Previous Sittings
Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 224

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


THE SENATE

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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

Prayers.


SENATORS’ STATEMENTS

Distinguished Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of our former colleagues, the Honourable Sharon Carstairs, P.C., who is accompanied by her husband John, and the Honourable Joan Fraser.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I received a notice from the Facilitator and Deputy Facilitator of the Independent Senators’ Group, pursuant to rule 4-3(1) that the time provided for the consideration of Senators’ Statements be extended today for the purpose of paying tribute to the Honourable Anne C. Cools, who will retire from the Senate on August 12, 2018.

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

Is it agreed that we continue our tributes to our colleague, Senator Cools, under Senators’ Statements? We will therefore have up to 30 minutes for tributes, not including the time allotted for Senator Cools’ response.

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Tributes

The Honourable Anne C. Cools

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo: Honourable senators, today I rise to pay tribute to the Dean of the Senate, our colleague the Honourable Senator Anne Cools, on her decades-long service in the upper house.

Born and brought up in Barbados, Senator Cools came to Canada at the age of 13. She has had an extraordinary career in public service and politics. In 1974, Senator Cools founded one of the first battered women’s shelters in Canada, Women in Transition Inc. Three years later, she made further advances in this domain by co-organizing Canada’s first conference on domestic violence. Some of you may recall that Senator Cools was the star of a TV documentary entitled “The Right Candidate for Rosedale.” The “right” is not the exact description of her political views, or maybe it is. This film documented the 1978 federal Liberal Party nomination battle in the Toronto riding of Rosedale.

After serving four years on the National Parole Board of Canada, Senator Cools was nominated to the Senate of Canada in 1984 by the elder Trudeau, becoming Canada’s first Black senator and North American’s first Black female senator.

It should come as no surprise that with her many accomplishments have come many awards and accolades. In 1997, Senator Cools was named Spiritual Mother of the Year by NA’AMAT, the international Jewish women’s organization that supports battered women’s shelters in Israel. That same year, she was awarded the Pride news magazine Outstanding Achievement Award in Politics.

In 2001, Senator Cools was among those to receive the Toronto Bob Marley Day Award that recognized Canada’s multiculturalism and her promotion of equality, peace and harmony.

In 2004, in CBC’s The Greatest Canadian contest, Senator Cools was selected as one of the 100 all-time greatest, as well as one of CBC’s Top 20 Canadian Women. Also in 2004, the National Center for Strategic Nonprofit Planning and Community Leadership in Washington, D.C., awarded Senator Cools the Woman of Excellence Leadership Award.

Colleagues, I could go on and on, but let me simply say that if the Senate had its own awards, she would win hands down the prize for the most likely to quote John George Lambton, William Wyndham Grenville and Charles James Fox. If you don’t know who these folks are, there is still time for you to find out by asking her.

Senator Cools does not quote only from famous politicians. From time to time, she will also cite theologians and philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas, who said — and you will excuse the gender bias of his time:

Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know that he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.

Senator Cools knows exactly what she believes, exactly what she desires and exactly what she wants to do. Her repertoire in Canada’s upper house has been rich and diverse, including work on divorce and marriage laws, child custody and on our constitutional system as well as responsible government. She is a staunch believer in the Westminster system of government and of classical British liberalism.

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Senator Cools was my seatmate when I joined the Senate and became a kind of private tutor for me on Senate procedure for the seven months or so that we sat together. Those of us who have been seatmates of Senator Cools – in the chamber or at committees — have all had unique experiences, and we might one day get together to exchange notes on what we would call “the collected sayings of Anne Cools.”

We will miss you, Senator Cools. On behalf of the Independent Senators Group, we wish you all the best in your retirement. We hope you will visit us often, and all the best for the future.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable colleagues, I rise today with other colleagues to pay tribute to one of our most remarkable friends and co-senators, Anne Cools, as she prepares to take her retirement.

As has been mentioned, Senator Cools was and has always been a pioneer, breaking barriers and challenging accepted notions. Fearless and bold, Senator Cools has never shied from controversy — even to the point of irritation. She is steadfast in her beliefs and committed to upholding them. She has the distinction of having sat in every caucus or group in this chamber. Indeed, she has practised the art of independent thinking throughout her career, including in this place.

Now, I first met Senator Cools on an airplane about 22 years ago. I was the secretary to the Treasury Board and Comptroller General of Canada. I didn’t know who was sitting beside me, and she asked what I did. She grabbed my hand and we spent the flight talking about the supply process and the need to improve the reporting to Parliament by government.

As it happened, there was a process under way — Senator Eggleton will remember — what was called the Improved Reporting to Parliament Project, and I introduced Rick Neville, who was the Deputy Comptroller General, to Senator Cools so that I didn’t have to do it all myself. Senator Cools contributed significantly to the public service’s understanding of the improved reporting requirements from the parliamentary point of view, and it’s a passion that continues to this day and, indeed, yesterday’s supply process itself.

I thank you for that, senator.

Senator Cools was in the public eye long before she arrived on Parliament Hill. The arc of her career started, as has been referenced, as a social worker and activist against racism. She became an advocate and protector of women fleeing violence, and she expanded her efforts and influence to help families in crisis.

Closer to home, we know her as an ardent defender of the institution of Parliament, and in particular the Senate of Canada. With her departure, we lose a deep source of corporate memory and an expert in parliamentary government, at least since 1066.

Thank you, Senator Cools, for all that have you done. In your well-earned retirement, may you spend each day knowing that your wealth of knowledge and rich contributions continue to be harvested in this chamber. Thank you.

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, today we say goodbye to a true original, the Honourable Senator Anne Cools, who will take her retirement from the Senate of Canada in August.

As Senator Cools was appointed to this place in January 1984, she is currently the Dean of the Parliament, the individual who currently holds the longest unbroken period of service to her fellow citizens in the Parliament of Canada.

[Translation]

After more than three decades of service in our upper house, Senator Cools is about to leave us, and the Senate simply won’t be the same without her.

[English]

Senator Cools is not one for half measures. She puts all of herself, all of her passion into everything that she does. She is a trailblazer who has always followed the beat of her own drum and gone about her life and work in her own unique way.

This is no doubt evidenced by the fact that she has at one time or another, as Senator Harder mentioned, been a member of practically every caucus in the Senate of Canada, as a long-time member of the Senate Liberals, a member of the Conservative caucus for a shorter time, as a completely independent and unaffiliated senator as she is today and, finally, as a member of the Independent Senators Group.

Senator Cools has consistently and fiercely defended the rights of Parliament and our Westminster parliamentary system. She has been a valued member of too many Senate committees to list. Senator Cools has focused much of her efforts in the Senate of Canada on the protection and promotion of families and children, which was also the basis of much of her work before she was appointed to the Senate on the recommendation of former Prime Minister the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Senator Cools, thank you for all that you did to help me when I came here. I was a great listener of what you had to say. I’m not sure I retained it all because of the concussions that I took in my past life, but you really are someone who has an influence on people. I thank you for that.

To listen to Senator Cools speak on one of her many inquiries in this chamber is to receive a lesson in history. As our colleague stated in November 2014, during her inquiry on the subject of World War I, 1914-1918, the “Great War,” as she would no doubt remind me:

I believe that we have a duty to Canada and to history to remember the great contributions that those who went before us have made.

As she leaves this place, I wish to assure her that her contributions to our country will not be forgotten by her colleagues or by fellow Canadians.

Honourable senators, it is difficult to believe that Senator Cools, who has been such an active, vital presence in our public life of Canada, could settle quietly into retirement. I fully expect that our colleague will remain as engaged as she has ever been, though in a different way — a way that gives her more time to focus on her family and friends.

On behalf of all Conservative senators and senators in the house, I wish you, Senator Cools, nothing but the best in what you do in the next chapter of your life.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Colleagues, it is difficult to imagine a Senate without Anne Cools. As the Dean of the Senate, as a number of our colleagues have said, that means you have worked your way up to the top of that left-hand column on the plaque out there. After all these years you finally got up there, and now you’re going to leave it to Senator Andreychuk, as I understand.

I could spend a lot of time recounting her life before she arrived here in 1984. As a student at McGill, she was heavily involved in school politics and participated in a 10-day sit-in at Sir George Williams University. She became a social worker and was ahead of her time in the area of family violence prevention. She founded one of the first women’s shelters and went on to help establish others in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada. She served as a supervisor and adviser to countless students in the area of social work.

Anne, I am sure you have impacted and influenced the lives of many of the students that you have met along the way, as you have with many of us here.

It is on your time here in the Senate that I would like to focus my remarks, Senator Cools. Back in my early days here, we sat together with Laurier LaPierre down in the far corner down there.

Senator Cools: I remember it well.

Senator Day: I was between Laurier and Senator Cools.

I credit Anne Cools for her excellent tutelage when I first joined the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. As anyone who has ever participated in Finance Committee meetings can attest, membership has a very steep learning curve. But Senators Anne Cools and Isobel Finnerty were of great help to me as I took on more responsibilities from Senator Sharon Carstairs.

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Later, when I became deputy chair of the committee, Anne provided invaluable advice and guidance on my new role, and her work certainly played a part in how I undertook my duties.

Her knowledge of parliamentary procedure, as we all know, is unparallelled, and her grasp of past practice and rulings is stunning. While many of us recall the rulings that have occurred here in recent memory, Anne routinely goes back much further in her interventions; there is nothing within the history of the Westminster system that is ignored in her analysis. She meticulously researches every speech she makes, and even those delivered off the cuff showcase her depth of knowledge.

I understand that she has three or four speeches that she hasn’t had a chance to give, but she may well be seen out in the foyer, when we come back in the fall, giving these speeches. I want to hear a couple of them on the Auditor General. I’m looking forward to that.

She is always urging senators not to move too quickly on legislation or to rush to judgment on issues, and she is right to do so. What we do here not only affects the lives of Canadians but also sets precedents that can carry us, or haunt us, far into the future.

Anne Cools has never been one to sit idle, and, as we have heard, she has experimented with each of the political groups here in the Senate over time, even the time that I’ve been here.

I cannot imagine that you will start the practice of being idle once you leave the Senate.

She has said that she wants to get back to her piano and enjoy her daily activities without that rush to get here to work.

On behalf of the independent Liberals here in the Senate, Senator Cools, I wish you and Rolf the very best for a happy and healthy retirement.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Elaine McCoy: I am very pleased to be able to get up today to pay a tribute to my dear friend and mentor Anne Cools, particularly to her outstanding contributions to Canada and parliamentary democracy.

I can remember, when I was appointed in 2005, we were sitting on opposite sides, I think opposite ends even, of the chamber, and the first time I noticed Anne, she was holding forth on some point loquaciously, technically brilliant, I’m sure, and at great length. I had to say, when it was all finished, I didn’t know what she’d said.

That evening, as I got on the plane to go home to Calgary, there was Senator Dan Hays, also from Calgary. I stopped and said, “Great week, wasn’t it?” But, with all the arrogance of ignorance, as you all remember when you were newly appointed, I said to him, “If only Senator Cools hadn’t spoken so long, we might have got an earlier plane.” And Dan said to me, “Senator McCoy, I always listen to Senator Anne Cools. She is right 99 per cent of the time, and if she repeats herself, I listen again and again until I learn what she knows. She is one of the jewels of the Canadian Senate.”

It should be no surprise to us that she is so erudite. She comes from Barbados. As she told us a few months ago, Barbados had a constitution 350 years ago, way ahead of Canada. Her family is an outstanding political family in Barbados. Her cousin is just recently retired, I think, as speaker of one of their houses. On her mother’s side, she learned this sort of thing at her mother’s knee, so she comes by it very naturally.

She was appointed in January 1984, and just six months later, Allan J. MacEachen was also appointed to the Senate. Two months after that, he became Leader of the Opposition.

At the same time, Senator Lowell Murray became Leader of the Government in the Senate. So I had occasion to speak to Lowell and to ask him to recall for me some of those early days.

You all know, I’m sure, and presumably revere the names and examples of Senators MacEachen and Murray. Those were some of the high spots of senatorial tradition. Anne learned her craft from the likes of them. She worked hard at it. She spent countless hours in research. She learnt how to speak without notes, which I’m hoping all of you will do at some stage. To prove that you know your subject, you don’t have to read a speech.

Allan J. MacEachen became very fond of Anne. He liked her very much, and when she saved his fishermen from UIC deputations, he dubbed her the “Fair Maiden of Canso.”

Lowell Murray, from Nova Scotia, wishes you well, Anne. He said, “More than anyone else, Anne understands that we are trustees because of her profound understanding of parliamentary democracy. Our job is to pass on to successive senators that keen understanding of traditions, values and conventions to ensure that the essence of our parliamentary democracy endures unimpaired.”

Another very distinguished leader in the Senate, Sharon Carstairs, thought very highly of Anne and says she’s the best chair and deputy chair the National Finance Committee has had. She also noted her scholarship, which we’ve all noted and which we all benefit from.

I’m proud to call you a friend. I thank you for your mentoring. I thank you for helping me throughout the years. I hope that you continue to research. I hope you continue to share what you know about our parliamentary institutions, and I hope you continue to inspire us all. Thank you very much.

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan: Honourable senators, I am delighted to join in the chorus of praise for Senator Cools on the occasion of her retirement.

[English]

When I first arrived in the Senate, I was struck by the depth of Senator Cools’ interventions and high-quality research. I was not always in agreement with her, but I could admire her verve and her dynamic speeches.

Senator Cools started her public career with the sit-in at Sir George Williams University, a major event for the student movement and collective awareness of the situation of Black people in Canada. Even though she has become a bit more subdued with the passage of time, Senator Cools still has an inner fire to defend causes close to her heart.

[Translation]

The positions she defended over the years were not always popular or politically correct, but she always defended them for good reasons, in the firm belief that doing so would serve the interests of her constituents.

Senator Cools might be called an institution within the institution of the Senate, not just because of her long years of service, but also because of her profound knowledge, and sometimes unique and personal interpretations, of the Rules of the Senate and constitutional law. Anne Cools has served in the Senate under eight prime ministers.

[English]

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She has seen all the attempts to reform the Senate in the past 35 years, as well as constitutional crises, obstructions and filibusters, scandals and the AG’s audit. She has been part of three caucuses and has sat as an independent for many years. She was a member of the government caucus. She was in the opposition, and sometimes she was the opposition in the opposition.

I will always recall when I was named Deputy Leader of the Government. When Senator Comeau briefed me, part of the meeting was to brief me on Anne Cools and how to deal with an independent like Anne Cools, and I can assure you it was more difficult to deal with three independents than with 50 because she was unpredictable. That was part of the importance of how we have to work in consensus, and I learned there that the Senate is working by consensus, and that’s part of Anne Cools’ teaching.

[Translation]

She knows the Senate like the back of her hand, and she respects the role of every member of this institution. Today, we are losing part of the Senate’s institutional memory. It is a tremendous loss to us all.

[English]

With all my heart, I wish for Senator Cools to write her memoirs. In addition to a few very interesting anecdotes on Canadian politics, I am sure we will read about the vision that sustained her throughout her career: her respect for Canadian institutions.

In closing, Senator Cools, I would like to thank you. We always got along well, and it was a pleasure to work with you. I wish you good luck in your future projects.

Thank you, Anne.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I too rise today to join my colleagues in paying tribute to Senator Cools.

Senator Cools, as we all know, was the first Black person to become a Canadian senator and, in fact, the first Black woman senator in North America.

These are just two of the many firsts and other leading roles Senator Cools has taken on throughout her time serving Canadians.

There are numerous qualities we can attribute to Senator Cools’ experience in the Senate, such as her knowledge of the history of the Senate and of the parliamentary procedures on which is based our Senate.

Besides being our Dean, Senator Cools has broken many barriers. The Senate has seen many changes since Senator Cools was first appointed 34 years ago. Most importantly, Senator Cools changed the status quo in the Senate. Honourable senators, when I look around this chamber today and I see all my honourable colleagues sitting here, I know that Senator Cools has led the way towards a more inclusive and diverse Senate.

After 17 years working alongside Senator Cools, I have learned from her that she never backs away from what she believes in. One of the many things I admire about Senator Cools is that she has never been hesitant or frightened to fight alone for what she believes in.

One of the first things Senator Carstairs taught me when I first came to this institution was never to fight with Senator Cools because she will always win.

Senator Cools, thank you for your work in preserving our Senate’s procedures and corporate memory. This will be your legacy. Rest assured your advocacy work will be remembered in the Senate as well as throughout Canadian history. You will be deeply missed in this chamber by all your colleagues.

You and I have had many laughs, many discussions and sometimes heated discussions because we walk on different paths, but we both want what is best for Canadians. You have served Canadians very well, and we salute you for it.

Anne, I will miss you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Marc Gold: Honourable senators, like many of us I arrived here only about a year and a half ago, and I needed to learn and I wanted to learn, and so how fortunate, Senator Cools — Anne — that you were here to help me. As many have noted, you brought a wealth of knowledge about our constitutional history and our Senate traditions, but even more importantly, to my mind at least, you brought and bring a love of and a devotion to those traditions in our history.

You openly share your views with us on a broad range of subjects and, as has been mentioned on any number of diverse occasions and opportunities, you welcomed me very warmly, Anne, and graciously, and I learned a great deal from you. You bring and brought a unique voice to this place and, frankly, you’ll leave behind a legacy that will be very difficult, if not indeed impossible, to match.

So as you open up this next phase in your life, Anne, may you go from strength to strength.

Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to our colleague and my dear friend, Senator Anne Cools.

Appointed to the Senate in 1984, she has witnessed and shaped Canada’s history as a parliamentarian for over three decades. A dedicated public servant, a strong advocate for social justice and a champion of family rights, her many accomplishments are an example of what it truly means to be a profound leader.

Being appointed as the first Black Canadian senator and the first Black female senator is an accomplishment that defines Senator Cools’ legacy, but not only that, the legacy she leaves behind encompasses all the memorable work she has done and championed on behalf of all Canadians throughout her tenure.

Senator Cools has made an indelible impact in the field of domestic and family violence, founding one of Canada’s first battered women’s shelters, Women in Transition Inc., in 1974. She has become a national inspiration for all women. In Parliament, she was instrumental in the establishment of the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access in 1998, leaving a legacy of love and hope for children across Canada.

Senator Cools’ commitment to upholding the system of responsible government and her efforts to protect the institution of our Westminster-style Parliament show her love for our nation, our Constitution and our distinct history. She at times single-handedly ensured that nothing in the chamber would progress in violation of Canada’s Constitution, and if it did, she was ever ready to stand up and defend it.

Senator, on a very personal note, I’m not sure what we will do without you. I think we all are wondering what the Senate of Canada will be without Anne Cools. We had a very special connection from the very beginning with your genuine affection towards me, your caring and concern and your willingness to impart institutional memory and knowledge and wisdom that would be helpful to the work that I do, and — I know others have also said this of you — you have been a very important mentor.

I enjoyed our chats in your office surrounded by your volumes of texts that you would pore over in the statements that you made in this chamber that had such breadth and depth of information and now are recorded for all to learn from.

So your commitment is unparalleled, senator, and we really admire you for that. It’s a true honour for me to pay tribute to someone who has enlightened and mentored almost all of us sitting in this chamber today.

I also wish to thank your family for sharing you with us all these years and for allowing all Canadians to benefit from your exemplary service throughout your Senate tenure.

God bless you and your family wherever you go and into the world to shine your light and share your wisdom all throughout this land.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, unfortunately the time for tributes has expired. I now call upon the Honourable Senator Cools.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Expression of Thanks

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I must tell you that I too have been wondering for quite some time how I would handle today, myself. I would like perhaps to begin with my own expression of affection for some women sitting in the gallery. I can see them very clearly: Senator Carstairs and Senator Fraser. I see young Kornelia holding up the side, as she always does.

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I have deep affection for Senator Carstairs and think of her as my dearest friend.

My other dearest friend, Mari Retek, is from Montreal. We went to high school together at Thomas D’Arcy McGee High School in Montreal. Perhaps I will begin on that note — Thomas D’Arcy McGee High School. I came to Canada in 1957. Some may know of the family I came from and its preoccupation with education, success and public service. My parents made sure that I was placed in school within days of arriving in Montreal.

Senators all know who Thomas D’Arcy McGee was. However, on my second day at this high school, I enquired as to who he was. No one knew. Not a single person in that classroom knew. I could not understand how students could be in a school with such a clearly Irish name and not know who he was.

But one of the school teachers said, “No, no, no. I know one school teacher who knows.” That knowledgeable teacher came to our class later to explain who Thomas D’Arcy McGee was. Of course, she told us that he was a Father of Confederation, he was assassinated and so on and so forth.

Therefore, colleagues, for those who believe that my study of the Constitution of Canada came about with my arrival to the Senate, they are mistaken. I began my study of Canada’s Constitution when I began my investigation and my study of Thomas D’Arcy McGee, 60 years ago.

Honourable senators, I must tell you that D’Arcy McGee’s restaurant, a little pub down the road, is my favourite place for lunch, because it reminds me of my Thomas D’Arcy McGee school, which was a Roman Catholic school as D’Arcy McGee was.

Honourable senators, I must tell you that the school had a large connection to the church — and I am trying to remember the exact name of the church — it was St. Patrick’s Church, now Basilica, in Montreal. Thomas D’Arcy McGee was buried out of that school. Interestingly, Thomas D’Arcy McGee was able to fashion great coalitions of unity, alliance and cooperation between the French and the Irish Roman Catholics in Montreal.

I only learned to understand the significance of all of that in later years. I know that when we graduated from high school, we graduated out of St. Patrick’s Church. The walls are all decorated with signs of the Irish shamrock and, of course, the French fleur-de-lis.

Honourable senators, I thank my dear friend Mari Retek for being here today. Mari is my oldest friend. We both graduated from Thomas D’Arcy McGee High School in 1961, and that is now many years ago. Then both of us went to McGill University and we have been friends ever since.

Colleagues, you should know that I was informed about a year ago that I have over 350 speeches recorded in the Debates of the Senate. I thought at first that the student working in my office informing me of this was making a mistake, but apparently it is no mistake. So I have quite a plethora of speeches in the official report of this place.

Honourable senators, because I do not want you to think of me as a boring person, I shall try hard not to bore you in the next few minutes. I have listened carefully to the uplifting and revealing tributes I have just heard. Colleagues with whom I have worked in the Senate of Canada have praised and upheld me.

I view the Senate of Canada as a glorious enterprise that is the upper and royal house of the one Parliament for Canada consisting of its three constituent parts, which are Canada’s sovereign monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Senate and the House of Commons. I note that this grand and majestic chamber, wherein senators strive daily in their varied labours, is in itself an uplifting work of art. This is revealed clearly in the skillful craftsmanship in the exquisitely fashioned wood and stone carvings that surround us and which are so prepossessing.

I see retired member of Parliament Roger Gallaway in the Senate Gallery, too. I love you all.

Colleagues, these unique carvings signal and reveal the glory that is this Senate Chamber, the place wherein we debate, deliberate and decide the many questions, measures and bills that the other place, the House of Commons, puts before us here in our place, the Senate, for senators’ consideration and vote. In this Senate, our deliberations begin as bills and end as enacted statutes, receiving the force of law by the Royal Assent given by the Governor General of Canada, Her Majesty’s representative.

Today, I draw the attention of colleagues and visitors to the powerful paintings on the walls of our Senate, which paintings reveal and express the destruction and devastation that was World War I. Robert Burns got it right in his poem Man was Made to Mourn. Burns said:

Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.

Honourable senators, I dedicate my speech today to the young men of Canada who served and fell in the two world wars. I know Canada sent 165,000 young men to World War I, of whom 60,000 were killed and rest in Flanders Fields. Many Canadian boys do rest in Flanders Fields, where the poppies blow.

Today, I also uphold the young Canadian and British Commonwealth men who served in the famous and dangerous Bomber Command Campaign of World War II, in which 55,000 British Commonwealth young airmen fell in this battle in the skies. Of these fallen, 10,000 were Canadians. It is not well enough known that Canadian boys performed exceptionally well in the World War II Bomber Command Campaign. For a long time, I have faithfully supported and upheld the memory of these young men who made these profound sacrifices, fighting on our behalf in their battles in the skies. I uphold the countless volunteers of the small town of Nanton, Alberta, the home to the Bomber Command Museum that celebrates and memorializes these young men’s sacrifices. This museum includes a memorial wall wherein the names of these 10,000 brave Canadian Bomber Boys have been carefully engraved. Lest We Forget.

I note that Karl Kjarsgaard and Marylou Slumskie from Nanton, Alberta, are here with us today in the gallery. I thank them personally for their tireless labours in upholding and remembering our Canadian Bomber Boys at their spectacular Bomber Command Museum in Nanton.

I often say, colleagues, that a faithful heart is a mighty fortress against a formidable foe, which the Nazis clearly were. These brave and outstanding young men of Bomber Command were most faithful to God and country as they fought the formidable Nazi foe. We will remember them.

Honourable senators, I shall recite the fitting lyrics to the famous hymn I Vow to Thee My Country, with lyrics by Sir Cecil Spring Rice and melody by Gustav Holst:

I vow to thee, my country all earthly things above

Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;

The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,

That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;

The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,

The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago

Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;

We may not count her armies, we may not see her King.

Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;

And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,

And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

Honourable senators, some 35 years ago, in December 1983, most of us in Canadian politics were well aware that our then beloved but now late Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau was fast approaching the close of his political career and was then contemplating his actual end date. I had the privilege of knowing Mr. Trudeau Senior very well and hold his respect very deeply.

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Most Liberals had been bracing themselves for this difficult but inevitable moment. Well aware of this, the great Liberal Senator Keith Davey and his team organized a spectacular and lovely celebration on December 13, 1983, in honour of Mr. Trudeau. That was exactly one month before Mr. Trudeau’s telephone call to me respecting my appointment to the Senate.

This fantastic event was appropriately and fondly named “An Evening with Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.” I attended that celebration in all of its glory and excitement. I well recall that the head table was the largest and longest that I had ever seen. Senator Keith Davey made sure that the brightest and the best of Canada were there. The well-chosen Canadian head table guests included Gordon Lightfoot — it was the first time I met him — comedians Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster, and hordes of other guests. It was well done. That evening was glorious for those of us, like myself, who had deep respect and affection for the great Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, the Right Honourable Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. I note that at that time, Pierre Elliott Trudeau was also held in high regard the world over.

Honourable senators, one month later, on January 13, 1984, Prime Minister Trudeau called me at the social service agency that I had founded, and where I had worked for years in the challenging and difficult business that was assisting families afflicted by domestic and family violence. Mr. Trudeau had long admired my labours in this cause and in the relief that I brought to these families. On the phone that day, Mr. Trudeau told me, as he had before, that he deeply admired my personal moral courage, noting that personal moral courage is a necessary prerequisite to life in politics.

In that brief telephone conversation, he also invited me to join the Senate, and informed me that I was being appointed that very day. I am now hovering on age 75. That day that Mr. Trudeau called, I was then 40 years old.

Colleagues, three days later, on January 16, 1984, I was sworn into the Senate of Canada with seven other new senators, including our dear Inuit friend Senator Charlie Watt, that fine human being whom I now miss very much and who was my dear friend for many years, during which he and I sat as seatmates over there and over here. The Debates of the Senate of that day, January 16, record the great Ontario Liberal senator, the Honourable Senator Royce Frith — and I do this so that we can have a remembrance of some of these great senators who have served in this place. And these people were very important to me and to this Senate.

Colleagues, Senator Royce Frith, the then Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate, welcomed the eight new senators. He said:

Honourable senators, on behalf of the government, I welcome as new senators eight outstanding Canadians who have made notable contributions to our nation, each in his or her own way. They now add lustre and distinction to our institution.

I note the then Liberal Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Alberta senator, the Honourable Andrew (Bud) Olson, was away. I think that some of us remember Bud. Bud and I once had our offices downstairs on the first floor. We shared the hallway admirably.

Honourable senators, I also note that the Acting Leader of the Opposition then was Progressive Conservative senator, the Honourable Senator Duff Roblin, who had been Premier of Manitoba from 1958 to 1967. He was the grandson of Sir Rodmond Roblin, Premier of Manitoba from 1900 to 1915. That day Senator Roblin also welcomed us, the eight new senators. He said:

Honourable senators, having witnessed this interesting and historic ceremony of taking the oath of allegiance, it is clear to us all that the long drought has been broken and that the Senate is now beginning to receive the reinforcements of quality and character we have long awaited.

I am so pleased that Senator Roblin thought that the eight of us were going to reinforce the Senate. That was great news.

I note that the then Deputy Leader of the Progressive Conservative Opposition was Quebec Senator Jacques Flynn, the grandson of Edmund James Flynn, Premier of Quebec from 1896 to 1897. Edmund James Flynn was the last Conservative Premier of Quebec. His grandson served here, and I had the privilege of serving with him.

Colleagues, shortly thereafter, on February 29, 1984, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau notified Iona Campagnolo, then the President of the Liberal Party of Canada, that he planned to step down as Liberal Party Leader and Prime Minister in the coming months, and that the Liberal Party Executive should call a leadership convention to choose a new leader. I note that at the convention Mr. Trudeau mentioned me in his farewell speech to the party faithful.

I will always remember that speech. I have long held Mr. Trudeau in high regard. I remember this memorable Liberal Party convention because we were not just choosing a leader; we were also choosing a Prime Minister. John Napier Turner was elected the new leader and Canada’s new Liberal Prime Minister.

On June 29, 1984, Mr. Turner appointed the gifted Nova Scotia Liberal Senator, Senator Allan Joseph MacEachen, to the Senate, and a day later made him the Liberal Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Sadly, John Turner’s time as Prime Minister was brief. Weeks later, on September 4, 1984, the federal general election returned Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his Progressive Conservatives with a large majority in the House of Commons.

Colleagues, I think we have to know that this era was a great time in Canadian politics. It was also a great time of transformation and change that we should uphold. It was a time when the nature of the appointments and commissions to the Senate and other governmental institutions began to see a distinct change. In 1984, when I was appointed to this place, we began to see a diversity of positions appearing for the first time. I think many called it diversity.

Colleagues, as we know, in 1987, the proposed constitutional amendment, the Meech Lake Accord had failed. In 1992, Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Mulroney had put another constitutional amendment, the Charlottetown Accord, before the country. That accord also failed, largely because Pierre Elliott Trudeau spoke against it eloquently, with the full force of his mighty intellect and his mastery of constitutions and constitutional law.

I must tell colleagues that I was there on October 1, 1992.

It was on October 1, 1992, that Mr. Trudeau spoke at a meeting of Cité Libre, held at a Montreal restaurant called La Maison Egg Roll. My friend and colleague, Liberal Senator Jacques Hebert organized this event. I was present that night when former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau carried the day with his unmatched intellect.

The fact is that the Charlottetown Accord sank like a stone.

Colleagues, I recall that sad fall day, September 28, 2000, now 18 years ago, when Mr. Trudeau breathed his last. It was a long and sad day for Canadians. Mr. Trudeau had laid in state here in Centre Block of these Parliament Buildings, where thousands upon thousands visited him to pay their last respects.

Days later on October 3, 2000, a busload of senators, myself included, left Ottawa to attend Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica for the funeral of the great Canadian, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. He was carried out of Centre Block for the last time, never to return. In that sad moment of that sad day, Mr. Trudeau was headed for Notre Dame Basilica for a memorable and distinguished state funeral, complete with its 19-gun salute. As I watched this departure with great sorrow in my heart — and as we stood to watch him being borne away — I well recall saying to a journalist who was standing next to me that, “Mr. Trudeau had come to and had gone from Parliament for the last time.”

End. Over. It was the hardest thing in the world for us to really grasp.

Honourable senators, I come now to my work on child custody and access post-divorce. For years, my work on this large and difficult file was the most challenging but by far the most personally satisfying of my political career. I was a member of the 1998 Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access.

(1430)

The joint chairs of this committee were the Honourable Senator Landon Pearson and the Honourable Roger Gallaway, M.P., who is present in the gallery today. I was involved in this great cause for fairness and balance for fathers in divorce, who were regularly maltreated in many ways, including the frequent and malicious use of false allegations of abuse as ways of alienating them from their children.

Colleagues, I shall quote my speech delivered in the Senate on December 10, 1998. Speaking to the final report of the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access, titled For the Sake of the Children, as presented in the Senate on December 9, I said:

Honourable senators, in 1996 and 1997 during Senate debate here on Bill C-41 amending the Divorce Act to implement the federal child support guidelines, I drew a line in the sand.

I asserted that the children of divorce deserve the financial, emotional and psychological support of both their parents, both mother and father, and that it is the duty of Parliament to vindicate the need of the children of divorce for both their parents.

Honourable senators, my point of view is well supported by the public. This was ably demonstrated by the Southam News, Compas Poll conducted in October and reported in the Ottawa Citizen’s front page article, November 23, 1998, headlined “Public backs fathers’ rights: ’Astonishing’ majority wants change to laws on access to children, Compas poll shows.”

The pollster Dr. Conrad Winn is quoted that “I can’t find an adjective to describe the intensity of public dismay over family issues and the unfulfilled rights of fathers and children. . . . I am surprised because these issues haven’t been on the agenda of Canadian politics for a very long time. The most astonishing thing is the absolute consensus among men and women about how the rights and obligations of fathers and children are being ignored.”

Colleagues, I knew I had won that battle, victoriously and definitively, the day that headline appeared in the Ottawa Citizen. I continue to cite my speech of that day:

That same poll told us that, of the respondents, 70 per cent of Canadians believe that children of divorce receive too little attention, and 62 per cent said that fathers receive too little attention. Eighty per cent of those surveyed felt it was very important for children of divorced parents to maintain an ongoing relationship with the non-custodial parent. When one looked at younger Canadians, those 30 years and under that number rose to 86 per cent.

That poll very clearly told us that there is a growing commitment among younger Canadians to parenting and family life.

These poll results show very clearly that Canadian public opinion is in tune with the finest of this joint committee’s recommendations, which are the recommendations for shared parenting. Canadians care, and care passionately, about the children of divorce.

It was clear that the children of divorce were themselves under the old divorce regime.

Honourable senators, I should like to recite the great hymn “Jerusalem,” the lyrics by William Blake, and music by Sir Hubert Parry. I grew up hearing these great hymns. I see myself as a Canadian but also a British person.

I now read:

And did those feet in ancient time

Walk upon England’s mountains green?

And was the holy Lamb of God

On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the countenance divine

Shine forth upon our clouded hills?

And was Jerusalem builded here,

Among these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!

Bring me my arrows of desire!

Bring me my Spear! O clouds, unfold!

Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,

Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,

Till we have built Jerusalem

In this our green and pleasant land.

Colleagues, as I approach the end of my response to colleagues’ tributes, I wish to speak now about my parents for a few moments. Then I also want to thank every senator who paid tribute to me. I must tell you that I was very touched by some of their words. It is always nice for a senator to discover what his or her colleagues real thoughts are. I had a wonderful several minutes of marvellous revelations about myself of which I had no knowledge. I thank you for them in every way.

I wish to speak now about my mother, my upbringing and my childhood. A particular past staff member, Christine Sentongo-Andersen, who heard me tell this story, asked if I would share this particular story.

I shall relate one poignant story of a little girl — myself — with the nickname “Peter,” and a box of chocolates. I had siblings who died as young children. One of them, who died when he was 8, had named me “Peter” because he wanted a brother. That name stayed with me all my life.

This encounter took place shortly after Easter, when I had received a large box of Easter chocolates. It is between my mother, myself, and some young persons who had been working on our property, cleaning up the grass and other unwanted growth. I have 72 rose bushes in my garden, so I know how gardens work.

That day, my mother called me, saying, “Peter, I want you to do me a favour. I want you to do something for me.” I replied, “Oh, yes, Mummy.”

From my recollection, I think I could have been no more than five years old. I don’t think I could have been six, because I would have been in school that day. I was then going to a Montessori school. I believe I was five.

My mother said, “Pete, you know that nice box of chocolates that you have, that you got at Easter? I want you to bring that box of chocolates. Then I want you to call each one of these people out there working on our land. Then I want you to call each one by name and offer them a chocolate.”

I remember this as if it were yesterday. My response was remarkable. I ran off and fetched the box and returned with it. Then I called each one of these young people by name and said to each of them, “I wish to offer you a chocolate.”

There was no stinginess in my heart. There was no thought in my mind as to why my mother was asking me to give away my chocolates. It was just the right thing to do. My mother was a remarkable woman in many different ways.

Each one of them took a chocolate and clearly enjoyed it. On observing this, my mother said, “Pete, they have never tasted chocolates. You have so much more than they do. When you grow up, Peter, remember that you must work hard to make these people’s lives better. You have a duty to make their lives better.”

Therefore, dear colleagues, it is no surprise that my mother introduced me to the concepts that are the public good and public service. My family was active in politics and through them I learned that I have a duty as a political being to make other people’s lives better. I hope I have done that in my time here.

I thank you, honourable senators, very much, from the bottom of my heart. I thank you all for coming out. It is a new day for me because it is an ending day, and a day that will end one more stage of my life. But it is a good day for all of us, senators. It is wonderful to visit every incarnation and every life change and to adapt to life changes. We have so many changes as life goes by.

I think I am now commanded to investigate and discover the imminent state that is retirement. I look forward to discovering it. Individuals like Senator Fraser and Senator Carstairs, whom I both love, now will have no excuses about being able to make lunch more often.

I thank you very much, colleagues, for everything, and for your brilliant statements. I think you all know how I feel about all of you. For me, serving in this place has been a major part of my life — not a small part but a major part. And out there on the record, there are over 350 speeches by yours truly.

(1440)

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 Elizabeth and Phillip Morris. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Bovey.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mary and Stephen Rix, and Minnie and Rick Vaughan. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Housakos.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Senate Ethics Officer

2017-18 Annual Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Senate Ethics Officer, for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018, pursuant to the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1, sbs. 20.7.

[English]

Business of the Senate

Hon. Wanda Elaine Thomas Bernard: Honourable senators, I ask leave to consider the thirteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, supplementary budget for Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

An Hon. Senator: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: I hear a “no.” I’m sorry, Senator Bernard, leave is not granted.

[Translation]

Parliamentary Budget Officer

Motion to Resolve into Committee of the Whole to Receive Yves Giroux, Parliamentary Budget Officer Nominee, and that the Committee Report to the Senate No Later than Sixty Minutes After it Begins Adopted

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(j), I move:

That, at 4 p.m. today, the Senate resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole in order to receive Mr. Yves Giroux respecting his appointment as Parliamentary Budget Officer;

That the Committee of the Whole report to the Senate no later than 60 minutes after it begins;

That any business underway at 4 p.m. be interrupted, to resume after the committee has reported;

That, if a standing vote would conflict with the Committee of the Whole, the vote be postponed until immediately after the committee has reported; and

That, if the bells are ringing for a vote at 4 p.m., they be interrupted for the Committee of the Whole at that time, and resume thereafter for the balance of any time remaining.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[English]

The Senate

Motion to Affect this Thursday’s Sitting and to Authorize Committees to Meet During the Sitting Adopted

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(j), I move:

That, notwithstanding rule 3-1(1) and the order adopted by the Senate on February 4, 2016, when the Senate meets on Thursday, June 21, 2018, it meet at 9:30 a.m.; and

That committees have power to sit on Thursday, June 21, 2018, even though the Senate may then be sitting, with the provisions of rule 12-18(1) being suspended in relation thereto.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[Translation]

National Security Bill, 2017

First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

The Senate

Motion to Photograph and Videotape Royal Assent Ceremony Adopted

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(j), I move:

That photographers and camera operators be authorized in the Senate Chamber to photograph and videotape the next Royal Assent ceremony, with the least possible disruption of the proceedings.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)


[English]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Business of the Senate

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 4-13(3), I would like to inform the Senate that as we proceed with Government Business, the Senate will address items in the following order: Bills, third reading, Bill C-80, followed by all remaining items in the order that they appear on the Order Paper.

[Translation]

Appropriation Bill No. 1, 2018-19

Third Reading

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate) moved third reading of Bill C-80, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019.

She said: Honourable senators, I move that Bill C-80 be read a third time.

(1450)

[English]

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I would like to go on record with respect to this particular bill. My remarks won’t be long. I have been involved with finance matters for some time and it seemed strange to see the appropriation bill going through without having an opportunity to comment.

Senator Mockler is doing a fine job chairing the committee. I’ve had an opportunity to attend a number of meetings and I was in the chamber at second reading and to hear the report of the committee as well. I also feel that Senator Marshall’s recent comments were very apropos. I’m glad to see that the committee is in good hands and working well.

Honourable senators will note that this bill received second reading yesterday and today we’re at third reading stage without the measure having gone to committee. That’s the usual process with respect to appropriation or supply bills because we already studied the estimates that back the document up. It is something very peculiar to the supply process, and it takes us a while to figure out these different rules with respect to two different processes.

As everyone knows, my work here will attest to the fact that I have long spoken about the budgets, supply bills and the estimate process. They are all inextricably linked and essential documents for parliamentary oversight of government spending. That’s parliamentary oversight, as you heard Senator Cools mention the three elements of Parliament. This includes the Senate as one of the three elements. It is important that we have proper tools to provide for that oversight of government spending and proposed spending. When each one of these items — that is, the estimate process, the budget itself, budget implementation and the supply bills or appropriation if you will — come along, they are just a different name for the same process. We have to consider them all together so we can understand what the government is proposing and so we can provide the scrutiny that’s intended of us.

Sometimes it’s difficult to consider all of these items together. This supply bill, Bill C-80, calls for spending of more than $82 billion. That’s a lot of change that we’re being asked to approve. I always want to make sure that we have speeches on this rather than what you see happening in the House of Commons, namely, “deemed to have been studied, deemed to have been read and deemed to have been adopted.” When we’re spending that much money we can take the time to look at it. I know that that’s the philosophy of the Finance Committee and I thank the members of that committee for continuing that fine tradition of the Senate.

The Main Estimates for 2018 are more than 330 pages long — 330 pages of charts and lists of different things. The parallel budget implementation act that we considered a few days ago, Bill C-74, was an omnibus bill of 556 pages. I won’t give you my favourite speech on omnibus bills at this stage but we always have to be careful about omnibus bills. There are so many different items in there that if we could restrict it to finance and then let us deal with a general omnibus bill for other all non-finance matters, that would make matters of scrutiny go so much better. There is a lot going on and senators need to be cognizant of their role in scrutinizing that spending.

While there is much to be studied, the government has undertaken, hopefully — and I will give the government the benefit of the doubt — to make our role of scrutiny and scrutinizing of those various elements somewhat simpler. The reform of the estimates began over two years ago with the Treasury Board proposing changes, which included delaying the tabling of the Main Estimates to not later than May 1 so that they better align with the budget. The plan is to try to bring the budget out and then the Main Estimates and budget implementation would follow. Previously, we would get Main Estimates almost coincidentally with the budgets — sometimes before; sometimes after — and the Main Estimates didn’t reflect anything in the budget. It was almost like zero-based budgeting or take a look at what we spent last year and put that in and then we’ll adjust later on in other estimates processes. That would be Supplementary Estimates (A), (B), and (C).

The Treasury Board, in attempting to make this change, has devised, I hope, an interim vote 40, which concerns me somewhat. Last June, the House of Commons adopted a motion to do what I just explained, namely, to try to align the estimates better with the budget itself.

In the future, if this process is expected to allow parliamentarians to provide better oversight of government spending. This year, during this transition period, the government has tabled interim estimates to ensure that the government has sufficient funding to begin the new fiscal year.

On February 12 of this year, when the President of the Treasury Board, the Honourable Scott Brison, tabled these interim estimates, he was quoted in a news release as follows:

We are committed to making sure parliamentarians have the information they need to do their jobs effectively. By adjusting the timing of the Main Estimates so they follow the federal Budget, we are providing parliamentarians and Canadians with a clear line of sight as they review government spending.

I applaud these efforts. As chair of the National Finance Committee for more than 15 years, I recognize first-hand the difficulties in reconciling the estimates to the budget. I recognize the challenge that is there, and I compliment the government on attempting to meet that challenge.

In the past, the Main Estimates did not including budget initiatives, as I’ve mentioned. These would end up in supplementary estimates or, as Senator Marshall rightly pointed out yesterday, sometimes in estimates of future subsequent years. We should even find budget initiatives and the money to do the initiative coming two or three years afterward.

So the process is being reformed and the Main Estimates were thus delayed this year ostensibly to include measures announced in the budget. Here we are now debating the supply bill that goes with those Main Estimates. But we haven’t quite gotten what we were expecting. There was a bit of a surprise in that there is included in this bill a vote 40, which provides for more than $7 billion in budget initiatives that have not been through the normal Treasury Board scrutiny process.

The departments or other organizations, along with their individual amount, are listed in Annex A of the Main Estimate documents. If you look in your Main Estimates, you will see a list of details accompanying the various departments.

(1500)

Senator Mockler, in his remarks on the National Finance Committee’s report on the Main Estimates, had this to say:

The committee would like you to be fully aware that the government added a vote in this bill before you today, vote 40, which will effectively allow them to bypass parliamentary approval for the coming year. In addition, the government has removed the internal controls on this $7 billion.

Normally, requests would go through a rigorous Treasury Board submission process prior to presentation to cabinet. These funds will be decided by cabinet alone —

— the expenditure —

— and the executive branch taking power of financial decisions alone — a point that I and others find to be quite troubling for all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Senator Marshall, in her remarks, stressed much the same thing. The committee report itself states that the Parliamentary Budget Officer noted the wording of the vote — each of the line items is referred to as a vote — vote 40, this new one, does not even oblige the government to spend the funds as outlined in the annex.

While I do not subscribe to the hyperbole that emerged in the other place, I am, nevertheless, concerned, and I share the concerns of Senator Marshall and Senator Mockler.

I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say, we have to be careful about changes that affect parliamentary oversight. We’ve got to make sure that parliamentary oversight continues, and where we find some difficulties, make changes, yes, but changes that help to improve our oversight. A negative change is one of the reasons why I introduced Bill S-246, An Act to amend the Borrowing Authority Act — it’s still on the Order Paper; I was hoping to get to it last evening, but we didn’t make it — to bring back Parliament’s authority over government borrowing.

We missed the government’s tiny change in a past omnibus budget bill, and 10 years later, we’re still trying to correct the damage that was done in allowing the government to borrow without coming to Parliament to get authority to borrow.

Proper parliamentary oversight is vital and a power that we cannot take for granted. I can assure all senators that I will be watching — Senator Mockler and Senator Marshall have also indicated they will be watching — and guarding against any weakening of our rights and our ability to scrutinize government spending. I thank you and the Finance Committee for doing that.

I urge honourable senators to support this legislation, with that caveat.

Hon. Percy Mockler: I have been informed that I have 45 minutes, but rest assured that I won’t take 45 minutes.

Honourable senators, I also know that I had and still have big shoes to fill, if I compare myself to the previous chairs of the Finance Committee, leader Joseph Day and leader Larry Smith.

[Translation]

With regard to Bill C-80, I have a few comments, observations, and suggestions to make.

[English]

Honourable senators, this bill has already been discussed in the context of the supply cycle, but I think it is important to remind honourable senators about what we are voting on. We are being asked to approve a continuous growth in the federal debt for all Canadians. The debt is being fuelled by unconstrained spending in a time of relative fiscal stability, where the global market, the global economy, and the Canadian economy along with it, is doing well. So why a deficit?

As a result, the government believes it has a licence to spend, seemingly without any regard to the long-term consequences.

Just earlier, Senator Day alluded to oversights. Not too long ago, my colleague Senator Marshall talked about the mechanism of performance and also oversight in the past.

However, there will be some consequences, as we know. Those consequences are on the horizon, and they will have an impact on the quality of life of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, it is an honest concern. As you know, the current government has no plan to restore fiscal balance in Canada. Considering how the economy is performing, that is not even an option. As Senator Marshall said so well, it is clear that the government has been unable to establish a political and regulatory framework in Canada to attract stable and predictable foreign investment.

[English]

On the contrary, the government has added additional roadblocks for investment. I want to share a few before we close this august chamber.

Most notably, the government has shut down the Northern Gateway pipeline, and it quite simply regulated the Energy East pipeline to die, which would have served Atlantic Canada, creating needed jobs across Atlantic Canada and also across Canada.

What really happened? Well, Energy East completely disappeared from the priority of this government. In my book, where was the government with Energy East? Well, honourable senators, nowhere to be seen except, again, playing the blame game.

The government’s only solution for moving ahead with the Trans Mountain pipeline was to buy it using taxpayers’ money. Let’s not fool ourselves. From an economic perspective, this project is entirely viable without taxpayers’ money.

What happened? It’s the regulatory and policy environment that killed the will of the private sector to invest in those projects.

So when we look at this appropriation bill, what can we imagine that the future holds? Context here is everything, honourable senators.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, this government will spend even more in the years to come, in an effort to mask its poor economic management. This will result in more tax hikes for Canadian taxpayers.

Make no mistake, the debt will get bigger and the tax increases will not cover the financial obligations that the current government is facing. The chair and members of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance have said as much.

[English]

We need an oversight mechanism in place.

Honourable senators, what is troubling is that hardworking Canadians from coast to coast to coast will have to carry this burden if there is a market correction. At some point, make no mistake about it, there will be economic consequences. It will have an impact. It will, without a doubt, put in jeopardy the quality of life of many Canadians coast to coast to coast.

I believe with my 35 years of serving Canadians throughout the province of New Brunswick, we have a duty as senators to consider and adjust legislation for the benefit of all Canadians, regardless where we live. I can share with you that people do not care who we are until they know what we care for. We should always be mindful of the challenges ahead for all Canadians. There’s no doubt in my mind that we care for keeping a better quality of life. But we do have challenges with this budget, with Bill C-80, and I have to admit — and I will share with you — that I will not vote for it.

(1510)

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators: On division.

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

Salaries Act

Financial Administration Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading

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. Pierrette Ringuette: Honourable senators, I understand that many of you are relatively new to the parliamentary process. With regard to Bill C-24, which is the Salaries Act, it is a tool that the government of the day uses because, most of the time, they re-align government departments and ministerial portfolios when they assume government in order to fulfil the objective of their platform in their own perspective.

What we have before us in Bill C-24 is the new organigram of ministers and their departments. I would like to bring to your attention, particularly, that, two years ago, because of a report from the National Finance Committee, chaired by our honourable colleague Senator Mockler, in the supplementary estimates section of that report, the committee was asking that the government make sure that salaries for ministers are not in the supplementary estimates but within the Main Estimates. The Senate voted unanimously in agreement with that report from the National Finance.

My own perception in regard to the fact that this bill has been before us since mid-December is that, because we didn’t move smoothly enough, it could not be in the Main Estimates. So please, honourable senators, it is what it is. The government has organized its departments and its ministers’ mandates as per their view of managing this country, and the Salaries Act is a reflection of that. It’s a government tool that is used, as I said earlier, on a routine basis.

Taking all of this into consideration, I now move that the question be asked.

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

Hon. Terry M. Mercer (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals): Honourable senators, Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Salaries Act and to make consequential amendment to the Financial Administration Act, has five objectives. Among other things, it amends the Salaries Act so that five ministerial positions created in 2015 receive a salary equivalent to those of other ministerial positions paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and provides a legislative framework so that those positions can receive support from existing departments in the exercise of their mandates.

Honourable senators, this bill is about fairness. We strive each and every day in this place to ensure that everybody’s right to equality is protected. The creation of new ministerial positions is rooted in the fact that these positions are being elevated. These new positions, ministers of state, now are mostly occupied by female members of Parliament, which ensures gender equity in the cabinet. This is a move that many of us have championed, and we support the Prime Minister’s effort to do that. This is an initiative we all support, I’m sure.

This bill is predicated on the equal treatment of individuals. Does this government’s principled commitment to equality not extend to the new independent Senate?

I am of the mind that, in both houses of Parliament, both places, this principle of equality should exist, specifically here in the Senate. Inequality exists based on the amount of work the leadership teams do for their senators and not by the work of certain ministers.

The Independent Senators Group, for example, currently has 46 members. The Conservatives have 32, and we, in the Liberals, have 11. The Government Representative’s organization has 3. So why, then, are Senator Woo and Senator Saint-Germain, who represent 46 senators, not being compensated for doing the work of their equivalent, Senator Harder, who is part of a team of three?

If Senator Mitchell was a member of ISG leadership, he would not be recognized for the work he does in the Government Representative organization.

More than half of the senators in this place are represented by leadership teams that are not being recognized for the jobs that they do, all while the minority is fully funded. Does that sound like fairness to you?

The full and direct participation of the groups in the Senate is paramount, just as a full and direct participation of ministers of state should be in the cabinet, of course. That is what this bill deals with. Bill C-24 proposes that the ministers of state be compensated as full ministers, but I would be remiss if I did not point out that the principle of equality is not applied here in the Senate.

There is a saying: Nothing about us without us, a slogan used to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the groups affected by that policy.

If we are trying to fix a problem with equality in the cabinet by virtue of the position and/or by gender, why then have we not spoken of the need to address the inequality in the Senate? I would ask that you think about these principles. Perhaps you may now have a different opinion about this bill, one you may wish to share.

For that reason, I move the adjournment of the debate for the balance of my time.

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

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Those in favour of the motion to adjourn please say “yea.”

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Those opposed to the motion to adjourn, please say “nay”.

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

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

And two honourable senators having risen:

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is there agreement on a bell?

Senator Mitchell: 15 minutes.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: That will take us to 3:34 p.m.

Call in the senators.

(1530)

Motion negatived on the following division:

YEAS
The Honourable Senators

Batters Housakos
Beyak Jaffer
Cordy Joyal
Dawson Lovelace Nicholas
Day MacDonald
Downe Mercer
Dyck Munson—15
Eggleton

NAYS
The Honourable Senators

Bellemare Manning
Black (Alberta) Martin
Black (Ontario) Marwah
Boniface Massicotte
Bovey McPhedran
Campbell Mégie
Christmas Mitchell
Cormier Mockler
Coyle Moncion
Dalphond Oh
Dasko Omidvar
Deacon (Ontario) Pate
Doyle Petitclerc
Dupuis Pratte
Eaton Ravalia
Forest Ringuette
Frum Seidman
Gagné Smith
Gold Tannas
Greene Verner
Griffin Wallin
Harder Wells
Hartling White
Lankin Woo—49
Maltais

ABSTENTIONS
The Honourable Senators

Andreychuk McIntyre
Ataullahjan Ngo
Bernard Patterson
Boisvenu Plett
Carignan Poirier
Dagenais Richards
Deacon (Nova Scotia) Saint-Germain
Galvez Stewart Olsen
Marshall Tkachuk
McCallum Wetston—21
McInnis

(1540)

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators:On division.

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

Budget Implementation Bill, 2018, No. 1

Twenty-ninth Report of National Finance Committee on Subject Matter—Debate Concluded

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the consideration of the twenty-ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance (Subject matter of Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures), tabled in the Senate on June 12, 2018.

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to the twenty-ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, which speaks to Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures.

On February 9, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new Inuit-Crown Partnership and, along with Inuit leaders representing the four land claim beneficiary groups and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Inuit Nunangat Declaration was signed. This document set out a broad framework for addressing the many concerns of Inuit Nunangat and established a joint process for tackling the massive amount of work to be done. The declaration recognizes and affirms the inherent rights of Inuit. It clearly acknowledges that the prosperity of Inuit leads to the prosperity of Canada as a whole. In particular, it recognizes:

. . . the disproportionate socio-economic and cultural inequity facing Inuit compared to most other Canadians, and committing to working in partnership to create socio-economic and cultural equity between Inuit and other Canadians. This commitment includes energetically and creatively pursuing the socio-economic, cultural, and environmental conditions of success through the full implementation of land claims agreements as well as reconciliation . . . .

On March 29, 2018, the government released a set of shared priorities that had been identified through the collaborative process. Amongst them was a call for “Long-term funding to support housing in Nunavut and an Inuit-led housing plan in the Inuit regions of Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, and Inuvialuit Settlement Region.”

These announcements raised expectations and gave hope that our dismal housing situation in the North would be on its way to being rectified.

However, I am sorry to say, honourable senators, that my hopes have been dashed. Budget 2018 contained a section entitled “Supporting Inuit Priorities” and announced “$400 million over 10 years for housing in the Inuit regions of Nunavik, Nunatsiavut and Inuvialuit to help address significant overcrowding and repair needs in Inuit communities.”

First and foremost, I would note that my home territory of Nunavut is not listed in that group despite being the largest of the four claims and regions that make up Inuit Nunangat.

Second, I would invite honourable senators to do the math on the amount announced. Each region would be awarded a portion of $40 million each year. With houses, unfortunately, because of our remoteness, single detached units — a little less for multiplex units — are costing $400,000 or $500,000 each, and this falls far short of addressing the well-documented housing shortfalls throughout those regions.

In 2016, the Standing Senate Committee Aboriginal Peoples studied the state of housing in Inuit Nunangat. I must take this opportunity to thank Senator Dyck and colleagues on that committee for leading our committee throughout this important major study and for visiting those regions to see for themselves the overcrowded housing conditions: the mould, the more than 20 people sleeping in shifts in a three-bedroom home, the plywood shack we saw that had been built behind a house in Igloolik where a small family pushed out of the overcrowded house lived in winter conditions with an infant in uninsulated plywood shacks.

Senator Dyck and I saw the shack. Our report, entitled We Can Do Better: Housing in Inuit Nunangat, found that the average cost of constructing a home was between $400,000 and $550,000. If we take the higher of those two numbers, it means that Budget 2018 actually provides for 73 new homes throughout three of the four Inuit regions.

Our report found that there is a deficit of approximately 3,400 units throughout the region. Add to that the fact that the 2016 Census revealed that the Indigenous population has a growth rate more than four times the growth rate of the non-Indigenous population, with the Inuit population growing 26 per cent over a 10-year period as opposed to the non-Indigenous population growing at 8 per cent over the same period.

Colleagues, 72 units per year for three of the four Inuit regions in need does not come close to keeping pace with the high population growth rate.

I was surprised to be so disappointed, considering the numerous announcements made by this government to address the issues of Inuit. This makes me alarmed as I carry with me a great amount of hope that the social implications of legalized cannabis for Nunavut’s fragile social fabric will be addressed appropriately.

(1550)

There will be $200 million over five years in Budget 2018 for Indigenous mental health services. Representatives from the Pujualussait Proposal in Pangnirtung were in the chamber when Bill C-45 was addressed. They heard the promises made by Minister Philpott and Minister Petitpas Taylor that they would address the needs of the Aboriginal peoples for mental health and addictions services; that they would respond to the observations made by the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples that Aboriginal people, having suffered trauma in their lives, are vulnerable to mental health impacts from cannabis; and that there is a high correlation between Aboriginal youth required to go to treatment centres in the South where they are available — a correlation as high as 70 per cent with heavy cannabis use.

I would like to thank Minister Philpott for having met with me recently to better understand the problem and for having had her officials meet with representatives of the community of Pangnirtung, where they have had experience in training Inuit community health workers and mental health workers, and establishing community wellness programs.

The folks from Pangnirtung told me that in January 12 young women made attempts to take their own lives, and there have been suicides there since. The community is in crisis; the Minister of Health for Nunavut described that community as being in crisis. Sadly, that is all too representative of many communities in my region of Nunavut, where, as I’ve said in this chamber before, we have frequent standoffs with the RCMP, where SWAT teams have to be flown in and the community put in lockdown. This is a regular occurrence, colleagues. These are mental health issues.

There was one in Sanikiluaq just last week. The whole community suffered the stress of an anguished young person with a rifle, putting the whole community on lockdown.

These needs are urgent, honourable colleagues. I want to say, in speaking to the budget, that I am terribly disappointed in the failure to respond to the urgent housing needs that were outlined very thoroughly and thoughtfully by the Standing Senate Committee of Aboriginal Peoples. Housing is fundamental to education and employment. How can kids do homework when there are 23 people in a three-bedroom house, sleeping in shifts? Why do we have a TB epidemic in Nunavut? It’s largely because of overcrowded housing. I haven’t even mentioned the other health issues there are in Nunavut, including infant respiratory syndrome.

Colleagues, I know we’re nearing the end of our deliberations and our session, but I am grateful for the opportunity to alert you to the fact that we are not making progress in dealing with the fundamental issue of housing, despite the promises of reconciliation; reaching out to Inuit; and addressing the disproportionate socio-economic and cultural inequity facing Inuit compared to most other Canadians, as recited in the Inuit Nunangat declaration. This budget does not reflect any progress or any response to the Inuit Nunangat declaration that is meaningful to my constituents who are suffering every day from overcrowded housing and all of the implications that flow from that.

I am hopeful that we will be making some progress on the mental wellness, community wellness, and mental health and addictions treatment services that are so sorely needed and that have to be delivered by Inuit to be effective. That was an observation made by the Aboriginal Peoples Committee. Of course, it applies to Aboriginal peoples all across the country.

Colleagues, I appreciate the opportunity to tell you that we are still waiting for results from the promised reconciliation with Inuit. Thank you.

(Debate concluded.)

Parliamentary Budget Officer

Yves Giroux Received in Committee of the Whole

On the Order:

The Senate in Committee of the Whole in order to receive Yves Giroux respecting his appointment as Parliamentary Budget Officer.

(The Senate was accordingly adjourned during pleasure and put into Committee of the Whole, the Honourable Nicole Eaton in the chair.)


The Chair: Honourable senators, rule 12-32(3) outlines procedures in a Committee of the Whole. In particular, “senators wishing to speak shall address the chair”, “senators need not stand or be in their assigned place to speak”, and each senator shall speak for no more than 10 minutes at a time, including the time for the witness to answer.

Honourable senators, the Committee of the Whole is meeting pursuant to an order adopted by the Senate earlier this day. The order was as follows:

That, at 4 p.m. today, the Senate resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole in order to receive Yves Giroux respecting his appointment as Parliamentary Budget Officer; and

That the Committee of the Whole report to the Senate no later than 60 minutes after it begins.

I would now ask the witness to enter.

(Pursuant to the Order of the Senate, Yves Giroux was escorted to a seat in the Senate chamber.)

The Chair: Honourable senators, the Senate is resolved into a Committee of the Whole to hear from Yves Giroux respecting his appointment as Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Mr. Giroux, thank you for being with us today. I would invite you to make your introductory remarks, after which there will be questions from senators.

(1600)

[Translation]

Yves Giroux, Parliamentary Budget Officer Nominee: Thank you, Madam Chair. Good afternoon, senators. It is an honour for me to be here today. I am sure you have some questions for me, but I would like to begin by telling you a little about my professional experience and my vision for the role of Parliamentary Budget Officer. I would also like to briefly discuss the challenges associated with this position and my priorities as the Parliamentary Budget Officer if Parliament entrusts me with this important role.

[English]

First I will say a few words about me. I attended L’Université de Montréal, where I obtained a bachelor’s in economics, as well as a master’s in the same discipline. I started my career in the public service in 1995, with positions at Finance, working notably on tax policy; and the Privy Council Office, where I worked on economic and social issues. I became Senior Chief and then Director of the Social Policy Division of the Department of Finance, where I served for six years, providing advice to the deputy minister and the minister on items for consideration in the budget, as well as at cabinet and its committees.

I returned to the Privy Council Office in 2011, in the Liaison Secretariat for Macroeconomic Policy, advising senior officials and the Prime Minister on economic issues, expenditure management, tax issues, and almost all items considered in the federal budget.

[Translation]

My role was to advise senior officials and the Prime Minister on the measures to be taken to effectively manage Canada’s economy, including setting and achieving budgetary goals, projections of economic growth, inflation, interest rate, and job growth, government spending, cost cutting exercises, changes to the tax regime, and major remuneration measures. The most important aspect of my work, however, was preparing federal budgets and the fall economic update.

Since 2015, I have been the Assistant Commissioner of the Strategy and Integration Branch at the Canada Revenue Agency. I am responsible for provincial and territorial relations, innovation, the agency’s reports, strategic policy, and data.

[English]

I am also the agency’s chief data officer, with the mandate to leverage the agency data as a strategic corporate asset, improve data governance and quality, and enhance the use of business intelligence and data analytics.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer performs an important role in ensuring that parliamentarians have relevant, independent and high-quality information on Canada’s finances and its economy, as well as in costing proposals for consideration by the House of Commons and the Senate. The analysis the office provides to parliamentarians allows legislators to have informed debates and make decisions with unbiased information.

Canadians also rely on the work of the Parliamentary Budget Officer to ensure budget transparency and accountability in what is, for most of them, a process that is often difficult to understand. This mandate makes the role very interesting and exciting for an economist like me, who has always had a keen interest in public policy. I believe the experience I have gained over the last 23 years in developing and analyzing policy proposals, including their costs, as well as the numerous budget processes in which I have been closely involved, position me very well to fulfill the duties of Parliamentary Budget Officer. I have considerable experience in leading skilled professionals to deliver high-quality products within tight deadlines, as well as managing multi-million-dollar budgets. My background as an economist also allows me to understand the key trends and challenges in the Canadian and world economies, both at the macro- and microeconomic levels.

I have always provided non-partisan advice and have never taken part in any political activity of any kind, except voting. From that perspective, I can assure you that, should you recommend my appointment, I will continue to uphold the highest level of neutrality and integrity.

Should Parliament support my nomination, I will strive to make the office an institution that is a model for other countries. I firmly believe that parliamentarians and Canadians deserve nothing less than a world-class parliamentary budget office.

[Translation]

I sincerely hope that you will support my nomination as I very much look forward to serving as your Parliamentary Budget Officer and meeting the challenges of the position.

[English]

The Chair: Thank you very much. We will start with Senator Smith.

Senator Smith: Mr. Giroux, welcome.

My first questions for you today concern the process surrounding your nomination as the next Parliamentary Budget Officer. The outgoing Parliamentary Budget Officer, Jean-Denis Fréchette, announced he was stepping down back in March. In comparison with many other office of Parliament positions vacated under the government, your nomination to replace Mr. Fréchette seems to have come about relatively quickly.

My question is three-pronged. Could you summarize the process by which you arrived at this particular point, your motivation in putting your name forward, and walk us through how and when you applied, and testing interviews, so you can give us an understanding of the process you went through? That would be helpful.

Mr. Giroux: Senators, I can start with a summary of the process and how and when I applied, because these two questions are closely related.

The position was posted on the government’s website with a closing date, if I’m not mistaken, of April 23. I sent in my resumé, as well as a short covering letter indicating my interest, by the deadline of April 23. I then received an email from a recruiting firm that invited me to an interview, which was scheduled for May 4. I went to the interview on the afternoon of May 4. That was followed very quickly by a series of psychometric tests, done online. It took me about three hours on a Sunday afternoon to do these tests, which were followed by an interview with a psychologist to assess my suitability for the position. I did that on the Monday, so that would be May 7, if I’m not mistaken.

After that, as part of the process, I was asked to submit a couple of forms authorizing PCO to perform background checks, which is, I understand, standard practice for GIC appointments. For a couple of weeks I didn’t hear anything — the period of time during which I assumed background checks were being performed.

A senior official from PCO called me at the end of May asking me if I was still interested in being considered for the position, and I reiterated my interest. That was followed, a couple of days later, by a call from the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, indicating that if I was still interested, there would be further steps in that process, and here I am.

In terms of my motivation for applying for the position, I have been closely involved in budget processes in costing various types of government expenditures, as well as reductions in expenditures. I am an economist by training. I have always been keenly interested in public policy and government finances, so this position fits perfectly with all my interests. Having seen the budget decision-making process and the government expenditure process from the inside, and having provided fearless advice to numerous ministers, including prime ministers, it would be a logical next step in my career to provide the same type of fearless advice to parliamentarians. That is my main motivation.

Senator Smith: You have been with the Canada Revenue Agency since 2015, most recently serving as its chief data officer. According to your resumé, you have worked with various stakeholders, including the Parliamentary Budget Officer, regarding the provision of tax data. For the majority of your time at CRA, the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer was in dispute with the CRA regarding the disclosure of tax information. The dispute ended in February of this year, with the revenue agency promising to provide the PBO with information. So I guess you have had some first-hand interaction with this group of people.

(1610)

Could you give us a little background of your involvement in the dispute? I guess the next question would be: In the position of Parliamentary Budget Officer, how would you deal with a similar situation? How would you respond to departments, agencies or Crown corporations that refuse to provide you and your officials with the information that you need to conduct your work?

Mr. Giroux: Senators, yes, I was indeed involved in these deliberations and discussions. The issue arose because of the level of detail the Parliamentary Budget Officer was seeking. At the time, he was seeking a level of detail that was very granular, and in the opinion of the agency, it would have contravened section 241 of the Income Tax Act, which prevents the disclosure of information that could identify a taxpayer, directly or indirectly.

The way to solve that was to have frank and honest discussions with the Parliamentary Budget Officer, understanding his needs and his office’s needs, and it was obvious at the time that he needed that data to estimate the tax gap. Through discussions with the office, the officer and his staff, we came to an agreement that would satisfy his need for information to allow him to estimate the tax gap while not putting the agency at risk of directly or indirectly disclosing taxpayer information.

So we came to an agreement that was mutually agreeable in the sense that it allowed the PBO to fulfill his mandate and get information that was necessary for him. Through discussions, he indicated the type of information he was looking for. We were able to steer him in the right direction by saying if you are looking to estimate the tax gap, for example, for very low-income individuals, you’re probably not as interested in getting that data, so you may want to steer your area of investigation more towards the top 1 per cent or top 10 per cent of income earners. Through these types of discussions, we were able to come to an agreement.

How I would deal with such a situation if I were the PBO, I think good communication is key. Making stakeholders understand what you need and what you need it for is a necessary first step. Departments and institutions often take a defensive approach in not wanting to disclose information. Once you understand the motivation, the legislative mandate that you are trying to fulfill, it usually helps a lot.

I think coming from the public service myself, I have a good understanding of the culture, also a good understanding of what motivates people to want to serve. No public servant wants to be against the law, and no public servant wants to be in a position where they will be in contravention of the law. So clearly laying out the mandate of the PBO, the access to information that the legislation gives to the PBO, as well as, ultimately, the recourse that the PBO has should a department refuse to disclose information, informing the Speakers of the House of Commons and the Senate I think is a dissuasive measure that would be sufficient in most cases.

Senator Downe: Thank you, chair. I’d like to welcome the witness here.

I read your very impressive CV. I’m disappointed you don’t have political experience because I think that would have rounded out your resumé, particularly since you’re dealing with politicians a lot in that office. The difference between the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Auditor General is that individual parliamentarians can go to the Parliamentary Budget Officer requesting certain actions under the act, and that’s why I wrote the PBO over five and a half or six years ago requesting information from the Canada Revenue Agency. I’d like to follow up on the good questions asked by Senator Smith.

My understanding of the situation is a little different than I heard you explain it, and I appreciate you were inside the revenue agency at the time. The revenue agency only gave information to the PBO after he threatened to take them to Federal Court and after I introduced a bill in the Senate demanding that they provide the same information. At that point, the barriers that were up for five years suddenly came down.

The creation of the tax gap is not anything new. Countries all over the world were doing it. The original PBO who asked for the information, Kevin Page, knew exactly what to ask for because they weren’t reinventing the wheel; they knew exactly what statistical information they had. The PBO of the day had a legal opinion. The Canada Revenue Agency had a contrary legal opinion, but it was only resolved at the last moment because of the threat of court and action in Parliament.

So I’m concerned by your statement that it would be mostly acceptable to refer the conflicts to the Speakers of the two houses. To me, that is a dead-end road that would lead us nowhere. Are you prepared, as the current PBO has done, to take agencies to court, if necessary, to get the information requested by parliamentarians and others?

Mr. Giroux: Thank you for your question, senator. I’d like to go back a bit on what happened with the current PBO and his request for information about the tax gap.

The initial request would have sought information by income ranges, and that’s not unusual; when people want tax information, they often request by income range. It is often by quintiles, deciles or percentiles.

In the case of the PBO, the initial request was 3,000 income ranges. So if you take all of the individuals who file zero dollar income tax returns, in a small jurisdiction — and you can think about any of the Atlantic provinces — 3,000 income ranges would have made some individual taxpayers relatively easily identifiable, directly or more likely indirectly, by using other types of information that’s available in the public domain. It’s something that is well known in statistical circles.

So the original request for taxpayer information was aggregated but with 3,000 income ranges was very granular. It would have required significant work by the agency, which is fine, but more importantly, it would have put at significant risk taxpayer records or some specific taxpayers could have been made identifiable.

When we discussed this issue with the current PBO, it was something that he wasn’t pursuing per se. So he revised his request, and that’s on record. He submitted a different request wherein instead of seeking the information that he was initially asking for of 3,000 income ranges, he narrowed that down to 10 income ranges or deciles, and that’s where the solution was found. By asking for something that was really aggregate, we were able to easily provide that type of information.

To the last part of your question, honourable senators, would I be prepared to take departments to court? The mandate is very clear. The PBO has to provide information to departments. When I talked about raising the issue with the Speakers of the House of Commons and the Senate, that would be a last recourse option. But if it’s necessary to bring somebody to court to deliver on my mandate, the legislation clearly says that I would have to do this, and I would do whatever it takes. If it means bringing a department to court, it’s unfortunate, but so be it. If somebody is prepared to go to that extreme case, I too would be prepared to go to that extreme case.

Senator Downe: Thank you. I appreciate your explanation. There are always two sides and sometimes three sides to every story.

Kevin Page originally and the current PBO both submitted the request over five and a half years ago. The rationale for going from 3,000 to 10 could have been done five years ago, and we have the correspondence on the constant foot-dragging from the CRA regarding that. I am pleased to hear you would consider court a legitimate option to obtain the information requested.

(1620)

I want to emphasize to you the importance of your position for parliamentarians. You come from a culture — and this is why I’m concerned about your lack of political experience or involvement — where transparency is not the default position, where we have, for generations and various governments, restricted information. We have an access-to-information system now where it’s difficult for parliamentarians and average Canadians to get accurate information. We get pages of blanked-out documents. We have written questions in the Senate from departments where we sometimes get information; most of the time, unfortunately, we get words that don’t constitute an answer. You’re the one vehicle, the one avenue under the legislation where any individual parliamentarian, senators or MPs, can request specific information that falls under your act. In this case, as the person who requested the information gap from the CRA, the department refused to give the information. They went against the mandate of the PBO, and the PBO did the correct thing, namely, took them to court.

I’m encouraged by your words that you put on the public record here today that you will take the same action. It’s a very important tool for all parliamentarians to do their job. Thank you very much.

Senator Wetston: I’m over here, Mr. Giroux, hiding in the corner. Thank you for coming here today.

I want to follow up to some extent on the question that Senator Downe asked you but in a different context. It’s really about the efforts of past Parliamentary Budget Officers such as Kevin Page, as well as outgoing PBO Jean-Denis Fréchette.

Correctional Service Canada is the focus of my remarks, as they have declined to provide requested information regarding the specific costs associated with keeping women in maximum security and segregation, which is a harsh, punitive and severe penalty at the best of times. Some other information or financial data was also requested but not provided. You may not be aware of the situation, obviously, but in light of the departmental resistance which seems to occur around this — and I’m told the cost is very high — can you suggest any measures that you might consider to enhance the office’s power to compel information and to ensure cooperation of departments with the PBO?

Senator Downe obviously pursued the issue of the courts, which is always a potential route for the PBO if necessary, but the power to compel information is often used extensively in administrative matters. Do you have any thoughts about whether that might be a useful tool for you to have as the PBO?

Mr. Giroux: I’d have to become familiar with that specific case, but there are ways to negotiate in advance to the extent possible in anticipation of questions being asked to the PBO. For example, memoranda of understanding are a useful tool to negotiate in advance with as many departments as possible so that they’re not totally taken by surprise when a question is asked of the PBO and he or she has to get the data to perform his or her duties. I think that is a very good first step, and my understanding is that the current PBO has already started doing that. That’s something I would certainly pursue, namely, continuing to have discussions with departments.

Having been on that side of the equation, I certainly understand that not every institution is forthcoming with data because they often see that as a burden that can be an impediment to conducting their regular business. However, having a good understanding of the reason for the request being made is a good way to dispel concerns.

Alternative data sets can also be obtained. The departments that are the primary respondents, of course, are the best source of information, but often alternative sources of information can be used.

To answer specifically what I would do in that case, it’s a bit too early for me to pronounce on that.

Senator Wetston: I realize that you have not engaged directly in this matter, but I will follow up and ask you whether or not you believe, for example, that there is a trade-off between costs — let’s assume they’re very high, relative to what I might consider to be an unfortunate situation, particularly being in segregation or in maximum security — and that kind of punishment, which I indicated is quite severe. What would be in your mind, in thinking about those kinds of trade-offs, particularly when you want to compel that information? Do you see that as a valid trade-off in your own mind?

Mr. Giroux: Madam Chair, I’m not sure I understand the question. Is there a trade-off with respect to the cost to acquire the data or the cost of the policy itself?

Senator Wetston: My view would be both, but I will let you select.

Mr. Giroux: I don’t think the policy trade-off is something for the PBO to respond to. I think the role of the PBO, senators, is to provide information to parliamentarians, and it’s up to them to decide whether it’s a valid trade-off, that is, whether the cost of solitary confinement is worth the public good or the public benefit. That’s up to both you and MPs to decide.

Regarding the cost of getting the data, it’s supposed to be provided free of charge to the PBO, so the cost for the office itself is not a factor. The cost to the institutions to provide the data is something that one has to keep in mind, not to put an undue burden on institutions to provide information to the PBO. But I tend to define “undue burden” as a bar that is very high. If institutions find it too difficult or cumbersome to provide information for the use of parliamentarians, they’d better have a very solid explanation as to why they are refusing that type of information or why it’s too costly to provide to the PBO so that he can provide the services that parliamentarians deserve and expect.

Senator Marshall: Mr. Giroux, thank you very much for being here today. Senators and Senate committees rely on the work of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance in particular, of which I am a member, works closely with the Parliamentary Budget Officer, relying not only on his reports but also on financial and other information provided by his office.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer also testifies regularly at Finance Committee meetings and has maintained an ongoing relationship with the Senate Finance Committee.

Part of Mr. Fréchette’s legacy is the relationship that he established with the Senate Finance Committee. Can you assure us that if you are appointed Parliamentary Budget Officer, you will strive to maintain this very important relationship? Will it be your intention to work with the parliamentary committees with the same intensity? Would you expect your office to strengthen its relationship with the Finance Committee so that we can continue to undertake our own independent analysis, or would you see your office pulling back and retreating from that approach?

Mr. Giroux: Thank you for your question, senator. That’s a question I was almost hoping somebody would ask me. I see my style as being similar to what you’re currently experiencing with Mr. Fréchette. Some of you may find that hard to believe, but the CRA has a culture of service. That is certainly the culture that I have taken in my relationships with provinces and territories.

Since I arrived at the agency, the relationships with provinces and territories have improved significantly. I made a point of serving them the best that I could so that the agency could serve them to the best of our capacity. I see provinces and territories not as the number one but probably the number two clients, number one being the federal government, of course. I see provinces and territories as very important clients.

A few minutes before coming here, my counterpart from the province of Quebec sent me a message congratulating me on my nomination and also saying, “Excellent does not describe the improvement or the state of relations between the CRA and Revenu Québec since you joined the agency.” That’s an example of the relationship that I have built.

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The same thing goes with the Province of Ontario. I have built excellent relationships with my provincial counterparts in Ontario, and I would certainly strive to maintain the same level of excellent relationship with the Senate National Finance Committee.

I see senators and MPs as my clients. Sure, if I’m appointed, I will have over 400 clients, but 400 very important clients, including the Finance Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons. I will see them not as my most important clients — that’s not accurate — but the persons with whom I’ll have the most dealings because of the very nature of the work that they perform.

So I would strive to maintain very good relationships and try to make them as good as possible.

Senator Marshall: Thank you very much. That’s very reassuring.

The Chair: You have seven more minutes.

Senator Marshall: I want to talk about the independence of the position. The role of serving Parliament is quite different than working in the bureaucracy. You outlined your credentials, which were quite impressive, but, of course, this would require quite a large transition.

You are going to move to an independent position, and you’re used to working within government, supporting government and supporting government policies. How would you transition from the type of position that you have been in to one where are now going to be an independent officer of Parliament?

Mr. Giroux: Thank you for your question, senator. That’s a transition that I’m very conscious of. I realize that some aspects of the job will be very different than what I’m currently experiencing.

On the issue of independence, however, the public service provides fearless advice, and that’s what I have done throughout my career. There were several instances where I had to convey messages that were not the ones that political masters wanted to hear.

I’ve advised several ministers of finance and, indirectly, prime ministers. In my capacity in serving Finance officials, I was attending cabinet meetings and cabinet committee meetings, and I was, from time to time, called on to explain some costing methodologies and financial aspects. It has happened more than once that I had to tell ministers that this is the way that the costing for this particular measure works. In some instances that contradicted a minister in front of his colleagues, so I’m used to a certain level of independence.

The main difference between the role of the PBO and the role of public servant that I have assumed up until now is that the independence of public servants takes place behind closed doors. It’s not open to the public in order to maintain the confidentiality of deliberations between officials and their minister. I can assure you that I have had more than my fair share of discussions with ministers where I had to convey messages that were not to their liking.

I think it will be a different perspective, of course, but remaining independent will be something that I am well equipped to do.

Senator Marshall: The conflict that we experience within government, with ministers or whomever, is almost internal conflict whereby, as Parliamentary Budget Officer, the time will come eventually when you’re going to be in conflict not only with the government but, because of the expanded mandate of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, you could be in conflict with all the political parties. The dispute won’t be internal to government. The dispute is going to be very public.

I would like your comments on how you’re going to handle that, because there has been discussion among some of my colleagues as to whether you will be able to adjust to life outside the bureaucracy.

Mr. Giroux: Thank you for your question. That’s a question that I asked myself a lot before applying. I’m very conscious of the expanded mandate of the PBO. In my decision whether to apply or not, I was very conscious that it would be different. The spotlight will be different, the differences of opinion will very often be public, and I think the best way to address that is to base the analysis on facts, remain non-partisan and provide independent analysis. That may differ from what you receive from the government or from departments, but as long as it’s based on facts and is provided or performed by non-partisan officials like me and the staff from the PBO, I think that’s one of the best ways to guard against accusations of biased partisanship.

If it’s based on facts and performed by people that have no political connections, despite what some people in this room believe, I think it’s an advantage not to have political experience for that very reason.

I think that’s a very good way to prepare for that.

Senator Marshall: Thank you very much.

Senator Eggleton: You said that you compared yourself as being quite similar to the current occupant of the position, Mr. Fréchette. How would you compare your style to Kevin Page? Mr. Page was in the position longer than anybody and, I think, defined the position in many respects, so we could better judge your answer on that basis.

Mr. Giroux: Thank you for that interesting question that I was hoping nobody would ask me.

It’s a bit difficult to presuppose how I will compare to Kevin Page or Mr. Fréchette. They are and were in very different positions than I will be if you approve my appointment.

Mr. Page had to establish the office. He had to establish the credibility of the office at a time when departments were not aware and probably not welcoming the office and were certainly not ready and willing to provide information.

The legislative mandate was different. I would say it was weaker or more limited, to be more precise, so it’s a very different environment in which Mr. Page operated.

With regard to Mr. Fréchette, he was also in a different position. I think he inherited an office that was quite strong, that had established its credentials, but that was still not an agent of Parliament. So it’s difficult to say whether I’d be different, similar or identical to Mr. Page. The one obvious parallel is that we’re both bald, but aside from that it’s difficult for me at this time to say whether I’d be exactly like Mr. Page or very different from him.

What can I assure you is that I will strive to deliver on the mandate that is set out in legislation and provide you and your colleagues in the other chamber the information that you need to make enlightened decisions and deliberations.

Senator Eggleton: Fair enough.

You’re an economist, and it seems like a logical kind of person to have in this position. At the same time, in dealing with all of the budget figures, social issues become part of it and I’m quite interested in how you might approach them.

I do recall Mr. Page once saying to me that people that are fighting poverty are doing God’s work. That doesn’t mean he was going to change the facts and figures with respect to the social issues, but I’d be interested to know how you feel about dealing with social issues.

I realize that you have to be requested to do these studies. In fact, under Mr. Fréchette’s guidance, there was a recent study done on guaranteed annual income, which produced a very good paper. I am wondering how you feel about dealing with social issues.

Mr. Giroux: I feel very comfortable dealing with social issues. I have worked at Finance for six years dealing with social policy issues, and a good part of my time at PCO was spent dealing with social issues.

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At PCO, the Privy Council Office, it was Heritage Canada, which is very social by its nature, as well as Citizenship and Immigration. When I was at Finance for six years, it was the broad social policy universe: justice, public safety, poverty, students, and really everything that was for seniors.

I’ve learned that it is sometimes difficult to put dollar figures on government proposals or on social policy problems, but it’s always possible to find ways to measure what needs to be addressed. There are a lot of data sources in this country about social policy issues, and I don’t feel uncomfortable at all dealing with these issues. It’s very interesting, and I think it’s at the root of many problems that we are experiencing in the country. So it’s very interesting, and I feel totally comfortable dealing with social issues.

[Translation]

Senator Bellemare: Welcome to the Senate.

I am an economist by training, so my questions will have to do with maintaining independence in the various tasks you are called upon to undertake in your future position.

As economists, we know that we often have to make assumptions when we are assessing a budget or any type of policy, and the results that have to be presented are often closely tied to those assumptions. How will you advise your resources on making assumptions while still maintaining your independence? Will you set a standard procedure or will you proceed on an ad hoc basis? For example, how would you proceed in estimating a budget’s deficit?

Mr. Giroux: Thank you for this question, which I find very interesting and quite compelling as an economist. Indeed, assumptions have a significant impact on deficit estimates for future years and the current fiscal year. One of the many ways to make good assumptions is to consult a number of experts. You need to get a wide range of opinions, instead of having just one vision and consulting only people who have similar opinions. It is also important to consult a wide range of experts as well as private- and public-sector forecasters in order to make solid projections.

Judgment also plays a big part, and exercising this judgment is where economics becomes an art form. I always make sure to revisit our assumptions. For example, if we’re looking at a government’s projected budget deficit or surplus, I would start by looking at whether the government is working with accurate information from the current and previous years.

! I saw all kinds of things during my career with the Department of Finance and the Privy Council Office. We need to start on a good footing and then build and test different assumptions to evaluate the sensitivity of our forecasts. That enables us to produce a wide range of projections for deficit or surplus scenarios. We can then compare them with the government’s estimates to determine which assumptions are part of the government’s projections. This is where our judgment comes in. If any of our assumptions are superfluous or totally wrong, that tells us that we need to provide additional information to parliamentarians.

My extensive experience in the public service helped me guide the team towards particular sectors. I have a fairly good idea of how certain assumptions can be played with to generate numbers that look a certain way. I think my public service experience would help me guide the team’s work in order to identify which sectors need to be monitored.

Senator Bellemare: Thank you very much.

Senator Dagenais: Mr. Giroux, thank you for accepting our invitation.

Your predecessor left before the end of his term, which I believe is seven years. Once you are appointed to this position, parliamentarians of all stripes and Canadians in general must be able to have complete confidence in your criticisms and especially in any figures you release. This confidence is all the more vital when we have a government that lives on credit and piles up deficits.

My question has to do with how your office operates. When the Parliamentary Budget Officer is replaced, does the new officer bring his or her own staff, or is he or she supported by the staff who worked for the predecessor, in this case, Mr. Fréchette, in the analysis of government budgets?

Mr. Giroux: Thank you, senator, for this very pertinent question. I would first like to correct two things you mentioned. You said the post is vacant. Mr. Fréchette is still in the position, at least to my knowledge, and his is a five-year term, since he was appointed under the old rules. If I understand correctly, his term will end on September 2 of this year. Accordingly, he remains in the position, although he plans on taking a few weeks of well-earned vacation sometime this summer.

I think the usual practice is for the existing team to remain in place, and I hope that is the case. Those employees do not rely on the goodwill of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, and based on the interactions I have had with the people in place and what I know of them, I really hope they will stay in their roles.

That said, it’s possible that some of them may have reached the point in their careers where they decide to do something else as part of their natural career progression. However, based on what I know of the employees at the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, I certainly hope they all want to stay. I would like to work with the team currently in place.

Senator Dagenais: Thank you, Mr. Giroux.

[English]

Senator Marwah: Welcome, Mr. Giroux.

I think it was last year that someone from the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa suggested that an external evaluation is an effective mechanism to ensure that the PBO itself is effective, transparent, non-partisan. In fact, I would argue that an external review of the PBO would enhance stakeholder perceptions of quality and integrity, and assess the reasonableness of your resources, financial and human.

Could you share your perspective on whether you think this is appropriate or on the potential benefits of an external evaluation of the work conducted by the PBO?

Mr. Giroux: Thank you, senator. Not being in the position makes it a bit difficult for me to determine whether or not that would be appropriate.

I can tell you, however, that having a PBO that changes from time to time provides some types of safeguards. A new person brings a new perspective, a fresh pair of eyes, which is always good. That being said, I come from a culture, the public service, where there are safeguards, some evaluations regularly. The Canada Revenue Agency is a good example. There are regular evaluations and internal audits, as well as, as you are aware, Auditor General audits.

I’ve never seen external evaluations as a bad thing. If it’s something that I deem warranted, if and when I get appointed and see the state of the office, that’s something I could consider. But I’m not sure at this point if it’s something that is necessary. However, it’s not something that I would necessarily be opposed to on principle.

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I know that the act requires a review of that part of the legislation every five years, and that would certainly be a very opportune time to perform an evaluation. I think that will be necessary when there’s a review of the act.

I don’t know if that answers your question.

Senator Marwah: Madam Chair, in the interests of allowing someone else to ask a question, I will not follow up.

The Chair: You have time, senator.

Senator Marwah: That is all right.

Senator Andreychuk: Thank you, Mr. Giroux, for coming before us today.

You talked about the CRA. No doubt, if you get confirmed, we will have many more conversations, particularly at the National Finance Committee.

We were told by the Auditor General that there really is a culture in the CRA of being more defensive — I’m paraphrasing what he said — rather than being consumer-friendly. That is causing a lot of difficulties for a lot of people, so some of the data being produced by the CRA doesn’t match up with what the PBO or the Auditor General have found from time to time. I want you to reflect on that.

My concern is that you will now be moving to where we are not a room of economists, et cetera. In both houses, there are people from all walks of life, but we are getting questions from our constituents. They want to know what program is in place, and how much it costs is always there. They’re making the evaluations, and we need to.

In the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer report entitled Budget 2018: Issues for Parliamentarians, it notes that Finance Canada provided data to the PBO with respect to direct program expenses “. . . on the condition that the specific departments and agencies, as well as the detailed dollar amounts, remain confidential.”

The difficulty is that they put a label of confidentiality. We’re not sure whether it’s necessary to be confidential. It’s too easy to go that route. I remember in a previous life where you could always put everything top secret. Then you could be assured that it wasn’t of a different category. How are you going to interpret this confidentiality that seems to be more in some departments than in others, but there isn’t a consumer-friendly, a customer-friendly atmosphere yet? It’s more like if I’m in doubt, it’s going to be confidential.

The other thing, which we fight all the time, is that if it’s not timely, it’s not helpful. The delays that Senator Downe talked about make it almost impossible to do our jobs here.

Those are the two things that Mr. Fréchette and his office have continually said to us: Tell us what you need and then demand it from the department. You have a right to know.

So it is confidentiality and time that I’d like you to address.

Mr. Giroux: Thank you for the question, senator. They are concerns that I very well understand. Sometimes I’m at the receiving end of requests that I make to my staff, and timeliness is essential, so I fully understand that.

It’s a question of resources as well. One has to be cognizant of the limited resources, but there are very often ways to improve our processes and ensure that we can be a bit faster. That’s something that I strive to do. Without being in the position, there’s not a lot that I can say, aside from the fact that I always strive to be timely. I think my deputy minister appreciates the fact that I respect deadlines. I’ve always strived to do that, and I will try to do that to the extent possible.

Regarding the confidentiality of some data that’s provided, it’s a trade-off that has to be carefully looked at. If the department has the choice between giving information on the condition that it remain confidential or not providing it, I think that’s a false trade-off. If they’re in a position to provide it, there have to be very good reasons, such as legislative requirements, for it to remain confidential.

So in my position — and that’s my current position in my job — it’s open by default. However, in the environment in which I am, open by default doesn’t work very well if you’re dealing with taxpayer information. But when we’re dealing with other types of information, open by default works well. That’s something I would strongly encourage departments to consider when providing data. But to me, there are some cases where confidentiality of information is important — when it comes to personal information, national security reasons — but open by default should be more widely adopted.

We see departments and institutions in this town that stamp “secret” on briefing notes when it’s a summary of press clippings. I don’t think that’s appropriate, but that’s a culture that needs to change in some institutions.

I will do my very best to change it from the position I could be in if you confirm my appointment.

Senator Andreychuk: In the National Finance Committee, we’ve been looking at budgets, but we’ve also been looking at how they affect women — gender-based analysis. We’re told governments are doing them, but they won’t tell us how.

How are you going to approach the issue of gender-based analysis and making analyses of programs, particularly on budgets, helping young women entrepreneurs, et cetera? Have you given that any thought?

Mr. Giroux: If it’s part of the mandate of the PBO, if the questions asked are within the mandate, I would certainly ask for the analysis, or at least the information that supported the analysis if a department is not willing to provide the analysis itself.

If it’s something that was in a budget, and if it’s a measure that’s been publicly disclosed and announced, I don’t see any obvious reason not to disclose the gender-based analysis plus, or at the very least the information that supports that analysis.

To me, if a measure has been announced publicly, the analysis that sustains it should be made available, at the very least to the PBO for him or her to support parliamentarians in performing their challenge function and their work, generally speaking.

The Chair: Senator Lankin, you have four minutes. That’s all that is left; I’m sorry.

[Translation]

Senator Lankin: Welcome to the Senate, Mr. Giroux. Congratulations on your appointment.

[English]

A lot of questions have been about the tone and manner of the office. You just talked about the basic job being one to ensure that there is good independent analysis to support parliamentarians in their challenge function and in doing their work generally. That takes in the whole scope of all of the kinds of roles that various groups see.

I’d like to come at that same question again. It’s a different take than Senator Eggleton’s question about Kevin Page. Over the last number of years, a decade or so, I’ve seen a real evolution in the role of parliamentary officers and legislative officers, and taking on a different type of profile.

Have you, in your former work, had exposure to that, or in reflecting on taking this job, have you had exposure to that? Do you have any opinions about that kind of evolution, what has happened? Have you seen it? Can you name it? And what do you think about it?

Mr. Giroux: Thank you for the question. It’s a broad one. What I’ve noticed is an expansion in the mandate and scope of some agents of Parliament. I think it’s because Canadian citizens have come to rely more and more on their advice or on their opinions. They probably see them as a counterweight or sober second thought or validation of government actions and affirmations.

I see the creation of the PBO and the expansion of his mandate as a continuation of that trend, where parliamentarians and the general public have a thirst for information that is validated by third parties, by independent agents of Parliament and by the media, but probably less so.

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I see that as a long-term trend. Citizens of this country, the media and parliamentarians need to have assurances that what their government is telling them is true, validated and based on sound facts. I have seen the PBO playing an increasingly important role in that respect over the last 10 to 12 years. I certainly see that continuing. That’s what makes it very attractive for me to apply for that position.

The Chair: Honourable senators, the committee has been sitting for 60 minutes. In conformity with the order of the Senate of earlier this day, I am obliged to interrupt proceedings so that the committee can report to the Senate.

I know that you will join me in thanking Mr. Giroux.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Chair: Honourable senators, is it agreed that I report to the Senate that the witness has been heard?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.


The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the sitting of the Senate is resumed.

Report of the Committee of the Whole

Hon. Nicole Eaton: Honourable senators, the Committee of the Whole, authorized by the Senate to hear from Mr. Yves Giroux respecting his appointment as Parliamentary Budget Officer, reports that it has heard from the said witness.

Parliamentary Budget Officer

Motion to Approve Appointment Adopted

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of June 19, 2018, moved:

That, in accordance with subsection 79.1(1) of the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. P-1, the Senate approve the appointment of Yves Giroux as Parliamentary Budget Officer.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[Translation]

Customs 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-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations 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-62, An Act to amend the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act and other Acts.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

Fisheries 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-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

Impact Assessment Bill

Canadian Energy Regulator Bill

Navigation Protection 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-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

Latin American Heritage Month Bill

Message from Commons

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons returning Bill S-218, An Act respecting Latin American Heritage Month, and acquainting the Senate that they had passed this bill without amendment.

Canada Elections Act

Bill to Amend—Message from Commons

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons returning Bill C-50, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (political financing), and acquainting the Senate that they have agreed to the amendments made by the Senate to this bill without further amendment.

[English]

Criminal Code

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

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that a message has been received from the House of Commons returning Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, which reads as follows:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

ORDERED,—That a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours that, in relation to Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, the House:

agrees with amendments 1, 2(d), 2(e), 2(f), 3 and 4 made by the Senate;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 2(a) because it indirectly amends the immigration legal framework through a criminal law statute and would treat impaired driving offences differently from other serious criminal offences, including other transportation offences;

respectfully disagrees with amendments 2(b), (c) and (g) because mandatory alcohol screening is a proven traffic safety measure that will deter impaired driving and save lives.

 ATTEST

Charles Robert

The Clerk of the House of Commons

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

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 5-7(h), I move that the message be considered now.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

An Hon. Senator: On division.

(Motion agreed to, on division.)

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

That the Senate do not insist on its amendments 2(a), 2(b), 2(c) and 2(g) to Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, to which the House of Commons has disagreed; and

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

He said: Honourable senators, I rise to speak briefly to the message from the House of Commons on Bill C-46, a bill that amends the Criminal Code and to strengthen the law in regard to drug- and alcohol-impaired driving.

Let me begin by thanking the sponsor of the bill, Senator Boniface, for shepherding this important bill through the Senate. As a former police officer, President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, a lawyer and educator, we could not have asked for a more able and experienced sponsor for such a bill. I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank her on behalf of all Canadians and all senators for her leadership and dedication in making our roads as safe as they possibly can be.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Harder: Let me also thank members of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs for their detailed consideration of this bill. If the Senate accepts this message, Parliament will have passed legislation necessary to make Canada’s roads safer and to address the leading cause of criminal death in Canada.

Bill C-46 has been debated in this chamber in a thorough and lively fashion. The Senate proposed eight amendments for the other place to consider, six of which have been accepted. One of these amendments, which the government has decided to support, would ensure that the three-year review of the impacts of Bill C-46 will include an assessment of whether the bill has resulted in differential treatment of particular groups based on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

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Another amendment the government has supported would specify in the preamble to Bill C-46 the importance of the cautionary approach to impaired driving. This addition would, in turn, helpfully inform courts of the intent of this legislation.

Two amendments have been declined by the other place. The first would remove mandatory alcohol screening, which the government sees as the heart of the bill as it relates to drunk driving. As we know, the imperative of this bill is to protect Canadians from the devastation of deaths and injuries caused by alcohol- and drug-impaired driving with a preventive and deterrent approach.

Let me remind honourable senators that Canada’s record on addressing alcohol-impaired driving remains among the worst in the world. Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death in our country. While we restrict firearms in this country, vehicles cause significantly more deaths. A vehicle with an impaired driver behind the wheel becomes a weapon and its driver a potential killer.

In order to address this problem and save lives, the government has taken a firm policy stance in favour of mandatory alcohol screening, a recognized traffic safety measure that has been adopted in many countries. It is a measure that has proven to drastically reduce road traffic deaths, deter impaired driving and save lives worldwide. With that in mind, it is important that this legislation come into force as soon as possible.

The second amendment that the government has declined would exempt certain offenders from the application of the serious criminality provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. On this point I will be brief, as the issue has been debated at length in this chamber in the context of Bill C-45.

While the government recognizes the potential significant impact the finding of serious criminality could have on foreign nationals and permanent residents, it is the government’s view that this is a question about the scope of the serious criminality provisions under the immigration framework. In the government’s view, this complex policy issue is not well addressed through a criminal law bill on impaired driving.

Furthermore, as we heard from Senators Eggleton and Omidvar yesterday, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship sent a letter to concerned senators directly and was tangibly responsive to senators concerning this most important issue. In his letter, which I read into the record during our debates on Bill C-45, Minister Hussen committed to carefully considering and addressing the immigration consequences of Bill C-46. On this score, as Senator Omidvar made clear yesterday, senators will hold the minister to account.

Today I ask honourable senators that we accept the message from the other place. It is based on evidence and represents a significant reform to this area of criminal law, reforms that are long overdue. Because despite 50 years of public education and media attention, Canadians continue to die because of impaired driving.

I would like to thank all honourable senators for their thoughtful deliberations and contributions. As ever, I anticipate you will stay involved as the bill hopefully becomes law, and thank you in advance for this vital engagement.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

An Hon. Senator: On division.

(Motion agreed to, on division.)

[Translation]

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, it being 5:15 p.m., I must interrupt the proceedings. Pursuant to rule 9-6, the bells will ring for 15 minutes to call in the senators for the taking of a deferred vote at 5:30 p.m. on the subamendment to Bill S-203.

[English]

Call in the senators.

(1730)

Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Bill

Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Motion in Amendment—Motion in Subamendment Negatived

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Sinclair, seconded by the Honourable Senator Gold, for the third reading of Bill S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins), as amended.

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Tannas, seconded by the Honourable Senator Batters:

That Bill S-203, as amended, be not now read a third time, but that it be further amended,

(a)by adding the following after clause 6 (added by decision of the Senate on April 26, 2018):

“Exemption

7(1) Section 445.2 of the Criminal Code, section 28.1 of the Fisheries Act and section 7.1 of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act do not apply to a person whose name appears in the schedule to this Act.

(2) If the Governor in Council is of the opinion that it is in the public interest, the Governor in Council may, by order, add a name to or delete a name from the schedule.

(3) In determining whether it is in the public interest to add a name to or delete a name from the schedule, the Governor in Council must take into account whether a person

(a) conducts scientific research in respect of cetaceans; or

(b) provides assistance or care to or rehabilitates cetaceans.”; and

(b)by adding the following schedule to the end of the Bill:

SCHEDULE

(Section 7)

Designated Persons

The Ocean Wise Conservation Association (Vancouver Aquarium)”.

And on the subamendment of the Honourable Senator Plett, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wells:

That the motion in amendment moved by the Honourable Senator Tannas be amended, in paragraph (b), by adding “Marineland of Canada Inc.” after “The Ocean Wise Conservation Association (Vancouver Aquarium)”.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the question is as follows: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Plett, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wells:

That the motion in amendment moved by the Honourable Senator Tannas be amended, in paragraph (b), by adding “Marineland of Canada Inc.” after “The Ocean Wise Conservation Association (Vancouver Aquarium)”.

Subamendment negatived on the following division:

YEAS
The Honourable Senators

Andreychuk Mockler
Ataullahjan Moncion
Batters Ngo
Beyak Oh
Black (Ontario) Patterson
Boisvenu Plett
Dagenais Poirier
Doyle Richards
Eaton Seidman
Frum Smith
Greene Tannas
Housakos Tkachuk
Maltais Verner
Manning Wallin
Marshall Wells
Martin White—32

NAYS
The Honourable Senators

Bellemare Griffin
Bernard Harder
Black (Alberta) Hartling
Boniface Jaffer
Bovey Joyal
Christmas Lankin
Cools Lovelace Nicholas
Cordy Marwah
Cormier Massicotte
Coyle McCallum
Dalphond McPhedran
Dasko Mégie
Dawson Mercer
Day Mitchell
Deacon (Nova Scotia) Munson
Deacon (Ontario) Omidvar
Dean Pate
Downe Petitclerc
Duffy Pratte
Dupuis Ravalia
Dyck Ringuette
Eggleton Saint-Germain
Forest Stewart Olsen
Gagné Wetston
Galvez Woo—51
Gold

ABSTENTIONS
The Honourable Senators

Campbell MacDonald
Carignan McIntyre—4

Business of the Senate

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, there have been discussions with Senators Martin, Mercer and Omidvar to reach an agreement to ask leave of the Senate to deal with the following committee-related items and to order that they be adopted: one, from Other Business, Reports of Committees, Other, Item No. 91, which is the thirteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights providing supplementary funding; two, from the Notice Paper, Motion No. 359 standing in the name of the Honourable Senator Greene; three, from the Notice Paper, Motion No. 360, standing in the name of the Honourable Senator Mercer; four, from the Notice Paper, Motion No. 361 standing in the name of the Honourable Senator Tkachuk; and from the Notice Paper, Motion No. 366 standing in the name of the Honourable Senator Mockler.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker: So ordered.

Human Rights

Budget—Study on Issues Relating to the Human Rights of Prisoners in the Correctional System—Thirteenth Report of Committee Adopted

On Other Business, Reports of Committees, Other, Order No. 91, by the Honourable Mobina S.B. Jaffer:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Jaffer, for the Honourable Senator Bernard, seconded by the Honourable Senator Eggleton, P.C., for the adoption of the thirteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (Supplementary budget—study on the issues relating to the human rights of prisoners in the correctional system), presented in the Senate on June 7, 2018.

(Report adopted.)

Senate Modernization

Special Committee Authorized to Extend Date of Final Report

On Motions, Order No. 359, by the Honourable Stephen Greene:

That, notwithstanding the order of the Senate adopted on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, the date for the final report of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization in relation to its study of methods to make the Senate more effective within the current constitutional framework be extended from June 29, 2018 to December 31, 2018.

(Motion adopted.)

Charitable Sector

Special Committee Authorized to Meet During Sittings and Adjournment of the Senate

On Motions, Order No. 360, by the Honourable Terry M. Mercer:

That, for the purposes of meeting on Monday, September 17 and Tuesday, September 18, 2018, the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector:

(a)be authorized to sit even though the Senate may then be sitting, with the application of rule 12-18(1) being suspended in relation thereto; and

(b)be authorized, notwithstanding rule 12-18(2), to meet from Monday to Friday, even though the Senate may then be adjourned for more than a week.

(Motion adopted.)

Transport and Communications

Committee Authorized to Study the Modernization of Canadian Communications Legislation

On Motions, Order No. 361, by the Honourable David Tkachuk:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications be authorized to examine and report on how the three federal communications statutes (the Telecommunications Act, the Broadcasting Act, and the Radiocommunication Act) can be modernized to account for the evolution of the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors in the last decades. Some of the main issues the study would examine will include:

(a)how the three statutes may promote the creation, production and distribution of competitive, quality Canadian content in both French and English;

(b)the realities and challenges of Canadian consumers, businesses, broadcasters, artists and artisans;

(c)blurring of the distinction between broadcasting and telecommunications;

(d)fragmentation of services;

(e)corporate consolidation and concentration;

(f)Canadian content;

(g)CBC/Radio-Canada;

(h)foreign ownership constraints;

(i)low participation and Information and Communications Technology Development Index score;

(j)lack of a national broadband strategy;

(k)net neutrality; and

(l)statutory authority and the role of the CRTC; and

That the committee report to the Senate no later than June 28, 2019, and that it retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

(Motion adopted.)

National Finance

Committee Authorized to Deposit Report on Study of Phoenix Pay System as Part of its Study on Federal Estimates Generally with Clerk During Adjournment of the Senate

On Motions, Order No. 366, by the Honourable Percy Mockler:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit with the Clerk of the Senate, between June 21, 2018 and July 31, 2018, if the Senate is not then sitting, an interim report relating to its study of the Phoenix pay system as part of its general order of reference, and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber.

(Motion adopted.)

(1740)

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before moving to the adjournment, I want to take a moment to wish all senators, their families and friends a very happy, healthy and safe summer recess from this wonderful place. I think it is time that we all had a small break. There have been many long hours for the last few weeks, and I wish everyone a very happy and safe summer.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I also wish to take a few moments to pay tribute to one of our senior table officers, Dr. Heather Lank.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I did prepare a few words to say about Heather, but I believe your resounding standing ovation and the warmth that Heather will have felt from that expression of appreciation says everything that needs to be said.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Colleagues, I wish to associate myself, as all senators would, with sincere thanks to Dr. Lank for her years of service to the Senate of Canada.

Those of us who are into books appreciate your next assignment, so we look forward to seeing you in the Library of Parliament.

Let me also take a few moments to thank people. I noticed earlier, when we received the deluge of bills from the other place and I was asked when the bills would be read a second time, I said, “Two days hence.” The fear of God in the faces of new senators thinking that we would be sitting two days hence causes an explanation. That means September. It’s Senate-speak.

Let me take this occasion, on behalf of the government team and all senators, to thank the pages who will be leaving us — those who will be returning, I look forward to seeing you — the administration of the Senate, from the table officers we see every day, to the law clerk, to the translation, to the operations, the cleaning staff, the security, everybody whose work, day in and day out, makes our work possible. Our comfort is the number one objective of their work.

I would ask that the appropriate officers, from the Black Rod to the table officers to the Speaker himself, convey that on behalf of all senators.

I also want to thank all senators. This place works because of each senator’s contribution. I welcome the new senators and look forward, indeed, to having your ranks further bolstered.

We say goodbye to some senators in the course of the summer. Earlier, we paid tribute to one, but we should acknowledge that Senator Unger will not be with us in September. Soon after we return — I’m saying this because you never know — Senator Eggleton will be departing, and we’ll have occasion to celebrate and honour him. I want to acknowledge his contribution throughout this season of work as well.

I want to thank sponsors of bills and even critics. Debate in this place is enhanced with sponsors that bring the skills of convening, of providing information, of listening and of advancing and improving legislation, where necessary, and defending legislation, where appropriate. For critics, of course, it’s the interaction and the quality of work in this chamber.

I’ve spoken, on other occasions, about how to make this place more efficient, but I simply want to acknowledge that we’ve been very efficient in the last number of weeks. I appreciate all the work of those who are part of the hidden wiring that allows that work to come together at the very end of a session.

In closing, I want to thank my leadership colleagues, from my leadership team to the teams of Senator Smith, Senator Woo and Senator Day. The ability to work together and to trust is important for the work of this place, too.

In closing, I wish you more than two days hence, as well as a degree of repose and refreshment. We will come back knowing, as of today, that we will have a good deal of work before us, but I know that with your cooperation and ongoing support, we can equip this Senate as a vital institution in a bicameral Parliament. Thank you so much.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): I want to thank Heather personally because, when I came here eight years ago, I tried to identify people who could help mentor and provide the type of information required to be successful as a senator.

Heather was there from the start — questions, response, questions, response, a smile on her face, always willing to help. Heather, you have been a tremendous asset to the Senate, and I know you’re going to continue on to even higher levels of success. You’re a super person, and we all appreciate the work that you’ve done to help not only me but everyone in this Senate.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Smith: Boy, we’ve had a lot of new faces in the Senate in the last 12 months.

Hon. David Tkachuk: The last 12 days.

Senator Smith: The last 12 days also. Somebody said to me that if we didn’t have critics, we wouldn’t have sponsors. Anyway, it’s great to see critics and sponsors. The quality of work that has come out of this place in the last period of time has been outstanding, we have to admit, no matter the colour of our stripes. If we truly believe we’re trying to make Canada a better place, I think we can pat ourselves on the shoulders, but remember that there is more work to be done.

[Translation]

To all our new senators, good luck with your homework and with all your work here in the Senate.

[English]

We are a major change agent, and understanding change is sometimes a challenge no matter what age you are, but we have a very strong group of people on both sides.

I hope you all have a great vacation and that you take time with your families, because without our families, we have nothing. It’s the support of people who care for us that gives us the strength to be here.

[Translation]

I wish you a great summer and an excellent vacation.

[English]

Have fun. Be safe, and we’ll see you in the fall. Thank you.

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo: I can only add a little to the very eloquent words of His Honour, Senator Harder and Senator Smith, echoing, first of all our tribute to Dr. Heather Lank. I spoke earlier today, in giving tribute to Senator Cools, by describing her as my private tutor because she was my seatmate, but I had another tutor, of course, as many of us have. That, of course, is Heather Lank. She has been such a pillar of our institution and so patient with each of us individually on the questions we have on how to understand this place.

Thankfully, you’re not too far away, and we might well come knocking on your door for further advice. Thank you, Heather, so much for everything you have done for us.

In that spirit, I also want to echo thanks to all of the Senate staff. I actually have a list of all of the staff members here. I was about to read them all, but I won’t. You know who you are, as Senator Harder has said, from the folks who maintain this building, the folks who secure the building, the pages, the people in the offices that we don’t see, people who process our paycheques and who deal with our complicated per diems and expense claims, we really owe you a huge debt of gratitude. This place simply would not run at all without your efforts. I want you to know that all of us feel this way, and we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

I also thank, of course, the staff of our offices. I say this not just for my group but for all groups here. We have lots of supporting individuals who keep our offices running, who help to write speeches for us, who manage our calendars and who work with each other. I know there’s a staff culture and community that is parallel, but separate, to ours, and that’s also a very important part of how the Senate works. I want to recognize that they’ve done terrific work these past few months and helped us to have a very successful session.

I am really grateful to have worked with terrific leaders in the other groups, Senator Harder, Senator Day, Senator Smith. It has been a pleasure learning from you still and coming to the kinds of decisions that all of us take, which are in the broadest interests of the Senate as a whole.

(1750)

Let me close by saying that for me — and I know for all of you — it’s a huge privilege to be in this place. When you come to the end of a session and you look back on what has been done, it dawns on you that so few people get the chance to do this work and so few people get the chance to work with colleagues who have such talent, commitment and dedication to the work of the upper house. I want to thank all of you for being part of this institution, and I want to thank my colleagues in the Independent Senators Group.

As we enter a couple of months of rest, I wish you the chance to recharge and to be rejuvenated. I look forward to seeing all of you back here again. Keep safe, keep well, and see you in September.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Thank you, Your Honour. We wish you a good summer as well. You wished us a good summer.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Day: Most of us are going back to our homes, but we will be back here again in mid-September. However, a couple of us will not be returning, as you mentioned — Senator Unger and Senator Cools, who had a good send-off today. That was great.

Heather Lank will not be with us when we return in the fall. But we know where you are, Heather. We wish you well. We congratulate you. We thank you, first of all, for the tremendous work you have done here, and we wish you well down the hall in your new position. Senator Mercer is a member of the Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament. I have no doubt that he will be keeping an eye on you and reporting back.

Remember all the rest of us. The pages and your colleagues here are also wishing you well. Senator Eggleton was thinking — because he will also be retiring in a few months — that maybe he could get a reduced rate at the library. So I’ll pass him on to you.

On your behalf and on my own behalf — and on Senator Patterson’s behalf — I’d like to wish you all a very good summer. The last few days have been a pretty intense time. We keep telling the new senators that it’s not always like this. Usually late June and late December are busy, just before Christmas, when we break. You can look forward to that in the fall.

So go home, get rested up and reacquainted with your families and neighbours. And wear your Senate T-shirt. Tell people about the work we’re doing, because it is good work and it is important that this be part of the parliamentary system. We all have every reason to be proud of it. Bonnes vacances.

(At 5:55 p.m., pursuant to the order adopted by the Senate on February 4, 2016, the Senate adjourned until 9:30 a.m., tomorrow.)

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