2nd Session, 41st Parliament,

Volume 149, Issue 99

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
Civil Marriage Act
Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading— Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Ataullahjan, seconded by the Honourable Senator Beyak, for the second reading of Bill S-7, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill S-7. The title of this bill is “zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act.”

First of all, I want to thank the sponsor of this bill, Senator Ataullahjan. She has presented to us in this chamber a comprehensive outline of the bill. I want to thank her for her work as the sponsor of this bill, and I will try not to repeat the ground that Senator Ataullahjan has covered.

As you are aware, Bill S-7 is an act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other acts. Basically, this bill covers four issues: polygamy, national age of marriage, forced marriages and changes to the definition of “provocation” in the Criminal Code.

As for polygamy, Part 1 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to specify that a permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of practising polygamy in Canada.

Part 2 of the bill amends the Civil Marriage Act to provide for legal requirements for a free and enlightened consent to marriage and for any previous marriage to be dissolved or declared null before a new marriage is contracted. It also amends the Civil Marriage Act to provide for the requirement of a minimum age of 16 years for marriage.

Part 3 amends the Criminal Code as to forced marriages and clarifies that it is an offence for an officiant to knowingly solemnize a marriage in contravention of federal law. It provides that it is an offence to celebrate, aid or participate in a marriage rite or ceremony knowing that one of the persons being married is doing so against their will or is under the age of 16 years.

The bill also provides a definition of “provocation” in restricted circumstances in which a victim engaged in conduct that would constitute an indictable offence under the Criminal Code that is punishable by five years or more in prison.

Honourable senators, I have looked up the definition of a number of words that have been used in this bill in our dictionary. For “barbaric,” it says “cruel and brutal.” For “barbarians,” it says “a member of a wild or uncivilized people.” It’s a Greek word which means “foreigner.” The definition of “culture” is: “the culture of a particular society, its ideas and its customs.”

I want to look at the different things that this bill covers.

As I have already set out, on polygamy it amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Proposed section 41.1(1) of the act reads:

A permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of practising polygamy if they are or will be practising polygamy with a person who is or will be physically present in Canada at the same time as the permanent resident or foreign national.

I have asked a number of people who have written this bill: What does that mean, “practising polygamy” and “practising polygamy with a person who will be in Canada”? I have been told that the interpretation is as follows: A man who has more than one wife arrives in Canada as a visitor or a permanent resident. As long as he arrives in Canada alone, he is not taken to be practising polygamy and so he will be admitted into Canada. If his wife later joins him, or arrives with him, then she is taken to be practising polygamy and they will be held inadmissible.

Honourable senators, what is really troubling for me is that if the man arrives alone, he is not practising polygamy and we will admit him; but if he arrives with one of his wives, then we will not admit him.

The whole guise of this bill is the protection of women. There are so many wives involved. There is the wife who is left behind, who will not be protected; and there is the wife who comes with him, who is not protected. I have great difficulty with this definition and I am sure that the committee will have many questions of the drafters of this bill when we study it.

But what is the most troubling thing for me — and I have to tell you that I am so angry — is the example that is given on page 3 of the briefing notes that we are given: More than a thousand people living in the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C. Some may have been brought into the country to marry a Canadian resident.

Honourable senators, every senator who comes from British Columbia will tell you that we are not proud of this history in B.C. These people are Canadians, and the example that is being given is of Canadians, and yet we are dealing with issues of permanent residents or visitors. I think it’s just confusing matters when you talk about a Canadian, but you are dealing with a foreign resident, and we are calling it a “barbaric practice.” So is it the barbaric practice of the people in Bountiful, or is it the barbaric practice of the people who are coming?

The second thing being talked about is national age of marriage, which will now be 16 years. Personally, I travel all over the world working with women, and we’re working really hard on this issue all over the world, especially in Pakistan at the moment. Pakistan has passed a bill to make the national marriage age 18, so why are we lowering the standard? Why are we lowering it and making it 16? In my province the age is 19, so why are we making the national age 16? This is a subject that we really need to study hard in committee.

(1500)

The third issue that is being dealt with is forced marriage. When the Throne Speech was read and when there was talk that there would be an issue of forced marriage discussed in our Parliament, I have to tell you that I was absolutely thrilled because I truly believe that you have to name an issue to deal with it. I have worked on the issue of forced marriages for over 35 years. I have travelled around the world talking to young girls on issues of forced marriages. I would be remiss today if I didn’t thank all the Canadian High Commissioners and ambassadors who have helped me and have helped other caregivers in rescuing these girls who have been taken to their parents’ homes of origin. Our ambassadors and high commissioners have done a yeoman’s job in protecting our girls and I thank them publicly today.

You can never forget the face of a young girl who stops you on the street and asks you for help because she knows she will be taken to the home of her parents’ home of origin. She is 14, 15 or 16. She’s being taken to get married. There is so little that we have been able to do, so far, so I’m glad that the minister has raised this issue.

I worked with U.K. parliamentarians for many years. They have two systems. They have the civil system and the criminal system. The child can choose which system they want to go in. They have gone further. They provide brochures that are on boards in every school that tells a young girl, that if you suspect that the holiday that your parents are taking you on is a holiday from which you will never return, call the foreign office and tell them when you are going, where you are going and when you are expected again. I have talked many times to the officials of the British Foreign Office and they tell me that if the girl does not return, then they go to the village of the girl and bring her back.

We also have to do things like that. For that, I commend our government. But that is not what our government does in this bill. In this bill, our government wants the little girl to go to court and get an order that her parents are going to take her away. Honourable senators, are we serious? How can a young girl, 14, 15 or 16 go to court to get an order?

I have worked on issues of child apprehension all my life, especially in the South Asian community. As a young eager lawyer, as soon as I heard “abuse of a child,” I would rush in there with social welfare people to take the child away. But I realized that that was not the answer. Because when you take that child away from the family, not only do you take that child’s support away, you take the child away from the community forever. You destroy that child’s identity.

Honourable senators, let’s think about this. Is a 14, 15 or 16-year-old girl going to go to court to say her parents are taking her away? For years and years, I have admired the work of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario. They are in the forefront of forced marriages. They work with our foreign office and our immigration department and they have done amazing work to prevent forced marriages. Let me read to you, senators, what they have to say about this bill:

On November 5, 2014, the federal government tabled Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act (Bill S-7) introducing sweeping changes to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), Civil Marriage Act and Criminal Code. The government’s statements in support of these changes are not based on any statistical data or research, nor have they consulted experts in this field. The announcements and the tabled act perpetuate myths about practices of polygamy and forced marriages while misguiding Canadians to believe that violence against women is a “cultural” issue which happens only in certain communities. We believe that this racist Act and its implementation will further marginalize the victims and survivors of forced marriage. We believe that the strong language used in this proposed Act is an attempt at fear-mongering and will further marginalize and harm member of communities that this Act purports to serve. We strongly believe that the criminalization of forced marriage and the sweeping changes in Bill S-7 are NOT the right answers for Canada. In addition, we know and have experience that criminalization has potential to become a tool to further target and over police racialized communities. While we agree that prevention is important in the discussion around forced marriage in Canada, we believe that education is the most effective preventative tool in this debate. We suggest that educating and raising awareness within the Immigration, Law Enforcement, Health and Education sectors is the best practice.

Violence against women happens in all cultures. It is based on abuse of power, results in inequality and affects all relations through the generations. Women in every culture in the world have ways of working together to stop violence. Violence is not a manifestation of culture, but a rupture to it. Culture is not a barrier to women’s rights but a context in which relationships and possibilities of actions may be shaped.

We remain concerned that the proposed legislative changes create barriers for accessing protection and resources by victims and survivors from specifically targeted communities. It will negatively impact survivor’s access to justice and safety through provisions that make non-citizens inadmissible to Canada based solely on their real or perceived choice of marriage form, not to mention the preventive detention and monitoring measures, and the criminalization of survivor’s families and communities. At worst, it exposes the underlying racist agenda this Government harbors towards specifically targeted communities. The lip service paid by this government to the issue of violence against women through Bill S-7 demonstrates at best, the Government’s complete lack of understanding of the issue of gender based violence.

Honourable senators, these are not my words. These are words of women who work with girls that are forcibly taken away. These are women, front-line workers who are working with these girls, who say to me that this bill will do more harm to those girls than it will help.

The fourth issue that this bill speaks about is provocation. Honourable senators, I have to say to you that I am absolutely puzzled as to why the government has introduced provocation in a “barbaric cultural practices act.” Why would it want to change the definition of provocation, which is a very important part of our criminal law into a barbaric cultural practices act? I am really lost on this.

I don’t practice law as much anymore, so I went to the experts. Michael Spratt, who worked in iPolitics, wrote:

. . . this time by hiding changes to the historic criminal law principle of provocation in an immigration bill — behind a veneer of the non-existent problem of barbaric immigrants.

The term barbaric does a disservice to the multicultural nature of our society. The sad reality is that this is all unnecessary. There could be a productive debate on what we as a society could be doing to assist immigrants, to help victims and to strengthen relationships. But this positive debate is lost when we are forced to take time to debate unnecessary changes to historic principles of our law.

Minister Alexander, Minister of Immigration, has said that the changes to rules governing the criminal code provision of provocation are necessary to stop justifications for honour killings.

(1510)

As noted by the Ottawa criminal lawyer and iPolitics columnist Michael Spratt, provocation does not apply to honour killings. It never has and it never will.

Currently, section 232 of the Criminal Code provides for the defence of provocation, which reduces the charge of murder to manslaughter where the accused acted “in the heat of passion” caused by sudden provocation.

Provocation requires that there be a wrongful act or insult that would be sufficient to deprive an ordinary person of the power of self-control and causes the person to act “on the sudden” before there was time for a cooling of passions.

Honourable senators, he goes on to say that honour killings don’t meet any of these criteria.

Provocation deals with the ordinary person test. This is the ordinary Canadian person. I think we can all agree that the ordinary Canadian person is repulsed by religious-based killing.

The Supreme Court of Canada, in the case of Tran, made this clear. In the context of provocation, the reasonable person test or ordinary person test is informed by contemporary norms of behaviour, including fundamental values, such as the commitment to equality. It would be appropriate to ascribe to the reasonable person relevant racial characteristics of the accused or the recipient of a racial slur but not to ascribe to the ordinary person the characteristic of being homophobic if the accused were the recipient of a homosexual advance. The same is true for honour-based violence. In Tran, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a conviction entered on appeal for murder, where the accused claimed that he had been provoked by the sight of his estranged wife having sexual intercourse with another man. The accused entered the wife’s residence without her knowledge or invitation and came across her and the other man. The accused became enraged, retrieved two knives from the kitchen and attacked both of them. Over an extended period of time, the accused cut his wife and stabbed the man 17 times, killing him. He then cut himself and placed one of the knives in the dead man’s hand. The trial judge acquitted the accused of murder and convicted him of manslaughter, on the basis that the accused’s conduct was provoked by the insult of seeing his wife having sexual relations with another man.

Whether the defence goes to the jury depends on whether the evidence provides an air of reality to it. However, the fact that an accused sought out an aggressive confrontation and received a predictable response is a factor that may deprive the defence of an air of reality.

There is no air of reality to provocation in the context of religious-based killings. There are further limits on the defence of provocation:

One cannot be legally provoked by someone who is doing anything that he had a legal right to do, or by doing anything that the accused incited him to do.

Importantly, there is one further limit on the defence of provocation.

It is not a complete defence — to claim provocation is to admit guilt to manslaughter and accept the corresponding punishment (up to a life sentence).

In the Toronto Star, Minister Alexander cited the case of Mohammad Shafia as a justification for the changes. I know that all of you know the Shafia case. It was a case of an immigrant from Afghanistan who killed three of his daughters and his first wife for religious reasons, a so-called honour killing. What really makes me very angry is that a minister of our government would mislead us. In the Shafia case, they said they were not even near the place where the murder happened. They didn’t even raise the defence of provocation. How can the minister go out now and speak about provocation on that case when it was not even raised by the accused? The accused said they were not even near the place. They didn’t even commit the murder. They never even admitted to the murder, let alone provocation. How could a minister of the government cite that case? Honestly, honourable senators, I really am troubled by this.

In 2006, the Ontario Court of Appeal, in R. v. Humaid, upheld a conviction of first-degree murder and denounced honour killings, and they stated:

Assuming that an accused’s religious and cultural beliefs that are antithetical to fundamental Canadian values such as the equality of men and women can ever have a role to play at the “ordinary person” phase of the provocation inquiry . . .

. . . If an accused relies on religious and cultural beliefs like those described by Dr. Ayoub to support a provocation defence, the trial judge must carefully instruct the jury as to the distinction between a homicide committed by one who has lost control and a homicide committed by one whose cultural and religious beliefs lead him to believe that homicide is an appropriate response to the perceived misconduct of the victim. Only the former engages the defence of provocation. The latter provides a motive for murder.

This is our Ontario Court of Appeal saying this. They continue:

. . . as I see it . . . the alleged beliefs which give the insult added gravity are premised on the notion that women are inferior to men and that violence against women is in some circumstances accepted, if not encouraged. These beliefs are antithetical to fundamental Canadian values, including gender equality. It is arguable that as a matter of criminal law policy, the “ordinary person” cannot be fixed with beliefs that are irreconcilable with fundamental Canadian values. Criminal law may simply not accept that a belief system which is contrary to those fundamental values should somehow provide the basis for a partial defence to murder.

Honourable senators, our courts have already stated they are not going to accept honour killings as a defence. The fact is that provocation does not apply to honour killings. It never has. Cultural factors are typically seen as a motive, not as a defence. Courts have even allowed the Crown to introduce expert evidence about honour killings to prove motive, and this is what happened in the Shafia case, the case I spoke to you about earlier.

The court says:

In a trial such as this, where members of a family are accused of killing their own, including three children, the existence or non-existence of a motive is a very important consideration. The Crown has offered an evidentiary basis for the proposition that the deceased somehow violated this family’s particular code of honour. When all things are considered, the testimony of Dr. Mojab on the issue of honour killing is far more probative than prejudicial in this case. The proposed evidence is ruled admissible.

Honourable senators, we also all remember the case of Sadiqi. That’s an Ottawa case that was also endorsed by the Ontario Court of Appeal. In Sadiqi, a 2009 case from Ottawa, the accused attempted to claim provocation in relation to an honour killing. Sadiqi was convicted of first-degree murder, as has been the case in all honour-based killings.

Why now limit the concept of provocation? There is no evidence at all that the defence is being misapplied.

Why is provocation an important historic principle of our justice system? Because the provocation defence reflects a recognition of mitigating circumstances. In other words:

. . . provocation is an allowance made for human frailty which recognizes that a killing, even an intentional one, may be extenuated by a complete loss of self-control and is thus less heinous than an intentional killing by a person acting with more rational intent.

One can think of many examples of a wrongful act that may cause an otherwise law-abiding citizen to lose control. Take as an example a father whose daughter was a victim of crime. Imagine that the distraught father is taunted, mocked, spat at and maybe even assaulted by the man who perpetuated the offence against his daughter. Imagine that the father loses control and kills his daughter’s assailant. Provocation would recognize the extenuating circumstances of the situation.

(1520)

Bill S-7 seeks to change this historical principle and severely limit the application of provocation by replacing the requirement of a wrongful act or insult with conduct of a victim that would constitute an indictable offence under the act that is punishable by five or more years’ imprisonment. Thus, criminal assaults are no longer provocative, not even when combined with vulgar or racist insults. Under Bill S-7, an abused woman who lashes out at her abusive husband could be barred from claiming provocation. The changes to provocation proposed in Bill S-7 ignore such a situation.

My very big concern is that, by slipping major and unnecessary changes to the Criminal Code into an immigration bill and then hiding behind the rhetoric of barbaric cultural practices, Bill S-7 does the greatest disservice to our culture, our democratic process and our great country. Major changes to our criminal law must be transparent and done in an honest manner. There must be an open debate based on evidence. That is what separates us from barbaric cultures.

Honourable senators, I am truly troubled that such a major interpretation of our Criminal Code is slipped in with the barbaric practices bill. Let us analyze this bill, where four major issues are discussed.

The first is polygamy, which is practised in many parts of the world. I am a very glad and proud Canadian that I can say, “Thank God, it is not our value system.” I agree we can say, “Stop; we don’t want that to be carried out here.” But we haven’t been able to stop it in my province for years and years. Canadians are practising polygamy; so are we barbaric, too? Canadians in my province are practising polygamy, yet we call outsiders barbaric.

Honourable senators, I am very worried about where we are going with these words. We are not an island in this world. We are part of this world. Calling people “barbaric” is a very dangerous road to take.

Second, this bill discusses the national age of marriage. What does a national age of marriage have to do with a barbaric bill? That’s our national age. Why put that in the bill? What does that have to do with the bill?

The third issue is forced marriages. We may say it is barbaric, but it is exercised on our girls, and we are barbaric by not protecting those girls. Are we barbaric by not finding ways to protect those girls? Our Canadian girls are being taken away. How can we call it “barbaric?” When you want to deal with the issue, you have to create a climate to deal with the issue.

If I were the daughter of one of those people who planned to take me to a country to force me to marry, would I report my father, my mother and my brothers to the police under a barbaric practices act? Would I think that my parents are barbaric? I would want them to stop because I wouldn’t want them to force me to marry, but I wouldn’t go to the police to say my father is a barbaric man. That wouldn’t happen.

Honourable senators, I mentioned the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario. They have the most experience with the issue of forced marriages. They did a report with the help of our government on incidence of forced marriages in Ontario. A group that knows the most about forced marriages strongly recommends against including forced marriage as a separate criminal offence under the Criminal Code. They said of forced marriage:

Criminalization of FM creates barriers for victims who need to access justice.

They go on to say that these victims need help, that victims and their families need to get education, and that criminalizing their families is not the answer. These girls need help. They do not need to be separated from their parents.

I mentioned earlier the last issue that this bill deals with: provocation. What has that got to do with the barbaric bill? That’s for the Criminal Code. I am completely at a loss. Michael Spratt, a prominent criminal lawyer in Ottawa who often testifies before the Senate Legal Committee, is a credible witness. He stated that it is just wrong to put that in this bill.

As for honour killings, honourable senators, I have spent hours and hours searching in the short time I’ve had to prepare this speech. I challenge anybody in the Justice Department to produce a case where the courts have upheld honour killing as a defence. I have found three cases and in all three cases the courts did not hold honour killing as a defence to provocation.

Honourable senators, sometimes when I speak here I wonder, “What’s the point? Why bother? Am I being heard?” Today, I have to say that the word “barbaric” has put me over the edge. When I talked to people in the community over the weekend, they were truly offended that our government would use the word “barbaric.”

Honourable senators, I grew up in a colony. When we went to school, we were called “barbarians” by the colonial masters. We were called “barbarians.” When we gained our independence, we suddenly realized that we were people, not barbarians. When I came to this country, I learned that First Nations are also often called “barbarians.”

Honourable senators, is now the time to re-introduce the word “barbarian” to our literature? I humbly ask you —

An Hon. Senator: Oh, oh.

Senator Jaffer: Senator, you will have a chance to speak. Let me finish.

Hon. Leo Housakos (The Hon. the Acting Speaker): Order. Please have the courtesy of listening to our colleagues when they’re speaking.

Senator Jaffer: I was raised at the knees of a very astute politician, my father. He told me there were two types of politicians: one who cuts up communities and one who sews up communities. Politicians who sew up communities and make a tapestry of multiculturalism, diversity and harmony in the community are always the kind of politician he asked me to strive to be.

Honourable senators, we are senators. We do not have to go for elections. I believe we came here to protect our national interests and minorities in our communities.

I am truly troubled that this barbaric bill has started in our chamber. I believe that our chamber is the one that creates harmony in society. We have to sew up where there are cracks. That is our role. We were created not to take cheap shots and cut up communities, but to build a beautiful tapestry.

We are the most beautiful country in the world, and all of us here have to continue working to be the beautiful country we are. I ask in the next few weeks that we look at changing the title of this bill. We do not have to look at people living among us as barbarians. They and you are proud Canadians, and I am a proud Canadian.

(1530)

It just so happens that today, as I was preparing for this Bill S-7 speech, a man came and gave me this book. It’s called Canadian Immigration and South Asian Immigrants, by Abdur Rahim. He has written a long poem on Canada, which I will read on another day, but I would like to finish with what one immigrant thinks of Canada. This is the last paragraph of his poem:

Thirty year I have traveled places on earth
And singled out the one “Canada”
I behold her and imprinted her beauties into my inward eyes.
Enticed me the attributes, the power of giving
The power of tolerance, the power of understanding
The power of harmonious relationship
Every day of my life here I gathered
Golden seeds from her treasures bit by bit
The pearls from her sea, the diamonds from her mines
And from people, the friends, safe heaven, life’s precious gift
And that the deepest love grows in my heart
And that I loudly pronounce, Canada, you are beautiful.
I am a piece of the Canadian mosaic — the diversity
Where we all don’t look alike but live, think and work together
Being a South Asian, Bangladeshi-born I am a proud Canadian.

Honourable senators, wherever I travel, one of the greatest pleasures that I have, that you have, is that we live in a diverse community. We live in a multicultural community where we respect each other, where we hear each other’s pain. When the word “barbarian” is used, we feel insulted. Why use a word like “barbarian” that will cut up our society?

I stand here in front of you and say to you, let us sow our societies. Let’s cause harmony. That is our role as Canadian senators.

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Would the honourable senator take a couple of questions? Thank you.

I very much enjoyed your speech. I listened to it very carefully.

When I first heard about this bill, one of the things that really struck me was, of course, the case of Bountiful and the polygamy that exists there. My first thought was, well, what’s going to happen there? Are we going to allow that situation to occur in Canada with Canadians? Are we applying a different standard there as we are applying to people who want to come in? That is the question.

Is the situation in Bountiful still going to be allowed to continue, or are any changes in this bill going to make it illegal or unlawful for polygamy to occur in Bountiful?

Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much for your question, senator.

To be fair to the B.C. government and the many people in the judiciary, for years they have been trying to deal with the issue of Bountiful and have not succeeded. Polygamy is being exercised in Bountiful. This bill will not affect them. This bill is only about foreigners.

Senator Dyck: That’s what I was thinking. So in effect, we are applying different standards to people coming in versus people who are living here.

When you were talking about the aspects of the bill that deal with provocation, I believe you said that where there are vulgar or racist acts committed that could provoke another person to commit a crime, those would no longer be considered a defence.

Again, to me that speaks to a different standard as well, because if you come from a different country, if you look different, you sound different and you’re picked on for those reasons, then you’re no longer to use that.

How are we protecting Canadians or minorities who maybe don’t look like some of the fairer-skinned individuals? To me that is taking away a defence.

Here I am thinking about Aboriginal people in particular, where much of what happens in terms of criminal assaults occurs when someone is facing an Aboriginal woman or man and then starts to use racist slurs, and then it escalates, and the person is provoked and then they do something they wish they had never done. So that defence will no longer be available.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you for your question.

From my understanding of this bill and having done a lot of research in the limited time I’ve had, that defence will no longer exist. You cannot use a racial slur. The bill says:

Conduct of the victim that would constitute an indictable offence under this Act that is punishable by five or more years of imprisonment and that is of such a nature as to be sufficient to deprive an ordinary person of the power of self-control is provocation for the purposes of this section . . .

I’ve looked at what it could be. It could be somebody committing a fraud on you, somebody doing something like a white-collar crime. Those are the things that would be covered here.

It won’t be the definition we knew. Racial slurs would not be covered. If a woman has been beaten for a long time and was provoked, that would not be covered. The whole case law we have developed around this issue will disappear.

Senator Dyck: I was also paying close attention to your comments with regard to the use of the word “barbarian,” and I too find that offensive.

I do know that many years ago, First Nations people were considered barbarians and savages, and the cultural practices of First Nations people were outlawed. It is worrisome when that happens — you’ll get your turn, senator. You’re being a bad teacher over there.

This aspect troubles me. I think that as senators we are meant to represent minorities, and we are meant to try and create Canada into the place that we envision, that is a country that welcomes everyone. When we use a word like “barbarian” — I think you made it clear, and I would like you to say it again, that it does not create a country where we feel that those people who come from different areas, whose cultural values are different, they are not barbarians.

Could you just reinforce what you said about that aspect?

Senator Jaffer: The best way I can reinforce that is I have been in this country for over 40 years, and one of the greatest reasons that I am so proud to be a Canadian is I feel included. I feel I belong to this place.

When we begin to say “us and them,” and when we treat other people within our midst as barbarians, we are dividing our country. That’s not a Canadian value. Our Canadian value is our diversity, multiculturalism, inclusiveness. This will cut the fabric of our society. That’s not what Canada is all about.

Hon. Nicole Eaton: Senator Jaffer, you’re a lawyer. You can educate me. You have had a much longer time in human rights than I have. Is polygamy not a crime in Canada? Is it not in the Criminal Code?

Senator Jaffer: It is a crime in Canada, but we still have Bountiful. I’m not saying that we should allow people who practise polygamy. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying this bill will not cover it. Let me finish. It is a crime in Canada, but for years and years in my own province there are a thousand people who still practise polygamy, and we have not been able to do anything about it.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Senator Jaffer, your speaking time has expired. Would you like to ask for an additional five minutes? Is five more minutes granted?

Senator Tkachuk: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

Senator Fraser: Senator Tkachuk has denied leave.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Senator Tkachuk, are you denying leave? You said no?

Senator Tkachuk: That is correct.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Leave has not been granted.

Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Senator Martin: Question.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Question.

(1540)

Senator Cools: Some senators just said they weren’t ready for the question.

I would like to speak on this debate. I would like to move the adjournment.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: It has been moved by the Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by the Honourable Senator McCoy, that further debate be adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: All those in favour of the motion, please say “yea.”

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: All those opposed to the motion, please say “nay.”

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: In my opinion, the “nays” have it.

And two honourable senators having risen:

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Whips, do we have agreement on a time limit for the bell?

Senator Munson: Thirty minutes.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: That is 4:10.

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: I don’t agree with that time period.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: That is the time agreed by the two whips.

Senator Moore: No, you need unanimous consent.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Then it will be a one-hour bell.

Senator Moore: A one-hour bell.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: There is no leave, so it will be a one-hour bell. That will bring us to 4:40.

(1640)

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *