Senate QP: The long farewell speech

Unlike in the Commons, the Senate does their statements first off, then proceeds to Routine Proceedings, before they move onto QP. The statements were paying tribute to Senator De Bané, Canada’s first Arab-Canadian MP and holder of five cabinet posts under the Trudeau government, who is due to retire from the Senate in August. After all of the tributes, and De Bané’s farewell speech that followed, it was a lengthy reflection of his career, the value of the Senate, and his proposal that the Senate create a non-partisan standing committee on culture.

When Senate QP did finally get underway, Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette led off, mentioning the new G8 agreement on tax agreements, and asked about the progress on the 500 Canadians with offshore accounts whose data that the CRA has recently acquired. Senator Marjory LeBreton, the government leader who answers questions on the government’s behalf, took the question as notice to ask the department for a response. Hervieux-Payette was up again, and asked if she could also inquire about the 1800 files related to accounts in Switzerland. LeBreton touted the government’s actions on cracking down on tax fraud before agreeing to take those on notice as well.

Up next was Senator Wilfred Moore, who asked about cyber security, and the collection of metadata, which would go beyond the mandate of the Communications Security Establishment. LeBreton said that she couldn’t comment on operational matters, but touted how great it was that the government created a cyber security strategy. When Moore pressed about the gathering of metadata by Canadians in Canada. LeBreton assured him that CSE didn’t track Canadians. Moore asked a supplemental, and wondered since the Senate switched from Blackberries to iPhones, where the servers for the data was located, and if it was in the US, would the data be subject to the Patriot Act. LeBreton said that the question should be directed to Senate operations, not the government.

Senator Maria Chaput asked about the linguistic duality roadmap, and the comments made by Jason Kenney about language training for immigrants, in particular those wishing to learn French outside of Quebec and those who wish to learn English inside Quebec. LeBreton spoke about how it is a requirement for new immigrants to speak one of the official languages, but she wasn’t aware of the contest of Kenney’s remarks and would look into it. Chaput pressed about where the money was coming from, and wanted to ensure that immigrant language training was not coming from the Roadmap. LeBreton assured her that she understood the question, and would get back to her.

And that was it for Senate QP, and the Senate moved on to Orders of the Day.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Senator Dennis Dawson for a navy jacket with a striped blue shirt and yellow bow tie, and to Senator Raynell Andreychuk for a light tan jacket and skirt with a cheeky leopard print scarf. Style citations go out to Senator Salma Ataullahjan for a black-striped yellow jacket with a black to and a zebra-print skirt, and to Senator David Smith for a navy jacket with a pink shirt and a red and green paisley tie.