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2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 28

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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


L'Isle-Verte—Victims of Tragedy

Silent Tribute

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before we proceed, I would ask senators to rise and observe one minute of silence as a gesture of solidarity with the residents of L'Isle-Verte, in light of the tragedy that occurred last week.

Honourable senators then stood in silent tribute.



Tragic Fire in L'Isle-Verte

Hon. Andrée Champagne: Honourable senators, last weekend, Quebec woke up to the news of a terrible tragedy in the community of L'Isle-Verte in the Lower St. Lawrence.

This small community is at the north end of the Senate division that was assigned to me, as a Quebecer, when I was appointed to the Senate of Canada.

The various television channels broadcast images of the horror of this seniors' residence that was devastated by a fire that, despite the efforts of volunteer firefighters from the entire region, left nothing but an ice-covered wood structure. Those images brought tears to our eyes and pained our hearts.

In a small community like L'Isle-Verte, everyone was affected. Everyone knew this safe haven that was home to so many seniors in the region. Everyone knew residents who chose to live out their final years with people they had known for decades.

When the search is over, we will be asking questions for a long time to come to figure out what specifically caused this devastation. It is highly likely that the real cause of this fire will never be known.

Obviously, the lack of a sprinkler system and an alarm system in a major part of the building did not help the occupants evacuate the residence in time, despite the help from some residents who were more mobile than others.

Could it have been a cigarette that was not fully put out or a faulty electrical system?

One thing is certain: everyone in this chamber shares the pain of those who lost their loved ones. These people who chose to make their final years easier without causing concern to their families did not deserve to end their days on earth in such a disaster.

On behalf of everyone in this chamber, I wish to extend our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the residents of L'Isle-Verte.

I wish all of them courage as they face this unimaginably difficult time. They have lost part of their history, and now they must gather together the memories they have left in order to share them with the next generation. Despite their pain, that has become their responsibility.

I cannot help but hope that our governments will tighten regulations in their respective jurisdictions to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again. I also hope that our fellow citizens will do everything they can to alleviate the suffering of those who live in the community so that life may go on.

Dear colleagues, thank you for your attention.


Charlottetown Conference

One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, on New Year's Eve, Islanders kicked off the year-long, province-wide celebrations commemorating the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference. More than 4,000 people braved the winter cold to take part in the family- friendly concert, activities and fireworks which were held along historic Great George Street and in front of Province House National Historic Site. Almost 3,000 attended an indoor concert with P.E.I.'s own Lennie Gallant and Canadian artist Johnny Reid at the new PEI Convention Centre.

It was a fitting start to what is sure to be a tremendous year. Islanders are proud of the province's role in the birth of our nation, and so we are celebrating our part in the meeting that led to Canadian Confederation.

In September 1864, the Charlottetown Conference brought together P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada — now Ontario and Quebec — to discuss the matter of forming a nation.

Delegates arrived over the course of three days, August 30 until September 1, with Sir John A. Macdonald among them. I have read that the circus was also in town during that time, and as a result, there was little hoopla around the arrival of the delegates. Accommodations were difficult to find. A great many of the delegates stayed aboard the SS Queen Victoria, which was moored in Charlottetown Harbour.


Over the next seven days, delegates discussed the merits of Confederation during the meetings and amongst themselves at banquets and other social events. By September 8, the overall idea of Confederation was decided, and further meetings were held later in Quebec and in London.

The Dominion of Canada was finally born on July 1, 1867.

Honourable senators, we owe those ambitious delegates a world of gratitude for setting in motion the formation of this country we hold so dear. In honour and celebration of their good work, more than 150 festivals, events and activities are taking place across the province in 2014. I have no doubt it will be a successful year. I encourage everyone to join us on Prince Edward Island and participate in these outstanding events.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Malik Talib, President of His Highness Prince Agakhan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Canada. He is the guest of the Honourable Senator Jaffer.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, may I also draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Mike Hortie, Chairman, and Mr. Fred Semerjian, President and CEO, of the RCMP Foundation. The foundation makes contributions in creating innovative programs to support youth at risk.

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

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


The Senate

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, for several months, in caucus or in smaller groups, we have been discussing the Senate's guiding principles and how we can improve our practices. Our objective is noble: to defend the important role our institution plays in the federal Parliament. Our discussions have led us to reaffirm the purpose of the Senate.


For some, it was a time to reflect on what they already knew about the history of the Senate and our federation, while for others it was a time for discovery and appreciation.

Every one of us understands why it is not too much to say that the fate of Confederation turned on the issue of regional representation in the upper chamber. Again and again, colleagues have pointed out our lack of communication with the population we are constitutionally responsible for representing.


Our two leaders agreed to and initiated the creation of several working groups designed to take the appropriate corrective action within our administrative sphere, and I thank them for that

Personally, after sober reflection, I determined that we must now continue these key discussions in this chamber and that it is time to propose a series of debates on the Senate's history, evolution, guiding principles and roles. That is why, in a few moments, when the Speaker calls notices of inquiry, I will propose seven.


I will use these notices to announce my intention to introduce inquiries on the Senate's history, its evolution, its guiding principles and the roles that it plays.

Dear colleagues, this approach has the advantage of providing a forum for public debate on the fundamentals of any attempt to modernize the Senate. These changes should be made internally and administratively, as well as to our governance structure, chamber business and committee business.


It goes without saying that I will avoid addressing any procedures for making constitutional amendments out of respect for the Supreme Court of Canada. If necessary, my statements will be limited only to non-constitutional amendments.

According to certain commentators, 2013 was an annus horribilis for the Senate, and they did not hesitate to predict that the Senate will be abolished. They made those predictions without knowing our history, without understanding our roots and without grasping the importance of the federal bicameral system, as conceived and implemented by our founders.


The inquiries that I will be proposing aim in part to address this knowledge gap.

The unfortunate circumstances we experienced last year had one positive outcome: It led us to engage in introspection, to borrow a term from the field of psychology. As senators, we spent several months reflecting on the essential values of our institution. Personally, I am excited about this turn of events.


Although this is not the first controversy surrounding the Senate of Canada, we must admit that it is a serious one. Let us now share with Canadians the fruit of our sober reflection. After all, it affects everyone who lives in this country, whether they are Canadian or of a different nationality and whether they are part of a majority or minority group as a result of their language, race, religion, gender, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. Thank you, honourable senators, for your attention.



Refugee Children

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Before I start my declaration, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Happy New Year. I know you will agree with me that we will be able to better accomplish our goals efficiently this year.

Honourable senators, today I rise to recognize 1.1 million Syrian refugee children. The Syrian war has been devastating for children both physically and psychologically.

In October, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees published a report on the plight of Syrian child refugees entitled The Future of Syria: Refugee Children in Crisis. A section of that report featured a beautiful two-year-old baby named Dalal. Dalal has big eyes and curly brown hair. She reminds me of my own granddaughter. She and her father fled from Homs in Syria to Jordan where they live in the Zaatari refugee camp, the largest Syrian refugee camp. The report showed the long scar on Dalal's back from when she was shot six months prior. She is still too young to understand that she will never walk.

A six-year-old boy now living in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley developed a stutter after surviving bombings close to his home in Jobar, Damascus.

The mother of a two-year-old girl in Mount Lebanon said whenever her daughter hears a plane, she runs inside crying with her hands covering her ears.

Another mother in Beirut said her seven-year-old son was so severely affected that he imagines his father, who was killed in the war, is still alive.

Honourable senators, it is now 2014. The Syrian civil war has been waging for over a year and a half. Every day, more children are born in refugee camps, more children are psychologically traumatized by the death and destruction that they are surrounded with, and more innocent children are being injured and killed in a war that they have nothing to do with.

If the world is to make any resolutions for 2014, it should be to end the conflict in Syria and give adequate aid to the Syrian refugees. Honourable senators, we must do this for the sake of an entire generation of innocent Syrian children who will carry the scars of the war for the rest of their lives.

The Late Honourable John Ross Matheson, O.C.

Hon. Bob Runciman: Honourable senators, I rise today to draw attention to the life of a remarkable Canadian, a hero of mine and one of the fathers of the Canadian flag, John Ross Matheson, who died on December 27 at the age of 96.

John Matheson was a man who knew how to overcome the odds. At Ortona, Italy, when a German shell exploded and lodged six pieces of metal in his brain, he couldn't move, speak or talk, but he overcame the odds and survived, regaining only partial use of his legs. He carried those pieces of metal in his brain for the rest of his life, but that didn't stop him. He graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School and came to practise in my hometown of Brockville, Ontario.

In 1961, he overcame the odds again and won election to the House of Commons as a Liberal for the riding of Leeds. If you know Leeds County, you know getting elected as a Liberal there is quite an achievement, let alone getting re-elected twice more, before losing by just four votes in 1968.


I remember riding to high school with my dad and seeing candidate Matheson struggle up the street, bad leg and all, as he campaigned door to door. I was moved by that image, honourable senators, and I cast my first vote for John Matheson. He remains the only Liberal I've ever voted for, or ever will.

Senator Mercer: So far!

Senator Runciman: After politics, he went on to serve 20 years as a judge of the Superior Court of Ontario.

Most Canadians know John Matheson for an even more significant event. In 1964, as the parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Pearson, John was asked to chair the committee tasked with coming up with a design for a Canadian flag.

George Stanley, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, approached his friend John with a simple red, white, red design with a maple leaf in the centre. John understood the need for a clean, fresh look without the reference to the symbols that have divided Canadians.

It was a struggle, but he got the design through committee and through Parliament. Although there were hard feelings for a while, I think it's safe to say the Maple Leaf is recognized around the world and unites Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Last year, my hometown twice honoured John. In May, the street in front of the Brockville Courthouse was renamed John Ross Matheson Way, and on Canada Day, a 40-foot Canadian flag was raised in his honour. The community will continue to recognize his legacy leading up to the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the flag's adoption next year.

Honourable colleagues, join me in honouring a great Canadian, John Ross Matheson.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!



Privacy Commissioner

Special Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Special Report to Parliament of the Privacy Commissioner entitled: Checks and Controls: Reinforcing Privacy Protection and Oversight for the Canadian Intelligence Community in an Era of Cyber-surveillance, pursuant to subsection 39(1) of the Privacy Act.

Public Safety

Canadian Security Intelligence Service—2011-13 Public Report Tabled

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service: Public Report for the fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13.


Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association

Bilateral Mission, November 13-17, 2012—Report Tabled

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the Bilateral Mission to Cameroon, held in Yaoundé and Edéa, Cameroon, from November 13 to 17, 2012.


The Senate

Origins, History and Evolution—Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to its roots, the history of its origins and its evolution.

Legislative Role—Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to its legislative role.


Role in Representing the Regions of the Canadian Federation—Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to its role in representing the regions of the Canadian federation.

Role in Protecting Minorities—Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to its role in protecting minorities.

Investigative Role—Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to its investigative role.


Role in Parliamentary Diplomacy—Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to its role in parliamentary diplomacy.

Promoting and Defending Causes that Concern the Public Interest—Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to the activities of some Senators in promoting and defending causes that concern the public interest.


Public Safety

Correctional Service of Canada—Mental Health Services

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, to whom I would like to wish a very Happy New Year.


Forty days ago, the coroner's inquest into the death of Ashley Smith at last reported, making 104 recommendations, all of them important. But if I may return to one of those recommendations that echoes debates and discussions we have had in this place for years, the inquest recommended that female inmates with serious mental health issues and/or self-injurious behaviour — both of which, heaven knows, applied to Ashley Smith — serve their sentences in a federally operated treatment facility, not a security- focused, prison-like environment.

In the past when this issue has been raised, we have been told by the government that negotiations were under way with provincial counterparts. Could the leader please tell us where those negotiations now stand?


Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): I would like to thank Senator Fraser for her good wishes. You will notice that my voice is a bit off as I am coming down with a bit of a cold. However, the rest of the year will be great. Happy New Year to you too, senator.

We have also seen the report. It is a very sad case, and as I have already said, our thoughts are with Ms. Smith's family. We asked Correctional Services to cooperate with the coroner's inquest into this case. We will take a closer look at the report and consider what steps should be taken in the coming weeks.


Senator Fraser: If I chose to focus on this particular recommendation, it is because the concept is far from new. I think it was in 2008 that the Correctional Investigator said — and maybe he said it before, but this is the report I happen to have before me — that Correctional Service Canada should undertake consultation with federal-provincial-territorial and non- governmental partners to propose alternative models for the provision of health care services and, in particular, services for mental health care.

That call has been reiterated again and again. As debates in the Senate have shown, a model exists. Senator Runciman, among others, has told us in gripping detail about the model that exists in Brockville, where inmates who have mental health problems are sent to a hospital, where the ratio of custodial staff to psychological treatment staff is exactly the reverse of what it is in prisons. The outcome is also, dare I say, exactly the reverse.


The government has had years to examine this. I am not asking the leader to tell us today that such a facility will be opened even this year, although Lord knows we could use it. I just want to know where we stand in the oft-promised negotiations with provincial partners to provide this precious, valuable service, because Ashley Smith is not the only case.


Senator Carignan: Senator Fraser, you raised a number of points in your question. However, when it comes to mental health in the prisons, since you made reference to 2008, I want to repeat that since 2006, we have improved mental health treatment and training for correctional officers in the prisons. We have also sped up mental health screening and created a mental health strategy for inmates.

We have also expanded opportunities for mental health counselling and improved staff training. Additional resources have been allocated to ensure that all inmates are given a mental health assessment within 90 days of their sentence. The fact remains that prisons are not the ideal place to treat mental illness. We are continuing to work with our provincial partners in order to keep our communities safe and provide access to treatment to those who need it.

In response to the report, we will continue to work with our provincial partners on improving mental health treatment.


Senator Fraser: I would be so much more encouraged by that response if it weren't, almost word for word, the same response that we've heard over and over again. I do not cast in question your sincerity, leader, but something is terribly wrong.

In December I reminded you that the Correctional Investigator has noted that nearly one third of the correctional services total psychologist staff complement is either vacant or under-filled, that is, filled with people who are not qualified to do proper psychological work. Yet, we know — experience has told us — that if we turn to provincial partners, as we keep being told is something we're thinking of doing, we could by now have had proper treatment facilities up and running and helping people so that there would not be more Ashley Smiths.

When can we look for progress?


Senator Carignan: Senator Fraser, as I said, a lot of progress has been made on this file since 2006, thanks to the investments that have been made. Improvements include more services for inmates, more staff, staff training, more opportunities for counselling, and a proactive mental health assessment process within 90 days of a person's sentencing. This file changes from day to day, week to week, and month to month. We will continue to make progress through our discussions with our provincial partners, as I said earlier.



Canada Post Elimination of Home Delivery

Hon. Jim Munson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Happy New Year.

My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Late last year, after we left here, Canada Post told seniors and those with physical disabilities to head for a community mailbox if they want their mail. Today we learned that the Crown corporation is set to announce which communities will be the first to lose door-to-door delivery in the coming weeks. Now time is running out, Mr. Leader. Will your government not intervene to stop these inhumane and drastic cuts before it is too late?


Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Thank you, senator. On that subject, I would like to thank you for the Christmas e-card you sent me the very day you asked that question about Canada Post services. As you know, Canadians are choosing to communicate by means other than the mail. Because of plummeting demand, postal traffic has decreased by nearly 25 per cent since 2008 and continues to drop.

Since 1981, Canada Post's mandate has required it to be financially self-sufficient. We are obviously very concerned about the fact that the corporation has posted considerable losses. As an independent Crown corporation, Canada Post is responsible for its own activities, including operational and financial decisions. The plan that Canada Post announced in December will allow it to secure its financial footing while aligning postal services with the choices of Canadians. The measures announced by Canada Post are consistent with the global trend for postal services, which are undergoing massive changes in response to new demands and modern means of communication.

By using the services you use every day, you yourself are a witness to that modernization.


Senator Munson: You're welcome, in the sense that I sent you electronic mail. Did you like it? I hope you liked it. It showed me playing hockey on the Rideau Canal. It was very personal. I'm really glad you liked it and the way I delivered it. But some of our most vulnerable citizens, seniors in particular, do rely on postal deliveries for important cheques from the government, including payments from the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security.

Susan Eng, Vice-President of Advocacy for the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, insists that Canada Post isn't doing enough to accommodate Canadians with mobility issues. She wonders, "What about the people who can't get out there to pick up their mail?"

Laurie Beachell, National Coordinator for the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, echoed those concerns, noting that:

This will seriously disadvantage people with disabilities. Couple that with access issues and climate issues, it will further isolate people, making them dependent upon family and friends to pick up their mail.

What exactly is being done to ensure that seniors and those with disabilities will be accommodated, Mr. Leader? Can you assure us that all Canadians will continue to have access to their postal delivery? Have you really thought about these groups?


Senator Carignan: In your question, you stated that you want all Canadians to receive the same service. I'm sorry, but a huge number of Canadians do not get home delivery of their mail. That has various impacts on people in various situations, but it is not true that all Canadians get their mail delivered to their door. Plenty of Canadians use community mailboxes like the ones that Canada Post is planning to set up. As I said, Canada Post is an independent corporation and makes its own decisions about its activities. It is solely responsible for operational and financial decisions.


Senator Munson: I have a second supplementary. Surely you must have your own views. You didn't answer my question when it came to those with disabilities and seniors; you just didn't answer that question specifically.

Public outcry has grown steadily since the elimination of this door-to-door delivery was announced in December. There was a demonstration on the Hill on Sunday. There were hundreds of postal workers, an estimated 2,500 people who gathered to protest the cuts. After the rally, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson voiced his anger with the changes. He said, "I find it frustrating and hypocritical that MPs and senators will be keeping," — we will be keeping — "their (mailing) privileges while at the same time Canada Post cuts back door-to-door delivery in all parts of the city."


He's right. Those are the facts, Mr. Leader. MPs spent more than $660,000 on postage and courier services last year and we enjoy door-to-door mail delivery, as senators, to our offices on Parliament Hill.

I am just thinking about that. Why don't we have a great big, monster community box down by the Centennial Flame so that we can walk down there and pick it up? How can your government —

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.

Senator Munson: Oh, I touched a nerve! Oh, dear; I'm sorry.

I was just thinking about that, a great big community MPs' and senators' mailbox down by the Centennial Flame. When it's -30 degrees out, we can all go down and pick up our mail. How about that? Wouldn't that be fun?

An Hon. Senator: I don't get mail.

Senator Munson: You don't get mail? Are you sure you don't get mail?

With that in mind, how can your government justify allowing Canada Post to cut these services for ordinary Canadians when we continue to have the special privileges that we do have, Mr. Leader?


Senator Carignan: Senator Munson, we are talking about our personal experiences. Until 2001, I lived in a neighbourhood where I had to go and get my mail from a community mailbox. I moved a few streets away, and because I am now a few streets further away in a neighbourhood that is a little older, I get my mail delivered to my door. Perhaps I shouldn't have moved; we all have our own personal experiences. However, because of technological changes, Canada Post Corporation must make operational and administrative decisions. It is an arms-length agency that makes its own decisions. It is expected to deliver financial results that are satisfactory for a Crown corporation.


Senator Munson: It's not about you and your postal service, with all due respect, Mr. Leader. Can I just get your own point of view on Canada Post? Those at Canada Post are appointed by the government. No, you haven't answered the question.

What would you say to the tens and hundreds of thousands of senior citizens in this country who will now be forced to try to get their mail and particularly those with physical disabilities? What is your message?

I recognize the debate over cutting costs, cuts and that sort of thing, and perhaps there is a better way to do it, but what are you saying, as the Leader of the Government in the Senate, to the hundreds of thousands of senior citizens and those with disabilities who now will have a very difficult time getting the mail that they deserve?


Senator Carignan: I don't understand your question. You talked about our personal situations, so I replied by explaining mine, and you don't like my answer. Nevertheless, that is the situation. However, what do you say to people with disabilities and seniors with reduced mobility who, for decades now, have not been receiving door-to-door delivery? What is the difference?

Canada Post Corporation makes its own decisions independently. Some people receive their mail at home, while others do not and have to get it from a community mailbox. As an arms-length Crown corporation, Canada Post has decided to standardize its distribution process, with a long transition period. That was the decision that it made, taking its own operations and the financial impact into account.



Improved Electrical Transmission between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The previous Liberal government committed to sharing the cost to upgrade the electricity transmission system between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, but the deal to build a third underwater power cable was cancelled by this government. The issue is becoming critical.

Over the Christmas holidays Maritime Electric was forced to shed load. That means cutting off designated businesses customers in order to maintain power for the rest of the province. We came very close to a total blackout on one of the coldest days of the year.

Will this government finally commit to cost sharing the power cable between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island?


Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Listen, that is a rather technical and specific question, and I would like to be able to give you a comprehensive answer. I will take your question as notice, Senator Callbeck, and I will give you the most comprehensive answer I can.


Senator Callbeck: Thank you very much. I certainly appreciate you taking the question as notice because, as I said, it's an extremely important issue for Islanders.

Before the shedding started, about 9,000 Islanders lost power as demand caused the system to shut itself down. It was -25°. It was suppertime. The two existing sub-marine cables were at capacity. The whole province nearly went in the dark.

Islanders deserve secure and stable transmission lines to the mainland. The two cables we have are nearly 40 years old. The life of a cable, I'm told, is 40 to 50 years.

I appreciate you taking this question as notice, but will you impress upon the government the importance of cost-sharing this cable between the two provinces?


Senator Carignan: Your request has been recorded. It is public. However, I will make a note of the technical aspect of your question and give you an answer in the coming weeks.


National Defence

Marine Helicopters

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, more than $1.7 billion has already been spent to replace our Sea King helicopters. That represents about one third of the $5.3 billion budgeted for the program and guess what? We still have no helicopters. Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate explain why?


Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): After years of mismanagement by the Liberal government, same question, same answer. Years of darkness.


Senator Mercer: When are you guys going to start taking responsibility? You've been here for six years.


Senator Carignan: After the procurement was cancelled and undertaken again using a defective process, our government asked the advice of independent third parties, including Hitachi Consulting. We accepted its advice to make the Cyclone program viable and change the governance model and structure of the project. Under the terms of our agreement, Sikorsky is to deliver the helicopters so that we can have an operational capacity by 2015, which would allow us to start retiring the Sea King helicopters. As you have probably seen, Sikorsky has committed to delivering all of the helicopters at no additional cost to Canada and has acknowledged that the company needs to do better.


We can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and are coming out of that period of darkness that the previous government led us into.


Senator Mercer: It's about time this government started taking responsibility for their own decisions. They can stand around and blame the previous government, and maybe we'll stand up and blame the Mulroney and the Diefenbaker governments. We could do this all day, but you have to get going here.

We do know that there are four developmental Cyclones at 12 Wing Shearwater, Nova Scotia. I've seen them, as have other members of the Defence Committee, but they are not compliant with our naval ships. I might add that three Halifax Class frigates were refitted for the new helicopters, and then two were refitted to be able to take the Sea King. They went back to the original design because the helicopters were non-compliant. A good question is this: Who paid for that? Guess who. The taxpayers of Canada. We were supposed to have in-service replacements for the Sea Kings by 2008. Now, we don't expect them until 2018, a 10-year delay under the watch of this government. I'm not blaming anyone else; it was under the watch of this government. To continue on with the procurement debacle, the F-35 project is delayed. The ship building program is delayed. The close-combat vehicle project has been cancelled. We still have no helicopters, but we continue to spend money on the program.

Could the leader explain why we still have no helicopters? Could he tell us where our new planes are? How about our ships? What's the progress on the building of the new ships that we've committed to? While he's at it, perhaps he could tell us why we have no close-combat vehicles to protect our ground troops.

Your Honour, it's about time that he stopped reading the prepared notes from the PMO and told us the real facts.


Senator Carignan: Senator Mercer, you mentioned three or four different important pieces of army equipment. All of that is the result of a decade of darkness, of mismanagement by the previous Liberal government, which cancelled the purchase of helicopters and undertook it again using a defective process. We had to call in an independent third party, Hitachi Consulting, a group of subject matter experts. We accepted their advice. The Cyclone program will be viable once we modify the project's structure and governance model. According to the terms of the agreement with the company, the helicopters will be delivered and ready to use by 2015 and, contrary to what your question implied, at no additional cost to Canadians.


Senator Mercer: You probably misspoke, leader, because you said 2015; it will be 2018.

I have a prediction for you, colleagues. On February 11, the Minister of Finance is going to deliver a budget in the other place and try to build in some good news, but it is the budget of 2015 that you want to really pay close attention to because this government says that they want to balance the books. You know how they're going to balance the books, Your Honour? It is by not spending the money on these types of programs. Suddenly, they will have the money to balance the books because they haven't built the ships, haven't bought the jets and haven't delivered on the helicopters. My seatmate, Senator Day, could probably list 20 or 30 more things that there will be surplus money in.

Would the leader tell us: Is the plan of this government to continue to promise and not deliver, and then use the money that was committed to balance the budget in 2015?


Senator Carignan: Senator, if we have a balanced budget in 2015, it will be because our government is focused on the economy and a balanced budget. If we have a surplus in 2015, it will be because of the financial and economic planning decisions made by our government. I would like to remind you that since I arrived here, I have never seen you vote for a budget, so you cannot take any of the credit.


Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table three responses. The first is to an oral question raised in the Senate on October 28, 2013, by the Honourable Jane Cordy, regarding Status of Women.

The second is to the oral question raised in the Senate on November 5, 2013, by the Honourable Mobina S. B. Jaffer concerning foreign affairs — the Kenya terrorist attack at Westgate Mall in Nairobi.


Honourable senators, I also have the honour to table the response to the oral question raised by the Honourable Pierrette Ringuette on December 12, 2013, concerning Canada Post.


Status of Women

Budget Reductions

(Response to question raised by Hon. Jane Cordy on October 28, 2013)

Status of Women Canada (SWC) promotes equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada. It works to advance equality for women, focusing its efforts in three priority areas: increasing women's and girls' economic security and prosperity; ending violence against women and girls; and encouraging women and girls in leadership and decision- making rules.

As the federal agency responsible for supporting the government's agenda to advance equality for women and girls, it works with a wide range of organizations and key stakeholders, collaborates with different levels of government and engages the private and voluntary sectors. The agency carries out its mandate strategically, focusing its efforts where there is a clear potential for making a difference in the lives of women and girls. Within the three priority areas, SWC addresses issues specific to diverse groups, such as Aboriginal, immigrant and rural women and girls.

SWC is responsible for:

  • Providing strategic policy advice by playing the role of a knowledge broker and facilitator, offering advice and strategic support, conducting policy analysis, providing input and making strategic interventions at both domestic and international levels;
  • Gender-based analysis support, by leading in building capacity for Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+), a method for examining the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors. SWC works in collaboration with key stakeholders to facilitate the integration of gender considerations in the development of policies and programs;
  • Administering the Women's Program which provides financial and professional assistance to Canadian organizations to carry out projects that advance equality and the full participation of women and girls. Since 2007, over $62 million in funding has been approved for projects to end violence against women and girls; over $21 million in funding has been approved for projects that promote women's leadership and democratic participation; and, over $46 million in funding has been approved for projects that focus on improving women's economic security and prosperity.
  • Promoting commemorative dates relating to women in Canada to promote awareness of women's and girls' invaluable contributions, as well as encouraging Canadians to take action to advance equality between women and men.

SWC does not collect information on measures taken by other federal departments to support the status of women.

Foreign Affairs

Kenya—Terrorist Attack at Westgate Mall in Nairobi

(Response to question raised by Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer on November 5, 2013)

The tragic event at the Westgate mall demonstrates the need for the international community to continue working together to fight terrorism. We condemn this senseless act of violence in the strongest of terms, and we support the Kenyan authorities' efforts to bring the perpetrators of this terrorist attack to justice. Canada has longstanding relations with Kenya and will continue to work closely with Kenya in a number of areas of shared interests, including regional security.

Immediately following the attack, Canada deployed RCMP officers to Kenya to assist the authorities with their investigation. Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke with his Kenyan counterpart and offered Canada's support in the fight against terrorism. Canada currently funds regional projects that provide training to Kenyan security officials and is working to identify areas where additional Canadian assistance could be considered.

Canada, through DFATD, has provided over $5 million for peacekeeping capacity building in Kenya. This includes support to the International Peace Support Training Center based in Nairobi. This Center provides training to civilians, military and police officials in Kenya. Canada has two Canadian Forces officers deployed full time at the Center.

Kenya is also a member of the Military Training and Cooperation Programme and over 300 Kenyan officers have received training through this programme.

The above support is in addition to the significant contribution Canada has made to help promote greater stability in the region. Canada announced a $5 million contribution to the United Nations Trust Fund for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) this past October. In 2011, Canada contributed $1 million to AMISOM and in 2012, Canada provided $10 million to a Ugandan Formed Police Unit for deployment to AMISOM.

Canada has and will continue to work with Kenya and other countries in the region to counter the threat of terrorism.


Canada Post Elimination of Home Delivery

(Response to question raised by Hon. Pierrette Ringuette on December 12, 2013)

The agreement between Canada Post and the Conference Board of Canada is financial and commercial in nature and has always been treated as confidential.

It is important to note that Canadians are choosing to communicate in ways other than sending letters. Due to the lack of demand, mail volumes have dropped almost 25% since 2008 and continue to fall.

Since 1981, Canada Post has had a mandate to operate on a self-sustaining financial basis.

We are very concerned that they are posting significant losses.

On December 11, Canada Post introduced a plan which will help to ensure it is on solid financial footing and better reflects Canadians' choices.

The actions that Canada Post is taking are in line with the global transformation of postal services that are changing to meet modern-day demands.

Canada Post, as an arms-length Crown Corporation, is responsible for its operations, including business and financial decisions.


Economic Action Plan 2013 Bill, No. 2

Second Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee; Third Report of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee; Second Report of Transport and Communications Committee; Second Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee; Second Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee; and Second Report of Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Subject Matter—Orders Withdrawn

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I ask for leave of the Senate to withdraw items numbered 1 to 6 under the headings Government Business—Reports of Committees—Other as they are directly related to Bill C-4, which received Royal Assent on December 12, 2013.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Martin, orders withdrawn.)

Speech from the Throne

Motion for Address in Reply—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Martin, seconded by the Honourable Senator Carignan, P.C.:

That the following Address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General of Canada:

To His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.


We, Her Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the Senate of Canada in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Excellency for the gracious Speech which Your Excellency has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, I would like to begin by wishing everyone a Happy New Year, and I wish to deliver my response to the October 16, 2013, Speech from the Throne.

Before responding, I want to make a brief mention of the replies given on December 10 and 11 by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, which I listened to carefully. I frankly found the tone of the speeches excessively partisan and vitriolic. I had hoped for some balance, some slight trace of respect for the Prime Minister of this great country, some acknowledgment of even one policy or program of many initiated by a government that no one would deny has been active.

For example, the gas tax was a Paul Martin initiative. Our government made it permanent. Was that not a good thing? Instead, the leader, in my view, seemed to resort to hyperbole and cheap shots, panda bears and innuendo, which I found to be demeaning to him and unconstructive. I don't say this lightly. I respect the Honourable Leader of the Opposition in the Senate for many positions he's taken and advanced eloquently in this chamber. We are also fellow alumni of the best law school in the country, and we worked with a distinguished law firm with which he is still currently associated. I would have expected some restraint, even on the heels of a most confrontational debate last session about senators and abuse of taxpayers' money. Curiously, there was nary a comment about one of their own, who quietly slipped under the radar by resigning.

I cite, as an example of extreme rhetoric, his suggestion that our Prime Minister knowingly condoned the behaviour of the crack- smoking mayor of the Toronto. He told us to judge a man by the company he kept by participating in a fishing derby with the mayor. The Honourable Leader of the Opposition must know that the crack smoking admission occurred in more recent months and long after this event.


Curiously, there was no mention in the honourable leader's speech of his own party leader's admission of having broken drug laws while a member of Parliament and no comment about whether this admission helps qualify his party's leader to be Prime Minister of Canada.

I found the overall tone of his speech to be ironic when I heard him exhort at the conclusion of his speech that we should all work together ". . . and look forward to an active, productive session, working together, across party lines where possible, in the interests of all Canadians." I say hear, hear to that. This spirit of consensus and good will is what I hope for in this place, but after that nasty speech I wonder if the Honourable Leader of the Opposition in the Senate really meant that or knows how to achieve it. I for one cherish the less partisan tone we are known for.

Now, I want to bring senators' attention to the Throne Speech and some important references to the North, which I believe demonstrate our government's commitment to implementing its northern agenda.

The Governor General stated:

We are a northern country. We are a northern people. Canada's greatest dreams are to be found in our highest latitudes. They are the dreams of a North confident and prosperous, the True North, strong and free.

He outlined our government's accomplishments to date and elaborated on what it plans for the future, including completing the Dempster Highway to the Arctic Ocean, establishing the Canadian High Arctic Research Station, and opening Canada's first deepwater Arctic port at Nanisivik.

The Throne Speech also said: ". . . the future prosperity of the North requires responsible development of its abundant natural resources."

In this connection, I want to bring to honourable senators' attention recent mining industry developments in my Nunavut region, developments which have produced or will produce investment, jobs, training, business opportunities and GDP growth in both the North and Canada. All of these developments took place at a time when our national media and opposition parties, including the opposition in this place, were eagerly consumed with spending irregularities in the Senate — a scandal which we must not forget is fundamentally about returning taxpayers' money, not stealing it — rather than the real priorities of Canadians.

While all this fulmination was going on in the Senate, I was watching what was going on in my home constituency of Nunavut. This past summer, a massive sealift out of Valleyfield, Quebec, was under way to build Baffinland's iron ore mine on the northern tip of Baffin Island. Nine cargo vessels and three fuel tankers, using two Inuit-owned shipping companies, delivered 32,000 tonnes of cargo. Three hundred and seventy-five workers are on site now, with 30 per cent being Inuit beneficiaries. There will be 1,400 workers there next year, with production aimed at 2016.

Peregrine Diamond's Chidliak project, a mere 120 kilometres — a stone's throw — from Iqaluit, Nunavut's capital, recently announced that a kimberlite pipe on its property contained a grade of 2.7 carats per tonne. It looks like this may be one of the highest grade kimberlites in the world — very promising.

Agnico Eagle has invested significantly in exploration and completion of its 24-kilometre all-weather road from nearby Rankin Inlet to their Meliadine project. Their challenge in proving this project feasible is energy costs. I'm encouraged to learn that Agnico Eagle is looking at the possibility of extending the Manitoba hydro grid from Churchill into the Kivalliq region, a significant project which would of course require the endorsement and participation of Manitoba and the federal I would love to see this seriously explored. It would be a win for Manitoba, Nunavut and Canada.

Also in the Kivalliq region, Areva's large uranium project is preparing its final environmental impact statement for its $2.1- billion Kiggavik project. In the neighbouring Kitikmeot region, Glencore and MMG are actively exploring and Sabina is aiming at bringing its gold property into production in 2017. TMAC Resources has reached agreement with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association for a five-year renewal for the lease for its Doris North gold mine.

Honourable senators, at a time when the mining industry in Canada and internationally is facing a major challenge attracting investment dollars, and where complex regulatory regimes and challenging relations with Aboriginal landowners have discouraged mining development, Nunavut is thriving. It has a modern, effective regulatory regime comprising four agencies, including the Nunavut Impact Review Board, which in my opinion has been doing an excellent job assessing small-, medium- and large-scale development projects for the territories. Recent amendments made by our government to the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act will further enhance the ability of these agencies to regulate resource development.

I want to also gratefully acknowledge contributions of our government to this success scenario. Last summer, during his annual tour of the North, Prime Minister Harper announced the extension of the Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals program, essential for providing industry with information required to make exploration and development decisions. Consecutive budgets under our government have also helped considerably with the extension of the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit, and significant funding is flowing to help northern residents train for mining-related opportunities.

So, honourable senators, there is a real world beyond the boundaries of our sometimes too partisan, I think, parliamentary precinct — to the North, where the priorities are jobs, training, business opportunities in partnership with Aboriginal people, creating a more attractive investment climate and generally improving the quality of life for northerners and Canadians.

I think our national media and federal opposition parties should spend some time outside of the precinct, where they will discover the real priorities of Canadians — priorities I believe our government has been responding to for the benefit of the North and all Canadians.

Given the importance of the seal harvest for my constituents, I want to also offer some comments on another Throne Speech reference to the North and defence of the seal hunt.

I would like to begin by applauding the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, under the determined and capable leadership of the Honourable Gail Shea, for recently accepting a proposal by the Fur Institute that seeks to develop a sustainable sealing program which responsibly and effectively manages seal meat and by-products produced by current seal management programs.

Seals have become abundant in Canada — actually pestilential in our coastal waters. The northwest Atlantic harp seal population numbers 7.3 million. Since 1970 their numbers have multiplied by five. The waters of Frobisher Bay literally boil with them. I saw that with my own eyes this past summer. Similarly, the grey seal population in Eastern Canada has increased, from approximately 5,000 in the mid-1960s to some 400,000 today. Both types of seal are listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as species of least concern on its Red List of Threatened Species.

Harp seals are estimated to consume more than 500,000 tonnes of cod per year. Contrast that with the 11,000 tonnes caught commercially in 2012. IUCN has listed Atlantic cod as "vulnerable." A study on seal-cod interactions on the Eastern Scotian Shelf by O'Boyle and Sinclairin 2012 suggests that grey seals play an important role in the failure of gulf cod stocks to recover while commercial and subsistence fishing are prohibited.

Honourable senators, the Speech from the Throne spoke of the seal hunt as "an important source of food and income for coastal and Inuit communities." This could not be more accurate. In 2013, by harvesting 92,000 seals, the sealers purchased over $360 million worth of marine products to the fishing sector.

The seal also is an underused species on the smart seafood list because of its many uses, including its rich source of healthy protein. It is an elixir for the Inuit, who cherish it as a great delicacy and for its omega-3. Senator Greene Raine is a living example of the benefits of seal omega-3. She has a source from Newfoundland.

This important trade, entrenched in tradition and culture and supported by a need to control the seal population, is once again under attack by bullying foreign entities. Inuit have been labeled cruel and inhumane for their treatment of seals.

Consider this: Since 1987, seals are not hunted before they reach maturity. We don't kill baby seals commercially anymore.


As well, professional seal hunters employ effective and established practices that take into account animal welfare as recommended by the Independent Veterinarians' Working Group of 2005, the European Food Safety Authority, the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the Malouf commission.

The same cannot be said of the EU, which banned the import of Canadian seal products in 2010. EU seal pest control continues to this day, but the precious meat and other by-products are wasted. This is not talked about much. In 2007 records show that 1.2 million deer and 500,000 wild boars were killed as big game in Europe; but all this is underground. There is a market-based hunt for big game in Europe, but nothing has been done to acknowledge that and to make it acceptable.

The European ban was said to be justified on "moral grounds," and this was recently upheld by a WTO ruling this past November, despite newly surfaced documents that show the EU's legal counsel delivered a 2009 opinion that clearly states that no "Article of the EC treaty could be used as a legal basis for the adoption of the proposal." Canada launched an official appeal on January 24, 2014, and I feel I must take this opportunity, honourable senators, to support that appeal and to voice my outrage at the WTO decision.

To whose moral standards should the world be held? Does the EU mean to say that their pate-de-foie-gras-eating citizens — pate de foie gras being made by cruelly force-feeding geese — sit pontifically on a moral high ground compared to our Inuit and coastal communities and anyone else who fully supports the seal hunt?

Colleagues, the findings of the WTO and the EU ban are hypocritical and discriminatory toward the Canadian seal industry. The EU has banned all Canadian seal products, yet it continues to import seal products from Greenland, Sweden and Finland under the Inuit/Indigenous communities and marine resource management exemptions. Canada should be next, a concession that I believe might warm the Arctic Council to determining that the EU has shown the respect for Indigenous Arctic cultures required for their acceptance as Arctic Council official observers.

Hypocritically, the EU, even though it condemns the Inuit of Canada for inhumane practices, does not require any standard for animal welfare when hunting seals despite its proclamation that the very basis of its imperious ban is animal welfare or humaneness. A proposal from the Canadian government to establish a seal-hunting welfare standard was dismissed by the WTO as "impractical," even while knowing that Canada, the EU and Russia signed onto the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards in 1997. While Canada is in compliance with the agreement, Europe has done very little to implement the standards within its 22 member states, all of whom "manage" furbearers in some way.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Does the honourable senator need more time?

Senator Patterson: Just one minute.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: If honourable senators are agreed, five minutes more.

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Patterson: Honourable senators, we must remain steadfast and vigilant as foreign entities threaten our peoples' traditional way of life. We must stop the spread of misinformation and continue to support our government's efforts to repeal this hypocritical and discriminatory ban on Canadian seal products.

In closing, I look forward to implementing the priorities of my Nunavut constituents and Canadians in the coming months, priorities that are reflected in the Speech from the Throne; our government's legislative, policy and program agendas; and which I am confident will be further reinforced in Budget 2014.

(On motion of Senator Munson, debate adjourned.)

Lincoln Alexander Day Bill

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Don Meredith moved second reading of Bill S-213, An Act respecting Lincoln Alexander Day.

He said: Honourable senators, it is an honour and a privilege to rise today to summon your support in lasting tribute to the legacy of a true Canadian hero, the Honourable Lincoln MacCauley Alexander, without a doubt one of the most outstanding and accomplished citizens of our time. With a firm belief in the virtues of our beloved Canada, coupled with a disciplined work ethic and strength of character, he rose above the prejudice of the times, embraced the opportunity of public education, committed himself to service, and became a master of his own destiny.

Lincoln MacCauley Alexander made history as the first African Canadian elected to the Parliament of Canada, the first African Canadian appointed as a federal cabinet minister in Canada and, as the twenty-fourth Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Ontario, the first African Canadian appointed a vice-regal representative in Canada. Throughout all of this, he remained a good-hearted and humble man. He always said to us, ". . . just call me Linc." So today I look to the heavens and say, "Linc, this one's for you."

Colleagues, it is against this backdrop that I stand humbly before you asking for your support of Bill S-213, An Act respecting Lincoln Alexander Day. This bill offers due recognition not only to the outstanding example of Lincoln Alexander's life of service, but equally to the greater dominion of aspiration and promise that Canada endeavours to offer all of its citizens. In paraphrasing the preamble of Bill S-213, it is with pride that I propose that each year we recognize January 21 as Lincoln Alexander Day.

First, Lincoln Alexander Day would offer us an opportunity to reflect and strengthen our commitment to civic duty, giving selflessly of ourselves in support of our communities, our friends and our families.

Second, Lincoln Alexander Day would offer us an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to education and life-long learning and how it is vital not only to the success of the individual but also to the greater aspirations of Canada in a globally connected and competitive world.

Third, Lincoln Alexander Day would offer us an opportunity to reflect and strengthen our commitment to a diverse Canada, where all Canadians sense ownership and the belief that they can achieve all that this country offers regardless of race, colour or creed.

Like some of you here, I had the privilege of meeting Linc on several occasions. He was an approachable and eloquent gentleman. He had a disarming style that made you feel very at ease. He was a good listener and would give you his full attention; he left you lingering with a sense of inspiration about the good to which we can aspire as individuals.

On a small note, I remember when youth violence broke out in the city of Toronto and we were at a round-table discussion. Lincoln Alexander, in the midst of the discussion, said to the group, "Let that young man speak," and he was referring to me as I threw myself into trying to stop the violence taking place.

By his nature and through his actions, Lincoln Alexander was a great motivator. Perhaps it was these very traits, backed by a sound work ethic, that would shape his unlikely journey.

He was born in Toronto to hard-working West Indian immigrants, his mother a hotel maid from Jamaica and his father from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a carpenter by trade who worked as a railway porter. The family was religious and guided by their faith. Their social life included regular attendance at a Baptist church in downtown Toronto.


His mother continuously exhorted him about the value and power of a good education. As Linc reported in his similarly titled memoir, she would say to him, "Go to school; you're a little Black boy." Lincoln listened, but it was not easy. He was the only Black child in his kindergarten class, a trend that more or less continued throughout his school years.

Needless to say, there were challenges along the way. He writes in his memoir, "I never raced home from school and cried." Instead, he was determined to stand tall and earn the respect of his classmates. He explained that those entanglements taught him to always say, "Walk tall, with a certain bearing."

But of equal importance, honourable senators, he valued education and usually ranked in the top 10 of his class, both through elementary and high school.

Later, still at a young age, he stepped forward and responded to the call to serve during the Second World War, enlisting with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1942 to 1945. He served as a sergeant, for which he was well decorated.

Upon his return, he moved to Hamilton, Ontario, a place he would call "the greatest city in the world." There he would study law at McMaster University, the only Black student in his class. But he admired the blue-collar grit of "steel town" and professed his great faith in the people. He described them as "a strong and resilient people."

Strong and resilient are certainly qualities that can be used to describe the young Linc. He drew from those very qualities when the huge steel company in Hamilton, where he had worked past summer jobs, refused to hire him on their sales force. They refused despite references and pleas from the university and the mayor of Hamilton. The company was unwilling to taint its public image by having a Black man on its sales force and instead offered him his simple summer job again.

Rightfully affronted, Lincoln Alexander declined and opted for law school at Osgoode Hall in Toronto where he realized that being self-employed made the most sense for a "young Black man with ambition." Lincoln ranked in the top 25 per cent of his class.

Then, in his final year of law school, a pivotal incident occurred that left him in despair that he might not graduate, despite his superior academic record. The dean of the law school was addressing 250 would-be lawyers and described a complex situation as like "looking for a nigger in a woodpile." During post-speech question and answer, Lincoln rose, heart pounding, and asked the dean what he meant by that remark. The dean responded that it was merely a common expression, to which Lincoln relied:

But you can't say that, because you have to show leadership. You're in a position of authority, a leader in the community. A leader has to lead and not be using such disrespectful comments without even thinking about them.

This, honourable senators, would signal a hallmark of his approach: taking on otherwise sensitive circumstances with measured eloquence and quiet strength. Although he spent the rest of the term agonizing over whether he would fail because he dared to challenge a perceived wrong, he graduated near the top of his class from the prestigious Osgoode Hall Law School.

Lincoln, in reflection, understood that by openly challenging the dean's racism, he "influenced some attitudes in that law class."

But he soon had to draw upon his strength and resilience again. Despite his impeccable academic qualifications, he was rejected by a series of established law firms. Imagine how that would feel, honourable senators: You have studied and you have graduated, but no law firm would take you.

But instead of quitting or allowing himself to be defeated by dejection, he redoubled his efforts and plowed forward. In so doing, he made history in 1955 by becoming the first partner at Canada's first interracial law firm, Duncan and Alexander.

He worked hard and was an excellent lawyer. In 1965, his outstanding merit and contribution to the legal profession were recognized when he was appointed as a member of the Queen's Counsel.

In 1968, he was elected Canada's first Black member of Parliament, representing Hamilton West. He was re-elected in 1972, 1979 and 1980. He became our Minister of Labour in 1979, making him the first Black cabinet minister in Canada. He served for 12 years in the House of Commons until 1985, when he resigned his seat. But he would continue his service to the people of Ontario by accepting the appointment as Chair of the Workers' Compensation Board. Once again, he was the first Black person to hold this position.

That same year, Lincoln MacCauley Alexander was appointed Ontario's twenty-fourth Lieutenant Governor, a post he held until 1991. He was the first member of a visible minority to hold that office. In fact, he was the first member of a visible minority to hold a viceregal post in all of Canada.

As Lieutenant Governor, Linc's focus was on education and youth. Over the duration of his service, he visited more than 250 schools across Ontario. At each every stop, he would exhort and inspire students about the value of a good education and how it made a difference in his own life and how it would also make a difference in their lives. He enticed them with all that could be possible. Many students listened.

As a young man growing up in the Greater Toronto Area, I certainly listened. I remember how I felt as a young Black man seeing him achieve as he did. It made me proud. And I stand here today, on my third anniversary of being appointed to this chamber, very proud.

After he left his office, Lincoln Alexander continued his service to Ontario as the first Black Chancellor of the University of Guelph. He held his position longer than any other chancellor in the school's history, serving five terms. He continued his long string of firsts when he became the first Black Chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust. In 1992, Alexander was appointed as a Companion of the Order of Canada and to the Order of Ontario.

Honourable senators, the list of achievements goes on.

What are the lessons we can draw from the example of Lincoln MacCauley Alexander? More important, what would Lincoln Alexander Day mean to Canada? How do we as a nation benefit — mothers and fathers; our youth; civic community leaders; stakeholders; our seniors — I must mention again "our youth" — military servicemen and women; public servants; volunteers; and everyone in between? What would Lincoln Alexander mean to us as we strive to build a more perfect Confederation?

Colleagues, first, Lincoln Alexander Day would offer us an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to public service. It is a fact that public service, giving of oneself to the cause of building more vibrant communities, is a fine calling. Most of us would agree it is an essential part of our evolving and maturing as a democracy.

Lincoln Alexander believed in public service through his lifelong contribution to community in so many different roles. From grassroots engagement to military service to the highest offices in the land, Lincoln Alexander set a very high standard of good citizenship.

Today there are millions from coast to coast, whether being paid or volunteering, who already walk in this example. They are making a difference; they're impacting our lives in so many ways. They provide basic necessities like food, water, shelter, medical care and emergency services. Others enrich our communities by supporting cultural centres, educational opportunities and recreational facilities. All told, honourable senators, they're tackling important issues and implementing solutions that improve our quality of life.


Lincoln Alexander Day would help us celebrate and recognize all those who give of themselves and in so doing help make a difference in our lives. Likely it will inspire others, including our youth, to step forward and join in selfless contributions to our great country.

That, to me, is an essential part of nation-building.

Honourable senators, secondly, Lincoln Alexander Day offers us an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment. Lincoln Alexander's mother urged him to get a good education. Throughout his life he never stopped following her advice. Education is vital both individually and socially. Without a doubt it is the most desirable route to earn a decent living and to enhance personal growth and happiness.

Education allows us to gain knowledge and enhance our world view. Educated people not only earn better incomes but also contribute more to business innovation, productivity and our country's economic performance. And in the age of the global economy, it is more important as countries compete against countries. To succeed, we must harness and apply a better- educated populous and a highly qualified workforce. Education is vital to maintaining our advantage and internationally envied way of life by generations to come.

Lincoln Alexander Day would also allow us to reaffirm our commitment to our system of public education. As Canadians, we understand the strong and direct relationship between investments in education, educational attainment and economic growth.

Every child deserves the best and equal access to opportunity. A good education offers that to every Canadian child. We need to continue drawing from the cumulative knowledge of generations past to continue inventing and thriving for generations to come. The more advanced our societies become, the more necessary education is to everyone. Indeed, education is a lifelong process. A good education and public service are the hallmarks of Lincoln Alexander's pioneering legacy — something for every person, young or old, to strive for and achieve. We must retain that hunger to learn and continue learning all throughout our lives.

Part of that education will be the story and example of Lincoln Alexander and how he rose to a place where he could make a difference for all Canadians. It will be a more robust understanding of Canada's history when our students learn about him in their schools. They'll learn not only about his love of our country, but they will learn about how they, too, can aspire to make a positive change.

Lastly, Lincoln Alexander Day offers us an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to a diverse society. Lincoln Alexander understood the strength and value of a Canada where all citizens sensed that if they put in hard work, they were assured fair access to work and an opportunity to contribute to Canada. Lincoln Alexander's profound respect to our country was evident in his everyday life as a role model for young people of every colour and race.

In December 1995, even while the Parliament of Canada was passing an act to officially recognize February as Black History Month, Lincoln Alexander was busy setting the example and breaking down barriers everywhere. In 2011, Lincoln Alexander reflected on how the notion of equality had evolved through his lifetime. He proudly expounded Canada as the best country in the world with respect to race relations. He spoke of the immense and immeasurable progress over the years. Rightfully, he took much pride in being Canadian.

But he was also prudent, honourable senators, reminding people that Canada is still a work in progress. We still have much to do.

Colleagues, let there be no doubt that I stand beside the words and examples of this great son of Canada. Our country is a formidable world leader in how we strive to ensure equality for all our citizens. Over the past nearly half century, a solid legal framework has been established that integrates a forceful collection of laws and policies. Coexisting with our 1982 Charter are the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Canadian Bill of Rights, the Employment Equity Act, the Official Languages Act, the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and the Citizenship Act.

It is also important to note that Canada is party to several international human rights instruments, including the 1970 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. These conventions call on governments to "prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin . . . the full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms."

Our framework of legislation not only ensures equality under the law but also seeks to find that fine balance between individual and collective rights. It is from this reality that globally we draw moral authority to champion the fight against racism, discrimination, racial intolerance beyond our borders and around the world.

As Canadians, we draw much pride from our sense of international leadership in this area. We tell others that we value our diversity and how it lends to our success as a nation, and we talk of our continued commitment to build a society that can move beyond tolerance to respect.

Lincoln Alexander witnessed and experienced various forms of racial discrimination, but in more recent times he was rightfully concerned about the lack of job opportunities and access to viable career options for minority groups.

Colleagues, this is the next frontier. I agree with Lincoln Alexander that a good job, or access to opportunity, is an essential element in placing people on the path of self-sufficiency and economic viability. Quite frankly, an individual would need to be able to earn a reliable source of income to be able to raise a family, pay taxes and contribute to society. Canada has the capacity to provide that.

In the greater scheme of celebrating our diversity, I must tell you that Linc was greatly influenced by his sense of connection to Africa. In 1960, at the age of 38, he toured 23 countries on the continent. It helped shape his perspective about ways in which we would make an even greater contribution to Canada and, in so doing, the global community. The trip to Africa awakened in him to great possibilities.

Ultimately, Lincoln did not tolerate racism. He was refined in his capacity to find what unites people as opposed to what divides them.

Colleagues, many places could lay claim to this great man. His name adorns buildings in places such as Ajax, Mississauga and Orillia. There are three schools, a police station and an expressway named after him. He received six honorary degrees and dozens upon dozens of other honours.

It is often told that when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney invited him in 1985 to become Ontario's Lieutenant Governor, Linc, in his usual eloquence, responded on the telephone by saying, "This will be the best appointment you'll ever make." They both laughed.

And it turned out to be so. He carried out his job diligently. Though lighthearted, it was a quip that, through his distinguished service, he sought to prove. Not only was he the first person of African heritage to serve in the post, but many say he was the most beloved Queen's viceregal in the near century and a half history of his office.

Colleagues, Lincoln Alexander passed away on October 19, 2012, at the age of 90. However, it is clear his life remains a glowing example of service, determination and humility.


He broke down barriers. He made a difference not just to the lives of the individuals he helped, but by changing the culture of this province. Without malice he fought the good fight for equal rights for all races in our society. He changed attitudes and contributed greatly to the inclusiveness and tolerance of Canada today. In so doing, he made this country a better place for all of us — the next generation of public servants and citizens.

Indeed, he left an extraordinary legacy, both in his private life and as a public servant. He was an exemplary role model who so completely deserves to have an act of this upper chamber, the Senate of Canada, declare January 21 of each year as Lincoln Alexander Day.

Recently our current Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, David Onley, at the first celebration of Lincoln Alexander Day in Ontario, remarked that:

Visiting foreign dignitaries often wonder how it is that this country is so successful when it comes to multiculturalism.

The answer is because of a dynamic pioneer like Lincoln Alexander.

I spoke about the impact he had on me and about the value public service and a good education have, while celebrating my own unique heritage in this greater culture of Canada.

Linc's lesson to me is to continue reaching out to try and make a difference through public service. I am proud to continue my work, even though I am the fourth African Canadian and the first Jamaican appointed to this chamber, to continue to serve in my position with the Greater Toronto Area Faith Alliance, and that we continue to work to equip youth with the skills and knowledge to pursue good and solid paths.

They understand that education is important; they understand that it can help them succeed in life. They understand that they, too, must strive to be in a position to one day give back. It is their duty to Canada; it is our shared duty to Canada; it is our duty to ourselves.

I know, honourable senators, you will join me in congratulating the Ontario Legislature, which voted unanimously in November 2013 to proclaim Lincoln Alexander Day as an annual day of recognition across Ontario. Bill S-213, the act regarding Lincoln Alexander Day, offers us the opportunity to make this an annual day across Canada, from coast to coast.

In closing, I wish to leave you with the very words of the Honourable Lincoln Alexander:

It is not your duty to be average. It is your duty to set a higher example for others to follow. I did. You can. You will.

The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander.

Colleagues, today you can set a higher example by supporting me in the call to make January 21 of each year Lincoln Alexander Day. Thank you. God bless you. God bless this great country of ours.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I wish to speak, but not today. I wish to thank Senator Meredith very much for his speech on Lincoln Alexander.

Senator Meredith, what you said was very touching for those of us who knew Lincoln Alexander. I also wish to say that I was present the day that Lincoln Alexander was invested as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. and I wish to tell senators that the first words that came out of Linc's mouth, as we used to call him, were something like:

I wish my parents were here to see this.

Having said that, I will take the adjournment and continue my remarks at a later date.

(On motion of Senator Cools, debate adjourned.)

Financial Administration Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Order Stands

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Moore, seconded by the Honourable Senator Day, for the second reading of Bill S-204, An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act (borrowing of money).

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, with regard to Item No. 10, the Deputy Leader of the Government will recall that I introduced that bill on October 23. I am wondering if she is going to be speaking at second reading this week so we could get it moved to the National Finance Committee.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): I had adjourned the debate in my name, but I am not the critic on this bill. I apologize, senator. I don't have the critic at this time, but I will go back and see if I can check on that to get back to you.

Senator Moore: It's been three months. Surely in three months you could have talked to somebody on your side.

Senator Martin: Yes. I'll do my best to have a discussion and give you an answer at the earliest possible date.

(Order stands.)

Official Languages Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Chaput, seconded by the Honourable Senator Massicotte, for the second reading of Bill S-205, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act (communications with and services to the public).

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, again with this bill, I had adjourned the debate in my name. I am not the critic on this bill, however. I know Senator Chaput has asked the same question as Senator Moore, and I ask all honourable senators if they would permit me to reset the clock. I will do my best to have the critic speak to it at the next opportunity.

(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)


Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Second Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the second report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (Budget of a Joint Committee), presented in the Senate on December 12, 2013.

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: I move that the report standing in the name of the Honourable George Furey be adopted.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Moved by Senator Callbeck, seconded by Senator Eggleton, that this report be adopted now.

Senator Callbeck: I have no comment.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

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

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)


Conflict of Interest for Senators

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Second Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the second report of the Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators (budget-mandate pursuant to rule 12-7(16)), presented in the Senate on December 12, 2013.

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I move that this report be adopted. This is the standard report that the conflict of interest committee makes to this chamber to request the budget it needs for conducting studies and making reports. This is the standard budget that we have always passed since the Conflict of Interest Code came into effect.

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.)


Health Care Accord

Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck rose pursuant to notice of October 24, 2013:

That she will call the attention of the Senate to the growing need for the federal government to collaborate with provincial and territorial governments and other stakeholders in order to ensure the sustainability of the Canadian health care system, and to lead in the negotiation of a new Health Accord to take effect at the expiration of the 2004 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care.

She said: This stands at day 15, and I'd like to reset the clock so I could speak to it in two days.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Callbeck, debate adjourned.)

Canadian Children in Care

Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley rose pursuant to notice of November 6, 2013:

That she will call the attention of the Senate to Canadian children in care, foster families, and the child welfare system.

She said: I would like to extend my best wishes to you and all members of the Senate for a happy and successful 2014.

Honourable senators, I rise today to call the attention of the Senate to Canadian children in care, foster families and the child welfare system.

According to Statistics Canada census data, in 2011 there were 29,590 children aged 14 and under living in foster care. Many thousands more were Crown wards living in group homes and other institutional settings. These children are some of our most vulnerable citizens, and their foster parents and social workers are some of the most hard-working and dedicated individuals in our society. Yet, too many children are not receiving the support they need and are falling through the cracks. I believe we owe it to these children and their care providers to ensure we are doing all we can to give them the best possible start in life.

They are our future neighbours, employees and local business owners. They are a part of our communities, and we cannot afford to let them down.

While child welfare falls under provincial jurisdiction, the role of the federal government cannot be overlooked, nor should the importance of a national perspective be underestimated. As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Government of Canada has human rights obligations to children in care. The convention states:

Society and the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children without a family and to those without adequate means of support.

I believe we can do more to better meet these obligations.

Moreover, when we take a national look at the problems plaguing our child welfare system, it becomes clear that all provinces struggle with the same key themes and issues. For instance, while the number of children in care continues to grow, the number of available foster families is shrinking. Too many children in care do not have positive experiences and are far more likely than the average child to grow up without attaining a solid education; they are also more likely to be unemployed and to develop substance abuse problems.

Children in care find that they do not receive adequate support during their transitions to become independent young adults.

There are such an alarmingly disproportionate number of Aboriginal children in foster care that it has become a crisis.

National data on children in care is scarce. Other than the census data collected in 2011, which for the first time included questions on foster children, we know very little nationally about the overall numbers of children in care, their situations and how long they spend in the system. Without this data, it is difficult to know where we stand.

Other countries, such as the United States, do a far better job of tracking national data on children in care. There, they know exactly how many children are in care, why they are there, how long they spend, when they leave, and what happens to them when they move out of care.

Canada desperately needs more data on children in care, especially from a national perspective. While we know very little about children in care, we know even less about foster families. Fortunately, that is beginning to change.

The Child Welfare League of Canada is nearing completion of its three-year project, "Every Child Matters." This project is a national survey that aims to improve "foster parent recruitment, retention and training practices by collecting and disseminating information, tools and best practices from around Canada."

Foster families are a very special group of people who are passionate about what they do. They can be single parents, working parents, single-sex couples, and families with biological children, but they all share similar difficulties when it comes to trying to navigate the social welfare system and do the best they can for the children in their care.

According to preliminary results from the "Every Child Matters" survey and focus group study, foster parents reported that they were not receiving the support, recognition, training or financial compensation they require. The children coming into their care have more special needs than ever before, while training and support for dealing with these needs is disappearing. For foster parents, this means frustration and eventual burnout.


The shrinking pool of available foster families is forcing more children into alternate forms of care, such as group homes and supervised apartments. Some children have even been housed in hotel rooms. These homes are often staffed by poorly paid and minimally trained young people, who are poor substitutes for parents. They do not offer the sort of supportive and loving environment that family-based care does.

While we already know that children in care are at an increased risk of poor outcomes later in life, this is especially true for children who are placed in institutional settings as opposed to with foster families. But even for children in the care of foster families, achieving educational, social and developmental outcomes can be a struggle. Only 44 per cent of Crown wards in Ontario graduate from high school. This makes them more likely to wind up unemployed and at risk for future problems, such as criminal behaviour and substance abuse. Moreover, relationship problems are likely to follow them throughout their lives, putting their own children at greater risk of intervention by child welfare services.

Some foster children have described their situations as making them feel like awkward guests in the houses of their foster families. For too many children, this is a result of too many moves in too short a time frame. Children may just become attached to their foster families when they are moved on to the next household. This sort of transient lifestyle impacts them in the future as they try to maintain a sense of stability.

One way of overcoming this challenge is to ensure that more children are diverted out of the foster care system and toward permanent adoption. There are many children who are not eligible for adoption, but for those who have been made permanent wards of the state, adoption is usually their best hope for a permanent home and family. Frustratingly, however, most Canadian children who are eligible for adoption do not find families willing to adopt them.

In 2010, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development began a study into current federal support measures available to adoptive parents and their adoptive children. Their final report on this topic was tabled in March of last year and presents a good general overview of the issues involved with adoption in Canada. In fact, the committee suggests that there is a "serious adoption problem in Canada," with 30,000 children waiting to be adopted. The reality is that of those children and youth, only around 2,000 are likely to be adopted in any given year. The committee made a number of recommendations about how the federal government could do more to help ease the situation and support both parents and children through the process.

I hope the government takes these recommendations seriously and acts now to help find these children permanent homes.

While the waiting lists of eligible adoptable children continue to grow, many age out of the system before ever finding a permanent home. The age at which a young person gains emancipation from state care varies from province to province but ranges from age 18 to 21. For most youth, aging out of the system is fraught with fear and uncertainty for the future.

While most 18- to 21-year-olds are still supported by their families as they pursue post-secondary education, youth formerly in care must face these challenges alone, without the financial, emotional and practical support of a family. Youth formerly in care struggle to build a solid foundation.

For many, post-secondary education is a dream they simply cannot afford, while for others, the lack of support and a family to turn to in times of difficulty is an overwhelming challenge they cannot overcome.

Honourable senators, it is time we took a closer look at child welfare in this country and the direction in which it's headed. Over the last 20 years, child welfare has changed, becoming more interventionist in approach and outcome. This means a greater emphasis on child safety and a reduced tolerance for less than ideal family and home conditions. In other words, the definition of a child in need of protection has broadened to include not only children who are victims of abuse or serious neglect but also those who may be at risk of future abuse or neglect.

Further, the definition of abuse has evolved to include emotional abuse as well as physical abuse. While these changes have undoubtedly had a positive impact on many children in need of protection, they have also taken a toll on families.

Studies show that when families receive the supports they need, their children are far less likely to suffer from neglect. Poverty and substance abuse within families are considerable risk factors for neglect, but with proper community supports and access to programs and services, families can overcome these risk factors and take good care of their children. Unfortunately, diminishing funding for these types of programs and services nationwide has left families vulnerable.

Without strong support, some parents are unable to properly care for their children, and those children will be taken into care. I believe that placing intervention ahead of prevention is the wrong approach.

We must recognize that vulnerable families mean vulnerable children. Instead of spending money, after the fact, removing children from their homes, that money would be better invested in families.

This is especially true when it comes to Aboriginal families. The foster care situation in Aboriginal communities has hit a crisis point. Today, almost half of all Canadian children in care are Aboriginal, a truly shocking statistic. Most of these children are in care because of poverty and neglect. They come from families that don't have the resources to properly provide for them.

Frustratingly, once these children enter the child welfare system, they still do not receive the resources they need. Aboriginal children in care receive fewer resources than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. This situation of inequity and the high numbers of Aboriginal children in care is deplorable. This situation is bound to keep repeating itself from one generation to the next unless we take action now.

Honourable senators, 2014 is the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family. I believe the time has come for us to focus our attention on Canadian children in care, foster families and the child welfare system. We need more data and a new approach. These children are our responsibility, and they deserve the best future we can give them.

Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I wish to adjourn the debate in the name of Senator Dyck, but before I do, may I say to Senator Hubley how important I think your speech was and how glad I was to hear you talk about the emotional price these children pay.

One of my cousins was adopted when she was about three years old. She was the most beautiful, enchanting child, the kind that you just want to sweep up in your arms and hug and protect forever. Before she was adopted by my very loving aunt and uncle, she had, in her short life, been in many foster homes. I think it was 10 in three years.

A few months after she was adopted, I was visiting the family. We were going somewhere, and I was sitting in the back of the car. I remember that it was dark out and that this lovely little girl snuggled up to me, looked up and said, "Are you my cousin?" I said, "Yes." She said, "Will you always be my cousin?" She had learned at the age of three that she couldn't count on permanent relationships. I gave her a big hug and said, "Yes, I will." Over the years, she came to appreciate that we all would always be her cousins. I never forgot the tragedy that she had lived and that marked her for the rest of her life.

(On motion of Senator Fraser, for Senator Dyck, debate adjourned.)


The Honourable Gerald J. Comeau, P.C.

Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government) rose pursuant to notice of November 27, 2013:

That she will call the attention of the Senate to the career of the Honourable Senator Comeau, P.C., in the Senate and his many contributions in service to Canadians

She said: Honourable senators, although I have risen to speak to other items already today, I now want to wish everyone a happy new year as well as a happy lunar year.

Honourable senators, this special inquiry was launched when our former colleague, the Honourable Gerald Comeau, was leaving this place. With so much going on, I did not have the opportunity to address this matter until now so, if you will permit me, I'm honoured to rise today to speak to this special inquiry and continue the tributes to a fine parliamentarian, a proud Nova Scotian and Acadian, and a respected and beloved former colleague, the Honourable Gerald Comeau, P.C.


He served with honour and distinction in both houses of Parliament, first as an MP when elected in 1984, then as a senator beginning in 1990. He was also the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate from 2006 to 2011.


I have already spoken to him privately but now I share these sentiments publicly.


I hold Gerald up as a model of leadership. Over the years, he has demonstrated an ability to bring people together and build bridges based on respect, all while maintaining unwavering support for the Prime Minister and our caucus.


His presence in committee, caucus or the chamber made a difference. His leaving has left a hole in our hearts in this place; we do miss him — a true pillar of strength. His sage advice as deputy leader when I was first appointed and when I assumed the role of deputy leader and his friendship have been invaluable to me.

Gerald said that it isn't goodbye, and that a bright horizon is before him. I know honourable senators have already congratulated Gerald Comeau for his unfailing service to the people of Nova Scotia and to Canada over his long and notable parliamentary career but I ask them to do it once again.


Gerald, may God bless you and your wife, Aurore. May your lives be filled with good health, joy and sunshine as your new life begins.

Hon. Ghislain Maltais: Honourable senators, I would like to join all of our colleagues who have paid tribute to Senator Comeau.

I would like to focus on Gerald Comeau, the man. He was a proud Acadian. He was a proud Nova Scotian. He was a proud Canadian. He was also a humanist. He was so warm and welcoming. Anyone who spent any time with him sensed that he was sincere with everyone. He was anything but stingy with sage advice. His standards were higher than most people's. He had a deep love for the Canadian people. He served his country, the institutions he was part of, his family and all Canadians very well.

Honourable senators, I believe that the word "honourable" was and always will be the right word to describe Gerald Comeau.

(On motion of Senator Champagne, debate adjourned.)

(The Senate adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m.)