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1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 195

Thursday, April 19, 2018
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


THE SENATE

Thursday, April 19, 2018

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

Prayers.


SENATORS’ STATEMENTS

Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope

Thirty-eighth Anniversary

Hon. Fabian Manning: Today, I am pleased to present Chapter 30 of “Telling Our Story.”

The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” and how true those wise words are when one thinks about Canadian hero Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope to raise funds for cancer research.

What some of you may not know is that one step, that most important first step, was made by Terry in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was 38 years ago last week on April 12, 1980, that 22-year-old Terry Fox dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and made his first step on what would become his marathon of hope.

Terry’s hope that day was to raise $1 from every Canadian in his quest to fight cancer.

The first few days in Newfoundland were met with heavy rains and gale-force winds. Despite the cold, Terry continued on. At the beginning, not many people paid attention to him as he ran through the streets of St. John’s and made his way to the Trans-Canada Highway. About 80 kilometres outside of St. John’s, just before you arrive at the town of Whitbourne, is where I had the privilege of meeting Terry Fox. He would have been into only the third or fourth day of his journey.

On that wet and windy day, my older brother Eugene and I were bringing a load of freight from St. John’s to our home in St. Bride’s on my father’s truck. My brother stopped the truck and gave me a $20 bill to place in the little white bucket that Terry’s friend was carrying. We briefly spoke to Terry and wished him well. If only we had known then what we know now, I would definitely have had a photo taken.

Soon after, one local reporter picked up the story of this one-legged runner, and people began to take notice.

Gladys Willis, a resident of Port-aux-Basques on the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, heard the story and called the local radio station, asking for donations for the Marathon of Hope. She offered to stay by her phone day and night, accepting pledges. So, on May 6, 1980, when Terry entered Port-aux-Basques, Gladys invited Terry to her cabin and gave him a cheque for $10,000, a donation which equalled $1 for every resident of her town.

Several weeks after Terry left Newfoundland, he found out that his total had increased by another $4,000.

This amazing turnout by one small Newfoundland community gave Terry’s movement the momentum it needed. CBC News picked up the story and spread it nationally on TV. Soon, Terry was being met in every town and city with large turnouts and larger donations.

Terry Fox is a Canadian icon. More than $700 million has been raised in his name for cancer research. The honours and awards in his name are too numerous to mention in the few minutes I have here today, but needless to say, the story of Terry Fox is an inspiration to us all.

Terry ran 5,373 kilometres over 143 days, that is 42 kilometres per day. He inspired a nation as he ran his way into the hearts and minds of Canadians — a true symbol of courage, selflessness and hope.

Last year, Terry’s sister Judith Fox was at City Hall in St. John’s to unveil the new 150th anniversary Canada Post Terry Fox stamp in the city where it all started.

On April 12, 2012, a new bronze sculpture of Terry Fox was unveiled in St. John’s, marking mile 0 to depict the moment Terry began his incredible story, a journey of more than a thousand miles that began with the first step in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Atlantic Memorial Park Project

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, Nova Scotia has a rich military history, and it is important to celebrate this history and to educate Canadians about our contributions during wartime. An initiative to establish the Atlantic Memorial Park on the northern shores of the Sydney Harbour aspires to do just that, through a unique commemorative experience.

The proposed Atlantic Memorial Park will be located on 120 acres of land on the former Princess Colliery mining site in Sydney Mines where my father-in-law Bill Cordy worked as a coal miner. The land provides an ideal vantage of the Sydney Harbour, with views out to the Atlantic Ocean. For this reason, the land was also used during wartime as a home to battery instalments, providing harbour defence during World War I and World War II.

During the Battle of the Atlantic, Sydney Harbour was constantly under threat from the German U-boats. Submarine nets were deployed, and a network of seven fortifications around Sydney Harbour guarded the convoys and the region’s strategic steel and coal assets, which represented one third of Canada’s production at the time. Over 7,500 ships assembled in convoys in Sydney Harbour during World War II.

The harbour was also home to a United States naval air base during World War I, on Kelly’s Beach, now known as Munro Park, in North Sydney, about five kilometres from the proposed park. During World War II, the air base was recommissioned by the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Historically, Sydney Harbour has played an integral role in Canada’s war effort. To quote the book Guardian of the Gulf: Sydney, Cape Breton, and the Atlantic Wars by Brian Tennyson and Roger Sarty, “One of the great untold military stories revolves around the eastern seaport of Sydney, Nova Scotia.”

When the Princess Colliery mining site closed, the question of what to do with the land became an important topic of conversation. For the Sydney Mines Tourism Development Society, it was important that the area retain its historical significance.

The idea of the Atlantic Memorial Park came out of these conversations, and the site was considered perfect because of its rich history and beautiful scenery. The Atlantic Memorial Park Society was established by a group of dedicated residents to help shepherd this project to completion. Their mission is to create a seaside journey of remembrance that will bring Canada’s military history home. The project is scheduled to be completed in three phases over a five-year span. It will refurbish existing historic sites and create new attractions.

The planning for the first phase, to restore a World War II fortification that is a designated historic site known as the Chapel Point Battery, is now complete. They hope to finish the construction of this phase in 2019.

Phase 2 will include the establishment of a new family park and walking trails. By offering a variety of activities, all Canadians, regardless of age, will have the ability to experience the Atlantic Memorial Park. One of the most important new features of this phase will be an authentic replica First Nations encampment, with plans to hold an annual veteran powwow on the site. Throughout the site, information will be displayed about both the history of Sydney and the Canadian military.

Phase 3 will be the development of a feature monument area on the 40-acre plateau on top of the former Princess mine. At approximately 25 metres in height, the main monument will be visible from Sydney Harbour and to traffic passing through the harbour.

The monument is expected to have features similar to the Vimy Ridge Memorial and will face toward Vimy. It will act as a reminder of Canada’s wartime contributions and the sacrifices of so many Canadians overseas.

The park will educate Canadians, bring tourism to Sydney and repurpose the Princess Colliery mining site. I am very excited to see this project come to fruition, and I look forward to visiting it when it is complete. Thank you.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Dr. Donna Dasko and Ms. Valerie March. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Omidvar.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

(1340)

Labour Market Barriers to Immigrants

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Honourable senators, we all know that recent immigrants to Canada face a difficult time in the labour market. Despite being highly educated, they often struggle to find a job or are underemployed due to problems with credential recognition, strange-sounding names or lack of Canadian work experience.

In 1984, while I was still relatively new to Canada and trying to find my way as a volunteer, two women that are here today, Dr. Donna Dasko and Valerie March overlooked the fact that I had no Canadian work experience and no familiar credentials. They saw something else than the places on my resumé, the strangeness of my name and they took a risk on me and offered a job. This was my first job in the charities world, and it opened many other doors and windows that I believe ultimately led me to the Senate.

Both of these distinguished women have contributed greatly to civic and public life in Toronto, Ontario, and indeed in Canada.

As Executive Director of St. Stephen’s Community House in the downtown Kensington Market neighbourhood of Toronto, Ms. Valerie March led the work of settlement efforts in a high-need community. There were many firsts in her leadership: the first ever community-based conflict resolution service, so that neighbours could resolve instead of litigate conflict; the first ever effort in Toronto to bring street youth off the streets through engagement with the arts and theatre; and one of the first ever downtown drop-in centres for homeless men.

Many of these efforts today have spread across the province and indeed across the country because we all know good ideas have long legs.

In 2001, Donna Dasko co-founded Equal Voice, a non-partisan organization dedicated to electing more women to public office in Canada. Since its creation, Equal Voice has expanded across the country and encouraged political parties to be proactive in recruiting and supporting women candidates to run. Its work continues to propel women and girls into political life in our country, regardless of political stripe.

Colleagues, my story is not unique but perhaps the actions of these two individuals are more unique than they should be. The underemployment of immigrants in Canada costs us over $6 billion annually. Sometimes it is indeed individual action that overcomes systemic barriers. I believe we need more such individual actions because Canada succeeds when its immigrants succeed sooner.

The Late Donna Richardson Duncan

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Colleagues, many of us were at a funeral this morning, and I’m standing here today to pay tribute to a very good friend of many of us, Donna Richardson. Donna died on April 11, after a four-year battle with cancer. She was 55  years old, and she died just two days before her and her husband John Duncan’s fifth wedding anniversary.

Donna was a very great friend to many of us in this chamber. She was a very good friend of mine. Donna and I shared some common interests. One of them clearly was our love for politics and our love for our party. Her love for our party was shared by her brother at the funeral today.

We had another common interest and that was our love for old gospel music. We complemented each other. She sang and I listened. Donna had a great love for George Beverly Shea, who sang in the Billy Graham crusade for many years. Donna wrote a tribute when George Beverly Shea passed away and asked if I would read it in this chamber, and did I so. And I thanked her for it.

Prime Minister Harper spoke at the funeral this morning, and he likened Donna to the story we read in the Gospel of Luke about the Good Samaritan and all the good work that Donna did, and indeed she did. John, her husband, spoke. John told us that in January, just a few months ago when she was already in the hospital and was terminal, she would walk around the hospital corridors and sing to the nurses and bring them hope. She would sing to other patients, even though her voice was faltering. Her love for music and her love for people carried her on.

Donna planned most of her own funeral. The pastor told us today that a week and a half before Donna died, when she was already in palliative care, she called him and asked if he would officiate. She chose the songs that we sang.

I would like to read a small part of what was in the funeral card. It says:

Donna loved music and the Church, and drew great strength from her relationship with God. She dreamed of missionary work as a child and spent two years in Africa with the Pentecostal Assembly of Canada in fulfillment of that dream. She was also a cherished member of the Conservative family for many years.

Donna was truly a beautiful person inside and out, and always carried herself with elegance and grace. She touched so many lives with her kindness, her strength, her sense of humour, and her generosity. She loved people, puppies, purple and shoes. People felt lucky to know her, and she felt the same about them.

I will just close, colleagues, with the front cover of that. This was Donna’s prayer and belief and indeed her conviction. It’s a verse from the twenty-third chapter of Psalm:

I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Thank you, colleagues.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to thank all the people who work with us in the Senate. Thank you for the work you do; you enrich our work.

Honourable senators, I also rise to pay my respect to a former Senate employee and friend Donna Richardson Duncan who recently passed away after a four-year battle with cancer. Donna’s memorial took place this morning in Ottawa, which many of us attended. Donna will be remembered as a truly beautiful person inside and outside, who always carried herself with elegance and grace.

During her time at the Senate, Donna touched so many lives with her kindness, her strength, her sense of humour and her generosity. She often said to me her job in life was to keep me laughing.

Honourable senators, on the tragic day of the Ottawa shooting, October 22, 2014, Donna spent most of the day at my office. That day, I had agreed to host a group of 50 senior citizens from British Columbia. My guests arrived as the attack was taking place, and upon seeing them, Donna demonstrated such genuine kindness in ensuring everyone would safely await the end of the lockdown in my office. She put aside her own worries of what was happening to her husband. She circulated food and drinks to all my guests for several hours. Along with my staff, she offered moral support with a smile to all those concerned.

Honourable senators, Donna was a devoted Christian and a loving friend. She was a beautiful, strong woman who will be greatly missed by each and every person whose life she touched. Family and friends will remember her bubbly personality and positive energy. Her passion and love for life was an inspiration to everyone, including myself.

Donna leaves behind a grieving family, her husband John Duncan, her parents Austin and Ruby Richardson, her siblings, her nieces, her nephews, and all her friends.

The heavens have received a new angel. Donna, you have battled so bravely. Rest easy now. As her husband, John, said today, she’s now without pain.

Donna, may you continue to share that bright smile and contagious giggles onto all of us from above.

I want to end with what Costas Menegakis said at the service today. He said:

I was reminded of a famous quote that I feel speaks volumes about my friend and colleague Donna Richardson Duncan. “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

(1350)

Donna, rest in peace.

World Autism Awareness Day

Hon. Wanda Elaine Thomas Bernard: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize World Autism Awareness Day, which was on April 2. Every year, organizations around the world celebrate the day by raising awareness and celebrating Autism Speaks’ international “Light it up Blue” campaign by shining bright blue lights in honour of all individuals and families affected by autism. Individuals everywhere wear blue to spread awareness and understanding of autism. Thank you to our colleagues who advocate for the ASD community, notably Senators Munson and Housakos for championing autism awareness and acceptance.

Honourable senators, there are many change makers in the ASD field who are currently meeting in our nation’s capital for the 2018 Canadian Autism Leadership Summit. Let us be part of the drivers for change and improve the lives of all Canadian children and adults who live with ASD.

The panel presentations have been both inspiring yet troublesome. In fact, a panel with Indigenous elders this morning spoke about significant disparities, especially in the North, that leave most Indigenous children and youth undiagnosed and more at risk for involvement in the criminal justice system.

The Public Health Agency of Canada provided a report summarizing information gathered by the National Autism Spectrum Disorder Surveillance System about Canadian children and youth in 2018, a first for Canada. This report provides figures with data separated by sex, gender, age and geographic location. These figures are very important to identify interest groups. However, there are huge gaps in this data.

Without being disaggregated by race, we cannot accurately assess how African-Canadian or other racialized groups are doing in comparison to White children and youth. Based on information from other areas of health, we know that African Canadians are likely to be impacted differently.

As I said this morning, we heard from an Indigenous panel that was truly heartbreaking.

In the United States, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has identified that African American children are diagnosed on average 18 to 24 months later than other children. This is an example of how data disaggregated by race can reflect the differing needs of marginalized communities.

If the data collected by the NASDSS had been disaggregated, we could see if Canada has a similar issue to the United States with later diagnosis. As we in the ASD field know, an early diagnosis makes all the difference with success of interventions.

Honourable colleagues, we are stronger together, and we can dismantle these systemic barriers and help impact the lives of individuals and their families now and in the future.


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Budget Implementation Bill, 2018, No. 1

Notice of Motion to Authorize Certain Committees to Study Subject Matter

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

That, in accordance with rule 10-11(1), the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine the subject matter of all of Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures, introduced in the House of Commons on March 27, 2018, in advance of the said bill coming before the Senate;

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to meet for the purposes of its study of the subject matter of Bill C-74 even though the Senate may then be sitting, with the application of rule 12-18(1) being suspended in relation thereto; and

That, in addition, and notwithstanding any normal practice:

1.The following committees be separately authorized to examine the subject matter of the following elements contained in Bill C-74 in advance of it coming before the Senate:

(a)the Special Senate Committee on the Arctic: those elements contained in Division 9 of Part 6;

(b)the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce: those elements contained in Divisions 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 16 and 19 of Part 6;

(c)the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade: those elements contained in Division 8 of Part 6;

(d)the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs: those elements contained in Divisions 15 and 20 of Part 6;

(e)the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence: those elements contained in Part 4;

(f)the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources: those elements contained in Part 5; and

(g)the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry: those elements contained in Part 5, insofar as that Part relates to farming;

2.The various committees listed in point one that are authorized to examine the subject matter of particular elements of Bill C-74 be authorized to meet for the purposes of their studies of those elements even though the Senate may then be sitting, with the application of rule 12-18(1) being suspended in relation thereto;

3.The various committees listed in point one that are authorized to examine the subject matter of particular elements of Bill C-74 submit their final reports to the Senate no later than May 31, 2018;

4.As the reports from the various committees authorized to examine the subject matter of particular elements of Bill C-74 are tabled in the Senate, they be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting; and

5.The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be simultaneously authorized to take any reports tabled under point four into consideration during its study of the subject matter of all of Bill C-74.

[English]

Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association

Bilateral Mission, January 15-17, 2018—Report Tabled

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Delegation of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association respecting its bilateral mission to Khartoum and El Fasher, Republic of Sudan, from January 15 to 17, 2018.


[Translation]

QUESTION PERIOD

Natural Resources

Oil and Gas Industry

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Canada’s energy sector has experienced major setbacks in the past two years. Many projects have been cancelled, which led to the loss of tens of billions of private investment dollars and the loss of thousands of well-paying jobs for the middle class.

(1400)

[English]

I wanted to add, on Tuesday the IMF downgraded its 2018 economic growth projection for Canada. On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada’s Monetary Policy Report forecast that our investment in the energy sector will decrease this year will remain flat thereafter.

On top of this, Kinder Morgan made it clear yesterday that nothing has changed in the last 10 days and that the Trans Mountain project may be “untenable.”

My question is this: How could the Government of Canada allow our energy sector to get to this point? Sir, do you have any knowledge or communication from the government that leads you to believe that some serious progress will be made in the very near term as the May 31 date approaches?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. He references the Bank of Canada economic outlook and obviously is correct in reporting the Bank of Canada’s first quarter description of the first quarter as being weaker than expected, but I would add that the same report says they anticipate a rebound in the second quarter resulting in 2 per cent average growth for the first half of 2018. The bank has noted on a number of occasions that Canada has led the G7 in growth for the last year, and that’s reflective of this government’s efforts with respect to the economic objectives of inclusive growth and ensuring that Canada continues to be on an upward course in its economic performance.

With respect to the specific question he has asked, let me simply repeat what I said yesterday with respect to the government’s commitment to the Kinder Morgan project. As senators will well know, there is an engagement now under way led by the Minister of Finance dealing directly with the corporation, and I would anticipate that those discussions will yield a favourable outcome and be reported on when they are ready to do so.

With respect to the other measures that the Government of Canada has indicated through the Prime Minister’s comments and reinforced in other ministerial comments with respect to potential legislation, that is actively under consideration, and announcements will be made as appropriate.

Senator Smith: I do appreciate the answer.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

NAFTA Negotiations

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, we all read economic reports. Comments are made by the leaders in this country in the business community such as the head of the Royal Bank, who said there is a serious flight of capital leaving the country, and individuals like Perrin Beatty who have made similar comments. It is great to put up a statistic that will hopefully come through in terms of the continuing growth, but the awareness of what key leaders are stating cannot be underestimated.

Our energy sector needs certainty and deserves a government that will be its champion, not one that speaks about phasing it out. It could also benefit from our pipelines not being held hostage by the U.S. administration with its lengthy permit process.

Minister Freeland is in Washington today meeting with her American and Mexican counterparts as NAFTA negotiations continue.

My follow up question: Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us whether the Government of Canada has any intention of seeking an exemption to the presidential permit process for the Canadian pipelines within the context of NAFTA? That refers obviously to a pipeline that hopefully will be completed that will go right to the Gulf Coast.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I thank the honourable senator for his supplementary. It gives me the occasion to remind all honourable senators of the importance that the Government of Canada places on a successful outcome in the discussions under way with respect to NAFTA. All senators will be aware that these discussions have had their own ups and downs in the last number of months. The government takes comfort from the leadership that Minister Freeland has exercised on behalf of the Government of Canada, and the fact that these discussions are now being held at the highest political level in terms of the negotiating team is indicative of the progress being made.

With respect to the specific question, obviously it would be inappropriate for me or anybody in the government to outline precisely what the negotiating strategy of the government is, but the government is well aware of the concerns expressed by the honourable senator.

[Translation]

Public Safety

Pipeline Protests

Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate. Leader, the current political dispute over the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline appears to be much more serious than your Prime Minister is letting on. The confrontation with opponents could grow uglier, and I have even heard that Indigenous leaders are talking about a second Oka crisis. I was a police officer during that crisis, and we had to deal with people from several communities being taken hostage. We are familiar with such tactics and that’s what worries me.

As the Prime Minister’s representative, can you tell us whether the government has already started working with the RCMP and the Canadian Forces to set up a crisis management team to deal with this situation and prevent any hostage taking?

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. It’s important to recognize that in Canada there is a right of peaceful protest, and that has been exercised on this and other matters. There is also the need for all to abide by the law of Canada in the exercise of that right of peaceful protest. It is the rule of law that Canadian and other authorities at the provincial and municipal levels are obliged to follow.

It would be irresponsible of me to suggest what contingencies may or may not be in place except to say that the Government of Canada supports the peaceful demonstration, even on projects that the Government of Canada supports. It is also the view of the Government of Canada that protest ought to be lawful and respectful.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: I perfectly understand the right to protest peacefully. However, if memory serves, the Oka crisis was not a peaceful protest. Indigenous leaders reminded us of that last week. We understood that this sort of thing could happen again.

I will therefore repeat my question. Has the government set up a crisis management team to prevent any hostage taking?

[English]

Senator Harder: The Government of Canada and the minister responsible for national security are confident that all measures are in place to support the right of peaceful protest.

Hon. Sandra M. Lovelace Nicholas: My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Kinder Morgan states that it is committed to being a good corporate citizen and conducting itself in an ethical and responsible manner. I am not sure this relates to how First Nations will be affected if the pipeline goes through. There are premiers flexing their muscles against people who oppose the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Instead, they choose to represent big industries and not First Nations people or others who are concerned about the environment.

Senator Harder, the Crown has an obligation to consult with First Nations when constitutionally protected land and other rights have been impacted by the pipeline or other projects. Were proper consultations carried out with First Nations people and also non-Indigenous people who could be adversely affected by the pipeline?

Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for her question. It is the view of the Government of Canada that all appropriate and required consultations have taken place with respect to the regulatory process and the consultative process attendant to it. The Government of Canada continues to meet with all of the various stakeholders to assure that this project moves forward.

(1410)

Senator Lovelace Nicholas: Specifically, can the government identify the First Nations that have been consulted, and were they officially documented consultations? In other words, is there a list available to the public?

Senator Harder: Again, I thank the honourable senator for her question. I will make inquiries with respect to the specifics.

I will recall for the chamber that when Minister Carr was here, he did reference consultations that had been under way with First Nations. I would also note, as Minister Carr did, that this project is supported by a number, and I believe it is 51, specific Aboriginal organizations that have signed agreements and co-partner agreements with the sponsoring party.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Cannabis Bill—Regulations

Hon. Pamela Wallin: To the Government Representative in the Senate: The Senate Banking Committee, of which I’m a part, in its Tear Down These Walls report on the fundamental need to free up interprovincial trade in all goods and services feared the outcome of this morning’s Supreme Court ruling upholding barriers to free trade within Canada, trade that we were told at committee could cost this economy up to $130 billion a year.

The question of whether we have a constitutional right to buy or transport goods and services across borders is at the heart of so many of our debates, including the pipeline. But perhaps the Prime Minister will also be concerned, because the Supreme Court ruling has implications for the movement of cannabis across borders and in this country.

How will the government deal with the ruling or circumvent it or whatever they might choose to do? This ruling might well create a new problem, perhaps even a crime not just for cannabis users in places such as Lloydminster, where they actually live on a border, but also across this country when it comes to the purchase, use and transport of illegal goods across a provincial border. This is a particular concern for users of medicinal cannabis as much of that moves by mail.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I thank the honourable senator for her question. In the preface of her question, she makes reference to a decision announced earlier today. The government is obviously studying the Supreme Court ruling to be in a position to better answer the kind of question that the honourable senator poses.

There are other issues that need to be part of this consideration, and I’m sure the ministers responsible will be responding as appropriate in the near future.

Senator Wallin: We would ask that several or any or all of those ministers be asked to join us here.

Senator Harder: Let me simply say that I take the advice of the leaders as to which ministers appear here for Question Period, but I’m sure that that can be accommodated.

[Translation]

The Senate

Rights and Responsibilities of Senators

Hon. Claude Carignan: Honourable senators, my question is for the Trudeau government representative in the Senate. It is about the 51-page document he released last week.

Senator Harder, less than a year ago, on June 22, 2017, you proposed a motion that contained this wording:

. . . that the Senate confirms its privileges, immunities and powers as provided under the Constitution to amend legislation, whatever its nature or source;

That motion was adopted by the Senate that very day. Are you prepared to reiterate what you said last June about the Senate’s power to amend legislation, whatever its nature or source?

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his recollection of that motion, which I was happy to move.

It came, as the honourable senator will know and all honourable senators will remember, as part of the response of this chamber to the message from the House of Commons with respect to the budget bill, in which this chamber asserted its right to amendment, a right which my discussion paper describes and emphasizes. But with the right goes a responsibility to respect democratic accountability.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: My question is for the government leader. Leader, you recently made some remarks regarding a trip to Washington made by three senators from the Conservative caucus, and you stated that they were undermining the Government of Canada. The senators who visited Washington very clearly identified themselves as members of the official opposition and that they travelled to Washington to get answers for Canadians, answers that our government did not have or would not give.

Members of the opposition have every right to consult with members of other governments in order to gain information and share that information with Canadians. So I found it interesting that your outrage is not with the members of your own government who have refused to provide answers to important questions that have been posed to them but rather with the opposition members who went out of their way to get these answers for Canadians.

I was further perplexed by your comment that these senators do not speak for Canadians.

Who do you believe we represent? Who do I represent as a senator from Manitoba, if I don’t represent Canadians? Which senators in this chamber should be able to speak for Canadians? Is it just the three members of the government?

Senator Harder: Again, I thank the honourable senator for his question.

I think it is appropriate to put in broader context the comments that I made. It was my view that having three senators representing one group present themselves in Washington with the most senior levels of an administration well known to oppose and, indeed, making even more stringent the role of the Attorney General with respect to those states that have legalized cannabis, was hardly a gesture of information gathering, particularly when that is all public.

Senator Plett: Your comments, however, Senator Harder, were that these senators do not speak on behalf of Canada.

Members of the opposition were not there negotiating deals or agreements. The fact of the matter is that the members they met with in the United States were just more than happy to meet with these senators. They were gaining information that our own government has refused to provide to the Canadian public when asked.

Again, Senator Harder, do you believe that members of the Senate and the House of Commons have the right to consult with representatives of other governments in order to obtain information, and if you agree with that, what exactly did these three senators who travelled to Washington do wrong?

Senator Harder: Again, I think it is important that Canadians understand that negotiating with a foreign government is the role of the Government of Canada, not individual senators.

Justice

Criminal Court Delays—Judicial Appointments

Hon. Paul E. McIntyre: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

The government leader may be aware of the case of Nicholas Chan, an individual in the province of Alberta who had been charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and directing a criminal organization. These charges were stayed on Tuesday due to delays in getting the case to trial. It is the first murder case in Alberta to be stayed as a result of the Supreme Court’s Jordan decision.

As of April 1, there were 12 vacancies on the Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta and three at the Court of Appeal of Alberta. These are federally appointed positions. What will it take for the Minister of Justice to act and ensure the most serious criminal charges are not stayed?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. I did want to just refresh the Senate’s understanding of the appointments that have been made. This minister has, since her appointment, appointed or elevated 166 judges across the country and 40 deputy judges in the territories.

I should remind the chamber that 2017 was a record-breaking year for appointments in that more than 100 appointments were made, which is the largest single yearly output of appointments.

(1420)

Having said that, the minister herself has acknowledged, both in this chamber and outside, that she must continue to work diligently to ensure the appointments process continues to fill the vacancies that have and are occurring — that is her intention — and to do so in a way that ensures the kind of judiciary that reflects the diversity of the public it serves.

Senator McIntyre: I have a supplementary question. Thank you for your answer, Senator Harder.

However, as of April 1, there were 59 vacancies for federally appointed judges. As the government leader is aware, the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs issued a report last June in which it recommended that:

. . . Superior Court Judges be appointed on the day of a known retirement of a Judge and the only exceptions to this immediate replacement would be an unexpected death or unexpected early retirement of a sitting Judge.

Senator, could you please make inquiries and tell us of the minister’s opinion on this important recommendation?

Senator Harder: I will indeed undertake to do that. The minister herself has stated that she is aware of the report and welcomed its broad observations. With respect to the specific observation and recommendation that is referenced in the question, I’ll be happy to inquire of the minister.

Transport

Champlain Bridge

Hon. Leo Housakos: My question is to the government leader in the Senate. It seems odd that he takes offence to the fact that he feels the opposition from time to time tries to undermine the government, but this chamber is starting to take offence to the fact that we constantly put forward simple questions and never get transparent and accountable answers from this government.

It has been a number of weeks now, if not months, that I have been putting questions forward to the government leader in regard to the federal government’s rebuilding of the Champlain Bridge in Montreal. Only a few days ago, I got back an answer on behalf of the government in writing that was tabled in the chamber. It’s amazing the number of months it took to get this answer because it does not answer the simple question.

In it, the government writes:

The Government of Canada’s priority is to deliver a quality bridge as soon as possible without compromising the safety of workers and users.

I didn’t ask about the safety of workers in regard to the bridge.

Unless unforeseen events occur, the objective remains to deliver the new Champlain Bridge in December 2018.

I didn’t ask about the timeline. We all know the timeline for the bridge to be delivered is December 1, 2018.

The Government of Canada, while pleased to see that major progress is being made on the site, will not make any compromises regarding the safety of bridge users or the continuity of service at this crossing.

Again, I never asked any question regarding safety.

The last sentence here is odd. It says:

The government has therefore asked Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated to take the steps necessary to allow the current bridge to remain open to traffic until summer 2019, should the need arise.

So for the first time we are getting an opening here that the government may be confirming that the bridge might not be delivered on December 1, 2018.

I’m trying once again to get a simple answer to a simple question. There is a clear agreement between the consortium and the Government of Canada that if the deadline of December 1, 2018, is not met, there will be penalties imposed. Will the Government of Canada honour that agreement?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Let me simply repeat the answer I’ve given to the question here and the answer that was given by the government in written form. It is the government’s view that the December 1 target date remains the objective. It is not imprudent for a government, with respect to a major construction effort, to build in contingencies, but it is not the government’s view to signal at this time what course of action it might take in the future.

Senator Housakos: With all due respect, government leader, you have already given signals because you have already issued funds on behalf of the Canadian taxpayer to Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated in order to possibly extend the use of the current bridge. So that’s a clear indication that the government already has a contingency plan that it will go past December 1.

Why can’t we have a commitment that, in the course of that contingency plan, you will honour the agreement that was signed by the Government of Canada and the consortium that there will be penalties applied if that December 1 deadline isn’t met?

Senator Harder: Again, it is the view of the Government of Canada that the bridge ought to be completed by the date of December 1. The contingencies are there for prudent management. With respect to contractual obligations, the Government of Canada is of the view that these will be fulfilled with the December 1 deadline. Should that not occur, the government will take action.

[Translation]

Justice

Legalization of Cannabis

Hon. Claude Carignan: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate. Senator Harder, earlier you mentioned that the Attorney General of the United States is clearly opposed to the legalization of cannabis. I imagine that you learned that from the Minister of Justice, who I’m sure meets with the U.S. Attorney General. Every minister intimates that they are in contact with their U.S. counterparts when dealing with issues that affect both countries.

Can you tell me how many times the Minister of Justice of Canada has met with the Attorney General of the United States and how many times they discussed the legalization of cannabis and especially its impact on the Canada-U.S. border?

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I’ve had appropriate discussions with cabinet ministers responsible in this area, which in the United States is the Secretary of Homeland Security.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

The Senate

Motion to Affect Question Period on April 24, 2018, Adopted

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of April 18, 2018, moved:

That, in order to allow the Senate to receive a Minister of the Crown during Question Period as authorized by the Senate on December 10, 2015, and notwithstanding rule 4-7, when the Senate sits on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, Question Period shall begin at 3:30 p.m., with any proceedings then before the Senate being interrupted until the end of Question Period, which shall last a maximum of 40 minutes;

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

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

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

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[Translation]

Adjournment

Motion Adopted

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of April 18, 2018, moved:

That, when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at 2 p.m.

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?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[English]

Parliament of Canada Act

Bill to Amend—Twenty-second Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Eggleton, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C., for the adoption of the twenty-second report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (Bill S-234, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Parliamentary Visual Artist Laureate), with amendments), presented in the Senate on December 14, 2017.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

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

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

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Twentieth Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Stewart Olsen, seconded by the Honourable Senator Eaton, for the adoption of the twentieth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce (Bill S-237, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal interest rate), with amendments), presented in the Senate on February 13, 2018.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

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

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

(1430)

Constitution Act, 1867

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Patterson, seconded by the Honourable Senator Enverga, for the second reading of Bill S-221, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Property qualifications of Senators).

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Business of the Senate

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): We had had a discussion this morning, and I think there is agreement to call the question on this at this time.

The Hon. the Speaker: This is Bill S-239, an Act to amend the Canada Elections Act. Are senators ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: No? The matter stands adjourned.

National Physicians’ Day Bill

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Art Eggleton moved second reading of Bill S-248, An Act respecting National Physicians’ Day.

He said: Your Honour, honourable senators, I am pleased to put forth the National Physicians’ Day Bill, which would declare the first of May each year as National Physicians’ Day.

May 1 is the birthday of one of the most influential individuals in Canadian medical history: Dr. Emily Stowe, the first female to practise medicine in Canada and a founder of our country’s women’s movement.

Dr. Stowe was born in Norwich Township, Oxford County, Ontario, in 1831. She was inspired to pursue a career in medicine following a loved one’s illness from tuberculosis. However, at the time no Canadian college or university would accept a woman, so she was forced to earn her degree in the United States from the New York Medical College for Women.

Following her studies, she went on to open a medical practice in Toronto. During her time in the city she also founded the Toronto Women’s Literary Club, which would quickly evolve into the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association. When the Dominion Women’s Enfranchisement Association was founded in 1889, Stowe would become its first president.

Dr. Stowe set an inspiring example for the generations of physicians who followed. Throughout her career, she pushed boundaries, challenged conventions and paved the way for more women to practise medicine in Canada. And her legacy lives on. Today the medical profession is closer than ever to being gender balanced. Two thirds of family physicians under age 35 are female. We can see the same trend among students and residents as well.

Medical students, residents and practising and retired physicians are an inherent and essential component of our health care system, one of the most cherished social programs. They make a difference in the lives of Canadians every day through their work in hospitals and other care facilities, in communities both urban and rural and in schools and universities.

They not only play a vital role in caring for patients and in ensuring that they get the care they need; they also contribute to medical innovation, helping Canadians live longer, better, healthier lives and ensuring our health care system is effective, efficient and sustainable for the future.

Canadian physicians have contributed to innovations in stem cell research, the discovery of insulin and world-leading medical technologies, to name a few.

On the advocacy front, the Canadian Medical Association, the national organization representing doctors, has played a huge part as well. In 2017, the CMA marked 150 years of advocating for the health of Canadians. It was born in the same year as our Confederation. They advocated for public health during the Spanish influenza, the AIDS epidemic and the SARS outbreak. They were among the first to recognize the devastating effects of cigarettes, issuing their first public health warning in 1954. They founded the Canadian Cancer Society, among many other achievements.

These examples are merely a fraction of what the medical profession in Canada has done and will continue to do to improve the health of all Canadians.

Medicine is extraordinarily rewarding work. The impact physicians have on their patients’ lives is tremendous. But the practice of medicine, like all professions, comes with its own challenges, such as difficulties achieving work-life balance, heavy workloads and increasingly high expectations from their patients.

Amidst these challenges, our country’s doctors are saving lives every day and working hard to give Canadians the best in health and health care. It’s time to officially say thank you for all their contributions and sacrifices on our behalf.

While several provinces — for example, Ontario and Nova Scotia — already hold their own celebrations on May 1, I believe that a national day should be acknowledged to celebrate the Canadian medical profession and its contributions to our history and national identity. This would be in keeping with many other countries who already officially celebrate a doctors’ day, such as Brazil, Cuba, India and the United States.

In short, a national day of recognition in Canada is long overdue. Declaring May 1 National Physicians’ Day would allow patients and all Canadians to show their appreciation for the hard work and dedication of our more than 125,000 physicians, residents and medical students.

I hope you will join with me in my call to recognize and celebrate the medical profession in Canada. Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Maltais, debate adjourned.)

(1440)

Study on the Design and Delivery of the Federal Government’s Multi-Billion Dollar Infrastructure Funding Program

Twentieth Report of National Finance Committee and Request for Government Response Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Mockler, seconded by the Honourable Senator Raine:

That the twentieth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance entitled Smarter Planning, Smarter Spending: Ensuring Transparency, Accountability and Predictability in Federal Infrastructure Programs, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on July 6, 2017 be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 12-24(1), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities being identified as minister responsible for responding to the report.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

Study on the Acquisition of Farmland in Canada and its Potential Impact on the Farming Sector

Tenth Report of Agriculture and Forestry Committee and Request for Government Response Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the tenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, entitled A Growing Concern: How to Keep Farmland in the Hands of Canadian Farmers, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on March 9, 2018.

Hon. Diane F. Griffin moved:

That the tenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, entitled A Growing Concern: How to Keep Farmland in the Hands of Canadian Farmers, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on March 9, 2018, be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 12-24(1), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food being identified as minister responsible for responding to the report, in consultation with the Ministers of Finance, Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Natural Resources.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

The Senate

Motion to Urge the Government to Take the Steps Necessary to De-escalate Tensions and Restore Peace and Stability in the South China Sea—Vote Deferred

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Ngo, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cowan:

That the Senate note with concern the escalating and hostile behaviour exhibited by the People’s Republic of China in the South China Sea and consequently urge the Government of Canada to encourage all parties involved, and in particular the People’s Republic of China, to:

(a) recognize and uphold the rights of freedom of navigation and overflight as enshrined in customary international law and in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea;

(b) cease all activities that would complicate or escalate the disputes, such as the construction of artificial islands, land reclamation, and further militarization of the region;

(c) abide by all previous multilateral efforts to resolve the disputes and commit to the successful implementation of a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea;

(d) commit to finding a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the disputes in line with the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and respect the settlements reached through international arbitration; and

(e) strengthen efforts to significantly reduce the environmental impacts of the disputes upon the fragile ecosystem of the South China Sea;

That the Senate also urge the Government of Canada to support its regional partners and allies and to take additional steps necessary to de-escalate tensions and restore the peace and stability of the region; and

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

Hon. Elaine McCoy: Thank you, Your Honour. It’s always difficult to see at this corner of the chamber, I’m sure, from your august chair when the Clerk stands up in front of you, so thank you for recognizing me.

I will be very brief today because I know we haven’t discussed this topic for a while. However, I do want to remind all senators that there are some very cogent reasons for not passing this motion.

I will start by referring to the speech that Senator Cools made in this chamber. She eloquently laid out the traditions, the history and the standing conventions of the law that would encourage us to have some discretion in how we proceed. It depends on having a very fine and nuanced understanding — which we do develop over years, after we’ve been here for a while — of the difference between the executive branch and the legislative branch of Canada. We, of course, are a part of the legislative branch. The executive branch is held by the Governor General, as advised by the Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers and the civil service.

The whole issue of foreign policy and diplomatic relations is one of the prerogatives of the Crown; that is to say, it is one of the powers of the executive branch that is jealously guarded, and should be jealously guarded, by the Prime Minister and his ministers acting on behalf of the Crown. So I would be remiss, I think, in not reminding everyone today that we should not tread in this very delicate area without fully realizing what disturbances we could create.

I will add, in a very practical manner, that we all know, probably from watching television, about this area of the world — the South China Sea, Korea, China itself, Japan, however many other countries are involved in the current talks around the TPP — and the constant bombardment of “Yes, I’m going,” and “No, I’m not going” from Trump regarding meeting with the North Korean president. We know that things are in flux, and we know that things are delicate. I’m sure we know that much. But how much more do we know? Very little. We are, in fact, uninformed.

For us, as a Senate, to take a position on any issue in that area, without even taking this to committee and having lengthy hearings on the issue, would be presumptuous, in my view. Therefore, I am going to urge all of you to respect the view that is put forward by Senator Oh. It’s a valid point of view, and I respect his point of view. If he had put it forward as his own point of view, I would certainly encourage him to do so, but for the Senate to adopt it as an institutional view would be the wrong thing to do.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, Senator Ngo wishes to speak. I should inform the Senate that pursuant to rule 6-12(3), if Senator Ngo speaks now, it will have the effect of closing debate, and no other senator will be able to speak to this motion.

Senator Eggleton?

Senator Eggleton: I’d like to take adjournment of the motion.

The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Eggleton, seconded by the Honourable Senator Day, that further debate be adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate.

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

Some Hon. Senators: 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, please say “nay.”

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

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

And two honourable senators having risen:

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

Senator Plett: We have no whip again.

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Bellemare, do we have agreement on a bell?

Senator Bellemare: Fifteen minutes.

An Hon. Senator: Now.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators will know that if leave is not granted for a lesser time, the default time for a vote is one hour. So I will ask again: Are senators in agreement with a 15-minute bell?

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Day is saying no. We will have a bell for one hour.

Senator Plett: Who said no?

Senator Day: I did.

Senator Plett: What do you want?

Senator Day: I want time for my people to get back here to vote on this matter.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, this is not a debatable issue. The bell will ring for one hour and the vote will take place at 3:48 p.m..

Call in the senators.

(1550)

Motion negatived on the following division:

YEAS
The Honourable Senators

Black (Ontario) Joyal
Bovey Lovelace Nicholas
Boyer Marwah
Brazeau McCoy
Campbell Mégie
Cools Moncion
Cordy Omidvar
Coyle Pate
Day Petitclerc
Duffy Pratte
Dupuis Ringuette
Eggleton Saint-Germain
Gagné Sinclair
Gold Wetston
Hartling Woo—31
Jaffer

NAYS
The Honourable Senators

Andreychuk Massicotte
Batters McIntyre
Bellemare Mitchell
Beyak Mockler
Black (Alberta) Neufeld
Boisvenu Ngo
Carignan Patterson
Dagenais Plett
Doyle Poirier
Eaton Raine
Griffin Richards
Harder Seidman
Housakos Smith
MacDonald Stewart Olsen
Maltais Tannas
Manning Tkachuk
Marshall Wells
Martin White—36

ABSTENTIONS
The Honourable Senators

Bernard McPhedran—3
Deacon

The Hon. the Speaker: Accordingly the motion is defeated.

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.

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

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators: 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 to the motion will please say “nay.”

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

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

Some Hon. Senators: On division.

And two honourable senators having risen:

Senator Mitchell: I would like to defer the vote.

The Hon. the Speaker: The vote will be deferred to 5:30 p.m. at the next sitting of the Senate.

Agriculture and Forestry

Committee Authorized to Meet During Sitting of the Senate

Hon. Diane F. Griffin, pursuant to notice of April 18, 2018, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry have the power to meet on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at 5 p.m., even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.

Hon. Grant Mitchell: I’d like to ask a question, if I could, to the senator. Senator, could you tell us what it is that you’re going to be dealing with on that day, given that this is, to some extent, exceptional? We will be sitting while the Senate is sitting.

(1600)

Senator Griffin: Thank you for the question.

We are doing a spot study regarding marijuana and the composting of organic debris from that substance. Basically it’s an agricultural question. It was brought to us by the deputy chair of the committee, Senator Maltais.

Last Tuesday night we were hearing from one panel of witnesses and were interrupted by the bells. We had to totally cancel the second panel. This has been happening frequently with Tuesday night committee meetings.

It is very difficult to get our work done, and it is insulting to experts who are coming to appear before our committee. So because we have already cancelled these people once, and we have them scheduled for Tuesday night, it behooves us to be there to hear them.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: We’ve had discussions both with Senator Griffin and Senator Manning, and, of course, his motion is up next. I think Senator Mitchell, Senator Gold and myself all agree that it’s not good to have more than one committee sitting when the Senate is sitting. Senator Manning graciously agreed that he would not move his motion today. In light of that, I would like to support Senator Griffin’s motion.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(At 4:02 p.m., the Senate was continued until Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at 2 p.m.)