Previous Sittings
Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 44th Parliament
Volume 153, Issue 82

Tuesday, November 22, 2022
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


THE SENATE

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

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

Prayers.

SENATORS’ STATEMENTS

Grey Cup 2022

Hon. Brent Cotter: Honourable senators, what I did for the weekend made me proud and privileged to be a Canadian. On Friday, I went to a citizenship ceremony in Saskatoon. It was probably the largest ever in Saskatchewan. Three hundred and six people took the oath to become new Canadians. Overseen by citizen judge Suzanne Carrière, an outstanding citizenship judge, it was an uplifting, emotional experience. I am grateful to be a Canadian.

Then, on Sunday, my brother and I — and I know Senator Smith is waiting for this part — went to the Grey Cup football game in Regina. I had bought tickets to the game back in August when it looked like my beloved Saskatchewan Rough Riders would be playing in the game. Alas, that did not happen by a mile.

The game was between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Toronto Argonauts. It was an outstanding event, and my congratulations go out to the Canadian Football League, or CFL, my friend Scott Banda, who is the chair of the board of the CFL, Commissioner Ambrosie and particularly the good citizens of Regina who delivered another outstanding Grey Cup celebratory event — an uplifting Canadian event. In my view, the Grey Cup and the two national curling championships, the Brier and the Scotties, are the most quintessentially Canadian sporting events we have in this country.

Now to the game. There is a convention in many regions of the country that we only cheer for Toronto teams when there is no one else to cheer for. On the other hand, there is a law in Saskatchewan — it is part of The Saskatchewan First Act that you might have heard about. It’s clause 13 of that act. Clause 13 is a particular number in the hearts of Saskatchewanians, as Senator Smith will know. Clause 13 is written in the act in invisible ink. Only Saskatchewanians can read it. I can read it. Here is what it says: “Saskatchewan Rough Riders first in our hearts. Winnipeg Blue Bombers last in our hearts.” Nevertheless, I was cheering for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the game. I may have some explaining to do back home.

The game was a fascinating one with perhaps the most dramatic finish in the history of the Grey Cup. Toronto won by one point. Congratulations to the Toronto Argonauts as Grey Cup champions for 2022.

With respect to Winnipeg, though, they are an outstanding football team harkening back to the dynasties — some will remember this as sports fans — of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the 1960s when people like Kenny Ploen, Leo Lewis and Ernie Pitts were stars, and they were coached by Bud Grant, perhaps the most outstanding football coach in professional football history.

It is quite possible that the Winnipeg loss in this Grey Cup is merely a modest interruption in what may well be for modern day Winnipeg Blue Bombers the building of another — the word I want to say next is dynasty, but I can’t quite bring myself to say it.

Congratulations to all. Grey Cup 2022 was an outstanding Canadian event. Thank you.

Some 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 Dr. Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Denise Pictou‑Maloney. She is the guest of the Honourable Senator Audette.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to also draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Camilla Daun Rizzi, Zoe Côté, Radia Sentissi and Philippe Trancart. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Audette.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

(1410)

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Denise Pictou-Maloney

Hon. Michèle Audette: Good afternoon, honourable senators.

[Editor’s Note: Senator Audette spoke in Innu.]

Greetings, all.

Colleagues, I rise before you today with a great deal of love and emotion, and a tremendous amount of pride. As you can see, you have before you strong women, gentle warriors.

[English]

These are women who walked thousands and thousands of miles to advocate, stood against the odds and never gave up — ever. These women never gave up on raising awareness and ensuring that a national inquiry into, and justice for, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls would come to life. On top of that, I had the utmost privilege to be advised by them during the national inquiry. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are awesome, you are amazing — all of you.

Among these wonderful women, of course, is a special friend Denise Pictou-Maloney, the daughter of Anna Mae Pictou‑Aquash, a prominent American Indian Movement activist who was brutally killed in 1976. Denise and her family have fought hard to obtain justice for her mother. Today, there is a film crew following Denise on her journey. The story of her mother will be immortalized and broadcast, which also means that her mother’s legacy will live and the truth will win.

[Translation]

Colleagues, these women are some of the architects of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It is the history of all these women, the history of too many women who have lost a loved one.

[English]

I want to say thank you to the National Family and Survivors Circle for your advocacy on behalf of my daughter and all young girls across this country.

[Translation]

When I question the government about implementing calls to justice, the importance of having an ombudsman, a follow-up and accountability mechanism, a tribunal, my voice is the voice of thousands of women who deserve for their safety to remain a priority.

[English]

A year ago today I was sworn in as a senator — you are my gift today. Thank you very much.

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 Kamengo Cultural Troupe from Uganda. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Bovey.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

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

Eighth Report of Indigenous Peoples Committee Tabled

Hon. Brian Francis: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the eighth report (interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples entitled Voices of Truth and Reconciliation: Voices of Youth Indigenous Leaders 2022 and I move that the report be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

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

[Translation]

Canadian Postal Safety Bill

Bill to Amend—First Reading

Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond introduced Bill S-256, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (seizure) and to make related amendments to other Acts.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

[English]

Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association

Annual Session of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly, July 2-6, 2022—Report Tabled

Hon. Patricia Bovey: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canada‑Europe Parliamentary Association concerning the Annual Session of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly, held in Birmingham, United Kingdom, from July 2 to 6, 2022.


QUESTION PERIOD

Agriculture and Agri-Food

Support for Farmers and Producers

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Senator Gold, potato farmers in Prince Edward Island are still reeling from the impacts of the export ban on P.E.I. potatoes, which forced them to destroy some 250 million pounds of potatoes and is estimated to have cost the industry more than $50 million. While shipments to our southern neighbour have resumed as of April, farmers in P.E.I. are concerned that the damage is done, with the loss of long-term customers in the United States. Andrew Smith, a farmer in Newton, is quoted in a recent CTV article saying:

We lost that business and it’s gone, and I would expect it’s gone to an American grower who doesn’t have to deal with protectionism at the border.

As it currently stands, there is still a ban on seed potatoes, which comprises roughly 10% of the Island’s annual output, pending the outcome of a more thorough review by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that could take years to complete, Senator Gold.

Leader, I think our farmers have been patient enough. When will you finally give the farmers in Prince Edward Island an immediate plan with actionable steps to ensure the restoration of full market access?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. The government, first of all, shares the pride of our P.E.I. potato producers’ long history of producing the best, highest quality potatoes in the world for Canadians and international consumers. We know the issue to which you refer has touched the lives of many Islanders, from multi-generational family farms to packers, shippers and many others.

I understand that, while additional potato wart detections are possible, the risk of spread is heavily mitigated by science-based measures, including those in the Potato Wart Domestic Long Term Management Plan and the potato wart Ministerial Order. This is an important industry for all of Canada’s economy, and the government has provided significant support to help farmers through this difficult period, including about $28 million for the Surplus Potato Management Response plan to support potato producers during these trade disruptions. The government will continue to work with potato farmers to alleviate the burden that they still face.

Senator Plett: Senator Gold, it is clear that your government’s policies are directly working against farmers on various fronts. As if the import ban wasn’t enough to worry about, they also have to deal with inflated costs brought on by this government’s failed economic policies. P.E.I. has stated that this year’s potato crop was the most expensive crop on record due to the rising costs of fertilizer and diesel fuel. In many cases, producers find their fertilizer bills have more than doubled, and it goes without saying that if costs for farmers are rising, it will surely be felt by Canadians at the grocery store. It already is.

(1420)

Senator Gold, is your government prepared to acknowledge that its policies are driving up costs at the farm gate? Or does the Prime Minister insist on continuing to ignore what farmers across the country are telling him?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question, senator. The government is not ignoring what farmers are saying, or, indeed, what any other constituency in this country is saying. The government’s policies on the economy have demonstrated to help Canada through a most difficult time. The government will continue to support our economy as it goes forward, and all sectors of the economy. With regard to the issue of fertilizer and other policies, the government is committed to continuing these policies to help us transition to a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Finance

Departmental Results Report

Hon. Elizabeth Marshall: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Senator Gold, during this fiscal year, we have approved the Main Estimates, Supplementary Estimates (A) and the Budget Implementation Act. We are now studying Supplementary Estimates (B) and the 2022 Fall Economic Statement. But the government has still not released the Departmental Results Reports for last year. That was eight months ago. This was the subject of much discussion at the Finance Committee this morning. My question is: When will the government table the Departmental Results Reports, where are they and what is the problem?

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

The Departmental Results Reports are a useful tool, as you quite pointed out. The last ones were tabled in February, and they informed the scrutiny of the Main Estimates in March. As the senator would know, there is actually no legal deadline for the tabling of the Departmental Results Reports, but — as I believe I reported in response to an earlier question of yours not so many weeks ago — I understand that the government is still tracking to table the next departmental results this fall, and we still have a bit of fall left in us.

Senator Marshall: Thank you for that answer, Senator Gold, but the spending plans of the government — most of them have been approved, and we’re nearing the end of the approval processes. Therefore, when we do get those documents, it’s going to be after the fact and they’re not going to be much use to us.

But just continuing with the government’s lack of transparency and accountability, the government has provided a number of debt management strategies over the past two years, telling us what they are planning to do with regard to the government’s borrowing program. However, we have not received any actual reports, such as the Debt Management Report. We are still waiting for that from last year. When are we going to get that report? We have all these spending plans to approve, but we’re not receiving the government’s accountability documents that we need in order to complete our studies.

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question. I will have to make inquiries with regard to when we might expect those, and I will be happy to report back.

Employment and Social Development

Employment Insurance Regional Boundaries

Hon. Pat Duncan: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate. Senator Gold, in June of this year, George Rae, Director of Policy Analysis Initiative at Employment and Social Development Canada, told senators at the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry that the Canada Employment Insurance Commission reviews the boundaries for EI economic regions at least once every five years. He said the last one was concluded in 2021. Pierre Laliberté, Commissioner for Workers, Canada Employment Insurance Commission, also said the review is complete. The next review will start next year in 2023.

My question is: What did the review recommend about Prince Edward Island’s two zones, and when, if at all, is the minister intending to share these recommendations with parliamentarians and, more importantly, with Canadians? They do not appear to have been made public.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. I don’t know, and I will have to make inquiries. I know that this is a bill that we in the Senate sent — at least a bill dealing with the P.E.I. situation — to committee, and I’m hopeful that the answers may be elicited and provided there, but, in any event, I will make inquiries.

Senator Duncan: Thank you to the Government Representative for that answer. Would you please provide us with a written answer that details the recommendations that were made after this initial review? These recommendations that were done do not appear to be public, and the committee has not had a chance to look at them. Would you please provide us with a written answer detailing the recommendations, and also when those recommendations might be made public?

Senator Gold: Thank you. I will certainly make inquiries, and I will respond back to the Senate with the answer that I can provide as quickly as I can provide it.

[Translation]

Health

Health Care Transfers

Hon. Julie Miville-Dechêne: Senator Gold, my question is about the conflict between Minister Duclos and the provinces over health transfers. Health is a provincial responsibility, which is what makes this impasse so frustrating. This is not shared jurisdiction.

The nub of the problem seems to be the federal government’s desire to attach certain conditions to the transfers so that everyone works toward building “a world-class health data system.” We already have the Canadian Institute for Health Information, a not-for-profit organization whose board of directors includes a Health Canada deputy minister, an official from Statistics Canada and officials from the provincial health care systems.

Why is the government trying to reinvent the wheel and add another layer of bureaucracy rather than speedily transferring its fair share to the provinces?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question. I’ll answer briefly, but it raises some complex issues. Life would be very simple if every time the provinces asked for more money, no matter how it was used, the federal government said yes. That’s not how responsible government works.

Unfortunately, discussions between Minister Duclos and his counterparts were unsuccessful because of the premiers’ influence over their health ministers. They insisted that the money should be transferred without conditions and that they wanted a meeting with the Prime Minister as soon as possible. This is not how the Government of Canada should respond on an issue as important as health care funding.

With respect to your question, I think it’s appropriate for the federal government to ask the provincial and territorial governments to share their data in order to give Canadians, no matter where they live, access to the most appropriate health care system possible for a developed country.

Senator Miville-Dechêne: I agree with you on the issue of sharing data. However, we already have the Canadian Institute for Health Information, which involves the provinces and the federal government. I understand what the government wants to create, according to the expert advisory group that it established, and I will quote what this new organization is supposed to be so that you can properly understand my question:

Implementation . . . would be advised by a competency-based Health Information Stewardship Council (Council) and facilitated by one or more representative Learning Health System Table(s) (LHS Table(s)), accountable to the Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) Conference of Deputy Ministers of Health. . . .

The LHS Table(s) would work with the Council to establish integrated roadmaps to implement the learning health system and secure investment . . . .

Senator Gold, my question is simple. Why does the government prefer to create a new organization that it describes with such administrative gibberish rather than using an existing organization that has a clear and functional mandate?

Senator Gold: I have to admit that I don’t have a direct answer to your question. The reason why the government asked the provinces to share their data is clearly because what we had was inadequate to best serve Canadians. That said, I’ll inquire with the government and try to obtain a more direct answer to your question. Thank you.

(1430)

[English]

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs
Indigenous Services

Performance Indicators

Hon. Brian Francis: Senator Gold, according to a report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who testified last week at the Indigenous Peoples Committee, the significant increase in funding allocated to Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, or CIRNAC, and Indigenous Services Canada, or ISC, from 2015 to 2023 has not resulted in a commensurate increase in their ability to meet their own performance indicators. In addition, while targets are often amended, changed or not met at all, the compensation of deputy ministers and other executive-level staff responsible for day-to-day operations is not affected.

Senator Gold, could you please provide us with a detailed explanation of how current performance indicators are set and measured by both departments? Also, what are the contributors, consequences and solutions for the continuous failure to meet performance indicators?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question, and for the confidence that you have in me to have the answers at hand. Regrettably, I don’t, but I will certainly make inquiries and report back.

Finance

Alcohol Excise Tax

Hon. Robert Black: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

The government’s Budget Implementation Act, 2017 introduced a tax provision on beer, wine and spirits which would result in an automatic increase to excise duties at the rate of inflation every year. When the escalator alcohol tax measure was first proposed, Canadian brewers, wineries and distillers indicated to the government that it was a bad idea to impose a permanent, automatic tax-increase mechanism that would not take into account economic conditions.

They were not alone in calling for its removal; in fact, the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance passed an amendment to the Budget Implementation Act, 2017 to remove that escalator tax. However, it was ultimately unsuccessful in the other place, and this chamber did not insist upon the amendment.

As such, we will see an increase in alcohol taxes of over 6% this coming April.

Canada already has some of the highest taxes in the world: On average, 47% of the price of beer, 65% of the price of wine and 80% of the price of spirits are allocated to taxes. As of 2021, Canadians were already paying about $20 billion per year in alcohol taxes. Any further increase in tax will harm not only our breweries, wineries and distilleries, but also those along the supply chain.

Senator Gold, will the government commit to re-evaluating the alcohol escalator tax to ensure Canadian consumers, alcohol producers and those involved along the supply chain — from agriculture, to manufacturing, to the food services industry — are taxed fairly?

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

Like other taxes and benefits, senator, the alcohol excise duty rate is automatically adjusted each year to account for inflation. The government is of the view that this is the right approach, and that it provides certainty to this sector while ensuring that our tax system is fair for all Canadians.

My understanding is that the increase to which you refer is less than one fifth of one cent per can of beer, and there were specific measures implemented to take into consideration the needs of craft brewers. The government is committed to continuing to work to make life more affordable for Canadians — while working to promote healthy competition, thereby building the economy of the future.

Senator Black: Senator Gold, we know that bars and restaurants were deeply impacted by the pandemic. Further increases in alcohol tax will increase their already-high operating costs, and will reduce their ability to attract customers and retain employees as these businesses continue to work to survive. I would like to highlight that the escalator tax not only impacts the hospitality sector, but also the agriculture and agri-food sector, other supply-chain members and consumers.

I think many of you would agree that now is not the time to increase alcohol taxes on Canadians, or on our struggling restaurants, bars and domestic alcohol producers.

Senator Gold, as we all know in this chamber, the government is already working on measures to implement Budget 2023. In the interests of saving all Canadians money, will you ensure your government is aware of this issue, and remind them of this chamber’s amendment in 2017, as they prepare for their upcoming budget implementation act in 2023?

Senator Gold: Thank you, senator. I will certainly make the government aware.

We are all aware of the burden that the pandemic imposed — not only on the hospitality industry but on many businesses. I will repeat that the automatic tax will raise the tax on a can of beer by less than one fifth of one cent. I would hope that responsible bar and restaurant owners will not pass on a disproportionate amount of that increase to their customers.

Public Safety

Organized Crime

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Senator Gold, under the Trudeau government, Canadian streets are less safe, and that is a fact. We see this reflected in a recent report from Statistics Canada which shows the national homicide rate has increased for a third consecutive year. Moreover, nearly one quarter of killings in 2021 were connected to gangs. Without a doubt, this displays your government’s utter failure to address the gang problem that has been steadily growing over the last four years.

Senator Gold, does your government acknowledge that its soft approach on crime has facilitated this increase, and does it take any responsibility for all of the harm inflicted on innocent Canadians?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): It must be great to be the opposition because you can say whatever you want with no accountability.

No, the government does not accept this characterization of its approach to addressing crime — nor is it appropriate, in my humble opinion, to use the tragic rise of gun violence, and the impacts that has on communities, including my own, to score political points.

This government is serious about controlling illegal firearms. It has put into place serious gun legislation and measures, over the objection of some members in this chamber and in the other place, in order to address gun violence in this country. It will continue to do so in the best interests of Canadians.

Senator Plett: The utter lack of respect the government has for Canadians is shameful. To accuse the opposition of not having the proper questions — questions that you do not like, Senator Gold — is also reflective of that. You may not like our questions, Senator Gold, but you are obliged to answer them honestly.

Leader, even in the face of growing evidence that suggests that your plan is not working, your government continues to double down on its soft-on-crime approach that leaves Canadians vulnerable. We saw that last week, Senator Gold.

The Prime Minister continues to proudly proclaim that he took action on gun violence, but he didn’t. What he did was take action against people who aren’t hurting anyone, and never will. That same Prime Minister has also reduced penalties for dangerous people who use illegally acquired guns in the commission of gang-related crimes. These are facts, Senator Gold.

When will your government stop making it easier to be a criminal in Canada and start working to keep victims and Canadians safe?

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Gold: The government’s suite of measures that it has introduced to reform the criminal justice system — to crack down on the illegal importation and sale of drugs, and the illegal use of assault weapons — are designed to make Canadians feel safer. They are designed to be responsible responses to a serious social problem. The government will continue to act responsibly to that end.

Senator Plett: If the government acts responsibly, that would mean they would start to act responsibly, not continue to. We have seen no evidence of any of that in the last seven years.

National Defence

Operational Capability of Armed Forces

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): My next question, Senator Gold, relates to an answer I received to an Order Paper question I posed some time ago related to the operational ability of the used fighter planes that the government purchased from Australia in 2018. The answer indicated that out of 18 used aircraft purchased, only 6 are operational. There are no opposition points to be made here. Each aircraft apparently requires a month of extensive inspections and modifications prior to being made operational.

All of this means that the used aircraft we have bought will not be in full operational service until at least the middle of next year, assuming that even that deadline can be met.

Leader, how does your government justify the fact that it argued that these aircraft were supposed to fill a gap and yet here we are, Senator Gold, four years later with only six operational aircraft from that purchase?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. I will certainly have to look into the details of the specific aircraft that require additional maintenance. I am sure that all senators would agree that, until those airplanes are properly reviewed and properly maintained, they should not fly. I will certainly make inquiries and report back when I can.

(1440)

Senator Plett: Sure, so let’s buy some more airplanes that are not operational. We would also support that they not fly.

Leader, in 2015, the Prime Minister loudly proclaimed that he would not buy F-35 fighter aircraft. Here we are, seven years later, and the government has apparently changed its tune, though we still don’t have any confirmed purchase of any new aircraft. Instead, we bought 40-year-old F-18s from Australia, and we have been forced to extend Canada’s equally old CF-18s in service.

Leader, will you table a report in this chamber on what the total cost has been to buy and then bring these 18 used aircraft to operational condition? Will you also table a report on the additional costs involved in keeping our equally old CF-18s operational until new aircraft finally arrive?

Senator Gold: I will make inquiries and report back.

Finance

Fall Economic Statement 2022

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Leader, Canadians are bracing for a recession in 2023 and are adjusting their budgets to prepare for the economic uncertainty that will come with it. Your government, however, is not doing the same. Rather, in typical Trudeau fashion, the NDP-Liberal government is continuing to do more of the same, which is to spend like the good times will never end.

The Minister of Finance keeps assuring us that the government is being prudent, yet her recent fiscal update projected spending to be $472.5 billion this year. That is $20 billion more than her budget forecasted back in April, which already contained $90 billion in extra spending compared to pre-pandemic. Leader, is this what you and your government call fiscal prudence?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. The government’s Fall Economic Statement and its management of the economy are proving to be sound and responsible. Federal spending dropped 21.6% between 2020-21 and 2021-22. I understand the most recent job numbers released by Statistics Canada show that our labour market gained over 100,000 jobs in October, with an unemployment rate of 5.2% below pre-pandemic levels. Our rate of real GDP growth remains at 2.3% — above its pre-pandemic level back in the fourth quarter of 2019. Our growth remains strong. S&P recently reaffirmed our AAA rating with a stable outlook, and this further highlights Canada’s responsible fiscal framework.

In addition, I note that in the recent update of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, or PBO, it states:

For the current fiscal year 2022-23, PBO projects the deficit to decline to $25.8 billion (0.9 per cent of GDP) under status quo policy.

It goes on, “. . . the budgetary deficit is projected to decline further, reaching $3.1 billion (0.1 per cent of GDP) in 2027-28 . . . .”

Canada came into the pandemic with the lowest net debt‑to‑GDP ratio in the G7, and we’ve increased our relative advantage throughout this period.

Senator Plett: It sure is difficult to defend the indefensible, isn’t it?

Leader, you will appreciate that this is undoubtedly a source of great confusion and concern for Canadians. On the one hand, they hear economists sounding the alarm about a recession and cautioning against increased spending during an inflationary period. On the other hand, they see their government carrying on with its spending in direct opposition to the advice of economists.

Leader, does your government use different economics textbooks than Canadian economists, and, if so, can you please share them with Canadians?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question. As the Minister of Finance reported, and as many economists have affirmed, this government’s position, as reflected in the Fall Economic Statement, is a balanced and responsible one. Yes, there is some targeted increased funding to help Canadians, students and others, get through this difficult time, which is still affecting them — indeed us all — because of the rising cost of living.

At the same time, the government has set clear targets and has exercised considerable restraint in spending so as to not run counter to the policy that the Bank of Canada has implemented and is implementing to fight inflation. This is a responsible, balanced approach, and it is serving Canadians well.

Employment and Social Development

National School Food Policy

Hon. Leo Housakos: Government leader, the Leader of the Opposition attempted to get some straight answers, and clearly all he got was talking points about what a great job the government has done.

I can tell you that, in the last couple of weeks, I have been meeting with people on the front lines, with middle-class and poor communities, directors of school boards and teachers. There is a sad and historic fact that kids are going to school with hungry stomachs. There are currently soup kitchens with record demand in our city of Montreal.

Don’t tell us what the government has done so successfully, because what I got back from teachers and school board directors is that kids are showing up with no supplies, old shoes and boots, worn-out coats and hungry stomachs. Don’t tell us the successes, because these are facts; we can tour the school boards together in Montreal. Tell us how this is going to be resolved.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): This is a serious problem, and thank you for raising it. One in five kids go to school hungry. Those of you who watch “Les coulisses du pouvoir” would have seen Minister Gould just this past Sunday explain the work she has begun with her counterparts across the country to see if a proper national policy and framework for food security for students can be implemented. It will not be an easy task, given exclusive provincial jurisdiction over education and health. Nonetheless, it is the responsibility of all Canadians to make sure that our kids are properly supported when they go to school.

This government is taking the lead in initiating that with provinces and territories, and I hope, as I’m sure we all do, that they succeed.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

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 Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P., Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, will take place on Thursday, November 24, 2022, at 2:30 p.m.

[Translation]

Substantive Equality of Canada’s Official Languages Bill

Bill to Amend—First Report of Official Languages Committee on Subject Matter—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages (Subject matter of Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act, to enact the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act and to make related amendments to other Acts), tabled in the Senate on November 17, 2022.

Hon. René Cormier: Honourable senators, I rise briefly today to speak about the report of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages tabled in this chamber on November 17 in relation to the subject matter of Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act, to enact the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act and to make related amendments to other Acts.

People have been waiting many years for the Official Languages Act to be modernized given that the last major reform of this quasi-constitutional act dates back to 1988.

The Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages produced five reports on this issue between 2017 and 2019 following a comprehensive study involving the participation of many people and industry stakeholders. Obviously, the idea of modernizing this act is nothing new.

Since May 31, 2022, as part of its pre-study on the subject matter of the bill, the committee held eight meetings, heard from 41 witnesses and received 22 briefs.

The committee placed a particular focus on the study of certain parts of Bill C-13, namely the provision regarding the bill’s purpose, Part VII, the new powers of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and the new legislation on the use of French in federally regulated private businesses.

I want to sincerely thank all the committee members for their hard work and commitment throughout this pre-study process. I would also like to thank the witnesses as well as the organizations and individuals who appeared or submitted a brief during this process.

Centred around seven main themes, this report sets out the committee’s general observations on selected issues that either achieved consensus or divided the experts and stakeholders.

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The committee is asking the federal government to consider, without delay, the various issues raised in this report.

Colleagues, I believe that the numerous and varied reactions described in this report demonstrate that Bill C-13, once passed, will shape the future and the vitality of our two official languages and our country. I also believe that this report will help you to reflect on the merits of this legislation.

As chair of this committee, I am therefore pleased and honoured to have tabled this report in the Senate.

Thank you. Meegwetch.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

The Estimates, 2022-23

National Finance Committee Authorized to Study Supplementary Estimates (B)

Hon. Raymonde Gagné (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate), pursuant to notice of November 17, 2022, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023; and

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

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[English]

Citizenship Act
Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Jaffer, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cormier, for the second reading of Bill S-235, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Hon. David M. Wells: Honourable senators, I note that this item is currently on day 15, and I therefore move that further debate be adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate for the balance of my time.

(On motion of Senator Wells, debate adjourned.)

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

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

(On motion of Senator Dean, debate adjourned.)

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Yvonne Boyer moved second reading of Bill S-250, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sterilization procedures).

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

(On motion of Senator Boyer, debate adjourned.)

National Framework for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Ravalia, seconded by the Honourable Senator Duncan, for the second reading of Bill S-253, An Act respecting a national framework for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Hon. David Richards: Honourable senators, this is Senator Ravalia’s bill that I will speak to in support.

I grew up in an area where, years ago, 15-year-old boys carried wood on their backs to the yard in the fall and skipped school to work in the holds of ships for $1 an hour and, coming from very little, made decent lives for themselves, never took a penny that was not theirs or committed a crime, and so I believe in self‑determination and integrity as much as anyone in this chamber.

However, there are those so damaged in the womb, they come to the world with very little hope of integrity or knowledge of self.

My sister-in-law fostered children with fetal alcohol syndrome for many years. She did so because of an obligation, having had a foster brother with fetal alcohol syndrome and no longer knowing where he is or, in fact, what jail he might be in. He is in his late 40s and she is not really sure if he is still alive. He asked her the last time she saw him if she knew why he was in jail because he did not himself know or remember.

You might recognize fetal alcohol children; their features are ever so slightly altered. Many times they have a flat surface where the nose ridge should be. Oftentimes they cannot stand noise, and worse, as children, many cannot stand another’s physical touch, so a bond with someone like her foster brother to my sister-in-law was almost impossible.

Sometimes anything at all will unsettle a fetal alcohol child and she or he will begin to scream and be unable to stop. Therefore, from the time of birth, they are in their own world and no one else’s. But they are also susceptible to suggestion because so often they have a need and a desperate wish to belong to others. They turn up anywhere someone may care for them and do things in the hope that they too may be liked or loved.

They are also blamed by the parents who cannot handle who they are or what they, the mother and father, through their own addiction to alcohol, have created when the fetal alcohol child begins to create mayhem in the house. “If it were not for you, I would not be drinking. You are the one who caused all of this.” So many of them have heard this as children from the time that they were six years old. In the world that they were in, they begin — and parents often allow this and welcome it — to drink and do drugs themselves. I have seen six-year-old boys drugged and drunk, and by eight the parents have fled, and they too are in foster care.

They are sent to foster homes, and, as in the case of my sister‑in-law’s brother, finally no foster home can hold them and they end up on the street or in jail, sometimes for acts they cannot remember having done. My sister-in-law is afraid she will get a call to tell her that her brother is dead, and the love she has had for him and the sacrifices she made for other children, both White and First Nations — that in fact she has given much of her life to — will not have mattered.

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In fact, it is a brutal scenario no social worker is really equipped to handle and certainly one that no judge or police officer can mitigate fully — not that they do not wish to, not that they have not tried.

“Why did you do such-and-such?” my sister, a judge in New Brunswick, has often asked young men and women with fetal alcohol syndrome, hardly older than boys and girls. There is no answer except one of the most prevalent ones: Someone put it into their head to do so, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Like the burning of houses along our street. Four houses were set alight by a First Nations boy with fetal alcohol syndrome. It could easily have been a White boy. People escaped with their lives, but the pets were lost, and one man rushed back in, desperately trying to find his three cats. The young fellow had picked that side of the street. He could have picked ours. And later, when they asked him why, he said he didn’t really know.

Someone said to me that this proves that they shouldn’t be born. But to me, it proves something else. It proves that all life is sacred, and through our own folly and missteps, we have lost our responsibility toward them, or their parents have, and all of us must begin to recognize this.

There is no mandate that will ever stop reckless or even criminal behaviour. The lives of many women and their partners are in turmoil; many have had little or no chance. The idea of social drinking is almost obligatory where I come from and where many of us come from. Still, I support this bill brought forward by Senator Ravalia and hope that his suggestions are given full weight, and anything that can be done, even in small measures, should be.

Labelling on bottles, as Senator Brazeau has suggested, is long overdue. And every bar in Canada might have a sign saying, “Alcohol consumption can be extremely detrimental to your unborn child, and excess drinking will cause fetal alcohol syndrome.”

As well, a functioning national database and programs to educate are needed from one end of the country to the other to indicate the serious nature of this problem.

If even these small measures had been in place some years before, my sister-in-law might not be seeking in vain to find her brother, lost in a network of jails, and the houses on my street might not have been burned in the middle of the night.

For these reasons, I ask for your support of Senator Ravalia’s bill. Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Martin, for Senator Ataullahjan, debate adjourned.)

Food and Drugs Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Patrick Brazeau moved second reading of Bill S-254, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (warning label on alcoholic beverages).

He said: Honourable senators, first, by introducing this bill, I would like to thank individuals from the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria, in particular Dr. Tim Stockwell, Dr. Tim Naimi, Dr. Adam Sherk, Kate Vallance and Ashley Wettlaufer.

I rise today to propose a modest but essential amendment to the Food and Drugs Act to require honest labelling — a cancer warning — on alcohol products.

Most Canadians know that excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to their health. Everyone knows that over time alcohol can damage the liver. We are all aware that binge drinking can lead to loss of judgment and bodily control. More and more people are aware of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. And many know about the devastating consequences on the roads caused by intoxicated drivers.

[Translation]

For those who don’t know, honourable senators, a recent report states that impaired drivers on our roads kill four Canadians per day. Some of us may be aware of the cost of alcohol abuse in terms of lost productivity, health care and the criminal justice system. In 2017, those costs were estimated at $16.6 billion according to the Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms report.

However, what most Canadians do not know, honourable senators, is that alcohol causes fatal cancers. Alcohol consumption causes at least seven fatal cancers that we know of. Even in small amounts, it causes cancer of the mouth and throat, vocal cords, esophagus, breast, liver and colon.

[English]

As Dr. Tim Stockwell, a senior scientist with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria, says, “Even drinking one drink a day increases your risk of some cancers . . . .”

This data is not in dispute. This is not hypothetical. The greater the amount consumed, the higher the risk that one will get one of these cancers.

Most anti-cancer efforts focus on the cure or disease management. Considerable strides have been made in allowing people to live longer while managing their cancer. These are admirable aims.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, I think that just as much if not more effort should be made in terms of prevention. Research shows that only one in four Canadians knows that alcohol can cause cancer. I was part of that 25%. That’s not enough. Today, people, especially young people, want to know what is in their food and beverages. They also want to know who is making their clothes and how the materials in their electronics are being mined. That is their right. Most consumers don’t know that alcohol can cause deadly cancers and they have the right to know that. They have the right to know what they are putting in their bodies.

[English]

As Dr. Tim Naimi of the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria says, Canadians can quickly determine the amount of calcium in their can of peas from the label. Yet, when buying a “calorie-dense, potentially addictive, intoxicating carcinogen,” none of this information is conveyed on the label.

Canadians learn a lot about food and drinks through labels. Except for alcohol.

Consuming peas does not raise the risk of developing seven fatal cancers, Your Honour. But consuming alcohol does.

Alcohol is a drug which seems to enjoy a unique place in our culture. It seems to escape the warnings placed on other harmful drugs.

[Translation]

Why, honourable senators? Illusions and myths are part of the reason. The assumption that young adults can drink wine at the family table and thereby learn to be responsible drinkers is part of our charming cultural folklore. The fact is, people who drink at a young age are more likely to become heavy drinkers later in life.

Another popular belief is that drinking small amounts of red wine is beneficial to health. Although some very minor health effects have been noted, these have been greatly exaggerated. An overwhelming amount of data shows the opposite. In fact, the World Heart Federation has emphasized that alcohol doesn’t protect heart health. Not only does it not protect it, it is harmful to heart health. Let me be perfectly clear. The myth that alcohol is beneficial for heart health might help boost sales, but it is completely false. It’s unfair to allow consumers to continue to believe that alcohol has health benefits.

Here’s what this bill isn’t about. This bill isn’t paving the way for a new era of prohibition. Honourable senators have likely heard the criticisms about excessive moralization and the reintroduction of prohibition. This bill doesn’t impose prohibition. No one will be forced to drink contraband alcohol in speakeasies and we won’t go back to a time of bootleggers trafficking moonshine; not at all, but nice try. The purpose of this bill is simply to protect consumers. Canadians have the right to know what they are consuming and the adverse effects on health.

[English]

Next, this bill is not the nanny state run amok. There is also some agitation about the nanny state and government overreach when it comes to making labels honest. Images of a heavy‑handed, joyless parliament are trotted out. But, Your Honour, informative labels are not about stealing joy. The labels I’m asking for are to provide necessary health information.

Providing basic health risk information is not overreach. It is a basic responsibility of industry. And if industry won’t do it — for any one of the many sincere sounding reasons lobbyists will argue — it becomes the basic responsibility of Parliament to step in.

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Canadians deserve nothing less than honest, straightforward cancer warning labels on their alcoholic beverages. Those who push the overreach narrative may, in fact, be called the “lobby state,” where sophisticated, well-financed campaigns conspire to tell consumers that it is in their best interests not to have products honestly labelled.

Your Honour, this bill is not anti-business. Some have accused this effort of being anti-business by asking for cancer warning labels. This is nonsense. Businesses should label their products honestly.

During the regulatory process, industry, along with public health and cancer researchers, will have plenty of opportunities to work with regulators to determine the specifics of the cancer warning label. Telling the truth about their products should be the cornerstone of every business.

Certainly, they would rather not have customers know that their product is directly linked to at least seven fatal cancers. That’s hardly a good selling point, but it is the case, and consumers have the right to know.

If dramatic warnings about the anti-business nanny state reintroducing prohibition doesn’t stop this bill, lobbyists will be ready with yet another weapon. I call this the “We will do anything for love, but we won’t do that” argument. I thank the late, great Meat Loaf for the inspiration.

Here, lobbyists will impress parliamentarians with how much they are doing for the community in many other ways. They will provide glossy educational pamphlets and will point to their messaging about drinking responsibly. They will argue that this is already working well, that industry and government are working well together, so why rock the boat with this cancer label fearmongering?

If these arguments seem familiar, Your Honour, that is because they were deployed extensively by the tobacco lobby. It’s exactly the same song: Our product doesn’t cause cancer, and if it does, we shouldn’t have to label it. Look at all the good we do in the community by providing jobs, sponsoring sports and culture and so on. Why punish the hard-working men and women who work in our industry? This is what we will hear.

It is commendable, Your Honour, that industries fund worthwhile community projects. We can all applaud these initiatives. But such good works should never be used as a moral shield, as a way to squirm out of their responsibility to tell the stark truth about cancer risks to consumers.

I am asking my colleagues to resist the lobbyists’ siren song long enough to hear me out. Let me take you through the four things the bill requires labels to have.

At paragraph 5.1(a), we are asking that the label indicate what constitutes a standard drink because research shows that Canadians do not know what a standard drink is. How can they follow health guidelines or intelligently make decisions about their drinking if they do not have this basic information?

Paragraph 5.1(b) further asks for the number of standard drinks per container. Currently, some people believe a bottle of wine contains two or more standard drinks. Some think it contains one. How are consumers supposed to make informed, intelligent decisions about their risks of fatal cancers if they do not know this basic information?

Paragraph 5.1(c) is asking for input from Health Canada regarding the dosage of this carcinogen. The risks should be clearly and plainly stated.

Finally, and most importantly, in my view, paragraph 5.1(d) requires a plain language, easily accessible and understood message about the direct link between consumption of the product and several types of fatal cancers.

This is the cancer warning. It is the crux of the bill. If we are to reduce the number of loved ones being taken before their time, it is absolutely essential to provide this information directly and plainly to consumers.

Cancer is pernicious and insidious. A person can do everything right, and still get it. It can claim the young and old, the health conscious and the person that abuses substances.

We know that it can seemingly strike out of nowhere, and that to a great extent, all of us are vulnerable. But, Your Honour, I hope I am making myself clear here. This chamber can help reduce the number of fatal cancers of the mouth, throat, vocal cords, breast, liver and colon.

[Translation]

By supporting this bill, Canadians will be better equipped to fight cancer. As a result of direct and simple labelling, Canadians will receive the information they need to make informed choices about their own health.

Will deaths due to mouth, throat, vocal cord, esophageal, liver, breast and colon cancer decrease overnight? No, not necessarily, but they will decrease because Canadians will have the medical facts before consuming alcohol.

Some ignore cancer warnings, and we understand that. As I said earlier, we are not a nanny state and adults have a choice. However, many more Canadians will heed the warning. We hope that many will read the warning and moderate their consumption.

They will start keeping a personal record of their weekly consumption. Some will do so deliberately, others will do so subconsciously. They will know what a standard drink is, the number of standard drinks in the package and when they increase their risk of developing a fatal form of cancer.

[English]

Will lobbyists be upset? Yes. Yes, they will be. But tobacco lobbyists were upset about cancer warnings, too, back in the day. Tobacco lobbyists had many expensive temper tantrums, providing a great deal of work for the legal profession. Court cases about tobacco and cancer drag on to this day. But through honest health labelling, everyone who smokes cigarettes is fully aware of their increased cancer risk.

To summarize, Your Honour, I am not standing before you today, as a person who struggled with alcohol abuse, on my high moral horse preaching abstinence to my colleagues. While I am happy to be almost three years sober, my own issues are entirely beside the point. I am here as a person concerned with reducing the number of cancers in Canada.

I fought a boxing match against a certain Prime Minister to raise money for cancer research. I did that to honour my late mother, who died of cancer in 2004.

Your Honour, obviously, we cannot prevent all cases of fatal cancer, but we can make a significant dent in cancer deaths by honestly labelling alcohol products. The choice is always with the consumer, as it should be.

The role of government is to intervene as lightly and as infrequently as possible. We are not telling people how to live their lives, Your Honour. There is, in my view, a role for Parliament in insisting that consumer products are labelled honestly.

Alcohol is a Class 1 — or Group 1, as some prefer — carcinogen, the same as tobacco smoking and asbestos, and that information needs to be on the label. With Bill S-254, it will be.

Thank you, Your Honour.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Jim Quinn: Will the senator take a question?

Senator Brazeau: Absolutely.

Senator Quinn: Senator, I applaud the initiative you are taking here, but we now have a warning on alcohol products regarding potential defects during pregnancies. You have listed many things that you would see on the bottle, but the main message, as I take it, is the correlation between alcohol consumption and the potential to promote cancer within a person.

Is there a way to consolidate it and bring it down, as is indicated on cigarette packaging? As I understand it, it says “Smoking can cause cancer.”

What I hear is a lengthy description to go on a label. Would it not be better to consolidate and get that main message through?

Senator Brazeau: Thank you, senator, for the question. As I said, the crux of the bill is not to suggest, but, because of the science and research, to say that even drinking minimally can cause cancer. It is that simple.

Obviously, this bill needs to get to committee so we can have the real experts debating, discussing and recommending what should be done in terms of the actual labelling, but the message is drinking alcohol causes cancers.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

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Criminal Code
Judges Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Dalphond, seconded by the Honourable Senator Harder, P.C., for the second reading of Bill C-233, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Judges Act (violence against an intimate partner).

Hon. Nancy J. Hartling: Honourable senators, November is Family Violence Prevention Month in New Brunswick, so for me, it’s an important month to speak to Bill C-233, sponsored by our colleague Senator Dalphond. Recently, he spoke so passionately about the need for this important legislation. I also spoke not long ago on Inquiry No. 10, where I outlined some of the major issues faced by women who are victims of intimate partner violence in rural Ontario.

In New Brunswick, the Silent Witness Project honours women who were murdered by their intimate partners. Currently, the travelling exhibit includes 50 life-sized red silhouettes of these women and their stories. These stories are compiled by their loved ones on engraved metal plates, which are secured to the chest of each silhouette. Sometimes family members may put a scarf or a personal item around the silhouette’s neck.

One of the Silent Witnesses that touched me deeply is Monique Breau’s story from Moncton, New Brunswick. On December 19, 2005, at the age of 36, she was shot by her estranged common-law partner whom she hadn’t spoken to in nine months. He entered her home and fatally shot her and then turned the gun on himself. Monique was a nursing mom. When she was shot, she had her three-month-old baby in her arms. Monique’s two-and-a-half-year-old child was in a bedroom nearby. When the police arrived, it was a grim scene, and it was just before Christmas. Monique was a physiotherapist at our Moncton Hospital, and everyone was saddened and shocked by what happened. She was described as an honest, generous and fun-loving person. She was an outdoor enthusiast and loved painting, gardening and volunteering. No one knew the danger she was in, and now her two children are orphans as a result of this horrifying act.

I believe this story emphasizes the dangers of violent partners, especially as women are at the highest risk after separation. It also highlights that the victims of violence are not just women but their children as well, whose homes are so often destroyed. Monique’s two children didn’t just witness violence; they experienced it and will live with the consequences forever. Any act of intimate partner violence is an act of violence against the whole family, especially children. Reforms such as those proposed under Bill C-233 can help prevent and contain violence, but much more is needed. If I can make an analogy about domestic violence, ending intimate partner violence is like building a house. We need a foundation. We need the walls, the rooms and the roof. We need all the pieces put together to form a complete house. A national framework to end gender-based violence is imperative.

Here are a few important statistics: Between 2014 and 2020, there were 576 victims of intimate partner homicide in Canada, 80% of whom were women; 43% of women have experienced psychological abuse in their lifetime at the hands of an intimate partner; 23% have experienced physical violence; 12% have experienced sexual violence; and 30% of women who experienced intimate partner violence reported experiencing it repeatedly.

The psychological abuse often comes in the form of coercive control, an insidious and difficult-to-detect type of violence in which an intimate partner engages in a pattern of behaviours intended to isolate, humiliate, exploit or dominate their victim, thereby stripping away their freedom and their sense of self. Coercive control leads to a tightening grip on the victim and asserts the power of the abuser over every aspect of the victim’s life. Coercive control is a significant predictor of violence and murder.

In the 2022 report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women, Towards a Violence-Free Canada: Addressing and Eliminating Intimate Partner and Family Violence, the committee noted the importance of recognizing coercive control in all areas of Canadian law. I note that in 2019, the update to the Divorce Act enacted through Bill C-78 took a step in the right direction by outlining how courts should consider patterns of coercive and controlling behaviour in a relationship with a family member in their assessment of the impact of family violence. This does not criminalize coercive control per se, though some bills such as Bill C-202, currently at second reading in the other place, do.

Bill C-233, on the other hand, seeks to further entrench the concept of coercive control in the justice system not by criminalizing it but rather by providing for training opportunities and seminars for judges. Though I believe coercive control should be criminalized, my views are informed by the committee’s observation that some witnesses expressed concern with the ability of the justice system to manage such a new offence, particularly if the system is not even nuanced enough to understand physical violence, let alone such an insidious act of violence like coercive control. I therefore believe that the training prescribed by Bill C-233 would provide the foundation for greater reforms.

Pamela Cross, Legal Director of Luke’s Place, observed that jurisdictions that combined the criminalization of coercive control with dedicated training programs were more successful than those jurisdictions that did not. In this light, by equipping judges with the most up-to-date and in-depth knowledge on the effects of coercive control, I believe we will be laying the foundation for greater access to justice for victims. I think the impact of such training would be immediate. It would dispel unfounded beliefs held by some judges that violence against a mother should not be considered a risk to the child.

In fact, the portion of Bill C-233 that compels training for judges is called “Keira’s Law” in reference to Keira Kagan. In her testimony to the House of Commons Status of Women Committee, Keira’s mother described her experience in the court system after she escaped from her abusive partner. A dozen different judges dismissed her experience of coercive control and abuse, and one even stated that the abuse she suffered was not relevant to parenting and her partner would therefore be granted unsupervised access to their daughter Keira. Sadly, Keira was later killed by her angry and dangerous father in an apparent murder-suicide. This happened in 2020, so it is clear that the attitudes that informed the decisions of the judges in this sad case persist in our courts.

Dr. Peter Jaffe, a leading expert on family violence, lends additional weight to Keira’s story. His research demonstrates that many misconceptions persist in the criminal justice system around intimate partner violence — in particular the view that as long as children are not abused directly, they are not harmed by exposure to domestic violence. Dr. Jaffe’s research has shown that children’s exposure to domestic violence consistently leads to negative outcomes ranging from trauma, flashbacks, nightmares, depression, regression to earlier stages of development and compromised academic and social development. Keep in mind that this is the damage done when the child is not abused directly, so the harm done can be multiplied exponentially. What is clear is that when our courts ignore the broader impacts of domestic violence, they are failing to protect the children. Abusers cannot be good parents. Dr. Jaffe stresses the need for training so that every actor in the judicial system understands the complete picture of intimate partner violence.

In New Brunswick, I think we are ahead of things because, for many years, we’ve recognized this. We knew this link between harm to children and witnessing their parents’ abuse needed to be recognized and treated. Dr. Jaffe’s research helped us find suitable training and education for mothers to help their children. We did this for many years, and it was certainly a big step forward.

I believe training for judges aligns well with recommendation 29 of the Ontario coroner’s inquest into the deaths of the three women in rural Ontario. It calls on the province to provide professional education and training for justice system personnel on intimate partner violence-related issues. It follows up with an invaluable list of training subjects, including indicators of coercive control and other risk factors of violence and possibly death. Though provincial in focus, the inquest’s recommendations are equally applicable nationally, and I have heard them repeated often in other jurisdictions over the years.

I would like to move to the second part of the bill, which would require a justice to consider whether it is desirable to include that an accused charged with an offence against an intimate partner be made to wear an electronic monitoring device as a condition of the bail order. To be clear, Bill C-233 only contemplates the use of electronic monitoring as a condition of a bail order, a sensitive time where the victim has already endured violence but during which the alleged abuser may be released pending a trial. Research has shown that victims are at highest risk in the first several months after a separation, a period of time that is reflected in this legislation. As I mentioned previously, Monique Breau was murdered by her estranged partner only nine months after the relationship ended. Though this only covers a specific step in the legal process, it is an important one. Moreover, implementing Bill C-233 would not preclude taking additional steps through other legislation and, certainly, through a comprehensive national prevention strategy on gender-based violence.

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Senator Dalphond provided a number of examples of jurisdictions that have implemented electronic monitoring as part of their strategy to protect victims of intimate partner violence. For example, Spain’s model stands out as a particularly interesting one, as it has been active since 2009 and therefore is a tremendous source of data.

It is important to understand that the use of electronic monitoring in Spain is part of a suite of reforms which includes specialized courts that deal with intimate partner violence — a truly whole-of-government approach to dealing with the issue, the collective impact of which was a 25% reduction in the number of femicides since 2004.

As a part of a wider tool kit, electronic monitoring, where available — and combined with effective and immediate police response — increases the well-being and sense of security of victims and increases compliance with treatment orders.

It must be noted, however, that electronic monitoring is not without issues. It may not be appropriate in every circumstance.

Pamela Cross, in her testimony in the other place, raised concerns with equitable access to justice. Offenders are expected to bear the cost of installation and monitoring, often done by private corporations, which can cost up to $600 a month. For a family that has already been impacted by violence, this additional financial burden seems unfair and even completely inaccessible for folks without the means.

The possibility exists, therefore, that justice may look differently depending on your socio-economic circumstances. This is also true for anyone living in rural areas, where access to cellular data may be spotty. For the women who were murdered in Renfrew County, the use of electronic monitoring may not even have been applicable. This is why it is crucial to consider social context in these circumstances, and I am pleased to see that social context is included in the training being recommended in Bill C-233.

Colleagues, intimate partner violence is a complex issue. Despite its brevity, Bill C-233 raises deep concerns and questions about what we are doing to end violence. When we have knowledge, as the bill seeks to do for judges, we are better able to make clear-eyed decisions on what works and what doesn’t. Bill C-233 moves things forward in a positive direction and, on the whole, I’m supportive of it.

Thank you to Senator Dalphond for being the sponsor and for sharing so much information with my office. I look forward to the possibility of studying it further at committee, along with other important measures being proposed by my colleagues to deal with intimate partner violence. Let’s keep working on this until every woman, girl and child is safe in Canada. Let’s do whatever it takes. Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Study on Issues Relating to Agriculture and Forestry Generally

Sixth Report of Agriculture and Forestry Committee and Request for Government Response Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Simons, seconded by the Honourable Senator Deacon (Nova Scotia):

That the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, entitled Treading Water: The impact of and response to the 2021 British Columbia floods, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on October 27, 2022, be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 12-24(1), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food being identified as minister responsible for responding to the report, in consultation with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of Transport.

The Hon. the Speaker: Are 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 and report adopted.)

National Finance

Motion to Authorize Committee to Study a Road Map for Post-pandemic Economic and Social Policy to Address Human, Social and Financial Costs of Economic Marginalization and Inequality—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Pate, seconded by the Honourable Senator Duncan:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report on a road map for post‑pandemic economic and social policy to address the human, social and financial costs of economic marginalization and inequality, when and if the committee is formed;

That, given recent calls for action from Indigenous, provincial, territorial and municipal jurisdictions, the committee examine in particular potential national approaches to interjurisdictional collaboration to implement a guaranteed livable basic income; and

That the committee submit its final report no later than December 31, 2022.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Delivering for Canadians Now, A Supply and Confidence Agreement

Impact of the Agreement between the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party on Public Finances—Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition) rose pursuant to notice of May 18, 2022:

That he will call the attention of the Senate to the impact on Canada’s public finances of the NDP-Liberal agreement entitled Delivering for Canadians Now, A Supply and Confidence Agreement.

He said: Thank you, Your Honour. I see that this is at day 15, so I would like to move the adjournment for the balance of my time.

(On motion of Senator Plett, debate adjourned.)

Life of Larry Dohey

Inquiry—Debate Concluded

Hon. Fabian Manning rose pursuant to notice of June 8, 2022:

That he will call the attention of the Senate to the life of Larry Dohey.

He said: Honourable senators, “Life brings tears, smiles and memories. The tears dry, the smiles fade, but the memories last forever.”

With this thought in mind, I welcome the opportunity today, here in the Senate of Canada, to pay tribute to the life and contribution of Larry Dohey, who, through his work as an archivist, historian and volunteer, became a true patriot of Newfoundland and Labrador.

On August 26, 2019, Larry was doing what he loved most — giving an address in the town of Placentia to a group of visitors from Ireland. Together with more than a hundred local people, the visitors had come together to celebrate the Newfoundland-Irish connection. Halfway through his speech, Larry suddenly fell ill. Two days later, on August 28, Larry passed away, leaving an incredible void within his family and, indeed, every region of our province.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome several members of Larry’s family who have joined us here today, including Larry’s husband and best friend, Ian Martin. I sincerely appreciate all of you taking the time to travel to Ottawa to be a part of my tribute to Larry.

On October 23, 1959, Larry Dohey was born in the small fishing community of St. Bride’s in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, one of thirteen children born to Clem and Loretta Dohey. He grew up in a region of our province known as the Cape Shore, which consisted of a large Irish Catholic population, where he was surrounded by those who told of our history and culture through songs and stories. Through these early experiences, Larry inherited a rich oral culture that on his life’s journey would propel him to be one of the most sought‑after historians in our province.

Following his high school graduation from Fatima Academy in St. Bride’s, Larry attended university in St. John’s, where he earned a BA in Religious Studies and Philosophy. He followed that with a Master of Divinity from the University of Toronto and St. Augustine’s Seminary. As well, he received a pontifical degree from Rome when studying at Saint Paul University here in Ottawa.

In the early 1980s, Larry began working for the Monitor, a newspaper published by the Roman Catholic Church of Newfoundland and Labrador that ran from 1934 to 2003. He contributed to the paper as a writer, handled distribution and publishing and later became the paper’s editor.

Beginning in 1994, as he was working at the archdiocese, Larry took archives courses and worked part-time as an archivist for the large archdiocesan collection. He would eventually go on to become director of the Basilica Museum — Mullock Library. It was here that Larry started a daily pattern of arranging and describing collections, seeking out facts in the numerous documents and writings.

In 2004, with a list of select email addresses, and in 2006, with articles he wrote for the Downhome magazine, Larry set out to increase provincial interest in archives. With an array of email addresses he had collected throughout the years, he began sending out interesting stories of our province to his list of contacts. Soon, Larry was receiving numerous calls to his office on a weekly basis from people asking to be added to these group emails. Through Larry’s passion for our province and his determination to inform us of our rich and storied past, he was quickly becoming a household name for his expertise on all things Newfoundland and Labrador.

With this solid job experience and boundless energy, Larry was soon recognized by another employer. In October of 2010, Larry moved across the street from the Basilica Museum to The Rooms Provincial Archives Division as Manager of Collections and Special Projects. It was in this domain that Larry’s audience continued to expand, and he became known not as a gatekeeper but as a very knowledgeable person who was more than willing to share information about the contents of our archives with fellow archivists, librarians, all types of researchers and any individual who reached out seeking answers to our province’s history or that of their own family roots.

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In 2011, Larry’s extensive email list grew to become an online blog called “Archival Moments” which was a reflection of his interest in the colourful and rich archival history of Newfoundland and Labrador. Larry dug deep into the annals of the archives, and relayed his findings in an interesting and informative way. People from all around the world were contacting and visiting Larry, seeking information and knowing full well that they would be treated with the utmost respect, professionalism and, always, a nice cup of Tetley tea.

The year 2016 was vital to Larry’s development and growth. Larry’s knowledge of the provincial archives collection, his skill in bringing the stories of the past to life and his warm and welcoming personality led to his appointment at The Rooms as director of programming and public engagement. This was a position of increased responsibility. With this opportunity, Larry had found his station in life, and we would all be the beneficiaries of his total commitment to the task at hand. Larry would dedicate the remainder of his life to preserving the history and heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2016, a highlight for him was a visit to The Rooms by Princess Anne, as well as his own colour commentary on Canadian television about the July 1 commemorations and the exhibits that Princess Anne visited that day.

In 2016, it also marked the one-hundredth anniversary of a dark chapter of our province’s history, the Battle of Beaumont‑Hamel, where, on the morning of July 1, 1916, the courageous and brave men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment crossed the battlefield in France — and, of over 800 soldiers, more than 700 were killed, wounded or missing. Only 68 of them answered the roll call the next day. Larry conducted extensive research on the battle itself, on those who lost their lives and the many human interest stories that came from it. Larry was called upon numerous times by local and national media to talk about this historic event in our province’s history. His knowledge of the details of that tragedy, and the way he relayed the stories of that fateful day, enriched our understanding of that very sad event in the history of our province. Many people began to refer to Larry as a walking encyclopedia of all things Newfoundland and Labrador.

In the fall of 2016, Larry took his “Archival Moments” to our local VOCM radio station. With Larry as host, interacting with producer Brian O’Connell, the wonderful stories of our past were brought forward in a way that seemed to be in the present. Larry took our historical facts that, for all intents and purposes, were lost in time, and he brought them to the present day. He had a very unique and special way of telling our stories. When Larry spoke, everyone listened. He engaged the community like no other. He was a superb storyteller, and he had the ability to make one feel that they were part of the story he was telling at the time, even if it was about an event that had happened decades before. He brought the past to the present, and taught us so much about ourselves. He was one of a kind.

Upon Larry’s passing, Brian O’Connell said Larry Dohey:

. . . was a good friend and a great promoter of all things Newfoundland and Labrador. It was an honour to have produced the Archival Moments program for VOCM with Larry. He put faces and names to our shared history. I will miss him.

Brian went on to say, “He was a real patriot, a real Newfoundlander.”

Larry and Ian loved to travel, and while going through customs, the customs officers would often ask, “What do you work at?” Larry would answer that he was an archivist. Regardless of the country they would be travelling in at the time, most customs officers would follow up with the question, “What is that?” Larry would respond, “I am the keeper of the records.”

Larry had an incredible desire to increase the understanding of what the archives were and what archivists actually did. To Larry, the archives were not just a collection of old documents, photographs and finding aids. To Larry, the archives were a letter a six-year-old boy wrote when he donated the dollar prize he won at school to help build the National War Memorial in St. John’s 100 years ago. It was the story of a teenage soldier whose son found his father’s records and regained his dad. It’s the diaries, letters and notes that gave context to the artifacts and paintings displayed at The Rooms where Larry combined the traditional duties of archivist with something like that of a concert promoter. Even though his official job description at The Rooms was director of programming and public engagement, many still called him “the archivist,” and he never did correct them. It was a title that he loved.

Larry left the province he loved all that much richer from the stories he celebrated online, on-air and in person. His name can be found in the acknowledgements of scores of books, articles, films, documentaries, plays and theses. Along with his work, Larry gave freely of his time and knowledge as he volunteered at countless national, provincial and local boards, organizations and causes, especially those that were promoting and preserving our history and culture. He served on both the national and provincial archives associations, serving in the position of president of the Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives from 1995 to 1999, and again from 2003 to 2006. He was a member of both the board of directors of Destination St. John’s and the Irish Newfoundland Association. He was also a member of the Bannerman Park and Victoria Park revitalization committees. At one time, he served as vice-president of the Newfoundland & Labrador Historical Society, the oldest historical group in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Larry played a pivotal role in the research for the development of the Home from The Sea Sealers Memorial located in the town of Elliston, Newfoundland. As a show of appreciation and thanks for generously giving so much of his time and knowledge to this world-class project, the group responsible for the memorial have placed a memory board at the site in honour of Larry’s contribution. Part of it reads as follows:

Without Larry, the Sealers Memorial would have been incomplete and inaccurate. Larry’s meticulous research uncovered misidentifications and inaccuracies based on ships’ rolls, uncovering stories that without him would have been irrevocably lost. We lost Larry far too early, but we will never forget his contribution.

Larry was well-known for bringing enthusiasm, and a bundle of energy, to everything he became involved in. He approached 8 a.m. Monday morning and 5 p.m. Friday evening with equal amounts of joy. He believed in the love of family, hard work, the importance of fun and the power of “yes.” Even though he went about his work each day in his quiet and unassuming manner, he was a force to be reckoned with. He was a true living example of the pen being mightier than the sword.

Larry was a very humble human being, and was not a person for self-promotion at any level. When word of his passing began to spread across our province, there was a huge outpouring of emotion, which was expressed in online blogs, local radio and television coverage, national news coverage and all social media platforms. I would like to share some of those comments with you to show you the lasting impact that Larry has had.

Anne Chafe, interim CEO at The Rooms at the time, said, “We’re profoundly saddened this morning by the loss of our dear colleague and friend . . . .”

She continued:

He spread the word of The Rooms far and wide and he was just an outstanding ambassador for the work that we do.

Jack Harris, former member of Parliament for St. John’s East, said Larry’s death was:

. . . a big loss to our community and province. Larry was a delightful friend and consummate warehouse of stories and knowledge of our history and culture.

Rick Mercer said:

What a huge loss. Could anyone love the province and its history more? Archival Moments on VOCM was a treasure. RIP Mr. Dohey.

Terry Sutton, who worked at the basilica archives with Larry and who helped him with the launch of “Archival Moments”, had this to say:

Larry was a humble and enthusiastic servant to the past and to the people who wanted to learn about it. He leaves behind a hole no one can fill, a sadness we’ll always endure and a joy we’ll always feel.

Mark Critch said:

I’m gutted at the loss of @LarryDohey. He was gentle, funny and, above all, that rare thing these days — kind. Larry not only knew more than anyone about our history, Larry could make anyone want to learn more about it. He was one of our best.

Mark also went on to say:

Larry Dohey will meet St Peter. St Peter will say come in. And Larry will say, “before I do — would you like to hear an interesting story about that gate?”

Last, but by no means least, because there were hundreds of beautiful personal tributes to Larry, Joan Ritcey, former president of the board of the Newfoundland & Labrador Historical Society, had this to say about Larry:

Through his media work, he made Newfoundland and Labrador history more widely interesting to the general public; through his job as a trained archivist, he uncovered long buried information and went out of his way to facilitate other people’s research; through his professional development work for his peers, he was a builder of archival standards; and through his broad outreach, he was a builder of community heritage memorials. His work has been an inspiration and it will carry dividends for the country into the future.

That pretty well sums up Larry’s incredible and lasting legacy.

Very fittingly, Larry’s funeral mass was held at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s on September 2, 2019, where it was estimated that some 3,000 people were in attendance. Interest was so great that close to 300 people were left standing.

Larry’s brother, Father Wayne Dohey, presided over the mass that day, and during his beautiful homily, he spoke of Larry as a great advocate of our history and culture, a great champion of our province and in the words of our First Nations, he was “the bearer of knowledge.” He spoke of the great gift Larry was to our family, our province and our country. He said that we should be the things we love the most about the people who are gone:

Be kind, be bright, be a friend and be yourself and the world will love you for it. There is no doubt that Larry Dohey was himself. He loved the church, but he walked his own path.

When Larry passed, it was a tremendous loss to everyone, especially to his family — one which we still feel in our hearts today, and will do so forevermore. Larry was a teacher in so many ways — teaching us all the importance of accepting people for who they really are, always being proud of where you come from and that, above all else, in a world where you can be anything you want to be, be kind to each other. He taught us that true love never comes to an end. Larry lives on in the wonderful and treasured memories we all have of his journey here on this earth. We know now how blessed we have been to have shared that journey with Larry.

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In Newfoundland and Labrador, there is a special little flower called the forget-me-not, which is often worn as a sign of respect for fallen soldiers. The flower has become a true sign of admiration and respect for others and is available to the public in a wide range of ways, such as lapel pins, which all the family members are wearing today in memory of Larry.

I am honoured today to be wearing Larry’s forget-me-not tie. It was a gift given to me by Ian. I had difficulty in finding the words to express my sincere gratitude at the time Ian presented it to me. It is with immense pride today that I wear Larry’s tie for the first time. I will treasure it for as long as I live. Thank you, Ian.

Larry won many awards and accolades for his tremendous work during his lifetime, including the Newfoundland and Labrador Historical Society Heritage Fellowship Award. He was also the recipient of what was once known as the Advocacy and Outreach Award, presented annually by the Association of Canadian Archivists. In future, this award will be known as the Larry Dohey Award. What a great way to keep Larry’s memory alive.

I do believe that Larry’s greatest gift was that of his husband and best friend, Ian. Together for 27 years, they travelled and explored the world around us, never missed a family event, and it was always a joy to have them in our company. Larry’s mom, Loretta, would often say, “Thank God for Ian. He keeps Larry on the straight and narrow.”

In closing, I want to say that we are blessed with a library full of wonderful memories of Larry. A kind, gentle and wonderful human being who has left a remarkable legacy that we can all be so proud of.

I will conclude with words from Ian, who without a doubt is the person who knew Larry best. At the time of Larry’s passing, Ian said:

Everything he did, including his work and all his volunteer work, was a way to celebrate Newfoundland and Labrador. He thought every Newfoundlander was an ambassador to the province. He wanted everyone to know what a wonderful place this is.

He went on to say:

He never believed in saying no to people. . . . He gave fully of his time. . . . He was just so kind to everyone. . . .

Indeed, he was. May he rest in peace. Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

(Debate concluded.)

(At 3:52 p.m., the Senate was continued until tomorrow at 2 p.m.)

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