I would like to provide you with a short update on some of the things I have been doing in the Senate. But before doing that I want to say what a tremendous honour it has been for me to serve as your elected Alberta representative in the Senate of Canada. I look forward to doing so in the years to come.
We are entering a new phase in the Senate with more Independent Senators arriving and more coming. This will challenge all of us to act more independently, while making sure we discharge our duties on legislation and research.
One of the main reasons I came to Parliament Hill was to be involved in modernizing the Senate. I am active in helping to foster change, and am very pleased to be on the Senate Modernization Committee. While I am committed to Conservatives, I am also looking to build relations with Liberals and Independents. You can find more information on my involvement in Senate reform under the ‘SENATE’ tab on this webpage.
Another significant reason I came here was to try and be part of a transformation of relationships between Canada and Aboriginal peoples. There is no greater threat to Canada’s prosperity and security in the long run than the dysfunctional relationship Canada holds with First Nations peoples. The Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples was the first committee I joined when I came to the Senate.
This session, I fully participated in the committee’s housing study. In this study we are examining best practices and on-going challenges relating to housing in First Nation and Inuit communities in Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut and the Northwest Territories. We are hoping to table our final report, with innovative recommendations, in the Senate this fall.
This year our committee developed a new approach to deal with arising Aboriginal issues. In addition to our current work, we are starting to hold brief hearings on focused topics that are affecting Aboriginal Peoples as they arise. This approach will help Senators more appropriately and effectively address specific issues and crises. Our first special topics study was on Indian Moneys and the Jay Treaty with a focus on border crossings.
You can find the report titled “Border Crossing Issues and the Jay Treaty” on the committee’s website by clicking here>>
My own hope is in the future we will undertake studies of a more strategic nature that could come up with sweeping changes.
I am also a Member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce. The committee is calling on the government to take a leadership role in removing trade barriers that are estimated currently to cost the Canadian economy billions of dollars every year.
Our committee is proud to table this report, which comes after months of testimony from dozens of expert witnesses. The committee makes seven recommendations that, if adopted, would make it easier for Canadian companies to do businesses across the country.
The report is titled: “Tear Down These Walls: Dismantling Canada’s Internal Trade Barriers”. You can read the report on the committee’s website by clicking here>>
The year ahead should be an interesting one as there are many important changes happening within the Senate. I will be sure to update on the work we are doing in the fall.
Senator Scott Tannas