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Third Anniversary of Bill 21

Soon we will mark the third anniversary of the passage of Bill 21 – the controversial Quebec law which prohibits the wearing of religious symbols by teachers and other public servants working in that province. While the infringement of constitutionally entrenched liberties which this bill represents is alarming, equally alarming is the persistence of this injustice for so long a period of time, and the worrying example the use of the notwithstanding clause sets for other jurisdictions. As the…
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Question Period — Foreign Affairs Support for Ukraine

Hon. Peter Harder: Honourable senators, my question is for the Government Representative in the Senate. By way of preamble, let me associate myself strongly with the comments made by Senator Smith in his eloquent statement about the need for solidarity and collective action in the face of the events with which we are so much preoccupied. At the same time, I would like to disassociate myself from those would-be leaders who have said that Europe has been weak in its response. I do not believe th…
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Senators’ Statements — Ukraine--Russia's Actions

Honourable senators, here is a letter to Igor Shuvalov: I am writing to you as a friend and former colleague to convey my strong opposition to the offensive actions undertaken by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine. Our work together in the mid-2000s seems far from the aggression, the violation of international law and the destruction visited on Ukraine in recent days. I recall fondly your work as the President’s Personal Representative and lead Sherpa for the St. Petersburg summit of 2006. Our…
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Emergencies Act

Speech prepared by not delivered: Your honour, I rise today to lend my support to the motion before us. It goes without saying that invoking the federal Emergencies Act would be an extraordinary step at any time. But it is made even more so today because this is the first time we are being asked to vote on it.   This is, in a real sense, a precedent-setting debate. Consequently, we are obliged to make our reasoning clear and to consider soundly our role as a chamber of sober second thought.…
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Question Period — Canadian Heritage Special Olympics

Honourable senators, my question is for the Government Representative in the Senate. This week and next, many of us are and will be glued to our television sets cheering on Canadian athletes as they compete in the Olympic Winter Games. But aside from the vicarious pleasure of watching our best athletes compete for medals, participating in sport is an important part of learning how to work with others, improve self-esteem, develop friendships and be a part of something. The organization Special…
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