Download as PDF
Text size:

1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 243

Thursday, November 1, 2018
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


THE SENATE

Thursday, November 1, 2018

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

Prayers.


SENATORS’ STATEMENTS

Question of Privilege

Notice

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, today I gave notice to the Clerk of the Senate, Mr. Richard Denis, that I would be raising a question of privilege. As my letter stated, I feel my ability to vote in an association of which I am a full and paid member was obstructed.

Parliamentary associations, as per their constitution, must, “. . . conform to Canadian parliamentary practice and rules of procedure.”

However, I respectfully submit this was not the case on October 30, 2018. I was alerted to the breach of privilege in the late morning of October 31, 2018, and, as such, missed the window to serve proper notice yesterday, hence my raising this issue today as it was the first opportunity to do so.

Later today, I will elaborate on what I believe was a breach of privilege and on the remedy I am seeking from you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the question of privilege will be taken into consideration at the end of Orders of the Day, or no later than 8 p.m. this evening.

Asia Bibi

Hon. Salma Ataullahjan: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to you about Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman of Christian faith who has spent the last eight years of her life on death row, awaiting her fate under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which date back to the British Raj’s rule over the Indian subcontinent in the 1860s.

I am very happy to share Pakistan’s Supreme Court dismissed all charges against her and granted her release from prison. The judges who strongly condemned the lower court’s decision over lack of evidence have risked their lives in doing so. We, in the international community, can help strengthen their resolve by standing in support of this important decision.

In 2010, after visiting the flood-ravaged regions of Pakistan, I voiced my concerns as well as the concerns of the international community with the then foreign minister about Asia Bibi’s case and the country’s blasphemy laws as a whole. At a later date, the Honourable Jason Kenney and I brought up her cause with the then Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Furthermore, in 2011, the Senate unanimously passed a motion calling on the Pakistani government to immediately drop all charges against her.

Recently, with the election of Imran Khan, positive social change has gained momentum. In a statement supporting the ruling and calling out hard-line extremists who advocated for the murder of the judges, Prime Minister Khan has said:

This is not the service of Islam, this is enmity with the country. Only anti-state elements talk like this, that kill the judges . . .

While minorities were disproportionately targeted by blasphemy laws, it is important to note Muslims still make up 75 per cent of the 4,000 cases tried for blasphemy in Pakistan.

Honourable senators, I am grateful to everyone who has pressed for her release. Moreover, I am reminded of all those who lost their lives in this fight, including the late Salman Taseer, a senior politician killed by his own bodyguard for his support of Asia Bibi and his condemnation of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

While justice may be served slowly at times and freedom might seem distant, Asia Bibi’s story reminds us that we must fight for these fundamental principles regardless of how long it takes. I am hopeful she will reunite with her children and begin her new life free of fear and having been rightfully acquitted.

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 YWCA Peterborough Haliburton and YWCA Canada representatives. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Bernard.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Canadian Innovation Exchange

Hon. Colin Deacon: Honourable senators, I’ve recently been reminded the easy way to find out if you’re old is to fall in front of a group of people. If they laugh, you’re still young; if they panic and start running towards you, you’re old.

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting a Canadian company working on this very issue when I attended one of Canada’s preeminent tech conferences, called CIX, or the Canadian Innovation Exchange. This excellent conference brings together most of our leading investors with many of our most promising tech startups.

I want to tell you about two of those startups.

Plantiga is a Vancouver-based startup that is creating a powerful window into human health and performance. They place sophisticated insoles in shoes to collect and then analyze detailed movement data.

The company’s first customers are high-performance athletes and elite sports teams, primarily in the US. These customers are helping Plantiga to prove and further develop their tech prior to their planned move into health care.

Particularly, they intend to focus on remote patient monitoring, rehabilitation and fall prevention of the elderly.

Falls are a very big and painful health issue in North America, resulting in approximately $60 billion in direct medical costs each year.

Most of us have seen the horrible effects of falls on the lives of the elderly and those around them. For me, this issue became highly personal when my late Mum had her first fall. About 12 million elderly fall each year in North America. This number will only grow as we baby boomers continue to age, I’m sorry to tell you.

Plantiga’s innovative technology can identify signs of instability 20 to 30 minutes prior to a fall. This data-driven insight could allow an alert to be sent to a user or caregiver with the intention to intervene and prevent the fall in an estimated half of all cases.

I also want to tell you about another company at CIX.

Ecobee is a 10-year-old Toronto-based tech company that now has several hundred million dollars in sales. Their Wi-Fi enabled smart thermostats have both residential and commercial applications. These devices enable their customers to maximize indoor comfort while delivering energy savings.

I was impressed to learn the collective energy savings now being achieved by Ecobee customers is equivalent to taking the entire city of Miami off the grid — and they’re still just getting started.

In the Senate, we’re working hard to solve big, important problems. I’m constantly amazed by the smart and innovative entrepreneurs who are also working on these big problems.

As we examine legislation and undertake our committee work, please remember to look for Canadian companies that are already working on the same problems. Find out what we could do to accelerate their achievement even faster and help them to deliver even more impressive results. Not only will you be empowering effective, cost-efficient and scalable market-based solutions, you will help to create opportunity, jobs and wealth here in Canada.

Startups can help us to solve the many big social challenges facing our nation and the world. Let’s help them to help us achieve this important goal.

Thank you, colleagues.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, November is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Canada.

We have experienced a great deal of media attention on sexual abuse and inappropriate behaviours by famous personalities over the past year. This media attention is great but it does not address the issues around domestic violence in Canada.

According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation website:

Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.

Approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.

There are 6,000 women and children who sleep in shelters on any given night because it isn’t safe at home, and 56 per cent of women applying for admission to a shelter are turned away due to lack of space.

(1340)

Protecting children from abuse, psychological and physical, or witnessing abuse was also a common reason women sought shelter.

Studies have shown that over 70 per cent of spousal violence is not reported to police. Many victims of spousal violence experience severe forms of violence. Twenty-five per cent of all spousal violence victims were sexually assaulted, beaten, choked or threatened with a gun or knife. Twenty-four per cent of all spousal violence victims were kicked, bitten, hit or hit with something, according to police reports.

Half of Aboriginal victims of spousal violence reported experiencing more severe forms of spousal violence, such as having been sexually assaulted, beaten, choked or threatened with a gun or knife. This compares with just one quarter, 23 per cent, of non-Aboriginal victims of spousal violence.

However, we cannot focus only on women as victims of domestic violence because we have others who have been identified. There are youth, men, seniors, the disabled and children. In 2017, Stats Canada reported more than 15,200 children under the age of 12 who were victimized.

Colleagues, we have an opportunity to begin the discussion on a national basis on what is required to help those who are victims of domestic violence. The Government of Canada implemented in 2017 a strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence. Processes are in place to address workplace harassment. We can begin to address domestic violence on a national scale through Bill S-249, An Act Respecting the Development of a National Strategy for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, which I was proud to introduce here in the chamber on April 24, 2018.

As I stated in my speech at second reading debate of Bill S-249 in May:

The time has come to address what I do believe is a travesty of justice that has prevailed because of fear, stigma and the absence of a law to protect the vulnerable in our society.

A national discussion is required now. There is a need for a policy that will ensure resources and supports are in place to address the ongoing issues and to provide effective responses to domestic violence across our country.

Many continue to be abused physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, financially and in many other ways. We have much work to do in addressing the concerns and issues of domestic violence, and I hope with your support that this piece of legislation will become a solid building block in addressing national domestic violence and supporting awareness of this serious issue in Canada.

Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Remembrance Day

Hon. Michael Duffy: Colleagues, we are 10 days away from Remembrance Day 2018, the one-hundredth anniversary of the armistice which ended the first great war.

As part of P.E.I.’s remembrance activities, tomorrow at the South Shore United Church in Tryon, Islanders will celebrate the Borden-Carleton Cenotaph Research Project. This project, a remarkable labour of love, respect and thanks, was initiated by Daria and Pieter Valkenburg of North Tryon.

When one visits the battlefields of northwest Europe, one cannot but be impressed by the way in which the people of those liberated countries remember the sacrifice made by those they still call “the Canadian boys,” so far from home.

I can think of no one who has done more to remember the sacrifice of Islanders than Daria and Pieter Valkenburg. In his professional career, Pieter Valkenburg was a Dutch diplomat who was posted to Canada. He and his wife, Daria, retired to the rolling hills of North Tryon, P.E.I. Since then, they have brought their energy and unbridled enthusiasm for the Canadians who liberated Holland, Pieter’s home country, to the Borden-Carleton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

On the lovely granite memorial outside the Borden Legion are inscribed the names of 44 young Islanders from that area of the Island who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Who were these young men? And those on the memorial are all young men. Who were these young Islanders? What did they dream for their future, their Island and their country before they gave their lives for people they had never met in a land far away?

The Valkenburgs set out to answer those questions. They call it the Borden-Carleton Cenotaph Research Project, and slowly, soldier by soldier, they have put together photographs and historical notes, their touching tribute to the war dead.

Now the Valkenburgs have taken on a new history project. They are helping researchers in the Netherlands gather photos and biographical information on the 7,400 Canadian soldiers who lie buried in The Netherlands.

At a time when, to many, yesterday seems like ancient history, the Valkenburgs and the legionnaires of Borden-Carleton deserve our thanks for keeping alive the memory of those young Islanders who gave their lives in the defence of freedom 100 years ago. Thank you.

Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Bharat Masrani, Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto-Dominion Bank. He is the guest of the Honourable Senator Marwah.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Public Safety

Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s use of the Law Enforcement Justification Provisions—2017 Annual Report Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2017 Annual Report on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s use of the Law Enforcement Justification Provisions pursuant to section 25.3 of the Criminal Code.

Correctional Investigator

2017-18 Report and Government Response Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Correctional Investigator, together with the government response, for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018, pursuant to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, S.C. 1992, c. 20, s. 192.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

2018 Annual Report Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2018 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, pursuant to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27, s. 94 and s. 22.1.

[Translation]

National Physicians’ Day Bill

Twenty-eighth Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee Presented

Hon. Chantal Petitclerc, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its

TWENTY-EIGHTH REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill S-248, An Act respecting National Physicians’ Day, has, in obedience to the order of reference of October 24, 2018, examined the said bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

CHANTAL PETITCLERC

Chair

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

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

Kindness Week Bill

Twenty-ninth Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee Presented

Hon. Chantal Petitclerc, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its

TWENTY-NINTH REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill S-244, An Act respecting Kindness Week, has, in obedience to the order of reference of October 23, 2018, examined the said bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

CHANTAL PETITCLERC

Chair

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

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


(1350)

[English]

QUESTION PERIOD

Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Statistics Canada—Privacy Commissioner—Pilot Project

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Thank you, Your Honour. My question is for the government leader today as a follow up to questions I asked yesterday concerning Statistics Canada’s plan to collect the personal financial transactions of half a million Canadians without their knowledge or consent.

Yesterday Senator Harder told all honourable senators that Statistics Canada’s actions were compliant with the Privacy Act and that the agency was working with the Privacy Commissioner. I wish to point out that the Privacy Commissioner, Daniel Therrien, issued a statement yesterday saying his office has received complaints regarding Statistics Canada’s plans and has opened a formal investigation.

Sir, will the government now acknowledge that Canadians are rightfully concerned about this invasion of privacy and ensure Statistics Canada does not move forward with this plan?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for the question. Let me repeat the Government of Canada is confident the Statistics Canada initiative is within both the law of Statistics Canada and respectful of the Privacy Act. It is not at all unusual and, in fact, welcoming that the Privacy Commissioner is investigating, subject to the complaints he has received. It is also not inconsistent that Stats Canada is working with the Privacy Commissioner to ensure ongoing compliance.

Senator Smith: Thank you, leader.

It has recently been reported on two occasions, October of last year and January of this year, that Statistics Canada directed a credit bureau to provide the credit history of customers going back over 15 years, including balances owed and overdue as well as names, addresses and social insurance numbers of these individuals.

Again, this was all done without the knowledge or consent of these Canadians. The Privacy Commissioner raised the matter of Statistics Canada’s collection of credit bureau reports in its annual report to Parliament tabled last month.

Why does the government believe it’s acceptable to collect the credit history of Canadians without their consent?

Senator Harder: Again, I want to repeat, as did I yesterday, that Statistics Canada is governed by the law we passed here in this Parliament with respect to its mandate and the processes it must have in place to ensure and guard against the release of data or names. There is confidentiality to the work of Stats Canada. It is an organization viewed internationally as the best in class in terms of statistical organizations. I think it is incumbent upon us all to ensure it continues to operate at the highest level possible.

I also know the Banking Committee of this chamber has undertaken to invite the head of Statistics Canada — I like to say Stats Canada for obvious reasons — and the Privacy Commissioner so we can hear first-hand some of the issues that are in play.

Let me remind everybody that the Stats Canada procedures are independent of the government. It is important for government to function well, that accurate and the best data possible can be collected so they can inform decision makers, including parliamentarians.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

International Treaty Obligations Relating to Marijuana

Hon. Paul E. McIntyre: My question for the government leader concerns the legalization of marijuana and its impact on Canada’s obligations under three international drug control treaties.

The International Narcotics Control Board released a statement earlier this month in which it says:

. . . by moving forward with the legalisation of cannabis for non-medical purposes in disregard of its legal obligations and diplomatic commitments, the Government of Canada has contributed to weakening the international legal drug control framework and undermining the rules-based international order.

Leader, an answer to my Order Paper question you tabled in June stated that Canada did not intend to take any action to address these treaty concerns, “at this time.” Has the government given any further consideration to how Canada will reconcile its international obligations regarding drug control with the legalization of marijuana?

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

I would also reference the comments made by the foreign minister with respect to Canada’s international obligations where Canada continues to be a party to the international organizations that are referenced by the question. It is the view of the government, and it has not changed at this point, that continuing to participate in those organizations brings value both to the organization and to Canada. Let’s acknowledge that what Canada is doing with respect to the legalization and the strict regulation and control of cannabis is — aside from Uruguay — an innovative and new approach.

Let’s also acknowledge the international experience with cannabis in particular has been an utter failure.

Senator McIntyre: In its recent statement, the International Narcotics Control Board also said it would examine Canada’s legalization of marijuana during the board’s meeting in Vienna, which began earlier this week, on Tuesday, October 30.

Leader, has the Government of Canada provided a response to the serious concerns raised by this United Nations body? If so, could it please be tabled here in the Senate?

Senator Harder: Again, I want to thank the honourable senator for his question. Let me take it under advisement as to whether the agenda in fact included the reference the honourable senator has made and what, if any, response Canada provided.

[Translation]

Infrastructure and Communities

Infrastructure Bank—Official Language Service

Hon. Claude Carignan: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Yesterday, the Journal de Montréal indicated, and I quote:

An investigative report . . . found that the Canada Infrastructure Bank created by the Trudeau government is breaking the law by failing to offer adequate services in French.

The Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada raised the issue back in May. My colleague Senator Smith asked Minister Mélanie Joly about it when she visited the Senate on June 5. She said, and I quote:

It is unacceptable that the Canada Infrastructure Bank offers services only in English. I discussed this issue with . . . the Minister of Infrastructure, and he is working on it.

She concluded by saying, and I quote:

It’s not complicated, senator. The Official Languages Act exists and we must comply with it.

If Mélanie Joly doesn’t think it’s complicated to comply with the Official Languages Act, why is the infrastructure bank incapable of doing so?

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. This is, as his question suggests, a matter that was raised in this chamber of the minister who was then responsible. I can assure him the Minister of Infrastructure is keenly wanting to ensure the services are appropriately provided by the infrastructure bank.

I will be happy to make an inquiry with respect to the changes that have been brought about to ensure compliance and report back.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Would the Leader of the Government agree that the phrase “Good morning, Canada Infrastructure Bank, bonjour” does not constitute service in French?

Senator Harder: Yes.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Hon. Thanh Hai Ngo: My question is for the Leader of the Government and it is on an issue that I have already raised with him concerning the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, also known as the UNRRA.

Eight years ago, the previous Conservative government withdrew its funding for that UN agency because of its ties to Hamas, which is still on Canada’s list of terrorist organizations. Over the past few years, employees of the UNRRA have often been accused of promoting intolerance, antisemitism, and terrorism.

(1400)

On October 12, the Minister of International Development announced that the Government of Canada would provide $50 million in funding to the agency over two years. How can the government justify giving taxpayer money to a UN agency with ties to promoting hate and violence instead of funding other more neutral organizations that help the most vulnerable Palestinians?

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. The Government of Canada believes that UNRWA is a very effective agency that has worked in the region for many years. Canada has had a close relationship with UNRWA over the years. It is the organization that is recognized by the Palestinians as the appropriate vehicle for support of humanitarian action in the region.

[Translation]

Senator Ngo: In her announcement, Minister Bibeau stated that $40 million of the $50 million would be allocated to various areas, including basic education. For many years, B’Nai Brith Canada has been raising a number of serious concerns about agency employees being involved in promoting anti-Semitism and terrorism and including this promotion in school textbooks and curriculums. Furthermore, a year ago, Human Rights Watch reported that not a single teacher that advocated anti-Semitism and terrorism had been fired by the UN agency.

How can the Government of Canada assure Canadians that their tax money destined to help educate Palestinian children is not being funnelled into promoting hate?

[English]

Senator Harder: Honourable senator, the Government of Canada, in its development assistance program — a program at least one senator knows a lot more about than I do — has put into place measures to ensure that all of Canada’s requirements are acknowledged and proceeded with as the disbursements take place, and to ensure the best interests of Canadians, with respect for the Canadian taxpayer and also for the policy objectives of the Government of Canada, which in this case is to ensure appropriate humanitarian concern. It is addressing specific policy gaps and needs gaps of the Palestinian people.

[Translation]

Transport

Champlain Bridge

Hon. Leo Housakos: Senator Harder, I want to follow up on our exchange from last week about the Champlain Bridge. When I asked why you didn’t tell us the new bridge wouldn’t be open until June 2019, as the government already knew, you answered, and I quote:

 . . . I am informed and briefed as appropriate to ensure timely information can be provided to this chamber.

On Friday, speaking to Montreal radio station 98.5 FM, Daniel Genest, Director of Coordination for the Signature on the Saint Lawrence consortium, said that the Trudeau government had known about the delay since late September.

Senator Harder, can you explain why it took a month for this information to reach you? Is that your idea of “timely”?

[English]

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I thank the honourable senator for his ongoing vigilance on this matter. The information I provided was the information available to me and given in all good faith.

Senator Housakos: Government leader, the government has an obligation to this chamber and to the Parliament of Canada for information on questions to be timely and accurate. I think it is a question of fundamental respect to the institution that when parliamentarians of any chamber ask a question of the government, the information should be accurate. The Leader of the Government is compelled to give us accurate information.

I do appreciate that the government finally made the right decision. They are now applying the penalties to the consortium and will return over $150 million to the coffers of Canadian taxpayers.

I have another question in regard to this issue, and I hope I can get an accurate and timely answer. Is the government, Transport Canada or Infrastructure Canada currently negotiating with the consortium to make up for the shortfall in revenue that the consortium will inevitably have to face, given the fact that your government, in the last election, decided to withdraw the tolls from this new bridge?

Senator Harder: I will make inquiries and report.

[Translation]

Answers to Order Paper Questions Tabled

Health—Cannabis Producers Who Have Been Issued a License

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 93, dated May 31, 2018, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Boisvenu, respecting cannabis producers issued a license by Health Canada.

Health—Security Clearance Application Form—Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 94, dated May 31, 2018, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Boisvenu, respecting the Health Canada Security Clearance Application Form — Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations.

Crown-Indigenous Relations—Implementation of the 94 Recommendations of the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 107, dated September 18, 2018, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Boisvenu, respecting the implementation of the 94 recommendations of the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Adjournment

Motion Adopted

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of October 31, 2018, moved:

That, when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, November 6, 2018, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[English]

The Senate

Motion to Affect Question Period on November 6, 2018, Adopted

Hon. Diane Bellemare (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of October 31, 2018, moved:

That, in order to allow the Senate to receive a Minister of the Crown during Question Period as authorized by the Senate on December 10, 2015, and notwithstanding rule 4-7, when the Senate sits on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, Question Period shall begin at 3:30 p.m., with any proceedings then before the Senate being interrupted until the end of Question Period, which shall last a maximum of 40 minutes;

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

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

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

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(1410)

Department of Public Works and Government Services Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Ratna Omidvar moved second reading of Bill C-344, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (community benefit).

She said: Honourable senators, I am deep in my study of this bill, but I am not quite ready to launch the debate. I move that further debate be adjourned for the balance of my time.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Omidvar, debate adjourned.)

Girl Guides of Canada Bill

Private Bill—Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Jaffer, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cordy, for the second reading of Bill S-1002, An Act respecting Girl Guides of Canada.

Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak as the official opposition critic of Bill S-1002, An Act respecting Girl Guides of Canada. The Girl Guides of Canada’s governance is formalized through a special act of Parliament titled An Act respecting The Canadian Council of The Girl Guides Association 1917. This act has been amended twice, in 1947 and 1961.

Bill S- 1002 seeks to make administrative edits to the Girl Guides of Canada’s procedural provisions, incorporate certain provisions of the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act and modernize the language of the act to reflect the Girl Guides of Canada’s goals and mission.

As a long-standing institution in its one hundred and first year of incorporation, it is reasonable the Girl Guides of Canada requires an update of its administrative framework. While I am the critic of this bill, I am pleased to express my support and to take this opportunity to speak briefly about the importance of the Girl Guides of Canada.

As a senator from Ontario, I take pride in knowing the Girl Guides of Canada, a treasured national institution whose mission is to be a catalyst for girls empowering girls, was founded in St. Catharines, Ontario. The first ever Girl Guide Camp in Canada was held in June 1911 by the First Toronto Company on the banks of the Credit River. Toronto’s famous Casa Loma was the sight of many Girl Guide events since its owner, Lady Mary Pellatt, was the first chief commissioner of the Canadian Girl Guides from 1912 to 1921. So devoted was Lady Mary to the organization she was buried in her Girl Guide uniform when she died prematurely in 1924.

For over a century now, Canadian girls have turned to Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers to enjoy a safe environment in which they can be themselves while developing lifelong personal and practical skills. The girls of Girl Guides of Canada are also taught to be engaged members of their community.

I was fascinated to learn of Senator Jaffer’s lifelong experience with the Girl Guides. She is an exceptional example of leadership development for which the Girl Guides of Canada is renowned.

The specific challenges facing girls today have changed since 1917 but they have not lessened. With so much of the world online, organizations like the Girl Guides offer girls a physical space to be together and socialize. They are given the opportunity to explore what matters to them, whether it is developing confidence and self-esteem, being creative or learning something as practical as fundraising.

Many of you will be familiar with the recent media stories about enterprising nine-year-old Elina Childs, an Edmonton Brownie who saw an opportunity in the long line that wrapped around the local cannabis shop on legalization day on October 18. She sold out all 30 of her Girl Guide cookie boxes in under 45 minutes, earning $120 for the Girl Guides. This is but one example of the opportunities that Girl Guides offers young girls to grow and learn, make friends, seek challenges, volunteer and have innocent fun.

This empowerment does not only last when the girls are active participants in Girl Guides. As Senator Jaffer so fondly shared with us, she made memories that have lasted a lifetime and had experiences that shaped who she is today.

I commend Senator Jaffer for bringing this forward. I applaud the Girl Guides of Canada for their dedication to enhancing the lives of girls across Canada.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read second time.)

Referred to Committee

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

(On motion of Senator Downe, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.)

The United Church of Canada Act

Private Bill to Amend—Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Harder, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Bellemare, for the second reading of Bill S-1003, An Act to amend The United Church of Canada Act.

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise today on Bill S-1003, An Act to amend the United Church of Canada Act. While I am technically the critic, I want to express my support for this bill.

I should tell you I have some qualifications to speak on this, having been a member of the United Church of Canada before I married a Catholic.

The United Church of Canada, when it was created in 1924, was a different organization from the one that exists today. The governance structure identified in that act made sense at the time. However, the reality is both financial and volunteer resources are becoming scarcer for the church. Hence, the desire to spend less on governance. By changing the governance structure as outlined in the bill, the United Church will have an opportunity to focus more of its resources on its important work such as its global and community work, faith formation and so forth.

It is important to note, colleagues, these suggested changes are the result of a years-long process undertaken by the church itself.

Following the 2012 General Council meeting in Ottawa, a Comprehensive Review Task Group was appointed to consult with the church on ways to restructure. The task group set out on their mission and consulted widely with congregations, presbyteries and conferences, individuals in the church both in person and through modern means such as online surveys. An interim report was tabled, feedback received and a final report with recommendations presented to the 42nd General Council in Corner Brook in 2015.

After considerable discussion and debate, significant changes were approved, including the change from four “courts” as they are called — they are pastoral charge, presbytery, conference and general council — to three councils, a local community of faith or congregation, a regional council and a national general council. The size of the general council has also been shrunk from 50 voting members, plus 20 or more “corresponding members,” to 18 members total, enabling the new executive to work in a very different and more engaged way. An office of vocation would also be established to handle personnel matters related to the council, a job previously handled by volunteers at the presbytery level.

The report also provided more transparency on how the regional and general councils would be funded going forward. In the past, it may not have been clear to those giving to the mission and service fund of the church that some of those funds went toward administration and governance. With this new structure, it will be much clearer how the governing councils are funded and how mission and service donations will be spent.

Once these changes were approved at the general council, the church began a “remit” process, whereby these questions were sent to the entire church for approval. The recommendations for changes needed to be voted on and approved by a majority of pastoral charges and a majority of presbyteries across the country.

In June 2017, the results were reported back, with the church voting overwhelmingly in favour of the three major changes.

On the question of the three council model, 74 presbyteries voted for and seven against, in addition to 1,672 pastoral charges voting for and 222 against. These numbers are similar to those on the question of the establishment of an office of vocation and the implementation of a new funding model.

This past July, the 43rd General Council convened in Oshawa and voted to enact the remits, thus finalizing the internal church process. All that remain in order for the church to implement these approved changes are the amendments which are found in this bill.

So, honourable senators, that is why I ask you to support the swift passage of Bill S-1003.

(1420)

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read second time.)

Referred to Committee

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

(On motion of Senator Harder, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.)

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. Ratna Omidvar: Honourable senators, I wish to move an amendment to the tenth report of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization.

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Therefore, honourable senators, in amendment, I move:

That the report be not now adopted, but that it be further amended by replacing the words “the Senate develop a mission and purpose statement modeled” by the words “the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament develop and propose to the Senate a mission and purpose statement for the Senate modeled”.

The Hon. the Speaker: On debate?

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I will take the adjournment of debate in my name, but does Senator Omidvar plan to explain the amendment at this time?

Senator Omidvar: If you have questions, I am happy to answer them as best I can.

Senator Martin: In terms of the rationale of the amendment you are making, when we meet next with our caucuses and groups, there can be a discussion around the table as to why this amendment is being made. It was an original report tabled here by the Modernization Committee.

Senator Omidvar: Thank you for that question. I asked that question myself. It has to do with the wording of the report, which says that “the Senate develop” a mission statement.

When we are at full capacity, we will be 105 senators. I think we understand how difficult it would be to develop a mission statement here in this chamber with 105 people. It has been recommended — and I understand that the steering committee of the Modernization Committee is sympathetic with this — that it be referred to the Rules Committee for crafting and then be brought back. I hope that answers your question.

Senator Martin: Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Banking, Trade and Commerce

Motion to Authorize the Committee to Study the Operations of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments and the Chambers Banking Ombuds Office—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion, as amended, of the Honourable Senator Ringuette, seconded by the Honourable Senator Lankin, P.C.:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade, and Commerce be authorized to:

(a)Review the operations of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI), and ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office (ADRBO);

(b)Review the agencies’ interaction with and respect for provincial jurisdictions;

(c)Review and determine best practices from similar agencies in other jurisdictions;

(d)Provide recommendations to ensure that the FCAC, OBSI, and ADRBO can better protect consumers and respect provincial jurisdiction; and

That the Committee submit its final report no later than March 18, 2018, and retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

Hon. Marc Gold: Honourable senators, I note that this item is at day 14, and our colleague Senator Marwah wants to speak to it but is not quite ready. Therefore, with leave of the Senate, and notwithstanding rule 4-15(3), I move the adjournment the debate in the name of Senator Marwah.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Gold, for Senator Marwah, debate adjourned.)

The Senate

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. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Question.

Hon. André Pratte: I move the adjournment of the debate.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Pratte, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

Motion Concerning Infrastructure of Newfoundland and Labrador—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Doyle, seconded by the Honourable Senator Tannas:

That the Senate encourage the Government of Canada to work with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the only province whose major population centres are not physically linked to the mainland of Canada, to evaluate the possibility of building a tunnel connecting the Island of Newfoundland to Labrador and the Quebec North Shore, in an effort to facilitate greater economic development in Canada’s Northeast, and to further strengthen national unity, including the possibility of using funding from the infrastructure program for this work; and

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

Hon. Leo Housakos: Honourable senators, as a senator from Quebec, I am pleased to support the motion moved by my colleague Senator Doyle.

[English]

My colleague tells me that, 10 years ago, his motion supporting a better transportation system for his province, including a tunnel, received the unanimous support of all parties and members in the House of Commons. Yet, 10 years later, Senator Doyle is again asking that the Government of Canada help study the idea of a tunnel connecting the island of Newfoundland to the mainland of Canada in the Labrador Straits area. Is such a project viable either in an economic or political sense? I really don’t know, but perhaps it is time that we find out.

I am given to understand that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has updated a 2004 study on the Labrador-Newfoundland fixed link. This new pre-feasibility study talks about an 18-kilometre bored rail tunnel that would cost $1.6 billion, $2.7 billion with interest, and take 15 years to construct. Such a tunnel could shuttle up to 400 vehicles per hour between the island and Labrador, eliminating the ferry run across the Strait of Belle Isle and also taking 60 per cent of the traffic currently using the Marine Atlantic gulf ferry. I gather the next step in the process is a $23-million formal feasibility study. I would encourage the federal government to assist generously in funding the same.

The island of Newfoundland is the sixteenth-largest island in the world and, at the narrowest point, is only 15 kilometres from the Canadian mainland. In other words, the island of Newfoundland is only 15 kilometres from Canada’s Labrador Peninsula, which contains the Labrador portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and a huge chunk of my native province of Quebec.

If the Labrador Peninsula was part of the United States, I would find it hard to imagine the Americans not building a tunnel to their island fortress in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. But the island of Newfoundland is not America’s fortress in the gulf; it is Canada’s fortress in the gulf. It is difficult to put a price tag on national security, but from a national security perspective, the tunnel is a no-brainer.

However, the main reasons I support my colleague’s motion are outlined in the text of his motion:

. . . to facilitate greater economic development in Canada’s Northeast, and to further strengthen national unity . . . .

Senator Doyle has pointed out that many rural parts of his province have experienced a population that is simultaneously shrinking and greying. Where they exist at all, the traditional resource-based industries have consolidated and mechanized, needing fewer workers. Most young people head for greener urban pastures as soon as they finish school. Indeed, this is a phenomenon not only in rural Canada; it is true of rural areas around the world.

Rural areas can be very scenic places, but you don’t raise a family on the income from a short three-month summer tourism season. As well, changes to the EI system over the decades have made the old seasonal work-EI cycle far less viable for rural residents in Canada’s northeast.

Simply put, we still have plenty of rural charm, but the Quebec North Shore, the Labrador Straits and the island of Newfoundland don’t have anywhere near the number of tourists required to make such a rural lifestyle more economically viable. At the moment, travelling the Quebec North Shore involves a ferry boat for part of the trip. If you wanted to hop over to Newfoundland to see the sights and partake in cultural delights, that requires another ferry trip.

Most of Newfoundland’s fresh food supply depends on the gulf ferry service, which is often disrupted for days on end due to weather and/or ice conditions. As for the braver tourists using any ferry service during that time of year, the possibility of being bumped by a truckload of fresh lettuce can’t be a promising prospect.

The answer, of course, is a better road system. We need only to look to the province of P.E.I. for an example. The construction of the Confederation Bridge has transformed the economy of P.E.I., and it is my hope that the completion of the Quebec North Shore highway, Route 138, and a tunnel link to the island of Newfoundland will do wonders for the economy of the whole northeast region.

[Translation]

In fact, regional stakeholders, including municipalities in Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland have been asking for a tunnel for several years.

[English]

The Government of Quebec is still working on Route 138, which will link Quebec City with the Quebec North Shore and all of Labrador. Indeed, when Route 138 is completed, people in Fermont, in northeastern Quebec, will be able to drive to Quebec City via the Trans-Labrador Highway and the Quebec North Shore Highway.

(1430)

The completion of Highway 138 will facilitate the further economic development of the hydro power, forest and mineral resources of the whole Labrador Peninsula. Building a tunnel under the Strait of Belle Isle would allow for an expansion of the tourism industry throughout the entire region. For the first time ever, tourists from all over North America would be able to drive up to the Quebec North Shore, drive all over Labrador and onto the island of Newfoundland. Such a transportation loop would be a tremendous economic boost to most of the people and communities in Canada’s northeast.

[Translation]

The tunnel would benefit not only national security, economic development and tourism, but it would also help foster national unity.

[English]

Our two provinces are probably best known for their rivalry in the development of the hydroelectric potential of Labrador Peninsula. However, cultural uniqueness is one thing both provinces also have in common. The province of Quebec has long been considered the most distinct society within Canada. However, given Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique history and its own particular brand of the English language, some people, including Senator Doyle, contend that Newfoundland and Labrador is the second-most distinct society in Canada.

The governments of our two provinces recently signed a cooperation agreement agreeing to cooperate on issues where it is mutually beneficial to do so. Joining our two distinct provinces by a tunnel can only lead to increased dialogue and a better understanding and respect for each other. Building a tunnel would put our two provinces in the loop, so to speak, and this would only strengthen our national unity.

As for the money for such a venture, why not tap the federal government’s infrastructure funds? It certainly meets the criteria. A tunnel would stimulate economic growth and be a nation-building exercise as well.

As I indicated earlier, Senator Doyle raised this issue in the other place 10 years ago. As I understand it, the issue of a tunnel is still being studied, and the issue has raised its head a number of times during the intervening years, especially around election time. For some reason, tunnels are very popular during election campaigns but seem to fade from the spotlight when the elections are over.

For 10 years, various governments have been looking at whether a tunnel to the island of Newfoundland is politically or economically viable. It is certainly technically feasible, and I firmly believe the concept is worth the cost of a formal feasibility study.

As we debate this, many rural areas of Canada are dying, colleagues. We can’t undo the inevitable march of time, but neither do we have to go quietly into the night. If a tunnel could stem the inevitable march, even just a bit, then parts of Canada’s northeast may live to fight — dare I say, prosper — another day.

Accordingly, I support Senator Doyle’s motion. As a nation, we should finish the Quebec North Shore Highway and we should construct a tunnel to the island of Newfoundland. It’s not every day we start a nation-building project with tunnel vision, but in this case, I am all for it. Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Omidvar, debate adjourned.)

Anti-Black Racism

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Bernard, calling the attention of the Senate to anti-black racism.

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Senator Bernard’s very timely inquiry on anti-Black racism in this country. I want to thank Senators Bernard, McPhedran, Mitchell, Mégie and Pate for their contributions to this discussion thus far and to commend them for what they have put on the table for us to think about.

As I was preparing my remarks today, I couldn’t help but remember Senator Mégie’s retelling of how anti-Black racism plays out in the lives of people. I am not Black, but I am Brown, and I too have experienced racism — institutional racism, for instance — when in the first 10 years of my life in Canada, Canadian work experience kept getting put on the table. But somehow I think — at least I feel — it is always the expressions of racism that are personal that hurt the most; for instance, the many times I have been mistaken as a customer service employee in a grocery store where I am shopping simply because of the colour of my skin. “You’re Brown; you must work here.”

But in listening to Senator Mégie, I now feel that what I have experienced are mere pinpricks. No one follows me around in a store. I am not frightened that my children will get pulled over when driving. I am not subject to discriminatory practices such as carding. So I conclude that just as there are different seasons, there are also different degrees and shades of racism.

And lest we think that racism is particularly present in one race or one people or one country, let me also point out that I think it is sadly more universal than that. In India, the country where I grew up, we were all Brown but shades of Brown. So some northern Indians will look down on some southern Indians because they are a darker shade of Brown.

I want to focus primarily on the language that contributes to anti-Black racism, because language is a reflection of our values; it shapes our ideas and gives voice and expression to how we see sameness or difference. Language, therefore, becomes a powerful expression of racism, even more so when we use it casually, with no intention to offend or harm.

A cursory look at some of the terminology reveals that the word “black” is associated with negatives and pejoratives. Because language is learned either as a mother tongue or other, these terms become part of our vocabulary, and we therefore become part of the casual racism that is implicit in them.

Let me give you a few examples and use their dictionary definition as I do so.

A blacklist is defined as a “list of people or groups of people regarded as unacceptable or untrustworthy and often marked down for punishment or exclusion.”

Blackmail is to “threaten or manipulate their feelings to force them to do something.”

A black mark is a “note or record of a person’s misdemeanour or discreditable action.”

A blackguard is a “thoroughly unprincipled person.”

To blackball someone is to ostracize them socially or commercially.

To be the black sheep in your family is to be a member who is “regarded as a disgrace to it.”

I think we all know what Black Monday meant on that date in the 1980s. It referred to the financial crash in stock markets and the loss of prosperity for many.

I could go on and on — black book, black heart, black magic, black spot — but I want to think about this expression in other languages, and because we are a bilingual country, I looked at French. Sadly, to my great disappointment and disadvantage, I speak no French. It is my firm intention one day to be able to stand up and at least make a statement in reasonable French.

I reached out to my francophone colleagues for help with this, whether racism is embedded indeed with the association of the word “black” only in English or does it exist in French as well?

Senator Cormier told me that there is an expression, I think it’s regional, that is trou noir, or black hole, which has a whole different meaning in parts of the country where there is seasonal unemployment. Trou noir, or black hole, is referred to the time between when you lose your job and when you gain your benefits.

(1440)

The French version of “black sheep” is “brebis galeuse,” which roughly translates into “a flock of scabs.”

I grant that there are nouns with “black” in them that are not negative: blacksmith, blackberry, blackjack — I don’t know about blackjack. But what is surprising is that there are no words with “black” that are expressly positive.

African-American studies professor Dr. Vernon McClean has a list of terms under “blackness,” derived from the latest edition of the thesaurus. There are 120 synonyms, of which over half are distinctly unfavourable to Black people.

I hope honourable senators don’t think this is my attempt to instill into our discussion some kind of language police or political correctness. Rather, I think this is an acknowledgment of our own individual and, hopefully, collective power and ability to influence the discourse in this chamber and beyond.

As we have learned in recent times from our neighbours south of our border, words matter. When leaders incite hatred or promote stereotypes and falsehoods based on race, ethnicity or cultural differences, it inspires others to pursue those same ends to an even greater or violent extreme, and the same must be said for the everyday language that often goes unchecked.

To again quote Vernon McClean:

. . . language not only expresses ideas and concepts, but also actually shapes thought.

. . . while we may not be in a position to change the English language, we can . . . change our usage of the language.

. . . we can avoid using words that degrade black people. We can make a conscious effort to use adjectives that reflect a progressive perspective, as opposed to a distortion of the black experience.

Or, as an anthropology professor has so aptly said, we must see race through a lens of language, and language through a lens of race.

Thank you very much.

(On motion of Senator Cordy, debate adjourned.)

Question of Privilege

Speaker’s Ruling Reserved

The Hon. the Speaker: We’ll return to the question of privilege, Senator Patterson.

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Thank you, Your Honour.

Honourable senators, it gives me no great joy to bring forward this point of privilege. I’ve been a member of this chamber for going on 10 years, and I was delighted to attend my first interparliamentary conference, the Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, in Inari, Finland, in September of this year. It was for me a very enriching experience. Over my years serving in the Northwest Territories legislature, I participated in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association international conferences and regional seminars.

While my experience in this place with parliamentary associations has been more limited than those of many of my Senate colleagues, veteran parliamentarians more familiar with the operation of parliamentary associations on the Hill have told me that there is a long and well-established tradition of parliamentary associations operating in a collegial manner. This is, of course, because it is most beneficial to Canada to present a united voice in interfacing with other countries, but also because these organizations have long prided themselves on being non-partisan.

I would be naive, Your Honour, if I did not know — or mention in this address that I know — that there were partisan political motives behind the move to unseat the chair at this meeting; at least, I believe that is what was going on. However, as I have said, I believe there is no place for partisanship in these parliamentary committees, except in ensuring a fair representation of all political parties and organizations in the Canadian parliamentary delegations.

More important, if a group of parliamentarians are going to organize to throw their partisan political weight around, let them do so with respect and dignity, and let them do so with respect to parliamentary traditions and the constitution of the parliamentary association.

As I stated in my letter to the Clerk, on the evening of October 30, 2018, I attended the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association meeting. A point of order was raised, claiming that the meeting was not convened in accordance with the association’s constitution. A procedural clerk confirmed this, and the meeting was subsequently adjourned by the chair. That ruling by the chair was not challenged.

The majority of parliamentarians in attendance then left the room and, indeed, the building. I left with them, thinking the meeting was over. However, I learned in the late morning of October 31, 2018, that after adjournment the meeting had been deemed reconvened by the honourable member for Etobicoke Centre, despite his lacking the authority to do so, and that the same member had named himself chair of the association.

It is my submission, Your Honour, that the member for Etobicoke Centre obstructed my privilege to vote in the affairs of the association, of which I am a paid member. I ask Your Honour to find that my parliamentary privileges were breached.

In aid of that, I would recite to Your Honour the Constitution of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association, part 4, which states that the association functions “. . . within the mandate of the Speakers of the Senate and House of Commons . . . .” And part 6 names both Speakers as “Honorary Chairs.”

I am appealing to you, Your Honour, as a parliamentarian, a member of the Senate of Canada, to not only acknowledge that there is a prima facie case of breach of privilege, but also to find that the association’s members had not been given any notice of a call for nominations to replace the chair of the committee and, consequently, that any subsequent meeting convened without the appropriate notice was not done so in accordance with parliamentary procedure and the association’s bylaws.

However, if you find no breach of my parliamentary privileges, I would be grateful for any advice you might choose to give that would comment on the importance of maintaining dignity and respect for each other in undertaking our parliamentary duties and representing this great democracy in interfaces with other countries. It is embarrassing that the Parliamentary Protective Service was called in an attempt to maintain order at a parliamentary association meeting.

Therefore, Your Honour, in accordance with rule 13-2(1)(d) of the Rules of the Senate, I am requesting that you work with your colleague in the other place to ensure that another meeting is convened that gives the appropriate notice and enables fellow parliamentarians and me to exercise our voting privileges. Thank you.

Hon. Victor Oh: Honourable colleagues, I rise to support the question of privilege raised by Senator Patterson.

I attended the NATO annual general meeting held on October 30, which was called by 10 members of the association, upon a minimum of two weeks’ notice. After a point of order put forward by a member of the association, the meeting was adjourned by the chair, upon consultation with a procedural clerk. We returned the ballots to the association staff from the International and Interparliamentary Affairs Directorate upon departure. When I left, I saw a full box of returned ballots by association members. That was it; we all understood that the meeting was officially adjourned and thus no election of association chair would be conducted.

(1450)

However, to our dismay, we learned the following morning that an election of association chair was carried out after we left.

Honourable colleagues, I would like to point out this election is illegitimate according to the constitution of the association, part 9, Nominations Committee and Elections:

(c) The Association secretary shall distribute nomination forms to all members of the Association.

Nominations should be received at least one week in advance of the General Meeting. The Association secretary should prepare a nominations report based on nominations received. Once the deadline has passed, the nominations should be made public.

(d) Only positions for which no candidacy has been put forward can be filled by nominations from the floor at the General Meeting.

We have not received nomination forms from the election chair at all, let alone one week in advance of the general meeting.

Subsequently, no nominations have been made public prior to the meeting.

The meeting is also against other rules, for example:

(e) The election shall be presided over by a parliamentarian who is not nominated for a position on the executive of the Association.

What happened at the unlawful meeting was the Honourable member for Etobicoke Centre presided over the meeting and named himself chair of the association.

As the co-chair of three parliamentary friendship groups as well as vice-chair for two parliamentary associations, I find this illegitimate meeting obstructed my privilege of voting and being voted as a member of good standing in the NATO Parliamentary Association.

Since the Honourable Speaker is the honorary chair of the association, I seek your advice and request a ruling on this issue. Thank you.

Hon. Jane Cordy: Thank you very much. I wasn’t planning on speaking. I have to correct a couple of things.

First of all, when I look in our rule book it says the question of privilege must be raised at the earliest opportunity. This meeting took place on Tuesday evening. It was on the media on Tuesday night when I got home and heard about it.

I have been in the Senate for over 18 years. It was absolutely the worst meeting I’ve ever attended.

The mood in the room was not helped by Conservative staffers who were drinking vodka and singing loudly. All had their song books. That was confirmed last night by the leader in the other place, the Conservative leader, who said he didn’t mind the staff members drinking because it was late in the evening. That was in an interview with Don Martin.

That was something I’ve never seen before. It showed no respect for the MPs and the senators who were there. It was unfortunate that security had to be called in to ask the staffers to leave the room.

The adjournment by the former chair was out of order. She did not ask for a motion to adjourn the meeting. She did not ask for the support of the majority to adjourn the meeting. In fact, she adjourned the meeting after the vote was taken on the point of order of the Conservative MP who was at the mic. When it came back that she agreed the order was — in fact, she was chairing the meeting, which I found unusual.

Then the adjournment came. She didn’t allow Liberal MPs or anybody except Conservative MPs to be at the microphone.

It was unfortunate also because I saw on a couple of occasions where Liberals were standing at the microphone and were actually — the Conservatives moved in front of them.

It was an improper adjournment.

When she was adjourning it, there happened to be a Liberal MP at the microphone saying she wanted to overturn the decision that had been made by the chairperson. The former chair just banged the gavel again. That, I believe, was improper.

The vice-chair of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly went to the front and continued the meeting, which the majority in the room felt had been improperly handled and was not done properly.

In fact, the honourable member from Etobicoke did not preside over his election. One of the staff members came to me and said I was on the list of people who could preside over the election of a new chairperson. I asked why. They said they weren’t really sure. I don’t know for sure, but I’m assuming it was because I was a former chair of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

The other person who was in the room was a Conservative MP. He said he would prefer not to do it, understandably so.

I actually presided — called for nominations for a chairperson, three times. One person, Borys Wrzesnewskyj, was the only person whose name came forward. He was elected unanimously.

I believe it was done in good stead. You could tell, coming into the meeting, that things were not — as I said earlier, in 18 years it was the worst meeting I have ever attended. You could tell coming in that there was no desire for friendliness — I’m not sure what terms you used — dignity and respect. And I agree with that, Senator Patterson. That was certainly not in evidence that night. But I do agree the majority of the people did not leave the room. The majority of the people stayed in the room after the former chair supposedly — and what I think was not correctly — adjourned the meeting. The majority of the people did stay in the room. Some people did leave, I grant you that. Thank you.

Hon. Michael L. MacDonald: I wasn’t going to speak to this, either. Now I will.

I was at that meeting. There was a point of order put on the floor. The chair conferred with the clerks and determined that the point of order was in order. The chair, having the authority to dismiss the meeting, dropped down the gavel and dismissed the meeting.

I have heard a lot of things said here today about drinking during the meeting. There may have been drinking but it wasn’t during the meeting. It was after the meeting. We were not conferred. The meeting had been ended by the chair who had the authority to end the meeting.

I’m not privy to the workings of the government and people in the government and how they determine how they manage these meetings. If the government puts forward a motion that’s out of order, surely that’s the government’s fault. It’s not the fault of the opposition or the other people in the room. They have to do their own due diligence when it comes to managing these meetings.

I don’t understand why — we are a country with the rule of law and rules. We’re not Zimbabwe or Venezuela where you can just ignore the rules of committees or of Parliament. It’s completely inappropriate for a deputy chair or anybody else to grab the gavel and go up after the meeting is adjourned and declare they’re going to readjourn the meeting. This can’t be done under our system.

I was there at the front of the room. When the chair adjourned the meeting, nobody challenged or appealed that ruling. That ruling was not appealed at the time. And people started to fritter away.

Now, people may not be happy with the decision of the chair, but the chair has the authority to declare the meeting closed if the point of order was valid. The clerk determined it was valid.

So all the rest of this stuff is smoke and mirrors. The chair had the authority. The clerk confirmed the point of order was valid, and the chair closed the meeting.

(1500)

If the organization wants to reconvene another meeting they can, but they have to give fair notice and that was not done. Those are the rules.

I support Senator Patterson’s declaration of a question of privilege because I think our privilege has been compromised, and I ask Your Honour to address it. Thank you.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: Honourable senators, I hadn’t planned to speak to this question until Senator Cordy spoke to it.

I wasn’t at the meeting, but I certainly heard of the meeting that evening and have heard a fair bit since then. There are, of course, different associations and committees that are meeting specifically in this regard, and it will be dealt with at different committees, but my good friend Senator Cordy turned this into a partisan issue and I don’t believe it should be a partisan issue.

I could stand here and say there were 24 independent senators there who were all wanting to help unseat one of the most qualified women chairs of the NATO association that we could probably get.

Senator Campbell: In your opinion.

Senator Plett: I could say there were Liberal senators and MPs there who wanted to unseat a Conservative. I would like to believe that Parliamentary Associations are somewhat non-partisan and somewhat impartial, and that we should strive to get the best people in the right places. That person was the chair of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association until there was a coup to unseat her.

Then when we thought they couldn’t do it the way they thought they wanted to do it, my good friend across takes the chair in what was an entirely unconstituted meeting.

The constitution of the parliamentary group says a call for nominations has to be issued two weeks in advance of any vote on a new chair, and nominations have to be received in advance of the meeting — not on the floor — for a new chair to be elected. In this case, neither of those things happened, so Alleslev ruled it out of order, she said in the statement, signed “Chair of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association.”

They tried to do something that was unconstitutional by the rules of that association, and our good friend across presided as the chair of that.

Now, that isn’t what Senator Patterson has asked for you to rule on, but I find it quite offensive that somebody in this chamber would have taken part. We try to consider ourselves being a bit better than the people in the other place, and here we are the ones that are the culprits.

Your Honour, this isn’t about the comments I made about 24 independents being out there showing exactly how independent they are. This isn’t about an independent Liberal showing exactly how independent that independent Liberal is. This is about our parliamentary privilege being usurped at that meeting by us not being able to have a vote.

This is not about whether there were people having a drink after the meeting was over — not during the meeting, after the meeting was over. There was no business being conducted. If they want to sing Christmas carols there, that has nothing to do with the meeting, Your Honour. For anyone to even suggest they were singing during a meeting, they weren’t singing during a meeting. They were singing after a meeting — God love them.

Your Honour, this is about one issue and one issue only, and that is whether parliamentary privilege was taken away from people having a constitutional right to vote at a meeting. This is not about other things. Please, let us leave the partisanship about the conduct of people out of it, because that has nothing to do with it.

This has to do with the chair of an association adjourning a meeting. Whether or not she should have adjourned the meeting is irrelevant. She adjourned the meeting constitutionally; that meeting was over. If they want to have another meeting, they serve notice, they will have another meeting, and we will be there again. Hopefully, the next one will be done properly.

Your Honour, I think Senator Patterson has indeed proven his point. His parliamentary privilege was taken away, as was that of many other senators. Thank you.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Scott Tannas: I wasn’t planning to speak on this question, but I want to add a couple of things. I have a couple of observations that are counter to what Senator Cordy just said.

First, as has been said, I attended the meeting until the gavel went down. I stood up with a host of people, and we streamed out of there. A number of us left our ballots on the chairs.

There was no drinking while that meeting was going on. I had absolutely no idea until late the next morning when we heard what happened.

There was no person challenging the chair on that decision when the chair adjourned the meeting. It was actually quite comical. Those of you who were there will remember what happened.

There was an initial point of order that the chair sought advice from and overruled that point of order, but the Liberal lady — her job was to challenge the chair — jumped up, ran over and challenged that decision, which was actually in her favour. So she was dragged away and embarrassed because she did that.

Then we had a second point of order, which was the one that said: “Nobody gave notice of the election of nominations for a new chair that would have been provisional on removing the old chair.” The chair went away and considered that with the clerks, came back and said, “I find that in order.” Bang.

Now, I have always wondered why we have gavels at all these meetings. It seems like something back to “Mayberry R.F.D.,” but there is a reason for gavels, and it was displayed the night before last. Otherwise, why do we continue to have silly gavels? They are there because there is a chair who is in charge and can use it.

Your Honour, I hope you will take my intervention into consideration.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Marc Gold: I, too, wasn’t intending to speak, but I was there.

I am not going to comment on whether or not this is a question of privilege or whether there was a breach of privilege —

Senator Plett: You know it is.

Senator Gold: — nor am I going to comment on the motivations while I was there, except to say that as a member of the executive of that organization, I felt duty bound to attend an annual meeting duly called. That is why I was there.

I simply want to make one small factual point, and it is this: As Senator Tannas pointed out, there was a second motion that objected to the lack of notice for nominations. There was a consultation that the chair took. She came back and ruled that that motion was correct and then slammed the gavel.

Senator Tkachuk: Point of order.

Senator Gold: Point of order. Thank you, senator. She slammed the gavel, adjourned the meeting and left the chair. Tumult erupted.

There was no real opportunity at that juncture to challenge that ruling. The chair had actually left the chair and the podium —

Senator Plett: The meeting was over.

Senator Batters: The meeting was over.

The Hon. the Speaker: Order, honourable senators. If you wish to speak to this matter, you will have an opportunity. Senator Gold has the floor.

Senator Gold: As I said at the outset, I am not standing up to try to assist you in the legal ruling of whether there is a question of privilege, but simply to give you my version of the facts at the very end to the extent that that may or may not be relevant. Thank you, Your Honour.

Hon. Denise Batters: Thank you, Your Honour. I was at the meeting, and I heard Senator Cordy’s remarks on this matter, so I wanted to add a few comments to this.

I support Senator Patterson’s question of privilege. I was at Tuesday night’s meeting, including for quite some time after the chair, MP Leona Alleslev, adjourned the meeting properly, in my view.

The chair, Leona Alleslev, as some have said, dealt with the first point of order. After conferring with the clerk, she took the clerk’s advice and ruled that first point of order out of order. Then, on the second point of order, he again took the time to confer with the clerk of the meeting and ruled that that particular point of order was well constituted and that the meeting was not properly constituted because, as the clerk had indicated, the nomination call had not gone out. The gavel went down and that is the end of it.

(1510)

As all of us who have had the honour to chair meetings here, we are instructed of the importance of that gavel. That is the reason you need to do that at the end of the meeting. It is not just for show; that signifies the end of the meeting.

Then, after that ensued, I was sitting at the back of the room for quite some time after that meeting adjourned. Yes, there was some singing. I was impressed with this group of young people who knew the words to John Denver’s song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads”. The singing that ensued was in good humour after a meeting had adjourned.

As I said, I was sitting close to the back of the room and when I later heard these news reports that emphasized these red cups and this drinking, I can honestly say I saw none of that, even though I was sitting quite close to where these people were. If any of that ensued, that was extremely limited and I, sitting very close to that, had no clue that had even happened. Contrary to the news reports that have been going around on this, that was not something that was widespread in any way. It was something that happened briefly, perhaps, and not in any way to be disrespectful.

As many of us know there are receptions held in those very rooms. There might have even been one later that night or earlier that day where sometimes a glass of wine is served. To act like that is something absolutely abhorrent to being in one of those rooms, I don’t think is the case at all.

In this particular matter, I wanted to say, in my view, the disrespectful part was the part that was played, and in a very orchestrated way; There were staff of the Liberal whip’s office on the other side who were there ensuring that probably a dozen cabinet ministers were there; Liberal MPs were there at all times to ensure they probably had a two-to-one ratio at that meeting. I have to say that, yes, they are the Government of Canada, and they can’t even manage to take proper control of a meeting without breaking rules when they have a two-to-one ratio in favour.

For all those reasons I support Senator Patterson’s question and look forward to your ruling.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I will hear from a few more senators but I would like to point out I believe I have heard more than enough about the facts surrounding this event. I don’t need to hear any more of that. If someone wishes to speak directly to the Question of Privilege, I would be happy to entertain that.

Hon. David M. Wells: I hadn’t intended to speak on the facts of the meeting. In fact, I wasn’t at the meeting.

However, I want to speak to one of the points you have to consider, Your Honour, in considering this point. It was an item that Senator Cordy brought up in contention of Senator Patterson’s Question of Privilege. That is I don’t think the fact that Senator Patterson’s Question of Privilege was brought up two days after the meeting is relevant in the case that it necessarily had to happen on Wednesday.

As Senator Gold said, this tumult ensued and occurred and tumbled into the next day with media reports and people trying to find out if the meeting was reconstituted properly. I know the website was updated the following day to reflect MP Wrzesnewskyj’s chairmanship. All this happened on Wednesday, as well, by the time Senator Patterson and any of us were engaged in this and realized what was happening.

I think his bringing this up to you today is an appropriate amount of time and is as quickly as it could be understood, even though it wasn’t understood immediately the day following the event.

Hon. André Pratte: Coming back to the requirements related to a Question of Privilege, there is a matter that Senator Wells just raised — the issue of the earliest opportunity.

On these questions, Mr. Speaker, I have questions, but not answers. I wasn’t at the meeting. I am just trying to reflect and maybe get answers to my questions about whether this rises to the level of a Question of Privilege.

The issue of the earliest opportunity in my mind is not a matter of hours or minutes. It is a matter of whether, once the facts have been gathered, a senator raises the issue. I don’t think we should be too minute about this. It is not a matter of minutes or hours. Of course, if the senator raises the question two weeks after an event we all would agree this is not the earliest opportunity.

My real question is on the second requirement, which says it must be a matter directly concerning the privilege of the Senate, of any Senate committee or of any senator. I don’t know the answer to this; I am just wondering whether what happens inside an annual assembly of a parliamentary association is part of the privilege of a senator. I’m not certain about this. I know the Speaker has the authority over the Joint Interparliamentary Council. Therefore it is related to the work of a senator. Whether it is part of the privilege protected by a senator’s privilege, I’m not certain.

This links to the third criteria, which is the issue must be raised to correct a grave and serious breach. Obviously, if it is not a matter of the senator’s privilege, it is not a serious breach, but I don’t know the answer to this.

Finally, it must be raised to seek a genuine remedy that the Senate has the power to provide for which no other parliamentary process is reasonably available.

Again, I wasn’t there so I don’t know. From what I have heard it seems to me the solution resides within the parliamentary association. There should be another meeting called and the members who are at the meeting resolve this issue. That seems to me to be the easiest way out of this problem.

I’m not sure the Speaker of the Senate has to intervene for this to happen. Maybe, but I’m not certain. These are just questions that I wanted to raise related to the requirements for a Question of Privilege. Maybe other honourable senators would help me, and help you, provide answers to these questions.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan: With respect to the technicality the senator raised about the deadline, if anyone is hoping that will be grounds for rejecting the Question of Privilege, let me say that I am a member of the association too and I was there that day. I left the room after the chair adjourned the meeting, and it was not until today that I heard about the event that prompted Senator Patterson’s Question of Privilege.

Rest assured that, in accordance with rule 13-4, if you decide that Senator Patterson’s was raised after the deadline, I myself will raise a Question of Privilege that will include all of Senator Patterson’s arguments.

[English]

Hon. David Tkachuk: I wasn’t going to speak either. Further to the Question of Privilege, we paid for that privilege. The Senate itself pays one third of the expenses of all parliamentary organizations. I, as a member, pay for that privilege. I still have my ballot in the office. My privilege was also abused in this process.

Hon. Serge Joyal: I would like, Mr. Speaker, to draw your attention to the last decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in relation to the definition of the scope of parliamentary privilege. It is a decision made public on October 10, so it is very fresh. In a decision of seven to two, the Supreme Court of Canada has determined what should be understood as parliamentary privilege as far as the Speaker is involved. I think in that decision you will find the wisdom and interpretation of the law of the land, especially in relation to privilege, that might help and guide you in the determination of the issue you are asked to rule on today.

The Hon. the Speaker: I would like to thank all senators for their input into this very important question. I will take the matter under advisement.

(1520)

The Senate

Motion to Call on the Governor in Council to Appoint Clerk of the Senate Upon Recommendation of the Senate—Motion in Amendment—Debate Continued

Leave having been given to revert to Other Business, Motions, Order No. 328:

On the Order:

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

That, in the interest of promoting the autonomy and independence of the Senate, the Senate calls on the Governor in Council to appoint the Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments in accordance with the express recommendation of the Senate.

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Saint-Germain, seconded by the Honourable Senator Housakos:

That the motion be not now adopted, but that it be amended by adding the following before the period:

“; and

That it be an instruction to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration that it consider and recommend to the Senate, no later than the fifteenth day the Senate sits after the adoption of this motion, a process by which the Senate could submit to the Governor in Council its recommendation on the nomination of a person or list of persons with the skills and capacities required for the position of Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments”.

Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals): Honourable senators, I don’t intend to speak on this matter today, but I would ask for your indulgence in adjourning the matter further in my name so I can speak later on.

(On motion of Senator Day, debate adjourned.)

Motion to Affect Sitting on November 20, 2018, Adopted

Hon. Sabi Marwah, pursuant to notice of October 30, 2018, moved:

That, in order to allow senators to attend a mandatory training session on the prevention of harassment in the workplace, pursuant to the recommendations of the first report of the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, if the Senate sits on Tuesday, November 20, 2018:

(a)it adjourn no later than 4 p.m., as if that were the ordinary time of adjournment provided for in rule 3-4;

(b)if a vote had been deferred to 5:30 p.m. on that day, it instead take place at the end of Routine Proceedings, with the bells to call in the senators ringing for 15 minutes before the vote; and

(c)notwithstanding any provision of the Rules, previous order or usual practice, committees not meet between 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on that day.

He said: Honourable senators, there are several reasons to support this motion for mandatory training for senators on the prevention of harassment.

Earlier this year, the first report of the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration made the following recommendation:

That the Human Resources Directorate be instructed to coordinate mandatory training on the prevention of harassment in the workplace for all Senators, which takes into account the training provided to Members of Parliament, to be conducted by December 31, 2018.

This recommendation was based on the testimony of several witnesses which underlined that “there is an immediate need for mandatory and customized training in the prevention of harassment and violence in the Senate.”

It is my understanding that leaders of all caucuses and groups have agreed to this mandatory training and to adjourn the Senate earlier on November 20 to allow training sessions to take place.

I also note that the House of Commons made it mandatory for political staff to attend online or in-person training on prevention of harassment on March 1, 2018.

Furthermore, the mandatory training has been communicated externally and very positively received.

I would make two additional points. First, employees with supervisory or managerial responsibilities, senators’ staff and employees of the Senate administration are also required to attend this mandatory training. Second, the Human Resources Directorate will report back to CIBA on the participation rate by April 30, 2019.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

Committee Authorized to Meet During Sitting of the Senate

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo, pursuant to notice of October 31, 2018, moved:

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

Motion in Modification

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 5-10(1), I ask leave of the Senate to modify the motion so that it reads as follows:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources have the power to meet at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.

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

Hon. Donald Neil Plett: I have a question if this is the right time.

The Hon. the Speaker: Do you have a question for Senator Woo?

Senator Plett: Yes, I do.

Yesterday we adopted a motion that we would not allow committees to sit while the Senate sits unless they are dealing with government business. Can Senator Woo tell us whether we are dealing with government business and, if we are, what that business is?

Senator Woo: Yes, Senator Plett. Thank you for your question. The committee is well aware of the motion moved yesterday. The agenda is related to government legislation and, in particular, will be hearing from the Minister of the Environment, Minister McKenna.

Senator Plett: Thank you.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to, as modified.)

The Senate

Motion to Urge the Government to Temporarily Rename the Government Conference Centre Adopted

Hon. Scott Tannas, pursuant to notice of October 31, 2018, moved:

That the Senate, taking note:

1.that both Houses of Parliament have agreed to relocate temporarily their meeting chambers from the Centre Block, in order to allow a complete renovation of the building;

2.that these renovations are expected to last until 2028; and

3.that it is planned for both houses to return simultaneously to the Centre Block;

express its desire that the government:

1.rename the Government Conference Centre as “The Senate of Canada Building” during the period that the Senate Chamber is located there; and

2.consult with the Senate as to appropriate signage for that building during that period.

He said: I stand available for any questions with my time. I believe some of the leaders may want to chip in.

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(At 3:26 p.m., the Senate was continued until Tuesday, November 6, 2018, at 2 p.m.)