Skip to content
Previous Sittings
Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 44th Parliament
Volume 153, Issue 65

Thursday, September 29, 2022
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


Thursday, September 29, 2022

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


Business of the Senate

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

Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.


New Senator

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


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

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

Hon. Ian Shugart, P.C., of Ottawa, Ontario, introduced between Hon. Marc Gold, P.C., and Hon. Tony Dean.

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


Congratulations on Appointment

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, it is a great pleasure to welcome the Honourable Ian Shugart as our newest colleague representing the province of Ontario.

Senator Shugart has had a long and illustrious career in Canada’s civil service spanning more than four decades.


From 1980 to 1982, Senator Shugart worked as a constitutional policy adviser for the Leader of the Opposition Joe Clark. As a matter of fact, in that capacity he was hired by the leader’s Chief of Staff at the time, our colleague Senator Harder. During those years, he also worked closely with Jake Epp, a minister in the Clark government whose election campaign had been chaired by our colleague Senator Plett. As Senator Shugart’s career progressed, and he took on the position of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, one of his close associates was our colleague Senator Boehm.

As a constitutional policy adviser during the period 1980-82, Senator Shugart, in all likelihood, spent time in this very building. The constitutional negotiations between federal and provincial counterparts were being held here in the rooms now designated for Senate committee hearings.

Senator Shugart, I imagine that you never anticipated a return to Ottawa’s old railway station in order to take your seat as the newest senator from Ontario.

As we all know, Senator Shugart brings a wealth of policy experience to our chamber in the areas of health, environment, employment and social development and foreign affairs. His knowledge on these matters is a welcome asset to this chamber. His time as Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet capped off a successful career serving governments of both stripes.

Speaking for myself — and all of us, I am sure — I look forward to working with you, Senator Shugart, and I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, on behalf of the opposition and the Conservative caucus, I am pleased to rise in this chamber and welcome our new colleague who was sworn in just a few minutes ago.

Welcome to the Senate of Canada, Honourable Ian Shugart. Please know that we look forward to working in a collaborative way with you in this chamber.

Last night, as I was preparing my welcoming remarks, I reflected on the day I was asked to serve in the upper chamber. It is a day we all cherish — one filled with excitement and anticipation. For most of us, it is a day when we feel the weight of the responsibility that has been entrusted to us. Then it dawned on me — Senator Shugart, as the former Clerk of the Privy Council of Canada, you have been entrusted with the weight of public service for quite some time.

Somehow, I can imagine that your recent conversation with the Prime Minister must have been such a contrast to what you have been accustomed to. This must have been the most pleasant conversation of all the conversations you have ever had — and we all know you’ve had your fair share of discussions over the years as the senior civil servant of the Government of Canada, as well as in the many other roles and responsibilities you’ve had over the years.

Senator Shugart, I have no doubt that you will bring a unique and valuable perspective to our debates and discussions, and I trust that you will always keep in mind our duty to ensure the best interests of Canadians.

Canadians have gone through a lot in recent years. Many feel their voices are not being heard or represented in Ottawa. Colleagues, I encourage all of us here today to take the time to reflect on how we can individually and collectively work together to ensure the best path forward for Canadians across our beautiful country. Canadians are in need of hope that Parliament has their best interests at stake.

The Conservative caucus is determined to provide reassurance to Canadians that we are working for them and endeavouring to put them first.

Senator Shugart, Conservatives have a clear mandate in this chamber, and we are focused. Please know that we look forward to working with you. And if you are ever inclined to work on the most effective team in the Senate, you just need to move one seat over. I know Jake Epp would support that. I know there are senators who have lost their way over the years — I wouldn’t want to point to anyone — but, Senator Shugart, we would welcome you.

On behalf of the opposition and the Conservative caucus, I want to warmly welcome you as you embark on a journey with us in the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.


Hon. Raymonde Saint-Germain: Honourable senators, it is a privilege for me, as someone who recognizes and appreciates the value of public service, to welcome a distinguished public servant, our new colleague, the Honourable Senator Ian Douglas Shugart, P.C.

Your appointment, Senator Shugart, is indeed the culmination of an outstanding career entirely devoted to public service. In accepting this appointment to the upper chamber, you have chosen to continue your dedication to serving Canadians.


Since 1991, you have held numerous senior leadership positions in the federal public sector, including Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Employment and Social Development, as well as Global Affairs. All three portfolios closely related to challenges faced by governments all around the world and challenges at the heart of contemporary issues we must address here at the Senate.

You have served with impartiality and dedication under six prime ministers — a great achievement, as well as testimony to your professionalism and excellence.

Your outstanding journey through the public service culminated in 2019 with your appointment as the twenty-fourth Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet. As the head of Canada’s public service, you helped lead the country through the unprecedented challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latter, we all owe you a debt of gratitude.

With your swearing in today, you find yourself back on Parliament Hill, although on its other side. The multidisciplinary nature of your experience — your in-depth knowledge of public policy, of the subtle relationship between the legislative and executive branches, and of the complementarity between the two chambers of Parliament — makes you perfectly suited to fulfill the duties of a senator.

The Senate must serve for the benefit of Canadians. For that to happen, it is our responsibility to ensure — in this upper chamber of sober second thought — a healthy clash of ideas, while maintaining freedom of conscience and the modern governance that fits the contemporary needs of democratic institutions.

I believe in these ideals, as I know you do. Hence, I look forward to working alongside you in leaning closer toward achieving them.

Through my voice, all the members of the Independent Senators Group congratulate you and wish you a warm welcome to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I’m pleased to join the other leaders in welcoming Senator Shugart as the newest member of the Red Chamber.

As others have already mentioned, Senator Shugart, you have dedicated your career to public service, demonstrating your commitment to Canadians, as well as to the institutions of government.

Most recently, your work as Clerk of the Privy Council tested your abilities to face new challenges. Specifically, you led the public service’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, while also addressing heightened calls to tackle systemic racism in our institutions. In your 28th Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada, you wrote, “Our country needs deep reflection on who we are and who we want to be.” On this — the eve of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation — it feels particularly meaningful.

Though some of us joined the Senate as complete novices, you do have the advantage of already intimately understanding the mechanisms of government. Indeed, you have even appeared as a witness in committee, both in the other place and here in the Senate. I’m sure that those senators who once had the opportunity to question you will now join me in welcoming you to the other side of the table.


As a former teacher, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that you earned another title this month, in addition to that of senator, and that is professor or teacher. I am certain that students at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy will be well served by your wisdom and your expertise.

Senator Shugart, through your lifelong devotion to public service, you are already well aware of some of the challenges you will face in this chamber. Though we are all here to make this country a better place for everyone, we may not always agree on how best to achieve that. Similarly, as we continue to modernize this institution, the same concept holds true. I believe that our work will always be enhanced by this need to balance those often-competing voices. It is clear that your commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as your decades of knowledge and experience, will certainly serve you well in your new role as a senator.

It is always exciting to see what one’s next chapter in life will be, and I am pleased that yours will allow you to continue your service to Canadians. I look forward to working with you and, on behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, I would like to officially welcome you to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Scott Tannas: Honourable senators, on behalf of the Canadian Senators Group, I would like to add my voice today in welcoming Ian Shugart to the Senate of Canada.

Of course, to some senators present here today, sir, yours is already a very familiar face. My colleagues in the chamber have noted Senator Shugart’s significant contributions to the public service in Canada. I know soon he will make an equally meaningful contribution in the Senate and that his addition today to our chamber will strengthen us even more.

Senator Shugart was recently sworn into the King’s Privy Council for Canada, the first to be named under King Charles III. This is a reflection of his experience and the confidence that is placed in him by Canada.

In welcome speeches, senators usually try to dispense some wisdom to newly appointed members of this chamber. Senator Shugart, you have made this an easy task. I will actually use your own words that you once said to a group of new parliamentarians back in January. You said:

Never ever lose that sense of expectancy that brought you here. That sense of purpose that brought you here. That flame should never go out. . . . We are here for a time and a purpose, and that purpose is the institutions and the public welfare. We’re holders of an amazing privilege — to be responsible, to be representative of the public interest.

I could not have said it better, sir. We are all here with the great privilege of representing our regions and scrutinizing legislation in a responsible and sober way.

Welcome to the Senate of Canada, Senator Shugart. We in the Canadian Senators Group look forward to working with you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of the family of the Honourable Senator Shugart: his spouse, Linda, and his daughter, Heather.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize the month of September as Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Sickle cell organizations across Canada use this month to raise the profile of sickle cell disease and to improve the disease management skills of individuals, their families and their caregivers. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to roll out educational activities among care providers, to increase knowledge of the disease and to reduce stigma and systemic racism experienced by individuals when seeking medical care.

This year’s theme is “The Lesser Told Stories of siblings with Sickle Cell Disease.” Lanre Tunji-Ajayi, an active leader within the sickle cell community and president of the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario, speaks often of her experiences as the eldest of eight and having two siblings with sickle cell disease. Lanre continues to support those with sickle cell disease here in Canada and around the world.

Due to the nature of the disease, it is very difficult for those living with sickle cell disease to continue their education and to work at the same time. Because of this, the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario has established the Sunday Afolabi Scholarship Grant and the Sholape Animashaun Scholarship Grant for Canadians with sickle cell disease to inspire and to help them in their pursuit of higher education. Honourable senators, this funding is instrumental in allowing Canadians with sickle cell disease to achieve their dreams while still managing their day-to-day living with the disease.

Honourable senators, it is truly remarkable the work that is being done by Canadians affected by sickle cell disease. Their commitment to furthering awareness and effecting change is second to none. I have been so fortunate to meet many of them, and they have been so open and honest when sharing their stories.

While there is an acute focus during the month of September and for National Sickle Cell Awareness Day on June 19 of every year, it is important that we keep these Canadians in the forefront throughout the rest of the year as well. I urge you to learn more about sickle cell disease and invite you to take part in the virtual Sickle Cell Summit on November 4 and 5, whose theme for 2022 is “Delivering Equity in Sickle Cell Disease, Lessons from the Pandemic.” Those living with sickle cell disease, as well as their families and caregivers, are eager to share their stories with you.

Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Distinguished Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of our former colleague the Honourable Murray Sinclair.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Gender-Based Violence

Hon. Peter M. Boehm: Honourable senators, I rise today to condemn the ongoing and increasing pattern of online abuse, harassment and threats directed at women journalists and, in particular, women journalists of colour.

In a functioning democracy, all journalists need to be able to do their crucial job of reporting the news and holding governments, decision makers and others to account. And, just like the rest of us, they have the right to share their opinions when journalistically appropriate.

The universal right to freedom of opinion and expression is a fundamental tenet of a free and open society. We are indeed fortunate to have that in Canada, but our country is not immune from the troubling, and worsening, global trend of online violence targeting women journalists.

The past few months have seen increasing attacks on women journalists in Canada with vile comments and threats against them on social media. These threats have been amplified by the pile-on effect, made worse by the fact that many perpetrators can remain comfortably anonymous as they spew their hatred. It has reached the point where individual journalists have had to seek police protection. It saddens and angers me that Canadian public figures, including parliamentarians, have either intentionally or unintentionally used their own social media platforms to incite, encourage or tacitly approve of such behaviour.

Sexism and misogyny in media are nothing new. The great journalists who sit as colleagues in this chamber have surely all experienced it. As two-way news platforms and social media sources continue to outperform legacy media, audience interaction has become a key metric in measuring the success of broadcast journalists. This puts added pressure on women journalists in the sense that, to succeed in their careers, they must deal with constant online harassment.

A UNESCO study last year surveyed women journalists from 125 countries. Of all attacks against women journalists, 41% were linked to orchestrated disinformation campaigns designed to smear reputations, decry so-called fake news and spread rumours about journalists’ personal lives; obscene deepfakes are also a problem. Of the journalists surveyed, 30% responded that they self-censored their social media posts, and 20% withdrew from online interaction altogether.

Colleagues, in my previous life as a G7 Sherpa, in 2018, I chaired negotiations on the G7’s Charlevoix Commitment to End Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Abuse and Harassment in Digital Contexts. It did not get the same attention as the antics of one particular summit participant, and I do not have time for details, but commitment number seven stands out for me:

Encourage everyone, particularly men and boys, to speak out strongly against sexual and gender-based violence, abuse, harassment and discrimination.

Honourable senators, that is what I am doing today. I encourage all of you, especially my male colleagues, to join me. Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.



Support for Jurors

Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: Honourable senators, I was very proud and very grateful to you all when I was informed yesterday that the other place passed Bill S-206 unanimously. As you know, the bill, now an act, will support jurors who need psychotherapy and psychological care following a criminal trial.

I would like to thank all Canadians who, for decades, have performed jury duty in our justice system with courage and a sense of responsibility. I thank the witnesses, who had to publicly recount, multiple times, the terrible consequences of their trial experience that burdened them for years because they never had the right to seek professional help without fear of committing a crime. These former jurors placed their steadfast faith in us so that we could make a difference at last this year. Together, we made a difference.

I want to especially thank Mark Farrant, the founder of the Canadian Juries Commission who, for years, has campaigned for the right of jurors to have access to post-trial support. I also want to thank my colleague, Senator Moncion, who, despite a very difficult experience as a juror, provided invaluable support. Your contribution, senator, left an impression on all of us about the experience of a juror. This shows that going through a profoundly difficult ordeal can translate into a positive and essential bill to help those who may have similarly painful ordeals in the future.

Colleagues, you have all contributed to this success and I thank you for that.

Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the tireless work of my colleague in the other place, MP Michael Cooper. He tried moving this bill forward on three separate occasions. He convinced me that the Senate was the best entry point for it to finally pass, arguing that we could no longer ignore the urgency of adequately supporting the needs of Canadian jurors.

I’m sure that the bill’s speedy passage without consideration in committee in the Senate sent a strong message to the other place, in other words, that there is an urgency and that this needs to be done without partisanship. The message was heard and my colleague managed, in turn, to get Bill S-206 passed quickly.

This is the first private member’s bill to pass in the Fourty-fourth Parliament. It is undoubtedly a first that it moved through the process so quickly in both chambers. It is an unequivocal example of our responsibility to be the voice of those who don’t have one, in order to stand up for their needs.

Esteemed colleagues, I conclude my statement knowing that you join me in declaring this to future jury members: You are the pillars of the integrity of our justice system. Today we are recognizing that your experience doesn’t end with the judgment that you may have declared, but that for many of you, it carries on for many years. Today, you are not only authorized to request any help you may need, but you are free to do so, as should have long been the case.

Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Paul Barber. He is the guest of the Honourable Senator Dasko.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Agriculture and Climate Change

Hon. Robert Black: Honourable senators, I rise to speak about the impacts of Hurricane Fiona in the Atlantic region of Canada.

While I am not from the region myself, my focus in this chamber is agriculture, and the Atlantic region is certainly known for its fair share of the industry. From potatoes and wild blueberries to lobsters and dairy, agriculture in its many forms represents one of the biggest sectors in the east.

As we have heard in this chamber this week, this devastating storm has taken lives, destroyed property and left hundreds of thousands without power. Even without the added threat of tropical storms, autumn is one of the most important, and stressful, seasons for our agricultural communities as it coincides with the harvest.

Sadly, this powerful storm hit the East Coast’s fishing and farming industries unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes. In fact, some farmers and fruit growers say they’re worried that they could lose a whole season’s worth of work as a result. Unfortunately, we don’t know the extent of the losses yet. Only time will tell the true cost of this storm.

Earlier this week, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture — a lifelong resident of Prince Edward Island — Mary Robinson took time out of dealing with the storm’s aftermath to speak with me about the destruction and impacts on the agricultural community. She shared with me that:

Many farm families have lost buildings that are integral to their operations. We are seeing significantly greater losses than we’ve ever seen. The Atlantic region needs some kind of prioritization — whether it’s tarp building for dairy farmers or getting manpower out here to clear trees and reinstate electricity to ensure that warehouses that store our crops can actually receive the shipments. We will need to patchwork our way through this harvest season.

CFA President Robinson also highlighted the need for measures to enhance business risk management programs and to strengthen and secure supply chains, all of which will help support Eastern Canada during this challenging time. I am hopeful that governments of all levels will work proactively with the affected region to support their recovery.

At this time, I’d like to thank the many organizations that have already offered their assistance to those in need. I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the important role that agriculture must play in our fight against climate change.

Honourable colleagues, agriculture is one of the most severely impacted sectors, and there can no longer be a disconnect between the Canadian agricultural industry and our climate targets. In just the past few years, we have seen the heat dome, the floods in British Columbia and Hurricane Fiona decimate agricultural communities. We cannot continue to expect the industry to work alone, without the support of the federal government, in making their operations greener, cleaner and more sustainable for generations to come.

Thank you, meegwetch.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Ruth and Rick Layden. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Coyle.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Month

Hon. Pat Duncan: Honourable senators, I rise today on behalf of Senator Ravalia and myself to draw the attention of our colleagues to the ninth month, September. The ninth day of the ninth month has been recognized for more than 20 years in the Yukon as a day to draw attention to fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effect, now termed fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or FASD. Globally, the day is marked as International FASD Awareness Day.

Since 2020, the month of September has been officially recognized throughout Canada as FASD Awareness Month, and is a time to focus Canadians’ attention on what FASD is.

Honourable senators, FASD is the leading cause of neurodevelopmental disability in Canada and is estimated to affect over 1.4 million Canadians, which is 4% of the population. That is more than Canadians with autism, Down’s syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome and cerebral palsy combined.

Individuals with FASD experience significant adverse outcomes and secondary disabilities. Of the individuals with FASD, 90% also have mental health issues. These individuals often struggle in school and at work, and often end up in and out of correctional facilities.

Another significant number — nine — beyond the usual number of months in a pregnancy, is the economic impact of FASD: The estimated annual cost across sectors in Canada, including health, justice, social services and education, is $9.7 billion.

At the outset, I referenced our dear colleague Senator Ravalia. He, Senator Anderson, several colleagues throughout this chamber and I are collaborating to raise awareness about FASD with Canada FASD Research Network, now known as CanFASD.

Honourable senators, FASD is entirely preventable, and many provinces and the territories have a variety of programs to encourage safe and healthy alcohol-free pregnancies. CanFASD has recommended a national approach that includes the best practices of the provincial and territorial prevention programs and, most importantly, a coordinated national, evidence-based approach that supports the caregivers of those affected and standardizes the complicated diagnostic process.

We look forward to discussing these initiatives in the coming days, and we want to encourage honourable senators to meet with representatives of CanFASD and Rural FASD Support Network on their FASD Awareness Day on Parliament Hill on October 20. Today, on this last sitting day of the ninth month, we simply ask that our colleagues recognize the reality of FASD and its impact on Canada and Canadians.

Thank you, colleagues, for your time and attention. Mahsi’cho, gùnáłchîsh.


Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Brian McConaghy and Graeme Illman of Ratanak International. They are the guests of the Honourable Senators Martin and Busson.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Ratanak International

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to a remarkable organization, Ratanak International, based in my home province of B.C.

For over 33 years, Ratanak International has been dedicated to bringing awareness to the horrific issue of human trafficking in Cambodia and has helped so many individuals and families restore the freedoms they were robbed of.

Ratanak International began in 1989 when a little girl by the name of Ratanak died in post-genocide Cambodia. The organization was created in her memory and has since become a powerful movement and organization advocating against child abuse, human trafficking and slavery. Ratanak International is fighting to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our global community and ensuring that they have a voice. They provide essential support to these individuals as they journey down the long and painful road to recovery and finding a way forward.

Last night, Senator Bev Busson and I had the honour of co‑hosting Ratanak International on Parliament Hill along with MP Elizabeth May, MP Arnold Viersen and MP Judy Sgro. It was a truly inspiring and enlightening event, giving each of us a clear call to action as Canadian parliamentarians and the legislative work we can do.

Our newest colleague, Senator Ian Shugart, was also part of the event as he graciously introduced Brian McConaghy, Founding Director of Ratanak International, whom he has known personally for over 40 years. Brian was an RCMP officer at the time of Ratanak’s death and began to work in the midst of a civil war. With his extensive policy knowledge and forensic expertise, he was able to help investigate Canadian sexual predators abusing children throughout Asia and founded Ratanak International. Brian’s leadership and tireless efforts — and that of the entire Ratanak team in Canada and Cambodia — are truly commendable.

Each year, thousands of young women, young men, girls and boys are trafficked and exploited in Cambodia. Their childhood is taken from them and replaced with the fear of being sold into slavery, facing unimaginable circumstances and treatment.

Ratanak International has spent three decades working and building relations and a strong partnership with the Cambodian government to protect these vulnerable individuals in Cambodia. Now, it is our turn to do what we can as legislators to support organizations like Ratanak.

Honourable senators, please join me in acknowledging the work of Ratanak International as they continue to bring light and hope into the lives of many. Thank you.


Income Tax Act

Notice of Motion to Resolve into Committee of the Whole to Consider Subject Matter of Bill C-30

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, notwithstanding any provision of the Rules, previous order or usual practice:

1.the Senate resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 6, 2022, to consider the subject matter of Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (temporary enhancement to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax credit), with any proceedings then before the Senate being interrupted until the end of Committee of the Whole;

2.notwithstanding rule 3-3(1), the sitting be suspended at 5 p.m., rather than 6 p.m., for a period of 60 minutes;

3.if the bells are ringing for a vote at the time the committee is to meet, they be interrupted for the Committee of the Whole at that time, and resume once the committee has completed its work for the balance of any time remaining;

4.the Committee of the Whole on the subject matter of Bill C-30 receive the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, accompanied by no more than two officials;

5.the Committee of the Whole on the subject matter of Bill C-30 rise no later than 95 minutes after it begins;

6.the witness’s introductory remarks last a maximum total of five minutes; and

7.if a senator does not use the entire period of 10 minutes for debate provided under rule 12-32(3)(d), including the responses of the witnesses, that senator may yield the balance of time to another senator.


Jury Duty Appreciation Week Bill

First Reading

Hon. Lucie Moncion introduced Bill S-252, An Act respecting Jury Duty Appreciation Week.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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


Fisheries and Oceans

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Seal Populations

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans be authorized to examine and report on Canada’s seal populations and their effect on Canada’s fisheries, including but not limited to:

(a)how Canada’s seal populations have been managed by the federal government thus far;

(b)the identification of the most appropriate and effective ways of managing seal populations going forward;

(c)how Canada determines research priorities and funding allocations for research related to seals, and any research and/or funding gaps; and

That the committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than December 31, 2023, and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings for 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

Intimate Partner Violence

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Gwen Boniface: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to intimate partner violence, especially in rural areas across Canada, in response to the coroner’s inquest conducted in Renfrew County, Ontario.


Foreign Affairs

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Leader, I want to follow up on my question to you from yesterday about your government’s reluctance to list the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, as a terrorist entity, which you deflected very similarly to what your colleague, Minister Joly, did on Monday. Leader, your government’s foot-dragging on this is truly puzzling especially when you consider that in 2012 the previous government listed Iran as a state supporter of terror.

Senator Gold, why then is the main terror arm of the state not fully sanctioned and listed as a terrorist entity?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. I will not repeat all the steps that the government has already taken to deal with the terrorist activities emanating from Iran. The question of whether additional steps will be taken — who may or may not be listed — is a matter that remains under serious consideration by the government. If any changes are to be introduced, they will be announced at the appropriate time.


Senator Plett: We are continually being told how seriously you take this. Leader, when asked about this the other day, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said that the decision is not up to politicians. That it is “a careful, non-political process undertaken by Canada’s natural security agencies.” Not political.

Senator Gold, it is unbelievable that your government is trying to play this off as something that is not your responsibility, when you take it as seriously as you do, and yet it is somehow not your responsibility. Where there is a national security interest to act, officials respond, Senator Gold.

The question is a straightforward one, a yes-or-no answer, Senator Gold: Does the government believe that the IRGC is a terrorist entity or does it not?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your follow-up question. I’m not going to take the time because I, frankly, don’t think —

Senator Plett: Yes or no.

Senator Gold: I don’t think that I need to educate the Senate about the division and separation of powers in a liberal democracy and how that has served Canada and its national security interests well. Suffice it to say that I stand by and support the statement of the minister to which you alluded.

Crown-Indigenous Relations

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Government leader, last year, the Prime Minister stated on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation that 80% of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action were completed or well under way. Yet, according to the Yellowhead Institute, a national watchdog on Indigenous reconciliation, only 8 of the 76 Calls to Action under federal jurisdiction have been completed. That’s barely 10%.

When will the Prime Minister stop the rhetoric and deliver on the promises he made to Indigenous people?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. This government, unlike any other government before, has taken concrete steps — not simply rhetorical steps — to advance this country on the difficult path toward truth and reconciliation. As many have said, and properly so, the first step is to confront the truth of our history. And certainly on this day, as we anticipate the celebration of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, it behooves us to acknowledge the very important steps that have been taken, the many measures and Calls to Action that are being worked on and are under way, but also to be serious parliamentarians in recognition, as we are told by the elders in our communities and by all interested parties, that this is a long, hard, multi-generation task.

This government has begun the work. In the tradition that I am part of and I’m proud to embrace, it is said that we are not obligated to finish the work, but we are not permitted not to start it. This government has started it. I know the government and the country can count on all of us to continue.

Senator Martin: Yes, but the numbers just don’t add up, leader. According to the government’s own website, only 17 Calls to Action have been completed, yet Indigenous Watchdog calculates that only 7 are completed. And the CBC gives them credit for just eight. So regardless of where you get your figures, it’s clear that the government has fallen way behind on their promise to deliver on reconciliation.

When will the Liberal government pick up the pace and finally deliver on their seven-year-old promise?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question. As I stated, there are many, many areas which are under way. Most of these initiatives are done in collaboration, in co-development with Indigenous communities and leadership, and the government remains committed to continuing on this path.



Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development on Funding Climate-Ready Infrastructure

Hon. Renée Dupuis: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Senator Gold, in his Report 4 on the audit of Infrastructure Canada’s funding of climate-ready infrastructure released on April 4, 2022, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development found, among other things:

 . . . because the department did not integrate Canada’s commitments to meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals into the design of its programs, it did not monitor or report on whether the programs were contributing to these goals.

Why did the department not include targets and indicators into the design of its programs to measure how it contributes or not to achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals by 2030?

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

I understand that the Investing in Canada Plan was established before Canada took action to implement the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. However, I’m told that the objectives of the plan and its programs are directly aligned with the sustainable development goals. Some examples of these objectives are long-term economic growth that benefits all Canadians; environmental and climate sustainability; and communities that are more resilient to climate change.

The government’s investments in infrastructure contribute directly to the sustainable development goals of equality and social inclusion, and environmental and financial sustainability. Infrastructure Canada is tracking these goals and collecting detailed, useful data on the projects it funds and the programs it administers.

The process is constantly changing. I’m told that Infrastructure Canada is working with its partners to improve how it collects and uses relevant data to better assess findings and consequences based on various parameters.

Senator Dupuis: Senator Gold, in that same report from April 2022, the Commissioner concludes that the department incorporated Gender-based Analysis Plus when designing these programs and has collected related data from project proponents, but it hasn’t systematically evaluated or reported on the results. This makes it difficult to track the extent to which programs are making progress, or not, on the government’s equality commitments.

Does the department intend to address this oversight in Gender-based Analysis Plus in the projects it funds? When and how will the department conduct the evaluation? How do the projects it funds help achieve this government’s commitment and when will it report on them?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the supplementary question.

I will have to do some digging and get back to you about several aspects of your question.

To the important issue of GBA+, I’ve been assured that Infrastructure Canada would work with project proponents to report on the parameters relating to gender, diversity and inclusion and to improve measurement and reporting of these parameters in the design of future programs.

As I said, I will endeavour to get answers to the other aspects to your question.


Environment and Climate Change

Canada Water Agency

Hon. Marty Klyne: Senator Gold, the environment minister’s mandate letter includes creating a Canada water agency, or CWA. We’ve seen many issues facing Canadians around fresh water, including drought, floods and water advisories affecting thousands. According to the ministry’s discussion paper, the CWA would provide Canadians with:

. . . a central point of contact for federal freshwater-related questions and an integrated picture of federal freshwater programs and services.

This initiative is an important response to the clear need to manage our freshwater resources, including around climate change and food security.

Senator Gold, can you please update us on the status of this file?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question, senator. I will have to look into the matter and report back as quickly as I can.


Public Safety

Illegal Production of Cannabis

Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Senator Gold, after seven years in power, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have shown the depths of the incompetence in managing services to the public. Let me elaborate.

The issuing of passports has been a complete failure. When someone wants to renew their Nexus card, your government has been recommending for the past two years that they go to the Americans, because the Canadian offices are closed. Welcoming immigrants has been nothing but empty rhetoric. Meanwhile, smugglers continue to enter without a problem at Roxham Road. Now, police chiefs believe that organized crime groups have taken over the production of medical cannabis and that Health Canada has lost control of the licences granted. That’s another well-documented failure. When and how will your government sort out the mess of licences issued without background checks?


Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your comments and question. I’ll try to answer your last question as I’ve already addressed the other issues several times.

As I explained in the chamber a few days ago, problems with the cultivation of cannabis, the revelations about who has obtained licences and the involvement of organized crime are concerns for the government. It is working with its provincial partners and police to address this serious and real problem. Thank you for the question.

Senator Dagenais: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police believes that the criminal production of cannabis is the same or greater than it was before cannabis was legalized in 2017. Do you acknowledge that Prime Minister Trudeau was mistaken to believe that he would put a stop to organized crime by legalizing cannabis?

Senator Gold: I disagree. The data clearly show a movement among cannabis consumers from legal and illegal sources. It will take some time before this crucial change in consumption habits is fully realized. That said, the Government of Canada is proud of its legislation to decriminalize cannabis for those who consume it for personal reasons.


Dental Care Bill

Hon. Claude Carignan: In the past few days, unions and advocacy groups for seniors and the poor held a press conference to present their demands to the provincial political parties currently on the campaign trail. The press conference on dental care was happening at the same time your government was introducing Bill C-31, which will give children under the age of 12 $650 for dental care. Stéphane Defoy, from the Clinique communautaire de Pointe-Saint-Charles in Montreal, considers the idea of sending a cheque to certain families completely inadequate.

He said that he would have liked to see the money being given to the provinces, since health care is a provincial jurisdiction. The provinces could then have created their own dental care plans. Mr. Defoy said:

Ultimately, health care is a provincial jurisdiction. . . . What we want is a firm commitment from each political party.

He went on to say that the federal government should transfer the money to the provinces so that they can create a proper program.

Did the federal government consult the provinces before introducing this bill?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): The program included in Bill C-31, which is still in the other place, is, as everyone knows, a first step to allocating money in the short term to families who are suffering in the current economic climate. It is not a dental plan. It is very clear that the federal government is working directly with its provincial counterparts in health care. There is an ongoing conversation about the amount of money they give to the provinces. That conversation will likely continue for the rest of our lives.

That being said, during the next steps, this chamber can rest assured that the federal government will work closely with its provincial counterparts to ensure that the program respects the needs of Canadians as well as constitutional jurisdictions.

Senator Carignan: My colleague is an extremely intelligent person, and I don’t think he understood my question, based on the answer he gave.

I will rephrase my primary question: Did the federal government consult with the provinces before introducing Bill C-31?

I have a follow-up question. Is the government aware that in Quebec, children under the age of 10 receive free dental care for most dental treatments? Will people still receive $650 even if the care they received was free?

Senator Gold: The clear and direct answer to both questions is that the bill will be sent to us soon, I hope, and that we will have the opportunity to study it and to put questions directly to those in charge of drafting and implementing the bill.



Fiscal Management

Hon. Leo Housakos: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Senator Gold, this question actually comes from Justin in Ottawa. His question is specifically about Employment Insurance, or EI, premiums, which Justin from Ottawa describes as a direct payroll tax, a tax that your government will be raising in a few months at a time when Canadians can ill afford another tax increase. He asks: “Why the Prime Minister chose to raise EI premiums — a direct payroll tax — for him and every other Canadian?”

Of course, government leader, that was Justin Trudeau in 2013 in the House of Commons. In 2022, Mr. Trudeau is trying to claim this isn’t a tax increase, but I digress.

My question, Senator Gold, is why is the Prime Minister raising taxes for Canadians who are already struggling to make ends meet as a result of his fiscal mismanagement?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): The struggles Canadians are experiencing are real. They are not the function of this government’s mismanagement. On the contrary, this government has been there for Canadians and will continue to be there for Canadians with very concrete measures, as I was at pains to elaborate on over a certain amount of background noise the other day in the chamber.

The fact remains that the measures this government is taking are there to secure the integrity and well-being of all Canadians, including their future.

Senator Housakos: Government leader, that’s exactly the response I expected because it’s the response we’ve been getting all along now for years.

We had a Justin Trudeau in 2013 who believed in accountability when he was in the opposition. The irony is, he was trying to hold to account a government that had historically low inflation, a fiscally responsible government and a government that left the country in 2015 with a balanced deficit. Seven years later, we have Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with historic record-high inflation, historic record-high deficits, historic record-high debts and a cost of living that is destroying middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join that class.

At the end of the day, to go back to the question, my supplementary is simple: In the real world, we have something called accountability. It exists in corporations, in academic institutions — it exists in almost every walk of life. Maybe one or two institutions don’t have that realm of responsibility. For this economic inflationary catastrophe that middle-class and poor Canadians are going through, who are we going to hold responsible? Clearly, from your answer, it’s everybody’s fault but the government’s.

Do we hold the Bank of Canada responsible? Do we ask him to resign? Do we blame the two Liberal finance ministers, one of whom was already thrown under the bus to make up for the WE scandal? Is it the current finance minister? Or, at some point, can we hold responsible for “JustinFlation” the Prime Minister in general?


Senator Gold: Senator Housakos, I think we both enjoy some aspects of this, but if my answers are predictable, so too, frankly, are your questions.

This government has made enormous efforts in order to ensure that the Senate returns to its proper role and not simply be an echo chamber of the House of Commons. Alas, that message, I guess, is not accepted by all.

The fact is that inflation and the hardships Canadians are facing are caused by multiple factors, some within and many without our control. It is easy and facile and, dare I say, hardly sober and serious, the need to blame someone for something that is much more complex. It may be satisfying, and it may work well on Twitter clips, but it is not a proper and, dare I say, responsible way to help Canadians understand not only the difficult situation that they are in — and they are — but the help that all parliamentarians should be affording them and that this government is doing its best to provide.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

National Housing Strategy

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Senator Gold, for our questions to be predictable makes a lot of sense because we’re not getting answers. For your answers to be predictable, they shouldn’t be. We should be getting the answers that we are asking questions about. We don’t, so we have to keep asking. Let me ask you a predictable question, leader.

The country’s home ownership rate is on the decline, according to Statistics Canada. The most affected group is young Canadians between the ages of 25 and 29, who are finding it increasingly difficult, leader, to afford the average home in today’s outrageous housing market. Meanwhile, the renter rate has grown at more than twice the rate of ownership of households between 2011 and 2021. Who has been in government during that time?

So this is Trudeau’s Canada, is it, leader? Where young Canadians are being locked out of home ownership and having their futures and opportunities robbed by a reckless government pursuing inflationary policies to no end. What is your predictable answer and solution to this problem, leader?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you. The problem facing young Canadians seeking to enter or stay in the housing market is a very real one, and it is exacerbated, to be sure, by the necessity of interest rates rising to address inflation, a concern that has been raised, properly so, in this chamber many times, even if the government and the opposition disagree as to the causes or even how to describe it.

That said, the Government of Canada, and not merely in the provisions of Bill C-31, which we will receive, but in other measures, is taking steps to assist Canadians in meeting the challenge, whether in acquiring or renting homes.

I’ve mentioned all of these in the chamber before, so in the interest of brevity, I will give you the top lines: provisions to provide financing for the building of new housing stock to create a greater supply, support for those seeking to rent and so on. The Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadians get through this period, and that’s why it has introduced measures such as in Bill C-31 and other bills to assist Canadians.

Senator Plett: Well, leader, you say that the government and the opposition have differences of opinion, and you’re certainly right there. I guess the main thing is that we have statistics and facts on our side.

Regardless of what your government says, regardless of your opinion, the facts indicate that housing is only becoming less affordable for the average household. This is during your government’s tenure. In fact, a report released by the Parliamentary Budget Officer just this morning indicates that the gap between the national average house price and what an average household could afford has increased from 45% in December 2021 to 67% in August 2022.

Leader, this NDP-Liberal government has had six years — well, I guess the NDP hasn’t been part of the government for six years, but it has been part of it for at least the last year — to fix the issue of housing affordability and has failed to develop a plan that works.

When will you stop doubling down on a failing system that hurts Canadians and continues to let supply lag far behind demand?

Senator Gold: Again, Senator Plett, thank you for your question, but it is simply not true and, dare I say, misleading to attribute the rise in the costs of housing to this government.

This government is not responsible for the influx of foreign buyers in certain markets, notably Vancouver, but in my own city of Montreal and Toronto as well, which has inflated the cost of housing dramatically. This government introduced a two-year freeze on foreign buyers to address that.

It is simply not the fault of this government that worldwide supply chain problems caused by the pandemic increased the cost of construction materials exponentially. I can say from personal experience, being at the tail end of a major renovation, how much more it has cost me — and I’m in a fortunate position — and what it must cost all Canadians who are seeking to acquire, build or renovate homes.

Once again, colleagues — and we all know this — these are complicated, multi-faceted, polycentric problems. Although it is totally appropriate, and I embrace the role of the opposition in this chamber to hold the government to account, it is nonetheless allowing me to say that one must be held to account for what is within one’s control and responsibility to control.

In that regard, I think the government’s plans and actions to help Canadians through these difficult economic times stand for themselves and are worthy of support.

Crown-Indigenous Relations

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I have just one quick question.

Government leader, Indigenous communities have grown tired of the inaction on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report. In fact, it took the horrific discovery of 215 unmarked graves to get the government to complete just three of the TRC’s Calls to Action. Yet even then, the Prime Minister chose to go surfing on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Leader, when will the Prime Minister finally admit that he has no real plan to deliver on the TRC’s Calls to Action?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): The Prime Minister and this government are committed, as I’ve said before in response to your earlier question, to do their leadership part to advance us, as a country, on the path of truth and reconciliation.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the time for Question Period has expired.

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 Marshall, concerning the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security — National Defence.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on December 14, 2021, by the Honourable Senator Marshall, concerning the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security — Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on December 14, 2021, by the Honourable Senator Marshall, concerning the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security — Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Public Safety

Canadian Centre for Cyber Security

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Elizabeth Marshall on December 14, 2021)

The Communications Security Establishment’s Supplementary Estimates B 2021-22 included funding to enhance the reliability and security of Government of Canada information technology networks ($15.6M). This funding will enhance and expand the Government of Canada’s existing network. It will also improve the robustness and capacity of the Government of Canada’s connections to the internet and to cloud service providers while providing the security posture (i.e., monitoring and defence capabilities) required to protect Government of Canada data and applications.

In light of the networks upgrade that Shared Services Canada will implement via the Secure Cloud Enablement and Defence project, the Communications Security Establishment will invest $15.6M to upgrade the processing capabilities of our infrastructure in order to maintain our level of cyber defence services, as well as investing now in order to be able to absorb expecting growth in Government of Canada traffic.

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Elizabeth Marshall on December 14, 2021)

Shared Services Canada (SSC) :

SSC’s Supplementary Estimates (B) 2021-22 included funding to enhance the reliability and security of Government of Canada information technology networks. The funding is for the Secure Cloud Enablement and Defence Evolution and the Departmental Connectivity and Monitoring initiative to enhance the reliability and security of Government of Canada information technology networks ($44.0 million). This funding will support the Secure Cloud to Ground operational activities and thereby support Shared Services Canada in delivering up to PROTECTED B secure cloud connectivity to partner departments, which is only one of the numerous cybersecurity projects within SSC’s project portfolio.

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Elizabeth Marshall on December 14, 2021)

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS):

The Government of Canada works continuously to enhance cyber security in Canada by preventing attacks through robust security measures, identifying cyber threats and vulnerabilities, and by preparing for and responding to all kinds of cyber incidents to better protect Canada and Canadians.

On 10 December 2021, Apache (the vendor of the software in question) released a Security Advisory highlighting a critical remote code execution vulnerability in Log4j, a widely deployed logging utility used in a variety of consumer and enterprise services, websites, applications, and Operational Technology (OT) products.

As part of the response to this global security vulnerability, some GC organizations proactively took their online services offline to allow the time to assess the impact and take mitigating steps to prevent potential exploitation. All services are now available.

There has been no indication that GC systems have been compromised because of this vulnerability.



Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Message from Commons

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons returning Bill S-206, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (disclosure of information by jurors), and acquainting the Senate that they had passed this bill without amendment.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.


Business of the Senate

Hon. Raymonde Gagné (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, pursuant to the order adopted December 7, 2021, I would like to inform the Senate that Question Period with the Honourable David Lametti, P.C., M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, will take place on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, at 3 p.m.


Speech from the Throne

Motion for Address in Reply—Debate Continued

On the Order:

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

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

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


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

Hon. Marty Klyne: Honourable Senators, my remarks today follow Senator Harder’s comments of May 11 in this chamber toward a plan for sustainable, inclusive and shared prosperity across Canada. Senator Harder focused on the federal government’s Budget 2022 while highlighting ideas from the Senate Prosperity Action Group’s report last fall. One such idea is a prosperity council, an independent body to support and facilitate federal-provincial collaboration.

As a senator for Saskatchewan and a business person, today I will focus on the need for greater federal-provincial and Indigenous collaboration in Canada on energy, the environment and economic reconciliation. I’ll discuss Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson’s June proposal for regional energy and resource tables, followed by the National Indigenous Economic Strategy announced in June by a coalition of Indigenous organizations. I will close by highlighting ways that a prosperity council, as discussed by Senator Harder, could further collaboration and enhance shared prosperity in our federation.

At the outset, in considering Canada’s economic landscape, I acknowledge the need to control inflation, a global problem with complex causes, including the war in Ukraine. The Bank of Canada plays the key role domestically of managing inflation by adjusting its key policy interest rate. The Senate and our country’s business community respect the independence of that public institution. However, in acknowledging the need to address inflation through monetary policy, I do not think history will remember inflation as the major economic issue of our time; that will be climate change.

This summer, heat waves and flooding pushed people and nations to the edge. It’s not hard to find examples both globally and within Canada. Our hearts go out to the people of Pakistan following the flooding of one third of their country with an estimated 16 million children affected. With climate change contributing to severe weather, Atlantic Canada has faced devastating storms like Hurricane Fiona. Western Canada has experienced extreme drought and dangerously high temperatures. Future generations may view this period as humanity’s last opportunity to avert the worst consequences of climate change.

The Canadian government and Parliament have taken some action but not enough to lower emissions or demonstrate global leadership. Our window of time is closing relatively fast. The good news is that Canada has the resources to help the world achieve a successful transition to net zero. For example, our mining industry finds a generational opportunity with critical minerals such as those used in batteries. We have huge opportunities in lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, copper and rare-earth elements. An energy transition is not possible without such critical minerals; demand for lithium and cobalt is expected to increase by 4,000% by 2050.

In my province, the Saskatchewan Research Council and Vital Metals Inc. are two organizations developing rare earths processing facilities in Saskatoon, the first of their kind to be built in North America. Canada can generate incredible prosperity while helping save the environment, and we can continue to supply the free world with oil and gas during the transition. This can be a win-win, but only if we are serious about turning the tide on climate change.

My province shares rising temperatures with the rest of Canada’s provinces and territories. We also share inflation, taxes, equalization, diversity and the Canadian Constitution. However, we don’t always share political views when it comes to policy objectives and spending, recognizing that this is democracy — government by the people, under the rule of law.

There are many other factors that make Saskatchewan unique. Like every other region in Canada, Saskatchewan has its own unique strengths to build on, competitive advantages to cultivate and challenges to face head-on. That said, as a federation we are collectively much stronger and more globally competitive, with huge potential to advance prosperity, especially when senior levels of government, industry and Indigenous nations consult with each other and collaborate.

Based on my experience in business, regional economic development and Parliament — and considering the challenges and values we share across Canada — collaborative leadership will serve us best. One thing I have learned over the decades about economic development projects — specifically the sizable ones — is that the federal government will not do it alone, and the provinces can’t do it alone.

I’ve also come to believe that advance consultation and collaboration between the federal government and provinces and territories has become paramount in moving the agenda forward, and the many challenges we face as a federation require a whole‑of-nation approach.

For example, a consultative and collaborative approach between the federal government and Saskatchewan should benefit Saskatchewan at its proposed regional energy and resource table, which is an ideal location for Saskatchewan to define our future in a changing economy and ideally collaborate with the federal government to identify and accelerate a common list of the top two or four key economic growth priorities to tackle and take on together. Active consultation, collaboration and building on common ground could deliver success in three related areas that are vital and of mutual interest to Saskatchewan and Canada’s prosperity and well-being: energy, the environment and economic reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

While Saskatchewanians have spirited conversations about autonomy, we should not miss our chance to capitalize on opportunities and build on our reputation for hard work, innovation and patriotism. Saskatchewan has always found ways to simplify complex situations for others by devising made-in-Saskatchewan solutions. We have what the world wants, and we can deliver, working with partners across the country. In polarized times, the centre of Canadian federalism can and must hold, including respect for federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous jurisdictions, public institutions and Charter values.

Mindful of this necessity, what can collaboration achieve for provinces in our country? One achievement already under way is affordable child care, further to the 2021 federal-provincial agreement. That agreement will give many kids a better start in life and help many parents better balance family, business and social pursuits. This example of collaborative leadership is a credit to both orders of government and a model for how to approach other challenges.

On the subject of energy and the environment, on June 1, federal Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson — who grew up, studied and worked in Saskatchewan — launched the first Regional Energy and Resource Tables. This is a constructive effort to bring together the federal and provincial governments, Indigenous peoples, business leaders, industry groups, unions and others to advance key priorities in the natural resources sector.

In July, Minister Wilkinson highlighted many emerging opportunities in his remarks to the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. The Regional Tables initiative involves commencing a phased approach to working-level discussions with provinces. I do expect that when it’s Saskatchewan’s turn, we will embrace this conversation and take our rightful seat at the table to define our future in a changing economy and collaborate with the federal government to identify and accelerate a common list of the top two or four key economic growth priorities to take on together.

Saskatchewan has much to contribute to a greener economy. Our areas of strength include carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies, including the Petroleum Technology Research Centre at the University of Regina; flood and drought mitigation through the proposed expansion of Lake Diefenbaker irrigation, concurrently leading to sustainable agriculture and food processing, setting the table for a burgeoning and incrementally new agri-food sector and, hence, food security; Protein Industries Canada, our plant protein supercluster; Soileos, a new, sustainable, non-polluting and climate-positive micronutrient fertilizer that assists farmers in boosting their yield while at the same time returning carbon to their soil and reducing the need for nitrogen fertilizer in future years; biofuels, including aviation fuel; critical minerals, including uranium from the world’s largest high-grade deposits to fuel regional and other reactors; and small modular reactors.

On that point, SaskPower is currently studying the Estevan and Elbow areas as potential sites for small modular reactors. As an energy leader in the country, Saskatchewan already has the know-how to guide a transition. Many skills and areas of expertise will transfer. Saskatchewanians welcome opportunities to leverage our strengths and create future prosperity while contributing to Canada’s scientifically grounded environmental goals — a just and fair transition.


Speaking of “just and fair,” all these efforts can and must support economic reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. When I speak of the need for collaborative leadership, we know that Indigenous people have often faced one-sided and coerced agreements, exclusion from business and violations of their rights over land and resources.

On June 6, 2022, a coalition of more than 25 Indigenous organizations unveiled a new National Indigenous Economic Strategy with four strategic pathways: people, lands, infrastructure and finance. Their 107 Calls to Economic Prosperity can provide new energy and guidance to discussions between jurisdictions, and should be considered in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP, action plan.

In both the public and private sectors, Canadians’ fundamental responsibility to recognize Indigenous rights and eliminate barriers will unlock capacity and growth, benefiting everyone. One helpful resource is RBC’s June report entitled 92 to Zero: How economic reconciliation can power Canada’s climate goals.

For example, the report notes that achieving net zero:

. . . will rely heavily on vital sources of capital held by Indigenous nations. RBC estimates Canada needs roughly $2 trillion in capital over the next 25 years, much of it from Indigenous sources—or unlocked by Indigenous partnerships, including ownership.

The report outlines four sources of capital held by Indigenous nations. They are: natural capital, including 56% of advanced critical mineral projects, 35% of top solar sites and 44% of wind sites; financial capital, meaning the growing wealth of Indigenous nations, including an estimated $120 billion of trust assets and outstanding land and other claims; intellectual capital, incorporating Indigenous knowledge and traditional values; and human capital, including young Indigenous leaders, entrepreneurs and Indigenous members of the workforce.

On the last point, we have a massive skills shortage in this country in science, technology, engineering and math. The Indigenous population is growing at twice the rate of the non‑Indigenous population. If Indigenous youth are given fair opportunities to gain these skills, they can make valued contributions to our future prosperity. They just need that chance.

In developing the Senate Prosperity Action Group’s report last year, we heard about economic reconciliation from representatives of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, the National Indigenous Economic Development Board, the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association, Cando, Coastal First Nations and the University of Saskatchewan.

We heard that Indigenous-owned businesses currently contribute an estimated $32 billion to the Canadian economy, and Indigenous business leaders have set an ambitious goal of a $100 billion performance target. Let’s make it happen.

The Senate Prosperity Action Group has aimed to contribute ideas towards inclusive and sustainable prosperity. I close by highlighting one idea that could assist in jurisdictional collaboration. To that end, I repeat Senator Harder’s call to create a new prosperity council. This was a key recommendation of our report with the goal of creating a neutral and independent body to coordinate and support federal-provincial engagement. A prosperity council could help by publishing research, convening meetings, promoting dialogue among governments and stakeholders, studying policy options and opportunities and measuring objectives. An immediate goal could be implementing free interprovincial trade further to the 2017 Canadian Free Trade Agreement.

Interprovincial free trade was a goal identified in Budget 2022. According to the International Monetary Fund, Canada could increase our GDP per capita by 4% through a free flow of interprovincial goods. What are we waiting for?

Canadian businesses can also demonstrate to Canadians that working together has huge benefits. Our country shouldn’t be so polarized. We need to push back against partisan incentives aimed at avoiding federal-provincial collaboration.

The Senate can help lower the temperature and maintain focus on Canadians’ shared values and interests. We have a lot more in common than the voices of partisanship suggest.

Let’s work together to succeed together, including in Saskatchewan and across the country. I invite senators to join debate, and let’s look for opportunities to make a difference.

Thank you, Hiy kitatamîhin.

(On motion of Senator Gagné, debate adjourned.)


Motion Adopted

Hon. Raymonde Gagné (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of September 28, 2022, moved:

That, when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, October 4, 2022, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Foreign Influence Registry and Accountability Bill

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Housakos, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wells, for the second reading of Bill S-237, An Act to establish the Foreign Influence Registry and to amend the Criminal Code.

Hon. Pat Duncan: Honourable senators, I note that this item is at Day 14. Therefore, I move that further debate be adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate for the balance of my time.

(On motion of Senator Duncan, debate adjourned.)

The Senate

Motion to Call on the Government to Denounce the Illegitimacy of the Cuban Regime—Debate Continued

On the Order:

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

That the Senate call on the Government of Canada to:

(a)denounce the illegitimacy of the Cuban regime and recognize the Cuban opposition and civil society as valid interlocutors; and

(b)call on the Cuban regime to ensure the right of the Cuban people to protest peacefully without fear of reprisal and repudiation.

Hon. Pat Duncan: Honourable senators, I note that this item is at Day 14. I move that further debate be adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate.

(On motion of Senator Duncan, debate adjourned.)


Motion Pertaining to the Residential School System Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator McCallum, seconded by the Honourable Senator Dean:

That the Senate of Canada:

(a)acknowledge that racism, in all its forms, was a cornerstone upon which the residential school system was created;

(b)acknowledge that racism, discrimination and abuse were rampant within the residential school system;

(c)acknowledge that the residential school system, created for the malevolent purpose of assimilation, has had profound and continuing negative impacts on Indigenous lives, cultures and languages; and

(d)apologize unreservedly for Canada’s role in the establishment of the residential school system, as well as its resulting adverse impacts, the effects of which are still seen and felt by countless Indigenous peoples and communities today.

Hon. Mary Coyle: Honourable senators, as we gather here today in Canada’s upper chamber, on the lands of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people — on the eve of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation — I rise to add my voice in support of Senator McCallum’s Motion No. 10 and to encourage us to vote in favour of this important motion today.

To remind us, the motion reads:

That the Senate of Canada:

(a)acknowledge that racism, in all its forms, was a cornerstone upon which the residential school system was created;

(b)acknowledge that racism, discrimination and abuse were rampant within the residential school system;

(c)acknowledge that the residential school system, created for the malevolent purpose of assimilation, has had profound and continuing negative impacts on Indigenous lives, cultures and languages; and

(d)apologize unreservedly for Canada’s role in the establishment of the residential school system, as well as its resulting adverse impacts, the effects of which are still seen and felt by countless Indigenous peoples and communities today.

Senator McCallum’s motion is asking us — my fellow senators — to admit, to acknowledge and to apologize.

Colleagues, the evidence is clear. In this very chamber, we have all heard Senator McCallum recount her own excruciatingly painful experiences of residential school. Colleagues, in her speech introducing this motion almost a year ago, Senator McCallum quoted James Minton, who said:

We must be acutely aware that the crimes of residential school systems cannot be reduced to the injuries [experienced] by surviving individuals—for residential schools systems were not aimed at individuals, but rather at peoples . . . .

Colleagues, in 1879 — just 12 years after our chamber was established — Nicholas Flood Davin was sent by the Canadian government to investigate Indian education in the U.S.

Soon after, his report recommended boarding schools as a way to reduce “the influence of the wigwam” and as the best option for Indians “to be merged and lost” within the nation.

In their article “Genocidal carcerality and Indian residential schools in Canada,” Andrew Woolford and James Gacek state about Davin’s report:

Soon after his report, several government-sponsored boarding schools opened.

From this time, until the last Canadian residential school closed in 1996, 150,000 children passed through these schools, often spending ten months a year from as young as four or five years of age to as old as eighteen or nineteen. While in residence, they faced an assimilative education that taught them to despise their Indigenous identities . . . . The schools were administered by Christian denominations, namely Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, and Presbyterian. They were spaces of horrifying physical and sexual violence, where children spent half of their days in lessons and the other half working to offset the costs of their education . . . . Conditions at the schools were defined by poor nutrition, insufficient clothing, inadequate medical care, as well as crowding and poor ventilation. Thus, the schools were often deadly environments. The [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] of Canada —

— led by our former colleague the Honourable Murray Sinclair —

— estimates that at minimum 6000 children perished while attending residential schools. Many others left the schools with a feeling of detachment and loss, unable to fit into the white world into which they were supposed to be assimilated, but also unable to return to their home communities since they no longer felt connected to their cultures. Entire generations of Indigenous children went without the experience of familial socialisation, cultural education, and a strong sense of community attachment. The reverberations of this experience continue today, with high levels of physical and sexual violence, substance abuse, health and mental health challenges, and other indicators of marginalisation present within many Indigenous communities and connected to cycles of violence that began in the residential schools.

Our colleague Senator Brian Francis reminded us in his speech sponsoring Bill C-5 — which helped create the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action No. 80 — that the actions of creating and operating the residential schools were:

. . . based on racist assumptions about the intellectual and cultural inferiority of Indigenous people and their ways of knowing and being.

The efforts of the residential schools to assimilate, convert and civilize Indigenous children through brutal means had the intention of “killing the Indian in the child.”

Colleagues, while preparing myself to participate in our special Arctic Committee’s visit to that region in 2018, I spoke with people who were working in the school system in Nunavik in northern Quebec.

I will never forget what one of the senior educators told me about the ongoing impact of the residential school system there. She said that the residential schools were no longer needed to kill the Indian in the child; in fact, their devastatingly harmful legacy is now causing the children to kill themselves in such large and tragic numbers.

Colleagues, in Statistics Canada’s 2019 report on suicide rates among Indigenous peoples in Canada, the suicide rate among First Nations people was three times higher than that of non‑Indigenous people.

The suicide rate among Métis people was twice as high as that of non-Indigenous people. And the suicide rate among Inuit people is nine times higher than that of non-Indigenous people in our country.

Colleagues, I could read you the many achingly painful personal testimonies of residential school survivors recorded through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

I could cite many articles on the intergenerational trauma experienced by the descendants of residential school survivors. I could cite the sorry numbers on Indigenous language loss. I could talk about the ongoing racist treatment and mistreatment of Indigenous Canadians in our health care system.

But I believe the evidence before us is so overpoweringly clear that racism is the basis on which the residential school system was established and operated — and that the manifestations of its horrific impacts on Indigenous people and their communities further fuels that very racism today, as well as exacerbates and perpetuates the harms and human rights abuses they experience.

Honourable colleagues, now let’s turn back to the motion before us, asking us to admit to, to acknowledge and to apologize for this tragic and unjust racist reality of residential schools and their harms.

Colleagues, our very chamber would have been complicit in approving these laws, policies and programs — and complicit in not protecting the children, the families and the communities who were harmed. The residential school system was a cruel and, sadly, effective instrument of genocide.

As one very small step toward reconciliation on this day — the eve of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation — honourable colleagues, let’s admit and acknowledge the truth about residential schools, as articulated in this motion. And let’s respectfully apologize as representatives of our respective provinces and territories, and collectively as the Senate of Canada.

Colleagues, let’s take this step toward rebuilding trust and toward healing our important relationships with Indigenous peoples and communities across Canada.

Thank you, Senator McCallum, for your initiative and for providing all of us with the opportunity to do the right thing.

Wela’lioq, thank you.

Hon. Patti LaBoucane-Benson: Honourable senators, I rise on the territory of the Algonquin and Anishinaabeg people to speak in favour of Senator McCallum’s Motion No. 10.

I want to thank my colleague Senator Coyle for that beautiful speech. You got my heart pounding. It was very well done. Thank you.


Colleagues, in the beginning, when the European settlers first arrived, the nature of the relationship with First Peoples has been described as a relatively peaceful coexistence. The relationship wasn’t great. It wasn’t even good. Nonetheless, there was a dialogue beginning between First Peoples and individual settlers, which, if allowed to expand and flourish, held real potential.

However, at the very same time, the country we now know as Canada also began to take shape. The government needed to secure Crown land, create an international border, create a system of individual land ownership and sell our natural resources to pay for it all.

Indigenous people were viewed as a barrier to progress and therefore needed to be moved off the land and absorbed into this process of nation building. To accomplish this, the government promoted three fundamentally racist assumptions: One, that Indigenous people were primitive and uncivilized; two, that they were godless and heathen; and three, that they were childlike and unable to make decisions for themselves.

Those ideas — those lies — were used to justify all the laws, policies and programs the government used to segregate and forcefully assimilate First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. Combined with the obvious language barriers between settlers and First Peoples and the pre-existing fear many settlers had of Indigenous people, settlers never really got to know who Indigenous people were.

How would individual settlers have had the chance to understand this beautiful Indigenous interconnected worldview? Communities and nations were deeply interconnected, creating a complex and robust safety net for children to ensure their protection, education and positive identity and vocational development.

In addition, at the time of settlement every nation had a legal tradition, a constellation of strict laws, values and ethics that guided the behaviour of all members. But, again, how would settlers have known?

Senator McCallum’s motion first proposes that the Senate acknowledge that racism, in all its forms, was a cornerstone upon which the residential school system was created. She asked us to acknowledge the racism and to acknowledge the far-reaching intergenerational impacts of the residential school system.

One definition of racism is:

. . . the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another. . . .

There is ample evidence that the government of first England, then Canada used those racist assumptions to distinguish Indigenous peoples as inferior to justify the laws and policies passed to control every aspect of their familial, social, political and spiritual lives.

This included the Indian residential school system, which had three components. First was to break the bonds of kinship by removing children from the influence of their family and community for the majority of their childhood.

In 1908, the then minister of Indian affairs Frank Oliver predicted that residential schools’ attendance would “elevate the Indian from his condition of savagery.”

Later, Duncan Scott, deputy superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs, stated frankly that the provision of education to Indian communities was necessary, for without it Indigenous people would be an undesirable and dangerous element in society .

Honourable senators, the bonds of kinship were broken so significantly that the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples reported that:

Aboriginal children learned to despise the traditions and accomplishments of their people, to reject the values and spirituality that had always given meaning to their lives, to distrust the knowledge and lifeways of their families and kin. By the time they were free to return to their villages, many had learned to despise themselves.

Second, residential school attendance was meant to stop the development of an Indigenous identity through acculturation into European culture and Christianity. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples found that the focus of residential schools was not education, and the school staff were not trained teachers. In fact, a departmental study found that as late as 1950:

. . . over 40 per cent of the teaching staff had no professional training. Indeed, some had not even graduated from high school.

Most teachers were priests or nuns, who focused their efforts on the Christianization of children and the destruction of the cultural and spiritual expression of Indigenous people.

And, senators, the assumption that Indigenous people were godless and heathen was an appalling misunderstanding. Children raised in their loving families, in that web of deep, caring relationships, had a profound connection with their loving Creator. They certainly didn’t need religious conversion.

The truth is that Duncan Campbell Scott was absolutely aware that the residential schools were providing a poor quality of education that was well under the standards of that time period. He was also aware of the lack of funding for the schools and neglect by the Department of Indian Affairs. Undernourished children with depressed immunities living in overcrowded, unsanitary dormitories led to the spread of disease, like tuberculosis, among the children, who died without proper medical attention. And there was a doctor.

Between 1904 and 1914, the chief medical officer for the Department of Indian Affairs, Peter Bryce, wrote numerous reports detailing the unsanitary conditions of the schools and the very high rate of death of the children. In addition, in 1907, he did a special inspection of 35 different Indian schools in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which the government never made public. It said:

Regarding the health of the pupils, the report states that 24 percent of all the pupils which had been in the schools were known to be dead, while of one school on the File Hills Reserve, which gave a complete return to date, 75 percent were dead at the end of the 16 years since the school opened.

He offered sensible recommendations to the government to fix the problem.

Dr. Bryce, a professor from McGill, also wanted to bring the tragedy of the high rate of death of Indigenous children to a meeting of the Canadian Tuberculosis Association. The federal government not only blocked the discussion but did nothing to attempt to stop the spread of TB in the schools and took no action to provide medical attention for sick children. They essentially condemned the children to a painful death.

Again — this was 1914 — the government knew better and chose not to act in the best interest of the children. They didn’t think Indigenous children were worth the expense or the trouble. Dr. Bryce called it “transparent hypocrisy.”

Bryce noted that, at home and with good sanitation, Indians had a higher birth rate and a lower infant mortality rate than non‑Indigenous people and therefore should see significant population growth. And, if the same quality of health care would have been provided in Alberta to Indigenous peoples “. . . much might have been done to prevent such a splendid race of warriors as the Blackfeet from decreasing,” noting that the actual loss of population for that community was 40%.

Finally, Bryce worked to ensure that the development of a bill for a Department of Health — our very first Canada Health Act — would include Indian medical service. However, the bill entered second reading with the Indigenous clause removed. Bryce despaired that the Minister of Health:

. . . could with all the accumulated facts and statistics before him condemn to further indefinite suffering and neglect these Wards of the Canadian people, whom one Government after another had made treaties with and whom deputies and officials had sworn to assist and protect.

This led to a complete confusion between provincial and federal jurisdiction — does that sound familiar to anyone? — that resulted in no one claiming responsibility to ensure Indigenous people received adequate health care.

Bryce even tried to convince the government to do better, noting that in 1914, 2,000 Indigenous people had already volunteered to fight for the empire in the First World War.

Honourable senators, we are often accused of judging the past based on today’s standards. The truth is that bureaucrats knew they had a problem, but didn’t want to spend the money saving the lives and properly educating Indigenous children because the third and final goal of residential schools was to eventually free the government of any treaty obligations by assimilating Indians through enfranchisement. Children who didn’t survive were no longer their problem.

Finally, Senator McCallum asks us that the Senate apologize unreservedly for Canada’s role in the establishment of the residential school system.

I spent a lot of time reading the Debates of the Senate from 1920. They were very instructive. In 1920, the Senate debated the amendments to the Indian Act that would make residential schools mandatory. Senator Lougheed, the government sponsor of the bill, argued that Senate should pass the bill, stating that the schools were:

. . . manned by competent teachers; Indian children have been taken from their parents and furnished with educational advantages and desirable influences, . . . .

Nothing could have been further from the truth.

The critic, Senator Bostock, was highly suspicious of the bill, stating:

I think it’s a serious matter indeed for the Government to undertake to take these Indian children in this way and separate them from their parents and their home surroundings and to put them in boarding schools, which, if careful inquiry were made, I think we might find were subject to certain objections and not altogether satisfactory.

Senators, they knew the conditions of the schools were bad.


In fact, Senator Bostock made a compelling argument regarding the difference in the Indigenous mentality and how it is largely misunderstood by White people. He argued that the Indian would see the situation differently and that the government should take into consideration the position of Indigenous leaders very carefully. He wanted the government to consult with Indigenous leaders.

Further, he had consulted with the Indians of British Columbia, stating:

I think they have shown every desire to have their children educated and trained and that the children themselves have shown that they have a mentality that makes them capable of acquiring information and of responding very quickly to the training they are given.

It appears they were advocating for day schools, which would allow for children to stay with their families while acquiring an education.

The bill’s sponsor was not persuaded. He said:

In many cases it is very desirable to take the children away from the demoralizing influences which surround them in their homes. The children are placed in those boarding schools, under not only moral, but religious influences . . . .

Colleagues, senators knew that Christianization was a primary goal. The fact that the schools were not even run by the government but through contracts with the church was also called into question. Senator Turriff, who also opposed the bill, asked what the educational record of the schools was. He mused that surely, after 25 years, there should be Indian teachers, doctors, lawyers and farmers. The bill’s sponsor replied that he didn’t have the statistics, and blamed poor educational outcomes on the nomadic nature of the Indians.

Senators, reading the Debates of the Senate makes it obvious. They knew the school conditions were bad, the educational outcomes were poor and that Indigenous leaders didn’t want their children to attend. They also knew it was immoral to remove children from their families and communities. But they went along with it anyway.

For these reasons, the Senate has ample reason to apologize. By passing this motion, the Senate will finally apologize for our institution’s role in an atrocity that was perpetrated on generations of Indigenous children and continues to affect the lives of people to this day.

Senators, if you agree, I would like to call the question on this motion. Hiy hiy.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

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

An Hon. Senator: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(At 4:03 p.m., the Senate was continued until Tuesday, October 4, 2022, at 2 p.m.)

Back to top