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Previous Sittings
Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 44th Parliament
Volume 153, Issue 38

Tuesday, May 3, 2022
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

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



Mental Health Week

Hon. Elizabeth Marshall: Honourable senators, I rise today in recognition of Mental Health Week. This year’s theme — a highly appropriate one — is empathy. This word means “to understand and share the feelings of others.” It differs from sympathy which, in simple terms, means feeling sorry for someone while perhaps not understanding why they feel the way they do.

With empathy, you put yourself in their shoes, not just to recognize their feelings but also to share them. As one commentator said, “Sympathy means I know how you feel.” With empathy, “I feel how you feel.”

That is why empathy is very important when it comes to mental health. It creates a connection between people and allows the person dealing with mental health issues to understand that they are not alone. Empathy is the bridge that connects people.

Honourable senators, it is a rare person who doesn’t at some point in their life experience mental health issues, and to varying degrees. As the Canadian Mental Health Association states on their website:

The pandemic has taken a collective toll on all of our wellness. It has created a shared experience: of fearing the disease. Of wearing masks. Of seeing our children and grandchildren wearing masks. Of working from home. Of experiencing lockdowns and quarantines. Feeling the anxiety and the stress. It is common to us all.

Most of us are not mental health experts. However, we can be aware of what is happening around us and what others are experiencing. Many of life’s experiences affect our mental health, such as the loss of our job or the death of a family member or friend. We should be empathetic towards others and offer support, encouragement and understanding to those experiencing mental health issues. Kindness only takes a moment of our time.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Senate’s Human Resources Directorate and the Senate’s Mental Health Advisory Committee for the work they do and the support they provide year-round. Mental health is a crucial part of a person’s overall health, and we should be aware of it in our everyday lives.

And remember: Take time for your own mental health.

Renaming Confederation Bridge

Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, in the early 1990s, when the fixed link joining Prince Edward Island to the rest of Canada was under construction, the Government of Canada asked former premier Alex Campbell to chair a committee to select a name for the bridge. That committee recommended Epekwitk Crossing, the original name given by the Mi’kmaq for the land now known as Prince Edward Island. But the federal government rejected that recommendation and, in 1996, named the crossing Confederation Bridge.

Late last year, I was contacted by Island resident Peter Rukavina, who reminded me of the 1996 decision and suggested that it was time to correct this mistake. I immediately contacted my colleague Senator Brian Francis and then Senator Diane Griffin, and a series of meetings were organized.

After confirming the support of Indigenous groups, we met with the leaders of three political parties in Prince Edward Island: Premier Dennis King of the Progressive Conservatives, Official Opposition leader Peter Bevan-Baker of the Green Party and Third Party leader Sonny Gallant of the Liberals. They all agreed to jointly move a motion urging the federal government to rename the bridge Epekwitk Crossing, using the traditional Mi’kmaq spelling.

Honourable senators, I am pleased to report to this chamber that the motion passed unanimously last Friday in the P.E.I. legislature.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, Hear.

Senator Downe: The Government of Canada and the Government of Prince Edward Island have an obligation to work in full consultation and cooperation with Indigenous people to uphold their rights as well as to redress past and ongoing harms.

Language is important to preserve a culture, and this effort to reclaim the Epekwitk name that was recommended in 1996 would be a powerful symbol of the true history of our province.

Colleagues, as I stated, many people have worked to correct the mistake made in 1996, but we would not have achieved this milestone without the outstanding leadership of former chief and current Senator Brian Francis. Let the record show that he made the successful passage of this motion happen. All praise to him and to the Mi’kmaq people of our province.

The unanimous passage of this motion in the P.E.I. legislature is a wonderful development and important first step. I want to congratulate the Progressive Conservative, Green and Liberal MLAs for working collectively on this motion and urge the Government of Canada to take immediate action to change the name of Confederation Bridge and make the name Epekwitk Crossing a reality as soon as possible.

Eid al-Fitr

Hon. Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia: Honourable senators, yesterday marked the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, also called the “Festival of Breaking Fast,” celebrating the end of the sacred month of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. This is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims in Canada and around the world. I had the privilege of celebrating with my two sisters, Aisha and Nurjah, who graciously hosted me at their home in Aurora, Ontario, this past weekend.

Colleagues, Ramadan is a time for prayer, spiritual introspection and reconnecting with loved ones. It is a time for giving back to your community. It is also an opportunity to celebrate Muslim communities and the important contributions they have made, and continue to make, within and beyond Canada.

In my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Memorial University’s Muslim Students’ Association helped to ensure that all students who were observing this sacred month were able to do so with ease. The association, which is supported exclusively by donations and dedicated volunteers, organized daily prayers for brothers and sisters at the MUN chapel and facilitated iftar dinners on campus, which were attended by more than 200 students every day, both Muslim and non-Muslim.

I would like to take a moment to recognize and thank the students who have been instrumental in ensuring that these sacred traditions continue for the students of Newfoundland and Labrador, including Akheel Mohammed, Raiyan Rahman, Jannath Naveed, Muhammad Patel, S. M. Fahim and Mohammed Shakeel. Islam is a faith that embraces the ideals of peace, benevolence and generosity of spirit. They have exemplified these fundamental principles.

Muslims in my province are part of a broad interfaith coalition that works towards community-wide efforts to help those in need. Collaboration and education help to strengthen the bonds of community amongst those of different faiths and traditions and to eradicate any preconceptions based on misunderstanding.


For all those who observed this sacred month, I hope you had a blessed and peaceful Ramadan. On behalf of my fellow Muslim senators — Senators Ataullahjan, Jaffer, Gerba and Yussuff — and, colleagues, on behalf of all of you, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all celebrants Eid Mubarak.

Thank you, meegwetch.


The Honourable Lawrence A. Poitras, Q.C., C.M.

Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond: The Honourable Lawrence A. Poitras passed away on April 9 at the age of 91. Today I would like to pay tribute to this remarkable man.

Larry, as he was known to his friends, was the son of a Montreal Star crime reporter, and he himself worked there as a crime reporter while studying arts at McGill University and law at the Université de Montréal, making him the fourth generation of the Poitras family to work for this daily paper.

In 1957, he chose to practise civil and commercial litigation, a field in which he rose to such prominence that he was appointed Queen’s Counsel. In 1975, he was appointed to the Superior Court of Quebec at the age of 44. He earned the respect of litigants, lawyers and colleagues alike.

He was also a man of action, eager to get involved with numerous professional and community organizations. He was a founding member of the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association and became its president in 1981, 30 years before me.

In 1983, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed him Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Quebec, where he worked closely with the chief justice of the day, the father of our colleague, Senator Gold.


In 1986, he served on the three-person commission of inquiry examining the wrongful conviction of Donald Marshall, a member of Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq community, who served 11 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. The commission’s seven-volume report, released in 1990, described Nova Scotia’s justice system as plagued by racism, unprofessionalism and unfairness. It led to significant changes.


In 1992, Prime Minister Mulroney appointed him as the fifteenth Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Quebec. I had the honour of serving under him and witnessing reforms that reduced wait times for hearings.


In 1996, when he turned 65, he resigned from the bench. The same year, the Quebec government appointed him to lead a public inquiry into the Sûreté du Québec following allegations of corruption and evidence tampering.

The 2,700-page report described a police force more concerned with protecting its image than investigating misconduct.


To his beloved wife Thérèse Boivin and their children, I offer my deepest condolences and, on behalf of all Canadians, I thank this remarkable man for his contribution to the Canadian justice system.

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 His Excellency Cao Phong Pham, the Ambassador of Vietnam to Canada, Madam Van Thi Le Hien and Nguyen Minh Dao. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Oh.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Asian Heritage Month

Hon. Victor Oh: Honourable senators, I rise today to celebrate the occasion of Asian Heritage Month in May. Twenty years ago, the month of May was designated as Asian Heritage Month by the federal government to recognize and celebrate the contributions and sacrifices of Canadians of Asian descent.

Throughout our country’s history, there have been challenges faced by the Asian-Canadian community. In the early 19th and 20th centuries, many were discriminated against with the head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act. Amid these difficulties, Asian Canadians have risen above this prejudice and have contributed significantly to the development of Canada into the prosperous nation that it is today. From the construction of the transcontinental railroad to the fight against tyranny during the two World Wars, these Canadians never turned down the call to help their country.

These contributions have been persistent throughout our great nation’s history. In the arts, countless Asian-Canadian actors, dancers, artists and musicians captivated audiences around the world. This diverse representation no doubt inspires younger generations of artists to follow in their footsteps.

In sports, from Olympians to professional hockey players, Canadians of Asian descent break world records and win medals, all while embodying the spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship.

In business, Asian-Canadian entrepreneurship provides the backbone of many local economies, creating thousands of jobs and contributing to the development of communities, big and small.

Finally, in the public service, Asian Canadians break long-standing systemic barriers while devoting their life to the betterment of Canada. I am proud to serve alongside many of them within this chamber.

Colleagues, during this Asian Heritage Month, let us celebrate Asian Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Let us share our stories, support our local businesses and remember that our nation’s strength lies within our diversity.

I would also like to send my best wishes to everyone celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. Thank you, xie xie.

Mental Health Week

Hon. Peter M. Boehm: Honourable senators, I rise today to join my friend and colleague Senator Marshall in recognizing and supporting Mental Health Week. Since I last spoke on this subject almost three years ago, there have been many developments: the pandemic, warfare and the resultant social and economic turbulence that made the world a more dangerous and tense place. People are losing trust in our institutions and each other. Indeed, apart from the obvious impact of these developments, one could assert that there has been an impact on our collective mental health and, in today’s parlance, we can also assert that none of us are immune.

Mental Health Week is a vital reminder that we must all think about mental health and fight any related stigma year-round. This year’s theme as set by the Canadian Mental Health Association, or CMHA, is empathy.

Helen Fishburn, the CEO of the CMHA Waterloo Wellington — my original home area — has written that we are now transitioning to a “learning to live with COVID” phase after two years of this pandemic. This shift in messaging presents challenges, as it requires resilience and adaptability after two long years of understandable fear and distrust.

Anxiety, stress and fear are set to continue over the coming months, and the lingering effects on our mental health will last much longer. Whatever the new normal will be, it is important for all of us to practise empathy. Certainly for us as senators, as the managers we are, we must practise empathy with our teams to build and maintain the safest possible work environments both in our own offices and in the Senate as a whole. We must also be prepared to seek mental health support for our teams and, indeed, for ourselves.

When I spoke on this subject three years ago, I referenced the Senate’s nascent Mental Health Advisory Committee, which comprises senators and staff colleagues in their offices and the administration. Championed by our Speaker, the committee has benefited from the work of its chair, Christopher Reed, the participation of human resources staff and the guidance of Senators Kutcher and Marshall. I am proud to work with all of them on this committee.


Soon, colleagues, you will all receive copies of the Mental Health Handbook for Parliamentarians and Staff, developed by Senator Kutcher and MP Ya’ara Saks. There will be more to come.

Honourable senators, good mental health need not be an elusive concept. It is certainly not without its challenges, but if we all do our part, individually and collectively, we can mitigate those challenges. 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 Dr. Linda Hunter, Lori Lowery and Madison McSweeney. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Sorensen.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


Federal Framework on Autism Spectrum Disorder Bill

Sixth Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee Presented

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, which deals with Bill S-203, An Act respecting a federal framework on autism spectrum disorder.

(For text of report, see today’s Journals of the Senate, p. 499.)

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

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


Budget Implementation Bill, 2022, No. 1

Notice of Motion to Authorize Certain Committees to Study Subject Matter

Hon. Raymonde Gagné (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, notwithstanding any provision of the Rules, previous order or usual practice: accordance with rule 10-11(1), the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine the subject matter of all of Bill C-19, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022 and other measures, introduced in the House of Commons on April 28, 2022, in advance of the said bill coming before the Senate; addition, the following committees be separately authorized to examine the subject matter of the following elements contained in Bill C-19:

(a)the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples: those elements contained in Divisions 2 and 3 of Part 5;

(b)the Standing Senate Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce: those elements contained in Divisions 5, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 and 30 of Part 5;

(c)the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade: those elements contained in Divisions 9, 18 and 31 of Part 5;

(d)the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs: those elements contained in Divisions 1, 21 and 22 of Part 5;

(e)the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defense: those elements contained in Divisions 19 and 20 of Part 5; and

(f)the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology: those elements contained in Divisions 23, 24, 26, 27, 29 and 32 of Part 5; and

3.each of the committees listed in point two that are authorized to examine the subject matter of particular elements of Bill C-19 submit its final report to the Senate no later than June 10, 2022, and be authorized to deposit its report with the Clerk of the Senate if the Senate is not then sitting;

4.the aforementioned committees be authorized to meet for the purposes of their studies of the subject matter of all or particular elements of Bill C-19, even though the Senate may then be sitting or adjourned, with the application of rules 12-18(1) and 12-18(2) being suspended in relation thereto; and

5.the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to take any reports tabled under point three into consideration during its study of the subject matter of all of Bill C-19.

Medical Assistance in Dying

Notice of Motion to Authorize Special Joint Committee to Extend Date of Final Report

Hon. Raymonde Gagné (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, notwithstanding the order adopted on March 31, 2022, the deadline for the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying to submit its final report on its review, including a statement of any recommended changes, be extended to October 17, 2022, provided that the committee submit an interim report on mental illness as a sole underlying condition no later than June 23, 2022; and

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



Foreign Affairs

Support for Ukraine

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is for Senator Gold, the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Leader, more than three weeks ago, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited President Zelenskyy in Ukraine’s capital to hold talks with his counterpart and to show the world his country’s solidarity with Ukraine against Russian aggression. Since then, leader, any number of foreign dignitaries have travelled to Ukraine to meet with its president and to personally witness the devastation caused by this illegal war. Even Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie was there this past weekend to meet with refugees.


Senator Gold, the NDP-Liberal government here in Canada thinks we’re only good at convening, and yet no official has travelled to Ukraine to offer their support in person, as many of our allies have done. Why is that, Senator Gold?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question, honourable colleague.

The Canadian government has provided and continues to provide important financial and military assistance to Ukraine and Ukrainians. It stands in solidarity with the people fighting this war. We are opening our doors to Ukrainians seeking to come to Canada, and we will continue to work with our allies and the Ukrainian government to respond to their needs, as we should.

Senator Plett: It’s unfortunate, leader, that you don’t touch upon the question asked. I didn’t ask you about all that our government has done; I asked you why they were not doing something.

As I said last week, we have a Prime Minister who thinks nothing of flying all over the place for climate change meetings and vacations. We have a Prime Minister who met, bowed his head and shook hands with Iran’s foreign minister just one month after Iran shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, PS752, killing Canadians.

Senator Housakos: Shameful.

Senator Plett: Yet no one from this NDP-Liberal government will travel to Ukraine now to show support for our friend and ally.

Canada’s embassy in Kyiv remains closed while over two dozen other embassies have reopened. The former Ukrainian ambassador to Canada said on the weekend:

Canada was one of the first countries to move the embassy out. We do not want Canada to be the last one to return.

Please, Senator Gold, answer my question: What is the NDP-Liberal government’s position on reopening Canada’s embassy in Kyiv? Why is it safe for other countries to open their embassies but not Canada?

Senator Gold: The Government of Canada is considering all steps that it can take to reopen the embassy and provide consular and other services to those who need it. When a decision has been made, it will be announced.

Public Safety

Khaled Barakat

Hon. Leo Housakos (Acting Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is for the government leader in the Senate.

Senator Gold, last week, Terry Glavin wrote at great length in the National Post about Khaled Barakat, a senior member of the anti-Semitic terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Mr. Glavin goes into great detail about the activities of the PFLP, including airplane hijacking, suicide bombings and a 2014 massacre at a Jerusalem synagogue that left several worshippers severely injured and five dead, including Toronto-born Rabbi Howie Rothman. Barakat, 51, is said to have been living in Canada off and on for the past 20 years, and for the past 2 years he has been splitting his time between Vancouver and my home city of Montreal.

Senator Gold, Khaled Barakat has been barred from the United States and Germany, yet the Trudeau government still allows this individual to remain in Canada, despite Canadian laws that forbid any individual with connections to terrorist organizations from entering our country or receiving Canadian citizenship.

Why does your government allow him to remain in the country?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. I am very aware of the person you describe and the story that appeared in the press.

Canada has a robust system for dealing with those who seek admission to Canada or those in Canada who may be judged or thought to be inadmissible to remain in Canada. Indeed, in that regard, Canada is well recognized — and has been regularly recognized — by the United Nations for its system, whether it’s that of welcoming refugees or otherwise dealing with those who find themselves within our borders.

The CBSA has a legal obligation to remove inadmissible individuals as soon as possible when that determination has been made. I cannot comment on specific cases, such as the one you’ve identified, but everyone who may be ordered removed remains entitled under our system of justice to due process and is subject to many levels of review and appeal.

Senator Housakos: Senator Gold, I’m aware of this individual. You’re aware of this individual. It’s high time we made the government aware of the inherent dangers of this individual.

B’nai Brith Canada has been raising this issue with your government for quite some time. It has provided intelligence on Barakat’s whereabouts here in Canada, as well as his involvement with a designated terrorist organization. While in Canada, Barakat has published articles in which he calls for targeted terrorist attacks to be carried out against Israel and other Zionist targets beyond the Middle East.

Senator Gold, how is the Jewish community in Canada supposed to take your government’s claim to be committed to fighting anti-Semitism seriously if it allows this man to remain in Canada? Will your government do the right thing and order Barakat out of Canada? It’s not right. We have laws. Individuals of this nature should not be admitted into our country.

Senator Gold: I think I can speak with some authority that the Government of Canada, the Jewish community and Canada and Israel have longstanding, fruitful, friendly and mutually beneficial relationships. I can also speak with some confidence, given my own past before I arrived here, that the Government of Canada takes the question of anti-Semitism and all forms of hate very seriously, and it has demonstrated that through its actions.

Again, I cannot comment on a specific case or what steps may or may not be taken to investigate or to determine the steps that may be taken with this or any other individual, but Canadians should remain satisfied that this government takes allegations and situations of this kind most seriously.

National Defence

Support for Ukraine

Hon. Donna Dasko: Honourable senators, my question is for the Government Representative.

Senator Gold, we know that Ukraine desperately needs more military support, and they need it now. On April 22, I forwarded a letter on behalf of myself and 15 other honourable senators to Defence Minister Anand stressing the urgent need for military hardware, and armoured vehicles in particular. It has been reported that $120 million in military aid has been provided so far, and $500 million in additional military aid was promised to Ukraine in Budget 2022 for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Senator, can you tell us how those monies are intended to be spent? In particular, what is your timeline for this aid, given that the need is immediate? Thank you.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you, senator, for your question. I will attempt to answer it as best I can and, in so doing, I might encourage those to consider such questions to be supplementary or additional information to questions that have been posed before.

Thank you for noting that Budget 2022 provides additional funding and that it builds on the previous support the Canadian government has provided to the people of Ukraine. It will ensure that Canada holds Vladimir Putin and his supporters accountable for this illegal invasion.

As colleagues will know, it is not atypical at all for amounts to be set aside in a budget for the ability to provide flexible and timely responses to what is, in this case, a clearly volatile situation. In that regard, I am advised of the following: First, that the Minister of National Defence is in close contact with Ukraine to discuss their needs and with our NATO allies in order to coordinate our responses to the stated needs of Ukraine.

Second, I would also note that, last week, the Minister of National Defence joined with our allies in Germany to participate in the Ukraine Security Consultative Group, and she met again with her Ukrainian counterpart. The minister also had very productive meetings with her American counterpart, most recently at the Pentagon just last week.

Given the nature of this conflict, the government will not be providing more details on the arrival and transit of military support for reasons that I think we would all understand.


Canada, along with our allies, will continue to provide to our Ukrainian friends the tools that they need to keep fighting, and we hope to win this war.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Express Entry Immigration Program

Hon. Donna Dasko: Senator, I would like to revisit a question posed to you last week by Senator Omidvar. To summarize, there are two paths for entry into Canada for visitors, a faster express stream for citizens from some countries such as the U.K. and a slower stream for other countries which include Ukraine. With the current crisis in Ukraine, we are facing a situation where many more Ukrainians have applied for entry into Canada than have been authorized under the new emergency travel program.

Senator Gold, will the government extend express travel authorization to Ukrainians which would help tremendously to alleviate the situation? Thank you.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question, senator.

Since January, more than 23,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Canada. They continue to arrive regularly. I’m advised that since the launch of the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, aiming to facilitate Ukrainian immigration to Canada and Ukrainians coming to Canada, more than 85,000 applications have been approved. The government will continue to do what it can, not only to get Ukrainians here but also to support them when they arrive. In that regard on behalf of the Government of Canada, I want to thank all the organizations, church groups, synagogue groups, mosques and other not-for-profit organizations who have done their part to raise money and provide support for those who arrive.

The government is working with partners, of course — all of whom I’ve just mentioned — but notably the Canadian Ukrainian community and settlement organizations. The government is continuing to monitor travel volumes and the needs, and will respond as appropriate.

Employment and Social Development

Port of Montreal

Hon. Frances Lankin: Senator Gold, one year ago, both houses of Parliament passed back-to-work legislation three days into a legal work stoppage at the Port of Montreal. I’d like to quote the minister at that time. She said:

This is literally a matter of life and death . . . If medical products and life-saving medical devices do not get to hospitals and patients in a timely manner, the health of Canadians is at stake.

Senator Gold, as reported by Blacklock’s Reporter on Friday of last week, it would appear that the information provided by the employer vastly overstated the risk to delays of COVID-related and other medical products.

As Government Representative, you had to present the arguments and the Charter Statement to this chamber in support of the legislation. Does the Blacklock’s Reporter story give rise to concerns for you that you and the minister were provided information that may have been based on erroneous claims?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question. I have not read the article to which you refer, but I’m aware of the general tenor of the allegation. The short answer, Senator Lankin, is, no, I am not concerned. I think the debate that we had here in the Senate was a fulsome and transparent one. I can’t speak for what motivated those of you who voted in support of the legislation, or what factors influenced you more than others.

I will say this: The government then and now continues to support and encourage the parties to reach a new, negotiated collective agreement. As you know, federal mediators and conciliators worked with the parties for over two and a half years. Unfortunately, the parties were not able to reach an agreement during that period of time, so the act that you referenced, Senator Lankin, was introduced. We debated it and the Senate and Parliament indeed were satisfied that it was necessary, and so we did approve it.

The act, as you know, and one of the features of modern back-to-work legislation — unfortunately necessary in some circumstances — is to provide a neutral mediation-arbitration process to resolve the disputes so that a new collective agreement can be reached. On May 12, 2021, Mr. André Lavoie was appointed as mediator-arbitrator to resolve the issues in dispute between the parties and conclude a new collective agreement. I’m advised that this mediation-arbitration process is under way and meetings are scheduled until the end of the year.

Senator Lankin: Last night, I received a package of freedom of information-released documents. There are a lot of them. I have thoroughly reviewed them. Senator Gold, I know that you, with your background in constitutional law, will understand the Charter implications of this. The employer refused to disclose the number of masks and syringes stranded in the port due to confidentiality. As you know, the longshoremen members of CUPE local 375 committed to moving such medical supplies through the port despite the strike. However, we were left with the impression that lives were “literally” at stake.

An internal memo from the labour department indicates they counted only five containers of COVID-related materials — none of which, by the way, were vaccines — that were again “stranded” by the strike.

In another freedom of information-released memo, which talks about the majority of the goods moving through being forestry and agricultural goods, the following statement appears:

The most concerning problem is the reputational damage that the strike — the strike hadn’t started yet — has on Canada’s image as a reliable trading partner.

Senator, surely you — and I hope the government — will agree that the stated most concerning problem does not come close to reaching the criteria for a section 1 exemption for the constitutionally protected rights of workers’ freedom of association.

Senator, there is a constitutional challenge going on to this. It was this chamber’s duty to uphold these workers’ constitutional rights. Senator Gold, do you still believe this chamber fulfilled our duty or — as I believe — we spectacularly failed in our duty in the consideration and passage of this legislation?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question and your views. We all respect and take it seriously. No, I do not think we failed our duty, senator. I think that we had a proper and appropriate debate based upon all the information which included, Senator Lankin, the issues of the economic impact, Canada’s reputation and the health material necessary to protect Canadians’ health which go beyond simply vaccines, as we have discussed many times here. All the issues were on the table, including the Charter analysis and the Charter discussion.

I think we were correct in our legislative role in ensuring that the legislation complied with the Charter in the sense that the limits on rights that, clearly, back-to-work legislation imposes — that goes without saying — are nonetheless justified under the circumstances, of course.

In a free and democratic society, the courts can also play a role — I was going to say second-guessing us, but that’s not correct — in reviewing legislation once it is passed and given Royal Assent. We look forward with confidence to the decisions of the courts in this regard. The respect we have for our Canadian judiciary is no less than we have for our own good work. We did good work on that, even if we disagree on the results.



Impact of Climate Change

Hon. Clément Gignac: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Senator Gold, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which represents over 21 million Canadian contributors and beneficiaries and manages over $550 billion in assets, submitted a brief to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce last week regarding the low levels of investment in Canada.

In its brief, CPP Investments talks about important considerations related to the challenges posed by climate change. The brief states, and I quote:

Having consistent and accurate climate change-related financial information enhances our ability to make sound investment decisions in the best interests of our contributors and beneficiaries.

Senator Gold, if Canada is to successfully achieve its energy transition, don’t you think it would be important to provide pension funds and long-term capital providers with better tools for assessing investment opportunities in Canada?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question, senator.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is an independent organization that makes its own investment decisions based on its perspective on the economy and market conditions.


The board operates at arm’s-length from the federal and provincial governments, and its mandate is to invest the Canada Pension Plan Fund in the best interests of the 20 million Canadians who contribute to and benefit from the plan.

It is important to note that, as stated in the board’s 2019-20 report, the Canada Pension Plan remains secure as a result of the resilience of the fund. I have been assured that the plan continues to reach its performance objectives and provide a base for Canadians’ retirement even in these unprecedented and uncertain times. I would point out that the board independently made a commitment to establish a plan to achieve net zero by 2050.

Senator Gignac: In accordance with the mandate letter she received from the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance is supposed to work with the provinces and territories to move toward mandatory climate-related financial disclosures. South of the border, the Securities Exchange Commission is already taking action and has released proposed regulations to require U.S. businesses, among others, to disclose the impact of climate change on their business model.

Senator Gold, would it be possible to know the status of discussions between Ottawa and the provinces? Have discussions begun about making financial disclosures on the impact of climate change mandatory in Canada? If so, has a deadline been set?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question, senator. As I have said here many times, the government continues to take measures to create jobs and support a healthy economy and a healthy environment. To answer your question more directly, I am told that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and the entire government continue to discuss this and various other files with their provincial and territorial counterparts. Beyond that, I have no information to share.


National Defence

North Warning System

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, my question is for the government leader in the Senate. Senator Gold, Budget 2022 announced $8 billion in new defence spending. However, it also ties most of this spending to yet another defence policy review. I participated in good faith in the last review held by this government in 2018, but I’m now anxious to see tangible action, especially considering Defence Minister Anand’s recent statement that Arctic security is a priority for this government.

Senator Gold, how long does the government anticipate that review to take, and does your government anticipate upgrades to our now very outdated North Warning System?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. I don’t know how long the review will take, but I’ll make inquiries, senator. I know that the issue of our warning systems and more generally some of the older networks and resources that we have in place to protect Canadians are also a subject of very keen review and consideration.

As I said in response to an earlier question, the money set aside in the budget and the increases in defence funding are part of this government’s ongoing commitment to re-energize, refit and re‑equip the Canadian Armed Forces to do the job that we need it to do — to defend our interests here and also our interests abroad.

Senator Patterson: Senator Gold, Professor Kim Richard Nossal in an interview with The Hill Times on April 11, 2022, said that with regard to defence procurement:

. . . the incredible waste of resources has become so normal that governments can and do throw hundreds of millions of dollars away, seemingly without a second thought, and certainly without ever suffering any consequences.

Keeping in mind that Arctic defence, in light of the current war in Ukraine, is top of mind for many, my question is supplementary: Will the government be working with Inuit and northerners as they did in awarding the recent operations and maintenance contract for the operation of the North Warning System to ensure that these “hundreds of millions of dollars” also equate to another economic driver for the territories?

Senator Gold: I will certainly make specific inquiries, because I don’t want to mislead the chamber. I don’t know specifically what consultations, understandings or plans are in place on particular aspects of our defence policy and planning, but I will say that the Government of Canada has and will continue to work with Indigenous communities in the North and elsewhere whenever appropriate.

With regard to our security and well-being in the North, there is a long-standing tradition of working with local communities, whether it’s in the area of search and rescue or more generally monitoring the North. I will certainly make inquiries more specifically, senator, and be glad to report back when I can.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

Hon. Salma Ataullahjan: Honourable senators, my question is for the government leader in the Senate.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, in March the average price of a home was over $874,000 — an increase of 27% in just one year. In the Greater Toronto Area, the average cost of a home has gone up another 2.7% in one month.

Right now, the maximum qualifying purchase price under the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is lower than the average cost of a home across much of Canada. In its recent budget, the NDP-Liberal government is once again promising changes to this program — the third attempt to change this program in the three years it has been in existence.

Leader, why is the NDP-Liberal government doubling down on this failed program, which has never worked in the way it was promised?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question and for underlining the challenge to Canadians, especially those seeking to buy their first home, not only in Toronto, where I had the pleasure of living for many years, but really all across this country, even in smaller communities.

The government continues to try to do its part along with the provinces, municipalities and the private sector to address this very pressing problem for Canadians. It designs programs based upon the best judgment and information as to what would help, and when experience shows that adjustments need to be made it will make those adjustments. That’s the prudent and responsible thing to do.

I don’t want to go off on a tangent, but public policy-making is and should be a matter of, in some sense, trial, and when there is error, failed results, incomplete results or inadequate results, to make adjustments.

This is not a matter, senator, of doubling down on a failed program. This is a matter of doing the government’s part and its best to tailor programs and adjust as circumstances change, as they certainly have changed in our economy throughout this pandemic and as we emerge from it.

So in that regard, the Canadian government will continue to work to do its part to assist Canadians seeking to enter this rather overheated and challenging housing market.


Customs Act
Preclearance Act, 2016

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Boniface, seconded by the Honourable Senator Gold, P.C., for the second reading of Bill S-7, An Act to amend the Customs Act and the Preclearance Act, 2016.

Hon. Paula Simons: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill S-7, An Act to amend the Customs Act and the Preclearance Act, 2016.


I was thinking just the other day about all the personal information I carry on my phone and laptop these days, thinking how much more of my life is on my devices than was there before the pandemic began. For the last two years, Canadians have been working from home, shopping from home, dining from home and entertaining themselves at home. Our phones, laptops, tablets and even our Apple Watches, know more about us than ever before — what we watch, what we eat, what we read, what we buy, where we’ve been, who our friends are and whom we date.

Our devices hold our most intimate and embarrassing secrets — more than our teenage diaries ever did. And, more than ever, they hold the confidential work we do, no matter where we work or who our clients or patients or colleagues or constituents might be. It is against that backdrop that we debate Bill S-7 today.

A history lesson: In November of 2020, in a decision known as R. v. Canfield, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that section 99(1)(a) of the Customs Act offended against section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it did not impose any limits on when and how searches of personal electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops, could be conducted at the border.

Honourable Madam Justice Frederica Schutz, Madam Justice Jo’Anne Strekaf and Madam Justice Ritu Khullar held unanimously that the act violated the protection to be free of unreasonable search and seizure because it allowed for what the court called “suspicion-less and unlimited searches” of private information. That violation, held the court, could not be saved by section 1 of the Charter because it allowed unfettered and unrestricted access to people’s most personal and intimate information.

Canada’s courts have long recognized the inherent privacy of what they have termed, somewhat poetically, our “biographical core of personal information.”

In its 1993 R. v. Plant decision, the Supreme Court put it this way:

In fostering the underlying values of dignity, integrity and autonomy, it is fitting that s. 8 of the Charter should seek to protect a biographical core of personal information which individuals in a free and democratic society would wish to maintain and control from dissemination to the state. This would include information which tends to reveal intimate details of the lifestyle and personal choices of the individual.

Almost two decades later, in the 2012 case R. v. Cole, the Supreme Court was even more explicit:

The closer the subject matter of the alleged search lies to the biographical core of personal information, the more this factor will favour a reasonable expectation of privacy. Put another way, the more personal and confidential the information, the more willing reasonable and informed Canadians will be to recognize the existence of a constitutionally protected privacy interest.

Today, when we carry so much more of ourselves and our lives on our phones, our tablets and our laptops, a search of those devices, said the court in Canfield, strikes right to the heart of our biographical core.

To quote the Canfield judgment:

. . . while the search of a computer or cell phone is not akin to the seizure of bodily samples or a strip search, it may nevertheless be a significant intrusion on personal privacy. To be reasonable, such a search must have a threshold requirement.

The greater the intrusion, said the Alberta Court of Appeal, “the greater must be the justification and the greater the degree of constitutional protection.”

The court did not specify what it thought a proper constitutional threshold would be. But it suggested it might be something akin to “reasonable suspicion,” as opposed to the more stringent standard of “reasonable and probable grounds.”

So now we have before us Bill S-7, a somewhat belated, already outdated effort by the government to amend the Customs Act to meet the constitutional requirement set out by the court two and a half years ago.

With this legislation, the government has created a wholly novel test for a search of an international traveller’s cell phone or computer, a threshold without precedent in Canadian law.

Bill S-7 would allow Canada Border Services Agency officers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers doing pre-clearance of travellers leaving Canada for the United States to examine documents, including emails, text messages, receipts, photographs or videos, that are stored on a personal digital device if and when the officers feel a “reasonable general concern” that something on that device might contravene the Customs Act.

What does a “reasonable general concern” mean, legally speaking? I wish I could tell you but I can’t since there is no Canadian jurisprudence related to this newborn phrase.

A reasonable concern, one might intuit, is a lower standard than a reasonable suspicion because a concern, in common parlance, is less grave and less specific than a suspicion. And maybe, just maybe, a test of “reasonable concern” might pass constitutional muster. But throw in the word “general” and you water things down even more. I mean, what in blue blazes is a “general concern?” It sounds even more vague and more subjective than a good old-fashioned hunch or an inkling. It is a fuzzy, ill-defined threshold, one that opens the doors to all kinds of possible misapplication or abuse.

Is there any traveller alive who might not inspire “general concern” on the part of a border officer on a bad day?

Now, imagine someone who is Black or Muslim or Chinese or Indigenous. Or someone who is queer. Or someone who wears unconventional clothes. Or someone on the autism spectrum. How might such a general concern be provoked in an officer who is acting on such a loose and intuitive test?

What’s particularly perplexing is that there was no need for the government to concoct such an untested legal standard. The obvious legal threshold to conduct a search already exists right in the text of the Customs Act. Section 98 of the act, for example, provides that an officer can search any person “if the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the person has secreted on or about his person” any prohibited, controlled or regulated goods.

The act provides that any imported or exported mail may be opened and examined if the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that it contains any prohibited or regulated goods. The act further authorizes goods to be examined and any package or container opened where the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the Customs Act has been or might be contravened.

All throughout the Customs Act, in fact, the standard test is suspicion “on reasonable grounds;” it is the well-established legal threshold. Why on earth should it be easier for border agents to search the contents of our personal electronic devices than it is for them to search our mail or our coat pockets or our car trunks or our suitcases? Yet that is precisely what Bill S-7 allows.

We all understand that we have fewer privacy rights when we cross a border than when we cross a city street. Entering or exiting a country is a privilege. We routinely subject ourselves to searches of our luggage and our persons that would not be legal in ordinary daily life when we ask to cross a border. But a border is still not a Charter-free zone.

Bill S-7 would allow border officers, acting only on a “reasonable general concern” to scroll through our texts and photos, our love notes, our bank statements, our SkipTheDishes orders, our Amazon purchases, our dating history and our private health and fitness data.

Now, you could certainly argue that the original text of section 99 of the Customs Act, at least as it has been previously interpreted, already gave them that right, but, up until now at least, the Canada Border Services Agency, or CBSA, had its own internal rules which were supposed to preclude such fishing expeditions. According to the CBSA handbook, searches were only supposed to be conducted if there were “. . . a multiplicity of indicators that evidence of contraventions may be found on the digital device or media.”

The court in Canfield explicitly said that was not good enough. And yet the language of Bill S-7 — let me stress this — actually lowers the bar for a search. Far from enhancing our privacy rights, as the court explicitly directed, S-7 may, in fact, diminish them, granting border officers more latitude — not less — to pry into our personal devices. Either way, it’s a fair bet that this novel legal threshold is going to create confusion, not clarity, for many border officers. And it will undoubtedly become the subject of aggressive litigation almost as soon as it’s applied.

This is not what the Court of Appeal in Canfield required when it struck down the law, and it certainly doesn’t align with previous recommendations of Canada’s Privacy Commissioner.

Our border rules were originally created to allow customs agents to look for “stuff:” illicit goods, things like smuggled drugs or smuggled cigarettes and smuggled exotic animals. They were designed to ensure we weren’t sneaking back from vacation with shoes or dresses or artworks on which we hadn’t paid duty. But when we treat the private secrets carried on our digital devices as though they were goods, we weaponize the Customs Act in fresh and unintended ways.

I know it is politically risky to criticize Bill S-7 because it has been framed for us as a way to fight child pornography. In this fraught time, no one wants to be smeared as a defender of child porn or pedophilia. I certainly don’t. But most child porn is not imported into this country physically, carried on individual personal computers. It’s bought and sold and shared online.

Creating a lower novel threshold for searching our personal computers won’t do much to stop the scourge of child sex abuse, but it will put the privacy rights of thousands of Canadian travellers in real jeopardy.


Perhaps you think that S-7 won’t matter to you because you obviously don’t carry child porn on your phone or laptop. But this bill isn’t just about child pornography. Prohibited items under the Customs Act include hate propaganda, obscene material, treasonous or seditious material and even something as benign as reprints of Canadian copyrighted works.

That leaves me with what you might call a reasonable general concern that some travellers could be targeted for phone and computer searches based on their political views, or rather, based on what a border officer’s general concern about their political views might be.

Your phone and laptop can also be searched if a generally concerned officer is looking for receipts or banking information stored on your devices that might show you bought a few more things abroad than you’ve actually declared.

And, perhaps most worryingly, as Senator Boniface explained in her introduction of the bill last week, if officers discover what may be evidence of a criminal offence — an offence that has nothing to do with the Customs Act — that evidence may be provided to local police, who may then conduct their own criminal investigation and consider possible criminal charges.

Colleagues, we have a chance to do what the court in Canfield asked us to do: to find a balance, to come up with a proper threshold test for invasive searches of our digital devices — a test that recognizes the need to protect our borders and our national security, while at the same time safeguarding our privacy rights.

Reasonable general concern is not the appropriate threshold, not in 2022, not when our phones allow us to hold our lives in our hands. We owe it to Canadians to do better, not to rush through this constitutional debate just because the government missed a court-imposed deadline to write this legislation. Let’s apply some sober first thought to a bill that badly needs it.

Thank you. Hiy hiy.

Hon. Gwen Boniface: Thank you very much. I raised in my speech similar considerations that needed to be had around the threshold, but I do want to make sure that the Court of Appeal’s paragraph 75 was clear. I want to ask if you would agree that this is in fact what paragraph 75 of the Canfield ruling said that in their view:

 . . . the threshold for the search of electronic devices may be something less than the reasonable grounds to suspect required for a strip search under the Customs Act. . . .

and that:

Whether the appropriate threshold is reasonable suspicion, or something less than that having regard to the unique nature of the border, will have to be decided by Parliament and fleshed out in other cases. . . .

Is it not clear to you in Canfield that they were giving the range for Parliament to make a decision around that? Am I correct?

Senator Simons: I think that’s a reasonable interpretation, but what they say is that it could be reasonable suspicion or maybe something else, but they explicitly say reasonable suspicion would be an appropriate thing to consider.

My concern is that in creating a novel test of reasonable, general concern, I’m not saying the government didn’t have the right to do that. I’m saying that it’s the wrong choice.

Senator Boniface: Would you agree with me that it is appropriate for the committee to take a close look at this issue, as I indicated in my speech, particularly around this issue, and how it’s specific to issues that balance public safety and particularly the unique role of customs in our society — protecting Canada?

Senator Simons: I somewhat regret that my understanding is that the bill is going to National Security and Defence and not to Legal and Constitutional Affairs. I wish it were possible for both committees to study this, because I think the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, with its unique expertise in that area, should also apply its critical lens to this bill.

(On motion of Senator Housakos, debate adjourned.)


Medical Assistance in Dying

Message from Commons

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: 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:

Monday, May 2, 2022


That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House,

(a)on the day of the adoption of this order, the ordinary hour of daily adjournment shall be 12:00 a.m., that until Thursday, June 23, 2022, a minister of the Crown may, with the agreement of the House leader of another recognized party, rise from his or her seat at any time during a sitting, but no later than 6:30 p.m., and request that the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for the current sitting or a subsequent sitting be 12:00 a.m., provided that it be 10:00 p.m. on a day when a debate pursuant to Standing Order 52 or 53.1 is to take place, and that such a request shall be deemed adopted;

(b)on a sitting day extended pursuant to paragraph (a),

(i)proceedings on any opposition motion pursuant to Standing Order 81(16) shall conclude no later than 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 6:30 p.m. on a Monday or 1:30 p.m. on a Friday, on an allotted day for the business of supply, except pursuant to Standing Order 81(18)(c),

(ii)after 6:30 p.m. the Speaker shall not receive any quorum calls or dilatory motions, and shall only accept a request for unanimous consent after receiving a notice from the House leaders or whips of all recognized parties stating that they are in agreement with such a request,

(iii)motions to proceed to the orders of the day, and to adjourn the debate or the House may be moved after 6:30 p.m. by a minister of the Crown, including on a point of order, and such motions be deemed adopted,

(iv)the time provided for Government Orders shall not be extended pursuant to Standing Orders 33(2), 45(7.1) or 67.1(2);

(c)until Thursday, June 23, 2022,

(i)during consideration of the estimates on the last allotted day, pursuant to Standing Order 81(18), when the Speaker interrupts the proceedings for the purpose of putting forthwith all questions necessary to dispose of the estimates,

(A)all remaining motions to concur in the votes for which a notice of opposition was filed shall be deemed to have been moved and seconded, the questions deemed put and recorded divisions deemed requested,

(B)the Speaker shall have the power to combine the said motions for voting purposes, provided that, in exercising this power, the Speaker be guided by the same principles and practices used at report stage,

(ii)when debate on a motion for concurrence in committee reports is adjourned or interrupted, including on the day of the adoption of this order, the debate shall again be considered on a day designated by the government, after consultation with the House leaders of the other recognized parties, but in any case not later than the 35th sitting day after the interruption,

(iii)a motion for third reading of a government bill may be made in the same sitting during which the said bill has been concurred in at report stage,

(iv)a minister of the Crown may move, without notice, a motion to adjourn the House until Monday, September 19, 2022, provided that the House shall be adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28 and that the said motion shall be decided immediately without debate or amendment;

(d)notwithstanding the order adopted on Thursday, November 25, 2021, and Standing Order 45(6), no recorded division requested after 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, 2022, shall be deferred, except for any recorded division requested in regard to a Private Members’ Business item, for which the provisions of the order adopted on Thursday, November 25, 2021, shall continue to apply; and

(e)notwithstanding paragraph (j) of the order made Wednesday, March 30, 2022, the deadline for the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying to submit to Parliament a final report of its review, including a statement of any recommended changes, be no later than Monday, October 17, 2022, provided that an interim report on mental illness as a sole underlying condition be presented to the House no later than Thursday, June 23, 2022, and that a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint Their Honours that this House has passed this order; and

that Standing Order 28(1) be amended as follows: “(1) The House shall not meet on New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, the day fixed for the celebration of the birthday of the Sovereign, St. John the Baptist Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day and Christmas Day. When St. John the Baptist Day, Canada Day or the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation fall on a Tuesday, the House shall not meet the preceding day; when those days fall on a Thursday, the House shall not meet the following day.”.


Charles Robert

The Clerk of the House of Commons



Speech from the Throne

Motion for Address in Reply—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Gold, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator LaBoucane-Benson:

That the following Address be presented to Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada:

To Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary May Simon, Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.


We, Her Majesty’s most loyal and dutiful subjects, the Senate of Canada in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Excellency for the gracious Speech which Your Excellency has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.

Hon. Karen Sorensen: Good afternoon, âba wathtech.

Honourable senators, I rise today in reply to the Speech from the Throne, my first speech in this chamber.

I was appointed in July 2021 and sworn in on November 22. As I begin, I am reminded of the advice I was often given by my father. He said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” The pressure’s on.

I’ll add that my dad would be so very proud of this moment. When I video-called my mother, 92 years young, to tell her the exciting news about my appointment to the Senate, I started with, “So I had an interesting call the other day from Prime Minister Trudeau.” Her eyes widened, and in her very concerned mother tone she replied, “What did he want?” Being my mom, she thought perhaps he was calling me for some sage advice. However, if he were to call anyone in my family for sage advice, he would first ring up my mother.

I was raised in Orangeville, Ontario, but for two thirds of my life I have been fortunate to live in the town of Banff, an incorporated Alberta municipality located in Banff National Park, the birthplace of Canada’s envied national park system, Canada’s most popular national park and one of the country’s top international tourism destinations.


I like to say I got involved in public service out of love. Love of the mountains brought me west. I first saw the splendour that is Banff on a family vacation when I was 13. I stood atop Sulphur Mountain and told my parents, “I’m going to live here one day.”

Like so many young Canadians, I headed west after university. I met a local Banff boy, and well, I know a good thing when I see it, so I married him. We raised our sons in Banff and built a successful business, and I pursued my first fulfilling career in tourism and hospitality.


And love for my sons led me to become a school board trustee because I wanted to be involved in their education. Love for my community and for the national park led me to run for local office, first as a town councillor for two terms and then as mayor, which I was for three terms. I wanted to be involved in strengthening the resilience and sustainability of my community and its residents while remaining faithful to the national park mandate and vision.

Love for my beautiful province, the land and its people, and love for my country led me to submit my application to the Canadian Senate. I am 62 years old, and this will be my fourth career.

To have this opportunity full of new experiences and learning in a role where I can continue to serve fills me with gratitude. I am so grateful to the Selection Committee, who put my application in front of the Prime Minister. I am grateful to Prime Minister Trudeau for recommending my appointment to join this incredible group of colleagues.

Every time I read a bio or hear one of you speak, I think, “Wow, that is a super accomplished human,” and it is an honour to serve alongside you. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge Senator Paula Simons, who has been so generous with her time and ear throughout the appointment process and who sponsored me as I was sworn into this chamber. I also thank Senators Gold, Cordy, Plett, Tannas and Woo for their very kind comments on that day. I deeply appreciate your warm and sincere welcome. To all my Senate colleagues, every single senator I have spoken with has been kind, helpful and welcoming. I also want to give a shout-out to my experienced and knowledgeable EA, JoAnna Komarnicki, who previously worked with Senator Doug Black and has kept my head above water often in these early days. And recently, Madison McSweeney has joined us from the other place, as we like to call it.

I’d like to take a moment to thank my family: Carsten, my husband and partner of 33 years, and our sons — Bjerre, the boy Carsten brought with him into my life — and Eric and Connor, who are by far the greatest things I have ever produced. Nothing I achieved over the years would have been possible without their unwavering support. But of all my family and extended family, my daughter-in-law Shayla perhaps absorbed my appointment to this chamber most personally. Shayla is the great-great-granddaughter of Senator James Gladstone, Akay-na-muka, Many Guns, the first status Indian to be appointed to the Senate of Canada. He was of the Kainai Blackfoot, who are one of the peoples of Treaty 7.

The town of Banff is located on the side of Eyarhey Tatanga Woweyahgey Wakân, or Sacred Buffalo Guardian Mountain, in the traditional territory of the people of the Treaty 7, shared with us by the Stoney Nakoda Nations of Chiniki, Wesley and Bearspaw; Blackfoot Confederacy of the Siksika, Kainai and Piikani Nations; the Tsuut’ina First Nation; the Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3; and long shared with Kootenay and Shuswap.

I respectfully and sincerely acknowledge Treaty 7 territory. We are all treaty people, and we are on a lifelong journey toward reconciliation. We have the opportunity and the responsibility to learn about and sincerely understand our history and the spirit and intent of all treaties. Going forward, we honour the truth of the past, are aware of the present and build an equitable future based on friendship and respect as we travel the path to reconciliation.

I have two areas I’d like to highlight in relation to the Speech from the Throne that opened this Parliament on November 23, 2021. It stated:

. . . growing the economy and protecting the environment go hand in hand.

By focusing on innovation and good, green jobs, and by working with like-minded countries — we will build a more resilient, sustainable, and competitive economy.

The goal is to grow the economy that works for everyone. I believe investing in the tourism industry can help achieve that goal. As Canada’s largest service export industry and employer of nearly 1 out of every 10 workers, a healthy tourism industry is integral to the nation’s successful economic future. Throughout all my careers, I have been and will continue to be a vocal advocate for our nation’s tourism industry and all the supporting sectors that make up the visitor economy. I believe tourism represents one of the best forms of sustainable economic activity to be pursued. It builds and supports strong and resilient communities, innovative start-ups, small businesses and employment, and it can be achieved hand in hand with protecting and conserving the environment — particularly the very destinations in our country that attract visitors from around the world.

Tourism is also a vehicle for Indigenous peoples to share their vibrant cultures and educate Canadians about our shared history. Traditional customs have survived concerted assimilation attempts. Experiencing first-hand incredible Indigenous art, performances and storytelling is essential for learning the truth on the road to reconciliation.


And, of course, we all have a stake in protecting our environment and ensuring future generations have access to these lands.

Tourism operators across Canada have been on the leading edge in greening their operations and supporting conservation. Ecotourism is a sustainable model that allows guests to directly interact with nature, providing a much-needed reminder that our natural world is worth preserving.


I am passionate about all of Canada’s national parks, and deeply proud of those located in Alberta. Our national parks system is a proxy for our country’s strong commitment to the preservation of our natural world. It provides meaningful opportunities for Canadians, and international visitors, to connect with these special places, and strengthen our national resolve to protect them in perpetuity. In my opinion, access to our national parks is a fundamental right of all Canadians.


Essential then, in growing the tourism industry that works for everyone, is ensuring our national parks system remains resilient, maintains ecological function and continues to be a global example of environmental leadership.

I am very excited to be co-chairing the newly formed, non‑partisan Parliamentary Tourism Caucus to advocate for this industry that personally raised me. My goal is to highlight tourism and give it the recognition it deserves as a crucial and prosperous industry in Canada with the benefit of showing off this great country and what we represent: fresh air, clean water, cultural richness, diversity, acceptance and friendly residents. I look forward to debate and discussions around rebuilding tourism in Canada.

Some of you may have heard me identify as a senator from Alberta in the context of the Alberta Rockies specifically, the region from Jasper National Park through Banff National Park into Kananaskis Country and south to Waterton Lakes National Park. The Alberta Rockies are my home, and my life experiences there have brought me here. I do not place a higher regard on the priorities of these areas ahead of other regions in the province. However, I believe a significant portion of environmental and economic assets, including tourism, for the entire province begins in the Alberta Rockies.

I believe that the speed of hydrological changes occurring in the Rocky Mountains due to the climate crisis is the single greatest threat to the well-being of all Albertans.

There is a statement in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report that has resonated with me. During the TRC process, traditional knowledge keepers counselled that reconciliation must also be with the natural world. Elder Reg Crowshoe said, “. . . reconciliation is incomplete if human beings resolve problems between themselves and continue to destroy natural world.”

This brings me to my second matter of concern. The Speech from the Throne included the following statement:

Our Earth is in danger.

From a warming Arctic to the increasing devastation of natural disasters, our land and our people need help.

We must move talk into action and adapt where we must.

We cannot afford to wait.

I live at the doorstep of the Rocky Mountain headwaters: the cradle of life to 194 of Alberta’s rivers, and home to the country’s water towers for humanity, otherwise known as glaciers. Under a medium emission scenario, Canada’s western mountain glaciers are forecasted to lose 74% to 96% of their volume by 2100. That is just 78 years from now. I have personally borne witness to a significant depletion of glacier ice in my 35 years of living in Banff.

My first job, after I moved west, was at the Athabasca Glacier in 1979. It is a dramatically different place today. While deglaciation can be considered a natural occurrence at the end of an ice age, the current rate of glacier retreat is alarming.

We know that water is the basis of all life. Without water, there is no other resource or pursuit that makes life sustainable or even possible. As Jacques Cousteau said, “We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.”

It seems appropriate to comment here that while water security is often seen as a natural and basic human right for Canadians, Indigenous communities continue to be at risk. Although the federal government committed to work at this unresolved matter, in a 2021 report the Auditor General revealed a significant lack of progress in ensuring Indigenous communities have access to safe drinking water. We must move talk into action and move faster.

The rapid loss of glacier ice due to climate change is causing irrevocable impacts both in the alpine and downstream to Alberta’s fresh water supply. The consequences of these impacts should be topmost in our minds when discussing climate change, especially the speed at which we are turning policy into action.

Integral to this is the urgent need to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and be nature positive. The nature crisis is deeply linked to the climate crisis. Biodiversity is essential to maintaining life on the planet, and its severe degradation is not only a result of climate change, it is worsening it.

We must reconcile with the natural world.

My intention as one of the newest members of the Senate of Canada is to help bring attention to water security, highlight the downstream effects of accelerated deglaciation due to climate change and promote the goal of restoring biodiversity and a return to a nature-positive state.

As someone who supports a reformed Senate, I can assure my colleagues that I am not influenced by partisan politics. In fact, in my career as mayor and councillor, I have worked easily with politicians and administrators from all parties at all levels of government.

My contributions will come from my affinity and, if I may, my proficiency in asking questions, seeking out knowledge and building consensus. They come from a desire to always ensure the policy options we pursue balance the environmental, economic and social well-being of Alberta and all Canadians. They come from a genuine passion for public service. Thank you for your attention. Ishniyes.

(On motion of Senator Gagné, debate adjourned.)


Pandemic Observance Day Bill

Third Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Mégie, seconded by the Honourable Senator Audette, for the third reading of Bill S-209, An Act respecting Pandemic Observance Day, as amended.

Hon. Rosa Galvez: Dear colleagues, today I rise to deliver a speech on Bill S-209, An Act respecting Pandemic Observance Day, which was introduced by Senator Mégie.

In her speech at second reading, Senator Mégie set out three reasons for this bill: the duty to remember, the duty to get through it, and the duty to be prepared for a future pandemic. The impact the pandemic had and continues to have on our lives, our health and our economy certainly justifies the need to remember. We must never forget how hard our health care system and our long-term care facilities were hit, nor must we forget the loss of life that shook our communities.

That said, I would like to focus on the third reason: the duty to be prepared for a future pandemic. Canada was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we were poorly prepared for a public health crisis of this magnitude. In the beginning, over 80% of the pandemic-related deaths were in long-term care facilities and retirement homes. Our health care systems were overwhelmed by growing demand and the labour shortages.

Our governments were taken by surprise. Their social safety nets were ill-equipped for a pandemic and nationwide lockdowns. We were asked to urgently pass bills to help Canadians despite Parliament itself lacking a plan to ensure continuity of the legislative process during a pandemic. We had to create all those plans on the fly. Had we been better prepared, we could have been spared much of the impact.

In business and industry, Canada was once again behind other nations. Once upon a time, Canada had cutting-edge vaccine development right here at home, but that capacity gradually declined and disappeared, in part because of profit-seeking and political considerations, according to Dr. Earl Brown, emeritus professor of biochemistry, microbiology and immunology at the University of Ottawa. As a result, Canada was dependent on other countries’ vaccine production.



Let’s remember that our initial rollout of vaccines at the key moment in the fight against COVID-19 was impacted by delays due to the prioritization of other countries and the inevitably slow ramp up of production around the world.

The government and Canadians have since recognized the importance of rebuilding vaccine production here in Canada, and we have since invested more than $1 billion to address this gap. Let’s see it as a good sign that the Moderna facility that will be located in Montreal will make Canada a leader in mRNA vaccine production.

Just over a decade has elapsed since the H1N1 Pandemic. It might not have been as impactful on all of Canadian society as COVID-19 has been, but the experience should have informed policy-makers, especially since scientists have been warning us of the increased risk of the emergence of new infectious diseases and pandemics.

The lack of emergency preparedness in Canada seems to be a recurring theme. Whether it’s for COVID-19, extreme weather events or climate change Canada always seems to be in a reactive position. Of course, it is impossible to be completely prepared for any crisis, but proactive planning and prevention and action based on science will minimize the impacts of these crises as they arise, and will be extremely beneficial for all Canadians.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization, the cost of fighting COVID-19, estimated to be in the tens of trillions of dollars, could end up being five hundred times more than the cost of investing in limiting the transmission of new diseases.

Honourable senators, it’s easy to say that we will never forget the devastation the pandemic has had on people’s lives; yet, we have had pandemics before, and we were still unprepared. When we forget, we become complacent, and we start failing in our duty to prepare Canadians for crises.

If the Pandemic Observance Day can help remind us of the necessity to be prepared and to adopt effective preventative measures, then maybe we can leave a good legacy to future generations in the hope that we have helped them minimize the impacts of the next world pandemic.

Thank you, meegwetch.

(On motion of Senator Duncan, debate adjourned.)

Bill to Amend the Canada Elections Act and the Regulation Adapting the Canada Elections Act for the Purposes of a Referendum (voting age)

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator McPhedran, seconded by the Honourable Senator White, for the second reading of Bill S-201, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Regulation Adapting the Canada Elections Act for the Purposes of a Referendum (voting age).

Hon. Rosa Galvez: Honourable senators, I rise today in the chamber in support of Senator McPhedran’s Bill S-201 to lower the federal voting age to 16.

I spoke in favour of this legislative initiative during the last parliamentary session. I took that opportunity to give voice to youth actively engaged in their communities, advocating not only for environmental conservation and climate action but also for better education and less inequality. They are doing this advocacy work even when their governments don’t recognize their basic right to vote in elections that will impact their immediate future.

When I was reading the words of young Canadians, including Amélie Beaulé, Aya Arba, Solène Tessier, Zoe Keary-Matzner and Sophia Mathur, I wanted to demonstrate that Canadian youth are not only interested in federal politics, but also heavily invested in the decisions that are shaping our tomorrow.

These statements also had a common thread: Young people are capable of critical analysis when it comes to policy, and they deserve the right to be represented in our democratic institutions.

According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, youth must be empowered. Youth participation is key to democracy and inclusive, efficient political processes. Young women and men are central to social challenges such as poverty, discrimination and climate change, and their participation in politics promotes active citizenship and strengthens social responsibility. It offers innovation, creativity and new thinking. The IPU is actively encouraging youth participation in democracy. I invite you to follow the IPU’s debate competition until May 30, 2022. Watch and listen to young people debate and see how smart and articulate they are in expressing not only their worries but also the solutions they are proposing.

I’m sure you know that many of the recent world movements have been spearheaded by youth who are too worried about their future to wait for older generations such as ours to act or until they themselves are old enough to vote. Inspirational youth like Greta Thunberg and Autumn Peltier have moved millions of young people and adults alike. They have educated us on important issues, and they have helped put a spotlight on pressing matters in ways that so many others have not been able to.

If this proves anything, it is that age is not a factor in understanding and communicating complex issues. It is also definitive proof that adults over 18 years of age do not have a monopoly on good ideas and policy. In fact, in the words of Amélie Beaulé, “Wisdom is the human quality of aspiring to knowledge and understanding while knowing how to keep an open mind.”

Honourable senators, today’s young people embody this perfectly. They are engaged in their communities. They advocate for the greater collective good and equality. They are more connected than ever. They constantly demonstrate a thirst for knowledge, and they do so while keeping an open mind. All they ask in return is that we acknowledge their input, that we recognize their value and that we allow them to participate in the most basic democratic activity.

Lowering the voting age is not a new concept, and there are many good reasons that demonstrate how doing so is a sound and ethical choice. Many jurisdictions around the world have adopted a voting age under 18 for many reasons, including the following: Young people have adult responsibilities but are denied the same rights; young people are expected to follow the law but have no say in making it; young people are already participating in politics; young people make good voters; lowering the voting age will help increase voter turnout; lowering the voting age will improve the lives of youth; knowledge and experience are not criteria for voting eligibility; there are no wrong votes; arguments against lowering the voting age can be used to disenfranchise adults, too; and, finally, legislation to lower the voting age has more support than you think.

In the last parliamentary session, we voted to send this bill to committee so the impacts of lowering the voting age could be studied. We should do that again as soon as possible.

Thank you, meegwetch.

(On motion of Senator Duncan, debate adjourned.)


Frozen Assets Repurposing Bill

Third Reading—Debate Continued

Leave having been given to revert to Other Business, Senate Public Bills, Third Reading, Order No. 2:

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Omidvar, seconded by the Honourable Senator Saint-Germain, for the third reading of Bill S-217, An Act respecting the repurposing of certain seized, frozen or sequestrated assets, as amended.

Hon. Michael L. MacDonald: Honourable senators, I rise to speak at third reading of Bill S-217, known by its short title as the foreign assets repurposing act. This is a bill that has been around the Senate for nearly as long as the senator sponsoring it. It was first introduced by Senator Omidvar in March of 2019 as Bill S-259. When it died on the Order Paper, she reintroduced it two years to the month later as Bill S-226. That too died on the Order Paper and now we have the bill before us, sponsored again by Senator Omidvar.

Senator Omidvar’s efforts in this regard brings to mind the wisdom of the thirtieth president of the United States, the taciturn Calvin Coolidge.

Coolidge was elected vice-president in 1920 on the Republican ticket along with president Warren Harding. Harding would unexpectedly die in 1923, and Coolidge would succeed him then be elected as president in the 1924 election. “Silent Cal,” as he was popularly known, was not much for small talk. In fact, he would often accept invitations to public events only if it was agreed that he would not be asked, nor be expected, to speak. But when he did speak, he had some interesting observations, especially regarding the most important qualities of a politician.

Coolidge said that talent is not enough:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Coolidge insisted that a politician without persistence will have a hard time getting anything accomplished.

I want to personally congratulate Senator Omidvar for her patience and determination to get this legislation through Parliament – she has provided a great example for all of us on the importance of persistence in pursuing worthwhile goals. Well done, senator.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator MacDonald: And now, the timing of this legislation could not be more significant. The difference now, of course, is the invasion of Ukraine by the authoritarian dictator Vladimir Putin, supported by his oligarchs. That has focused the Senate’s mind wonderfully on the issues that this bill addresses. So, we find ourselves in a little bit more of a hurry to get this bill passed at third reading and sent on to the House. In this circumstance, it has been around long enough for our hurry to not appear in any way unseemly, especially now that the government has shown its willingness to support this bill.

In short, honourable senators, in my opinion, Bill S-217 is a bill whose time has come. I can describe the reason for that no better than did the sponsor in her remarks this past March before the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, when she said:

In the past month, we have seen the world change. The brutality of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has called for swift and severe action by the world. And we have seen sanction regimes, such as taking Russia out of the SWIFT banking system, which no one would have thought conceivable a few weeks ago.

Recently, the government announced that Canada will join an international task force with the U.S., the U.K. and others to:

. . . commit to . . . working together to take all available legal steps to find, restrain, freeze, seize, and, where appropriate, confiscate or forfeit the assets of those individuals and entities that have been sanctioned in connection with Russia’s premeditated, unjust, and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the continuing aggression of the Russian regime.

As Senator Omidvar has explained:

The frozen assets repurposing act, or FARA, as proposed in Bill S-217, would provide that legal basis and that legal tool to help hold dictators, human-rights abusers and kleptocrats accountable for their actions.

But while the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has certainly given this bill much-needed impetus, moral outrage, as we heard from professor Fen Hampson at the Foreign Affairs Committee, “. . . is not necessarily the basis of sound public policy.”

So, Senator Omidvar, while you may view with some chagrin the length of time it has taken your bill to be accepted, the rest of us who support this bill can at least console ourselves that it is not simply a product of this latest moral outrage, but in fact long precedes it.

Punishing Russian oligarchs by seizing and repurposing their ill-gotten gains would certainly be a satisfying outcome of this bill becoming law, but the current situation in Ukraine was neither the specific impetus for the bill nor were Russian oligarchs the particular targets, though they would clearly have been among them.

I think it is worth remembering that while this bill would be useful in addressing the Ukraine crisis, it also transcends it. Its genesis, as Senator Omidvar reminded us when she spoke to Bill S-259 in 2019, was sparked by what she called the most significant crisis in the world today, the crisis of the forcibly displaced — 70 million of them around the world, at that time, half of them children, who had to flee their homes because of armed conflict.

Honourable senators, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has added more than a million refugees to that number and, unfortunately, the number continues to grow.

I was struck at the time when Senator Omidvar said that her bill was inspired by the World Refugee Council’s report entitled A Call to Action: Transforming the Global Refugee System, that had been released earlier that year at the UN. In her second reading speech on Bill S-259, she said:

It urges nation states, regional organizations and multinational institutions to do more than just talk; it urges them to take action. This bill is a direct response to the call for action.

However, I am reminded, and disturbed, by the amount of virtue signalling that the current government is still engaging in. For instance, it loudly proclaimed a few weeks ago that it is sending RCMP officers to Europe to probe war crimes being committed in Ukraine. This may sound good, but it is almost certainly an empty gesture given the basic reality that it will likely not be possible to arrest soldiers from a nuclear-armed state for war crimes. We can pretend that Russian generals will be arrested and tried, but how that would actually be operationalized is very difficult to imagine.

When we were considering this bill at committee, I also could not help but notice that former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy — when he appeared before our committee — took time to laud the anti-personnel land mines treaty that he spearheaded a quarter-century ago. It was certainly a worthwhile initiative. However, this was surprising since the invasion of Ukraine demonstrates exactly how that treaty is not working, since Russia is busy using exactly these weapons in Ukraine.

I really wish that the Government of Canada would stop pretending and virtue signalling. As a country, we need to begin to be honest with ourselves. And as the Parliament of the country, we must be honest with Canadians about the stark threat that we face.

I would like our government to initiate measures that can really make a difference. This bill can contribute to that if we work tirelessly with our allies on a joint approach. But then we need to be clear-headed and frank about the difficult road we have ahead of us and to avoid simply focusing on empty gestures that are part of pretending about the great difference we want to believe we are making.

To quote Professor Hampson again:

FARA levels the playing field when our country is forced to deal with bad actors and corrupt regimes. Our government needs the ability to fire back at those who are not constrained by the rule of law . . . .

It is action — not just more talk and not just pulpit diplomacy.

Honourable senators, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that all the witnesses or even all the senators on the committee supported the bill. During the Foreign Affairs Committee’s study of Bill S-217, Transparency International was particularly critical of three aspects: that the focus was solely on displaced persons as victims; that the government has done such a poor job of seizing assets that there would not be enough to be repurposed; and that judges lacking knowledge in foreign affairs will be sufficiently knowledgeable of the context of the country or group that might receive these funds, such that the repurposed assets might end up back in the wrong hands.

Brandon Silver of the Raoul Wallenberg Center was a strong supporter of the legislation but also offered what he called three proposed refinements to the bill to strengthen it. That included broadening it beyond its application solely to displaced persons.

Many of these proposals informed our deliberations as we approached clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, leading to several amendments being proposed. In the end, only two of the amendments were adopted by the committee, both of which were, more or less, technical in nature in order to bring the bill in line with current government practice under the Special Economic Measures Act. Therefore, some of the substantive concerns remain unaddressed.


Perhaps this reality will provide the government with an opportunity to further examine how the bill might be improved. I urge the government and members of the House of Commons to undertake a serious effort in that regard if it were to help make this bill more substantive.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I had reservations about one of the amendments that will now broaden the reasons for the repurposing of seized assets to include:

a grave breach of international peace and security has occurred that has resulted in or is likely to result in a serious international crisis.

I realize that it simply aligns the language in Bill S-217 with that used in the Special Economic Measures Act, as Senator Coyle said in proposing the amendment, but I am concerned that this language is both too broad and possibly too limiting at the same time.

It could be too broad in the sense that, as Senator Richards pointed out in committee, it could be applied subjectively and used for almost any purpose. For instance, how will one define a “breach of international security” leading to a “serious international crisis?” Could Israel have been targeted for its defensive strikes in 1967, which certainly led to an international crisis?

On the other hand, I fear the language could also be too limiting in the sense of what might constitute a “serious international crisis.” Would Vladamir Putin’s relatively bloodless seizure of Crimea in 2014 have met this definition, or would his 2008 seizure of Georgian territory have met the definition?

Regrettably, it is far from clear.

Senators noted at committee that, ultimately, the question of what constitutes “a breach of international security” leading to a “serious international crisis” will be defined by the Government of Canada. But in all scenarios, leaving this solely to the government of the day may not be entirely reassuring.

I can only say that, fortunately, this will only be one of the conditions that would trigger action under the bill.

As we so often hear in this place, let us not let the search for perfection be the enemy of finding the good. On the whole, I do believe that this is a good bill. It is the right bill for our time. I urge all senators to unanimously support this bill and vote for it at third reading.

Thank you.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

(On motion of Senator Omidvar, debate adjourned.)


Language Skills Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Housakos, for the second reading of Bill S-220, An Act to amend the Languages Skills Act (Governor General).

Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill S-220, a bill that seeks to make bilingualism in English and French, our country’s two official languages, a new requirement for being appointed to the position of Governor General of Canada.

I will begin by saying that this bill deserves to be supported by everyone who serves in this chamber, since they should, in my view, all care deeply about preserving and respecting the two official languages of our country’s founding peoples.

The recent appointment of the current Governor General of Canada presents us all with a particularly disappointing situation. We have a Prime Minister who is capable, on the one hand, of publicly expressing indignation about the absence of French speakers on the board of directors of Canadian National, and, on the other, of appointing a governor general who must give assent to the laws of this country, which are written in both languages, without being able to read and fully understand the documents she signs.

It is surprising and disappointing, to say the least, that this was done by a francophone Prime Minister who sometimes has the nerve to claim to be a champion of French in Canada. I would like to remind him that during all his years in office, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, an anglophone, began all his speeches in French, no matter his audience. That example is certainly not being followed by his successor.

It was Prime Minister Harper who ensured that Bill C-419 was passed in 2013, requiring all of the following positions in Canada’s public service to be bilingual: the Auditor General of Canada, the Chief Electoral Officer, the Commissioner of Official Languages, the Privacy Commissioner, the Information Commissioner, the Senate Ethics Officer, the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, the President of the Public Service Commission, the Commissioner of Lobbying, and the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

All candidates must know both official languages to be appointed to these positions. The last appointee who did not have this qualification was Auditor General Michael Ferguson, but he gave us quite a surprise when he started speaking French not long after he was appointed.

For those who were not here in 2013, I want to point out that the members of the House of Commons and all senators in this chamber unanimously, and I repeat unanimously, passed Bill C-419. Allow me to hope that this chamber will also unanimously pass Bill S-220.

It is a shame that current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has shown such disregard for francophones in this country that it has become necessary to add this high office, the office of Governor General, to the list of offices requiring knowledge of both official languages. Whether the office of Governor General is legally considered to be part of what is referred to as the public service is largely immaterial to me. This bill is simply about ensuring that the office of Canada’s head of state respects the two founding peoples of Canada. I can’t recall a prime minister ever appointing a francophone to this office who was unable to function in both of our country’s official languages and unable to speak in English to Canada’s anglophones. The opposite has happened, however.

Although I am willing to acknowledge the efforts made by Governor General Mary Simon, last fall’s Throne Speech was the worst one ever given and heard, in terms of the French content. Frankly, someone should not be learning the skills for a job after they have already been hired. You wouldn’t bestow a degree in surgery on someone who promises to study medicine.

The last thing I want to do is denigrate the skills and qualifications of Governor General Simon. She is not the problem. The problem is with the person who chose her. Only Prime Minister Trudeau can be held responsible for this decision, which was an insult to francophones. It’s time to fix this situation with some clear legislation like Bill S-220.

It is unfortunate to watch French lose so much ground in Canada. It is certainly not the fine words and public commitments uttered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and echoed by his ministers, Mélanie Joly and Ginette Petitpas Taylor, that are going to ensure that French is respected in Canada.

It is typical: We are far from seeing clear results, despite a host of serious recommendations that could have a real impact if the political will were truly there, which it is not.

If the case of the Governor General were an isolated incident, I might not be standing here arguing and defending Bill S-220 as I am. Just a few weeks ago, however, a ruling by the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick confirmed the need to block the current Prime Minister’s decisions, because they are unconstitutional and disrespectful to Canada’s francophones. I am talking about Prime Minister Trudeau’s decision to appoint a unilingual anglophone in 2019 to fill the role of Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, Canada’s only officially bilingual province.


In a decision that I feel is very important, Chief Justice Tracey K. DeWare found that the Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick must be able to carry out their duties in both official languages and that Prime Minister Trudeau’s appointment violates several provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench is of the opinion that the Constitution acknowledges the right of both linguistic communities in New Brunswick to be able to interact directly, in their language, with the head of state.

I repeat, they must be able to interact directly, in their language, with the head of state. Would that be possible with the current Governor General of Canada? I think you know the answer.

Does this ruling, from a New Brunswick court, not provide the key requirement that should guide the appointment of the person chosen as Governor General of our country, who becomes Canada’s head of state according to the Constitution?

All of this is clear to me, but perhaps it is less clear to a Prime Minister who is dead set against recognizing the rights of the founding peoples, which are nevertheless clearly set out in the Constitution.

The same insult to francophones has been repeated twice since 2019, and I see no indication that this will be corrected politically any time soon. You will understand, then, why I am forced to conclude that francophones are up against some disgraceful stubbornness, and that only a bill like Bill S-220 could possibly protect them in the future.

Let’s go back to the New Brunswick court’s ruling for a moment. The decision from the Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick is quite lengthy. My takeaway from the 51-page judgment is this. Chief Justice DeWare wrote that the only reason she did not declare the order-in-council appointing a unilingual lieutenant-governor of no force and effect was that it would have created a legal vacuum that would nullify every law executed by the Lieutenant-Governor since being appointed. The justice added, however, that she wanted the federal government to take prompt action to rectify the situation.

History and case law show that governments traditionally respect court rulings on constitutional matters, but not always. Instead of following tradition, Prime Minister Trudeau sidestepped the issue by throwing the ball back into the court of the Minister of Justice, Mr. Lametti. What has happened since then? New Brunswick’s francophones are waiting for respect they deserve. They are waiting, just like Indigenous people on certain reserves are waiting for clean drinking water, and just like we have been waiting almost a year for a Canadian ambassador to be appointed to Paris, the capital of the most important francophone country, with which we must maintain strong ties at all times.

As I have often said, the Prime Minister has clearly established his trademark, which is to procrastinate when he should be making important decisions. Canada’s francophones are asking for nothing less than respect. I do not, and we do not, need simplistic interpretations, as Chief Justice DeWare rightly stated, that the language provisions of the Charter do not apply to these positions. As the Court of Queen’s Bench justice aptly noted in her ruling, the role of the head of state is not limited to delivering a Speech from the Throne and signing laws. They are also required to undertake important social and community functions that involve interacting with citizens.

This provincial decision should encourage us to quickly adopt Bill S-220 to enshrine the requirement that any future prime ministerial appointments to offices like that of the Governor General must be able to speak, read and understand both official languages. This is not shameful, it is respectful. It is constitutional.

All of the different groups that the senators in this place belong to are rightly calling for their values and identities to be respected. That is entirely appropriate. It’s unfortunate that our Prime Minister has to be called to order by the courts because he is incapable of respecting a right enshrined in the Canadian Constitution.

I will support Bill S-220, which is before us today. I can’t imagine any of you not wanting the office of Governor General to be respectful of Canada’s two founding peoples.

In closing, you might have noticed that I used the words “respect” and “respectful” a lot in my speech. Every day, I endeavour to show respect for each person I interact with. Surely it is not too much to ask that my first language be respected. Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Duncan, debate adjourned.)


The Senate

Motion to Call Upon the Government to Implement the Eighth Recommendation of the First Report of the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Omidvar, seconded by the Honourable Senator Dasko:

That the Senate call upon the Government of Canada to implement the eighth recommendation of the first report of the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector, entitled Catalyst for Change: A Roadmap to a Stronger Charitable Sector, adopted by the Senate on November 3, 2020, during the Second Session of the Forty-third Parliament, which proposed that the Canada Revenue Agency include questions on both the T3010 (for registered charities) and the T1044 (for federally incorporated not-for-profit corporations) on diversity representation on boards of directors based on existing employment equity guidelines.

Hon. Donna Dasko: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Motion No. 3 on our Order Paper, introduced by and spoken to by our colleague Senator Omidvar, concerning the governance of charitable organizations — another wonderful initiative from our colleague. The motion moves that the Senate call upon the government to implement one of the recommendations from the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector. That recommendation proposes that charitable and not-for-profit organizations be asked to include information about the diversity of their boards when they provide their annual information to the Canada Revenue Agency about their organizations.

This diversity would be measured using the four categories used in employment equity legislation: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

The suggestion was one of the recommendations of the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector, whose report, Catalyst for Change: A Roadmap to a Stronger Charitable Sector, was adopted here in the Senate on November 3, 2020.


That committee was chaired by Senator Terry Mercer, and its deputy chair was Senator Omidvar. The report of that committee is filled with superb analysis and recommendations to modernize and improve our charitable organizations, and I highly recommend that report.

If this particular motion were implemented, all charitable and not-for-profit organizations would record the diversity of their board members on the annual forms which these organizations are required to submit to Canada Revenue Agency each year, along with the other required information about the operation of their organizations.

The charitable sector is a vital part of the Canadian economy and Canadian society. With approximately 86,000 registered charities and 85,000 non-profit organizations, economic activity in the sector totalled around $170 billion in 2017, representing 8.5% of Canada’s GDP, according to Statistics Canada. The sector employs almost 2.5 million people. The organizations in the sector range in size from very large to extremely small.

As well, the charitable and non-profit sectors provide services across almost all areas of Canadian life. Think of health care, education, the arts, sports and recreation, the environment, social supports, criminal justice and so many more.

The charitable sector also has a special relationship to disadvantaged communities in this country. In fact, the sector provides vital services to these communities by helping people and groups through policies and programs directly aimed at disadvantaged persons and those in need. It is perceived as much more people-friendly and people-oriented than the corporate world, for example.

The charitable and non-profit sectors are run by boards of governance — also called directors — who may be elected or appointed. Boards represent the highest level of leadership in each organization.

The directors set the priorities and policies of the organization and hire the executives to run them. I would guess that most honourable senators have served on such boards and understand very well the responsibilities that are involved.

Given the connection between the charitable sector and diverse and disadvantaged communities, it’s important that the leadership of the sector reflect that diversity.

Now, most charitable organizations also have to raise money. This is important to mention, because the need to raise funds and recognize donors has an outsize influence on board membership, at least historically speaking. This may be a potential point of tension against the need to reflect the diverse communities that charities serve when it comes to representation on boards and other leadership positions.

Now, in my experience and observation, the topic of diversity comes up quite often in my conversations with the board members and executives that I know, and this is a good sign. But it’s hard to assess what progress has actually been made. Indeed, the very few existing studies available show that there, in fact, is a real deficit in representation.

One major study conducted by researchers at what was then known as Ryerson University, titled Diversity Leads, looked at board members in five sectors in eight cities across the country in 2017. Women made up about 43% of the voluntary, university and college boards, while visible minorities made up 12% and 15% respectively. In the hospital sector, women made up about 40% of board members, and visible minorities made up 15%. And I won’t even begin to mention the dreadful numbers the study found for the corporate sector, which is not our topic here today. Still, the numbers for the non-corporate sectors that I just noted indicate under-representation when compared to the percentage of women and visible minorities in the population overall.

There are very few other data sources for us to examine to understand diversity in the governance of charitable and non-profit organizations. And that is precisely what this motion is focused on: collecting systematic data to look at the sector’s governing structures — its boards — through a diversity lens such that we can better understand the parameters of the challenge ahead.

Before concluding, I want to comment briefly on two important pieces of legislation that include diversity measures for the purpose of comparing and contrasting them with the motion that we have.

Those two pieces of legislation are the Employment Equity Act and what was known as Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act.

Under the Employment Equity Act passed in 1995, federally regulated industries, Crown corporations, other federal organizations and portions of the federal public service are required to collect information annually on the representation of the four groups in their workforce and to report on the steps they have taken to achieve full representation of these groups. They must conduct a review of their employment systems, policies and practices to identify employment barriers against persons in these groups that result. They must also prepare an employment equity plan, if under-representation has been found, that establishes goals for the hiring and promotion of persons in each of the four groups, and sets out measures to be taken to meet these goals.

Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act requires certain corporations to report diversity among their directors and senior management positions and, in particular, the representation of the same four groups designated in the Employment Equity Act: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities. These corporations are also required to report whether they have implemented policies regarding diversity, what these policies involve and, if they don’t have these policies, why they don’t.

The motion we are considering here today involves one aspect of these two pieces of legislation. That is, the collection of data on diversity. The motion does not involve describing, articulating or implementing any policies or programs with respect to diversity. But it is a very important step in moving the dial forward on diversity in the not-for-profit and charitable sectors. What gets measured does get done.

So, colleagues, I am very pleased to support this motion. As Senator Omidvar has said, it’s very practical and very doable. And I believe it will help to promote diversity in our society. Thank you very much.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

(On motion of Senator Housakos, debate adjourned.)



Motion to Call Upon the Government to Designate the Second Week of May of Every Year as Jury Appreciation Week—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Lucie Moncion, pursuant to notice of November 24, 2021, moved:

That the Senate recognize that, each year, thousands of Canadians are called to jury duty and contribute to the Canadian justice system; and

That the Senate call upon the Government of Canada to designate the second week of May in each year as Jury Appreciation Week in Canada, to encourage those Canadians who provide this public service and to recognize their civic duty.

She said: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Motion No. 9, in which I make two proposals. First, I propose that the Senate recognize the contribution made to the justice system by the thousands of Canadians who are called to jury duty each year and, second, that the Senate call upon the Government of Canada to designate the second week of May in each year as Jury Appreciation Week, or Semaine d’appréciation du jury in French.

The week proposed in the motion, the second week of May, coincides with similar jury appreciation weeks in other jurisdictions, including California. The week is also recognized by the American Bar Association. This year, the week will unofficially be held from May 8 to 14. The Canadian Juries Commission will be running a social media campaign in collaboration with prominent Canadians to thank current and former jurors.

Senators, I think you will agree that the issues that affect jurors deserve our attention and the attention of Canadians at least once a year. These include recognition of the contribution of current and former jurors to the justice system, the mental health and well-being of current and former jurors, access to justice, and issues of representation and diversity on juries.

Steady progress has been made over the past few years on the plight and well-being of jurors. Allow me to share some notable events that have helped advance the cause.


Mark Farrant was a juror in a first-degree murder trial in 2014. He helped shed light on the need for more jury support in Canada. Drawn from his own experience, he identified the gaps in support provided to jurors and discovered that he was not alone. Mark was diagnosed with PTSD after the trial and struggled to find support in his home province of Ontario. In 2016, his advocacy helped prompt the Government of Ontario to launch a free counselling program for former jurors.

In 2017, to help move things forward at a national level, Mark brought to the attention of parliamentarians and government officials what has become known as the “12 angry letters.” In those letters, 12 former jurors chronicled their suffering and struggle to find support to deal with the trauma after exercising their jury duty.


This initiative paved the way for a study on the support provided to jurors, conducted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and the tabling of the report entitled Improving Support for Jurors in Canada in May 2018. The fourth recommendation in this report turned into a bill, Bill C-417, which was introduced in the House of Commons on October 29, 2018. This bill has had a bumpy ride and is now known as Bill S-206. It is my hope that it will pass in the House of Commons in the coming weeks. I thank the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, Senator Boisvenu, whose work helped ensure this bill’s speedy passage in the Senate during this session.

As you know, this bill amends section 649 of the Criminal Code to authorize jurors to discuss proceedings with mental health professionals after the trial. In the meantime, in 2019, Mark Farrant founded the Canadian Juries Commission. This is the first not-for-profit organization dedicated to representing the interests of jurors specifically. Among the initiatives introduced by this organization, I would like to highlight a pilot project to support jurors in British Columbia called Jury Duty Peer Support and Mental Health First Aid and Wellness Training for Sheriffs and Court Officers. This project supports and encourages Canadians to participate in jury duty by providing in-trial and post-trial support for jurors and promoting the importance of mental health within the justice system.

The commission also conducted a national opinion study in June 2020 that showed only 18% of Canadians are willing to participate in jury duty. The study also found that a number of former jurors experience repercussions long after the trial. Some former jurors reported being re-traumatized by media coverage of similar cases. Others reported being traumatized at parole hearings in their own cases.

In contrast, the House of Commons Justice Committee report indicates that, in general, serving as a juror can be a rewarding experience and result in a sense of having contributed to one’s community. These aspects of the juror experience should also be promoted. The federal government should encourage Canadians from all walks of life to do this civic duty, and it should support them.

If the government were to designate Jury Appreciation Week, we could continue to promote this cause and the implementation of all the recommendations in the report entitled Improving Support for Jurors in Canada across the country. As the critic for Bill S-206 in the Senate, I have certainly spoken at length in this chamber about the report’s fourth recommendation. Today I would like to talk to you about the other 10 recommendations.


As I had mentioned, in May 2018, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights tabled a report entitled Improving Support for Jurors in Canada. Because the issue of juror support falls mostly within provincial and territorial jurisdiction, given the responsibility for the administration of justice, most of the recommendations contained in the report direct the Minister of Justice to encourage the provinces and territories to implement the recommendations.

Let me go through some of these recommendations. First, the provinces and territories should make available to prospective and selected jurors an information package about jury duty. This package should contain the role and responsibilities of jurors, the compensation provided, the legal concept and mechanism of the trial process or the inquest and the deliberation process, including tools to help jurors manage interpersonal conflict.

The package should be available in both official languages and, where appropriate, in Indigenous and other languages.

The second recommendation provides that the provinces and territories should implement the policy that would ensure that the jurors be offered a debriefing session after the trial.

As a former juror, I can confirm without a doubt that I would have benefited greatly from having access to debriefing sessions. The idea would be to provide debriefing sessions to allow jurors to share, express and better understand their emotions with others who have had similar experiences. This collective process could allow jurors released from their duties to better resume the normal course of their lives.

The third recommendation relates to psychological support and provides for the provinces and territories to offer psychological support and counselling programs to all jurors after the trial. Some provinces have a counselling program for former jurors. I alluded to this earlier in my speech.

The Province of Ontario offers free, confidential and professional counselling services to jurors as part of the Juror Support Program since 2016. Former jurors can speak to a qualified and experienced counsellor 24-7. Saskatchewan has a similar program, the Juror Assistance and Support Program. I invite former jurors to investigate the different resources offered to them in their respective provinces and territories.


The fifth recommendation relates to daily allowance. Jurors should be offered a daily allowance for services rendered of at least $120 throughout the legal proceedings, which should be adjusted to reflect the cost-of-living increases.

The compensation to jurors varies across Canada, but in most cases the compensation offered is lower than the minimum wage in that province or territory. This hurts the diversity on juries in Canada because some individuals simply cannot afford to be jurors.


Similarly, and this is also very important for ensuring greater diversity among our jurors, the report’s sixth recommendation states that the provinces and territories should be encouraged to offer jurors compensation to cover the costs associated with serving as a juror, such as the cost of child care, travel, parking and meals.

The seventh recommendation has to do with providing jurors with the optimal physical environment. The provinces and territories should strive to provide an environment that minimizes casual interactions between jurors and other participants in the proceedings outside the courtroom to reduce the potential for intimidation and awkwardness.


Some of those interactions can be a significant source of stress for jurors and contribute to mental health issues experienced by jurors during and after a trial.


The discretionary power of certain actors in the judicial system must not be overlooked in the search for solutions. The eighth recommendation is about the federal government providing funding to the National Judicial Institute to develop training designed to increase judicial awareness of the mental health needs of jurors. With proper training, judges, coroners and judicial officials who interact with jurors may be better able to identify stress in some jurors and offer advice and support where appropriate.


Similarly, the ninth recommendation relates to the importance of increasing awareness. The provinces and territories should support training programs aimed at increasing awareness among judges, coroners and judicial officers who interact with jurors of the potential impact of legal proceedings on the mental health of jurors.

As mentioned at the beginning of my speech, the pilot project in B.C. is an attempt to implement this recommendation in at least one province. The federal government should exercise leadership at a national level to have this program implemented in all provinces and territories.

The tenth recommendation relates to federal funding on a one-time basis for provinces and territories to cover some of the costs resulting from the implementation of this report’s recommendations. More needs to be done with respect to helping the provinces and territories implement the various recommendations.

Finally, the eleventh recommendation provides that the Minister of Justice shall share the practices recommended in this report with the minister’s provincial and territorial counterparts during the next meeting of the federal-provincial-territorial ministers responsible for justice and public safety. The report was shared with provinces and territories and raised during the fall of 2018 federal-provincial-territorial meeting of ministers responsible for justice and public safety.

It is important that high-level conversations like these continue over time and that progress reports be made public and available to all Canadians.

On May 22, 2018, the government responded to the report recognizing the leadership role of the federal government with respect to supporting jury duty across the country. Let me quote part of the response:

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of supporting jurors in their duties and is committed to working with the provinces and territories to improve support measures for jurors, and facilitate the sharing of best practices between jurisdictions.

Officially recognizing a jury duty appreciation week could be helpful in that regard.


In its response, the government agreed on the importance of continued collaboration with the provinces and territories to ensure that adequate supports are provided to jurors. The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada concluded at the time, and I quote:

Ensuring that they [the jurors] are adequately supported before, during and after their service is an important objective to maintain public confidence in juries, minimize the impact that jury duty has on jurors’ lives, and help ensure jury representativeness in various ways.

One very simple and effective way for the federal government to put words into action would be to officially recognize Jury Appreciation Week in Canada, which would foster and promote ongoing and ad hoc dialogue between the provinces and territories and the various stakeholders on the support provided to jurors across Canada.

Colleagues, I urge you to support this motion calling on the Government of Canada to officially designate the second week of May in each year as Jury Appreciation Week. Furthermore, from May 8 to 14, I invite you to mark this week in your own way, to show your support for this cause.

Thank you for your attention.

(On motion of Senator Housakos, debate adjourned.)


The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, we’re at the end of the Orders of the Day.

Pursuant to Rule 9-10(7), the sitting is suspended. The bells will start ringing at 5:15 p.m. to call in the senators for the vote at 5:30 p.m.

(The sitting of the Senate was suspended.)

(The sitting of the Senate was resumed.)


The Senate

Motion to Extend Hybrid Sittings to June 30, 2022—Motion in Amendment—Motion in Subamendment Negatived

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Gold, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator LaBoucane-Benson:

That, notwithstanding any provisions of the Rules, previous order or usual practice, the provisions of the order of November 25, 2021, concerning hybrid sittings of the Senate and committees, and other matters, extended on March 31, 2022, have effect until the end of the day on June 30, 2022, subject to the following adjustments:

1.subparagraph 7(a) to (e) of the order of November 25, 2021, be replaced by the following:

“(a)when the Senate sits on a Monday, the sitting:

(i)start at 2 p.m.; and

(ii)adjourn at the earlier of the end of Government Business or midnight;

(b)when the Senate sits on a Tuesday, the sitting:

(i)start at 2 p.m.; and

(ii)adjourn at the later of the end of Government Business or 6 p.m.;

(c)when the Senate sits on a Wednesday, the sitting:

(i)start at 2 p.m.; and

(ii)adjourn at the earlier of the end of Government Business or 4 p.m.;

(d)when the Senate sits on a Thursday, the sitting:

(i)start at 2 p.m.; and

(ii)adjourn at the earlier of the end of business for the day or midnight; and

(e)when the Senate sits on a Friday, the sitting:

(i)start at 9 a.m.; and

(ii)adjourn at the earlier of the end of Government Business or 4 p.m.;” and

2.the provisions of paragraphs 12 and 13 of the order of November 25, 2021, cease to have effect, so that the evening suspension be as provided for in rule 3-3(1), including on Mondays, and, consequently, if the Rules require that something take place at 8 p.m., it take place at the time provided for in the Rules; and

That the Senate recognize the need to work towards a return to a schedule of committee meetings reflecting Ottawa-based operations, and call upon the Committee of Selection to continue to work with the leaders and facilitators of all recognized parties and recognized parliamentary groups to advance this objective.

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Plett, seconded by the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C.:

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

1. by replacing the words “June 30, 2022” by the words “May 9, 2022”; and adding the following after the word “objective” at the end of the motion:

“; and

That, before introducing any motion on the extension or resumption of hybrid sittings of the Senate, the Leader of the Government in the Senate must:

1.table in the Senate:

(a)all opinions and guidelines from public health officials from the federal government regarding in-person meetings in the federal public service;

(b)all opinions and guidelines from public health officials from the Ontario and Québec governments regarding in-person meetings;

(c)a letter from the Clerk of the Senate outlining how the Senate sitting in-person only would contravene any opinion or guideline mentioned in points (a) and (b); and

(d)a plan for a transition back to in-person sittings of the Senate as soon as practicable in accordance with the commitment made by the Senate on March 31, 2022; and

2.consult in an open and constructive manner with the leaders and facilitators of all recognized parties and parliamentary groups”.

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

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

1. adding, after point (b) in the amendment, a new point (c) as follows:

“(c)a letter from Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, outlining how the Senate sitting in person only would contravene guidelines issued by her office”; and

2.changing the designation of points (c) and (d) in the amendment to points (d) and (e).

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

That the motion in amendment be not now adopted, but that it be amended —

Shall I dispense, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Subamendment negatived on the following division:

The Honourable Senators

Ataullahjan Mockler
Batters Oh
Boisvenu Plett
Carignan Ravalia
Housakos Seidman
MacDonald Smith
Manning Wells—14

The Honourable Senators

Anderson Gagné
Arnot Galvez
Bellemare Gerba
Boehm Gignac
Boniface Gold
Bovey Greene
Brazeau Harder
Busson Klyne
Campbell Loffreda
Clement Marwah
Cordy Massicotte
Cormier McPhedran
Cotter Mégie
Coyle Miville-Dechêne
Dagenais Omidvar
Dalphond Pate
Dasko Petitclerc
Dawson Ringuette
Deacon (Nova Scotia) Saint-Germain
Deacon (Ontario) Simons
Dean Sorensen
Downe Tannas
Duncan Wetston
Francis Woo—48

The Honourable Senators

Kutcher Moodie
Lankin Patterson—5

Motion in Amendment—Vote Deferred

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Gold, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator LaBoucane-Benson:

That, notwithstanding any provisions of the Rules, previous order or usual practice, the provisions of the order of November 25, 2021, concerning hybrid sittings of the Senate and committees, and other matters, extended on March 31, 2022, have effect until the end of the day on June 30, 2022, subject to the following adjustments:

1.subparagraph 7(a) to (e) of the order of November 25, 2021, be replaced by the following:

“(a)when the Senate sits on a Monday, the sitting:

(i)start at 2 p.m.; and

(ii)adjourn at the earlier of the end of Government Business or midnight;

(b)when the Senate sits on a Tuesday, the sitting:

(i)start at 2 p.m.; and

(ii)adjourn at the later of the end of Government Business or 6 p.m.;

(c)when the Senate sits on a Wednesday, the sitting:

(i)start at 2 p.m.; and

(ii)adjourn at the earlier of the end of Government Business or 4 p.m.;

(d)when the Senate sits on a Thursday, the sitting:

(i)start at 2 p.m.; and

(ii)adjourn at the earlier of the end of business for the day or midnight; and

(e)when the Senate sits on a Friday, the sitting:

(i)start at 9 a.m.; and

(ii)adjourn at the earlier of the end of Government Business or 4 p.m.;” and

2.the provisions of paragraphs 12 and 13 of the order of November 25, 2021, cease to have effect, so that the evening suspension be as provided for in rule 3-3(1), including on Mondays, and, consequently, if the Rules require that something take place at 8 p.m., it take place at the time provided for in the Rules; and

That the Senate recognize the need to work towards a return to a schedule of committee meetings reflecting Ottawa-based operations, and call upon the Committee of Selection to continue to work with the leaders and facilitators of all recognized parties and recognized parliamentary groups to advance this objective.

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Plett, seconded by the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C.:

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

1. by replacing the words “June 30, 2022” by the words “May 9, 2022”; and adding the following after the word “objective” at the end of the motion:

“; and

That, before introducing any motion on the extension or resumption of hybrid sittings of the Senate, the Leader of the Government in the Senate must:

1.table in the Senate:

(a)all opinions and guidelines from public health officials from the federal government regarding in-person meetings in the federal public service;

(b)all opinions and guidelines from public health officials from the Ontario and Québec governments regarding in-person meetings;

(c)a letter from the Clerk of the Senate outlining how the Senate sitting in-person only would contravene any opinion or guideline mentioned in points (a) and (b); and

(d)a plan for a transition back to in-person sittings of the Senate as soon as practicable in accordance with the commitment made by the Senate on March 31, 2022; and

2.consult in an open and constructive manner with the leaders and facilitators of all recognized parties and parliamentary groups”.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

The Hon. the Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say “yea.”

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker: All those opposed will please say “nay.”

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

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

And two honourable senators having risen:

The Hon. the Speaker: Do we have agreement on a bell?

Pursuant to rule 9-10, the vote will be deferred to 5:30 p.m. at the next sitting of the Senate.

(At 5:39 p.m., the Senate was continued until tomorrow at 2 p.m.)

Appendix—Senators List

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