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S'enregistrer au Flux RSS Le Sénat du Canada

‘Social’ category

How much will provinces pay for Harper’s law and order?

30 June 2021 at 09h30



Public Safety

Costs of Public Safety Legislation

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

We are currently studying a 900-page bill. Yet the government has introduced a number of bills to amend the Criminal Code. All the so-called law and order bills have certain consequences and carry huge costs.

Before Bill C-25 on truth in sentencing was passed, the Minister of Public Safety had estimated that the additional costs would be $90 million. Once the bill was passed by the House of Commons, the minister revised his prediction and said that the bill would cost $2 billion over the next five years.

This sort of mistaken estimate reminds us of a certain G8 and G20 summit, whose costs went up by 500 per cent. I am talking about the original costs compared to the bill we are going to get in the coming weeks.

The Leader of the Government in the Senate will tell us that it is a matter of security. But the government has to be able to put a figure to the services it provides for the public.

In spite of the government’s refusal to cooperate, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, redid the calculations using the data that were available to him. In his opinion, costs will go up by between $8 billion and $13 billion, an increase of 400 to 650 per cent.

Given that the government has once again shown a total lack of transparency toward Parliament and the Parliamentary Budget Officer, can the Leader of the Government in the Senate give this chamber a clear indication of how much the passage of Bill C-25 will cost?


Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, in mentioning the summits, Senator Hervieux-Payette has obviously misstated the facts when talking about the amount of security costs for the event. They were not increased tenfold; they were costs put out transparently and openly, and the government was even congratulated by the Parliamentary Budget Officer for being transparent and open about the security costs. Once everyone has had a chance to assess the costs, they will be reported openly and transparently.


With regard to the costs of the Correctional Service of Canada, there is no secret of the fact that the Minister of Public Safety differs significantly from the report of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. As the minister pointed out, the objective of this legislation is to protect Canadians. Our primary objective is to keep dangerous criminals in prison. It is rather interesting to note that crime across the board costs Canadians $70 billion. Minister Toews was referring to figures that were provided by the Correctional Service of Canada.

We have no reason to doubt the figures that were given to us by the Correctional Service of Canada. However, on this, I refer honourable senators to the views of the NDP Manitoba minister as published in The Globe and Mail on June 23. Here is what Public Safety Minister Toews said on this issue:

The cost of the crime to Canadians is approximately $70 billion a year and the cost of incarcerating dangerous repeat offenders is warranted in that context.

I could not agree with him more.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: I hope I understood correctly that the leader will ensure she will reconcile the figures that she has given us and the ones Mr. Page was providing, because at this time there is confusion. We are accountable to the taxpayers and we need to know the exact cost. We need to know the cost for the federal government and the provincial government. As honourable senators know, prisoners with a sentence of less than two years are incarcerated under the auspices of the provinces. We need to know those costs because taxpayers are paying these bills.

Senator LeBreton: I could not agree more. That was one reason that all provincial and territorial attorneys general were supportive of the government’s initiative on the two-for-one credit. Knowing that they will not get some special two-for-one deal through the courts, many people are now facing their trials and going into the federal system; whereas before they cost the provinces a considerable amount of money the longer they delayed their trial as they fought the system. Since these individuals were being compensated in their sentencing with the time they had served in advance of their trial, it has taken a considerable amount of pressure off the provinces. These people are no longer in their institutions and therefore this has created considerable savings for the provinces.

Absolutely, honourable senators, the government will be open and upfront about the cost. However, as I said before, the government and the minister rely on the figures provided to us by public servants at the Correctional Service of Canada, and we have no reason to doubt their estimates.

Child rearing violence leads to agressive children. Support S-204!

11 June 2021 at 16h12


Does violence leads to the use of force, or does using force lead to violence?

According to the religious precepts of Christianity, violence was innate in man — and I must say, women also.

This meant that the proper way to raise them was to submit them to parental authority, and to control them through authority rather than through argument in order to bring them under control or domination. The Church and, beyond that, society itself felt that it was legitimate for parents to strike their children and they acknowledged parental corrective action to be effective.

But, honourable senators, the whole centuries-old concept of parental authority is based on religious beliefs and on empirical knowledge whose basis was laid down long before we began to understand the psychology of child development.

Since then, science has worked wonders, if I may put it that way.

Twentieth-century science has shown us that men and women are not aggressive by nature, but that they become aggressive because of forces in their environment. External stimuli play such an important role in the origin of violence that talking of an “innate” tendency to be aggressive makes little sense for animals, let alone for humans. Children learn to become aggressive when they are treated aggressively.

A solemn declaration to reflect a global scientific consensus was written in Seville, Spain, in 1986, and was made public during UNESCO’s general conference in Paris in 1989.

In 1917, science began to report on the disastrous consequences of corporal punishment. The following signs were evident in children: rebellion, hypocrisy, a taste for cruelty, vengeful feelings, anti-social tendencies, onset of nervous illnesses, loss of activities, and loss of capacity to enjoy and to act.

Since we now know that the way today’s children are raised will map society’s future and since we know that the community can pay dearly for parental use of force, state intervention is apparently not only justified but necessary. The use of force in child rearing, spanking for example, is not a problem that affects only families. It also affects society as a whole.

There is no reason to keep allowing ourselves to believe the traditional argument, under the guise of religious beliefs or some kind of empirical knowledge, that authoritarian child rearing, which includes physical violence, is necessary or more effective.

Consequently, please, support Bill S-204

Please read my full speech


Scientology and Conservatives: is the government burying its head in the sand?

27 May 2021 at 14h00


Question period

Church of Scientology

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. On May 15, Le Devoir reported that the Church of Scientology was preparing for a major offensive in Canada. This pseudo-church seems obsessed with the idea of establishing itself in Canada in order to recruit new members. According to the president of Canada’s Church of Scientology, Yvette Shank, they hope to open another seven churches by the end of 2011 in Canada’s major cities, much like the one opened in downtown Quebec City in January 2010. They are looking to build in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Kitchener.

We know that the founder of the Church of Scientology was convicted of fraud by a French court in 1977; that in 1992, Toronto’s Church of Scientology was condemned by the Ontario Court of Justice for ordering some of its members to spy on government authorities, including Ontario’s police service and the Office of the Attorney General; and that in 2009, the two main branches of France’s Church of Scientology and seven of its leaders were prosecuted for organized fraud and illegally operating as a pharmacy, eventually paying hundreds of thousands of Euros in fines. How does your government intend to limit the growth of this movement and take appropriate measures to ensure that it does not receive any public funding or claim a federal property tax exemption and also ensure that it is never recognized as a charitable organization for tax credits under the Income Tax Act?



Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am puzzled that the honourable senator would address the activities of the Church of Scientology. These activities have nothing to do with government policy, although I recognize that at the end of the honourable senator’s question, she talked about tax charitable status and things of that nature.

I will not comment on a newspaper report of any organization that may be coming to Canada, but I will take as notice the portion of the honourable senator’s question with regard to charitable status.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: To help the honourable senator with her inquiry, I point out that the Church of Scientology is no stranger to criminal accusation or prosecution. Its message of deceit has spread, through brainwashing vulnerable people in the United States, France, Spain, Ireland, Canada and dozens of other countries, and the organization is banned in some countries such as Germany. The global spread of the Church of Scientology coincides with a number of events orchestrated by the organization that are of questionable legality and morality. The Church of Scientology’s rap sheet contains charges and accusations of fraud, extortion, capital flight, coercion, the illegal practice of medicine, taking advantage of mentally ill persons and murder.

When will this government get tough on crime and ban organizations like the Church of Scientology and other sects that prey on the weak and put all Canadians at risk through the use of theft, violence and manipulation?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, this matter is not something that directly involves the government, other than the honourable senator’s question about charitable status. A newspaper report based on stories about the Church of Scientology is interesting to some, I am sure. There have been all kinds of accusations, which have nothing to do with the government, and it is therefore not appropriate for me to respond any further.

The Conservatives must be “released immediately” from Government

5 May 2021 at 14h50


SENATE QUESTION PERIOD -  Quality of translation

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Along the same lines, but regarding matters not nearly as serious as the publication of official reports, on April 22, 2010, you said you would make inquiries regarding the translation errors that abounded in an invitation from your colleague, Gary Lunn, that was sent to all parliamentarians, the French version of which was positively appalling.

Today’s Le Devoir published — on the front page no less — this invitation addressed to all parliamentarians, including everyone here today, in a French that was so terrible that the journalist summed it up as follows:

How could anyone possibly understand the French version of the invitation?

The title of the invitation read as follows:

“Pour la Libération Immédiate” . . . [for immediate liberation]

I do not know if that means the liberation of the government, but really!

. . . the press release proclaims, instead of the usual “Pour diffusion immediate.” [for immediate release]

It really takes some imagination to understand. Perhaps if you understand it, you could explain it to me.

The text reads as follows:

Le Ministre de Défense Peter MacKay, le Ministre de Sécurité Publique Vic Toews et M.P.s de tous les partis politiques tiendra un événement sur la Colline de Parlement dans le soutien de troupes canadiennes servant en Afghanistan.

An MP or “Member of Parliament” should be rendered as “un député” in French. The text continues:

L’événement doit lever de l’argent pour acheter des cartes de cadeau pour le retour à la maison de membres CAF de l’Afghanistan. Pour l’instant, $45,000 a été levé. Le sénateur Pamela Wallin exercera les fonctions du maître du soir de cérémonies.

Based on the distribution list, the message was sent to at least 1,100 people. Messages that contain a typographical error are sometimes recalled by the sender, usually minutes after the message is sent. Five hours after the message was received, the invitation had not yet been recalled.

It was sent at noon yesterday. Today, it was on the front page of Le Devoir, and so far, no changes have been made. The journalist concluded that Vic Toews must be blushing from embarrassment or perhaps he was not informed by his assistants that a French message, obviously translated using software, was unintelligible.

Does the Leader of the Government in the Senate know when her government will truly value the francophones of this country and send invitations in correct French?


Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I saw the report in Le Devoir by Hélène Buzzetti with regard to this particular invitation.

When I first heard about this event, I thought, what a wonderful idea, what a terrific cause and what a great location. I then read the comments of Hélène Buzzetti.

I think it is a stretch for Senator Hervieux-Payette to try to impugn motives of the government; that somehow the government is being disrespectful to one of our official languages.

When Senator De Bané raised the issue of the invitation sent from the office of Minister Lunn, he was apologetic and embarrassed by the incident and indicated he had taken steps to ensure that when invitations are sent from his office, careful measures will be taken to ensure they are properly communicated.

In this particular case, I cannot answer for the people responsible for sending invitations like this out, but I believe, honourable senators, that no one, whether anglophone or francophone, whether bilingual or not, would see any ulterior motives in mistakes made by various officials, whether the mistakes are made in English or in French. It is regrettable, but it is hardly an indication that the government is somehow, as the honourable senator seems to indicate, not being respectful of Canada’s official languages, in particular the French language, when we have a Prime Minister who always goes out of his way to demonstrate the importance of both official languages in this country, French and English.


Senator Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, first of all, I would like the minister to confirm that this message will be corrected and sent to francophone guests in a language they can understand. Second, would she please indicate what measures have been taken by her government to ensure that representatives of all departments have sufficient knowledge of French to draft messages? And given that we still have the impression that these messages go through the Prime Minister’s office, who in that office is responsible for verifying language quality? Who allowed such an unintelligible message to be sent?


Senator LeBreton: We do not have language police in some jurisdictions in this country.

Senator Mercer: No, they police everything else.

Senator Ringuette: Is there a mandatory sentence in here?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, this invitation was sent out by a minister, as was the case with Minister Lunn. To suggest that, for some reason, this was indicative of a lack of respect is troubling. It is beneath any of us to impugn motives that are not intended.

Honourable senators, obviously, a staffer in this particular minister’s office sent this invitation, but I do not know the exact process that they followed. As with all areas of government, with respect to anything sent out from the government or from ministers’ offices, we urge senders to be careful to use the proper language, whether it is French or English. As I mentioned to the Honourable Senator De Bané, I see errors in English on almost a daily basis.

Having said that, in this case, let us take the matter for what it is. It was a well-intended invitation that, in the view of some, was not properly communicated. I take that criticism as genuine, and, as I did with Minister Lunn, I will refer the matter to Minister Toews and ask him to ensure that these things do not happen again.

With regard to the Prime Minister’s Office, we were accused enough and unfairly so. Honourable senators can imagine what the media and the opposition would say if we went around checking everyone’s invitations. There would be no end to criticism over that.

Coalition for gender parity on Canadian boards of directors

19 April 2021 at 14h23


Women and men must be equally represented on our boards of directors. While the Constitution recognizes gender equality, corporate Canada has clearly not made enough progress in this area.

Given that women are actively involved in the corporate community as business owners, shareholders, executives, managers and employees, and they play an equally important role in the marketplace as consumers, they should have equal representation on boards of directors.

Financial institutions experienced a crisis that plunged the world economy into a deep recession and showed there is no longer a place in today’s society for boards that lack diversity in their membership and perspectives. We need women board members who will introduce new approaches to management problems and reject the groupthink that may have contributed to our current global financial crisis.

According to the research organization Catalyst, women make up 47% of the Canadian labour force but only 14% of board seats among the 500 largest Canadian companies surveyed by the Financial Post. Women’s representation on the boards of publicly traded companies still stands at only 10.3% (29.1% for Crown corporations). Close to one-third of the companies ranked in the Financial Post 500 had two or more women on their boards, but 41.9% still do not have any women board members. At this rate, only one out of five board seats will be held by women by 2020.

As many industrialized countries have discovered, legislation is needed to achieve gender parity in the corporate world. Switzerland, Norway and Spain have passed laws requiring women’s representation on boards to reach 40% within six years. France is working on legislation as well. According to Corporate Knights, only 9% of board seats in Norway were held by women in 2003. That percentage has risen to 44% since the country brought in legislation in 2008.

The Government of Quebec passed a law requiring Crown corporations to have 50% female representation on their boards of directors by 2011.

Given corporate inaction and the slow progress seen so far, the Parliament of Canada must also pass legislation to show that gender parity on Canadian boards of directors is an essential part of our society.


To give your support, download the petition here and send it back to the address on the form either by email (by scanning the document) or by mail. Letters mailed to MPs and senators do not require a stamp. Thank you!

Read my speech here


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