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Previous Sittings
Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 264

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

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


Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, there have been consultations and there is an agreement to allow a photographer in the Senate Chamber to photograph the introduction of new senators.

Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

New Senators

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that the Clerk of the Senate has received certificates from the Registrar General of Canada showing that the following persons, respectively, have been summoned to the Senate:

Margaret Dawn Anderson

Patricia Jane Duncan

Stanley Paul Kutcher

Rosemary Moodie


The Hon. the Speakerhaving informed the Senate that there were senators without, waiting to be introduced:

The following honourable senators were introduced; presented Her Majesty’s writs of summons; took the oath prescribed by law, which was administered by the Clerk of the Senate; and were seated:

Hon. Margaret Dawn Anderson, of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, introduced between Hon. Peter Harder, P.C., and Hon. Murray Sinclair.


Hon. Pat Duncan, of Whitehorse, Yukon, introduced between Hon. Peter Harder, P.C., and Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk.

Hon. Stan Kutcher, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, introduced between Hon. Peter Harder, P.C., and Hon. Jane Cordy.


The following honourable senator was introduced; presented Her Majesty’s writ of summons; took the solemn affirmation, which was administered by the Clerk of the Senate; and was seated:

Hon. Rosemary Moodie, of Toronto, Ontario, introduced between Hon. Peter Harder, P.C., and Hon. Ratna Omidvar.

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that each of the honourable senators named above had made and subscribed the declaration of qualification required by the Constitution Act, 1867, in the presence of the Clerk of the Senate, the Commissioner appointed to receive and witness the said declaration.

Speaker’s Statement

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, this being our first day in our new Senate of Canada Building, I would like to begin our proceedings by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.


Today, senators from across the country are meeting for the first time in the new Senate of Canada, in this magnificent chamber. It is the first time in years that all 105 seats in this chamber have been filled.


Extensive rehabilitation work over the past few years has converted a former train station and Government Conference Centre into a modern Parliament building, one that reflects the history of our institution and the history, indeed, of our country.

Restoring this Ottawa landmark and transforming it into a legislature was no small undertaking. It was an extensive collaboration between multiple partners from all corners of the Parliamentary Precinct. It required an incredible amount of planning, design, testing, hard work and, quite literally, heavy lifting.

I wish to express my appreciation to our colleagues on the Long Term Vision and Plan Subcommittee for providing the insight and direction in the Senate’s move down to Rideau Street.

I would also like to take a moment to recognize and applaud the employees of the Senate Administration, the House Multimedia Services, the Library of Parliament, the Parliamentary Protective Service and, indeed, Public Services and Procurement Canada, who dedicated countless hours to ensuring that our interim chamber would be ready for senators this afternoon.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Colleagues, it will inevitably take some time to settle into our new home. There will be an adjustment period for many of us, especially as we prepare for the first-ever video broadcast of chamber proceedings in the coming weeks. I am confident, however, that our new facilities will further our commitment to serve Canadians, as a chamber of ideas and legislative review, as a bold voice for the regions and minorities, and as a forward-looking institution with the interests of future generations of Canadians uppermost in our minds.

Today marks an important day in the history of the upper chamber. On behalf of everyone who played a role in bringing us to this moment, I welcome you to the new Senate of Canada Building.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Congratulations on Appointments

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you, Your Honour. As we gather in our new house, I’m happy to recognize that, thanks to the appointment of four new colleagues, it is the first time in eight years that the Senate has a full house.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Harder: We also have a house that is very close to achieving gender parity.

It is my pleasure, as the Government Representative in the Senate, to be the first to welcome our new Senate colleagues here today.

One of our four new colleagues is a former co-worker of mine. Senator Duncan and I go back many years to the office of the Honourable Erik Nielsen, whose daughter is here to witness the happy appointment of one of Mr. Nielsen’s staffers. Senator Duncan was Mr. Neilsen’s constituency assistant, so I can vouch for her strong outreach skills.

Yukoners can be certain that she will have their best interests at heart as she has proven from a career devoted to community building through business, public and political service, as well as active volunteering.

In recognition of her dedication to public service, Senator Duncan was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.

From the Northwest Territories, we welcome Senator Margaret Dawn Anderson, who also has a distinguished career as a devoted public servant.

In her work, she addressed such issues as community justice and domestic violence, and found effective approaches that integrate treatment of mental health, addictions and cognitive challenges. Twice she has received the territorial Premier’s Award for Excellence for her leadership and commitment to community.

From our largest city, Toronto, we welcome Senator Rosemary Moodie, who is a neonatologist and professor of pediatrics.

She has worked to understand and reduce social inequities so that children and communities can thrive and be healthy here in Canada and around the world.

Among the many awards she has received, let me note the Order of Distinction — Commander Rank from the Government of Jamaica, and the Prix d’excellence — Specialist of the Year from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

From Nova Scotia, we welcome Senator Stanley Kutcher, a professor of psychiatry and renowned expert in adolescent mental health.

He led the development of a national child and youth mental health framework for Canada called Evergreen.

Internationally, Senator Kutcher is well known for his innovative approach to youth mental health, which includes improving mental health literacy and mental health care in schools.


Colleagues, welcome to your new home. Each of you is embarking on a new career that will enable you to continue your service and your work for a better Canada.

Thank you for accepting this tremendous challenge.


Welcome to the Senate of Canada. I look forward to working with you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I rise today to once again welcome new colleagues to the Senate of Canada, the first senators to be sworn in here in our brand new Senate Chamber.

Our four new colleagues were appointed to this place by Her Excellency the Governor General upon recommendation of Prime Minister Trudeau on December 12 but claim their seats today.


On behalf of all Conservative senators, I offer sincere congratulations.

Today we welcome two new colleagues from Canada’s North. Senator Margaret Dawn Anderson has worked for many years as a public servant in the Northwest Territories. Senator Pat Duncan of Yukon follows in the long tradition of former provincial premiers to be named to the Senate of Canada, a list that includes former senators Nick Sibbeston, Catherine Callbeck and our current colleague, Senator Dennis Patterson.

We also welcome two medical doctors to the Senate of Canada today. Dr. Stanley Kutcher from Nova Scotia has devoted his career to studying and improving youth mental health. Dr. Rosemary Moodie, who represents Ontario, specializes in pediatrics and has an associate staff position at the world-renowned Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Our new colleagues join the Senate of Canada at a time when we are all acclimatizing to a new workplace. Just as they are navigating their way around new responsibilities, we’re all adjusting to the new surroundings and different ways of going about our work. In that sense, all senators are on an equal footing in this new chamber.

This year, we have before our chamber many important pieces of legislation which will shape the future of our country for decades to come. Our due diligence will be crucial, especially when it comes to debating legislation that could have wide-ranging implications on the Canadian economy. Together, let’s do everything we can to safeguard the well-being of hard-working Canadian families throughout our beautiful country.


Canadians from coast to coast to coast can rest assured that the official opposition in this chamber will study these bills with extreme care, because that is our responsibility.


It is a tremendous honour to work as a senator on behalf of our fellow citizens, one that should never be taken lightly. I offer best wishes to our four new colleagues and their families as they begin this new chapter of their lives. Thank you very much.

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo: Honourable senators, it is my pleasure, on behalf of the Independent Senators Group, to extend a very warm welcome to our four new colleagues whose arrival in our new house also means we now have a full house.

Honourable senators, today happens to be the fifteenth and last day of the Lunar New Year, a very special celebration for many people in this world, particularly in Asia. It is also known as the Lantern Festival and the first day of the new full moon.

It is a day to celebrate the wholeness and completeness of the family, and so it is today that we have completeness in our family with the arrival of Senator Margaret Dawn Anderson, a proud Inuvialuk who has extensive experience working with communities and Indigenous people across the Northwest Territories in her capacity as a public servant.

Our family is also made complete with the arrival of Senator Pat Duncan, who, as we have heard, is not just a former Premier of Yukon but indeed the first female premier of that territory from the year 2000 to 2002.

We welcome also to the family Senator Stan Kutcher, who has worked on mental health issues in more than 20 countries as a professor of psychiatry and advocate for people with mental health issues.

Finally, Senator Rosemary Moodie joins our family and makes it whole. She has worked in health care extensively, both as an academic and neonatologist, and she spent many years in her profession advocating for women and girls by contributing to the reduction of social inequities and health disparities.

Colleagues, the wholeness of our Senate family is not just about filling all the seats in this chamber. It is also about the families of senators who play such an important role in supporting us and making it possible for us to be here week after week away from loved ones. I know that the relatives of our new colleagues are in this chamber, in the gallery, witnessing this special day. I want to also extend a very warm welcome to all of you to the Senate of Canada family.

Once again, on behalf of the Independent Senators Group, congratulations to our new colleagues on your appointment. We look forward to working with you. Welcome to the upper chamber of the Parliament of Canada.

Hon. Terry M. Mercer (Acting Leader of the Senate Liberals): Honourable colleagues, on behalf of the independent Senate Liberals, I am pleased to welcome the new senators to our brand-new chamber.

Throughout her career, Senator Margaret Anderson has demonstrated dedication to the Northwest Territories and the people who live there. She has been a public servant for more than two decades, working in justice, health and social services. I know that she will be a strong voice for those she represents here in the Senate.

Senator Pat Duncan has a long history of representing the interests of Yukoners. She spent 10 years in the legislature there, with two years not only as the territory’s first female premier but also heading the territory’s first-ever Liberal government. That’s a good thing. She has a long history of community involvement, including as Yukon’s Commissioner for the Girl Guides of Canada.

Representing the province of Ontario is Senator Rosemary Moodie, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. She has spent years as an advocate for health disparities among children as well as expanding health care access for women and children both at home and abroad.

Last, but certainly not least, I am especially pleased to welcome a fellow Bluenoser to this place, Senator Stan Kutcher. He is an expert in adolescent mental health, a professor at the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie Medical School and the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health. He is a good friend, and I’m sure he will do our province proud.

These four individuals are all exceptional people, and I know they will bring their own skills and experiences to our collective work here in the Senate. This is a new building, and we are all getting used to our new surroundings. Most of us don’t know where the washrooms are yet. Going forward, we are all going to be finding our way around together.

I remind honourable senators that the Senate is always in a constant state of change. Over the past few years, the Prime Minister has appointed senators using a new method, a more transparent method to be sure.

Please keep in mind that we are all independent here in this place. How we assert this independence is up to us. Some have chosen to be members of a party caucus. Some have chosen to be members of a group of senators who style themselves as independents. Some of us are members of a caucus of like-minded senators without a party leader.

Do not be afraid to be political here in this place, for politics has a place in everything we do, even if it is not blatantly obvious. Everyone’s personal opinions can be politically biased, and that is okay. Despite what others may say, you can be part of any caucus or group according to our own beliefs.

You are senators and you alone will decide where you sit and how you do your jobs. Should you find yourself agreeing more with the Conservatives, then explore joining that caucus.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Mercer: You never thought you’d hear that.

Should you want to be part of the Independent Senators Group, then that’s your choice too. Should you be more Liberal-leaning and want to explore joining our caucus, we will help you do that. I can assure you that your application will be reviewed thoroughly and quickly.

Just because you style yourself as an independent does not mean you must join any group that someone, somewhere might have suggested to you. It is your choice and yours alone.

That being said, to the new senators, my independent Liberal colleagues and I welcome you all to the Senate of Canada.

And welcome back to all of my colleagues.


Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of key members of the Senate of Canada Building Rehabilitation Project Team, including project directors, managers and leaders and assistant deputy minister from Public Service and Procurement Canada.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


The Late Michael Ferguson

Hon. Elizabeth Marshall: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Michael Ferguson, Auditor General of Canada, who passed away February 2 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Mike served as Auditor General of Canada from November 28, 2011, and continued to serve in that position until his death.

Previous to this position, Mike served as Deputy Minister of Finance from 2010 to 2011 for the Province of New Brunswick; Auditor General from 2005 to 2010, also for the province of New Brunswick; and provincial government comptroller from 2000 to 2005.

Mike was a certified chartered accountant and graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 1980 with a bachelor of business administration.

Although Mike and I held similar positions in our respective provinces — he in New Brunswick and I in Newfoundland and Labrador — I did not meet Mike until he was appointed Auditor General of Canada in 2011.

Always available for one-on-one meetings, Mike would give 100 per cent of his attention to the matter being discussed, always providing thoughtful insight and opinion.

As Auditor General, Mike appeared more than 80 times in committee meetings with parliamentarians and offered impartial critiques of the government’s record on a number of issues. Despite the fact that his audit reports were tough on the government of the day, he earned the respect of parliamentarians and senior public service. He was fair and thorough in both his assessments and recommendations and was a true champion of transparency and accountability.

He compelled government to act on a variety of files, including the F-35 fighter jets, the Phoenix pay system and the Canada Revenue Agency telephone system.

Mike was an exemplary public servant and a true dedicated professional. He determined government success on whether Canadians were getting services and support they were entitled to. He is also being remembered by his staff as someone who was devoted to getting the work done.

Mike, you have left an incredible legacy and have challenged us to serve better the people of Canada.

Honourable senators, please join me in recognizing the late Michael Ferguson for the exceptional contributions he made to the people of Canada throughout his career and as the Auditor General of Canada. We offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Mike, thank you for everything you did for our country. May you rest in peace.


Royal Thrones in the Senate Chamber

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, today we have the privilege of resuming this Senate session in a new chamber built from scratch in the arrivals hall of the old Union train station, which opened in 1912. The Senate is the only place that contains all three components of Canada’s Parliament, namely Her Majesty’s crown, the senators themselves and the House of Commons, whose members stand behind the bar on certain special occasions.


The presence of the Crown is symbolically present by the two thrones located at the end of the chamber behind the Speaker’s chair. These are the thrones of Her Majesty, the Queen of Canada.

Since ancient times, thrones have been associated with the authority of divine or royal power. The thrones quite literally represent the seat of majesty and might, the attributes of kingship. The thrones are usually located under a canopy to represent the link of the sovereign with its divine source. They are elevated by steps, signifying that its authority commands all and everyone.

When it came to designing the new Senate Chamber, it was correctly suggested that the neo-Gothic thrones, which had suited the architectural style of the old chamber, did not match the Beaux Arts classical setting of the Senate’s new home. For this reason, and to mark the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Senate, it was decided to commission new thrones that would be more appropriate for this chamber.

Her Majesty, the Queen, was informed of this important project by the Speaker of the Senate. She graciously offered some walnut taken from the forest of the royal estate at Windsor Castle to be used in their construction. This gift of wood was used for the crowns and the carved panels bearing the royal cypher and the Canadian crest that are the chief decorative elements of the thrones.


Honourable senators, you won’t be surprised to hear that the task of building the thrones was entrusted to a workshop in Quebec, namely the Treebone workshop in Montreal, headed by Ross Munro, using plans developed by Dominion Sculptor Phil White. Francis Camiré is the wood artisan who built the structure of the thrones. The sculptor is Alexandre Lepinsky. The seats and backs were upholstered by Richard Soucy, with trimmings from Houlès de Paris. Lastly, all the gilding was done by Isabelle Hordequin, who is also from Montreal. We thank them all.


The thrones are decorated with branches of maple leaves, a symbol of Canada, and they display the English rose and the French fleur-de-lys, representing the two official languages of the country. The thrones are superb works of art and craftsmanship and they are now part of our Canadian heritage.

When the Senate returns to Centre Block, these thrones will make their way to Rideau Hall where none currently exist. The presence of these thrones here in the Senate is a testament of our esteem and gratitude to the Queen and of our recognition that Canada continues to develop under the regime of a constitutional monarchy to flourish as a society where rights and freedoms are guaranteed and where the rights of Indigenous peoples were first recognized by royal proclamation in 1763. We will certainly look to a brighter future for our country in this new Senate Chamber. Thank you, honourable senators.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of students from Wilfrid Laurier University, accompanied by Associate Dean, Gavin Brockett. They are the guests of the Honourable Senators Deacon (Ontario) and Boehm.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Immigration and Innovation in Rural Nova Scotia

Hon. Mary Coyle: Honourable senators, what comes to mind when you hear the word Nova Scotia? If you have visited or dreamed of visiting our province you might conjure up images of beautiful beaches, Peggy’s Cove, the Bluenose, lobster, talented musicians and artists, friendly people, rich cultures.

You may also think of our workers travelling west in search of a livelihood, our aging population, our own local struggles of adjusting to a changing regional, national and global economy and to a coastal environment under serious threat. You might be excused if you didn’t immediately think about innovation and success happening right next to those bucolic beaches of the Northumberland Strait.

Today I would like to sing the praises of Thomas Steinhart, a German immigrant to Antigonish County, and Kulbir Singh, an Indian immigrant who came to our community as a postdoc researcher at St. Francis Xavier University.

A tall man with an impressive handlebar mustache, Thomas Steinhart has proven his entrepreneurial chops by winning the prize for the best classic gin in Canada at the 2019 world gin awards in London, England. He also took home gold for his haskap gin and silver for his wild blueberry. His maple and habanero vodkas have also won international acclaim.

Of the win, he says, “I hope it will translate into more sales. More sales mean more products sold, more money, more people employed.”

Thomas Steinhart has brought his family’s 300-year-old craft tradition to the Arisaig shore, successfully attracting people to his distillery, restaurant and chalets and contributing significantly to our local economy.

Dr. Kulbir Singh is a chemical wizard of a different stripe. Together with doctors Gerry Marangoni and Mike McAlduff, Dr. Singh is a founder of Sona Nanotech. Sona means “gold” in Hindi. Now listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange, this life sciences company, which was born in a chemistry lab at StFX, is distributing its products around the world. Among the products are different colours of gold nanorod solutions used in diagnostic tests with one stick able to indicate multiple biomarkers such as pregnancy, AIDS and cortisol levels. Using one stick in this way can eliminate millions of single-use plastics.


Sona’s scientific breakthrough was to create gold nano-rods and nano-particles without a toxic chemical so they can then be used inside the human body. This makes them useful for medical applications such as drug delivery and cancer treatments. The tabla playing Dr. Singh’s dream is to have his technology used extensively in cancer treatment, especially in the developing world.

Whether producing world-class gin or new photo thermal cancer treatment technology, these two Antigonish immigrant innovators, Kulbir Singh and Thomas Steinhart, are creating jobs and wealth in our province. We are very proud of them. Wellalioq.

Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Dr. Heather Lank, Parliamentary Librarian.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Newfoundland and Labrador

Community Food Sharing Association

Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, today I am pleased to present Chapter 51 of “Telling Our Story.”

My home province is well-known for its spirit of generosity and kindness, and recent events have amplified that spirit to new heights.

Just over a couple of weeks ago, on Wednesday morning, January 30, a devastating fire destroyed the main distribution centre of the Newfoundland and Labrador Community Food Sharing Association located in the city of Mount Pearl. The executive director of the association, Mr. Eg Walters, estimated that between $300,000 to $400,000 worth of food was destroyed, along with extensive smoke, heat and water damage to the building. It was from this location that food was distributed to 54 food banks throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Within a few hours, Eg Walters raised the concern of the immediate impact that this fire was going to have on the people and families who depend on this service. The call for help went out and the response was nothing short of phenomenal.

Before the smoke had cleared, donations were pouring in. Corporate sponsors, such as City Wide Taxi, Chevron and Scotiabank donated $10,000 each to get the ball rolling. Municipalities across our province immediately began to organize food drives, and even the St. John’s Public Library waived overdue fines in exchange for donations of non-perishable food items.

The very next day, Premier Dwight Ball announced the provincial government would be providing a temporary new home for the distribution centre at the former Eastern Health kitchen facility, and in addition the government would be allocating $50,000 in immediate aid to the association.

Our local VOCM radio station teamed up with Colemans grocery stores on Saturday of that week in a major and tremendously successful VOCM Cares - Share to Care Food Drive, and with a $10,000 kick-start donation from Colemans the joint effort raised close to $200,000 in cash and donated food items.

I participated in this event and was overwhelmed at the outpouring of support from individuals from all walks of life. Watching the bags of food continually being loaded aboard the trucks outside the Colemans store was a treat in itself. The generosity knew no bounds and it did not stop there.

On Monday of this week, a cast member from the Toronto production of Come From Away presented the charity with a cheque for $85,734. It was the single largest donation the food bank has ever received. Donations are still coming in and to date more than $400,000 has been raised. As a result of the tremendous generosity shown, the Community Food Sharing Association has risen from the ashes and is now more than able to continue its great work in our province.

Imagine, senators, waking up and not knowing where your next meal will be coming from. In today’s society, many of us live with the privilege of not having to worry about that on a daily basis. The fact is, however, that there are many citizens who live in our communities who do have to worry about going hungry. Many are struggling to make ends meet while working in low-paying jobs. Children in school with our own children and grandchildren are often distracted by hunger. Those of us who are in a position to help should be doing so.

Even though Newfoundland and Labrador may be a cold place to be at times, the outpouring of support that has been shown to the Community Food Sharing Association in their time of need would warm your heart and once again makes me proud to say that I am from “The Rock.”

In the words of Executive Director Eg Walters, “We went from the lowest of the lows to the highest of the highs.” I could not have said it any better myself.

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 Solange Landry, Natasha Landry and Sophie Ouellet. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Cormier.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senate of Canada Building

Hon. René Cormier: Honourable colleagues, rising for the first time in the new Senate of Canada building, I am delighted to note the symbolism of this glorious Beaux-Arts building, magnificently restored by Canadian firm Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., for the Senate of today and the Canada of tomorrow.


Respectful of the original architecture, inspired by our country’s vastness and diversity, resolutely forward-looking in their approach, these artists have captured the new personality of the Senate — a Senate faithful to its past and mindful of its traditions, but undergoing a significant transformation to be in step with its mission and our modern-day democracy.


This building’s history is emblematic of the aspirations of the new Senate. Let us remember that it was here, at the former Ottawa Union Station, that First World War soldiers boarded the trains that carried them to the Halifax port from which they sailed to Europe to fight for democracy. Senators may recall the magnificent paintings that grace our former Senate chamber, which depict scenes of Canada’s participation in the First World War. May that connection guide us in the work we do here.


This building served as a visitor centre during Canada’s centennial celebrations in 1967 and was then converted to the Government Conference Centre in 1973. It was the backdrop for important and sometimes turbulent negotiations reflecting the complexity of Canadian democracy. In fact, this building was the setting for the constitutional talks that led to the Constitution being repatriated and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms being entrenched in the Constitution in 1982.


This place also bears witness to Canada’s involvement in global affairs. This building was the site of the Open Skies conference, which paved the way to German reunification, and it was here that the Mine Ban Treaty, which led to the creation of a demining program for war zones around the world, was signed.


Dear colleagues, let’s celebrate being in this inspiring building, which is in perfect harmony with the modernization of the upper chamber. As we mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Official Languages Act, a quasi-constitutional act that confirms the role and equality of English and French as languages encompassing our country’s diversity, and while I deeply acknowledge the central place of Indigenous languages in our linguistic landscape, I sincerely hope that our two official languages will resonate in this chamber like dynamic and vital instruments encouraging dialogue, openness and a healthy democracy.


Thank you for your attention, and may our work here be fruitful.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of of Mrs. Élisabeth Nadeau, widow of the late Honourable Pierre De Bané, P.C., Q.C., along with her sister Marguerite Nadeau. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Jaffer.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Late Honourable Pierre De Bané, P.C.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, it is with great sadness that I rise today. On January 9, our former colleague and my friend Senator Pierre De Bané passed away after more than 45 years of parliamentary service. He is survived by his wife, Élisabeth Nadeau, and his sister-in-law, Marguerite Nadeau, who honour us with their presence here today. He also leaves behind his son, Jean-Manuel, his brother, his sister, his five grandchildren and many other friends and relatives.


Senator De Bané is the first Canadian parliamentarian of Arab origin. He won five successive mandates and proudly represented the citizens of his riding for over 16 years. During that time he served as minister of the Crown in several portfolios. In 1984 he was appointed to Senate, a position he held for 29 years.

Senator De Bané was especially proud of his contribution to l’Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, having served as the Chair of the Parliamentary Affairs Committee for 19 years.


His work to strengthen relations between Palestine and Canada will never be forgotten.

During one of my many trips to Israel, I went to Senator De Bané’s school in Haifa. The children prepared performances to welcome me at his school. The principal said that Senator De Bané often visited them. He also said that at a young age, they knew Senator De Bané would always work to improve people’s lives and reach great heights.

The Honourable Pierre De Bané will be remembered for his devotion to his family and friends, his love for his country, Canada, his attachment to his Middle Eastern roots and his passion for language rights.

Senator De Bané was my mentor, my teacher and my dear friend. When I first became senator, Senator De Bané said to me, “Never be fearful of standing alone for what you believe in, but be fearful of not standing up for what you believe in.”

Honourable senators, the heavens have gained a new angel.

Pierre, you have battled so bravely. May you continue to share that courage and strength on to all of us from above. You’re in our thoughts and prayers always. We will miss you dearly. Now rest in peace, my friend.



Parliamentary Budget Officer

Costing 2018 Fall Economic Statement and Off-Cycle Measures—Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, entitled Costing 2018 Fall Economic Statement and Off-Cycle Measures, pursuant to the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1, sbs. 79.2(2).

Economic and Fiscal Monitor – February 2019—Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, entitled Economic and Fiscal Monitor – February 2019, pursuant to the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1, sbs. 79.2(2).

PBO and Finance Canada Long-term Projection Comparison—Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, entitled PBO and Finance Canada Long-term Projection Comparison, pursuant to the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1, sbs. 79.2(2).

Canada’s Purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline – Financial and Economic Considerations—Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, entitled Canada’s purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline – Financial and Economic Considerations, pursuant to the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1, sbs. 79.2(2).

Supplementary Estimates (B), 2018-19—Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, entitled Supplementary Estimates (B) 2018-19, pursuant to the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1, sbs. 79.2(2).

The Estimates, 2018-19

Supplementary Estimates (B) Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Supplementary Estimates (B), 2018-19.

The Estimates, 2019-20

Interim Estimates Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Interim Estimates, 2019-20.


Indigenous and Northern Affairs

Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement—2014-15 Annual Report Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Annual Report, April 1, 2014 – March 31, 2015.

Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement—2014-15 Annual Report Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement Annual Report, April 1, 2014 – March 31, 2015.

Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement Implementation Committee—2015-16 Annual Report Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Annual Report of the Implementation Committee of the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement, April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016.

Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement Implementation Committee—2016-17 Annual Report Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Annual Report of the Implementation Committee of the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement, April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017.

Tla’amin Nation Final Agreement Implementation, April 5, 2016-April 4, 2017—Report Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Tla’amin Nation Final Agreement Implementation, April 5, 2016 – April 4, 2017.


The Estimates, 2018-19

Notice of Motion to Authorize National Finance Committee to Study Supplementary Estimates (B)

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, with the exception of Library of Parliament Vote 1b; and

That, for the purpose of this study, the committee have the power to sit, even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.

Notice of Motion to Authorize the Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament to Study Vote 1b of the Supplementary Estimates (B)

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

That the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in Library of Parliament Vote 1b of the Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019; and

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

The Estimates, 2019-20

Notice of Motion to Authorize National Finance Committee to Study Interim Estimates

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Interim Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020, with the exception of Library of Parliament Vote 1; and

That, for the purpose of this study, the committee have the power to meet even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 12-18(1) be suspended in relation thereto.

Notice of Motion to Authorize the Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament to Study Vote 1 of the Interim Estimates

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

That the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in Library of Parliament Vote 1 of the Interim Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020; and

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

Divorce Act
Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act
Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act

Bill to Amend—First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-78, An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act

Bill to Amend—First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-85, An Act to amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and to make related amendments to other Acts.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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


Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Meet During Sittings and Adjournment of the Senate

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

That, for the purposes of its consideration of Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources:

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

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


The Senate

Notice of Motion to Urge the Government to Bring Into Force the Remaining Provisions of Bill S-3

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Senate, in light of the decision made by the United Nations Human Rights Committee of January 11, 2019, which ruled that ongoing sex-based hierarchies in the registration provisions of the Indian Act violate Canada’s international human rights obligations, urge the federal government to bring into force the remaining provisions of Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Indian Act in response to the Superior Court of Quebec decision in Descheneaux c. Canada (Procureur général), which would remedy the discrimination, no later than June 21, 2019.


Official Languages

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Deposit Report on Study of Canadians’ Views about Modernizing the Official Languages Act with Clerk During Adjournment of the Senate

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit with the Clerk of the Senate, no later than March 1, 2019, an interim report on modernizing the Official Languages Act: the views of stakeholders who have witnessed the evolution of the Act, if the Senate is not then sitting, and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Senate.

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Examine Certain Events Relating to the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to call Witnesses

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(j), I give notice that, later this day, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs be authorized to examine and report on the serious and disturbing allegations that persons in the Office of the Prime Minister attempted to exert pressure on the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., M.P., and to interfere with her independence, thereby potentially undermining the integrity of the administration of justice;

That, as part of this study, and without limiting the committee’s right to invite other witnesses as it may decide, the committee invite:

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada;

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., M.P.;

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada;

Michael Wernick, Clerk of the Privy Council;

Kathleen Roussel, Director of Public Prosecutions;

Katie Telford, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister;

Gerald Butts, former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister;

Mathieu Bouchard, Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister;

Elder Marques, Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister; and

Jessica Prince, former Chief of Staff to the Minister of Veterans Affairs;

That the committee submit its final report no later than June 1, 2019; and

That the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after tabling the final report.

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

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: Leave is not granted.



Prime Minister’s Office

SNC-Lavalin—Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada—Former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister

Hon. Larry W. Smith (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the government leader concerning the very troubling and serious allegations first reported in The Globe and Mail earlier this month that the Prime Minister’s Office pressured former Minister of Justice and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to help SNC-Lavalin to avoid criminal prosecution. The Prime Minister initially stated that the allegations in The Globe and Mail were false. Since then, Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould has resigned from cabinet, and yesterday the Prime Minister’s closest friend and political adviser, Principal Secretary Gerald Butts, resigned from this office.

Senator Harder, could you please tell all honourable senators why Mr. Butts resigned from the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday and if the allegations are indeed false, why did the Prime Minister’s principal secretary quit?

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. Let me simply draw attention to the statement made by Mr. Butts himself for the reasons for his resignation. They stand and have been clearly articulated in the media and by him.

With respect to the part of the question relating to why Mr. Butts took this step, he took it for the very reasons that he outlined in his statement, which was to reaffirm that no undue actions were taken, integrity and rule of law have prevailed, and that he is taking this step so that he can better defend himself against these false accusations.

Senator Smith: The Prime Minister’s public comments on this matter have changed several times over the past two weeks from initial denial that the minister was directed to make a decision, to blaming Ms. Wilson-Raybould herself for not coming forward. Even former Minister Scott Brison was blamed. We have heard the Prime Minister’s many different versions of these events. Now Canadians need to hear from Ms. Wilson-Raybould herself.

Senator Harder, will the Prime Minister waive solicitor-client privilege so that the former Minister of Justice may speak publicly on this matter to all Canadians?

Senator Harder: Again, without accepting the preamble of the question, let me simply refer to the fact that the Prime Minister has asked the present Minister of Justice to examine whether or not it would be appropriate to waive privilege in this matter, and that is being reviewed.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I too will follow up on the line of questioning by our leader. Over a number of days there have been different reasons given. I think the public has the right to understand the exact timeline and the details of what has happened.

My question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and it concerns communications between the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould and the Prime Minister’s former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, regarding the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. It was previously reported that at the first Liberal caucus meeting following the 2015 federal election, the Prime Minister told his caucus that when Mr. Butts is speaking to them, he is speaking for the Prime Minister himself. The Globe and Mail reported that, “On December 5, Mr. Butts also discussed SNC-Lavalin and the remediation agreement with Ms. Wilson-Raybould at the restaurant in Ottawa’s Château Laurier Hotel.” This conversation was confirmed by the Prime Minister’s deputy communications director.

Could you make inquiries to the Prime Minister’s Office and inform this chamber what exactly was said during this conversation between Mr. Butts and the former Attorney General?

Senator Harder: Again, I want to draw to the attention of honourable senators statements that have been made outside of this chamber by the Prime Minister with respect to the integrity with which Mr. Butts served in his role, the sage advice he has offered and the distinct service that he has rendered here in this town and elsewhere.


With respect to the specific question being asked, the Prime Minister has been consistent in his statements with respect to the fact that no direction was given to the former minister and that this matter, as he and all senators will know, is being looked at by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner in the other place, and it would be appropriate for the Ethics Commissioner to proceed with his study.

Senator Martin: I’m wondering in what way the Prime Minister has been consistent, because we have had different reasons given. In fact, the resignation of Mr. Butts has only added to the many questions Canadians have about what really is going on and what happened.

On multiple occasions, the Prime Minister has given his side of private conversations he had with the former Attorney General on this matter, yet Jody Wilson-Raybould remains unable to provide her side of the story. I know the leader already asked you, Senator Harder, but if the Prime Minister is so certain that he, Mr. Butts and, indeed, his entire office acted appropriately, then why will the Prime Minister not waive privilege and let the former Attorney General speak for herself instead of putting words in her mouth?

Senator Harder: I certainly agree with the honourable senator when she referenced the fact that I had already answered the question. Let me simply repeat that the Prime Minister has sought the counsel of the existing Minister of Justice with respect to the question of privilege, and that is being studied.


Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: My question is along the same lines as those of my colleagues and is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. As you know, Canadians are hearing every day about serious allegations of obstruction of justice at the highest level of government. They are very concerned about this matter because they want to know the truth.

We all know that, last week, the members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice voted against having the former Minister of Justice and staff from the Prime Minister’s Office appear before the committee. During that meeting, one of the committee’s Liberal members even stated that committees of the House of Commons engage in polemics and political theatre. This statement truly devalues the work of all parliamentarians. I am convinced that no honourable senator would say such a thing about Senate committees. If the House of Commons is prevented by the government from doing what it must, then the Senate can take on that responsibility.

Senator Harder, would you personally agree to have the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs study this matter and have it invite Mr. Butts, the staff of the Prime Minister’s Office and Ms. Wilson-Raybould to testify?


Senator Harder: I thank the honourable member for his polemic question. Let me simply say it is not for me to decide, but for this chamber.


Senator Boisvenu: Senator Harder, I understand you are reluctant, as is the other place, to get to the bottom of political interference in a legal case. However, don’t you think that the Senate would be the best institution to conduct this analysis or study, which would help all Canadians better understand all the aspects of this case?


Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for his question. I do understand from the media that his leader, Mr. Scheer, believes it would be. It is not my view.

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

Senator Harder, Canadians are tired of paying for the mistakes of the Trudeau government. The architect behind these mistakes has been none other than Gerald Butts. The Prime Minister’s best friend and closest adviser cost Canadian taxpayers more than $100,000 in moving expenses when he was installed as Trudeau’s principal secretary. In order to serve Prime Minister Trudeau, Gerald Butts voluntarily quit his job at the World Wildlife Fund, yet he raked in almost $400,000 in severance. He’s now choosing to leave the PMO in a raging dumpster fire of his making. He cost taxpayers $100,000 on the way in. How much will Canadian taxpayers have to shovel out to Gerald Butts on his way out the door?

Senator Harder: I take note of the honourable senator’s question.

Senator Batters: An answer would be nice, occasionally, Senator Harder.

Senator Harder, just to remind you, severance is payable when an organization downsizes and when employees have to be let go for no fault of their own. Clearly, that’s not the case with Gerald Butts. With this Trudeau government’s never-ending budget deficits, his departure is not due to budget cuts. Even they admit the budget won’t balance itself for decades.

No, Gerald Butts quit to try to save this government from the most egregious allegations of PMO interference in a criminal prosecution. This strikes at the very heart of our justice system. The Trudeau government has descended into chaos and Gerald Butts’s fingerprints are all over it. He shouldn’t be rewarded for this with a huge severance payout.

Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate please confirm that not one more dime of taxpayers’ money will be paid to Gerald Butts on his way out the door?

Senator Harder: Again, I note the honourable senator’s question.

Senator Batters: It sounds like a lot of money coming.


Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais: My question is for Prime Minister Trudeau’s representative in this chamber. Although he made election promises to lead a transparent government, your Prime Minister has become the champion of political cover-ups and broken promises. The list keeps on growing.

For example, we still do not know where his MP Raj Grewal got all of that money that he lost at the casino, and we haven’t received any explanation for the $600,000 he collected in his riding at a single Liberal fundraiser.

Yesterday, we saw just how far your Prime Minister would go to hide the truth on why former Minister Wilson-Raybould left. He sold out his best friend Gerald Butts, who had the gall to say that, even though he is resigning, he has done nothing wrong. Leader, the Liberals have learned nothing from the sponsorship scandal.

Do you unconditionally support this shameful cover-up in the SNC-Lavalin affair? If so, can you explain why Canadians are not entitled to the truth in this affair?


Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for his question. I won’t speak to the preamble. I will say that the Prime Minister and his government have been clear with respect to the actions that were undertaken with regard to SNC-Lavalin.

This chamber will know that the deferred prosecution agreements were part of the work we did in this chamber. It is not a surprise that SNC-Lavalin has sought and is seeking the use of the DPA. It is also not a surprise that the Prime Minister and others would speak to the Minister of Justice with respect to this issue. What is absolutely clear — and the Prime Minister and others have made this point — is that no direction was given to the former minister, and the former minister has taken the action she has. I await, as the honourable senators await, a statement from her.


Senator Dagenais: Leader of the Government, after this whole cover-up, does Prime Minister Trudeau still have legitimacy in his role?


Senator Harder: Not only the legitimacy, he has the obligation and the mandate to continue. I would encourage all members of this chamber to rededicate ourselves to the legislation that is before us so we can serve the interests of the country.

Hon. Frances Lankin: Senator Harder, earlier on in a conversation I was speculating about how long the Ethics Commissioner of the House of Commons might take, and, of course, that’s not possible for us to know. Our own experience in the Senate Chamber says that it could take some length of time.

In one of your answers earlier, you referred to the fact that the Prime Minister, as we know, had requested of the current Minister of Justice an opinion about waiving solicitor-client privilege. We also know that the former minister has sought independent legal advice on what she can and can’t comment on.

Do you know or are you aware if there have been any timelines set on a response from the current Minister of Justice? Is there an urgency that has been conveyed around this? If you’re not aware of that answer, would you seek to get that for us, please?

Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for her question. I am not aware, but I will take note and seek an answer.

Hon. Linda Frum: Leader, Prime Minister Trudeau has said that he spoke with Jody Wilson-Raybould several times in Vancouver the day before her decision to resign from cabinet. The Prime Minister has been asked what reasons the former minister provided him when she resigned but he has not answered that question other than to say he didn’t understand entirely why.


Senator Harder, do you agree that the Canadian people deserve to know what reason Ms. Wilson-Raybould gave to the Prime Minister for stepping down from cabinet?

Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for her question. My responsibility here is not to express my personal views but to convey the views of the Government of Canada. As the honourable senator will know, the Prime Minister has been very clear in stating the facts as he knows them. That is to say, no undue pressure or no direction was provided on this matter to the former Minister of Justice. I can only repeat that in this chamber.

Senator Frum: Leader, earlier this hour, MP Iqra Khalid tweeted that the House of Commons Justice Committee will invite Ms. Wilson-Raybould to appear before them. At its meeting last week, Liberal MPs insisted that they could only discuss the witness list in camera.

Can you explain to this chamber what could account for this last-minute policy change that the Justice Committee now invites its witnesses via Twitter?

Senator Harder: Again, not being a Twitter follower myself and being preoccupied in this chamber, I can’t speak to the verity of the Twitter that is being referenced, but I think the other chamber is fully equipped on its own to decide how and which witnesses would appear before its various committees.


Hon. Claude Carignan: My question is for the Leader of the Government. We know that over the past two years, representatives of SNC-Lavalin met with political leaders in Ottawa many times to discuss a number of things. Senator, according to the lobbyist registry, you met with SNC-Lavalin representatives at least twice, on May 10 and May 31, 2018. According to the registry, it was to discuss justice and law enforcement. That is also when the Senate was studying Bill C-74, which contained the famous provision on deferred prosecution agreements. Did you talk to SNC-Lavalin representatives about Bill C-74 or about the possibility of granting such an agreement to the company?


Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for his question. Let me be absolutely clear on this. I do see business people and other concerned Canadians on matters that are before the Senate. He is absolutely correct that I did on the occasions he has referenced meet with representatives of SNC-Lavalin to discuss the notion of a DPA, to discuss the interests of SNC-Lavalin in this matter.

I would also note, as has been reported, that a number of senators in this chamber were similarly visited and had similar discussions. It is entirely appropriate in a legislating chamber that we have a transparent Lobbying Act which requires the registration of those interests. I think it’s only appropriate that a person in my role or persons in their individual roles as senators do meet with people who have issues before the Senate, as they do now.


Senator Carignan: Leader, in April 2018, SNC-Lavalin representatives entered into discussions with the Public Prosecution Service, before the bill even got to the Senate. As soon as the bill was introduced in the House, SNC-Lavalin representatives started negotiating with the Public Prosecution Service. In May, you held meetings. Did you have discussions with SNC-Lavalin representatives to give them assurances or any indication that Bill C-74 would pass without amendment, as SNC-Lavalin wanted?


Senator Harder: I thank the honourable senator for his question. He will know from the experience of the last now-almost-four years that I can give no such assurance on this matter or any other matter.

Hon. Leo Housakos: My question is for the government leader in the Senate.

Last May you acknowledged that your government had reached a compensation agreement in which $235 million of taxpayers’ money was going to SNC-Lavalin for their inability to complete the Champlain Bridge on time. Despite penalties against SNC-Lavalin that were built into the contract by the previous government, the Trudeau government somehow reached the decision to give them more money instead of collecting these hefty penalties for their inability to deliver on time.

Senator Harder, that compensation agreement was made in secret, away from Parliament and away from the Canadian public. However, the public registry shows that SNC-Lavalin lobbied the Prime Minister’s now-former Principal Secretary Gerald Butts on the subject of justice and law enforcement.

Senator Harder, my question is a simple one: During those meetings, did Mr. Butts and SNC-Lavalin discuss the secret compensation deal or did they simply discuss the fraud and corruption charges that SNC-Lavalin was facing since 2015?

Senator Harder: Again, I thank the honourable senator for his question. I will take note of the question and seek advice.

Senator Housakos: Senator Harder, I hope the answer will come quicker than some of the other questions I’ve been requesting about SNC-Lavalin over the last two years.

Senator Harder, in your response last May, you also said that the removal of tolls on Champlain Bridge had nothing to do with the delays and were not part of this compensation package. Given what we now know about your government’s relationship with SNC-Lavalin and about other secret negotiations that might be taking place as we speak, can you assure us that SNC-Lavalin is not in line for more taxpayer dollars and will not be further compensated for the removal of tolls from the Champlain Bridge?

Senator Harder: Again, I do not wish to comment on the aspersions of the question or to suggest that the questioner has other motives, but let me simply say that the Government of Canada has been transparent in its engagement with SNC-Lavalin, that the Government of Canada and the instruments of the Government of Canada have, yes, been supportive of the work of SNC-Lavalin in Canada and abroad, as is consistent with the law and the practices of this government and previous governments.


Senator Carignan: Can you tell us what you talked about with the SNC-Lavalin lobbyists in May 2018?


Senator Harder: As I’ve made clear and as the lobby registration suggests, the discussions were about the legal issues facing SNC-Lavalin and the potential of a DPA. It was entirely appropriate for them to raise that with me as a senator in this chamber and with other senators to whom they also spoke with respect to their concerns and the implications of the DPA on the corporation.

Senator Housakos, I hope these Delayed Answers will address some of your concerns but, frankly, I can’t recall.

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answers to the following oral questions:

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on October 17, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Forest, concerning the regulatory framework of the cannabis sector.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on October 17, 2018 by the Honourable Senator McIntyre, concerning cannabis edibles.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on October 17, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Seidman, concerning promotional campaigns and events.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on October 24, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Patterson, concerning Inuit employment opportunities.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on October 30, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Ngo, concerning marine pollution.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on October 31, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Seidman, concerning Vanessa’s Law.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on November 7, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Tkachuk, concerning the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on November 22, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Bovey, concerning Dubai Expo 2020.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on November 22, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C., concerning the media availability of a Minister.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on November 22, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Frum, concerning the detention of Saeed Malekpour in Iran.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on November 28, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Boisvenu, concerning recidivism rates.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on November 28, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Ngo, concerning the embassy in Cuba.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on November 28, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Seidman, concerning the advertising of vaping products.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on November 29, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Ngo, concerning Taiwan—United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on December 4, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Cormier, concerning media support.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on December 6, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Frum, concerning the Global Compact for Migration.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on December 7, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Smith concerning the Infrastructure Bank.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on December 11, 2018 by the Honourable Senator McIntyre, concerning judicial appointments.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on December 12, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Downe, concerning Confederation Bridge—bridge tolls.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on December 12, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Seidman, concerning pharmaceutical drugs.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 8, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Boyer, concerning the recruitment of Indigenous armed forces candidates.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on September 26, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Stewart Olsen, concerning CFB Gagetown—Agent Orange.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on September 27, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Dagenais, concerning Indigenous police services.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on October 4, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Dagenais, concerning the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada—hearing schedule.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on October 4, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Wallin, concerning the summer jobs attestation (Employment, Workforce Development and Labour).

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on October 4, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Wallin, concerning the summer jobs attestation (National Revenue).

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on December 13, 2018 by the Honourable Senator Smith, concerning support services for veterans.


Regulatory Framework of Cannabis Sector

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Éric Forest on October 17, 2018)

Health Canada

The Cannabis Act, which came into force on October 17, 2018, creates a strict framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada. The only legal quality-controlled source of cannabis in Canada is through provincially or territorially authorized distributors and retailers or federally licensed sellers permitted to sell cannabis to individuals authorized to access cannabis for medical purposes.

The Government of Canada has committed to developing regulations to support the sale of edibles and concentrates within one year following the coming into force of the Cannabis Act. This will provide time to develop comprehensive regulations for these products in order to protect the health and safety of Canadians, including youth, from risks, such as accidental consumption, overconsumption and foodborne illness.

Until the sale and distribution of these products are no longer prohibited under the Act, these activities remain illegal. Health Canada supports law enforcement actions to address illegal distribution and sale of cannabis in Canada, and would refer any information that it receives about such activities to law enforcement for action.


Cannabis Edibles

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Paul E. McIntyre on October 17, 2018)

Health Canada

The Cannabis Act, which came into force on October 17, 2018, creates a strict framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada. The only legal quality-controlled source of cannabis in Canada is through provincially or territorially authorized distributors and retailers or federally licensed sellers permitted to sell cannabis to individuals authorized to access cannabis for medical purposes.

The Government of Canada has committed to developing regulations to support the sale of edibles and concentrates within one year following the coming into force of the Cannabis Act. This will provide time to develop comprehensive regulations for these products in order to protect the health and safety of Canadians, including youth, from risks, such as accidental consumption, overconsumption and foodborne illness.

Until the sale and distribution of these products are no longer prohibited under the Act, these activities remain illegal. Health Canada supports law enforcement actions to address illegal distribution and sale of cannabis in Canada, and would refer any information that it receives about such activities to law enforcement for action.

Promotional Campaigns and Events

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Judith G. Seidman on October 17, 2018)

Health Canada

The Cannabis Act prohibits promotion, advertising, sponsorships, endorsements or other forms of promotion, as well as any products, packaging or labelling, that might be appealing to youth or encourage them to use cannabis.

On several occasions in the past, Health Canada communicated specific concerns to federally licensed producers undertaking promotional activities. In all instances, licensees addressed these concerns after being contacted by the Department.

Messages and content advertising cannabis to the general public were, and continue to be, prohibited by law.

The Government of Canada continues to enforce comprehensive prohibitions using enforcement tools ranging from compliance promotion and awareness to measures intended to correct non-compliance or address public health and safety risks, such as the suspension or cancellation of a federal license, or the issuance of administrative monetary penalties (up to $1 million).

Contravening promotions prohibitions is also an offence subject to serious penalties, including fines of up to $500,000 for summary convictions or $5 million for indictable offences, as well as the possibility of imprisonment.

The Cannabis Act requires that a legislative review be conducted three years following its coming into force. This review will consider, among other things, the impact of the Act’s promotion and advertising restrictions on public health.

Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Inuit Employment Opportunities

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Dennis Glen Patterson on October 24, 2018)

In May 2016, Canada established Pilimmaksaivik (Federal Centre of Excellence for Inuit Employment in Nunavut), in Iqaluit, to oversee a whole-of-government approach to the implementation of Article 23 of the Nunavut Agreement. Pilimmaksaivik accomplishes this through:

Overseeing the development of initiatives that support the recruitment, training, and career advancement of Nunavut Inuit in a way that includes Inuit culture, knowledge, and heritage;

Developing new approaches such as an open inventory for Nunavut Inuit that is being used for directed job-matching; training initiatives and community-based career fairs; and Sivuliqtiunirmut Ilinniarniq, a leadership program designed to support Nunavut Inuit employees working in Nunavut to gain the skills to take on more senior leadership roles.

The Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) works closely with Pilimmaksaivik in its efforts to recruit, retain and develop its Inuit workforce and takes full advantage of the training opportunities it provides, including the Sivuliqtiunirmut Ilinniarniq, which has already yielded one CanNor graduate that is now acting in a senior officer position.

To support its work, Pilimmaksaivik relies on an evidence-based approach, including using the Nunavut Inuit Labour Force Analysis, which was co-developed by the Government of Canada, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and the Government of Nunavut.

Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Marine Pollution

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Thanh Hai Ngo on October 30, 2018)

Health Canada

Under the Fish Inspection Act, anyone who imports fish for sale in Canada is responsible for making sure that it is safe to eat.

Pursuant to the Fish Inspection Regulations, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) Fish Inspection Program dictates that all fish importers are licensed and follow the requirements of the Program. Importers must attest that the information provided is accurate and that all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the products meet Canadian regulatory requirements. The declarations are subsequently reviewed and may be assessed by the CFIA via audit and/or inspection.

The CFIA maintains a Mandatory Inspection List of specific high risk processors/products that require all fish products to undergo 100% inspection. Fish that have a known history of compliance and have been imported before are subject to 5% random inspection. The CFIA samples and tests products in accordance with an annual sampling plan, which includes imported fish from Vietnam. When a foreign country notifies the CFIA of incidents that may impact food safety and quality, the CFIA can place the country in question and/or specific packers from the country in question on the list for inspection.


Vanessa’s Law

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Judith G. Seidman on October 31, 2018)

Health Canada

Health Canada sees Vanessa’s Law as an essential safety measure to protect Canadians and is fully committed to its implementation. Many of its provisions came into force upon Royal Assent, including the authority to recall unsafe products and to disclose confidential business information when needed to protect or promote human health or the safety of the public. Other powers required the development of regulations to bring them into force.

On recalls, the upcoming consultations relate to proposed regulations to specify requirements and procedures for recalls.

On the disclosing of information, proposed regulations were published in December 2017, to specify the kind of clinical information about a therapeutic product that would cease to be confidential business information, following a regulatory decision. Publication of the final regulations is anticipated in the coming months.

Health Canada carefully reviewed the Court’s decision and decided not to appeal. Health Canada complied with the Court’s Order and disclosed to Dr. Doshi complete copies of all clinical study reports subject to the Order. Health Canada takes the protection of personal information very seriously. As reflected in the Court decision, Dr. Doshi is bound by university research ethics guidelines to protect the anonymity of research participants.

Public Safety

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

(Response to question raised by the Honourable David Tkachuk on November 7, 2018)

Public Safety Canada (PS)

Canada has taken a number of actions against Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). These actions include the listing of the IRGC’s Qods Force under the Criminal Code. The Qods Force is Iran’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorist groups abroad. Canada has also listed the Taliban, Hizballah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, all groups which are provided arms, funding and training by the IRGC. Canada has also imposed sanctions on Iran and on the IRGC and its senior leadership under the Special Economic Measures Act. These sanctions specifically target the IRGC and four of its branches, as well as IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari. Finally, Canada has listed Iran as a state supporter of terrorism under the State Immunity Act.

Since the June 2018 House of Commons motion was passed, which called for, among other actions, the listing of the IRGC as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code, PS portfolio officials and their colleagues from other Governmental departments have been examining the options available to the Government of Canada.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Dubai Expo 2020

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Patricia Bovey on November 22, 2018)

On the margins of the World Economic Forum, Minister Carr was pleased to notify representatives from the United Arab Emirates of Canada’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, to be held in the United Arab Emirates, from October 20, 2020, to April 10, 2021, under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. With an anticipated 25 million visits, Expo 2020 Dubai will provide a unique opportunity to display the innovation, knowledge and expertise in business and cultural pursuits for which Canada is recognized around the world.


Media Availability of Minister

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Claude Carignan on November 22, 2018)

The Minister of Finance was not aware that journalists had been denied access to hear his speech. The Minister’s office was not consulted or informed of any such decision as the logistics for the event were entirely handled by the Canada China Business Council. The Minister made himself available to journalists in China and in Canada during this official visit.

The Minister has and will continue to ensure that journalists have the necessary access to adequately perform their important duties. The Government is firmly committed to freedom of the press and believe that journalists being able to do their work is an essential pillar of democracy.


Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Detention of Saeed Malekpour in Iran

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Linda Frum on November 22, 2018)

The Government of Canada is very concerned by the situation faced by Saeed Malekpour.

While details that can be shared are limited by the Privacy Act, Global Affairs Canada officials are in contact with Mr. Malekpour’s family and continue to provide support. Canada raises Saeed Malekpour’s case with likeminded partners and has raised his case directly with Iranian officials.

Canada continues to advocate strongly for Iran to improve its human rights record. In December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted an annual Canadian-led resolution on the situation of human rights in Iran. The resolution sends a strong message to the people of Iran that the international community remains concerned about the persistent human rights violations committed by the Iranian regime. It also urges the regime to address these grave human rights concerns.

Public Safety

Recidivism Rates

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu on November 28, 2018)

Public Safety Canada (PS)

Measuring recidivism is complex. Providing comprehensive national recidivism statistics [using various indicators for recidivism (i.e., reconviction, reoffence)] will require coordination between multiple Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) ministries and agencies that collect and house recontact data, as well as records of subsequent contact with the criminal justice system from several sources.

The Auditor General Report recommended that the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) broaden its measures of recidivism to better reflect its mandate. This would be achieved by the CSC collaborating with PS and other stakeholders (e.g., the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Statistics Canada) on the work PS has initiated in the area of recidivism measures, including information held by provinces and territories on adult reconvictions. Discussions are ongoing on how to best leverage efforts, capacity and knowledge for a standardized approach to measure, which would include reoffending and recontact data.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Embassy in Cuba

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Thanh Hai Ngo on November 28, 2018)

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said, our foremost concern is the health and safety of our diplomats and their families. This has been a harrowing experience for our affected diplomats and their loved ones and they have our utmost sympathy and support.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has met with some of these diplomats and reassured them that their health and safety absolutely is a priority.

We continue to take actions to protect our staff in Cuba, including by withdrawing some diplomats and implementing new security measures. We also continue to investigate the potential causes of these unusual health symptoms.

Regarding the United Nations General Assembly resolution seeking to end the United States’ economic embargo on Cuba, Canada voted in support, as it has for 24 years.

The proposed amendments that Canada voted against were also not supported by over 170 countries, including all of our European allies, who shared the view that this was not the appropriate resolution to raise human rights concerns.

The promotion and protection of human rights in Cuba is also a priority for Canada.


Advertising of Vaping Products

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Judith G. Seidman on November 28, 2018)

Health Canada

Health Canada has initiated action. A notice of non-compliance was sent to Imperial Tobacco Canada on November 1, 2018. The notice demands that the company immediately cease the promotion of Vype Epen3 by means of lifestyle advertising on Canadian television and social media platforms.

Health Canada has a rigorous compliance and enforcement program in place to ensure that manufacturers, importers and sellers of vaping products comply with the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA). If necessary, Health Canada will take further enforcement measures.

Under the TVPA, only information and brand-preference advertising of vaping products is permitted. The TVPA bans advertising appealing to youth, lifestyle advertising, and sponsorship promotion, and restricts giveaways of vaping products or branded merchandise.

Additional restrictions came into force on November 19, 2018, including prohibitions on the sale and promotion of vaping products with features that are appealing to youth, the marketing of products using flavour names associated with candy, desserts, or soft drinks; and product promotion by testimonials or endorsements.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Taiwan—United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Thanh Hai Ngo on November 29, 2018)

Canada has consistently supported Taiwanese participation in international fora where its presence provides important contributions to the global public good.

We will continue to work with like-minded countries to support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in discussions in international organizations such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) meeting in Poland.

The Taiwanese delegation participated in the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24), which was held from December 3-14, 2018, as a Non-Governmental Organisation observer under the name of Taiwan’s Industrial and Technology Research Institute (ITRI). Taiwan’s Minister of Environment, Dr. Ying-Yuan LEE, was the Head of the ITRI delegation.


Media Support

(Response to question raised by the Honourable René Cormier on December 4, 2018)

The Government of Canada recognizes the vital role that local journalism plays in communities from coast to coast to coast, and is making key investments to ensure that Canadians in underserved communities continue to have access to informed and reliable news coverage.

The local journalism initiative, announced in Budget 2018, is such an investment and will increase the journalistic coverage in underserved communities.‎ It will be delivered by one or more independent non-governmental organizations to ensure that Canadians living in underserved communities have access to reliable, independent journalistic information, which is at the core of a healthy democracy.

The Fall Economic Update of 2018 confirmed this investment of $50 million over five years for local journalism with organizations being able to access the funds in 2019-2020.

To ensure that Canadians continue to have access to informed and reliable journalism, the Government also introduced three new initiatives in support of journalism including two tax credits and a fiscal measure to encourage charitable donations to not-for-profit news organizations. Additional details on tax measures to support Canadian journalism will be provided in Budget 2019.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Global Compact for Migration

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Linda Frum on December 6, 2018)

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of a vibrant, local and reliable news media ecosystem as a pillar of democracy and that all actions by Government in support of news media must respect journalistic independence.

The Government of Canada further recognizes the vital role that local journalism plays in communities from coast to coast to coast, and is making key investments to ensure that Canadians in underserved communities continue to have access to informed and reliable news coverage.

As announced in the Fall Economic Statement 2018, to ensure that Canadians continue to have access to informed and reliable journalism the Government is introducing three new initiatives in support of journalism including two tax credits and a fiscal measure to encourage charitable donations to not-for-profit news organizations. The Government announced that any mechanism to support the news sector will be arms-length and respect journalistic independence. To this end, an independent panel of journalists will be established, to define professional journalism, and recommend eligibility criteria.

The Government’s initiatives in support of journalism and local news are consistent with the principle of respect for journalistic independence.

Infrastructure and Communities

Infrastructure Bank

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Larry W. Smith on December 7, 2018)

The CIB is engaging with government partners responsible for infrastructure and with private sector and institutional investors. It is working with provinces, territories and municipalities as they develop their infrastructure project priorities over the near- and longer-term. Projects that involve private sector partnerships and that are large and transformative in nature, can take longer to develop and bring to the stage of an investment decision. The CIB is helping to provide advisory services, project structuring support, capacity building and data and information assistance to support evidence-based decisions, and help crowd-in private investment.

The CIB will make announcements with counterparties when appropriate for a project, respecting due process and commercial confidentiality. Projects can take months or longer to structure, undertake due diligence, and perform all approvals, should an investment proceed. The CIB will be open and transparent to Canadians about its investments, such as the Réseau express métropolitain light rail project, and as it explores other opportunities, it will be transparent about operations, investments and decision making through its website and reports to Parliament. The CIB has publicly disclosed it has had 100+ meetings, looking at 60+ projects, whether advisory, long-term planning or potential investments.


Judicial Appointments

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Paul E. McIntyre on December 11, 2018)

Department of Justice

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada is committed to appointing jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity, and to ensuring that his appointments meet the needs of the courts. As of February 6, 2019, the Government is proud to have appointed or elevated 260 judges, including over 100 in 2018 alone, the most by any Minister of Justice in a calendar year in more than two decades.

In November 2018, the previous Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada was pleased to announce the appointment of Justice Marie-Claude Bélanger-Richard to the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick, Family Division. In June 2018, the previous minister was also pleased to announce three judicial appointments in New Brunswick: Justice Ivan Robichaud and Justice Denise LeBlanc to the Court of Queen’s Bench, and Justice Lucie Lavigne to the Court of Appeal.

There are currently two judicial vacancies in the province of New Brunswick. The Minister looks forward to filling these positions later this year.


Confederation Bridge—Bridge Tolls

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Percy E. Downe on December 12, 2018)

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of the Confederation Bridge for the economy of the region while ensuring a permanent connection with the mainland.

The Confederation Bridge is a federally-owned asset and the Government of Canada has an agreement with Strait Crossing Bridge Limited (SCBL) to operate the Bridge until 2032. Under the operating agreement, the Bridge Operator has the authority to amend the tolling structure and rates which are in compliance with the provisions of the agreement.

Transport Canada will evaluate options for the Confederation Bridge operations well in advance of the end of the current agreement scheduled for 2032, while respecting its agreement with SCBL.


Pharmaceutical Drugs

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Judith G. Seidman on December 12, 2018)

Health Canada

Drug Shortages are a complex issue that requires collaborative action from stakeholders across the drug supply chain. Health Canada recognizes that drug shortages can have a significant impact on Canadians and is committed to addressing them. Health Canada works closely with provinces and territories, companies, and other stakeholders to proactively identify and prevent drug shortages wherever possible, and to mitigate impacts on Canadians when they occur.

Health Canada takes action to mitigate impacts on Canadians for critical national shortages. For example, in August 2018, the Minister of Health signed an Interim Order to facilitate the import and sale of a U.S. product, Auvi-Q, as an emergency measure to address the EpiPen shortage.

An essential component of managing shortages is timely public communication. In 2017, Health Canada introduced new regulations requiring companies to report drug shortages and discontinuations on a third party website. Health Canada has collected valuable data through this website and is identifying trends in a variety of areas, such as the reported cause of shortages. Health Canada continues to improve the website to enhance accessibility and is exploring other ways that it can share information, including through the publication of annual reports.

Veterans Affairs

Recruitment of Indigenous Armed Forces Candidates

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Yvonne Boyer on May 8, 2018)

Increasing the representation of Indigenous Peoples in the military is an important part of the Government’s efforts to expand diversity in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The Employment Equity Act requires the CAF’s recruitment efforts to meet labour market availability goals. As such, the Government has set a goal to increase the representation of Indigenous Peoples in the CAF to 3.5%, by 2026.

Early recruiting efforts have already led to some growth, as Indigenous membership in the CAF has increased from 2.5% in 2015, to 2.9% in November 2018.

The CAF’s programs for Indigenous Peoples embrace cultural awareness and promote a team-based mentality to encourage participants to enrol in the military. For example, the Aboriginal Entry Program provides participants the opportunity to experience military training before making a commitment to the CAF. In 2017-18, 42 applicants completed the program, with 27 enrolling in the military.

Focused on Indigenous youth, the Junior Canadian Rangers and the military’s three summer training programs, Bold Eagle, Raven and Black Bear, combine basic military skills and traditional knowledge. There are currently approximately 3,400 youth participating in the Junior Canadian Rangers over 125 patrols. Furthermore, in 2018, 227 Indigenous candidates completed the military’s three summer training programs.

National Defence will continue to enhance the overall operational effectiveness of the military by embracing the strengths of Canada’s population.

National Defence

CFB Gagetown—Agent Orange

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Carolyn Stewart Olsen on September 26, 2018)

The protection of human health and the environment remain key priorities for the Government of Canada.

In May 2018, new claims were brought forward of a potential Agent Orange disposal site at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gagetown. The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces conducted a site visit the following month and a new area of interest—near CFB Gagetown’s former Shirley Road main dump—was identified for further investigation. In August 2018, an independent third party expert conducted an exhaustive search of the site. This included an aerial survey, ground survey, and manual excavations around the approximately 223 hectare area. Results of this investigation confirmed that there are no barrels of Agent Orange at this site.

In December 2018, the Department released a detailed summary of the investigation, which can be accessed online at

National Defence will continue to remain diligent, open, and transparent in its work to mitigate the environmental impacts of its operations.

Public Safety

Indigenous Police Services

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Jean-Guy Dagenais on September 27, 2018)

Public Safety Canada (PS)

Since spring 2018, PS has been in regular communication with representatives from the Kativik Regional Administration (KRA). The needs expressed by the KRA are aimed at providing quality services while ensuring the safety of police officers working in a difficult environment. There is strong collaboration displayed from both parties.

Since the beginning of October 2018, weekly calls have been held with a view to respond to the KRA requests. During the last call held on November 6, 2018, a new and improved offer has been presented to the KRA aiming to address equipment and infrastructure needs. The KRA has also filed an application for additional police officers through PS’ Call for application process that closed on October 29, 2018. PS continues to seek an agreement that would be satisfactory for all parties. Municipal elections have been held recently in the region and PS is ready to continue discussions with KRA representatives.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada—Hearing Schedule

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Jean-Guy Dagenais on October 4, 2018)

Insofar as the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) is concerned:

As of the end of September 2018, the average expected wait time for new refugee claimants is 21 months.

In response to a steady increase in new refugee protection claims over the past few years, the IRB has been implementing several measures to enhance efficiency without compromising the fairness of its proceedings. The IRB has adopted innovative scheduling strategies, expanded the use of expedited processing, scheduled more claims for shorter hearings, and increased country specialization among members. As a result, IRB productivity increased by 50% last year.

In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada allocated an additional $74 million to the IRB over two years to increase its capacity to render decisions on refugee protection claims as well as appeals. This funding allows the IRB to increase its complement by an additional 64 decision-makers, bringing the total number of funded positions to 245. In addition, Budget 2018 funding has allowed for the reopening of hearing rooms in Ottawa. In 2019, the IRB will continue to hire new decision-makers and additional support staff.

The IRB cannot discuss details of Refugee Protection Division cases as they are held in private. This type of information is protected under Section 26 of the Privacy Act.

Families, Children and Social Development

Summer Jobs Attestation

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Pamela Wallin on October 4, 2018)

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that projects funded by the Canada Summer Jobs Program provides quality work experience for youth and take place in an environment that respects the rights of all Canadians.

Violent extremism of any kind is unacceptable and not tolerated by the Government of Canada. In regards to the organization in question, no money has flowed to this organization as of November 1, 2018, as the Department continues to look into the allegations reported in the media.

Should allegations prove to be true, the organization would be found in violation of its agreement with the Department and as such, will not receive Canada Summer Jobs funding.

Summer Jobs Attestation

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Pamela Wallin on October 4, 2018)

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regulates registered charities through a balanced program of education, client service, and responsible enforcement, including the undertaking of audits to protect the integrity of the charitable sector.

In terms of compliance, audits are an important part of this program. When an audit identifies non-compliance, the CRA may use a series of progressive compliance measures. The CRA’s actions can only be made public when they result in a charity being revoked, annulled, suspended, or penalized. The CRA posts such cases in its List of charities, as occurred with regards to INSA-Canada.

ISNA-Canada has been registered as a charitable organization since January 1, 1983. The CRA assessed penalties against ISNA-Canada totaling $548,872 on September 5, 2018 and suspended its receipting privileges from September 12, 2018 until September 11, 2019. ISNA-Canada has initiated measures to address non-compliance issues and will be required to meet the terms of a Compliance Agreement.

The confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act prevent further comments; however, the facts of each case determine the timeframe of an audit. In addition, the CRA provides organizations with an opportunity to submit representations following an audit to ensure administrative fairness.

Veterans Affairs

Support Services for Veterans

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Larry W. Smith on December 13, 2018)

The accident that injured Captain Fawcett and claimed the life of her son was a terrible tragedy and we thank her for her continued service. The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) is committed to ensuring that she receives the benefits that all serving military members are entitled to in similar circumstances, including prosthetics, accessible housing, and rehabilitation support. National Defence, should it receive new invoices from Captain Fawcett for prosthetics and prosthetics services, will ensure that these are processed and paid in accordance with entitlements.

Senior leadership continue to be in regular contact with Captain Fawcett to ensure the Department remains aware and supportive of her needs. The Minister of National Defence is following the issue very closely.

Please note that several details of this case remain confidential. For this reason, DND/CAF is unable to comment further.



Federal Sustainable Development Act

Bill to Amend—Message from Commons—Certain Senate Amendments Concurred In and Disagreement with a Senate Amendment

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that a message has been received from the House of Commons which reads as follows:

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

ORDERED,—That a Message be sent to the Senate to acquaint Their Honours that, in relation to Bill C-57, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act, the House:

agrees with amendments 1 and 3 made by the Senate;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 2 because the amendment seeks to legislate employment matters which are beyond the policy intent of the bill, whose purpose is to make decision-making related to sustainable development more transparent and accountable to Parliament.


Charles Robert

The Clerk of the House of Commons

Honourable senators, when shall this message be taken into consideration?

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

Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Bill

Message from Commons—Senate Amendments Concurred In

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons returning Bill C-64, An Act respecting wrecks, abandoned, dilapidated or hazardous vessels and salvage operations, and acquainting the Senate that they have agreed to the amendments made by the Senate to this bill without further amendment.


Criminal Code
Youth Criminal Justice Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Murray Sinclair moved second reading of Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

He said: Honourable senators, I’m pleased to sponsor Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts and to be able to speak to this bill today.

Bill C-75 is another step in Canada’s efforts to modernize the criminal justice system, reduce delays and enhance the safety of Canadians. It’s clear from the research that has been done and comments made elsewhere that Canada’s criminal justice system is failing Canadians. It has for too long failed to meet the needs of Indigenous and other marginalized Canadians, but in doing so, it fails to allow our country to be the kind of society that we all want it to be. In addition, the justice system is plagued by a culture of delay and complacency, as underscored by the Supreme Court of Canada in its watershed Jordan decision.

I am pleased to see the government take meaningful steps to address these and other complex challenges. The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, then Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, introduced Bill C-75 following much anticipation. She proposed a number of transformative changes which will serve the dual purpose of tackling delays and improving outcomes for all Canadians, including the marginalized and the vulnerable.

While jury reforms are important, the changes to our bail system will have by far the greatest impact on the day-to-day operations of the criminal justice system. They will rid our courts of thousands of unnecessary and wasteful cases, while at the same time reducing the over-representation of marginalized Canadians.

Our current bail system is needlessly complex. Accused people, especially minorities, are burdened with unrealistic and unnecessary bail conditions. Inevitably, some of these conditions are breached, the person is criminally charged again and quickly enters the revolving door of the criminal justice system, all of this without having jeopardized public safety and without having been convicted of the initial underlying offence.

Right now, approximately 40 per cent of cases involve at least one such breach or administration of justice offence. Bill C-75 addresses this all-too-common story head on.

One of the key bail reforms in the bill is to explicitly instruct police and judges to follow a principle of restraint in imposing bail conditions. This will help ensure that only those conditions that are reasonable, relevant to the offence and necessary to ensure public safety are imposed. The principle of restraint also applies when considering whether a surety, essentially a bail co-signer, should be imposed, helping to reduce the financial burden of bail, which again disproportionately impacts the marginalized.

The bill also directs police and judges to give particular consideration to the unique circumstances of people from Indigenous and other vulnerable communities when considering bail. This might include considerations related to poverty, such as unstable housing, or the absence of reliable means of transportation.

Senators, as many of you know, delays significantly impact all those involved in the criminal justice system, including accused persons, victims, witnesses and all those working within the system. Lengthy criminal trials negatively impact an accused person’s right to be tried within a reasonable time under section 11(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and may result in stays of proceedings, which compound victimization, undermine public confidence in the justice system and may have impacts on public safety.

The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decisions in Jordan in 2016 and Cody in 2017 have crystallized the seriousness of the issue and intensified pressure to reduce delays in the criminal justice system.

Moreover, the in-depth study of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs and their July 2017 report entitled Delaying Justice is Denying Justice concluded that the causes of delay are wide and varied and issued a call to the legal community, including judges and federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General to “take decisive and immediate steps to address the causes of delays and to modernize our justice system.” It also called upon the Minister of Justice to show leadership in taking the necessary reformative action.


As a result, federal-provincial-territorial ministers responsible for justice and their officials have worked collaboratively to identify solutions to address delays. Bill C-75 reflects the areas for legislative reform that were identified through this collaborative process.

Bill C-75 proposes reforms in six key areas: modernizing and streamlining the bail regime; enhancing the existing approach to administration of justice offences, including for youth; restricting the availability of preliminary inquiries to offences with penalties of life imprisonment; reclassifying many straight indictable offences as hybrid offences; improving the jury composition and selection process; and enhancing judicial case management measures.

I’d like to briefly outline the elements of each of these key areas, as I’ve seen them.

Modernizing and streamlining the bail regime requires that the bill address the system in an extensive way. The Charter guarantees that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty and that they have the right not to be denied bail without just cause. The Supreme Court of Canada has repeatedly held that bail and conditions imposed upon an accused who is released on bail must be reasonable.

That said, we know inappropriate bail conditions are routinely imposed and are at times directed toward improper objectives, such as behaviour modification and punishment. We also know that the remand population, those in custody because of bail denial but more often because of an inability to comply with the bail conditions, is greater than the convicted population, and that the current approach to bail uses a disproportionate amount of resources, taking away from more serious cases. In fact, the standing Senate committee report on delays in the criminal justice system recommended that the Minister of Justice work with the provinces and territories to establish a plan for proceeding with appropriate reforms to the current bail regime.

Bill C-75 includes Criminal Code amendments that will modernize and streamline the bail regime by simplifying pretrial procedures and judicial release; increasing the type of conditions police officers can impose on an accused, which will eliminate the necessity to appear before a judge for most routine conditions of release; ensuring the circumstances of Indigenous accused and the accused from vulnerable populations are considered at bail in order to assist in addressing the over-representation of these populations in the criminal justice system; and enacting a principle of restraint for police and courts, which will ensure that conditions imposed are reasonable, relevant and necessary in the circumstances.

This principle of restraint is in line with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Antic, and will require police and justices to consider the least restrictive means when fashioning an appropriate bail response. By encouraging release at the earliest opportunity without calling for a hearing in every case, the principle of restraint will make the bail process more efficient and will help with issues associated with the expanding remand population.

As stated by sociology Professor Nicole Myers of Queen’s University during her appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, these changes are:

. . . putting the presumption of innocence as the starting place. It’s starting with the idea that you’re going to be released unconditionally. That is where we begin, and then we work our way forward, having to make sure that we’re articulating a clear connection between the kinds of supervision someone might need or the conditions that might be required.

. . . this is involving codification of what’s been established in case law, but I do think that having it written in law and having something to hold on to has some power to set intention as well as tone.

Bill C-75 will also reinforce protections for victims of intimate partner violence in the bail provisions. Specifically, if an accused has a previous conviction of violence against an intimate partner and is charged with a subsequent such offence, Bill C-75 will impose a reverse onus that will require an accused to show cause why they should not be detained pending trial. Currently, the Crown has to show why an accused should be detained for most offences. This reform is tailored to protect victims of intimate partner violence, who, research shows, are at an increased risk of violence in the aftermath of reporting to police, especially in cases where there is an ongoing history of violence in the relationship.

Some stakeholders have expressed concerns that the reverse onus, though intended to help protect victims, maintain public safety and promote public confidence, may have the unintended effect of also applying to victims in cases where both the aggressor and the victim are charged after victims have had to use physical force to defend themselves. However, these concerns can and are already beginning to be addressed by provincial and territorial charging policies that differentiate between the primary aggressor and the victim.

Like many stakeholders who have voiced their support on this proposed reform, I am confident it will further protect potential victims through careful implementation.

I will now move to discussing how Bill C-75 proposes changes to the way certain administration of justice offences are addressed in the criminal justice system.

Administration of justice offences are those where a person breaches conditions imposed upon them in relation to a previous charge. The most common administration of justice offences include failure to comply with conditions after being released on bail — for example, coming home after curfew or drinking alcohol, contrary to conditions — as well as failure to appear in court.

These offences are taken seriously by the justice system. According to Statistics Canada, in 2013-14, 76 per cent of matters resolved by the courts that included at least one administration of justice offence resulted in a guilty verdict, compared to 55 per cent of other criminal cases. Moreover, imprisonment was the most common sentence in cases of administration-of-justice offence infractions that went before adult criminal courts, as 53 per cent of cases resulted in imprisonment versus 22 per cent of cases that did not involve an administration of justice offence.

We also know that administration of justice offences have contributed to an increase in remand populations over the years, and an increase in the over-representation of Indigenous persons and of individuals from vulnerable populations in the criminal justice system. This is why the reforms proposed in Bill C-75 focus on administration of justice offences in particular, specifically failures to comply with bail conditions and failures to appear in court, as long as these failures did not cause any physical, emotional or economic harm to a victim.

The bill proposes a new procedure for police officers and prosecutors to manage these minor offences in a different way, both for adults and youth, with the goal of unclogging the courts of those unnecessary charges while maintaining public safety. Currently, when a police officer believes an accused has breached a bail condition or failed to attend court, they can either, one, lay charges and arrest the accused, or two, decide not to lay charges, but they cannot alter the conditions without laying a new charge.

Bill C-75 will allow the police and the Crown to refer failure-to-comply-with-bail-conditions and failure-to-appear-in-court offences to a new process called a judicial referral hearing, as long as the failure has not caused harm to a victim. At this hearing, the judge or justice can take no action and release the accused on the same conditions, impose new or vary existing conditions to better address the specific circumstances of the accused or detain the accused. However, no new charge will be laid.

This reform will provide a practical and efficient tool to allow bail conditions to be tailored to the circumstances of the accused and the offence while ensuring public safety so that courts are not clogged with less serious administration of justice offences. As stated by Nicole Myers in her testimony before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in the other place:

Bill C-75 has the potential to significantly reduce charges against the administration of justice, which should have a noticeable impact on the operation of the criminal justice system.

The proposed reform responds to two recommendations made in the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs’ report on delays in the criminal justice system. Per the report:


The committee finds that administration of justice offences are taking up an inordinate amount of court time, which is thereby contributing to court delays for trials. Of particular concern are those cases where an accused person is back in court for minor matters, such as a breach of curfew or arriving late for trial, cases where conditions are unrealistic, such as requiring an alcoholic to abstain from drinking alcohol, and in cases where the conditions imposed do not relate to the original charges.

The committee recommends that the Minister of Justice prioritize the reduction of court time spent dealing with the administration of justice offences and develop alternative means of dealing with such matters with the provinces and territories.

In my view, the reforms in Bill C-75 are directly in line with these recommendations from the Senate committee.

The third area I want to discuss is preliminary inquiries. In the criminal justice process, preliminary inquiries are used as a screening function to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring an accused to trial.

A preliminary inquiry is available if an accused person charged with an indictable offence elects to be tried before a superior court and requests one. During the preliminary inquiry, evidence is presented by the Crown and by the defence if they decide to do so. In addition, both the Crown and the defence have a chance to examine and cross-examine witnesses and test their credibility. Preliminary inquiries have become a forum where the accused can discover the case against them and they can generate transcripts that could be available at trial should a witness be unable to attend.

Provinces and territories have varying practices for preliminary hearings, from using them regularly to replacing them with out-of-court discoveries.

Bill C-75 contains amendments that will restrict preliminary inquiries so that they will only be available for adults accused of serious offences that carry sentences of life imprisonment. Restricting them to such offences will reduce the number of preliminary inquiries held, while maintaining their availability for the most serious cases. In turn, this will free up court time and resources in provincial courts.

As well, Bill C-75 will allow the justice conducting the preliminary inquiry to limit the issues to be explored and the witnesses to be heard at the inquiry. This will help prevent witnesses and victims from having to testify twice, once at the preliminary inquiry and once at trial, and will further narrow the scope of the inquiry with a view to making it more efficient and effective, while maintaining the other benefits of this procedure, such as discovery at the earlier stages of the criminal justice process.

Senators, reforms to preliminary inquiries have been the subject of debate in the legal community for decades. Legal scholars and practitioners, federal-provincial-territorial ministers and officials, and the Uniform Law Conference and the Supreme Court of Canada have all provided analysis, commentary and recommendations for reform.

I co-chaired an inquiry in Manitoba called the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba, which recommended the abolition of preliminary inquiries with a renewed and better discovery process.

As stated by Geoffrey Cowper in his testimony before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in the other place:

. . . there was a consensus amongst most of the first ministers of this country in the early 1990s that preliminary inquiries were no longer necessary and needed to be radically reduced. . . . we have to let go of the preliminary inquiries and find better ways to address the goals that they originally sought to address.

It was ultimately one of the recommendations that we made in the Aboriginal justice inquiry.

Further, the reforms included in Bill C-75 directly respond to recommendations on preliminary inquiries included in the Senate committee’s report on delays. Echoing the Supreme Court of Canada’s invitation in its Jordan decision for Parliament to “consider the value of preliminary inquiries in light of expanded disclosure obligations,” the Senate committee had recommended that that “the Minister of Justice take steps to eliminate preliminary inquiries or limit their use.”

It is also worth noting that in light of stringent Crown disclosure obligations, the Supreme Court of Canada, in the 2009 case R. v. S.J.L., ruled that there is no constitutional right to a preliminary inquiry.

The proposed measures will, first, reduce the number of preliminary inquiries held by approximately 87 per cent; second, ensure they are still available for more complex and serious offences; third, help unclog the courts; and fourth, reduce burdens on witnesses and victims from having to testify twice, once at the preliminary inquiry and once at trial.

I’m confident that these reforms will not reduce trial fairness, that prosecutors will continue to take their disclosure obligations seriously, that our courts will continue to uphold the right to make full answer and defence, and that there remains flexibility for existing processes such as out-of-court discoveries that have been implemented in some provinces already, such as Ontario and Quebec.

Another area of reform in Bill C-75 focuses on reclassifying offences. Offences in the Criminal Code fall in one of three categories: summary conviction, indictable or hybrid. The latter allows the prosecutor to choose to proceed summarily or by indictment depending on the facts and circumstances of a specific case and the possible sentencing outcome. Prosecutors already make these decisions on a range of hybrid offences every day.

Bill C-75 will increase the number of hybrid offences in the Criminal Code by making most indictable offences that are currently punishable by a range of maximum penalties of two, five and ten years’ imprisonment into hybrid offences.

The hybridization measures in Bill C-75 are procedural in nature and are meant to provide more flexibility to prosecutors in making decisions on how to proceed by allowing them to proceed summarily in provincial court, where the sentence likely to be imposed, per comparable case law, is anticipated to fall within the summary conviction range. This will allow matters to proceed more quickly and will enable superior courts to focus on the most serious matters.

Bill C-75 will also change the default maximum penalty of imprisonment for summary conviction offences to two years less a day across the Criminal Code. This was done for all child sexual offences in 2015 and was also done for impaired driving offences in Bill C-46.

One of the intensely discussed consequences of the proposal to reclassify offences in the Criminal Code is that Bill C-75 as introduced would have prevented agents — that is, non-lawyers such as law students, articling students and paralegals, et cetera — from appearing for individuals on most summary conviction offences unless they were authorized by the provinces and territories.

Responding to concerns raised by stakeholders about these potential adverse impacts on access to justice, Bill C-75 was amended to enable provinces and territories to establish criteria for agent representation on summary conviction offences with a maximum penalty of greater than six months imprisonment. This will be in addition to their current authority in the Criminal Code to create programs for this purpose. The bill will also allow agents to appear on any summary conviction offences for adjournments.

There was compelling testimony by witnesses during the study of the bill in the other place about seven terrorism offences and one advocating genocide offence. It was decided that these offences will remain straight indictable. These very serious offences are deserving of this special treatment as they are offences against society as a whole and given the fact that they are infrequently charged, not hybridizing them will not unduly impact delays.

Bill C-75 also includes reforms to improve the jury selection process.

The potential for the abuse of jury selection by the improper use of peremptory challenges must be eliminated altogether. The only way to ensure that happens is by abolishing them but still allowing lawyers to challenge individual jurors for actual bias, and the judge to supervise and rule on such challenges. This is what Bill C-75 accomplishes.

We must also look beyond the question of peremptory challenges in evaluating the government’s proposed reforms. Much of the commentary so far has failed to recognize the other jury-related amendments, which will work in concert with peremptory reform.


In particular, the bill strengthens the “stand aside” power of judges, which can be used to help increase diversity. For example, a judge who is in the process of empanelling a jury would be able to ensure a more representative group by requiring people to “stand aside” in order to give members of a visible minority the chance to serve. As a former judge, I have the utmost confidence that our judiciary is attuned to the will of Parliament and will exercise this power appropriately.

Discrimination in the selection of juries has been well documented for years. As Co-commissioner of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba, I raised concerns about the discriminatory use of peremptory challenges and its impact on Indigenous people being under-represented on juries back in 1991. At that time I recommended their abolition. More recently, retired Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci also addressed this issue in his 2013 report on First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries.

Bill C-75’s jury reforms are long overdue. Juries are a cornerstone of our criminal justice system and are guaranteed under section 11(f) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for offences carrying a maximum penalty of five years or more. The Charter also guarantees a right to a trial before an independent and impartial tribunal under section 11(d). The Supreme Court of Canada has noted that juries act as the conscience of the community. Accordingly, they must represent a cross-section of society and be honestly and fairly chosen, as commented upon in the case of R. v. Sherratt in 1991 and R. v. Kokopenace in 2015.

Some have suggested that abolishing peremptory challenges will deprive counsel of a useful tool if they feel that a particular juror is biased. However, abolishing peremptory challenges will settle the concern that this aspect of the jury selection process may be used to discriminate unfairly against potential jurors and will strengthen public confidence in the jury selection process.

During the study of the bill in the other place, numerous witnesses testified on this issue. Professor Kent Roach of the University of Toronto, for example, stated that:

. . . the proposed abolition of peremptory challenges . . . in Bill C-75 is the most effective and efficient way to ensure that neither the Crown or the accused engages in discrimination against Aboriginal people and other disadvantaged and identifiable groups when selecting a juror . . . . The Canadian jurisprudence since 1985 has failed to prevent the discriminatory use of peremptory challenges . . . .

Brent Kettles of Ontario’s Crown Law Office, as well as Osgoode Hall Law School, explained that:

. . . having peremptory challenges cannot help but lower the public confidence in the administration of justice when members of the public and perspective jurors watch perspective jurors excluded on the basis of no reason, on the basis of no evidence, and without any information.

When those exclusions are based basically on the gut feeling of who is likely to be sympathetic to one side or the other, then that doesn’t give the public or perspective jurors a feeling that jury selection is happening in a way that is fair and impartial, and also represents the community.

Vanessa McDonnell of the University of Ottawa added that:

It’s important to recognize that these challenges have historically been, and can be, used against accused persons to their detriment.

We have to balance the perceived benefit of having the peremptory challenge in your pocket to challenge someone whom defence counsel doesn’t feel quite right about against the very real risk, I would suggest, that these challenges are going to be used in a way that disadvantages the accused person. My view is that, on balance, the potential harm, not only to the system but to accused persons, is greater than any benefit that accrues.

Colleagues, the proposed amendments will signal that discrimination of any kind has no meaningful role in promoting fairness and impartiality in the criminal justice process. I strongly support this proposed change.

In addition, Bill C-75 will empower a judge to decide whether to exclude jurors challenged for cause; for example, because they are biased by either the defence or the prosecution. At present, such challenges are decided by persons called “triers” who are not legally trained. This process has been problematic and has been the cause of delays in jury trials even before they commence.

What Bill C-75 proposes will shift the responsibility over such challenges to judges, who are trained adjudicators, and, therefore, better placed to screen out partial jurors.

I am confident that the jury reforms will make the selection process more transparent, promote fairness and impartiality, improve the overall efficiency of our jury trials, and foster confidence in the criminal justice process.

The final area of reform in Bill C-75 that I would like to discuss is judicial case management. As the Supreme Court of Canada noted in its 2017 decision in Cody, judges are uniquely positioned in the criminal justice system to encourage and foster culture change. I concur with that.

After having heard from several members of the judiciary, the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs recommended that amendments be made to the Criminal Code to better support case management.

Bill C-75 responds to this recommendation by encouraging the appointment of a case management judge at the earliest possible point in the process and by granting them additional powers such as the ability to make change-of-venue orders. While judges are already engaged in managing cases and ensuring that they proceed promptly and fairly through the existing provisions in the Criminal Code, as well as through provincial court rules, these reforms will bolster these powers.

Bill C-75 also makes admissible at trial the transcript of testimony given by a police officer earlier in the proceedings, either at the preliminary inquiry or on a voir dire.

Honourable senators, Bill C-75 is the product of careful attention, consultation and collaboration. As I have already stated, a number of the recommendations made in the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs’ final report are reflected in this bill. It also reflects the work of federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for justice and their officials.

The study of this bill further illustrates the collaboration and consultations that characterize its development. The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in the other place heard from 95 witnesses and reviewed a significant amount of material on highly complex topics, including 58 briefs submitted by various stakeholders, notably police, Crown and defence associations, legal aid groups, victims’ advocates, Indigenous groups and academics.

As I have explained, where views could be reconciled in line with the objectives of the bill, it was amended. For example, some concern was expressed with respect to the provisions around admitting routine police evidence by way of affidavit or transcript, which would have prevented the officer from having to attend court at all in order to testify. While it had a laudable intention, the standing committee in the other place accepted that the scheme, as proposed, could have had some undesirable, unintended consequences, particularly for an unrepresented accused. The committee gave those concerns due consideration, and the provisions around routine police evidence were removed from Bill C-75 as a result.

I leave you with a final example of how Bill C-75 evolved through collaboration and consultation. Responding to compelling testimony by members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in the other place unanimously supported the repeal of section 159 of the Criminal Code with regard to anal intercourse. It also proposed amendments to the bill to repeal the vagrancy offence in section 179, and the bawdy house offences, sections 210 and 211 of the Criminal Code, which have been used to target consensual adult sexual activity in an improper manner. Repealing these offences is long overdue, and I encourage honourable senators to support those reforms.

Honourable senators, this bill proposes comprehensive reforms that will help to ensure that an accused person’s right to be tried within a reasonable time is respected, and that delays faced by all justice system participants, including victims and witnesses, are addressed.

Bill C-75, as amended, is the product of a commitment by all parties to address the issue of delays in the criminal justice system. It is an example of exactly what the Supreme Court of Canada and the Senate committee report were imploring when calling for “. . . a cultural shift among justice system participants that moves them away from complacency and towards efficiency, cooperation and fairness.”

I, therefore, encourage all honourable senators to support this important legislation at this time so that we can proceed to committee review and ultimately to passage. Thank you.


Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: Would the honourable senator take a few questions?


Senator Sinclair: Yes.



Senator Boisvenu: Senator Sinclair, thank you for your speech on Bill C-75. It was quite clear. I have a few questions as the critic for this bill.

With respect to the significant changes to prosecution that this bill proposes, have you calculated the number of criminals or accused who, on being found guilty, would be incarcerated in provincial prisons rather than federal penitentiaries? The measures you pass today will have a direct impact on the severity of many sentences. Have you calculated what it will cost the provinces to incarcerate more criminals in their prisons?


Senator Sinclair: Thank you very much for the question, senator. That’s a question I asked members of the Justice team who were involved in the preparation of the document to see if they might be able to provide us with some answers as to cost implications of the bill. They have not yet provided that information to me, but it’s something that I undertake, senator, to obtain and provide to you as soon as I’ve been able to get it.


Senator Boisvenu: Remember that the transfer of alleged criminals, criminals or convicted offenders to prisons and the transfer of certain responsibilities to the provinces without consultation was severely criticized by the provinces and by your party during the study of Bill C-10.

Why are you supporting the fact that this bill would turn obstruction of justice offences into summary offences, which are punishable by a sentence of less than two years?


Senator Sinclair: Thank you very much for the question, senator. The information I have is that the vast majority of such offences are dealt with at a provincial sentencing, with a provincial sentence imposed, so that the impact upon the system is not likely going to be that great. Again, those numbers will be provided once I’ve been able to obtain the information that I’ve requested to ensure that’s in fact the case, and what the exact change will be.

However, the implication is that it’s not going to result in any change of the numbers of people who are sentenced in provincial jails versus federal jails, but it will allow for those cases to proceed more quickly.


Senator Boisvenu: As the sponsor of the bill, why are you supporting a significant amendment that would make the obstruction of justice offence a summary offence, which is punishable by a sentence of less than two years, when this offence is currently punishable by a 10-year sentence under subsection 139(2) of the Criminal Code ?


Senator Sinclair: For the reason I’ve mentioned to you, senator, the majority of cases dealt with as obstruction offences result in a provincial time sentence. There are very few that, in fact, result in a sentence of that magnitude. For most of those cases, I suspect there are other ways that the system will deal with it, because there are usually other offences that are connected to the obstruction of justice matter. At this point in time, the change of hybridizing or making an offence such as obstruction of justice a hybrid offence, should still allow — and I’ll check to make sure I’m correct — the Crown prosecutor to proceed by indictment if they wish. I will confirm that for you.


Senator Boisvenu: One of the problems observed over the past few years is the long time it takes to appoint superior court judges, which creates bottlenecks in the courts and delays. If the objective of this bill is to speed things up, can you tell us the current number of vacancies in the superior courts?


Senator Sinclair: Thank you for the question. I don’t mean to deflect your question, but that information is publicly available by looking at the Department of Justice website and the website of the National Judicial Institute, both of which have detailed numbers for how many vacancies exist in each of the provinces’ superior courts across the country, including courts of appeal.

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Senator Sinclair, thank you so much for your deconstruction of this bill. It’s complex and important. Thank you for helping us understand it. My ears perked up when I heard you talk about reclassifying offences, summary convictions would go from six months to two years. I’m reminded of the debates on Bill C-45 and Bill C-46, which also raised summary convictions.

I wonder if you could clarify for me, because I’m not a lawyer or a judge, and you are, whether in fact the same unintended knock-on impact of raising summary convictions from six months to two years will impact permanent residents or not yet citizens and therefore lead to their deportation. If the answer is yes, is that in keeping with the principle of the bill?

Senator Sinclair: Thank you for the question. I have to admit it’s not an item that has crossed my thinking at this time. I remember the debate during the earlier bills. The legislation itself maintains it as a summary conviction matter and allows the maximum sentence to be increased to two years less a day. It’s still provincial time for summary offences. It takes the number of indictable offences and makes them hybrid offences. It doesn’t actually take an indictable offence and reduce it to a summary conviction offence.

The question of the potential impact upon the non-citizen community is something that I’ll make some inquiries about and see if we know or arrange for there to be a witness provided who can perhaps answer that to us at committee.

Senator Omidvar: Thank you, senator, for that answer. I welcome your suggestion for calling witnesses. May I suggest that the committee call the Minister of Immigration, because there is a lack of harmonization when the Criminal Code is amended and there’s a lack of harmonization with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. I have not been able to get action on this. I’m hoping that if and when this gets to committee, you will consider calling the Minister of Immigration.

Hon. Patricia Bovey (The Hon. the Acting Speaker): Senator Sinclair, your time has expired. Are you asking for more time?

Senator Sinclair: Do we have more questions? If there are more questions, can I have a few more minutes to answer the questions?

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Is it your wish, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.


Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Thank you, senator. I have to say, at this point, I have not read this very large omnibus bill in great detail, but I do have a list of offences that will be allowed to be prosecuted by summary conviction and, therefore, lead to lighter sentences. Quite a few of these items jump out in words like, “breach of trust,” and “corruption,” and “obstructing justice.”

But what I wanted to ask you about, senator, is proposing the changes that will allow offences to be prosecuted by summary conviction, which could result in lighter sentences for such serious crimes as the abduction of children under the age of 14 or the trafficking of persons.

This is a topic that had come up in a very serious conversation over the holiday. These two did jump out at me. I’m wondering: are these types of crimes not serious enough to remain indictable? Would you suggest that when the committee does study the bill, perhaps some of the amendments that were proposed on the other side that were rejected could be considered by the Senate committee?

Senator Sinclair: Thank you for the question, senator. It is an important subject to keep in mind.

Again, I repeat what I said earlier, and that is that this bill does not take an indictable offence and make it a summary conviction offence. This bill takes some indictable offences and makes them hybrid offences. What that means is the Crown prosecutor will have the choice to either proceed summarily or by indictment.

If he proceeds by indictment, then the maximum penalty currently in the code will apply. If he proceeds by summary conviction, then the maximum sentence under the summary conviction amendment that is in this bill will be two years less a day. But it’s up to the Crown prosecutor to decide how to exercise his or her discretion so that Crown prosecutors will be given that authority to make that choice.

As I said in response to the question from Senator Boisvenu, the majority of cases generally in that category of offences he raised with me — obstruction of justice — currently result in provincial sentences, so Crown prosecutors, knowing that, will be able to proceed by summary conviction process in those cases where they know that the end result is likely going to be provincial time. But if they want to ask for a longer sentence than that, then they will be able to proceed by indictment.

Senator Martin: So it is quite a long list of offences. As you say, they could be hybridized in their approach. Would you say this list warrants a careful re-examination at committee to consider retaining some as indictable offences only?

Senator Sinclair: Thank you. I commend for your reading the 570-page transcript from the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in the house because they had such a debate over many offences, and probably including some of those that are there, so you can see how the house dealt with it.

I’d be glad to see your list and take it up with the department officials when I talk to them to see if there are any on there that have not already been debated and considered in the house.

Senator Martin: Thank you for your recommendation. I have not had a chance to look at that yet. However, I’m wondering, as we have done in the past, in the Senate we go through these matters with a fine-toothed comb and find certain errors or oversights that were made in the other place. I was thinking about what could be done at committee in this house.

Hon. Paul E. McIntyre: Senator Sinclair, would you take a short question from me?

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: You have 36 seconds, Senator Sinclair. Would you take a question?

Senator Sinclair: I’ll take another question if I have more time.

Senator McIntyre: My question will be short, Senator Sinclair. My understanding is the bill seeks to abolish preliminary hearings in certain cases. And the purpose of a preliminary hearing, as we know, is to determine if there’s sufficient evidence to send an accused to trial. Can I have your thoughts on that, please?

Senator Sinclair: Most of my thoughts are contained in this document, in the speech, as well as in the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry Report that Associate Chief Justice Hamilton and I co-authored. I don’t want to have to go through and have to repeat all of that.

The reality is that most preliminary inquiries now don’t serve that particularly useful purpose of determining whether there’s sufficient evidence to go to trial, which is what the purpose of a preliminary inquiry is. It usually is known ahead of time that there is sufficient evidence, so replacing preliminary inquiries in all cases other than those for which a life sentence is available will result in enhanced discovery processes so that the accused knows what the evidence is going to be against him or her.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of representatives of the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Munson.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Accessible Canada Bill

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Jim Munson moved second reading of Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada.

He said: Honourable senators, I rise to begin debate at second reading on Bill C-81. However, before I get into the formalities of my debate, imagine as an Ottawa senator, I will now get to skate to work. Living in town, how Canadian is that, eh? And in the springtime, when the ice breaks, I’ll be able to canoe to work. I don’t know how many Canadians can do that.

As I walked into this architectural gem of a building this morning and I looked at our new surroundings, I was in awe. Even after 15 years in the Senate, I’m still in awe. This is an old train station. It has so much history. You can close your eyes and just imagine troops leaving here in 1940 or leaving here in 1915 for the First World War, or the arrival in 1939 of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Winston Churchill arrived at the train station as did the Queen of Figure Skating, Barbara Ann Scott, and the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, all arrived at this place. Also, imagine visitors arriving to see Parliament Hill for the first time and people arriving to live here in this great city.

Of course, when the station closed, it became another meeting place, the Government Conference Centre. I can’t think of how time has passed so fast that the constitutional talks were in this building. At the patriation of the Constitution, I was a young reporter and I never thought — it wasn’t part of the game plan — that I’d be back as a senator in what we call the Senate of Canada Building.

So history has been made here and it’s my sincere hope that history will be made again with Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Bill.

Honourable senators, just as the cornerstone was placed when this magnificent building was being constructed from 1909 to 1912, today we as senators are laying a new cornerstone to build a barrier-free Canada. That is why I’m pleased to rise as sponsor of Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, also known as the Accessible Canada Bill.

Now, before I proceed, I would like to acknowledge the work of Carla Qualtrough, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, as well as persons with disabilities who have been engaged on this bill at every stage. Like the Speaker, I particularly want to thank members of the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance, FALA, who are here with us and who have been providing input on this act from its early stages. They represent 87 partner organizations and 92 individual members, with a total of 179 people involved all across this country. I know several senators have had the opportunity to meet with them, and I’m sure we will be meeting with you again over the next few weeks and months.


A quote from Gillian Lynne-Davies of FALA — you’ll get to hear that word for a long time:

People with disabilities are waiting for a strong and effective Accessible Canada Act. We have waited a very, very long time. We look forward to continuing our conversations with senators and working together to make a truly accessible and inclusive Canada from which all Canadians can be proud and benefit.

I thank those senators who have already met members of this alliance. I hope more senators will meet them to understand the work of this bill.

Honourable senators, persons with disabilities want to be part of an active society, but every day, barriers prevent persons with disabilities from participating fully and equally in communities and workplaces. The message that sends is “You don’t fit in. There is no place for you. Step aside or stay at home.” It is clear that the need to change how barriers to accessibility are addressed in this country is long overdue.

Senators, no one group should have to fight to enjoy the full rights of citizenship. We need to send the message that persons with disabilities are valued civic, social and economic contributors to Canadian society, because they are. With the proposed accessible Canada act, persons with disabilities will not be systematically denied opportunities for inclusion anymore.

Before I go further, I would like to acknowledge all the work done to get Bill C-81 this far. It is the product of real collaboration and consultations. As I mentioned, it includes the efforts of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, as well as input from the members of the other chamber, from all parties, who worked to study and strengthen this bill through debate, study and amendments. In fact, in the other place, 74 amendments were accepted. I’m sure, given the way we work here, there will be new amendments to improve the bill and just make it work for the country and for the disability community.

I’m very proud to sponsor this bill, which passed with all parties supporting the spirit of the legislation in the other place. I’ve been looking forward to reigniting that spirit here in the Senate. I’m grateful to have that opportunity today.

Senators, I know this bill is important to the disability community. They have been waiting for this for far too long. We have the opportunity to contribute to establishing a Canada that is accessible and inclusive for everyone through Bill C-81. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a bill we can all get behind, and that it will make Canada a better place for persons with disabilities. Canadians are counting on us to get the job done. This, honourable senators, is not about politics. This is about people. This is about inclusion.

The accessible Canada act represents a historic milestone for disability rights in Canada. Senators, our country has a strong legislative framework that guarantees equal rights for all. Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms establishes that each and every person in Canada, regardless of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, colour, sex, age or physical or mental disability is to be considered equal, meaning that governments cannot discriminate on any of these grounds in its laws or programs.

Persons with disabilities who feel they have been discriminated against can turn to the Canadian Human Rights Act, instated in 1977, to defend themselves against harassment or discrimination based upon physical or mental disability. Together, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act are the two main judicial tools at the disposal of Canadians with disabilities to protect themselves from discrimination.

It’s also important to mention that since 2010, Canada has been the signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which complements Canada’s existing protection for the equality and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities.

Honourable senators, Canada has also acceded to the Marrakesh Treaty in 2016, which aims to improve access to published works for persons with print disabilities by offering the material in Braille and audiobooks.

However, protecting persons against discrimination is not necessarily just facilitating accessibility. It is one thing to say, “You have the right to go into this building.” It is another to build a ramp so that persons in wheelchairs can physically go into the building. It is one thing to say, “You have the right to read government publications.” It is another to make these publications accessible so that persons with visual impairments can read them.

Even though Canada has a strong legislative framework that guarantees the equal rights of persons with disabilities, we still see significant barriers to accessibility. The accessible Canada act sets out to change that and create a Canada that is inclusive and accessible for everyone from the get-go. Senators, this is our opportunity to be part of the most significant advancement for disability rights in this country in over 30 years.

At second reading, we are looking at the principle of the legislation, so allow me to give an overview. In brief, I would like to talk about how the accessible Canada act requires organizations and branches of governments under federal jurisdiction to identify, remove and prevent barriers to accessibility for everyone in this country. As I just mentioned, it builds on the existing rights for persons with disabilities under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act, and is a significant step in the ongoing implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

When enacted, this bill intends for our country to take a proactive approach to ensuring accessibility. As I explained earlier, even though Canada has a very robust human rights system, it is, by nature, a reactive one. Persons with disabilities have to be denied a service, program, job or housing before the system starts rolling. And then it is the responsibility of the individual to make the system respond. That’s just not right.

Now, I had the opportunity — and she is here today — to meet with Diane Bergeron, Vice President of Engagement and International Affairs at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. She’s in the gallery with my favourite dog, Lucy. Lucy is very quiet but she’s here. I think it’s a first for the Senate. We’re going to talk about firsts in this speech. I think this is so important. I want to thank Lucy and Diane for coming. She told me that this legislation would be a big leap forward. She stated in a press release from CNIB:

Canada’s disability community has been waiting a long time for this. I am thrilled this legislation promotes and builds proactive compliance activities rather than forcing people with disabilities to bring forward barriers and discrimination.

I think just for a small start, senators, we have our business cards. How many senators have Braille on their business cards? There are a few. We have to get with it. We have to show that we are leaders as an organization. We should all have Braille cards to use in this new world of inclusion.

With Bill C-81, the government would be able to proactively and systematically address barriers to accessibility before they happen. This bill would put the responsibility for accessibility on the system and avoid forcing persons with disabilities to suffer discrimination before having their rights rightfully restored.

Let me give you an example from the autism community here in Ottawa that came to my office from a father whose son has autism. The online banking barrier for Canadians with autism is one that originates, essentially, with poor formatting. To make a website accessible for everyone doesn’t mean that it will change the way all Canadians do their online banking. It means that the website is set up so that it can be perceived, understood, navigated and interacted with by all who scroll onto it. What does online banking accessibility for person with autism look like? It looks like labels on all form fields, same page shortcut links to documents, a keyboard accessible drop-down menu that supports arrow keys in addition to tabs and using colour in conjunction with other visual indicators, such as an asterisk or parenthesis.


The accessibility act will eliminate all these barriers. Standards will be created to oblige banks to have their websites meet a specific standard of accessibility. This young man will be able to access his bank account from home. Remember, banks will come under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Senators, it’s a small thing, but when you face barriers every day, it can give a person a sense of independence, success and accomplishment to do their own banking. Things we take for granted are the barriers people are up against every day.

Thanks to Bill C-81 and the proposals in it, persons with disabilities would have greater opportunities to participate in communities and the workplace. It would improve access to jobs and secure better jobs, facilitate travel and communication, and provide equal access to products, programs and services.

Bill C-81 would lead to the establishment of accessibility standards in the areas of employment, the built environment, information and communication technologies, the design and delivery of programs and services, communication and transportation.

It would apply to all areas under federal jurisdiction. This includes right here in the Senate, our Parliament, the Government of Canada, Crown corporations and federally regulated entities, including organizations in the federal transportation, telecommunications, broadcasting and banking sectors.

Honourable senators, Bill C-81 would significantly transform how Canada addresses accessibility and allow for a fundamental shift in the way the Government of Canada does business.

The principles set out in Bill C-81 highlight the intentions that guided the development of the bill, ensuring that the same principles are followed in the carrying out of this legislation. These principles state that all persons must be treated with dignity regardless of their disabilities. All persons must have the opportunity to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have. All persons must have barrier-free access to full and equal participation in society. All persons must have meaningful options and be free to make their own choices with support if they desire. Laws, policies, programs, services and structures must take into account the disabilities of persons and the different ways that persons interact with their environments. Persons with disabilities must be involved in their development or design. Accessibility standards must be developed and revised with the aim of achieving the highest level of accessibility for persons with disabilities.

As framework legislation, Bill C-81 establishes a system that would outlast any one government, providing for accessibility for generations to come.

As senators, we know that accountability and transparency are at the heart of good governance. So Bill C-81 stresses the need for strong reporting requirements. It is essential that federally regulated entities report publicly on what they are doing to improve accessibility. The legislation would require all branches of government, departments and organizations to develop accessibility plans, feedback mechanisms and progress reports.

In order to instill a cultural change that puts accessibility at the forefront, organizations would have to create, publish and regularly update accessibility plans in consultation with persons with disabilities. These plans would describe their strategies for improving accessibility and meeting their legal obligations under the proposed act. They would also have to be published and available to the public.

Also, regulated entities would have to take the bill’s principles into account when they develop their accessibility plans. This is to ensure that these plans are good plans, developed effectively and consistently with the disability community’s principle of “nothing about us, without us,” which defines the government’s approach to accessibility.

In terms of feedback mechanisms, Bill C-81 would require organizations, branches of government, to set up to receive and respond to feedback regarding their accessibility from employees, customers and anyone who interacts with their organization.

The legislation also requires organizations to report on their progress as they implement their accessibility plans.

In consultation with persons with disabilities, organizations would have to prepare and publish progress reports that detail how they are fulfilling their accessibility plans and addressing any feedback they have received.

Together, these three reporting requirements in Bill C-81 would contribute, as I mentioned before, to that cultural shift in the way organizations approach and ensure accessibility in their operations. The duty will be on them to be proactive on accessibility rather than the current system, which puts all of the burden on the individual facing barriers, as I said in my example earlier.

Honourable senators, accessibility is about inclusion. It is more than a ramp. It includes attitudes, training and an awareness of individual needs, not simply physical space. Inclusion means every person has the possibility to participate fully and equally in all social processes, right from the beginning. That’s why the continued and meaningful participation by persons with disabilities is crucial towards realizing a barrier-free Canada.

There are some really fundamentally good things in this bill. I want to explain briefly what they are.

The government will ensure that Canadians with disabilities are in control of setting accessibility standards through a new Canadian accessibility standards development organization, or CASDO. It will be led by a chief executive officer.

CASDO would be Canada’s first standards development organization exclusively dedicated to developing accessibility standards. It would allow Canada to be proactive and to become a national and global leader on accessibility.

In addition, it would also be led by a board of directors composed of majority representation of persons with disabilities. This means that not only would persons with disabilities be part of the process; they would lead it. They would have the majority when setting the strategic direction for CASDO, when supervising and managing its activities and when advising the chief executive officer.

Throughout the standards development process, CASDO would work alongside persons with disabilities to ensure that standards account for their needs and priorities. Standards would be developed by technical committees composed of experts, persons with disabilities and representatives from sectors or organizations that in turn would have to meet the standards.

CASDO is one of the key provisions of this approach that will reflect the perspectives of persons with disabilities. In particular, the organization exemplifies the commitment to putting persons with disabilities at the heart of the process.

Honourable senators, with Bill C-81, Canada would no longer rely on individual persons with disabilities to fix the system. Instead, proactive compliance measures will ensure that organizations under federal jurisdiction are held accountable for their accessibility in partnership with Canadians with disabilities.

To this end, Bill C-81 will establish new entities and strengthen existing mandates to monitor outcomes effectively on accessibility and support meaningful progress.


How will this happen? A new accessibility commissioner within the Canadian Human Rights Commission will spearhead the compliance and enforcement for accessibility under this bill and related regulations.

The commissioner will be responsible for enforcement in areas such as employment, for example, the non-passenger built environment, person at the train station but not quite on the train yet, and communication as it relates to those areas. As well, the commissioner will oversee compliance and enforcement across most of the federal sector, including the Armed Forces, the RCMP, Parliament, as well as Crown corporations such as Canada Post, banks and the Government of Canada as a whole. This includes the Canada Revenue Agency and Service Canada.

The Canadian Transportation Agency will retain its responsibility for compliance and enforcement activities within the federally regulated transportation sector. They will build upon their existing expertise through enhanced powers which will allow them to effectively enforce and ensure accessibility within their sector, and also be responsible for making regulations pertaining to its accessibility authorities under this act.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, CRTC, will be responsible for most accessibility compliance and enforcement activities and complaints for federally regulated broadcasters and telecommunications providers. Like the CTA, the CRTC will make regulations pertaining to its accessibility authorities under this act.

Bill C-81 ensures that entities are equipped with the tools and powers they need to effectively monitor and ensure compliance and enforcement under this act. This includes inspections and audits to verify compliance, and a progressive suite of tools, including orders and warnings, compliance audits, and monetary penalties of up to $250,000.

The CHRC, CTA and CRTC are existing regulators; they are already in place and they are equipped with significant expertise on their respective sectors. They are already working to ensure they will be ready to fulfill their responsibilities for accessibility under Bill C-81.

Now, this is a whole-of-government approach. It recognizes that accessibility is everyone’s responsibility.

The legislation also includes mechanisms designed to ensure coordination and oversight across the multiple agencies. It’s what’s called the “no wrong door” approach, which will ensure coordination so that complaints will always end up at the right door, the right place.

In addition, the new position of chief accessibility officer would report to the minister responsible for accessibility and would be responsible for ensuring, monitoring and oversight of any emerging issues or trends related to accessibility.

By integrating accessibility into existing systems and across all sectors under federal jurisdiction, Bill C-81 would build awareness and capacity for a culture that is truly inclusive and accessible, a culture that is long overdue.

Honourable senators, involving Canadians with disabilities and including them in decisions that affect their lives is one of the key principles of the legislation.

This means respecting the disability community’s principle — I can’t help but overemphasize this — of “nothing about us without us,” at every stage of the bill. To support the development of Bill C-81, the Government of Canada led the largest and most accessible and inclusive consultations on disability issues to date. From June 2016 to February 2017, the government heard from over 6,000 Canadians across the country about what accessibility really means to them.

I attended a full-day seminar a year ago at Carleton University with young people from coast to coast. The ideas that came from this, came from up here in our guest chamber, are in this bill. Many things that came from those consultations are in this bill. Could there be a lot more? Of course there could be, but this is what input is all about, 6,000 people. When I was at Carleton, I was moved probably every 30 seconds by what students had to say to each other in terms of wanting inclusion and being included in the discussion.

Honourable senators, Bill C-81 is the product of constructive work between the federal government, stakeholders, persons with disabilities and all Canadians who have strongly advocated for making this legislation a reality.

The disability community, in particular, was willing to engage in the consultations since day one. Their involvement continues, and I’m sure it will continue when we get this to committee.

I really want to thank you for being here. Thanks to the inclusive leadership of organizations like the Federal Accessibility Legislation Alliance, FALA, Canadians with disabilities are having their voices heard. The disability community is helping to shape this historic legislation, which would not be possible without them.

Bill C-81 would enshrine into law the long-standing demand of the disability community that persons with disabilities need to be involved in the creation and implementation of the policies and programs that affect their lives. This is something I learned over 15 years in the Senate working in the autism community, self-advocacy. They know a lot better than we do of what they need and we have to follow them. They don’t have to follow us; we have to learn. By doing this, Bill C-81 recognizes that an accessible Canada will only be possible with the collaboration and leadership of Canadians with disabilities.

In fact, the priorities and perspectives of the disability community are reflected throughout the bill, as I mentioned. They mention the importance of accessibility in communications, particularly for persons with communications and language disabilities. So communications was added as a priority for the legislation, to ensure this bill aligns with the priorities expressed by the disability community. Bringing focus to barriers in accommodations and supports for people with communications disabilities, and for people who are deaf is important to all service areas like face-to-face interaction, telecommunications, reading and writing. As you can imagine, this is a very important addition for people who face these barriers to interact in their communities and participate in the workplace.

Other suggestions from stakeholders highlighted the importance of harmonizing accessibility requirements across Canada. Another improvement was made so the bill now requires the minister responsible under the act to make every reasonable effort to collaborate with provinces and territories on accessibility.

It will also be helpful for the private sector to catch on once this bill becomes law.

This will help to create consistent levels of accessibility for persons with disabilities across Canada.

The community also wanted transparency and accountability on exemptions. To this end, the bill requires exemptions to be published in the Canada Gazette, as well as rationales for all exemptions must be made available to the public.

To enhance accountability, and there were concerns about timelines, the bill places a three-year limit on all exemptions. This recognizes that accessibility solutions evolve over time and will prevent organizations from slipping through the cracks, while also ensuring that everybody does their part to achieve an accessible Canada.

The community wants to make sure there will be no delays in implementation, particularly with respect to regulations. For that reason, the bill now requires that the first regulations under the act must be made within two years of the act coming into force. This also ensures that the first parliamentary review of this act will happen by 2026.

Colleagues, over my last 15 years in the Senate, what I’ve heard from the disability community is that they want something we all want: Equality. They want hope. They want a Canadian society that includes them. People with disabilities have been waiting a very long time for change. They want an accessible Canada to become a reality and they want it to happen quickly. Recognizing this, the government has a plan in place to ensure timely and meaningful progress in the implementation of this act.

My sincere hope is we get through this and when we have Royal Assent before we rise in June, that the Government of Canada will begin work on three key components of the legislation. These include the recruitment of the chief accessibility officer; the establishment of CASDO, the Canadian accessibility standards development organization; and the recruitment of the CASDO board of directors.


The new organizations established under this act will be up and running within 12 months after the bill receives Royal Assent. The first set of regulations must be made within two years of the act coming into force. The establishment of these regulations will also start the clock for the five-year parliamentary review.

Additionally, Employment and Social Development Canada will establish initial regulations in the priority areas, based on recognized and established standards developed and validated over years by technical experts, industry and persons with disabilities. These short-term milestones mean that action towards an accessible Canada will start immediately.

Disabilities are as unique as the individual. There will always be new barriers to address, because we do not know what the barriers of tomorrow will look like. I’m sure in the construction of this building that we met all the standards, but I guarantee that in 24 hours we’ll still find something to make this a better place. It just works that way. We are evolving as a society and our approach to remove barriers must evolve as well. That is why the participation of persons with disabilities through CASDO is going to be so important. We can never stop working towards everyone’s accessibility.

In closing, senators, I know it’s late in the day, but it’s never too late to talk about inclusion. I am strongly committed to building a more inclusive and accessible society for all persons in Canada. I hope we can give this landmark legislation the priority and attention it deserves and have it passed into law, as I mentioned, before we leave this place in the summer.

I know this bill will improve the lives of millions of people in Canada, and it will establish Canada as a global leader in accessibility. With Bill C-81, we will lay the groundwork for a future that is inclusive of everyone and accessible to all people in Canada.

Honourable senators, in closing, it may sound unusual, but it is about history, so I’m dedicating this speech to my late son, Timothy James Alexander Munson. He was a child with Down’s syndrome who wasn’t quite a year old when he died, but he lived on this earth for a reason. Even then, 50 years ago, my wife and I were on a journey to break down barriers, the barriers of stigmatization, the barriers of language being used to describe a child with Down’s syndrome, and the barriers of what kind of world a child with Down’s syndrome can live and work in.

I was thinking what the world would have looked like 50 years later for Timmy.

Honourable senators, when we talk about inclusion, we are talking about passing the accessible Canada act into law. I’m doing it for Timmy and his spirit, and I’m doing it for every Canadian in the disability movement. There is nothing about us without us. Thank you very much.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Senator Munson, will you take a question?

Senator Munson: Yes.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Senator Munson, I recognize the important work you have done in this area. I don’t see one day when you do not work on breaking down barriers, and I want to say that the recognition you received today is because of the work not only for Timmy but you’ve done it for many Timmys. I think we would all agree that you have done tremendous work to break down barriers, and we thank you for that.

I hear the things you are saying, and unfortunately I am now one of those people who has issues and needs help. In all that you have said, will there be an awareness campaign so that employers know what will happen? It’s great to have it as legislation, but what steps will be taken to implement it? What steps will be taken to raise awareness?

Senator Munson: Thank you, senator, for your kind words.

I do understand that the government plans a very strong campaign, but I think before you get there, you have to get the bill to become law.

Again, when you’re doing a campaign, it has to involve the folks who are with us today, watching us at work, because they have to have the input of how they want to see how this campaign would work. There also has to be a campaign and consultation with the Indigenous communities, which I understand is going on now in terms of inclusivity. That has to be nation to nation and it has to take place as well.

It’s a step-by-step process. I only have two and a half years to go here, which I can’t believe. However, when the communications plan is put together, I’d like to be a part of it. I’d like to be Jimmy Appleseed and go across the country and talk everywhere. I don’t think any door would close. I would hope not.

There have been conversations about a very strong communications campaign, but it has to have and will have the input of the disability community.

Hon. Frances Lankin: Senator Munson, will you accept another question?

Senator Munson: Yes.

Senator Lankin: Let me, first of all, thank you for your leadership on this bill and in general on these issues of inclusion. I did not know your personal story about Timmy, but thank you for sharing that. Certainly part of his legacy is the ongoing legacy you have worked on with respect to bringing these issues forward. It’s incredible, and I appreciate your sharing that with us.

I want to tell you that we will be contacting your office because we are in conversations about holding a panel discussion with people from the disability community to talk about this bill, to which we’re going to invite all senators. I’ve been in conversations, or my office has, with some of the advocates from Ontario, because of my background and working on the Ontarians with Disability Act, which is woefully inadequate — was then and is more so now this many years later — but it is very instructive. I was interested in your comment about urging the minister to work across Canada to develop comprehensive and comparable standards.

Do you have an in-depth analysis of the differences, jurisdiction to jurisdiction, provincially and territorially and what this federal act will do? That could be very helpful for all of us back in our home communities in working with people from the community to be able to contrast.

The other lessons learned will be all of the remarks that will come about this being too costly and that we can’t do this. In fact, I think that has been laid to rest by the experience in some of the provinces that went earlier than others and certainly by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Could you provide us with some of that information if you have it?

Senator Munson: Thank you, senator, for your comments.

First of all, I don’t think you can put a price on inclusion.

Senator Lankin: I agree.

Senator Munson: For example, in the Down’s syndrome community or the Special Olympics environment or people with other different needs, long ago a lot of people were excluded from society. I’m reminded of what my old boss Mr. Chrétien once told me about people with special needs. He said that if you create an environment where you build the ramp to a job — not the physical ramp but the cultural ramp to a job — you have more taxpayers. You contribute to an economy. So there’s no price on inclusion. In fact, I think we all benefit at the end of the day with that.

I have to admit — I guess I’m a poor politician in that way — that I have to learn from that question. I do know from the disability community that they were the ones that said to the minister that you have to involve the provinces in these consultations. What about the cities and other folks? I guess that really has to be part of it too. Because when you’re changing things like the way we’re doing with banking — federal banks — or the way you’re getting onto an aircraft or a train — VIA Rail has changed its ways incredibly these days regarding how they allow accessibility.


That’s well and good, but if you don’t have it across the board, you will still have that siloed environment. In the autism community, as I keep fighting for a national autism strategy, you get programs put into place, but we’re not thinking along the same holistic environment the same way all the time.

When it comes to the private sector, where do they fit in? What are they doing now? This is a chance to lead and learn from the disability community. I think the minister — talking off the top of my head because I’m a poor politician like that. Perhaps I’m not supposed to be saying these things, but I’ve always said what I’ve wanted to anyway in my life. The federal minister must sit down with each province and sit down with municipalities, because there are areas of responsibility within the municipalities, and say, “Look, here are the standards that have been put together by this new — hopefully — law. These are the standards the disability community has put together. What do you think of those standards working for you at city hall? How do you think these standards will be, or how can we improve them, at city hall, at Queen’s Park and that sort of thing?”

There are no borders when it comes to inclusion, so that would be my hope.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Senator Munson, your time has expired. Are you asking for another five minutes?

Senator Munson: Yes.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Thank you, Senator Munson, for sharing your personal experiences. I, too, was enormously moved. I commend you on your leadership.

I have the privilege today of meeting with members of FALA. When you said, “No wrong door,” it triggered a conversation we had. This is coming from them, and I’d like to share it with my colleagues and to ask you for your response. They said — and I have to think about it carefully — that the no-wrong-door approach, in theory, is a very inclusive approach, but in practice, it can lead to a certain amount of chaos and no arrival at the destination, because there is no one to guide you through whichever door you tend to open. They were referring to the experience of Ontario and the mental health strategy in Ontario, where Ontario, too — and I apologize again; I’m from Ontario; that’s my background — where the no-wrong-door approach is complemented with a navigation specialist, a sort of concierge who will guide you through this maze, so to say.

Was that brought up in committee? What is your response to that concern of the advocates? What do you think?

Senator Munson: I think I mentioned in the speech about technical experts and other people being consulted throughout the disability community and getting ideas from them. We have to be brave. We have to be curious. I’ve always felt, sometimes, as a former journalist, whether as a foreign correspondent — I was always curious what was down that road. Sometimes down that road, there weren’t very many nice things to see, and it was chaos. But you have to take that road sometimes. You have to take that chance.

I think we have to be brave about doing these things. We’re on a new road right now, aren’t we? It’s a road we’ve never been on before. We’ve never had this before. This is laying a cornerstone for us to build upon and move forward.

I think that I sincerely have to — and I’ve talked, of course, with Bill and Jane of FALA here over many years — and I have to sit down myself and understand about being fearless and opening that door.

Yes, there will be some difficulties along the way. We can’t afford not to take the chance or the opportunity.

Hon. Elaine McCoy: Senator Munson, would you take another question?

Senator Munson: Yes, of course.

Senator McCoy: I have an accolade. I, too, am one of your great admirers — I have been for years — in the work you have been doing in this field. You have a talent for not only increasing awareness but also taking action, which I commend greatly.

I want to ask a question, but first, let me preface it with a personal experience. Like Senator Jaffer, I have become recently sensitized to accessibility issues. Today, I walked into this lovely new building for the very first time. I walked through five doors, I think. On each one of those doors, I had to use my security card. On three of the doors, I was able to push the handicapped buttons. On two of the doors I couldn’t — the northern corridor. Indeed, if I didn’t have somebody with me, I wouldn’t have been able to move those doors at all; they were too heavy.

This is my question: Will this act apply to the Senate? It’s not an easy question, because we always like to say we’re masters and mistresses of our own internal affairs. Please consider the question.

Senator Munson: Thank you. As I mentioned, Senator McCoy, we love our new building and new environment, but we’ve also discovered some of the difficulties. Facing those stairs sometimes — yes, there’s an elevator down there, but if you’re facing the stairs to the front door, if that is the front door — I don’t know, because I stayed to talk near the front door this afternoon.

To your question, of course it applies to the Senate of Canada. As I mentioned, it applies to Parliament, and Parliament includes us, because we are the upper house. As the upper house, we have the opportunity to build upon what the 74 amendments the other side proposed. Remember, it was approved by the other side, but there were 74 amendments before that committee, and it was a vigorous debate at that time. I know that there are a lot of people with a lot of good ideas here, so let’s look at every good idea and put it together. But it will apply to the Senate.

Senator McCoy: Thank you.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Senator Munson, your time has expired.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)


United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Sinclair, seconded by the Honourable Senator Pratte, for the second reading of Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Hon. Mary Coyle: Honourable senators, I’m pleased to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP.

I would first like to thank our colleagues Senator Sinclair and Senator Boehm for their leadership and contributions on this important piece of legislation. I would also like to honour Romeo Saganash, Bill C-262’s tireless champion, who introduced this private member’s bill in the House of Commons in April 2016, almost three years ago.

The bill was passed in the House of Commons on May 30, 2018, with 285 votes cast: 206 yeas and 79 nays.

Earlier today, I was privileged, along with many of you, to attend the historic smudging ceremony in this chamber conducted so graciously by Algonquin elder Claudette Commanda. She blessed this house and blessed each of us while gently and firmly reminding us to use our wisdom, courage, love and strength to work together with kindness for the benefit of all peoples of Canada. This simple, meaningful, and respectful act is, to my mind, a practical demonstration of the harmony referred to in the description of Bill C-262.

We have already heard from our own in-house Indigenous rights expert, legal scholar truth teller and reconciliation seeker, Senator Sinclair, on the importance of this bill, its historical background and the strong case for getting on with righting the centuries of wrongs our country and its citizens have committed against the First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples of Canada. And, of course, the case for them moving forward with a new relationship based on mutual respect.


I will briefly go over the key aspects of this bill, since it has been a while since we last debated it in the Senate. I will then give some international context on the declaration and relate it to other international commitments. From there, I will give some more regional context, and then conclude with some thoughts on our deliberations.


Colleagues, it’s estimated there are over 370 million Indigenous people from 5,000 groups living in 90 countries worldwide. Approximately 1.4 million of those people are here in Canada.

UNDRIP defines the minimum standards necessary for the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples of the world. Bill C-262 is an instrument designed to bring that declaration, UNDRIP, home to Canada. In essence, Bill C-262 focuses on three main points of action while safeguarding existing Aboriginal and treaty rights and ensuring the act does not cause any delays in the application of the declaration. The three key points are, quoting from the bill:

The Government of Canada, in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous peoples in Canada, must take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Government of Canada must, in consultation and co-operation with indigenous peoples, develop and implement a national action plan to achieve the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development must, within 60 days after the first day of April of every year . . . submit a report to each House of Parliament on the implementation of the measures referred to in section 4 and the plan referred to in section 5 . . . .

This reporting was to commence in 2017.

In summary, Bill C-262 is asking for a thorough review of our Canadian laws with a view to ensuring their consistency with UNDRIP. The bill is also insisting on an action plan to achieve the objectives of the declaration Canada has adopted. Finally, the bill requires annual reporting to ensure accountability and ignite momentum on the previous points.

In other words, the bill is concerned with moving forward at home with the implementation of the commitments we, as a country, have made at the UN table with our global neighbours.

Colleagues, this seems reasonable and fair. However, it has taken a very long road to get to where we are today.

While reading up on the UN declaration, I was pleased to find the handbook for parliamentarians entitled Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, published by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 2014. The handbook provides some useful tools and information for legislators like ourselves around the world, and it highlights the historical context at the international level leading up to the declaration.

In 1923, Cayuga Chief Deskaheh of the Iroquois Nation first came to the League of Nations to assert the rights of his people. It has been almost 100 years since that first assertion of Indigenous rights by Chief Deskaheh at the world’s most important international governance body. It was not until 1982 that the international community formally established the working group on Indigenous populations to develop that minimum set of standards that would protect Indigenous peoples and their rights.

The working group’s first draft was approved in 1994 and sent to the UN Commission on Human Rights to be further discussed.

The process that followed was lengthy, due to concerns — and I think we will continue to discuss these — regarding Indigenous peoples’ rights to self-determination and the duty of states to obtain or, in some cases, seek to obtain Indigenous people’s free, prior and informed consent in relation to interests in lands, territories and resources. The initial hope was to produce and have participating nations adopt a declaration on Indigenous rights within the first international decade of the world’s Indigenous peoples, which ran from 1995 to 2004. It would take a few more years.

On September 13, 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with a majority of 144 states in favour. Canada was not among them. Canada did not officially endorse the declaration until 2010 and then did not finally adopt it fully until 2016.

As Prime Minister Trudeau has stated, a framework that includes measures like these will finally bring to life many of the recommendations made by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and countless other studies and reports over the years. The 46 articles found in UNDRIP will help guide legislators — us — and judiciary across Canada in their duties and will help ensure that history of oppression that has been experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada is redressed and that all Canadians continue to take the necessary steps to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report and Calls to Action.

The first principle in the TRC report specifies that Canada will only flourish if reconciliation is firmly based on the principles of the declaration and that the foundation of this reconciliation is felt at all levels of government and across every part of our country.

Further, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action number 43 states:

We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.

Canada has gone part of the way in responding to this important call to action by finally adopting the UN declaration. Bill C-262 will now move us forward on the critical path towards implementation. This is the action part.

In addition to responding to the TRC report and Calls to Action, the UN declaration also dovetails very nicely and reinforces Canada’s commitment to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which came into effect in January 2016. The overall goal of Agenda 2030 is the reduction of inequalities.


Indigenous peoples are mentioned specifically in Agenda 2030, including in reference to the goals of zero hunger, universal inclusive education and, most importantly, in reference to Indigenous people’s rights to participate in decisions that affect them. Like Agenda 2030’s emphasis on equality, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples opens with two clauses on the theme of equality.

Affirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such, . . . .


Affirming further that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid morally condemnable and socially unjust, . . . .

Bringing these issues of equality and racism closer to home, actor Ellen Page, a native of Nova Scotia, spoke out a couple of weeks ago on The Late Show with Steven Colbert about the environmental racism entrenched in Nova Scotia for decades and which has had severe consequences for the community of Pictou Landing First Nation. This is a community close to my home, and this is a situation where free, prior and informed consent did not come into play.

Interestingly, Nova Scotia’s environment minister agrees with Ellen Page. He was quoted last year as saying that “the toxic Boat Harbour lagoon is one of the worst examples of environmental racism in the province and possibly the country.”

Originally used by First Nations people for fishing, clam digging, hunting, cultural pursuits and recreation, as well as a harbour for their fishing boats, Boat Harbour, on the edge of the reserve, is now a toxic lagoon. It has been a dumping ground for waste from the chemical plant and the local pulp mill since the 1960s. Air pollution is another serious risk facing the Pictou Landing community, adding to the damage on people’s health and economic prospects.

For decades, misrepresentation, lies, betrayal, disrespect, broken promises, neglect and a complete disregard for the people have characterized the government and business relationship with Pictou Landing First Nation.

With the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Bill C-262, the hope and expectation is that egregious rights abuses and tragedies such as Boat Harbour will be prevented in the future and will be dealt with fairly and swiftly today.

Colleagues, here we are as Canadians at a very important turning point in our relationships with our Indigenous neighbours and with their governments. Canada has adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We have an instrument before us, Bill C-262, which provides critical tools and accountability for putting our national commitment to UNDRIP into action. Colleagues, it is time to walk the talk, or as my colleague Senator Christmas might say, it is time for “reconciliaction.” It is time for Canada to truly flourish, for all of us to flourish together, to reconcile and to engage in a respectful relationship where everyone has a voice that is heard and a recognized place at the table. Is this not what an evolved democracy looks like in 2019?

Canada was late. We were a laggard coming to the UN table on this Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Let’s take this opportunity to study together and pass Bill C-262 so that we can move forward into a position of leadership at the global table, leadership based on what we do and how we actually implement this well-thought-through rights document here at home. This will take trust and openness and, if done well, it will build trust. Without trust, we cannot possibly move forward.

Honourable colleagues, let’s work together to put an end to the legacy of poor relationships, bad laws and disrespect which resulted in the Boat Harbour tragedy and the many other injustices we’ve heard so much about. Sharing power can be a difficult thing to achieve, but I think we all know that it is really the only just and sustainable solution that can work and endure for us as Canadians.

Let’s hear what our colleagues have to say and let’s each do our part in getting Bill C-262 to committee without delay. Thank you. Wela’lioq.

(On motion of Senator Omidvar, debate adjourned.)

Department of Health Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Rosa Galvez moved second reading of Bill C-326, An Act to amend the Department of Health Act (drinking water guidelines).

She said: Honourable senators, I move the adjournment of the debate for the balance of my time.

(On motion of Senator Galvez, debate adjourned.)

Study on New and Emerging Issues for Canadian Importers and Exporters with Respect to Competitiveness of Canadian Businesses in North American and Global Markets

Twenty-fourth Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee and Request for Government Response—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Black (Alberta), seconded by the Honourable Senator Bovey:

That the twenty-fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, tabled on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 12-24(1), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the Minister of Finance being identified as minister responsible for responding to the report.

Hon. Rosa Galvez: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to the twenty-fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce entitled Canada: Still Open for Business?

The report was subject to criticism in the media. Concerns included the limited scope of the report to appropriately address the subject matter, a lack of objectivity on the neutrality of certain witnesses and the primary focus on one sector despite a diversified Canada and economy.

Senators, you will know that building a good reputation can take a lifetime, but destroying the same reputation can take seconds. We must be mindful of the Senate’s reputation and do all we can to preserve it.


After careful reading of the report, I want to share with you my reflections on its content and on what is missing.


Overall, Canada’s GDP, the traditional indicator of a country’s economic health, looks good. The Royal Bank of Canada estimates that the 2.1 per cent growth in 2018 will barely slow to 2 per cent in 2019. The Department of Finance recently stated that the Canadian economy is strong and growing, that the unemployment rate is at a 40-year low and that business profits are up. While these statements are based primarily on Canada’s GDP, they do not give the full picture.


GDP is not the best indicator for entangled progress benchmarks such as sustainable business and social peace. A recent IISD report emphasizes the importance of using integrated tools and reliable metrics to monitor real progress. In today’s geopolitical environment, we need to evaluate and strategize for short- and long-term economic scenarios by considering — and simultaneously improving — the five fundamental elements of prosperity: Financial capital, produced capital, the workforce, the cohesion in our society and the value of our environment and its ecological services. Increasing competitiveness in both progress on these five fronts.

Furthermore, any serious attempt to make recommendations on business development in Canada must address: One, the rise of persistent global and regional risk; two, challenges and advantages associated with emerging technological advances and breakthroughs, called the Fourth Industrial Revolution; and three, the decarbonization of the global economy. None of these issues are addressed in the banking committee report.

The 2018 World Economic Forum Global Risks Report indicates that three of the top five global risks are related to the environment: Extreme weather events, natural disasters, failure to achieve climate change mitigation and adaptation. The severity and frequency of extreme events over the last decade is alarming, as rates are rising exponentially.

In Canada, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction revealed that the number of catastrophic events has exploded from a few dozen in the 1970s to 170 in the early 2000s. Just last year, Canada had more than 10 recorded events, with damage of between $500 million to $3 billion per event. These costs impact our economy and the immense costs of infrastructure damage are not immediately captured by GDP.

It is worth noting that the situation is worse in the U.S., our neighbour. In 2017, the NOAA estimated the cause of climate-related damages to be $306 billion. These unpredictable costs are growing exponentially and should be considered in any government budget or economic initiative.

The banking report does not consider the cost of climate change mitigation or positive or negative effects of the transition to a low-carbon economy, nor their potential impacts on business in Canada.

Other risks to business are regional. According to an analysis by the World Economic Forum, asset stranding and energy price shock are among the top 10 risks to businesses in North America. Asset stranding may seriously affect existing, and new, oil and gas ventures in Canada. While fossil fuel production and exports undoubtedly contribute to our economic prosperity, development of low-carbon cost technology, efforts to reduce consumption and increase energy efficiency, evolving climate policy and higher refining and transport costs of Western Canada Select is substantially reducing the demand for our fossil fuels.

In December, WCS prices dropped to an all-time low of $10 per barrel. In response, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced an 8.7 per cent curtailment in the production of crude oil and bitumen starting in 2019 in an attempt to balance supply and demand. As of today, the production cap has been increased and the price of oil has risen to $42 per barrel; however, major oil and gas industry players are divided as to whether this measure will be effective in the long run.

What we know is that only some integrated companies are more resilient to price fluctuations and still realize profits, perhaps because they have control over up-, medium- and downstream operations. This is a major factor in competition that is ignored in the report.

Senators, Canada has never produced so much oil in all its history, 4.2 million barrels per day, double 1999 production. Is this the cause or the effect of low oil prices in Canada? In any case, this production is partly due to considerable subsidies to the sector, including a special tax deductions and reduced royalties.

Now, how can more incentives for investment, higher production and greater pipeline capacity be harmonized with Alberta’s 100 million tonne cap on oil sands emissions? Are tax cuts and deregulation of targeted sectors the long-term solution to the liquidation of our precious, non-renewable natural resources?

The last question can perhaps be answered by a recent report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer. A 1 per cent decrease in the federal corporate tax rate each year over the next six years would lead to a net cost of over $11 billion per year in 2024. Canadians cannot afford this.

More to consider. The U.S. has moved from being Canada’s partner to being our greatest competitor in the oil and gas sector. Since 2014, it is the third-largest producer of crude oil. The new Louisiana Offshore Port, called the LOOP, is the first bidirectional oil port dedicated to the largest crude oil tankers. Any very large crude carrier from any country can load or unload oil at up to 100,000 barrels per hour. This mega infrastructure signals a major shift in global oil shipping patterns for North American oil and gas products.

Senators, the world is being reshaped by decarbonization and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A 2017 study from the International Renewable Energy Agency found that the cost of large-scale renewable energy production is dropping even without any tax credits or incentives . Over $1 trillion has been invested in renewable energy worldwide, creating close to 10 million jobs. Investment in renewable energy is increasing. China invested over $80 billion in solar power just in 2017.


The adoption of a low-carbon economy has led to notable innovations in the energy sector. A team of researchers in China announced that plasma in their superconducting Tokamak, dubbed the “artificial sun,” has reached over 100 million degrees in the plasma, the temperature required to maintain a nuclear fusion reaction that produces more power than it takes to run. This is a scientific breakthrough and a possible solution to the worldwide demand for energy, because the fusion reaction does not produce any greenhouse gas emissions or long-life radioactive waste. At the same time, carbon market pilot projects in China raised over $680 million in 2017 alone. All of this affects Asian oil markets.


The other side of decarbonization is divestment from fossil fuels. When Norway’s trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund fully divests from fossil fuel holdings, it will impact 61 Canadian oil and gas equities. The funds committed to divestment now total more than $8 trillion U.S.


The New York pension fund would be US$22 billion richer had it decided to divest its fossil fuel stock 10 years ago. These facts can no longer be ignored and will drive new investments. If Canada fails to keep pace with the changing reality of the energy sector, we will have little or no control over the technological advances or the disruption to our oil and gas reserves that will inevitably come with a decarbonization of the economy.

Senators, I ask: Is Canada still open for business?

The Hon. the Speaker: Excuse me, Senator Galvez.

Honourable senators, it being 6:00, pursuant to rule 3-3(1) I’m obliged to leave the chair until 8:00 unless it’s your wish that we not see the clock.

Is it your wish to not see the clock, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Galvez: Is Canada still open for business? This is perhaps a logical question from the perspective of someone who believes Canada’s prosperity is primarily based in one sector and that sector is in danger. But the threat of climate change, damaging social inequality, global risk and lagging behind other economies which are quickly decarbonizing are far more threatening and serious risks than corporate tax rates and necessary environmental protection laws.

The vast majority of Canadian oil companies agree with the need for emissions reduction, carbon pricing and social and technological innovation to remain competitive. Just as we cannot narrow our attention to one sector in isolation, we cannot remain blind to the overwhelming facts. More than ever, we need to navigate in these unpredictable factors, including geopolitical turbulence and climate change. Canada must carefully consider its economic strategy. We must invest not only in physical infrastructure but also in social capital, develop innovation that makes our communities more resilient and livable, and keep our intellectual capital in Canada.

Honourable senators, considering all these facts, I’m forced to conclude that the report is limited by a narrow focus, an incomplete analysis of the challenges facing Canadian businesses. A more thoughtful and in-depth study must be conducted if the committee wants to offer viable, relevant and effective recommendations.

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: I would like to move the adjournment, unless Senator Black has a question.

The Hon. the Speaker: I believe Senator Black wishes to enter debate on the item.

Senator D. Black: Honourable senators, just for context, what we are doing here is seeking the approval of the Senate for a unanimous report, which was prepared by the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce on issues related to import and export in Canada. That’s what we’re talking about.

Let me address that. The context of this study is built on the foundation that Canada has been a trading nation since our founding. It was not an examination of trade, the pros and cons of trade, or the social impacts of trade. We were looking at the facts. Are the challenges facing importers and exporters something that can be addressed by the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce? Not the Social Affairs Committee, not the energy and environment committee, but the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee.

We wanted to understand whether the economic environment that was being confronted by our importers and exporters could be improved. That was the challenge. And I hasten to add that the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee report, which was tabled here last October, was a unanimous report of the committee.

I would also point out to senators that over the duration of the hearing, we heard from 23 witnesses, both individuals and groups, over several hearings. I think it’s also important to note, colleagues, that of those 23 witnesses, only three spoke to the energy industry. I would also remind senators that the energy industry is the largest exporter in the Canadian economy.

It is appropriate that we would consider that point of view, but I hasten to add and I underline that of 23 witnesses, three came from the energy industry.

Based on the testimony we heard, we reached our unanimous conclusions. Those conclusions, senators, those recommendations that we made, I would indicate to you were all adopted but one by Minister Morneau in his Fall Economic Statement last fall. That is where we suggested, we recommended that the Government of Canada establish a Royal Commission on taxation. This is a prudent recommendation. The taxation codes of Canada have not been reviewed for over 50 years. This is a prudent recommendation.

We recommended that the federal government act immediately to implement measures that would encourage companies to continue to invest in Canada. We urged the Government of Canada to improve its regulatory regime, not just for one industry but generally. We urged the federal government to assist companies in commercializing their intellectual property. We indicated the government had to address, on an urgent basis, trade infrastructure with a particular focus on bottlenecks at our gateways of Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver. We urged and encouraged the government to continue its focus in expediting trade in emerging and fast-growing economies such as China and India.

That is what we heard in our testimony. That is what the committee recommended to government. That is what Minister Morneau accepted with gratitude, as he indicated in his comments: the work of the Senate committee.

There was a suggestion that media commentary was unfavourable to the report. That, honourable senators, is simply not accurate. There was one publication in Quebec that criticized the report. We have a report from the Communications Directorate of the Senate, which has been sent to all senators. I will read exactly what the report says. They talk about the wide coverage that was received. They talked about leading journalists, such as Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells. They’re talking in thousands of numbers. They’re talking about the Canadian Chamber of Commerce endorsing our work. They go on to indicate that their view, as communications experts, is that the report was well presented and well picked up, with 546 reporters being contacted and 17 news stories being generated. That in itself is not our goal, but it is relevant. The coverage was very positive, with one exception.

What is it that the committee does? And I would urge other committees similarly would do. What it is we do when we think about when we consider what we want to study? As I’m fond of saying, we want to study things that matter. We want to ensure our reports are timely, impactful and additive to public dialogue. That’s why the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee of this Senate, in the time that I have been there, and so many of you in this room today have served on that committee, we have studied bitcoin. We have studied the northern corridor. We have studied terrorist financing. We have studied interprovincial trade and cybersecurity security, which I will talk about later today.

We have studied Statistics Canada and we have studied the importers and exporters issue that I’m now referring to. We don’t want our studies to be filed and sit on a shelf. We want public stakeholders to be aware of our views, aware of the views of the Senate, and we want to be relevant to dialogue. This is important for our work and I would suggest to you, senators, that in this regard, the report of your Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce met that.


There is one final matter that I wish to address for the benefit of the record. There has been criticism from some of our colleagues directed to our colleagues on the Senate committee by virtue of the fact that at the launch of our report, we had a representative of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on the panel. We did that selectively and strategically because we wanted to reach into the Canadian importers and exporters community, the very community we were studying. We believe that was a very effective thing to have done. The Communications Directorate underlines that as well.

But, unfortunately, the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee cannot take credit for being the first committee to involve a third-party expert at a launch. I’d like to point out to our colleagues that since 2016, the Official Languages Committee, in respect of their seventh report, had at their launch Justin Johnson, the President of the French-Canadian Youth Federation. I would point out that on June 27, 2018, the Social Affairs Committee had with them Kimberley Hanson, the Executive Director of Federal Affairs of Diabetes Canada. These are all good moves to involve community to amplify your report — at Social Affairs again, November 15, 2016, in respect of their dementia report. Legal and Constitutional Affairs on June 14, 2017 — the Canadian Bar Association. The Human Rights Committee, June 20, 2016, in respect of North Korean defectors, had a video of a defector. Our own Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee, recently in Fredericton, New Brunswick, had the Director of the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity with us.

This is a very wise thing to do, because you get people who are involved actively in the industry confirming the good work we’re doing.

Colleagues, I think it’s unusual that we have a debate on having reports of committees adopted, but “unusual” makes for “interesting,” so here we are. I would simply ask, at the appropriate time, that the Senate of Canada approve the committee work that was done in respect of importers and exporters last fall.

(On motion of Senator Omidvar, for Senator Ringuette, debate adjourned.)

Business of the Senate

Hon. David Tkachuk: Your Honour, I’d like to raise a point of privilege. Today, at the Transport Committee meeting, Transport was looking at Bill C-48. We were having a meeting to discuss some matters. One senator used unparliamentary language: Senator Simons. At first, I wasn’t sure she actually said what she said, but now we’ve checked the transcripts. So I want to raise the issue now.

With permission, in order to make the case, I’d like to actually use the word. It’s not very funny, Senator Simons, for one thing. Second, you don’t call other senators “buggers.”

I’m raising this issue at the earliest possible opportunity. It was getting pretty heated in there, but at the same time, senators were respectful of that. Most senators — all senators, I thought, except on that one matter — were having a very good, spirited debate, you might say.

So I raise that matter. I don’t know if we have to send a letter tomorrow morning to put it on the Order Paper, but I’m asking for your advice. I wanted to raise it at the earliest possible opportunity.

Or she can apologize right now in this chamber.

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Simons, do you wish to speak?

Hon. Paula Simons: Senator Tkachuk is completely correct, and I was out of order. I think he understood in the moment that I meant it in a cheeky way and not in an aggressive way, but he’s absolutely correct: I used unparliamentary language. I’m embarrassed about it, and I extend to him and the other members of the committee my complete apologies.

Study on Issues and Concerns Pertaining to Cyber Security and Cyber Fraud

Twenty-fifth Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the twenty-fifth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, entitled Cyber assault: It should keep you up at night, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on October 29, 2018.

Hon. Douglas Black moved the adoption of the report.

He said: I’m looking forward to speaking, but I would be prepared to defer to my colleague Senator Gold, who I believe wishes to address this report as well. If he doesn’t, I’m happy with that, too.

All right. Thank you.

Honourable senators, I rise as Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to report on the work we did in terms of cyber assault and cyberattacks. We recently studied this in the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, and I’m now coming before the Senate seeking approval.

The federal government, in the position of the committee — again, a unanimous decision — is failing to protect Canadians from increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks that are victimizing millions. We learned that in 2017 alone, over 10 million Canadians have had their personal information compromised through online attacks, more often through cyber operations directed against businesses that hold Canadians’ private information.

That was the personal side. We also came to learn quite horrifyingly of efforts made at hospitals — the ability now to access monitors in children’s rooms, and other rather disturbing pieces of information came to our attention.

The Government of Canada’s response, in our opinion, has been weak, and we believe it needs to be strengthened considerably. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, for instance, has indicated there are complexities around privacy rights, and our view is that work needs to be done there. We also believe the RCMP does not have the resources required to meet the challenges that are being faced. More needs to be done, and this is what we’re indicating.

We believe the key is education. That is why we launched our report at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton’s cybersecurity faculty. They are, along with the University of Waterloo, the two centres for cybersecurity work in the country. We launched there very effectively.

We are indicating the importance of education and investment in education. We’re indicating that there needs to be three national centres of cybersecurity expertise in the country. Privacy legislation needs to be modernized. We believe there should be some incentives provided for businesses to enhance their cybersecurity capability. We have recommended that there be a new minister — if anyone is looking for a job as a new minister — of cybersecurity. We initially were going to propose that the Prime Minister should assume responsibility for that, but we have indicated there should be a new minister in the federal cabinet. We need a minister of cybersecurity. Those are the recommendations we made.

We intend to monitor this problem because we believe it is not going away. This is an interim report. We intend to review this over the next number of months to see whether action has been taken in respect of what we’re suggesting. Thank you, senators.


Hon. Marc Gold: Honourable senators, I welcome the opportunity to say a few words about the report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, entitled Cyber Assault: It should keep you up at night.

Quite apart from having one of the punchiest, if not indeed the scariest titles in the Senate collection of reports, it’s a timely and popular reminder of the challenges we face in this interconnected digital age.

I subscribe to virtually all of the recommendations in the report, save one with which I have some reservations, and I’ll return to this one later.

But my main purpose today is to place this report in the larger context of how we are addressing the cyber-threats posed to our country, what tools we have and what tools we lack, to respond effectively to those threats.

First, it is important, though obvious, to remind ourselves that cyber is a means to an end, it’s not an end in itself. It’s the vector by which a certain objective is pursued. The objective may be espionage, whether commercial or the spy versus spy variety — I date myself with that MAD Magazine reference. It could be economic, as in the stealing of funds or financial data, or it could be political, as in attempts to disrupt our elections or to undermine our faith in our democratic institutions. But although cyber is the means to these ends, they all share one thing in common: They represent threats to our national security. Indeed, as the current director of CSIS has stated on more than one occasion, the two biggest threats to our national security are economic espionage and foreign interference.


That is why it is very important to ensure that our intelligence and security agencies have the mandates and tools needed to protect us against such threats and keep us safe. Unfortunately, our current security framework is simply not up to the task.

The primary agency with the mandate and expertise to protect against cyberattacks is the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE. However, its current mandate for dealing with such threats is limited to protecting federal government institutions. While I realize that it also provides advice to other organizations, including those in the private sector, the CSE cannot play any kind of active, ongoing role in the fight against cyberattacks.

Second, its powers are entirely defensive. It can prevent hacking attempts on federal government systems — between 500 million and a billion attempts every day — but it cannot take any active measures to stop attacks before they occur or to stop them once they are under way.


These limitations on CSE’s mandates and powers put our financial institutions and the infrastructure that support them at great risk. And not only our banks and financial institutions, but all of our infrastructure, governmental and private sector that relies upon digital interconnectivity and is part of what we now call the Internet of Things.

That’s why it’s so important that we modernize our security and intelligence framework and give CSE the proper mandate and the powers to do their job. Fortunately, we in the Senate have the opportunity to do just that.

Bill C-59 would permit the government to designate any information infrastructures to be of importance to the Government of Canada. This would allow CSE to partner with an organization, whether in the private or public sector, who requests its assistance in protecting it from the cyber-threats it faces. The help can go beyond simply providing the institution with the latest anti-malware tool or the like. CSE could play a more active role to help the institution stop the attack in its tracks.

This is the operational architecture we desperately need. Until it is in place, no amount of education — none of the recommendations of this report, however, well-thought-out they are — will prove sufficient, adequate or effective.

This leads me to the one recommendation with which I have some reservations, and that is the creation of a minister of cybersecurity to be responsible for cybersecurity policy and to oversee the new Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity.

My reservation is this: As I stated earlier, cyber is the means through which actions are taken, whether in the service of espionage, economic crime or foreign interference with our democracy. Cyber engages all aspects of national security. It’s for that reason that I’m not persuaded that the category of cybersecurity should be treated as distinct and hived off from national security more generally. To be sure, one can fairly ask whether the current mandate of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness might be too broad, encompassing as it does public safety generally, CSIS, the RCMP, the corrections system and the Canada Border Services Agency, and that it might be preferable were there to be a minister exclusively mandated with responsibility for national security. Indeed, this has been suggested by amongst others Professor Stephanie Carvin at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. Be that as it may, I remain unpersuaded that a minister of cybersecurity is necessarily the best way to proceed.

But that reservation aside, let me conclude where I began, honourable colleagues. This is an important and timely report which highlights critical issues that we ignore at our peril. I recommend it to you most highly, and thank you for your kind attention.

Hon. Douglas Black: I want to thank Senator Gold for that extremely helpful presentation. As I say, it’s an interim report. I look forward to following that up. But now I would like to move the adoption of the report.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Study on Present State of the Domestic and International Financial System

Twenty-ninth Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the twenty-ninth report (interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, entitled The collection of financial information by Statistics Canada, tabled in the Senate on December 11, 2018.

Hon. Douglas Black moved the adoption of the report.

He said: I rise again, I promise for the last time today, to talk about a piece of work that has been done by our committee. You may recall that last fall Statistics Canada undertook an effort to acquire the personal banking data of 500,000 Canadians from nine financial institutions in Canada without authorization. This caught the attention of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce. We wanted to spend a day to understand the rationale of the Chief Statistician was.

On November 8, your committee met with the Chief Statistician and officials from Stats Canada, the privacy commission and officials from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the former Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, the Canadian Bankers Association and the Consumers Association of Canada to examine the issue.

It was explained to us this was a pilot project, that they had not sought consent, they, Stats Canada. They believed they did not need consent. They made a compelling case which we accepted. Data is important. We all get that. But the way in which you get data is also important.

To make a long story short, we recommended that the Government of Canada instruct the Chief Statistician and Stats Canada not to proceed with obtaining the information they were requesting in the manner that they requested.

As it turned out, that was not necessary because immediately following our day with the Chief Statistician, he indicated he would not be advancing with the pilot project, and indeed the pilot project has not been advanced. However, we took the opportunity to make a few recommendations that we think are relevant.


We acknowledge that data is important, but we urge Stats Canada to figure out a way that they can get the data they need and ensure that they can protect people’s identities. We are told there are ways it can be done. We don’t need to get into the ways, but we need to be assured that that can happen.

We also recommended that they need to reassess the pilot project. They have done so.

And we also recommended that the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act be realigned to ensure that privacy standards meet with international privacy standards, such as the General Data Protection Regulation of the EU, which is the world’s leading standard.

As a matter of interest, you should know that the banks, on one hand, were being compelled by Stats Canada to give the data but, on the other hand, the privacy legislation prevented it from giving the data. We said that circle needs to be squared.

Finally, we recommended that the Statistics Act be reviewed with a view to addressing the privacy concerns of Canadians on a holistic basis.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Study on the Potential Impact of the Effects of Climate Change on the Agriculture, Agri-food and Forestry Sectors

Fourteenth Report of Agriculture and Forestry Committee and Request for Government Response—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, entitled Feast or Famine: Impacts of climate change and carbon pricing on agriculture, agri-food and forestry, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on December 11, 2018.

Hon. Diane F. Griffin moved:

That the fourteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, entitled Feast or Famine: Impacts of climate change and carbon pricing on agriculture, agri-food and forestry, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on December 11, 2018, be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 12-24(1), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food being identified as minister responsible for responding to the report, in consultation with the Ministers of Environment and Climate Change; Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Natural Resources.

She said: Honourable senators, I move the adjournment for the remainder of my time.

(On motion of Senator Griffin, debate adjourned.)

The Senate

Policies and Mechanisms for Responding to Harassment Complaints against Senators—Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator McPhedran, calling the attention of the Senate to the important opportunity we have to review our principles and procedures with a view to ensuring that the Senate has the strongest most effective policies and mechanisms possible to respond to complaints against senators of sexual or other kinds of harassment.

Hon. Mary Jane McCallum: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak in support of Senator McPhedran’s timely and necessary Inquiry No. 26. As you know, this inquiry calls on the Senate to ensure that we deploy the strongest, most effective policies and mechanisms to respond to complaints against senators of sexual and other kinds of harassment.

According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission:

Harassment is a form of discrimination. It includes any unwanted physical or verbal behaviour that offends or humiliates you. Generally, harassment is a behaviour that persists over time. Serious one-time incidents can also sometimes be considered harassment.

As senators, we are members of a protected class who are granted extraordinary privilege. This privilege carries with it a great responsibility to ensure that we carry out our duties with respect to the people who work with us. This includes but is not limited to our office staff, administration staff, procedural staff and each other as fellow senators. Respect cannot be legislated. It is a way of life and a foundational behaviour that should ground us all.

Colleagues, if we as senators are to look at prohibiting harassment in a meaningful way in every room and hallway of the Senate, we first need to look at how we interact with each other. This includes both in committee as well as on the Senate floor.

This chamber is uniquely distinctive. Something transcendent and very special takes place every time we meet here. We begin this ceremonial gathering when the Speaker enters with the Usher of the Black Rod and the Mace Bearer.

We then say a prayer, giving acknowledgment to a higher being. In our ceremonial space, we stand at our seats during this portion. We have a reviewed scroll that describes in advance of our gathering what will be occurring, which lessens confusion and should prevent unexpected occurrences that may distract from the proceedings.

We conclude with a motion that adjourns the gathering until the next mutually agreed-upon date, followed by the procession out of the chamber by the Speaker and his entourage. This is an obvious signal to the closing of the ceremony.

As a senator with an Indigenous heritage, I look at this chamber as sacred space. With that, I regard our debates, dialogues and interactions as ceremony. This ceremony entails adopting good intentions and a positive regard for all those whom we work with in and out of the chamber. It requires us to speak truthfully, act respectfully, listen actively and fulfil our duties with transparency and humility.

We are responsible for looking at the issues and problems of this great country and seeing how we can best support Canadians by addressing their concerns and moving forward towards positive, transformational and lasting change. In short, we are each directly responsible for acting in a way that upholds the decorum of this storied institution.

Our ceremonies here involve healing, transition and celebration. As herbalist and ceremonialist Elchai describes it:

My goal is to celebrate the normal, the ordinary and the everyday events with ceremony because, in fact, your whole life is one magnificent ceremony, one long dramatic myth with you as its central character.

The transitional ceremony is especially poignant here since we, as Canadians, constantly stand on the threshold of significant change.

Honourable senators, in my Cree heritage, we use the word ke-nis too teen na? It means: do you understand? It involves the concept of three: Me, the collective you and a higher being — in my case, the creator. This means that anything we do and say involves a spiritual component. Part of my responsibility is to ensure that I hear your story and understand your perspective and that you, in turn, will do the same. This includes actively challenging language and behaviours that make me feel less than, which offend me and which humiliate me, regardless of intention.

It is with this top of mind that I address the prevalent issue of harassment within the hallways of our beloved Senate.


I am concerned, colleagues, because within my comparably short time here, I have witnessed a number of instances of what I would classify as personal harassment on this very Senate floor. The harassment I speak of is bullying in its most basic form. Although some may not view these as terribly serious offences, it is nevertheless personally damaging to the victim. We have to address issues and problems that arise swiftly and at their source. They do not have to be illegal for us to be prompted to actively promote change and betterment.

Honourable senators, as I alluded to at the outset of this speech, harassment cuts a number of ways for us as senators. We must ensure we are held accountable and made fully aware of each of these instances to safeguard against their continued existence.

The first type is harassment against other senators. I have experienced or witnessed this in several forms in the chamber and in committee. This includes inappropriate comments, intimidation tactics, raised voices and interrupting the individual who has the floor.

The second type of harassment, and arguably the more serious type, is harassment against staff. This includes office, administration and procedural staff. I have witnessed our valuable Senate staff endure offensive language, personal humiliation, ostracizing behaviours, intimidation tactics, publicly made critical remarks and inappropriate comments. I would like to repeat these instances were levelled against our staff, the very people we rely on most to ensure we are able to do our jobs and uphold our public responsibilities.

Colleagues, we are currently living in a very unique time in human history, with the current #MeToo and #TimesUp movements maintaining their prolonged deserved and hopefully permanent time in the public’s consciousness, those in positions of power and authority are being held accountable to a degree never before seen.

Harassment is not a gendered issue, neither is harassment correlated to age, race, religion or any other identifying feature. Harassment, at its root, is the pressure, intimidation and bullying that one person inflicts on another.

As we have seen, harassment can become dangerously natural and normalized when the relationship involves someone in a position of power and someone else in a position of subordination. Oftentimes the subordinate simply does not have the ability to overcome this scenario on their own. They are trapped in a toxic relationship, in this case in a working environment where voicing their concern or discomfort can lead to immediate termination and have permanent, negative ramifications on their career. I am heartbroken to think that there may be staff here in the Senate who face such horrific and unacceptable working conditions.

As I said, and it bears repeating, these are individuals who serve us not only as senators, but who serve Canada in their own right. They make it possible for us, those in a position of power and privilege, to successfully discharge our duties as parliamentarians. These individuals should be given our deepest gratitude at every turn, not our ire and anger.

The Senate has come under fire for being found guilty of such abuses. Let it be said that we are not immune. However, I am pleased to be a part of the modernization process wherein our staff are empowered and liberated to speak openly and without repercussion, that they are able to begin to feel safe and secure in their jobs and workplace environments. The Senate is making a sound effort to ensure we all go through a transformative behavioural shift in how we treat each other and our staff.

As you know, the shift began in earnest when our Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets, and Administration struck their Subcommittee on Human Resources. It was through in camera and private meetings of this subcommittee that our staff were given the opportunity to speak candidly and bluntly of any harassment they have witnessed and suffered during their employment here.

It is the courage of these individuals that has given the Senate the wake-up call it so dearly needed. Their strength in testifying enabled members of that committee to understand the scope of the issue. With this understanding, the goal now is for us to effect the necessary widespread change to our culture here.

Honourable senators, the first tangible step in this process occurred last November. As you will remember, it was at that time that all senators and members of the Senate administration in managerial roles were required to undergo mandatory training on how to prevent harassment in the workplace. This three-hour training session was a key recommendation of the Subcommittee on Human Resources first report to CIBA. In my estimation, it was a welcome and needed recommendation as it enabled us to have a stronger grasp of identifying and addressing the underlying causes of harassment in the Senate.

For colleagues, if we cannot treat each other civilly and respectfully, how can we possibly serve as an example for our staff and Canada at large? How can we expect Canadians to hold themselves to a higher standard of living and acting if we are unprepared to do so ourselves? It starts with us, colleagues. We must ascribe to a better mindset. We must strive for civility, respect and compassion. We must approach each other, our staff, our family and our neighbours with love. It is with this radical, transformative, constant approach to standing up for what is right and standing unified against harassment that we can improve ourselves and our country. I am prepared to stand up for this cause.

I extend my hand to each and every parliamentarian who is willing to stand with me. Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Omidvar, for Senator Miville-Dechêne, debate adjourned.)

Beneficial Ownership Transparency

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Wetston, calling the attention of the Senate to beneficial ownership transparency.

Hon. Kim Pate: I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank you and Algonquin Anishinabeg Elder Claudette Commanda and colleagues for opening this new chamber today in a good way.

Honourable senators, I rise to speak to the inquiry initiated by Senator Wetston regarding numbered companies and the dangers that arise when businesses are not required to name their beneficial owners.


When he brought this issue to our attention in October, Senator Wetston described a system in which beneficial owners — individuals who own 25 per cent or more of the shares in a company or entity, who are trustees and known beneficiaries and settlors of a trust — can hide their identity. He told us that the rules in place in Canada allow individuals to operate unobserved and support all sorts of activities, including organized crime and tax evasion.


One of the many travesties associated with the status quo when it comes to beneficial ownership in Canada is that it enables and obfuscates the identities of those behind human trafficking.


The National Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada estimated that in 2012 alone, about 3,000 women and girls were trafficked and over 19,000 women and girls were sexually exploited in Canada. Victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation are robbed of their freedom, their dignity, their human potential and, too often, their lives. They are manipulated, coerced, abused and isolated, all as they are sold and resold for purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labour.

Chillingly, FINTRAC, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, recently noted that one reason sexual exploitation is so pervasive is that it is a high-value business. Unlike drugs or weapons that can only be sold once, people — especially women and girls — can and are sold repeatedly over an extended period of time.

Many are aware that Canada is a source, transit and destination point for trafficked persons. Less well known, however, is that the majority of trafficking victims in Canada come from within Canada, not from other countries. When we look at who within Canada is victimized, we see the effects of the systemic intersections of misogyny, racism and other forms of discrimination. Human traffickers consistently target and prey on those who have experienced poverty, isolation and past abuses.

Following a recent visit to Canada, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women singled out Indigenous women and children in particular as over-represented among victims of human trafficking.

As testimony at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has demonstrated and as the House of Commons Justice Committee’s report on human trafficking outlines, trafficking is part of the wider crisis of marginalization and victimization of Indigenous women and girls, a crisis that is firmly rooted in our legacy of racism and colonialism.

The work of our colleague Senator Sinclair on the Thunder Bay Police Services Board Investigation cites the research of our colleague Senator Boyer and makes this link. The investigation identified Thunder Bay as a hub between the United States and Manitoba with extensive connections to human and sex trafficking, particularly of Indigenous women and girls. As of 2013, the average age of Indigenous women sexually exploited in Thunder Bay was not the age of a woman. In fact, it was the age of a girl, 14, but some girls were as young as 10.

Human trafficking persists because it is considered a low-risk, high-profit crime. It often goes undetected under the guise of legitimate businesses. These businesses have been set up and registered in accordance with the law. They are structured as numbered companies, with no disclosure of their owners, a reality which undoubtedly contributes to the apparent sense of impunity of those who seek to profit from human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Body rub parlours, massage businesses and holistic centres are all known to serve as covers for human trafficking operations. This is not a point of question or contention. Indeed, this reality has been confirmed by survivors of human trafficking, law enforcement, front-line service providers and municipal policy-makers. Trafficking victims are too often brought to work in such businesses and subsequently coerced or forced to provide sexual services.

Toronto police working on this issue have gone so far as to suggest that every victim of sex trafficking has been forced to provide sexual services in legitimate body rub parlours or illicit massage businesses at one time or another.

Barbara Gosse, CEO of the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, explained to the Justice Committee in the other place that such businesses are relatively easy to identify on the major thoroughfares of most large and mid-sized cities in Canada, particularly once you know the telltale signs such as advertising prices significantly below market value, primarily serving male clientele, locked front doors, covered windows and, at times, women appearing to live in the establishments.

Last year, Toronto’s Auditor General released a report indicating that more than a quarter of the city’s holistic centres were advertising sexual services in violation of city bylaws, noting the heightened risk of human trafficking where businesses offered such services. Furthermore, there are certain types and patterns of transactions and other contextual factors that financial institutions can be alert to in order to recognize when a registered business may be a front for human trafficking.

Far more difficult to identify, however, are the beneficial owners responsible for and profiting from the business of sexual exploitation. In different jurisdictions throughout Canada, it remains perfectly legal to register a business with the owner’s name left blank or given as a registered agent; that is, someone paid to be the front person or point of contact or an anonymous shell company such as another business that exists in name only. As a result, Ms. Gosse characterizes corporate ownership secrecy as “fuelling human trafficking in the country.”

In this respect, recent changes to federal law through Bill C-86 are a step in the right direction. Beginning in June of this year, private companies will be required to keep a register of any individuals controlling 25 per cent or more of their shares, including their name, date of birth, address and residence for tax purposes, and other information that is to be set by regulation. The legislation is, however, far from being a complete solution. Notably, its requirements do not extend to companies falling under provincial or territorial jurisdiction.

As I hope goes without saying, I’m not suggesting that every massage parlour or holistic centre is a hub or a front for illegal activity. However, those that are benefit from a regime that does not require the beneficial owner to be named or associated with their registered business. When we allow traffickers to take shelter in legal registered businesses, we are creating an environment for illegal activity to thrive.

We know that human trafficking is increasing. Between 2013 and 2014, reports of human trafficking doubled, though rates of reporting still remain extremely low. Rather than making it more difficult for human trafficking and sexual exploitation to persist, however, government responses have tended to focus on the aftermath, but only in those circumstances where victims manage to escape.

Worse still, the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking reports that without information about owners, law enforcement activities against illicit businesses have too often focused on entering the premises and arresting those present but rarely, if ever, the owners.

Such operations generally result in the apprehension of the victims of the exploitation themselves or low-level managers, some of whom were previously exploited women themselves.

To put an end to human and sex trafficking, we need to do more than respond. We must prevent it from happening in the first place.

Truly ending human trafficking will require a host of concerted actions to dismantle and remedy the systemic inequalities and discrimination that essentially facilitate such victimization of women and girls, especially those who are racialized, who are poor, who have disabilities, who have addictions, who have experienced abuse, who grew up in the care of the state and who are trying to settle in Canada.

We must implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action to truly begin addressing the particular and pernicious legacy of colonial violence against Indigenous women and girls. We must also consider measures — such as guaranteed livable incomes and better universal access to health care, including mental health care, dental health care and pharmacare, as well as education — that could support women and girls in their communities and truly address current systemic inequalities.

Another key step, however, is addressing some of the loopholes that make it easier for human and sex traffickers to go undetected. Despite the changes to federal registration requirements in Bill C-86, much more remains to be done and the federal government has a particular opportunity to demonstrate leadership in standing against human and sex trafficking, including by urging provinces and territories to do the same.

In addition to registration requirements for beneficial owners under provincial and territorial legislation, Senator Wetston has outlined further steps to explore, including harmonizing provincial and federal beneficial ownership information by issuing unique identifiers for corporate entities and the individuals who own them.


As we assess the effectiveness of the new federal registration and requirements, and consider other proposed solutions, it is worth bearing in mind some of the recommendations made by the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking. These include the need for registration of unique and verifiable personal information of owners, such as the requirement of identity verification documentation via passports or provincial drivers’ licences, as well as the need to ensure that relevant authorities have timely and sufficient access to such data.

The connection between numbered companies and human trafficking is just one particularly compelling and distressing example that exemplifies why greater transparency regarding beneficial ownership requires the action and attention of all levels of government to ensure that confidentiality concerns regarding beneficial ownership are no longer used to enable human and sex trafficking.

We must frankly acknowledge the pervasiveness of human trafficking in Canada, and we must shine a light on the anonymous corporate structures that enable it. Upholding the human rights of all women and girls, particularly those who are most targeted in Canada, demands no less. Thank you. Meegwetch.

(On motion of Senator Mercer, for Senator Joyal, debate adjourned.)

Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Extend Date of Final Report on Study of Emerging Issues Related to its Mandate Withdrawn

On Motion No. 421 by the Honourable Rosa Galvez:

That, notwithstanding the order of the Senate adopted on Thursday, December 7, 2017, the date for the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources in relation to its study on emerging issues related to its mandate be extended from December 31, 2018 to September 30, 2019.

Hon. Rosa Galvez: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 5-10(2), I ask that Notice of Motion No. 421 be withdrawn.

The Hon. the Speaker: So ordered.

(Notice of motion withdrawn.)

(At 7:02 p.m., the Senate was continued until tomorrow at 2 p.m.)

Appendix—Senators List

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