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1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 138

Thursday, February 14, 2013
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

THE SENATE

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Prince Edward Island

Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I am pleased to extend my warmest congratulations to five outstanding entrepreneurs from my home province of Prince Edward Island, who will be inducted into the Prince Edward Island Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame this coming May. The five inductees are: D. Alex MacDonald, David Loggie, Earl Davison and Wes and Connie MacAleer.

D. Alex MacDonald started his career in 1957 as a young man with a passion for cars. He first established a used car business, and four years later, he received a Ford franchise. His business began with four employees but has grown to more than 100, with annual sales of $64 million.

Though he is now retired, it is still a family business, with seven of his children and three of his grandsons working in the three dealerships.

David Loggie began his career as an office clerk in the Shur-Gain division of Canada Packers and steadily moved his way up through the operation, becoming manager of the Shur-Gain division in Summerside, regional manager of Atlantic Shur-Gain and, finally, vice- president of operations in 1996. He was the president of the Slemon Park Corporation from 2000 to 2002. Mr. Loggie now owns Kensington Truck and Tractor, as well as a residential and commercial real estate rental and development business in Summerside.

Earl Davison, along with two partners, purchased his first business, a road construction company called Provincial Construction Company, in 1965. Later, Provincial Construction started building fibreglass fishing boats. It has been said that most Island harbours have Provincial Construction boats in them.

As well, in 1966, Mr. Davison was a partner in building what became a well-known tourism attraction called Rainbow Valley in Cavendish.

Finally, Wes and Connie MacAleer worked in the Northwest Territories at the start of their careers. In 1971, Wes formed Wesmac Agencies Limited, with Connie as a company director providing behind-the-scene support. They moved back to Prince Edward Island, where Wes became publisher of the Guardian and the Evening Patriot. Later, he entered politics and served as an MLA and provincial cabinet minister. Wes and Connie have now formed Wesmac Holdings Limited, which invests in numerous business ventures.

Honourable senators, all of these business people have made tremendous contributions not only to the Island economy but also to the life of their communities. I know that they will serve as shining examples to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

I also want to commend Junior Achievement of Prince Edward Island for recognizing and honouring these business leaders. Please join me in congratulating these individuals and wishing them all the best in the future.

[Translation]

Victims' Bill of Rights

Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: Honourable senators, it is with the same pride and determination that I pick up where I left off last Wednesday.

[English]

Since my first day as an advocate for victims of crime, I have been really hoping to make this statement.

[Translation]

On February 4, Canada's Minister of Justice, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, announced the government's intention to adopt a victims' bill of rights.

In 2013, we will introduce a bill to create a charter of victims' rights.

This measure will give the government an even more tangible way to honour its commitment to victims of crime by enshrining their rights in the first law of its kind at the federal level.

The government is very pleased to be able to make this firm commitment to those whom life has chosen to endure the worst possible experiences and the greatest possible suffering.

Ever since my daughter was murdered by a repeat sex offender in 2002, I have been working with families of victims of crime to put victims first in the justice system.

[English]

You may ask why we need another charter since Canada already has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. On the one hand, Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms has over 19 sections dealing with the rights of criminals or accused persons. On the other hand, no federal law specifically recognizes the rights of victims of crime.

[Translation]

The victims' bill of rights will recognize their fundamental rights and provide a legislative foundation guaranteeing legal recourse to ensure respect for those rights. This is a fundamental right that victims, unlike criminals or individuals charged with crimes, do not have.

Honourable senators, I call upon your sympathy and your compassion and invite you to support this cause, the defence of victims' rights. When the time comes to study this historic bill, I will ask for your support on behalf of all victims of crime in Canada. This commitment will make a lasting impact that history will remember as the legacy of your time in the Canadian Senate to victims of crime.

[English]

I also extend the invitation to all provinces and territories to be inspired by actual federal government leadership being demonstrated toward victims so that the provinces and territories can also adopt provincial charters of victims' rights in order to improve the rights of victims of crime.

[Translation]

We have made considerable progress in restoring Canadians' confidence in our justice system, and we will continue our efforts in that regard. Adopting this bill of rights will surely help achieve this objective.

In closing, I would like to recognize in this chamber our Prime Minister's commitment to victims of crime and the leadership of the Minister of Justice in making this important announcement to all Canadians.

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[English]

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of a number of distinguished visitors from the St. Alban's Social Action Group. Included in the delegation are June Girvan, Peter Cazaly, Robert Yip, Norma McNamee, Ernie Tannis and my good friend Lloyd Stanford. Also in the delegation are Mickaela Churchill, Heyman Qirbi and Reverend Dr. Bailey. They are guests of our colleague, the Honourable Senator Meredith.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Lady Agnes Macdonald

Hon. Don Meredith: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute today to Lady Susan Agnes Bernard Macdonald, an outstanding Canadian and wife of the first Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald.

I was fortunate to be present in Ottawa last Sunday when St. Alban's parish in Ottawa unveiled a plaque in her honour. I am pleased to have some members of St. Alban's Social Action Group, who were instrumental in orchestrating this commemoration, present here today.

Born south of Spanish Town, Jamaica, in 1836, Agnes was raised in both Jamaica and England. She immigrated to Canada with her mother in 1856 after the death of her father,Thomas James Bernard, a member of the Privy Council. Lady Agnes caught the eye of Sir John A. Macdonald and they were married on February 16, 1867, making this week the one hundred and forty-sixth anniversary of their union.

Despite struggling to conform to a life in Canada, raising a disabled child and tireless efforts to keep her family intact, Agnes still found time to give back to her community. This remarkable lady was attracted to the world of politics and the power of social action. As a Victorian woman, she had limited social influence on the upper class, but she was able to promote change through her church, St. Alban's. Her parish was one of the few that did not divide its congregation into social classes, as was customary at that time. It was not uncommon to see Lady Agnes and Sir John A. Macdonald sitting amongst the poor in their congregation.

Inside the church walls, social classes were non-existent. Unlike other neighbourhood parishes, there were no pew fees. The rector of the church was determined that the church would sustain itself through the support of donations. The construction debt of the church, combined with its maintenance fees, was overwhelming for the rector; however, he was opposed to any fundraising efforts.

Lady Agnes witnessed the stress and burden the financial difficulties were having on the rector. She saw an opportunity to help. While the rector was away in 1873, she used her position and influence to spearhead a massive bazaar that raised $5,000. This was no small feat. That amount is the equivalent of over $96,000 today.

Upon his return, the rector was amazed at what was accomplished. He was astonished that the fundraising efforts of Lady Agnes were able to pay off the debts of the church.

Not only did she raise money to save the church, Lady Agnes helped orphans within the community of Ottawa by facilitating a project to house and educate them. When it became obvious that the needs of the orphans could not be met by the small facility, she formed a committee to raise funds for a larger residential home. Her vision that began in an old cow pasture became a larger home on Lisgar Street that accommodated more children almost 10 years later. Lady Agnes accepted the post of first directress and spent time instructing and reading to the children.

Lady Agnes Macdonald was a devoted social activist whose achievements deserve honour and recognition in Canadian history. Her story is an inspirational tale of recognizing communities in need and taking action to aid fellow Canadians despite differences in culture and social standing.

Dr. Martin Luther King declared, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" Lady Agnes Macdonald recognized and addressed the needs in her community.

Honourable senators, I ask you to join me in my challenge to all Canadians. I ask that we engage in social work for the betterment of our communities and in so doing pay tribute to this great lady — Lady Agnes Bernard Macdonald.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, foreign- controlled animal rights activists and environmental organizations from outside Canada are continuing to use the Canadian Arctic in their destructive and uninformed campaigns to raise funds for the alleged goals of saving the North's environment, its wildlife and stopping climate change.

These groups have once again convinced the United States' Obama administration to propose, at a March 2013 gathering in Bangkok, that the polar bear be transferred from Appendix II to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES. This comes three years after an unsuccessful attempt was defeated by CITES member states.

The proposal to transfer the polar bear from one appendix to the other would mean an immediate global trade ban on polar bears. The Inuit of Canada who reside in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Labrador and Quebec, and the Inuit of Greenland and Alaska, would no longer be able to sell any part of a polar bear to any source outside of their country.

This proposed transfer is based on overstated claims that harvesting, trade and climate change are threatening the species. However, Inuit Tapirit Kanatami, or ITK, which is Canada's national organization representing all Inuit, has stated:

Just like the current US proposal, the 2010 proposal was politically motivated and factually flawed, and was campaigned by animal rights organizations in the US to misuse CITES as a tool to impose an arbitrary ban that has no basis in addressing climate change.

Unfortunately, Canada's Inuit, with support from our federal government's Ministry of the Environment — and I thank Minister Kent for that — must once again spend precious time and resources convincing nations who are signatories to CITES that an Appendix I transfer is unfounded, unwarranted and would place what ITK calls a "black mark on what is a polar bear management success story in Canada's Arctic... while attacking Inuit livelihoods in the process."

I encourage all honourable senators to read a report by ITK on their website entitled Polar Bear Ban: A Precautionary Tale, as it includes important facts such as Canada being home to approximately 16,000 polar bears, a number that has remained at sustainable levels since the first transfer proposal in 2010. Harvesting has not hampered population growth; in fact, the Canadian and global polar bear populations have steadily increased since the early 1970s.

Despite scientific evidence and Inuit knowledge that supports the responsible, managed harvesting of polar bears by Inuit in Canada, a growing number of CITES signatories such as the U.K., the Netherlands, Russia and Germany are supporting the U.S. proposal.

I urge all honourable senators to support efforts by Canadian Inuit and our government to defeat the U.S. proposals.

Food Freedom Day

Hon. JoAnne L. Buth: Honourable senators, I rise today to mark Food Freedom Day and celebrate the valuable contributions that Canadian Farmers make to society each and every day.

Created by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Food Freedom Day is the calendar date when the average Canadian will have earned enough income to pay his or her grocery bill for the year. For Canadians, this translates to about 10 per cent of their annual household income. In comparison, residents of Mexico spend 23 per cent of their household income on food, while those in Kenya spend 42 per cent.

Canadian farmers provide some of the healthiest, safest and most inexpensive food in the world. Food Freedom Day allows us an opportunity to acknowledge and reflect on the abundance of our food supply, the vitality of our agriculture industry and the important contributions this sector makes to rural communities.

[Translation]

We cannot live without food and, in Canada, we are doubly lucky to live in a country where food is abundant today and will continue to be abundant tomorrow.

[English]

As consumers, we often give little thought to the cost of our food or the ease with which we acquire it. In the last 30 years, for example, the variety of specialized, value-added products has grown considerably while our total spending on food has increased only modestly.

We enjoy these freedoms because of the Canadian farm families who work year-round to produce food of the highest quality. With one in eight Canadian jobs supported by agriculture, it is safe to say that we all benefit when Canada's agricultural sector is thriving.

In today's dynamic and sometimes challenging global marketplace it is essential that we continue to give our producers the best opportunity to realize the profits they deserve, while creating a sustainable environment for the next generation of Canadian farmers. The world will certainly need them.

Honourable senators, please join with me today in giving thanks to our nation's farmers.


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[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Employment Insurance Act

Bill to Amend—Nineteenth Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee Presented

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its

NINTEENTH REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-316, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (incarceration), has, in obedience to the order of reference of Wednesday, October 24, 2012, examined the said bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

KELVIN K. OGILVIE

Chair

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

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

[English]

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act

Bill to Amend—Ninth Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee Presented

Hon. Irving Gerstein, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, presented the following report:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce has the honour to present its

NINTH REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-28, An Act to amend the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act, has, in obedience to the order of reference of December 11, 2012, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

IRVING R. GERSTEIN

Chair

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

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

Agriculture and Forestry

Budget—Study on Research and Innovation Efforts in Agricultural Sector—Ninth Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Percy Mockler, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, presented the following report:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry has the honour to present its

NINTH REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Thursday, June 16, 2011 to examine and report on research and innovation efforts in the agricultural sector, respectfully requests supplementary funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the supplementary budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

PERCY MOCKLER

Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix, p. 1927.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

[Translation]

Senator Mockler: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(f), I move that the report be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration later this day.

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

[English]

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Normally, honourable senators, when we are asked to diverge from the rules we are given some indication as to why. Senator Mockler has asked that we fast-track the proceedings.

[Translation]

The Hon. the Speaker: Could Senator Mockler explain the reason for this?

Senator Mockler: Honourable senators, we have spoken with your party representative and the reason is that, two months ago, we were supposed to visit Newfoundland and Labrador. We were unable to go because of a snowstorm. What is more, since we want to use the travel budget for this fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2013, we wanted to check with the committee members to find out when we could take this trip to Newfoundland, so that we could save money on travel expenses.

Honourable senators, if the adoption of the report is moved today and the report is adopted, we will save approximately $40,000 on the cost of plane tickets.

The Hon. the Speaker: I understand that the report will be studied later today.

(On motion of Senator Mockler, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration later this day.)

[English]

International Boundary Waters Treaty Act
International River Improvements Act

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-383, An Act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act and the International River Improvements Act.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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


QUESTION PERIOD

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women—Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, today I would like to address again, as you might imagine, the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. We all know that the Native Women's Association of Canada has done a tremendous job of documenting the nearly 600 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women across Canada. We should note that if we convert those numbers to non-Aboriginal women it would be over 20,000 other Canadian women who would be missing and murdered now. That is the huge extent of this problem.

We all know that in B.C. the Oppal commission made it clear that there were serious shortcomings in our policing and justice system, which have too often failed to protect indigenous women and girls. In the last day or two we have seen a report by Human Rights Watch entitled Those Who Take Us Away, which has uncovered one allegation of rape and others of assault by the RCMP against Aboriginal women in rural and northern British Columbia. This is absolutely terrible. Human Rights Watch is calling on the federal and B.C. governments to participate in a national commission of inquiry into the matter.

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My question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate is the following: What is the federal government going to do? Will the Harper government call a national commission of inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, taking into account the most recent allegations that the RCMP themselves have not only not protected but have actually abused Aboriginal women?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question. She just pointed out the report of yesterday, where this organization brought forward very serious allegations. As we have no information regarding these specific allegations, the government has asked the independent Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to look into these matters. Of course, we urge upon anyone with information on these specific allegations to bring it forward immediately and report it to the appropriate authorities.

Senator Dyck: This new report reveals the contempt and stereotypes that continue to undermine the relationship between the police and Aboriginal communities and their women that makes them more vulnerable. The government has always prided itself on responding to crises of violence against Aboriginal women apparently by increasing the number of police and its so- called tough-on-crime agenda, yet we see in this report that increasing the number of police is not the solution; sometimes they are even the cause of violence against indigenous women and girls.

What actual, concrete actions will the government undertake to stop the assault, rape and murder of Aboriginal women in Canada by men and, in particular, by the RCMP?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I wish to emphasize that in terms of yesterday's report by Human Rights Watch, again, it is very important that organizations with specific allegations to make bring them forward and report them to the appropriate authorities. On the basis of this yesterday's story, as I just reported, the government has asked the Commissioner for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to look into these serious allegations.

There is no question — and I know the honourable senator does not question this either — that the death of these women, in the eyes of all of us, is a great tragedy and has caused deep pain and concern for their families and communities. Obviously, this situation is absolutely unacceptable.

We will continue to move forward with a vigorous criminal justice agenda to address these issues. Of course, I have put on the record in the Senate, in the past, the government's actions to date in this regard. We take this seriously. This is unacceptable, and the government intends to do everything possible, as we go forward, to ensure the safety of all our citizens, but most particularly Aboriginal women and children.

Senator Dyck: I thank the honourable leader for her answer and am glad she takes this issue seriously.

We know that the Public Complaints Commission is not an independent body. In fact, when people complain about the RCMP to the commission, it is like having one of your own investigate one of your own; it is not completely neutral. Is there another route the government could take that takes it out of their hands completely, an independent authority that has no roots or connections to the RCMP?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP is in fact independent, and of course they report on many findings.

Again, with regard to yesterday's Human Rights Watch report, it is important that these specific, serious allegations are brought forward to the proper authorities. In addition, the government has asked the independent Commissioner for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to look into this matter.

Senator Dyck: I thank the leader again for her answer. I agree with her that the complaints should go forward to the appropriate bodies. However, we must recognize that when those women are threatened, it makes it very difficult for them to come forward with a formal complaint. I think that would be the reason they have not come forward so far. However, that may come.

I will now ask the leader a couple of questions that women from my community have asked me to make on their behalf.

Remembering our murdered, missing and hurting sisters on this Valentine's Day, when we should be feeling love for each other, what is the RCMP doing to address issues of racism and sexism within their own ranks? What types of education about colonialism are included in their recruitment and professional development training? I would add the following: What role should the government be playing in ensuring that appropriate training is given to members of the RCMP to eradicate a culture of sexism and racism?

Senator LeBreton: As honourable senators know, there is a bill before Parliament with regard to the RCMP. I really hope that in this country we do not have a situation where any Canadian — but most particularly our Aboriginal women and children Ð would not have faith. Granted, some concerns have been raised. We have a bill before Parliament. Obviously, the Commissioner of the RCMP is addressing these things. However, as an individual Canadian woman, I cannot believe that if a person is in severe difficulty or in trouble they would be afraid to call the authorities in their own community. While there are incidents, by and large the people who serve in our police forces are solid, outstanding individuals who take their responsibilities very seriously in terms of the safety of the citizens they serve.

With regard to the specific questions on this Valentine's Day, we as a government have taken many measures. I would be happy to put them on the record again, but the honourable senator is well aware of them. There are measures being taken as we speak and there is a bill before Parliament. We have a report that came out yesterday or today; I am not sure exactly what time it was released. We have Commissioner Paulson acknowledging some of the issues that the RCMP has to deal with.

I think the honourable senator would agree with me that it would be incorrect and totally unfair to judge the whole RCMP by the actions of a few, just as it would be unfair to judge any organization by the actions of people in their midst.

At the heart of it all, with regard to those who serve in our police forces or in public service in any number of ways, I am absolutely confident that 99.9 per cent of them are there for all the right reasons and take their responsibilities to their fellow citizens very seriously.

Senator Dyck: I thank the leader for that answer. I certainly do not think that all RCMP members are the type that will sexually assault or beat up Aboriginal women. That would be outrageous.

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There are bad apples in every organization. It is not unlike here in the Senate where we have some people accused of doing things that are wrong, but that does not mean we are all doing it. I certainly do not believe in stereotyping the RCMP or members of the Senate.

I will proceed with another question from a community member:

Eight months after the 2010 budget release of promised funding, Minister for Status of Women Rona Ambrose announced the money will be spent on seven different initiatives: the bulk on a national police support centre for missing persons.

She goes on to say:

While we have three missing person liaison officers in Saskatchewan, who are all former victims services workers, we will not know that such services exist since there is no promotion of this service. They do not even know that it is up and running. The Saskatoon-based person will only join our public activities upon invitation. In other words, they are acting in isolation. These officers are required to provide services to the province, and I requested which officer would assist with her missing family members and she has never received a response.

Her question would be this:

As far as I am aware, the RCMP chief superintendent has not made any statement on dedicated services or activities to missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Saskatchewan. Given that this is one of the provinces with the highest number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, what is going on? Why have they not contacted the families and groups involved with missing and murdered Aboriginal women?

I have a series of questions, and if the leader wishes to take these as notice I would be pleased.

Has there been any training for the RCMP under this new initiative? Is there a new database? If so, where is it?

She concludes with:

We demand an update and report on the $10 million that was allocated in 2010 and what the present outcomes are across Canada. It has been nearly three years. What is going on? Where has the money gone? Why do they not see anything happening?

Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator for her hard work in this area. She certainly is an outstanding spokesperson on these issues.

Again, we have Bill C-42, the enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police accountability act, before Parliament. When it comes to the Senate I am sure many of us will participate in that debate.

I will be very happy to get written responses to the specific questions with regard to these specific cases in Saskatchewan.

Again, I will put on the record the things we have done with regard to the very serious issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

We established the National Centre for Missing Persons. We improved law enforcement databases to investigate missing and murdered women. We created a national website to help identify and find missing persons. We support the development of school and community pilot projects aimed at reducing vulnerability to violence among young Aboriginal women. We have supported the development and adaptation of victim services so they are culturally appropriate for Aboriginal people. We have developed a comprehensive list of best practices to help communities, law enforcement and justice partners in future work they have to do in terms of working together to resolve problems. We have worked alongside Aboriginal communities to develop community safety plans. We have supported the development of public awareness materials to help end cycles of violence affecting Aboriginal women.

Clearly the honourable senator will not have me disagree with her: There is a great deal of work to be done in this area, and it is a very sad state of affairs that these numbers are so high.

I believe, however, that with the changes being made at the RCMP, the report that was released, I believe last night, and also the bill we have before Parliament will go a long way to shining the spotlight and addressing these serious issues.

Public Safety

Royal Canadian Mounted Police—Freedom of Religion

Hon. Nancy Ruth: Honourable senators, last night I had a taxi pick me up at the door here. He told me he had been asked his religion as he came through the RCMP security point. I asked him where he was from. He said he was from Yemen; he was working two jobs and trying to bring his family to Canada.

Could the leader assure honourable senators that the RCMP has not been directed to infringe on every Canadian's right in the Charter, in section 15, that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of religion?

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the Honourable Senator Nancy Ruth for the question. I will absolutely take her question as notice.

That is actually a very alarming turn of events. I am sure the minister will be very interested in hearing this little bit of news.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women—Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Hon. Sandra Lovelace Nicholas: Honourable senators, the government's approach to investigating the missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada is to push this issue over to the hands of the RCMP and police — a place where many Aboriginal women feel uncomfortable at best and, at worst, have appallingly been victims of abuse and sexual abuse, as the recent Human Rights Watch report has indicated.

The only way forward to really address this issue, one that will encourage and respect the claims and stories of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and their families, is through a national inquiry. It can be a safe and healing forum to investigate these cases.

My question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate is quite simple: In light of all the problems and horrifying accounts of the deteriorating relationships between the RCMP and Aboriginal women, how can their approach to dealing with these cases be effective at all?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator, but the government's approach is not to turn the issue completely over to the RCMP — far from it. I just listed many other initiatives we have also taken in consultation and working with provinces and territorial governments and working with Aboriginal communities. It is not the government's intention to just turn all of this over to the RCMP.

Clearly there are issues, as was reported yesterday by Human Rights Watch. Again, I would urge that those with specific allegations go to the proper authorities. However, in view of these allegations, the government has referred this to the independent watchdog over the RCMP, but we are doing a great number of things.

I have addressed this issue before. The primary responsibility of the government is to work with the communities and our Aboriginal citizens to bring in measures to prevent these things from happening again.

Many resources have been put into establishing networks and databases. Across the country, provinces and territories and the federal government are working with the same information. It is absolutely incorrect to say that the government is just washing its hands of this serious issue and turning it all over to the RCMP.

Having said that, there is a bill in Parliament with regard to strengthening the RCMP. A report was released yesterday.

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The RCMP and the new commissioner are seized with many of these issues that have been problematic in the past in the force. I believe that many positive steps are being taken, not only by the RCMP but also by the various levels of government, to correct many of these obvious mistakes and perhaps neglect — I guess neglect would be the more proper word — in the past.

Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, a few moments ago in responding to Senator Dyck, the leader suggested that she found it hard to believe that any Canadian would not have, basically, faith in the police. I think that speaks very well of her and reflects what most of us have had as experience, most of us being members of the middle class and the privileged group that belong to the Senate. Most of us have had mostly good experiences with the police.

However, one of the researchers for the Human Rights Watch, Samer Muscati, said that many of the Aboriginal women he spoke with for this report had the same level of fear as he found in other contexts in countries such as Libya and Iraq where the security forces are implicated in the worst type of abuses and are known not to protect the population.

I am not saying that every member of the RCMP, even in any particular jurisdiction, would be guilty of the kind of behaviour that would lead to that fear, but this is just the most recent evidence that we have seen to the effect that in some cases members of the RCMP have in fact committed abuses. I, too, would be terrified to come forward to any of the existing institutions if I or one of my neighbours or relatives had been subjected to the kind of treatment outlined in this report: a 12- year-old girl hiding in a box attacked by a police dog; or a 15- year-old girl whose arm was broken when all she did was shake her finger at a policeman.

These are the kinds of things that create fear and they are why I ask the leader again: Why can this government not rise beyond its understandable loyalty to the police forces of this country, its understandable trust in them, and say, "We are now dealing with a population that unfortunately does not share that trust," and set up a proper public inquiry that could, as Senator Lovelace Nicholas said, be a healing experience rather than an occasion of more fear?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, with regard to the various police forces around the country, when the honourable senator mentions the government's faith, I do not think it is just the government. I think, by and large, Canadians, whether they are low-income, middle-income or upper-income, generally have a great deal of faith and confidence in our police forces.

The honourable senator has cited some cases from this individual from the human rights group. As I said to Senator Lovelace Nicholas, he should be taking those specific allegations or specific cases — and I know there is fear — if he has direct specific evidence of this happening and seek out authorities. I am sure 99.9 per cent of them would be more than happy to receive him and the details of these specific cases. That is what has to happen, as opposed to writing a report and making allegations. I understand the fear that these individuals have, but there is a much larger body out there in the community, in our police forces and communities at large, that would be very well equipped to step in and assist.

I take issue with Senator Fraser's statement that it is government policy to have faith in our police. Of course it is the government policy to have faith in our police. It should be all of our policies to have faith in our police.

As Senator Dyck pointed out, honourable senators, there are people in all organizations that cause harm to the reputation of organizations, but I absolutely reject the notion that people are not well served by our police, whether the RCMP, provincial police or municipal police. Any time I have had involvement with the police — and it was not because I am a senator or middle class, but because of events — I must say, and I am sure this is the case for most Canadians, the police have been nothing short of outstanding in dealing with terrible situations and doing everything they can to ensure the law is upheld and that they assist the victims of these crimes.

Senator Fraser: Honourable senators, I repeat: Most of us in most of our dealings with the police have had the kind of experience that the honourable senator is speaking of, and that includes me. I have not had much to do with the police, but almost all the time when I have, they have been terrific.

However, I did have one experience one day that opened my eyes. Here am I, a grey-haired little old lady —

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!

Senator Fraser: Okay, not so little. I was driving my car peacefully in the middle of a summer afternoon and I was at the corner of Sussex and Rideau where there was construction of some sort. There was a traffic snarl you would not believe and my car got trapped in what turned out to be a blocked lane, but I did not know that when I first got trapped there.

I got up to the point where there was a policeman directing traffic. He saw that I was in the wrong lane and he went ballistic. I was in the wrong traffic lane. I was not on the wrong side of the road, but just not where he wanted me to be. He screamed at me and pounded on my car; he insulted me, swore at me and abused me. He was furious.

Let me tell you, honourable senators, I was scared sitting in my car in the middle of Ottawa, a few hundred metres from where we stand today. I did not lay a complaint. I was too scared to say, "Let me see your badge number; who are you?" All I could think of was that I wanted to get away from there. When I did, after I got away from there, I then knew how people feel who do not have the defences I knew I had. Had there been any kind of sequel to this, I would have been able to defend myself, and I was not an inherently suspicious character.

However, for people who are, or who believe that they are seen that way by the police, they are terrified of the existing power structure, and I do not blame them. That is why, honourable senators, it is worth re-examining the concept of having a truly independent inquiry, de novo, to restore faith in the police.

(1430)

Senator LeBreton: Everyone can probably cite a case like that, but I would have thought that the honourable senator should have asked for the badge number and followed up.

There is no doubt that there is fear, but the individual from the Human Rights Watch group who actually put these stories into the public should take these specific allegations and report them to authorities, because even though there is fear on behalf of the individual, the individual who is cataloguing these stories obviously must not fear the police. There is a responsibility for people who have specific evidence to report it to the authorities.

I was driving my little red truck on the River Road the other day and a police car pulled me over. My heart started pounding; but I had not cleared the snow off my licence plate, so I got out and cleared the snow off my licence plate and then I went on my way. The police officer did not know who I was; I was driving a red truck. He was very polite and courteous and told me what the law was about having one's licence plate exposed. I said, "You are right, officer."

Senator Segal: Do you not like trucks in blue?

Senator LeBreton: No, I like red; you know that.

Again, these specific allegations should be reported to the authorities.

[Translation]

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by the Honourable Senator Moore on March 6, 2012, concerning the Veterans Review and Appeal Board.

[English]

I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by the Honourable Senator Dallaire on May 2, 2012, concerning the current long-term care program.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by the Honourable Senator Dallaire on May 9, 2012, concerning the Long-term Care Program for Veterans.

[English]

I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by the Honourable Senator Dallaire on November 1, 2012, concerning priority hiring of veterans.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by the Honourable Senator Moore on November 6, 2012, concerning Veterans' Services and Benefits.

I also have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by the Honourable Senator Moore on November 22, 2012, concerning Veterans' Services and Benefits.

[English]

I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by the Honourable Senator Dallaire on December 4, 2012 concerning the Royal Military College of Canada.

[Translation]

Veterans Affairs

Veterans Review and Appeal Board—Rights and Treatment of Veterans

(Response to question raised by Hon. Wilfred P. Moore on March 6, 2012)

Veterans Affairs Canada’s 10-point Privacy Action Plan:

The Department’s original 10-Point Privacy Action Plan was launched in the fall of 2010 to address immediate privacy concerns identified by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

The 10-point Privacy Action Plan included employee awareness and training; access controls and monitoring; and strictly enforced disciplinary measures. The main points of the 10-Point Privacy Action Plan were completed by March 2011.

Recognizing that protecting Veterans’ privacy requires ongoing vigilance, the Minister launched Privacy Action Plan 2.0 in May 2012. This plan builds on the success of the original 10-point plan and works to fully integrate privacy protection as part of the Department’s overall management framework.

Key elements of the Privacy Action Plan 2.0 have already been fully implemented. These include:

  • Enhancements to staff training and awareness;
  • Revised and consolidated consent forms;
  • Improvements to internal policies and practices; and
  • Increased monitoring and evaluation of transactions that involve private information.

On October 4, 2012, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada published an audit report on the Department’s privacy practices. While the audit was generally positive, it pointed out a number of areas which, if addressed, would further enhance the Department’s already significant efforts to safeguard personal information. The Department is implementing all of the Privacy Commissioner’s recommendations as it continues to take action to ensure its privacy practices meet the highest standards. In fact, more than half of the audit's recommendations have been fully addressed, and the remaining actions are well underway.

The ongoing maintenance and oversight of the Privacy Action Plan will provide Veterans with the added assurance that the Department is committed to the protection of their personal information.

Disciplinary measures regarding privacy breaches:

As of January 23, 2013, 118 corrective actions have been taken as a result of inappropriate viewing of Veterans’ files. These actions have ranged from administrative memoranda to suspensions.

[English]

Long-term Care Program

(Response to question raised by Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire on May 2, 2012)

Civilian access to Ste. Anne's Hospital while continuing to manage it so that the needs of veterans are met:

It has been a long-standing policy of the Government of Canada to transfer federal hospitals to provinces, as health care is within provincial jurisdiction.

Veterans Affairs Canada's current authority and mandate is to support the care of Veterans while the province has the responsibility for health care including long-term care.

Transferring Ste. Anne's to the Government of Quebec will maintain and maximize the Hospital's expertise in geriatrics and psychogeriatrics, and increase bed availability for other Canadians in need of such care.

Expertise in Operational Stress Injury Clinics developed at Ste. Anne's Hospital:

The Government of Canada is firmly committed to meeting the mental health needs of modern-day Veterans, as well as those of their families.

The two Operational Stress Injury clinics located at Ste. Anne's Hospital—the Ste. Anne's Operational Stress Injury Clinic and the Residential Treatment Clinic for Operational Stress Injuries—will be negotiated as a specific component of the transfer of the Hospital.

In the transfer agreement, Veterans Affairs Canada will ensure that Veterans and their families continue to have access to the clinical services they require.

[Translation]

(Response to question raised by Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire on May 9, 2012)

As a result to the provincial elections, the current Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Réjean Hébert, took office on September 19, 2012.

Impact on modern-day Veterans in relation to the Ste. Anne's Hospital transfer:

Typically, modern-day Veterans or injured soldiers require rehabilitation or acute care services. Ste. Anne's is a long-term care facility specializing in geriatrics and psycho geriatrics and is focused on the needs of an aging clientele. More and more, Veterans want to remain in their homes and access health services in their communities for as long as possible. The long-term care needs of older Canadian Armed Forces Veterans can also be met through community long-term care facilities.

The Government of Canada is firmly committed to meeting the mental health needs of our modern-day Veterans and their families. Subsequently, the department will maintain the expertise and know-how developed in the domain of mental health.

The two Operational Stress Injury clinics located at Ste. Anne's Hospital—the Ste. Anne Operational Stress Injury Clinic and the Residential Treatment Clinic for Operational Stress Injuries—will be part of negotiations for a potential transfer.

In keeping with a decision by Cabinet in 1963, it has been a longstanding policy of the Government of Canada to transfer Veterans' hospitals to provincial jurisdictions and not to provide direct health care services.

All the other clinics of the Veterans Affairs Canada's Operational Stress Injury network are already part of a provincial health authority in their home provinces.

The provincial system can provide ongoing clinical and professional support and an administrative framework for the operation of these clinics. This system is also well equipped to serve the clinics' technical and information management needs.

There would be advantages in a transfer of the clinics to the provincial system for clients and staff as well as for the two clinics themselves, such as:

  • Better embedding in the provincial health system in making the interface with other health services providers
  • Opportunities for staff within the provincial health system

All the clinics in this network have an affiliation with a hospital in their respective provincial systems.

In any transfer agreement, Veterans Affairs Canada will ensure that Veterans and their families continue to have access to the clinical services they require.

[English]

Privy Council Office

Public Service—Priority Hiring of Veterans

(Response to question raised by Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire on November 1, 2012)

Veterans Affairs Canada requested that the Public Service Commission of Canada identify options regarding the priority for appointment in the public service of medically released personnel of the Canadian Forces and those options are presently under active consideration.

The current Public Service Employment Regulations, which came into force in 2005, provide a two-year priority entitlement to all medically released men and women in uniform, which they can choose to activate within five years of their release, once they are fit to return to work.

In 2010-11 there were 154 appointments of medically released members, and in 2011-12 there were 158 such appointments. According to the Public Service Commission's 2011-2012 Annual Report, during that period, this group of priority persons had the highest placement rate of any group of persons in the priority system. This demonstrates the commitment of the public service to place medically released veterans and also the fact that medically released veterans have the skills that the public service needs.

Veterans Affairs Canada is working closely with the Public Service Commission to look into options regarding the priority for appointment in the public service of medically released personnel of the Canadian Forces.

Effective July 1, 2011 Veterans Affairs Canada has widened the area of selection to include Canadian Forces Members in all Veterans Affairs Canada advertised processes. Based on a voluntary survey, as of December 2012, Veterans Affairs Canada has employed at least 113 Veterans and 134 employees with a family member who has served in the Canadian Forces. Effective August 1, 2011, all advertised processes include Canadian Forces experience as an asset qualification. Veterans Affairs Canada continues to explore mechanisms, along with the Public Service Commission and other stakeholders, to further enhance the opportunities for Veterans to join the Public Service.

In addition to efforts to enhance employment opportunities for Veterans in the Public Service, Veterans Affairs Canada is partnering with corporate Canada to provide employment opportunities for Veterans in the private sector.

The newly established Veterans Transition Advisory Council is the creation of the True Patriot Love Foundation and has the support of Veterans Affairs Canada. Comprised of leaders from national corporations, the Council will help to raise awareness of the skill sets of Canada's transitioning Canadian Armed Forces personnel and how their abilities can be a benefit when filling private sector positions. The Council will also make strategic recommendations to government and to the private sector on ways to improve the transition from military to civilian employment.

Canadian National Rail is one of the companies, which has played a leadership role in helping to bridge the gap between transitioning Veterans and corporate Canada. The company is a member of the Veterans Transition Advisory Council and expects to have 2,000 jobs available to Veterans in 2013.

Helmets-to-Hardhats is an effective tool for Veterans who wish to move into the trades sector after their service. The Canadian Government is collaborating with other organizations to support the Helmets-to-Hardhats program in Canada. More than 500 Veterans and 27 employers and contractors are already registered in the program since it began in September 2012.

The following are additional processes that Veterans Affairs Canada has implemented to enhance opportunities for Veterans:

  • Effective June 17, 2011, creation of a "Canadian Armed Forces Champion" from the senior management ranks of Veterans Affairs Canada to champion efforts interdepartmentally and within Veterans Affairs Canada to promote awareness, recognize achievements and promote these important initiatives within Veterans Affairs Canada;
  • On January 9, 2012, the Human Resources Division of Veterans Affairs Canada issued a communication to the regional offices of Veterans Affairs Canada promoting access to the Transition Assistance Program, which provides still-serving Canadian Armed Forces Members who are to be medically released from the Canadian Armed Forces the opportunity for on-the-job training;
  • Veterans Affairs Canada has established an engagement process so that employees with Canadian Armed Forces experience, or who have family members with Canadian Armed Forces experience, have the opportunity to provide their perspective on Veterans Affairs Canada programs or activities and to share their perspective as an employee with Canadian Armed Forces experience;
  • To help Veterans Affairs Canada staff understand the military experience and to be well-positioned to work with and serve Veterans, staff is required to participate in an online orientation exercise developed by the Canadian Armed Forces;
  • Veterans Affairs Canada's Career Transition Services Program provides Veterans who have released from the Regular Forces with individual career counselling and help with applying on public service jobs;
  • Veterans eligible for Veterans Affairs Canada's Rehabilitation Program may receive job search assistance, upgrading of education and skills, and, retraining as required in order to obtain suitable employment;
  • As part of the Canadian Armed Forces Vocational Rehabilitation Program for Serving Members, there is an opportunity to offer on the job training assignments to soon to be medically releasing Canadian Armed Forces Members. Initial analysis needs to be done on work location and Canadian Armed Forces member interest;

[Translation]

Veterans Affairs

Services and Benefits

(Response to question raised by Hon. Wilfred P. Moore on November 6, 2012)

Communication between Veterans Affairs Canada and the Last Post Fund:

Veterans Affairs Canada values the Last Post Fund’s dedication and support it provides to Veterans. Veterans Affairs Canada works in close partnership with the Last Post Fund, which delivers the Funeral and Burial Program on behalf of the Department. Through the Last Post Fund, Veterans Affairs Canada provides funding to all Veterans who qualify for Funeral and Burial benefits under the Veterans Burial Regulations 2005.

Veterans Affairs Canada engages and consults with major national Veterans’ organizations in program, policy and service delivery development initiatives. Strengthening outreach and consultation is an integral part of the ability to meet the evolving needs and expectations of Veterans and their families.

At the national level, Veterans Affairs Canada is engaging national Veterans’ organizations, including both traditional and emerging organizations, as well as the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces.

Veterans Affairs Canada communicates regularly as part of an ongoing dialogue with representatives of individual Veterans’ organizations and other stakeholders to keep them up to date on Veterans Affairs Canada initiatives, events and announcements. This communication includes a combination of bi-lateral meetings, e-mails and teleconferences.

National meetings specific to Last Post Fund are held with Veterans Affairs Canada officials on a regular basis to discuss issues surrounding these files. In addition, the Director General of Commemoration at Veterans Affairs Canada sits on the Governing Council and the Executive Committee of the Last Post Fund corporation. Veterans Affairs Canada also engages these organizations through regular correspondence.

Last Post Fund assistance:

Canada’s Funeral and Burial program, as administered by the Last Post Fund, is designed to assist the families of Veterans with the cost of a funeral and since 2006, the families of approximately 10,000 Veterans have benefited from it. As a standalone, Canada’s program covers the full cost of a burial for a Veteran and helps with the cost of the funeral.

The Funeral and Burial Program provides funeral and burial assistance to all Veterans who die of a service-related disability. Assistance is also provided for Second World War and Korean War Veterans through means-testing of their estate if they are in financial need. Some modern-day Veterans are also eligible if they are in financial need and are in receipt of a Veterans Affairs Canada disability benefit, earnings loss benefit or Canadian Forces income support benefit.

Veterans Affairs Canada continues to look for ways to improve all programs and services, including the funeral and burial program, in a challenging fiscal climate.

Veterans Affairs Canada consultation of the Last Post Fund:

Veterans Affairs Canada consults daily with the Last Post Fund. The Last Post Fund administers the Funeral and Burial Program on the Department’s behalf, in accordance with the Veterans Burial Regulations 2005. Veterans Affairs Canada works closely with the Last Post Fund to monitor how the program meets the needs of Veterans and their families.

Eligibility for Last Post Fund assistance:

Veterans Affairs Canada has examined the Funeral and Burial Program as part of its commitment to meeting the needs of Veterans and their families. For example, the Veterans Burial Regulations 2005 were amended as part of the New Veterans’ Charter initiative on April 1, 2006, and eligibility to means-tested funeral and burial assistance was expanded to include low-income modern-day Veterans who were in receipt of Canadian Forces income support and earnings loss benefits. The regulations were again amended January 1, 2010 to restore pre-1995 eligibility for Allied Veterans living in Canada with respect to funeral and burial assistance.

(Response to question raised by Hon. Wilfred P. Moore on November 22, 2012)

Veterans Affairs Canada is committed to meeting the needs of Veterans and their families by giving them the care, services and financial support they deserve.

Funeral and burial assistance is provided to eligible Veterans who die of a service-related injury or illness or to those in financial need, as determined through a means testing of their estate.

This program is one of the most comprehensive offered in developed countries and is administered by the Last Post Fund. It has helped the families of more than 10,000 veterans since 2006.

The Departmental Performance Report and spending for Program Activity 2.2, which includes three programs: Funeral and Burial; Memorials and Cemetery/Grave Maintenance; and European Operations.

In 2011-2012, $10.135 million was transferred to the Last Post Fund for the Funeral and Burial Program. Assistance was provided to all those who were eligible.

Funds are allotted by Parliament for specific programs and there is no latitude to move funding from one program to another.

Consistently serving Veterans better is a continuing process, which is why all of Veterans Affairs Canada’s programs are under continuous review so that they can be improved and adjusted to better address the priorities of Veterans and their families.

[English]

National Defence

Military Colleges—Programs for Aboriginal Youth

(Response to question raised by Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire on December 4, 2012)

The Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year, offered by the Canadian Armed Forces at the Royal Military College of Canada, is a one-year opportunity for up to 20 Aboriginal youth from across Canada to experience a combination of university level study, military and leadership training, with physical fitness and cultural development in order to:

a. Foster the development of leadership in a diverse environment,

b. Learn in a multicultural, bilingual environment,

c. Contribute to the Canadian Armed Forces' Outreach to Canadian Communities; and

d. Provide candidates with the opportunity to serve Canada.

As the Minister of National Defence announced in January 2013, former Naval Cadet and now Acting Sub- Lieutenant Nicole Shingoose became the first aboriginal cadet from the Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year program to receive a commission from the Royal Military College. Later this spring, she will be the first aboriginal to graduate from the Royal Military College after starting out with the Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year program.

There have been no decisions to cut the Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year programme at the Royal Military College of Canada. In fact, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the National Association of Friendship Centres, the Canadian Defence Academy, and the Royal Military College have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding formally establishing the Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year Advisory Council to ensure the programme reflects the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces and selected aboriginals participating in the programme.

The Department of National Defence, like all other government departments, is examining all of its activities to ensure that the maximum output of required services is being delivered at the minimal cost to Canadians. In this context, each programme is being carefully assessed within the department.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Point of Order

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I rise on a point of order in relation to a statement made by Senator Boisvenu during Senators' Statements.

Rule 4-2(6) of this new rule book — but the rule has been there for a long time — states very clearly that matters raised during Senators' Statements shall not be subject to debate.

I believe it is important that we consider the intent of the rule here. There is an implied limitation to Senators' Statements that since matters raised during this period should not be subject to debate, political statements should not be made as it is not possible for senators to reply.

In this case, the statements made by Senator Boisvenu were debatable. I am sure that though he believes strongly in his views, there are some on this side, or perhaps even on the other side, who do not support those views.

If Senator Boisvenu had chosen to express his views in a motion or an inquiry, others could have participated in the debate. In fact, Your Honour reminded Senator Boisvenu that there were rules that related to this as recently as last week, Wednesday, February 6, when he made a similar type of statement.

Your Honour, I believe, once again, that we need your guidance for all senators as to what is the purpose of Senators' Statements and, in fact, that we do recognize that this rule is applicable.

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, Senators' Statements are not subject to debate, yet that is exactly what Senator Tardif just tried to do. She attempted to debate the merits of the statement. If it is not subject to debate, it cannot be debated.

A senator who makes a statement may raise an issue that he or she believes to be important and that could not be raised otherwise. Senator Boisvenu, who has dedicated part of his life and his career to victim protection, has every right to make a statement, paying tribute to those who helped him achieve his objectives and giving an update on his cause. It seems he had no other way of doing that today.

What he did was legitimate. It is important to read the words carefully. The rule says "shall not be subject to debate." Many topics are raised in statements and, often, I do not agree with these topics, particularly when they come from the other side. However, I do not begin a debate because we are not to debate these issues.

We can pay tribute to someone who may be a hero to some but not to all. It may be a subject for debate, but that is not what is to happen.

"Not subject to a debate" means that we cannot debate the content of the statement, pursuant to the Rules of the Senate. Unfortunately, that is what Senator Tardif tried to do, indirectly.

[English]

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, with respect, I think Senator Carignan has misunderstood what my colleague Senator Tardif was saying. Senator Tardif was asking His Honour, as our presiding officer, to look into this and then give all of us some guidance as to what is the appropriate content of a statement and what is more appropriately dealt with in a motion or an inquiry where those of us who have views on the subject matter of that motion or inquiry have an opportunity to ask questions and have debate.

I may well agree with what Senator Boisvenu says, but if I do not or if I want to question something that he says, there is no opportunity to do that in the context of Senators' Statements. If he were to launch an inquiry into all of the wonderful things that his colleagues in the government are doing and have done on the issue of victims' rights, that is fine. He has an opportunity. Indeed, instead of three minutes, he has fifteen minutes to talk about all of them, and other colleagues who share his views have an opportunity to stand and support them.

Those on our side who might differ on that issue — not on the issue of the importance of victims' rights but perhaps on the steps that ought to be taken to help victims or the steps that have been taken to help victims — would then have an opportunity to question and debate those issues and to put forward our own views. Those opportunities are not available in the context of Senators' Statements.

Senator Tardif is asking that you look at that and perhaps reflect on it over the period of the break week, and come back and give us some guidance so that we do not fall on the wrong side of where you suggest we ought to draw the line.

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, if I may also speak to the point of order, I rise because I was cut off while making a statement last week and I have been reflecting on this rule since that time. I did take my seat and hold by tongue after members from the other side suggested that I was out of order. I think, with respect to them, they were not correct when they said I was speaking to a matter that was on the Order Paper, because I was speaking to Bill C-45, which went off the Order Paper in December. However, I let the matter pass because I thought that, perhaps, they might have invoked rule 4-2(6).

(1440)

In considering the rule, there may be some room for discretion and subjectivity as to what the rule means and how it should be interpreted. I welcome Senator Tardif's suggestion that the Speaker may give the house guidance on how that rule should be interpreted.

In an effort to hopefully assist His Honour, I consider Senators' Statements opportunities to comment on issues of the day. Perhaps I am wrong in assuming that, but in other parliaments statements are an opportunity, without the formalities of initiating motions, inquiries or committee studies, to comment on issues of the day. There is a reference to the need to be bound by the rules governing the propriety of debates and, therefore, Senators' Statements should be respectful and not unduly provocative.

I would respectfully recommend that His Honour, when reviewing this matter, consider that the rules should not be used as a vehicle to unduly restrict freedom of speech. I do not think honourable senators would want to have Senators' Statements on a daily basis become completely bland, innocuous statements of pure fact in a chamber that is designed to promote debate and discussion. I would respectfully recommend that the concerns be balanced by respect for freedom of speech.

The Hon. the Speaker: Are there any other senators who wish to speak?

Honourable senators, I thank the Honourable Senator Patterson for his intervention. I had not followed the statement he was making last week as closely as I should have. He was making reference to Bill C-45, which was well off the Order Paper and had become part of the statutes. It was not on the Order Paper, but I thought it was, so I cut him off. I have apologized to him.

Senator Tardif raises an important point for any honourable senator who is in the chair. As in the example that I have given, it is hard to follow all the detail of the statements being made. Although the scroll is examined before coming into the chamber to try to prepare for the sitting, I do not always remember all that is on the Order Paper. It is easy to err when trying to use that part of the Rules.

All honourable senators should reflect on this because Senators' Statements will occur again prior to me giving the ruling requested. Senators' Statements are an important part of the proceedings for all senators; so much so that sometimes my watch is not as accurate as it ought to be. All honourable senators generally indicate that they are happy to have had the opportunity to get their statement in. Ninety-nine per cent of those statements are not subject to these kinds of questions. It is important for senators to recognize that there is a menu of opportunities to raise issues. Inquiries present the best one because 15 minutes are available, and sometimes that time can be extended.

If it is helpful, I will invite the procedural team to suggest guidelines so that all honourable senators will have some guidance. Under the Rules of the Senate, a point of order can be raised during Senators' Statements. However, senators should want to avoid raising points of order during that time because the house could end up with no statements once one senator rises on a point of order. Senators' Statements could be spent on the point of order debate.

Balance and perspicacity will be the order of the day. I would be happy to be of help to the chamber.

[Translation]

Business of the Senate

Hon. Fernand Robichaud: Honorable senators, I would like some clarification of a common Senate practice concerning a motion that is moved. Yesterday, His Honour the Speaker rose and asked, "When shall this bill be read the third time?" This motion is often moved when a bill is referred to a committee.

My impression was that when the Speaker poses this question, he usually turns to the sponsor of the bill, if it is a private member's bill. For a government bill, it is the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate who is recognized.

Yesterday, when the question was posed, it was not the sponsor of the bill who was recognized. I do not know if this is a new practice or if I am mistaken. If it is a new practice, will this set a precedent?

I would like some clarification of this matter. I thank His Honour.

The Hon. the Speaker: Are there any other comments about this matter?

I will speak briefly about this. I completely agree with Senator Robichaud's impression that, as he explained, traditionally, with a Senate private member's bill, it is usually the sponsor of the bill who moves the motion for second reading and suggests the committee to which the bill will be sent. If I made a mistake, I apologize. The senator is right.

[English]

Canada National Parks Act
Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act
Canada Shipping Act, 2001

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Michael L. MacDonald moved second reading of Bill S-15, An Act to amend the Canada National Parks Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and to make consequential amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise today to express my support for Bill S-15, the Expansion and Conservation of Canada's National Parks Act.

In the 2011 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada made a commitment to create significant new protected areas. The bill before honourable senators is an important step to fulfill that commitment. It will amend Schedule 2 of the Canada National Parks Act to add the description of Sable Island National Park Reserve of Canada as Canada's forty-third national park. This initiative has garnered a high level of support in Nova Scotia, including by the Mi'kmaq. In fact, we are establishing Sable Island as a national park reserve out of respect for the ongoing negotiations under the Made-in-Nova Scotia Process. A national park reserve enjoys the same protections that a national park does while respecting assertions of First Nation rights.

(1450)

Honourable senators, Sable Island is a unique sandbar island in the Atlantic Ocean. It is 42 kilometres long and 1.3 kilometres across at its widest point. It is home to some 190 plant species, including 20 that have restricted distribution elsewhere, and it is perhaps best known for its herd of about 450 wild horses — one of the few herds in the world that remains entirely unmanaged.

It was the future of those horses that sparked the first efforts to conserve Sable Island, which culminate with this legislation. In reaction to plans in 1960 to remove the wild horses from Sable Island, schoolchildren from across Canada came to their defence as they wrote to the government of the day urging protection of the horses. In 1961, the government of the Right Honourable John George Diefenbaker passed regulations protecting the horses, planting the seeds for the long-term protection of this unique and fabled landscape.

Honourable senators, 50 years later, this chamber can help complete the work started by hundreds of schoolchildren decades ago by passing legislation to permanently protect Sable Island as part of Canada's world-class national parks system.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, some 350 shipwrecks have been documented off the coast of Sable Island, and this has earned it the nickname of the "graveyard of the Atlantic."

In the past, the island was home to lifesaving stations, lighthouses and shelters for shipwreck victims. Today, it houses a facility for scientific research and monitoring activities, such as the collection of weather forecasting data and wildlife research.

[English]

Honourable senators, Sable Island is located in one of the largest offshore hydrocarbon basins in North America. The governments of Canada and Nova Scotia have agreed to prohibit drilling and to limit other petroleum-related activities on the island and out to one nautical mile at low tide from the island. Industry will still be able to access Sable Island to monitor several abandoned wellheads from the 1970s, to undertake non-intrusive exploration work if authorized by the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and in consultation with Parks Canada and in the case of an emergency when workers need to be taken off platforms for shelter on the island. Parts of this bill amend the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act to this effect.

Holders of exploration licences that include parts of Sable Island have contributed to the historic consensus to protect this remarkable island by amending their licences to prevent drilling on the island and within the buffer zone of one nautical mile.

Honourable senators, among the steps to create a national park reserve on Sable Island, control of the island will be transferred from the Canadian Coast Guard to Parks Canada. With the collaboration of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, this bill also amends the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 to remove reference to Sable Island. The Sable Island Regulations will be revoked, and instead the island will be subject to the regulatory regime under the Canada National Parks Act.

[Translation]

The Government of Canada is proud to introduce this bill to give Sable Island the highest level of environmental protection in the country for the benefit, education and enjoyment of current and future generations of Canadians.

[English]

Honourable senators, this bill also addresses issues at the other end of the country, matters affecting the needs of two of Canada's oldest national parks, Yoho and Jasper national parks. The provisions affecting Yoho National Park make minor changes to the descriptions of the commercial zones for the community of Field, British Columbia, located within Yoho National Park of Canada.

Honourable senators, these zoning modifications are well within the legislated commercial growth limit for Field. They reflect public consultations carried out and respond to concerns of business operators and residents of the community. They are important to the economic viability of the community of Field, British Columbia.

I would now like to address the amendments that affect Jasper National Park, specifically the ski area at Marmot Basin, within the boundaries of the park itself.

The operator wishes to improve the ski experience in order to remain competitive with other, new and expanded ski operations in the region and stay financially viable. The operator has presented Parks Canada with an opportunity to achieve a significant environmental gain in the process.

Development of ski areas within a national park is strictly controlled by legislation, by ski area guidelines, by site-specific guidelines and by leases and licences of occupation. Changes to the size and configuration of the ski area boundaries require an amendment to the Canada National Parks Act.

The growth limits in the site guidelines for the Marmot Basin Ski Area are based on a design capacity of 6,500 skiers per day, but the existing commercial space can serve fewer than 3,300 skiers. There is a need for additional facilities and services, and they must be developed in a strategic manner to achieve a better ski experience and to respect conservation imperatives.

The Ski Area Management Guidelines allow areas to add new ski terrain only through an exchange that results in substantial environmental gain to the ecological integrity of the national park, and this, honourable senators, is what is proposed in the bill before us.

Marmot Basin Ski Area would remove from its lease 118 hectares of ecologically sensitive land in the Whistler Creek Valley. The area is an important habitat for woodland caribou — which is listed under the Species at Risk Act — as well as a habitat for sensitive species such as grizzly bear, wolverines and lynx.

In exchange, the ski area would receive 60 hectares of comparatively less environmentally sensitive habitats for the new ski trails and beginner runs.

This is a win-win situation for the ski hill and Jasper National Park, resulting in a net increase of 56 hectares of wilderness area to the park and the protection from future development of 118 hectares of prime woodland caribou habitat.

Honourable senators, this bill protects sensitive ecosystems while creating greater certainty in the land use. It maintains Parks Canada's authority to achieve management objectives, while giving the operator the possibility to make business decisions with confidence. This proposal has undergone extensive consultation and is supported by Parks Canada policy and environmental assessment.

[Translation]

The current government is committed to ensuring that Canada's national parks provide visitors with inspiring experiences and meaningful opportunities to build connections to all of these places, while protecting them for future generations.

[English]

I hope honourable senators will join me, the Government of Canada and the Government of Nova Scotia in supporting this bill.

(On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.)

(1500)

Income Tax Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Eaton, seconded by the Honourable Senator Rivard, for the second reading of Bill C-377, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations).

Hon. Hugh Segal: Honourable senators, I rise with the permission of Senator Ringuette, who has adjourned this motion, to speak on Bill C-377. I believe the bill must be amended and critically examined before committee. As I do believe that, I do not oppose second reading, although I cannot vote for the bill in principle and will not. Let me share my best judgment as to why Bill C-377, dealing with broadening trade union disclosure to CRA, is bad legislation, bad public policy and a diminution of both the order and the freedom that should exist in any democratic, pluralist and mixed-market society.

While I do not question the good faith and enduring belief in transparency of those in the other place who proposed and supported the law, and of my esteemed colleague Senator Eaton who sponsored the bill in this place, I want to point out that, while transparency is a compelling public good, applying it in a discriminatory way is harmful and divisive.

As a Tory, I believe that society prospers when different views about the public agenda, on the left and the right, are advanced by different groups, individuals and interests. Debate between opposing groups in this chamber, in the other place and in broader society is the essence of democracy. Limiting that debate as to scope and breadth is never in the long-term interest of a free and orderly society.

Dispatching CRA to police how trade unions spend their money, in denominations of $5,000 or more, is to increase the role of CRA and of the state in ways that create a bigger, nosier and more expensive government. As a taxpayer and as a Conservative, I oppose that kind of increase in any government's power or expenditures.

At the disclosure level that is now in the bill — $5,000 — a two- year supply of coffee, a used car, a new computer system or printer, or the replacement of plumbing or a boiler at a union headquarters would qualify for explicit disclosure. Is this all that CRA has to do?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Senator Segal: My colleague from Prince Edward Island, Senator Downe, has spoken eloquently about the need to work harder on tax evasion. Do we want to take people who might be working on tax evasion and have them assess which union local bought a new boiler for its headquarters? That is what this bill would produce.

If this is to apply to trade unions, why would it not apply to rotary clubs, the Fraser Institute, Christian, Muslim and Jewish congregations across Canada, the Council of Chief Executives, local car dealers or the many farming groups, like the cattlemen's associations or the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, all of whom do great work? How about local constituency associations, food banks, soup kitchens, or anglers and hunters clubs?

All of these groups express views on policy. All have the right, under election law, to volunteer in municipal, provincial or federal elections, and all come to Ottawa to lobby and press government on issues important to them. They do so along with representatives of the defence industry, our First Nations and various cultural groups. Are they all to be swept into the CRA bureaucratic remit? That is what this bill would lead to. If CRA is to become the political judge of what expenses are appropriate, what are the guiding criteria? The bill is silent on that.

There are, honourable senators, other doubtful provisions that should be of deep concern, such as proposed paragraph 149.01(3) (a), on page 2. It says that information shall be provided in "such form and containing such particulars... as may be prescribed." It does not say by whom. Would it be the representatives of the Privy Council Office or the Department of Labour? Spare me.

Proposed subparagraph 149.01(3)(b)(ix) lists the need to declare what is spent on labour relations activities, with no concurrent disclosure imposed on the management side. How about a law that forced my political party to disclose its campaign, travel, research and advertising budgets to the Liberal Party of Canada or to the NDP two weeks before the election was called?

Perhaps Coca-Cola should be forced to disclose to Pepsi its marketing plan and expenditures over $5,000.

How about the Montreal Canadiens having to tell the Boston Bruins whether their coach spent more than $5,000 on dinner for their team and where they ate in Boston before the game?

Honourable senators, this bill is about a nanny state; it has an anti-labour bias running rampant; and it diminishes the imperative of free speech, freedom of assembly and free collective bargaining.

I imagine that, were it to pass, subsequent legislation from the other place from private members might be aimed at newspapers; networks, TV and otherwise; student groups; universities; junior baseball leagues; and even, God forbid, community soccer. Where we are headed with this bill is down a dark alley to a very dark place indeed.

If the unions should disclose, so should the auto dealers, the C.D. Howe Institute, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, all the local Legions and all of the various local organizations.

Have we decided that CRA has lots of employees with little to do? When did that meeting happen? Who came to that conclusion? To manage the new nosey mission, CRA would need new employees and up to $2.5 million in operating funds, plus an extra $800,000 a year. That is CRA's own estimate. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says the number will be much higher.

Let me talk now, in conclusion, about one Conservative who, while not perfect, was generally revered for his role in the building of Canada. His name? Sir John A. Macdonald. We take him seriously in Kingston, Ontario and in other parts of Canada.

In a piece on early labour legislation in Canada, Mark Chartrand, in reference to the introduction and passage of the Trade Unions Act of 1872 under the Liberal-Conservative government of Sir John A. Macdonald, wrote:

Sir John A. Macdonald was solely responsible for the introduction of the Bills. In his preliminary remarks in the House of Commons he said that that they were modelled after British statutes enacted in the previous year [under Gladstone] that had emancipated union members from existing laws that were considered to be "opposed to the spirit of the liberty of the individual" and "too oppressive to be endorsed by free men." He suggested that it was in Canada's best interest to enact analogous legislation so that Canadian and British immigrant workers "would have... the same right to combine for the accomplishment of lawful objects, as [workers] had in England."

During the debate of 12 June, he noted: "[r]ecent events in Toronto —

He was referring to the famous printers' strike.

— had shown the necessity of adopting some amendment [to existing law] here", and also expressed his concern that if "workingmen... should learn that the old law remain unchanged, they would not come to settle in Canada".

Honourable senators, the very growth of Canada, the successive waves of immigrants from the British Isles that built Canada in the early days, depended in some measure on protecting legitimate union rights. Honourable senators, they did so then and they do now.

(1510)

Let me quote from Chartrand's historic work:

... considering the following statement made by Macdonald on 11 July 1872 at a mass meeting sponsored by the Toronto Trades Assembly in his honour "as the friend and saviour of the working man":

He rose at that meeting and he said:

I ought to have a special interest in this subject... because I am a working man myself. I know that I work more than nine hours every day, and then I think I am a practical mechanic. If you look at the Confederation Act, in the framing of which I had some hand, you will admit that I am a pretty good joiner; and as for cabinet-making, I have had as much experience as Jacques and Hay themselves.

The negative effect of this bill, either in deploying CRA on political missions or on limiting freedoms, is debilitating and offensive. The bill before us today, as well as right-to-work legislation that is being proposed in the other place as a private member's bill, is not who we are as Canadians. It is time this chamber said so.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Segal: Honourable senators, I know union leaders whom I dislike and do not trust. Some have been mean, narrow, divisive and unconstructive, but I defend their right to advance what they consider to be their members' interests. I know corporate, political and not-for-profit leaders who suffer from the same faults.

As for soft-sounding, labour-financed coalitions that campaign against Conservatives at various points in provincial elections, we have seen that. It is the election laws that should be changed to limit anybody's right to do so on the right or the left without spending limits and full, timely disclosure, not the Income Tax Act of Canada. This is a matter of election law, not CRA inquisition.

As I adjourn the debate in Senator Ringuette's name, I urge honourable senators on all sides to reflect on how this bill might be revamped or, if necessary and if it is not revamped at third reading, actually stopped dead in its tracks.

Senator Tardif: Good idea.

Senator Segal: In the interests of free, collective bargaining; strong, competitive environments; safe workplaces; and the fair treatment of working men and women, socially, economic and politically, this bill should be either readily revamped or set aside. If it has been quoted on other matters in this place that "the best social policy is a job," then people who seek union support in the workplace — as is their right in a free society — should be protected, and the unions who serve them should not be singled-out unfairly.

Thank you, honourable senators.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Will the Honourable Senator Segal accept a question?

Senator Segal: Yes.

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Honourable senators, I certainly welcome the wise words that Senator Segal has just stated.

The interests of future growth of this country, as the honourable senator mentioned, was the purpose of the first union bill in the late 1800s. In the interest of having a balanced approach — we know that there are always two sides to an issue — and if this bill tends to impose certain disclosure for the work that it has to do on behalf of Canadian workers, then would the honourable senator consider putting forth an amendment that would balance the bill and see the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association, for instance — because unions also play a vital role in credential recognition? Then you could have also the entire sphere of the Canadian Bar Association, the medical associations, the Ordre des ingénieurs. Also, in regards to the bargaining activity of unions, then, as I was mentioning earlier, the bill in amendment could include the manufacturers' unions. My God — should we also say the Canadian Auto Workers Union?

An Hon. Senator: That would be interesting.

Senator Ringuette: We all know they visit Parliament Hill quite often.

In the interests of having a balanced approach to the issue that we have in front of us, would the honourable senator consider putting forth an amendment to balance this bill?

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Before the Honourable Senator Segal begins his response, I regret to inform honourable senators that his speaking time has expired. Is more time granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Segal: I thank the honourable senator for her question. When I listed other organizations that, if we were to be fair about this, should have to face a similar level of disclosure at the $5,000 level or above, it was not because I wanted to see the state expand its role even further than this bill provides to sweep them all in. I sought to list them so that honourable senators might reflect here and in committee as to how the imbalance implicit in this particular bill might be best addressed.

As a Conservative, my instinct would not be to expand the role of the state to look into other organizations. I want to be fair to the government: The government came to committee in the other place and attempted to raise the $5,000 threshold to a much larger number so as to reduce the level of "nosiness" in the legitimate activities of our trade unions. I do not think they were successful at committee, although I think they endeavoured to do so. There was a ruling made as to whether the amendments could be introduced into the chamber.

The government has been trying to find a way to take what was private member's legislation, offered in good faith, and moderate it in some fashion. They have not been successful in so doing. We are now faced with this bill before us, so I will not prejudge what honourable senators in committee might choose to do other than to say that I think a broad array of witnesses who would discuss some of the implications of this process on the free collective bargaining process, mixed-market economies and the relationship between management and labour might be invited to express their views so that we can benefit from that wisdom and decide appropriately thereafter.

Hon. Percy E. Downe: Will Senator Segal take another question?

Senator Segal: Yes.

Senator Downe: I thank the honourable senator for his speech; it was very informative and, as always, interesting.

As an aside, his affection for Sir John A. Macdonald, which he noted about Kingston and other parts of Canada, is certainly shared by Prince Edward Islanders. I was surprised to read in Richard Gwyn's book that, when he was sick at one point, he returned to Prince Edward Island for seven or eight weeks to recover — a very good choice. I assume it was in the summer and not the winter, however.

On your remarks about the role of the Canada Revenue Agency, I noticed the President of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat announced the 19,000 public sector positions that would be eliminated over the next while. I was surprised to see that the largest cut to any one department was at the Canada Revenue Agency, with 3,008 positions being eliminated. This is from a document from the minister.

The honourable senator correctly identified in his remarks that the new responsibilities imposed by this bill will require additional employees. I continue to hear criticism of the lack of effort in overseas tax evasion. I now hear growing concerns of these cuts involving front-counter servers, particularly from seniors who now have problems finding forms and so on because the front- counter people are gone, which I assume are the majority of these people.

(1520)

Where did the honourable senator get the figure he identified in his speech for the number of additional employees that would be required if this bill passed?

Senator Segal: My recollection is that it came from an analysis in one of the newspapers quoting someone from CRA. That was my source in that circumstance.

Honourable senators, let me say this with respect to the CRA: I go back to the days of Perrin Beatty, MP, Minister of National Revenue, who brought in the taxpayers' rights provisions. I believe that produced a huge improvement in the relationship between CRA and all the taxpayers of Canada who have to interact with them in some way or form. Of course, CRA has also modernized in terms of online filing. One can understand that when you move to online filing, some of the human resource requirements that existed prior thereto are no longer necessary.

Whatever that transition is, upon which I am no expert, imposing this new burden upon them, and establishing the principle that every time Parliament is unhappy with a particular organization or group of organizations or type of organization, it is CRA who will produce transparency by forcing disclosure at relatively modest levels, I think is a bad principle. That is really the principle against which I tried to speak this afternoon.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Dose the Honourable Senator Ringuette have another question?

Senator Ringuette: I move the adjournment.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The adjournment has been moved already by Honourable Senator Segal, seconded by Honourable Senator Nolin, that further debate in this matter be adjourned in the name of Honourable Senator Ringuette for the next sitting of the Senate.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I want to get an assurance that there will be the 45 minutes for Senator Ringuette, as she is the second person and our critic on the bill.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: That is agreed and understood.

(On motion of Senator Segal, for Senator Ringuette, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

Agriculture and Forestry

Budget—Study on Research and Innovation Efforts in Agricultural Sector—Ninth Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (supplementary budget—study on research and innovation in the agricultural sector), presented in the Senate earlier this day.

Hon. Percy Mockler moved the adoption of the report.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

Adjournment

Motion Adopted

Leave having been given to revert to Government Notices of Motions:

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(g), I move:

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, February 26, 2013, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, February 26, 2013, at 2 p.m.)

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