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37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

Standing Committee on Transport


EVIDENCE

CONTENTS

Monday, May 26, 2003




¹ 1540
V         The Chair (Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay—Superior North, Lib.))
V         Mr. Jim Gouk (Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, Canadian Alliance)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rob Walsh (Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, House of Commons)

¹ 1545
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Greg Tardi (Senior Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, House of Commons)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rob Walsh

¹ 1550
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance)
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         Mr. James Moore
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         Mr. James Moore
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, BQ)
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana (London North Centre, Lib.)

¹ 1555
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway (Sarnia—Lambton, Lib.)
V         Mr. Rob Walsh

º 1600
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau (President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Ian S. MacKay (Vice-President, Law, Policy and Corporate Secretary, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Moore

º 1605
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Michael J. McLaughlin (Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority)
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau

º 1610
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Ian MacKay
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway

º 1615
V         Mr. Ian MacKay
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         Mr. Stan Keyes (Hamilton West, Lib.)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Moore
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Moore
V         The Chair

º 1620
V         Mr. James Moore
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rex Barnes (Gander—Grand Falls, PC)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rex Barnes
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         The Chair

º 1625
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana

º 1630
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Moore
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Moore
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise

º 1635
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Marcel Proulx (Hull—Aylmer, Lib.)
V         The Chair

º 1640
V         Mr. Marcel Proulx
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         Mr. Rob Walsh
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau

º 1645
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Mark Duncan (Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority)
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Jim Gouk

º 1650
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Acting Chair (Mr. Joe Fontana)
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau

º 1655
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Joe Fontana

» 1700
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe

» 1705
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau

» 1710
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Joe Fontana

» 1715
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Mark Duncan

» 1720
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau

» 1725
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana

» 1730
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         Mr. Joe Fontana
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin

» 1735
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau

» 1740
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jacques Duchesneau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         The Chair

» 1745
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mark Duncan
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway

» 1750
V         Mr. Michael McLaughlin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Stan Keyes

» 1755
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         Mr. Jim Gouk
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise

¼ 1800
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise

¼ 1805
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise










CANADA

Standing Committee on Transport


NUMBER 029 
l
2nd SESSION 
l
37th PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Monday, May 26, 2003

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

¹  +(1540)  

[English]

+

    The Chair (Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay—Superior North, Lib.)): Gentlemen, on the last day we were considering estimates there was a question as to whether a question posed by Mr. Gallaway to members who were appearing on behalf of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority invoked section 32 of the particular statute that empowers them. At that point in time it was decided by the committee that it wanted an answer to that question. The witnesses decided it was not something they were willing to answer. As a result, the meeting adjourned with the understanding that the committee would get an interpretation from Mr. Walsh of the House of Commons and Mr. Tardi, who is the chief legal counsel.

    We advised the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to appear the following Tuesday--I think it was the following Tuesday; I don't have the dates in front of me--but to appear with their legal counsel to consider whether that question should be asked or whether section 32, in fact, was operative in that particular situation. I don't have the dates, but I'm pretty sure it was the Thursday when the meeting was adjourned. We issued a request to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, the members who were present, to attend the following Tuesday so that we could proceed with the estimates.

    As you know, gentlemen, the transport estimates, as in other committees, have to be completed and submitted to the House no later than Friday of this week. This put us into somewhat of a dilemma inasmuch as we have other witnesses to hear with respect to the estimates of Transport Canada.

    On that following Tuesday we were advised that the three members who were present on the preceding Thursday were travelling in Europe, could not attend, and we therefore extended the invitation to them to appear today, May 26.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk (Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, Canadian Alliance): For clarification, Mr. Chairman, I see we have a list of the witnesses who are appearing, those being the president, chief operating officer and others. Are they present but not at the table, or did they not attend and we're simply dealing with the legal aspect of this?

+-

    The Chair: I believe they are present. They've indicated a willingness to appear today, but as a procedural matter we have to deal with the procedural aspect of the interpretation of section 32 of the statute. Therefore, we have asked Mr. Walsh and Mr. Tardi to appear.

    If you're prepared, Mr. Walsh, would you please give us your interpretation.

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh (Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, House of Commons): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Before I begin, I confirm for the record that I'm here as the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel for the House of Commons. With me from the office of the law clerk is Greg Tardi, senior legal counsel with legal services of the House of Commons.

    Let me begin by saying that I have read an unedited transcript of the meeting of this committee on Wednesday, May 7, 2003, during which a witness declined to answer a question from a member of the committee. The relevant exchange is as follows, and I feel I should read it out to you so we all are talking about the same thing.

    A member of the committee, Mr. Gallaway, posed the question, “I understand that you have a contract with IBM and they're going to make recommendations to you, which you can accept, reject, modify, or whatever. Can you tell us how much you are paying IBM for this contract?”

    Mr. McLaughlin, who was the witness, said, “We can undertake to get it. We would also have to vet it with the Minister of Transport prior to releasing specific information like that.”

    The chair intervened to say, “I beg your pardon.” There were further exchanges that are not relevant, and at a later passage the chair says, “The question is, do you understand the responsibility of a person who is spending taxpayers' money in Canada to answer questions legitimately put by this committee on those expenditures? You said you have to vet that with the minister. That was your answer.”

    Mr. McLaughlin responds, “My answer, Mr. Chairman, if you would allow me, within the CATSA Act, section 32—”

    The chair said, “I don't care about the CATSA Act, to be quite truthful with you.

    Mr. McLaughlin said, “It prohibits the disclosure of information related to security without the approval of the minister.”

    The chair said, “Well, then the act is—”

    Mr. McLaughlin said, “It prohibits it. So we have an act of Parliament that says we cannot disclose to Parliament this information.”

    That's all I was going to quote from the exchange between members of the committee and the chair and the witness, Mr. McLaughlin. The witness invoked section 32 of CATSA or the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act, which section reads as follows, the marginal note being “Protection of information”:

    32 (1) Nothing in this Act, Part X of the Financial Administration Act or the Statutory Instruments Act shall be construed as requiring the tabling before either House of Parliament of any information the publication of which, in the opinion of the Minister, would be detrimental to air transport security or public security.

    Subsection 2 of section 32 with the marginal note requirement of confidentiality reads as follows:

    (2) The Authority, authorized aerodrome operators and screening contractors must keep confidential any information the publication of which, in the opinion of the Minister, would be detrimental to air transport security or public security, including financial and other data that might reveal such information.

    The Marleau and Montpetit text, House of Commons Procedure and Practice, explains the powers of the committees and the obligations of witnesses, including government officials, in the following terms at page 863:

Witnesses must answer all questions which the committee puts to them. A witness may object to a question asked by an individual committee member. However, if the committee agrees that the question be put to the witness, he or she is obliged to reply.

    Mr. Chairman, this is Marleau and Montpetit I'm reading from:

    Particular attention has been paid to the questioning of public servants. The obligation of a witness to answer all questions put by the committee must be balanced against the role that public servants play in providing confidential advice to their Ministers. The role of the public servant has traditionally been viewed in relation to the implementation and administration of government policy, rather than the determination of what that policy should be. Consequently, public servants have been excused from commenting on the policy decisions made by the government. In addition, committees will ordinarily accept the reasons that a public servant gives for declining to answer a specific question or series of questions which involve the giving of a legal opinion, or which may be perceived as a conflict with the witness' responsibility to the Minister, or which is outside of their own area of responsibility or which might affect business transactions.

    That's the end of quote from Marleau and Montpetit.

    The Joseph Maingot text, Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, explains at page 191 the powers of committees and the obligations of witnesses in the following terms:

A committee is not restricted in the scope of questions it can pose and a witness must answer all questions put to him...



With respect to federal public servants who are witnesses before committees of either House, the theory of the compellability of witnesses to answer questions generally may come in conflict with the principle of ministerial responsibility. By convention, a parliamentary committee will respect Crown privilege when invoked, at least in relation to matters of national and public security.

    The witness, Mr. Michael McLaughlin, when he invoked section 32 of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act, Mr. Chairman, in effect gave priority to security concerns over the duty of the government, and Mr. McLaughlin on behalf of the government, to account to the House or to this committee on behalf of the House in respect of its estimates, that is, its spending of public funds.

¹  +-(1545)  

    I am unable, Mr. Chairman, to understand how a review of the estimates by a parliamentary committee is to be subordinated to an official's concerns about security, even national security, without some cogent explanation given to the committee—perhaps in camera, depending on the nature of the concern. If the committee insists on its questions being answered, it is entitled to answers, notwithstanding the provisions of a statute that may in some way relate to the subject matter of the question, and a truthful answer must be given by the official. It is always open to the responsible minister, in place of the official, to appear before the committee to answer the question or to object to answering the question.

    I trust this responds to the question the committee has for me today, Mr. Chairman. I'll be pleased to answer any questions should the committee members have any arising from that.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Walsh.

    Mr. Tardi, do you have anything to add to that?

+-

    Mr. Greg Tardi (Senior Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, House of Commons): Mr. Chairman, I concur.

+-

    The Chair: You concur.

    I think the procedure will now be that we will ask for any questions from both sides, unless the committee feels it wants to hear first from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, if they are here with their legal counsel.

    Yes, Mr. Walsh.

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: Mr. Chairman, there is a small point I would like to add relative to section 32.

    Mr. McLaughlin, in his response to the committee at the meeting of May 7, talks about that section prohibiting the divulgence of information affecting security. The section in fact, as I read to the committee, says that:

Nothing in this Act [the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act], part X of the Financial Administration Act or the Statutory Instruments Act shall be construed as requiring the tabling...

    It's not prohibiting. It simply says nothing in these acts should be interpreted as requiring a tabling before the House of information that the minister considers detrimental to security. It's a point I felt I should draw to the attention of committee members regarding the content of section 32.

¹  +-(1550)  

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Moore, Mr. Gouk, and Mr. Laframboise, in that order.

+-

    Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance): Yes, thank you.

    Thanks very much. Boiled down to its elements, what you are telling us is that CATSA in this case is not compelled to answer our questions, citing national security. But if we really, really want to compel them to answer, they can still defer to the minister, and our final course of redress is to have the minister return to the committee, go in camera; and even at that, the minister then doesn't have to respond.

    Did I get that correct?

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: Mr. Chairman, the member has it almost correct.

    In the opening comment, if I understood you correctly, the member summarized my comment as saying that the CATSA officials don't have to answer the committee's questions, and then you went on from there. In my view, they must answer them.

+-

    Mr. James Moore: But their answer can be “I will defer to the minister”.

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: They could invoke section 32—however erroneous in my view—or something else and seek refuge in the minister's authority, at which point the minister ought to be here, perhaps, to address the committee's concerns.

+-

    Mr. James Moore: Thank you.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Gouk.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: If this committee asked for a print of the schematics of the protection equipment that is being used or specifics of the operation, I can understand the possibility for national security of not having that information out to people that might try to then get around it. But the only person that can possibly have a security risk, in terms of spending, is someone who has spent inappropriately. How can funding possibly be quoted as security, how much we spent on a piece of equipment? Whether you buy a piece of equipment for $1,000 or $10,000 doesn't alter the security risk to this country or to the operation whatsoever.

    On what basis, then, could CATSA invoke security in refusing to answer a question regarding what they paid for a service or a piece of equipment? Is there any justification for that whatsoever?

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: Mr. Chairman, I can only repeat what I said a moment ago. I am unable to understand how a review of the estimates by a parliamentary committee is to be subordinated to an official's concerns about security, even national security, without some cogent explanation being given to the committee—perhaps in camera, depending on the nature of the concern.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: Mr. Chair, can we ask CATSA if they still wish to invoke this or if they're prepared to answer questions with regards to expenses?

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Laframboise.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, BQ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I would like to make sure we understand each other. You say the officials should have been able to tell us the reasons they were hiding behind section 32. Did I understand you correctly?

    If they did not know—because it is a new organization—and they got an explanation and reappeared before the committee, as they were asked to do, do you think they could answer the question today?

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: It all depends on the directives the minister may have given them. If the minister told them to give an answer to the committee, they might do so. But in my view, the minister cannot stop officials from answering, unless he himself gives an answer to the committee.

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Thank you.

[English]

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Fontana.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana (London North Centre, Lib.): I understand perfectly what Mr. Walsh said. I just want to ask him about section 32, where he said there was no prohibition.

    Mr. Walsh, you keep mentioning the fact that there is no such section talking about prohibition, and you talk about no such section “requiring” tabling of information before House. In your opinion, what is the difference?

¹  +-(1555)  

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: Mr. Chairman, the difference in some situations could be quite significant, though to some it may merely seem like dancing on words. In other words, under subsection 32(1), with the language “construed as requiring”, the choice is for the public official or the minister whether to disclose or not. It's not a blanket prohibition that you not disclose. Instead, it's saying that nothing in these provisions talking about the estimates process should be construed as making it obligatory.

    But I'm saying it is obligatory as a matter of parliamentary law, quite apart from any statutory provisions. It's obligatory for the government, or government officials on behalf of the minister, to answer committee questions pertaining to the estimates. I would argue that the obligation is there beyond the estimates; but certainly with regard to the estimates, the obligation is there to answer the questions put to the officials. And if the officials for some reason feel constrained by ministerial policy or whatever, then the committee calls upon the minister to account directly.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Is there a difference whether or not such information is dealt with in public and/or in camera? Does the act and/or certain provisions or parliamentary rules allow for the disclosure of that information? For that question to be answered, does it have to be in public or could it be in camera? That would satisfy either, I suppose.

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: There are no rules requiring a committee to go in camera, but as I believe the Marleau and Montpetit text points out, it's obviously a way for a committee to attempt to deal with the concerns of a witness about their testimony going public. So in some cases they perhaps ask for the testimony to be taken in camera. Committees may well choose to do so, but they are not obliged to do so.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Mr. Chairman, I think you will obviously deal with the next question as to whether or not CATSA will in fact appear and answer the question. If not, there is the issue of whether or not the minister will appear and answer the question. As you indicated, the timelines are such that all of this has to happen in a time period between now and Friday.

    Maybe just to get their attention, I'm wondering whether or not we could decrease the estimates by the amount Jim talked about. While I suppose the committee can't increase the estimates, it could decrease the estimates, whether or not by $1,000 or $10,000 or $1 million, for a piece of equipment.

+-

    The Chair: I that a question, Mr. Fontana?

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Yes.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Walsh.

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: Perhaps the clerk of the committee, Mr. Etoka, can speak to this, but as a matter of procedure, this committee could vote to reduce or to eliminate an item in the estimates, or to move money around, so to speak, but not to increase them.

    So that is open as an option to any committee considering the estimates of the government.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Barnes, do you have a question? No? Thank you.

    Mr. Gallaway.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway (Sarnia—Lambton, Lib.): I have a quick question, Mr. Chair.

    Mr. Walsh, I listened with great interest to what you've had to say today. In addition to or in furtherance of what you have said, if indeed those fundamental... I shouldn't make it conditional.

    The most fundamental rule of this place is for Parliament, the House of Commons in particular, to approve the expenditures of the Crown—that is, the cabinet, the executive. How can that in any way be impinged or limited by section 32 of the CATSA Act, having regard to the fact that it collides or is in conflict with section 18 of the British North America Act?

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: I will listen with interest to the witnesses when they appear before this committee in a moment, and perhaps, if they are with their counsel, what their counsel may have to say in this regard. But I don't believe this provision or any other provision by itself has the effect of overriding that. What this committee is about, as part of the parliamentary process, is in my view a matter of constitutional law, and it's not for any particular statute to displace that.

    Having said that, there are a number of ways these kinds of difficulties can be dealt with, as we discussed earlier. But just as first principles legally, the government is accountable to the House. One of the ways that happens is through the estimates, and this committee, on behalf of the House, is afforded an opportunity to call upon the government to answer with regard to the estimates proposed for a given department.

º  +-(1600)  

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Okay, thank you.

+-

    The Chair: I have no other questions. I want to thank you very much, Mr. Walsh and Mr. Tardi, for taking time out of a very busy schedule to come and answer those questions. I would appreciate it very much if you would participate and remain with us through the hearings.

    Now I will call on Mr. Duchesneau, Mr. McLaughlin, and Mr. Duncan.

    Welcome back, gentlemen. Let's try to start on a better footing than we left on and try to get to the bottom of this.

    Mr. Duchesneau, have you brought your legal counsel with you?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau (President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): Yes, I did, Mr. Chair.

+-

    The Chair: Would you like to introduce him, please?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: I'd like to introduce Mr. Ian MacKay, vice-president, legal affairs and policy, with CATSA.

    I'm here also with Mr. Mike McLaughlin, our CFO; and Mr. Mark Duncan, our chief operating officer.

+-

    The Chair: They were with you the other day, were they not?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Yes, they were, Mr. Chair.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, and welcome, Mr. MacKay.

    Mr. Duchesneau, do you have any objections to the committee asking any questions of your legal counsel through you?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Not at all, Mr. Chair. It would be a great pleasure.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

    Mr. MacKay, do you have any opening statements that you want to make?

+-

    Mr. Ian S. MacKay (Vice-President, Law, Policy and Corporate Secretary, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): No, I don't, Mr. Chair. We are here on behalf of my client to answer the questions we can. Where there is a problem with subsection 32(2), we will bring that to your attention and deal with it as we go along.

+-

    The Chair: I am in receipt of a letter that was written on May 23, 2003, signed by you, Mr. Duchesneau. Unfortunately, although this letter was written on May 23, it was just delivered to us today, May 26, at about 3:20 p.m., as we were leaving the office for this meeting—this is the 10-minute delay. So we haven't had a chance either to read or to circulate it to the committee.

    I don't know if other members of the committee have received it. It's addressed to me personally, as chairman.

    Please don't refer to it, then, because no one has had the opportunity to read it. It was just received 10 minutes before the meeting commenced. I was busy doing other things.

    After the meeting, the clerk will circulate it to the members of the committee.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: I wonder if it might be helpful if, until we get a duplicate or whatever, it could be read into the record, if it's not that long.

+-

    The Chair: It is long. It's a couple of pages.

    Let's start where we left off the other day. With the concurrence of the committee, we'll start with the question that was posed the other day, and after this issue is addressed, we'll go back to the regular questioning.

    So we'll start with the question that caused the suspension of the meeting.

+-

    Mr. James Moore: How much money is IBM getting?

º  +-(1605)  

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Gallaway.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: I'll just get to it. How much money is the contract with IBM for? How much are you paying IBM?

+-

    Mr. Michael J. McLaughlin (Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): Mr. Chair, on the contract with IBM, the contract amount is $206,097. No money was spent in the prior year on that contract, so it is all yet to be disbursed. We expect that the contract itself will be completed by September 30 of this year, and that in fact the contract deals with the enhanced restricted area pass system that allows people beyond the gates into the airlines.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: ...[Inaudible—Editor]... it's not about necessarily what you foresee this contract as being.

    A witness: Yes.

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Okay. That was a public tender, was it not? It limited the amount to $300,000. Is that correct?

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: I believe that's correct, sir.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Okay.

    You've heard the remarks of the law clerk of the House of Commons. So I'd ask Mr. Duchesneau this, and perhaps he might instruct your authority's legal representative to answer the question if he wishes: do you concur with what the law clerk of the House of Commons has said with respect to answering that question or answering questions in general posed in this committee?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Mr. Chair, concerning the letter that was sent to you, we faxed it on Friday. I'm very sorry that you only got it today, but it was pending a letter that we received from the minister.

    I think it's important that the first words for me to say today are that we are here today with the openness necessary to answer all your questions. So the answer today, compared to what it was on May 7, is no, there's no problem disclosing any information in relation to this contract.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Okay.

    Mr. Duchesneau, in the page in the estimates that CATSA appears on for 2003-04, it talks about an air carrier protective program. I think in the popular press it's referred to as the air marshal program. How much money are you spending on the air marshal program?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Mr. Chair, as I mentioned in the letter that I sent to you, this information and all information related to policing is information that we cannot disclose.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: I'd better address this to the chair, then. We're back to where we began. We cannot disclose this, according to our witness.

    Let me ask a second question, then, relative to that. Would you table with this committee the letter from the minister that tells you not to do that?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Mr. Chair, this letter is labelled “Secret”.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: All right. So you are telling us that you will not answer, on instructions. Perhaps then, Mr. Duchesneau, you could tell us why this is a question of national security.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: These are the instructions we received from the Minister of Transport, and it is quite clear that this is information that we cannot disclose.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Mr. Chair—

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: If I can just complete—

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: On a point of order, Mr. Chair—

+-

    The Chair: We will give the witness the opportunity to respond.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Contrary to the last time we testified before you, out of a budget of $459 million, 83% of that can be disclosed without any problem. I think it's a big step compared to the last time we testified.

    But the remaining 17%, according to the instructions we received, is directly involved in security measures. I think it would be easy for a person to add up, with the information we would disclose, what type of security we are putting in place to protect the travelling public. Our main and only priority is the security of the travelling public.

º  +-(1610)  

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Gallaway.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Mr. Chair, I look to you for guidance, then. We've gone from 0% to 83% disclosure, so we know there's a gap of 17% now in a budget of, in nice round numbers, $400 million. That's somewhere around $70 million that our witness tells us cannot be disclosed, based on the authority of a letter we cannot see. I think we have a serious problem here.

    Maybe I could look to you for guidance. Perhaps we ought to go in camera, exclude witnesses from the room, and then ask our witnesses to answer the question.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Fontana.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: On a point of order, before you entertain that motion by Mr. Gallaway, perhaps Mr. Gallaway can ask the questions again so that it's clear exactly what we are looking for. I'll tell you why, on this point of order.

    You've indicated that there's a budget of $480 million, and of that, you have no problem speaking about 83%. Therefore, 17% is $70 million.

    Just a simple little question on air marshals was asked. The public knows we have air marshals. It's pretty hard even for the public to understand what the ticket prices on airlines are and therefore whether that's a charge back to the airlines. I don't know whether or not, if the amount is $10 million or $15 million—I think that's what the question was: how much are you spending on air marshals?—that can be construed as national security, because we all know we have air marshals on certain air flights. So I don't know where the problem is. Therefore, I'm just wondering whether Mr. Gallaway ought to ask the question again as to, really, the amount.

    We're not asking how many people, how many flights, or anything of that nature so far, other than how much you're spending on air marshals. It's public policy that we have it; we want a budgetary answer.

    Mr. Gallaway might want to ask the question again so that it's not confusing and not ambiguous; therefore, it's inappropriate to suggest that it's secret and one couldn't disclose that amount.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Mr. Chair, I'll try to be less ambiguous. Let me put it another way: how much are we spending on air marshals?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Mr. Chair, I will not answer that question.

    By saying that, we are doing exactly the same thing as other countries are doing. The United States and Australia are not disclosing information about air marshals.

+-

    The Chair: Okay, there's a dispute.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Could I move to go in camera? Or perhaps we could get legal counsel—Mr. MacKay—to explain on what basis section 32 is being invoked here.

+-

    The Chair: That's the issue, Mr. Gallaway: you have asked a question; the answer has been refused.

    I will entertain other questions, but first I would like Mr. MacKay to answer, pursuant to the advice we received earlier from Mr. Walsh, with the reasons for your not responding to that particular question.

+-

    Mr. Ian MacKay: Yes, Mr. Chairman.

    Subsection 32(2) of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act requires that we keep confidential “any information the publication of which, in the opinion of the Minister [of Transport], would be detrimental to air transport security or public security, including financial and other data that might reveal such information”, and as Mr. Duchesneau has indicated, the Minister of Transport has required us to keep that information regarding the Canadian air carrier protection program confidential.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. MacKay.

    Then you've made a motion to go in camera.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Before I move that again, I would ask Mr. Duchesneau, having heard the answer of Mr. Walsh with respect to section 18 of the British North America Act—the Constitution of this country—whether his legal counsel would like to answer how a simple act of Parliament could amend the Constitution.

º  +-(1615)  

+-

    Mr. Ian MacKay: Mr. Chair, it's clear there is a conflict between the provisions of section 32 and whatever parliamentary privileges this committee has, and it's my submission that it's up to Parliament to resolve that conflict.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Walsh, could you please intervene before we entertain any more questions?

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: Mr. Chairman, I have some sympathy with what Mr. MacKay just said, insofar as perhaps it is for the House to resolve this difficulty, inasmuch as these officials are here and they've made it clear to the committee they are under direction from their minister to not provide this information.

    It's my view that you are still entitled to that information and that the direction from the minister does not override the entitlement of this committee to this information. However, it's more the minister that is accountable for this, in my view, than these particular officials. I think that's the avenue to take.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Walsh.

    I gather from that, not to interfere with the discussions of the committee, that it behooves us—it's a requirement; it doesn't behoove us—then, that the witnesses show us some documentation where the minister has asked that this information be withheld, and that we should call the minister. Is that correct? Is that the process?

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: Not quite, in my view, Mr. Chairman.

+-

    The Chair: Okay. Tell us what the process is, Mr. Walsh.

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: Well, the committee might invite these officials to do as you suggest, but the officials may not have anything in writing to provide to you, or for some other reason beyond their control nothing in writing is available to provide to the committee. But their testimony to the committee today speaks for itself, I would think, and the committee is entitled to act on that testimony.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes (Hamilton West, Lib.): I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.

+-

    The Chair: Yes, Mr. Keyes.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: Mr. Chairman, I completely concur with our legal counsel on the issue. The witnesses are here to answer the questions they can answer. They have a document that tells them they can't answer this, and as indicated, they say they have it but it's marked secret, so we can't see it anyway.

    Given that, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to move that this committee call the Minister of Transport to appear before it in order to explain how it is that a standing committee of the House of Commons—a very extension of the House of Commons—is not permitted to receive the answers it needs from its witnesses, based on communication between the minister and the witnesses who are appearing.

    We'd like to have the minister appear before us as soon as possible, because the work we are trying to do as a committee is being stalled. Given the interest of the minister to have us do our work on other bills that are before us, it would behoove the minister to appear before us as quickly as possible so we can deal with this before the estimates period of May 30 runs out.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

    I have Mr. Moore, then Mr. Laframboise. Do you have a point of order, Mr. Laframboise?

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Mr. Chairman, I want to be sure of what Mr. Walsh, among others, told us. He said that if the witnesses had ever received an order from the minister to not disclose information, our only option would be to call in the minister. Is that what you told us?

[English]

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: Yes, Mr. Chairman, but there's the alternative to not go that further step and to report to the House at this point, if in the judgment of the committee that's what you prefer to do.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

    Mr. Moore.

+-

    Mr. James Moore: I was speaking to Mr. Keyes' motion, which I believe is on the table.

+-

    The Chair: I'm going to ask if Mr. Barnes wants to discuss that motion that's on the floor.

+-

    Mr. James Moore: I do.

+-

    The Chair: You're seconding it?

º  +-(1620)  

+-

    Mr. James Moore: Yes, and I would like to speak to it.

+-

    The Chair: Are you on a point of order, Mr. Barnes, in seeking a clarification?

+-

    Mr. Rex Barnes (Gander—Grand Falls, PC): Just for clarification purposes, if the motion that was just put forward, say, is carried, can the minister refuse to answer that question in front of this committee?

+-

    The Chair: ...[Inaudible—Editor]... with respect. Let's not go down that road right at this point, if we're going to call him. We can't hypothecate what the minister is going to say.

+-

    Mr. Rex Barnes: Mr. Chair, I agree with the member that the minister should appear. But if the minister is going to appear here and say “I'm not giving you the answer”, it's just as well that the minister not show up and we go to the House of Commons.

    An hon. member: He hasn't said that yet.

    An hon. member: Let him show up, though, Rex, and then beat the shit out of him for covering up.

    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

    Mr. Rex Barnes: All I want is a chance for a simple answer, as far as I'm concerned. I have a simple question here.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

    I have Mr. Volpe, then Mr. Fontana, in that order—if they're speaking on the legal opinion we've received from Mr. Walsh.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Yes, but the point of order as it relates to this—

    You said Fontana and Volpe.

+-

    The Chair: No, I said Volpe and Fontana—as long as it pertains to the opinion.

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to understand a little bit more clearly the issue, because I followed closely what both the House counsel and CATSA's counsel had to say with respect to the appropriateness of questions and the right to receive responses.

    Mr. MacKay gave an indication that they wouldn't invoke subsection 32(1) unless an issue arose. Mr. Duchesneau gave us an indication that it's a question of national security. Ten days ago national security involved all of the amounts in question. National security has been reduced by 83%—Mr. Duchesneau, if you'll forgive me, I'm just trying to follow the logic—presumably because the question of air marshals, their number, their presence, their frequency on flights, etc., is very crucial to national security. I don't dispute that. If somebody with malicious intent can determine their presence by virtue of an analysis of the figures, have we not compromised that analysis by 83%, and if that in fact is the case, can we possibly re-examine that assessment?

    I know you've said you have a letter that's marked secret. It says you can't answer any of these questions, and I'm not going to suggest it doesn't say that. But it seems I'm particularly at a disadvantage. I'm going to have to try to figure out what the hourly rate is for these people and assume that the cost to the taxpayer is somewhere between zero and $80 million, and then work out my calculations on the basis of that. Last week the calculation was somewhere between zero and $480 million.

    Do you see what I mean, Mr. Duchesneau? I don't think the principle really applies once you compromise it by mentioning 83%.

    As to subsection 32(2), it would seem, Mr. MacKay, that you've already contravened it, because you gave us 83% of the answer. If 83% of the answer is good, why isn't 100% good?

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Duchesneau? Mr. MacKay?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: It's because the smaller the amount is, the easier it is to make your own assumption, and that's exactly what we're trying to prevent. It was clear in the letter that pursuant to the above, the discussions we had with Transport Canada officials, the letter I sent to you, Mr. Chair—

+-

    The Chair: That's not on the table yet.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: But anyway, in the—

+-

    The Chair: Of course, Mr. Duchesneau, if we were all lawyers, the letter you sent me would be tantamount to being served a motion as you're walking into court. You'd have no time to defend the motion. Your letter was delivered at 3:20 today, and unfortunately, nobody was working in our offices late Friday afternoon. The letter was not received this morning; it was received at 3:20.

    I'm sure Mr. MacKay, Mr. Walsh, or Mr. Gallaway, those who have practised some law...you just don't accept a motion as you are walking into the courtroom. It's a procedural rule the legal profession respects and honours.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.

+-

    The Chair: Yes.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: I appreciate that you—

+-

    The Chair: Did you get an answer to your question, Mr. Volpe?

º  +-(1625)  

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: No, I didn't, really.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Can we complete the answer, Mr. Chair?

+-

    The Chair: By all means.

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: If I could add to the answer, in the corporate plan summary that is published, CATSA, our organization, has already disclosed that PBS—pre-board screening—operating expenses would be approximately $128 million for the year and that the other expenses, which included CATSA administration, whole-bag screening, and security programs, would amount to $87 million, for a total operating expense. We had already disclosed the amount of the capital expense on a previous page.

    So it was the $87 million, sir, that we were concerned about disclosing, and Mr. Gallaway's question related specifically to that area of the $87 million. So then we went back to the minister and asked for leave to give further disclosures within the $87 million, and we got the letter that's been described by Mr. Duscheneau.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Fontana.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Well, thank you. That clarifies one question, because I wanted to know when that secret letter was dated. I thought those were instructions CATSA had right from the beginning, but I take it now you're saying this was subsequent to the meeting with this committee.

    Now, the other thing, too, is this. I suppose, based on the information that's public and what you've just indicated, you don't have to be a really smart mathematician to do the arithmetic and probably get the answer. I don't know why you don't just answer it directly, but if I could just... because there are five chairs here, former chairs.

    We are talking about an important issue with regard to parliamentary privilege and procedure and the responsibility that ministers and/or administrative people have to the Parliament of Canada and to the people of Canada. So I want to take a little time to ask, because it might be easy—and I appreciate the motion; it's very supportable—to just remove the responsibilities to the minister, when in actual fact I'm not convinced the administration is not totally responsible to provide the information.

    I could care less about the letter you have, and you may have to follow it. I think we have an indication that even a minister can't essentially say no to the Parliament of Canada and to the Constitution of this thing, and I think you do have a responsibility. That's why, in your letter, specifically...

    Can I ask this, because I think it's very pertinent. That's why I suggested the motion to go in camera. It might have been better before we came with a motion to invite the minister, because I'd like to canvass all the options that are available to this committee as they relate to contempt of administration and so forth. There are a number of options available to this committee before we ask the minister to come.

    But let me ask you, does your letter from the minister specifically ask you not to disclose something about air marshals? Are the words “air marshals” in the letter?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Yes, Mr. Chair, it does, and to complete the answer to Mr. Fontana's question, we received the letter from the minister late on Thursday, May 22. We wrote you a letter on May 23. You received this letter in your riding. We spoke with your aide at one o'clock.

    I know it was short notice, but as soon as we got the letter, we wrote to you explaining—and I underline this—that we would be here today answering all the questions the committee might have. But we also specified certain programs we would not talk about.

    These were the instructions we received, and I fully concur with the opinion that disclosing information about the air marshal program would jeopardize the security of the travelling public.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Okay, just on another—

+-

    The Chair: The last one.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: I just want more clarification on potential instructions.

    You've indicated now the pre-board screening is approximately $128 million. Do you believe that is a national security issue? I mean, you gave us that number. Don't you feel it's a problem that somebody out there knows we're spending lots of money on pre-board screening? Doesn't that concern you? Why is that not privileged when the air marshals is? Or the $87 million you talked about with regard to the baggage check, don't you feel that's an important national security issue?

    I'm asking the officials who actually run this place. I want to know if they think checking every bag and making sure of the people who board is a national security issue. I would like to know how you can disclose that amount, but not necessarily the air marshals?

º  +-(1630)  

+-

    The Chair: It wasn't in the letter, Joe.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Mr. Chair, I think we are skating on very thin ice. There's a big difference with the pre-board screening, because we're talking big numbers. When we're talking about the Canadian aircraft protective program, the air marshals, we're talking about different numbers.

    How many police officers do we have on board? I won't tell you, but it would be very easy with the numbers I gave you to make that assumption, and that would jeopardize the security of the travelling public. I have a problem, a moral problem, with answering that question.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

    There is a motion on the floor. Mr. Keyes made that motion, and you seconded it.

    Did you want to speak to it?

+-

    Mr. James Moore: Yes.

+-

    The Chair: The motion on the floor is to—

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: I'd like to get an answer to my first question, which was whether or not, before this motion, which is public, there is any reason we can't go in camera to discuss a number of other options this committee may have.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: Ask the question whether they would respond in camera.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Would you respond in camera to the same question?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: I would not be able to do so, Mr. Chair.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

+-

    Mr. James Moore: We're back to the motion of Mr. Keyes calling for Mr. Collenette to appear before this committee post-haste. I think it's very important. I will second that motion, if that's required.

    This is not as complicated a thing as it's being made out to be. The minister came to the committee. We asked him specific questions about the estimates, the air marshals, and other things. He said, ask the officials. We're asking the officials. The officials are being told by the minister not to answer the question. So now we're asking the minister to come back. If at that point, the minister still refuses to answer, then this committee has within its prerogative to censure the minister for not answering questions.

    That is where you go with this. Hopefully the minister will answer the questions, so we can get on with the estimates, so the people at Air Canada who are being laid off by the thousands, because of fewer people travelling, because of the cost of the air security tax, which is financing CATSA, can have answers to their questions. This is what we're after. We're not after you, the officials.

    If the officials are making a legal decision to use the letter that was sent to them by the minister as a shield to not have to answer questions, that's their legal prerogative. Now it's up to us to ask the minister why he sent the letter and whether or not he will go on the record.

    That's where we are, and I support the motion. Call the question.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Yes, I wonder if we could explore the motion. What we are dealing with here is the most fundamental part of this institution. I find it rather alarming that when we started a few weeks ago the president of CATSA was of the understanding that he couldn't reveal $207,000 because that was a matter of national security. Now we are up to, whatever it is, 83% or 87% disclosure. But we as a parliamentary committee are entitled to 100% disclosure and there are mechanisms for these people to reveal this.

    This is not a criticism of them, but this is becoming a bit of a circus and it has farcical overtones, because we're now in a dynamic where we're being told there is a letter but we can't see the letter. We're being told that we're getting more than 80% disclosure. This is the most fundamental rule of this place, and we're now playing footloose with it. I would be absolutely supportive of bringing the minister and getting answers.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

    Mr. Laframboise, Mr. Gouk, and Mr. Fontana. Is that correct? Then that will terminate and there will be a vote on the motion to call the minister.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Mr. Chairman, I will support Mr. Keyes' motion on the minister's appearance. However, I can also understand the representatives from CATSA, who want to keep some things confidential, as requested by the minister.

    The government's legal advisers have told us that section 32 of this act obliges officials to not provide information when the minister requests that they not provide it. So the only person who can provide it, is the minister. We will see how he responds.

    We shouldn't be blaming the officials because the Liberal government passed section 32 of this act. It is up to us to ask that section 32 of the act be repealed.

    I will support you if you request the repeal of section 32. But since section 32 does exist and the officials have the minister's letter, I agree with Mr. Keyes that we should ask the minister to appear. We will see how he answers our questions. That is the procedure Mr. Walsh explained to us; only the minister can explain the situation to us.

    So I agree, and I support Mr. Keyes in this regard.

º  +-(1635)  

[English]

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Laframboise.

    Mr. Gouk, and then Mr. Fontana, and then we will call the motion.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: Mr. Chairman, I'd just like to speak in favour of the motion. I think, assuming that it passes, that in the message to the minister, in addition to the motion itself, it should be made absolutely clear that we are calling him to get answers relative to the review of the estimates, which we have to report on by the end of the week. We need him in a timely manner so we can deal with that. If we can't get either acceptable answers or acceptable explanations, this committee would have to at least consider cutting the funding that we cannot get accountability for from the estimates.

+-

    The Chair: Your comments are noted, Mr. Gouk.

    Mr. Fontana, and then the vote on the motion.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Well, Mr. Chairman, I think the motion is appropriate but I think I'd like to canvass some additional options that might be available to this committee over and above just asking the minister. Of course the minister will come here and answer the questions, or hopefully will answer the questions, and then we'll have a number of key decisions.

    But I was wondering whether or not it's appropriate for us to go in camera, and maybe it was planned anyway to go in camera, to discuss any number of other options this committee may feel it has with regard to this particular issue and maybe to ask Mr. Walsh, our legal counsel, to stay here, and no one else, so that we can look at a number of options.

    I don't know whether or not you want to deal with this motion of Mr. Keyes now or whether or not we deal with it when we come out of in camera again, in public, but I'd like to discuss a number of other options.

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    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Fontana.

    What you are asking is that prior to our voting on the motion, we go in camera to explore other options that may be available in addition to the motion. I will canvass the members.

    Mr. Barnes, yes or no?

    Some hon. members: —[Inaudible—Editor]—

    The Chair: Thank you. The motion is to ask the minister to respond—to come here. That's what I mean.

    Yes, Mr. Proulx.

+-

    Mr. Marcel Proulx (Hull—Aylmer, Lib.): Are we going to have the opportunity of looking at that letter, the letter that CATSA supposedly sent—not the one the minister sent to CATSA, the one that CATSA sent to the committee?

+-

    The Chair: It's being circulated.

º  +-(1640)  

+-

    Mr. Marcel Proulx: When? Where?

+-

    The Chair: It will be circulated. Absolutely.

    You said that it was delivered to my office in Thunder Bay. When you have a week off like we had, I put 1,800 miles on my car travelling throughout the riding and I was gone from Tuesday till Sunday afternoon. I apologize for not receiving it, but I should have had it early this morning. That's not the issue.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Mr. Chair, the last person I would like to see upset here is you. I'm not putting blame on you. I'm just trying to make sure the message will get across that we're not trying to hide anything. That's my message.

+-

    The Chair: All in favour? Opposed? Unanimous? There was an abstention. Thank you.

    (Motion agreed to)

    Mr. Walsh, because you're here representing us to make sure that we abide by the rules of the House of Commons in that we're absolutely within our jurisdiction for doing what we're doing, I'm asking you whether up to this point in time we are within the rules.

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: I think you're within the rules, Mr. Chairman, but I would advise that in your motion it be elaborated that you have a particular meeting in mind—not next September.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: No, I did that.

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: Was it in the motion?

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: It was in the motion. I asked that the minister appear ASAP because the estimates procedure examination expires May 30.

+-

    Mr. Rob Walsh: It might be helpful for the minister to have some more specific indication of which meeting it is that this committee will be available to hear his testimony.

+-

    The Chair: I thought I heard that in the motion, but thank you for drawing that to our attention, Mr. Walsh. I thought it was explicit that at the end of this week estimates are required to be in the House of Commons or they are deemed adopted. Anything that we do, or have intention of doing, on the estimates has to be done by this committee no later than Thursday evening.

    If the minister is going to appear to answer the questions we've requested, particularly about the letter, it will have to be between now and Thursday. I would just assume that on anything of that importance we could convene a meeting of the transport committee at the earliest time, even if we have to use part of one of the meetings that are already scheduled to hear the minister. I think there's a meeting of transport tomorrow and Wednesday and Thursday.

    That's an assumption on my part. It'll have to be done before Thursday.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.

+-

    The Chair: Can't we have something done without a point of order?

    Go ahead, Mr. Gouk.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: The question is this. Is this committee going to take a position? It's been said that if we don't do anything with the estimates, they're deemed to be passed. If the minister stonewalls us and says, I'm too busy or I refuse to come, what are going to do? It's not hypothetical.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: It's not a point of order. Can we do it in camera? These are the options we can start discussing, but let's wait.

+-

    The Chair: It's hypothetical. Let's not presume what the minister is going to say or do. After we have heard that, then it will be incumbent on the committee to make its decision as to where we go from there.

    Yes, Mr. Volpe.

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: Just as a point of clarification, Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that if we want to do the right thing and give the minister an opportunity to respond or to give different directions to the officials to respond to the committee's request and still allow the committee to make its report to the House before the estimates are deemed adopted, then the meeting has to take place no later than Wednesday. That's the latest.

    I think in your directions to whoever is going to deliver the message to the minister you need to request that the minister appear before the committee tomorrow or Wednesday afternoon, at his convenience.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Clerk, would you follow up on Mr. Volpe's request. Is there anybody who disagrees with that? Are there any other points of order?

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: Yes, just one.

    If you're going to have the minister here Wednesday and the minister says, fine, I understand the process and how the Standing Committee on Transport has the right to ask the questions, but I would appreciate that the answers be obtained in camera, by the witness, and we say, thank you very much, can we be assured that the witnesses will be here as well on Wednesday immediately following the minister so we can deal with the questions and the answers before the end of the day Wednesday as well?

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    The Chair: Do we have your assurance, Mr. Duchesneau?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Complete assurance. We're going to be there with you all week if you want. We can even discuss the first $380 million if you want.

+-

    The Chair: I was hoping that we could get to the substance of what we're really trying to do eventually.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: We're available 24 hours a day.

º  +-(1645)  

+-

    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    As I understand it, Mr. Fontana and members of the committee would like to meet in a committee of the whole, in camera, to discuss other options we may have. We would very much like—

    On a point of order, Mr. Laframboise.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Mr. Chairman, why don't we finish reviewing the 83% of the budget that these people can explain to us today?

    In any case, we will sit in camera later on to discuss future business and we can discuss the minister's appearance at that time. Let us first finish studying the portion of the budget these people can explain.

[English]

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Laframboise.

    Is there some concurrence in getting to the substance? It's a very good suggestion, Mr. Laframboise. Thank you very much.

    We will use the balance of the time we have available and then we will go in camera. Is that correct? Does that meet with your concurrence?

    Now we will go back to the meeting as originally scheduled on the estimates. Mr. Gouk, you're starting. You're the lead.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: I'd like to ask maybe something that would be a little more comfortable for you, because I think it is inside that 83%; we're not looking for more of the other.

    At the previous meeting you were here, we addressed the question of streamlining the security checking by what you referred to as the trusted traveller system. Could you give us some information on where that program is, what kind of timeline there is, and what cost you see in putting it in, versus what savings you see in operating and reducing the overall load to the system.

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan (Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): We've been cooperating with CCRA, Customs and Revenue, in terms of a program they have for entrance into the country, and they are working with an iris scan type of system, which would be a registered traveller program. We've had preliminary discussions with them. As you know, we are also looking at the biometrics for improving the airport pass system. We have talked briefly with the TSA on their program, which I think they've changed from a trusted traveller program to, again, a registered program. We have some large airports where we have what we call fast-track lanes or priority lanes.

    The issue is that we still have to do the same security check even if you're a registered traveller. So the question is, if you're a registered traveller, do you get to go to the front of the line? We've just started those discussions. We haven't proceeded further than that.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: That's completely contrary, then, to what I understood you were saying last time, because last time I made reference to the NEXUS program of the CCRA and I pointed out that if they can let people in either side, into the country, without stopping them other than with spot checks, why can we not do something similar at an airport for somebody who's been pre-cleared, pre-screened, had all the background checks and everything else, with whatever kind of identification you need, whether it be picture ID on up to an iris scan? Are you telling me now that we are not looking at doing something like that?

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: I'm not saying we're not looking at something like that. We have looked at their program. We've looked at the whole issue of what you have to do in terms of a clearance process. We are still checking for sharp objects, etc. The real question is would we allow somebody to stream directly through without a check or not? We haven't crossed that policy question yet.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: That is the question I'm asking, because also the last time you were collectively before this committee you said that—I can't remember the exact wording—basically it was a percentage thing, that you know you can't absolutely stop everything, that what you are doing is taking the best opportunity you can to prevent and playing the odds, as it were.

    If that is acknowledged as what we are doing, that you cannot have absolute security—it's impossible—and you are acknowledge that, then why are we not going to the most trusted level and saying let's take that out of the workload so that we can concentrate both our resources and our funding in the areas where the risk is higher? Why are we not moving more quickly in that direction?

º  +-(1650)  

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    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: The question is quite good, but I would make a big distinction between the two systems. With immigration, if they let someone through it might represent a threat, but it's one we can deal with. When we accept people to board a plane and they represent a threat, then it could be a major problem. The security level involved with people boarding a plane is quite different from that of people coming into Canada.

    So that's why I gave you the answer I did, because I remember you asking the question, and I told you that we were working on an enhanced restricted area pass that would serve to build a new trusted traveller card, but we are only in the early stages of that program, mainly because of the difference in the threat assessment.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: That would be more valid, I think, if we were doing a random thing, like at customs in some countries where you hit the button and if it's a green light you're gone and if it's a red light they search you. I'm not talking about random; I'm talking about doing pre-screening where people, for example, members of Parliament—not that we should be treated as special, but we are high-volume travellers, and for God's sake, if we can't be trusted, then the system is in serious trouble—and a lot of other categories of people like us who travel a lot can go through security clearances and be pre-screened, so you could completely take them out of the picture and concentrate where the risk is higher. Are we looking at this, and is there any kind of timeline?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Not in the near future, but by the end of the year we should have a response on that. Every time I use the example of a trusted traveller I'm always referring to members of Parliament, members of the Supreme Court. Why do we need to make them go through the system when they don't represent a threat?

    So you are absolutely right, and that's one thing—

+-

    The Acting Chair (Mr. Joe Fontana): That's debatable.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: In terms of cost and effect, there's a national study being done both nationally and province by province as to the cost of operating CATSA, the charge that's being put on the public, whether it be the $26 or $13 or whatever it is, and the impact that this cost has. I've been privy to some of the provinces where these fees have not been made public yet and I can't release them, but Alberta has. After a very in-depth study, they came up with figures that said for short-haul operations there's a 9% drop in traffic, and for medium and long-haul there's a 4% drop in traffic, and this is further complicated by airlines dropping the price of their fares to fill the seats where they show it's directly an impact of the security fee, to the point where the cost to the airline industry is higher than the total revenues collected by the security fee.

    Have you seen any of these studies yet? Are you aware of them and do you have any comment on them?

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    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: As you know, Mr. Chair, we don't set, collect, or administer the money from the security charge, so I could not comment on that. We receive our budget through allocation from government appropriation.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Mr. Laframboise.

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    One of your responsibilities is to help certain airports cover the increased costs of police surveillance. What percentage of your budget is earmarked for that? Could you tell us which airports you targeted?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Right now, it is the category 1 airports, so Canada's nine international airports. Discussions are currently being held to cover category 2 airports, of which there are 20. It is important to note that we cover only some of the costs associated with police protection in airports.

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise: How much is that?

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    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: $15.6 million.

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Do you cover specific costs or just some percentage of costs?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: A percentage. The airports must cover a portion of the costs themselves.

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: What percentage, and is it the same everywhere?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: No, it depends. The amounts are awarded based on the threat assessment. Some airports may get more police control, but that would be their choice.

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Who assesses the level of danger?

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    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Transport Canada, the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service establish the risk level.

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise: You mentioned category 2 airports. Have you set aside money for them?

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    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Not yet.

º  +-(1655)  

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise: You mean it is yet to come?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Yes. We are involved in preliminary discussions with Transport Canada on this.

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise: You also mentioned the IBM contract and the date of September 2003. How far along will the planning be at that point?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: By September, we will try to find the best available technology for the national pass system.

    We are reviewing all of the technologies currently available worldwide.

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Is that the IBM contract?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Yes.

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise: The company will submit its plan to you. What will you do? Will they be making a recommendation?

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    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: They will make recommendations and we will make a choice. A taskforce has been set up to make the right decision.

    It is important to understand that Canada cannot use technology that is incompatible with that used elsewhere, because our pilots travel around the world. For example, we try to guarantee that our technologies will not be incompatible with those used in the US, because that would mean passengers would have to get two or three types of passes to go from Ottawa to New York, for example.

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Did you choose the countries to be consulted with regard to the technologies being considered, or is the firm free to...

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: The firm decides based on our needs. It must supply us with a system that will be compatible and will enable crews to have much quicker access.

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Do you think it will be implemented by September 2003? Is there already a timetable? Would you prefer to wait and see?

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    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: We want to proceed as quickly as possible. We would like to entire system to be implemented by the end of the year or the beginning of 2004.

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Fine. Thank you.

[English]

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Laframboise.

    Mr. Fontana.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if the officials could go over the requirements with regard to air side safety and those personnel who in fact have access to the planes, and let us know exactly either the kinds of equipment and/or the passes or the security system that you have in place in order to ensure that those people who are around those airplanes are truly the ones who should be there working on those aircraft.

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    Mr. Mark Duncan: Under the air security regulations, the responsibility rests with air carriers, the airports, and CATSA. If you take a look at a typical airport, there is a secure line established at an airport, and beyond that secure line you have to have an appropriate pass. In order to get that pass, which is issued by the airport under the regulations, you have to have a security clearance.

    One of the things we're doing right now is working with the airports to enhance that pass to actually add a biometric to that pass so you have certainty that the individual reporting, or displaying the pass, is in fact that individual. That rolls into the program on the enhanced restricted area pass system.

    I should add that Canada is probably a leader in the world in that respect. Post the Air India incident we did require everybody to have a security clearance. The United States right now is just working on a transportation worker identification card. We have moved well in that area.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Now that you mention Air India... For instance, I'm trying to understand how in terms of personnel, now that you mention Air India... I mean, a number of people, unfortunately, let a whole bunch of explosives onto an airplane. Can you tell me a little bit about our procedures and our budget and what we have in place for explosives detection?

»  +-(1700)  

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    Mr. Mark Duncan: As I think we indicated before, we—and with Transport Canada before that—have deployed to the majority of airports in Canada explosives detection systems. We are continuing with that deployment right across the airport system. We are working on an international basis to be at a full 100% both in hold baggage screening and pre-board screening by the international standard of January 1, 2006.

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    Mr. Joe Fontana: When you say 100%, what kind of coverage is that? Is that all the major airports that have been alluded to, the 9 and the 20, or—

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: The 100% would be all the designated airports in Canada. Currently we have 89 designated airports across Canada.

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    Mr. Joe Fontana: Is that primarily equipment that we are talking about, in terms of significant resources, or is it also the human resources that are required in order to do both?

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    Mr. Mark Duncan: Both the equipment and the human resources. And as I think we indicated last time, one of the areas in deploying the equipment is a requirement to have improved training. We are using computer-based training with all of our contract employees, so as well as the equipment, it is the training, the procedures, and this is fully integrated with the airport community.

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    Mr. Joe Fontana: I'm concerned a little bit about the timeline of 2006. Can you tell me if it's a function of not enough money in the budget? Why is it going to take that time? Is the equipment not available? Can you tell us how much we are spending on an annual basis, or how much we've spent so far in terms of these devices and that whole envelope of security?

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    Mr. Mark Duncan: Last year we deployed about 474 pieces of equipment right across the country. We have been deploying that to priority areas. Obviously, priority areas would be transborder departures. I think if you go across the country you can see locations where we have deployed equipment, for example, Ottawa. If you go to the United States you'll see what we call a front-of-house solution.

    One of the issues of deploying this--and they're facing a similar issue in the United States--is to integrate these systems into the baggage systems. We have to work with the airports to integrate these. For major airports, some of this requires obviously a design tendering integration. We have also matched that with some of the expansion programs across the country at the airports.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Again, how much money are we talking about from start to finish, or whatever?

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: I'll let Mike do the money.

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: In terms of the equipment budget, we would have spent, in fiscal year 2003 that just finished, $62 million. But those numbers are still being audited and we are finalizing that report. We would then be looking at about $180 million in 2003-04, $180 million again in 2004-05, and then $110 million in 2005-06, for a total of around $530 million.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: Just on that one envelope.

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: For equipment for both the pre-board screening and the hold baggage screening. So this is detection equipment, this is the walk-through equipment—

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    Mr. Joe Fontana: And the explosives detection is also part and parcel of that, is it?

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: The explosives detection equipment is in there as well.

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: The $530 million would include both the explosives detection equipment as well as a reimbursement program with the airports for the integration costs into the baggage systems.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Fontana.

    Mr. Volpe.

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: It's a little bit more illuminating than I thought it was going to be, given the fact that you didn't want to answer some questions. I know that CATSA has been down in the United States and you're examining the same systems that the Americans are looking at. The company, Unisys, has some pretty advanced technology—iris detection, biometrics, and biometrics transporters. They have everything imaginable. None of it's secret because they want to sell the stuff. I gather that's what you're looking at. Am I right? You're free to say that, is that right, because there's about $170 million left over in the amount of money that you haven't indicated you were prepared to disclose.

    The money that you have now indicated you are spending, is that inside that $170 million envelope or is it outside the $170 million envelope? Initially, you indicated $128 million for pre-board screening and an additional—I might have written the number wrong—$87 million for baggage and explosives detection equipment.

»  +-(1705)  

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    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: Perhaps I can go through the numbers. In our operating budget--and with the operating budget I'm excluding depreciation because that will come out of the capital budget--we have for the administration $26 million; for pre-board screening, $155 million. The $128 million that I spoke of was last year's expenditures, which had been disclosed, $155 million for pre-board screening; $77 million is the part that we're not talking about. There is $5 million for the national pass system, the enhanced security pass that Mr. Duncan has spoken to. The screening of non-passengers is $15 million. So that would give us a total of $277,785,000. That's on the operating side.

    On the capital expenditure side, we have a total of $181,891,000, bringing the total of capital funding with the operating funding to $459,676,000, as reported in the estimates.

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: So the only part we have a problem with is that $77 million, not the $80 million.

    We got a pretty good indication about how much all that equipment would cost from Unisys when some of us went down to the United States. We even got an indication of how much the Americans are going to spend on it. It wasn't very difficult to figure out the rest.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Mr. Chair, perhaps I could answer that. They're facing major financial problems, and we aren't. We are and we will remain within the budget allocation given to us by Parliament. That's a major difference from what's happening in the States.

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: Is that, Mr. Duchesneau, because the primary reason, as you started to explain earlier on, is that when you're facing a problem with a passenger on a plane, you're actually looking at the possibility of turning a plane into an explosive missile and it is something you don't find elsewhere, right? That possibility is obviously reduced when you don't have a plane with the capacity to wreak the same kind of damage that people have now become familiar with from 9/11. Am I right there as well?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Yes, sir, you are, Mr. Chair.

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: Really, what we're talking about then is a system whereby we can provide security to travellers on some of these major international flights, obviously, where you have a plane with the capacity that allows for a potential terrorist to entertain the idea of turning a plane into an explosive missile. So we're not looking at air marshals on other types of planes.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: We don't have one system, Mr. Chair. We have different levels of security. Pre-board screening is one of them. Hold bag screening is one of them. Air marshal is one of them. We have nine different levels.

    CATSA employees or CATSA representatives doing pre-board screening and hold bag screening have to be good 100% of the time. There's no margin for error. That's why we are creating these levels. We call them the layers of onions. At the very centre we have the passengers in the plane, and to protect them, including the airport security, including air marshals and all the equipment that we're putting in place, they're there to protect the citizens. This is the main priority and the top priority of CATSA.

»  +-(1710)  

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    Mr. Joe Fontana: How about a rose, as opposed to an onion?

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: That's remarkable. I just want to finish it off there. It's commendable that we all share the same objectives.

    But I thought I heard your colleagues earlier on talk about the level of risk and risk assessments that would suggest a higher level of expenditures in an environment where the risk assessment is a little less than the one we are talking about, which to my skeptical mind tells me we're not always looking for 100% perfection in every single instance. Is that an unfair assessment or an unfair deduction for me to make?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Working in risk management, we have to have a deterrent effect. How do we show the passengers that we are protecting them? That is, I think, one major component.

    The hard part with the job we are doing is that most of the equipment is hidden in basements or at the back of the airport. We need to show that we are putting in place many aspects of a complete security net surrounding the travelling public, and that's what we are doing.

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: But you are leaving a lot of that—I thought I heard you correctly, and please correct me if I am wrong—in the hands of the carriers and the airport authorities.

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: Yes. I mean, going back to the layers of the onion—and I don't know about the rose—

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: They both smell. One is called an odour and the other is called a fragrance.

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: The airport obviously has the facility and must maintain the secure perimeter. The airline has the responsibility to ensure that the aircraft is in fact secure before the passengers enter the airplane. CATSA has a responsibility to do the screening as the passenger is getting on the aircraft.

    As one example, last month we had 45,000 surrendered items across Canada, of which we—

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: Nail clippers.

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: Exactly.

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    Mr. Joe Fontana: You have five of mine.

»  +-(1715)  

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: Even though we have published a website and even though we try to do a good job of educating the travelling public, we still have people who are... We apologize for your nail clippers, but our screeners are in fact doing their job. We are tracking these statistics; we are tracking all of this. We are hoping to be able to maintain our productivity and ensure that it continues to improve. We are looking for continuous improvement. Yes, security is a partnership between all of the people involved.

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: But there are discrepancies. Obviously, the system one sees at this airport is different from the one in Toronto, and different from—

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: I'd like to know about that, because it's something we've really been addressing. We have a common training program. We have established a common certification program. We are using computer-based training to attempt to address that. We recognize we're probably not fully there, but we are moving to it. I think our training program, which we delivered to all 3,000 before December, helped in that regard, and we hope to continue.

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: Let me ask a final question, if you don't mind, Mr. Chairman.

    Late last week we were given notice that there is in the planning a high-speed fixed link between downtown Toronto and Pearson airport and that the tenders will be announced within this fiscal year. Have you considered the security implications of that, and if you have, have you put it into your budget? If not, can we anticipate seeing them in supplementary estimates? Secondly, have you given advice to the minister about how to ensure security on that fixed link?

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: First of all, our responsibility is clearly defined as being within the airport. One question that might be raised is whether a person could be cleared at a downtown location, for example. We don't have that at this time. We have a similar situation in Vancouver with cruise ship passengers, where we have very high peaking requirements. There, we've been working with U.S. customs, for example, to see if there is a way of dealing with the customers' baggage and screening it separately. But we wouldn't be responsible for the land component of that project.

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Volpe.

    We have Mr. Gallaway.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: When you were here on December 3 of last year, you indicated that at that time you were spending, I think, $128 million on pre-board screeners. There were 2,200, and the number was increasing, I believe on April 1, to 3,000; hence Mr. Duncan has made reference to, I believe, $156 million.

    This committee, as you are aware, has been hearing from the airline industry. We know there has been a remarkable and sad decline in the number of passengers and a corresponding decrease in flights. In December you were planning to add 800 additional screeners. We are told that volumes have decreased by somewhere in the range, depending on which airline, of 25% to 40%.

    What plans do you have in place to decrease the number of pre-board screeners to reflect the reality of the marketplace?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: It's a very good question. Mr. Duncan will give you details on that.

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: We've already recognized that. Just as an example, in Montreal our contract has been reduced by $1 million. In Toronto it has been reduced by $2 million for the year. Recognize that we have contracts to have service by the hour, and we have gone from where you maybe have six people in a line to five people in a line. We've implemented that across the country. In fact, we've just also done some level of service studies at six major airports, where the average wait time right now, I think, is 2.7 minutes for the travelling public.

    We have to balance that reduction with the fact that we are also deploying hold baggage screening. We are in a bit of a delicate situation where we want to deploy those trained people to the hold bag screening area. We don't want to get into a situation where we've laid everybody off and then three months later, as in the case of Ottawa and, say, Toronto with Toronto T-New, we need additional staff.

    We are managing that. Probably it's difficult for us to spool down totally rapidly, because the other issue is that we want to create a secure environment for travellers to travel in.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Mr. Duncan, you've made reference to a million dollars. Is that over a year, or over what period?

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: It's over a year.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: What would the budget be for pre-board screeners at Montreal, approximately? What would 1% in nice round numbers be in terms of a percentage?

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: Well, 1% of $120 million is—

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: No, but what is the budget in Montreal for pre-board screeners? What does it mean in that location?

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: I'll just have to look that one up.

    It's $21 million for Montreal.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: So it would be somewhere a little less than 5%. If indeed volumes are being reduced by between 25% and 40%, do you think, then, that your budget of $156 million could be cut even more?

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: The answer is yes. The reality is that some airports—Calgary and Edmonton, for example—have not experienced a reduction. Toronto, yes, has experienced, based on the last month, about a 20% reduction. We are tracking that. We have a bit of a difficult balance where we don't want anybody to have a double jeopardy. As you've heard, people don't want to fly. We want to encourage them to fly. We want to make it—

»  +-(1720)  

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: I just want to move on.

    Mr. Duchesneau, are you acquainted with or aware of the U.S.-Canada joint bilateral steering committee on critical infrastructure protection?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Not really, Mr. Chair.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Okay. You had indicated, I believe when you were here on December 3, that you are working closely with American officials.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Yes, we are, Mr. Chair.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: How often do you go to Washington? Do you have regular meetings with TSA officials in Washington?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Not necessarily in Washington, but we meet regularly. They come to Canada often also. We work together especially when we're talking about technology and when we deploy equipment, and also we work together on standard operating procedures.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: How often, then, do you or CATSA officials go to Washington? If you don't go to Washington, where do you go?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: We have different conferences in the United States and in Canada. But if your question, Mr. Chair, is how many people went to Washington specifically, we had eight people who went down to meet with TSA in the United States. I'm sorry, seven people from CATSA over the last year went to the United States to meet with TSA officials.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: When those CATSA officials go, do they go with other officials from perhaps Transport Canada, RCMP, or other agencies of other departments?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. If we're talking about the national pass system, we usually do that with Transport Canada.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Of your 85 people who work at your head office, your administrative centre, what portion of your budget would be dedicated to travel for that central staff?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: We are now up to 135.

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: Approximately $5 million is devoted to travel.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: I'm surprised, because when you were here on December 3, I'm certain that you had indicated there were 85 people working at—

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Yes, in December, Mr. Chair. But the total number should be 165 by year-end next year. We are hiring people as we move along.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: What are the additional staff for? What has changed since December 3?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: It's mainly at the operation level, mainly because we received new responsibilities. We have people working on the new national pass system. We are going to do random checks of non-passengers pretty soon. We're putting programs in place.

    Where we can, we use consultants. When we can, instead of giving a long-term contract to employees, we hire them on a short-term basis. Our budget allocation gives us the possibility to hire 165. As we move along, as new programs develop, we're hiring people.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Gallaway.

    Mr. Gouk, one short question.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: You said earlier that you went to the minister for guidance about whether he permitted you to answer the questions that were put. If he had approved that, if he had not had an objection, can I then conclude that you would have answered those questions?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: It's important for me to say that we didn't meet with the minister; we met with officials from Transport Canada. After our session on May 7, you know we weren't pleased on both sides, and we pleaded our case and we wanted to be as transparent as we could. We had talks with them. Mr. McLaughlin had talks with—

»  +-(1725)  

+-

    The Chair: Just a minute, Mr. Duchesneau. I think the statute is explicit. You just got through saying that you didn't meet with the minister, you met with his people. Yet the statute indicates that the minister must give the direction. You've just indicated you didn't meet with the minister, yet you told us earlier that you had instructions from the minister. The statute is very explicit in its wording that the minister must give you direction.

    Do you want to rephrase?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: I received a letter from the minister, but it would be inaccurate to say that I met with the minister. I met with Transport Canada people, but the minister wrote to me. So I received my directives from the minister.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: The question is, though, if the minister, by letter or however, whether he met with you or not, had not indicated in a formal manner to you that he did not approve your answering those questions, would you have answered them?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: I receive my marching orders, as it says in the act, from the Minister of Transport.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: So that is a yes?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: That is a yes. I'm just following—

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: I just want to be clear it's not you who is not answering. You're prepared to answer, but you've been told you can't. I just want it to be clear. You personally are not refusing; you're simply responding to the orders of the minister.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: It's a policy from the minister.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: Okay. The other thing, if I may, Joe, because—

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    The Chair: Yes, but this is your last question, Mr. Gouk, please.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: I'd like to know this. In terms of airside security for workers, every time they go in and out of a secure area, do they go through the same screening as a passenger?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Yes, they do.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: Your plan, though, is that they will eventually not have to, and that's in the works.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Do you mean flight crews?

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: No, airside workers.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: No, no.

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: No, not airside workers.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: It will always be—

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    Mr. Mark Duncan: One of the programs we have been given by the minister is the screening of non-passengers—the airside workers. The program we are developing that will marry closely with the enhanced restricted area pass is random screening. We still need to define what the random screening is of that, and again, that's an audit function for workers airside.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: At some point in the foreseeable future, they will occasionally be able to go in and out without going through the screening.

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: We are working with a working group with Transport Canada and we will respond ultimately to the regulations that will govern how that is done.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: Do you think they are a lower risk than pre-screened, security-checked passengers?

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: The whole issue of an airside pass does a security check, and as you know, in the past if you had a secure pass you could get onto the airside. This program will enhance that, increasing the level of security by doing random screening of the passes.

+-

    Mr. Jim Gouk: But all I'm saying, then, is if that's the case, why not do the same background check as on someone like me and do the same thing subject to a random check?

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: Your point is well taken, and it is a policy item that I think we have to take on.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you. I just have—

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: I just have one more question.

»  +-(1730)  

+-

    The Chair: Have I ever refused you anything, Mr. Fontana?

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: I think you were trying to address this.

    When in fact there is an orange or a heightened risk in the United States, does that mean you go into another mode? Are there contingencies based on that orange or red system of theirs? I know that CCRA and a number of our other organizations go into another mode where we assist the Americans with pre-screening and so on or will do pre-screening before they actually get there, or maybe on exit controls. When there is an elevated risk there, I'm just wondering whether or not, all of a sudden, that means we do something a little bit differently.

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: During the Iraq War we did go to enhanced security measures. Again, we don't necessarily do that automatically. It's based on assessment by Transport Canada, and we respond to their requirements.

+-

    Mr. Joe Fontana: My question was, when in fact it moves to an orange, as it is today, as opposed to a yellow, which it was a week ago, do we do anything different in reaction to that? I know we do it at our borders. I'm just wondering whether or not we do it at our airports.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: It's not automatic. Really we are working with a threat assessment, working with the RCMP, CSIS, and Transport Canada in making sure that the measures we put in place are the right ones.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Fontana.

    I have a couple of questions just before you leave. I thank you for coming, in case I forget to do that, which I forgot to do last time.

    You talked at one time about biometric passes for the—let's refer to it as airside—people who have an association in the secure area functioning with the airplane. I am advised that this has been pretty successful prior to you folks coming on the scene, that one of the things we were really good at was making sure that those people on the airside had passed substantial security checks, that the tags for those people—and those tags were numbered—were maybe one of the most secure parts of the airport security. Yet, you tell me now that you are doing something over and above that. Is that correct?

    We had a good system in place. The people who were working were very stringently observed and analyzed, and the security associated with the airside was working very well. Now, what we have done to... You said you have $200 million going to IBM for somebody to—

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: It's $200,000, Mr. Chair.

+-

    The Chair: I get confused with all this money—$200,000 going to IBM for enhanced security.

    Could you answer that?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: You're right, we had a very good system. Ever since Air India, we've had the pass system with background checks for all employees. What the minister has asked us to do is enhance this system by using biometrics to make sure the person carrying the pass is the right person. So when he comes into a restricted area, we will check the pass and see if it is the right person using that pass.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

    The Auditor General has said to us that although the general consensus is that we're using a cost recovery or user pay philosophy with respect to the security charges, the accounting methods being used lead to not being able to assess properly the revenue against the expenditures. So all the revenue that comes in through the air security tax or whatever they charge goes into general revenue, all of the expense you folks absorb goes out of general revenue, and there's no accounting policy between the two--between the expense and the revenue--to ascertain whether it truly is user pay or not. She has addressed that with you folks, and she has an ongoing concern that this isn't going to be remedied.

    Could you answer that, please?

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: Mr. Chair, if I may answer that, you quite correctly point out there may not be a reconciliation, and it may well be difficult to do that. Within our ambit, in June this year we will be publishing our financial statements, audited by the Auditor General, prepared on generally accepted accounting principles. They will be available to parliamentarians at the end of June. We will have done our part to make it as clear as possible what the costs are and how those are associated with the appropriations we are given.

    I think what the Auditor General is looking at—if I may be so bold as to speculate—is that there are many other departments involved in the total security program, and bringing all that together in one piece would be the responsibility of someone outside of CATSA.

    But I can assure you CATSA's doing its bit to provide the information necessary to support such a program. It's not our responsibility to do the whole thing, though.

»  +-(1735)  

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    The Chair: I thought she was concerned about CATSA, because there are other concerns, as you can appreciate—the collection of the security charge. The challenge the airlines and the travellers have put up is whether it's a necessary charge, whether it's too much—we've gone from $12 to $8 to $6, wherever we are now—and whether perhaps the expenditures are not meeting the revenue, or it could be that the expenditures are much higher than the revenue shows. It was exclusively about what you folks are doing with respect to the revenue that was collected on your behalf.

    How do you reconcile that?

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: Mr. Chair, again the collection of revenue is not done by CATSA or for CATSA. CATSA receives an appropriation from Parliament and budgets toward providing the best possible service within the federal budget allocation that's been given to it for the five-year period for airport security.

+-

    The Chair: So it's not user pay?

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: We are not basing our expenditures on use, if that's a better way of putting it. We are not matching--and this would be the Auditor General's concern. The revenue that's collected goes to the consolidated revenue fund, and the Department of Finance deals with that part of it.

    In terms of the expenditures, nobody from that side is coming to us and saying, this is how much we've collected; set your operations within those particular bounds. What Parliament is saying to us is, here is so much money; set your operations to that much money.

+-

    The Chair: It's not user pay?

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: It's not user pay, and some would argue it shouldn't be.

+-

    The Chair: Well, that will be for another day. We have enough arguments around this table.

    The Department of Homeland Security has just recently held hearings in the United States, and they have addressed the issue of the rapidly deteriorating airline industry and trying to bring their expenditures in line with what's needed at the airlines with reduced passenger loads. I'm told that Secretary Ridge has indicated to both the Senate committee hearing and House of Representatives committee hearing last week that there were reductions approaching 20%, between 15% and 20%, across the board on all security issues with respect to airlines in the country because of the reduced traffic.

    You have said today that you are increasing your number of administrative people from 85 to 165 or 175. You're dealing exclusively with the airline industry. You're increasing by 800 people or something. Because the airline industry in Canada parallels that of the United States, how do you reconcile what the Americans are doing today? They're reducing, and you're increasing.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: It might look like that, Mr. Chair, but it's important for you to know that last year we gave back to the air carriers $77 million that they had to take into account because they were taking care of pre-board screening before CATSA was in place. They don't have to do that anymore.

+-

    The Chair: No, we're aware of that.

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: In the United States the air carriers were still paying—it's going to end by June 1—for pre-board screening and security measures. That's not the case in Canada.

    We are trying to be cost-efficient, we are trying to reduce our costs, and I think it's important for me to stress that once again we will be within the budget allocation. So we are trying to save money and make sure we are part of the solution.

»  +-(1740)  

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    The Chair: The question didn't ask whether you were going to stay within your budget. The question was explicit in what is happening in the United States—and we started the same process in Canada at the same time. They have come to realize that maybe there was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction and they hired a lot more people than they should. They put them in and trained them. We doubled their salaries here. But now they are finding in the airline industry that they have far more equipment and far more people than they need because of the reduction in air-travelling public.

    My question to you is this. We are experiencing the same drop in passenger loads at airports, yet we are increasing our expenditures, from the evidence you've given us today. We are going from 85 administrative people to 160. We are increasing by 800 the number of people at the security... Instead of reducing according to the number of people who are travelling through our airports to get on airplanes, we are increasing our expenditures.

    That was the question: how can we reconcile what the Americans are doing with respect to the security issues and the cost reductions, 15 to 20%, and the fact that we are increasing?

+-

    Mr. Jacques Duchesneau: Mr. Chair, our plan was to have 165 employees at headquarters. We are now at 135 people. We froze the hiring, but we still have to deploy $500 million worth of equipment. So we need people to do that. If we use the accepted ratio when we compare Canada to the United States, a one to ten ratio, they have 65,000 employees; altogether, if we include our screeners, we have about 3,200 employees. So the ratio is not there.

    We've been stretching the employees a lot within the organization, and I can go down with you and see all the positions that we have created.

+-

    The Chair: I take your word. I'm just asking, if they are decreasing and we are increasing, does it make any sense?

    Mr. Gallaway, if you want to—

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: You finish, please.

+-

    The Chair: Okay.

    Do you want to come back to that? I have to be frank with you; I'm not happy with that answer. We'll come back at it another day.

»  +-(1745)  

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: All right.

+-

    The Chair: This is my last question.

    You talked about consistency, Mr. Duncan. I can only give you a colloquial comparison. We spend a lot of time in airports, and as a result we spend a lot of time now looking at how our security is working. I'm not saying this is a general statement, but let me just tell you what happened yesterday.

    I went through one—don't put down the airport, please. I carry a little satchel, and I went through security twice at different airports. Then I said, this can't be true, so I went outside of security and back into security. So I went through security three times.

    Nothing was changed in that little satchel—nothing. One time—the first, the second, or the third—it took 10 minutes to get through security and they searched through everything, everything to the medicine kit that's in the satchel. In two other areas I went through, they didn't even want to look inside. Nothing had happened to the inside. So we are not consistent yet. I just want to draw that to your attention. We are not nearly consistent.

    On the other area that I think is so critical to what we're doing—because I talk to these folks—in Toronto when you go through the airport and you put your bags through, when the person who is checking the screen finds something on the screen that he or she doesn't like—let me be gender neutral here—they stop the machine, and that person goes and checks the bag.

    There's not a lot of rush in airports these days, but when there's a little bit of a rush, by the very fact that the person stops the machine and goes to check the baggage herself or himself, the lineups stretch out to the ticket counters. When you have three lines operating, with 48 employees that I could count in those three lines, it seems to me you shouldn't stop the line. Somebody should be there to check it if someone's not happy.

    In another airport I said, this is operating very smoothly; what happens if you check this bag? Well, So-and-so checks the bag if somebody is concerned. I said, well, they don't do that at other airports. They had no answer for that. So if you could just get...

    Maybe you want to respond to that. I'm going to stop, but those are the little things where there is no consistency, and the lineups get so long and so frustrating.

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: Yes. Could we employ your input along with our Transport Canada inspectors?

    This is a dilemma. At a small airport, it would be ridiculous to have seven people in the line. Hence, we have three, and hence, you have that issue of the person essentially doing double duty. If you have a large airport, you have seven people, which flows a lot better.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Duncan, I don't think you want to go down that road.

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: Okay.

+-

    The Chair: It's just the opposite to what you have explained. The small airports function pretty well. It's the big one, where you have lots of people.

+-

    Mr. Mark Duncan: We are certainly working with that. We would like it to be smooth. We do recognize, with new employees and—

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Keyes is next.

    Thank you very much. I think those are real areas we can all work together on to make it smooth.

    I'm sorry, Mr. Barnes, we are going in camera, but Mr. Keyes...

    Mr. Gallaway, then Mr. McLaughlin.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Mr. McLaughlin, you are the CFO of CATSA. You made reference to your books being audited by the Office of the Auditor General. Having regard to the fact that the Auditor General is indeed the auditor of the Public Accounts of Canada for the House of Commons—in other words, the Auditor General works for us, not for you—what limitations do you place on the Auditor General when they audit your books where those numbers fall within the 17% solution you have referred to today?

    Regarding the Auditor General—I don't know who appears; I have no idea—but they report to the House of Commons. What limitations would you place on them in terms of information?

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: Mr. Chair, in response to the question, the Auditor General, under section 10 of the Financial Administration Act, is appointed as auditor. As a limitation under the Financial Administration Act, the Auditor General, as the auditor of CATSA, reports to the board of directors of the organization, and only to the extent that a matter arises that she feels should be brought to the attention of Parliament would that matter be brought to the attention of Parliament. Otherwise, she is acting as the auditor of the corporation.

    So there is in fact a split in the responsibilities of the Auditor General between the public accounts and the accounts of CATSA. In effect, the Auditor General would have to seek the same kind of legal advice as we did if she decided she wanted to release any of the information contained within the 17%, which is fully available to her as our auditor.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Gallaway.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Let me then ask the second question. Having regard to the fact that you've referred to the pertinent section of the CATSA Act that makes the Auditor General the auditor of your books, the reason for it is clear. That is that you're spending public money, and therefore our accountant or auditor must look at your books.

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: Yes, absolutely.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: Having regard to that, then, and to the fact that these people are accountants—auditors—out there, what limitations do you place on them in terms of disseminating this very sensitive information regarding national security? What would prevent one of them from talking to someone about these very sensitive matters pertaining to the national security?

»  +-(1750)  

+-

    Mr. Michael McLaughlin: Mr. Chair, the Auditor General's office has a professional code of conduct, and that code of conduct, which is governed by the CICA, has the Auditor General responding to the legislation in the same manner as we would.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we're going to go in camera, but first, Mr. Keyes put a notice of motion on the floor at the last meeting that has been given the 48 hours' notice. We comply with all the rules and the requirements of this committee. We will now put the motion and we will have a vote.

    Mr. Keyes.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: Are you done with the witnesses, Mr. Chairman?

+-

    The Chair: Oh, yes. I'm sorry.

    I'm glad we're leaving on much better terms. Thank you all for coming.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Before we go in camera to discuss the issues the committee would like to raise on the other options before it with regard to the agenda we just have been going through, I serve the committee with a motion.

    This motion, Mr. Chairman, comes from a study to date of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system. The Subcommittee on Marine Transportation, chaired by Mr. Gallaway, heard from many stakeholders who outlined their concerns regarding the negative operational and economic impact of the legislated compulsory pilotage requirements for Canadian owners and ship operators in Canadian waters. Here is what this motion, in a nutshell, does respecting the work of the subcommittee.

    In consultation with the subcommittee, we are piecing out an issue on pilotage from the study on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system and bringing it before this committee for its consideration. I will take the precise recommendations as read, unless you want them all read one by one. In a nutshell, the recommendations we will make with this motion, Mr. Chairman, would then of course be immediately passed to the Minister of Transport for his hopefully immediate response.

    What we're trying to do, Mr. Chairman, is deal with what could potentially be a negative operational and economic impact on the operators of ships that ply the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway—more specifically the St. Lawrence Seaway, because we already have pilotage exemption in the Great Lakes. Now what we want is that same opportunity for ships that ply the St. Lawrence Seaway system.

    I know Mr. Laframboise, for example, has concerns about safety, but the motion before you outlines the significant steps that I think would modernize the pilotage regime in Canada but still be very attentive, through regulation, to the safety concerns people might have concerning these ships plying the St. Lawrence Seaway.

    We're attempting to deal with a situation before it becomes a crisis. We're dealing with Air Canada now in bankruptcy court because we didn't see it coming. All of a sudden now the airline industry is having a tough time trying to reorganize itself for matters admittedly not within our responsibility or even our projected assessment. You have 9/11, SARS, and all of the rest of it; that's all going to have a play.

    But here's an industry that is hanging on by its fingertips. We want to be proactive. We want to save them some $15 million, as a ballpark figure, over a year's time in pilotage fees—fees for work that quite clearly can be handled with the skill and level of experience of Canadian masters and their crews, and of course all the sophistication of the navigation technology used on the ships today.

    So, Mr. Chairman, I put that before you. As I say, the actual recommendations are submitted as read. I would hope my colleagues would vote in favour of this motion passing so that we may get this message to the minister immediately for his response.

»  +-(1755)  

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    The Chair: I thank you, Mr. Keyes, for bringing that motion forward and for your interest. You, above all people, know more about the viability of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system, I think, than all of us combined.

    Are you seconding that motion, Mr. Laframboise?

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: No.

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    The Chair: Oh. Do we have a seconder for that motion? Mr. Proulx.

    We have some discussion from Mr. Gouk, and then from Mr. Laframboise.

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    Mr. Jim Gouk: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I'm very much in favour of the concept of this, and I think you've addressed the concern I had that I talked to you about before. I just want to make sure—because in here you have “Canadian ships certified by Transport Canada or its delegated authority”—is there no specific certification of the person who will operate the ship in the place of the pilot, other than just the guidelines you put in here? Would there be no actual certification of the individual who will operate the ship in place of the pilot?

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    Mr. Stan Keyes: No, there is a certification the master would have to go through in order to ensure.... As you might see a little further down, Jim, there are pre-conditions. For example, he or she must be a regular member of the ship's complement. They have to hold a valid certificate of competency, of the proper grade and class, issued by the Minister of Transport, recognized by the ministry for the purposes of the subsection of the Canada Shipping Act. They have to have been certified within the preceding 12 months. There's quite a list here of assurances that the master, the operator—

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    Mr. Jim Gouk: I understand that. Those certifications are things they require just at their level as crew. It's not a certification they get to replace the pilot; is that correct?

    I'm all in favour of this, Stan. My concern is that the act right now allows for a crew member with the proper training to be certified to pilot the ship instead of bringing on a pilot, but the certification authority is the pilotage authority, and it is so onerous that is virtually impossible.

    That is what we want to get around. Theoretically we already have this, but in reality we don't because of the bureaucracy that drives it. What I would think we have to put in place is something that basically removes that step, that puts conditions in. The pilotage authority says, we don't want this happening, we want this job; we want our people working, so we'll be the certification unit, and by God, they're going to have a hell of a time ever getting certified.

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    Mr. Stan Keyes: I want to give you a level of comfort, and I want to give Mr. Laframboise a level of comfort.

    This is a motion that is a recommendation to the minister. Of course a lot more detail is going to have to be fleshed out in this. There are regulatory concerns that would have to be answered. Those, of course, would come back to us through the Minister of Transport. He'd have the entire department working this thing up. Then we'd have a good look at it as well and support or not support it.

    You're absolutely right in what you're saying. With this motion, nothing is going to happen immediately, and it's going to have to go through a lot more consideration. It puts the wheels in motion.

    These are wheels, by the way... I sat in that chair where Mr. Comuzzi is sitting now for years. We put forward the Keyes report, the precursor to the Canada Marine Act. We went through pilotage. You'll recall sitting listening to witnesses ad nauseam on this subject.

    Mr. Jim Gouk: Yes, sure.

    Mr. Stan Keyes: I think it's time we put the wheels in motion, and that's what this motion does.

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    The Chair: Thank you.

    Mr. Laframboise.

[Translation]

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would first like to say that I never thought I would have to tell the committee chairman that I hope he follows section 116 of the Standing Orders, which allows me to use as much time as I want to explain my position on this motion.

    Mr. Chairman, these are probably the worst times in history for marine pilotage.

    Why is that? A Senate committee looked at the Marine Act, heard from marine pilots and industry representatives and its report has not yet been published.

    Apparently, the Subcommittee on Marine Transportation heard the witnesses. The marine pilots did not appear before the Subcommittee on Marine Transportation, Mr. Chairman. There was no thorough review of marine transportation and piloting on the St. Lawrence River.

    Mr. Chairman, the St. Lawrence River is Quebec's jewel and we cannot let a disaster like the Exxon Valdez happen again, which could contaminate all of the shores of the St. Lawrence River. We can't let that happen just to accommodate the industry, that just wants to reduce its costs. It is clear that that is the ultimate purpose of the motion.

    Apparently Canadian vessels could be exempt. The wish is simply to exempt ships. There is already a captain certification process.

    The problem for the industry is that once the captains are certified, they want a salary increase. That is a problem for the industry. It is not the only problem the navigation industry in Canada has. There is also the problem that Canada demands fees that other countries don't. There must be a thorough debate on this, and I was expecting the subcommittee that is chaired by Mr. Gallaway to call all of the witnesses and decide to do the same thing as the Senate committee.

    Mr. Keyes tells us that the ships going through the Great Lakes are exempt from pilotage. That is not true, Mr. Keyes. There are annual permits that are given for the Great Lakes. There is no exemption. Those annual permits have been given out for decades. The day a disaster occurs on the Great Lakes, you will be the first to want to review the exemptions.

    We just want Canadian shipowners to have an industry-wide exemption so that they can compete with other shipowners around the world. There are, however, other fees besides the pilotage fees. Other measures could be taken rather than pushing through a resolution that hasn't even been discussed and passed by the subcommittee, and that we would pass even before the subcommittee does.

    Mr. Chairman, I cannot let this go through and I must say a few words about the history of the St. Lawrence River. I hope you will take the time to listen to me recap some of the evidence the Senate committee heard from pilotage industry representatives. Mr. Chairman, I am sure you will protect my parliamentary right under section 116 of the Standing Orders.

    I am pleased to discuss with you...

¼  +-(1800)  

[English]

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    The Chair: Would you give me the courtesy, Mr. Laframboise, of allowing you two more minutes to make your point, please?

[Translation]

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Mr. Chairman, pursuant to section 116, you are not allowed to do that. We are discussing a motion and you must give me all the time I want. I could talk for hours on end. I probably have enough to keep me going until June 24, if the House of Commons sits until then.

[English]

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    The Chair: Mr. Laframboise, I respect the rules. Unless there is contrary opinion in the room, I'm going to ask you to stop talking at five minutes after six; then I'm going to ask whether we should put the vote or not on the motion.

[Translation]

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: You cannot call the vote, Mr. Chairman. You cannot call the vote as long as I have the floor. All you can do is suspend the meeting until we come back for another meeting, Mr. Chairman.

    I don't want to reach that point. I have been a member of this committee for nearly three years now and I have never had to challenge the chair, but the manner in which this motion was presented forces me to ask that you respect my parliamentary rights. I am entitled to tell you everything I want to on the St. Lawrence River and its safety. If you wish, you can adjourn the meeting, but we will return next week. I am allowed to speak, Mr. Chairman.

    Let me start. One cannot overstress the importance of the St. Lawrence River. It is a privileged means of access that plays a major role in the economy of the entire eastern half of the North American continent, and it is an ecosystem that boasts exceptional flora and wildlife.

    Marine navigation is difficult in several places, so a system whereby ships are generally placed in the hands of people with knowledge...

¼  -(1805)  

[English]

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    The Chair: Mr. Laframboise, I'm going to adjourn the meeting. We're going in camera. I'm not calling the vote until tomorrow.

[Translation]

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: You are not allowed to do that, Mr. Chairman. I challenge your ruling. You are not allowed to call the vote.

    [Proceedings continue in camera]