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Previous Sittings
Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 44th Parliament
Volume 153, Issue 90

Thursday, December 8, 2022
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


Thursday, December 8, 2022

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



The Honourable Stan Kutcher
The Honourable David Richards


Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, I rise today to ask you to join me in celebrating the joyful occasions of two of our Senate colleagues.

I want to congratulate Senator Kutcher on the recent election of his son Dan as Mayor of the City of Summerside in Prince Edward Island.

Senator Kutcher and his spouse Jan have made significant contributions to Prince Edward Island. Not only has Dan been elected mayor, but their other son, Matt, is a doctor in Summerside. Furthermore, both Dr. Kutcher’s and Mayor Dan’s spouses are also doctors, a profession most needed in our province much like in the rest of our country.

Dan Kutcher defeated the incumbent, who served for an impressive 33 years. It was a significant win, and I know the residents of Summerside are looking forward to his inspired leadership — much like our proud colleague, the father of the mayor.

Secondly, colleagues, I want to acknowledge that acclaimed Canadian writer David Adams Richards has published over 30 books, poems and plays. We know him best as Senator Richards from New Brunswick. His latest novel, The Tragedy of Eva Mott, joins his other published works, including the winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction, Nights Below Station Street, and non-fiction, Lines on the Water, as well as the 2000 co-winner of the Giller Prize, Mercy Among The Children.

I attended the book reading for Senator Richards’ new book in Charlottetown a couple of weeks ago, and I was impressed not only by the crowd that turned out but by his interview with the moderator. Senator Richards read two of his poems from his collection in addition to excerpts from his most recent novel. I purchased two of his award-winning novels as Christmas gifts, and Senator Richards was kind enough to autograph them.

Colleagues, join me as both Senator Kutcher and Senator Richards celebrate these wonderful events.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

His Highness the Aga Khan

Congratulations on the Occasion of Eighty-Sixth Birthday

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, on Tuesday, December 13, over 15 million Ismaili Muslims residing in 25 countries around the world will celebrate the eighty-sixth birthday of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan.

His Highness succeeded his grandfather as the forty-ninth spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims when he was only 20 years old. For over six and a half decades, His Highness has made tremendous personal sacrifices to improve the lives of Ismaili Muslims and continues to work tirelessly to improve the quality of life of all people, especially those living in less developed regions of the world.

Honourable senators, it is a custom to offer gifts on one’s birthday. The greatest gift that we can offer His Highness the Aga Khan is to renew our commitment to building a pluralistic society, one that is based on the values of justice, equality and tolerance. As senators, let us continue to work to improve the lives of those who are the most vulnerable in society.

His Highness the Aga Khan has often described his vision of a world where difference is not seen as a weakness but instead as a powerful force for good. Honourable senators, I want to live in that world.

Your Highness, on your birthday, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done for me — I am a senator because of you — for my family, for the Ismaili community and for people around the world. We are all beneficiaries of your generosity, guidance, wisdom and kindness.

Salgirah Mubarak!

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 a delegation from the National Association of Friendship Centres. They are the guests of the Honourable Senators Anderson and Audette.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


Equity and Equality for Indigenous People

Hon. Margaret Dawn Anderson: Akana, Your Honour and honourable senators. I rise today to speak to Canada’s inaction to create lasting and substantive equality and equity for Indigenous people. Neville Bonner stated:

We as Aboriginal people still have to fight to prove that we are straight out, plain human beings — the same as everyone else.

On February 14, 1831, Edward Everett — a politician, diplomat and orator from Massachusetts — rose in the House of Representatives. These are his words:

Here, at the centre of the nation, beneath the portals of the capitol, let us solemnly auspicate the new era of violated promises, and tarnished faith. Let us kindle a grand council‑fire, not of treaties made and ratified, but of treaties annulled and broken. Let us send to our archives for the worthless parchments, and burn them in the face of day. There will be some yearnings of humanity as we perform the solemn act. They were negotiated for valuable considerations; we keep the consideration and break the bond.

Historical records support that Canada’s policies and legislation mirror that of the United States — from the treaties, Department of Indian Affairs, Indian agents, residential schools and colonial practices.

Indigenous lands, homes, culture, families, languages, heritage and all that defined us as distinct Indigenous peoples were violently taken from us by Canada. With historic and modern treaties; land claim agreements; Indigenous and self-government agreements — bolstered with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP; Bill C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages; Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families; Truth and Reconciliation Commission, or TRC, recommendations; and the Calls to Action of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls — Canada has the means to right the wrongs of a nation. Yet, we as Indigenous people face ongoing and entrenched inequality and inequity that profoundly impact all areas of our lives.

It is not the responsibility of Indigenous people to right a nation’s wrong. It is Canada’s responsibility, and this responsibility extends to us under our role. When we pass legislation in this place, we must consider Indigenous people’s reality and the impact of the bill where equality and equity fail to exist and thrive. Treaties, agreements, recommendations and reports must be consequential and create concrete, substantive and deliberate actions leading to positive and effective change.

Mr. Everett’s words are as telling today as they were 191 years ago. We all must do better.

I close this statement with the following words of Brené Brown: “Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.”

Quyanainni, máhsi, thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Marie Levi, Wendell Metallic and Georgina Francis, wife of Senator Francis. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Francis.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Newfoundland Dogs and Labrador Retrievers

Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, today I am pleased to present Chapter 69 of “Telling Our Story.”

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Manning: Colleagues, as many of you are aware, my home province is composed of the island of Newfoundland — called “The Rock” — and the larger mainland section of Labrador, respectfully referred to as “The Big Land.” The island portion was named “newfoundelande,” or “New Found Land,” by late 15th century explorers.

Prior to 2001, when we officially changed our name to Newfoundland and Labrador, our province was known far and wide as Newfoundland. It is a place of rugged beauty, breathtaking scenery and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. Just ask Senator Marshall. I encourage you to come and visit us and experience what makes us an interesting and unique place.

Talking about unique, two of the world’s most lovable dogs are named after both of our land masses — one being the enormous, bear-like Newfoundland dog and the other being the most popular dog breed in the world, the Labrador retriever.

The histories of both the Newfoundland dog and the Labrador retriever are somewhat fascinating. Their stories span the Atlantic Ocean and two continents: Europe and North America.

The Newfoundland dog’s exact origin is unknown to even the most thorough historians. However, the breed as we know it today comes from dogs brought to England from the island of Newfoundland in the 1500s and 1600s. They were originally bred and used as working dogs for our fishermen. They were known for their giant size, incredible swimming ability, tremendous strength, calm disposition, loyalty, love of children and their intelligence. Is it any wonder they were named after Newfoundland?

Time does not allow me today to tell you the many heartwarming stories of the Newfoundland dog, but I will mention a couple. One dog called “Sergeant Gander” was the World War II mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada. He was killed in action at the Battle of Hong Kong when he carried a grenade away from wounded soldiers. A memorial statue can be viewed by visiting the Gander Heritage Memorial Park.

In 1928, another Newfoundland dog named “Hairyman” assisted Ann Harvey of the town of Isle aux Morts, along with her father and brother, to save 160 Irish immigrants from the wreck of the ship Despatch — but that is a story for another chapter.

The origin of Labrador retriever — referred to at one time as the “St. John’s dog” — is complex as well. Many believe they descend from a mix of genes from the various dogs taken on board ships by Spanish, French, Portuguese and English fishermen. Again, the Labrador retriever is a versatile animal and is well known for their supernatural affinity for water, their loyalty, gentle temperament, dependability, big appetite and — yes, once again — their intelligence.

They have a long and storied reputation as a great family pet and have been the faithful companions of presidents and prime ministers, including Clinton, Mitterrand and Sarkozy, to name a few. The Labrador retriever is the musician’s dog of choice — from the late Frank Sinatra to Keith Richards and Paul McCartney, as well as Hollywood royalty such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, and literary giant Ernest Hemingway.

The Labrador has proven its worth in search and rescue, as a guide dog, in medical detection and as a valued assistant in the theatre of war.

It seems amazing that two of the world’s most prolific swimming dogs come from some of the world’s coldest waters. But perhaps that was the point. When you live on a big rock surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the dogs — just like our forefathers and those who came behind them — had to learn to survive in what at times can be a very unforgiving environment.

I was once told by a very intelligent lady —

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Manning, we will have to wait for another time to hear the rest of your statement. Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation

Discovery of Woolly Mammoth

Hon. Pat Duncan: Honourable senators, this time of year is very special to many. For some, it is a celebration of a special birth. December 21 is also the longest night of the year in the North. This year, on June 21 — the longest day of the year and National Indigenous Peoples Day in the Yukon — an almost perfectly preserved baby woolly mammoth, more than 30,000 years old, was revealed to the world. Miners working on Eureka Creek in the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in uncovered an almost perfectly preserved symbol of the ice age. This is the first such discovery in North America and only the second in the world.

On September 6, on CBC Radio’s “The Current,” the story of this remarkable event and the thunderstorm that followed the baby’s discovery was so very well told by the voices of those who were there. I invite senators to tune in to that episode and hear from the folks involved.

Upon the discovery, recognizing there was something special, the young miner operating the heavy equipment and the mining operation immediately stopped. Stopping work during a valuable, short mining season, where every daylight hour counts, is not taken lightly. The contact with the Government of Yukon paleontologist, and those working in the field, were on site as soon as possible. Most important and most immediate was the outreach to the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, upon whose traditional territory the discovery was made.

Yukoners, including Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in elders, held a small traditional ceremony in Dawson City when the discovery was shared with them. First Nation Language and Heritage individuals named the baby mammoth Nun cho ga, meaning “big baby animal” in the Hän language.

Nun cho ga remains in the Yukon. She is a connection for the community and for elders to impart their traditional knowledge and culture and to share with youth what it is to be stewards of traditional land for the Hän community.

The remarkable discovery — the remains of a frozen baby woolly mammoth — while digging through the permafrost in the Klondike Gold Fields is, as those involved stated, life changing. Fortunately, in the Yukon, permafrost acted as a freezer, preserving soft tissue like muscle, skin and hair, as well as important information like DNA.

The scientific importance of this paleontological discovery, which gathered worldwide attention within days, is invaluable. It will support and advance the study of the history of life, allowing the scientific community to place living organisms and allowing for the interpretation of the significance of the characteristics of the woolly mammoth, while gaining insight into the potential significance of biological events occurring today.


Honourable senators, I do appreciate you allowing me the time to share the discovery of Nun cho ga with you, and invite you to hear more. As we honour her discovery this year, I would like to celebrate and wish each and every one of you the very best this holiday season and in the year to come.

Mahsi’cho. Gùnáłchîsh. Thank you.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of a group of students from the University of Ottawa. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator McPhedran.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!



The Senate

Notice of Motion to Affect Sittings on December 13, 14 and 15, 2022, and Authorize Committees to Meet During Sitting of the Senate

Hon. Raymonde Gagné (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, Wednesday, December 14, 2022, and Thursday, December 15, 2022, once the Orders of the Day have been called, the Senate only deal with Government Business and Commons Public Bills;

That, notwithstanding the order of September 21, 2022, the sitting of Wednesday, December 14, 2022, continue beyond 4 p.m., if necessary, and adjourn at midnight, unless earlier adjourned by motion; and

That, on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, Senate committees be authorized to meet for the purposes of considering government business, as well as the committee to which Bill C-235, An Act respecting the building of a green economy in the Prairies, may have been referred, if that has happened, even though the Senate may then be sitting, with rule 12-18(1) being suspended in relation thereto.

Building a Green Prairie Economy Bill

First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-235, An Act respecting the building of a green economy in the Prairies.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association

Bilateral Visit to Ghana, May 21-27, 2022—Report Tabled

Hon. Amina Gerba: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canada‑Africa Parliamentary Association concerning the Bilateral Visit to Ghana, held in Accra, Ghana, from May 21 to 27, 2022.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Extend Date of Final Report on Study of the Canadian Foreign Service and Elements of the Foreign Policy Machinery within Global Affairs

Hon. Peter M. Boehm: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, notwithstanding the order of the Senate adopted on Thursday, February 24, 2022, the date for the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade in relation to its study on the Canadian foreign service and elements of the foreign policy machinery within Global Affairs Canada be extended from March 30, 2023, to September 29, 2023.



Public Safety

Contract Awarded to Chinese Company

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Senator Gold, your government’s decision to award an RCMP contract to Sinclair Technologies — a company with ties to the Chinese state — with no regard for our national security, is indeed troubling. Based on details that are coming to light, it seems that the government settled on the lowest bidder without conducting any due diligence in the bidding process.

According to reports, Sinclair Technologies’ main competitor for the RCMP contract was Compro, a Quebec-based communications technology firm. The difference between their respective bids was less than $60,000.

To put this into perspective, government leader, the Prime Minister had no problem blowing that amount of money in less than one week on a lavish hotel room at the Corinthia Hotel for Canada’s delegation to the Queen’s funeral. But when it comes to our national security, he is trying to cut corners.

Senator Gold, why is the Prime Minister willing to go to the lowest bidder when it comes to our national security, but not go to the lowest bidder when it comes to lavish expenses for himself? Would you not agree that this reflects some deeply troubling issues about the Prime Minister’s priorities?

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

No, I do not agree. The government takes foreign interference very seriously. As previously indicated by the Prime Minister, the government is looking into the concerns, including the awarding of the contract, and will take all measures to ensure the integrity of our critical infrastructure.

As colleagues may know by now, my understanding is that Minister Mendicino has confirmed that the RCMP has suspended the procurement contract at issue.

Senator Plett: You are right, Senator Gold; I received the same information about 12 minutes ago. That does not preclude the fact that this was done. They have now suspended it because of, clearly, pressure being put on them by people who are doing due diligence — which clearly is not the government.

Senator Gold, there is absolutely no excuse for this gross negligence when it comes to protecting our national security. The government has — and had — a responsibility to use the tools at its disposal to screen and vet its bidders. Why did your government choose not to do this?

Senator Gold: The government is looking into the circumstances under which this contract was awarded to an Ontario-based company in which there is an ownership stake by a Chinese company. The government will take all steps to protect our critical infrastructure from foreign interference. The suspension of the contract is but the first step.



Canada’s Inflation Rate

Hon. Leo Housakos: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. This year, 2022, was the year of “JustinFlation.” Every Canadian has been affected by the rising prices resulting from Justin Trudeau’s economic policy.

In 2023, “JustinFlation” is going to hit again. This week, experts from the University of Guelph, Dalhousie University, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of British Columbia published Canada’s Food Price Report 2022. They claim food prices are expected to jump another 5% to 7% in 2023. No food group will be spared from “JustinFlation.” For a family of four with two teenagers, the annual cost of groceries could rise by $1,066 for a total of $16,288.

Senator Gold, what is the government’s plan to combat “JustinFlation”?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): It is nice to hear the term “JustinFlation” again. Unfortunately, it shows a lack of awareness of the report that was recently released by Scotiabank economists, who make it very clear, as I pointed out several times when other similar questions were raised, that the inflation that is affecting us all is primarily caused by factors that are beyond the control of any government.


Only a small percentage — 15% according to economists — is attributable to government spending during the pandemic. The government has implemented a number of programs to help Canadians facing challenges related to inflation and food costs, and it will continue to take appropriate action for the well-being of Canadians.


Senator Housakos: Unfortunately, government leader, it’s clear that “JustinFlation” keeps falling on deaf ears when it comes to the government. Unfortunately, the failed monetary policies of the Trudeau government are creating an enormous amount of anguish and stress amongst all Canadians, regardless of what talking points you want to quote.

The reality is Leger Marketing took a poll this fall. In Quebec, 42% of Quebecers are living with economic anxiety. That’s a fact. Failed monetary policies of printing money, runaway spending by this government and consecutive deficits year after year since this government came to power in 2015 are at the root of “JustinFlation” and what Canadians are facing.

Government leader, you can deny it all you want, but Canadians are living with this reality on a day-to-day basis. Canadians are paying more than ever and receiving less than ever. The question is simple: Will you acknowledge that the government has failed in this regard? Will the government change the Minister of Finance or will the government resign altogether and give Canadians relief?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question. It is passing strange to be accused of talking points when I report on an independent report of economists at the Bank of Nova Scotia, yet to be continually confronted with the talking points from your leader in the other place.

These are serious matters. Canadians are suffering. They deserve a serious approach —

Senator Plett: Yes, they do.

Senator Gold: — from the opposition, and they deserve serious responses from the Canadian government. That’s what they’re getting with this government — a responsible and prudent management of difficult times for Canadians.

Targeted support is being provided to Canadians to help them get through the rising costs whether of rent or of food. There is responsible management of our economy, and there is a respect for the independence of those institutions responsible for managing and trying to wrestle to the ground the inflation that has affected our country and many others.


Pediatric Health Care

Hon. Rosemary Moodie: The question I have today is for the Government Representative in the Senate. Senator Gold, the crisis in pediatric hospitals has reached a new and worrying height. Earlier this week, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, CHEO, had to call in the Canadian Red Cross to support patient care during this extraordinarily difficult respiratory infection season.

An important underlying contributor to this acute crisis is the fact that our pediatric health care system is undersized and is unable to support our children and their complex and diverse health needs. Speaking to pediatric health care leaders, they’re worried about the backlog of children awaiting surgeries.

Today, of the children waiting for surgeries, 50% are waiting longer than is medically recommended — that compares to a pre‑pandemic number of 35%. One leader told me that this is probably one of the worst in the industrial world and called it embarrassing.

Senator Gold, what is the Government of Canada doing to work with provinces to increase the capacity of critical services for our children and families? After all, these are not issues that are going to go away after the flu season is over.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question and for underlining the challenges that all families in Canada are facing in this flu season.

I don’t need to remind the honourable senators or Canadians of the steps that they can take to protect themselves, whether masking, covering their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, staying home when sick and washing their hands.

The Government of Canada continues to work with the provinces and territories to address the challenges they are facing in the funding, management and organization of their health care services. For its part, the Government of Canada has taken significant steps by establishing the Coalition for Action for Health Workers to inform immediate and long-term solutions to address these challenges, including challenges in the workforce; introducing measures to facilitate the entry of foreign national physicians as permanent residents; and announcing a Chief Nursing Officer for Canada to provide strategic advice from a nursing perspective to Health Canada on priority, policy and program areas.

The government’s priority remains to do its part to work with provinces and territories and, as the Minister of Health has said on previous occasions, invite the provinces and territories and the leaders of those provinces and territories to allow the Ministers of Health to work with the Minister of Health of Canada to find durable solutions for the challenges that face us all.

Senator Moodie: In a recent statement, Senator Gold, Children’s Healthcare Canada, the Canadian Association of Paediatric Nurses and the Canadian Paediatric Society called on governments of all jurisdictions to work together to address the crisis in children’s health.

Children require specific and focused attention at this time, and emergency warrants special collaboration across all governments. Immediate investments are needed to increase capacity, support clinicians and, ultimately, help children.

Senator Gold, is the Government of Canada willing to sit down with the provinces to find solutions to the crisis in pediatric health care as a separate negotiation from an ongoing discussion on health transfers?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question. The short answer is yes, the government has always been willing to work with the provinces and territories not only to provide funding but also to contribute to creating a national vision for health care that delivers for all Canadians.

The government knows that the health care systems in Canada — because there are as many as there are provinces and territories — are facing significant challenges and that the only way out of this is to work together.

The government remains ready to work with provinces and territories to further discuss health care priorities, including pediatric care. That is the aim. The government is hoping it has the collaboration of the provinces to reduce backlogs, support health care workers, enhance access to family health services and — using the data that is gathered by the provinces with our digital technologies — better serve Canadians going forward.

National Defence

Arctic Sovereignty

Hon. Tony Loffreda: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Senator Gold, I would like to explore the issue of Canada’s Arctic with you. The government has made strengthening “Canada’s domain awareness, surveillance, and control capabilities in the Arctic and the North” a key objective of its Arctic and Northern Policy Framework. Yet, last month, the Auditor General tabled a report in which she called on four federal departments to take concrete actions to address the inability to track vessels continuously and to identify non-emitting vessels in the region.

We all know how important protecting, monitoring and defending the Arctic is for Canada’s current and future prosperity. In response to Ms. Hogan’s report, what concrete actions is the government willing to take to prevent unauthorized access to our waters, to adequately track vessel traffic and to ensure we have the proper equipment to monitor maritime activities?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for the question.

Canada’s maritime domain awareness in the Arctic is absolutely critical to ensure that we can manage risks and respond to incidents that may have an impact on our security, on our environment and on our economy. That’s why National Defence is making historic, landmark investments to increase our ability to operate in and to defend the Arctic. These include an investment of approximately $38.6 billion over 20 years to modernize NORAD, to improve our space capabilities, to acquire remotely piloted aircraft systems, to purchase six Arctic offshore patrol ships and to enhance our surveillance capacity and our intelligence capability in the Arctic with 88 fighter jets. As well, the planned Nanisivik Naval Facility will play an important role in enhancing the Royal Canadian Navy’s presence in the North and help secure our Arctic.


The government remains committed to continuing to make the necessary investments to ensure that Canada’s Arctic remains secure.

Senator Loffreda: Thank you for that reassurance, Senator Gold.

In a column published last week, Stephen Van Dine wrote that:

. . . Canada’s influence at that table —

— that of the Arctic Council, which was created in 1996 in Ottawa —

— has begun to wane, especially in comparison to financial commitments made by other nations including Norway and Denmark as well as the United States and Russia.

We know that Canada has made important investments and commitments to addressing domestic issues for northern residents and Indigenous peoples in the Arctic, but with the increasing traffic in the region and the interests of other nations in this part of the world, I feel that Canada needs to do more to reestablish itself as an Arctic powerhouse. We need to take this issue more seriously.

What is the government doing to advance and protect our foreign interests in the region?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question.

Canada’s sovereignty over the Arctic is long-standing and well established. I’m advised that the Minister of Foreign Affairs has raised the issue with the United States, Denmark, Norway and Finland as they are our neighbours in the North. The minister has also raised the issue with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. As I mentioned in response to your previous question, we are making important and historic investments. I want to underline again the investment in updating and strengthening our NORAD capabilities.

By the way, those investments include $15.68 billion allocated for investments in new infrastructure and support capabilities across Canada, which include upgrades to four northern locations across the country.

This government will always defend our sovereignty, and the peoples and communities in the North. They are important elements of the national interest of this country.

Canadian Heritage

National Gallery of Canada

Hon. Patricia Bovey: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

The situation at the National Gallery needs to be resolved. I ask my question, Senator Gold, declaring that I do know all, or almost all, of the individuals on every aspect of this truly unfortunate situation. I ask my question seeking resolution and understanding.

Can you confirm that the search for a permanent director will start as soon as possible, and that candidates will be required to have a background and experience in art history or in contemporary expression, as well as a track record in directing art galleries?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question and for your ongoing commitment to the issue of arts and culture in this country.

I understand that the search for the permanent director is under way and is online now with an open posting. The successful candidate for the full-time role will be approved by the Governor-in-Council process as proposed by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and I’m confident that it will be someone qualified and talented — someone who will help unite the gallery and the visual arts community around its most treasured national institution.

As well, I note that the minister is alive to the concerns raised. I understand that Minister Rodriguez recently wrote a letter to the chair of the board of directors expressing his deep concern and asking that action be taken swiftly once solutions have been put forward by the board of directors.

Senator Bovey: Thank you for that. I’m pleased to know that the search is really moving forward.

Can you assure the community across the country, Senator Gold, that the search community includes an art historian and/or a museologist, as has been the case for a number of appointments in previous directors, in order to ensure that the important discipline of this national flagship will be properly recognized throughout the process? This is critical for the gallery’s credibility at home and abroad.

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question.

Senator, I’m advised that the process will follow the process that was laid out online publicly and that has been operating successfully since the new open merit-based appointments process came into effect in 2015. It will include relevant representatives on the selection committee who will ensure there is a diversity of perspectives around the table. However, senator, as you know, those selection processes are confidential, and it would be inappropriate for the government to advise who will be part of them.


Government Spending

Hon. Pamela Wallin: Senator Gold, researchers and journalists yesterday appeared before the House Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee to explain they are abandoning access-to-information tools because answers from government are coming too late to be relevant or not at all. The government blames the pandemic, staffing shortages and outdated technology, but excuses aside, it is unacceptable that the public cannot get relevant and timely information about government spending.

Just this week, the Auditor General stated that $4.6 billion in COVID overpayments to ineligible recipients and another $27.4 billion in questionable handouts should and must be further investigated.

The government’s lack of transparency is alarming. Senator Gold, when will citizens and taxpayers once again be able to have timely access to information about how government spends their money, specifically the $27.4 billion?

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

With regard to the challenges facing citizens and organizations seeking information, as I’ve said on many occasions in this chamber, the bottlenecks and delays are serious matters and the government is doing everything it can in an attempt to put into place the human resources, which remains a big challenge — recruitment and retention — and other measures to address the backlog.

Regarding the question surrounding the monies that are under investigation regarding the payments of CERB, that is a matter that the CRA is dealing with appropriately and prudently, as has been announced and recorded briefly. I have every confidence they will continue to do the work in an appropriate, rigorous and responsible fashion.

Senator Wallin: Your government has said “no” to a credible and independent inquiry into pandemic spending and management. As you told us in this chamber this week, the government will conduct its own inquiry into itself.

We actually need an arm’s-length transparent assessment of the true cost of vaccines, supplies and the billions of dollars spent. Will you reconsider this absurd approach of passing judgment on yourself and have an independent inquiry?

Senator Gold: Senator Wallin, as I said in this chamber, the government is considering how to best address the important question of learning the lessons from the pandemic. With all due respect, I think you are making assumptions that are not warranted in terms of what the government’s deliberations are.

I have every confidence that when the details are announced, they will be an appropriate response to the important need for us to learn the lessons and take account of what we did well — and we did many things well during the pandemic — and what we could do better the next time we are faced with a similar crisis.

National Revenue

Review of Systemic Bias

Hon. Salma Ataullahjan: My question is for the government leader.

The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights has been working extensively to understand the extent of Islamophobia in Canada. Recently, testimony by officials from the Canada Revenue Agency as well as from the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson shed light on systemic biases in the Canadian government. We learned that the CRA has been obstructing the ombudsperson’s investigation on the grounds of national security and his lack of jurisdiction. The CRA Charities Directorate’s director general shared that the framework used for audits was not established or created at the CRA.

Leaders in the Muslim charity sector have been speaking out against systemic biases for years now, and their fears have since been confirmed by reports by the University of Toronto Institute of Islamic Studies and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group.

Leader, why did it take a Senate study on Islamophobia to finally get the ball rolling on this issue?


Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): First of all, the government is grateful for the Senate’s study to shine a light on the issues that are affecting the communities in Canada. The government takes these issues very seriously, and is pursuing its investigation diligently.

Senator Ataullahjan: The Prime Minister acknowledged the existence of systemic Islamophobia in the Canada Revenue Agency, or CRA, and referred the review to the Office of the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson. The ombudsperson has testified before the Human Rights Committee and admitted that he’s working with one arm tied behind his back. The much-publicized National Summit on Islamophobia in 2021 didn’t achieve anything. Once again, this government is all talk and no action. Leader, what are this government’s real plans to finally tackling systemic Islamophobia?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the follow-up question. As you know, Minister Lebouthillier asked the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson to conduct the systemic review that addresses the concerns of the Muslim communities in Canada. These actions will allow the agency to lead the way toward processes that are more inclusive and representative of the country it serves at all levels of the organization. But, colleagues, as we know, the CRA is an agency that operates at arm’s length from the government. Minister Lebouthillier expects both the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson and the Canada Revenue Agency to cooperate fully with each other in this study.

As indicated by the Prime Minister, the government knows there is significantly more to do. The government will look at and consider what other actions it may take.


Public Safety

Contract Awarded to Chinese Company

Hon. Claude Carignan: Senator Gold, yesterday the Prime Minister was quick to blame officials for the security equipment contract awarded to a company with ties to a Chinese company.

Yesterday evening, to pass the time, I took to reading the book Droit constitutionnel by Brun, Brouillet and Tremblay, which I am sure you are familiar with, and I happened upon the part on ministerial responsibility. It explains that a minister must answer not only for his own actions, but also those of his officials. He could even be forced to step down in a case of serious mismanagement.

Don’t you think that this is a case of mismanagement, where a public safety minister is jeopardizing national security by literally letting the fox into the henhouse?

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

Senator Carignan: Can you tell us more about the measures the government intends to take to make sure that the fox does not eat all the hens and that we do not end up compromising our national security, not only because of the contract that was awarded but also because of other contracts awarded in the past, including some by the Department of National Defence? When the Chinese acquired this company’s contracts, they gained access to all kinds of information about prior contracts.

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question. Measures that have already been taken include suspending the contract. The Prime Minister announced that the government will carry out a more comprehensive inquiry into infrastructure security and integrity as a whole. Minister Champagne also made similar announcements.

As I said, the government is taking this very seriously and will do whatever it takes to safeguard the integrity of our infrastructure and our information and to protect Canadians’ security.


Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Bill, No. 4

Bill to Amend—Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Clement, seconded by the Honourable Senator Petitclerc, for the second reading of Bill S-11, A fourth Act to harmonize federal law with the civil law of Quebec and to amend certain Acts in order to ensure that each language version takes into account the common law and the civil law.

Hon. Claude Carignan: Honourable colleagues, I rise today to speak in support of Bill S-11 at second reading. Its short title is Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 4.

First of all, as Senator Clement noted in her speech, Bill S-11 is “a technical piece of legislation and a long read” that amends 639 clauses under the responsibility of various federal departments.

The summary of the bill clearly describes the context and purpose of this omnibus legislation. It reads as follows:

This enactment is the fourth in a series of enactments drafted in the course of the harmonization of federal statutes by the Department of Justice of Canada as a result of the coming into force of the Civil Code of Québec in 1994, which substantially changed the concepts, institutions and terminology of civil law. It amends 52 statutes, including the Acts governing financial institutions . . . in order to ensure that each language version takes into account the common law and the civil law.

I support the bill’s objective.

I also recognize that this bill is the result of a great deal of hard work by public servants, following consultations.

In 2017, the government consulted with over 400 key stakeholders and members of the legal community, as indicated in the briefing presentation provided to senators.

Prior to these public consultations, there were targeted consultations with financial institutions concerning the laws that govern them and that the bill proposes to amend.

If this bill passes second reading, I believe it is important that it be studied by a Senate committee — even if the study is expected to be brief — so that we may hear from representatives of Justice Canada, in particular.

I am wondering why Bill S-11 was introduced more than five years after the end of the public consultation period in 2017. In those five years, were there any pertinent new rulings handed down by the courts that officials had to consider when drafting the bill?

It would have been useful for senators to receive more information in that regard and to receive it sooner, especially given that future stages in the consideration of Bill S-11 will be very short and move much more quickly. Bill S-11 remains an omnibus bill with more than 600 clauses.

Having said that, the Senate committee’s study will give us the opportunity to go over the suggested amendments to the bill that stakeholders recommended to officials but that were not retained. In that regard, I certainly hope that the stakeholders who provided specific and detailed feedback to officials during the 2017 consultations will be invited to appear before the committee. I am thinking, for example, of the Chambre des notaires du Québec and the Chaire de rédaction juridique Louis‑Philippe-Pigeon at Université Laval.

I know, for example, that in 2017 the Chambre des notaires du Québec raised questions with public officials about the decision stipulating that certain federal laws would not be amended by this harmonization bill. The organization then recommended several technical amendments to the officials. Were all of them included in the bill?

As I explained, I expect that study of this bill will be completed very quickly by both chambers, given that there will likely be a consensus on the measures proposed in Bill S-11, which are technical. This is because of the guiding principle in developing the bill. This principle is explained in the briefing that public officials sent to senators, and it reads as follows:

The amendments made to harmonize legislation are technical in nature, non-controversial, and are not intended to alter the legislative policy underlying the provisions in question.

Although this principle seems to have been followed, the Senate committee still needs to confirm it by hearing from witnesses, especially representatives from Justice Canada.

Also, I want to point out that there is no legislation that requires or provides for this principle that I just mentioned, namely that a harmonization bill must not make substantive changes to laws.


That said, although this principle is not set out in legislation, it was respected in the last three harmonization bills passed in 2001, 2004 and 2011.

It is this tradition that made it possible for senators to pass the previous harmonization bills by consensus, since those bills only clarified the terminology in sections of the legislation without changing their effect, that is, the rule of law at the core of those sections.

I would add that I support Bill S-11 at second reading because it seeks to enhance the vitality of Canada’s bijuralism. As the Honourable Michel Bastarache explained, drafting bilingual federal law that takes into account the context of bijuralism poses significant challenges.

I would like to quote from a speech he made on February 4, 2000, when he was a Supreme Court justice, because I believe it is a ruling with a legal and linguistic challenge that our study of Bill S-11 helps to address:

 . . . federal legislation must be drafted in the English and French languages and in a manner which is compatible with two legal systems. Canada is blessed with four different legal languages and federal legislation must not only be bilingual but bijural. Indeed, federal legislation must simultaneously address four different groups of persons:

1. anglophone common law lawyers;

2. francophone common law lawyers;

3. anglophone Quebec civilian lawyers; and

4. francophone Quebec civilian lawyers.

It is crucial that these four legal audiences in Canada be able to both read federal statutes and regulations in the official language of their choice and also be able to find in them terminology and wording that are respectful of the concepts, notions and institutions proper to the legal tradition of their particular province or territory. This task is easier said than done . . . .

I want to end my speech by thanking the public officials from the Department of Justice who, earlier this week, quickly provided me with a series of documents that I requested from them during a briefing. One of those documents is 1,196 pages long and explains the bill clause by clause.

I will leave you with the words of former minister Peter MacKay. Even though he made this statement in the House of Commons on May 7, 2001, when that chamber was examining the Federal Law—Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1, it is still as relevant 21 years later in the context of Bill S-11. He said the following, and I quote:

 . . . a bill of such a cumbersome and technical nature did require a great deal of work within the Department of Justice and by others who put a Herculean effort forward to bring the bill to this point.

It is a pleasure for me to collaborate on initiatives to harmonize legislation across the country, as did that member and members from other parties.

The last three harmonization acts were passed in both places by consensus. To illustrate, all three pieces of legislation passed third reading in a non-partisan fashion, without a single MP or senator voting against them. Could this be what awaits this fourth harmonization law? I hope so. I think I have achieved my goal and kept my commitment to my leader to read my speech on Bill S-11 in 11 minutes. Thank you.

Hon. Bernadette Clement: Would the senator take a question?

Senator Carignan: That’ll put us over the 11-minute mark, but yes.

Senator Clement: Thank you for your speech in support of the bill. You talked about bijuralism, and I was glad to hear what you had to say. I noted your comments about the Chambre des notaires. You’re planning to study this question in committee. I will ask you the same question I asked your civil law colleagues in this chamber. Are they happy about this harmonization act in general and about bijuralism in general?

Senator Carignan: Yes, we are in favour of the act, although we wish it could be done a lot faster. We realize that this is a complex situation and that it takes a very long time to review the entirety of federal legislation. We are in favour of any harmonization act, but we would like it to be done a lot faster so that people do not have to spend their entire career without the benefit of bijuralism and bilingualism rules.

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read second time.)

Referred to Committee

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

(On motion of Senator Clement, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.)


Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Committee Authorized to Meet During Sitting of the Senate

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(a), I move:

That, for the purpose of studying Bill S-11, A fourth Act to harmonize federal law with the civil law of Quebec and to amend certain Acts in order to ensure that each language version takes into account the common law and the civil law, the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs have the power to meet on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, 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 leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Bill, 2022

Ninth Report of Indigenous Peoples Committee on Subject Matter—Debate Concluded

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the consideration of the ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples (Subject matter of Bill C-32, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022), tabled in the Senate on December 5, 2022.

Hon. Brian Francis: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak on the ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples on Subdivisions A and B of Division 3 of Part 4 of Bill C-32, also known as the fall economic statement implementation act, 2022 which repeals the First Nations Land Management Act, contains transitional provisions related to the enactment of the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management and makes consequential amendments to other acts.

As Senator Patterson mentioned yesterday, during the evening of November 17, this chamber passed an order of reference instructing our committee to examine this matter and report back no later than December 5.

As a result, the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure promptly agreed to begin the pre-study the next week. On November 22, we heard from the Lands Advisory Board and the First Nations Land Management Resource Centre, which provide support to First Nations in implementing their land management regimes.

The next week, on November 30, we heard from Minister Patty Hajdu and Minister Marc Miller, as well as departmental officials. Following this meeting, the committee immediately proceeded to give drafting instructions to the analysts to ensure a report could be prepared and translated within the remaining three days.

It is the practice of our committee to invite rights holders or witnesses who are directly impacted by the legislation or other issues we examine. Unfortunately, none of the First Nations invited were available to appear in relation to Bill C-32. We also did not have sufficient time to reach out to others, or to give them sufficient time to respond or prepare.

That being said, we received a brief from Gambler First Nation on November 28. In addition, on December 1, the Standing Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples received a request to appear from Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc., or MKO.

Since it was not possible to schedule another meeting so late in the week to hear from the organization, and to meet the reporting deadline of December 5, the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure immediately agreed to invite MKO to submit a brief by Sunday, December 4, so that their input could be added to the evidence received as part of the pre-study. We further recommended that MKO contact the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance — which I understand the organization has already done.


I want to make clear that the inability of the committee to hear from the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, or MKO, should not be interpreted as a lack of willingness or desire from the Committee on Indigenous Peoples to hear from Indigenous individuals, communities or organizations who have concerns and recommendations or to identify weaknesses or shortcomings at this stage.

I can say with full confidence that the Committee on Indigenous Peoples, and, specifically, the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure, is committed to ensuring that diverse experiences and perspectives are accounted for in our work. We prioritize inviting affected Indigenous individuals, communities and organizations.

In my capacity as chair, I informed the Senate on December 6 that the ninth report was deposited with the Clerk a day earlier, and moved that it be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration yesterday.

Since the report does not reflect all the evidence received, we deliberately pursued this option so that senators could speak to the brief submitted by MKO and other matters related to the ninth report.

On that note, I wish to thank Senator McCallum for providing a comprehensive summary of the important concerns and recommendations raised by MKO. I also wish to thank Senator Patterson for helping add clarity into the constraints faced by the Committee on Indigenous Peoples, and likely others.

In the interest of time, I will not repeat what either said but rather encourage all to read their speeches and the testimony or evidence received by the Committee on Indigenous Peoples related to Bill C-32.

I further hope that the members of the Committee on National Finance have an opportunity to hear directly from MKO and perhaps others in relation to the proposed Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management Act.

Before I conclude, I want to echo some of the comments made by Senator Patterson yesterday. It is indeed troubling that time constraints, and sometimes technical and resource challenges, prevent committees from hearing directly from First Nations and Indigenous people in general, whose lives are altered by decisions made in this place and the other.

I understand that we have a limited number of sitting days in a year. I also understand we must find ways to work effectively and efficiently. However, we are responsible for ensuring that the voices of historically marginalized, under-represented and oppressed individuals and groups are heard and acted on.

As a result, we need to do all we can to ensure that the legislation we adopt here achieves its intended aims and does not make matters worse. Indigenous people often say “Nothing about us, without us” to remind all of us that full and direct participation is needed at all stages of the policy-making process. Although we cannot always guarantee that all voices can be heard within our fast timelines, we should strive toward it.

We further cannot forget that witnesses who appear at our committees often do not have the same capacity as federal departments and agencies.

When it comes to Indigenous peoples, I can tell you there is significant interest in appearing as witnesses or providing evidence and documents when we examine legislation and other matters. However, every day, our people and communities must address multiple urgent and competing needs without having enough money, personnel, expertise and resources. If we add a lack of time to respond or prepare for invitations to these significant barriers, it should not surprise anyone that participation in the parliamentary process is not always a priority.

I know this first-hand from serving as the chief of my community for over a decade.

When pulled in different directions, there is often no option but to meet the immediate needs of the communities with the limited capacities we have. A week or two is simply not enough time to ensure Indigenous individuals, organizations and others with relevant expertise and experience on the legislation we are tasked to examine are aware, informed and engaged. Nor should that be the expectation. This burden should not be continuously placed on those with the most to lose from our decisions — and who have little to no capacity to take on more in a short timeline.

Colleagues, let’s not forget that our institution, practices and schedules do not always align with the realities of Indigenous and other racialized and marginalized groups. In addition to finding ways to do our work in a timely but constructive manner, we must acknowledge barriers to their participation and take steps to minimize or overcome them. If we do not, we run the risk of continuing to make decisions unilaterally without the input of those most affected by them. I know that is not what we want to see happen. I hope we can engage in further discussions on how to advance more inclusive and culturally sensitive approaches. Wela’lin, thank you.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: If no other senator wishes to speak, this order is considered debated.

(Debate concluded.)


Business of the Senate

Hon. Raymonde Gagné (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I ask for leave of the Senate to suspend the sitting to await messages from the House of Commons or to adjourn the sitting of the Senate, with the sitting to reassemble at the call of the chair after a fifteen-minute bell.

(The sitting of the Senate was suspended.)

(The sitting of the Senate was resumed.)


Fall Economic Statement Implementation Bill, 2022

First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-32, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

Appropriation Bill No. 4, 2022-23

First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-36, An Act for granting to His Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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



Motion Adopted

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

That, when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, December 13, 2022, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Business of the Senate

Hon. Raymonde Gagné (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-13(2), I move:

That the Senate do now adjourn.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(At 7:19 p.m., the Senate was continued until Tuesday, December 13, 2022, at 2 p.m.)

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