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1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 239

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


THE SENATE

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

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

Prayers.


SENATORS’ STATEMENTS

Islamic History Month

Hon. Salma Ataullahjan: Honourable senators, I rise today to commemorate Islamic History Month in the Senate of Canada. Born out of the need to facilitate dialogue and understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, October was officially proclaimed as Islamic History Month by the House of Commons in 2007.

During this month, commemorations have taken and will take place across the country. These celebrations highlight the important contributions of Muslim Canadians not only to Canada but also to the rest of the world. Moreover, this month offers Muslims across Canada opportunities to help inform non-Muslims about Islamic culture, art, history and the principles that we adhere to.

While Islamic History Month was officially proclaimed in 2007, in truth, Muslim Canadians have played a role in the great Canadian settlement story since before, during and after Confederation.

When we think of the first settlers, fur traders, farmers, gold prospectors, explorers and merchants, we remember the names of the French, British and other Western explorers and settlers from our history books. But many of us may not have heard of people like Ali Abouchadi, a Muslim immigrant to Canada in 1905 who jumped at the opportunities that this new land provided for him, becoming a farmer, a fur trader, an explorer of the North and running his own general store and sawmill. Just as resourceful as the Muslim immigrants of today, he quickly learned the Cree language and cemented his relationship amongst the first peoples.

Bedouin Ferran, also known as Peter Baker, settled in the Northwest Territories after his arrival in Canada in 1910. A pioneer and explorer, he too explored the North and established trading networks with First Nation communities. In his later years, he was elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, becoming one of the first Muslim politicians in Canada.

These are but two examples of the Muslim imprint on the development of our great country. Looking back over the past 100 years, there are numerous examples of contributions and legacies that Muslims have left behind for us to look to.

Today, Muslim Canadians are just as present, active and engaged in all aspects of Canadian society. We are making significant contributions in medicine, arts, literature, politics, business, sports and the non-profit sectors. My allotted time is far too short to name the many individuals and the collective accomplishments of Canadian Muslims today.

Honourable senators, I am confident that 100 years from now, Muslim generations will look back on what their predecessors achieved before them, and they will be proud.

Thank you.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Steven Hudson, businessman and philanthropist from Toronto, Ontario. He is accompanied by his associates Mr. Pierre Lortie and Mr. Jim Nikopoulos.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

University of Saskatchewan

Native Law Centre

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, I rise today to highlight the Native Law Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. The centre was founded by Roger Carter in 1975. “A lot has happened since the opening of the college,” says Larry Chartrand, the centre’s academic director, listing the expansion of the field of Aboriginal law, the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. Chartrand describes Aboriginal law as Canadian law as it relates to Indigenous people, whereas Indigenous law is the traditional laws of Indigenous peoples themselves.

This past May, a Cree naming ceremony took place whereby the centre became the Wiyasiwewin Mikiwahp Native Law Centre, which means law-making tipi or lodge. The naming coincides with a release of their new mission, vision and strategic plan, a document shaped by the feedback of elders, the Indigenous Bar Association, law professors and other stakeholders.

Following these events was the implementation of the Gladue Awareness Project, a series of seminars being held throughout Saskatchewan to educate the public on section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code and the Gladue case. The fact that Gladue factors have been cited in only 290 cases in Saskatchewan over the last 20 years is an alarming indication that section 718.2(e) remains disturbingly underutilized by the court system.

Lastly, starting this September, the Native Law Centre is running a new mandatory course for first-year law students, entitled Kwayeskastasowin Law. This course acts to introduce students to Aboriginal law, the history and legacy of colonialism, Indigenous treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous laws and traditions, human rights and anti-racism, and cultural competencies.

Larry Chartrand says this course is in direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action No. 28, which calls upon law schools in Canada to include a mandatory course on Aboriginal people and the law in their respective programs.

These initiatives are just a few examples of what is surely more to come from the centre, which already sees their new direction generating more and more interest.

Congratulations to the Wiyasiwewin Mikiwahp Native Law Centre for being a leader on reconciliation by taking “reconcili-action.”

Thank you. Kinanaskomitin.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Ted Nikolaou, entrepreneur and businessman from Toronto, Ontario. He is accompanied by Mr. Charlie Angelakos, Mr. Mike McCormack, Mr. Adam Keller and Mr. John Oakley.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Newfoundland Facts

Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, today I am pleased to present Chapter 42 of “Telling our Story.” My home province of Newfoundland and Labrador is well known for its warm and welcoming ways. The people are known for their natural creativity, unique language and our knack for storytelling. Perhaps that’s why Maclean’s magazine has referred to Newfoundland and Labrador as one of the 10 friendliest cultures in the world. I have to find out now who the other nine are.

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Situated on that massive rock is the cold North Atlantic, where our population spent many years isolated from much of the world. We took the heritage of our English, Irish, French and Indigenous ancestors and created a culture that I believe is definitely one of a kind. It is not only expressed in our people, but in the rich, colourful environment we have created around us.

Whether it is in our architecture, our crafts, the names of our towns, our language or even the way we construct our roads, at times things can seem to be a bit out of kilter, but it is who we are, and we are happy about that.

In my humble opinion, Newfoundland and Labrador is unique in many ways and has many firsts when it comes to Canada. Today and during my next chapter, I intend to tell you some facts about down home and hopefully pique your interests for a visit to “The Rock.”

We are the first in Canada to see the sunrise, and you can do so from Cape Spear, located just outside St. John’s, which happens to be the most easterly point in North America.

When you take a stroll down Water Street, in the capital city of St. John’s, you are walking on the oldest street in North America.

Some people may try to tell you that we are always half an hour late — especially my colleagues on the Fisheries Committee — but don’t believe them. Believe me when I tell you we have our own unique time zone, which is 30 minutes ahead of Atlantic Standard Time. Therefore, we will always be the first to ring in the new year in our country of Canada.

While the “Big Land” called Labrador consists of a major land mass as part of our province — and to my Quebec colleagues, it is part of Newfoundland and Labrador — the fact is that 94 per cent of our residents live on the island portion of our province.

In 1907, Great Britain granted Dominion status to Newfoundland. We enjoyed that equal status, along with Australia and New Zealand, until 1949, when at that time the rest of Canada joined us, as we became the tenth province of the country. There are several people down home who still believe we shagged that one up.

Two of the world’s most lovable breeds of dogs are named after both land masses of our province: the enormous bearlike Newfoundland dog and the most popular dog breed in the world, the Labrador.

When the Titanic hit an iceberg off our coast in April of 1912, we were the first to receive a distress call from the stricken ship.

A few days ago, at 12:01 a.m., on October 17, 2018, we were the first province in Canada to sell legalized marijuana. Many of the people in my province believe we should have been put out our own distress call at that time.

There is so much more about Newfoundland and Labrador to tell you, but my time is limited, so all I can say for now is stayed tuned; I’ll be back.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Katherine Bovey, Oscar Dalziel and Lola Dalziel; the daughter and grandchildren of the Honourable Senator Bovey.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

The Late Pierre Théberge

Hon. Patricia Bovey: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Pierre Théberge, the former director of the National Gallery of Canada, who passed away on October 5 after a lengthy and difficult illness.

His contribution to the visual arts in Canada and to this country’s standing in the world was incalculable. He graduated from the University of Montreal with a degree in art history and continued his studies at the renowned Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

He joined the National Gallery of Canada in 1966 as a curator of contemporary Canadian art and was later appointed curatorial administrator. During his tenure, and during the six years that he served as Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, he organized exhibitions of emerging artists that turned them into some of the best-known artists in Canada and around the world, including Guido Molinari, Greg Curnoe, Michael Snow, N.E. Thing Co. and many others. He served as Director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for 11 years before being appointed Director of the National Gallery of Canada in 1988, a position he held until 2009.

He had a clear vision for artists and showcasing their work. The themes of his exhibits in both institutions as curator and director were imaginative and innovative in their approach. He worked with many large museums around the world and with Canadian institutions in order to help his colleagues with art loans and exhibits and give them administrative advice.

The work he did to showcase indigenous art was a positive paradigm shift. He bought works from indigenous artists throughout his career and exhibited the art of important indigenous artists, such as Morrisseau. He established the first position for an indigenous curator at the museum.

He did not fear controversy and stood up for his convictions and for all artists.

He was appointed Knight of the National Order of Quebec, Officer of the Ordre des arts et des lettres de France, and Officer of the Order of Canada.

As a colleague, I would like to say, “Thank you, Pierre.”

[English]

Genomics

Hon. Rosa Galvez: Honourable senators, the field of genomics examines the genetic code of living organisms: DNA. DNA was first identified in 1860 by Friedrich Miescher, a Swiss chemist. In the following decades, scientists continued to research the components and structure of DNA and refine the understanding of its components. In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick proposed the famous double-stranded helix structure. By 2003, the Human Genome Project had fully sequenced the 3 billion base pairs in the human genome.

[Translation]

Genome Canada provides funding to genomics research, which includes the study of DNA and its related fields. Genomics research has a wide variety of applications, from optimizing the growth and characteristics of spruce wood, for example, to mapping the genome of C. difficile in order to develop better screening and diagnostics, or even developing risk assessments for certain types of breast cancer. Those are just a few examples from a long list of projects funded by Genome Canada, with the objective of improving the health and well-being of Canadians and their environment.

In addition, genomics is advancing research into the Arctic, climate change and the restoration of degraded soil.

[English]

The innovative work of Genome Canada has put our country on the map as a powerhouse in genomics research and applications. Large-scale science, leading-edge technologies and the application of discoveries across many sectors ultimately benefit Canadians.

I wish to draw your attention to an event that I’m hosting this evening from 4 to 7 p.m. — Genomics on the Hill. At this event you can meet genomic researchers and end-users, and learn about the incredible work in genomics that is taking place in universities and research labs across the country.

I look forward to seeing you there. Thank you.


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Parliamentary Budget Officer

Labour Market Assessment - 2018—Report Tabled

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

Adjournment

Notice of Motion

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

That, when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, October 30, 2018, at 2 p.m.

[English]

The Senate

Notice of Motion to Affect Question Period on October 30, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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[Translation]

Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

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

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

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

[English]

Agriculture and Forestry

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

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry have the power to meet on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, at 5 p.m., even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.


QUESTION PERIOD


Finance

Carbon Tax

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the government leader, concerning the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday on the carbon tax. The government clearly has a spending problem but does not have a plan to control that spending. The Annual Financial Report of the Government of Canada for fiscal year 2017-18 revealed that government spending increased by $20 billion over the previous fiscal year. As well, yesterday’s report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer showed the government has no chance of returning to a balance any time soon.

In that context, the carbon tax details released on Tuesday confirm not all of the money raised through this tax will be returned to Canadian taxpayers. Instead of imposing a new tax plan disguised as an environmental plan, why doesn’t the government control its spending and present a serious plan to balance the budget?

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

Let me deal with a couple of points in his preamble. He referenced the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s report tabled today, I believe. It demonstrates yet again the ongoing debt-to-GDP decline over the fiscal framework of the government, which is the commitment — the fiscal anchor — the government has put in place. It also references that Canada’s net debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest in the G7 and less than half of the G7 average. Therefore, the Canadian fiscal anchor is working. That is the anchor to which the government has publicly stated its commitment.

With respect to the announcement yesterday with respect to the pricing of pollution, that is the consequence of a bill passed in this Parliament with the support of the majority in this Senate. It is not surprising, therefore, the announcement the Prime Minister made is consistent with the Parliament of Canada’s view that pollution should not be free, there is a cost to pollution and that market mechanisms ought to be used to best discipline the use of pollution.

In that regard, the Parliament of Canada provided a framework that the government has endorsed, which ensures there is flexibility in the provinces as to how they fulfill the obligations of putting a price on pollution. A number of provinces have fulfilled that obligation. Other provinces have chosen not to or have withdrawn support prior provincial administrations had given.

Therefore, the so-called backstop will come into play. The Prime Minister’s announcement made very clear what the consequences are for individual Canadians. The consequences for individual Canadians are that there will be very substantial rebates made to citizens of the provinces that don’t participate, so that they are better equipped to deal with the consequences of putting a price on pollution.

But I should remind all senators that failing to put a price on pollution means that Canada cannot fulfill its obligations under the Paris Accord, which, of course, is what the Government of Canada has committed to. I recognize some governments have withdrawn from it, and they are viewed in a friendly fashion by the questioner opposite.

Tax Fairness

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): That was a very interesting answer. If I could just remind the leader of the idea of the fiscal parameters: The PBO, which is a department, I believe, that responds to the government, clearly stated the debt issue is a serious issue. The tool that Minister Morneau and Prime Minister Trudeau are using to measure performance is not necessarily the traditional tool the Government of Canada has used over time. It’s a tool they have implemented to make the answer seem better. There is an issue, which is clearly stated, that the debt problem will not be solved any time soon, with dates. It’s not me making that up; it’s the PBO that supplies a response to the government.

Again, I don’t think the idea of paying a price for pollution is realistic, because there are lots of scientists and people are saying clearly in response to the Prime Minister that this is not going to clean up anything in Canada. Our pollution issues are not the pollution issues causing the problems throughout the world. If you check through the statistics on that, it’s true. There’s no question that something has to be done to affect climate change. This whole issue is a debatable discussion, which we will see unfold.

Senator Harder, I asked you last week why large industrial polluters are being given a special exemption on the carbon tax while small businesses will have pay. You responded: “. . . the government is dedicated to ensuring tax fairness in all elements of our economy.”

The government, of course, is talking about how it’s trying to help middle-class people. Middle-class people aren’t necessarily the ones who have the big businesses. It’s people who are wealthier.

However, yesterday’s announcement confirmed the carbon tax will not be fair for small businesses across the country. Local businesses won’t receive the same exemption as certain large corporations. Of course, many large corporations have been stated as getting complete exemptions. Local businesses won’t receive the same exemptions, certain large corporations will and they won’t receive the full rebate of the carbon tax they will have to pay.

How is this tax fairness for small business?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question and his preamble. Let me address the preamble before I get to the question.

First of all, the PBO is a parliamentary office. It is not in the gift of the Prime Minister or the government, as such. Its report is that of an independent officer of Parliament. Its report confirms the track of debt-to-GDP ratio is declining as the fiscal anchor of the government.

Now, the honourable senator said that is a new fiscal anchor. It is true this government has committed to that as a fiscal anchor. I can only reference that the government he supported was a government that had sustained deficits throughout its administration and inherited a surplus from its predecessor.

That’s with respect to PBO and the fiscal anchor. We can have this debate. I’m sure we will have it further.

I was astounded, though, to hear of his commitment to dealing with climate change and taxing pollution as long as it doesn’t include Canada.

Surely the objective of the Paris climate change convention is to ensure we all do our part. The Government of Canada is of the view we should do our part in ensuring that Canadians reduce their dependency on carbons, and that pollution is not free. If he were wearing a baseball cap, I would think it would say “let’s make pollution free again,” because that is certainly a theme we’re hearing elsewhere in North America.

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Now let me get to the question he ultimately asked. That, of course, is with respect to the announcement of the Prime Minister and its effect on Canadians. He brings up small business. Well, surely the lowering of the small business tax, where it is now the lowest jurisdiction in business tax and is beneficial to small business and companies, is part of the overall fiscal framework of the government. That the program for putting a price on pollution is one that is heavily on the shoulders of large emitters, so we can use the creative and innovative spirit of Canadian industry to put in place mechanisms that lower the carbon footprint in our business practices. That the effect on consumers are protected in the context of the backstop.

I wish more jurisdictions in Canada, including the one I represent, Ontario, continued its commitment to dealing with carbon pricing and dealing with pollution. It has chosen another course. The Government of Canada, because of the legislation passed by this chamber, is doing what it must.

Carbon Tax

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Thank you, Your Honour. I need to commend the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Those are the longest answers we have heard since he has been here. I would like to remind the Leader of the Government in the Senate, however, that the NDP Government of Alberta is not friendly to this side of the chamber. You referenced the provincial jurisdictions that were not supporting Justin Trudeau were our friends.

I want to ask a question along the same lines as what our leader just asked. Hopefully we’ll get a more direct answer.

The government in their carbon tax announcement said, and you have referenced it, polluting is no longer free. My question to you, leader, is: Are Mr. and Mrs. Smith driving their children to school the polluters the government is concerning itself with? Are the mom and pop shops trying to stay afloat in this already heavily taxed environment the polluters the government believes are the problem? Or is it, in fact, the large industrial polluters who are responsible for the largest emissions making the biggest contribution to climate change? How, leader, can the government justify exempting corporate polluters from their latest tax scheme while penalizing hard-working Canadians across the country?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. When Senator and Mrs. Smith take their children to school —

Senator Smith: Grandchildren.

Senator Harder: Grandchildren, sorry. They are utilizing, if it’s not an electric vehicle, a vehicle that consumes a degree of carbon. That pollution pricing regime is now in place. We are all going to be contributing to the Canadian-based solution of meeting our climate change obligations.

That solution involves the balance of allowing flexibility for the provinces to determine how best they will put a price on carbon, and where provinces are withdrawing or otherwise not supporting that, there will be a backstop put in place. The advantages to individual citizens, of which the Prime Minister outlined yesterday.

I wish — as the honourable senator referenced Alberta, it’s nice to see him supporting the Government of Alberta — all provinces who are not participating would participate. In the meantime, the framework we adopted in this chamber is the one being implemented. That ensures all citizens and other stakeholders in our economy are encouraged to reduce their pollution footprint and we take advantage of the technologies the world is crying out for to invigorate the Canadian economy with less of a carbon footprint.

Senator Plett: I’m not sure where in my comments you read that I was supporting the Government of Alberta. I was saying they were supporting our plan.

While the Prime Minister was patting himself on the back promising that all — not some, all — of the revenue generated from the carbon tax would be rebated to Canadians, the department notes came out promising most of the carbon tax revenue would be rebated to Canadians, not all. My question is, how long until we can expect a further clarification that some of the money will be returned to Canadians?

Given the government has stated the remaining revenue will be used to support schools and hospitals, which Canadians are already paying taxes to support, how is this not just another tax grab?

Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for his question. It gives me the opportunity to repeat that, in those jurisdictions where provinces have put in place systems of taxing pollution, the government is respectful of those provincial plans.

Where provinces are not or have chosen to withdraw the plans they had in place, the backstop mechanism is in place. The Prime Minister, with his announcement, has now made clear what the impact will be in terms of rebates to consumers and citizens of those provinces.

What the Government of Canada is doing in addition to that is a broad range of initiatives to encourage innovation, the use of technology, the adaptation of our economic tools to ensure we have a less carbon-intense economy and contribute to the global challenge the Paris Agreement provides. Which is why this week, or next week, the Minister of Trade Diversification will be in China talking about economic advantages for Canadian businesses in providing their technologies for environmentally friendly solutions to carbon issues for the Chinese market. This is entirely an opportunity for Canada, and one the government will support.

Hon. Pamela Wallin: Thank you, Your Honour. I’m sure the Government Representative is aware that the Government of Saskatchewan isn’t really keen on this tax. I want to ask a question about that.

From some of the documents that have been made public, or analysis at this point, it shows this is a tax of about 10 per cent on consumers. That Saskatchewan residents will get back about 90 per cent of what they pay at the pump or for home heating. It doesn’t account for the hidden costs. The companies that will be taxed will be passing on those costs to consumers, obviously. It doesn’t account for the lost earnings because projects aren’t going forward and therefore work isn’t available for people, and the same issue in investments, that projects may well be stalled because it’s a pretty risky climate.

If you are a producer in the farming or agriculture business, you are being double-taxed both as a consumer and as a producer. That’s getting complicated on your fuel and transport costs, et cetera. How will the government assess the costs in terms of purposes of a rebate for that second category?

Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for her question. It is an important one for those jurisdictions that aren’t participating in their responsibility to come forward with their own plan.

Let me articulate more clearly what the effects in Saskatchewan will be.

The government has made a commitment that all revenues will stay in the province — 90 per cent will go directly to families through the climate action incentive, while the other 10 per cent will go to schools, hospital, Indigenous peoples, universities, colleges, communities, and small- and medium-sized businesses to invest in energy efficiency.

The average family in Saskatchewan will get $598 through the climate action incentive in 2019. That’s more than the increase they will see in energy costs. The climate action incentive will go up every year to match the rising price on pollution.

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In 2022, the average Saskatchewan family will get over $1,400. Families in rural and small communities will get a 10 per cent supplement to their climate action incentive because they are more limited in their clean transportation options. Exemptions to the price on pollution include gasoline and diesel used on farms and in fishing operations. Also exempted is diesel used to generate electricity in remote communities. A partial exemption will apply to natural gas and propane used in greenhouse operations.

As you can see, the government has been very sensitive to the unique economy of Saskatchewan, but clearly the government would have wished and preferred that the Government of Saskatchewan step up to its responsibilities to deal with pollution.

Senator Wallin: Saskatchewan does have a climate plan; it is just not one that suits the federal government, but that’s for their leader. I was really trying to get at — and I know you have tried to address some by saying fuel use on farms — is that there are many other issues in terms of the purchase of equipment and transport beyond the farm.

The other question that is so crucial here, which we are seeing in the discussions around Bill C-69 and the uncertainty that exists on the energy front and the big project front, is about what isn’t accounted for. I don’t know how the government is thinking about accounting for the lost potential earnings because development isn’t happening. Projects aren’t going forward. Jobs aren’t being created.

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

The objective of Bill C-69, which is now before us, is to provide certainty to ensure that projects go forward, to ensure that the record of the last 10 years isn’t repeated in the next 10 years. What the government is putting in place on the development side is exactly the opposite of what the question suggests.

As to the overall effort that Canadians are participating in with regard to climate change, it is one where, as I said earlier, there are opportunities for Canadian innovation in new technologies that have less of a carbon imprint to not only meet the needs of the Canadian marketplace, but also take advantage of the opportunities globally.

Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Inuit Employment Opportunities

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, my question is to the government leader in the Senate.

Senator Harder, on October 22, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated welcomed the release of the Nunavut Inuit Labour Force Analysis report done by ESDC. NTI president Aluki Kotierk stated that one of the most striking pieces of information coming out of NILFA is that large numbers of Inuit are available and interested in government employment but are not currently being identified and trained.

Keeping that in mind, my question is about Inuit employment in federal agencies, specifically the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.

In 2015, a report by the Auditor General found that only 15 of 32 jobs had been filled in its headquarters in Iqaluit, with all the senior positions, president, vice-president and senior advisors, all based in Ottawa. More recent reports show that this has not improved. Will the government be staffing all vacant positions in their office in Nunavut? And what is the government’s plan to attract, train and mentor Inuit so they can hold senior and leadership positions in the agency?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. It’s an important one. With respect to the specific programming, I will get back to him because as he will know, the government has put in place recent programming to address the problem that he has identified. I’m happy to report on its success.

What I can affirm today is that the staffing levels in CanNor, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, which were inexplicably reported as dropping, are in fact stable at 80 full-time employees. I am informed by the government that this will continue to be the case. It is not dropping, as one newspaper had reported, to 66. I wanted to reassure honourable senators in regard to the level of employment. With respect to the program activity, I will get back to him.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Embassy in Armenia

Hon. Leo Housakos: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It has to do with one of many electoral promises this government has not honoured. It has to do with the promise that the Liberal Party of Canada and the Prime Minister made to the Canadian Armenian community in the last federal election about opening up the Canadian embassy in Armenia.

Not only did they make that promise, but their star candidate in the Montreal region, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, wrote a letter and put the promise in writing to the Canadian Armenian community that they would open an embassy if the Liberal Party of Canada was elected.

Recently, the Prime Minister was in Armenia. He acknowledged, from a question posed to him by the media, that indeed that promise was made. He went on to say they are looking at the possibility of opening up an embassy. Can you confirm to us that there will be an embassy open, that the commitment will be honoured and when that will be the case?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. It is a question that he has asked from time to time in this chamber, including of the minister to whom he made reference.

Let me say, I’m not in a position to make that announcement. Let me repeat that the Prime Minister has said this is a matter that the government is reviewing. The government will be making a decision, and an announcement, when it feels ready to do so.

Senator Housakos: Government leader, I think it’s important you acknowledge that when the Prime Minister and a political party make a commitment to any community in the country, that commitment has to be honoured.

Now the Prime Minister himself has acknowledged that commitment was made. Very recently, he acknowledged looking at that possibility. Is this another example of recycling a commitment? Is he going to go past into the next election and re-promise that commitment to the community or will he actually open up the embassy? Unfortunately for your government, time is running out.

Senator Harder: Fortunately for Canadians, the time is not running out, and we’ll see about the election.

What I can say to the honourable senator is that, as I said earlier, the Prime Minister has indicated that he and his government are examining the possibility and will be making an announcement when and if appropriate.

Environment

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, Senator Housakos can be pleased as a senator from Montreal that the Prime Minister kept his commitment. There are no tolls on the Champlain Bridge, so at least that’s something for the people of your area.

My question is on the climate change announcement. The Government of Canada announced yesterday they reached a two-year agreement with Prince Edward Island. I had inquiries about how it’s going to help carbon reduction when the government of P.E.I. has announced they will reduce the gas tax by 3 cents a litre, which will still require an increase of one cent a litre because the federal government wanted it up four cents a litre. It’s now reduced by three. How does that help carbon use in P.E.I.? That was the question I asked and, I really didn’t have an answer for it. If you don’t know, Senator Harder, could you find out?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I would be happy to make inquiries and report.

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, if I could ask a requalifying question, you mentioned earlier, when we talked about the Paris Agreement, how your government was going to reach these numbers.

To my mind, and maybe it’s a little blank, I was under the impression that, within the last year or two, the government already said it’s not going to make the Paris Agreement targets. If it doesn’t make the targets then what is its plan? If you’re not going to make those targets, what targets are you going to try and establish? I think it’s a fair question and I would like an answer.

Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for his question. The government has initiated a pan-Canadian approach to ensure that Canada fulfills its share of this international burden on pricing of pollution. That impetus ought to have been strengthened by the IPPC report, which sends chills down anybody’s spine who reads it, in terms of providing our children and grandchildren with a world in which they can breathe and live.

The government has redoubled its efforts. It is using the mechanisms that Parliament is given with respect to the pricing of pollution. It is using tools that it has put in place for inspiring innovation in the technology sector so that we can have an energy efficient and less carbon-intense economy in Canada, and it is committed to making our contribution.

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Now, as to the specific numbers of tonnes of emissions that are portioned in the agreement, I think what is important for all is to ensure that, as we begin this process, we have credibility at the international table so that, regarding issues of pricing of pollution and reducing the carbon imprint in the world, Canada is taking its place at the frontier of countries that are committed to doing their share.

Senator Smith: Thank you for your answer. I guess the only thing I expect from you is that I understood the government has said they would probably end up using the same targets that the prior government set in 2015. So, I just want you to acknowledge that if those are the numbers they are using, those are the numbers. Those numbers will not reach the Paris accord. I’m not trying to be negative about it, but the most important thing is that there is a real, substantive plan that is going to make a difference. That’s probably what the question of CO2 is all about: Will this plan have any impact on changing the situation that exists within our country?

Having said that, let’s admit, if you’re not going to make the numbers, what numbers are we going to make? Maybe you could check and find out for us.

Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for his question. I would be happy to find out and report from time to time on the expectations of the government as it rolls through the commitments that are made over a period of months and, indeed, years.

Let me acknowledge that there is a significant difference between having a number and putting in place the legislation and plan that this government has put in place and that this Parliament and this Senate approved and that we are now in the process of implementing. We ought to all redouble our efforts, both legislatively and outside of legislative parameters, to achieve the Canadian goal of making our contribution to this worldwide challenge.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the time for Question Period has expired.


[Translation]

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 the items in the following order: second reading of Bill S-6, followed by all remaining items in the order that they appear on the Order Paper.

[English]

Canada-Madagascar Tax Convention Bill, 2018

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Stephen Greene moved second reading of Bill S-6, An Act to implement the Convention between Canada and the Republic of Madagascar for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

He said: Honourable senators, I rise today to sponsor Bill S-6, An Act to implement the Convention between Canada and the Republic of Madagascar for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

What we have before us today is fairly simple, namely, that Canadians residing in Madagascar, as well as Canadians receiving income from business in Madagascar, will not be forced to pay taxes twice, and vice versa.

Colleagues are likely wondering why a Canadian would have to worry about paying taxes in two jurisdictions, and the simple answer is that generally they don’t. The Income Tax Act allows for various credits for foreign taxes paid based on global income, meaning a Canadian who receives income from abroad while residing in Canada is eligible to claim credits with the CRA for taxes paid elsewhere. But if a Canadian resident elsewhere received income sourced in Canada, the jurisdiction in which they are resident may not give credits for taxes paid to Canada.

That is why successive Canadian governments have sought treaties with various countries to avoid the double taxation of Canadians.

Canada is not alone in this endeavour. Many other countries seek double taxation avoidance treaties, so much so that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has a model tax treaty template.

Ladies and gentlemen, this bill follows the OECD model template and sets out the parameters in which each country may tax income received from the other. And in the cases where Canadian tax rates, as set by the Income Tax Act, are higher, this new legislation would prevail.

The average Canadian who receives income from Madagascar would still file their tax return with the CRA. The CRA would then communicate with the Madagascar government via the various information exchange provisions to ensure the accuracy of the tax filing.

That brings up a very important part of this treaty: the ability to share information.

Senators will know of various colleagues’ efforts to combat tax fraud, fiscal evasion and money laundering — notably, the efforts of Senator Downe and of the Banking Committee’s 2012-13 review of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act under chairman Senator Gerstein, a senator I still miss.

Now, I’m in no way saying that Madagascar is a haven for such things. In fact, I have no evidence that it plays any role in such activities, but unfortunately there are such activities ongoing almost everywhere in the world, and the more information that is available to the government, the greater the effort that can be made to combat those activities.

In conclusion, allow me to give senators some context as to why Madagascar and why now.

Senators will know that both Canada and Madagascar share a French heritage, and both are members of the Francophonie, which unites French-speaking nations around the world. Canada and Madagascar have enjoyed full diplomatic relations since 1965.

While direct economic trade between Canada and Madagascar is smaller than the trade with many of our other partners, at $116 million in total — that’s $16 million in exports to Madagascar and $100 million in imports from Madagascar — this bill is forward-looking and foundational. Canada has concluded negotiations with at least 14 other African countries and is currently in negotiations with another.

I say this treaty is forward-looking and foundational because there seems to me to be a second race for Africa. I’m not speaking of colonization in the historic sense, but of economic colonization. We know that the People’s Republic of China is investing heavily in various African infrastructure projects and saddling host countries with significant debt, which some view as a potential means of controlling them.

It is important that countries like Canada, which are open-market democracies and enjoy the rule of law, reach out to the various African nations to demonstrate a commitment to see that those countries prosper.

Canada is a leader in this regard, and in many ways Bill S-6 exemplifies this. This is why I’m asking for your support for Bill S-6.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Canada Labour Code
Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act
Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1

Bill to Amend—Message from Commons—Motion for Concurrence in Commons Amendment and Non-Insistence Upon Senate Amendments Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Harder, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Mitchell:

That the Senate agree to the amendment the House of Commons made to Senate amendment 4 to Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1;

That the Senate do not insist on its amendments 1, 2, 5(a) and 7(b), to which the House of Commons has disagreed; and

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

Hon. Salma Ataullahjan: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017. No. 1.

The aim of this bill is to protect federally regulated employees, including staff who work on Parliament Hill, from harassment and violence in the workplace.

I am pleased to have been the critic on this important piece of legislation, and I am glad that the House of Commons has finally sent it back to the Senate.

I would like to acknowledge everyone who worked on this bill, and acknowledge Senator Pate in particular for the amendments she proposed. I would also like to thank the witnesses for their bravery in appearing before the Senate Human Rights Committee and sharing their stories.

The amendments put forth by the Senate were largely in response to witness testimony and had the sole goal of strengthening the legislation.

While I am disappointed that the house did not accept all the amendments as proposed by the Senate, I am pleased that some of those accepted included key amendments on which the committee heard significant evidence from witnesses.

Honourable senators, safe workplaces free of violence and harassment of any kind are crucial for the welfare of Canadian employees, including those who work for Parliament, and I support this bill.

In closing, however, I would reiterate that protection from violence and harassment cannot be achieved through legislation alone.

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There remains an onus on parliamentarians to speak up and speak out against harassment and violence that happen on the Hill, and also on all Canadians to form part of the solution and commit to eliminating violence and harassment in the workplace once and for all. Thank you.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Plett: On division.

(Motion agreed to, on division.)

Impact Assessment Bill
Canadian Energy Regulator Bill
Navigation Protection Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Mitchell, seconded by the Honourable Senator Pratte, for the second reading of 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.

Hon. Marilou McPhedran: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak on 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.

[Translation]

I wish to speak to Bill C-69 today in order to provide a new perspective and to add my support for the bill.

Although on one side there are some environmentalists who do not agree with the scope of the bill and say that it does not go far enough, and on the other side there are companies banding together that say it is far too drastic, I believe that it is important to refer the bill to the committee, and also to continue to seriously evaluate its proposals.

I would like to speak about a controversial aspect, the inclusion of the prerequisite that there be gender-based analysis plus.

[English]

Colleagues, as you likely know, Gender-based Analysis Plus, dubbed GBA+, is an established analytical framework with methodology that guides asking crucial questions about how sex, gender and other identity factors intersect to create differential access to projects or policies and to understand the ways in which they may affect different people differently. “Plus” captures sex and other identity factors, such as race, disability, social position, income, age and education.

Quoting from Bill C-69: “The intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors” is a factor to be considered in the impact assessment of a designated project. This is instrumental to a holistic and thorough analysis of the social, physical and environmental impact of various projects which would fall under Bill C-69.

You may have received communications stating opposition to this aspect of the bill because delays of assessment and of approvals due to the inclusion of GBA+ are anticipated by these critics. Some of the public discourse does not seem to reflect the reality of this proposed legislation, and I would like to try to bring clarification to our discussion.

First, how is including GBA+, factoring into assessments of a project an examination of its impact on sex, gender and other intersecting identity factors, relevant to the assessment of what the bill terms a “designated project”?

Research and experience with designated projects in Canada and internationally demonstrate that resource development projects generate a range of benefits and harms. For example, impacts on women, Indigenous communities, young people and members of socially, often racially, marginalized groups are not the same. The fact is historically and currently men are more likely to benefit from employment opportunities offered by designated projects. The application of GBA+ would highlight the barriers that contribute to disparity, allowing project proponents and governments to plan mitigation strategies, such as training or skills development, programs for under-represented groups, daycare and other supports for potential employees that would not otherwise have access, as a planned response instead of waiting for the discrimination to limit so many lives yet again.

Surely this is not a lesson that we need to relearn over and over again as a society. GBA+ is a best practice currently used and endorsed by numerous corporate proponents in Canada.

The application of GBA+ is not new in impact assessment. Honourable senators, it just makes sense to work closely with communities to understand how projects will differentially impact subpopulations.

Several years ago, at the University of Winnipeg Global College, we used the example of the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine, still in operation, approved by a joint review panel process back in 1999, as one model for including Indigenous women’s voices in the review process and for the requirement that the proponent provide data on project impacts by age, gender, Indigenous status and community.

Second, what is the added value of applying GBA+ to impact assessment of designated projects?

The application of GBA+ will provide the agency with information on potential positive and negative impacts of the project for different subgroups of the population. This analysis will highlight which groups the project will most benefit and which groups will be most impacted positively and negatively. Appropriate mitigation can be planned to reduce differential, unfair impacts where possible. The application of GBA+ necessitates engagement with communities to understand their concerns. Doing this early in the project process supports relationship building and increases the social licence for the project and enhances outcomes that are not measured only in the old-fashioned manner of dollars that find their way only into certain pockets or online accounts.

If the federal government were to impose enforceable conditions on the proponent, these would need to be linked to federal jurisdiction. However, there is also scope for the federal government to choose to undertake complementary measures through federal programs, such as health promotion programs, community safety and skills training programs. Other jurisdictions could also put in place conditions and complementary measures related to the project. Finally, astute proponents will appreciate the value of voluntary measures to enhance the positive impacts of the project and reduce negative social and economic impacts beyond what is required by enforceable conditions.

For too long, some corporations and governments have allowed resource exploitation that left behind devastating social and physical consequences for communities where they once perched, able to fly away when they chose, leaving behind their breach of the trust often given that the project would bring lasting benefits to the community that were not realized.

Honourable senators, to conclude, it is important that we make it clear that projects are unlikely to be turned down because of a GBA+ process, but rather GBA+ allows for the prevention and mitigation of potential problems ahead of time. This good practice has integrity. It builds trust with communities because the possible real effects on their lives will be considered as part of the so-called bottom line.

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Last, GBA+ provides project proponents the opportunity to highlight benefits for women and other under-represented groups of people with regard to environmental impact assessment.

Some say the rhetoric on Bill C-69 is shiny, but the content is shallow. I have more to say about improvements to this bill. Time today does not allow for it.

Colleagues, let’s give this bill the opportunity to be better understood. Let’s move forward to committee for further research and investigation. Thank you. Meegwetch.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

National Physicians’ Day Bill

Second Reading

On the Order:

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

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Plett: On division.

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

Referred to Committee

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

(On motion of Senator Cordy, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.)

[Translation]

National Maternity Assistance Program Strategy Bill

Second Reading

On the Order:

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

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read second time.)

Referred to Committee

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

(On motion of Senator Forest, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.)

[English]

Senate Modernization

Tenth Report of Special Committee—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Cordy, for the adoption of the tenth report (interim), as amended, of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization, entitled Senate Modernization: Moving Forward (Nature), presented in the Senate on October 26, 2016.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): This is at day 15. Senator Andreychuk has asked to reset it for the remainder of her time.

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

The Senate

Motion to Amend the Rules of the Senate to Ensure Legislative Reports of Senate Committees Follow a Transparent, Comprehensible and Non-Partisan Methodology—Motion in Amendment—Motion to Refer Motion and Motion in Amendment to Committee—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Bellemare, seconded by the Honourable Senator Harder, P.C.:

That, in order to ensure that legislative reports of Senate committees follow a transparent, comprehensible and non-partisan methodology, the Rules of the Senate be amended by replacing rule 12-23(1) by the following:

“Obligation to report bill

12-23. (1) The committee to which a bill has been referred shall report the bill to the Senate. The report shall set out any amendments that the committee is recommending. In addition, the report shall have appended to it the committee’s observations on:

(a) whether the bill generally conforms with the Constitution of Canada, including:

(i) the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and

(ii) the division of legislative powers between Parliament and the provincial and territorial legislatures;

(b) whether the bill conforms with treaties and international agreements that Canada has signed or ratified;

(c) whether the bill unduly impinges on any minority or economically disadvantaged groups;

(d) whether the bill has any impact on one or more provinces or territories;

(e) whether the appropriate consultations have been conducted;

(f) whether the bill contains any obvious drafting errors;

(g) all amendments moved but not adopted in the committee, including the text of these amendments; and

(h) any other matter that, in the committee’s opinion, should be brought to the attention of the Senate.”

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Nancy Ruth, seconded by the Honourable Senator Tkachuk:

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

1.adding the following new subsection after proposed subsection (c):

“(d) whether the bill has received substantive gender-based analysis;”; and

2.by changing the designation for current proposed subsections (d) to (h) to (e) to (i).

Hon. Ratna Omidvar moved:

That the motion and the amendment now under debate be referred to the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization for consideration and report.

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

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Motion to Call Upon the Government to Recognize the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks and Designate May 19th as a Day of Remembrance—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Merchant, seconded by the Honourable Senator Housakos:

That the Senate call upon the government of Canada:

(a) to recognize the genocide of the Pontic Greeks of 1916 to 1923 and to condemn any attempt to deny or distort a historical truth as being anything less than genocide, a crime against humanity; and

(b) to designate May 19th of every year hereafter throughout Canada as a day of remembrance of the over 353,000 Pontic Greeks who were killed or expelled from their homes.

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo: Honourable senators, I will take adjournment of the debate in my name.

(On motion of Senator Woo, debate adjourned.)

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The Honourable Nancy Greene Raine, O.C., O.B.C.

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Martin, calling the attention of the Senate to the career of the Honourable Senator Raine.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to our dear former colleague, the Honourable Senator Nancy Greene Raine. Beloved nationwide as Athlete of the 20th Century, and worldwide as an Olympian, skiing legend and senator.

It is impossible to describe all of Nancy Greene Raine’s achievements — though we have heard about quite a few in previous speeches — let alone highlight her many contributions to the Senate and Canada. What I know for certain is that her vision is to make Canada the fittest nation on earth. If ever there is a champion to realize such a goal, the Honourable Nancy Greene Raine, Athlete of the Century, is the one.

Since the unanimous passage of her first Bill S-211 in 2014 to designate the first Saturday in June as National Health and Fitness Day, more than 270 municipalities across Canada are engaging their communities and citizens in creative, healthy ways through programs, events and awareness building initiatives.

Her second bill, Bill S-228, which champions child health protection from unhealthy food and beverage marketing, is one step away from potentially receiving Royal Assent. Prior to her political career, Nancy held, and continues to hold, a Canadian record of 14 world cup victories and 17 Canadian championship titles. She has represented Canada in three Olympic Games, winning a gold and silver medal in 1968 before moving on to coaching the Canadian national ski team from 1968 to 1973.

It is no wonder why she was awarded the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia, Order of the Dogwood and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. She has been inducted into the British Columbia Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and the United States Ski Hall of Fame. She was voted Canada’s Female Athlete of the 20th Century and has her name engraved in Canada’s Walk of Fame in perpetuity.

Little did I know that I would have the incredible honour not only to call her colleague and friend, but to be her seatmate in the first few years of our time as senators and to be her pupil in learning how to ski on the icy slopes, of which I am deathly afraid.

In Grade 9 I almost made it to my first ski lesson but broke my ankle in a basketball game and my hopes of becoming a skier were dashed. That led me to be a little afraid of icy slopes and inclines, and so it was something that I had avoided even though I am a British Columbian and people kept asking me about Whistler. I said I’ve never actually skied.

Nancy invited me to visit her home in Sun Peaks, B.C., and with her partner in life and on the slopes, Al Raine, sort of holding me back — in what I understand to be a method for teaching children how to ski — but he was behind me slowing my speed down. Nancy was in front of me taking photos while skiing backwards.

I was able to finally say that I have skied, and Nancy has invited me back once more. I look forward to continuing our friendship beyond this chamber. It was so nice to see her this past week and actually be roommates for two nights, to laugh and reminisce and sort of dream about the future that she sees for Canada and for the health of our children.

I sincerely thank Al Raine, Mayor of Sun Peaks and her lifelong partner, and her family for having shared her with us, and allowing all Canadians to benefit from her exemplary service in the Senate

Dear colleague and friend, you are deeply missed in our chamber, on committees and especially within our caucus. This is not goodbye but see you soon, dear friend.

(On motion of Senator Omidvar, debate adjourned.)

(At 3:25 p.m., the Senate was continued until tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.)