Download as PDF
Text size:

1st Session, 43rd Parliament
Volume 151, Issue 1

Thursday, December 5, 2019
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


THE SENATE

Thursday, December 5, 2019

FORTY-THIRD PARLIAMENT

OPENING OF FIRST SESSION

Parliament having been summoned by proclamation to meet this day for the dispatch of business:

The Senate met at 8:30 a.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

[Translation]

Communication from Government House

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform you that I have received the following communication from Government House, which reads as follows:

RIDEAU HALL

November 28, 2019

Mr. Speaker:

I am commanded to inform you that the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, in his capacity as Deputy of the Governor General, will proceed to the Chamber of the Senate to open the First Session of the Forty-Third Parliament of Canada at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, the 5th day of December, 2019.

Yours sincerely,

Assunta Di Lorenzo

Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor

The Honourable

The Speaker of the Senate

Ottawa

[English]

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to take this opportunity to welcome you back to the Senate. I know the chamber looks somewhat different this morning than it normally does. We had to do a bench opening because we’re limited in the number of seats that we have in our gallery.

I trust that you had a chance to recharge and spend quality time with family and friends in your communities, to reflect on how, as we continue to serve as senators in the Senate of Canada, we can collaborate and work better together to serve Canadians.

[Translation]

Senators still play a very important role in our democratic system. I’m looking forward to working closely with all of you during this session.

[English]

Once again, honourable senators, welcome back.

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, there have been consultations and there is an agreement to allow photographers in the Senate Chamber to photograph today’s proceedings.

Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

[Translation]

New Senator

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that the Clerk of the Senate has received a certificate from the Registrar General of Canada showing that Tony Loffreda has been summoned to the Senate.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Introduction

The Hon. the Speaker having informed the Senate that there was a senator without, waiting to be introduced:

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

Hon. Tony Loffreda, of Westmount, Quebec, introduced between Hon. Peter Harder, P.C., and Hon. Marc Gold.

(0840)

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the honourable senator 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.

The Hon. the Speaker: As there is no business before the Senate, is it your pleasure, honourable senators, that the Senate do now adjourn during pleasure to await the arrival of Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada?

(The Senate adjourned during pleasure.)


(0920)

At 9:26 a.m. the sitting was resumed, and was then adjourned, pending the arrival of the Deputy of Her Excellency the Governor General.

The Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Deputy of Her Excellency the Governor General, having come and being seated,

The Hon. the Speaker commanded the Usher of the Black Rod to proceed to the House of Commons and acquaint that House that it is the desire of the Right Honourable the Deputy of Her Excellency the Governor General that they attend him immediately in the Senate Chamber.

Who being come,

The Hon. the Speaker said:

Honourable Members of the Senate:

Members of the House of Commons:

I have it in command to let you know that Her Excellency the Governor General does not see fit to declare the causes of her summoning the present Parliament of Canada until a Speaker of the House of Commons shall have been chosen, according to law; but this afternoon, at the hour of 3:30 p.m., Her Excellency will declare the causes of her calling this Parliament.

The Commons withdrew.

The Right Honourable the Deputy of Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to retire.


(The sitting of the Senate was resumed.)

Communication from Government House

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform you that I have received the following communication from Government House, which reads as follows:

RIDEAU HALL

November 28, 2019

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform you that Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada will arrive at the Senate of Canada Building at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, the 5th day of December, 2019.

When it has been indicated that all is in readiness, Her Excellency will proceed to the Chamber of the Senate to formally open the First Session of the Forty-Third Parliament of Canada.

Yours sincerely,

Assunta Di Lorenzo

Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor

The Honourable

The Speaker of the Senate

Ottawa

[English]


(0930)

SENATORS’ STATEMENTS

The Honourable Tony Loffreda

Congratulations on Appointment

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I now call upon the leadership to offer remarks for our new Senator Loffreda.

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, this is the fiftieth time that I have had the honour of walking up the aisle with a new senator. It is indeed an honour as the still Government Representative to do so today and to give a welcome, a bienvenue, a benvenuto to our newest colleague. The Honourable Senator Tony Loffreda, is here to represent, as we heard moments ago, his province of Quebec and the division of Shawinegan.

[Translation]

Senator Loffreda brings a wealth of business knowledge and 35 years of experience in the finance sector, but his appointment is about far more than his contribution to the world of business.

[English]

His philanthropic contributions are truly impressive and demonstrate how committed he is to the well-being of his community, his city, his province and his country.

[Translation]

As Vice-Chairman of Royal Bank of Canada Wealth Management, Senator Loffreda co-chaired over 100 initiatives that benefited communities and people in need. A big heart and a keen intellect are qualities that make a good parliamentarian. Senator Loffreda already demonstrated a strong understanding of a senator’s role when he said in a recent interview, “It’s not just about having an opinion. It’s about showing good judgment.”

[English]

I couldn’t agree more.

Senator, we welcome you to this chamber. We look forward to your contributions to our deliberations, and thank you for your family’s indulgence as this will cost them time with you, but we benefit with that time. Thank you.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, although I am not sorry that Senator Harder won’t be bringing any more senators into the chamber, I wish it was for different reasons than what they are. Senator Harder, it has been a pleasure working with you.

Honourable senators, I want to begin by welcoming all of you back to this chamber after an extended break. I hope you had a good summer and are ready for a productive session of Parliament.

It is with great pleasure that I rise today to welcome our newest colleague to this chamber, the Honourable Tony Loffreda.

Senator Loffreda, congratulations on your appointment and welcome to the Senate of Canada. I know that you have had a few months since your appointment in July to begin to get oriented. But I also know how challenging it can be as you adjust to your new responsibilities as a senator. I want to assure you, senator, that you are surrounded by friends and colleagues on both sides of this chamber who are happy to provide you with whatever assistance we can. I know I speak for all senators when I say, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us at any time.

Colleagues, as you have already heard, Senator Loffreda’s credentials are long and well established. Most recently he was Vice-Chairman of RBC Wealth Management. Before that, he was a regional vice-president with RBC. He was a senior manager with the National Bank of Canada for many years, and prior to that, he was senior audit manager with Raymond Chabot Grant Thorton.

Despite Senator Loffreda’s significant professional achievements, it is clear that he never lost his connection to his community and to those who are in need. He is well-known for his years of dedicated service to the Italian community, to his city of Montreal, and to the province of Quebec, which is clearly demonstrated by his long track record of philanthropy and volunteer efforts. In fact, I counted 21 boards and committees that Senator Loffreda has served on. These include such things as sports, health care, economic development, performing arts, fundraising to fight autism and cancer and many more.

All of this demonstrates the wealth of knowledge and experience that Senator Loffreda brings to this chamber. But it also shows the level of respect that he has gained from his fellow Canadians, a respect which has been repeatedly evidenced by the many awards Senator Loffreda has received. There are simply too many awards to mention, but they include the Quebec Lieutenant Governor’s Gold Medal, the Canadian Senate’s 150 Medal and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Senator Loffreda was also a recipient of the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in 2014, which recognizes individuals who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community. It was noted that Senator Loffreda was a shining example of this.

Honourable senators, we know that winning the confidence of Canadians is not always easy, yet in a parliamentary democracy, such confidence is critically important. I am delighted that Senator Loffreda brings to this chamber, not only his professional experience and expertise, but a resounding endorsement from those he will be representing.

Senator Loffreda, I have every confidence that you will be a strong voice for your city and for your region and that you will make a great contribution to your province, to your country and to the Senate of Canada. On behalf of the Conservative caucus, welcome to the Senate of Canada.

[Translation]

Hon. Raymonde Saint-Germain: Honourable senators, Antonio “Tony” Loffreda, on behalf of myself and all the members of the Independent Senators Group, I welcome your appointment today. I also want to welcome the 18 members of your family who have come to witness this memorable event. This richly deserved appointment is the culmination of a distinguished professional and philanthropic career that included stints in many different fields, such as finance, business, health and culture. Your community involvement is exemplary, as the announcement of your appointment rightly recognized.

The fundamental role of the Senate is to represent Canada’s diverse minority communities. In every respect, your career has led you to become a standard bearer for these communities and for the vulnerable and voiceless. You have staunchly represented the interests of linguistic and cultural minorities, especially the large Italian community of Quebec and Canada. As the first native-born Canadian of Italian origin to be appointed to the Senate, you will be giving this community another reason to be proud.

[English]

Today is an important day, not only for you, as it is your first time sitting in this chamber, but also for all of us. Today marks the first day of a new Parliament. It is the first change of legislature since the Senate reform began in 2015.

Senator Loffreda, you are coming at quite an exciting time in Senate history. There has never been more diversity in the Senate than in the one that is gathered today, whether it be in the diversity in the representation of Indigenous peoples, of women, in the expertise of senators, in the diversity of linguistic minorities. Senate reform has just begun. It has yet to be finalized and there is a long road still ahead, but I believe this Forty-third Parliament is a time of opportunity for all of us to contribute to these ongoing changes.

(0940)

In this new chapter, Senator Loffreda, your experience will undoubtedly be an important asset. It is a well-kept secret that senators work very hard in the Senate. As your long and fruitful career has shown, you are no stranger to either of those things. Your versatility and work ethic will fit perfectly with this institution. For these reasons, I am confident that you will provide a strong and long-lasting contribution to the work of the Senate. Welcome.

Hon. Scott Tannas: Senator Loffreda, welcome.

You arrive here on an auspicious day in what I expect will be a special and unusual Parliament. When I read your biography on the day of the announcement, I noted the depth of your career. You are a fellow traveller in the financial services industry, you are an accountant by training, and you are good with numbers. That will stand you well here. There is a lot of calculating that goes on here.

We’re glad to have you. Your skills and perspective are welcome and needed here. Welcome, senator, on behalf of our group.

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, on behalf of the progressive Senate group, I would like to welcome all senators back to this chamber.

Senator Loffreda, I am pleased to join Senators Harder, Plett, Saint-German and Tannas in welcoming you to this chamber. There is little more I can add to what my colleagues have already said about your accomplished life before your arrival here today. We congratulate you for that and we thank you for agreeing to serve in the Senate of Canada.

However, I would like to reflect a moment on why we are all here. Our primary purpose is the scrutiny of legislation, with what Sir John A. Macdonald called “sober second thought.” We propose amendments to bills when we feel those amendments are necessary or desirable. We advocate for minorities, such as Indigenous peoples, women, and persons with disabilities. We represent our regions and their place in Confederation. While we fulfill that traditional role, we are changing and modernizing how this chamber operates in order to better reflect the expectations of Canadians.

We have seen some recent changes, with the creation of the new Canadian Senators Group under the leadership of Senator Tannas and Senator Verner, with the creation of our new parliamentary group, the progressive Senate group, and with the election of a new Leader of the Opposition, Senator Plett.

I would also like to take a moment to thank Senator Harder for his leadership as Government Representative, and Senators Bellemare and Mitchell for the role they each played in the last Parliament. Also, I would like to thank Senator Smith. Your leadership was well displayed here with your team.

We must never forget that our fundamental goal remains to make our provinces, our regions and our country a better place for Canada.

[Translation]

Senator Loffreda, I’m certain that your expertise will be an asset to us in the work we do moving forward. Once again, the progressive group welcomes you to the Senate of Canada. My colleagues and I look forward to working with you. Welcome.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Adjournment

Hon. Grant Mitchell (Acting Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I move:

That the Senate do now adjourn until 2:30 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(The Senate adjourned until later this day at 2:30 p.m.)


(1430)

SECOND SITTING

The Senate met at 2:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

The Hon. the Speaker: As there is no business before the Senate, is it your pleasure, honourable senators, that the Senate do now adjourn during pleasure to await the arrival of Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada.

(The Senate adjourned during pleasure.)


(1500)

At 3:05 p.m., Her Excellency the Governor General having come and being seated upon the Throne —

The Hon. the Speaker said:

Usher of the Black Rod,

You will proceed to the House of Commons and acquaint that House that it is the pleasure of Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada that they attend her immediately in the Senate chamber.

The House of Commons being come,

Their Speaker, the Honourable Anthony Rota, said:

May it Please Your Excellency,

The House of Commons has elected me their Speaker, though I am but little able to fulfil the important duties thus assigned to me. If, in the performance of those duties, I should at any time fall into error, I pray that the fault may be imputed to me, and not to the Commons, whose servant I am, and who, through me, the better to enable them to discharge their duty to their Queen and Country, humbly claim all their undoubted rights and privileges, especially that they may have freedom of speech in their debates, access to Your Excellency’s Person at all seasonable times, and that their proceedings may receive from Your Excellency the most favourable construction.

The Hon. the Speaker of the Senate answered:

Mr. Speaker, I am commanded by Her Excellency the Governor General to declare to you that she freely confides in the duty and attachment of the House of Commons to Her Majesty’s Person and Government, and not doubting that their proceedings will be conducted with wisdom, temper and prudence, she grants, and upon all occasions will recognize and allow, their constitutional privileges. I am commanded also to assure you that the Commons shall have ready access to Her Excellency upon all seasonable occasions and that their proceedings, as well as your words and actions, will constantly receive from her the most favourable construction.

(1530)

Speech from the Throne

Her Excellency the Governor General was then pleased to open the First Session of the Forty-third Parliament with the following speech.

The Right Honourable Julie Payette: Honourable Senators,

Members of the House of Commons,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to address this first session of Canada’s 43rd Parliament. I would like to welcome the 98 new members of this assembly and to welcome back returning members.

Your predecessors first sat in Parliament in November 1867. Canada was barely five months old. On the scale of world history, we are still very young. Yet much has happened in the world since then. We have matured, and we are here — strong and free. There has been no civil war, no foreign armies marching on our soil. There have been agreements and differences along the way, and lots of arguments, yes, most of them delivered with much eloquence in this very chamber.

There are many reasons for our stability. First, the millions of us, whether we are from here or chose to come and live here, we share the same desire. We wish to live freely and in peace and harmony. This quest is a bedrock of our nation and informs almost everything we do. We may differ in many ways, yet we move forward as if we were one people, looking for equal opportunities and common ground. This is not by accident, but by choice. It is who we are.

And remember, as well, that our fortunes have relied often on the knowledge and the strategies of the Indigenous Peoples — what I call Indigenous genius, that allowed this nation to thrive. Their deep understanding of our natural world, their intense sense of community, should continue to affect what we do here.

For the good of our communities and the future of our children.

Kkidji mkwènimaganiwiwatch missiwè anichinapèk achitch nigan abinoudjichak kè pimadiziwatch.

Reconciliation must continue.

The second bedrock of our stability is our parliamentary system. Your work is vital, because through it, we decide what we really want as a nation. The network of laws and traditions that define what it means to be Canadian safeguards our way of life and paves the way for the future we desire. Your role in the democratic process is a privilege and a responsibility. I know that you embrace it, respecting the wishes and protecting the rights of us all.

Because we serve every single Canadian. Canadians of all genders, faiths, languages, customs or skin colours. It is perhaps the most noble undertaking we are entrusted with.

And we share the same planet. We know that we are inextricably bound to the same space-time continuum and on board the same planetary spaceship. If we put our brains and smarts and altruistic capabilities together, we can do a lot of good. We can help improve the lives of people in our communities, diminish the gaps and inequities here and elsewhere, and have a better chance at tackling serious and pressing issues like climate change, poverty, inequalities and human rights, because global issues know no borders, no timeline and truly need our attention.

I am certain that by working together, no challenges are too big. I am convinced that anyone can rise to any occasion if they are willing to work with others, to reach a higher goal and to do what is right for the common good.

OPENING

This fall, Canadians went to the polls. And they returned a minority Parliament to Ottawa. This is the will of the people, and you have been chosen to act on it.

And so we open this 43rd Parliament with a call for unity in the pursuit of common goals and aspirations.

Here in this beautiful chamber, we recognize that Canada’s Senate is increasingly non-partisan, and measures will be taken to help it continue along that path. We are joined by the dedicated public servants who have vowed to work tirelessly on behalf of the people.

Canadians have sent a clear message: from young people to seniors, they want their Parliamentarians to work together on the issues that matter most to them.

In this election, Parliamentarians received a mandate from the people of Canada which Ministers will carry out. It is a mandate to fight climate change, strengthen the middle class, walk the road of reconciliation, keep Canadians safe and healthy, and position Canada for success in an uncertain world.

These are not simple tasks. But they are achievable if you stay focused on the people who sent you here. Moms and dads. Grandparents and students. New Canadians, business owners, and workers. People from all walks of life.

Every one of them expects their Parliamentarians to get to work, and deliver on a plan that moves our country forward for all Canadians, including women, members of visible and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ2 communities.

While your approaches may differ, you share the common belief that government should try, whenever possible, to make life better for Canadians.

That includes better healthcare and affordable housing. Lower taxes for the middle class and those who need it most. Investments in infrastructure, public transit, science and innovation. Less gun violence, and a real plan to fight climate change while creating good, well-paying jobs.

These are but a few areas where this Parliament can make a real difference in the lives of Canadians.

And as much as they have instructed you to work together, Canadians have also spoken clearly about the importance of their regions and their local needs.

The Government has heard Canadians’ concerns that the world is increasingly uncertain and that the economy is changing. And in this context, regional needs and differences really matter. Today’s regional economic concerns are both justified and important.

The Government will work with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous groups, stakeholders, industry, and Canadians to find solutions.

With dialogue and cooperation, all regions of this country can overcome the challenges of today, and realize their full potential in the modern economy.

As the Government pursues an ambitious plan to move Canada forward, Parliamentarians can draw inspiration from Canadians themselves. Canadians have elected you to do important work, and they model — in actions big and small — how you can be effective Parliamentarians.

Neighbours helping neighbours.

Putting community first.

Finding common ground, forging bonds, and working together.

It is in that distinctly Canadian spirit of collaboration that the Government and this Parliament will build on the progress of the last mandate, and deliver a better Canada for all Canadians.

FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE

Canada’s children and grandchildren will judge this generation by its action — or inaction — on the defining challenge of the time: climate change.

From forest fires and floods, to ocean pollution and coastal erosion, Canadians are living the impact of climate change every day. The science is clear, and it has been for decades.

A clear majority of Canadians voted for ambitious climate action now. And that is what the Government will deliver. It will continue to protect the environment and preserve Canada’s natural legacy. And it will do so in a way that grows the economy and makes life more affordable.

The Government will set a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. This goal is ambitious, but necessary — for both environmental protection and economic growth.

The Government will continue to lead in ensuring a price on pollution everywhere in this country, working with partners to further reduce emissions.

The Government will also:

help to make energy efficient homes more affordable, and introduce measures to build clean, efficient, and affordable communities;

make it easier for people to choose zero-emission vehicles;

work to make clean, affordable power available in every Canadian community;

work with businesses to make Canada the best place to start and grow a clean technology company; and

provide help for people displaced by climate-related disasters.

The Government will also act to preserve Canada’s natural legacy, protecting 25 percent of Canada’s land and 25 percent of Canada’s oceans by 2025. Further, it will continue efforts to reduce plastic pollution, and use nature-based solutions to fight climate change — including planting two billion trees to clean the air and make our communities greener.

And while the Government takes strong action to fight climate change, it will also work just as hard to get Canadian resources to new markets, and offer unwavering support to the hardworking women and men in Canada’s natural resources sectors, many of whom have faced tough times recently.

STRENGTHENING THE MIDDLE CLASS

Canada’s experience proves that economic growth is the surest way to maintain a good quality of life for citizens.

Over the past four years, Canada has seen tremendous growth. And through it all, the Government has worked to ensure that all Canadians benefit from Canada’s economic success — cutting taxes, reducing poverty, and creating over a million jobs.

And in this new mandate, the Government will provide even greater support to the middle class and the most vulnerable Canadians by pursuing tax fairness, continuing to invest in people, and growing the economy.

As its first act, the Government will cut taxes for all but the wealthiest Canadians, giving more money to middle class families and those who need it most.

The Government will also act on housing. After drastically reducing poverty across the country in the last mandate, the Government will continue its crucial investments in affordable housing. It will also make it easier for more people to buy their first home.

The Government will give families more time and money to help raise their kids, and make before and after school care more accessible and affordable. It will cut the cost of cell and wireless services by 25 percent. It will strengthen the pensions that so many seniors rely on, and increase the federal minimum wage.

Understanding that an educated Canada is a successful Canada, the Government will give more support to students, be they new graduates struggling with loan repayment, or be they heading back to school mid-career to learn new skills.

The Government will also continue delivering on an economic agenda that will grow a modern Canadian economy.

This means moving forward with the new NAFTA to maintain a strong and integrated North American economy. On this and other trade agreements, those in the supply management sectors will be fully and fairly compensated, with many farmers in the dairy sector receiving their first cheques this month.

To ensure fairness for all in the new digital space, the Government will review the rules currently in place.

The Government will remove additional barriers to domestic and international trade for businesses and farmers, continue with ambitious investments in infrastructure, and reduce red tape so that it is easier to create and run a start-up or small business.

And the Government will pursue a responsible fiscal plan to keep the economy strong and growing.

WALKING THE ROAD OF RECONCILIATION

Every single person in Canada deserves a real and fair chance at success — and that must include Indigenous people.

In 2015, the Government promised a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples — one that would help deliver a better quality of life for their families and communities.

Real progress has been made over the past four years, including the elimination of 87 long-term drinking water advisories, equity in funding for First Nations K-12 education, the passage of historic legislation to protect Indigenous languages and affirm Indigenous jurisdiction over child and family services, and the completion of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

But we know there is still much work to do.

Reconciliation with Indigenous people remains a core priority for this Government, and it will continue to move forward as a partner on the journey of reconciliation. Indeed, when Indigenous people experience better outcomes, all Canadians benefit.

Among other things, the Government will:

take action to co-develop and introduce legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the first year of the new mandate;

continue the work of eliminating all long-term drinking water advisories on reserve by 2021, and ensure safe drinking water in First Nations communities;

co-develop new legislation to ensure that Indigenous people have access to high-quality, culturally relevant health care and mental health services;

continue work to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice, in partnership with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples;

work with Indigenous communities to close the infrastructure gap by 2030;

continue to move forward together to ensure that Indigenous Peoples are in control of their own destiny and making decisions about their communities;

take new steps to ensure the Government is living up to the spirit and intent of treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements made with Indigenous Peoples;

ensure that Indigenous people who were harmed under the discriminatory child welfare system are compensated in a way that is both fair and timely; and

continue to invest in Indigenous priorities, in collaboration with Indigenous partners.

The path to reconciliation is long. But in its actions and interactions the Government will continue to walk it with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

KEEPING CANADIANS SAFE AND HEALTHY

Wherever they live — in small rural communities or in big cities; in the foothills of the Rockies or the fishing villages along our coastlines; in the Far North or along the Canada-US border — all Canadians want to make Canada a better place for themselves, their children, and their communities.

But there are challenges in making that better future a reality.

Year after year, headline after headline, Canadians have seen firsthand the devastating effects of gun violence. Too many lives lost, too many families shattered. It is time to show courage, and strengthen gun control.

The Government will crack down on gun crime, banning military-style assault rifles and taking steps to introduce a buy-back program. Municipalities and communities that want to ban handguns will be able to do so. And the Government will invest to help cities fight gang-related violence.

We are on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the horrific killing of 14 women at l’École Polytechnique in Montréal, a day when all Canadians pause to remember and honour those women who were killed because of their gender. And we take stock of the harm that gender-based violence continues to do to Canadian society.

The Government will take greater steps to address gender-based violence in Canada, building on the Gender-Based Violence Strategy and working with partners to develop a National Action Plan.

Ensuring a better quality of life for Canadians also involves putting the right support in place so that when people are sick, they can get the help they need.

The Government will strengthen health care and work with the provinces and territories to make sure all Canadians get the high-quality care they deserve. It will:

Work with provinces, territories, health professionals and experts in industry and academia to make sure that all Canadians can access a primary care family doctor;

Partner with provinces, territories, and health professionals to introduce mental health standards in the workplace, and to make sure that Canadians are able to get mental health care when they need it; and

Make it easier for people to get the help they need when it comes to opioids and substance abuse. Canadians have seen the widespread harm caused by opioid use in this country. More needs to be done, and more will be done.

Too often, Canadians who fall sick suffer twice: once from becoming ill, and again from financial hardship caused by the cost of their medications.

Given this reality, pharmacare is the key missing piece of universal health care in this country. The Government will take steps to introduce and implement national pharmacare so that Canadians have the drug coverage they need.

Finally, the Government will continue to recognize its solemn duty to those who choose to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces.

In the last mandate, the Government invested more than $10 billion to deliver better outcomes for Canada’s veterans.

And in this new Parliament, the Government will build on that work by improving mental health care supports, and helping ensure that every homeless veteran has a place to call home.

POSITIONING CANADA FOR SUCCESS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD

Canadians expect their leaders to stand up for the values and interests that are core to Canada’s prosperity and security — democracy, human rights, and respect for international law. Canadians expect the Government to position Canada and Canadians for success in the world.

As a trading nation, the Government will seek out opportunities for Canadian commerce, ingenuity, and enterprise.

As a coalition-builder, the Government will build partnerships with like-minded countries to put Canada’s expertise to work on a global scale, in areas like the promotion of democracy and human rights, the fight against climate change and for environmental protection, and the development and ethical use of artificial intelligence.

As an ally, the Government will contribute to multilateral efforts to make the world more safe, just, prosperous, and sustainable. The Government will renew Canada’s commitment to NATO and United Nations peacekeeping. It will stand up for the rules-based international order when that order is put in question, particularly when it comes to matters of trade and digital policy. And it will continue to ensure that Canada’s voice is present at the UN, notably on the UN Security Council.

Finally, as a compassionate partner, the Government will provide targeted resources for international development assistance, including investments in education and gender equality. It will help the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people live better lives and become strong partners for Canada in turn.

CONCLUSION

Parliamentarians: Canadians are counting on you to fight climate change, strengthen the middle class, walk the road of reconciliation, keep Canadians safe and healthy, and position Canada for success in an uncertain world.

And with goodwill, humility, and a willingness to collaborate, you can do just that. You can raise the bar on what politics is like in this country. After all, the Government knows it needs to work with other Parliamentarians to deliver results.

The mandate of this recent election is a starting point, not the final word. The Government is open to new ideas from all Parliamentarians, stakeholders, public servants, and Canadians — ideas like universal dental care are worth exploring, and I encourage Parliament to look into this.

Whether it’s fighting money laundering or making parental benefits tax-free, there are good ideas across parties, and this Government is ready to learn from you and work with you in the years ahead.

Some believe that minority governments are incapable of getting things done. But Canada’s history tells us otherwise.

Canada’s Parliament is one of the most enduring and vital institutions in the democratic world. It has delivered a tremendous way of life for the Canadian people — through crisis and prosperity, through majority and minority governments.

On December 31, 1966, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson welcomed Canada’s centennial New Year and lit the Centennial Flame in front of the Parliament buildings for the first time. In his remarks he said:

“Tonight we begin a new chapter in our country’s story. Let the record of that chapter be one of co-operation and not conflict; of dedication and not division; of service, not self; of what we can give, not what we can get. Let us work together as Canadians to make our country worthy of its honoured past and certain of its proud future.”

In this 43rd Parliament, you will disagree on many things. But you will agree on a great many more. Focus on your shared purpose: making life better for the people you serve.

Never forget that it is an honour to sit in this Parliament. Prove to Canadians that you are worthy holders of these seats, and worthy stewards of this place.

Members of the House of Commons: you will be asked to appropriate the funds to carry out the services and expenditures authorized by Parliament.

Honourable Members of the Senate and Members of the House of Commons: as you carry out your duties and exercise your responsibilities, may you be guided by Divine Providence.

The Commons withdrew.

Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to retire.


(1650)

(The sitting of the Senate was resumed.)

Railways Bill

First Reading

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 10-1, I have the honour to introduce Bill S-1, a pro forma bill entitled An Act relating to railways.

(Bill read first time.)

[English]

Speech from the Throne

Consideration at Next Sitting

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform you that Her Excellency the Governor General has caused to be placed in my hands a copy of her Speech delivered this day from the Throne to the two Houses of Parliament. It is as follows—

Hon. Senators: Dispense.

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

[Translation]

Hon. Grant Mitchell (Acting Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate) moved:

That the Speech of Her Excellency the Governor General, delivered this day from the Throne to the two Houses of Parliament, be taken into consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

(Motion agreed to.)

Committee of Selection

Motion for Appointment Adopted

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

That, notwithstanding rule 12-2, the Honourable Senator Eaton be named Speaker pro tempore until such time as the Senate adopts a report of the Committee of Selection nominating a senator as Speaker pro tempore; and

That the provisions of rule 12-2(1)(a), requiring the Committee of Selection to report on such a nomination within the first five sitting days, be suspended.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

National Finance

Motion for Appointment Adopted

Hon. Grant Mitchell (Acting Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(c), I move:

That, notwithstanding rules 12-2 and 12-3(1), and usual practice, the Honourable Senators Boehm, Day, Deacon (Ontario), Duncan, Eaton, Forest, Forest-Niesing, Klyne, Marshall, Mockler, Smith, Bellemare and Tannas be appointed to serve on the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance until the end of 2019.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[English]

The Estimates, 2019-20

Supplementary Estimates (A) Tabled

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I ask for leave of the Senate to table, in both official languages, the Supplementary Estimates (A), 2019-20.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

[Translation]

National Finance Committee Authorized to Study Supplementary Estimates (A)

Hon. Grant Mitchell (Acting Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rules 5-5(a) and 5-5(j), I move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020; and

That, for the purpose of this study, the committee have the power to meet, even though the Senate may then be sitting or adjourned, and that rules 12-18(1) and 12-18(2) be suspended in relation thereto.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Adjournment

Motion Adopted

Hon. Grant Mitchell (Acting Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(g), I move:

That, when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(At 4:58 p.m., the Senate was continued until Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at 2 p.m.)