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Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 44th Parliament
Volume 153, Issue 101

Wednesday, February 15, 2023
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker


Wednesday, February 15, 2023

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




Republic of Kazakhstan

Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais: Honourable senators, I want to take a few moments today to share with you a few things that I noticed during our mission to observe the general election that took place in Kazakhstan on November 20, 2022.

At the invitation of the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Canada, Akylbek Kamaldinov, Senator Oh and I were part of a group of foreign observers who were able to witness the country’s electoral process and assess and comment publicly on it. I’m sure it was just as rewarding of an experience for them as it was for us.

During that visit, I was able to see just to what extent Canada serves as an example to this country, which set up a democratic electoral system, a parliament and public institutions that are very similar to the ones we have here in Canada. After becoming independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, the Republic of Kazakhstan was quickly recognized by Canada.

The very next year, in 1992, our Progressive Conservative prime minister at the time, Brian Mulroney, established diplomatic relations with this very promising new country. Today, 30 years later, we can certainly say that he was right and that the Republic of Kazakhstan is a partner of choice for Canada and for many of our major businesses.

At the time of our mission, an economic forum was being held in the capital, Astana. This event, which Canadian ambassador Stéphane Dion attended, enabled me to see first-hand the importance of the Canadian trade relations that now exist with businesses in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Let’s talk about aeronautics first. At that forum I met representatives of Bombardier, from Quebec, and De Havilland, from Alberta. These two companies supply aircraft to Qazaq Air.

An exporter of oil and natural gas, Kazakhstan has also become a major global supplier of uranium. The local uranium mine in Kazakhstan is operated by a company called Inkai. That company is 40% owned by Cameco, a large Canadian mining company from Saskatoon. This company alone produces 18% of the world’s uranium. I had the pleasure of meeting the president and CEO of Cameco, Tim Gitzel, and talking to him about the importance of uranium in the energy transformation taking place around the world.

Kazakhstan, like Canada, has vast agricultural lands. Agriculture employs 20% of the country’s workers and is therefore an economic sector where other Canadian manufacturers have found buyers for products made in Canada.

The Republic of Kazakhstan and Canada have something else that is very important in common: hockey. Astana has a team in the Kontinental Hockey League. After watching a game, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the players, including two Canadians from Saskatchewan. They were singularly proud to wear the Astana Barys uniform.

By the way, in Kazakhstan, hockey is not played in second-rate facilities. The arena where this team plays would certainly make some teams in our National Hockey League green with envy.

In closing, I want to add this: The modern urban facilities that I saw in this very young country are impressive. In my opinion, its new capital, Astana, is a true reflection of the ambitions of this country, which is landlocked between China and Russia. The leadership and the people of Kazakhstan have accomplished so much since 1991. I am especially grateful for the invitation from Ambassador Kamaldinov, which made it possible for me to see all this in person.

Thank you.

National Flag of Canada Day

Hon. Andrew Cardozo: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise today on the occasion of National Flag of Canada Day.

This day marks the fifty-eighth anniversary of the Canadian flag bearing the maple leaf, and it is an opportunity to stop and reflect on what the flag means to Canadians.


Fifty-eight years ago today, the flag was first raised on Parliament Hill, on a temporary flagpole just to the left of the Peace Tower, in the presence of thousands of celebrating Canadians.

A new Canadian flag was a long-time ambition of former prime minister Lester B. Pearson — one that would be free of any colonial symbols, and that would help national unity.

Canadians enthusiastically participated in the work of a special House of Commons committee, and they sent in thousands of contributions and suggestions. They sent in drawings and paintings with everything: the beaver, the moose, the Mountie, prairies, mountains and, indeed, maple leaves. Through that participatory process, the red and white flag was developed.

The political debate lasted many months, and was one of the most raucous in Canadian history. Changing the flag was vigorously opposed by former opposition leader John Diefenbaker. But, to his credit, once the debate was over, Diefenbaker accepted the result and went with Pearson to Buckingham Palace to witness the Royal Assent by Queen Elizabeth II.

Since then, the flag has come to be a symbol of a modern united Canada, where we value equality, harmony and prosperity. Indeed, every new Canadian gets a small flag at their Canadian citizenship ceremony, and adopts it with the greatest of pride. The flag is recognized positively around the world.

While my preference today would have been to speak of this anniversary only in positive terms, I have to say that over the past year the Maple Leaf flag has been appropriated by those who oppose many basic Canadian values — those who believe that a few hundred people can arrive in our capital city and, by brute force and intimidation, replace the elected government. For some, the flag has come to be a symbol of opposition to the Canadian state and government; opposition to all vaccines, including measles and polio; and opposition to many values that we, normally, believe to be basic Canadian values.

Some folks even feel free to deface the flag with messages of hate and anger, and to use the Maple Leaf to replace the letter “u” in the F-word on their protest flags. I don’t believe that is what Parliament intended back in 1965.

And here’s a troubling trend: We know that too many fair‑minded, peaceful Canadians have taken down their flags on the front of their homes so they are not mistaken to be supporters of the angry mobs. This should not be happening.


Colleagues, it’s time for the Canadian flag to once again become a symbol of respect, equality and unity. Long live the Canadian flag.



Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Woongsoon Lim, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in Canada, and Colonel Dongwon Lee, Defence Attaché for the Republic of Korea in Canada. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Martin.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Canada-Korea Relations

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I rise today to highlight two important milestone anniversaries in this banner year for Canada and Korea. This year, 2023, is the sixtieth anniversary of Canada‑Korea diplomatic relations, which was celebrated in January at a special event hosted by His Excellency Woongsoon Lim at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea. It was the first of many special events that the embassy will organize over the course of this year.

Canada’s relationship with the people of the “Land of Morning Calm” is over a century in the making, beginning with missionaries like Frank Schofield, a Canadian veterinarian and Protestant missionary. His support of the Korean people during the March First Movement for Korean independence from the Japanese empire sowed the seeds of a friendship that would grow and blossom between our two peoples. Canada would once again stand with Korea when Communist forces declared war against the South Korean people in 1950. Over 26,000 Canadians would serve in South Korea, sacrificing their youth and lives.

As a result of the war, 516 Canadians made the ultimate sacrifice, and nearly 400 Canadians are buried in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan, South Korea.

On July 27, we will commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the signing of the armistice. Korea would not be the country it is today, and we would not be celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries if it were not for our brave men and women who served and sacrificed during the Korean War.

Not surprisingly, our bilateral relationship has grown from a shared concern over defence to incorporate trade and people-to-people linkages as well. On March 11, 2014, in Seoul, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Park Geun-hye of South Korea announced Canada’s first and only free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region — the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

Canada and Korea’s people-to-people ties have grown exponentially in recent years, enhanced by increasing immigration and tourism flows, as well as business investments and joint ventures. South Korea has also long been and continues to be one of Canada’s top source countries of international students. Nearly a quarter million Canadians identify themselves as being of Korean origin. And over 27,000 Canadians currently reside in South Korea, including about 3,200 English language teachers.

Canada and the Republic of Korea are more than just two aligned international actors. Through sacrifice, understanding and mutual respect, our two nations have become more than friends; we are partners and allies. Please join me, honourable senators, in recognizing this banner year of Canada-Korea relations.

Visitor in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of the Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Marie-Célie Agnant. She is accompanied by Dr. Heather Lank, Parliamentary Librarian.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

National Flag of Canada Day

Hon. Bev Busson: Honourable senators, I rise today to mark National Flag of Canada Day. It’s a day to remind ourselves of the values for which we all stand.

Fifty-eight years ago today, on February 15, 1965, our new national flag was raised on Parliament Hill during a ceremony made official by Queen Elizabeth II, just in time to be showcased to the world two years later at Expo 67, celebrating Canada’s one-hundredth birthday.

While the design of the flag was new, it featured a familiar symbol. The maple leaf emerged in the 19th century as a symbol of Canadian identity and was being seen everywhere, from books to coins. It was during the First World War when the maple leaf was first used as the cap badge worn by members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and became the most widely recognized emblem of our nation. More poignantly, it is a single maple leaf that is carved upon the many headstones of Canadian servicemen and servicewomen who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars. It became a symbol of courage and sacrifice.

Today, we continue to drape our flag on the caskets of those in the Armed Forces and other first responders who have given their lives in service of our country, both abroad and at home. This act is a jarring reminder that the preservation of our shared values comes at a tremendous cost. We then give the flag to the family members of our fallen as a symbol of respect and strength, to convey our nation’s collective condolences.

While the Canadian flag is a symbol of peace, hope and respect around the world, provincial flags pay homage to their respective histories. Based on an 1896 design, the flag of British Columbia was officially adopted in 1960. The top of the flag depicts the Union Jack, reflecting B.C.’s British heritage, with a crown in the centre. Below is a setting sun, representing B.C.’s position as Canada’s westernmost province. The wavy white and blue lines symbolize B.C.’s location between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains, signifying the vast diversity of the landscape.

I should have started today with the flag of the very first peoples to occupy and shape the territory I now represent. The flag of the Secwepemc, or Shuswap, people, whose traditional territory is a vast part of the interior of British Columbia, is filled with symbolism and meaning. It consists of red and black bars of a cross, which represent the intersection of the great spirit and of human beings. In the centre of the bars are blue wavy lines to signify the great rivers, the Fraser, the Thompson and the Columbia, which define this territory. The crossing point depicts the dwelling site and the sun, the creator’s life force. There are two fawns and two salmon on the white background to signify the traditional food of the Shuswap people and our collective obligation to be stewards of the earth. At the ends of the cross are the four colours — red, black, yellow and white — a reminder of the circle of life. With respect, it is now flown in significant places in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities throughout the Secwepemc territory.

On this Flag Day, we must honour our past. We must be grateful for the blessings of the present. And in the spirit of reconciliation, we must look to a brighter shared future for generations to come.

Kukwstép-kuc. Thank you.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Akylbek Kamaldinov, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Canada. He is accompanied by Mr. Murat Rustemov and Mr. Nurlan Gabdyzhamalov. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Oh.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Republic of Kazakhstan

Hon. Victor Oh: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about my trip to the beautiful country of Kazakhstan in November 2022. It was my honour to be invited by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Canada, by Ambassador Akylbek Kamaldinov, who is here with us today in the chamber. It was also a privilege to travel alongside my dear friend and honourable colleague Senator Jean-Guy Dagenais.

The purpose of the trip was to observe Kazakhstan’s presidential election as independent international observers and to partake in the Kazakhstan Canada Business Council meeting. As a Canadian, it was inspiring to witness the foundation of their democratic process in this young country.

As the voters walked to their private booths and cast their ballots into the boxes, I could sense the thrill and excitement of this monumental election and for the country’s bright future ahead.

This trip opened my eyes to the beauty and rich culture of this Central Asian country. As the ninth-largest country in the world, it encourages diversity and modernism while continuing to honour and celebrate its rich nomadic history.

The generosity and kindness we experienced from the Kazakhstani people were also a warm welcome after our long flights.


As Kazakhstan is rich in natural resources, including minerals and uranium, fostering ties at the Kazakhstan-Canada Business Council meeting was beneficial.

It is a great honour to have the ambassador join us here in the chamber today. I kindly invite everyone, if you have a chance, to please visit beautiful Kazakhstan.

Thank you.


National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Hon. Julie Miville-Dechêne: Next Wednesday, February 22, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Human trafficking violates the fundamental rights of human beings and is unworthy of our civilization.

The number of victims of modern slavery has increased significantly over the past five years. It is estimated that 28 million people are subjected to forced labour and 22 million are trapped in forced marriages. Women and children are more vulnerable to human trafficking, which is increasingly moving online with growing sexual exploitation of children. The pandemic has made matters worse.

Unsurprisingly, human trafficking is more prevalent in poor and unstable countries. In contexts of war or extreme poverty, children become assets that can be sold and young girls are forced to marry, as a so-called solution to rape.

However, Canada is not immune to the scourge of human trafficking. There have been calls here in Canada to prohibit marriage for youth between the ages of 16 and 18 to limit forced or arranged marriages by families. The phenomenon is difficult to measure but some countries, like France and the United Kingdom, have already chosen to minimize the risks by raising the legal age of marriage to 18 almost without exception.

The fact that the number of images of the sexual exploitation of children online is doubling yearly, according to police, is another tragedy. We’re talking millions of images and tens of thousands of reports of child sex crimes every year. In a major investigative report by La Presse, a police officer summed up the situation like this:

We don’t have time to arrest everyone. The number of people who like to look at images of kids being raped is staggering. That is just a fact.

According to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, 80% of the victims are under 12. Over half are under three.

At noon today, I met with a broad coalition of groups and survivors headed up by Courage for Freedom, whose mission is to eradicate the trafficking of girls and boys. Young migrant girls are particularly at risk because of their unfamiliar surroundings.

What can we, as individuals, do? Our laws prohibit these practices, but they are happening anyway. It is therefore everyone’s responsibility to pay attention to what is going on around us, be proactive and listen to survivors. That’s what the February 22 awareness day is all about.



Medical Assistance in Dying

Second Report of Special Joint Committee Tabled

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the second report of the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying entitled Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada: Choices for Canadians.

Study on Matters Relating to Banking, Commerce and the Economy Generally

Fifth Report of Banking, Commerce and the Economy Committee Tabled

Hon. Pamela Wallin: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the fifth report (interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy entitled The State of the Canadian Economy and Inflation 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 Wallin, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Notice of Motion to Resolve into Committee of the Whole to Consider Subject Matter of Bill C-39

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

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

1.the Senate resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole at 2:50 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, to consider the subject matter of Bill C-39, An Act to amend An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), with any proceedings then before the Senate being interrupted until the end of the Committee of the Whole;

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

3.the Committee of the Whole on the subject matter of Bill C-39 receive the Honourable David Lametti, P.C., M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P., Minister of Health, accompanied by a total of no more than three officials;

4.the Committee of the Whole on the subject matter of Bill C-39 rise no later than 65 minutes after it begins;

5.the witnesses’ introductory remarks last a maximum total of five minutes;

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

7.the sitting continue beyond 4 p.m., if necessary, and the Senate adjourn once business of Committee of the Whole has been completed.



Notice of Motion

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, when the Senate next adjourns after the adoption of this motion, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at 2 p.m.



National Revenue

Income Tax Credits

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Senator Gold, let me start off by offering my sincerest condolences to you, your family and the family of your friend who passed away very suddenly and very unfortunately. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. I’ll be kinder in my questions to you.

Senator Gold, in June 2021, Royal Assent was given to Conservative MP Larry Maguire’s Bill C-208, which reduces the taxes paid when transferring family farms or small businesses to family members. The Trudeau government never supported it and, instead, created a lot of confusion around the bill after it was passed.

First, the Finance Department issued a press release saying they weren’t going to implement the legislation. Then, Minister Freeland changed her mind, and said she would introduce amendments in November 2021. When that didn’t happen, last year’s budget indicated they would consult on changes to Bill C-208. We have heard nothing since the consultation process ended in June of last year.

Senator Gold, will you give certainty to our farmers? What is the Trudeau government planning to do with Bill C-208?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your questions and kind wishes. I appreciate it.

Senator, I don’t know what the current status is regarding the government’s plans around that bill. I’ll make inquiries and report back as quickly as I can.


Senator Plett: Leader, about six weeks from now, the carbon tax will once again increase, going from $50 to $65 per tonne. By 2030, it will reach $170 per tonne. Late last year, the annual food report from Dalhousie University, Canada’s Food Price Report 2023, stated that “by 2030, a typical 5,000-acre farm could see taxes of over $150,000 . . . .” Farmers have to dry their grain, and they have to heat and cool their livestock barns. This isn’t an option for them; they have no choice in the matter. Yet the Trudeau government continues to hurt them financially for that necessary work.

Leader, on this Agriculture Day, why should farmers believe that the Trudeau government understands and supports their work when there is so much evidence to the contrary, especially with regard to the carbon tax?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question.

First of all, the government has done and will continue to do everything it can to support farmers and the related industries that support us, feed us and that are important components of our economy. I spoke to that aspect of it in a recent response to our honourable colleague Senator Black.

With regard to the carbon tax, as has been said many times in this chamber and far more eloquently and directly by Minister Seamus O’Regan recently here, the carbon tax is a necessary tool in this government’s effort to reduce emissions and to put a price on pollution.

The way the government has designed it puts money back into Canadian hands. That includes all Canadians across the country, as well as industries. The government is committed to continuing to assist Canadians as we make the transition to a more sustainable and greener economy.


Canadian Heritage

Impact of Bill C-11

Hon. Leo Housakos: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Yesterday, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously passed a motion condemning Bill C-11. The members of the National Assembly join millions of Canadians who oppose Bill C-11. Senator Gold, will the Trudeau government hear the voices of these Canadians in Quebec’s National Assembly? Will it throw Bill C-11 in the garbage so it can try again?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question. The answer is no.

Senator Housakos: That is very sad, leader. Bill C-11 is another example of the centralizing measures of the Trudeau government, which imposes its laws on the provinces. It doesn’t consult with Alberta when its work impacts the oil industry. It doesn’t consult Quebecers when it meddles in Quebec culture.

Senator Gold, why did the Trudeau government not consult Quebecers before introducing a bill that specifically targets Quebec culture?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question. Bill C-11 has the support of the vast majority of people and cultural industries, especially in Quebec. It is a well-known fact to those who follow the news in Quebec and read the papers in Quebec, as I am sure you do, honourable colleague.

Bill C-11, which passed the Senate with several amendments, is now at the other place. We look forward to the message from the House of Commons. At that time, the debate will continue, I’m sure.



Health Care Transfers

Hon. Rosemary Moodie: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Senator Gold, the pediatric health community was very pleased with the news of the planned $2-billion injection of funds into the system last week. That is a good response to the crisis we are facing, and it’s good news that the government has recognized that there is an issue and that it has a role to play in solving it.

That said, one-time funding is not enough to fix the long-term issues plaguing our system. Does the government plan to work with the provinces to secure ongoing earmarked funding for the pediatric health care system here in Canada?

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

As we all know, the federal government announced the funding of $198.6 billion over 10 years, which includes $48.7 billion in new funding. The federal government also recognizes not only the primacy of provincial jurisdiction in health care but the fact that provinces and territories have their own unique circumstances and their own ways of doing things.

As such, the bilateral agreements — discussions around which are ongoing, as we know — are intended to be flexible and tailored so that provinces and territories can address the unique circumstances and needs of their populations and of their geography. As part of those bilateral agreements that are being discussed and negotiated, provincial and territorial governments are being asked to develop action plans that will describe how the funds will be spent and how progress will be measured. Action plans with targeted results and indicators will be made available publicly by both federal and provincial/territorial governments, and provinces and territories would and will publicly report those results to their own residents.

That is a first important step, and I think all Canadians hope and expect that the governments will work together to actually deliver the results that this new funding promises to secure.

Senator Moodie: Senator Gold, I was troubled by the fact that the technical briefing on health system funding was offered to the media first, ahead of the meeting with the premiers. As the government is responsible to Parliament, not the media, why weren’t parliamentarians offered a similar type of briefing?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question, senator.

My office, the Office of the Government Representative in the Senate, endeavours to keep parliamentarians, senators briefed on all relevant activities. I don’t have the answer to your question, but if there are specific questions that you or other senators might have that I’m able to answer, I would certainly bring them to the government’s attention.


Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Procurement and Grants Policies

Hon. Clément Gignac: Honourable senators, my question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Senator Gold, on November 2, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry ordered three Chinese companies to divest their interests in the critical minerals sector. Yesterday, the Government of Canada announced that, from now on, applications for research grants on subjects deemed to be sensitive will be denied if any of the researchers are affiliated with a university or institution with ties to “foreign governments posing a risk to national security.”

Senator Gold, my question is as follows. Given that the U.S. government decided in June 2019 to ban public transit organizations from using federal funds to buy transportation equipment such as trains, subway cars or buses from foreign suppliers that have ties with threatening state actors, does the Government of Canada intend to review its procurement and grants policies for public transit organizations to ensure Canadians aren’t exposed to surveillance controlled by hostile foreign countries?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question. The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening the resilience of our critical minerals supply chain and all aspects of our supply chains. Canada continues to welcome foreign direct investment, but the government will take decisive action when investments threaten our national security and our critical minerals and materials supply chains.

As you noted, senator, last year our government announced that large transactions involving foreign state-owned enterprises in this sector will only be approved on an exceptional basis. All foreign investments will be subject to a national security review under the Investment Canada Act. Every investment is examined on a case-by-case basis.

In regard to procurement, Public Services and Procurement Canada is primarily responsible for these contract procurements within the federal government. The procurement process includes national security and public safety mechanisms. I would add that Minister Champagne made an announcement in the media today concerning additional measures to provide assurances to Canadians that national security in all areas, whether research or contracts, is fully protected.



Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Business of the Committee

Hon. Scott Tannas: My question is for Senator Omidvar today.

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, of which you are chair, was referred Bill C-242, an act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (temporary resident visas for parents and grandparents) back on December 14 of last year. I understand your committee began its study on February 1 of this year.

Could you please advise the Senate on the committee’s work plan relating to this study and if the committee has determined a date for which clause-by-clause consideration might happen?

Hon. Ratna Omidvar: Thank you, Senator Tannas, for your question.

I note that this is the third time your group has asked the chair of the Senate Social Affairs Committee your question. I have to conclude you like my answers very much. In that spirit, let me try and answer your question.

Yes, we started our study on February 1. Today is February 15. We have already had three meetings on the bill. We have heard from the sponsor, who explained the principles of the bill and his concern that if the bill were amended, it could potentially delay or kill it. We have heard from immigration law experts and, very importantly, from the insurance industry, including representatives from the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association and Manulife. Questions have been raised about consumer protection and the issue of lapsed insurance, so we decided to go back to officials to try and gain further clarity. We’re still in the process, Senator Tannas, of gaining that clarity.

Given that government bills are coming to us now, we must give them priority, but it is still my hope that we will be able to report back to the Senate on the bill. I am not able to give you any assurances of dates.

Senator Tannas: Thank you.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

Fertilizer Tariff

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the government leader in the Senate.

On this Agriculture Day in Canada, it concerns a matter of importance for many of our farmers. It’s been almost a year since the Trudeau government imposed a 35% tariff on fertilizer imports from Russia, including fertilizer that had been ordered long before Vladimir Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine began. This tariff has punished Canadian farmers, as about $34 million has been collected by the Trudeau government.

Leader, in December, the Atlantic Grains Council, the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, the Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Grain Growers of Quebec and the Ontario Bean Growers jointly asked that this money be refunded to the farmers who paid it. What is the Trudeau government’s response to this request?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. I don’t have the specific answer. I’ll have to make inquiries and report back. Thank you.

Alcohol Excise Tax

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Leader, British Columbia’s world-famous wine industry has been hurt by the pandemic, supply chain issues and increased costs brought on by record inflation. As of April 1, the federal alcohol excise tax will automatically increase by 6.3%.

Last fall, Miles Prodan, the CEO of Wine Growers British Columbia, stated:

. . . we don’t see an opportunity for that excise escalator to decrease ever. It’ll just keep adding and adding and adding. So we think we should be exempt.

Leader, what is your response to growers in the Okanagan Valley and all across British Columbia who are concerned by what this upcoming tax increase will mean to their bottom line?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question. It’s one that has been raised in the chamber several times in relation to various industries, beer and now wine. I understand the concerns. The government understands the concerns of producers.

All aspects of our economy are challenged by issues of price and supply chain availability. However, the excise tax, which is a regular feature of the industry, does not amount to an unsupportable addition to, ultimately, the price at which a bottle of wine may be sold. I have every confidence that the excellence of B.C. wines — and, indeed, the wines in other provinces — will continue to attract customers, even if the excise tax is maintained, as it will be.


Canada Infrastructure Bank

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Leader, my next question concerns the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank CEO, Mr. Ehren Cory, appeared before the Senate’s National Finance Committee yesterday. Mr. Cory previously worked at McKinsey for 11 years. I’m sure the Trudeau government will tell us that is just a coincidence.

Honourable senators who were here in 2017 will remember that we were told repeatedly by the Trudeau government that for every dollar in federal investment, the Canada Infrastructure Bank would attract $4 to $5 from the private sector. Instead, it has failed to do so, and currently has a 1-to-1 ratio.

Mr. Cory told the committee yesterday:

. . . it will over the long term that we move toward that 4‑to-1 ratio. That’s an objective to move toward . . . That’s over decades.

I’ll repeat that, leader: It will take decades. Will you get rid of the failed and wasteful Canada Infrastructure Bank, and if so, when?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. Frankly, it’s the position of this government that the Canada Infrastructure Bank is an important and, indeed, innovative approach to help get more infrastructure built. Though it is disappointing that the private sector has not responded to the degree that was initially hoped, it is not the role of the government to direct how private capital and private enterprise direct its funds. I’m sure that you will appreciate that position of principle, Senator Plett.

The fact is, the bank has attracted billions of dollars of private investment and is funding dozens of important projects. I would be happy to provide a full list to senators if they are interested. Please contact my office. I don’t want to take the time from Question Period to list them all.

There are a considerable number of important projects benefiting Canadians across this country, and it’ll continue to do that in the hope that private industry will step up to an even greater degree as partners.

Senator Plett: Well, hope springs eternal.

Leader, last April, I asked you why the Canada Infrastructure Bank was paying millions in taxpayer dollars in short- and long-term bonuses to its employees. In fact, it is quite innovative how they found a way to do so, when not a single project had been delivered at that point.

Just to jog your memory, leader, in 2021 alone, the Canada Infrastructure Bank paid out over $5.7 million in short-term incentives to 79 employees. That works out to an average bonus of over $73,000 per employee. Where do we apply?

Leader, could you make inquiries and tell us how much was paid out in bonuses to the Canada Infrastructure Bank employees in 2022?

Senator Gold: I’ll certainly make inquiries. Again, I do encourage senators who are truly interested in knowing the important work that’s being done in many sectors, whether in public transit, green infrastructure, broadband, clean power, trade and transportation or with respect to Indigenous communities across the country, please contact my office. I would be happy to give you a full briefing.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): My question also concerns the Canada Infrastructure Bank. In fact, it is legislated for a five-year review. Minister LeBlanc is required to bring forward a report to Parliament by the end of June.


According to documents obtained through Access to Information and Privacy and released last week by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, this review began in June 2022 but has had no public engagement and no public information on the process being followed. Yesterday, a senior official from Infrastructure Canada told our National Finance Committee that they have opened some public consultation.

Leader, could you tell us when this consultation began and if it’s still open? Were all Canadians invited to comment or just those groups and individuals chosen by the Trudeau government?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question, senator. I’ll have to make inquiries and report back.

Senator Martin: Transparency is one of the many serious problems with the Canada Infrastructure Bank. For example, it was revealed late last year that the $1.7‑billion Lake Erie Connector project had actually been cancelled in July. However, if you check the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s website today, you can still see a press release announcing this project. There have been no answers to legitimate questions surrounding the awarding of Canada Infrastructure Bank contracts to McKinsey, which has extensive ties to this bank from its creation to this day, and now we have what looks like a mostly internal review process. So, leader, why is there so much secrecy surrounding this process? Could you tell us if the contract given to McKinsey by the Canada Infrastructure Bank will be part of the five-year review?

Senator Gold: Thank you. I will add that to the questions and inquiries that I will make.

Public Safety

Economic Sanctions

Hon. Leo Housakos: My question is for the government leader, and it has to do with a news story yesterday from the Trudeau government’s preferred broadcasting news outlet, the CBC, where they identified three Canadians of Iranian descent operating right here in this country who are wanted by the FBI for money laundering on behalf of the IRGC and the regime — millions and millions of dollars. They are masquerading around in Toronto as real estate brokers, mortgage brokers and investors.

We have seen the Trudeau government refuse to move on the foreign influence registry and accountability act by keeping it on ice right in this chamber. We have seen the Trudeau government refuse to use Magnitsky sanctions against many agents who are connected to oligarchs and dictatorships, and we see the Trudeau government refusing to list the IRGC.

Are you going to take action once and for all and not allow the agents of these regimes come into our country and use Canada as an ATM machine?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): This government has imposed serious sanctions under the Sergei Magnitsky Law. This is the government that passed the act, and it continues to take measures against all foreign nationals who are undermining our national security.

I’m not familiar with the details that you mentioned with regard to these three nationals. If they indeed are committing fraud or are wanted elsewhere, these are matters that the government will deal with in the appropriate way.

Senator Housakos: Government leader, this story was broadcast on the CBC. Your government should be aware. This is not the first time I have raised these questions on this chamber floor. We now know it’s been a number of months that the Chinese Beijing regime is operating police stations illegally on our territory. We now have concrete examples of individuals connected to the ayatollah and to the terrorist regime in Iran who are using Canada as a headquarters for them to do business.

Before Christmas, I asked you a question about a Russian oligarch connected to President Putin who is mining and doing business and extracting resources in Quebec — all of this without the Trudeau government taking any steps. And excuse me, but there have not been Magnitsky sanctions in any one of these instances that I have asked about. Now, government leader, is this Prime Minister Trudeau’s way of attracting more foreign investment into our country?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question. Regarding the imposition of sanctions, as I have said on many occasions, honourable colleague, the decisions to list additional entities under the Criminal Code are all decisions that are taken by the government upon due deliberation, reflection and input from national security or law enforcement, as the case may be.

I will not comment on what investigations are being done with regard to any of these matters as it would be inappropriate in this chamber. I understand the importance of the issues as does the government. I understand your interest in continuing to raise them as it is your privilege. The government is doing everything that it can do to protect Canadians, but not everything that the government does in the area of national security or law enforcement is something that will be disclosed publicly in Senate Question Period.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Leader, I want to return to the answer that you gave Senator Miville-Dechêne last week regarding your government’s refusal to list the IRGC as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code. I have raised this with you many times, leader, and I will continue to raise it until either your government does it or we have a new Conservative government that will honour the promise that all parties made in the House of Commons in June of 2018. You stated, leader:

. . . this decision must be . . . based on the counsel and advice of our international security agencies. To date, that isn’t what our experts have recommended that we do. . . .

Leader, I have asked in a written question for information on the process to list the IRGC. The response I received did not answer my questions. Now you are saying our security experts don’t recommend it. Did they produce a report? When did this occur, leader? It’s almost five years. Did any Minister of Public Safety bring a recommendation to cabinet?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question and for giving me the opportunity to respond — and I assume you were quoting my exact words.

It was never my intention to comment on what advice might have been given to the government. That would have been inappropriate and if I did, my apologies to this chamber. I simply said and will repeat that decision is based upon — must be based upon and should be based upon — input from the national security agencies. The fact that the government has not yet listed that does not mean that it is not a subject of concern or consideration by this government.

Senator Plett: Leader, many Iranian Canadians, including family members of the victims of Flight PS752, have been targeted by members of the Iranian regime right here in our country. In October, the Prime Minister said:

We know there are people in Canada now who have benefited from the horrific regime in Iran to live a good life in Canada — well, we say no more.

Leader, since the Prime Minister said “no more,” what actions have been taken to give meaning to these words? How many criminal investigations have been opened, and how many people have been jailed? How many people with ties to the Iranian regime have been expelled from Canada since the Prime Minister said “no more”?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question. Again, you are asking questions that are inappropriate to be answered notwithstanding the importance of the issues that underlie the question.

This gives me the opportunity to remind senators, because memories fade, that Canada has very robust measures in place to hold Iran accountable. Indeed, it has some of the toughest and most comprehensive sanctions in the world against Iran. The IRGC Quds Force is listed as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code, as are three Iranian-backed regional militias. In addition, the government has designated the Islamic Republic of Iran — the Republic of Iran, including many senior officials and the IRGC — as a regime that is engaged in terrorism and gross human rights violations and has made them inadmissible to Canada. That is not to exclude other measures that the government may take upon due consideration.

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

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

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on November 24, 2021, by the Honourable Senator Miville-Dechêne, concerning import prohibition on goods produced by forced labour.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on May 10, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Lankin, P.C., concerning the Port of Montreal.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on October 18, 2022, by the Honourable Senator McPhedran, concerning the International Labour Organization.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on October 19, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Boisvenu, concerning illegal immigration.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on November 2, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Mockler, concerning the Atlantic Loop.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on December 13, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Martin, concerning Arctic patrol ships.

Response to the oral question asked in the Senate on December 15, 2022, by the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C., concerning spreading of municipal sewage sludge.

International Trade

Import Prohibition on Goods Produced by Forced Labour

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Julie Miville-Dechêne on November 24, 2021)

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) enforces the prohibition included in the Customs Tariff regarding the importation of goods mined, manufactured or produced wholly or in part by forced labour. This came into effect July 1, 2020. The standard of proof is linked to the underlying legislative authority. Employment and Social Development Canada provides support to CBSA by conducting research and analysis on the risk of forced labour for specific complaints or allegations received by CBSA pertaining to the import ban.

CBSA’s decisions on imported goods are made on a case-by-case basis, informed by an analysis of supporting evidence from a range of sources. Unlike most other inadmissible goods, there is no visual indicator for a border services officer to validate the labour standards by which a particular good was produced. Collecting the necessary evidence base is admittedly challenging given the complexity of supply chains. CBSA collaborates with other enforcement agencies, including the United States Customs and Border Protection, which enacted its prohibition in the 1930s. The Government of Canada will continue working with other countries and stakeholders to advance the effective operationalisation of the ban and examining best practices around the world to address forced labour in supply chains.

Employment and Social Development

Port of Montreal

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Frances Lankin on May 10, 2022)

The Government is committed to free collective bargaining as the basis for sound industrial relations; however, back-to-work legislation is sometimes necessary.

When the Port of Montreal Operations Act, 2021 (the Act) was introduced, the parties were at an impasse. Despite negotiating for over 30 months, engaging in over 100 mediated bargaining sessions and holding six separate work stoppages, they had failed to make meaningful progress towards a new collective agreement. Meanwhile, the unlimited general strike at the Port of Montreal was halting the flow of $270 million in cargo weekly and endangering the livelihoods of approximately 19,000 Canadians. Economic modelling suggested that the strike was causing permanent damage to the Canadian economy of between $40 million and $100 million weekly.

As of April 26, 2021, 15 containers with critical cargo were sitting at the Port, five containing priority COVID-related equipment and the rest containing pharmaceutical products and medical equipment. A further 67 containers with critical cargo were aboard four ships waiting for the Port to re-open.

The Government is defending the constitutionality of the Act before the Superior Court of Quebec. A Charter Statement prepared by the Department of Justice was tabled in the House of Commons on April 28, 2021.

Foreign Affairs

International Labour Organization

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Marilou McPhedran on October 18, 2022)

The Government of Canada is proud to have played a leadership role in the development of C190 at the ILO, including as Chair of the international committee that negotiated the Convention in 2018 and 2019. Since then, the government worked with the provinces and territories and recently secured their support for Canada to ratify C190. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs tabled notice of Canada’s intention to ratify C190 in Parliament on October 6, 2022. It is anticipated that Canada will be in a position to ratify C190 with the ILO in early 2023.

Federal, provincial and territorial governments across Canada already have in place laws and policies to prevent violence and harassment at work in line with the principles of C190. At the federal level, Bill C-65 (adopted in 2018 (42nd Parliament)) and the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations came into force on January 1, 2021. It is noteworthy that Canadian Bill C-65 was used as a model for elements of C190. The federal Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund also provides partner organizations with funding to co-develop sector-specific tools and resources to help prevent and address harassment and violence at work.

Public Safety

Illegal Immigration

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu on October 19, 2022)

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

The CBSA is working to reduce the inventory of individuals who are under removal order and in Canada. The majority of these individuals are not criminals, but rather unsuccessful refugee claimants. The Agency continues to effect removals based on a risk management regime. Cases involving security, organized crime, human rights violations and criminality are considered to be of the highest priority.

The discrepancy between the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) report and CBSA’s statistics is that the OAG reported on cases flagged as having evidence on file that could potentially lead to a serious inadmissibility, while the CBSA reported on cases that are found inadmissible and issued a removal order for serious inadmissibility. Not all cases reported for serious inadmissibility result in a deportation order.

The Agency reports on cases that have completed the entire process and are found inadmissible on safety and security grounds. This will result in a lower number than what was reported in the OAG report. It should be noted that the OAG explained this discrepancy under the definition section of the report.

Since the release of the OAG report in Spring 2020, the CBSA successfully removed 1,347 foreign nationals inadmissible for safety or security reasons.

Natural Resources

Atlantic Loop

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Percy Mockler on November 2, 2022)

The Government of Canada is working closely with regional partners, including provinces and utilities in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Quebec, as well as with representatives from Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island, to realize the Atlantic Loop. This project has the potential to contribute significantly to federal and provincial climate change targets while also supporting energy security and enabling more renewable energy to be built across the region.

A Deputy/CEO Working Table on the Atlantic Loop has met on a regular basis since Summer 2021. Most recently, this Table has met in September 2022 and in October 2022. In addition, five work streams have been organized with the leadership of electric utilities to advance analysis on project parameters, financing, reliability impacts, environmental and impact assessment and Indigenous considerations, and the project’s development and critical path. Senior engagement has also occurred bilaterally and multilaterally between representatives with the objective of bringing certainty to the project’s path forward.

There remains a strong commitment from the Government of Canada to advance the Atlantic Loop, as a clear regional solution to federal and provincial off-coal and net-zero commitments.

National Defence

Arctic Patrol Ships

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Yonah Martin on December 13, 2022)

National Defence is committed to enhancing Arctic capabilities and supporting Canadian sovereignty in the North.

That is why National Defence is procuring six new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels, designed to operate in previously inaccessible northern waters. Three of the Vessels are already in the water: HMCS Harry DeWolf, HMCS Margaret Brooke, and HMCS Max Bernays. The delivery of the remaining three is anticipated by 2025.

As of December 20, 2022, the cost for the non-warranty repair work on HMCS Harry DeWolf related to the main diesel generator mechanical issues is approximately $3,348,945.00, excluding taxes. The cost is subject to change as repair work is ongoing and a final investigation into the cause is being conducted. Any action to address the total costs of the repairs will be guided by the outcomes of the report.

International Trade

Spreading of Municipal Sewage Sludge

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Claude Carignan on December 15, 2022)

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Municipal biosolids imported as commercial fertilizers are regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), while the manufacture, use and disposal are regulated by the provinces. When treated and applied appropriately, biosolids can be a beneficial source of nutrients and organic matter in agriculture and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Biosolids can contain residues of chemicals commonly used in households or in industrial operations. This is why the CFIA requires that they are properly treated and meet standards for selected chemicals and pathogens.

To enhance risk mitigation, the CFIA could increase frequency of inspections, impose stricter border controls, or establish interim standards.

The CFIA continues to assess the level of risk posed by biosolids coming from the United States, including the State of Maine, while taking into account impacts on the waste diversion sector and farmers who use these products to offset increasing fertilizer cost. Of the 1400 food samples taken in recent years, none had levels of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances.

The CFIA is working with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada, and with provincial ministries to help protect the safety of Canadians and the agricultural sector.



Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Ninth Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Jaffer, seconded by the Honourable Senator Massicotte, for the adoption of the ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (Bill S-205, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to another Act (interim release and domestic violence recognizance orders), with amendments and observations), presented in the Senate on December 14, 2022.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

An Hon. Senator: On division.

(Motion agreed to, on division, and report adopted.)

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

(On motion of Senator Boisvenu, bill, as amended, placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Committee Authorized to Deposit Report on Study of Issues Relating to Social Affairs, Science and Technology Generally with Clerk During Adjournment of the Senate

Leave having been given to proceed to Motions, Order No. 101:

Hon. Ratna Omidvar, pursuant to notice of February 14, 2023, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit with the Clerk of the Senate, no later than March 31, 2023, an interim report on issues relating to social affairs, science and technology generally, if the Senate is not then sitting, and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Senate.

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 3:04 p.m., the Senate was continued until tomorrow at 2 p.m.)

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