Previous Sittings
Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 44th Parliament
Volume 153, Issue 62

Thursday, September 22, 2022
The Honourable Pierrette Ringuette, Speaker pro tempore


THE SENATE

Thursday, September 22, 2022

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

Prayers.

SENATORS’ STATEMENTS

Importance of Agriculture

Hon. Robert Black: Honourable colleagues, at the outset, I would like to offer my condolences to the Royal Family and to all those in this chamber, across Canada and the Commonwealth who have taken time this week to mourn and celebrate the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Today, I would like to share with you a little more about what I did over the last few months while away from the Red Chamber.

During the summer recess, I had the opportunity to visit many communities across Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and Saskatchewan to learn more about Canadian agriculture, the challenges and opportunities facing the sector and the communities that support them, in addition to a trip to Scotland to attend the World Congress of Soil Science.

My tours included meetings with municipal officials at the Association of Municipalities Ontario conference, opening numerous rural fairs, tours of post-secondary institutions like the University of Saskatchewan and Olds College in Alberta, both of which are doing great work in agriculture, science, agronomy and agricultural technology.

I also visited with local economic development organizations and toured an oat-processing facility, a creamery, a Hutterite colony and a meat processing facility, among other things.

I’d like to say a very heartfelt thank you to all those who welcomed me to their communities over the past few months.

During the summer, I heard about many concerns and successes, as well as issues surrounding labour, supply chain concerns, food security and, of course, soil health.

Many sectors, including agriculture, are facing increased pressure related to supply chain concerns, rising prices as well as compounding factors such as climate change. This issue will tie specifically into the topic of soil health and how soil can help Canada meet its climate targets. With that in mind, I am extremely proud and excited to share with the chamber this afternoon that the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry began its soil health study this morning.

Yesterday, I also had the opportunity to once again visit an agricultural community just outside of Ottawa to attend the opening ceremonies and parade of the one hundred and third International Plowing Match and Rural Expo in nearby Kemptville.

I look forward to attending events again tomorrow and meeting with a group of young people involved in agriculture who will be there at that time.

Honourable colleagues, Canadians must recognize the important role that agriculture plays and our own role in supporting the many people who make up our food supply chain from coast to coast to coast. We should all be shouting from the rooftops about the great things our farmers and the ag industry are doing and that they have done to help put and keep food on our tables.

A healthy and strong agricultural industry can help Canada continue to be a world leader, have a stable food supply chain and meet important climate targets into the future.

I am hopeful that we will see continued support from all levels of government and the public as agriculture continues to work to enhance and strengthen their operations.

Thank you, meegwetch.

Sheldon John Currie, O.C.

Congratulations on Appointment to Order of Canada

Hon. Mary Coyle: Honourable senators, today I rise to honour and celebrate Dr. Sheldon Currie, one of our Antigonish hometown heroes, son of a coal miner and homemaker from Reserve Mines, Cape Breton, renowned writer of novels, short stories and plays, long-time fiction editor of The Antigonish Review, beloved St. Francis Xavier University professor, active community volunteer, devoted family man and now member of the Order of Canada.

Colleagues, the Order of Canada acknowledges the outstanding achievements and contributions of individuals who enrich the lives of others, and the ever-humble and gifted Sheldon Currie has certainly done his share of enriching. I first met Sheldon when we both worked at St. Francis Xavier University, but I got to know him better when he joined our book club.

When our group was reading one of his novels, I’ll never forget his response when we asked who his literary influences were and he said, “Dick Tracy.”

Honestly, there’s not a hint of pretense with this literary icon. That down-to-earth authenticity is probably what attracted actress Helena Bonham Carter to want to play, “that snot-nosed girl” in the film Margaret’s Museum based on Sheldon Currie’s novel, The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum.

Ever an insightful social commentator, Sheldon Currie said:

The internment of Italians during World War II prompted me to write the novel, Down the Coaltown Road, and the play Anna. The arrest and internment of Italians took place under my nose when I was a kid, without my knowledge. The arrest and internment of innocent people is a recurring event in our society and therefore something we should keep an eye out for and if possible prevent.

This summer, our audience was well entertained by Theatre Baddeck’s brilliant production of Sheldon Currie’s playful yet poignant play, Lauchie, Liza and Rory. I had the good fortune of seeing it in an earlier version, as well as his play Two More Solitudes, at Festival Antigonish in the late 1990s. Lauchie, Liza and Rory was also produced by Mulgrave Road Theatre in 2004, which toured Nova Scotia and played at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Edmonton. It was nominated for five Merritt Awards and was awarded the Merritt for the best play by a Nova Scotia playwright that year.

Sheldon Currie has also written other works of literature, as well as articles on our colleague, accomplished novelist Senator David Adams Richards.

Honourable colleagues, please join me in congratulating Sheldon Currie on becoming a member of the Order of Canada and also saluting at the same time his formidable sidekick, Dawn Currie.

Thank you.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Shokohalzaman Omidwar, Manouchehr Karbalaei-Sadegh, Anna Ramsey and Ben Ramsey. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Omidvar.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Contributions of Iranian Canadians

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Honourable senators, I rise to acknowledge the contribution of Iranian Canadians to our great country.

Most of us left Iran in the wake of the Islamic Revolution, and “left” is actually a benign word for how we got out. Some crawled, others fought, yet others smuggled themselves out. Others paid to get out at some considerable personal risk to their own lives, as my family in the gallery can attest.

I remember looking back at the border between Turkey and Iran. I looked back one last time — it was early dawn — to Iran. I remember saying to myself, “Iran will be a democracy in five years — this was 1981 — and I will be back.”

(1410)

Colleagues, how wrong I was. I no longer believe that I will ever go back to Iran and that Iran will, at least not in my lifetime, be a democracy.

Instead, we have chosen to set down roots in our new country. There are close to 200,000 Iranian-Canadians in Canada. After the initial 10 years of hardship — fitting in, finding work, finding your identity — I think it’s safe to say that Iranian-Canadians have arrived. They are present in all aspects of our society. They are entrepreneurs. They are leaders in business. They are leaders in industry and finance. They are academics and thought leaders. They are politicians and philanthropists. They are architects and developers. They are politicians. They are writers, artists and actors, and, yes, they play baseball and hockey, although, frankly, they are still mad for soccer.

Like other Canadians, they also voice their opinions, as they have been doing in the last two days in Canada to protest the oppression of women in Iran. Their trajectory is not unlike that of other immigrant communities. They take to heart the universal message that is sent to us when we arrive: Work hard, follow the rules and you and your children will succeed.

As I look at my family up in the gallery, I know that none of us imagined a life for ourselves outside of Iran. But now that we are here, I know we are also incredibly grateful to this country for allowing us to weave our narrative into yours and Canada’s. Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Dr. Colin Sentongo, Jane Sentongo and Katie McKay. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Bovey.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Late Gustavo da Roza

Hon. Patricia Bovey: Honourable senators, it is my real pleasure today to pay tribute to internationally acclaimed architect Gustavo da Roza, a friend, professor and, for many years, Portugal’s Honourary Consul. Gus died at 89 last April in Surrey, B.C. Born in Hong Kong, he studied in the U.S. and moved to Winnipeg in 1960.

I met Gus in 1970 during the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s construction, he the architect of this iconic triangular building on Winnipeg’s Memorial Boulevard and I the curator who was to review site progress daily. Da Roza, a young University of Manitoba architecture professor, challenged by the competition, sketched his initial design on the back of an envelope. The site was triangular; he was determined to use every inch. Many of you have visited this clean-lined Manitoba limestone building with embedded characteristic fossils.

Opened by Princess Margaret on September 25, 1971, though still unfinished due to a construction strike, we had installed parts of the collection. A special trumpet fanfare composed by Sonia Eckhardt-Gramatté, the director’s wife, played from the top of the Hudson’s Bay parkade across the street. At one point, an RCMP officer raced through the exhibition, asking if anyone had seen Lord Snowdon; he was missing. I had seen him: He and Gus had gone to the front point of the building. Lord Snowdon, a designer himself, was intrigued by how Gus had used the three points of the building; they are fire escapes.

Serving Manitoban audiences and artists well, its spaces are wonderful for presenting art. Its design has stood up well. When I returned as director in 1999, the environmental systems, the vault and the Muriel Richardson Auditorium had to be upgraded. Having daily witnessed its original construction, I knew its principles, but we needed Gus to assist.

He and I had kept in touch over the years, both in B.C. and Manitoba. I admired his vision and his understanding of what a gallery was. He did help with those renovations in the early 2000s, and has again since with the alterations to the shop and the addition of Qaumajuq, the Inuit art centre, which opened last year.

Gus designed many international buildings, including those in Dubai and a number of houses in Winnipeg, which, like the Winnipeg Art Gallery, are iconic and clean in design and function.

His love of life, his unique creativity, attention to detail, sense of humour, wit and real friendship are inspiring and have been a gift to me these last 50-plus years. Thank you, Gus.

My condolences go to his wife, Gloria, and his children and grandchildren.

[Translation]

Tribute to Gisèle Lalonde

Hon. Lucie Moncion: Honourable senators, on September 25, we will mark Franco-Ontarian Day. It is a very important day for our community as we proudly celebrate our language and culture. This year, I would like to highlight the contribution of a great Franco-Ontarian, whose legacy is that of a more dignified francophone community.

Gisèle Lalonde, a remarkable member of Ontario’s francophonie, passed away on July 27 at the age of 89. Gisèle dedicated her life to improving the lives of francophones, whether in education, health or the community.

At the age of 32, she was elected as a school commissioner. In this English-dominated environment, she was the only francophone woman at her first school board meeting. Today’s French-language school board system in Ontario exists in part due to Gisèle Lalonde’s determination.

Ms. Lalonde was involved in municipal politics from 1985 to 1991, when she served as mayor of the City of Vanier.

However, it was in 1997 that Ms. Lalonde really made a name for herself, when the Conservative government of the day decided to close the Montfort Hospital, Ontario’s only French‑language teaching hospital.

As president of the SOS Montfort movement, she rallied the troops and organized a historic event on March 22, 1997, bringing together over 10,000 people from francophone communities across Ontario to demonstrate at the Ottawa Civic Centre. I’m sure you all remember the “Montfort, fermé, jamais!” rallying cry. That was 100% Ms. Lalonde, and it became a call to arms for all Franco-Ontarians.

Gisèle Lalonde was the architect of the court case against the Government of Ontario, a battle she won on December 7, 2001, when the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled on the constitutionality of francophone minority rights. Thanks to Gisèle Lalonde, the Montfort Hospital will never be closed. Since then it has doubled its size and the services it offers.

Ms. Lalonde was on the board of the Association des conseils scolaires publics de langue française de l’Ontario and helped create the Centre franco-ontarien de ressources pédagogiques, which produces educational material distributed across Canada and around the world.

Gisèle Lalonde was awarded many distinctions and honours in her lifetime. The list is a long one, but I want to name just a few. She received an honorary degree from Sudbury’s Collège Boréal and honorary doctorates from Saint Paul University, the University of Ottawa and Laurentian University. She was a member of the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, and the Ordre des francophones d’Amérique. She was presented with the Key to the City of Ottawa and the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne’s Prix Boréal. There is also a high school in Orleans named in her honour.

Thank you, Gisèle, for everything you have done. Our francophone community is faring better thanks to you.

Thank you for your attention.

Franco-Ontarian Day

Hon. Bernadette Clement: I’d like to thank Senator Moncion for that tribute to Gisèle Lalonde, who was a wonderful woman.

Honourable senators, I rise today in honour of Franco-Ontarian Day, which is on September 25.

On this day, the green and white flag with the fleur-de-lys and the trillium is proudly raised, and students across the province will sing “Mon beau drapeau.” Allow me to share a few lines:

This land so white is where it all begins.

The families grew, there was lots of kin.

They raised their children until fully grown,

and against the conquerors they held their own.

This song tells the story of newcomers, colonizers hoping to leave their mark and build a community in a majority‑anglophone country. This battle, the battle of Franco‑Ontarians, is ongoing. New advocates are needed because, as we can see everywhere, those now championing the cause do not resemble those who came before them.

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Go to a meeting of the Réseau de soutien à l’immigration francophone de l’est de l’Ontario or the Association des communautés francophones de l’Ontario, de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry and you will see faces that look like mine. You will hear accents from all over the world. You will see the present and the future of the French language in this province.

My hope is that the francophonie in Ontario and Canada will flourish, because it is welcoming. Second-language speakers, who are so numerous in this place, will feel confident enough to express themselves in French. Anglophones will want to engage with francophone culture. There will be exchanges between Indigenous and francophone communities.

Make no mistake: not mentioning colonialism in our celebration of the survival of the francophonie is an omission I cannot accept. French is a colonial language. We cannot do better in the future unless we acknowledge our past. This country was already rich in culture and language before we, the colonizers, the settlers, arrived.

Today, francophones come from all over the world, they have identities and customs that are unique and valued for weaving together common cultures and traditions. My hope is that, if we embrace differences in others, the refrain of “Mon beau drapeau” might come to be interpreted a bit differently, that it will not just apply to those who arrived hundreds of years ago and their descendants. My hope is that it reflects the colour of the skin we are in today and that the pride this song refers to is shared by everyone, regardless of their skin colour, accent or origin.

As we have sung many times here in Ontario:

True to their past,

speaking a language of old.

Proud to have come and stayed,

and still be here after all these years.

Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


[English]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Agriculture and Forestry

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Deposit Report on Study of Issues Relating to Agriculture and Forestry Generally with Clerk During Adjournment of the Senate

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit with the Clerk of the Senate, no later than November 10, 2022, an interim report relating to its study on issues relating to agriculture and forestry generally, if the Senate is not then sitting, and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Senate.

[Translation]

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Study on Long Term Vision and Plan—Notice of Motion to Refer Papers and Evidence from Previous Sessions

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

That the papers and evidence received and taken and the work accomplished by the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration relating to the study of the Long Term Vision and Plan from previous parliamentary sessions, be referred to the Committee so that it may then authorize the disclosure of certain presentations prepared for the committee to Public Services and Procurement Canada and the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.

[English]

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, pursuant to the order adopted by the Senate on December 7, 2021, Question Period will begin at 3:20 p.m. today.


QUESTION PERIOD

Answers to Order Paper Questions Tabled

Health—COVID-19 Testing of Essential Workers and Truck Drivers at the Canada-U.S. Border

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 26, dated November 23, 2021, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding COVID-19 testing of essential workers and truck drivers at the Canada-U.S. border.

Health—Breakthrough Cases of COVID-19

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 27, dated November 23, 2021, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding breakthrough cases of COVID-19.

Health—Flights in Canada with COVID-Positive Passengers

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 29, dated November 23, 2021, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding flights in Canada with COVID-positive passengers.

Health—Virtual Care and Mental Health Tools

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 30, dated November 23, 2021, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding virtual care and mental health tools for Canadians.

Health—Seizures of Fentanyl

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 40, dated November 23, 2021, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding seizures of fentanyl — Health Canada.

Public Safety—Seizures of Fentanyl

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 40, dated November 23, 2021, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding seizures of fentanyl — Public Safety Canada.

National Revenue—Overseas Tax Evasion

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 103, dated November 25, 2021, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Downe, regarding overseas tax evasion.

Innovation, Science and Industry—Oil Transport

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 124, dated February 8, 2022, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding oil transport — Innovation, Science and Industry Canada.

Transport—Oil Transport

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 124, dated February 8, 2022, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding oil transport — Transport Canada.

National Revenue—Emergency Wage Subsidy

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 133, dated February 8, 2022, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

Labour—Interprovincial Trucking

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 141, dated March 30, 2022, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Housakos, regarding interprovincial trucking.

National Revenue—Tobacco Strategy

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 145, dated March 30, 2022, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Housakos, regarding the Canada’s Tobacco Strategy — Canada Revenue Agency.

Health—Tobacco Strategy

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 145, dated March 30, 2022, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Housakos, regarding the Canada’s Tobacco Strategy — Health Canada.

Public Safety—Tobacco Strategy

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 145, dated March 30, 2022, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Housakos, regarding the Canada’s Tobacco Strategy — Public Safety Canada.

Environment and Climate Change—2030 Emissions Reduction Plan

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 156, dated April 26, 2022, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan.

Health—N95 Masks

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 168, dated June 2, 2022, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Plett, regarding N95 masks — follow-up to written question 70.

Public Services and Procurement—Proportion of Federal Employees Teleworking

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) tabled the reply to Question No. 171, dated June 23, 2022, appearing on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the name of the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C., regarding the proportion of federal employees teleworking.

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

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

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on December 14, 2021, by the Honourable Senator Wells, concerning pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on February 8, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Harder, P.C., concerning the Special Olympics.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on February 10, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Cormier, concerning the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on February 24, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Petitclerc, concerning support for Paralympic athletes.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on March 1, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Cotter, concerning the Special Economic Measures Act.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on March 4, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Miville-Dechêne, concerning the fight against online sexual exploitation of youth.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on March 24, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Housakos, concerning Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on March 29, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Cordy, concerning proof of vaccination for international travel.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on April 6, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Loffreda, concerning Budget 2022.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on April 6, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Martin, concerning unspent funding.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on April 7, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Martin, concerning federal incorporation fees.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on April 7, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Martin, concerning transfer of small business.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 4, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Seidman, concerning the Global Public Health Intelligence Network.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 4, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Cotter, concerning the Strategic Innovation Fund.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 10, 2022, by the Honourable Senator McPhedran, concerning the Afghanistan crisis.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 12, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Wells, concerning assistance for victims of flooding.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 12, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Boisvenu, concerning support for veterans — Infrastructure Canada.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 12, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Boisvenu, concerning support for veterans — Veterans Affairs Canada.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 17, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Plett, concerning the rehabilitation of 24 Sussex Drive.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 18, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Coyle, concerning the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 18, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Bellemare, concerning employment insurance and processing times.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 19, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Galvez, concerning the anti-racism strategy.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 31, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Omidvar, concerning the Afghanistan crisis.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 1, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Martin, concerning funding for primary healthcare.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 7, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Patterson, concerning the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 8, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Martin, concerning suicide prevention.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 9, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Wells, concerning the detention of Canadians in the Dominican Republic.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 15, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Ataullahjan, concerning airport screening employees — security background checks.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 16, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C., concerning passport services.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 20, 2022, by the Honourable Senator MacDonald, concerning access to information.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 21, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Deacon (Ontario), concerning the Phoenix pay system.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 21, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Seidman, concerning the Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on June 23, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Martin, concerning the 2 Billion Trees Program.

Public Safety

Canada Border Services Agency—Pandemic Related Travel Restrictions

(Response to question raised by the Honourable David M. Wells on December 14, 2021)

Public Health Agency of Canada

The use of ArriveCan is mandatory for all travellers entering Canada.

To be considered fully vaccinated, travellers entering Canada are required to:

1.Follow pre-entry testing and entry requirements;

2.Declare vaccination status of an accepted vaccine by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel to Canada. To qualify as fully vaccinated, travellers must have received the second dose (or one dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine) at least 14 calendar days before they enter Canada;

3.Submit information via the ArriveCan application or website.

Travellers who do not meet these requirements must quarantine for 14 days and undergo two COVID-19 tests, one on the day they arrive in Canada and one on day 8.

No changes have been made to requirements related to ArriveCan. However, there are exemptions in place from the use of ArriveCan for persons with a disability, service disruptions, inadequate infrastructure, and natural disasters. To accommodate persons who do not have access to, or are not comfortable using technology, information can be submitted in ArriveCan by someone on their behalf, up to 72 hours before entering Canada.

Canadian Heritage

Special Olympics

(Response to question raised by the Honourable V. Peter Harder on February 8, 2022)

Budget 2018 announced funding to Special Olympics Canada totalling $16 million over five years, with ongoing funding of $2 million starting in 2022-23. The incremental amount for fiscal years 2018-19 to 2021‑22 supported the organization’s capacity to develop and refine high quality programs for athletes, volunteer coaches and officials, which were intended to be delivered using existing operational funding and the additional $2 million per year once developed.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on the sport sector. Many organizations had to assess their programs and, in many instances, redesign their delivery mechanisms. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, organizations will need to determine if the delivery of their programs and services requires any additional adaptations.

Sport Canada is working to assess the level of support required for Special Olympics Canada to continue to deliver the quality sport programs and services they have provided to athletes with an intellectual disability over the past four years. Ensuring that athletes with an intellectual disability continue to experience full and active participation in Canadian sport at all levels, in a safe and welcoming environment, remains an important consideration.

Canadian Heritage

LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund

(Response to question raised by the Honourable René Cormier on February 10, 2022)

As part of its commitment to sustaining historic funding commitments to LGBTQ2 community organizations, Minister Ien announced the one-year extension for the Community Capacity Fund, enabling currently funded LGBTQ2 organizations to build on their initial successes in strengthening their organizations. The Government is committed to continue this capacity funding and is working closely with LGBTQ2 organizations to better understand their needs and ensure they have the support for their vital work to continue.

In addition to the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund extension, the Government of Canada intends to launch a call for proposals this spring for additional project funding opportunities, as part of the $15 million LGBTQ2 Project Fund announced in Budget 2021. Currently funded LGBTQ2 organizations, and those that have not yet received federal support can look for announcements on this in the coming months.

Further, the Government of Canada has committed to launching the first Federal LGBTQ2 Action Plan and has been consulting LGBTQ2 organizations and stakeholders extensively on their priorities for this plan. This input will guide the Government’s work to improve the social, health, and economic outcomes of diverse LGBTQ2 communities throughout Canada. Budget 2022 proposes to provide $100 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, to support the implementation of the forthcoming Federal LGBTQ2 Action Plan, which will support a fairer and more equal Canada for LGBTQ2 Canadians.

Support for Paralympic Athletes

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Chantal Petitclerc on February 24, 2022)

The Government of Canada, like all Canadians, is extremely proud of our Paralympians.

We acknowledge that, while the Canadian Olympic Committee provides Olympic athletes with a financial reward for winning medals, the Canadian Paralympic Committee does not offer this same recognition to Paralympians.

The Government of Canada is committed to building a sport system that treats all Canadians equally.

The Government of Canada will work with the Canadian Paralympic Committee to explore ways to ensure that our Paralympians and Olympians receive equitable support and recognition.

Foreign Affairs

Special Economic Measures Act

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Brent Cotter on March 1, 2022)

In response to the U.S. Section 232 tariffs on imports of Canadian steel and aluminum in 2018, the Government announced up to $2 billion in federal support, including $250 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to better integrate the Canadian steel and aluminum supply chain and bolster competitiveness. The $40 million investment for Evraz was provided to protect Canadian workers and industry.

The SIF contribution was awarded to support a project to modernize steel production facilities, enabling Evraz to increase steel rolling capabilities and productivity. The project received a $40 million contribution from SIF, which is repayable. No further payments are being made to Evraz until SIF assesses the situation.

Justice

Fight Against Online Sexual Exploitation of Youth

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Julie Miville‑Dechêne on March 4, 2022)

Mindgeek is not a business incorporated under federal legislation. The Senator may wish to consult provincial databases which are publicly available.

We must ensure that Canadian children and youth are safe online. In the last election, our government promised to build upon our work to implement Canada’s first Digital Charter and reform our laws to protect the personal information and data of individuals. That is exactly what we will do.

Foreign Affairs

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Leo Housakos on March 24, 2022)

Department of Finance Canada

The Government of Canada is aware of five Canadian firms having signed contracts as part of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)’s corporate procurement since Canada officially joined the AIIB in March 2018:

·In 2018, the LEA Consulting Group provided consulting services on an AIIB-financed project.

·In 2018, the Hatch consultancy firm provided services on an AIIB-financed project.

·In 2019, the Edmonton-based Insignia Software Corporation provided library management system services to the AIIB.

·In 2020, EQ Consulting Inc. was awarded two separate contracts by the AIIB for the implementation of market risk tools and order management systems support.

·In 2021, a joint venture company, involving the Canadian company ISW Consulting Limited, provided consultancy services on an AIIB-financed project.

The AIIB’s Treasury Department has also procured the services of Canadian financial institutions, such as TD, BMO, RBC and Scotiabank, as part of its funding program.

As these are private contracts with private companies, the Canadian Government cannot estimate how many jobs have been created.

Health

Proof of Vaccination—International Travel

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Jane Cordy on March 29, 2022)

Public Health Agency of Canada

The Government of Canada’s international engagement strategy focuses on national health and scientific decision-making authorities with whom Canada has close, trusted relationships. This included the U.S. and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the European Centres for Disease Control, and the Caribbean Public Health Agency. The Government of Canada also engaged with the World Health Organization (WHO), given its global influence, and successfully added supportive commitments to recognizing mixed dose recipients in recent G7 and G20 Health Declarations.

Following the Government of Canada’s engagement, it was confirmed that at least 40 countries, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and the vast majority of Caribbean countries, consider individuals who have received mixed doses as fully vaccinated. Canada continues to address any emerging issues, as needed. As COVID-19 vaccination campaigns progress globally, there has been widespread and growing acceptance of mixed vaccines.

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s web team works closely with Health Canada, Global Affairs Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Transport Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to review, update and optimize content posted to Canada.ca. This review process includes vaccine requirements related to travel.

Finance

Budget 2022

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Tony Loffreda on April 6, 2022)

Department of Finance Canada

Since 2015, the government has made investments to bolster Canada’s productivity and competitiveness. Through the Innovation and Skills Plan, the government invested in programs like business-led innovation clusters, while investing in Life-Long Learning to help Canadians obtain skills of the future. To provide a more competitive marketplace and attractive destination for foreign investors, the government has modernized regulations and established Invest in Canada – Canada’s global investment attraction and promotion agency. Budget 2022 continues to set a framework for boosting growth, with proposals to create a new innovation and investment agency, launch the Canada Growth Fund, invest in green technology and invest to implement Canada’s first Critical Minerals Strategy.

In terms of monitoring, Statistics Canada measures productivity and other economic performance metrics. The overview of these data is periodically published to inform the public on the performance of Canada’s economy. Further, in 2017, the government launched a horizontal review of innovation and clean-technology programming, and since April 2018, all government organizations have been required to report publicly on the results of their programs through the Departmental Results Framework. Treasury Board Secretariat has a mandate to continue to monitor the effects of government actions, including the strategic review announced in Budget 2022.

Veterans Affairs

Unspent Funding

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Yonah Martin on April 6, 2022)

Veterans Affairs Canada

Unspent funds are a normal and expected part of a department’s budgetary process. The budgets voted in Parliament are “up to” amounts and legally cannot be exceeded. Veterans Affairs Canada ensures that there are sufficient budgets available in a given fiscal year to support all the eligible Veterans who may come forward requesting benefits and services.

Of the $634M in fiscal year 2020-21 unspent:

-Approximately 95% is quasi-statutory in nature and was approved by Parliament to cover the costs of Veterans’ benefits and services. Veterans Affairs Canada has no authority to spend these funds for any other purpose, ensuring they remain available to Veterans in future years.

-Approximately 5% was approved by Parliament to cover departmental operating costs and these unspent funds were made available in fiscal year 2021-22 through standard and common mechanisms/processes available to all departments.

As a result, 100% of the $634M unspent budgets were available beyond fiscal year 2020-21. The 5% from the operating budget was made available in 2021-22 and the remaining 95% from the quasi-statutory budgets was or will be made available in the future to cover the costs of serving and supporting Veterans, based on when they come forward and are eligible.

Finance

Federal Incorporation Fees

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Yonah Martin on April 7, 2022)

Corporations Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada continue to explore ways of making it easier and more affordable to start and grow a business in order to support small and medium-sized businesses in Canada. Corporations Canada conducts a fee review every 5 years and these have led to beneficial fee reductions in the past. For example, the last fee review process in 2019 led to a reduction of 40% in Annual Returns fees in 2020. As part of the next fee review process, Corporations Canada will assess the impact of an incorporation fee reduction with stakeholders and partners and seeking new ways to reduce business start-up costs, particularly for entrepreneurs where the cost of incorporation represents a systemic barrier.

Transfer of Small Business

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Yonah Martin on April 7, 2022)

Department of Finance Canada

Budget 2022 announced a consultation process for stakeholders to share their views as to how the existing rules could be strengthened in order to protect the integrity of the tax system while continuing to facilitate genuine intergenerational business transfers. The consultation concluded on June 17, 2022. The government is committed to bringing forward legislation, as necessary to address this specific issue, after conclusion of the consultation process.

Health

Global Public Health Intelligence Network

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Judith G. Seidman on May 4, 2022)

Public Health Agency of Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has taken a number of actions to improve the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN). These actions include:

·Clarified and streamlined decision making and operational procedures for issuing alerts and other communication products;

·Migrated the IT system to a cloud environment and resolved outstanding technical issues with the current system;

·Hired a technical advisor to lead the development of a modernized GPHIN IT system;

·Put in place a dedicated team and action plan to address recommendations and implement improvements;

·Invested in the training and development of GPHIN analysts; and,

·Began work to strengthen partnerships with external and internal stakeholders.

The GPHIN program expended approximately $725,000 of the $830,000 received in the Fall 2020 Economic Statement in three broad areas:

·PHAC used the International Grants Program to provide support to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources program. Expenditures were approximately $158,000.

·GPHIN Migration Project — actual expenditures for the migration project were approximately $443,000.

·Approximately $124,000 of these funds were spent on human resource surge support and other operational expenses for the GPHIN Program in response to COVID-19.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Strategic Innovation Fund

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Brent Cotter on May 4, 2022)

Working closely with other federal programs and agencies including PrairiesCan, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources Canada, National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), and Global Innovation Clusters to support sectors and regions across Canada, the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) funds large-scale innovation projects from larger, more research and development intensive firms.

Saskatchewan accounts for 1.6% of applications to SIF to date, and applications are expected to increase. Recently, SIF announced an agreement in principle for a contribution of up to $100M for BHP Canada to create a world-leading low-emissions potash mine in Saskatchewan and launched a Call-to-Action in partnership with stakeholders in Western Canada for large emitters as part of the Net Zero Accelerator initiative, which is expected to increase the number of applications from the Prairie provinces. Additional applications for proposed projects in Saskatchewan are under consideration.

SIF also funds networks to support SMEs across Canada. Specifically, the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) have announced five projects with Saskatchewan-based SMEs with contributions ranging from $100K to $1.5M, with additional networks ramping up activities to support SMEs from Saskatchewan moving forward.

Foreign Affairs

Afghanistan Crisis

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Marilou McPhedran on May 10, 2022)

Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

Since the Taliban takeover, Canada has announced $156 million in new humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable populations in Afghanistan. This includes the $56 million announced on December 21, 2021, and more recently the $50 million announced on March 31, 2022.

As of June 2022, $136 million of this funding, including all of the $56 million, has been allocated and disbursed. Allocation of the remaining $20 million (from the March 2022 announcement) will be forthcoming before the end of the fiscal year.

Humanitarian partners are seized with the need to provide assistance to people on the basis of assessed vulnerability. In Afghanistan, women and girls are particularly vulnerable and face additional obstacles accessing humanitarian assistance. Canada supports humanitarian partners who design programs to recognize these obstacles and refine how they deliver assistance to ensure it reaches women and girls.

Canada is delivering humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through established United Nations humanitarian partners and the International Committee of the Red Cross and has strong counter-terrorism provisions in its contractual agreements with its partners. Canada does not give humanitarian assistance funding to governments; it provides funding exclusively through experienced humanitarian partners.

Public Safety

Assistance for Victims of Flooding

(Response to question raised by the Honourable David M. Wells on May 12, 2022)

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the Peguis First Nation to ensure its resiliency to future floods and other emergency events. The government continues to engage with Indigenous leaders to support emergency preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery from floods, in collaboration with provinces and non‑governmental organizations.

While our focus is on responding to the current crisis, the Government of Canada is committed to mitigative solutions and will establish a working group to actively and comprehensively plan for long-term solutions that protect the members of the Peguis First Nation. The department has been working collaboratively with Peguis First Nation since the first flooding event in 2010 on both short-term and long‑term flooding preparations, in addition to the protection, repair and rebuilding of homes. As a department, we are also working with the province of Manitoba to identify long-term solutions.

Veterans Affairs

Support for Veterans

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu on May 12, 2022)

Through Budgets 2021 and 2022, the Government of Canada has allocated $106.8 million over five years (2022-23 to 2026-27) to launch a targeted program to provide rent supplements and wraparound supports (e.g., counselling, addiction treatment, help finding a job) to Veterans experiencing homelessness.

Infrastructure Canada, in close collaboration with Veterans Affairs Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, continues to diligently work on the Veteran Homelessness Program for its launch in 2022-23. The Department is working to secure the necessary policy, financial, and implementation authorities.

While this specific program has not yet been launched, there are existing ongoing federal initiatives to support Veterans who are experiencing homelessness. For example, the Government will invest almost $4 billion in Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, which provides support and funding to communities across Canada to address homelessness, including Veteran homelessness.

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu on May 12, 2022)

Veterans Affairs Canada

Unspent funds are a normal and expected part of a department’s budgetary process. The budgets voted in Parliament are “up to” amounts and legally cannot be exceeded. Veterans Affairs Canada ensures that there are sufficient budgets available in a given fiscal year to support all the eligible Veterans who may come forward requesting benefits and services.

Of the $634M in fiscal year 2020-21 unspent:

-Approximately 95% is quasi-statutory in nature and was approved by Parliament to cover the costs of Veterans’ benefits and services. Veterans Affairs Canada has no authority to spend these funds for any other purpose, ensuring they remain available to Veterans in future years.

-Approximately 5% was approved by Parliament to cover departmental operating costs and these unspent funds were made available in fiscal year 2021-22 through standard and common mechanisms/processes available to all departments.

As a result, 100% of the $634M unspent budgets were available beyond fiscal year 2020-21. The 5% from the operating budget was made available in 2021-22 and the remaining 95% from the quasi-statutory budgets was or will be made available in the future to cover the costs of serving and supporting Veterans, based on when they come forward and are eligible.

Public Services and Procurement

Rehabilitation of 24 Sussex Drive

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Donald Neil Plett on May 17, 2022)

National Capital Commission (NCC):

Over the last decade, the NCC has completed some work at 24 Sussex including the rehabilitation of chimneys and fireplaces, fire compartmentalization, stabilization of the escarpment at the back and west sides of the property and the removal of hazardous materials, such as asbestos, from the main building. However, the corporation has not been able to proceed with the extensive rehabilitation of the residence and has been limited to completing repairs that were urgently required for health and safety.

As 24 Sussex Drive has not seen significant investment in over 60 years, the additional work required would include the rehabilitation of the building envelope, replacement of mechanical and electrical systems, and construction of universally accessible entrances and washrooms. All buildings on the site would require extensive recapitalization and the NCC would need prolonged access to the residence. The NCC is working with its federal partners to develop a plan for the future of 24 Sussex Drive and is ensuring that issues related to security, functionality, environmental sustainability, universal accessibility, design excellence and heritage preservation are taken into consideration in its preparations.

Environment and Climate Change

Glasgow Climate Pact

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Mary Coyle on May 18, 2022)

The Glasgow Climate Pact stressed the need to address the gaps in the implementation of the goals of the Paris Agreement.

At the May Ministerial meeting on Implementation in Copenhagen, Canada emphasized our efforts in implementation by pointing to the Canada Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which enshrines in legislation Canada’s enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution to cut emissions by 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030. It also legislates Canada’s target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. As a key deliverable under the Act, the Government of Canada established the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, which provides a roadmap to achieve Canada’s 2030 target and put us on a path towards net-zero emissions by 2050. Canada is finalizing our first National Adaptation Strategy in 2022, and delivering our five-year (2021-2026) $5.3 billion international climate finance commitment.

Canada supports the focus on implementation and, at COP27, will showcase Canadian climate efforts as well as advocate for ambitious and concrete action by all, particularly major emitters.

Employment and Social Development

Employment Insurance—Processing Times

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Diane Bellemare on May 18, 2022)

The Employment Insurance (EI) Program, including its Call Centre, remains at the forefront of the Government of Canada’s service to Canadians and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department recognizes the hardship that delays in receiving benefits can cause to claimants and their families. Service Canada continues to onboard resources to ensure that the appropriate capacity is in place to meet the demand and deliver EI benefit payments to clients in a timely manner. Claimants will not lose any benefits as a result of any delays.

In fiscal year 2021-2022, Service Canada met its processing service standards. From April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, 85.4% of EI payments or notifications of non-payment were made within the 28-day timeframe (against the annual target of 80%). In fiscal year 2020-21, the result was 88.8%. These are the highest results in the last 15 years.

In fiscal year 2021-2022, fewer clients waited beyond 28 days to receive their benefits (compared to previous years) and the average days it took for clients to receive their EI payments is 18 days. In fiscal year 2020-21, the result was 16 days. These are the best results since tracking began 14 years ago.

Canadian Heritage

Anti-Racism Strategy

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Rosa Galvez on May 19, 2022)

Canada takes its international human rights obligations seriously and is committed to responding to the requests it receives from the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) through its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure (EWUAP). Canada has done so consistently over the past several years.

Canadian Heritage is coordinating the preparation of a response to the latest communication Canada received from the CERD EWUAP, on the situation of the Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en communities in British Columbia in relation to the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Coastal Gas Link Pipeline. Under the rules of procedure of the CERD EWUAP, communications between UN member states and the treaty body are to remain confidential until final views are published by the Committee.

Canadian Heritage is currently coordinating the preparation of Canada’s combined 24th and 25th reports under the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in which it will provide updates on implementation of this treaty, addressing issues raised by recent communications from the CERD EWUAP.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Afghanistan Crisis

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Ratna Omidvar on May 31, 2022)

Insofar as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is concerned:

IRCC has learned important lessons from past crises, including that each situation is unique and may require a tailored response.

A key principle is that although IRCC faces regular advocacy for special measures, the level of response should correspond to the severity of the particular crisis and be adapted to the geopolitical situation.

IRCC’s Operational Readiness function enables the department to provide an integrated response to emergency situations requiring special authorities or special program measures, particularly within the context of whole‑of‑government responses, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the Afghanistan Crisis, and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.

As the Department responds to an emergency situation where special measures are warranted, it strives to mitigate the impact on day-to-day operations.

When the situation escalated in Afghanistan and Ukraine, IRCC coordinated the departmental response by:

-Coordinating and operationalizing special immigration measures.

-Establishing an internal task force with departmental subject matter experts from affected programs and networks.

-Developing regular situation reports, briefings and decision-making support materials for senior management, including the Minister.

-Reporting on IRCC’s activities in response to emergency situations to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre, led by Global Affairs Canada, as needed.

Health

Funding for Primary Health Care

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Yonah Martin on June 1, 2022)

Health Canada

Primary care is the backbone of high-performing health care, serving as Canadians’ first point of contact with the system and playing a critical role in the delivery of health services. We understand that Canadians still struggle to secure timely access to a regular primary care provider or team.

Health Canada, with other federal departments, is working with provincial and territorial governments and key stakeholders to identify immediate and longer-term solutions to the health human resources challenges that affect primary care.

Our response to the health human resources crisis is focused on sustainably increasing the supply of health care workers and helping create healthier workplaces to support retention and the mental health of health care workers.

The federal government remains a strong partner, supporting provinces and territories on access to care through recent Budget commitments and the long-term, predictable health care funding through the Canada Health Transfer.

Looking ahead, the federal government is focused on collaborating with provinces and territories to advance Canadians’ priorities. Budget 2022 noted the Government’s commitment to advance work on health human resources; integrated, patient-centred primary care; mental health; aging at home; and, health data and digital health.

Infrastructure

Canada Infrastructure Bank

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Dennis Glen Patterson on June 7, 2022)

To date, the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has conducted a small number of research projects to support CIB objectives. For example, the CIB partnered with the Conference Board to examine microgrids for Northern and remote communities. As research efforts grow, conducting research in partnership with the Indigenous community is a priority.

The CIB has established a target of $1 billion for Indigenous Infrastructure projects.

One example investment is Oneida Energy Storage, which features Indigenous participation through the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation’s equity partnership with NRStor.

The CIB is providing advice to projects such as the Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link. The proposed project features a 1,200-kilometre, 150-megawatt transmission line with fibre-optic cabling to Nunavut from Manitoba.

Indigenous communities are often smaller and more remote. To address this dynamic, the CIB has launched the Indigenous Communities Infrastructure Initiative (ICII) for lower cost but vital infrastructure. Example projects under ICII include:

·Tshiuetin Rail investment in the first Indigenous-owned railway in Canada.

·Kahkewistahaw Landing developing an urban reserve in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

·Atlin Hydroelectric Expansion, a new hydroelectric facility and transmission line to deliver clean power to the Yukon microgrid.

To date, the CIB through ICII has made investment commitments that will benefit 29 communities.

Health

Suicide Prevention

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Yonah Martin on June 8, 2022)

Public Health Agency of Canada

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that it will adopt 9-8-8 for Canadians to call or text when in need of immediate mental health crisis and suicide prevention support. This will be launched across Canada on November 30, 2023.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is preparing for implementation by:

·Selecting the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to lead coordination of 9-8-8 service delivery;

·Determining anticipated demand through a contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers;

·Learning from international counterparts, including the United States, which introduced 9-8-8 in July 2022 after four years of preparation; and,

·Engaging with partners on service delivery considerations. Meetings with representatives from provinces and territories were held in May 2022 and July 2022.

Budget 2021 highlighted the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting the three-digit number. Budget 2019 announced $25 million over five years to support Talk Suicide Canada, previously the Canada Suicide Prevention Service. Through this initiative, people across Canada have access to support in English and French by phone (24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year), and text (evenings).

PHAC’s suicide prevention policy and program teams are supporting this initiative, including two managers and their respective teams.

Foreign Affairs

Detention of Canadians in the Dominican Republic

(Response to question raised by the Honourable David M. Wells on June 9, 2022)

Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

The Government of Canada’s first priority is always the safety and security of its citizens. Canada has thoroughly engaged in providing consular support and assistance to the individuals involved since their initial detention and will continue to do so. Global Affairs Canada officials continue to monitor the situation closely.

As the legal processes develop, Global Affairs Canada will continue to raise the case at every appropriate opportunity. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs have also directly engaged on this file.

Due to privacy considerations, no further information can be disclosed.

Transport

Airport Delays

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Salma Ataullahjan on June 15, 2022)

Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA)

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) is funded to deliver a wait time service level, where on average, 85% of passengers wait less than 15 minutes to be screened at Class 1 airports, on an annual basis. There will be times when passengers wait longer as has been the case since before the pandemic.

Screening officers, employed through third-party contractors, must meet the qualifications established by Transport Canada in the Canadian Aviation Security Regulations, 2012, including possessing a Transportation Security Clearance, any exceptions must be approved by Transport Canada.

In May 2021, CATSA began planning for an increase in passenger traffic for 2022/23. As a result of the recent increase in demand for travel, CATSA has taken actions to ramp up screening capacity including obtaining a temporary security exemption from Transport Canada that permits recruits to undergo training while their transportation security clearance is being processed. They may work as fully trained screening officers under certain conditions. Even with the exemption, a criminal record check and five‑year background check are conducted for screening officers participating in the facilitation and screening of passengers.

Pre-certified screening officers are deployed at checkpoints to conduct non-screening duties, allowing fully certified screening officers to focus their efforts on key functions.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Passport Services

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Claude Carignan on June 16, 2022)

The Government of Canada is taking steps to help streamline the in-person application process and better manage large crowds and lineups for passport services, in particular in large urban centres. Service Canada continues to work to resolve a range of issues in delivering passport service.

The end of the lease at 3 Place Laval resulted in the relocation of the site. A call for tenders was conducted, the site at 2214 Chomedey Highway, Unit 20 met the criteria stipulated in the call for tenders. The Passport office located at 3 Place Laval #500 served its last clients on Friday, May 27. The office reopened for business at 2214 Chomedey Highway, Unit 20 on Monday, May 30.

Signage advising of the change in location was posted on the doors and windows at 3 Place Laval, two weeks prior to the change and the details regarding the change in location were posted on the Government of Canada Website on May 30. Furthermore, the announcement of the move was published in the local electronic media “Laval News” in the week of May 23 and June 1st.

Treasury Board Secretariat

Access to Information

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Michael L. MacDonald on June 20, 2022)

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS):

The Government of Canada is committed to meeting its requirements under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

The Access to Information Program needs to reflect today’s digital world and Canadians’ expectations for accessible, timely, and trustworthy information. TBS has provided guidance to institutions urging them to make best efforts to process requests and proactively publish information, in accordance with operational realities.

The Government aims to provide the best services to Canadians, while having the best value for taxpayers. The use of professional services is important in ensuring the delivery of Government operations. All federal government contracts are subject to the laws, regulations, policies, directives and procedures that guide and govern contracting, including requirements that contracts are issued in a fair, open and transparent manner.

In Budget 2021, the Government allocated $12.8 million to support further improvements to the online Access to Information and Personal Information Request Service, to accelerate the proactive release of information, and to support completion of the Access to Information Act Review.

The Government remains committed to always maintaining openness and transparency, particularly during this challenging period. Through the proactive disclosure of contracts, the Government demonstrates accountability.

Phoenix Pay System

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Marty Deacon on June 21, 2022)

Shared Services Canada (SSC):

Next Generation HR and Pay Initiative is underway to develop recommendations for a flexible, modern, and integrated HR and Pay solution. This work involves exploring how to transform and modernize the HR and Pay landscape with a focus on simplifying and standardizing processes.

The initiative is currently in the Design & Experimentation stage and is testing a proposed solution against the complexities of the Government of Canada’s human resources and pay requirements. This will help provide a clear understanding of how the solution can provide accurate and timely pay as well as identify what needs to change to successfully adopt such a new solution.

All testing is happening outside of the existing HR and pay systems. This means that employees continue to be paid through the current pay system while testing is taking place.

The Design & Experimentation phase will conclude in the spring of 2023 allowing for the development of recommendations later in 2023.

Health

Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Judith G. Seidman on June 21, 2022)

Public Health Agency of Canada

Since June 2021, the Government of Canada and the provinces and territories (PTs) have been co-developing a Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy (PCHDS) to improve Canada’s collection, access, sharing and use of health data. This has been informed by the advice in three reports produced by the PCHDS Expert Advisory Group (EAG). In its final report published May 2022, the EAG provided ten recommendations to expedite the creation of a person‑centred, world-class health data system. All recommendations and insights provided by the EAG guide the PCHDS with an emphasis on improving interoperability standards and architecture, advancing data stewardship, and enhancing data literacy and public trust.

The Government of Canada and the PTs are working together to finalize the PCHDS, and to identify common areas for action and build consensus on how a PCHDS could be implemented to help improve health equity, respond to public health risks, and contribute to the sustainability of health systems across the country. This collaboration underscores our commitment to strengthening health data management for the benefit of all people in Canada.

Natural Resources

The 2 Billion Trees Program

(Responses to questions raised by the Honourable Yonah Martin on June 23, 2022)

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan):

NRCan is working closely with provinces and territories (PTs) to establish cost-shared partnerships vital to the 2 Billion Trees (2BT) program. In 2021, NRCan signed one‑year funding agreements with Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and the Northwest Territories. The program is currently negotiating multi-year agreements with PTs to undertake activities that maximize greenhouse gas benefits while enhancing biodiversity and forest resiliency.

NRCan’s program partners succeeded in planting approximately 29 million trees from over 150 different species at over 500 sites across Canada. Planting sites are located within every province across Canada, with the majority in Quebec and British Columbia. Tree planting within the territories is anticipated in coming years, particularly as territorial agreements are put in place.

Cost estimates for the program have not been revised. The budget includes $3.16 billion in new funding and $400 million of existing departmental resources allocated to the 2BT program, for a total of $3.2 billion. The program design involves cost-sharing with planting partners, generally 50% of project costs, which was not included in the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s estimate and explains the difference.


(1430)

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Online Streaming Bill

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Dawson, seconded by the Honourable Senator Bovey, for the second reading of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

Hon. Donna Dasko: Honourable senators, I am pleased to stand today to speak at second reading to Bill C-11, which is called “An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts,” otherwise called the “Online Streaming Act.”

This bill has been in the works for some time. Introduced in the Forty-third Parliament as Bill C-10, it’s now back as Bill C-11, with significant changes. Our Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications began pre-study work in June, and we returned to this work last week.

One of government’s most important roles is to respond appropriately to technological change. For much of our history, when it came to television and radio broadcasting, entry into the system was guided by something called “spectrum scarcity,” where consumer choices were limited by the technology of the day. The regulator would set conditions, including Canadian content requirements, in return for a broadcasting licence and the ability for a broadcaster to reap advertising revenues. That was and still is the business model of traditional broadcasting.

Does anybody remember the phrase, “a licence to print money”? That phrase was made famous not by the owner of a sports franchise but by the owner of a television broadcasting licence. That person was a Canadian — Roy Thomson, Baron Thomson of Fleet — who famously and notoriously described his new licence to run a television network in Scotland as his licence to print money. That was in 1956. But those profitable enterprises have seen their revenues decline with the rise of the internet, as advertisers flee to the internet platforms, and consumers flee to the vast array of choices available on streaming services and social media.

In its recent report documenting broadcast revenues and viewership in 2021, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, or CRTC, said that revenues from commercial radio have declined by 31% from 2016 to 2021, and those from conventional television have declined by 15% over the same period.

While television shows a one-year increase from 2020, the long-term trend is downward. Since Canadian content expenditures are tied to broadcast revenues from the Canadian broadcasters, so Canadian production as well has declined from this source.

The government has positioned Bill C-11 as a response to this changing technological and market landscape. And just as governments regulated the cable and satellite technologies in the past — and, remember, in those days, that represented an increase in consumer choice — so now government intends to regulate the new internet services.

The main goal of Bill C-11 is simple: to bring online streaming services, like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Spotify, which are now unregulated, under the Broadcasting Act and under CRTC regulation to create a so-called level playing field. These streaming services will be required to contribute to the production of Canadian content and to showcase and exhibit Canadian content. A whole new word, “discoverability,” has been invented to describe this showcasing aspect.

Bill C-11 will require contributions for official language and Indigenous programming, and there is mention of serving the needs and interests of diverse ethnocultural and racialized communities and those from other diverse backgrounds. Indeed, Canadian culture, Canadian expressions and diversity themes are very prominent in the government’s messaging around this bill.

Above all, the CRTC is charged with determining all these requirements and how they will be carried out in a way that is flexible yet predictable, fair, information-based, equitable and informed by consultation. It will be given the tools to collect information from broadcasters, to audit them and to administer penalties.

Now, some critics of the bill argue that the internet itself cannot be regulated, but the internet is already regulated all over the place. In fact, some people claim it’s always been regulated. The real question we have here is whether this is the best way or even a good way to achieve desired goals and not diminish or discourage the great offerings of the new technologies.

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Over the past several months, I have observed widespread criticism of Bill C-11 focused on three major themes. The first theme involves the threat to Canadian freedoms from Bill C-11. In hundreds and hundreds of letters I have received — and I’m sure other honourable senators have also received — since the beginning this year, Bill C-11 is seen to be the end of freedom in Canada. Here is one example of a letter:

Dear senator, I am terrified that our wonderful democratic nation is at the brink of banning free speech. I implore you to vote against Bill C-11. It must be defeated if we hope to keep our country democratic.

This was a letter to me from a woman in British Columbia just a few weeks ago.

So many letters and calls have the same message, yet the vast majority of these folks do not articulate how this bill is actually supposed to end democracy. I, for one, do not think the end of Canadian democracy is at hand, at least not from Bill C-11.

A second theme that has gained widespread attention and criticism is focused more specifically on the potential intrusion into viewer or listener choices by direction that will be given to firms to alter their algorithms for the purpose of making Canadian content more visible on platforms.

I would like to make two points here. Bill C-11 states that the CRTC cannot make orders that would require the use of specific algorithms. However, we do need more clarity on this, especially in light of the contradictory comments made to our committee by the CRTC last June. In fact, the CRTC chair, when he came to our committee, very much muddied the waters on this issue of algorithms, unfortunately, for many people. He had many very valuable things to say, but he most certainly muddied the waters on this issue of algorithms.

My second point is that we also need to focus on alternative methods to achieve visibility of Canadian content — that is, methods that are alternatives to algorithms. There has been a lot of time spent on this topic of algorithms; in fact, I think maybe too much time has been spent. Nevertheless, I’m hopeful that our committee can shed some light on this complex issue.

A third theme that is still getting the lion’s share of attention and criticism is the regulation of user content. Now, the minister has repeatedly said that platforms are subject to regulation and that individuals or users themselves are excluded. Bill C-11 does state this. But the bill also includes the so-called exceptions to the exclusions, which allow the regulation of user content in certain situations. Therefore, colleagues, we are back to the same conundrum as when we started, and this vexing and important issue remains on the table.

Other questions have received less attention but are still important. Should the CRTC have so much more power? Can the CRTC successfully carry out all the new responsibilities and tasks assigned to it? Should the CRTC have more direction from Parliament than Bill C-11 now provides? What will be the bill’s impact? What will happen to Canadian content in production into the future? Will the existing broadcasters really be helped by any of this? After all, that is supposed to be one of the main goals. Will creators from diverse backgrounds benefit from this bill? Will new technologies and innovation actually thrive into the future?

There is much for our Senate committee to examine. However, I want to speak very briefly about the process that has accompanied deliberations on Bill C-11 to date.

Let’s look back over a year ago to June 2021 and Bill C-10. That process was a mess. That bill spent four months in committee at the other place, which met 30 times — 12 times with witnesses and 18 times for clause-by-clause consideration, followed by filibustering and a rare imposition of time allocation at committee. So that was a disaster.

With Bill C-11 this year, I consider that the process was actually rather similar, only this time it happened within four weeks instead of four months at the House committee. Meetings with over 50 witnesses were followed by filibustering, closure motions and over 50 amendments passed in one evening on June 15 of this year. Does this sound to you like a thoughtful process? Does this give you confidence in the bill before us?

Clearly, sober second thought is greatly needed. Now, there are many good elements to this bill. In a Nanos Research national poll conducted for The Globe and Mail in May, two thirds of the public said they support the idea that streaming services should financially contribute to creating Canadian content just as Canadian broadcasters do. So we do see that high-level support for the idea of Bill C-11.

Also, Bill C-11 enjoys the support of stakeholders across the arts and culture and broadcasting communities, including many people in the Toronto community where I live. I have to say that a couple of weeks ago, one of the stakeholders told me that he really doesn’t like to mention Toronto very much. But I have no hesitation in talking about my city. My city is a vast, creative community of tremendously successful and creative people, and there are many, many people in my community who support Bill C-11 — organizations like the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, the Canadian Independent Music Association, the Directors Guild of Canada, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, the Canadian Ethnocultural Media Coalition and many of Canada’s major television broadcasters.

But there are many outstanding issues, which I mentioned earlier, and the process in the other place, in my view, was fraught. Colleagues, I look forward to the next several weeks of Senate study and debate, for Bill C-11 will receive the sober second thought it so clearly needs. Thank you.

[Translation]

Hon. Julie Miville-Dechêne: I rise at second reading of Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, which the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications is currently studying. Some 30 witnesses have already been heard.

In the time that I have been a senator, I have never seen a bill elicit such passionate reactions and divergent views.

On the one hand, many representatives of the cultural sector are urging us to pass the bill as written or to strengthen it. On the other, as my colleague Donna Dasko stated, our inboxes are full of form letters from citizens who fear for their freedom of expression and their freedom to listen to and watch whatever they want on the internet.

As for me, I do not believe that Canadians’ rights and freedoms are threatened by this bill. However, I do recognize that in a polarized social and political context, where some people do not hesitate to demonize their opponents and twist their words to whip up their supporters, some words have become radioactive. The word “algorithm” is one of them.

There are also concerns about some grey areas in the bill and the regulations that are to follow.

The more I hear the objections of stakeholders regarding Bill C-11, the more I realize that there are several interrelated debates. It is not just about being for or against the bill, as is the case with simpler legislation.

Bill C-11 is basically an adjustment exercise. It adjusts Canada’s broadcasting policy to bring it in line with the new technological environment.

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In the past, music and audiovisual programs were broadcast via radio and traditional television networks that held licences and were subject to many rules, including the well-known quotas. The government was thus able to ensure that our country’s artists and cultural diversity were supported and showcased.

As we know, today, a significant portion of Canadians access music and programs via online platforms, often foreign platforms, that are not subject to any regulations. For the first time last year in Quebec, subscriptions to online platforms exceeded traditional cable subscriptions, with 71% of adult Quebecers having paid subscriptions to online streaming sites. That is a lot. We are seeing the same trend with music, where people are increasingly turning toward streaming platforms on which only 8% of the music listened to by Quebecers is French music.

The result is that our artists are losing visibility and the government no longer has the means of showcasing Canadian culture and content, including that of French and Indigenous people and other minority groups. In the wild west of digital platforms, the biggest players make the rules and, as we know, the biggest players are American companies.

There are two possible ways to deal with this new reality. The first is to do nothing and pretend that, in the internet era, the government has no role to play. The government could stop regulating altogether. The regulatory framework would have to be phased out gradually as the public moves to digital platforms. In the end, within a few years, all programs and music consumed by Canadians would be determined solely by market forces. The problem with this approach is that it means giving up on defending the values of Canada’s cultural identity, to the benefit of the web giants.

Officials from YouTube and TikTok appeared before the committee to reaffirm that the business model that has made them successful is working just fine. Their message was simple. What they call their secret recipe works, as evidenced by the success of Canadian YouTubers and singers.

Beyond these generalities, however, there is little information. What percentage of audiences do these Canadian artists get? How is this distributed between artists, content types and across the country? YouTube doesn’t have any precise statistics to share. In fact, YouTube officials don’t really care where the creators are from, because according to them, we live in a global world, so we should take their word for it and hope for the best.

However, the survival of our francophone culture cannot depend on only one or two successful artists like Charlotte Cardin and Coeur de pirate, whose names we hear over and over. People need to be able to discover and listen to others.

The second option proposed in Bill C-11 is a compromise. It involves bringing new platforms into the Canadian regulatory framework, but not in the same way as traditional broadcasters. The platforms will have to help fund production of Canadian content and will have to showcase Canadian content while continuing to offer a rich and diverse menu of program options. The CRTC will have the complex task of tailoring the rules to each foreign player. At least, that is the promise. I’ll be frank; it will be a mammoth undertaking, and I fear the CRTC will be overwhelmed.

I personally support the broad strokes of Bill C-11. Canadians will retain the best of digital platforms, that is, the freedom to listen to and watch what they want, based on their preferences, while giving our artists a chance to carve out a place for themselves and find their audience in this new broadcasting ecosystem.

However, as is often the case, the devil is in the details. Here are some of the main issues. The bill delegates a lot of power to the CRTC to make the rules for online platforms and implement Canada’s broadcasting and cultural policy. Many of us think it would have been better for the government to give the CRTC its instructions right now. This kind of feels like handing over a blank cheque.

One of the central issues the CRTC will have to consider is Canadian content. How should we define it now? Are some criteria more important than others? Should the focus be on subject matter, artists or intellectual property in productions? It will be up to the CRTC to review this crucial definition.

Much ink has been spilled about discoverability; it has taken up a lot of bandwidth. The term “discoverability” appears only twice in the legislation, which does not provide further details.

How will discoverability work for Canadian content on digital platforms? Is promoting that content without influencing algorithms and viewers’ or listeners’ choices enough? How will new content requirements differ from the old quota system? A lot of questions remain.

For example, at our brief hearings in June, I asked the chair of the CRTC how he would ensure the discoverability of Canadian content without involving the algorithms. He answered that the platforms themselves would have to change their algorithms to achieve the desired result of having Canadian users consume more Canadian music and shows.

As you can imagine, this answer shocked those who were closely following the hearings. For them, it was proof that algorithms must be changed even if the bill states that the CRTC does not have that authority. Under Bill C-11, the CRTC, and I quote, “shall not make an order . . . that would require the use of a specific computer algorithm.”

I believe that the debate on this specific point is so polarized that it is difficult to come to a conclusion. For example, YouTube and TikTok state that, without changing their algorithms, they go to great lengths to promote Canadian creators, whether through subsidies, programs or revenue sharing. They boast about their efforts and the success of certain Canadian artists.

Why are they worried about Bill C-11 when they will be able to choose how to get results in terms of the Canadian music that is listened to? Is it because only algorithms really have the power to influence the habits of the users of these platforms?

The logic of algorithms is simple. The only content suggested to the customer is similar to what they have watched before in order to keep them watching. How then can we hope for minority cultural content, whether it be French or Indigenous, to be automatically recommended to customers in a predominantly anglophone North America? How can we trust the mathematical algorithms to point to the exception rather than the rule?

Another distinction needs to be made. For artists from English Canada, the playing field is global, whereas for French-speaking Quebec artists, the main market is Quebec. These artists create in a beautiful language, but it is a minority language.

By making the algorithms off limits, as the platforms want, are we giving in on the main issue and allowing Canadian culture and artists to be steamrolled by American giants? However, if we tinker with the algorithms, we risk harming the lesser-known artists that we want to support, since they could be downgraded by the existing system if customers do not accept the recommendation in question. It is quite the dilemma.

Personally, I am of the opinion that the foreign players in our market should be responsible for finding innovative solutions so that we can see ourselves in this flood of global content. I understand that they feel rushed and that they do not want to lose users, but let’s remember that Canadian broadcasters are subject to much heavier and rigid regulations regarding Canadian content.

We also have to be mindful not to rely on what other countries are doing. This specific aspect of the bill, in other words the idea of requiring platforms such as Spotify, YouTube and others to showcase Canadian works, is a world first; it has never been done anywhere else. Many have thought about it, but Canada is the first to try. This is uncharted territory.

Another issue that raises debate has to do with social media, YouTube in particular, which offers both content for users to download and commercial content. I believe it is possible to further clarify in the text of this legislation what commercial content is in order to reassure content creators.

Obviously, although the purpose of Bill C-11 is to develop Canadian culture and artistic expression, it has several economic dimensions.

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At the heart of these debates are Canadian organizations such as producers, broadcasters and unions. There is a mix of corporate, protectionist and other interests behind the requests to amend the bill.

For example, independent producers want to keep the advantage they’ve had for the past 30 years under the Broadcasting Act. They want to be given priority. On the other hand, broadcasters want their own production companies to be treated as independent businesses.

It’s not necessarily a matter of promoting more or less Canadian content; it’s a matter of promoting certain players and changing the power dynamic. This bickering among the players in Canada ultimately undermines efforts to come together.

Beyond these more specific issues, Bill C-11 also brings out different political, cultural and economic views and sometimes pits them against one another.

As I look at my colleague, Senator Housakos, I can see that division here.

In this new global cultural market in which Canadian creators have access to the entire world but are also competing with the entire world, should we be trying to protect our creators from this competition or finding ways to help them stand out? Is it possible to give our creators, artists and tradespeople a chance without needlessly restricting the Canadian public’s options and preferences?

Clearly, I don’t have all the answers. While I agree that Canada must protect its cultural sovereignty, including francophone culture, my duty is to assess whether this bill can be improved and, if so, how.

My personal belief is still that culture is not just another commodity. It deserves substantial support from governments, particularly in cases of a minority culture, such as French in North America.

I’m extremely concerned about the underlying trends in Quebec, particularly in terms of the music people listen to. We can’t surrender all of our cultural sovereignty and national identity to algorithms and market forces. It would be akin to cultural suicide in the medium term, the result of a voluntary blindness to the reality of the power imbalance that is at play. In that regard, I believe that Bill C-11 has a legitimate political objective.

That said, we need to find compromises and modern solutions that also respond to the desire of Canadians and Quebecers to participate in and consume cultural products from around the world, without unduly limiting their choices. Defending and promoting our distinct identity is more valid and timely than ever, but we can’t expect a return to the past, to a time when the availability of cultural content was strictly controlled.

Our challenge is to strike the right balance.

Thank you.

[English]

Hon. Paula Simons: Honourable senators, I also rise today to speak to Bill C-11, and I hope you’ll indulge me if I begin with a historical anecdote.

In 1881, the French engineer Clément Ader showed off his latest invention, the théâtrophone. Ader set up 80 telephone transmitters across the front of the stage of the Paris Opera, which allowed people to hear operatic performances at the International Exposition of Electricity some two kilometres away from the theatre. Ader, you might say, was the first person to livestream a show, the original over-the-top streamer. For context, this was 15 years before Marconi patented radio and almost a quarter of a century before radio waves were evolved enough to broadcast music.

By 1890, La compagnie du Théâtrophone was running a full‑fledged subscription service in Paris so that subscribers could listen to the latest concerts, plays and opera via their home telephones. And if you didn’t have a phone of your own, pas de problème; the company set up cheap coin-operated telephone receivers in all the coolest Paris hotels, cafes and clubs so that you could listen to the hottest new shows at your leisure, without the expense or bother of going to see them in person.

The novelist Marcel Proust was an enthusiastic subscriber. In 1911, he wrote to friends about the pleasures of listening to Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande from the comfort of his own home. However, eventually, the théâtrophone was outcompeted by radio — supplanted. And just as “video killed the radio star,” radio killed the théâtrophone.

[Translation]

Why this remembrance of things past?

[English]

Because I think this tells us a lot about why over-the-top streaming services are so popular today. It is human nature to want to access entertainment as cheaply and conveniently as possible, even if it means that artists and performers themselves do not get much by way of compensation. It is human nature to try to use the latest technologies and platforms to access entertainment, because we are all suckers for novelty and for the feeling that we are on the cutting edge. And it is human nature to get tired of an old technology when a new technology comes along, and then pine, somewhat romantically, for the joys of the technology we just lost.

While we cannot sustain or subsidize an older technology if no one wants to use it anymore, we often still miss the things that made it special and of its time.

And thus we come, as promised, to Bill C-11, a bill that attempts to bring international streaming services, such as Spotify, Netflix, Apple TV+ and Disney+, into the ambit of the Canadian broadcast regulatory system.

Let us start by trying to sort the signal from the noise. As my friend Senator Dasko has already assured you, Bill C-11 will not censor or regulate your free speech. It will not allow the government to take down your critical tweets. It will not allow the CRTC to micromanage your Facebook feed or curate your Tumblr. It is not a Communist plot or a conspiracy dreamt up by the World Economic Forum. It is not the work of the Illuminati.

I know that far too many Canadians believe all those things and worse, because for months now, my email inbox, Twitter mentions and Facebook page have been filled with thousands of angry and terrified messages from Canadians who have been led to believe that Bill C-11 is a full-frontal assault on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the fabric of Canadian democracy.

That is just not true.

I myself do not support Bill C-11 in its current form, but I am interested in analyzing its actual flaws — and there are plenty — and not in indulging in the rhetoric of political hysteria that has been whipped up around this piece of legislation and used as a bogeyman to frighten and divide Canadians. Such malicious mischief not only creates a culture of fear and paranoia, and undermines faith in Parliament, but also makes it next to impossible to talk about the actual weaknesses of the actual bill.

By the same token, Bill C-11 will not magically create a billion-dollar production fund, some instant bonanza for Canadian musicians and filmmakers. It will not offer salvation for private radio, local TV news or the beleaguered francophone music industry. Overly optimistic promises by the government have led many to believe that Bill C-11 is some kind of enchanted cornucopia — an infinite horn of plenty — that will lead to hundreds of millions of dollars of income for Canadian artists and creators.

Alas, this is just not true, especially not in the short term.

So what does the bill do? Bill C-11 attempts to bring big international streaming services, most of them American, under the remit of the CRTC. It would require Apple, Disney, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, Google and others to contribute monetarily and substantively to Canadian film, television and music production, and it would require them to make Canadian content more discoverable. The logic is straightforward and blunt: These companies — huge cultural behemoths — make millions of dollars in a small Canadian market. The government wants some of that money, and it wants that money to underwrite Canadian cultural industries. So, the government is simply going to strong-arm the big corporations to cough up the cash.

Now, you may not have too many tears to shed for Apple, Google, Amazon and Disney, some of the largest and most profitable companies on the planet. They can well afford to ante up, and they have the capacity in their enormous catalogues to showcase more Canadian productions. But despite Senator Dawson’s assurances yesterday, I worry that these rules may inhibit small specialty streaming services from entering the Canadian market, especially non-English-language streamers and niche arts channels. I’m not worried that ordinary Canadians’ free speech rights will be impinged, but I am sincerely worried we may be denied the opportunity to watch unique international programming because we’ve made entry into the Canadian market prohibitively expensive or complicated.

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What is my second major concern with Bill C-11? As my friends have outlined, it’s that tricky issue of discoverability. What does the word mean? It’s never defined in the bill. It would be one thing if we were simply asking Netflix and Spotify and the like to create a search bar for Canadian content or to curate CanCon for our various tastes. Such static discoverability would not be a big concern. Although, honestly, who goes down to the rumpus room to watch Netflix for an hour and say, “Gosh, I feel like watching some Canadian content”? That is not how ordinary people consume television. They say, “Hmm, I’m in the mood for a romantic comedy or a nature documentary or a superhero action flick.”

No, I’m far more concerned that when the government says it wants more discoverability of Canadian content, it really means that it wants services such as YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Apple to tweak their algorithms to privilege Canadian programs and posts. That’s where things get dicey. Those mysterious proprietary algorithms rule and organize so much of what we see online. Once the government starts trying to monkey with them, the consequences could be unexpected.

If YouTube serves up CanCon you aren’t particularly interested in and you don’t click it, you could actually be sending a message. You could be prejudicing a Canadian artist’s chances of being seen by telling the algorithm that this isn’t content that people want. This kind of online protectionism could backfire internationally and keep CanCon trapped in a kind of regional tidal pool and cultural backwater, and deny Canada’s brilliant digital-first producers a chance to compete for international attention and revenue.

I know the government has insisted this bill isn’t about algorithms, but just last June at a hearing of the Standing Senate Committee of Transport and Communications as we were conducting our pre-study, we heard something quite different from Ian Scott, the head of the CRTC.

Let me clarify some of the mud. In answer to a question posed by my friend Senator Miville-Dechêne, Mr. Scott said the CRTC would ask streamers to change their algorithms to meet Canadian content expectations. Here’s precisely how he put it:

We want Canadians to find Canadian music. How best to do it? How will you do it? I don’t want to manipulate your algorithm. I want you manipulate it to produce a particular outcome.

Fine, so the government won’t directly manipulate algorithms, but if the CRTC directs or compels companies such as YouTube to manipulate their algorithms to achieve the government’s desired outcome, it starts to become a distinction without a difference, doesn’t it?

Next comes the issue of user-generated content. Bill C-11 starts off in section 2 with admirably clear language, making it plain that the stuff we all post on our social media is not captured by the bill. Our Twitter posts, our Instagram reels, our Twitch streams are not included. That’s fine until you get deeper into the bill to clause 4.2(2), where we get an exemption to an exemption: one that appears to scope in larger producers and posters who are monetizing their content.

The government and the CRTC insists that language is only meant to capture the really big producers, such as major record labels who post their utterly professional music videos to YouTube. Unfortunately, that’s not what the bill actually says. It talks instead about people who are monetizing their content directly, or even indirectly, and that lack of clarity has led to justifiable confusion and concern that successful independent Canadian digital producers who use YouTube or Twitch or TikTok to reach global audiences could indeed be scoped in, captured and treated like Sony and Disney.

Canadian Heritage estimates that some 50% of YouTube content may well be produced by major commercial players who are more akin to Netflix or Spotify. We need to have clearer language and thresholds to ensure that people who are small independent artists won’t lose the unique flexibility of YouTube, TikTok or Instagram to distribute their content to Canadian and global markets.

In short, I have problems with the cultural paternalism of the bill with the government’s somewhat antiquarian belief that we should be induced to consume CanCon because it is good for us, and not simply be allowed to embrace CanCon because it’s good. I have problems with the technical aspects of the bill which may actually be counterproductive and undermine new and emerging Canadian artists in their ability to reach international markets. And I have even more problems with the conspiracy delusions and wild hysteria whipped up around this bill that are keeping us from having a meaningful public policy debate about how we best encourage and enhance Canada’s cultural industries without hamstringing their unique potential.

I’m happy to say that our Transport and Communications Committee has already begun a thoughtful pre-study of this bill. I hope we will soon be able to turn that into a formal study so that we can bring back to this chamber for its consideration an amended bill that truly supports Canadian culture and respects the nature of technological change and human nature.

Thank you, hiy hiy.

(On motion of Senator Downe, debate adjourned.)

The Senate

Joint Committees Authorized to Hold Hybrid Meetings

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of September 21, 2022, moved:

That, notwithstanding any provision of the Rules, previous order, or usual practice, until end of the day on December 22, 2022, any joint committee be authorized to hold hybrid meetings, with the provisions of the order of February 10, 2022, concerning such meetings, having effect; and

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

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Adjournment

Motion Adopted

Hon. Raymonde Gagné (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of September 21, 2022, moved:

That, when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, it is now 3:20. If you agree, we will receive the minister and move to Question Period.

Honourable senators, we will suspend for a few minutes until the minister arrives.

(The sitting of the Senate was suspended.)

[Translation]

(The sitting of the Senate was resumed.)


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QUESTION PERIOD

(Pursuant to the order adopted by the Senate on December 7, 2021, to receive a Minister of the Crown, the Honourable Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, appeared before honourable senators during Question Period.)

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, we welcome today the Honourable Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, to ask questions relating to his ministerial responsibilities.

Pursuant to the order adopted by the Senate on December 7, 2021, senators do not need to stand. Questions are limited to one minute and responses to one-and-a-half minutes. The reading clerk will stand 10 seconds before the expiry of these times. Question Period will last one hour.

[English]

Ministry of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

Parole Board of Canada

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Welcome, minister. Minister, 10 people were brutally murdered and another 18 injured in a series of stabbings in the vicinity of the James Smith Cree Nation. The individual in question had a long criminal history. In fact, he had 59 criminal convictions. Despite this record, he was serving a sentence of only 53 months for an additional series of violent offences, and he was at large despite having violated the conditions of his statutory release.

We were told that the Parole Board of Canada is conducting a review of this horrific case, but the problem in our Canadian justice system is a systemic one which exposes the deep flaws in our revolving-door justice system. What we need now is transparency so Canadians know that your government is actually doing something.

Minister, in that regard, how specifically is your department engaged in this review, which not only involves an Indigenous offender but also had a horrific impact on a vulnerable community that was effectively left unprotected?

(1530)

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Thank you, senator, for the question. First, I think it is important to acknowledge the pain and hurt the community is going through. This is the largest mass casualty event in an Indigenous community since the North-West Resistance. You highlighted as well that no Indigenous community is immune to this — no community in Canada. This does not begin and end with one or two individuals. There are systemic natures to the violence and the response needs to be a systemic one that cannot be limited to policing our way out of the problem or locking people in jail and throwing away the key.

That is not notwithstanding my own views on how the Parole Board acted, but again, it is not necessarily my place to be judge, jury and executioner in a role that the Parole Board properly plays in determining whether people’s lives should be in an incarcerated scenario or free to go or free under certain conditions. Certainly, there was a failure here. Certainly, it is a systemic one. Certainly, it is one that involves policing and the criminal justice system, but it is much more than that. It is one where there is violence that is far too frequent in Indigenous communities because of systemic reasons, socio-economic barriers and ones that are the legacy of colonization.

In that respect, my department is intimately involved in the response.

Senator Plett: Minister, your answer to the question about how your department is engaged in the Parole Board’s review of the murders was not specific. I also tried to get an answer on this issue yesterday from Senator Gold, the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

The terrible crimes in Saskatchewan clearly demonstrate that the way we are approaching criminal justice matters in our Indigenous communities is failing to protect them. Indigenous leaders in Saskatchewan have said that their communities are not equipped to develop programs that might help better address criminality in their communities.

Minister, Canadians need to understand how you are working with the communities in the face of this. How are you working with the Parole Board in its review of this specific case to better balance Gladue factors and risks?

Mr. Miller: As regards specifically my department, it should not have a direct role in the Parole Board review. This is something that the Minister of Public Safety has spoken to. I can direct you to the answers he has provided publicly. It perhaps isn’t the place necessarily on this floor to go into a detail of that nature where the Parole Board and the review has to be done in a way that is devoid of a political lens of this nature. However, it is certainly one we are deeply concerned with because it appears there were failures at a level.

At the same time, again, you highlighted the systemic nature of it. There are socio-economic underpinnings to the reality that Indigenous communities face that make them vulnerable and susceptible to this type of crime. It is not an Indigenous issue; it is a societal issue that has its deep roots in colonization, in dispossession and ones that are not fixed with simple solutions.

That said, there is a crying need to reform, as we have said as a government, First Nations policing to make it an essential service in communities and to reform the way policing itself is done. That is a much greater conversation where I welcome your advocacy.

Canada’s Inflation Rate

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Minister, Canadians from coast to coast to coast are being crushed under the mounting pressure of grocery costs with food prices outpacing the general inflation rate for several months in a row.

On Tuesday, Statistics Canada reported that grocery prices have risen 10.8% since last year, the fastest pace we have seen in over 40 years. As Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, you are undoubtedly aware this pressure is felt all the more pointedly by Indigenous communities living in remote regions of the country. According to the non-profit Canadian Feed the Children, the 9% surge in food prices most of the country is grappling with will actually feel like 20% for remote Indigenous communities. This is unacceptable.

Yesterday, you issued a statement in which you summarized the work you did for Canadians and Indigenous communities over the summer. However, there was not a single mention of food security and grocery prices, even though food inflation is currently —

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Thank you. Mr. Minister?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Senator, I’m glad you read about what I was up to this summer. At the beginning of summer, in Inuvik, I did have a chance to visit the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation’s food security initiative that they implemented during the pandemic thanks to funds provided by Indigenous Services Canada. Particularly during a pandemic, where supply chains were severely compromised in remote locations — not limited to the remote locations in the North, but across Canada — we had a number of innovative measures, not only Nutrition North Canada, which has experienced challenges and to which we have increased funding, but unique challenges in ensuring that people could get proper food on the land, and fresh food, in a situation where we were shutting down communities altogether to keep people safe and alive. Those solutions worked. I was able to visit some of the amazing initiatives with wild food that is provided to a number of the communities that are in Inuvialuit. I would encourage you to take a look at those initiatives because they are game changers.

In the context of inflation, that is something Minister Freeland focused directly on, namely, those who are most vulnerable. I would point you to the recent announcements that we hope will get the support of all parties in the house to support the most vulnerable and those who are the most subject and sensitive to inflation pressures including getting food on the table.

Rights-Based Fisheries

Hon. Mary Coyle: Welcome to the Senate, Minister Miller. I’m a senator from Mi’kma’ki and a member of the Aboriginal Peoples Committee. My question for you is related to the full implementation of Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik and Passamaquoddy rights-based fisheries. Our Senate Fisheries and Oceans Committee report on this matter, Peace on the Water, outlined 10 recommendations. The committee recommended that the responsibility for negotiating the full implementation of rights‑based fisheries be immediately transferred from Fisheries and Oceans Canada to Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, with your department becoming the lead negotiating department and DFO assuming an advisory role.

Minister, can you tell us what is the status of the government’s response to this critical recommendation and has there been any action taken?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Thank you, senator. I’ll give you a partial answer. I don’t know what the status of the response to your report is. However, I’m happy to look into it.

I don’t know if I agree with the recommendation to transfer it to Crown-Indigenous Relations — not that I don’t think our team could do a good job at it, though. My reflection is one that is vested in thoughts about your rights and your people’s rights, which is one that had to be crystallized by going to the Supreme Court. You can ask yourself why, if it is a right, do you always have to go to the Supreme Court to enforce it? That’s immensely frustrating for most of your people who have a right to exercise a moderate livelihood as entrenched in both Marshall decisions.

My reflections on the efficiency and efficacy of the initiatives of the Government of Canada to respect those rights are ones where we need people to do their jobs and to look at things not necessarily in a commercial way or in a way that is based simply on a sole set of factors or based on the Fisheries Act, but ones based in the language of rights and respect of treaties. Whether we can do it or DFO can do it is less important to me than actually doing it right and working with that department in particular to make sure that those rights are respected. We’re not there yet and that is frustrating for most of the communities trying to exercise a moderate livelihood. That’s not to say that work hasn’t been done in the past 20 years that has been able to affirm a number of those rights, but we’re not there yet. I get how that’s frustrating. I welcome the report and I hope to contribute to the response as it comes up.

Overrepresentation of Indigenous People in Prisons

Hon. Bernadette Clement: Welcome, minister.

According to Public Safety Canada’s 2020 annual report, in 2019-20 Indigenous offenders represented 26.1% of the total federal offender population, while Indigenous people make up only about 5% of the total population in Canada. In the federal prison population, Indigenous people account for 32% of incarcerated people.

Since Bill C-5 in its current form will not completely eliminate mandatory minimum penalties, which significantly contribute to the overincarceration of Indigenous and Black people, how is your government instead helping to resource Indigenous communities based on the priorities they have identified? What is your plan for meaningful consultation with the people who are impacted by your government’s policies?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Thank you, senator. Again, these issues are rooted in systemic problems with the criminal justice system, especially as it regards incarceration and its undue and disproportionate impact on racialized and Indigenous peoples across the country. Those numbers have spiked in recent years. They have gone up particularly in respect of the incarceration of women.

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When I talk about the systemic nature of it, it has impacts in areas that don’t naturally jump to our minds when we’re only casual observers of it, but every woman in jail means a kid growing up without their mother, or every man in jail means a kid growing up without their father. It fuels the child welfare system, which itself is broken due to the underfunding of the Government of Canada, and it’s focused too much on intervention rather than prevention.

These are things our government has been working on in a systemic way for years. Yet the results are trailing. We see positive aspects of it, like reducing or getting rid of some of the mandatory minimum penalties, which are disproportionately impacting Indigenous and racialized populations. That doesn’t mean that serious crimes do not get prosecuted, and people don’t have to pay their time in a way that is commensurate and corresponding to the crime they have committed — that’s important — but the reality is that we have a broken criminal justice system when it comes to incarceration and its impact on Indigenous and racialized people across this country. There are many measures, including closing socio-economic gaps, that are key to driving results, which are trailing, unfortunately.

Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement

Hon. Brian Francis: Welcome, Minister Miller. On August 20, The Canadian Press reported that it had obtained a copy of a 2015 agreement that confirms that Canada not only paid their legal bill but agreed to “forever discharge” Catholic entities from their obligation to raise $25 million for survivors under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Could you tell us by whom, why and how this decision was made, and what steps, if any, your government is taking to correct it?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Thank you, senator. This is something that our team has been seized of ever since I was named the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. Indeed, it goes back to 2015 and a decision by the prior government to keep itself to the terms and not to continue the court case against the Catholic entities involved in the agreement related to residential schools.

There are elements of that agreement that talk about the disclosure of documents, the necessary cooperation that has to happen between Canada and the Catholic entities that people could look at in retrospect and say that this is something that is desirable. At the end of the day, you’re looking at a deal to indemnify one of the co-conspirators of the Indian residential school system, namely the Catholic Church and the Catholic entities that perpetrated unspeakable evils on Indigenous communities and broke their spirits, which is a key element of “removing the Indian from the child.” Canada had its role to play, but when you look at the deal among the parties from the distance that I have several years later, it looks like a bum deal, particularly with the billions of dollars that are necessary to put people back in position, to the extent financial resources can do so, for the unspeakable harms that people are still suffering for and transmitting from generation to generation.

This is equally an indictment of the Catholic Church as it is of the Government of Canada. This is work that we need those churches involved with, particularly to provide information to get to people so they can get an element of solace, some closure and perhaps some accountability. Pointing fingers is one thing, but a lot of them point inward. We have some work to put forward and to produce results.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Thank you, Mr. Minister.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Hon. Scott Tannas: Honourable senators, my question is about the action plan development phase of Bill C-15 implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into law in Canada. During the bill’s passage through Parliament, the action plan time frame was voluntarily reduced by the government on request from three years to two years. This raised some eyebrows and some concerns. Governments don’t usually get things done faster. We have certainly, in our experience, seen lots of evidence of that.

The action plan is vital to the success of this historic bill, and the bill carries a lot of hopes and dreams of many Canadians. Now with less than nine months left until the end of the two-year deadline, if the two-year development time frame proves to be inadequate to get this crucial job done properly, will you and your colleagues do the brave thing and take the extra time to get the job done right?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: I want to get this job done right. It involves a lot of work from a number of departments, particularly the lead department, which is the Minister of Justice, with the support of Crown-Indigenous Relations.

As an update, the consultation is ongoing. Funds have been dispersed to communities across the country that are feeding into what will be the action plan. Thankfully, we have the Government of British Columbia, which has had its own experiences, positive and negative, with their own action plan. We are inspired by what we have seen from and coming out of British Columbia. Again, it’s not perfect. It’s something that Minister Lametti is very conscious of in moving forward with, something that is very much unknown territory, and which the government can’t and really shouldn’t control. It requires that work with Indigenous communities, their feedback and putting together something — and I would suggest humbly that we need to take the risk that it will be imperfect, knowing that relationships and action plans need to be perfected over the years.

Time is of the essence, and — I don’t like this expression — perfect is the enemy of good. It doesn’t mean we can’t produce something that is good at the same time. Our eyes are on meeting deadlines. Often we don’t as a government, but it’s something we need to be focused on; otherwise, it won’t get done. But you know, a proper review and an action plan is something that will look at all our legislation and our all bylaws, and there are a lot of them.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Thank you, Mr. Minister.

[Translation]

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls—National Action Plan

Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: Welcome, minister. As you know, on June 3, we marked the third anniversary of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Despite your government’s pledge to end violence against Indigenous women and girls, groups like the Native Women’s Association of Canada have described your government’s actions on this front as “weak.”

In fact, the association’s CEO, Lynne Groulx, said your government’s national action plan was a recipe for inaction. Moreover, after the government consulted the association about that plan, Ms. Groulx called the process “fundamentally flawed” and politically motivated.

How many of the national inquiry’s 231 calls to action has the government responded to so far? What do you have to say to the front-line workers who say they desperately need less talk and more action from the government?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: I’m sure we all agree that this problem will unfortunately not be solved overnight. Remember how the government was criticized for developing the plan, with people suggesting that no money would be attached to an action plan. Quite the opposite is true. At least $2.2 billion has been allocated under this plan, and these funds have been distributed across the country among 25 government agencies and departments.

It is clear that, because of the systemic problems and the 231 calls for action in the final report of the national inquiry, we need to see some results, which are long overdue. This is not to say that nothing has been done. Consider, for example, the commitments that have been made to support safe housing for women in abusive situations and their children. Several federal government investments have already been announced. I have personally seen some of the housing that has been built. The investments in housing that have been made, particularly in the last two budgets, are part of the government’s goal to get these women and children out of these abusive situations.

Of course, any systemic response requires responses from all governments, not only the federal government, but also provincial and territorial governments and municipalities. That said, the federal government needs to show leadership, and we are doing just that. Since the pandemic, the number of women experiencing violence has also increased, as we have seen in Quebec in particular. It’s a challenge, but we have to meet that challenge.

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Indigenous Consultation

Hon. Leo Housakos: Minister, your government recently enacted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP, which incorporates a constitutional duty to consult Indigenous peoples while you consider measures that might adversely impact potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights. Yet earlier this week at our committee studying Bill C-11, we heard from the Aboriginal People’s Television Network, APTN, that they weren’t invited to appear before the House committee when it was studying the bill, despite their request to do so, despite your claim this bill will protect minority voices and culture and despite UNDRIP. Minister, why are you not upset at the government’s failure to live up to its own obligations to Indigenous peoples under UNDRIP?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Senator, I know you’ll appreciate that the government doesn’t dictate who appears at committees, and who doesn’t.

Senator Housakos: My question, minister, was not who appears before the committee. The upper chamber did its due diligence, and we made sure those minority voices were heard. My question is why didn’t your government —

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Housakos, you had your question. The minister answered. We’re moving to the new —

Senator Housakos: I still have my time, Speaker.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It’s one question, and you have 60 seconds to ask the question. We are now moving on to Senator Pate.

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Indigenous Self-Determination

Hon. Kim Pate: Welcome, minister. Minister, I’m picking up on questions from some of my colleagues. The tragedies that unfolded at the James Smith Cree Nation have led to a number of Indigenous leaders, including the chief and others, to call for resources to be put in place in the community. You mentioned some of that. In particular, there is a call for greater autonomy, sovereignty and self-determination. That’s obviously key to ensuring that communities have the supports they need to address long-standing and systemic issues that continue to unfold and help create some of the travesties.

They also raised the fact that many in their communities have experienced not just the marginalization and victimization, but also the criminalization and incarceration that other colleagues have spoken about.

In light of this information, what specific actions are you and your government looking at taking to address these issues to ensure that the needs and demands of the survivors are met?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Thank you, senator. I note that this community — three, in fact — is one that Canada is in the process of amalgamating. To your first point about greater autonomy, there is a step there that we are in the process of — confidentially, obviously — undertaking with the community, and to do that in a respectful way. But there are elements we have initiated in the short term: obviously surge supports for mental health, help for community members who need enhanced medical assistance over and above mental health supports, as well as a number of elements that Minister Hajdu herself personally confirmed to the community when she was there in person for one of the funerals.

Indeed, the community has asked for more support in policing and has asked for its own police force. Those are, again, things that need to be implemented over the more medium term, as well as resources to support self-determination.

These are situations of violence. They are far too frequent in Indigenous communities. They have their roots in a number of the elements that you identified. There are socio-economic disparities that have their roots in colonization, and the effects these have had over a series of years will require more investments in education and housing.

This is not a problem that started and began with one individual, as awful an individual as this person appeared to be. It needs a comprehensive response. Thank you for asking the question.

Indigenous Representation

Hon. Tony Loffreda: Minister Miller, welcome. In your mandate letter, the Prime Minister tasked you with upholding “. . . the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion” as you “. . . implement outreach and recruitment strategies for federally appointed leadership positions and boards.”

We all know we need more Indigenous representation in the highest echelons of our society. The business case for diversity is indisputable. Diverse boards with diverse perspectives achieve greater success.

What strategies are you taking to ensure fair Indigenous representation in these much-sought-after positions? Can you share with us some early results of your work on this file?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: I certainly won’t take credit for the latest Supreme Court appointment — I’m not such a hypocrite as to claim a victory for that. However, I think it is emblematic of someone in their mid-forties who has had an incredible career who is now in a position to shape the future of this country.

That’s a highly visible area. I think when you look at the public service you will see, whether it’s Indigenous Services Canada or Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, a significant amount of Indigenous representation, and to their credit, because these are people going to work every day trying to make things better for their people. They are probably often criticized at the Christmas party. It’s difficult to go with that weight on your shoulders, whereas someone like me showing up to work like that doesn’t bear that weight.

But clearly you’re dealing with a highly qualified constituency that needs to radiate across the public service. For example, some people might not want to work at Crown-Indigenous Relations or Indigenous Services Canada; they might want to work at National Defence. I think that’s where you see some of the under-representation, whether it’s at the core level, the basic level, or even at the managerial and the executive levels where you see some crying needs.

This is something that we have to be careful with, with an independent public service, but it’s something we can’t let other people kind of run at willy-nilly. The Clerk of the Privy Council is very well aware of what the challenges are to ensure Indigenous representation across the board, as well as racialized individuals.

You’re talking about talent that is undervalued. If you just take a value perspective, people who suffer from discrimination are people who are, more often than not, overqualified for the position they’re taking. So there is that business argument, but unfortunately it’s rooted in discrimination.

Indigenous Policing

Hon. Marty Klyne: Minister, the tragic events at James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan have highlighted the problem of police response times in Indigenous communities. With a distance of 45 kilometres between the RCMP detachment and the subject crime scene, we should not expect an acceptable or timely response for any emergency.

Your mandate letter includes co-developing a legislative framework for Indigenous policing, and Budget 2021 provided funding for this response. Such localized policing services, with officers in place for the long term, would significantly and satisfactorily improve response times, not to mention the benefit of local police officers with knowledge and understanding of a community and its needs.

Can you please update us on this work and share an approximate timeline for introducing a government bill?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Thank you, Senator Klyne. I agree with you that more police in Indigenous communities is needed. It would respond to one element of a number of the reports that have been discussed today. But, again, policing alone is not the solution, and I do want to say that before I complete my answer.

Those communities need police services, Indigenous-led if they so choose, or enhanced RCMP presence if they so choose. It’s something we have dedicated resources to as a government in prior budgets, coupled with what you mentioned, which is to introduce legislation to ensure that First Nations policing as an essential service is treated as such.

The work is ongoing. Minister Mendicino recently issued a statement of where they are in terms of the consultation and discussions with Indigenous peoples. This is a piece of legislation that we hope to accelerate and make sure is introduced shortly, but I can’t share that with you. Indeed, it would be up to Minister Mendicino as the case may be.

Tuberculosis Countermeasures

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Welcome, minister. The Inuit‑Crown Partnership Committee has done significant work in advancing and promoting a whole-of-government approach to the stated Inuit priorities. President Obed and his board have been successful in getting your government’s support for many important social and economic issues.

One very important example is the framework to eliminate tuberculosis from Inuit Nunangat by 2030, which came with a $27.5-million commitment in 2018 from your government to be spent over five years. However, as I’m sure you know, The Globe and Mail carried out an investigation in June and found that $13 million allocated for tuberculosis countermeasures in Nunavut has been largely unspent, despite an active TB outbreak in Pangnirtung that has been ongoing for months.

Can you use your good offices — the funds came from your ministry’s table — to see that these desperately required funds are deployed where they are critically needed, in Pangnirtung?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Thank you, senator. It’s unacceptable in a country like Canada that in some cases, particularly in Inuit Nunangat, the rates are 300 times what you would find anywhere else in the country. When it comes to First Nations on-reserve, it is 50 to 60 times. The outbreak we recently saw in Pangnirtung was heartbreaking in a number of ways.

I share your frustration in seeing that some of the funds have not been properly allocated. Tuberculosis, like any respiratory disease, is one that — despite the nature of it — cannot be solved simply by medicine. We need to be addressing the socio‑economic underpinnings, notably housing that is in dire need. It is one that we hope, and we will work hard, to tackle by 2030.

But it’s something that has to be done in partnership not only with the territory, but the land claims holders and their advocacy groups — ITK and others. It’s work that has to be implemented on many levels, from consistent investments in infrastructure over the next years to make sure that people are actually living in houses where they are not overcrowded and where they are not vectors themselves of transmission, but also with a proper public health response.

There is some deference owed to the chief public health officers in the territories as a matter of the relationship and of efficiency. It isn’t something we can wash our hands of as a government, particularly in providing funds and making sure that the territory and land claims holders are properly supported.

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[Translation]

Illegal Operation of Business on Federal Land

Hon. Claude Carignan: Minister, G & R Recycling is operating a dry waste material facility on the federal lands of Kanesatake. This company had its certificate of authorization revoked by the Department of Environment after countless infractions.

In fall 2020, its permit was revoked. In spite of this, the company continues to illegally operate a waste facility on federal lands. Obviously, the local community is appalled. The land is being damaged and altered by the landfilling.

When will you stop the illegal operation of a waste facility on federal land?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Thank you, senator. As you know, the business is closed, to my knowledge, and is no longer accepting the illegal dumping of waste.

This issue involves several jurisdictions. We have to add the Indigenous jurisdiction to that of Quebec. There are a lot of responsibilities to share in all this, between the federal and provincial governments, and the community itself also has a role to play. I’ve had many delicate discussions that will remain confidential with the band council and the Government of Quebec. However, with the provincial election, these discussions with the Government of Quebec have been suspended.

This situation is quite distressing to the people who live in the region, especially the people of Kanesatake.

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Indian Status Card Applications

Hon. Tony Dean: Minister, I’m asking this question on behalf of Senator Duncan, who represents the Yukon.

Minister, through the Indigenous Peoples Committee report MAKE IT STOP! we learned that your department does not report on service standards regarding Indian registration applications and whether service standards are met. Senator Duncan has since learned from women who hold a status card that those cards must be renewed periodically with considerable processing delays.

Can you please tell us what you’re doing to establish higher service standards throughout your department, to determine what those service standards are and whether those service standards are, in fact, met?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Thank you, senator. Certainly, service standards have trailed particularly during the pandemic as people were working from home. At times applications have to be done by hand, particularly with paper documentation.

The service standard varies. If it’s a renewal, the service standard is only a few weeks and shouldn’t take that much time. If it is a new application, or an application under Bill S-3, it’s something that can take a little more time, and often an unacceptable period of time.

We have allocated a number of resources to increase and prioritize the processing of applications, particularly when it is for people who need immediate care that depends on the issuance of a status card. This is work that Minister Hajdu is doing with her team in Indigenous Services Canada to make sure that, in particular, the site at Winnipeg is running in a way that is up to the standard that we would like to see things happen.

Again, this is a highly volatile turnaround time, depending on the type of application. I could admit to you quite freely that throughout the pandemic things have, yes, slowed down.

Indigenous Art

Hon. Patricia Bovey: Welcome, minister. The illegal reproduction of Indigenous art has been a serious, ongoing issue for many years. As Kwaguilth carver Richard Hunt has stated:

. . . fakes are being mass produced, undercutting genuine Indigenous artists and making it harder for young First Nations carvers to make a living . . . .

Minister, issues like this, as well as artist resale rights, must be addressed. There are now no import restrictions to be enforced by the Canada Border Services Agency regarding fakes, and no specific provisions, as in the United States, that criminalize the copying of Indigenous art.

How is the Government of Canada addressing this issue? Indigenous artists need the government’s help in protecting their cultural heritage.

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Certainly, senator, it’s immensely frustrating to see these original pieces of art being reproduced, and correspondingly undervalued. Currently there is not a ton of initiatives that are being undertaken to address this, and it’s unfortunate. It’s not something that has been prevalent in the last few years, although it was occurring long before a couple of years ago. Particularly with the increased interest in Indigenous culture, there is a market that is being created. You only have to go to a downtown Montreal tourist shop to see a lot of fakes.

It’s work that we have to engage with the provinces on for jurisdictional reasons. Creating a Criminal Code provision would probably be fraught with a number of problems, and, obviously, there are undoubtedly copyright or passing-off laws that could be, with difficulty, applied. It isn’t something where there is a comprehensive approach across governments to address in a comprehensive fashion.

I appreciate you highlighting that, and it’s something that, perhaps, can be tackled in the coming years with proper community consultation.

Nunavut Land Claims Agreement

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Minister Miller, in a December 7, 2020, letter, former premier Joe Savikataaq of Nunavut wrote to your colleague Minister Wilkinson, who was Minister of Environment and Climate Change at the time. In it, he said:

The [Government of Nunavut] . . . respectfully insists that, until we have achieved a devolution agreement and an offshore oil and gas agreement, that Nunavut lands and waters not be used to meet these targets.

— referring to Canada’s 2030 conservation targets.

During the Nunavut Land Use Planning Commission hearings on the Draft Nunavut Land Use Plan, which were held in Cambridge Bay just last week, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association reminded those present that, under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, the regional Inuit associations decide who has access to and what activities can occur on Inuit lands. However, despite these interventions, federal departments continue to engage with communities directly on targeted efforts to create new conservation areas in Nunavut, circumventing both the GN, and, in the case of Talurjuaq’s proposed area, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association. In fact, DFO paid to charter —

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator, I’m sorry. Your time has expired.

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: I know where he was going, Madam Speaker.

This is a complicated question, and clearly the issue of devolution is top of mind. I would say, as an update, that there has been some strong progress in the last little while. I don’t like to put the cart ahead of the horse, but we’re close on a number of elements.

You mentioned earlier the work that we’re doing with the Inuit-Crown Partnership. One of those was the Inuit Nunangat Policy to make sure that we are actually putting our best foot forward and reminding ourselves internally in the government of our relationship with Inuit, as opposed to Inuit spending the time re-educating others — whether it’s the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, lands and resources or the Department of National Defence — of their obligations and treaty obligations.

When you fold into that the discussion about the territory, and particularly Nunavut, it gets a little more complicated. It is fraught with, obviously, internal politics, and respecting those relationships where the government has to tread a careful path when it comes to creating new areas. I don’t think anyone is in any disagreement with creating protected spaces, but it’s something that has to be done in the spirit of respectful engagement. I don’t think any voices should be left unaccounted for when it comes to that, but you do often see departments tripping over themselves.

Hopefully, if there’s a success or a measure of success of the new Inuit Nunangat Policy that came into effect only a few months ago, it will be whether the departments that aren’t seized of Inuit relations all the time actually respect what is in that policy.

Indigenous Housing

Hon. Judith G. Seidman: Welcome, minister. Yesterday we learned from Statistics Canada that in 2021 over 17% of Indigenous people lived in crowded housing that was considered not suitable for the number of people who lived there. Furthermore, one in six lived in a dwelling that was in need of major repairs.

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I think you would agree that these numbers are very concerning. It is a well-known fact that poor housing is connected to major health issues, mental health problems and higher rates of suicide, besides the violence that you spoke of earlier.

I understand that Budget 2022 proposes to provide $4.3 billion over seven years towards improving and expanding Indigenous housing in Canada.

Minister, what can you say to reassure Indigenous families that your government will deliver on its commitments and begin to alleviate the housing crisis in Indigenous communities?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Thank you, senator. I would add tuberculosis, consistent with the prior discussion.

We have made a number of investments since 2015 in Indigenous communities — $400 million specifically in Nunavut — in housing.

We know it’s not enough. Budget 2021 had several billion dollars in infrastructure, which included, in some cases, housing, as well as the Rapid Housing Initiative that has been put forward successfully throughout the pandemic.

When I spoke to communities that were going through a COVID outbreak, sometimes their number one discussion point with me wasn’t COVID. It was actually housing. It’s prevalent everywhere.

It is not entirely measured. We don’t know exactly what the funding deficit is. We have a sense of it. There is a lot of work that Minister Hajdu is putting into it, actually quantifying it, going on the principle that you cannot mend what you cannot measure.

What it will require, simply — and with difficulty as well knowing budget cycles — is consistent investments into housing properly targeted into Indigenous communities and administered in the right way, which is in the spirit of self-determination. In the last budget, there was approximately $800 million that went specifically into Inuit Nunangat for the next few years. We know that will not be enough to close the gap, but it will make a significant dent in the housing shortage that exists across Indigenous communities.

Obviously, it is uneven. Not every community is the same, but it is one where we will have to be relentless. Any government that purports to run this country needs to be relentless in pursuing this.

[Translation]

Treatment of Indigenous People by the Quebec Health Care System

Hon. Julie Miville-Dechêne: Minister, I want to come back to the aftermath of the atrocious death of Joyce Echaquan two years ago at Joliette hospital. The coroner found that her death was accidental, but that racism and prejudice were contributing factors. The death of this Atikamekw mother of seven children and its consequences have came up again during the election campaign with an obvious lack of sensitivity.

Beyond this controversy, I’d like you to comment on the divide between Indigenous people and the Quebec government concerning the acknowledgement of systemic racism. As you are a Quebecer and minister responsible for this issue, what is your assessment of the progress made in the way Indigenous people are treated in the Quebec health care system? Are you concerned or not?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: I am very concerned, not only as a Quebecer or a Canadian, but as a human being. I don’t like to talk about it publicly too much, but I’ll break the rule.

I talk to Joyce Echaquan’s husband, Carol Dubé, fairly frequently. During the election campaign, I saw an individual who was seriously hurting, a man who was very deeply wounded as a human being. I find it really distressing to see that kind of reaction. Obviously, he feels that way because he misses her, but it’s also because of the denial of reality that all Indigenous people encounter.

That is something that I have never felt upon entering a hospital. I never felt an icy fear, the fear of discrimination or even death in this case. There’s work to be done, and it is up to the federal government to continue investing in the health care system to combat systemic racism. Denying the problem won’t make it go away. In fact, it will keep happening. It is happening all over Canada.

This problem exists even in provinces where things are going a little better, such as British Columbia. Recognizing that there’s a problem is a first step. Eradicating it is another. One need only look at the Viens commission report and the coroner’s report to see that this problem has yet to be solved. An election campaign isn’t going to change things.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond: Welcome to the Senate, minister. My question is about Bill C-29, which was introduced in the House of Commons just before the summer recess. This bill responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action 53 to 56. The purpose of the bill is to have the government monitor and implement the commission’s Calls to Action. This includes Bill C-15, which aims to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

How do see you this new council and government action working together to implement the UN declaration? Will this council be a sort of oversight body for government activity?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: It will be about monitoring, independence and accountability, all led by eminent leaders in the Indigenous community, such as Willie Littlechild, Rosemary Cooper, Édith Cloutier and Mike DeGagné, who are all well known across Canada.

The objective is obviously to inform the government on where we stand with the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This bill was introduced in response to the Calls to Action themselves, including 53 to 56, which call on the government to create an independent, non-political organization that is funded and monitors progress made by the Government of Canada and the other institutions that have been called to action.

This will break the government’s annoying habit of saying that it is responding to a certain number of Calls to Action without having the claim be corroborated and verified independently, in particular by Indigenous people.

We have responded to a lot of Calls to Action and continue to do so, but we need a well-funded independent organization, regardless of what kind of government is in place. It goes without saying that this bill is a priority for this government. I hope that the Senate will pass it. I look forward to your feedback, because there may be some aspects that need to be polished. This bill is very important to reconciliation and to the independence of the process.

Assembly of First Nations

Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais: Minister, last June, we learned that the board of directors of the Assembly of First Nations suspended National Chief RoseAnne Archibald. Their reason for doing so is concerning. She was suspended for wanting to investigate what she believed to be corruption and collusion in the awarding of contracts. She also spoke out against four employees being paid nearly $1 million after the contract was awarded.

I’ve often found that your government hasn’t been very focused on accountability for tax dollars paid to assist First Nations people. Having said that, given that the chief’s allegations about the use of funds are extremely serious, I’d like to know whether, as the minister responsible, you have taken concrete action to uncover the truth. If so, what actions have you taken? I would remind you that Ms. Archibald called for an independent inquiry.

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: It’s not my place to have a public opinion on how the AFN operates, since it’s a major national Indigenous organization that helps ensure that the people who sit on it are well served by the Government of Canada. It has a very strong voice, representing many Indigenous voices across Canada.

If there are problems within the organization, I won’t comment publicly on that. This organization, like all others, has internal accountability processes. I’m not blind to the challenges that exist between the national leader and the executive, which is also duly elected. I must remain impartial, both publicly and privately, about this internal process. Of course, these things are alleged and have yet to be proven. As you know, there’s only one way to know the truth.

[English]

Indigenous Consultation

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Minister, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP, incorporates a constitutional duty to consult Indigenous people when you consider measures that might adversely impact the potential for established Aboriginal or treaty rights.

The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network said they weren’t invited to a House committee when studying this bill, despite their request to do so. I can only assume from that, minister, that they were not consulted.

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Minister, are you upset about your government’s failure to consult? Did you consult the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network before you introduced this bill? And if not, why not?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Again, senator, I believe the question was previously posed by your colleague, and it was in relation to —

Senator Plett: It was not.

Mr. Miller: — the appearance of APTN at a committee meeting at which —

Senator Plett: That’s not my question, minister.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Plett, you asked your question. Let the minister answer, please.

Mr. Miller: Your Honour, if the question is whether APTN should have been invited or not to a committee meeting, and whether that —

Senator Plett: Mr. Minister —

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Plett, please. Senator Plett, order.

Minister, please answer.

Mr. Miller: Again, if the question is whether the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network was invited to a committee meeting, and whether that, in turn, does or does not constitute consultations for purposes of a constitutional test, I would submit to you that the committee is independent, and it is something that is entirely within their purview; nor is the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations in any place to command committee members to ask a television network to appear at a committee meeting.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Hon. Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia: Honourable senators, I thank the minister for being here today. September has been officially recognized as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Month by the Government of Canada since 2020. Addressing this disorder is one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Specifically, Call to Action No. 33 states:

We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to recognize as a high priority the need to address and prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and to develop, in collaboration with Aboriginal people, FASD preventive programs that can be delivered in a culturally appropriate manner.

I recognize that several investments have been made with respect to the program and to help support First Nations and Inuit communities in preventing FASD births and to enhance the quality of life for those affected by this disorder.

Can you please speak to the strategies that have been taken to best maximize these investments? How are these investments being evaluated? Thank you.

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Clearly, when we talk about health transformation in Indigenous communities, addressing specifically fetal alcohol syndrome is one that Indigenous communities have been advocating for for a long, long time. This is something that goes through a number of the elements and a number of the reforms that Minister Hajdu is tasked with, particularly introducing health-based legislation that is distinctions-based, to allow communities to deal with what is specific to them and what plagues them, in developing and addressing the devastating effects of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder which, in turn, to refer to the conversation we had before, fuel incarceration rates.

This is not something that you can sort out with a single bill introduced in Parliament. It’s something that requires that health transformation which is yet to be effected. For that, we need provincial buy-in as well, in addressing these from a harms-based perspective, not waving books at people when they show up at a medical institution for help. It deals with a lot of the issues around systemic racism in the health care system.

These are elements that the Government of Canada cannot tackle alone. It’s something that will need the full participation of provinces and territories. I do thank you for asking the question.

Indigenous Child Welfare

Hon. Brian Francis: Minister Miller, Dr. Cindy Blackstock of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada has called upon the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the CHRT, to not approve the $20-billion child welfare compensation deal negotiated by the Assembly of First Nations and your government. Dr. Blackstock argues that the current version fails to ensure every complainant will receive a minimum of $40,000, which was the amount ordered by the tribunal back in 2019.

Could you please explain why the deal gives a lesser amount or completely excludes some individuals, including children placed in family arrangements? How was it determined that such deferential treatment is justified?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Thank you, senator. It’s an exceedingly important question, a difficult question to ask in the midst of the various fairness hearings. One hearing is occurring now in front of the CHRT, for which the court has reserved judgment for a couple of weeks. As well, the corresponding Federal Court decision will come out. I think it would be undue in terms of process for me to speak as to the different legal arguments that exist.

I would note that both Minister Hajdu and I wrote a letter to Dr. Blackstock, and I believe it’s public that we would ensure that every First Nations child who has been removed would get a minimum of $40,000.

Our challenge has always been a global one, which is addressing the spectrum of harm that occurred all the way back to the 1990s that the CHRT does not deal with. We’re dealing with three class actions with the CHRT where we’re trying to make sure every complainant is dealt with in an equitable fashion and come to a deal with rights holders, making sure that those who were entitled to even more than $40,000 would actually get that.

The CHRT order could only give as much as $40,000. We’re dealing with people who have suffered harm where the amount could go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is a matter of fairness for people. In some cases, what we have proposed will actually ensure that the people who were hurt the most will get more than the CHRT could ever order.

Those are arguments that are currently in front of the court, so I will exercise a touch of reserve in speaking more about it.

[Translation]

Agreements Relating to Jordan’s Principle

Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais: Minister, on June 7, 2022, at a meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, of which I am a member, I asked one of the senior officials from Indigenous Services Canada about the use of a $2.1-billion allocation for families and children under Jordan’s Principle. Philippe Thompson revealed at the time that your government had begun negotiations to award a contract to a third party to administer our tax dollars which have been allocated to Indigenous communities, but he refused to tell us who these negotiations were with.

As the minister responsible, can you tell us to whom this contract has been awarded or to whom it will be awarded? How much will it cost Canadians to have a third party administer this $2.1 billion? Finally, could you tell us what percentage of that money will go to these unnamed administrators rather than to Indigenous children?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: I could talk for more than a minute and a half about the Jordan principle, which, to answer your previous question, is subject to long-term reform to ensure that the funds are properly administered.

Everyone knows that the funds weren’t well-administered by the Government of Canada. I’d rather not speak about a third party because I’m not familiar with the contract as such, but I could look into it. The reality is that it’s a principle that, with respect to the money allocated, has changed significantly in recent years, because this envelope has increased by several billion dollars.

We must carry out a comprehensive reform so that children who are entitled to receive money for their care can obtain it more quickly and, in certain cases, on an urgent basis. Together with the First Nations Child and Family Services Program, we’ve committed to moving forward with long-term reform to respond to the dispute to which a senator referred earlier.

This process is constantly evolving, but not yet perfect. That could be part of this dialogue, but I’m not familiar with the details of the file you’re asking about.

[English]

Indigenous Consultation

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Minister, would you be able to provide us with a list of all the Indigenous organizations that you have consulted with on Bill C-11, as per your obligations under UNDRIP, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? I don’t care whether they were at a committee or not. Would you undertake to send us a list of all Indigenous organizations that you consulted with before tabling this bill?

Hon. Marc Miller, P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations: Are you talking, senator, about Bill-C15?

Senator Plett: Bill C-11.

Mr. Miller: I’m sure we could look at a list of people who were consulted, the Indigenous groups who were consulted as part of Bill C-11.

Senator Plett: The question is, of course, minister, would you undertake to provide us with a list?

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Thank you very much.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, the time for question period has expired. I am certain that you will join me in thanking Minister Miller for joining us today. Thank you, minister.

[English]

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: We will now resume the proceedings that were interrupted at the start of Question Period.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson rose pursuant to notice of Senator Gagné on September 20, 2022:

That she will call the attention of the Senate to the life of our late Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.

He said: Honourable senators, I rise to speak in tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and also to speak of the special relationship Her Majesty had with the North, especially with St. Jude’s Cathedral, the Anglican cathedral in Iqaluit.

In 1970, Queen Elizabeth came to what was then the Northwest Territories, or N.W.T., the first reigning monarch to visit there. This was the first of three visits to the North. The Queen was accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, and their then younger children Charles and Anne. She had planned to begin her visit to Canada by flying into the North, beginning in what was then Frobisher Bay. But the weather that day was very daunting — heavy overcast with no ceiling at all. However, minutes before Her Majesty’s plane arrived, having flown direct from London, the clouds providentially lifted.

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The visit was thrilling for the Inuit residents of Frobisher Bay, many of whom were and are devout Anglicans. They were really excited to see their Queen in person — the person in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, the person to whom they sang “God Save the Queen” and the head of their church. The Inuit were touched when Queen Elizabeth spoke a few words to them in their own language.

This first of three visits to the Arctic by Her Majesty and many more by members of the Royal Family, including Prince Philip and Prince Charles on more than one occasion, generated the excitement normally associated with the moon landing. In fact, young Charles said as he stepped off the plane, “It looks like the moon!”

Her Majesty often showed her ever-present sense of humour in her visits to the North as related to me by our former Senate colleague Pat Carney, who was there. The former mayor of Iqaluit — of Frobisher Bay then — Bryan Pearson was in charge of the gift presentations. He said that they couldn’t have someone staggering up to the stage with a kayak on his shoulders, so he had an Inuk gentleman make the presentation and two others who will lift it onto the stage. This was done and the Queen studied the kayak carefully. “Do you think I would do very well in a kayak?” she asked Prime Minister Trudeau the first. “I have one myself,” he told her.

During that visit, Her Majesty also turned the sod for St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral, the first cathedral in the huge Diocese of the Arctic, which was built by Inuit carpenters in the shape of an igloo and completed in 1972. Queen Elizabeth also donated the cathedral’s cherished and beautiful baptismal font with its soapstone base.

Tragically, the cathedral was lost to arson in November 2005, and the demoralized congregation faced the giant task of rebuilding from scratch. I remember relaying to Her Majesty the promising news that a rebuilding committee had been formed for what became a successful $12 million undertaking from our small community.

Her Majesty and the family were active supporters of St. Jude’s. Every time any member of the Royal Family, including Her Majesty, visited Iqaluit after that first visit in 1970, they visited the cathedral. In recent years, Prince Edward and the Countess of Sussex ensured that when they visited the newly opened cathedral, it would be available as a place where they would receive visitors during their time in our community.

Her Majesty has seen a lot of the Arctic since she and her family first set foot in Frobisher Bay. After time spent in what is now Nunavut’s capital, the Royal Family made the long journey to one of Canada’s very most northern communities, Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island, which at 74 degrees north latitude is Canada’s second most northerly community after Grise Fiord. It was there in Resolute Bay in 1970 that Her Majesty said the words that are emblematic of her affinity with the Arctic. “You have not seen Canada until you have seen the North,” she said in that remote location.

After those stops in the eastern Arctic, the royal entourage flew to Tuktoyaktuk with the media following in a Hercules aircraft. When the Herc broke down in Tuk, the press was stuck there and had to make do overnighting in the school gym, but the royal party flew on to Inuvik with the media left behind. Former Iqaluit mayor Bryan Pearson — who had been travelling with the media — and former senator Pat Carney abandoned the media in Tuk and slipped down to the local float plane dock on a channel in the Mackenzie River to fly on in time to meet the royal party at their next stop in Inuvik.

Upon her arrival in Inuvik, the Queen was surprised to be met by Mr. Pearson. When she saw Mr. Pearson, she exclaimed, “Are you following me, Mr. Pearson?” He answered, “Oh, yes, Your Majesty. Just to make sure everything goes well.”

Senator Carney related how without the media, she and Mayor Pearson had the Royal Family all to themselves as they visited the local fur shop, tried on hats and jackets, and examined prints and sculptures. During that visit, the Queen met the late Chief John Tetchi of Fort McPherson. He wore his treaty uniform of blue pants with a red stripe and a jacket with yellow lapels.

We were honoured again in the North in 1994 when Queen Elizabeth visited Yellowknife to dedicate the new Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories and then went on to stop in Rankin Inlet, where the entire community turned out to greet her. Then she went on to Iqaluit, where she visited the cathedral for which she had turned sod. Our commissioner, the Queen’s representative in Nunavut, the Honourable Eva Aariak, said it well at a memorial service held last Sunday in her beloved St. Jude’s Cathedral. She said that Queen Elizabeth showed her great power in a quiet, dignified way of serving others with love.

I’m pleased to pay tribute to Her Majesty and acknowledge her keen interest in and understanding of the North and its Indigenous First peoples, a passion I know is shared by her son King Charles. May she rest in very well-deserved peace. Thank you. Qujannamiik.

(On motion of Senator Gagné, debate adjourned.)

Declaration on the Essential Role of Artists and Creative Expression in Canada Bill

Ninth Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (Bill S-208, An Act respecting the Declaration on the Essential Role of Artists and Creative Expression in Canada, with amendments and observations), presented in the Senate on June 20, 2022.

Hon. Ratna Omidvar moved the adoption of the report.

She said: Honourable senators, Bill S-208 was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology for second reading on April 7, 2022. It proposes a declaration on the essential role of artists and creative expression in Canada, which would be implemented through an action plan under the direction of the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Over the course of two meetings, the committee heard from the sponsor of Bill S-208, our colleague the Honourable Senator Bovey, in addition to stakeholders from Canada’s arts and cultural communities.

On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank those witnesses for sharing their time and stories with us.

The committee is recommending four changes through two amendments to Bill S-208 that reflect the testimony and discussions that we heard. Three changes were made to reflect the role of Canada’s two official languages in arts and culture. A new paragraph was inserted into the preamble to acknowledge that English-speaking and French-speaking artists are integral parts of the two official-language communities of Canada and should therefore have equal opportunities to pursue their artistic endeavours in order to enhance the vitality and development of English and French linguistic minority communities.

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In proposed subclause 4(2)(d.1), the Minister of Official Languages was added as a mandatory party to consultations that will be undertaken by the Minister of Canadian Heritage to implement the declaration. Subclause 4(3) defined certain measures that the Minister of Canadian Heritage must consider while developing the action plan. In particular, paragraph 4(3)(g) mandates that the Minister of Canadian Heritage must “encourage greater investment in all areas related to artists, the arts and creative expression in Canada.”

In keeping with the previous amendments, an additional proposed subparagraph 4(3)(g.1) specifies that French-speaking artists, and organizations representing those artists, also be given specific consideration.

Finally, the committee is recommending an additional subparagraph, 4(3)(g.2), which specifies that artists who represent the ethnic and racial diversity, and all other diversities of Canada, and organizations that work on their behalf, also receive specific consideration for greater investments.

In addition, the committee appended three observations to the report. The first observation is that some committee members had questions that they hoped to have been answered by the Department of Canadian Heritage itself. Although invited, the committee did not hear from the department on Bill S-208, and it therefore did not have the opportunity to understand the potential impact of this legislation on department policies and programs. They were given every opportunity to appear.

Second, witnesses discussed the lack of a national cultural policy framework in Canada, despite historical attempts to develop such a policy. The committee recognized this gap and therefore included an observation stating the need for the Government of Canada to develop a national cultural policy framework in consideration with the provinces and territories, and with all art groups.

Finally, the committee heard from various witnesses that the current arts and culture funding regime is not always equitable. In particular, concerns were raised about Indigenous, racialized, disabled, senior and LGBTQ2+ artists and organizations representing them, as well as new and emerging artists. The committee acknowledges those challenges and urges the Government of Canada to ensure equitable funding for emerging artists and organizations, and established artists and organizations.

Finally, colleagues, I wish to thank Senator Bovey for her incredible leadership in bringing us to where we are now. Congratulations, Senator Bovey. Thank you.

[Translation]

Hon. René Cormier: Esteemed colleagues, I rise today at report stage of Bill S-208, An Act respecting the Declaration on the Essential Role of Artists and Creative Expression in Canada. I’d like to begin by thanking and congratulating the Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee for studying this bill effectively and diligently. I’d also like to acknowledge the passion and courage of Senator Bovey, as well as the colossal work she did to make a case for the importance of the role of artists in Canadian society.

I’ll be brief in my intervention that essentially seeks to reinforce an observation that the committee made in its report, as the chair noted, which reads as follows:

Your committee heard of the need for the Government of Canada to develop a national cultural policy framework in consultation with the provinces and territories, and with all arts groups.

[English]

It is my understanding that this observation would stem from the testimony of Mr. Simon Brault, Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts, when he appeared before the committee on June 15. The Canada Council for the Arts is a federal Crown corporation whose mandate is to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of the arts and the production of artworks. It is the primary granting agency for artists and arts organizations across Canada and operates at arm’s length from the government of the day.

The Canada Council for the Arts’ unique status gives this organization a very pragmatic view on the position of arts and culture in Canada. The council is, in fact, identified in the bill as one of the entities that the Minister of Canadian Heritage must consult before developing his action plan to implement the declaration provided in the bill’s schedule.

In his testimony before the committee, Mr. Brault visibly applauded the relevance and generosity of the bill’s intentions; however, he expressed concern about the feasibility of the action plan that is to implement the principles of the declaration under the responsibility of the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

[Translation]

Mr. Brault reminded the committee that the Minister of Canadian Heritage doesn’t have sole jurisdiction over culture. Within federal jurisdiction alone, culture involves many departments, plus federal institutions that operate at arm’s length from the government, that are tasked with supporting various sectors, such as film, television, the arts, architecture and literature. In addition to including all these stakeholders at the federal level, a realistic cultural development plan must also take into consideration the powers of the provinces and territories and reflect the diverse perspectives and realities of communities within Canada, including Indigenous peoples, official language minority communities and diversity communities.

All those factors led Mr. Brault to conclude that, if Canada wants to develop:

 . . . a plan, making sure that artists are central to the development of the cultural sector in Canada, that means a lot of coordination, a lot of consultation and a lot of negotiations within the federal government but also from the federal government with all of the different provinces, territories and municipalities.

[English]

This unlikely observation highlights the complexity of our cultural ecosystem, and I can only reinforce it. On a cultural level, Canada is a complex country. Our country’s artistic ecosystem relies on a multitude of players operating in different jurisdictions. That really must be considered if we want an effective national cultural policy that considers the different cultural realities of our country. We also must not underestimate the challenges that come with it.

[Translation]

I commend the committee for the amendments it made to strengthen the place and importance of artists from official language minority communities in the preamble and the consultations. It would have been very enlightening to get the Minister of Canadian Heritage’s perspective on this bill. However, even though he was invited to appear, as the chair said, unfortunately, the Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee did not have an opportunity to hear his testimony, which is too bad.

A well-known African proverb states:

The best way to rebuild the economy in a meaningful way is through culture.

I absolutely agree with that statement, which emphasizes the importance of ensuring that Canada has a realistic cultural policy framework and an effective action plan that takes into account all of the cultural stakeholders and that will enable Canadian artists from all backgrounds to participate fully in our country’s development.

Once again, I thank the Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee, and Senator Bovey in particular, for their work and commitment to Canada’s artists and cultural community. Thank you, meegwetch.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

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[English]

Constitution Act, 1867

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Patterson, seconded by the Honourable Senator Tannas, for the second reading of Bill S-228, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (property qualifications of Senators).

Hon. Mary Jane McCallum: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak in support of Senator Patterson’s Bill S-228, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (property qualifications of Senators). I note that Senator Patterson has a sister motion before the Senate as well, Motion No. 19, which deals with the same subject matter, and I will be ardently supporting both initiatives.

I would first like to commend Senator Patterson for reintroducing this legislation. I note this is our colleague’s third time bringing such a bill forward, championing this initiative from other parliamentarians who have come before us. I am hoping this time around, Parliament collectively will agree that the property qualifications for Senate eligibility are an outdated requirement, which is no longer consistent with modern society.

Colleagues, what Senator Patterson’s bill aims to accomplish is simple in its dual purpose: It would alter the eligibility requirements for Senate appointments by removing the requirement of owning land worth at least $4,000 in one’s home province, as well as removing the requirement of having a personal net worth of at least $4,000.

We in this chamber are not oblivious to the current state of the country and the ever-changing, unpredictable climates under which we live. We need look no further than the severe housing crisis that is impacting every region of Canada or the burgeoning levels of inflation, which are making the cost of living untenable for many in Canada. In considering today’s economic and housing realities, we must acknowledge that they represent massive barriers that are gatekeeping many Canadians from the possibility of serving their country in this chamber.

Colleagues, these property requirements are elitist and antiquated. They serve no purpose in today’s society beyond entrenching a further unnecessary divide between the haves and have-nots.

Four thousand dollars today, based on inflation calculators, would have equalled well over $100,000 when this requirement was enshrined into our Constitution. It was intended to ensure that those who took a seat in this august chamber were of the very upper crust of society, the propertied elite. Even though the value of $4,000 is not what it used to be, the sheer existence of this requirement still precludes countless Canadians, the majority of whom make up the middle and lower classes of this country, from holding the very position that we do. Based on what — solely because they rent or do not hold title for their dwelling?

I would hold, colleagues, that this chamber works best when it is truly reflective of the population of Canada. After all, we have long argued that diversity is our strength as a nation. The working class and the economically marginalized are voices that have had very little space in this chamber since Confederation. The deeply entrenched and colonial system we work under has all but assured that. However, would we in Canada not benefit from having this chamber be a better representative of the country at large?

Senator Patterson put this issue into clear perspective when speaking of his home region of Nunavut. As Senator Patterson has described, he estimates that 80% of the people in his territory would not be eligible to apply to become a senator because they do not own land. I cannot fathom excluding four out of every five people from being eligible to become a senator simply based on whether they own $4,000 worth of property.

Honourable senators, the property requirement is of particular concern for me because of what it means for First Nations in Canada. Many of you may not realize this, but countless individuals who live on reserve are ineligible for this position because they do not actually own title for the land on which they live. This is not by choice, of course. This is a by-product of colonization, which has relegated First Nations onto reserves, which are federally held land.

This issue is best described by Ms. Francyne Joe, the former president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, who is currently doing important work with the National Association of Friendship Centres. Beyond serving in such high-profile roles, she has long been an outspoken advocate for First Nations, Inuit and Métis women, highlighted by her work on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls file. While she had once pondered applying to become a senator as a strong and competent voice for a highly marginalized population, she was stopped short by the property qualification.

In Francyne Joe’s own words, this was her experience:

My name is Francyne Joe, and I am a Shackan First Nations member . . . located in BC’s Central Interior.

. . . I researched the process of putting my name forward for a Senate Appointment as there is an open seat for BC and I felt that I would be a good candidate for such a role. I meet most of the necessary criteria such as age, citizenship, non-partisanship, knowledge, good personal qualities and residency . . . . However, the eligibility criteria related to a qualification of property are a barrier.

As an Indigenous woman . . . I am disappointed by this criteria -- and I question if its truly necessary and the reasons behind the criteria.

When my mother married, the Indian Act automatically transferred her to her husband’s band, Shackan -- and when she divorced, she had to re-apply to return to her band, Lower Nicola. For funding purposes, I remained a Shackan band member -- I receive no housing benefits because there is very limited land on Shackan reserve available. My mother received property on [the Lower Nicola] reserve -- it passed to her when my grandparents died. It is a good size property located within minutes of Merritt, BC -- about 10 acres that was used for farming and ranching . . . .

My grandparents had this land for decades and it was passed on to my mom and her brother. Houses were built on the property for my grandparents and their kids; an indoor arena was erected for rodeos which supported the agriculture part of my grandparents’ business; a large garden was planted annually to produce for family and community; corrals, barns and workshops were built -- there is even a small family cemetery on the property. But to a realtor, the property is located on-reserve so there is no value and therefore, I would not be able to use in my application for a Senate role.

My mom would like me to transfer to [Lower Nicola] then she could put me on the Certificate of Possession documents as joint-owner, but the difficulty is that the property needs some work which requires money. If I put monies into our home property which means so much to me and my two children, then I cannot purchase off-reserve property to clearly meet the eligibility requirements to be a Senator. But this property obviously has value to myself, my family and even to other community-members.

As you can see from this personal story, colleagues, the currently held property qualification requirements pose an extra barrier for First Nations’ entry into the Senate.

Honourable senators, there had been much hand-wringing when legislation to remove this barrier was first brought before Parliament. This was largely due to the onerous threshold that needed to be met federally and provincially to fulfill the requirements of the Constitution’s amending formula.

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However, greater clarity and flexibility have been given on this matter thanks to the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2014, the SCC gave their much-anticipated reply to the reference question regarding Senate reform. As was stated in the SCC decision:

We conclude that the net worth requirement (s. 23(4)) can be repealed by Parliament under the unilateral federal amending procedure. However, a full repeal of the real property requirement (s. 23(3)) requires the consent of Quebec’s legislative assembly, under the special arrangements procedure. Indeed, a full repeal of that provision would also constitute an amendment in relation to s. 23(6), which contains a special arrangement applicable only to the province of Quebec.

As Senator Patterson clarified in his March 24 speech on this bill:

. . . the decision states Parliament can, indeed, unilaterally remove the net worth requirement for all senators and the real property requirement for every senator except those in Quebec, which this bill aims to do. We do not need to invoke the amending formula and involve provinces, apart from the special situation . . . in Quebec.

Colleagues, throughout my tenure in the Senate, great pride has been taken in the ongoing modernization and rejuvenation of the upper chamber. The Senate has arguably become more accessible and more inclusive. It is up to us to continue this march, and supporting this bill represents an important step on that journey.

The property requirement is an outdated relic of the past. As Senator Patterson has argued, this is no longer an appropriate or relevant measure of the fitness of a person to serve in the Senate. Not only is it arbitrary in this day and age, it also happens to represent one of the biggest, if not the biggest, systemic barrier for Canadians applying to serve in this chamber.

It is disconcerting when I think about the number of Canadians who are ineligible to become a senator based solely on this single requirement. It frustrates me even more when it is evident that those who continue to be excluded from applying are those who historically have been — and continue to be — among the most marginalized and least represented voices in the Senate of Canada.

Honourable senators, the path forward to righting this wrong and correcting this antiquated rule is before us. The highest court in this country has provided a blueprint with which we can accomplish this feat with relative ease. I urge you to support Senator Patterson’s Bill S-228 and its sister motion so that we can remove a large barrier to entry into the Senate of Canada, thereby enriching it for generations to come. Kinanâskomitin, thank you.

Senator Patterson: Bravo!

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Omidvar, do you have a question?

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Yes, please.

Would Senator McCallum take a short question?

Senator McCallum: Yes.

Senator Omidvar: Senator McCallum, thank you for weighing in on this matter. I agree with you and Senator Patterson completely that this provision is a relic of the past. But it is also an expression, I believe, of searching for some kind of attachment to the place that people come from.

Whilst property ownership and net worth is a relic of the past, do you believe that the other requirements — age, citizenship, residency and merit-based criteria — demonstrate enough of an attachment to the place we are supposed to represent?

I agree with you that net worth has nothing to do with attachment, but is there something else that you would like to see represent attachment or are you satisfied with simply removing that requirement and not replacing it with anything else?

Senator McCallum: Thank you for the question. I have discussed this with different people. When we look at Canadians who pay rent, rent itself is an attachment. Many of them cannot afford to buy a house. I have seen young people lately.

When I look at the people who are here, I don’t think that we think about the province we live in. We’re already invested in bringing forward the concerns of the people. For me, the collective that I represent is top of mind, and mine is Manitoba. That is my home. All of us have deep roots in the provinces we come from. Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Ringuette, seconded by the Honourable Senator Ravalia, for the second reading of Bill S-239, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal interest rate).

Hon. Chantal Petitclerc: I see that this item is at day 15 on the Order Paper, and Senator Duncan wishes to participate in the debate. I therefore move the adjournment of the debate in the name of Senator Duncan for the remainder of her time.

(On motion of Senator Petitclerc, for Senator Duncan, debate adjourned.)

Jane Goodall Bill

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Klyne, seconded by the Honourable Senator Harder, P.C., for the second reading of Bill S-241, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (great apes, elephants and certain other animals).

Hon. Chantal Petitclerc: Honourable senators, I rise today in support of Bill S-214, the Jane Goodall Act.

Over Christmas break in 2020, I took my son to SeaWorld in Orlando to see Nalani, the orca, who was swimming around her pool and splashing water in our direction. For a parent, there’s nothing quite like the joy of seeing your child’s eyes wide with wonder. My son was amazed and fascinated by this majestic animal just two metres away from us, on the other side the glass. This wasn’t the first time that I’d taken my son to a place like this, but things were different this time.

Things were different because, just one month earlier, Senator Sinclair had given a powerful speech in this place on the original version of this bill. There I was, with my son, sitting in the front row, excited and amazed, eating a burger without a care in the world. At the same time, this magnificent mammal was swimming in circles in her enclosure, doing tricks that were, quite frankly, beneath her.

I was thinking about Senator Sinclair’s speech. The examples, studies and data he shared with us made it quite clear to me that this animal was suffering, was abused, and was not where she was meant to be. Our admission tickets had funded this abuse, all for my son’s short-lived entertainment.

The wrongness and injustice of it were crystal clear and impossible for me to ignore. It was the last time we went to that kind of park.

[English]

I knew more, I knew better, and I could not hide behind the false sentiment of ignorance. I believe that when we know better, we have a responsibility to do better. This is what this bill is asking us to do: to take our responsibilities and commit to do better.

[Translation]

This bill is another major step in transforming our relationship with animals, particularly those we think of as exotic.

What we feel instinctively is now well documented. Here and elsewhere, studies, data and science about animals’ characteristics and needs prompt us to think about whether it is okay to keep them in captivity and under what conditions.

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Putting animals on display just for our entertainment when there’s no guarantee that they’re being treated properly is no longer justifiable. More and more organizations, countries and individuals share this belief. Our laws must reflect our changing values.

Sabine Brels, who holds a doctorate of law from Laval University and wrote her thesis on the evolution and globalization of animal welfare law, has shown that steady progress is being made in terms of animal welfare law. She said, and I quote:

 . . . there are more and more obligations for treating animals properly, regulations for animal welfare and prohibitions that are both general (e.g. intentional cruelty) and specific (regarding specific practices) in nature. . . .

 . . . this study identified a trend toward the progressive convergence of protective animal welfare provisions at all levels: at the national level through the move from anti‑cruelty laws to laws that proactively protect the welfare of animals, and at the supranational level through European and international standards in commons areas (farming, transport, slaughter, experimentation).

The safety of animals is an issue that Canadians care about. Last March, a Nanos poll indicated that 88% of Ontarians would support regulations that would create licenses for zoos in the province and set standards for safety and animal welfare.

Whether this all comes from the government or senators, many discussions have been held to give Canada protective standards to improve animal welfare.

Thanks to the determined efforts of former senator Wilfrid P. Moore, keeping whales and dolphins in captivity is now a thing of the past. We should also note Senator Michael L. MacDonald’s Bill S-238, concerning shark finning, and Bill C-68, which prohibits shark finning and the import and export of fins that are not attached to the shark.

Let’s not forget the tireless efforts by former senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen to prohibit animal testing of cosmetics. More recently, we studied Bill C-84 to strengthen protections against bestiality and animal fighting. I will take this opportunity to thank Senator Klyne, who has broadened somewhat our responsibility to protect animals.

Thanks to this bill, more than 800 animals will be designated animals, chosen primarily for their need for space or because our climate is not appropriate for them. That is the case in particular of elephants, great apes, big cats, bears, wolves, seals, sea lions, walruses and certain primates. Other designated species such as crocodiles, giant pythons and venomous snakes have been selected to protect the public.

This legal protection would prevent these species from being acquired or bred in captivity without a permit being obtained first. It would then be impossible to hold them in captivity in just any location or treat them in any old way.

Let’s be clear. Zoos, aquariums and sanctuaries would continue to shelter them after first obtaining animal care organization status as set out in this bill. The eligibility criteria would be consistent with the standards of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, AZA, as well as other organizations to be determined by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, in consultation with animal welfare experts. These zoos and aquariums wouldn’t be able to organize shows for entertainment purposes unless they have a provincial permit.

One of the ambitions of this bill is to gradually eliminate keeping elephants in captivity in Canada, something I support wholeheartedly. You will all recall that, at second reading stage of the first version of the Jane Goodall Act, Senator Sinclair eloquently illustrated the extreme intelligence of elephants, animals whose physical, social and spacial needs are very complex. I will quote an excerpt from his speech:

[English]

Elephants are also altruistic. They try to revive sick or dying individuals, including strangers, lifting them with their tusks to get them to their feet. Elephants mourn their dead, scattering family members’ bones and standing vigil over dead matriarchs.

[Translation]

Just recently, 24 elephant welfare scientists from a wide range of disciplines expressed their support for gradually putting an end to keeping elephants in captivity. According to these scientists, no captive facility can meet the biological, social, spacial, cognitive and basic needs of elephants.

[English]

But I think we can arguably say that one doesn’t need to be an expert to know that keeping the largest land animal indoors — for example, in Quebec — during a long, cold winter, is just a bad idea. It’s as simple as that.

[Translation]

By passing this bill, Canada would become a leader in protecting against animal cruelty and neglect.

It is important to note that this isn’t about closing down every zoo, aquarium and animal sanctuary. Rather, it is about regulating the practice, with animal welfare at the heart of the decisions. This is a significant change, one that demonstrates how we now see humans living alongside and in harmony with other species, but not with the sole purpose of controlling them.

Labelling certain species as designated animals won’t come into effect until six months after Royal Assent. This period could be used to allow owners to adjust.

While there is some flexibility, let it be known that there will be consequences for owners or animal organizations that haven’t met the conditions for obtaining a permit to place new animals in captivity, particularly with respect to breeding.

Each change comes with its own set of repercussions, which aren’t always desirable but remain necessary to achieve a goal. I hope that this aspect will be studied by a committee. We need to find solutions and ways to support organizations during this transition phase.

Another aspect that the committee should focus on is the issue raised by Senator Miville-Dechêne concerning the risk of creating a two-tier system, since the seven zoos and aquariums that already meet the AZA standards benefit from additional protection because they are named in the bill. This issue will need to be studied.

This bill is the result of a collaborative effort that I wanted to mention before I conclude my speech. Senator Klyne worked with many animal rights organizations in the drafting of this bill. Five major zoos, including the Granby, Calgary and Toronto zoos and the Montreal Biodome and Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, also contributed to the bill. These organizations are already involved in wildlife conservation and are committed to species preservation. I understand from their testimony, which was in support of this bill, that despite their daily efforts to ensure animal welfare, our laws need to be strengthened.

[English]

By the way, practising what it preaches by announcing its support for the bill, the Zoo de Granby plans to no longer house elephants in a few years.

Now, let me go back to Nalani the Orca. While he will, sadly, spend the remainder of his life in a small tank with the other orcas, SeaWorld has decided they will be the last orcas to be held in captivity in the park, a clear sign that here and everywhere things are changing and that entertainment and financial gain does not justify cruelty against animals. This leaves me hopeful.

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As for having my son learn about the wonders of nature and those great animals, I have come to realize that there are other much better ways. Technology, for one, has permitted the unintrusive filming of animals in their natural environments for education, conservation and, yes, entertainment purposes.

You may all remember the magnificent film La Marche de l’Empereur, a 2005 French feature-length nature documentary that tells us about the yearly journey of the Emperor penguins of Antarctica. It took one year for two isolated cinematographers to shoot the documentary. Surely we can learn way more from this film than we can from watching them through a window in a small man-made captivity setting.

I did go back to Florida, and my son wanted to see dolphins, so I took him kayaking on the ocean. I told him it was a much better way for us to go into their home and hope they would want to meet him. After a good 40 minutes, we did manage to see some dolphins in the far distance, and he was overjoyed to be in their environment with them. Quite frankly, it was so far that I’m not sure it was a dolphin or a water safety device, but my goal was achieved.

[Translation]

For all these reasons, I sincerely hope that this bill will be referred to committee.

[English]

As parliamentarians, there are things that are out of our control, but this is not one of them. This bill has been debated, and I believe now is the time to act. The longer we wait, the longer vulnerable animals will lack protection.

[Translation]

As Senator Klyne and Senator Sinclair before him urged us to do, let’s ensure we have the means to “speak and act for the voiceless.” That is the purpose of this bill, which I hope will soon be referred to committee. Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Patterson, debate adjourned.)

[English]

Study on the Federal Government’s Responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples

Sixth Report of Indigenous Peoples Committee and Request for Government Response—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the sixth report (interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples, entitled Not Enough: All Words and No Action on MMIWG, tabled in the Senate on June 22, 2022.

Hon. Brian Francis moved:

That the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples, tabled in the Senate on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 12-24(1), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the Minister of Crown‑Indigenous Relations being identified as minister responsible for responding to the report.

He said: Honourable senators, last June, the Committee on Indigenous peoples issued a report in relation to its short study of the federal implementation of The Final Report of the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which was issued in 2019. We are grateful to the witnesses, including survivors and family members, who shared their experiences and recommendations.

We heard that the 252 Calls for Justice must be urgently implemented to improve the outcomes of Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse peoples. However, action by the Government of Canada continues to be slow in essential areas like health and safety.

We also heard that accessing information regarding initiatives by the federal government has been challenging. As a result, the committee recommends that Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada prepare and publish quarterly reports online and distribute them to families and survivors.

To help them increase transparency and accountability, the committee is further committed to undertaking a targeted study in the coming months focused on Call for Justice 1.7, which calls for a national Indigenous and human rights ombudsperson; and Call for Justice 1.10, which calls for an independent mechanism to report annually to Parliament on the implementation of the Calls for Justice.

Wela’lin, thank you.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Seventh Report of Indigenous Peoples Committee and Request for Government Response—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventh report (interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples, entitled Make it Stop! Ending the remaining discrimination in Indian registration, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on June 27, 2022.

Hon. Brian Francis moved:

That the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples, tabled with the Clerk of the Senate on Monday, June 27, 2022, be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 12-24(1), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada being identified as minister responsible for responding to the report, in consultation with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.

He said: Honourable senators, this report of the Committee on Indigenous Peoples found that piecemeal amendments to the Indian Act brought forward by the Government of Canada in 1985, 2010 and, more recently, in 2017 in response to court challenges did not address all inequities in the registration provisions impacting First Nations women and their descendants but, rather, helped to worsen them.

The committee is grateful to all the witnesses who shared their stories and recommendations, and remains committed to continuing to advocate for restoring long overdue equality to First Nations women and their descendants in the registration provisions of the Indian Act.

The committee is disappointed that the Government of Canada is once again involved in litigation related to enfranchisement. Given that it intends to amend the Indian Act for the fourth time to address this matter, the committee strongly urges the Government of Canada to take a proactive and comprehensive approach that will, once and for all, end the discrimination against First Nations women and their descendants.

The committee makes nine recommendations to the Government of Canada. The witnesses, for example, testified that the registration process was overly complex and slow. As a result, we recommend providing access to historical and genealogical records, developing and distributing plain-language materials, and publishing an annual service standard report and other changes.

The committee also urges the repeal of all outstanding inequities, including enfranchisement, the 1985 cut-off and age and marital distinctions, as well as an apology and compensation for the harms experienced by First Nations women and their descendants, and funding to reconnect individuals who lost status with their communities.

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In sum, colleagues, the Government of Canada must take immediate steps to ensure that First Nations women and their descendants are treated equally under the Indian Act. We cannot let these inequalities continue to harm more generations. Wela’lin, thank you.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Contributions and Impacts of Métis, Inuit, and First Nations

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Boyer, calling the attention of the Senate to the positive contributions and impacts that Métis, Inuit, and First Nations have made to Canada, and the world.

Hon. Kim Pate: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Senator Boyer’s inquiry recognizing the positive contributions of Métis, Inuit and First Nations peoples to Canada and the world.

I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge our incredibly inspiring Indigenous colleagues and friends in this chamber, all of whom we are honoured and humbled to work alongside.

Thank you for enriching our collective work. We are tremendously grateful for your outstanding careers and exceptional contributions, in fields ranging from government administration to conflict management, health care, law, psychology, business finance, environmental protection, infrastructure development, engineering, advocacy, dentistry, reconciliation, fisheries and more.

In alphabetical order, we celebrate first, Senator Margaret Dawn Anderson. Senator Anderson is an Inuvialuk woman from Tuktoyaktuk who credits her five children with inspiring her Senate work. As co-chair of the Indigenous Senators Working Group, Senator Anderson brings two decades of experience in public service roles working with communities across the N.W.T., advocating for self-governance, marginalized and disenfranchised groups, including as Director of Community Justice and Policing and Assistant Director of Corrections Services and the coordinator of the Planning Action Responsibly Toward Non-Violent Empowered Relationships — PARTNER — program, aimed at addressing domestic violence.

Senator Anderson’s work in the Senate is informed by her commitment to seeking out and reflecting the perspectives of groups and communities in the Northwest Territories and raising the profile of Arctic, Inuit and Indigenous issues. She is also a gifted charcoal artist and poet.

Senator Michèle Audette is an Innu woman with visual arts and art education degrees from the Université du Québec à Montréal and Concordia University. Senator Audette has devoted decades to transforming the relationship between Indigenous Peoples, Quebec and Canada. At 27, she was elected president of Femmes autochtones du Québec, and was later appointed as Associate Deputy Minister of Quebec’s Secrétariat à la condition féminine and president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

I have had the privilege of working with her for more than two decades, and several months ago we celebrated, with a number of you, her receipt of a second honourary doctorate from the University of Ottawa. The Université de Montréal also previously recognized her tireless advocacy for Indigenous women, including as a commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Our collective work to advance the inquiry’s Calls for Justice, as you have just heard from Senator Francis, continue.

Senator Yvonne Boyer is a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, holds a doctorate in law from the University of Ottawa and an honourary doctorate in education from Nipissing University. Prior to studying law, she trained as a nurse. She has published widely on topics of Indigenous health and the interactions between Aboriginal rights, treaty rights and the health of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples and has served as Canadian Human Rights Commissioner.

In the Senate, Senator Boyer co-chairs the Indigenous Senators Working Group and has led the study of the forced and coerced sterilization of Indigenous women by the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights.

Senator Patrick Brazeau is a member of the Algonquin community of Kitigan Zibi and served as national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. In addition to being a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Naval Reserve, Senator Brazeau studied law at the University of Ottawa. He advocates for accountability, responsibility and transparency in Indigenous affairs and the mental health of Indigenous peoples. He persistently seeks to promote the well-being of youth.

Senator Dan Christmas of Membertou First Nation was the first Mi’kmaq person to be appointed to the Senate and to establish an on-reserve Senate constituency office. He holds honourary degrees from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Community College, Saint Mary’s University and, most recently, Cape Breton University. I think he’s about to get another one but we’ll wait and announce that later.

Through his leadership with the Mi’kmaw Nation of Nova Scotia, including as former director of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians and former band manager, elected councillor and Senior Advisor for the Community of Membertou, Senator Christmas has worked for decades to ensure the recognition and implementation of Mi’kmaq and treaty rights in Nova Scotia and was a driving force in the flourishing of Membertou from bankruptcy to a thriving and vibrant community. Senator Christmas continues his inspirational leadership in the Senate, including as deputy chair of the Indigenous Peoples Committee.

Senator Brian Francis has roots in Lennox Island and Abegweit Mi’kmaq First Nations. He brings to the Senate over 40 years of experience in governance, including as aboriginal coordinator with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and as chief and band administrator of the Abegweit Mi’kmaq Nation.

Senator Francis has led and inspired Island First Nations to achieve key social, economic and cultural initiatives, including programs relating to biodiversity, water infrastructure, housing initiatives, justice initiatives and roadworks. Indeed, the river that flows by our old family cottages — we call them cabins there — on P.E.I. is one of the many whose water quality and fish stock are being restored as a result of the amazing work of Senator Francis and his community.

Senator Francis continues his legacy of leadership, driven by the goal of improving the lives of community members in the Senate including as chair of the Indigenous Peoples Committee.

An Indigenous Peruvian, Senator Rosa Galvez is a leading expert on pollution sciences and has shared with the Senate her lifelong passion for democratizing knowledge and education, and finding innovative solutions to a just, equitable and sustainable world. She holds a PhD in environmental engineering and prior to her appointment was a professor and head of the Department of Civil and Water Engineering at Université Laval. She has served as an adviser to international bodies, governments, community organizations and private firms.

In the Senate, her work has emphasized links between income gaps, social inequality and environmental degradation, including through her publication of a white paper entitled Building Forward Better: A Clean and Just Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic, a motion to declare climate change an urgent crisis and her proposed legislation to ensure alignment between the financial sector and Canada’s climate commitments.

Thank you for ensuring we are always mindful of the world we will leave for generations to come.

Senator Marty Klyne is a Cree Métis citizen and graduate of the University of Regina. His experience in business finance includes particular expertise in advancing Indigenous economic development. Senator Klyne has held leadership positions in diverse fields including media, corporate governance, sports and entertainment industries. His community work includes involvement with the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, the Interim Reconciliation Regina Council, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Labour Market Council, and the Economic Development Regina board of directors.

We have worked on issues of prison segregation and now sit together on the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance.

Senator Patti LaBoucane-Benson is Métis from Treaty 6 territory and holds a PhD in human ecology from the University of Alberta, where her research focused on the resilience of Indigenous families and communities.

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Senator LaBoucane-Benson worked for more than two decades with the Native Counselling Services of Alberta and served as conference director and lead facilitator of the Nelson Mandela Dialogues in Canada in 2017. She combines neuroscience and Indigenous knowledge of child development in her work and service to marginalized communities. In addition to forming part of the government representation here in the Senate, she continues to ensure issues of reconciliation and Indigenous leadership are central to her work and ours.

Senator Sandra Lovelace Nicholas is a voice for the Maliseet people and a driving force for advancing and upholding the rights of Indigenous women in Canada. Senator Lovelace Nicholas brought international attention to sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act when she successfully challenged Canada before the United Nations Human Rights Committee and lobbied for legislation to restore status to women with non-Indigenous spouses. For decades, she has continued this fight for equality for Indigenous women and their descendants, most recently through participation in the Senate’s examination and analysis of the implementation of Bill S-3 on which Senator Francis just reported.

Senator Lovelace Nicholas is a recipient of the Order of Canada, the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, an honourary degree from St. Francis Xavier University, and one of the “Famous Six” Indigenous women leaders in this country.

Senator Mary Jane McCallum is an advocate for social justice. Cree Senator Mary Jane McCallum holds a Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Manitoba and numerous honours and awards — most recently, an honourary doctorate from the University of Manitoba. Throughout her career, Senator McCallum has provided vital dental and community health services to First Nations communities throughout Manitoba, particularly in northern First Nations communities. Senator McCallum has worked at the University of Manitoba as an assistant professor and as head of the university’s Aboriginal dental health program and serves as the first Indigenous woman chancellor of Brandon University. In the Senate, she had shared her personal experiences as a residential school survivor, organized information sessions regarding Indigenous law and policy issues and championed initiatives including legislation to recognize National Ribbon Skirt Day and related initiatives promoting gender-based analysis plus, anti-racism in health care, residential school awareness and more, all with the aim of educating and inspiring colleagues and the public to engage in truly emancipatory efforts in the spirit of reconciliation.

Honourable senators, please join me in celebrating these 11 amazing, outstanding friends and colleagues.

To each of you, we thank you for all that you do, all that you are, in this chamber and beyond, to advance a more fair, just and equal future for Indigenous peoples and all of us on Turtle Island.

Chi-megweetch, and endless gratitude.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

(At 5:45 p.m., the Senate was continued until Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 2 p.m.)

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