially open for winter 2017-2018.

This will ensure that Canadians can reflect on the horrors committed against the six million Jewish victims and others while paying tribute to the survivors.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Refugee Processing Backlog

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Pamela Wallin on November 8, 2017)

From the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB):

The IRB cannot identify these individuals prior to February 2017, when system changes were made, and only has partial data for February and March. Up to the end of October 2017, 14,467 refugee claims by irregular border crossers have been referred. Of these, 1,572 have been finalized (941 accepted, 373 rejected, 115 abandoned, 143 withdrawn). 12,895 claims are pending. The Board cannot report on removals. The acceptance rate of 60% is based on a small sample size, therefore it is too early to draw conclusions. As more cases are finalized, the acceptance rate may change.

Each case is unique and is determined on its merits by an independent decision maker, on a case-by-case basis. Acceptance rates vary over time, and from one source country to another. For example, in 2016, while the global acceptance rate was 63%, claims from Burundi had an acceptance rate of 94%, and China had an acceptance rate of 34%.

Health

Genetic Non-Discrimination

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Claude Carignan on November 9, 2017)

Department of Justice

The Attorney General of Canada will make representations before the Quebec Court of Appeal. The Attorney General of Canada’s position for the factum due on June 26, 2018 is being developed.

Public Services and Procurement

National Shipbuilding Strategy

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Claude Carignan on November 9, 2017)

Our Government is committed to the National Shipbuilding Strategy and building ships in Canada.

In 2011, the Government of Canada competitively selected the shipyard in Halifax to build Canada’s combat large ships and the shipyard in Vancouver to build the non-combat large ships. Construction is currently underway on both coasts.

Since the launch of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, Quebec shipyards have been awarded more than $717 million in contracts. Since 2014, Chantier Davie has been awarded five contracts for refit and maintenance vessels. This includes approximately $587 million awarded to the Federal Fleet Services Consortium by our Government in November 2015 for the provision of an interim Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment capability for the Royal Canadian Navy.

In accordance with the National Shipbuilding Strategy, opportunities remain for other shipyards, including Chantier Davie, to compete for small ship construction (under 1,000 tonnes) projects, as well as ship repair, refit and maintenance requirements at an estimated value of $2 billion.

Canadian Heritage

Museum Collections

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Patricia Bovey on November 22, 2017)

The Government of Canada recognizes that museum collections are among Canada’s most important treasures and that museums are a trusted source of information fostering attachment to Canada. We have therefore made significant investments to address the needs of museums.

In 2017-2018, the Government is investing over $510 million to benefit heritage institutions, including our national museums. Among those investments, the Museums Assistance Program, with a budget of $6.7 million, supports heritage institutions in the preservation and presentation of heritage collections, including Indigenous cultural heritage. The Young Canada Works program has been increased, over four years, to create more than 1600 positions for youth in heritage institutions. We also invested $300 million over ten years in the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund for the construction and renovation of creative spaces including museums and more than $270 million in our national museums.

Under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, tens of thousands of significant objects have been acquired by heritage institutions, including the Canadian War Museum’s recent acquisition of the Victoria Cross awarded to Lt. Col. Harcus Strachan.

Canada has a vibrant museum community, and dialogue will continue with institutions and with organizations such as the Canadian Museums Association regarding federal support.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Processing of Work Permits for Caregivers

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Thanh Hai Ngo on November 22, 2017)

In the 2018-2020 multi-year immigration levels plan announced by Minister Hussen on November 1, 2017, the caregiver program levels reflect the number of caregivers currently in Canada who have submitted or are eligible to submit applications for permanent residence under the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) as well as admissions in the Caring for Children and High Medical Needs pilot programs.

The LCP offered a path from temporary status to permanent residence for caregivers. It was closed to new applicants in 2014, but caregivers currently in Canada with temporary status under the Program are still eligible to apply for permanent residence.

The Government is committed to processing all permanent residence applications in the LCP inventory, as well as new applications pending submission. From a high of 62,000 in May 2014, the inventory was reduced to about 23,700 by October 1, 2017. The decreasing levels space allocated for caregivers in the multi-year immigration levels plan, reflects the reduction in the number of applications to be processed.

Under the plan to end the program backlog, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will finalize 80% of applications in the LCP inventory by the end of 2018 and process newly submitted complete applications within 12 months of receipt.

Families, Children and Social Development

Official Languages—Minority Francophone
Communities

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Claudette Tardif on November 22, 2017)

Our two official languages are at the heart of who we are as Canadians.

Since March 2017, the University of Ottawa has led research, including key informant interviews with stakeholder groups, to better understand Official Language Minority Community (OLMC) needs and gaps in services. The final report, expected in January 2018, and consultations led by ESDC, will help ensure that future Government of Canada investments are responsive to needs identified by OLMCs.

In 2016, Minister Joly led extensive consultations to inform the development of a new multi-year Official Languages action plan to be introduced in 2018.

At ESDC, we also integrate literacy and essential skills throughout our skills development programs, like the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy and the Skills Link program for vulnerable youth. We are investing an additional $1.8 billion over 6 years through agreements with the provinces and territories to get Canadians the employment assistance and training they need. Further investments support employer directed training and Canadians who have lower levels of literacy and essential skills.

Public Safety

Citizens Involved in Foreign Terrorist
Activities

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Pamela Wallin on November 22, 2017)

Public Safety Canada (PS)

Combating the phenomenon of Canadians participating in terrorist activities abroad, and addressing the potential threats posed by returnees, is a key priority for the Government and for Canada’s security agencies.

The suite of measures used to deal with a particular individual or situation is determined by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and other agencies, in collaboration with domestic and international partners. Measures include surveillance and monitoring, peace bonds, the cancellation, refusal or revocation of Canadian passports, the no-fly list, and criminal prosecution when sufficient evidence exists.

The number of so-called “extremist travellers” with links to Canada is relatively small compared to other Western countries. There are currently just over 190 extremists with a nexus to Canada who are abroad, including in Iraq and Syria. Just over 60 extremists have returned to Canada. Those numbers have remained relatively stable over the past two years, as it has become more difficult for extremists to successfully leave or return to Canada.

Nevertheless, the Government takes a clear-eyed view of the threat. The Government of Canada has no greater responsibility than keeping Canadians safe, and Canada’s security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies are hard at work doing exactly that.

At the same time, the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence serves as a coordinating body that supports local counter-radicalization initiatives. It also facilitates the sharing of best practices and supports research to develop an evidence base about what approaches work best to prevent and combat radicalization in the Canadian context.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Immigration Admissibility—People with
Disabilities

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Jim Munson on November 23, 2017)

As the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada recognized at his appearance before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, the excessive demand provision has been in place for more than 40 years and the policy does not align with our country’s values on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Canadian society.

That is why the department has undertaken a fundamental policy review of all aspects of the excessive demand policy including consultations with provinces and territories, and a range of stakeholders including disability advocates and legal experts. Once the department has received recommendations from the Standing Committee and has had a chance to respond, we expect the government to be in a position to take a decision on this matter in 2018.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Terrorist Retraining Facilities

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Pamela Wallin on November 29, 2017)

Public Safety Canada (PS)

Combating the phenomenon of Canadians participating in terrorist activities abroad, and addressing the potential threats posed by returnees, is a key priority for the Government and for Canada’s security agencies.

The suite of measures used to deal with a particular individual or situation is determined by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and other agencies, in collaboration with domestic and international partners. Measures include surveillance and monitoring, peace bonds, the cancellation, refusal or revocation of Canadian passports, the no-fly list, and criminal prosecution when sufficient evidence exists.

The number of so-called “extremist travellers” with links to Canada is relatively small compared to other Western countries. There are currently just over 190 extremists with a nexus to Canada who are abroad, including in Iraq and Syria. Just over 60 extremists have returned to Canada. Those numbers have remained relatively stable over the past two years, as it has become more difficult for extremists to successfully leave or return to Canada.

Nevertheless, the Government takes a clear-eyed view of the threat. The Government of Canada has no greater responsibility than keeping Canadians safe, and Canada’s security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies are hard at work doing exactly that.

At the same time, the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence serves as a coordinating body that supports local counter-radicalization initiatives. It also facilitates the sharing of best practices and supports research to develop an evidence base about what approaches work best to prevent and combat radicalization in the Canadian context.

Infrastructure and Communities

Flood Prevention

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Carolyn Stewart Olsen on December 6, 2017)

The Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion under the long-term Investing in Canada Plan. As part of the Plan, Infrastructure Canada will sign integrated bilateral agreements with provinces and territories that will see $33 billion invested in infrastructure projects of which $9.2 billion will be earmarked for green infrastructure. This funding will support projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, deliver clean water, safely manage wastewater, and help communities prepare for challenges that result from climate change, such as flooding.

Budget 2017 announced two billion dollars over 10 years for the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, a national, competitive, merit-based program designed to support investments that will mitigate current and future climate risks, including floods. The objective is to strengthen the resilience of Canadian communities through investments in large-scale infrastructure projects, including natural infrastructure, to better withstand current and future risks such as floods, wildland fires, and droughts as well as other natural disaster risks, and ensure continuity of services. Infrastructure Canada expects to launch the program in early 2018.

In addition, federal funding for disaster mitigation projects is also available through the New Building Canada Fund and the federal Gas Tax Fund.

Flood Prevention

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Carolyn Stewart Olsen on December 6, 2017)

The National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) is a dedicated source of funding that will help infrastructure owners and users to invest in the critical assets that support economic activity and the physical movement of goods and people in Canada.

The Program was launched in July 2017, and a total of $2 billion has been allocated over 11 years.

The Comprehensive Project Proposals phase concluded on November 6, 2017. Transport Canada received a total of 177 proposals seeking $728 million in federal funding submitted under the NTCF, including projects from the governments of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Detailed evaluations of all proposals are currently underway. Decisions regarding funding under the National Trade Corridors Fund will be announced in 2018.

Transport

National Shipbuilding Strategy

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Claude Carignan on December 8, 2017)

Our Government is committed to the National Shipbuilding Strategy and building ships in Canada.

In 2011, the Government of Canada competitively selected the shipyard in Halifax to build Canada’s combat large ships and the shipyard in Vancouver to build the non-combat large ships. Construction is currently underway on both coasts.

Since the launch of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, Quebec shipyards have been awarded more than $717 million in contracts. Since 2014, Chantier Davie has been awarded five contracts for refit and maintenance vessels. This includes approximately $587 million awarded to the Federal Fleet Services Consortium by our Government in November 2015 for the provision of an interim Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment capability for the Royal Canadian Navy.

In accordance with the National Shipbuilding Strategy, opportunities remain for other shipyards, including Chantier Davie, to compete for small ship construction (under 1,000 tonnes) projects, as well as ship repair, refit and maintenance requirements at an estimated value of $2 billion.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Canada Business Corporations Act

Canada Cooperatives Act

Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act

Competition Act

Bill to Amend—Nineteenth Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the nineteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce (Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Canada Cooperatives Act, the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, and the Competition Act, with amendments), presented in the Senate on December 14, 2017.

Hon. Douglas Black moved the adoption of the report.

He said: Honourable senators, I’m pleased to speak to the nineteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce concerning Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Canada Cooperatives Act, the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, and the Competition Act. Bill C-25 will improve corporate governance in Canada to create long-term and sustainable value for shareholders and our economy. As well, Bill C-25 would implement the “comply or explain” approach by requiring the distributing corporations, under the Canada Business Corporations Act, to identify their diversity policies as well as the gender makeup of their respecting boards. Should a diversity policy not exist, the corporation in question must explain why not.

Furthermore, the bill will require elections for director positions at distributing corporations and cooperatives on an annual basis, rather than the three-year period that presently exists in law. In addition, it will provide that directors be elected individually, while enforcing a majority voting policy for director positions in uncontested positions.

The bill also modernizes communication methods by allowing distributing corporations and cooperatives to make documentation available electronically to its shareholders, including notices of meetings.

Finally, technical changes are being implemented to require that all shares and share warrants be presented in registered form, with the aim of improving transparency and accountability in decision-making processes.

The genesis of this bill originates from public consultations held by the Government of Canada in 2014 concerning the Canada Business Corporations Act, and it seeks to align existing federal corporate governance laws with modern realities, particularly in a digital age.

During clause-by-clause consideration of this bill, Senator Wetston, the Senate sponsor and a member of our committee, presented three important amendments that I’d like to briefly outline.

First, clause 13 of Bill C-25 is amended to introduce a grace period of 90 days for incumbent directors who did not succeed in being elected under the provisions of majority voting. Senator Wetston explained at committee that this provision is intended to avoid undue disruptions in the board’s ability to carry out its work in situations where incumbent directors are not re-elected and a replacement has not been elected.

In addition, clause 59 is amended by adding the following after line 37:

(10.2) Despite subsection (3) and paragraph 84(1)(b), if an incumbent director who was a candidate in an election held in accordance with subsection (10.1) was not elected during the election, the director may continue in office until the earlier of

(a) the 90th day after the date of election; and

(b) the date on which their successor is appointed or elected.

Similarly, this amendment would also implement a grace period of 90 days and would apply to provisions under the Canada Cooperatives Act.

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Both amendments are intended to address concerns we heard on majority voting during our committee’s deliberations and, as I understand, are consistent with provincial securities laws and Canadian corporate practices.

Finally, and I’m sure you’re feeling mercifully, clause 24 would be amended to read as follows:

(a) Replace lines 3 to 5 with the following:

“(2) The corporation shall provide the information referred to in subsection (1) to each shareholder, except to a share-;” and

(b) replace lines 7 to 9 with the following:

“they do not want to receive that information, by sending the information along with the notice referred to in subsection 135(1) or by making the information available along with a proxy circular referred to in subsection 150(1).

(3) The corporation shall concurrently send the information referred to in subsection (1) to the Director.”.

Under the proposed subsection 172.1(1) as stated in the bill, directors of a prescribed corporation are required to place before shareholders at every annual meeting the prescribed information respecting diversity among the directors and among the members of senior management. The proposed amendment would allow a corporation to send the diversity information to its shareholders, not only along with a notice of a shareholder meeting, which is the traditional manner of sharing information with shareholders, but also by making the information available as part of the notice and access system, along with the proxy circular process which is utilized by corporations.

Colleagues, I want to conclude by thanking all members of the committee for their very thorough review of this very important, relevant and timely legislation and, of course, I look forward to the debate at third reading.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Salaries Act

Financial Administration Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—
Debate Adjourned

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate) moved second reading of Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Salaries Act and to make a consequential amendment to the Financial Administration Act.

He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to introduce Bill C-24, which proposes to amend the Salaries Act. This bill is technical in nature and serves to fulfill a commitment made by the Prime Minister when elected to formalize in legislation the equal status of his ministerial team.

I would like to begin by providing a bit of background before describing the specific amendments proposed by this bill. As senators may know, the appointment of ministers is a Crown prerogative. The Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister, may appoint any number of ministers to any office, including offices that are not referred to in legislation. However, there are two key considerations related to each ministerial appointment: First, under what authority can the minister be paid? And second, how can the minister be supported by the public service in carrying out his or her responsibilities?

[Translation]

With regard to the first factor, Parliament authorized two options for paying ministers’ salaries in accordance with the Salaries Act or through appropriations acts. The Salaries Act authorizes the payment out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of a ministerial salary to individuals who have been appointed to ministerial positions listed in the act. The Salaries Act currently lists the position of prime minister and 34 specific ministerial positions as well as the positions of ministers of state who preside over a ministry of state or what Canadians consider as a ministry. The salaries of ministers of state not responsible for a ministry of state are authorized through appropriations acts. As for support, the Ministries and Ministers of State Act give ministers of state the authority to use the resources, facilities and services of existing ministries.

[English]

The current ministry has 29 ministers in addition to the Prime Minister. When the government took office in November 2015, five of the positions that the Prime Minister wanted in his cabinet were not positions listed in the Salaries Act. Those five positions are: the Minister of La Francophonie; the Minister of Science; the Minister of Small Business and Tourism; the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities; and, finally, the Minister of Status of Women.

Because the Salaries Act could not accommodate those priorities of the government, the five ministers were appointed pursuant to the Ministries and Ministers of State Act and they are paid under the Appropriations Act. Their legal title is “Minister of State” and they are equals in cabinet.

Since November 2015 the Ministries and Ministers of State Act has offered a way to pay and support these ministers as equals until legislation could be updated to accurately reflect the structure of the ministry. Bill C-24 is that update.

Bill C-24 adjusts the list of ministerial positions that can be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund in three ways. First, it would add eight ministerial positions to the Salaries Act. Five of those positions are not new; they are already filled by ministers and would replace the current minister of state appointments. The additional three positions are not filled in the current ministry and are untitled. These positions could be used and titled by this Prime Minister or future prime ministers, at their discretion, to respond to future priorities and emerging challenges and opportunities.

Second, the bill would remove the six regional development positions from the Salaries Act. Let me be clear. Moving these ministerial positions from the Salaries Act does not change the important role of regional development agencies. The agencies will continue to exist in the regions that they serve and will continue to be overseen by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, who will fulfill the statutory responsibilities related to these agencies.

The final adjustment to the list of ministerial positions proposed by Bill C-24 changes the title of “Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs” to “Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.” This reflects current responsibilities within cabinet and the fact that the Prime Minister has assumed responsibilities for intergovernmental affairs.

The new title of “Minister of Infrastructure and Communities” accurately reflects the responsibilities of the position and avoids confusion. The ministerial title would also be adjusted in the Financial Administration Act as a consequential amendment.

As I said at the outset, Bill C-24 is largely technical and housekeeping.

[Translation]

Allow me to summarize. The bill would add five designated positions which are already held by ministers of state to the Salaries Act. It would add three untitled positions and eliminate six positions, which represents a net gain of two positions with respect to the 35 existing positions. Thus, there would be no more than 37 ministerial positions paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, including that of the Prime Minister. These elements, as well as the new title for the position of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, are the changes that Bill C-24 would make to the list of ministers.

[English]

Now let me address the framework that the bill provides to support any of the eight new positions without having to create new departments because the structure of the current government does not change as a result of this bill. The bill does not create new departments or dissolve existing ones. Instead, the bill gives the Governor-in-Council the flexibility to designate any department to provide support to the new ministers in carrying out some or all of their responsibilities. This flexibility allows these ministers to access the expertise and experience of the department or departments best placed to provide them with full and appropriate support.

The bill authorizes the ministers to use the services, facilities and employees of the department or departments that have been designated to support them. These ministers act and are recognized as full ministers. They do not report to any other minister besides the Prime Minister. And reporting to them are the deputy ministers of the ministries that support their responsibilities and mandates.

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This framework ensures that these new ministers can be fully and appropriately supported without new departments having to be created.

The bill also amends the Salaries Act to authorize the ministers whose departments are designated to support these new positions to delegate their financial and procurement authorities to the new ministers so that they can exercise and be accountable for their areas of responsibility.

Finally, I would like to address the question of costs associated with Bill C-24.

The simple answer is that there are no additional costs. The amendments to the Salaries Act will not increase the costs of the current ministry. The five ministers currently appointed as ministers of state receive the same salary as their cabinet colleagues and have office budgets that match their responsibilities. Ministers currently receive additional remuneration of $82,600 a year for their ministerial duties. This will not change with Bill C-24.

The legislation does, however, increase by two the number of ministerial positions that could potentially be paid under the Salaries Act, from 35 to 37, including the position of Prime Minister. We are below that limit today. The current ministry totals 30, including the Prime Minister and 29 ministers. The ministry has not grown in numbers since its swearing in on November 4, 2015. Should these two additional ministerial positions be filled at some future date, the total incremental increase would be $165,200 a year.

Bill C-24 also has the consequential effect of increasing by two the number of parliamentary secretaries that may be appointed, from 35 to 37. There are currently 35 parliamentary secretaries. Should these two additional parliamentary secretary positions be filled at some future date, the total incremental cost would be $34,000 a year.

[Translation]

Let me summarize the changes. Bill C-24 honours the government’s promise to create a gender-balanced cabinet. It gives today’s Prime Minister and future prime ministers flexibility to act on emerging priorities with a cabinet of up to 37 ministers. The current cabinet is made up of the Prime Minister and 29 equal members, who carry out their roles and responsibilities at no additional cost to Canadian taxpayers.

[English]

Honourable senators, that concludes my remarks on Bill C-24. I thank you for your attention, and I look forward to having this bill work its way through the Senate process.

Hon. Elizabeth Marshall: Senator Harder, could you take a question? For the five new ministers whose salaries are now going to be included under the Salaries Act, is there a provision for retroactivity, or will this come into effect right away?

Senator Harder: There is no retroactivity because they are, in fact, paid that salary. What this does is regularize that salary under the effects of the changes made to the Salaries Act. There are other provisions; this regularizes the payment of ministerial salaries, and this is entirely consequent to other changes of administration where prime ministers have made adjustments to the machinery of cabinet.

Senator Marshall: So just to clarify, would you know under what authority they paid the salaries back to November of 2015?

Senator Harder: Under the Appropriations Act.

Senator Marshall: Thank you.

Hon. Percy E. Downe: I have read the bill, and it’s obviously hard to be opposed to equal treatment for individuals. The government is moving to correct this oversight, but I’m wondering: Are there any plans to correct an oversight in the Senate?

The Senate, as you know, has been structured for two groups, the government and the opposition, but we now have the situation where the leader of the third group, the ISG, has not been reimbursed for his work at all, while others in similar positions in smaller groups have been. When would the government bring forward legislation to correct that inequality?

Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for raising that question. He’ll know that the purpose of this act is the Salaries Act as it reflects itself in the ministry. The issue that he has raised is one that I am seized of, and I have had some discussions in the usual channels. That would require amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act, and I look forward to being able to report on that with more clarity on time frames soon.

Senator Downe: I will take the Leader of the Government at his word, as I always do, because he does get back to us, but it has been quite a while now since the changes in the Senate. We have heard about changes to the Parliament of Canada Act. It doesn’t seem to be very complicated. It’s a simple amendment. Would it be your view that that would happen before we rise in June?

Senator Harder: I will take the honourable senator’s question as a desire.

It is not, sadly, for me to determine that, but I will undertake, as I indicated, to bring some precision to how to proceed with this suggestion of amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act. I would suggest that there may well be a desire even in this chamber for amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act that go beyond simply those that he has suggested.

Hon. Serge Joyal: I would like to come back to the substance of the bill. Am I to understand this bill doesn’t change anything about the fact that a minister of state doesn’t have the power to authorize expenses? It’s normally another minister who handles allocation. So does the bill change anything with regard to the status of ministers of state? As I understand it, none of those ministers have a specific department, nor are they authorized to incur any expenses on behalf of the Government of Canada.

Senator Harder: We’ll get into the details in committee, but what this act does is ensure that all ministers are supported in a similar way from departments and have authorities within the area of competence that they have, as ministers, for the competence that has been given them.

Senator Joyal: I want to be more specific.

The Hon. the Speaker: Can we have the proper microphone turned on? We’re not getting the translation.

Senator Joyal: I apologize.

I want to come back to Senator Harder on this issue: A minister of state doesn’t have a specific portfolio. He or she could, of course, have a political responsibility determined by the Prime Minister, but he or she is not heading a department. He or she might be given the responsibility to speak on behalf of a specific program or specific vote, but normally he or she doesn’t incur the financial responsibility to sign for those expenses. Does this bill change anything about the fact that the status of the minister of state is not changed by this bill the way you have described it?

Senator Harder: Senator, I stand to be corrected by officials in committee, but it is my understanding that it does change, in that under the changes made with this ministry, the ministers are authorized, within their areas of competence, delegated authorities for the expenditure of funds and support from officials for the areas for which they have competence.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I also have a question for Senator Harder regarding the aspect of the bill that consolidates all of the regional development ministers under the Innovation, Science and Economic Development portfolio. I know this question was asked by our opposition critic in the house to that minister, and the point was raised about how every region in Canada is unique and has different needs, and our regional development ministers provided a perspective to the situation on the ground in those different regions.

(1520)

I’m wondering whether a minister from a certain region could, once it’s consolidated, truly meet the needs of these regions across Canada that are very distinct and unique. What sort of assurances are there for us to accept this bill?

Senator Harder: I want to be very clear that this bill makes no changes to the regional agencies. The regional agencies continue to exist. There are no legislative amendments here with respect to regional agencies, nor is the government contemplating any legislative changes to the regional agencies that I am aware of. It does abolish the position of ministers responsible for regional agencies and accepts the status quo that has existed since November 2015 that the regional agencies report to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Cannabis Bill

Declaration of Private Interest

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, Senator Frum has made a written declaration of private interest regarding Bill C-45. In accordance with rule 15-7, the declaration shall be recorded in the Journals of the Senate.

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Dean, seconded by the Honourable Senator Forest, for the second reading of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts.

Hon. André Pratte: Honourable senators, like many of you, I’m sure, I approached this issue feeling somewhat uneasy. My own experience with marijuana is extremely limited. I smoked it just once, more than 35 years ago, and I have not touched it since. Nor have I consumed any other drug, with one exception, and it’s called wine.

As a parent, I prayed that my children would not use cannabis or any other drug. That is why the idea of legalizing this substance after 95 years of prohibition leaves me rather uncomfortable. That being said, the legalization of cannabis is being forced upon us.

It’s not being forced upon us by the current government. The legalization of cannabis is being forced upon us by reality, by the fact that for more than 40 years millions of Canadians, especially young people and young adults, have ignored the law and used this drug. For the past four decades, 1 in 10 Canadians has acted as if the law does not exist. This is detrimental to the effectiveness and credibility of our justice system.

[Translation]

Legalization is being forced upon us by criminals and the control they have over the production and distribution of cannabis. That means that the health of our children is in the hands of these criminals. It also means that consumers, honest citizens, are inadvertently contributing to organized crime to the tune of $5 billion annually, to the great detriment of our society.

Legalization is being forced upon us by the fact that every year, tens of thousands of Canadians are arrested, many of whom end up with a criminal record when their crime is no more serious than if they were found in possession of a bottle of wine. This situation is morally, legally, and logically unacceptable.

[English]

In Canada, governments and a large part of society have ignored this regrettable situation for too long. We have operated under the facade that because cannabis is illegal, the use of this drug is not a widespread problem, or at least that it’s not our problem. It’s someone else’s problem or law enforcement’s problem.

Our generation’s drug of choice is alcohol. If a political party promised to reintroduce prohibition today, the suggestion would be ridiculed. Nevertheless, alcohol consumption, when abused, wreaks havoc. Canadian hospitals admit 12 times more patients each year for alcohol-related substance use disorders than for cannabis-related disorders, 12 times more.

Since alcohol prohibition did not work, governments decided a long time ago to legalize it and strictly regulate its production and sale. Why is this reasoning valid for alcohol but not for cannabis? The answers given are usually based on many of the myths around marijuana. Some claim, for example, that using marijuana is more dangerous than consuming alcohol because it leads to using harder drugs. It is the “slippery slope” argument.

However, it should be noted that if “gateway drugs” do in fact exist, and that is not proven, alcohol is one of the main ones. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

. . . the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances. Also, cross-sensitization is not unique to marijuana. Alcohol and nicotine also prime the brain for a heightened response to other drugs and are, like marijuana, also typically used before a person progresses to other, more harmful substances.

And so I ask again: Why do we insist on treating marijuana differently than alcohol?

[Translation]

Some say that the current government is moving too quickly on this file. On the contrary, the Government of Canada, including every political party, has not acted soon enough. For years, it has allowed a situation that is a health risk for young Canadians and a public safety risk to carry on. For years, at least a quarter of young Canadians 15 to 24 have been smoking marijuana without truly knowing what products they are inhaling into their lungs. Many believe that this product does not have any long-term effects on their health or any impact on their ability to drive a vehicle.

For half a century, the key policy of governments and police forces in Canada has been to go after traffickers, dealers, and consumers of cannabis. What impact have these hundreds of thousands of arrests, warnings, fines, and prison sentences had on consumption? They have had no impact whatsoever.

[English]

Some provincial governments and police forces have asked Ottawa to delay the implementation of this policy. Yet, since the government announced the July 2018 deadline, these very objectors have been preparing and making substantial headway for months.

It is now clear that all provinces will be ready. It is also clear that when the bill is passed, Canadians will be able to purchase cannabis without having to worry about poisoning themselves with bacteria or pesticides, without funding organized crime and without running the risk of ending up with a criminal record.

Will everything be perfect? Obviously, no. However, wondering whether every piece of this puzzle will be in place when the government gives the go-ahead is begging the wrong question. The question that needs to be asked is this: On day one of legalization, will the situation be better than it is now, a time when users can only get marijuana from illegal sources, with no guarantee as to the safety and potency of the product? The only possible answer to this question is yes, a legal and regulated market is preferable to an illicit and uncontrolled market, or if it is controlled, controlled by organized crime.

Those who oppose the passage of this bill obviously have legitimate motives, but, unfortunately, they’re supporting the status quo, which is putting the health of hundreds of thousands of Canadians at the mercy of criminal organizations. A century of prohibition has not changed this reality. Six more months, five more years or ten more years of prohibition will not change it either.

Opponents fear that legalization will lead to a sharp increase in consumption, especially among young people. This may seem logical. If you legalize the sale and consumption of a product that was previously illegal, people will rush to buy more. But in this case, this is not so.

(1530)

Legalization will not lead to a long-term increase in cannabis use. Why? Because for the past 40 years, at least, prohibition has not been an effective deterrent. Canadians, especially young adults, use marijuana as if it were already legal. When a deterrent is not effective and you remove it, nothing happens.

[Translation]

In 1972, the LeDain commission concluded that criminalizing marijuana possession didn’t work. At the time, 8,000 Canadians were being arrested every year for marijuana possession. Thirty years later, Canadian police officers were arresting five times more people — 40,000 per year — for simple possession. This despite the fact that the special Senate committee chaired by the late Senator Nolin had published a report that came to the following conclusion:

There have been tens of thousands of arrests and convictions for the possession of cannabis and thousands of people have been incarcerated; however, use trends remain totally unaffected . . . .

Fifteen years have passed since the special committee released its report, but we have made not one iota of progress.

It is true that, during the 2000s, the proportion of Canadians using cannabis began to shrink. Some saw that as proof criminalization was working. Let us take a closer look, however. The number of arrests for cannabis possession reached record-high levels between 2010 and 2014 — about 60,000 per year. At the same time, the proportion of Canadians using cannabis began to rise again. That shift shows that there is no simple cause-and-effect relationship between punishing marijuana users and the prevalence of marijuana use.

[English]

Let’s look at Colorado and Washington State. In both states, as you know, legalization really took off in early 2014 with the opening of the first legal cannabis stores. What has happened since?

The most credible source of information is the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. According to the most recent data for Colorado, the prevalence of marijuana use among adults increased from 12.9 per cent to 16.6 per cent between 2012-13 and 2015-16 — so a slight increase. However, the situation among young people aged 12 to 17 improved, with the percentage of marijuana users dropping from 11.1 to 9 per cent.

For Washington State, the same survey indicates that cannabis use by adults has remained stable, and cannabis use by adolescents has decreased. In short, in these two states that have legalized cannabis, the nightmare scenario did not occur.

Many parents of children and adolescents are worried about the proposed legislation now before us, and I understand their concern.

To these parents, I say with great respect and sympathy, even if you would like it to be otherwise — and we would all have liked a different outcome — the current system, based on the prohibition of cannabis, does not protect your children. The reality today in our neighbourhoods, in our streets and near our schools is that it is much easier for a minor to buy a few grams of marijuana than a case of beer.

Legalizing marijuana will not increase health risks for these young people whether they are minors or young adults. First, it will still be illegal for minors to possess cannabis. I repeat: For minors, possession of cannabis will continue to be prohibited under the Criminal Code for five grams or more, or under provincial legislation for any quantity, including less than five grams.

Second, these health risks already exist. We simply chose to hide them behind the heavy curtain of illegality. Instead of educating young people about marijuana, we thought it better to try to scare them. Forbidding is not educating. When it comes to young people, forbidding is a sure fail.

Of course, legalization will not eliminate the health risks of cannabis. It will, however, allow educators and public health workers to engage in honest, fruitful discussions with young people about the harms of marijuana rather than be silenced by the taboo that has existed until now.

Honourable senators, those who oppose the passage of Bill C-45 in this chamber would like Canadians to believe that it is impossible to complete the meticulous study of this bill before the summer adjournment. I disagree.

Bill C-45 is 134 pages long. We have five months left, 16 weeks of work. That’s about nine pages a week. I believe that most Canadians expect an efficient Senate to be able to get that kind of work done. Especially since, as recently as last month, they saw us pass Bill C-63, the Budget Implementation Act — a complex, 317-page enactment — in just 10 days.

Well, you will tell me, of course, that’s true, but this is a different kind of bill. This bill will, in a way, change Canadian society. I would put it in the same category as, say, the medically assisted dying bill, Bill C-14. Counting pre-study, it took us two and a half months to study and pass Bill C-14. Would anyone dare say we did not do a thorough examination of that bill? Again, we have five months to study Bill C-45, twice as much as we had for the medically assisted dying bill.

The introduction of Bill C-45 gave me the opportunity to read the report of the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs. I did so bearing in mind the kind of man its chair, Pierre Claude Nolin, was. Senator Nolin was a Conservative — a conservative of party and of principles — a wise, pragmatic man who would not have endorsed the legalization of cannabis had he not been absolutely convinced, after careful consideration, of the futility and the harmfulness of prohibition.

Colleagues, I don’t expect that you will be influenced by the mundane speech of a rookie senator. Instead, I ask you to stop and reflect on these wise words that Senator Nolin left us in his historic report:

. . . the continued prohibition of cannabis jeopardizes the health and well-being of Canadians much more than the regulated marketing of the substance. . . .

It is time to recognize what is patently obvious: our policies have been ineffective because they are poor policies.

Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Ending the Captivity of Whales and
Dolphins Bill

Bill to Amend—Seventh Report of Fisheries and Oceans Committee—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Manning, seconded by the Honourable Senator Housakos, for the adoption of the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (Bill S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins), with amendments), presented in the Senate on October 31, 2017.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: If senators are not ready for the question, will someone move the adjournment?

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

(1540)

Senate Modernization

Ninth Report of Special Committee—
Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Frum, seconded by the Honourable Senator Beyak, for the adoption of the ninth report (interim) of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization, entitled Senate Modernization: Moving Forward (Question Period), presented in the Senate on October 25, 2016.

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Honourable senators, I wish to adjourn this item in my name.

(On motion of Senator Omidvar, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

Internal Economy, Budgets and
Administration

Twenty-first Report of Committee—
Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Massicotte, seconded by the Honourable Senator Tannas, for the adoption of the twenty-first report (interim) of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, entitled Audit and Oversight, presented in the Senate on November 28, 2017.

Hon. Lucie Moncion: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak on the twenty-first interim report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration which was tabled in the Senate last November and which refers to the creation of an audit and oversight committee.

On September 21, the Subcommittee on Senate Estimates of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration was given the mandate to study recommendations 51 to 57 from the Auditor General of Canada report, namely those dealing with senators’ expenses. The subcommittee was also to look at best auditing and monitoring practices and recommend a monitoring mechanism and appropriate structure that would meet the needs of the Senate. The report was to be presented by October 26, 2017. Today, we are called upon to vote on this report.

[English]

In order to provide a good context for the work that has been done, I would like to quickly review the Auditor General’s recommendations, then present the recommendations that are proposed by the subcommittee and provide my comments and observations.

[Translation]

On June 9, 2015, the Auditor General of Canada reported on his audit of senators’ expenses. The analysis period ran from April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2013. His exhaustive analysis led to the discovery of a significant number of discrepancies between the rules, their use and their interpretation. Since then, an important number of adjustments have been put in place to change and clarify the rules, to make information available to the public and to increase the accountability of the staff responsible for reimbursing senators’ expenses. All of these improvements have led to greater transparency and accountability.

[English]

The Auditor General’s report recommendations 51 to 56 invited the Senate to set up an independent oversight body, administered by members mainly from outside the Senate whose mandate would be specifically dedicated to auditing senators’ expenditures, who would report to the public and from whom an internal auditor would report.

The subcommittee members took the Auditor General’s recommendations and chose to integrate the oversight function to the audit function, and proposes that a new standing committee on audit and oversight be created. The mandate of this new committee would include the authority to review expenses and travels incurred by individual senators and all relevant documentation; the authority to make final decisions on whether those expenses comply with the rules, policies and guidelines; and whether amounts should be repaid by senators. This mandate would also include the audit functions of the Senate expenses and components.

Before approving any new committee structure, I invite you to consider the model that best fits our needs with respect to both internal audit of senators’ expenditures and the accountability of the Senate.

First, let me say that I am in agreement with the oversight of senators’ expenses, because it is a good practice and accountability is, in our day, essential to ensure transparency and integrity of operations. However, I have reservations about setting up a structure that would be exclusively dedicated to this function. With all the measures and follow-ups that are now part of the administrative operations of the Senate, it may no longer be necessary to choose this option but to integrate it into the mandate of the existing Audit Subcommittee.

[Translation]

The mandate of an audit or an audit and oversight committee is divided into three main functions: one related to governance, one to risk management and one to internal control.

The roles and responsibilities of an audit committee include monitoring and compliance of values and ethics, risk management, internal controls, internal audit, action plan monitoring, financial statements oversight, and public accounts reports. For each of these components, there are responsibilities and a refined framework that are already established.

This brings me to the information provided in the twenty-first report. There are seven statements in this report that are of concern regarding the “monitoring” of activities and the “powers” that this new committee could potentially be granted.

[English]

The first statement deals with rule 12-16(1):

In addition to the provisions of rule 12-16(1), the new committee should also meet in camera for the review of the in-camera proceedings of other committees.

First, the in camera proceedings of Senate committees belong to these committees. They are not of public knowledge, and they remain confidential documents. All motions arising from in camera proceedings must be approved in a public committee session, making decision-making processes open, transparent and accessible to the public.

By granting such scrutiny over the in camera proceedings of other committees, we grant extraordinary powers to the members of the Audit Subcommittee.

Before approving such a recommendation, we must understand the reasons for such access, dwell on the necessity of granting such access and the information to which the Audit Subcommittee would have access.

Let’s take the example of the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Committee. It would be frowned upon if the Audit Subcommittee had access to the in camera proceedings of that committee. The cases reviewed are extremely sensitive and confidential, and should not be accessed by non-committee members.

[Translation]

The second statement concerns the proposed audit and monitoring mandate. I quote:

Your subcommittee believes that such an oversight committee would serve the Senate and Canada more effectively and efficiently if it included oversight of not only senators’ travel and living expenses — which comprises only 4 per cent of the total Senate budget — but would include oversight for all Senate expenditures.

(1550)

The oversight role for senators’ and Senate expenses is provided primarily by Senate staff, who are responsible for the reimbursement of these expenses and for compliance with existing policies, regulations and budgets. In recent years and since the Auditor General’s report, significant follow-up and control measures have been put in place, making the oversight of senators’ expenditures much more rigorous, open and transparent. All justifications and explanations must now accompany the claims. Office, living, hospitality and travel expenses are disclosed, published and made available to the public in the “Transparency and Accountability” section of the Senate website.

[English]

Second, the twenty-first report proposes the creation of an internal auditor position, which is highly desirable. This person would be responsible, by sampling, to see if the policies and regulations are followed and, if there are exceptions, to conduct the audits and report his findings to the Audit Subcommittee.

However, the question arises as to whether the Senate would be better served by using the internal audit services of a recognized external audit firm in the field. The advantages related to this method of operation are multiple. Among other things, we would have confidence in the independence of the opinions expressed, we would avoid the setting up of an external oversight committee, and we would come to offer an additional assurance that the expenses of the senators are in compliance. The importance of the audit work and the role of this external firm would ensure complete transparency and neutrality for all matters pertaining to senators and Senate expenses.

No senator should oversee the activities of another senator, let alone monitor the expenses of another senator. The conflict or appearance of a conflict of interest must be avoided at all costs. This work must be done by totally independent people, who refer to the practices, policies and regulations in place. The exemptions noted must be communicated to the persons in question, and corrective measures must be taken, including reimbursement of expenses, if necessary.

[Translation]

The audit committee itself must receive information on the occurrence, the type of exemptions and the specific cases of abuse. It must also receive general recommendations as to whether the policies and regulations in place meet the requirements or need to be changed. If adjustments are to be made, they will form part of the reports and recommendations of the audit committee to be presented to the Senate.

[English]

The third statement is about the mandate of the Audit Subcommittee where members would:

. . . develop its general mandate consistent with the audit and oversight principles and best practices contained in this report, including an authorization to consider issues on its own initiative.

First, in this report, I don’t see best practices in audit and oversight. I do see principles, but no best practices. I recommend that the best practices published by the Chartered Professional Accountants Canada and the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors be integrated into the report, for example, terms of reference, mandate, role and responsibilities, frequency of meetings, scope of audits, internal and external reporting, et cetera. We need to be comfortable with the mandate of this committee and the scope of the audits that will be performed.

As for the portion where we see “authorization to consider issues on its own initiative,” I bring a word of caution. Giving carte blanche to the Audit Subcommittee to consider issues on its own initiative could be risky. I would rather recommend that the mandate of the Audit Subcommittee be in line with best practices. I would find it hazardous for the Audit Subcommittee to be given discretionary powers on any matter that would fall on its own initiatives.

[Translation]

The fourth statement is about who would be member of this committee. I quote:

That any proposed amendments to the Rules of the Senate include no cross-membership between members of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the Standing Committee on Audit and Oversight.

Let me express my concerns here in regards to this recommendation. Under the Parliament of Canada Act, responsibility for service of the Senate falls exclusively to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. This committee is responsible for all of the Senate’s finances and operations. Its subcommittees further study certain issues and report back to the Internal Economy Committee, which in turn reports to the Senate. This method of operation is well established and responds to the hierarchical functioning of the Senate. This leads me to question the need to create an entity that would have greater powers than the Internal Economy Committee.

When we talk of best practices, it should be noted that an audit or audit and oversight committee doesn’t have greater authority or powers than other committees. It has equal powers but a different mandate. It has an important role to play in determining the integrity of operations and activities, which is directly related to our fiduciary responsibility to the public. That said, it is not autonomous and should report directly to the Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration Committee. There is already an audit subcommittee reporting to the Internal Economy Committee. Have we considered the possibility of amending the mandate of the existing audit committee to add an internal audit component? This option would be much less burdensome and onerous, and it would reduce committee staff workloads and allow the Senate to obtain reasonable assurance that its operations meet best practices.

[English]

The fifth statement deals with changes to the Senate’s rules.

It states:

That the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration develop and propose amendments to the Senate Administrative Rules (SARS) as required for the proper functioning of the new Standing Committee on Audit and Oversight, including the ability to act independently and to interpret sections the SARS relating to its work.

It is true that the Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration Committee is responsible for ensuring that Senate rules and regulations allow for the setting up of an audit committee. It is also true that once the rules have been changed, the committee must be able to question the rules and interpret them in the context of its work. However, audit committee interpretation of rules should not be final. Anyone wishing to appeal should have the right to do so.

The members of the Audit Subcommittee have an important role to play. When the rules are unclear, confusing or inconsistent, they are required to report back and propose possible amendments.

[Translation]

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator, your time is up. Do you want five more minutes?

Senator Moncion: Yes, please.

[English]

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

[Translation]

Senator Moncion: The sixth statement concerns intersessional meetings, seeking, and I quote, “. . . to provide intersessional authority to the Standing Committee on Audit and Oversight, when the new committee is established . . . .”

Considering best practices, meetings of this committee should be held quarterly, no more than four times a year. An audit committee is not operational and has no decision-making powers over the activities of an entity. Permitting intersessional meetings suggests a much more operational role for this committee, which should be avoided.

[English]

The seventh statement concerns the hiring of the external auditor.

It says:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Audit and Oversight be authorized to hire the external auditor.

I disagree with this statement. The Audit Subcommittee reports to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the hiring authority rests with that committee. The Audit Subcommittee may recommend hiring, but this committee should not be given such authority. In terms of good governance, there is a hierarchy that must be respected.

[Translation]

Honorable colleagues, you will have noticed throughout my presentation that I have reservations about what is proposed to us in this twenty-first report and I will not be able to vote in favor of its adoption. Between the supervisory body proposed to us by the Auditor General and the setting up of a standing audit and oversight committee, with oversight and significant powers over all Senate activities, there is a very large margin. One is too simple when it confers only the role of overseeing the expenses and travel of senators and the other is disproportionate and far exceeds the needs of the Senate.

(1600)

[English]

In presenting my comments on the twenty-first report, I’ve tried to shed light on the issues we face. If we approve this twenty-first report, we must be aware that we agree to the establishment of a standing committee that will be able, among other things, to consider the in camera proceedings of other committees, monitor the expenditures and travel of senators and examine matters of its own initiative, the autonomy and powers of which will be superior to those of Internal Economy, allowing them to act independently and to interpret the articles of the SARS, to sit between sessions and to hire the external auditor. I would find it extremely detrimental for the Senate to authorize the establishment of such a committee.

I conclude with this recommendation: The audit subcommittee already exists and reports to the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. Its mandate needs to be reviewed and adjusted to the updated needs of the Senate in order to add a comprehensive internal audit component and to incorporate best practices published by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada and the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors. The hiring of an external audit firm to carry out internal audit work would complement the work of the committee. By choosing to do so, we maintain best practices in governance and oversight functions, improve our audit and monitoring operations, provide reasonable assurance that our operations comply with the regulations in place, leave the Senate’s governance structure intact and remain compliant with the Parliament of Canada Act.

[Translation]

Thank you for your attention.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

The Senate

Motion to Resolve that an Amendment to the Real Property Qualifications of Senators in the
Constitution Act, 1867 be Authorized to be Made by Proclamation Issued by the Governor General—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Patterson, seconded by the Honourable Senator Runciman:

Whereas the Senate provides representation for groups that are often underrepresented in Parliament, such as Aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and women;

Whereas paragraph (3) of section 23 of the Constitution Act, 1867 requires that, in order to be qualified for appointment to and to maintain a place in the Senate, a person must own land with a net worth of at least four thousand dollars in the province for which he or she is appointed;

Whereas a person’s personal circumstances or the availability of real property in a particular location may prevent him or her from owning the required property;

Whereas appointment to the Senate should not be restricted to those who own real property of a minimum net worth;

Whereas the existing real property qualification is inconsistent with the democratic values of modern Canadian society and is no longer an appropriate or relevant measure of the fitness of a person to serve in the Senate;

Whereas, in the case of Quebec, each of the twenty-four Senators representing the province must be appointed for and must have either their real property qualification in or be resident of a specified Electoral Division;

Whereas an amendment to the Constitution of Canada in relation to any provision that applies to one or more, but not all, provinces may be made by proclamation issued by the Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada only where so authorized by resolutions of the Senate and House of Commons and of the legislative assembly of each province to which the amendment applies;

Whereas the Supreme Court of Canada has determined that a full repeal of paragraph (3) of section 23 of the Constitution Act, 1867, respecting the real property qualification of Senators, would require a resolution of the Quebec National Assembly pursuant to section 43 of the Constitution Act, 1982;

Now, therefore, the Senate resolves that an amendment to the Constitution of Canada be authorized to be made by proclamation issued by His Excellency the Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada in accordance with the Schedule hereto.

SCHEDULE

AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF CANADA

1.(1) Paragraph (3) of section 23 of the Constitution Act, 1867 is repealed.

(2) Section 23 of the Act is amended by replacing the semi-colon at the end of paragraph (5) with a period and by repealing paragraph (6).

2.The Declaration of Qualification set out in The Fifth Schedule to the Act is replaced by the following:

I, A.B., do declare and testify that I am by law duly qualified to be appointed a member of the Senate of Canada.

3.This Amendment may be cited as the Constitution Amendment, [year of proclamation] (Real property qualification of Senators).

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Honourable senators, Senator Patterson’s Motion No. 73 complements the bill, which addresses the same issue and the same consequences. You may recall that I spoke during the debate on the bill a few months ago.

In brief, I want to reiterate that it is not up to the Senate to make constitutional amendments. Under the rules pertaining to the amendment of the Constitution, it falls on the federal government and all the provinces, depending on the amendment in question, to propose such amendments.

It seems to me — and I will say it again since this motion gives me another opportunity to do so — that Senator Patterson is taking major steps to deal with a situation that seems to be unique to some geographic areas where it may be difficult to acquire a residence. That is not a very common situation.

I would also like to reiterate that this motion, which calls on the Governor General to make changes to the Constitution, is unconstitutional. What is more, with all due respect to Senator Patterson, he is not even asking that this motion be sent to a Senate committee for study.

I think that we eventually need to add an amendment to refer the motion to a committee, likely the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, but for now, I would like to reiterate that this motion deals with a situation that is specific to a given region where acquiring a residence can be difficult.

I told Senator Patterson that the easiest way to resolve this problem would likely be to ask his territorial government to ask the federal government for an exemption. That was a few months ago, and I do not believe such a request was made.

I will end on that note. Senators will understand where I stand on this issue. I cannot support this motion.

(On motion of Senator Pratte, debate adjourned.)

Motion to Strike Special Committee on the
Charitable Sector Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion, as modified, of the Honourable Senator Mercer, seconded by the Honourable Senator Fraser:

That a Special Committee on the Charitable Sector be appointed to examine the impact of federal and provincial laws and policies governing charities, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and other similar groups; and to examine the impact of the voluntary sector in Canada;

That the committee be composed of nine members, to be nominated by the Committee of Selection, and that four 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, 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 31, 2018, and retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 60 days after the tabling of the final report.

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Honourable senators, you will recall that, just before the Senate adjourned for the holidays in December, I said that I wanted to speak to this motion.

[English]

A special committee on the charitable sector be appointed. I certainly agree with the amendment. Bringing it to nine members, I think, is more operational and efficient, and, on the reporting period of December 31, 2018, I also believe that that is adequate time to conduct this study.

Honourable senators, I’m pleased to speak in favour of the amended motion and wish to thank Senator Mercer for this initiative. I have so many questions with regard to charities and have high expectations of a report that will help our charities in their goals.

I hope that the few questions that I will pose will be studied by the committee and that answers will be given or recommendations provided.

For instance, why is Revenue Canada treating donations to charities differently as compared to political parties? Why is that? What’s the purpose? Is donating to charities, helping Canadians, not as welcome by the federal government and the Canadian population as volunteers in charitable organizations, in food banks?

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Why is there that difference and should we still tolerate that difference with regard to how Revenue Canada interprets and provides tax credits to donors?

Giving to charities online is increasing drastically, so why should Canadian charities pay credit card fees of up to 3 per cent for the donations they are receiving, while charities in the European Union would pay a maximum of 0.3 per cent? In fact, if we would adopt the same percentage rate for Canadian charities as European charities, our Canadian charities would have 2.7 per cent more funds to provide more services to Canadians.

Another question: Should donors to our Canadian charities dedicated to alleviating poverty for Canadian children get a different tax break than a charity operating overseas, for instance?

Should volunteers in those charities’ operations receive a tax credit commensurate with their time allocated to that charitable work? If so, how should it be structured?

I believe I may have provided unintended questions to the committee study, but these are valid questions. And if we are to look at how we help charitable organizations in Canada meet their mandate and fulfill the loopholes that different governments or communities are not able to, then these questions need to be answered also.

In closing, I wish this committee much success as it dedicates its time to charities. I, and I think all of us, shall await your report and recommendations with great anticipation in the hope that your deadline of December will be met and we’ll be able to act on what needs to be done with regard to those great associations. Thank you.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

An Hon. Senator: On division.

(Motion as modified agreed to, on division.)

[Translation]

Motion to Encourage the Government to Take Account of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as it Drafts Legislation and Develops Policy relating to Sustainable Development—Debate Continued

On the Order:

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

That the Senate take note of Agenda 2030 and the related sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations on September 25, 2015, and encourage the Government of Canada to take account of them as it drafts legislation and develops policy relating to sustainable development.

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to this motion on the 2030 Agenda. I support this motion. However, I should tell you that I will be proposing a friendly amendment that Senator Dawson has told me he agrees with. I would also like to note that I am speaking as an unaffiliated senator from Quebec, not as the legislative deputy.

Before I begin, I want to go over what the 2030 Agenda is. The 2030 Agenda, or the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, is a United Nations program that was adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 25, 2015. This program is the result of years-long international negotiations to secure the participation of all the countries on the planet as part of an unprecedented push to create a global partnership to save the Earth. This holistic approach focuses on the economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development and is intended to get every person on the planet voluntarily involved in ensuring the economic security and welfare of all human beings and in containing the effects of climate change.

[English]

The agenda sets forth 17 sustainable development goals broken down into 169 targets to achieve by 2030. The agenda is based on the idea that sustainable development is not only an ecological and environmental challenge, but also a social and economic challenge. These three dimensions of sustainable development are closely related; one cannot be achieved without the other two.

I would like to thank Senator Dawson for drawing the attention of this chamber to the 2030 agenda, an important and topical issue.

[Translation]

The 2030 Agenda is a global response to the world’s more pressing problems. It also represents a profoundly innovative interpretation of sustainable development.

[English]

It links the fight against extreme poverty to the preservation of the planet in the face of climate change; it brings to all countries of the planet a universal and holistic approach to the issues of sustainable development; and it is the result of unprecedented consultation between civil society, the private sector, local communities, the research community, and the result of negotiations between the states involved.

[Translation]

Canada is one of the 193 countries that have made a commitment to work towards the targets of the 17 global goals. Senator Dawson summed them up briefly, but I want to go over them more fully so you can get a better idea of the scope of the challenges.

Goal 1, end poverty in all its forms everywhere. Goal 2, end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Goal 3, ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Goal 4, ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

[English]

Goal 5, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Goal 6, ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Goal 7, ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

[Translation]

Goal 8, promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Goal 9, build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

[English]

Goal 10, reduce inequality within and among countries.

[Translation]

Goal 11, make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

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[English]

Goal 12, ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Goal 13, take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Goal 14, conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Goal 15, protect life on land.

Goal 16, promote peace and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Goal 17, strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

[Translation]

As you can see, honourable colleagues, the 2030 Agenda has ambitious goals and involves all countries, regardless of their level of development. Given its magnitude, the agenda is about more than just governments. It calls on all levels of government to take action, of course, but also civil society, businesses and community organizations. This agenda calls for engagement on the part of stakeholders around the world.

I can already hear some people saying that this agenda is pure fantasy, that it is wishful thinking, and that the biggest obstacle to achieving it will be financial. Yes, the 2030 Agenda will require huge investments that will need to find funding. How can the business world and especially the financial community be persuaded to become engaged? It is precisely in order to meet this challenge that pursuing the 17 goals must be achieved simultaneously in order to ensure that such collective efforts lead to mutually beneficial outcomes for the entire planet. This will no doubt require a delicate political exercise, and parliamentarians and politicians around the world have a duty to promote this agenda.

Despite the magnitude of the challenges, at least two major international financial institutions have said they are prepared to meet them, specifically, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which work in partnership with private institutions.

The International Monetary Fund is committed to supporting the sustainable development efforts of all of its member states, in the context of its own mission. It has also developed a number of initiatives to significantly increase the support it provides to member states that are making efforts to achieve sustainable development goals.

[English]

The World Bank reaffirmed in 2017 its commitment to the realization of Agenda 2030. I invite all of you to read their recent publication on the subject entitled, Implementing the 2030 Agenda: 2017 Update.

In fact, as explained in this publication, the sustainable development goals are aligned with the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. The World Bank Group is working with client countries to deliver on the 2030 agenda through three critical areas — finance, data, and implementation — supporting country-led and country-owned policies to attain the sustainable development goals.

[Translation]

To those who believe that these objectives cannot be met, I say that the current reality of a great number of human beings on earth requires that we do all we can to achieve the impossible.

Agenda 2030 identifies the universal aspirations of every human being and presents 169 specific targets to be achieved by 2030 by each signatory country. These goals and targets will solve the problems that threaten the sustainability and prosperity of the planet and all those living on it.

Yes, it is an ambitious program, but it is necessary.

Let us now talk about Canada. What progress has Canada made towards achieving these sustainable development goals?

There have already been some studies to ascertain Canada’s progress relative to that of other countries in achieving the sustainable development goals. According to a 2017 United Nations study entitled Sustainable Development Goals Index and Dashboards Report 2017, Canada is ranked 17 of 157 countries studied. Canada is ranked just behind the United Kingdom with a score of 78. Sweden had the best score, 85.6, and was followed by other Scandinavian countries. The United States had a score of 72.4 and is ranked 42nd.

According to this study, Canada has achieved very good results with regard to goals 3, 4 and 7, or those objectives pertaining to health, education, and accessibility of green energy. However, Canada has much work to do if it is to achieve the other goals. There is a significant discrepancy between the current situation and what we want to achieve, particularly with regard to goals 12, 13, and 15, those concerning responsible consumption and production, action to combat climate change, and preserving terrestrial ecosystems.

As you know, the current federal government is working to achieve sustainable development goals. With regard to the environment, the government adopted a federal sustainable development strategy in 2012. That legislation underwent a comprehensive review in 2016, and the government introduced a bill in Parliament, Bill C-57, to amend the existing legislation to make it more consistent with the approach set out in the UN’s Agenda 2030.

The federal government addressed the UN’s High-level Political Forum 2017 in July in order to describe the operational approach it will be taking to contribute to Agenda 2030. I encourage you to read that document.

It is clear that the federal government cannot act alone. It must urge other Canadian governments, municipalities, and all Canadians to participate.

Dear colleagues, I also think that, as senators, we have a role to play in Agenda 2030. That is why I am proposing an amendment to Senator Dawson’s motion, with his consent. He even suggested a very simple way to word that amendment. I would remind senators that the current motion reads as follows:

That the Senate take note of Agenda 2030 and the related sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations on September 25, 2015, and encourage the Government of Canada to take account of them as it drafts legislation and develops policy relating to sustainable development.

The amendment that I am proposing be made to the motion involves making a few minor changes so that the motion reads as follows:

That the Senate take note of Agenda 2030 and the related sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations on September 25, 2015, and encourage Parliament and the Government of Canada to take account of them as they draft legislation and develop policy relating to sustainable development.

If Parliament commits to this, we as senators can advance the sustainable development goals in Canada. Because the Senate is not subject to electoral cycles, its stability and institutional memory make it the ideal body to follow through on the goals.

In addition to supporting the motion as amended, I encourage my honourable colleagues to put the sustainable development goals front and centre in their work. Senators can give speeches, bring inquiries, propose committee studies, move motions, introduce bills, organize activities in every province and speak to the media.

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We might create a synergy between the local stakeholders, representatives of provincial and municipal governments, as well as union and management representatives, because there are disagreements on the approach to take to meet the targets of the 2030 Agenda. We must take all their comments into consideration so that Canada can adopt effective strategies for meeting these targets.

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Bellemare, your time has expired. Would you like five more minutes?

Senator Bellemare: Yes, please.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Bellemare: I will be quick.

[English]

I also encourage senators to work in collaboration with parliamentarians in the other place on issues related to this agenda and to act as a bridge with the provinces to contribute to and establish constructive federal and provincial relations.

Honourable senators, we are at the beginning of 2018. Let us think of the future of our country and find the means to improve the chances of all Canadians to prosper in a sustainable environment.

In conclusion, let the 2030 Agenda channel our energies so that Canada can participate sustainably to the building of a better world.

[Translation]

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

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Yes. Will Senator Bellemare take a question?

Senator Bellemare: Yes, of course.

Senator Ringuette: It is more of a clarification. When introducing your proposed amendment, you referred to the United States several times, but I believe that you meant to say United Nations.

Senator Bellemare: Yes, absolutely.

Senator Ringuette: In that case, I believe the record should be corrected accordingly.

Senator Bellemare: Indeed. Thank you, Senator Ringuette. I didn’t realize it and yet, my speech clearly indicates “United Nations”. I would ask the reporters and interpreters to take note of the fact that I was talking about the United Nations. I will go over the Blues carefully and make any corrections if necessary.

[English]

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Bellemare, you referred to an amendment a number of times in your speech but you never moved an amendment. Was it your intention to move an amendment?

Senator Bellemare: Yes, and I have this amendment with me in a motion.

The Hon. the Speaker: You have two-and-a-half minutes to read it into the record.

[Translation]

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Therefore, honourable senators, in amendment, I move:

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

1.adding the words “Parliament and” after the word “encourage”; and

2.replacing, in the English version, the words “it drafts legislation and develops” by the words “they draft legislation and develop”.

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

[English]

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Senator Dawson is not here, so I wish to adjourn this item.

(On motion of Senator Day, debate adjourned.)

Motion to Urge the Government to take into Consideration the Funding of Literacy
Programs in Atlantic Canada—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Griffin, seconded by the Honourable Senator Martin:

That the Senate affirm that literacy is a core component to active citizenship, a determinant for healthy outcomes, and, at its core, key to building an innovative economy with good, sustainable jobs;

That the Senate urge the Government to take into consideration the particular regional circumstances of Atlantic Canada based on smaller populations, many of which are in rural areas, when determining whether to implement programs using project-based funding compared to core funding;

That the Senate further urge the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to make an exception to the present terms and conditions of the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills project-based funding programs in order to request an emergency submission to the Treasury Board for $600,000 of core funding for the Atlantic Partnership for Literacy and Essential Skills based on their 2017 pre-budget consultation submission to Parliament; and

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

Hon. Nancy J. Hartling: Welcome back, everybody. This speech was saved for you from last year. I hope you’re nice and rested and ready to hear this because it is very important. It is about literacy.

I rise today to support Senator Griffin’s motion which urges the Government of Canada to take into consideration the funding of literacy programs in Atlantic Canada. Literacy includes the ability to read and write but also to do the math and problem solve. With our ever-changing society, the definition of literacy has also changed and evolved. Our society and our economy is very different than it was 50 years or even 20 years ago, which some of us remember. The definition of literacy includes terms such as numeracy, financial, digital, health, critical and workplace literacy.

In 2013, a survey of adult skills programs done by the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies found that 18.5 per cent of the New Brunswick population was at a level 1 literacy rate. Individuals at level 1 literacy had the ability to understand basic vocabulary, determine the meaning of sentences and read continuous text, digital or print, with a degree of fluency. They are not yet at a level where they can compare and contrast two or more pieces of information. They’re able to perform multi-step operations or interpret and evaluate the information they are read to make appropriate inferences. These are indicators of level 2 and 3 literacy on a five-level scale.

Due to different assessment tools and classifications of literacy, it is somewhat difficult to have a definite number of rates in my home province of New Brunswick. However, it’s estimated that 50 per cent of the population over the age of 16 in New Brunswick lack the skills to adequately read and understand a document.

In February 2017, the Government of New Brunswick released a comprehensive literacy strategy titled “Unleashing the power of literacy.” In its foreword, Cathy Rogers, our minister responsible for literacy, reminds us that literacy is an essential skill to the province’s economy and a key contributor for all New Brunswickers to have a good quality of life. Yes, increasing literacy rates helps to stimulate the economy but also decreases poverty rates and mental and physical health issues, thus leading to healthier, happier people and families and communities.

In November, I had the opportunity to speak at the Laubach Literacy New Brunswick’s annual meeting, and I heard clearly the great need for their programs and the lack of funding and resources, especially federal funding, to continue their programs.

Also, in November, I attended the Moncton Regional Learning Council’s fortieth anniversary. Many of their volunteers have been working on literacy for more than 40 years.

During these events a panel, including two literacy students and their tutors, spoke, and I was struck by this. Denise and Sam, two adult students, spoke passionately about how their opportunity to participate in literacy programs through their workplace helped them on the job and in their personal life. Sam explained how embarrassing it was not to be able to read in the workplace, his health and safety practices and policies. At home, Sam said his wife would have to read his documents, such as mortgage and insurance documents. He says he now reads with more ease and confidence and looks forward to gaining more skills.

Denise said that she worked for the company for many years but felt inadequate not being able to read well. She lacked the literacy skills for her daily home life.

Denise and Sam praised their employer, James McKenna of Glenwood Kitchens, for sponsoring and supporting them. They have developed a positive relationship with their tutors and both look forward to continuing their tutoring.

Just imagine, colleagues, in the last 24 hours how many times you’ve used your reading skills: checking your emails, your Twitter, your Google, reading bills for the Senate, writing speeches, reading our Order Paper and newspapers, media releases, our personal bills and our bank statements. So much depends on our literacy comprehension. It is as vital as the air we breathe. It affects all of us. We take it for granted and it touches all aspects of our life.

One initiative in my home province is the City of Moncton’s workplace education program. This initiative was developed in response to a Canada-wide challenge for municipalities to invest in workplace education, and it was developed by a joint labour management committee. The program began in the late 1990s, recognizing that its workplace environment was changing due to the increasing use of computers and new legislation in regard to employer safety and recruitment.

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The City of Moncton understood that many of its long-time employees needed to improve their literacy and computer skills. Since then, it has encouraged lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is really important for city employees and offers training such as basic math and reading, GED, second language courses, which are essential in our province, employment licensing and certification requirements.

It is important for all players to continue their engagement in the literacy file. However, the need for a national strategy in literacy and funding remains. It is therefore critical that the Government of Canada hear our call for help on this issue.

Consequently, I add my voice to this request and echo what my colleagues have already stated: Remove the restrictions associated with project-based funding and allow the Atlantic Partnership for Literacy and Essential Skills to use the money as it was detailed in a 2017 pre-budget consultation and as needed in order to ensure long-term programs for Atlantic Canada.

Honourable senators, I encourage you to support this motion.

(On motion of Senator Marshall, debate adjourned.)

National Anthem Act

Bill to Amend—Disposition of Bill—Motion—
Vote Deferred

Hon. Frances Lankin, pursuant to notice of December 4, 2017, moved:

That notwithstanding any provisions of the Rules or usual practice, immediately following the adoption of this motion, or, if a vote relating to Bill C-210, An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender), had been previously deferred, immediately following that deferred vote:

1.the Speaker interrupt any proceedings in order to put all questions necessary to dispose of Bill C-210, without further debate, amendment or adjournment;

2.if a standing vote is requested in relation to any question necessary to dispose of the bill under this order, the bells to call in the senators ring only once and for 15 minutes, without the further ringing of the bells in relation to any subsequent standing votes requested under this order;

3.no standing vote requested in relation to the disposition of the bill under this order be deferred;

4.no motion to adjourn the Senate or to take up any other item of business be received until the bill has been decided upon; and

5.the provisions of the Rules and any previous order of the Senate relating to the time of automatic adjournment of the Senate and the suspension of the sitting at 6 p.m. be suspended until all questions necessary to dispose of the bill have been dealt with.

She said: Honourable senators, thank you very much. I believe the motion speaks for itself.

Hon. Chantal Petitclerc: I move that the previous question be now put.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: I wanted to debate this, Your Honour.

The Hon. the Speaker: There is a motion on the floor that the question be put, so we’ll have to put that first, Senator Plett.

Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Question.

Senator Plett: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say “yea.”

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker: All those opposed, nay.

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion, the “yeas” have it.

I see two honourable senators standing.

And two honourable senators having risen:

The Hon. the Speaker: Do we have agreement on a bell? Fifteen minutes?

Senator Plett: Is this something we can defer?

The Hon. the Speaker: Yes, it can be deferred until tomorrow. Is there agreement that the debate be deferred until 5:30 p.m. tomorrow?

Senator Housakos, did you have something to say?

Hon. Leo Housakos: I was going to rise on a point of order, Your Honour. I thought it unusual that Your Honour would recognize a question when a senator gets up on debate, even though the person who called the question might have risen in advance of somebody who rose on debate. I think it’s only appropriate that the chair would ask if there’s further debate before going to the question.

The Hon. the Speaker: There was a motion put on the question before I saw anybody rise for debate. Had I seen Senator Plett rise for debate, I wouldn’t have entertained a question. You’re quite right on that.

However, the motion was put.

The vote will take place at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow.

[Translation]

The Senate

Motion to Authorize Senators who are Chairs or Deputy Chairs of More than One Committee to Waive Allowances for Additional Positions as Chair or Deputy Chair—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Raymonde Saint-Germain,, pursuant to notice of December 13, 2017, moved:

That, pursuant to chapter 4:01, section 2, of the Senate Administrative Rules, for the remainder of the current session, any senator who occupies more than one position of chair or deputy chair of a committee for which an additional allowance is payable be authorized to waive the portion of his or her allowance payable in respect of those additional positions of chair or deputy chair.

She said: Honourable senators, I move the motion standing in my name.

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

[English]

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I missed that. I didn’t have my earpiece in. Would you repeat that?

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Saint-Germain is moving the adoption of Motion 286.

Senator Martin: May I have a quick look?

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

Senator Andreychuk, did you want to say something?

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: I understood this motion — there are issues. Senator Joyal is not here. I had a conversation with Senator Woo, and I was hoping this matter would be set over so we could discuss it further.

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Andreychuk, did you want to adjourn it?

Senator Andreychuk: Yes, I will adjourn the motion.

The Hon. the Speaker: Again, because we very quickly had a motion adopted, leave would have to be granted to adjourn for further debate. I think it only reasonable, since I did not see Senator Andreychuk rise, that leave be granted to adjourn it for further debate.

Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Andreychuk, seconded by the Honourable Senator Stewart Olsen, that further debate be adjourned to the next sitting of the Senate.

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

(On motion of Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.)

Banking, Trade and Commerce

Committee Authorized to Study New and Emerging Issues for Canadian Importers and Exporters
with Respect to Competitiveness of Canadian
Businesses in North American and Global Markets

Hon. Douglas Black, pursuant to notice of December 14, 2017, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce be authorized to examine and report on new and emerging issues for Canadian importers and exporters with respect to the competitiveness of Canadian businesses in North American and global markets; and

That the committee submit its final report no later than Friday, September 28, 2018, and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

He said: Ever so quickly, colleagues, this is the motion you’ll recall from before the holiday for the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to be authorized to examine and report on new and emerging issues for Canadian importers and exporters with respect to the competitiveness of Canadian business. This is an important and timely study we wish to get ahead with. Given that we’re all well aware of the competitive challenges facing Canadian business, whether it’s taxation challenges or regulation challenges, we feel it’s timely to study this.

Without further ado, that is what I’m hoping we can have approval to move ahead with.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before moving to the adjournment motion, do you have something to add, Senator Martin?

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Yes. I want to raise a point of order. It refers to what happened with the motion that Senator Lankin moved and Senator Plett tried to adjourn. I know that Senator Petitclerc’s hand was up actually even before that item was concluded.

We didn’t have a chance at all for debate — and even on the previous question — whether that is something we should be able to debate. There seemed to have been confusion all around, so I just wanted to raise a point of order that it doesn’t seem right that we’re in a position to accept the current situation, Your Honour.

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The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, a point of order need not be raised on this matter. The house is its own master. If it’s the view of the house that an opportunity be given to Senator Plett to speak to the original motion and that Senator Petitclerc’s be withdrawn, we can do that as well. That’s not a problem.

Are senators in agreement that Senator Plett have an opportunity to speak to the original motion?

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: Are you speaking today, Senator Plett?

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Your Honour, am I then allowed to speak to the previous question?

The Hon. the Speaker: That’s what we’re asking, Senator Plett. Are senators in agreement that Senator Plett be allowed to speak to the original motion of Senator Lankin?

Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker: I hear a couple of nos. All those in favour of Senator Plett speaking to the original motion proposed by Senator Lankin please say “yea.”

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker: All those opposed say “nay.”

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion, the “yeas” have it.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: There’s no need, honourable senators, for a vote in the sense that the original decision stands if leave is not granted to Senator Plett to speak now. Leave has not been granted; so we go to a vote on the motion of Senator Petitclerc tomorrow at 5:30.

Senator Martin: There was a little confusion even with this last item. Would leave be granted for us to speak to the previous question, honourable senators? The previous question motion, would there be leave to speak to that?

The Hon. the Speaker: I’m sorry, to what?

Senator Martin: To the previous question motion.

The Hon. the Speaker: To the motion of Senator Lankin?

Senator Martin: No, to the motion of Senator Petitclerc. We would have that option, according to the rules.

The Hon. the Speaker: The vote will take place on that tomorrow at 5:30.

Honourable senators, before going to adjournment, I would like to take a moment to point out that this is the final sitting in which Nicole Proulx will serve as our clerk.

[Translation]

It has been a great privilege for me to work with Ms. Proulx all these years. I truly appreciate the support and advice she gave me when I was serving as chair and deputy chair of the Internal Economy Committee and lately in my current role as Speaker of the Senate.

[English]

Nicole, I know I speak for all honourable senators when I say how much we have valued the extraordinary commitment and care you have shown for our institution over the past 20 years.

[Translation]

I am sincerely grateful for your friendship, your countless, invaluable contributions and your many years of dedicated service.

[English]

Your knowledge, passion, tenacity and strong sense of duty will be missed by all members of the Senate family. Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement. I know all senators will want to join me in wishing you all the best as you begin this new chapter in your already very full life.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

(At 4:54 p.m., pursuant to the order adopted by the Senate on February 4, 2016, the Senate adjourned until 2 p.m., tomorrow.)