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S'enregistrer au Flux RSS Le Sénat du Canada

‘Health’ category

The Conservatives are indifferent towards the Inuit and First Nations

30 May 2021 at 20h26

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. After more than two decades of negotiations between representatives of the Canadian government and Aboriginal peoples, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by a majority of the 143 states.

The declaration is part of a universal framework to ensure that states set minimum standards for the well-being of Aboriginal peoples and respect their individual and collective rights. Although the Conservative government initially voted against the declaration, it did sign in 2010 under pressure from the international community.

Recently, we learned that the Harper government intends to eliminate funding for the National Centre for First Nations Governance and the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s health services. These two organizations are critical to the delivery of health services, assistance, education and the management of community funds.

In light of the recommendation of the United Nations expert who condemned the lack of nutritious foods available to Aboriginal peoples and to ensure that women and children can benefit from better health through nutrition, can the government leader tell us which programs and funds will be made available to Aboriginals and when we will have a policy on funding for the transportation of perishable goods to the far North? (more…)

Harper scraps the Women’s Health Contribution Program

27 April 2021 at 16h42

Honourable senators, it is with immense sadness that I speak to deplore the end of the Women’s Health Contribution Program.

The program supported community-academic partnerships in the development and dissemination of policy research and information for women’s health. The program was managed by the Bureau of Women’s Health and Gender Analysis. Let us not forget that clinical drug trials are now done separately for men and women, which is something new that began a few years ago. The program contributed approximately $2.95 million annually to eligible recipients. It supported the Centres of Excellence for Women’s Health, Canadian Women’s Health Network, working groups and other initiatives that address specific policy issues in women’s health. The following organizations received support for their research: the Réseau québécois d’action pour la santé des femmes, the Canadian Women’s Health Network, the Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, the British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, the Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence, and the National Network on Environments and Women’s Health, located across the country from Vancouver to Halifax. (more…)

Bill S-216 (Nortel): Open letter to the Prime Minister

10 December 2021 at 15h41

Dear Prime Minister,

How is it possible that in a country like Canada, your government could act so inhumanly and cynically towards disabled Nortel pensioners?

Yesterday, December 8, 2010, the Conservative Senators killed bill S-216 an Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and ensure that a small portion of Nortel’s $6 billion in assets would go to disability pensions and essential medical services. I cannot bring myself to believe that you would give up on the 400 skilled workers who are already suffering severely from disease and deny them a Christmas filled with hope and peace.

I hoped until the last moment, that as a creditor of this shameful bankruptcy, you would demonstrate leadership and agree to allocate the modest sums needed to finance their pensions and medical care.

Despite receiving tremendous financial support through government programs, including those aimed at research and development, your government is now turning a blind eye to the people who gave their lives to this company.

Contrary to American authorities, your government has done nothing to demand accountability from business leaders like those of Nortel who are largely responsible for sinking this great Canadian company.

It appears that your desire for transparency and accountability is expressed randomly according to your interests. Yet litigation in the United States has led several rogue leaders in American prisons. Would your policy of “Law and order” be limited to ordinary people in our society?

And what about the indecency with which Nortel executives were paid $ 8 million bonuses on the eve of the company’s bankruptcy? Do your conservative moral values stop at the gates of high finance?

You have a few days to put the record straight and provide remedies that restore dignity to these workers and restore color to the maple leaf which has paled under your authority.

On behalf of the disabled workers of Nortel and that of Canadians of good will, I solemnly ask you to do justice to these families.

(the letter has also been published in french on cyberpresse.ca)

When the far right hears a weaker voice: How the Conservatives are letting down Canadians and derailing democracy

3 December 2021 at 15h59

by the Honourable Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette, C.P.
Deputy-Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce

Stephen Harper has decided to make a serious attempt to undermine Canadian democracy, and you can be sure that he won’t take any half measures.

I could talk about Bill C-42, which shows a complete disregard for our own sovereignty by giving the Americans information about Canadian travelers flying over—but not touching down in—the U.S. I could talk about his manoeuvring to remove positive discrimination from the public service, which would affect First Nations representation in the federal bureaucracy in particular. I could talk about how he contemptuously forces our judges to impose minimum sentences that prevent them from ruling on the facts of each case, a pale imitation of the costly U.S. system that is filling that country’s prisons and doing nothing to improve safety. And what about his plan to kill the firearms registry and put citizens at risk, or his scheming to discredit Statistics Canada and spread his own propaganda?

Since the list is long, I’ll restrict myself to the recent decision by Conservative senators to kill Bill S‑216 by refusing to hold a vote. This precedent-setting decision is an insult to our institutions. How can parliamentarians refuse to vote on legislation? It also shows the Conservatives’ total lack of respect for the 400 former Nortel employees who are disabled and now face the loss of their rights on December 31, 2010.

What happened? Following Nortel’s bankruptcy—caused mainly by administrators who were cooking the books—disabled employees found themselves without benefits even though they had paid contributions to Sun Life. In fact, the disability benefits were self-insured by Nortel. In response to this unfair situation and the difficulties it has caused the people concerned, my colleague, Liberal Senator Art Eggleton, tabled Bill S-216 on March 25, 2021 to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and ensure that a small portion of Nortel’s $6 billion in assets would go to disability pensions and essential medical services.

On November 25, Conservative senators decided that this bill posed a risk to the economy, a fallacious argument disputed by many experts. The Conservatives have decided which side they are on: they would rather help out big business than ordinary citizens, even when those citizens are disabled.

This decision can be seen as part of a broader objective: to turn public opinion against Canada’s Senate and impose an elected Senate, under the prime minister’s thumb. But the Senate has always been the voice of minorities, of the regions and of citizens who cannot be heard in the House of Commons. It has also been a defender of our Constitution. The Conservatives recently gained a majority in the Senate and have already managed to kill Bill C-311 on climate change, an historic moment that saw the Senate kill a bill passed by the House of Commons without even studying it. The goal: to incite the public to turn against the Senate.

The Liberals have condemned this move, and the end of Bill S-216 could be part of this same process to destabilize our institutions. Make no mistake, to reform or abolish the Senate would be to fall into the Conservatives’ trap, and they serve only their own interests and ideology. And in the end, 400 disabled former Nortel employees won’t carry much weight in a federal election.

No To The National Rifle Association of America

4 December 2021 at 11h24

Minuteman Statue

Scrapping the gun registry would be a monumental mistake that could cost the lives of innocent Canadians and police officers. The gun registry is an essential component of a civilized country. It is a must to protect our families, our police forces and our communities.

The recent events in the U.S. demonstrate that guns kill innocent people and their proliferation is making our communities less safe. The gun registry is close to 10000 times a day by police forces throughout the country and was used in Québec days after the Dawson School shooting to stop an individual from committing a similar act.

The financial cost associated with the gun registry is negligible in terms of the cost of preventing the loss of human life. The gun registry is aimed at preventing gun crime and does not penalize responsible owners who possess firearms for hunting or recreational use.

To those who say that gun crime is solely committed by individuals possessing illegal firearms I would like to point out that the two massacres that occurred in academic institutions in Québec were committed using legally owned firearms.

This is why the Liberal Party of Canada strongly believes that all firearms must be efficiently controlled and regulated. The gun registry is a tool in the prevention of violent crimes and sends a message to Canadians that legal firearm ownership is an acceptable part of our society.

I can assure you that I will stand up for the right of every possible innocent victim, including those who intend to commit suicide using firearms. It is important to remember that gun ownership is not a fundamental right in Canada but is a privilege, which can be vested only in responsible citizens.

This weekend I urge you  to reflect on this the impact of violent crimes have on our society and remember the lives of the 14 women who lost their lives 20 years ago on the 6th of December whose legacy helped create the gun registry.


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