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Previous Sittings
Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)


1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 209

Thursday, May 24, 2018
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


Thursday, May 24, 2018

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




Aboiteau Beach

Certified as Blue Flag Beach

Hon. Rose-May Poirier: Honourable senators, I rise today to share with you some good news about Aboiteau Beach in Cap-Pelé, New Brunswick. It is about to become the first beach in New Brunswick to be designated as a Blue Flag beach. What is more, Aboiteau Beach is the first coastal saltwater beach in Canada to receive this international designation. It is not every day that a small Acadian village with a population of 2,256 manages to receive an international designation, especially as it is the first in Canada to earn that recognition.


Aboiteau Beach, in the southeast village of Cap-Pelé in New Brunswick, has been chosen as a coastal Blue Flag beach — the first in New Brunswick and the first in Canada. This designation comes from the Environmental Defence organization, who administers this international certification program here in Canada.

According to Environmental Defence Program Manager Kelsey Scarfone, tourists around the world look for blue flags when choosing a beach at which to vacation. This blue flag indicates to the informed tourist that the beach is clean, sustainably managed and a safe place to swim — in other words, a great place to start a family vacation. It must also be noted that the beach is wheelchair accessible via an $80,000 ramp. In total, more than 4,000 beaches and marinas in 45 countries have been evaluated and awarded the Blue Flag designation.


In order to mark this occasion, Mayor Serge Léger and his council will attend a blue flag raising ceremony at the beach on June 17, 2018, which will be followed by a party that all residents and visitors are invited to attend.


It is with pride and pleasure that I wish to acknowledge this wonderful achievement for the village of Cap-Pelé and the province of New Brunswick.

Honourable senators, please join me in congratulating all the hard work over the last three years for the Aboiteau Beach to receive this designation of coastal Blue Flag beach. Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Ms. Poonam Sarin and Mr. Vinay Sarin. 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!

Team Everest

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to the thousands of private sponsors of refugees in Canada. Vinay and Poonam Sarin serve as excellent examples and proxies for them.

In 2015 they joined a team of 17 other like-minded individuals to create Team Everest, an appropriately named sponsorship team, because sponsoring two families, comprising 16 refugees ranging in age from 2 to 48, was not exactly a stroll in the park.

The easy part, the first task, was raising the money; and with their help, Team Everest raised close to $100,000. In hindsight, in fact, raising the money turned out to be the easiest part of the challenge. The hard part was the thousand mundane tasks.

Vinay found housing in a scant seven days for a family of 12, when Canadian houses are typically built for a maximum of 6. OHIP cards were registered, bank accounts were opened, hospital visits and immunizations were taken care of, dentists and doctors were found, and school registrations were completed — and all this with no common language between the families and the sponsors.

Poonam was adamant that the families know and understand the rule of law in this country. She arranged for a local policeman to talk to the families about the dos and don’ts. And to balance it with a sense of Canadian fun, she then introduced them to hockey.

When the time was right, drivers’ lessons and licences were taken care of. The first income tax return was filed, and with the very careful shepherding of the finances under Vinay’s careful eyes, Team Everest was able to contribute to the cost of a vehicle for each of the two families.

Most important, Vinay made sure that the working members were introduced to employers, to services and to unions, utilizing the significant social capital inherent in the sponsoring team. One received apprenticeship training at the local carpenters union, and today he earns close to $30 an hour in his trade. The other found work at a hardware store and drives an Uber to make extra cash.

When they reflect on their work over past three years, both Poonam and Vinay marvel at the impact it has made on their own lives. Frankly, their lives have been full, professionally and socially, but this, they say, is by far the best thing they have ever done.

Honourable senators, they are not alone. Recent research has found that 7 per cent of Canadians are private sponsors, which is roughly 2.4 million Canadians, spread over our country, cities, towns and, in fact, even our villages. This is an incredibly hopeful finding. No wonder, then, that this wonderful made-in-Canada public-private partnership is finding its legs in the U.K., Australia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Ireland and Germany. Perhaps it is a new and modern expression of nation building. Vinay and Poonam are but proxies and examples.

Please join me in thanking all private sponsors for their contribution to this country.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Important Milestones for Bulgaria

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I rise today as the founding co-chair of the Canada-Bulgaria Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, which is set to hold our Fourth Annual General Meeting this evening at 5 p.m. in Room 256-S. I hope my honourable colleagues may consider becoming a member of the group and, after we rise, join the reception to meet the Bulgarian community and enjoy wonderful Bulgarian entertainment, food and wine.

There is much to celebrate. May 24, today, is Bulgaria’s national holiday, “Day of the Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slavonic Alphabet.” This national day recognizes the work of Saints Cyril and Methodius, the two missionaries who are credited with founding the Slavonic alphabet in the 9th century.

During their mission in Great Moravia, they translated the Bible in the Old Church Slavonic language and created the Glagolitic alphabet, which later served as the basis of the Cyrillic alphabet. Their disciples went to the South Slavic regions of the first Bulgarian empire and further developed and formalized Cyrillic. Today the alphabet is used by some 300 million people in 12 countries in Eastern Europe and Northern and Central Asia.

In 2007, Bulgaria joined the European Union and Cyrillic became the third official alphabet of the EU. In 2018, Bulgaria proudly assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time since joining the EU.

This year is a significant year for a very special Bulgarian legacy that remained hidden from public records until after the fall of the Iron Curtain. We commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust and remember the thousands who had been deported from Macedonia and Thrace during World War II.

Bulgaria was the first Eastern European country that prevented nearly 50,000 Jews from being deported because of the heroic and courageous Bulgarians who stood up in the face of tyranny and bravely defended human life.

In March of 1943, when the trains from the extermination camps in Treblinka rolled into Bulgaria to transport all the Bulgarian Jews, the entire populace of Bulgaria stood together as a human shield to protect their Jewish neighbours. Bakers hid Jews in their ovens. The farmers in the countryside threatened to lie on the tracks so that trains could not pass. Citizens risked their lives printing thousands of forged baptismal certificates, and the churches opened their doors to provide shelter.


Strategic interventions were made by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Bishops Stephan and Kiril, who pleaded with the Tsar, and Deputy Speaker Dimitar Peshev, who mobilized 43 members of Parliament to sign a petition letter to the government. Finally, it was Tsar Boris who ultimately did not surrender the Bulgarian Jews to Hitler, citing labour shortages.

Today we remember and honour all the Bulgarians who did not remain silent in the face of evil and whose courage and love of humanity saved nearly 50,000 Bulgarian Jews from death. An exhibition was held in March at the inaugural “Bulgaria Day on the Hill” and will be again displayed in Vancouver on May 27 in commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary.

Honourable senators, please join me in applauding the Bulgarian people for their proud legacy of compassion and bravery.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Lydia Neilson, Margaret Parlor and William Parlor. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Griffin.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

International Awareness Day for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Hon. Diane F. Griffin: Honourable senators, May 12 was international awareness day for myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.

This date was chosen because it was the birthdate of Florence Nightingale, the British army nurse who became chronically ill with what is thought to have been chronic fatigue syndrome and was housebound and often bedridden for the rest of her life.

Symptoms include fatigue, inappropriate loss of physical and mental stamina after exertion, sleep dysfunction and pain. It also affects the neurological, endocrine and immune systems.

My own family has been impacted with two sisters in law, one with chronic fatigue syndrome and other with fibromyalgia. These formerly very active women find it difficult to plan their lives as they don’t know how they will feel on the day an event arrives. For instance, will they have the energy and feel well enough to participate in a family reunion at my house in two weeks and enjoy it? Another instance: A cousin had to retire early as high school art teacher, even though she loved teaching art to appreciative students.

There are not yet tests to identify chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, so all other illnesses with overlapping symptoms must be ruled out before these diagnoses are considered.

Because we don’t have good diagnostic tools, it is hard for sufferers to get proper care.

There is much that can be done to help these Canadians, including supporting research, raising awareness, combating stereotypes and ensuring that programs are inclusive.

Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Jacquelyn Cardinal. She is the guest of the Honourable Senator Pate.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Jacquelyn Cardinal

New Relationship between Canada and First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Peoples

Hon. Kim Pate: Colleagues, I rise today to recognize the work of Jacquelyn Cardinal, founder and director of Naheyawin and a member of the Sucker Creek Cree First Nation on Treaty 8 territory in Alberta, which is the traditional home of her people, the Sakawithiniwak. Jacquelyn testified before the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples yesterday as part of our study on the new relationship between Canada and First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.

In her statement she presented to us a vision of a future for herself and her descendants, seven generations and then some. She talked about what she is working to achieve, just as her ancestors have for many generations: a vision she described as “bridges in the sky” between our worlds, not to be used to meet in the middle to shake hands and be happy to go back to our own worlds without incident, but instead to be ventured across by the people of both worlds to listen and to learn on the other side and then journey back home transformed. She described these bridges as safe and clean because they are cared for by both peoples, and they come to the minds of us all in times of need, just as they do in celebration. These bridges, she says, will be part of who we are and we will stand taller because we have them.

She invited us to join her in achieving this vision by sharing the Indigenous natural laws of her people that provide an alternative framework for building the strong foundations of the lasting nation-to-nation relationships we wish to realize — Wahkohtowin, Nistotomuk and Sakiyatuk — a framework that has been successfully directing her company, Naheyawin, in facilitating change in how non-Indigenous peoples approach relationship building with Indigenous peoples.

These laws remind us of our interconnectedness, of the importance of supporting one another, in knowing ourselves before we seek to understand the other, and of the importance of being kind to one another and ourselves as we grow towards the nation-to-nation relationships we wish to build.

I thank Jacquelyn for her passion, her intellect, her enthusiasm and her inspirational leadership for young people and for all of us.

Kinanâskomitin. Thank you.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Before the break, as Chair of the Transport Committee, I met with representatives of the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada, known as the MCC. I’m sure many of you did as well.

What I took away from that meeting is that motorcyclists look forward to this time of year as much as golfers do. What I didn’t know is how many enthusiastic motorcyclists there are in Canada — more than 700,000 — and what a significant contribution they make to the Canadian economy: $224 million in purchases of safety apparel, $164.9 million in gasoline purchases, $1 billion in equipment and parts; and $9.6 million in food and beverages annually. It breaks down to $218.4 million from the midwest where I live and some 2,041 jobs as well.

As the Chair of the MCC noted, while motorcycling is an important economic industry, it’s also a passion for many, one that inevitably entails safety risks. If April showers bring flowers, then May flowers are accompanied by a return to the road of motorcyclists. That is why May has been declared Motorcycle Safety Month, not just for motorcyclists themselves but for drivers and pedestrians as well.

As the MCC says, motorcycle safety is everyone’s responsibility. When I met with them, I took the motorcycle safety pledge. I urge all senators to do the same and be aware of motorcyclists not just in May but for the entire season as well.

Thank you, senators.




Charter Statement in Relation to Bill C-76—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-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and Other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments.


Charter Statement in Relation to Bill C-78—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-78, An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act.


Aboriginal Peoples

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Study on a New Relationship Between Canada and First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples—Twelfth Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck,Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples has the honour to present its


Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Thursday, December 15, 2016, to study a new relationship between Canada and First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, and requests, for the purpose of such study, that it be empowered to engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,



(For text of budget, see today’s Journals of the Senate, Appendix A, p. 3435.)

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

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

Agriculture and Forestry

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services and Travel—Study on How the Value-added Food Sector Can be More Competitive in Global Markets—Eleventh Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Diane F. Griffin,Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry has the honour to present its


Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Thursday, February 15, 2018, to study how the value-added food sector can be more competitive in global markets, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, and requests, for the purpose of such study, that it be empowered:

(a) to engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary; and

(b) to travel inside Canada.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,



(For text of budget, see today’s Journals of the Senate, Appendix B, p. 3441.)

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

Senator Griffin: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(f), I move that the report be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration later this day.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Griffin, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration later this day.)


National Finance

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Extend Date of Final Report on the Study of the Design and Delivery of the Federal Government’s Multi-Billion Dollar Infrastructure Funding Program

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

That, notwithstanding the orders of the Senate adopted on Tuesday, February 23, 2016, and on Thursday, November 17, 2016, the date for the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance in relation to its study on the design and delivery of the federal government’s multi-billion infrastructure program be extended from June 30, 2018 to December 31, 2019.




Budget Implementation Bill

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate today concerning the Minister of Finance and a recent event.

Last week the Canadian Association of Mutual Insurance Companies told The Globe and Mail that they received two angry phone calls from a member of the Minister of Finance’s staff. This member of Minister Morneau’s staff warned the group not to speak to MPs and senators regarding their concerns about Bill C-74, the government’s omnibus budget implementation act.

As well, the night before their recent appearance at the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, the group claims they received a 30-minute phone call from the same staff member warning them not to appear before committees.

Senator Harder, a question, because I think it talks about behavioural issues and transparency. Was Minister Morneau aware of the conduct of his staff member? Does he believe this behaviour is acceptable? If not, how does the minister intend to rectify this situation to ensure it never happens again?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. Clearly, it is the view of the Government of Canada that individual Canadians and corporate entities of Canada are entitled to express their opinions and to ensure they have a voice in all of the appropriate bodies that consider important aspects of law and procedures. And that is the view of the minister. It is the conduct of this government, and I want to assure him and the house that this government supports participation in the political process, in the legislative process and in the advocacy necessary thereto.

Senator Smith: I thank you for your answer. As a follow-up, the Canadian Association of Mutual Insurance Companies has raised concerns with Bill C-74 and changes to the Bank Act which it believes would permit banks to sell clients’ private information without consent. As the government leader may know, the Privacy Commissioner told the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce on Tuesday that his office was not consulted on this bill and that he will bring forward an amendment to address the privacy concerns.

Senator, could you tell us the reaction of Minister Morneau’s office when this association raised its concerns about privacy matters? Is your government willing to consider such an amendment?

Senator Harder: Again, I thank the honourable senator for his question. He will know that the bill concerning this matter is before the other place. There has been pre-study in our chamber. As I understand it, there have been witnesses on this matter, our committee is doing its dutiful work in pre-study, and I expect this issue will be amongst those we will be debating and discussing to ensure that the intent of this legislation is entirely as described, which is to protect individual information and advance the modernization of this sector.

Natural Resources

Trans Mountain Pipeline

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Honourable senators, my question as well is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Leader, Canadians are growing tired of the lack of leadership demonstrated by the Trudeau government on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. This government’s answer to everything is to throw money at the problem, which is why we have found ourselves with an $18 billion deficit.

Kinder Morgan did not ask for a taxpayer bailout. They have been clear that they want certainty about their ability to construct through British Columbia so that they can provide assurances to their stakeholders.

Leader, this is an embarrassing political failure, not a market failure. Canada’s former ambassador to the U.S. says the Prime Minister’s lack of leadership on this file is making Canada “a laughing stock in the world.”

Leader, why is the government throwing away taxpayer dollars rather than providing the certainty that Kinder Morgan needs to move ahead?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): First, I thank the honourable senator for his question, and I want to draw the attention of senators to the granddaughter of the questioner in the chamber to review both his performance and mine in answering his question.

Let me repeat that the position of the Government of Canada is that this is an important national project, it ought to be built, and the government is taking all steps, including those that I have referenced in the past, which include the Minister of Finance having direct discussions with the company affected. The government is prepared to look at all of the options available to it to ensure this pipeline gets built.

Senator Plett: Well, I will wait for the Speaker later on to make the proper introductions, but I do know that I will ask my granddaughter to grade our performance today.

Leader, this week we passed an important bill on this topic, Bill S-245, and I commend Senator Black for his leadership on this. As you know, this is a bill of critical national importance.


Leader, can you provide us the assurance that the Trudeau government will consider and vote on this legislation with the same urgency that they and you expect from us with respect to legislation they have sent us and expect us to pass before we rise for the summer?

Senator Harder: Again, I thank the honourable senator for his question. Let me assure this house that the Government of Canada is examining all of the options before it as it deals with the issue of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Obviously, the government is not in a position to determine whether the basis of moving forward would include this piece of legislation, which, as all honourable senators will know, is a Senate public bill. It is before the other chamber and will be dealt with under the rules of the other chamber.

Veterans Affairs

Construction of New Office Building—Local Workers

Hon. Diane F. Griffin: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

I represent Prince Edward Island, and we are very happy to have the Veterans Affairs Canada headquarters in Charlottetown. It’s a boost to our economy. We were disappointed when there were staff cutbacks in that office. Our economy took a hit as a result.

In February, the federal government awarded a design contract for the modernization of the Veterans Affairs office to a company whose nearest office to us is 1,300 kilometres away in Kingston, Ontario.

Will local P.E.I. tradespeople and subcontractors be given consideration and benefit from this project?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question and her ongoing advocacy for her province.

I want to assure her and all senators that the government views investing in buildings of the nature of the MacDonald Building as important upkeep of its infrastructure for the better delivery of services to Canadians.

I can confirm that a $3.3 million contract was indeed awarded for the renewal of the MacDonald Building to NORR, an architecture and engineering firm that is headquartered in Toronto. This includes designing mechanical upgrades to the headquarters of Veterans Affairs Canada. This project will provide economic and job opportunities across many business sectors in the region. I should add that an Island-based company, Studio Brehaut Architecture, is the local subcontractor on the project.

The design work for the building renewal will begin immediately, with construction expected to start in January 2020 and to be completed in the fall of 2023, with the objective of ensuring there is great participation by Island workers.


Taiwan—Air Canada

Hon. David Tkachuk: Senator Harder, I want to follow up on a question asked by Senator Ngo yesterday regarding Air Canada kowtowing to China over its insistence that Air Canada describe Taiwan as part of China on its website. You answered Senator Ngo in part by saying that Air Canada is a private company and responsible for the contents of its website; yet in other areas the government has no problem telling Air Canada what to do — where to put its headquarters, for instance, or where to conduct maintenance activities. Therefore, the idea that the government needs to be hands-off when it comes to what Air Canada puts on its website when it is dictated to by a foreign power is a bit of a stretch.

I find it more than coincidental that, as we learned when Air Canada testified before the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications on Bill C-49, one of the reasons it was so enthusiastic about the joint venture provisions of that act is that it intended to pursue one with Air China. As they explicitly testified, that would provide access to markets such as Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu and many others.

Senator Harder, given that this government has just made possible the very joint venture Air Canada is now pursuing with China, could you assure us that you will inform the Minister of Transport of his obligation to keep this censorship at the forefront of his review of any joint venture proposal between Air Canada and Air China and, on that basis, disallow it as not being in the public interest, as the legislation provides?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator, who chairs the Transport Committee, for his question.

As I indicated in the answer to the question from the Honourable Senator Ngo, the government’s view is that Air Canada is a private company pursuing its private interests. Inasmuch as those interests oblige the government to examine proposals that the company may be bringing forward, it will exercise its responsibilities. But in the meantime, it behooves all of us to wish our private sector well in a global economy and to support its work that achieves that objective.

Senator Tkachuk: They asked the same thing of American companies, and the White House issued a press release saying it was Orwellian nonsense that they would dictate to private airlines what to put on their websites. Senator Harder, if Russia, say, were to insist that Air Canada refer to Kiev as being part of Russia and not Ukraine, could you tell us that the government would take the same attitude it has with the present issue with China and Taiwan?

Senator Harder: Again, I thank the honourable senator for his question. I want to repeat that the Government of Canada is not following the examples of the countries he has referred to. It is preposterous to suggest that having the private sector initiate websites that promote or otherwise describe its business activities is something the government should get into the business of.

National Defence

CFB Gagetown—Agent Orange

Hon. Carolyn Stewart Olsen: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Leader, as reported in the media in a news report by the highly respected Murray Brewster, in the late spring of 1985, Sergeant Al White was ordered to escort a Department of Defence truck into a freshly dug pit near a roadside in CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick. The truck contained barrels of Agent Orange.

Sergeant White’s account raises a critical question: Do we know what happened to all the leftover Agent Orange that was supposedly disposed of on the base? Communities around the base are not convinced. Sergeant White has said he can help DND identify the site.

Leader, would you suggest to Minister Sajjan that it would be a highly regarded community service should he immediately and publicly — and by publicly, I mean inviting the members of the media to accompany him — have the site inspected?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question.

As the honourable senator will know, the Canadian Armed Forces is committed to conducting its operations in a manner that protects the health and safety of military and civilian employees, their families and the surrounding communities where the military members live and work.

Highly qualified, non-governmental experts conducted extensive research and produced testing of herbicides at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, and the Department of National Defence has left no stone unturned. This includes investigating and removing barrels at the tank test firing range.

The impact of the spray on human health was determined to be negligible. Nevertheless, compensation was made available to those who have been diagnosed with any of the diseases that the U.S. Institute of Medicine has determined to be associated with direct exposure to Agent Orange. I will undertake to raise with the minister the suggestions as advanced by the honourable senator.

Senator Stewart Olsen: Thank you, senator. I reiterate that it’s better to be safe than sorry. If there is an undiscovered site and it can be identified by someone who has come forward, would it not behoove the minister and the Liberal government to make certain and reassure the communities?

Senator Harder: Again, as I indicated, I will do as the senator has suggested and bring this to the attention of the minister.



Rights of Victims of Criminal Acts

Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Victims and Survivors of Crime Week begins on Monday. In recent months, your government has introduced several bills that will have a significant impact on victims’ rights as recognized by the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which the government adopted in 2016.

Top of mind are Bill C-75 and Bill C-46, which establish penalties as low as $1,000 for impaired driving causing death. Bill C-14, which we just began studying this morning, would take away victims’ access to information rights.

The Canadian government has been without an ombudsman for victims of crime for six months now. When does the government expect to appoint an ombudsman so there can be a spokesperson within government?



Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I want to thank the honourable senator for his question. Let me assure him that the Government of Canada remains vigilant with respect to the assurance that victims of crime are appropriately heard and their issues are dealt with effectively. With respect to the nomination that he is seeking assurance of, I will make inquiries.


Senator Boisvenu: If victims’ rights are so important to your government, then why did it proceed to appoint the Correctional Investigator of Canada on January 2 of this year when everyone was on holidays? Do criminals’ rights matter more to the Liberal government than victims’ rights?


Senator Harder: Of course not.

Prime Minister’s Office

Prime Minister’s Trip to India

Hon. Denise Batters: My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Senator Harder, 11 weeks ago I asked you a straightforward question: Which senator was part of Prime Minister Trudeau’s entourage on his trip to India, who paid for that senator’s trip and did that senator travel on the Prime Minister’s plane? I received no answer. So five weeks ago I asked you the same question. Still no response from you. You have taken almost three months to answer three basic questions. At this rate, can we expect an answer from you when Jaspal Atwal has his criminal trial on his new uttering threats charges? Senator Harder, what are you and the Prime Minister’s Office hiding from Canadians and, finally, what is the answer to my questions about India?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): No, no and no. No senator was part of the delegation. No senator was accompanied on the aircraft of the Prime Minister. And I can assure the honourable senator that the participation of any Canadians who were there was entirely on the basis of their own personal expense and provision of the opportunity.

Senator Batters: Are you saying that the media reports that one senator did accompany the Prime Minister and his entourage on that particular trip are incorrect, in addition to the numerous MPs who went on that particular trip?

Senator Harder: I am not aware of any senator who accompanied the Prime Minister.


Natural Resources

Spruce Budworm

Hon. Claude Carignan: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In its recent budget, the Trudeau government announced $75 million in aid for the Atlantic Provinces to help them prevent the spread of the spruce budworm. Why are the other provinces, Quebec in particular, not covered by this program?


Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. Not being a specialist in this area, I will take the question under advisement and report back.


Senator Carignan: I would remind the senator that the spruce budworm does not recognize borders and is not deterred by tariff barriers between the provinces. The Government of Quebec, regional agencies for private forest development, forestry advisors, the Fédération des producteurs forestiers du Québec, municipal governments, regional county municipalities, the Regroupement des sociétés d’aménagement forestier du Québec and the Syndicat des producteurs forestiers have joined forces to combat the spruce budworm in Quebec and have set up a spraying program that will commence in 2018 and end in 2023. There is, however, an important player missing from the equation, and that is the federal government.

Does the federal government plan to take part in this program?


Senator Harder: Again, as I indicated, I will make inquiries and report back.

Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Ava Plett, the granddaughter of the Honourable Senator Plett.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Answers to Order Paper Questions Tabled

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness—Involvement of Organized Crime in the Illicit Cannabis Market

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 76, dated February 7, 2018, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Smith, regarding the involvement of organized crime in the illicit cannabis market (Public Safety Canada).

Health—Involvement of Organized Crime in the Illicit Cannabis Market

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 76, dated February 7, 2018, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Smith, regarding the involvement of organized crime in the illicit cannabis market (Health Canada).

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship—Applications for Canadian Citizenship Submitted by Persons Under the Age of 18 Before and After Royal Assent of Bill C-6

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 81, dated March 1, 2018, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Oh, regarding applications for Canadian citizenship submitted by persons under the age of 18 before and after Bill C-6 received Royal Assent.

Democratic Institutions—Application and Nomination Process for the Current Vacancies in the Senate

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 83, dated March 20, 2018, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Downe, regarding the application and nomination process for the current vacancies in the Senate.



Salaries Act

Financial Administration Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Harder, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Bellemare, for the third reading of Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Salaries Act and to make a consequential amendment to the Financial Administration Act.

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Salaries Act and to make a consequential amendment to the Financial Administration Act. This bill was introduced in the House of Commons in September 2016 by the leader of the government.


This bill provides for new ministerial appointments to receive proper compensation under the appropriate governing statute rather than through supply bills. In effect, Bill C-24 would ensure that ministers’ salaries are governed under one legal instrument instead of the current two-speed approach.

In addition, the bill would see the removal of positions that are no longer in existence and make a number of changes in nomenclature.

Colleagues, this is a technical bill if ever there was one. The five ministerial positions, to refresh your memory, are as follows: 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 the Minister of Status of Women.

Previous speeches in the House of Commons and in this chamber have described the bifurcated status quo whereby ministers’ salaries are authorized under the Salaries Act, with those salary payments made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, whereas ministers of state are currently paid through the Appropriations Act. Senator Marshall has noted that Bill C-24 corrects this bifurcation.

In her second reading speech, she said:

In its report on the 2016-17 Supplementary Estimates (C), presented in the Senate last March, the Senate National Finance Committee expressed concern about the recurrent practice of using supplementary estimates to pay the salaries of the ministers of state prior to the enactment of amendments to the Salaries Act, raising the question in the context of this bill, Bill C-24, which was already on the Order Paper in the House of Commons, and had been there for quite a while.

I was a member of the National Finance Committee at the time and I remember well our disquiet over the use of supply bills to pay ministers of state. Bill C-24 will correct this anomaly. By passing it, we will ensure that all ministerial salaries are authorized by the Salaries Act as statutory payments.

The bill before us is fundamentally about correcting an inconsistency in the treatment of cabinet ministers and, as such, is relatively uncontroversial.

Colleagues as we address inconsistencies in the other place, however, we are reminded of inconsistencies in our own chamber. It was Senator Downe who rightly asked Senator Harder about such inconsistencies in the Senate. In particular, Senator Downe asked about the unequal treatment of recognized parliamentary groups such as the Independent Liberals and the ISG, and their respective leadership teams, relative to the government and the opposition.


In his reply, Senator Harder said:

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.

I made a similar point in my recent testimony to the Modernization Committee:

Honourable senators, at the root of the unequal treatment of parliamentary groups vis-à-vis the government and the opposition is the lack of due recognition given to those groups in the Parliament of Canada Act. As it stands, the act only recognizes the presence of a government body and an opposition in the Senate, with attendant recognition for the leadership teams of those two groups and no more. A complete revision of the rules and procedures to take into account the new realities of the Senate will have to include amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act and not just the Rules of the Senate. However, the fact that revisions to the act are not directly or exclusively within the control of the Senate should not be a reason for us to delay changes to the Senate rules that already perpetuate unequal treatment of parliamentary groups . . . .

I am pleased to report that Senator Harder has followed up on his comments in this chamber. In a letter to Senators Smith, Day and myself, dated May 7, 2018, he writes:

. . . another key piece of Senate renewal is found in statute, in particular the provisions of the Parliament of Canada Act that govern the operations of the Senate.

I think we can all acknowledge that certain statutory provisions are not in line with the new reality of the Senate. Some examples include statutory provisions that create a duty on the Government to consult with Senate leadership . . . as well as the remuneration framework relating to Senate leadership positions. Another issue that has been raised is the Act’s framework for membership changes to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.

I continue to quote Senator Harder, who said:

. . . as the process of Senate modernization continues to unfold, the Government wishes to reiterate its commitment to non-constitutional renewal of the Senate, including a review of the Act and other related statutes insofar as they relate to the Senate. The Government also acknowledges that, as an independent and self-governing legislative body, the Senate must be an active participant in any review of the provisions of the Act that govern its operations. Senators have already expressed a broad desire to see some changes to the Act and to move ahead. The Government looks forward to substantive and specific input from the Senate.

Colleagues, I have digressed some distance from Bill C-24, but the principles behind the need for Bill C-24 are the same as those which justify similarly needed amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act.

I know some members are frustrated that the government sees fit to correct inconsistencies in the way it treats ministers of the Crown but has until recently taken little interest in fixing inconsistencies in the governing statutes of the Senate. I share that frustration, but I do not believe that we should hold C-24 ransom to changes in the Parliament of Canada Act. Senator Harder’s letter is, I believe, a clear signal that the government welcomes the Senate’s recommendations on amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act.

Now, as it turns out, the Modernization Committee is already in the middle of a study on how Senate Rules should be changed to adjust to the new realities of our upper house. In fact, Senator Harder testified just yesterday to the Modernization Committee, and he reiterated what was described as a “long-standing invitation for the Senate to move forward and make recommendations to government for changes to the Parliament of Canada Act.”

On this matter, therefore, the ball is in our court. I very much hope that the upcoming report of the Modernization Committee will provide us with concrete ideas on how to move forward and that we will respond accordingly and swiftly. That, however, is for another day.

For now, we have a different ball in our court, which is Bill C-24 — a technical bill which corrects inconsistencies in the legal framework for paying the salaries of ministers. It is time to fix those inconsistencies by sending the ball back to the other place.

I support this bill and hope you will as well.

(On motion of Senator Mercer, debate adjourned.)


Canada Labour Code

Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Hartling, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wetston, for the second reading of Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1.

Hon. Renée Dupuis: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill C-65, which was passed by the House of Commons on May 7. I wish to focus in particular on Part 1, which amends the Canada Labour Code and deals with harassment and violence, and Part 2, which concerns the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act.

According to the legislative summary of Bill C-65, Part 1 would amend the Canada Labour Code to strengthen the existing framework for the prevention of harassment and violence, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, in the work place.

This is part of a set of laws dealing with harassment that includes the Human Rights Act, which deals with sexual harassment as a form of sexual discrimination, and the Criminal Code, which deals with criminal harassment. Bill C-65 is also consistent with a certain set of legal decisions, including the Supreme Court of Canada decision handed down exactly 31 years ago, in 1987, addressing the issue of sexual harassment as a form of gender-based discrimination.

I support the idea of giving victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence in the workplace more forms of recourse. However, we must ensure that women who are victims of sexual harassment can still choose the type of recourse, including a complaint under the Canadian Human Rights Act. I think it’s important to clarify that the new framework set out in Bill C-65 will not end up being the only option and that it will not preclude a discrimination complaint for sexual harassment from being filed. This could end up trivializing the harassment and violence that women are subjected to in the workplace and could take away these women’s hard-fought forms of recourse.

For 31 years now, the Supreme Court has recognized, as indicated in Robichaud v. Canada, that employers are responsible for providing a workplace free of harassment. The court also talked about “the ‘almost constitutional’ nature of the rights protected.” Bill C-65 must not undermine these rights. I urge the members of the committee who will be studying this bill to look carefully at this issue.

I also urge them to look at Part 1, which I think poses some problems for different reasons. There are some problems with clause 0.1, which defines the expression “harassment and violence.” The first problem is that the English definition uses “reasonably”, which is expressed in the French version by “vraisemblablement”. It is far from certain that these two words are equivalent, not only in their ordinary meaning, but also in terms of the legal concepts that define harassment and violence.

The second problem has to do with the criteria. The French definition says, “Toute acte, comportement ou propos, notamment de nature sexuelle . . .” However, the English version reads, “that can reasonably be expected to cause offence.” This suggests that the criterion being used here is what feeling the person committing the act of harassment or violence can reasonably expect to cause in the person to which it is directed, with no consideration of the effect that the act has on the latter. This is inconsistent with the criterion used to define discriminatory sexual harassment. I urge the committee members to consider whether that is really what is meant, especially given that the bill is supposed to emphasize prevention and protection from harassment and violence.


The third problem, in my opinion, is that the English version of paragraph 3(3)z.16 of the bill requires measures to be taken to “prevent and protect against harassment”, whereas the French version uses the phrase “prévenir et réprimer le harcèlement”. If what we really mean is prevention and support for victims, then there is a contradiction in the very objectives we are aiming for. The English version seems to suggest that the goal is to protect against harassment, whereas the French version talks about curbing harassment. The two terms are not equivalent, as they have different meanings. What exactly is this passage of the bill meant to say?

The last problem I noticed concerned section 5. Does the requirement to make a complaint to a supervisor or designated person preclude a discrimination complaint under the Canadian Human Rights Act, given that the Supreme Court has been saying for 31 years that rights protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act are quasi-constitutional rights and are therefore afforded special protection? I think we should make sure the system created by Bill C-65 does not leave this point open to interpretation. We should also clarify that while the system does offer recourse against harassment under Bill C-65, using that recourse does not preclude seeking protection for quasi-constitutional rights recognized under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

In addition, according to the legislative summary of Bill C-65, the bill amends Part III of the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act with respect to the application of the Canada Labour Code to parliamentary employers and employees, without limiting in any way the powers, privileges and immunities of the Senate and the House of Commons and their members.

Clause 87(1) of Bill C-65 defines the terms “employee” and “employer”. What about senators’ employees? Are they formally covered by this definition? Are senators considered to be employers under this clause? I believe that this matter should be given further consideration by the committee members who will study this bill. Furthermore, in my opinion, the issue of the powers, privileges and immunities of senators under this new framework should be carefully studied with respect to the scope of the new system to be introduced by Bill C-65. This study should also be carried out with due regard for the Senate’s policy on the prevention of harassment in the workplace.

Honourable senators, I am convinced that the committee members who will study this bill will give careful consideration to these matters.

Hon. Lucie Moncion: My question pertains to the designation of the victims. There are several measures that protect victims. However, we also know that the victim may be the accused. All manner of false accusations of harassment can be made and ruin the reputation of the person who was purportedly responsible for the harassment. The victim may be the individual who was harassed or the individual who is falsely accused.

It does not seem as though the bill makes any reference to reciprocity, if we can call it that, or to situations where false accusations are made. You did not mention that issue. I would like to know what you think about it.

Senator Dupuis: I believe your question has to do with the responsibility of employers. I went back and reviewed the Supreme Court’s 1987 decision in Robichaud. It has been 31 years since the Supreme Court set out guidelines and established that employers have a responsibility. What strikes me about Bill C-65, which is before us today, is that the government waited 31 years to define the obligations of employers when it comes to creating a healthy work environment — one that is free of harassment and violence — training all employees, creating effective and clear means of recourse that everyone is aware of, and setting the tone for the various ways of conducting business and interacting with others. In other words, employers must create an environment where people stop pretending that the problem doesn’t exist, where harassment victims are not left without recourse, and where employers clearly state that they will no longer tolerate harassment of any sort.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

The Senate

Motion to Affect Question Period on May 29, 2018, Adopted

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of May 23, 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, May 29, 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.


Hon. David Tkachuk: Considering that May 31 is the deadline for the Kinder Morgan pipeline, I was wondering if Minister Carr could come to the Senate and be prepared to answer questions on exactly what is going on with Kinder Morgan, considering there are only two days left to the end of the deadline.

Senator Bellemare: I will inquire and let the honourable senator know.


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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)


Motion Adopted

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of May 23, 2018, moved:

That, when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, May 29, 2018, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)



Ban on Shark Fin Importation Bill

Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator MacDonald, seconded by the Honourable Senator Tkachuk, for the third reading of Bill S-238, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (importation of shark fins), as amended.

Hon. Victor Oh: Honourable senators, I rise to speak on Bill S-238, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (importation of shark fins).

With amendments, Bill S-238 proposes to ban the importation and exportation into or from Canada of shark fins or parts of shark fins that are not attached to a shark carcass.

Sharks are one of the most threatened vertebrates on earth. We all want to save sharks. While I applaud the sponsor of the bill, Senator MacDonald’s noble intention to protect threatened shark populations, I’m deeply concerned whether banning the shark fin trade would help save sharks.

First of all, the bill reinforces the misconception that the shark fin trade is the only threat facing sharks and that shark fin soup is the culprit of shark mortality.

People were told that “100 million sharks are killed annually to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup. . . . Ninety-eight per cent of the animal is discarded and wasted in the process.” Is it true that sharks are killed only for shark fin soup? Is it real that 98 per cent of the shark is discarded and wasted?

Honourable senators, if this premise is true, if the demand for shark fin soup is the main reason for shark mortality, then banning shark fin trade could save sharks. Unfortunately, however, this might not be the case. On the contrary, the markets for all shark products exist globally including shark fins and shark meat.

Dear colleagues, let’s look at the big picture of the global market for shark products.

Apart from shark fins, other shark products are being used for various purposes. Most commonly, they are used for food such as shark steak, health supplements, liver oil and bone, and cosmetics. The liver oil is the most widely utilized shark product, with markets including Belize, France, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sudan and the United States of America for either local or export uses.

Shark meat is one of the major protein sources for people in some parts of the world. For example, France and Italy are major traditional consumer markets for shark meat. In fact, in Italy, the consumer demand for shark meat has been steadily growing for many years.

Brazil is another growing market, as the world’s largest importer of shark meat in 2011. It has increased eight-fold since 2000. And surprisingly “a combination of demand growth and anti-finning regulations intended to encourage the full utilization of carcasses has seen the market for shark meat expand considerably.”

Statistics show that shark meat imported in 2011 represents an increase of 42 per cent by volume compared with 2000 in global trade. As described in the State of the Global Market for Shark Products, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization 2015 Technical Paper:

The vast majority of shark fins are destined for consumption in a relatively small selection of countries and territories in east and Southeast Asia such as mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia is and Vietnam. However, the world’s largest consumers of shark meat are found in South America and Europe, with the most important importers being Italy, Brazil, Uruguay, Spain and the Republic of Korea — the latter being the major importer of skate and ray meat.

In general, markets for shark meat are much more diverse and geographically dispersed than those for shark fins, and as a result there is considerable potential for expansion.

Next, let’s examine the effect of existing shark fins bans.

Twelve states south of our border have banned shark fins, including California, New York and Texas and the United States Congress is also examining a proposed nationwide ban on shark fin trade.

D.S. Shiffman, from the Department of Biological Sciences of Simon Fraser University in Canada and R.E. Hueter, from the Center for Shark Research in the U.S. conducted research on the proposed ban and argued that “such a policy is misguided because it would (a) undermine sustainable shark fisheries (b) likely have a negligible direct effect on global shark mortality, and (c) contribute to the misconception that demand for shark fin soup is the only threat facing shark populations worldwide.”

In this scientific paper published in Marine Policy last year, the authors conclude that:

By making a commercially valuable and sustainable product illegal, the United States shark fin ban would likely not significantly and directly reduce shark mortality and would ignore the growing global trade in the shark meat. A policy that focuses only on shark fins ignores a key component of the problem and risks diverting scarce management and enforcement resources away from the heart of the issue.

China, the largest shark fin consumer, issued a ban on serving shark fin soup at official banquets in September 2013. Air China and several other airlines prohibited shark fin cargo. And a major restaurant chain banned shark fin soup due to growing conservation awareness among Chinese consumers. Chinese traders claim a “70 per cent drop in the shark fin sales volumes” and expect it to continue to contract.

In Hong Kong, the Shark Fin Trade Merchants Association reported a 50 per cent decrease in sales in 2012. Imports fell from 4,613 tonnes in 2000 to 113 tonne this is 2012, a total drop over the 13-year period of 98 per cent in volume.

Comparing 2000 with 2011, China’s share of the world market in imports of shark fins decreased from 26 per cent to 1 per cent by volume.

After China, Vietnam is the second-most important shark fin importer in volume; Japan is the second-most important shark fin importer in value. According to the FAO report, Thailand has surpassed China and Hong Kong as the world’s largest exporter, and estimates suggest that its main trading partners, Japan and Malaysia, may be among the world’s top four export markets for shark fins. Other exporters include South American countries such as Argentina, Peru, Ecuador as well as a number of African countries.

As previously mentioned, the quantity of shark meat being traded has risen substantially, suggests that underlying demand for these products is increasing. Dear colleagues, it’s likely that even if demand for shark fins declines, existing fishing pressure will not.


“The net effect of all these developments has been to increase fishing pressure on many shark populations” and “may also cause fishermen to simply catch more sharks to obtain the same income as prior to a ban.”

As such, honourable senators, I will vote against this bill, as a ban on shark fin trade will not change sharks’ vulnerability to over-exploitation even if demand for shark fins weakens in the long term.

I urge all senators to take into consideration these evidence-based factors. Indeed, summer is just around the corner. Canadians consume millions of chickens annually. By asking Canadians not to barbecue chicken wings, you are not going to save the chicken.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Kindness Week Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Munson, seconded by the Honourable Senator Dawson, for the second reading of Bill S-244, An Act respecting Kindness Week.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill S-244, An Act respecting Kindness Week.

That was the reaction I got from my own caucus. Some of my caucus and staff thought it would be hilarious if I were to be the critic on the kindness bill. I cannot understand what they were thinking.

Today, colleagues, I was having lunch with my beautiful granddaughter, and I said I was speaking to kindness week. She said, “Grandpa, why can’t everyone be kind like you?” I agreed with her.

Colleagues, as much as I wanted to be the critic of this bill, it was taken out of my hands. Senator Martin is our caucus critic. She is not as kind as I am.

I do want to share a few thoughts on this bill. I want to commend Senator Munson on the intention behind this bill, as I believe any initiative that would result in our society being more kind is certainly admirable. However, I have little reason to believe that this bill will achieve that.

In his remarks, Senator Munson, mentioned Hug a Plumber Day. Now, that’s a day to celebrate. As Senator Mockler always says, every household in the country needs a plumber.

Colleagues, the major difference, of course, is that Hug a Plumber Day is not an official national day recognized by an act of Parliament, and nor should it be. These days, weeks and events are already too frequently enshrined into federal legislation. When we overuse this tool of remembrance and celebration, we risk taking away any significance from the truly important nationally observed days and events.

What we are left with is a large list of observed days that we, as parliamentarians, cannot list, let alone recall the date. I would speculate that the average Canadian would not be able to name half of these days or events. As a matter of fact, I would speculate that half of the senators would not be able to do that.

We currently have 17 recognized commemorative days, five federally recognized commemorative weeks, and four federally recognized commemorative months each year. The last thing we want is for a growing list to minimize the importance or significance of days like Lincoln Alexander Day, Holocaust Memorial Day or World Autism Awareness Day. These days, like many of the days and events recognized by acts of Parliament, are meant to bring attention to a cause that requires the attention of the Canadian people.

As Senator Munson rightly stated, World Autism Awareness Day has led to meaningful action. This was a demonstrably wonderful use of this tool that we can use in Parliament. However, is there a legitimate concern or recurring problem in Canada that a national kindness week would remedy — in Canada of all places?

The many acts of kindness following the horrific truck attack in Toronto were alluded to in Senator Munson’s speech. Similarly, profound acts of kindness were demonstrated after the terrible Humboldt tragedy.

Of course, colleagues, this is the Canadian way. We should all be immensely proud of that. Canadians are teased for our over-the-top politeness and kindness. When we nearly bump into a stranger, we greet each other with, “Sorry,” nicknamed the “Canadian standoff.” All this to say we do not have a problem with kindness in this country.

Does that mean that we should not strive to do better? Even we as Canadians can always do better. However, I have a hard time believing that observing a national week of kindness will actually result in a cultural, societal shift towards kindness.

Colleagues, we remember the recent tragic passing of our colleague Gord Brown. The common sentiment expressed in every tribute and each eulogy was Gord’s kindness and generosity. Gord truly lived this way and lived every day as an example of how to treat others. Gord was the whip on the other side, and I certainly need to take lessons.

Kindness is infectious and contagious. When kindness comes from a place of sincerity, it inspires us to pay it forward. It is through the example of people like Gord Brown that encourages us to be more kind to one another. It is not through legislated weeks.

We as parliamentarians and leaders within our communities must also do better. We must endeavour to encourage acts of kindness towards others in everything we do and not solely one week out of a year.

These days, weeks and events should really only be considered when there is a historical event or figure that demands our attention, remembrance or commemoration, or if the day will truly make a positive change in Canadian society.

I believe that Canada is the greatest country in the world, and I believe we have the most generous and kind citizens in the world.

While I respect the goal of this legislation, I do not believe that national kindness week will do what Senator Munson is hoping it will do.

I will support this legislation moving to committee for further study, and I will not stand in the way of this bill moving forward at any stage. However, colleagues, I do believe that we need to be mindful of the growing list of holidays and observances we enshrine into federal legislation going forward.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Will you accept a question, Senator Plett?

Senator Plett: Certainly.

Hon. Frances Lankin: Thank you very much, Senator Plett.

For the most part, I agree with you completely. I think there is a proliferation of these sorts of observances, and like you said, it tends to undermine the importance of significant messages that we want to put forward.

I can see how a week like this could be used to motivate kids in schools to do acts of kindness. I think you could do that by organizing one school to take a lead and getting them to motivate, through social media, their counterparts right across the country. Do you feel the same about the current legislation before us that recognizes National Physicians’ Day?


Senator Plett: Senator, you know, I think we have a National Fiddling Day that some people supported, and I don’t think I voted against it at any point, but to recognize fiddlers, yes, senator, I would feel that way about anything other than Remembrance Day, certainly, Christmas and Easter and, but other than that I would feel that.

Hon. Terry M. Mercer (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals): I just want to make sure that it goes on the record, especially with your granddaughter in the gallery, that I think you’re a kind man, Senator Plett, and I don’t want her to go away thinking that we’re all ganging up on you.

Do you know what? It’s easy to talk about kindness and about Canadians being kind if you are a white man with money in his pocket; the world is kind to you. If you don’t fit that category, there are a lot of things in this country and in the world that aren’t kind.

Don’t you think it’s important that having this day helps remind us at least once a year that there are shortcomings in this world and we should all be a little kinder? On Hug A Plumber Day, I came over and hugged you because you’re my favourite plumber in Ottawa.

Senator Plett: Well, thank you very much, senator. I know my granddaughter will go home and say, just like I said, everybody in Ottawa loves grandpa because he is, indeed, a kind person.

Do I think that would be beneficial? Absolutely. As I said earlier, we have something called World Plumbing Day, but it’s not a nationally recognized holiday. I stand almost every year in this chamber — I didn’t this year — on that particular day and talk about it, and for us to talk about it in this chamber right now because, I certainly agree, not everybody feels the same way.

Senator Mercer, we talk about being kind. Senator Munson and I have talked about this before. We both have played a little bit of hockey in our lives and usually, because of our stature, we played with our elbows up because that was the only way that we would get through a hockey game alive. To me you play your sports hard, we play politics hard, and after that — and I won’t go too far, Senators Lankin and Gold — we have started a little evening that a few of us get together, discuss what we did during the week and have a few refreshments while we discuss that. We found out that we are actually far nicer people than what we often think we are here.

I think a discussion on this is good, and, senator, that’s why I said I will not vote against this bill. How can you vote against national kindness week? Do I think it will do any good to have a recognized week? No, I don’t.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Before I take adjournment for the balance of my time, I want to thank Senator Plett for showing me such kindness and understanding to allow me to be the friendly critic of this bill.

I believe that having certain designations, be it symbolic, is important, and so I look forward to speaking to this bill at a later date.

I know that Senator Plett has this very soft interior; we have gotten to know him, and those of us who work with him closely understand the important role he plays. I know he has my back in this chamber, and I appreciate it; and with his very loving granddaughter in our presence, I’m happy to stand to confirm what a really valuable colleague he is. I’ll take the adjournment for the balance of my time.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)


National Physicians’ Day Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Eggleton, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Day, for the second reading of Bill S-248, An Act respecting National Physicians’ Day.

Hon. Marie-Françoise Mégie: Honourable senators, I rise today as the critic for Bill S-248, An Act respecting National Physicians’ Day.

I thank the Honourable Senator Art Eggleton for introducing this bill in the Senate in April. The bill would designate May 1 of every year as National Physicians’ Day. The bill clarifies that the date will not be a legal holiday or a non-juridical day.

As stated in the preamble, the goal of Bill S-248 is to recognize that physicians play a vital role in ensuring Canadians’ well-being every day, but who are these doctors, exactly?

There are those who start out as students for several years. Then they devote two years to a clerkship, followed by a residency in medicine or some other specialty that can last two, five or seven years depending on their chosen specialty. If they want to subspecialize in a particular discipline, they might get a fellowship in another province or the United States.

Then there are immigrant physicians. In addition to adapting to their new country, some of them have to support their families while studying to pass their equivalency exams. They have to work hard to raise money to cover the high costs of those exams. Regardless of how hard they work, the risk of failure is ever-present, and even if they pass their exams, they are not guaranteed a residency.

After going through all these steps, they finally become practising physicians. They work in hospitals, in emergency rooms or intensive care units, in offices, in home care, in long-term care facilities and in palliative care. In every sector of the health care system, they do their best to provide high-quality care to Canadians. Some become administrators, university professors or researchers. Others are active in the broader community working in health promotion either by doing media outreach or by volunteering to help the least fortunate in developing countries.

What a feeling of achievement to be licensed to practise. Now they can practise a profession that is constantly evolving and replete with challenges of all kinds that are both stimulating and gratifying, but can also lead to their share of suffering, sometimes within a single day. For example, physicians may save one patient’s life in the emergency room only to lose another despite their best efforts to resuscitate them. They might help a woman bring a healthy baby into the world one minute and assist with a delivery that does not go well the next. Physicians may see the progressive decline of a patient that was under their care for many years and whose physical independence they preserved for as long as possible. They might watch a child die of an incurable disease, but learn a lot about courage and resilience in the process. They might support a patient in palliative care, sometimes even a person who is their own age and has children that are the same age as theirs.

Some physicians provide medical assistance in dying and feel the need to take the next day off to recover psychologically. Whether they save lives in the emergency room or on the operating table, every action they take can have major consequences and they have to live with every single one of their decisions.

On many occasions, they must deal with the negative press from certain media. In fact, they are lambasted for their salary and criticized for the failings of the health system. This situation can lead to more stress and even despair.


Balancing work and a harmonious family life when the two schedules are incompatible is something that doctors have to deal with every day. Doctors have computerized their offices and moved to using electronic medical records, but although this technological change brings with it many advantages, it also has its disadvantages. When doctors finish their day at the office, their online work follows them home. They also have to attend meetings to help develop local and regional health policies, on top of all of their other responsibilities.

As a result of all of these hours of work, the night and weekend shifts, the sleep deprivation, and the high levels of stress that go along with such a large amount of responsibility, some doctors are on the verge of exhaustion. Unfortunately, this can occur when doctors are doing their residency, which is a time when many of them question their career path. When one has learned to help others, it is very difficult to accept the need to ask for help for oneself. More and more doctors need one-time support from the Physicians’ Health Program. The latest statistics from the Quebec Physicians’ Health Program show a 40 per cent increase in requests for help in 2016-17 compared with the previous year. Medicine is also a profession that poses a relatively high risk of suicide.

For all these reasons, taking a day to pay tribute to Canada’s physicians — those who are practising, those in training and those who have retired — is a terrific initiative. The board of directors of the Canadian Medical Association, or CMA, made this decision on its 150th anniversary. It is a way of drawing the entire country’s attention to the contribution physicians make to patient care, research, teaching and innovation. It is a way of expressing Canada’s pride in universal health care, an important right for all Canadians.

As Bill S-248 moved through the legislative process, I got in touch with some old doctor colleagues of mine. I was not surprised at their tepid response to designating this day. Having felt the sting of media censure, some of them have no wish to attract attention or add fuel to the fire by designating this commemorative day. I should note that members of a number of professions, such as nurses, nursing assistants and social workers, have chosen the month of May for their nationally designated days. Doctors could join their colleagues in other health professions by doing likewise.

While I support this bill, I do have one reservation, which concerns the choice of the date of May 1. This choice also provoked a strong reaction from the colleagues I consulted. As you all know, this date commemorates workers’ campaign for shorter working hours and an eight-hour workday. In most industrialized European countries, they won that right during the inter-war period. May Day became a day to celebrate the battles workers have fought. It is a holiday in many European countries, and it is still a day of worker demonstrations in many places around the world.

Still, I would like to point out the role physicians played in liberating workers. In the industrial era, doctors condemned working conditions that seriously damaged workers’ health. Doctors were the first to identify the effects of exposure to the ores extracted from mines. They fought for recognition of work-related illnesses, such as chimney sweeps’ carcinoma. Indeed, it was also physicians who used their expertise to raise concerns about the health of children working in miserable conditions.

The CMA does not mean to compete with workers. The CMA is proud to join Ontario and Nova Scotia in their provincial tradition of celebrating Doctors’ Day on May 1 of each year. May 1 is the birthday of Dr. Emily Stowe, the first woman to practise medicine in Canada and one of the founders of the country’s women’s movement.

To give you a brief overview of Dr. Stowe’s story, she decided to become a doctor while caring for her husband, who had contracted tuberculosis in 1863. However, she was denied admission to medical school in Canada, as women were not allowed in. She had to move to the United States, where she enrolled at the New York Medical College for Women. Dr. Stowe earned her degree in 1867 and returned to Canada to establish a practice in Toronto to heal women and children, even before obtaining her licence to practise in Canada.

In 1870, the President of the Toronto School of Medicine allowed Emily Stowe and Jennie Kidd Trout to take courses there, a licensing requirement for practitioners with foreign degrees. However, Dr. Stowe refused to take her exams and left the school because of the hostility of the male students and faculty. Finally, in 1880, Dr. Stowe was granted a medical licence in Ontario, after Dr. Trout obtained hers in 1875.

So we can say that Dr. Stowe was the first woman to practise medicine in Canada, but not the first woman to be a licensed physician in Canada. That takes nothing away from her status as the CMA’s chosen icon. Even before she received her credentials, this pioneer devoted her life to fighting for women to be allowed to attend medical school in Canada. Her efforts led to the creation of the first medical school to admit women, in Toronto. Her eldest daughter, Augusta, was one of the women who graduated from that school. Dr. Stowe was an advocate for women’s rights, including the right to vote, and was part of the women’s suffrage movement in Canada, whose influence is still felt to this day.

Over time, we have seen an increase in the number of women in the medical profession. In Quebec, there are currently more women practising medicine than men. As of December 31, 2017, Quebec had 10,179 female active physicians, or 50.1 per cent of the total, while the number of male active physicians was 10,134, or 49.4 per cent. Those figures prove that the fight led by Emily Stowe and Jennie Kidd was not in vain. Keep in mind that when women work in a valued profession, the benefits have a ripple effect on society as a whole.

My fellow physicians, for all the sacrifices you made in order to become a doctor and practise medicine, for all the tough times you have gone through, for all the joys you have experienced in providing care to your patients, for the gratification you draw from your practice and for the expressions of gratitude from your patients, be proud of yourselves, be proud of your profession, and be proud of your work. Take advantage of this day to bask in your accomplishments and to think about taking care of yourselves: a healthy doctor for a healthy patient.

Honourable senators, I invite you to join me in supporting Bill S-248.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Mégie, will you take a question?

Senator Mégie: Of course.


Hon. Carolyn Stewart Olsen: Senator Mégie, while I certainly appreciate physicians — there is no question — but did you not consider perhaps a health care workers day or something that would recognize all who work in the health care field, not just physicians?


Senator Mégie: Thank you for your question. That was suggested to me by one of the colleagues to whom I sent my informal poll. However, when we looked at all of this together, we realized that during the month of May, every week was designated in honour of a health care profession. For physicians we are asking for just one day. We found that the month of May would be ideal because every week of that month honours a medical profession. That is why we stuck to this day.



Hon. Frances Lankin: I just wanted to follow up on that with respect to other health care workers and weeks acknowledging and celebrating their contribution in the month of May. Are these legislative-based weeks, or are they professional-association-declared weeks? I think that’s one of the issues we’re dealing with here, in following up on the previous bill’s discussion on kindness week. How many are legislative based?


Senator Mégie: Some of them are not legislative-based. Rather, they were proposed through a resolution by the board of directors of their professional association.


Senator Lankin: As a supplementary, I’m just wondering, given the nature of the discussion that we’ve been having, whether or not that is something that the CMA, for example, or the colleges could do, on a provincial basis. Why legislation for this, as opposed to others? I’m just asking for that to be considered at committee, whether this is the right approach, whether it should include others or whether, in fact, the recommendation should be that an association should celebrate a professional designation but not necessarily a legislatively designated day.


Senator Mégie: They all have their own week in addition to their own day. For instance, the week of May 12 is designated as nursing week. May 12 is Florence Nightingale’s birthday, so they chose that date as nurses’ day. Respiratory therapists and nursing assistants did the same. We thought we might join them. Maybe we could designate a health care professionals month. That’s one option the CMA could consider.


Hon. Marilou McPhedran: I’ve promised Senator Eggleton that my remarks will be brief. Unlike Senator Plett, I don’t think it is particularly relevant to the value of naming days to raise awareness to note that most of us do not know all of the days or remember the day until it comes upon us. Indeed, it is the fact that these days arrive and awaken us to issues and contributions made by certain groups to strengthening our society that adds to their value.

We recently acknowledged nurses nationally, and important perspectives were raised. However, these days need not be full of only the treacle of accolades or exaggeration. Physicians are indisputably essential to a healthy society. This evening, I am speaking to women physicians who are coming here to Centre Block for an evening of learning with me about the United Nations’ women, peace and security agenda because they have decided it is relevant to them as global citizens and women physicians.

As to Dr. Emily Stowe, I want to acknowledge also that Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, with which I have been associated for many years and where both of my children were born, began with a clinic for poor women, and that clinic was partly established by Dr. Emily Stowe. I do hope that Physicians’ Day, like other days, will also be used as an opportunity to take stock, to take responsibility and to take action to improve and to right wrongs. It is a fact, honourable senators, that of all the cases of sexual abuses of patients in Canada that are confirmed by regulatory bodies and the courts, physicians are the largest number of offenders.

One of the potential uses for a day is for those to be recognized to get ready for the day by preparing reports back to society on righting wrongs, as well as on accomplishments, even where those wrongs have been perpetrated by a small minority among them, which is the case when patients are sexually abused by their physicians.

I think this is a good motion because it is an opportunity for truths, positive and negative, to be acknowledged and because such a day can be an opportunity to make improvements while accepting accolades.

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

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I would like to move the adjournment, please.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Mercer, do you have a question you’d like to ask?

Hon. Terry M. Mercer (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals): I’d like to move it to committee.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I think Senator Martin wants to take the adjournment.

Senator Mercer: That’s fine.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

National Maternity Assistance Program Strategy Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Mégie, seconded by the Honourable Senator Dupuis, for the second reading of Bill C-243, An Act respecting the development of a national maternity assistance program strategy.

Hon. Elizabeth Marshall: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to Bill C-243, An Act respecting the development of a national maternity assistance program strategy. Honourable senators, there have been many significant changes in women’s participation in the workplace during my lifetime. When I was a university student, most young women studied to be teachers, nurses or secretaries. Those were the three options offered to me when I decided I wanted a career. Participation in programs such as medicine, engineering, computer science and accounting was male dominated. Many young women worked outside the home until their children were born, after which they worked sporadically or worked part-time or delayed resuming their career.

Over the past decades, there has been a societal shift. Women are entering the previously male-dominated professions, and in some cases, females are now the majority. Attitudes toward childbirth have also changed.

Honourable senators, many women participate in the workforce up to the time their child is born. While this is practical and possible for many women, others cannot do so. Women working in certain environments are often exposed to risks, for example, women working in some laboratories, welders and construction workers, as well as workers in the retail industry, to name a few. In other cases, females risk toxic fumes or other physical risks to themselves or their unborn children.

The underlying principle of this bill is that of gender equality so that both men and women have an equal opportunity to participate in and become fully integrated in all sectors of the labour force. Women should not have to choose between having a family and pursuing their chosen career. Bill C-243 proposes to hold consultations on developing a national program to support women who are unable to work due to pregnancy and whose employer is unable to reassign them to an alternate position. This bill provides for the development and implementation of a national maternity assistance program to support those women.

The bill requires the Minister of Employment and Social Development, in collaboration with other federal ministers, along with the provincial and territorial governments responsible for employment, as well as other relevant stakeholders, to conduct consultations on the prospect of developing a national maternity assistance program to support women who are unable to work due to pregnancy and whose employer cannot accommodate them by providing reassignment.

The bill defines what the consultations are to include. They are to include an assessment of the following: the current demand for a national maternity assistance program, the adequacy of the current federal and provincial programs for pregnant women, the financial and other costs of implementing a national maternity assistance program, and the potential social and economic benefits of a national maternity assistance program.

The bill also requires an assessment of the different types of workplaces in Canada in relation to gender equality and the impact of a national maternity assistance program on workplace gender equality.

The bill also imposes time limits on the Minister of Employment and Social Development.


Within one year of this act coming into force, the minister must hold consultations to discuss the development of a strategy to implement a national maternity assistance program.

The bill also requires the minister to invite provincial and territorial governments as well as other relevant stakeholders to participate.

Within three years after the date on which the act comes into force, the minister must table in the other place and also in the Senate a report setting out the conclusions of the consultations. Within 30 days of the report being tabled in Parliament, the minister must post the report on the department’s website.

Honourable senators, women have made significant progress in workforce participation. Pregnancy and childbirth is a natural part of life and can impact a woman’s participation in the workforce. While there has been progress in our lifetime, more can be done to support women, and more should be done.

I encourage all senators to support this bill and move it to committee for study. Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Bill to Change the Name of the Electoral District of Châteauguay—Lacolle

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. André Pratte moved second reading of Bill C-377, An Act to change the name of the electoral district of Châteauguay—Lacolle.

He said: Honourable senators, this is a story of two villages, both proud of their history and of their current circumstances, situated just 11 kilometres apart, 40 minutes south of Montreal, close to the border with the State of Vermont. The villages have similar names, one is called Lacolle, the other Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle.

Lacolle was the name of the old seigneury of which their territory was part before the seigneurial regime was abolished in the mid-19th century. In the minds of people from outside the region, there has always been some confusion between these two proud towns. The confusion was heightened by the fact that most travellers and the media refer to the customs station situated within Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle territory, one of the busiest customs stations in the country, as the Lacolle border crossing, even though it is situated in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle.


The confusion was compounded in 2013 when the new federal riding in the region was named Châteauguay—Lacolle. Châteauguay is the main village in the area. Therefore, it is only natural that it would be part of the riding name. However, the Municipality of Lacolle is located in the nearby riding of Saint-Jean. Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle is actually located in Châteauguay—Lacolle and Lacolle is in the adjacent riding.

In other words, the commission responsible for electoral redistribution in 2013 made a mistake with Lacolle. The riding should have been called Châteauguay—Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and not Châteauguay—Lacolle. The MPs who reviewed the commission’s work at the time missed this mistake; however, residents did not. The residents of Lacolle were furious, as were the residents of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle. They complained to the candidates of the region and of Châteauguay—Lacolle during the 2015 election campaign.

During this campaign, one of the candidates, Ms. Brenda Shanahan, promised to change the riding name if she were elected. She did win and today she is keeping her promise. She introduced a private member’s bill, Bill C-377, to change the riding name of Châteauguay—Lacolle to Châteauguay—Les-Jardins-de-Napierville. This bill was passed by the other place.

They have gotten rid of the name Lacolle to settle the matter once and for all. Why have they added “Les-Jardins-de-Napierville”? Eliminating “Lacolle” avoids any confusion, and the very lovely name of Les-Jardins-de-Napierville is that of the regional county municipality that includes the nine municipalities located to the south and to the east of the riding. Châteauguay and its suburbs include the six municipalities to the north and to the west. “Les-Jardins-de-Napierville” brings to mind the rural part of the riding, whereas “Châteauguay” represents the urban areas.

The name Châteauguay—Les-Jardins-de-Napierville meets all of the technical criteria set out by Elections Canada.

If you’re wondering why I am sponsoring this bill in the Senate, it’s because a large part of the riding in question is within the boundaries of my senatorial division of De Salaberry. The member of Parliament, Ms. Shanahan, asked me to sponsor this bill, and since I know that it’s a logical change that reflects the will of people in the region, I gladly accepted.

Bill C-377 passed unanimously in the other place, so there is no controversy surrounding it. However, as with any bill, we must study it carefully. I urge my honourable colleagues to send Bill C-377 to committee for study.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned, on division.)


Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Twenty-eighth Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the twenty-eighth report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (Committee budget—legislation), presented in the Senate on May 8, 2018.

Hon. Larry W. Campbell moved the adoption of the report.

He said: Honourable senators, this report contains a recommended legislative budget allocation for the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations in the amount of $2,250. This amount represents the Senate’s 30 per cent portion of the total budget application of $7,500. The budget requests funds for legal fees for its review of regulations, witness expenses, books and printing costs. The Internal Economy Committee recommends the adoption of this report.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

Agriculture and Forestry

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services and Travel—Study on How the Value-added Food Sector Can be More Competitive in Global Markets—Eleventh Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eleventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (Budget—study on how the value-added food sector can be more competitive in global markets—power to hire staff and to travel), presented in the Senate on May 24, 2018.

Hon. Diane F. Griffin moved the adoption of the report.

She said: The budget in this report is a modest budget. It is for a one-day fact-finding tour of two value-added agricultural productions in Plessisville, Quebec. We will travel from here by bus. There will be eight senators participating and nine staff, but the costs are much reduced because of travelling by bus and staying over only one night.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)


The Senate

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—Motion in Amendment—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.

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Bellemare, seconded by the Honourable Senator Petitclerc:

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”.

Hon. Mary Coyle: Honourable senators, I rise today to support the Honourable Senator Dawson’s motion number 215, which was seconded by the Honourable Senator Munson and eloquently addressed by these two gentlemen as well as Senators Pate and Bellemare.


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.


Colleagues, I am deeply honoured to stand before you today to deliver my first speech.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Coyle: When Prime Minister Trudeau called me on the evening of December 2, 2017, with an invitation to join you in this Senate chamber, I was humbled to be given this magnificent opportunity, this licence to learn and this new platform from which to participate in effecting positive change in Canada and the world. I knew I would be standing on the shoulders of many great senators, including friends and associates: Senators Peggy Butts, Allan J. MacEachen, John Stewart, Al Graham and Roméo Dallaire.

I also knew I would be joining an impressive group of Canadian leaders in this place, but I had no idea just what wide-ranging talent, intelligence, dedication, warmth and very sincere commitment I would encounter in you, my new colleagues.

Today is the thirty-seventh day I have sat with you in this noble chamber. With your guidance and with an open spirit of collaboration and collegiality, I will endeavour to serve the people of Canada with wisdom, purpose and integrity. I will be speaking to key aspects of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, and I am pledging today to work with you until the end of my senatorial term — coincidentally in late 2029 — to achieve the 17 goals articulated in that bold UN resolution designed to transform the world into a better place for all.

Last Saturday, the Most Reverend Michael Curry, an African American Episcopalian Bishop, delivered a powerful sermon at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I quote from his sermon:

When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream. . . . When love is the way, poverty would become history. When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields. . . . When love is the way, there’s plenty good room. Plenty good room. For all of God’s children.

I would wager a bet that the vast majority of the people in attendance at that wedding, plus the many millions watching, listening to or reading coverage of the royal event, will have never even heard of Agenda 2030 and the sustainable development goals. I don’t even know if Bishop Curry is aware of them, even though most countries in the world, including his, ours and Prince Harry’s, signed a commitment to work together to reach those goals. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that compelling messages such as his are reaching people and hopefully in some cases even motivating them to act.

Bishop Curry touches on the core themes of Agenda 2030, the themes of justice, freedom from poverty, caring for our precious planet, peace and inclusion — room at the table for all. Love is the unifying refrain of his sermon. Of course, one expects to hear about love at weddings, but we don’t often speak of it here in this chamber, at least I haven’t heard it mentioned very often.

When I reflect about this place, though, and the duty and opportunity we all have to do our very best with what we have and who we are, I believe that love is a powerful motivator. It is at the core of most faiths as well as the beliefs and values of most societies.

With all this talk of love, allow me to tell you a little about myself and my reasons for supporting Senator Dawson’s motion.

Do any of you remember the brilliant 1991 movie The Commitments based on the novel by Irish writer Roddy Doyle? The main protagonist, Jimmy Rabbitte, when interviewing candidates for his soul band, would ask them who were their influences. Well, here are some of my influences.

I am the first-born daughter in a Roman Catholic family, seven children in the family, thus the name Mary. I learned and continue to learn to love and about love from my immediate family — my 91-year-old mom, Betty; my late father, Bernard Charles Patterson; and my large extended family of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and in our generation, James Bay Cree, Filipino, Chinese, Italian and Armenian heritage. I am proud to have three daughters — Emilie, Lauren and Lindelwa — all good people, with backgrounds in education, the environment, law, immigration and refugee issues, who further enriched our family with three terrific men and six precious grandchildren.

Privileged woman that I am, I can attest to the fact that love is like other good things — not a zero-sum game but rather something that can continue to grow and help each of us grow.

As young children, we were taught that God, and therefore goodness, existed in all people and that we were to love our neighbours as ourselves, that golden rule. I went on to live and work in many different places. I worked in Indonesia, France, India, Bolivia, Afghanistan, Wikwemikong, Botswana, Haiti and other places and came to know that people of other faiths and non-faiths shared these beliefs.

At Expo 67, as an impressionable 12-year-old, my eyes were opened to the great, big, exciting international world beyond the small Canadian towns and new suburbs where I had grown up. A year later, at 13, I walked the Oxfam Miles for Millions march to raise money for programs in what today we would call the global south. It was then that I started to put together my interest in the global and the “love thy neighbour” teachings of my childhood.

At high school, two teachers had significant influence. Mr. Gibson, my biology teacher and adventurer club adviser, sparked my interest in nature and the environment. And Ms. Thibault, the first person I had ever met who called herself “Ms.,” a feminist who instilled in me a desire to do more as a woman and also taught me a love of the French language and culture.

Later I studied existentialism and Albert Camus, who famously said, “The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance . . . .” He also said, “I know of only one duty, and that is to love.”

Later, as I embarked on my professional life, I had occasion to meet Toronto activist June Callwood, who said, “Once you witness an injustice, you are no longer an observer but a participant.”

I had the good fortune of working in Canada and internationally in the fields of microfinance; community; rural and economic development; women’s, youth, and Indigenous leadership; and I have learned from some very wise colleagues and friends.

Ela Bhatt, founder of India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association, doesn’t mince words when she said, “It is our moral failure that we still tolerate poverty.” She continues: “It is the women who are the leaders in change, and without their participation, poverty can never be removed.”

Another friend and mentor, Muhammad Yunus, Nobel laureate of the Grameen Bank, said: “We have to get out of this mindset that the rich will do the business and the poor will have the charity.”

I first heard John McKnight, founder of Chicago-based Asset-Based Community Development Institute, ABCD Institute, on a CBC Ideas series in the early 1990s. He and his colleagues, including the young Barack Obama, observed that inner-city neighbourhoods did better when the people living there identified and mobilized their own assets — their strengths and resources — defined their own priorities and led their own development.


Later at the Coady Institute, colleagues Alison Mathie, Gord Cunningham and Brianne Peters would marry this ABCD work with the “Masters of Their Own Destiny” approach of the Antigonish Movement.

The Coady approach is based on a fundamental respect for the abilities and rights of people everywhere to drive their own development and the belief that all people and communities have something to bring to the table.

Recently returned from her refugee experience in Iran, Bibi Gul is an Afghan widow with a dependent son. I met Bibi up on the Kabul mountainside where she had literally carved out her home from the rock face. She was making a living by embroidering badges for police forces and other officials. She was using micro loans to purchase equipment, and the specialized threads she was importing from Iran. Bibi had incredible drive and was proud of the home and business she had created.

So, as you can see, with such terrific mentors and influencers — influencers like Bibi on the power of human ingenuity, others on love, international obligations, feminist influencers, environmentalist influencers, human rights influencers, innovation influencers, influencers on respect for peoples’ strengths and leadership, I felt compelled to speak today to Agenda 2030.

In the impressive volume Protecting Canadian Democracy: The Senate You Never Knew, our colleague Senator Joyal tells us that:

Parliament is about power: it exists for one reason only — to empower the people of Canada . . . .

In speaking of power, I will mention one other influencer, Dr. John Gaventa, of IDS Sussex. Without delving into too much detail, John makes important distinctions among the concepts of power: power over, power to, power within and power with. These are critical concepts to consider as we look at engaging, equipping and supporting people, communities and institutions to achieve Agenda 2030.

The UN resolution establishing Agenda 2030 reads:

We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet.

By extension, we as parliamentarians have an obligation to contribute to achieving our national and global commitments which stem from this resolution.

Rather than list or address all 17 sustainable development goals, allow me to briefly touch on the ones most closely related to that powerful sermon of Bishop Curry:

When love is the way, poverty will become history.

Goal 1 of Agenda 2030 is to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. It is important to note that this goal is not just to reduce poverty but rather to completely eliminate it, to make it history. As Dr. Yunus says, “One day our grandchildren will go to museums to see what poverty was like.”

This is not a goal with a simple solution. Goals 2, 3, 4 and 8 on hunger, health, education and work are intimately connected to this goal on eliminating poverty.

Albert Camus cautions:

. . . good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.

So understanding the complexities of poverty in all its forms is critical, as is the importance of seeing people living in poverty as citizens with a stake, a say and a capacity to lead change.

I would also posit that this is the area — ending poverty — where we need the greatest investment in innovation.

We will let justice roll down. We will lay down our swords and shields.

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

Justice is a hallmark of a healthy, well-governed society. As we well know, there can be no peace in our world without justice. As we hear from Ela Bhatt, poverty and peace cannot coexist.

When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary.

On my way home last week, I stopped by my favourite lake and took my first refreshing plunge of the season. I’m a bit crazy. For me, for us, and for all creatures who are dependent on this magnificent planet, we have a supreme obligation.

Goals 13 on climate action, 14 on life below water, and 15 on life on land help guide us towards Bishop Curry’s vision of earth as sanctuary.

I must say that some of the starkest testimony I have heard during my very brief tenure as a senator has come from Indigenous people and scientists describing what is happening as a result of climate change in the Canadian Arctic. I am deeply concerned that the Indigenous peoples of Canada’s North are becoming the proverbial canaries in the coal mine.

When love is the way there’s plenty good room, plenty good room for all of God’s children.

Goal 10 speaks of reduced inequalities, particularly income inequality within and among countries.

Goal 5 is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I am sorry to interrupt your wonderful speech, but you are quite a bit over. Do you require more time?

Senator Coyle: I require probably four more minutes.

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Coyle: If all people, women, men, young people, people of all racial backgrounds, seniors, Indigenous people, people with physical and mental health issues, people with intellectual disabilities, LGBTQ people, people in rural and remote areas, newcomers — everyone — could fully participate in all aspects of citizenship, they would thrive and so would our country and our world. Inclusion is both an end and a means for achieving the sustainable development goals. Genuine cooperation is what is needed.

As I draw my discourse on Agenda 2030 towards a conclusion and as I reflect on our roles as parliamentarians, I would like to quote another reverend. In the 1930s, Reverend Dr. Moses Coady wrote:

We cannot speak of Catholic cooperation or Protestant cooperation, of Buddhist, Mohammedan, Shinto, or Hebrew economics any more than we can speak of Quaker chemistry or Mormon mathematics. Truth is non-denominational and at the disposal of all.

The collective pursuit of that truth, those solutions sought with genuine respect, those answers found through a mutual sharing of power, and that agenda achieved through the widespread unleashing of human ingenuity, energy and shared leadership, this will be the way. This is the loving way, the sustainable way, the way for us to act as we urgently pursue Agenda 2030.

Remember, I only have until 2029. Thank you. Wela’lioq.

(On motion of Senator Smith, debate adjourned.)


Department of Public Works and Government Services Act

Bill to Amend—First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-354, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (use of wood).

(Bill read first time.)

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

(On motion of Senator Griffin, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)



The Senate

Motion to Call On the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator McCallum, seconded by the Honourable Senator Coyle:

That the Senate call on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to:

(a)invite Pope Francis to Canada to apologize on behalf of the Catholic Church to Indigenous people for the church’s role in the residential school system, as outlined in Call to Action 58 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report;

(b)to respect its moral obligation and the spirit of the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and resume the best efforts to raise the full amount of the agreed upon funds; and

(c)to make a consistent and sustained effort to turn over the relevant documents when called upon by survivors of residential schools, their families, and scholars working to understand the full scope of the horrors of the residential school system in the interest of truth and reconciliation.

Hon. Marilou McPhedran: Honourable senators, I ask leave for this item to remain adjourned in the name of Senator Sinclair at the conclusion of my remarks.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator McPhedran: Today, I rise to speak in support of Motion No. 325, moved in the Senate by our colleague Senator Mary Jane McCallum on Thursday, April 26, 2018.


The purpose of this motion is to call on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to do their part to achieve our shared goal: reconciliation.


Reconciliation requires all levels of government, including the Senate, to take active steps that demonstrate our commitment to righting wrongs. Supporting this motion is one of the many steps that we must take on this path together.

Public apologies for the wrongs committed in this country are an important source of comfort, acknowledgement and understanding for survivors of injustice. More important, public apologies establish the foundation for repairing relationships, such as those between Canada and the Indigenous peoples of this country.

Senator McCallum has shared evidence of the profound influence of an apology. It is a first step in restoring the balance of power. An example of this is the Canadian government’s 2008 apology to residential school survivors, which had a life-changing impact on many then and continues to this day.

While a papal apology will not have a direct legal impact on reconciliation, it will move us forward on our journey. For Indigenous peoples in this country, the public recognition of the wrongs committed by the Catholic church would repair a broken link in the chain of commitments made already by the church to support self-empowerment and decolonization.

This is but one of many reasons why we as senators can welcome this opportunity, not only to show our solidarity with Senator McCallum and the House of Commons, but with the Indigenous peoples of this country. This is an opportunity to remind the Catholic church of the role it played in the residential school system and the commitment made to raise funds for the creation of healing programs for survivors. We must also remind the Catholic church that it remains the only religious institution that has not formally apologized to the Indigenous peoples of Canada and, therefore, has not accepted its responsibility.

An apology from the Pope for past wrongs of the Catholic church is part and parcel of his leadership role. In 2015, the Pope issued an apology for “the church’s role in the oppression of Indigenous peoples in the Americas.” Why, then, is the Pope so reluctant to make an apology for the Catholic church’s treatment of Indigenous children while they were attending residential schools?

We could speculate that this reluctance is based on the fact that Pope Benedict met with a delegation of Indigenous people from Canada in 2009, led by Manitoba’s Phil Fontaine, then the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. At that meeting, he expressed sorrow for the church’s unacceptable treatment of Indigenous children, but this was not an apology, nor does a delegation of Indigenous delegates suffice for the broader population.

Residential schools are an abhorrent example of how Canada enlisted an external group to exert control over the First Peoples of this land. Will the Senate remain silent? Will we support Senator McCallum’s motion, because we recognize that the effects of residential schools are not confined to history, that they continue to reverberate within communities and among generation upon generation?

We have learned that the nature of childhood trauma is such that it often becomes intergenerational trauma. In a regional health survey by the First Nations Information Governance Centre, a non-profit organization mandated by the Assembly of First Nations, it was found that the impact on intergenerational survivors of residential schools were similar and sometimes even identical to that of residential school survivors themselves. We must, therefore, recognize that this apology is also needed for intergenerational survivors.

As a country, we have embraced the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. At the core of the calls is truth telling. An apology is about telling the truth with compassion and integrity. For non-Indigenous Canadians, this truth will serve as an invitation to open their minds and hearts to better understand and appreciate the experiences of Indigenous Canadians. Moreover, it will call on non-Indigenous Canadians to examine their own positions of power and privilege carefully.

Above all, this truth is of deep significance for the brave and tenacious survivors of residential schools. It is also of deep significance for the children of survivors and for their children’s children. It is a deep significance for every Indigenous person in this country who grew up with abuse and trauma that left them feeling unloved, unwanted and unimportant. This is for every Indigenous person to know the truths in the words “it is not your fault.”

As Canadian parliamentarians, we have the responsibility to stand up for this truth, because it is a truth that all Canadians need to absorb and act upon. This motion is but one opportunity open to us. Let us respond with compassion, respect, integrity and love.

Thank you. Meegwetch.

(On motion of Senator Sinclair, debate adjourned.)

Legislative Work of the Senate

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Bellemare, calling the attention of the Senate to the Senate’s legislative work from the 24th to the 41st Parliament and on elements of evaluation.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, this inquiry is at day 15. With leave of the Senate, I wish to reset the clock for Senator Andreychuk.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Martin, for Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.)

The Senate

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

On the Order:

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

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I wish to take the adjournment of this debate in my name, please.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Bellemare, debate adjourned.)

(At 4:10 p.m., the Senate was continued until Tuesday, May 29, 2018, at 2 p.m.)

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