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Previous Sittings

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 44th Parliament
Volume 153, Issue 139

Tuesday, September 19, 2023
The Honourable Raymonde Gagné, Speaker


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

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



Business of the Senate

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

Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.


New Senators

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that the Clerk of the Senate has received certificates from the Registrar General of Canada showing that the following persons, respectively, have been summoned to the Senate:

Judy White

Paul Prosper



The Hon. the Speaker having informed the Senate that there were senators without waiting to be introduced:

The following honourable senators were introduced; presented His Majesty’s writ of summons; took the solemn affirmation, which was administered by the Clerk of the Senate; and were seated:

Hon. Judy A. White, of St. George’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, introduced between Hon. Marc Gold, P.C., and Hon. Michèle Audette.


Hon. Paul J. Prosper, of Hants County, Nova Scotia, introduced between Hon. Marc Gold, P.C., and Hon. Mary Coyle.


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

Congratulations on Appointments

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I would like to welcome our newest senators, starting with Senator Judy White. She is a Mi’kmaq member of the Flat Bay Band in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. She completed a Bachelor of Laws degree from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University with an emphasis on Aboriginal law. She also completed the Intensive Program in Indigenous Lands, Resources, and Governments at Osgoode Hall Law School, the Leading People and Investing to Build Sustainable Communities certificate program at Harvard Business School, and the Chartered Director program at McMaster University.

Senator White has extensive board and governance experience and has served many agencies in a variety of capacities.


She served as the Assistant Deputy Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation in the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and, through an interchange arrangement, served as Director of Engagement for Distinctions-based Legislation with the Government of Canada.


She served as the Chairperson of the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission, Chair of the Inuvialuit Arbitration Board, as well as Co-Chair Indigenous of Equal Voice — Newfoundland and Labrador. This organization brings men and women together in order to elect and support women at all levels of political office.



In 2022, Senator White received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the advancement of gender equality. More importantly, she is a proud grandmother.


Senator, the Senate is very fortunate to benefit from your knowledge and experience. On behalf of the Government Representative Office, or GRO, I am pleased to welcome you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Gold: Honourable senators, on behalf of the GRO, I’m also pleased to welcome Senator Paul Prosper from Nova Scotia to our chamber.

Senator Prosper was regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, representing the Mi’kmaw chiefs of Nova Scotia after having served as chief of Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation from 2013 to 2020. He is a proud graduate of the IB&M Initiative at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. In 2020, he was inducted as a member of the Bertha Wilson Honour Society at the Schulich School in recognition of his exceptional service to the legal profession and his community.


Senator Prosper has a wealth of experience in Indigenous legal issues, whether in the areas of research, disputes or negotiation. His main focus has been advocating for the rights of the Mi’kmaw people. He taught Mi’kmaw history, Indigenous and treaty rights, and Mi’kmaw governance at Cape Breton University. Over the years, he has worked for various Mi’kmaw organizations in areas such as oral history, studies on the use and occupation of land by the Mi’kmaw people, and research on claims, citizenship, consultation, First Nations governance, justice, community development and nation membership.


Senator Prosper, your background and experience make you a very welcome addition to the Senate of Canada. We all look forward to working with you and, indeed, benefiting from your great experience.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, on behalf of the opposition and the Senate Conservative caucus, I’m pleased to rise in this chamber to welcome our new colleagues, the Honourable Paul Prosper of Nova Scotia and the Honourable Judy White of Newfoundland and Labrador. I’m truly pleased to extend to both of you a very warm welcome to the Senate of Canada.

Senator Prosper, as a Mi’kmaw lawyer with over 25 years of experience in Indigenous legal issues as well as the former chief of the Paqtnkek — Afton Station — Mi’kmaw Nation, I am certain that your knowledge and expertise will be beneficial in this chamber and at committees. Your advocacy work and leadership will continue in this next chapter as a senator of Nova Scotia.

Senator White, as a member of the King’s Counsel and a lawyer with experience in human rights issues and Indigenous governance, as well as with your previous role as Assistant Deputy Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation in the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, I am certain that your knowledge and experience will contribute greatly to your work as a senator. Your work on the advancement of gender equality and dedication to ensuring that all persons are given an equal voice apply directly to our role as senators to be the voice of the voiceless.

Canadians have increasingly been looking to the Senate to not only bring sober second thought and due diligence, they are looking at the Senate for hope — hope that their voices are heard and that the severity of the affordability issues faced by Canadians are a priority for all parliamentarians. Canadians across our beautiful country need reassurance right now. They need to see common sense in Ottawa. They need to see parliamentarians take on their duty to work and fight for their very best interests.

Senators Prosper and White, please know that Conservatives look forward to working in collaboration with you both on ways to improve the lives of Canadians. On behalf of the opposition and the Conservative caucus, I want to warmly welcome you to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.


Hon. Raymonde Saint-Germain: Honourable senators, it is with great pleasure that I join my colleagues in extending a warm welcome to our two new senators, the Honourable Paul Prosper and the Honourable Judy A. White.

As we move together toward a fairer and more equitable future for everyone, and given the challenges we face, I can only applaud the appointment of two more distinguished Indigenous colleagues.


Senators Prosper and White are respected lawyers who have fought for the rights of individuals and groups that have too often been overlooked, and they are also dedicated to social justice. Their commitment to ensuring that the voices of the unheard are heard aligns perfectly with the values we hold dear in this chamber.

Senator Prosper, you have devoted your life to serving your community of the Mi’kmaw Nation. As a lawyer, you provided legal support on Indigenous treaty rights and taught Mi’kmaw governance along with Aboriginal and treaty rights at Cape Breton University. In an interview following your nomination as regional chief, you said that your election to this position was bittersweet. You were ecstatic to have gained the trust of the other leaders who voted for you, but accepting your new role meant giving up your leadership role in your own community. My intuition tells me you may be feeling the same way about your nomination to the Senate.

Senator White, your journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, empathy and a commitment to making a positive impact. As you take your seat in the chamber, know that you will still be able to live by your passion for public service and your determination to create a just and equitable society. Your dedication to serving the people of Newfoundland and Labrador is evident in every aspect of your career. From your work advocating for justice and equality to your efforts in empowering marginalized communities, your firm commitment to the betterment of society shines brightly.

While it is true that you will both be spending more time in Ottawa away from your respective communities and families, just keep in mind that the work you will be doing will have a direct impact on them, as well as on all Canadians, and that you have the honour to be here representing them.

Together we stand on the cusp of meaningful change, and your presence among us adds depth to the conversations we will have and the decisions we will make. Your experiences will help us better understand the challenges faced by the people of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and beyond. Furthermore, your contributions will help shape policies that reflect the needs of our diverse population.

As we welcome our two new colleagues, we also acknowledge the responsibility that comes with the position we all hold. The Senate of Canada is a place where diverse perspectives come together to shape legislation that impacts the lives of all Canadians.

Honourable Senator Prosper and Honourable Senator White, in my name and in the name of all of your colleagues from the Independent Senators Group, I wish you a warm welcome to the Senate of Canada. Thank you, meegwetch, wela’lin.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Scott Tannas: Honourable senators, it is with great pleasure that we welcome two new senators to this chamber: Senators Prosper and White.

First, we have Senator Prosper, who is a Mi’kmaw lawyer with vast experience in the field of Indigenous law. He’s a former chief, regional chief and, more importantly, a teacher. He taught governance and treaty rights at Cape Breton University. To share knowledge and wisdom is a noble gift and a great responsibility.

Senator Prosper, your appointment to this place was greatly celebrated. The current chief of the Paqtnkek, Cory Jullian, said that you are a “role model for [your] community.” He said that they are proud of you for assuming this new role. The praise is felt across the country with Grand Chief Cathy Merrick of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs adding:

Regional Chief Prosper’s appointment to the Senate is a testament to his remarkable leadership and unwavering commitment to advancing the rights of First Nations Peoples across Turtle Island.


These comments are a tribute to your impact on your community, and we hope that you will have the same impact here.

We also welcome Senator White. As a King’s Counsel lawyer with a background in human rights issues and Indigenous governance, the Senate will greatly benefit from your experiences in government and with Newfoundland and Labrador’s Human Rights Commission.

I read — with great interest — the article in iPolitics about your appointment, and your desire to change the face of the Senate and to be a voice for Indigenous people, visible minorities and women. The challenge that you have set up for yourself in that interview, I believe, is both lofty and honourable, and I am confident that you will be successful. You mentioned that you only have 15 years to make your mark. You had better not waste a moment because time does go by very fast in politics.

Senator Prosper and Senator White, your professional and personal experiences are most welcome and needed here. As a colleague, and in the service of all of Canada, on behalf of the Canadian Senators Group, I welcome you to the Senate, and my colleagues look forward to working with you.

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, it’s wonderful to be back with you all, and particularly so as we witness another swearing-in ceremony. On behalf of the Progressive Senate Group, I’m delighted to join the other leaders in welcoming our newest senators: Senator Paul Prosper — better known as PJ — from Nova Scotia; and Senator Judy White from Newfoundland and Labrador.

As a former teacher, it’s difficult for me to resist my teaching roots, and September will always feel like back-to-school season and the freedom for a fresh start. We may not be starting a new session, but it still feels as if we have an opportunity to take a moment to reflect on what we have already accomplished and what we still intend to do.

These swearing-in ceremonies inevitably remind us of our own first days and how we each felt — with such possibility before us. It’s intimidating, certainly, to be the new kid in class, but I want to echo the voices of the other leaders and tell you both — Senator Prosper and Senator White — that we are all looking forward to having your voices added to our debates here in the Senate.

You have both spoken about the importance of representation. Seeing Senator Christmas, for example, as the first Mi’kmaw senator helped inspire you — I know — Senator Prosper, and your appointment will now be the inspiration for other Mi’kmaw youth.

Senator White, you have said that representation is a way to effect change from within and help “. . . ensure that colonialism is a thing of the past . . . .”

That brings us to this moment: seeing not one but two Mi’kmaw lawyers take their seats in the Senate Chamber. I welcome you both to the other side of the federal legislative process.

We have heard your impressive résumés and accolades that have shaped you into the people you are today. It’s time for you both to take these experiences and wisdom, and forge new paths as you establish yourselves here.

Like school, you’ll find different classes to join — here in the Senate, we call them “committees” — and you may be surprised to discover that sometimes we end up working on issues that we hadn’t even previously considered. I encourage you both to keep an open mind as you navigate your roles here.

Having such a diverse and varied group of senators serves Canadians well, but it remains crucial that we continue to seek out and listen to the voices that are still missing. Our committees help us do that. And as we’ve seen with a few other senators, including Senator Prosper, some of those important voices make the change from Senate committee witness to Senate committee member.

Less than 10 years ago, there had been no Mi’kmaw voices in this chamber. We now have three provinces who each have a Mi’kmaw senator, including — with Senator White — the first woman. Change has been slow to get started, but I’m so pleased to see how quickly it can grow.

On behalf of my colleagues in the Progressive Senate Group — and with some help from our caucus chair, Senator Francis, for pronunciation — it is my pleasure, Senator White and Senator Prosper, to welcome you both to the Senate of Canada. Pjila’si. 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 Gordon and Nelson White, Senator White’s brothers; Mrs. Dinnetia Bennett, her sister; as well as Kendall and Bethany Butler, her nieces. They are accompanied by Dr. Chief Misel Joe and other guests of Senator White.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Antoinette Karuna, Senator Prosper’s partner; Kerry Prosper, his brother; and Norma Jean Prosper, his sister. They are accompanied by other guests of Senator Prosper.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, P.C., Member of Parliament, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Late Honourable Hugh Segal, C.M.

Hon. Pamela Wallin: Honourable senators, I am honoured as a colleague and heartbroken as a friend to stand today to pay tribute to the Honourable Hugh Segal.

Ours was a friendship first forged some 40 years ago in the wee small hours of the morning, within the intimate surroundings of a national television studio — every Thursday morning — on Canada AM. Hugh was loved across this country, and across party lines, for his sharp political wit, his analytical precision and his heart. As his friend Liberal Tom Axworthy said, “. . . you were never with him without leaving with a smile on your face and hope in your heart.”

And as Bill Fox, his longtime Conservative friend, put it:

When there was disagreement or debate, that — for Hugh — was simply the starting point for a conversation and the search for compromise.

He believed government must offer freedom from want, as well as freedom from fear — the reason for his commitment to a guaranteed basic income.

He believed in the Tory idea of nation and enterprise — good governance was to be found at the intersection of market freedom and public interest.

He mourned the loss of civility, and was troubled by politicians and the media acting as merchants of polarity — which were his words — undermining hope and optimism.

Hugh was a student of history, and a believer in the Commonwealth, in the monarchy and, most powerfully, in the men and women of the military, whose sacrifice granted and preserved our freedoms.

Winston Churchill, whom Hugh admired, once said, “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.”

Hugh lived a courageous life, from very humble beginnings: His sense of generosity was first learned from his mother who gave away his most prized possession — a simple wooden box — to a neighbour in order to stoke the fire to help keep her child warm.

Hugh always cheered for the underdog — not because they were, but because of why they were.

Today, my thoughts turn to his most passionate battle here in this chamber. He gave voice to those of us who had been silenced. He pleaded with his party’s leadership not to expel three senators without due process, and he did so not because he was my friend — though he most certainly was — but because he believed in fundamental rights.


In his farewell speech, he reminded senators of what our role here is. He said:

. . . above all, to champion the central and indisputable importance of rule of law, due process, presumption of innocence as cornerstones of our democratic way of life, whatever dark forces . . . impose upon us.

Hugh believed not just in the rule of law, but in justice. He was the truest of public servants, an engaged citizen and he was indeed that happy warrior for the causes that truly mattered. There was no better human being, and I am comforted knowing his legacy will live in all of us who had the privilege of his friendship.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Conflict in Artsakh

Hon. Leo Housakos: Honourable senators, I rise today with a heavy heart and a deep sense of urgency regarding the alarming military situation in Artsakh.

Earlier today, Azerbaijan unleashed large-scale military operations against Artsakh, targeting the capital city of Stepanakert and other civilian settlements, causing widespread destruction and civilian casualties. The ongoing attacks by Azerbaijan are deeply concerning and require immediate attention and action from the international community.

It is evident that Azerbaijan’s large-scale aggression is aimed at ethnically cleansing Artsakh of its 120,000 indigenous Armenian population. The shelling of civilian areas is not only a violation of international law, but also a clear indication of a potential genocidal catastrophe. The situation on the ground is alarming, and it is imperative that Canada — as a nation committed to upholding human rights and promoting peace — takes a stand against such aggression.

Colleagues, I hope you will join me in urging Minister Joly to take immediate action as a means to address this pressing issue and contribute to a peaceful resolution, and in calling on the Canadian government to issue a strong and unwavering condemnation of Azerbaijan’s military actions — similar to the statements issued earlier today by the French foreign ministry, the German foreign ministry and the EU foreign service.

Furthermore, it is imperative for Canada to consider the imposition of targeted sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for the aggression in Artsakh. Such sanctions will send a clear and unequivocal message that Canada stands firmly against violations of international law and human rights abuses. In addition to these measures, Canada should actively engage in diplomatic efforts, collaborating with international allies to exert pressure on Azerbaijan, with the primary objective being the swift establishment of a ceasefire through dialogue and negotiations. Moreover, Canada should extend humanitarian assistance to the affected population in Artsakh, offering relief and support to alleviate their suffering and ensure their fundamental needs are met.

The lives of countless innocent civilians hang in the balance, and Canadian leadership in condemning these actions and working toward a peaceful resolution is desperately needed. Canada must stand on the right side of history. Thank you, colleagues.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Evelyn Ross, Senator D. Patterson’s wife; Bruce Uviluq; Patricia Ross; Jacques Faille and Rod Pelton.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Northwest Territories Wildfires

Hon. Margaret Dawn Anderson: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to the unprecedented devastation in the Northwest Territories — the 292 wildfires that have ravaged our communities and land this year. To put the scale of this disaster into perspective, these wildfires have released 97 megatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere this year, 277 times more than the emissions caused by human activities in the territory in 2021.

The driving force behind these wildfires has been the extraordinary combination of long-lasting dry and scorching temperatures — a clear and unmistakable indication of the effects of climate change. The wildfires resulted in the evacuations of eight communities: Hay River, K’átł’odeeche First Nation, Behchoko, Sambaa K’e, Fort Smith, Jean Marie River, Kakisa and Enterprise.

On August 16, the evacuation notice was extended to encompass the capital city of Yellowknife, as well as N’dilo, Ingraham Trail and Dettah, resulting in the displacement of an additional 22,000 residents. There is only one road in and out of Yellowknife.

The wildfires quickly heightened the disparities in infrastructure and services in the North. The pleas and requests to the federal government for infrastructure in the North are not new. Premier Caroline Cochrane stated:

Whose fault is it, when we can’t get people out, because we don’t have basic infrastructure that every Canadian takes for granted?

Today, the Northwest Territories wildfires have burned more than 3.5 million hectares. Homes and building losses include more than a dozen K’átł’odeeche First Nation buildings and the band office; 19 structures in Behchoko or along Highway 3 to the east of the community; cabins outside Tulita; cabins near Duncan Lake; approximately 90% of the homes and buildings in Enterprise; properties in Paradise Gardens and the Patterson Road area south of Hay River; two cabins and a travel trailer on Hay River’s western periphery; and a home in Sambaa K’e burned in an ignition operation gone wrong.

Regretfully, under Bill C-18’s provisions, news sharing among social media became an uphill battle as Facebook and Instagram blocked Canadian news — both heavily relied on sources by the Northwest Territories and the territories. In an age when there is reliance on social media and its platforms, it is absolutely vital that the ability for us in the North to share news during an emergency is permissible and endorsed by our government.

Thank you to citizens and heroes who came to our aid during this crisis including local, national and international. I offer my deepest and sincere condolences to the family of 25-year-old Adam Yeadon, a member of the Acho Dene Koe band and firefighter, who tragically lost his life in Fort Liard. He is a true hero.

Honourable colleagues, as we move forward in the Senate, I urge you all to ensure that the legislation and debates we have in this place continue to factor in the realities we face in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon and help to address the inequity and inequality we live in. Quyanainni. Mahsi’cho. 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 Representatives of the leadership of the Ismaili Council for Northeast Ontario. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Jaffer.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


The Late Mahsa Amini

First Anniversary of Death

Hon. Julie Miville-Dechêne: On Saturday, we marched through the streets of Montreal to mark the first anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death at the hands of her torturers in Iran. Montrealers shouted with one voice that the violent repression of the feminist revolution in Iran must not be forgotten. The Islamist regime did everything in its power to snuff out any attempts to commemorate the anniversary in Iran on Saturday. In fact, there are almost no demonstrations over there anymore, aside from small groups of brave women who sing and dance in the streets, unveiled, for a few minutes before going back into hiding.

We receive messages from overcrowded prisons pleading for Canada and other democracies to put more pressure on this brutal regime that shamelessly violates human rights. From Evin Prison, Narges Mohammadi, one of Iran’s most prominent and courageous activists, sent the following message to the Iranian diaspora for the screening of her powerful documentary, White Torture, in Montreal.

This is a quote from Narges’ call to action:

During 44 years of oppressive theocratic rule in Iran, the people did everything they could to bring about democracy, freedom and equality. The regime responded with repression, killings, torture in prison and executions. The women-led Woman, Life, Freedom movement emerged and weakened the regime by directly opposing it and undermining its foundations. In the streets, women without veils represented clear defiance of the regime and power for the people. We are determined to take this revolutionary movement all the way, and we will resist. For that, we need strong support from the international community.

She calls on Western governments to make human rights a prerequisite for any negotiations. To do otherwise is to betray the aspirations of the Iranian people.


I will close with an expression of sincere gratitude. My heart is full of hope, love and life as I assure you I am determined to fight for democracy, freedom and equality. I remain confident that, one day, you will hear our victorious voices no matter where you are.

What meaningful action can we take to ensure that these people do not lose hope? Canada announced sanctions against more than 400 individuals and entities related to human rights abuses in Iran. Now we have to do more to punish those who are complicit with the regime, particularly by seizing their assets. On Saturday, Minister Mélanie Joly promised demonstrators that she would put more pressure on the regime in Tehran. Let us also use our voices in this chamber to ensure our Iranian sisters are not forgotten.

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 Bruce Deacon, Senator M. Deacon’s husband.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Marco and Cristina Luciani Castiglia. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Loffreda.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!



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

Fifth Report of Banking, Commerce and the Economy—Government Response Tabled

Hon. Patti LaBoucane-Benson (Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government response to the fifth report (interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy, entitled The State of the Canadian Economy and Inflation, tabled in the Senate on February 15, 2023.

(Pursuant to rule 12-23(4), this response and the original report are deemed referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy.)

Senate Ethics Officer

Inquiry Report Tabled

Hon. Judith G. Seidman: Honourable senators, I rise to inform the Senate that, pursuant to subsection 48(18) of the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, an Inquiry Report of the Senate Ethics Officer concerning Senator Michael L. MacDonald was deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on July 18, 2023.

Study on Issues Relating to Security and Defence in the Arctic

Sixth Report of National Security, Defence and Veterans Affairs Committee Deposited with Clerk During Adjournment of the Senate

Hon. Tony Dean: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that pursuant to the orders adopted by the Senate on February 10, 2022, and June 1, 2023, the Standing Senate Committee on National Security, Defence and Veterans Affairs deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on June 28, 2023, its sixth report entitled Arctic Security Under Threat: Urgent needs in a changing geopolitical and environmental landscape 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 Dean, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)

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

Fourteenth Report of Indigenous Peoples Committee Deposited with Clerk During Adjournment of the Senate

Hon. Brian Francis: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that pursuant to the orders adopted by the Senate on March 3, 2022, and June 7, 2023, the Standing Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on July 19, 2023, its fourteenth report (Interim) entitled Honouring the Children Who Never Came Home: Truth, Education and Reconciliation and I move that the report be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

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

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-48, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bail reform).

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

Chignecto Isthmus Dykeland System Bill

First Reading

Hon. Jim Quinn introduced Bill S-273, An Act to declare the Chignecto Isthmus Dykeland System and related works to be for the general advantage of Canada.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

National Thanadelthur Day Bill

First Reading

Hon. Mary Jane McCallum introduced Bill S-274, An Act to establish National Thanadelthur Day.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

Audit and Oversight

Notice of Motion to Affect Committee Membership

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

That, notwithstanding any provision of the Rules or previous order, the Honourable Senator Deacon (Nova Scotia) take the place of the Honourable Senator Downe as one of the members of the Standing Committee on Audit and Oversight.


Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Refer Emails that Form Part of the Committee’s Proceedings from the Second Session of the Forty-first Parliament to the Committee

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

That the following documents, which form part of the proceedings of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration from the Second Session of the Forty‑first Parliament, be referred to the Committee so that it may then authorize their disclosure for the purposes of an adjudication under the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act: from the Honourable David Wells to the Honourable Leo Housakos dated November 30, 2015, at 11:17 a.m.; and from the Honourable George Furey, K.C., to the Honourable Leo Housakos dated November 30, 2015, at 1:55 p.m.



The Senate

Notice of Motion to Urge Government to Recognize the Erasure of Afghan Women and Girls from Public Life as Gender Apartheid

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

That the Senate call on the Government of Canada to recognize the erasure of Afghan women and girls from public life as gender apartheid.

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before I call Question Period, let me remind you, as was noted several times before the summer, that many senators wish to take part in Question Period. It would therefore be appreciated if questions and preambles, as well as answers, could be as concise as possible. This will allow as many colleagues as possible to participate in this important accountability exercise. Thank you so much for your cooperation on this point.


Global Affairs

Foreign Interference

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): My question, Senator Gold, concerns NSICOP, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. Up until just a few weeks ago, leader, the Prime Minister spent the better part of a year telling us that NSICOP was the best place to investigate what he knew about Beijing’s interference in our democracy. A month ago, the Prime Minister showed us, again, how worried he is about making sure that people keep an eye on him by filling the third and final seat reserved for the Senate on this committee with a senator whom he named to the chamber — just as he did with the other two Senate seats on NSICOP. Senator Gold, why are there no Conservative senators on NSICOP?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. What a pleasure it is to be back in this role.

The Prime Minister took account of the needs of NSICOP, the diversity of membership already in it, the representation from all the parties in the House of Commons and selected based upon the criteria that best served the needs of NSICOP at this time.

Senator Plett: And by one party in the Senate.

Canadians know full well why Prime Minister Trudeau never took Beijing’s interference in our democracy seriously. He refused, Senator Gold, to announce a public inquiry, long after it was glaringly obvious that we need one. Why is that? Because it suits him and his office and his party to not have Beijing’s interference examined too closely, Senator Gold, as he benefited from it.

Leader, what is the rationale for Prime Minister Trudeau to continue to exclude the Senate’s official opposition from NSICOP? Please, leader, don’t tell me it is the Prime Minister’s prerogative and wash your hands of it. There must be a reason why he keeps refusing to name a Conservative senator. What is it?

Senator Gold: In an attempt to be brief, let me simply say that your assertions and assumptions about the reasons for the Prime Minister’s decisions are incorrect, nor is it correct to assume that nothing has been or is being done to investigate the serious allegations of foreign interference.

The Prime Minister made his choice for NSICOP based upon the needs of the committee at the time as he saw fit.

Public Safety

National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians

Hon. Leo Housakos: Senator Gold, on the very serious issue of national security, while we’re finally getting a public inquiry on foreign interference — as you know, we’re getting one because the Prime Minister was dragged into one kicking and screaming. As we also know, government leader, we are still waiting for the government to take action on the foreign registry. Of course, I suspect we will not see action until a new government is elected.

We are all aware of the very serious allegations brought forward by the Prime Minister as well in the House of Commons yesterday. Out of respect for the ongoing investigative process, I won’t comment on that or ask you to comment on that, government leader. However, it does highlight the importance of parliamentary oversight and the opposition’s role in participation in that oversight when it comes to our national security and foreign interference.

Government leader, in your answer you said to the leader of the official opposition that the Prime Minister made choices vis‑à-vis NSICOP. There are no choices to be made. There must be a parliamentary body representative of all parties, particularly when it comes to the Senate Chamber and the official opposition.

Will you commit, government leader, to go back to the Prime Minister’s Office, the PMO, and explain to them that there must be a representative from the official opposition on NSICOP? If not, can you explain to this chamber why not?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): I am not prepared to commit to you or to this chamber the advice or recommendations that I will give to the Prime Minister nor to report on the advice and recommendations that I have given to the Prime Minister. I stand by my answer.

Senator Housakos: I do not need you to disclose what conversations you have or do not have with the PMO, but at least you can remind them to respect the parliamentary rules and the procedures in this chamber and the fact that there is an opposition party that has a role to play in the Senate.

Senator Gold, part of your job in this newly independent Senate is to provide answers on behalf of the government. You are supposedly non-affiliated. If we give you until Thursday this week, two days, I think that this is more than enough time to go back to the Prime Minister’s Office and tell the Prime Minister that it is unacceptable to exclude the official opposition from NSICOP. In the spirit of independence and of respecting Parliament, as I said earlier in my first question, would you commit to doing that in order to bring back some credibility to this institution and allow it to do its role when it comes to oversight?

Senator Gold: I have made the Prime Minister aware of the concerns of the Senate and groups in the Senate as to the composition of NSICOP. The work that members of NSICOP from the Senate have done and will continue to do are exemplary and bring credit to the institution.

Indigenous Services

First Nations Infrastructure

Hon. Paula Simons: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

The Little Red River Cree Nation is one of the largest First Nations in Alberta, with a population of over 6,700. It is also one of the most isolated, deep in the northern boreal forest of Alberta. In early May, one of the nation’s three constituent communities, Fox Lake, was caught up in a huge Paskwa wildfire, which started that first week in May and is still burning across almost 100,000 hectares.

Fox Lake has no roads in and out. Without support from the province or the federal government, the band was able, over the course of three desperate days, to evacuate 3,600 people by water, using river barges and canoes. For those too weak or ill to travel by water, two small planes were used to medevac people using Fox Lake’s tiny airstrip, flying people out eight at a time. The good news is that everyone got out safely. The devastating news is that hundreds of homes were destroyed, and 1,700 people now have nowhere to live.

The Little Red River Cree leadership has been scrambling to find supports for their community, but it is difficult to get building equipment and supplies to Fox Lake. Can you tell us what emergency reconstruction aid the community can expect from the federal government to deal with this immediate crisis?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question and thank you for underlining the devastation to this community, and many others, that the wildfires of this summer did and continue to effect.

I certainly will take the question to the attention of the relevant minister. This chamber can rest assured that the government has done and will continue to do everything it can to help communities faced with these challenges.


Senator Simons: According to Little Red River chief, Chief Conroy Sewepagaham, their federal allocation is $1.1 million per year — a number that hasn’t gone up since 1997. The community of Fox Lake, with almost 3,800 people, has no doctor; they have four nurses and two paramedics. The community also needs federal support to build a bridge and to expand its airstrip. After this immediate crisis is over, will your government commit to meeting with the Little Red River Cree Nation and to addressing the long-term health and infrastructure needs of Fox Lake?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question. Indeed, the Government of Canada, mindful and sensitive to the challenges of communities and the impact of climate change across this country, and indeed in the North and on Indigenous communities, has launched Canada’s first-ever National Adaptation Strategy to help all communities across this country adapt and develop the infrastructure to be more resilient in the face of these climate‑change-induced challenges.

In that regard, since 2015 the government has invested over $10 billion in disaster relief and climate change adaptation, and will continue to work with each and every community as their needs dictate.



Airport Delays

Hon. Jean-Guy Dagenais: Leader, over and above what’s being reported in the media, I have seen the chaos at Montreal’s Trudeau airport with my own eyes twice in recent weeks. I am talking about unacceptable lineups requiring 60 to 90 minutes to get through customs, NEXUS devices that don’t work, and hours‑long wait times to collect luggage, assuming it hasn’t been lost altogether in transit. Then, once out of the terminal, passengers face horrible traffic jams to get in and out of what must be the country’s second-largest airport.

As is often the case with the current government, no one seems to be accountable. More recently, poor service levels are being blamed on asylum seekers arriving in huge numbers by plane, rather than through Roxham Road, which has been closed. Nobody anticipated that. Is there anyone in your government who understands the urgency of the situation and who is willing to take responsibility for getting Montreal’s airport running smoothly again as quickly as possible? Right now it looks more like an airport in a Third World country.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. Senator Dagenais, the government is aware of the challenges facing Canada’s airports and Montreal’s Trudeau Airport. For the first time in Canadian history, the government has implemented regulations to protect passengers and guarantee their rights, including compensation for flight delays and disruptions. The new Minister of Transport, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, is seized with the challenges here in Canada and elsewhere in the world. He is well aware of the challenges facing Montreal airport. I am certain he will pull out all the stops to ensure that things improve.

Senator Dagenais: Leader, the pandemic is over and people have started travelling again. Our plane tickets include airport fees for services that are grossly inadequate. Do you understand why I’m feeling skeptical today after hearing that the new president of the Montreal airport awarded a one-year contract to the former president to advise him on how to fix the problems he himself was unable to fix when he had the job? Is that a good use of the airport fees that are charged to travellers going through Montreal?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the question. I hope that the efforts of the new president, including what you just mentioned, will have a positive impact on travellers and their experience. This is essential to the Montreal airport.


Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

National Housing Strategy

Hon. Jane Cordy: Senator Gold, Canada is in the midst of a housing crisis not seen since post-World War II. In my home province of Nova Scotia, Halifax Regional Municipality saw the highest year-over-year spike in residential rent in the country between 2021 and 2022. At the same time, the vacancy rate stayed around 1%, which is the second lowest in the country.

Yesterday, the Progressive Senate Group heard from a panel of experts on the housing crisis, and their urgency is echoed in the concerns of all Canadians. The Prime Minister’s announcement last week to remove the GST from construction of new rental units was a welcome one, to be sure. It is a great start, but this alone will not solve the problem.

What will the federal government do to ensure that all levels of government coordinate action on the critical housing issue? Senator Gold, the lack of housing is a human rights issue.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. This government is very aware, as are all Canadians, of the housing crisis that we confront. Thank you, in your question, for underlining the importance of coordination between not only all levels of government but all sectors that are responsible for this.

I won’t repeat things that I have said in the past. This government has taken important action, as you mentioned, with regard to removing the federal GST on the construction of rental apartment buildings and — importantly, and to your point — showing leadership in urging the provinces to follow suit. Indeed, many provinces have already done so. We hope that others, like my province of Quebec, will come on board as well.

Indeed, there is also a role for municipalities, as many commentators have observed. Once again, the government is committed to working with municipalities in order to exercise its leadership, moral and otherwise, as we seek a solution together to this crisis.

Senator Cordy: I am glad that we agree that it has to be a coordinated effort of all governments and all sectors of the population who have concerns, like the people that our group met with yesterday.

Housing must be built as quickly as possible to meet the needs of Canadians. There is a critical shortage of non-market housing and supportive housing. A major hurdle to building 5.8 million homes over eight years is Canada’s labour shortages.

Senator Gold, there are simply not enough skilled tradespeople to build the number of homes that we need quickly. What steps is the government taking to bolster the construction labour market in Canada?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question. As the Minister of Immigration has remarked in the past months, the government is hoping to attract increasing numbers of skilled immigrant people who can, in fact, contribute to make up the shortfall in our skilled labour force in this particular area. Indeed, there is a labour shortage in many sectors.

It is a challenging and delicate balancing act when all the factors need to be combined in a rational, prudent and sensible policy. The government is committed to doing its part to meet that need.

Public Safety

National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the government leader, and it also touches on Prime Minister Trudeau’s Senate appointments to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

Over the summer, the Prime Minister filled the last Senate vacancy by appointing yet again one of his very own Senate appointees, meaning that currently the three senators sitting on NSICOP are senators whom he has appointed and picked based on common values. By doing so, the Prime Minister eliminated the balance between the government and the opposition in the Senate. We all know that the Prime Minister wants to strip the opposition of its role of representing the voice of the political minority.

Senator Gold, will you pressure the Prime Minister to correct this mistake?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): It is not correct that it is the intention or the desire of the Prime Minister to strip the opposition of its role. Recent amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act made that very clear, honourable colleagues.


It is not my intention to pressure the Prime Minister. That is not an appropriate exercise, but as I have said, I have made my views clear to the Prime Minister, and he has acted within his mandate and authority.

Senator Martin: Senator Gold, 80% of Canadians are unhappy with the Trudeau government. It may be time to re‑evaluate your government’s approach, especially on issues of national security and intelligence matters. Up until your government, the convention has always been to seek the advice of the opposition in naming members to review matters of national security and intelligence. This is for the very good and important reason that it establishes cross-party cooperation, which then assists in building public confidence and national support on such matters. When a government only appoints its friends to sit on the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, or NSICOP, there is an imminent risk that Canadians will lose confidence on how matters are being managed and reviewed.

Senator Gold, will your government show some common sense and recognize that excluding the opposition from NSICOP isn’t in our nation’s best interest?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question.

It is incorrect and frankly disrespectful to the integrity of each and every member of NSICOP to insinuate that they were appointed as “friends” or, as was implied by your leader, in order to insulate the Prime Minister and his government.

It would be equally inappropriate to assume that members of the Conservative or NDP or other members of NSICOP from the House or from this chamber do not approach their work in defence of Canada’s national security with the same degree of honour, integrity and diligence that all members do and should do.


Hon. Claude Carignan: My question is also about the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. Leader, I note that only one of the 11 members is francophone. That is less than 10%, even though francophones make up more than 20% of Canadian society. I know that the Prime Minister has been approached about appointing francophone senators and has turned them down. Was it because these senators were Conservatives?

Senator Gold: No. As I explained, the Prime Minister looked at the needs, analyzing the committee and the diversity of skills and experience required when the committee was created. He also considered the issues facing Canada and the work the committee would have to do.

Senator Carignan: Apparently the issues don’t really affect francophones, and they don’t fundamentally affect the Atlantic provinces either. Not one of the 11 committee members comes from the four Atlantic provinces. Again, the Liberals are treating people from Atlantic Canada as second-class citizens, whereas five committee members are from Ontario. I know that during the previous rounds of committee appointments, two senators from Atlantic Canada were put forward as candidates but were rejected by the Prime Minister. Was that because those senators were Conservatives?

Senator Gold: It is hard to keep repeating the same thing. Unfortunately, you leave me no choice.

Senators are appointed based on their skills and experience and based on the needs of the committee.



Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Leader, between March 2018 and March 2022, the Trudeau government made five payments totalling $256 million to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Conservatives believe this infrastructure bank is a tool of Beijing’s communist party. On June 14, the Canadian who worked there at an executive level confirmed our opinion when he publicly detailed the many ways the bank is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP.

Leader, what is going on with the review of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank that Minister Freeland announced on June 14? When will this government bring home to Canada the quarter of a billion taxpayer dollars it gave Beijing for nothing in return?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. The analysis or review is ongoing. When it is completed, the results will be made public.

Senator Plett: In April 2022 — almost a year and a half ago, leader — I put a question on the Senate Order Paper asking if any other payments were made to the Beijing-controlled infrastructure bank by the Trudeau government. Another question on the Order Paper has been there since March 2021 — two and a half years ago — and it asks how many middle-class jobs were created here by sending the tax dollars of Canadians to this infrastructure bank. Leader, this past March, you said you would endeavour to get the answers to these questions, but I am still waiting.

Leader, are questions like these difficult for you to answer? Are they the reason why the Prime Minister doesn’t want Conservatives on NSICOP?

Senator Gold: Senator, thank you for your question. I regret that the answers have not been received yet, and I will certainly make further inquiries, as I undertook and did, in fact, do.

Privy Council Office

Independent Special Rapporteur on Foreign Interference

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Well, you’ve said before there’s a reason why it is called Question Period and not answer period.

In June, the Prime Minister’s made-up rapporteur confirmed he was receiving free media advice from Liberal and NDP strategists at the same time the crisis communications firm Navigator was being paid to help him. Leader, at that time, I asked you why taxpayer dollars were going to Navigator when he was getting free advice.

Yesterday, a written answer tabled in the House revealed that Navigator was subcontracted by the Torys law firm, which the Trudeau government awarded a sole-source contract worth $4.5 million.

Leader, given that the made-up rapporteur stepped down on June 9, how much of this $4.5 million was actually paid out? If I guessed all of it, leader, would I be right?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you. I certainly don’t know if you’re right, but I certainly do know that the summer obviously hasn’t tempered your proclivity to insult the former Governor General. The rapporteur did the job he was asked to do and happily. We now have in place Justice Hogue, who will be conducting her inquiry into foreign interference, and we look forward to the results of that.

Senator Plett: Well, certainly the two and a half months off that you had have not improved your answers, either. I guess maybe we both should have had another month, leader. I’m not sure.

Instead of taking the allegations of Beijing’s interference seriously from the start, leader, your government thought it could spin its way out of trouble and instead chose to waste time and taxpayer money. This is a criticism of your government, leader, not of the made-up rapporteur. He didn’t make up that title; Trudeau made it up.

The Trudeau government also thought it was appropriate to award this contract at a time when a record number of Canadians are using food banks, housing costs have doubled and people cannot afford to pay for gas to drive to work or to heat their homes. Contrary to what Minister Freeland says, we can’t all take a subway.

Leader, does the Trudeau government honestly believe this $4.5 million contract provided good value for taxpayer dollars spent? Yes or no?

Senator Gold: The government believes that the efforts that it has taken and continues to take to investigate and combat foreign interference in our democratic institutions — and, indeed, in our institutions more generally — is the appropriate response to a serious threat facing Canadians, and it will continue to act accordingly.


Global Affairs

Foreign Interference

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Leader, in August, when energy costs went up for Canadians yet again, the Trudeau government sent its environment minister to a meeting in Beijing, where they burn more coal each year than every other country on earth combined. The China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development is a tool of the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, yet the Trudeau government thinks it is appropriate for Minister Guilbeault to sit on this council as a vice chair. In addition to lending Canada’s good name to this organization, Canadian taxpayers are funding it to the tune of $16 million, leader.

Leader, none of this makes sense. How can you possibly defend any of this?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): It is important and responsible for this government and, indeed, all governments to work with all governments in this world to combat climate change. It would be irresponsible and, indeed, a measure of rather ideological blindness to ignore the important contribution to fossil fuel emissions, for which countries like China are responsible. It is the responsible thing for ourselves, for our children and our grandchildren — not to be cliché about it — to work independently of fundamental differences and values and ideologies with those governments that are expressing a willingness — for their own sake and in their own self-interest — to reduce the ravages that climate change is having on their land, on their people and on their future.

Senator Plett: The Communist Party in Beijing intimidates our fellow citizens right here on Canadian soil, including a campaign against elected members in the other place. In June, the RCMP confirmed that it opened an investigation into Beijing’s threats against Conservative MP Michael Chong and his family. Yet, just a few weeks later, the Trudeau government thought it was perfectly fine for Minister Guilbeault to take part in this organization, all the while inflicting terrible financial pain on Canadian families through the Prime Minister’s two carbon taxes.

Will the Prime Minister take Beijing’s interference seriously, leader, and order Minister Guilbeault to withdraw from this organization, stop sending the CCP money from Canadian taxpayers and axe the tax on Canadians?

Senator Gold: No.

Point of Order

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo: I rise on a point of order.

Your Honour, in the same way that you have admonished us at the start of the new session to watch our comportment, to watch our decorum and to watch our words, I would like to raise a profound issue I have with the use of a term that undermines the meaning of our institution, which is not captured in our Rules of the Senate of Canada or in the Parliament of Canada Act, and which is fundamentally deeply insulting to many senators. This is the idea that there is such a thing as an official opposition.

We heard this phrase used three times during Question Period, just a few minutes ago — once by Senator Plett and twice by Senator Housakos — and it is intended, with no justification, to give the impression that there is a small group of senators here who are more worthy than the rest of us.

I will point out that there is the use of the “official opposition” in the House of Commons, but it is not used in the Parliament of Canada Act for the Senate or in the Rules of the Senate of Canada, and the fact that it is not used in the same way in the Senate should tell us something about what it means to be the opposition in this chamber.

In a more independent, less partisan chamber, all of us should have the same rights and privileges, and we should not be second-class citizens in the way that is implied by the term “official opposition.”

So all of the questioning, Your Honour, around whether some of our colleagues who have been appointed to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, or NSICOP, are worthy to be there because they are not part of the so-called official opposition is an insult to those members.

Your Honour, I would ask that if honourable colleagues Senators Plett and Housakos choose not to withdraw those comments from Hansard, that you provide us with some clarification on the use of this term.

Thank you.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition): Let me first of all start off by saying I certainly will not withdraw anything that I have said. I have used the term “official opposition,” because that, in fact, is the term. I am the leader of the loyal opposition in the Senate.

You can shake your head all you want. That is the term.

And I am quite happy, Your Honour, to have you take under advisement whether supposed senators appointed by Justin Trudeau have the right to come in here and start changing the titles of what we, in fact, have gone by. You can call yourself “liaison” and “representative” and whatever you want. When it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s a duck.

Senator Gold is the Leader of the Government. As was decided by the previous Speaker in a ruling that he made, Senator Gold, in fact, is the Leader of the Government, even if he doesn’t want to call himself that.

So if your point of order, senator, is on whether we are officially the opposition, you may take this as an insult, but I would like to say that’s a ridiculous argument. We are the official opposition. You can complain about us using the wrong terms when we talk about others. I didn’t besmirch any senator in this chamber. I was attacking the Prime Minister for making partisan appointments to NSICOP, because that’s what they are. They are his senators that he appointed to this chamber and then appointed to NSICOP to help him there.

I will stand on the position that we are the official opposition, Madam Speaker.

Speaker’s Ruling

The Hon. the Speaker: I am ready to rule on this. I would like to read the definition of “Leader of the Opposition,” that is in the Rules of the Senate of Canada. The “Leader of the Opposition” or “Opposition Leader” is:

The Senator recognized as the head of the party, other than the Government party, with the most Senators. The full title of the Opposition Leader is “Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.”

I would ask senators to govern themselves as such.


Canada Early Learning and Child Care Bill

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Rosemary Moodie moved second reading of Bill C-35, An Act respecting early learning and child care in Canada.

She said: Honourable senators, it is indeed an honour to rise today as the Senate sponsor of Bill C-35, An Act respecting early learning and child care in Canada.

This bill was first tabled in the House by the Honourable Karina Gould, then Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. It was sent to us with unanimous support of the other place, and it is an important part of the government’s project of building a high-quality, accessible, affordable and inclusive early learning and child care system for all Canadians.

The bill represents the culmination of decades of advocacy from child care experts, advocates for children, women and economists. Its passage would enshrine in law a federal commitment to cooperate with provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples to build and sustain a service for generations of families to the benefit of communities and to the benefit of the country as a whole.


At the outset, I want to state, to no one’s surprise, that I am enthusiastically in favour of this bill. Taking care of children, looking after their physical and cognitive development from their very first days, understanding the alignment of development with learning and outcomes — this has been my life’s work and my passion. I’ve seen first-hand all the benefits of high-quality early childhood education and know the positive effect it can have on a child’s life. I will share with you during this debate how I view the current landscape on the issue of child care and where this legislation fits in. I am glad to hear from many of you, colleagues, that this bill is widely supported in this chamber, and I look forward to listening to your thoughts during this debate.

The history of child care in Canada informs where we find ourselves today. It leads us to the challenges we face and to the choices that we have at hand, and so that is where I will start.

Honourable colleagues, what is the story of Canada’s child care system? I want to take us back to the 1960s and 1970s, because much of how the child care system is being operated and conceptualized today began back then. Specifically, there are three important events that took place. First, the creation, in 1966, of the Canada Assistance Plan. This program created a cost-sharing agreement for social assistance programs, such as child care for poor families. To my knowledge, this was the first foray of the federal government into child care.

Second is the rise of women’s participation in the labour force. As a result of feminist movements and changes to the economy, women’s participation in the workforce surged significantly as they sought to contribute to their families’ prosperity and to exercise their gifts and talents in the workplace. In 1960, we saw that 30% of working-age women were active in the labour force. This would rise to 42% by 1970, and to 60% by 1980.

As a result of women’s participation in the labour force, and thanks to greater public funding, child care outside the home became an increasingly common occurrence. By 1973, 5% of children were regularly cared for in a daycare centre, and that figure doubled by 1981 and tripled by 2004.

The third thing that happened took place in the 1960s and 1970s and shaped how we view child care today. The Royal Commission on the Status of Women was established in 1967 by the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson at the urging of the Honourable Judy LaMarsh and Laura Sabia. The commission featured legendary figures like Florence Bird, Elsie MacGill and a young Monique Bégin. It had a mandate to report on the status of women in Canada and provide recommendations for a path forward. The final report, tabled in December of 1970, would contain 167 recommendations made on the core principle that equality between women and men is possible, ethically critical and desirable.

One important area of study by that group was child care. As a result of their understanding of the evolution of the economy and the rights of women to be equally involved in the labour force, the commission would, in their report, declare a vision for early learning and child care in Canada that was a high-quality daycare system affordable for all and publicly managed. To them, this would be an important step toward gender equality in Canada, and they called on the Government of Canada to step in and lead in the development of a strong national program.

Recommendation 118 of the report states:

We recommend that the federal government immediately take steps to enter into agreement with the provinces leading to the adoption of a national Day-Care Act under which federal funds would be made available on a cost-sharing basis for the building and running of day-care centres meeting specified minimum standards . . . .

That was the beginning of a long and important conversation about how child care should operate in Canada. Should Canada participate in the creation of an ambitious, high-quality, affordable and accessible program, and, if so, how?

Today we continue to have this conversation.

Through the 1960s and 1970s, child care remained a hot topic. Various federal governments committed to implementing a national child care program, but it was not until 2005 that Ken Dryden agreed to bilateral agreements on the eve of the federal election. That was when we seemed to make meaningful progress.

By 2006, a campaign would see the Harper Conservatives win power and undo the child care deals in favour of the Universal Child Care Benefit. We have also seen the Canada Child Tax Benefit and the Canada Child Benefit. The Universal Child Care Benefit was a taxable benefit of $100 per child under 6 years of age.

Fast-forward a decade later, and the Trudeau Liberals would form government and convert the Universal Child Care Benefit and the Canada Child Tax Benefit to what we know today as the Canada Child Benefit, a tax-free benefit that can be topped up with a child disability benefit where needed. Families can receive up to $619 a month for every child under 6 years of age and $522 a month for children 6 to 17 years of age.

What was the impact of this? For most middle-class families, this translated into hundreds of dollars of support every month — a positive step in the right direction, you will agree.

In addition, in 2017 the government reached an agreement on a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework with provincial and territorial governments, injecting $7.5 billion over 11 years. The purpose is to “increase quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity in early learning and child care,” with consideration for families that need care the most.

Through the mid-2010s, child care had really slipped in prominence in discussion at the level of government, but during this period we saw the use of child care and its costs growing significantly, and fewer individuals were able to access affordable child care for families. Leading up to 2011, the majority of parents — 86% — were using child care in a system that looked like this. It had evolved into a mix of daycare centres run by municipalities or not-for-profit organizations. Some were licensed, or unlicensed home daycares and private centres. Different jurisdictions would have different requirements for quality and qualifications for workers, and, for many families, finding a space for their child would be an increasingly challenging task.

The cost of child care was dramatically different across the whole country. In 2020, the cost of child care ranged from $450 a month in Winnipeg to $1,600 a month in Toronto — per child. Without significant federal assistance, as recommended by the royal commission, child care had evolved into a difficult-to-access and difficult-to-afford essential service — an outcome that, frankly, was avoidable.

Consider Quebec, a province that has had a public child care system since the late 1990s. We often hear that Quebec is a good example of how child care could have evolved, and, though the system may not be perfect, it is important to acknowledge the choice the Quebec government made in the late 1990s. That included the introduction of a stronger parental leave system and substantial cash benefits to families to support raising and caring for children in a high-quality public child care system, along with a tax credit that would become a monthly benefit for those unable to access low-cost public spots.


Quebec proceeded to heavily invest in policies it deemed necessary for the benefit of children, women and the economy — all of whom benefited from the direction they took.

Yes, colleagues, they encountered some challenges. As the demand for child care exploded, the province was not able to develop public spaces fast enough to meet the demand — with the result that in today’s system of child care, affordable, high‑quality spots in daycare centres are difficult to access for low‑income families who need them the most. Despite this, families in Quebec, and society as a whole, are better off for this program than they would be without it, with over 220,000 subsidized daycare spots, almost half of which are in publicly managed centres.

Quebec’s journey has taken them down a very promising road. Their journey demonstrates for us that high-quality child care and all its benefits can be a reality for all Canadians.

Then came the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic was an awakening for many of us. Despite the many positive aspects of Canadian life, there were still many underlying significant issues that the pandemic unmasked.

The pandemic disproportionately affected the participation of women in the economy. An RBC report found that it had effectively pushed women out of the labour market, erasing three decades of progress. The “she-cession,” as dubbed by economist Armine Yalnizyan, would reveal that poor access to child care was a significant factor in women not going back to work. By the fall of 2020, 85% of the jobs that had not been brought back were jobs held by women.

Children were negatively affected by the pandemic. Amongst many who weighed in with similar findings, researchers from the Observatory for Children’s Education and Health found the pandemic led to setbacks in children’s education while negatively affecting their mental health.

The pandemic led to a new wave of advocacy by parents, families, child care experts, labour unions, academics and economists, all of whom wanted high-quality, affordable, accessible and inclusive child care as a crucial step to reversing the harms of the pandemic and building a society for all.

The Government of Canada’s response was in favour of building a national Early Learning and Child Care Plan. In the Speech from the Throne of the Second Session of the Forty-third Parliament, in response to the realities and impact of the pandemic, the government announced:

Recognizing the urgency of this challenge, the Government will make a significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system.

Budget 2021 committed an investment of $30 billion over five years and $8.3 billion ongoing to build and sustain a national child care system. In the short term, the government’s ambition was a 50% reduction of average fees by the end of 2022 and an average fee of $10 a day by 2026. This was to be a transformative project on scale with the work of previous generations of Canadians who built a public school system and a public health care system. This is a legacy investment for today’s children, who will not only benefit from it but also inherit it for their own children.

Yes, honourable colleagues, we can all agree that the road to a government commitment to early learning and child care, or ELCC, has been a long and challenging one. Today, we are experiencing the development of a system that will bring significant benefits to Canadian society.

Let me outline how and why early learning and child care will benefit Canadian society.

Let’s talk about the impact on Canadian children. Overall, high-quality early learning and child care enriches children’s cognitive, emotional and social development. This builds a child’s capabilities and confidence and sets them on a path to success in school and life. It means that early learning and child care delivers long-lasting and far-reaching positive outcomes throughout the child’s life.

A study from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the United States found that high-quality child care can have a positive impact on cognitive development in young children. A cohort study from the Sorbonne University, the EDEN mother-child cohort study, found that compared with children in informal child care, children who attended formal care had:

. . . lower likelihood of having high levels of emotional symptoms, peer relationship problems and low prosocial behaviours. . . . Attendance of centre-based child care for more than 1 year was especially protective of high levels of emotional, peer-related difficulties and low prosocial behaviours.

Craig Alexander, who at the time was Executive Advisor at Deloitte, appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology in 2021 to testify about Bill C-30. He had spent many decades studying the economic benefits of child care and told us that children from disadvantaged backgrounds and low-income households benefit most from ELCC, as it lowers the often great gap that exists between their skills coming into school and the expectations of the school system. Internationally, a study from the United Kingdom found that children who attended ELCC were 40% less likely to have special education needs — translating into millions in savings for education systems.

Back in Canada, Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director of Child Care Now, testified to the committee at that time that ELCC provides an academic advantage to children that would last throughout their lifetimes and translate to success and higher wages in their careers.

Now let’s discuss the impact of ELCC on Canadian women and their role in the economy.

Access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive child care is not just about giving every child in Canada the best start in life; it is also about providing the opportunity for parents, particularly mothers, to enter or return to the workforce, pursue their education or start their own business.

The evidence from Quebec is clear: Labour participation rates for women began to rise soon after the development of a subsidized system, resulting in tens of thousands of women entering the workforce. There is also evidence that this will be the case in other provinces. A recent report by TD Bank’s chief economist entitled The Space Between Us: The Availability of Childcare will Define Canada’s Workplace found that increased access to child care in provinces led to an increase in the participation of women with children under 6 years of age. The labour force participation rate among women with children under the age of 6 has skyrocketed since the pandemic. It has risen by 4 percentage points since 2020, equating to roughly 111,000 additional working women — a sharp acceleration from the 1.7 percentage point increase posted in the previous three years.

Honourable colleagues, there is a clear consensus that access to child care is a major barrier to full economic prosperity and gender equality for women. And what is the impact on the economy in general?

We observed during the pandemic that support from private sector leaders for Canada-wide ELCC was strong because they saw it as vital to our economic infrastructure and restoration of the economy. Access to affordable child care plays an important role in recruiting and retaining the best talent the world has to offer.

The federal government agrees. By expanding access to affordable, high-quality and inclusive child care, Canada is giving its families the opportunity to be ambitious and bold, to work hard to secure their future and to be prosperous, knowing that their children are safe, healthy and thriving. In addition, studies show that for every dollar invested in early childhood education, the broader economy receives between $1.50 to $2.80 in return. The federal government’s own estimate predicts that a Canada-wide system could raise real GDP by as much as 1.2% over the next two decades.


Susan Prentice and Molly McCracken of the Child Care Coalition of Manitoba found that children would have significant regional benefits. They determined that for every dollar invested in Winnipeg’s child care system, the region would gain $1.38 back. Greater access could bring relief and support to nearly 13,000 households, increasing the income of these families by more than $700 million a year.

In summary, greater access to child care will mean better outcomes for children, women, families and the economy as a whole. This is why a national child care program matters. This is why this bill matters.

Honourable senators, the last few years have been exciting, as the government has significantly increased its involvement in the provision of early learning and child care, and it has done this through three main avenues: through bilateral agreements with the provinces and territories, through investments in infrastructure and through legislation, or Bill C-35.

Let’s talk about the first one and the most significant one: the bilateral agreements reached with the provinces. Shortly after the adoption of Budget 2021, British Columbia became the first province to reach an agreement in July 2021.

By March 2022, all of the provinces and territories had signed agreements — Ontario being the last one.

Today, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut have all achieved the goal of $10-a-day licensed child care — three years ahead of the national target.

Quebec and the Yukon had already achieved an average cost of $10 a day, or lower, for regulated child care in their jurisdictions. In Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island, fees for licensed child care have decreased by 50% to 60%. Those provinces are on track to achieve the $10-a-day mark by March 2026.

What does this mean for families? They are saving between $3,900 to $6,600 a year per child. The bilateral agreements, as we have heard, are all different in their details. They are tailored to each jurisdiction, but they have similar broad lines and themes. I will outline them:

The first is there is a general commitment to the vision of child care set out in the multilateral framework agreements: high-quality, affordable, accessible and inclusive child care.

All of them have a list of objectives, including fee reductions, space creation and workforce development.

All agreements have a stated priority for investments to go into not-for-profit and public care over private and unlicensed care.

Finally, every agreement has appended to it an action plan — from the province — that outlines how they plan to meet their commitments under the agreement.

Let me highlight an example: In New Brunswick, there is a commitment to create 34,000 new spaces. Their agreement with Canada specifies that the official language minority communities will have spaces that match or are greater than their share of the population in that province, effectively safeguarding access to service in their language of choice for every family in the province. This is in keeping with New Brunswick’s constitutional status as a bilingual province. The province has also committed to tracking both the number of inclusive spaces, with inclusive programming created or converted, and the annual public expenditures on child care programming dedicated to children from marginalized or vulnerable families — allowing for greater accountability from these communities.

And, might I say, a similar focus on official language minority communities is present in all of the agreements.

The current agreement signed by the provinces remains in effect until 2026. Negotiations for the following years are beginning now and/or will begin shortly. Governments from every jurisdiction in this country should be applauded for their cooperation on behalf of children and families. We, as senators, should look at the agreements reached with our own home provinces in order to see the positive fruits of the federal-provincial collaboration that has occurred around this program.

Canada also co-developed an Indigenous early learning and child care system with Indigenous communities and governments — some individuals in this chamber worked on that. This program is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

It is meant to empower First Nations, Inuit and Métis children by incorporating identity, language and culture. Programs are to be culturally appropriate, distinct and grounded in the right to self-determination for every community.

Indigenous early learning and child care also includes plans for space creation and workforce development, but, most importantly, Indigenous communities have direct influence over the delivery of the program through investments in governance and partnership building.

The second avenue being taken by the government, in addition to the agreements, relates to infrastructure. Early learning and child care is being built with a specific focus on increasing infrastructure. The government recently announced that negotiations with the provinces regarding the $625-million Early Learning and Child Care Infrastructure Fund will now begin. This fund is set to be available for four years, beginning this current fiscal year, with the goal of creating spaces for underserved communities.

The third piece, in addition to the agreements and the infrastructure, is legislation — legislation that will enshrine in law a federal commitment to cooperate with the provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples in order to build and sustain service for generations of families to the benefit of communities and the country as a whole.

Bill C-35 was built on these positive partnerships — it’s not top-down, but rather built on collaborative work done to date. It does not impose any conditions or requirements on provincial, territorial or Indigenous partners. It respects provincial and territorial jurisdictions, along with the vision and principles of the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework.

This was co-developed and endorsed by the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council.

It is this third piece — the legislation — that brings us here today: Bill C-35. The Government of Canada’s long-term goal is to build a high-quality system of publicly funded early learning and child care for all families who choose to use it.

Bill C-35 does not replace or supersede the Canada-wide bilateral agreements; rather, with this legislation, provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners will benefit from greater predictability and assurance of long-term federal commitment to early learning and child care.

Nevertheless, you will notice that the legislation does match much of what has been found in the agreements, as it serves as an ongoing, enabling structure for these agreements.

Now let me examine the legislation in greater detail.


First, there is the statement of the government’s vision on early learning and child care in clause 6 of Bill C-35. This vision recognizes the government’s role in collaborating with the provinces and Indigenous peoples to establish flexible early learning and child care programs that meet the needs of families. There is a specific recognition of the need for culturally appropriate services led by Indigenous peoples.

An amendment made by the other place’s Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities added the following to clause 6: “. . . the right of Indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent in matters relating to children.”

Second, clause 7 lays out the guiding principles of the federal investment:

Federal investments respecting the establishment and maintenance of a Canada-wide early learning and child care system — as well as the efforts to enter into related agreements with the provinces and Indigenous peoples — must be guided by the principles by which early learning and child care programs and services should be accessible, affordable, inclusive and of high quality . . . .

Although many of the terms used to date might have various definitions, clause 7 also simultaneously provides definitions for us. Paragraph (a) of clause 7(1) defines “high quality” as evidence-based care that responds to the needs of families and meets the standards of both Indigenous and provincial governments. It also states that there is a priority for “. . . public and not for profit child care providers . . . .”

Paragraph (b) of clause 7(1) puts forward affordability as a core principle so that all Canadians, regardless of income, can access high-quality care. Paragraph (c) of clause 7(1) focuses on accessibility, committing the government to supporting the provision of care in rural and remote communities, as well as the provision of care for children with disabilities and children from linguistic minority communities. In this clause, “accessibility” also means responding to the varying needs of families.

Paragraph (d) of clause 7(1) commits the government to focusing on workforce development — through the recruitment and retention of qualified early learning and child care educators — as crucial to the delivery of a high-quality care system.

Clause 7(2) commits the government to making investments in line with the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework, in addition to the principles set out in clause 7(1).

Finally, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the other place made another important amendment to clause 7 by ensuring that investments are also guided by the Official Languages Act.

Third, clause 8 of the bill commits Canada to maintaining long-term funding, primarily through agreements with the provinces, Indigenous governments and Indigenous entities.

Clauses 9 through 15 include provisions regarding the national advisory council on early learning and child care. This council will bring together a committed and diverse group of academics, advocates, practitioners and caregivers in order to provide expert advice to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. It will serve as a forum for consultations on issues and challenges facing the early learning and child care sector.

Again, an amendment made by the House Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities added the ability to consult broadly with entities that have interests in child care.

Bill C-35 will enshrine the council under statutory authority. Clauses 9 through 15 outline the appointment process, considerations for membership and the functions of the council, as well as prescribe the minimum number of meetings, among other considerations.

The House Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities amended this part of the bill in clause 11(1) to ensure that Indigenous peoples and official language minority communities would have representation on the council. They also amended clause 14 to provide the council with the opportunity to receive information from the minister respecting the early learning and child care system in order to allow the council to perform its role.

Finally, the House Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities made important amendments in clause 16, which sets out the details of annual reporting on the performance and the progress of the Canada-wide early learning and child care system.

Before I conclude my presentation of this legislation, I must commend our colleagues in the other place for their work on this legislation. It is my assertion that Bill C-35 is a strong bill. It is no surprise that the other place passed it with unanimous support. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to this chamber and our Social Affairs Committee putting their lenses on this bill — in our role as a complementary partner to the House of Commons in the legislative process.

I want to share some final considerations: What you have heard from me during this speech is that the work that has been done, and that continues to be done, has been tremendous around establishing a national child care system. Bill C-35 provides a framework for ongoing agreements, but we know that — as the work of building a national child care system evolves — challenges will arise. It is my view that the bill leaves sufficient flexibility to allow the federal government, and its partners, to address future and current challenges within a framework that prioritizes the public and not-for-profit delivery of child care.

As I close, I wish to acknowledge and address some of the challenges facing our system today.

First, we do not have the data to fully consider and evaluate the status of child care. This is an area targeted by the agreements. As we build upon this system, we need to have a clearer understanding of what the needs are. How many spaces do we need? Where do we need them? How many workers are missing? This information is not readily available, and that needs to change, colleagues.

The second challenge is building a sustainable workforce. This is crucial not only to develop new spaces, but also to be able to use the ones we currently have. A high-quality early childhood educator workforce is essential to fostering the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of young children. Investing in such a high-quality early childhood educator workforce is investing in the health, well-being and success of generations to come here in Canada.

Unfortunately, the child care sector faces major issues in the recruitment and retention of qualified workers. The Childcare Resource and Research Unit found that 50% of workers are exiting the industry within the first five years. They move on to school boards or to the private sector where they can find more competitive wages and benefits, and this is directly affecting supply.

The YMCA of Ontario reported to us that of its 1,250 centres, none are operating at capacity because of staff shortages. This leads to long wait-lists and to burnout for staff.

Compensation, benefits and a clear career trajectory are key to the long-term development of the workforce. This is possible by integrating child care centres into larger social service networks that have the resources to provide competitive wages and benefits, along with the size to allow mobility and new opportunities for workers.

This leads to my final point: the choice of public and not-for-profit care over private care. I believe that choice is a good one, and needs to be an essential principle underscoring any national child care program. We must recognize that there are private operators that are providing excellent high-quality care throughout this country, but child care is ultimately a public good. Individuals and firms operating on a for-profit basis will never have the incentive to develop the kind of system we need, a system that emphasizes affordability, inclusivity and accessibility, not one that reacts to the bottom line. This is why public and not-for-profit operation is critical.


When she was before the Social Affairs Committee concerning Budget 2021, Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director of Child Care Now, argued that a public system is crucial to equity and quality and that expanding the supply of services must be a government responsibility. Now, this is not the end of private child care. The agreements do allow for some funding to private providers; indeed, all existing private providers were brought into the Canada-wide system from the start to maintain access for parents.

Going forward, it is the government’s intention to make sure that public funds are used for public goods. Ultimately, colleagues, we are making a policy choice here. Access to a critical service that we consider to be a public good should not be based on profit incentives or the ability to pay.

Child care, like other areas of our education system, is critical for children’s outcomes and for their futures. Although not supported by all, this policy choice is supported by the evidence within and without and beyond our borders. It is best for our young children and for our future prosperity.

Now that we are in the midst of this transition period, fees may be going down, but spaces may not yet be opening up. Many may feel that the change is not coming soon enough, that the plan is not working well enough. The answer, I would propose, is not to turn back but to persist, because this is the final outcome that we strive to achieve. This is the outcome that Canadian children deserve.

Thank you, colleagues, for your attention. I urge all of us to study this bill rigorously and to adopt it swiftly so that provinces, Indigenous communities, parents and children can move forward with a certainty that Canada-wide early learning and child care is here to stay.

Meegwetch, thank you.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Andrew Cardozo: Thank you for that informative overview of the law, and thank you for mentioning the great Monique Bégin, an icon who left a great legacy for us in terms of social and health policy in Canada.

My question is about public support for child care in Canada; indeed, this is one of the most important affordability programs we are putting in place. Over the years, over several decades, there were really only women’s groups, women’s movement and feminist groups who were calling for child care. Something happened over COVID and that changed, and you mentioned that. Could you say a little bit about how this changed and how we finally got the business community onside for national child care at this point?

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Moodie, there are seven seconds left. Are you asking for five more minutes?

Senator Moodie: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted?

An Hon. Senator: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: I hear a “no.”

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Bill to Amend the Canada Business Corporations Act and to Make Consequential and Related Amendments to other Acts

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Percy E. Downe moved second reading of Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts.

He said: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak as the sponsor of Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act.

Canadians have been waiting for this important piece of legislation to fight against money laundering and overseas tax evasion. That is why I am pleased to have the opportunity to sponsor this bill.

If passed by Parliament, this bill will create a public and searchable beneficial ownership registry. I welcome this legislation and I am not alone in this.

James Cohen of Transparency International Canada stated:

There was a lot of aggressive language on anti-money laundering in Budget 2023. We’re thankfully seeing the tough talk backed up with increasingly bold proposals that now need to be implemented and financed. Canada’s finally getting on the right track it seems.

A spokesperson for Canadians for Tax Fairness regarded this bill as an important first step and stated:

Tax dodging and money laundering cost the public billions every year. A publicly accessible registry will significantly improve tax compliance and enforcement for all levels of government.

The government has proposed this legislation because a lack of corporate ownership transparency is impairing Canada’s ability to combat serious financial crimes like fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. It also limits our nation’s capacity to enforce domestic and international sanctions through effective tracing and freezing of financial assets. Finally, it is impacting the trust of Canadians and foreign investors in our marketplace and eroding confidence that our tax system treats everyone equally.

Canada’s inability to quickly and quietly identify a company’s beneficial owner, that is the natural person who controls the corporation or company, delays justice and enforcement of laws in our country.

Honourable senators may be interested to know that according to FINTRAC, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, roughly 70% of all money laundering cases in Canada involve the misuse of corporate legal entities, both to channel foreign proceeds of crime into or through Canada as well as to launder domestically generated proceeds. This is consistent with one of the findings of the final report of the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia.

Unfortunately, drug cartels and foreign criminals have long used corporate vehicles to hide the ownership and control. A public beneficial ownership registry would complement the existing tools of law enforcement. Such registries and the transparency they foster further serve as a deterrent to criminals, foreign and domestic.

In my work in overseas tax evasion, I was always impressed by the Australian experience, which I mentioned in this chamber before. After starting Project Wickenby, a broad-based government effort to fight overseas tax evasion and recover money owed to the Australian people, the authorities discovered that international money transfers to known tax havens declined dramatically once people were charged and sent to jail. Charging, convicting and jailing Australian tax evaders and money launderers curbed their desire to conduct such activities.

To that end, this legislation will have penalties for wilful non‑compliance that are some of the most severe in the world: up to $100,000 fines for corporations, up to $1 million of personal fines for directors and officers and up to five years in prison for those who knowingly provide or allow or permit false or misleading information to be filed.

Colleagues, the need for this type of registry has been well established by now, notably by public consultation held by the Government of Canada and the Financial Action Task Force, the G20 body that sets international standards in these matters.

Incidentally, this was the same task force that in a 2016 report raised significant concerns about the state of beneficial ownership transparency in Canada.

In recent years, Transparency International — the global organization, not the Canadian chapter — has given Canada progressively lower scores in its yearly international Corruption Perceptions Index due in no small part to delays in implementing beneficial ownership transparency. Naturally, the same organization is greatly encouraged by the measures proposed in the bill before us, such recognition being a testimony to the leadership of Minister Champagne on this file. This long-delayed and much-needed action in Canada has finally arrived with this legislation.


Beneficial ownership registries are nothing new, and have existed in the United Kingdom and in a growing number of countries since 2016. They have proven a useful tool in helping law enforcement, journalists and civil society detect and deter the misuse of corporations for illicit financial activity. A beneficial ownership registry will also serve tax authorities here and abroad. They will be able to use the information to track and fight tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. The Panama Papers as well as other mass leaks have shown that criminals look for places with weak beneficial ownership transparency and then try to hide their personal ownership and income. The longer the chain of entities between the income and the beneficial owners, the harder the truth is to determine.

We should not underestimate the significant burden that tax evasion and avoidance place on the Canadian economy. In 2019, for example, the U.S. State Department designated Canada as a major money-laundering country. Volume II of the U.S. State Department’s report from March 2022, entitled International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, says that they estimated that between CAD 50 billion and CAD 120 billion is laundered every year in Canada. That, colleagues, is roughly 5% of our GDP. Think about that: 5% of our GDP is consisting of money laundering. That was further documented when the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada’s 2020 report, using an estimate from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, concluded that money laundering represents between 2% and 5% of GDP in Canada, and they pegged the money laundering at between CAD 45 billion and CAD 113 billion.

Senators, we have a major problem that this bill will help to address. Making beneficial ownership information publicly available supports good governance and trust. All businesses can check who they are doing business with by reviewing the entities of potential suppliers and customers, thereby protecting themselves against crooks.

Honourable senators, at this time, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight a few additional features of the bill that, I believe, reflect the significant amount of thought that has gone into designing an effective regime. Obviously, our Senate committee will conduct its own study of this bill in greater detail, but here are a few of the highlights.

Bill C-42 is the product of significant consultation. In 2020 and again in 2022, officials from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and Finance Canada conducted public consultations on options and met with key stakeholders, including law enforcement, businesses, transparency organizations, professional associations and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

The text of Bill C-42 represents a careful balance of the views of all the stakeholders. It also reflects lessons learned from registries already in place in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States. Here in Canada, the federal government is providing leadership under Minister Champagne and is working closely with the provinces and territories given that corporation registration is a joint responsibility.

This federal bill, if passed, will cover roughly 15% of corporations in Canada, and with the cooperation of the provinces and territories, we will have 100% coverage. Colleagues, the Province of Quebec led the way with its Bill 78, passed in June of 2021, making it the first province in Canada with legislation to institute a publicly accessible beneficial ownership registry. They were soon followed by British Columbia. I want to congratulate these governments on their leadership and urge other provinces to now join the fight.

Another feature of this bill I want to highlight relates to the protection of the privacy of Canadians. Upon entry into force, Bill C-42 will require corporations to collect more information from their beneficial owners, including name, citizenship, date of birth and address, and to send this, along with other information in their registry of individuals with significant control, to Corporations Canada. They would be required to do this annually and within 15 days of any changes recorded in their registry. This new information is necessary to enable law enforcement to effectively identify beneficial owners and to align with international partners.

At the same time, only a portion of the information collected by Corporations Canada will be made available to the public: the name; the address for service if it has been provided to the corporation or the residential address if an address for service has not been provided to the corporation; the date the individual gained or ceased to have significant control; and a description of the nature of that control.

The proposed legislation collects and discloses only that information that is both necessary and proportional to meet the objectives of the registry. The most sensitive personal information will only be made available to law enforcement and other authorized entities. This design is intentionally privacy-conscious, and a Charter Statement released by the Department of Justice Canada finds Bill C-42 to be fully compliant with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Honourable senators, Bill C-42 also provides for a two-track exemption regime to protect certain at-risk individuals and further ensure the bill is Charter compliant. The first track will be an automatic exemption from publication for individuals who are less than 18 years old. The second track will be an exemption under application if the director of Corporations Canada is satisfied that the applicant has demonstrated that their safety and security are at risk. It is important to note that in all these cases, law enforcement will still have access to the information and that Corporations Canada’s website will have to make its exemption decisions public. At the same time, the core set of information publicly disclosed will be of great benefit to shareholders, creditors and other business partners of the corporations, like reporting entities, foreign law enforcement and tax authorities as well as non-governmental organizations, journalists and members of the public.

Honourable colleagues, a second notable set of features of Bill C-42 is the measure put in place to deter non-compliance. The effectiveness of the registry will indeed be heavily dependent on the data it contains. Bill C-42 puts in place the building blocks of a comprehensive and progressive compliance program — including the administrative action and criminal sanctions that I outlined earlier — to deter bad behaviour and encourage compliance by all corporations.

On the administrative front, corporations that fail to provide their beneficial ownership information to Corporations Canada may notably be prevented from obtaining a certificate of compliance, a document that is often required to support a loan request or to enter into contract with a potential supplier or buyer. If a corporation remains in non-compliance, it could be dissolved, meaning the end of the legal existence of the corporation.

Honourable senators, I would also like to highlight another key feature that provides individuals, employees and journalists the opportunity to report suspected wrongdoings directly to the director of Corporations Canada. I am referring to the whistle-blower protection provision. For example, the director of Corporations Canada will not be authorized to disclose to the public information submitted to it by a whistle-blower, and the bill amends section 2 of the Access to Information Act to prevent the release of information submitted that could identify any individuals.


Altogether, these measures should serve to enhance the accuracy and integrity of the information in the registry and deter intentional misreporting, or false or misleading information.

Colleagues, I have talked a lot about efforts put in place to increase transparency and hold criminals to account, but this should not have us lose sight of the fact that the vast majority of Canadian businesses are law-abiding and vital contributors to the well-being of our country. Bill C-42 is very mindful of this consideration and works to ease the administrative cost of the new obligations. More specifically, Bill C-42 will enable online-only intake forms and align reporting timelines with pre-existing filing requirements for corporations, such as annual reports and reporting changes of directors. Additional steps will be taken, including a progressive onboarding of corporations based on their original creation date, as well as significant proactive education and outreach efforts.

Colleagues, I would now like to turn to the topic of the interoperability of the registry. This is a key concern for stakeholders and will be an important component of the success of a national approach to corporate transparency. Interoperability has many dimensions, but the general plan is for the federal registry to be aligned with domestic and international registries so that provinces are enticed to join a pan-Canadian registry.

Honourable senators, the government has publicly committed to adopting the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard, which is an internationally accepted open standard that provides a consistent way to use, collect, exchange and establish beneficial ownership information and control of companies. Canada’s use of this standard will ensure that our registry can communicate with and speak the same technical language as beneficial ownership registries around the world, as well as with our provincial and federal authorities.

Provincial and territorial finance ministers have agreed in principle to pursue legislative amendments to their respective corporate statutes to require corporations to hold up-to-date information on beneficial ownership. This bill is step two.

The efforts to harmonize federal, territorial and provincial beneficial ownership regimes are ongoing. On June 5 of this year, Minister Champagne and Deputy Prime Minister Freeland sent a joint letter to their respective provincial and territorial ministerial counterparts asking them to join their federal efforts to create a pan-Canadian beneficial ownership registry and were seeking specifically to understand each area’s particular needs and any supports required to facilitate their participation in a national system.

Honourable senators, the lack of beneficial ownership transparency is impairing Canada’s ability to combat serious financial crimes like fraud, money laundering and overseas tax evasion. It also limits our capacity to enforce domestic and international sanctions and to effectively trace and freeze financial assets. The lack of beneficial ownership transparency is impacting the trust of Canadians and foreign investors in our marketplace. Simply put, we must put an end to Canada’s reputation as a most attractive country to launder money. With our stable government and banking system, we have become an international hot spot for criminals — and foreign money that has been obtained by drug cartels, corrupt dictators and the Mob.

The registry proposed by Bill C-42 would be a significant step forward in those regards. It would be of great benefit to law enforcement, and in building and reinforcing trust in the Canadian marketplace.

Finally, colleagues, Canada is taking action. For those reasons, I hope you will join me in supporting this bill. Thank you, honourable senators.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)


Language Skills Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Housakos, for the second reading of Bill S-229, An Act to amend the Language Skills Act (Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick).

Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond: Honourable senators, this item is at day 15, and I’m not ready to speak at this time. Therefore, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 4-15(3), I move the adjournment of the debate for the balance of my time. Thank you.

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

Hon Senators: Agreed.

(Debate adjourned.)


National Framework on Advertising for Sports Betting Bill

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Marty Deacon moved second reading of Bill S-269, An Act respecting a national framework on advertising for sports betting.

She said: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill S-269, An Act respecting a national framework on advertising for sports betting.

Before I speak to this bill, I would like to take a moment to say “hello” and “welcome back” to all of our colleagues and staff in the Senate, and give a very special welcome to our two new senators. We are thrilled that you and your families are here.

The past three months have been hard for many Canadians, and I don’t doubt that many in this chamber have people in their lives who have been affected by floods and wildfires. I have witnessed some very damaged terrain, both in Canada and internationally, during Senate travel. Today, it is great to get to the very important work we all need to do.

Regarding this legislation, I would also like to thank my colleague Senator Cotter, who is a significant partner in this bill and has been readily available to offer his counsel on the topic it addresses. Two years ago, colleagues, when I and a majority in this chamber voted to pass Bill C-218, which legalized single sports betting, we were wading into unknown. I was hesitant to vote for the bill. My main reason for voting in favour was to get illicit gambling activity into the light of day.

We’ve seen how much revenue it has made in the first two years in Ontario alone. This money was leaving Canada or going into criminal elements, sometimes with dangerous consequences, and in that sense, the bill has succeeded where I thought it would. I had a hope that by making single-game betting legal, we’d see some work to address its harms as well. That has not happened. I did not anticipate the level of promotion that we are seeing, potentially creating a generation of problem gamblers.


Do I regret my vote? I still do not — not yet, anyway. We can still correct our course, which is what I am trying to do today with this legislation.

We have the benefit of looking at other countries. In fact, I met with leaders in this space from the U.K. a few weeks ago. We can learn from them in an efficient way. Provinces are just now beginning to consider how they want to approach this. Many of you will, no doubt, welcome the news that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario recently announced some regulations on sports-betting advertising. For reasons that I will touch on here and expand on later, while I welcome this news, it does not go far enough. We need national standards in place that these betting companies must follow so each Canadian is afforded the same protections regardless of which province they live in.

This summer, I spent time listening to colleagues from here and the other place; to families from coast to coast to coast; to Indigenous leaders; and to regulators in Canada, the United States and the U.K., and I have never been more convinced that we need the government to act on this matter — and now.

The fact is, colleagues, most Canadians are concerned that there is far too much sports-betting promotion. A recent Ipsos poll found that 63% of us are tired of the number of gambling ads we are seeing. If you watched the Leafs-Panthers series in the second round of the NHL playoffs this year, you were subjected to the treat of nine minutes of sports betting advertising over the course of the game, and that’s not even taking into account the betting advice that we see during the intermission panels, who now give tips on betting odds along with their game analysis. Spare a thought for the poor soul who decides to jump on social media during the game as well, where the flood of gambling promotion knows no end.

This is all more than being just an irritation or distraction. These promotions have very serious, evidence-based negative consequences. Whereas a problem gambler could avoid the casino or the PROLINE counter in the past, they are now inundated with temptation when they sit down at home simply to watch a game. This presents a major challenge for those who are struggling with gambling addiction.

We have done all we can to assist those who want to quit smoking. An alcoholic is not quite as fortunate, but recognizing the harms, we have put ample restrictions on beer and liquor advertising, and thanks to work like that of our colleague Senator Brazeau, we may soon have food-label warnings as well. A problem gambler, however, cannot look at the screen these days without being encouraged to gamble.

I would like to share one short message I received from a father in July after I introduced this legislation. It reads:

I have a 7-year-old boy, he is quite athletic, and quite intelligent. A sporty and smart kid that I no longer allow to watch sports on TV. Oh, he just loves the Blue Jays and the Habs. But the endless barrage of ads became problematic. Initially when he asked about the ads, I tried to take a logical approach to him and explain the math side of this. It seemed like a neat idea. He got it. But the TV was turned off for the final time when he asked if he could bet his own money. To be clear, I am not a gambler, he has never seen me gamble. I don’t even do any silly bets with him and even though I explained it to him very plainly, he wanted to still see if he could win money. The TV is now off.

My assumption, colleagues, is that this is a battle being fought in living rooms across the country. Compounding matters is it has never been easier to bet. One swipe and two taps of your smartphone are often all it takes to put money down on trying to predict any number of outcomes in a game you are watching. I have watched children under the age of 10 do this. It doesn’t take a psychology major — though I suspect we will hear from one soon enough — to see why this is a problem, and will only exacerbate the problem gambling we see here in Canada already, because the research shows we are headed in the wrong direction.

Statistics Canada reported in 2022 that two thirds of Canadians aged 15 or older reported gambling in the past year. Let me repeat this: two thirds. While only 1.6% of these gamblers were at moderate to severe risk of problems related to gambling, that’s still 304,000 Canadians who are at risk.

While gambling tends to be higher amongst higher-income households, lower-income households are more than twice as likely to have a family member at moderate to severe risk for a gambling addiction. Importantly, Indigenous people reported higher rates of gambling in the past year than other demographics, and those that did gamble were three times more likely to be at moderate to severe risk for gambling problems.

Crucially, the ads we see today are particularly appealing to young Canadians. The industry says they go above and beyond to not appeal to children, but they had to be told to remove celebrities from their ads, and even with this, the research shows this barrage of advertising will still heavily influence our young Canadians.

A widely cited 2014 literature review conducted at the University of Gothenburg found that children have a high recall of gambling advertising and brands. Children and young people were the most aware of the advertising link with sports, which is seen to normalize gambling.

More recently, a 2023 study done by the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that young people were more likely to bet on impulse or increase their betting after seeing gambling ads. A 2023 literature review conducted by the Journal of Public Health found that there is evidence of what they call a dose-response effect, meaning greater advertising exposure increases participation, which leads to a greater risk of harm with trends for this higher amongst young children and young people and those already at risk from current gambling activity.

I quote as well a recent interview of Raffaello Rossi, a lecturer in marketing at the University of Bristol, who recently conducted a survey of young Britons on their reaction to gambling ads. He found when he compared children aged 11 to 17 to those 18 and over, it was the children that had the much more positive emotions and responses to those gambling ads compared to adults, adding “. . . indeed, adults even kind of hated it on average.”

So here we find ourselves in a similar situation. Betting companies are running advertisements for a product that can only be used by adults but are instead widely appealing to children. Where will this lead? Gambling becomes to them as much a part of sport as sitting down and cheering for their favourite team or even competing themselves. And you can be certain that when they are able to place a bet themselves, be it with their parent’s credit card or their own, they most certainly will.

You don’t have to take my word for it, though, as we need only look again to the United Kingdom to see where this will lead. In 2005, the U.K. legalized single-game sports betting and, like us, placed little to no restrictions on advertising. Today, as a result, it is estimated that a third of a million people in the U.K. are problem gamblers, 55,000 of them children. For each problem gambler, it has been found that six other people suffer from some form of collateral damage, such as the break-up of families, crime, loss of employment or loss of homes. Tragically, on average, a problem gambler commits suicide every day.

Recognizing this and thanks in large part to the report done by the House of Lords that I just quoted from, the U.K. is beginning to correct this oversight. Last year, they banned celebrities and athletes from appearing in gambling ads. Gambling ads will not air until after 9 p.m., and no longer will they see betting companies adorning the jersey of their favourite footballer. It is not just the U.K. taking such measures. Italy, Spain, Poland, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands have all recently introduced strict regulations on gambling advertising, some banning ads entirely.

Colleagues, it’s clear where this is going. Canada is not the international exception here, and it is foolish to gamble with the health and well-being of Canadians when we already know what the outcome will be. It makes absolutely no sense to wait for these problems to arise and then react to them, at which point tens of thousands of Canadians’ lives will have been devastated through problem gambling. We have the tools to prevent this in the here and now and that is why I am standing here in this chamber bringing this legislation forward.

What the bill does is require the Minister of Canadian Heritage to develop a national framework on the advertising of sports betting. I remind you that the bill is divided into three requests. The minister must first identify measures to regulate the advertising of sports betting in Canada, such as by limiting or banning the participation of celebrities and athletes; restricting the use of non-broadcast advertising; or limiting the number, scope or location of such advertisements.


Second, the minister must identify measures to promote research and intergovernmental information sharing in relation to the prevention and the diagnosis of minors involved in problematic gambling activities, and to support measures for those who are impacted by it.

Third, the minister must set out national standards for the prevention and diagnosis of problematic gambling and addiction, and for support measures for those who are impacted by it.

In doing this, the Minister of Canadian Heritage must consult with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry; the Minister of Justice; the Minister of Health; the Minister of Employment and Social Development; the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Minister of Indigenous Services; and any other ministers who, in the Minister of Canadian Heritage’s opinion, have relevant responsibilities.

Representatives of the provincial and territorial governments, including those responsible for consumer affairs, health, mental health and addictions, must be consulted. The relevant stakeholders must also be consulted, including self-advocates; service providers; and representatives from the medical and research communities, and from organizations within the advertising and gambling industries that the minister considers to have relevant experience related to problematic gambling activities and the role of advertising pertaining to gambling activities. Indigenous communities and organizations with Indigenous leadership must be consulted, as well as any other person or entity that the minister considers appropriate or relevant.

Lastly, this legislation refers to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, or CRTC, as well. Clause 6 of Bill S-269 states that the CRTC:

. . . must review its regulations and policies to assess their adequacy and effectiveness in reducing the incidence of harms resulting from the proliferation of advertising for sports betting.

The CRTC must report its conclusions and recommendations to the minister — no later than the first anniversary of the day on which this act receives Royal Assent — who, in turn, must:

. . . cause the report to be tabled in each House of Parliament within the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the day on which the Minister receives it.

Admittedly, colleagues, this framework does not go as far as I would like; I know that many of you have voiced that to me. Initially, like many Canadians, I wanted to see a full ban on gambling advertisements. Fortunately, we live in a country where you can’t silence someone because you do not like what they are saying. Limitations of Charter rights are considered constitutional only if they constitute reasonable limits justifiable in a just and democratic society.

I remind this chamber that it took successive governments nearly 20 years of court battles and multiple legislative attempts to put in place restrictions around the promotion of tobacco. I am not so bold as to assume that I can do the same thing here with gambling promotion, nor do I think that it is reasonable to try.

Gambling, however, does represent a very real and reasonable concern for some who are forced to watch these advertisements — and, like restrictions around alcohol, such promotion needs, at the very least, some limitations on what they can say and do. For example, some of the prohibitions placed on alcohol advertising through the CRTC’s Code for Broadcast Advertising of Alcoholic Beverages — think about that — include not allowing commercial messages to:

. . . attempt to influence non-drinkers of any age to drink or to purchase alcoholic beverages . . . .

. . . contain an endorsement of the product, personally or by implication, either directly or indirectly, by any person, character or group who is or is likely to be a role model for minors because of a past or present position of public trust, special achievement in any field of endeavour, association with charities and/or advocacy activities benefiting children, reputation or exposure in the mass media . . . .

And, lastly, for my purposes, advertisements shall not:

. . . refer to the feeling and effect caused by alcohol consumption or show or convey the impression, by behaviour or comportment, that the people depicted in the message are under the influence of alcohol . . . .

There is much to learn.

The betting industry will tell you they are taking reasonable steps to be responsible, of course. In one interview, the president and CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association replied to accusations of targeting minors by saying:

. . . gaming companies don’t target minors. That’s not something from a customer base that we’re interested in having. And we do go to great lengths to ensure that the advertising does meet the regulatory standards. There’s standards in place already for the use of celebrities and athletes in the current standards suggesting that they do not primarily appeal to minors.

Colleagues, at the time of this quote, there were little or no standards in place — or I wouldn’t be standing in front of you here today. The industry could very well believe they are taking the appropriate steps, but the research overwhelmingly states that athletes and celebrities appeal to minors almost exclusively, and yet they still choose to take this approach.

In terms of promoting the benefits of gambling — as if there are any — the industry would tell you that they do not make claims that encourage gambling. The evidence tells you differently; one need only to watch a gambling advertisement to see that this is not true. To the contrary, despite their immense talent, I find it very hard to believe that Wayne Gretzky and Auston Matthews are good at gambling.

On this last point, colleagues, unlike roulette or scratch cards, sports betting gives the illusion of control over an outcome. It is why anyone who has watched Sportsnet or TSN lately has been inundated with betting odds within segments of their favourite program. Viewers are given “can’t-miss bets” on who will score the first goal or touchdown of a game. Why wouldn’t they promote this?

Rogers and Bell, who own Sportsnet and TSN respectively, have made no secret of the revenue potential around sports betting, and have either partnered with gambling companies or started their own. To quote a Rogers job posting from 2020 regarding the role of the director of sports gaming:

This is a unique opportunity to be at the centre of Rogers Media and Sportsnet’s bold strategy of integrating Sports Betting into some of our core consumer offerings and to help us engage with our fans in new and exciting ways.

These companies have shareholders to answer to, so Canadians will continue to be encouraged to lose money to this billion‑dollar industry. In Ontario alone, the Canadian Gaming Association estimates that the sports betting market is about $1.4 billion annually.

Colleagues, you’ve noticed that Ontario’s statistics are prevalent in this research, and this is for a reason. I mentioned at the beginning of these remarks that Bill C-218 off-loaded this issue onto provinces. In fact, even though Canadians from coast to coast to coast are being inundated with such advertising, it is only Ontario that has opened up to private companies taking bets. This is not a widely known fact, colleagues, and it has led to a confusing state of affairs.

Recent polling has found that many Canadians across the country think that both the government and private betting companies are permitted to operate in their province, including 39% of British Columbians, 27% of Atlantic Canadians and 42% of Albertans. This has not gone unnoticed by regulators in those provinces.

It is also why I do not think that the regulations recently announced by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, or AGCO, will move the needle as much as that needle needs to be moved. In August, the AGCO stated that, as of February 2024, celebrities and athletes will no longer be allowed to appear in advertisements for betting companies. This, of course, is a step in the right direction, but only a small one. It does nothing to limit the sheer number of advertisements to which Canadians are being exposed. It mentioned nothing about the in-segment betting programs that are being presented by well-known commentators — some of whom are ex-athletes.

Again, it will do nothing to keep these Ontario-based advertisements out of other provinces, which is a big part of the problem. In Alberta, for instance, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission, or AGLC, has explicitly said:

The only legal sports bets in the province of Alberta today are either found through what we offer on or what is offered on Western Canada Lottery Sport Select brand.

They added, “It’s illegal for somebody to be offering bets to Albertans that are not regulated.”

But the reality is that Canadians outside of Ontario are being targeted with these advertisements, and there’s no real penalty for placing a bet with them.

According to the Vice President of Gaming at the AGLC, the fault here lies squarely on federal agencies and broadcasters themselves for showing advertisements for sites that are not regulated outside of Ontario.

This is a countrywide problem, colleagues, which requires a countrywide solution. That is why I am putting this forward here today. I believe that right now we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to regulate such advertising across the country. I’m encouraged by the moves from Ontario in regulating these ads, but a patchwork of jurisdictional regulations will do nothing to protect Canadians so long as one province has lower standards than another.


As I have mentioned, nationally, Canada bans all ads for tobacco and cannabis and places restrictions on how alcohol can be promoted. It makes no sense that the promotion of gambling, which has ruined countless lives and will continue to do so apace, should be held to a lower standard.

We have heard from a number of experts that the steady stream of advertising has the potential to create a generation of problem gamblers, and I believe that it is time for the federal government to take the lead here and work with the provinces so that all Canadians can receive the same level of protection from the coercive and corrosive effects of the ads we are seeing today, regardless of what province or territory they live in.

Colleagues, an issue I will not expand upon today — there is not the time — but hopefully will be given some focus at committee is the work also being done globally that demonstrates the direct relationship between the legalizing of single-game sports betting, the potential impact of advertising and competition manipulation. Yes, senators, young athletes — they could live down the street from you — who do not know better can be groomed to become part of this advertising and gambling cycle. The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, or CCES, has been all over this and is working with sport to ensure our Canadian athletes do not fall victim to this. As I’m sure you are aware, the CCES mandate includes a focus on the prevention of competition manipulation in sport, particularly as it relates to gambling. The advertising becomes a big part of that equation.

I will close today with some comments on these ads and this industry. When I voted to legalize single-game sports betting, I did so with a heavy heart. It was already happening and I thought we could see some good by putting it into the mainstream to take criminal and overseas elements out of it. It was better, I thought, for Canadians to place bets with Canadian companies who abide by Canadian law. I still believe this, but just because I voted for this industry does not mean I have to like it. I did not foresee the degree of onslaught of promotion that would come from it.

More than ever, Canadians are being encouraged to take a financial risk when doing something as simple as sitting down in their living room to take in their favourite sport. This is not like movies or a video game where you pay a set amount for entertainment, either. “The house always wins” is a well-trodden phrase that has proven itself correct time and time again. Why else would these companies be sinking billions of dollars into advertising if they weren’t going to recoup those costs off of the backs of Canadians? It’s not the responsible gambler who wants to make a boring game a little more interesting that they are making the money off of — it’s the problem ones, the ones who come back again and again to try to make that winning bet.

It ruins lives. It’s predatory in its nature. I think it’s reasonable to put some limitations on this. Let’s do it now so like those who placed a bad bet, we do not regret it. Thank you. Meegwetch.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Denise Batters: Would Senator Deacon take a question?

Senator M. Deacon: Certainly.

Senator Batters: Thank you very much for your comprehensive speech and for bringing this important matter forward. I think it’s something that many of us who have been concerned about this topic are thinking about, and then seeing the barrage of ads, as you described, that have been constant in the last several months.

I was wondering about the Ontario situation because I did read a little bit about that and you referenced it briefly. Could you please explain the difference between what the Ontario government is proposing to do in their limiting regulations that they announced late last month and what your bill would actually do? Thank you.

Senator M. Deacon: Thank you for that question, Senator Batters.

For several months, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has come out to say, “Listen, we want to tighten this up; we’re not happy with what is happening in Ontario.” So they have set a date in the new year, in February, and they are looking at some pieces. One is about ensuring celebrities are no longer in front of the screen. There are standards that define what celebrities are.

On some other pieces that I would say are considerations, but not to the degree that I’m referring to in this bill, there are two things: It’s the “what” and the “who” that Ontario is considering. “Who” means that I want to make sure we know, whether I’m living in Tuktoyaktuk, Prince Rupert or Halifax, that the standard is common and the expectation is really clear, which is a national jurisdictional piece. Looking at some of the other pieces, what about the time of day? There is a concept called five before and five after in some countries — and Canada could consider this — where you can’t do any advertising five minutes before a competition starts until five minutes after a competition is over.

There are a lot of pieces that have not been considered at this moment in the Ontario package but could be considered in a national framework that just tightens it up. We’re not cancelling gambling; we’re inquiring as to what makes sense to pull in the reins in every part of this country on the advertising. Thank you.


Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond: Would the senator take a question?


Senator M. Deacon: Yes.


Senator Dalphond: Thank you for presenting your bill. This is a very interesting topic.


I read the bill as you were speaking. I was trying to understand which federal jurisdictions this will rest on. Is it criminal law? Is it within the power to regulate CRTC and broadcasting? Or is it something else? That is not clear to me. Thank you very much.

Senator M. Deacon: Thank you for the question, Senator Dalphond.

When we’re looking at this national framework, it would go to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. If you read through the bill, as you indicated you are doing right now, there will be work done with the CRTC also, and other partners.

I can’t guess. I can’t even look into the crystal ball to see how far the framework will be recommended in a jurisdiction, but those are the two big important pieces that I elaborate on in the bill.

Senator Dalphond: Thank you.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Seventh Report of Committee—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Moncion, seconded by the Honourable Senator Yussuff, for the adoption of the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, entitled Senate Budget 2023-24, presented in the Senate on February 7, 2023.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): This motion is at day 15. I move the adjournment of the debate for the balance of my time.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)



Role of Leaders’ Debates in Enhancing Democracy by Engaging and Informing Voters

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Dasko, calling the attention of the Senate to the role of leaders’ debates in enhancing democracy by engaging and informing voters.

Hon. Julie Miville-Dechêne: We always hear that a leaders’ debate before an election is good for democracy.

I do not think that this has ever been proven, however. These last few years, we have often heard the opposite: that leaders’ debates are hard to watch and can discourage or even demoralize voters.

The impact of leaders’ debates on voters’ choices has been a subject of debate among political scientists and experts for a long time, essentially because the actual impact of these debates is very difficult to quantify.

André Blais, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Montreal, believes that leaders’ debates give voters a unique opportunity to compare each leader’s unfiltered position on a handful of topics. He also notes that they have a tendency to favour leaders of smaller parties by allowing voters to get to know them better.

According to Christian Bourque, vice-president of the Leger polling firm, and Allison Harell, political science professor at UQAM, leaders’ debates rarely change voters’ minds; rather, they reinforce their convictions.

Mr. Bourque also notes that half of those surveyed about the debates did not even watch them and relied on media coverage.

Professor Peter Loewen from the University of Toronto argues that the importance of these debates is overstated, even though, in his view, they often are the most informative event in the whole campaign.

However, more critical observers counter that debates primarily serve the interests of political parties and television broadcasters, while ignoring voters’ wishes.

The political parties insist on selecting topics, schedules and formats that work to their advantage and let them get their talking points across without any unpleasant surprises.

The media tries to spotlight their own journalists and put on a good show, sometimes by asking pointed questions or taking a confrontational approach.

The audience doesn’t always see itself reflected in the outcome, which usually resembles a frenzy of partisan squabbling focused on issues of limited interest outside a small media and political bubble.

In any case, neither elections nor debates seem capable of slowing the spread of public disillusionment. We are witnessing a disturbing loss of public trust in democratic institutions. In the 1980s, voter turnout was a little over 70%; 40 years on, it dropped 10 points to 62.6% in the last federal election. The downward trend is unmistakable.

In my 25 years in journalism, I have analyzed, covered and fact-checked candidates during electoral debates.

I have noticed that exchanges are increasingly formatted and that party leaders spend days preparing ready-made answers that avoid the pitfalls of spontaneity. They stick to the script that their strategists believe will go viral and win them votes.

In fact, televised debates aren’t so much about presenting and explaining policy proposals as they are about evaluating politicians’ performance under pressure. Rants, gaffes and attacks make headlines. It is definitely infotainment, where substance and reflection are an afterthought.


There were attempts to bring the debates closer to citizens by adding an audience and letting a few voters ask their questions directly. But the result is a bit artificial. Everything is scripted and timed, and we are far from actual participation, where voters would have a real role to play.

Whatever one thinks, leaders’ debates have been part of Canadian political tradition since 1968. However, a crisis arose in 2015 when, for the first time, the leader of the Conservative Party, Stephen Harper, refused to participate in the English debate. This came as a shock in English Canada, but not so much in Quebec, where the Conservative leader agreed to participate in two debates in French.

This is where the idea of a commission was born. It was appointed by the Trudeau government with the explicit aim of preventing a repeat of the 2015 scenario, when English-speaking Canadians were deprived of a significant debate.

The part-time commissioner, appointed by the Prime Minister and supported by a small team, has only had two elections, in 2019 and 2021, to demonstrate the usefulness of the commission. So far, however, their results are not encouraging.

In the fall of 2021, members of the English media broadcasting group decided on the format: one moderator, four journalists and a few citizens filmed at home. According to several observers, however, the debate was a disaster: too many questions, not enough time to answer, too few direct exchanges between leaders, a moderator who was too rigid on time and, as a bonus, a poorly worded and accusatory question targeting Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet, suggesting that Quebec Bills 21 and 96 were fundamentally racist — a question so explosive that, according to Christian Bourque, it undoubtedly helped to save the Bloc campaign.

On the French-speaking side, the debate was more successful, but with six journalists and five candidates, there were a lot of people on the stage, which limited the debates.

Under its 2021 mandate, the commission was required to give final approval to the format of the leaders’ debate. But, in the end, the commission did not get involved at all, allegedly due to lack of time. What the commission did most visibly and most successfully was to ensure translation of the debate into 16 languages.

In its report, the commission itself concluded that:

There is widespread agreement that the 2021 debates did not deliver as well as they should have on informing voters about parties’ policies.


Despite this fiasco and the expanded consultations, the Leaders’ Debates Commission concluded that it should be made permanent, rather than have renewable terms, and that it should have expanded powers, including the final choice of moderator. The appointment of the commissioner should also be approved by the parties and the House to avoid any appearance of partiality.

For his part, Professor André Blais believes that party leaders wouldn’t dare refuse to take part in a debate if the request came from an institutional commission.

The fact is that the media don’t always differentiate between their own visibility, their star journalists’ profile and the public interest in order to organize a debate that is as useful as possible for voters. That is why proponents of a permanent commission feel that neutral, independent experts would be in a better position than journalists to establish the rules and the format of the debate.

Personally, I’m not at all convinced that maintaining this commission is the best solution to the many ills afflicting our debates. This is not the path that most other countries have chosen. I’m also concerned that an administrative commission is not agile enough, considering that organizing debates in the midst of an election campaign demands rapid action and quick decision making.

Even if Canada opts for a permanent commission, the media will always be the broadcasters and will therefore always have a say in the structure of the event. If we add one more actor to the mix, we could end up with a slower, more complex decision‑making process.

There is still healthy competition among media outlets, and that creates the right conditions for a variety of formats without any intervention on the part of a government institution.

In Quebec, TVA decided in 2015 to organize its own leaders’ debate with a simpler format: a single host and up to four leaders, who stand face to face so they can each debate with all the others.

Lastly, we should keep in mind that the televised debates are just one among many campaign activities. Interviews with individual leaders and a wide variety of potential platforms and formats contribute to the dissemination of useful information. Television viewership among 18- to 34-year-olds is down 50%, but they account for more than one third of podcast audiences.


For all of these reasons, I don’t think that it would be useful to make the Leaders’ Debates Commission permanent.

The obvious question is what value these debates have for the health of Canadian democracy, particularly when we consider that, right now, they are designed more to promote the interests of political parties and the media than those of voters.

That being said, even if we assume these debates do have some value, there is no evidence to show that the commission has played an essential role to date. On the contrary, the debates in which the commission was involved were no less criticized than previous editions.

I personally think that media outlets are capable of making arrangements among themselves or on their own to propose debates and experiment with formats. The involvement of a public commission could overcomplicate a process that should be agile and efficient.

I will close by saying that the very real flaws in the electoral debates may diminish as platforms innovate and proliferate. The rigid, scripted and theatrical format of the debates could be complemented by intimate interviews on podcasts, informal discussions on other platforms, and meetings organized or moderated by civil society stakeholders.

In short, we must hope that Canadian democracy is served not by reinvented electoral debates overseen by a public commission, but by the many formats and discussions made possible by new platforms, where, ideally, the public will find its place. Thank you.


Hon. Donna Dasko: Will Senator Miville-Dechêne accept a question?


Senator Miville-Dechêne: Of course.


Senator Dasko: Thank you for your comments. I appreciated them.

You expressed doubt about the value of a commission. Clearly, the two times they have run the election, debates have been problematic. Do you feel there should continue to be at least one major English-language and one major French-language debate televised and online? Because it’s not just television; there is online access too. Do you feel that’s an important thing for the future of elections or just not at all?


Senator Miville-Dechêne: I do not think, as others do, that it is the most important event in an election campaign. All the evidence shows that debates have very little impact on voters’ opinions. That being said, it is still an event. If broadcasters are able to get along and organize one, that is just fine. I think they realized, after the disaster of 2021, that having five or six journalists moderate the debate is not a good idea. Maybe they’ll go back to simpler formats, especially with private broadcasters having less money and facing a broader crisis in journalism.

On the French side, the largest private broadcaster struck out on its own. It told Radio-Canada, “We don’t want to work with you. We’ll hold our own debate.” We are very well served in Quebec. The debate organized by Radio-Canada, with a few other smaller media outlets, is a bit more formal, and we also have a private sector debate with a moderator and some back-and-forth. Some say that it is a bit chaotic, but diversity is always welcome. Actually, Senator Dasko, since you ask me how I feel, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and I can say that, at a time when Canadians have a tremendous need for public services, I feel that investing in an electoral debates commission when the entire media landscape is changing is a bad investment.

(On motion of Senator Clement, debate adjourned.)


One Hundredth Anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Woo, calling the attention of the Senate to the one hundredth anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act, the contributions that Chinese Canadians have made to our country, and the need to combat contemporary forms of exclusion and discrimination faced by Canadians of Asian descent.

Hon. Stan Kutcher: Honourable senators, today I rise to address the inquiry initiated by Senator Woo, which holds a dual purpose: First, it calls for the celebration of the invaluable contributions that Chinese Canadians have made to our country. Second, it prompts us to reflect upon the prejudice, exclusion and discrimination that Canadians of Asian descent have faced and continue to face. While we celebrate the remarkable contributions of Chinese Canadians, we cannot ignore the historical reality nor the narratives that continue today.

Although there has been substantial progress, there is much left to do. We must use this time not only to celebrate but also to reflect and to act. Chinese Canadians have left an indelible mark on the tapestry of our nation’s history. They have been instrumental in the growth and development of Canada, with their contributions reaching every sector of our society from labour to entrepreneurship, culture to academia, sports to politics.

It may be new information to some that Chinese peoples were part of the 1788 Captain John Meares’ expedition that landed in Nuu-chah-nulth territory to establish the first year-round non‑Indigenous settlement in what is now British Columbia, a full 79 years before Canada was established and 83 years before British Columbia joined Canada.

Deplorably, anti-Chinese rhetoric became part of a racist political ideology that in 1871 helped to deprive non-Whites of the right to vote, including Chinese and “Native Indians.” This was accompanied by many other forms of racial discrimination against Chinese Canadians that included forced segregation — in life as well as in death. For example, burial records of the Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria indicate that Chinese persons were buried in a special block, set apart for the burials of “Aborigines and Mongolians.” The first Chinese person interred there was listed as “Chinaman No. 1,” the second as “Chinaman No. 2” and so on.

Driven by this racist political ideology, the federal government implemented the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885. This legislation imposed a $50 fee, called the “head tax,” on each Chinese person entering Canada. Only six classes of people were exempt: diplomats, clergymen, merchants, students, tourists and men of science. The intention of the head tax was to discourage Chinese persons from coming to Canada.

In 1901, the tax was increased to $100, and in 1903 it was increased again to $500, the equivalent of two years of wages for a labourer. Despite the heavy tax, Chinese migrants continued to come. According to the Government of British Columbia website, no other immigrant group in British Columbian history has suffered such formally sanctioned mistreatment of its members on entering Canada over such an extended period. During the period of the head tax between 1885 and 1923, over 97,000 Chinese immigrants still came to Canada seeking a better life, helping to build British Columbian and Canadian society.

Perhaps well known to many Canadians was the exploitation of Chinese labourers in the building of the western sections of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s. Two thirds of these railway workers were Chinese Canadians brought in by ship from China and California, working mostly in the most dangerous terrain. They were paid $1 a day and had to pay for their own food and gear. White workers were paid $1.50 to $2.50 per day and did not pay for provisions. It was the Chinese workers who were given the most dangerous construction tasks. Hundreds died from accidents, illness and malnutrition.

Their contribution is immortalized in Canadian folk music. Our balladeer Gordon Lightfoot, in his classic “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” sang:

We are the navvies who work upon the railway

Swinging our hammers in the bright blazing sun

Living on stew and drinking bad whiskey

Bending our back til the long days are done


While the railroad could not have been built without them, all the Chinese-Canadian workers were cleared out of the final celebration scene so that iconic photograph — we’ve all seen it — of the ceremonial last spike could be taken. It was as if they had never existed.

It was within this historical racist perspective that the Government of Canada, on July 1, 1923, introduced a new Chinese Immigration Act, commonly known as the Chinese Exclusion Act, to stop Chinese immigration to Canada. This persisted for almost a quarter of a century.

It was finally repealed in 1947 after Chinese Canadians distinguished themselves by fighting and dying for Canada in World War II. Dying, by the way, to protect the way of life in a country that had denied them a life based on human rights.

Senator Woo has clearly and eloquently reminded us about some of the speeches made by our predecessors supporting this legislation in this chamber.

These sentiments, voiced by our historic colleagues, mark a dark moment in our history, and should make all of us vow, “never again.”

We must acknowledge this painful legacy and learn from it, ensuring that such injustice is never repeated, not to anyone.

Regrettably, despite progress, contemporary forms of prejudice and exclusion still persist. Canadians of Asian descent continue to encounter discrimination, bias and systemic barriers that hinder their full integration and equitable participation in our society. It is our responsibility as parliamentarians to confront these challenges head-on and to work toward a more inclusive and just Canada.

To do so, Canadians must prioritize education and a broadening of our common historical awareness. By teaching the contributions and histories of diverse communities — including Chinese Canadians — we can help foster empathy, understanding and respect for all Canadians, among all Canadians. Our schools must be places where the richness of our entire heritage is celebrated, where stereotypes are dismantled and where future generations can learn about the many important things that we all have in common.

As legislators, we have an opportunity to strengthen our laws, policies and institutions to move toward eradication of discrimination in all its forms.

In our own chamber, it is by recognizing and dealing with our unconscious biases, promoting diversity in our leadership positions and creating respectful and inclusive spaces that we can help build a Canada where who you love, where you came from, what colour your skin is or any other factor that can be used to deny full and unfettered participation in our society is deemed to be irrelevant.

Let us make sure that we, in this chamber, demonstrate the welcome, compassion and respect for each other that all those living in every corner of this country deserve.

Honourable senators, the inquiry put forth by Senator Woo serves as a poignant reminder of the invaluable contributions made by Chinese Canadians throughout our history. It also calls on us to confront the persistent prejudices faced by Canadians of Asian descent, mindful of the historical context marked by the adoption of the Chinese Exclusion Act a century ago. Let us unite in celebration, remembrance and a shared commitment to building a Canada where diversity is cherished, equality is upheld and every individual can thrive.

Colleagues, Canada was built by hands of many colours, and our anthem is sung by voices of many tongues. We are the richer for all of these.

Thank you, honourable senators, for your attention. May we pledge to work together to create a more inclusive and equitable Canada free from prejudice and exclusion as we honour the contributions of all Canadians, past and present, and may we pledge to do that here in this chamber. Thank you.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

(On motion of Senator Clement, debate adjourned.)

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Motion to Authorize Committee to Study the Impact of Subsection 268(3) of the Criminal Code—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Frances Lankin, pursuant to notice of June 20, 2022, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs be authorized to examine and report on the impact of subsection 268(3) of the Criminal Code, enacted in 1997, including but not limited to:

(a)the reasons why there have been no prosecutions under this provision since its enactment 25 years ago; and

(b)the extent to which female genital mutilation is currently occurring in Canada and to Canadian girls taken abroad for such procedures;

That the committee make recommendations, as appropriate, to ensure the Criminal Code provision has its intended impact of ending such crimes being perpetrated against girls in Canada; and

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

She said: Honourable senators, I move that further debate be adjourned for the balance of my time.

(On motion of Senator Lankin, debate adjourned.)

(At 5:47 p.m., the Senate was continued until tomorrow at 2 p.m.)

Appendix—Senators List

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