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Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development



Wednesday, December 13, 2006

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



     Good afternoon, committee. It's good to see each one of you on perhaps this final day of the 39th session.
    This is the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, meeting 37. Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, September 20, 2006, we have Bill C-293, an act respecting the provision of development assistance abroad. We are going to continue in the exercise of clause-by-clause in the hopes that we will finish this afternoon.
    We will proceed to amendment NDP-7 on clause 3, and I will ask Madam McDonough to begin. Basically, amendment NDP-7 is the deletion of lines 14 to 19 on page 2, the definition of “non-governmental organization”.
    Madam McDonough, would you like to explain that?
    Just as you said, Mr. Chair, the amendment is that Bill C-293 in clause 3 be amended by deleting lines 14 to 19 on page 2. This simply deletes the definition of “non-governmental organization” and replaces it with a new amendment that defines “civil society”.
    Which we have already done.
    Yes. We sort of ended up going back, and now we're going forward again. Hopefully everybody remembers that.
    Yes, this is basically a consequential amendment to the deletion of part of the bill yesterday.
    Are there any other comments on this?
    So moved.
    (Amendment agreed to)
    We will proceed to amendment NDP-4.1.
    Do you mean on clause 4?
    It's on clause 3. It's a new amendment that has just been brought forward. I don't know if you have a reference number there. The reference number is 2600145.
    Madam McDonough.
    This proposes that Bill C-293 in clause 3 be amended by deleting lines 4 to 7 on page 2. It's simply removing the old definition because we've already replaced it with a new definition.
    All right. So moved then.
    (Amendment agreed to)
    Okay. Because of that, then, we have Madam McDonough on reference 2599864, another new amendment that's been brought forward. This is consequential. It replaces “development assistance” with “official development assistance” in all of the following provisions.
    Do you want me to read it into the record? I don't need to?
    No. Well, okay.
    I move that Bill C-293 be amended by replacing “development assistance” with “official development assistance” in the following provisions: (a) through (i)--which I think everybody has in front of them.
    All right.
    Mr. Patry.
    Thank you. I agree with clauses 1, 2, and 3, but we didn't finish clauses 4, 6, 7, and 9. Maybe it depends....You want to change it everywhere.
    I agree in a sense, but I would like to not accept clause 3 right now and see if we need to come back because of some definitions.
    All right.
    (Amendment agreed to) [See Minutes of Proceedings]
    We have amended clause 3 now. This is where I would normally ask, “Shall clause 3 carry as amended?”
     I disagree with this for the moment, because I have another question on clause 3.
    All right.


    We didn't look at the definition of international agency.


    In French, it is on page 1.
    It says “any intergovernmental organization“. (...) However, a governmental organization can also be an international agency.


    So your concern is on page 1.
    It's on page 1 in French, and page 2 in English on line 8 in the definitions.
    Mr. McKay.
    If he could explain the point again, I'm not quite sure I follow it.
    The point is that “any agency” doesn't mean “any intergovernmental organization”. You could have an international agency that was not related to government, in a sense. For me that just means any organization whose objective includes global poverty reduction, or international humanitarian assistance.
    So you're objecting to the word “intergovernmental”.
    Yes, because it's restricted to intergovernmental organizations,


    Exactly, Madam. Thank you.


    If Mr. Patry wants to delete “intergovernmental”, I can't see why that's objectionable, on the face of it. I have no objection to what he is saying, unless someone can tell me where that would mean something different.
     I'm just looking through the bill as it's presented. In clause 5, “agency” is not limited to intergovernmental. In subclause 4(2) it says “...the competent minister may consult with international agencies and Canadian non-governmental organizations.” Again, I don't see any harm in taking out the word “intergovernmental”.
    Is that the point?
    Yes, because I want it to be broader.
    Okay. Good.
    You heard the rationale. So it would read:
“international agency” means any organization whose objectives include global poverty reduction or international humanitarian assistance.
    We are removing the word “intergovernmental” under the international agency definition.
    (Amendment agreed to)
    Thank you, Mr. Patry.
    Is there anything else on clause 3?
    Not for the moment.
     Mr. Goldring.
    In clause 3 on page 2 at the end of line 3, would it add clarity to simply add “in relation to this act”? It would read:
“competent minister” means any minister designated by the Governor in Council to provide development assistance in relation to this act.
    What would be accomplished by that?


     We're trying to define it and add to it or be inclusive with this amendment in order to correlate the two with the existing wording, but simply by adding clarity to it in relation to this act.
    I understand your point. I would have thought, as an operating assumption of the bill, that any definition only applies to the bill itself. It has no extra application. If you think that will actually add something, I'm happy to do it. I just don't see how it operates.
    Mr. Menzies.
    I share the concern. There's a bit of ambiguity about it. My sense is that it's certainly not going to take away from it. It would just define it a little better, if anything.
    Merry Christmas.
    When we do these definitions, they're put in place so that they can be defined within the act. I think it's a given—
    That's a given.
    —but if that alleviates the concern that you have, I don't see any negative feedback on that.
    Are we in favour of that?
    (Amendment agreed to)
    Which one is carried?
    Mr. Goldring's.
    I just want to ask John a question, if you will allow me, Mr. Chair.
    Through the chair, yes.
    John, when you say “international agency”, would it not be better to say “association”? Some internationals are associations but not agencies, in a sense.
    I don't think anything turns on the words “agency” or “association”.
    In terms of association, you can have international associations that are not agencies. I'm just asking you what you feel about this. I'm not objecting to “agency” itself. I just want it to be broader.
    The word “agency” is used throughout the bill. To my mind, it has a more precise meaning than does “association”. Presumably you are going to be directing the government to deal with recognized entities, and the word “agency” generally brings it within a concept of recognition from government to government and from government to NGOs.
    My suggestion would be that you stay with the word “agency”. The more you loosen it, the less precision you get. For instance, paragraph 9(1)(e) states, “a summary of the Departmental Performance Report of the Canadian International Development Agency”. The word is used throughout. I think it's a bit more precise when you use the word “agency”.
    I just like the other one, but that's fine.
    (Clause 3 as amended agreed to on division)
    (On clause 4—Development assistance)
    Let's proceed to clause 4 and our first amendment. It is amendment CPC-1, which adds a new subsection.
    Mr. Casey.
    Is that line 31 in clause 4? Is that where we are?
    Yes, clause 4.
    This addresses some of the concerns raised by Mr. Flack, of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
     We want to add a third subsection. We don't want to take away from anything that's there. We're not trying to change subclauses (1) and (2). We want to add a subclause (3) just to address the Department of Foreign Affairs' concern that the scope is too large and will prevent the Minister of Finance from doing things he might want to do, like corrections training and all the things the Department of Foreign Affairs outlined—witness protection, peace process, land mines, judicial system training, and things like that—that aren't necessarily under development assistance. They might be things the competent minister might want to do, but they don't come under the poverty restriction or narrow scope. They just want to make sure the minister is free to do those things, and they were also concerned about requiring the minister to make reports on confidential events that happened at the Bretton Woods meetings, and things like that.
    It has subclauses (1) and (2) already. We're not proposing to take anything away, we just propose to add this subclause 4(3):
(3) If the Minister of Finance is designated as a competent minister under this Act, this Act applies to the Minister of Finance only in respect of the Minister's powers under the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act, and any development assistance provided under the Act shall be deemed to be in compliance with this section.


     Thank you, Mr. Casey.
    You're welcome.
    He's moving that amendment.
    Mr. McKay.
    I would oppose this amendment, Chair. I think the amendment was put forward without the benefit of the clauses that we've already passed.
    The amendment, if left as is, provides, if you will, a gaping loophole for the Minister of Finance to just drive a truck through. It would almost exempt the minister from ODA provided by the Minister of Finance.
    Given that we've already rectified the concern by the new definitions of both “international assistance” and “official development assistance”, I think this particular subclause cannot survive.
    Madam McDonough.
    Yes, I would also speak against this amendment. I'm not suggesting this is the intention, but the effect of this could, in a way, do an end run around the entire purpose of the bill. I think it could really undermine exactly what we're trying to achieve here.
    I'm not hearing what the rationale is for this, but in the absence of that, I think it's not supportable, so I'd speak against it.
    Mr. Casey.
    As I recall in Mr. Flack's testimony, he said that things like debt relief might be prevented by this bill under the other clauses without this. Any of the things that Canada has done, like land mines...I think we all agree that was a great international effort, but it might not be possible to fund things like that.
    Judicial system training.... We heard recently that the RCMP are training other officers in many other countries. That might not be possible, and so on.
    Those are not poverty reduction issues, and all we're saying is that he'd be allowed to do those things outside the narrow purview of “only poverty”. If it's only poverty, we can't do these things.
    Certainly I know opposition parties are often calling for debt relief for countries that can't pay their bills, and under this, theoretically, you might not be able to do that.
    That was the position put forth by the Department of Foreign Affairs. That's why this is added.
    Going by what our researcher says here, when the testimony was here, this amendment would have been put in place because of the testimony that there was a concern that there might be a conflict with the Bretton Woods Act, so this would take away....
    Mr. Patry.
    I would support Mr. Casey, in the sense that when the Minister of Finance came here, he said there was some contribution with the Canadian International Development Agency. There is interest-free lending of money. You see this for some countries. There is also the International Monetary Fund's poverty reduction and growth facility, and also the debt relief.
    I think we don't want to stop the Minister of Finance, in a sense, from going along with this argument. I feel this is an amendment just to protect the Bretton Woods...and other international obligations with the Bretton Woods—
    Mr. McKay.
    There were two issues raised by the Department of Finance. The first issue had to do with preventing the very things Mr. Casey is talking about.
    The second issue had to do with confidentiality issues, and you'll see further on in amendments that we've dealt with the confidentiality issues, assuming we get to those amendments today.
    With respect to this one, you'll recollect that I was describing what we were doing yesterday as the universe of international assistance, and within the universe of international assistance was the ODA. Because there is a difference between ODA and international assistance, all of the things the minister would wish to do with debt relief with respect to policemen in Haiti and with respect to various programs that are going on in Afghanistan could still be done by the minister. It just would not be counted as ODA.
    When this bill receives royal assent, the Government of Canada will still carry on the way it's been carrying on. The issue will be whether policemen in Haiti count for ODA purposes, and that's the issue.
    If this amendment goes forward, frankly, there is not much point to the bill, because the Minister of Finance will be completely exempt from the provisions of this bill.


    I'll go to Mr. Martin, but first I'll just read the testimony from them.
    Is this a quote?
     Yes, that's his speech.
First, as currently drafted, Bill C-293 could affect not only the Bretton Woods Act, but also statutes from which the minister draws authority for other international but non-developmental-related activities.
     I think this amendment was put in place to alleviate those concerns.
    Mr. Martin.
    I understand what you're saying and what the representatives from finance said and what Dr. Patry said, but in point of fact there's absolutely nothing at all in this bill that would preclude the excellent work that is done and will continue to be done after this bill is passed in the House.
     I hope we understand, as Mr. McKay said, that all ODA is international assistance but not all international assistance is ODA-able. Because of that margin, we are allowed to continue the excellent programs, as you quite correctly said, and more. Nothing will preclude that.
     I think this motion, as well-intentioned as it is, will do nothing other than undermine the essence of the bill.
    Mr. Menzies and then Mr. Casey.
    I think Mr. Martin just made a good argument for putting this in. Why on earth would we want to disallow the good things this country does to not be definable as official development assistance? Other countries do.
    Is there some reason Mr. McKay's bill should have the intent of embarrassing the government by suggesting we don't do our fair share of official development assistance, because we can't define it and we've tied our hands with this piece of legislation? There's no reason on earth we wouldn't accept this as a friendly amendment, to make sure we are recognized for what we do.
     I absolutely support Mr. Casey's amendment. I think it's absolutely critical. We listened to the witnesses. We just heard the testimony that we need this. It's absolutely unimaginable that we wouldn't want to put this in.
    Mr. Casey and then Mr. McKay.
    With all due respect to the comments, it's absolutely clear. Clause 4(1) says:
Development assistance may be provided only if the competent minister is of the opinion that it:

(a) contributes to poverty reduction;

(b) takes into account the perspectives of the poor; and

(c) is consistent with Canada’s international human rights obligations.
    If we leave that, there's no room for debt relief, no room to deal with the money laundering that was described to us, no room for funding landmines, judicial system training, or training police officers.
     It's very clear. If an opposition member wanted to take the government to account when the Minister of Finance wanted to apply debt relief to another country, they could take this clause and say you're breaking the law.
     It's very clear. It may not be what you wanted to do, but that's very clear.
    No, no, no. That's the point.
    We need order here.
    Mr. Goldring.
    I agree with Mr. Casey.
    It was very clear in some of the testimony before the committee and particularly with relationship to Haiti. We asked what the other essential elements are as part of poverty reduction. Of course the other essential elements are the security, the vetting of the police, the training, and many of the other elements. If we try to define and separate that from the good will of trying to reduce poverty, I think that would hugely complicate it. It would not only complicate it, but it would put some of these initiatives in jeopardy by trying to define them and put them into one category or the other.
    Mr. McKay.
    Mr. Chair, I would have hoped that the government members had consulted with their own officials prior to making their argument.
     You did the definitions in clause 3. This entire concern, legitimate as it was when the testimony was given by the finance department officials, has been entirely dealt with. There is no basis for the concern. Therefore, there is no basis for the amendment. And as I'm given to understand, in that some folks have dealt with finance department officials as recently as this morning, they are no longer concerned. So this amendment is not necessary. In fact, if it goes forward, it will leave a monster hole in the bill.


    Mr. Casey and then Mr. Menzies.
    I just wonder, if the land-mine effort funding, debt relief, and policing in developing countries that are provided by Canada isn't aid, what is it?
     It's unofficial development assistance, international assistance. It's not official development assistance.
    I don't know how you can—
    That's the point of the bill. The bill is that you connect your official development assistance to poverty alleviation. That's what we've been talking about for the many times?
     Mr. McKay, in all honesty, we've also heard the testimony that debt relief, for example, is one of the first steps you can take for poverty reduction. Those arguments can be made.
    This is just making sure.... I don't know whether it's fair to say this is leaving a gaping hole in this bill. I think it's a realistic concern: we want the opportunity to go for debt relief. We want the opportunity to do some of this and to get credit for it, to have it ODA-able.
    There is nothing to stop the Minister of Finance from giving Mali $10 million or $100 million tomorrow—
    —and having it connect to poverty alleviation. Who's to argue that it isn't poverty alleviation? But if they give the same $100 million debt relief to, say, Russia, it might not be ODA-able.
    There's nothing to stop them doing this. If you leave this in place, it basically exempts the Minister of Finance from the bill.
    Mr. Menzies.
    I fail to see why it would exempt the Minister of Finance from the bill. Once again, I think it's making a stronger piece of legislation that actually recognizes that the finance minister plays a role.
    This is the argument I was trying to make yesterday, that we're dealing with a number of different ministers. We may be dealing with the public security minister in some of these functions, in security issues that we promote in other countries. Why shouldn't that be ODA-able? Why shouldn't that be part of the package?
    If you have some advice from the finance department, please table it and share it with the rest of us, because I'm not willing to accept your word on this, Mr. McKay.
    Do you have that?
    I can call somebody who's been doing the negotiations. Does that count?
     I'm not asking for that. I think this amendment is a friendly amendment; it's helpful to the legislation; it defines it.
    With the greatest respect, I think your advice is behind the times. The evidence was given on the basis of the bill as it was drafted, and the Department of Finance was speaking about the bill as it was drafted. Now it's amended. There is no problem.
    Madam McDonough.
    I completely support John McKay's position on this. I think you're making an argument that would have perhaps had some sway before we changed the definitions.
    But let's get back to first principles and what the objective is of what we're doing. It is to put into a legislative format the express desires, first unanimously by this committee and then by the House of Commons, to make poverty reduction the absolutely central priority of our official development assistance. That's what this bill does, and I think this subverts the very measures we put in place.
    There's nothing here that precludes the government's doing all those various things you're talking about. But the ones that don't pertain to poverty reduction aren't ODA-able. That's the simple fact of it.
    I guess the other thing is that it seems like a rather theoretical discussion when we're languishing at 0.32% of our ODA obligations. The real issue is how we are going to move forward on our poverty reduction commitments while the government can go on doing all kinds of things, some of them with the full support, some of them not with the full support of other members of Parliament and other parties in the House. But that's to be determined by the votes that take place in the House.


    When we talk about languishing at 0.32%, I think in fairness that is what the government side is saying. We all recognize a desire to work towards the 0.7%. But if there's $10 million or $15 million here because of something, and it isn't going to be counted, I'm wondering whether it's possible that a government is going to hesitate and say: “We get no credit for this. Why would we do it?” It's a consideration.
    We have Mr. Goldring.
     I think if we go back to our visits to the Scandinavian countries and the consultations there, they added to it. They recognized that a number of things help and assist and help the poverty situation. There is governance, for example. How much funding has gone through poor governance, and how much more can be affected and impacted by it?
    We had witness after witness here who repeated the same thing. We were very specific on Haiti and asked them what the essential components were. To leave out security, to leave out governance, and to put it into a different file or pocket could do harm to it. It's the overall feeling that to exclude this.... It really does make this bill much more important to have that excluded.
    Mr. McKay, your one reference that we didn't take part in--because we all took part in the witnesses, so we know what the witnesses were saying--was your one reference from the department itself, on which you have nothing to produce here for us. But all the other witnesses--the government witnesses, what we heard abroad, what we heard from Haiti--would imply that this should be in this bill.
    Thank you, Mr. Goldring.
    Go ahead, Mr. Casey.
    If I were the finance minister, and a member like Mr. Martin asked for medical aid for Ghana, for instance, I think I could say that I can't do that because it's against the law. Without the amendment I'm proposing, the finance minister can use that as an excuse for almost everything. He can shut off almost everything, because he can just say that the opposition passed an amendment that says he can't do that unless it contributes to poverty reduction, health care, policing, and things like that. That's what's going to happen.
    If I were the finance minister and I didn't want to provide funding for a certain issue, I would just say that it's against the law and that I can't do it, as the amendment was passed. I think it's an awful mistake to not put the amendment in and allow the finance minister to proceed and do the things that finance ministers have done for decades.
    Thank you.
    We'll have Mr. Martin, then Mr. Menzies, then Madame Bourgeois.
    I just want to say that nothing of what Mr. Casey has offered is against the law, as he said. We are able to do all those things. I think we have to get back to first principles for the purpose of this bill. The purpose of this bill is to be able to define our ODA, and all the things you mentioned, all the wonderful initiatives you mentioned--debt reduction, demining, victim assistance, governance issues--could be defined as poverty reduction.
    All Mr. McKay is trying to do here is give clarity to what ODA is and make sure that ODA is poverty reduction and not something else. All the things you've offered are ODA-able, and even if they were considered not ODA-able, they would still fall under the envelope of international assistance and therefore are doable and not illegal.
    Mr. Martin, when the world is striving to reach 0.7%, and indeed many countries have reached it.... Are some of the concerns that Mr. Casey has brought forward part of the ODA in other countries?
    You can make all the things, all the wonderful initiatives that Mr. Casey has mentioned and works on, quite frankly, ODA-able. If they are not considered ODA-able, they are still doable, because they fit under the envelope of international assistance.


    They're still doable, but they aren't doable within the envelope of ODA.
    But they're doable under international assistance. All those—
    But in other countries they would be included within ODA.
    But all those things are ODA-able.
    In many countries they would be.
    Under this bill they would be too. We just have to focus, I think, on why we are doing this bill. In fact, this bill has actually added to our international reputation and will actually enable us to buttress what is considered to be ODA-able.
     What we have done historically is not attach initiatives and money that we have spent on international assistance to being ODA-able. That's been our fault. What we ought to be doing is including under our ODA a lot of the things we've done in all our poverty reduction initiatives. We have failed to do that. It's an oversight on our part. But if we were able to include this, then we would be able to say to the world that our actual ODA spending is a whole lot more than what it is and has been for quite a few years.
    We'll go to Mr. Menzies and then Madame Bourgeois.
     I think Madam McDonough made a good point when she raised the 0.32%, or wherever we're at now. That's the way the world views us.
    If we narrow the definitions, as we've done—and I was not comfortable with the definitions that we approved yesterday, and that's why it is all the more important to put this amendment in—we will be held up as a non-performer, as not living up to our standards.
    I've met with ministers of international cooperation from other countries who are at 1% of GNP and frankly are not comfortable with where the money's going. They say they get to that standard, they have to provide that amount of money, and they don't even know where it's going.
    Here we are, leaving that standard in place, but by this definition. If we don't accept this amendment, we're setting ourselves up for an international embarrassment when we provide the assistance and yet can't be recognized for doing so by the rest of the world. That's the international standard. So why would we set ourselves up to not be able to be recognized for what we do?
    Madame Bourgeois.


    I simply want to ask you to put the question, Mr. Chairman.


    Madame McDonough.
    Yes, I'm in favour of going to the question too, because I think we are going around and around the same arguments.
    We have a difference of perspective here, but I want to say, at the risk of repetition—you might rule me out of order, because I think there is some kind of rule of repetition—that what's ODA-able is ODA-able. The definition of ODA is an international definition, so what is ODA-able for us is ODA-able for other countries. So that's not actually a valid argument.
    But I think we should call the question, because I think we're not hearing any new arguments, and we should vote and move forward.
    (Amendment negatived on division)
    The next one is Mr. Martin's amendment, reference number 2564606.
    I'll just read—
    Keith, please give people a chance to catch up.
    Mr. Chairman, could you please say again what number that is?
    Reference number 2564606. It relates to line 31 on page 2.


    Go ahead, Mr. Martin. You move your amendment; it's clause 4.
    I am moving the amendment to clause 4, adding the following after line 31 on page 2:
(3) In calculating Canada's official development assistance contribution in Government of Canada publications, the competent minister or the Governor in Council shall consider only development assistance as defined by this Act that meets the criteria in subsection (1), and humanitarian assistance.

(4) Nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to limit or restrict the activities of the International Development Research Centre.
    Subclause (3) is self-explanatory and relates to what we've already defined within the content of this bill.
    Subclause (4) deals with IDRC. IDRC has its own act, and to restrict the activities of IDRC would be extremely not in the interests of our country and the great work IDRC does. With respect to accountability and oversight, this already exists within its own act. So to allay any of this committee's concerns with respect to the oversight of IDRC, that already exists, because IDRC functions under its own act and is subject to the normal accounting and accountability procedures of entities such as IDRC.
     All right.
    So this would add to clause 4, entitled “Development assistance”, as an addition to what we have there now, subclauses (3) and (4).
    Mr. McKay, did you want to speak to that amendment?
    No. I think it's reflective of the testimony we heard and it's far more precise, given our previous changes in the amendments. I see this as particularly responsive to the IDRC folks, who were quite concerned. But when you look at the overall scheme of what we're trying to accomplish here, this is exactly what we want to do.
    Mr. Patry.
    There is a difference between the French and the English. In the English they say “to limit or restrict”; in French, it's


only “de restreindre“.


     I would just like to be sure, because this is going to become law, that “Nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to limit or restrict the activities” or the financing. I want to be sure that they are also going to get their money.
    So there's something missing there in the French?
    Yes, something is missing in the French.


(4) La présente loi n'a pas pour effet de restreindre [...]


    What I would like is to be sure that they are going to get their funding. I just want to be on the safe side with that. So it would read,
Nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to limit the funding or restrict the activities of the International Development Research Centre.
    Mr. Menzies.
    I guess I'm concerned that once again this appears to me to be what we just discounted in the last amendment, by not accepting the last amendment: “shall consider only development assistance as defined by this Act”. I still argue that we got our definitions wrong yesterday, and I opposed those, but I think this will restrict us once again in disbursements and reporting of those disbursements and being actually recognized for what those disbursements are.
    Once again, we may actually be at 0.7%, but we can't tell the world we are, because we've restricted it in this amendment.
    All right. We'll keep that in mind.
    I want to go back to Mr. Patry's comment and just see if our table has the addition that we should insert there.


    “[...] de limiter ou de restreindre [...]“.
    “[...] de limiter le financement ou de restreindre les activités [...]“


    If that's a friendly amendment, then I accept the correction.
    Yes, it's the difference between the French and the English.
    Pas de problème. I accept Dr. Patry's amendment.
    But then you'd have to change the English as well. He said “limit the financing”.
    It's “to limit the funding or restrict the activities”—the funding, le financement.
    I don't want to limit the funding, just to be sure that—


    So it's just adding “the funding” and—
    It's “the funding or restrict the activities”.
    Do you want to write that down, Mr. Patry?
    We're just adding two words in English, because there's something missing in French. In English, it would read:
Nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to limit the funding or restrict the activities of the International Development Research Centre.
    So it's just adding those two words.
    And in French?


    “[...] de limiter le financement ou de restreindre les activités du Centre [...]“


    All right. So that's accepted as a friendly amendment.
    Mr. Menzies.
    I hear no rebuttal to my comments before, and—
    I know, but we will go to that again.
    All right.
    But to that change, “as to limit the funding or restrict the activities of the International Development Research Centre”....
    Mr. Martin.
    I will just say that this is actually saying, Mr. Menzies, that nothing restricts or limits the activities of the IDRC, but nothing precludes the government from including the funds that they give to the IDRC as being ODA-able.
    So if you read it very carefully, the funds that go to the IDRC can clearly be construed as being ODA-able by a government. Nothing in that statement precludes that.
    No, but nothing in the opposite also is true.
    You would have to actually state something in here to restrict that. Nothing in here, nothing in these amendments, restricts the government from including funds that they give to the IDRC as being ODA-able.
    So call the question.
     All right, Mr. Menzies.
    Why are we trying to limit it? Tell me the purpose for that? Why are we trying to make it so narrow that we may exclude such things as peace promotion?
    I'm sorry, Mr. Menzies, but it's in reference to the first part of subclause (3), “In calculating Canada's official development assistance”, so it's not what we've changed. So that's right. That's good.
     Go ahead.
    If that is what we're talking about, I'm not sure where the IDRC got thrown in here. I was trying to look at what we had changed our definition to, because we're referring back to a definition that I think we changed yesterday. I'm trying to make sure we're being consistent. I'm hearing a lot of references to things we don't have a final copy of here, so I'm a little concerned with the process here also. I still say that by limiting this to considering only development assistance as defined by that, we're missing the opportunity to include peace promotion and promoting security.
    It's nice to have a debate, isn't it.
    On clause-by-clause there is no limiting debate, but we're trying to move it as quickly as possible, just so you know.
    We'll go to Mr. Goldring. Then, if there's no further debate, I'll call the question, first of all, on Mr. Patry's friendly amendment.
    The concern is the same. It's very limiting in its outcomes or possible outcomes on what it can cover. We're only trying to include some of the things that have been discussed at the committee meetings on humanitarian aid and other emergency and crisis aid.
     It's taking away the flexibility of what could be occurring. Quite frankly, it can be putting the initial amount of the aid that could be applied toward the circumstance and limiting that too. You're putting it in two different pockets, in effect, to be able to address the circumstance so that you can narrowly define one portion of aid from another. So I agree that it's too narrowly defining what it can be.
    Mr. Menzies.
    How does this relate, Mr. McKay, to our involvement with multilaterals?
    It wouldn't restrict it at all, as long as it falls within ODA. The way you have to read this—
    When they use the OECD definition and we use a different definition?
    We've changed the concept of development assistance to official development assistance. All this bill applies to is official development assistance, ODA.
    When Canada does ODA, it has to show that it contributes to poverty reduction, takes into account perspectives of the poor, and is consistent with Canada's international human rights obligations. Subclause (3) will now read “In calculating Canada's official development assistance”, and you have to reference back to that question.
     That's the point of the bill. It's been around for six months. There's nothing new and nothing novel here. Canada can still carry on providing policemen in Haiti, or you can name all of the projects that Mr. Casey referenced there. Nothing in this bill restricts doing them. But as your leader rightly pointed out when he was the official opposition leader, the point is that Canada's ODA needs to have a string attached to it and is focused on poverty reduction. That's what Mr. Duceppe said, that's what Mr. Layton said, and that's what Mr. Harper said.
    So here we are. We've done this. The chair will be thoroughly depressed to learn that this foreign affairs committee has had this on its agenda since 1987. There's nothing new here. That's the whole point of the bill.


    Mr. Menzies.
    There are some gaps missing in this. We pay dues to international associations that at this point are not ODA-able. Through multilaterals, whether they be in poverty reduction, whether they be in basic security needs, in trade facilitation, or in lifting people out of poverty, I just think they're not ODA-able at that point. We seem to be excluding them even more from us being able to claim them as ODA-able.
     Your argument would be correct if there were no concept of international assistance in the bill. But we've worked that concept into the bill, and the bill will not now apply to international assistance. So carry on.
    Pardon me? It will not apply to international assistance?
    No. You can still carry on. The bill applies to ODA; it doesn't apply to international assistance.
    You're starting to scare me.
    We've been talking about this for a long time now.
    It's the two definitions of “international development” and “official development”. ODA and—
     I know, and then throw into the mix what the rest of the world defines as ODA.
    Give us the big picture, Ted.
    First of all, do we accept the friendly amendment?
    (Amendment agreed to)
    (Amendment as amended agreed to on division)
     Do we have another amendment from the Bloc Québécois on clause 4 that I don't have?
    No, but I think Madam McDonough has an amendment.
    Madam McDonough's is on clause 5.
    Shall we vote on clause 4?
    Mr. Patry.


    I just want you to read me what we have in subclause 4(2).


    It says here:
(2) In arriving at the opinion described in subsection (1), the competent minister shall consult with international agencies and [...]


    I want to know what we're voting on.
    We're voting on the whole clause.
    Yes, but I want to know how subclause 4(2) reads. It's line 28 in English, 29 en français.
    I'll ask our legislative clerk to read it.
    Subclause 4(2) would read:
In arriving at the opinion described in subsection (1), the competent minister shall consult with government, international agencies and Canadian civil society organizations.
    We've already dealt with this one.
    No, but you're voting on the total. I might come back on this because the total was not accepted.
     Yes, we have passed this, but the question is pertinent to whether or not we have a vote to carry clause 4.
    Mr. Patry, continue; you are important.
     I have one question for John.


    You say that the minister shall consult international agencies and Canadian non-governmental organizations, but what happens if a provincial government or members of the civil society want to be consulted also?


     Well, we did put in to consult with governments and international agencies—


    That is not my question.


    —but not provincial.
    That's what he said. Do you want to read it back?
    Yes, we did say that: “consult with governments, international agencies and Canadian civil society organizations”. That was Mr. Goldring—
    Yes. It carried.
    Yes, but it's pertinent to the question on clause 4.
    What's your answer to that, John?
    I don't think there's anything to restrict the minister's consulting with anyone. If it's the Government of Quebec or the Government of Ontario or the Government of Prince Edward Island, there's nothing to restrict the minister from consulting with them. But the minister will be obliged to show that he or she has consulted with international agencies and Canadian civil society organizations in order to be able to show that she's met the test of the act.
    I don't see any restriction whatsoever, but the other part is mandatory.
    Can we have a little more order here, please? There are too many conversations going on.
    You talk about Canadian civil society, and I agree. But my question is also this. If the government would like to talk with—I don't know—Honduran civil society, if you wanted to give ODA to such a country, this would mean everything will be decided here in Canada. We won't be allowed to go abroad to the other countries to consult the other countries.
    That's what we want. We don't want to export what we want to do; I just want to be sure we're going to be able.... If you just delete the word Canadian, you could consult with “civil society”, and that could be external civil society. Now you're just consulting, in a sense, with international agencies and Canadian civil society.
    And governments.


    And governments. It reads:
...subsection (1), the competent minister shall consult with governments, international agencies, and Canadian civil society organizations.
    It doesn't say provincial governments; it doesn't say international governments; it leaves it at governments. I believe it was Mr. Goldring's amendment that we had the other day on this.
    Mr. Goldring, did you want to speak? Did I have you on the list?
    We're right on the edge on this, because we've said that once we deal with a certain line, we'll do it that one time, and we're kind of going back on that. But in fairness to Mr. Patry, we haven't carried this clause yet, and he has some real concerns about this. We want to address them.
    Madam McDonough, or Mr. Goldring, did you have something, or no?
    I would leave it the way we had it.
    All right.
    Madam McDonough.
    I'm just seeking clarification. I'm not meaning to be insensitive to your concern, but are you satisfied that we have already inserted “governments” and that this deals with it?
    I'm satisfied with “governments”, because it is in here; “governments” is fine, and “international agencies”, but instead of “Canadian civil society”, I just prefer “civil society”. That means Canadian, for one, and other civil society in any other country.
    The argument is about “Canadian”?
    Yes, the argument is just “Canadian”, just to delete the word “Canadian”, because we need to consult civil society in the other countries also, when we're doing ODA.
    Madame Bourgeois.


    Mr. Chairman, we discussed this issue when we changed the word “may“ to “shall“. We said then that the minister was required to consult international agencies and Canadian non-governmental organizations, but that this would not exclude the countries Canada already consults at the present time. The intent was simply to ensure that he would also consult the agencies and NGOs.


     I think in fairness, Mr. Patry.... And you know what? You may be right. But I think the fact that we have included international organizations could also take away some of the—
    No, it's not organizations; it's agencies.
    I'm sorry, you're right. We've included “international agencies” and “Canadian civil society organizations”. Agencies, you're right, are not the same as associations or organizations, but I think that would still give enough leeway.
    You know, international agencies would be consulted.
    Okay, I'm not going to discuss it further. If you don't want to accept this, then I will accept being alone on this. But I want to point out one thing: if you want to go to a country like Colombia and focus on one area of Colombia, and there's no international agency over there that's working with you there, who are you going to consult? I don't know.
    So that's what I mean. We need to consult civil society--Canadian civil society, all of civil society. I want to be sure that when we're doing anything for ODA, people abroad will be consulted, not just international, where it's big buddy. If we say “international agencies and local agencies”, that would be fine with me. I just want to be sure that we're doing something locally as well.
    Mr. Goldring.
    Could I have some clarity on the exact word that you would feel more comfortable with? Is this simply about taking out the word “Canadian”?
    Yes. I just want to consult civil society.
    No, no, unless we have unanimous consent, we aren't going back to revisit this. If we have a motion that we go back to visit this, and we have unanimous consent to do it, if it was allowed procedurally—
    I'm sorry, Chair, you cannot do this.
    Even when you accept a clause, you can modify the clause. That's the rule. You can modify clauses. Even if you accept them one by one, when you're back at the end, if there is any amendment, it doesn't need to get unanimous consent.


    I don't think you can do that at all. That's not true at all.
    What's not true--what I said?
    You see, I'm being told by the legislative clerk that once an amendment has been carried, it's carried.
    Yes, but you can come back.
    You can come back by unanimous consent.
    No, because you accept something else. It's not by unanimous consent; I disagree with that.
    I'm going to call the question on clause 4.
    Have we a call for unanimous consent?
    I do not have a motion that we go back and revisit the clause. I would need unanimous consent in order to do it. No one has even brought that motion.
    I will.
    All right.
    Mr. Patry has brought forward the motion that we go back and revisit clause 4 with regard to subclause 4(2). Do we have unanimous consent to do that?
    Some hon. members: No.
    An hon. member: Call the question.
    (Clause 4 as amended agreed to) [See Minutes of Proceedings]
    (On clause 5--Humanitarian assistance)
    We will proceed to the next amendment, which is NDP-10.
    Madam McDonough, clause 5.
    Mr. Chairman, this removes the funding of emergency humanitarian assistance from this bill's purview, and I think for obvious reasons. There already was recognition of the necessity to have maximum flexibility around dealing with emergency humanitarian crises.
    Thank you, Madam McDonough.
    You've heard the argument. She moves her motion.
    I move that clause 5 be amended by replacing lines 32 and 33 on page 2 with the following:
This act does not apply in respect of funding or other assistance that is provided for the
    All right.
    Do we have anyone who wants to speak to this?
    Mr. Goldring.
    If you're looking at what an emergency is, then you get into a debate on emergency, and poverty can be an emergency; it can be many different things. Is this going the other way on the entire issue of taking away the definitions of what it does or doesn't apply to? Because I would certainly think the poverty situation in Haiti is an emergency.
    Mr. McKay.
    An emergency is whatever the government says it is.
    So this gives the government, in your opinion—
    If the government thinks that poverty in Haiti is an emergency, it can use this as an opportunity to do so. If a tsunami comes along, it's obviously an emergency. If an earthquake comes along, obviously it's an emergency. The testimony was that they didn't want this act to restrict the ability of the government to respond to an emergency. That's why it's there.
    Okay, and are you supportive of this amendment?
    Mr. Patry.
    I have a problem. Could you read me what clause 5 will look like?
    It will read:
This act does not apply in respect of funding or other assistance that is provided for the purpose of alleviating the effects of a natural--
    Just for the purpose, okay.
    It replaces lines 32 and 33 in the English.


    Okay, I just wanted to know. That's fine.
    It gives more discretion to the government.
    The argument you've heard from Mr. McKay and Madam McDonough—I apologize, this is her amendment—is that this gives the government more latitude, more ability to respond quickly to an emergency, whether it's a natural or artificial disaster.
    And I think, in fairness to Madam McDonough, this comes out of testimony that we heard.
    Mr. McKay.
    Just to be a bit more precise and to marginally respond to the government's argument, if in fact the Government of Canada provides $100 million in tsunami relief, I want that to be ODA-able. I want it to be clear that the criteria in subclause 4(1) would not restrict the government's counting that as ODA-able. If there's even more precision required, you might say something to the effect that “the criteria in subsection 4(1) shall not apply to funding or assistance”.
    I don't want to slow the debate down--this pace is slow enough--but I want to be perfectly clear that if necessary, we'll make it so that there's not a scintilla of doubt.
    Thank you, Mr. McKay. I'm sure people do not want a scintilla of doubt.
    Mr. Menzies.
    I wouldn't want to go near a scintilla this close to Christmas.
    I'd like a point of clarification on what is now the definition of “official development assistance” under new paragraph 3(b):
that is provided for the purposes of alleviating the effects of a natural or artificial disaster or other emergency occurring outside Canada.
     Are you now suggesting that this act does not apply?
    When it comes to emergency assistance.
    The point is that it doesn't have to be specific to poverty reduction if there is an emergency assistance.
     So why on earth did we narrow the definition yesterday? I go back to my argument. I'm just trying to clarify this. Why are we going around and around?
    We're trying to help you out here. Don't look a gift horse in the teeth. We're trying to help you out here.
    I accept John's suggested amendment as a friendly amendment, because this very much responds to the concern that we might tie too many restrictions to the government's ability to respond rapidly and fully to an emergency. We're not meaning to bind the government in that regard. The last thing you want to do is have a whole lot of requirements for consultations, and so on. The point of being able to move in an emergency is to be able to move quickly.
    Please continue.
    Can I just make it clear that I accept that as a friendly amendment? I think it clarifies what we're talking about.
    I think I'm in agreement with defining this—
    Okay. Good.
    Call the question.
    But why should we limit ourselves in the first place? I go back to this hastily worded piece of legislation we're dealing with, and we're having to put in clauses that re-plow ground that should never have been plowed in the first place.
    Call the question.
    Are we ready for the question? No?
    Mr. Patry.
    I just want to know whether we have an amendment or not. I didn't hear. There is so much noise, I don't know.
    Is there no friendly amendment?
    Yes, there is a friendly amendment.
    You were talking about a friendly amendment. I have no clue what's going on.
    There is a friendly amendment, which I accepted, except I can't read what you've written here.
    Why don't I read it for you?
    He wasn't always a lawyer; he started as a doctor.
    It sounded good when he said it, but I can't read it.
    That's why you can't read it.
    It was written by Keith Martin, so nobody can read it.
    It's written on prescription paper.
    “The criteria in subsection 4(1) shall not apply in respect of funding or other assistance that is provided for in the”--I'll give this to the clerk.
    Are we on clause 5 or 4?


    We're on clause 5.
    What are we doing now?
    We're having a friendly amendment to NDP-10.
    Is it on clause 5?
    Yes, it's on clause 5. It's on clause 5, number 5. So instead of “this act does not”, it would say “the criteria in subsection 4(1) shall not apply”.
    Let me think about that--“the criteria of”—
    “The criteria in subsection 4(1) shall not apply in respect of funding or other assistance that is provided for the”....
    Mr. Menzies.
    I'm still wondering about clarification here, but we'll probably accept it.
    I understand where this came from, and it wasn't from you. We realize that, Mr. McKay. So don't give yourself any more credit than you deserve.
    Perhaps we should read the whole thing out for the benefit of Dr. Patry.
    No, I just want to understand what this friendly amendment is.
    The friendly amendment—not the complete amendment, but the friendly amendment—would then read, “(5) the criteria in subsection 4(1) shall not apply in respect of funding or other assistance that is provided for the”.
    It exempts emergency assistance from the—
    I guess the question is the purpose of the friendly amendment. I almost liked it better as the original NDP motion.
    What is the difference?
    That part I don't think we have fully understood. What is the difference between saying “this act does not apply in respect of”, and “the criteria in subsection 4(1) shall not apply”?
    I am happy to withdraw the friendly amendment, but I thought I was actually helping out the government.
    No, no. I'm just saying for myself—
    I'm just trying to respond to their arguments. If they don't want it, it's fine by me.
    Mr. Patry and then Mr. Menzies.
    If we just go for “the criteria of subsection 4(1) shall not apply”, it doesn't mean that the other criteria of the bill apply. I much prefer to say “this act does not apply”.
     No friendly amendment.
    I'm not friendly then.
    We're just trying to be responsive to the concerns raised, but if that's the general consensus, let's go back to the proposed amendment and call for the question.
    We agree? Okay.
     That's fine. We won't be friendly any more.
    Mr. Menzies, go ahead.
    We need a clarification. What are we suggesting here?
    Order, please.
    I think what Mr. McKay has now suggested is that they would be willing to go with the friendly amendment, or they'd be willing to withdraw it, waiting and pending the government approval.
    What are we going to vote on?
    What would you prefer?
    If we're going to talk about clause 4, we'd better talk about all of 4, or just leave it the way it is.
    The suggestion was to put in that this act applies to subsection 4(1).
    I don't accept the friendly amendment. I think this act does not apply.
    So he has withdrawn the friendly amendment?
    A voice: Yes.
    Okay. That's what I was trying to clarify, what we're voting on.
    All right.
    Do you want help?
    The question called is on NDP-10.
    (Amendment agreed to on division)
    (Clause 5 as amended agreed to on division)
    (On clause 6--Advisory committee)
    There are no amendments on clause 6.
     Does anyone have any questions or any amendments from the table on clause 6?
    Mr. McKay.
    Clause 6 should be withdrawn, Mr. Chair.
     It can't be withdrawn, but they can vote against it.
    The table tells me that we can't withdraw it, but we can vote against it.
    Okay. I'll vote against it then.
    Anyone else on clause 6—?


     Call the question.
    Wait a minute, we'd better word this carefully.
    Shall clause 6 carry?
    (Clause 6 negatived)
    (On clause 7--Petition to Committee)
    There are no amendments to clause 7.
    Mr. McKay, would you like to speak to clause 7?
    The fate of clause 6 should befall the fate of clause 7 and clause 8.
    Okay. We'll do clause 7 at the present time.
    (Clause 7 negatived)
    We're getting good, guys.
    We've heard Mr. McKay's suggestion on clause 8.
    (Clause 8 negatived)
    (On clause 9--Reports to Parliament)
    We have a couple of amendments to clause 9.
     There are line conflicts here.
    I'll just read what the table has given me.
    On CPC-2, there is a line conflict with NDP-11, Liberal 5, NDP-12, and NDP-13. As long as you're aware of those....
    Mr. Casey.
    My amendment is proposing to replace the entire clause 9 with a much briefer one, just because there are so many reporting requirements in clause 9. There was a concern raised about the Bretton Woods Act about breaches of confidentiality by Mr. Flack, who testified from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
    I'm proposing that we shorten it and make a simpler reporting procedure, and also protect the minister and allow him to just report what he's allowed to report, and not require him to report things he's not allowed to report under the Bretton Woods Act.
     All right. If this carries, the other amendments would not be entertained or put.
    Mr. McKay.
    Just as a point of explanation for members, CPC-2 and CPC-3 should be read together. In my view, they would substantially weaken the Department of Finance's requirements and transparency. It would make for a far weaker reporting requirement.
    There are two legitimate points that are raised by the Department of Finance. One is on confidentiality, and we think that is appropriate. It is dealt with in amendment L-5.1. We don't wish to have the Minister of Finance breach any confidentiality agreements that would result from their obligations under the Bretton Woods Institutions. So we've dealt with that in one of the subsequent amendments.
    The second one is an issue of providing summaries of reports. We think that is a legitimate point, and that's contained in NDP-11.
    So we think that taken as a whole, CPC-2 and CPC-3 actually weaken the transparency requirements. So I'm hoping other members see it the same way.
    Thank you, Mr. McKay.
    Mr. Menzies.


    In the spirit of trying to make this as clear and concise as it can be, but not making it onerous on the minister, as a result of your proposal, Mr. McKay, we're going to be burning up an awful lot of hours just providing a string of reports that are not necessary.
    I think Mr. Casey's amendment brings enough reporting mechanism to it to bring total accountability back to the House of Commons, and that's what's necessary.
    Because the bill required a royal recommendation, a petitioning process and an advisory committee process were lost. Therefore, the obligations of the bill now fall on the competent minister or ministers, and their obligations under the bill have to be as strong as they can possibly be.
    Whether any trees give their lives in sacrifice for this bill I'm not prepared to say, but I do want the obligations of the ministers to be as strong as possible. As I reiterated before, confidentiality and the summary point were legitimate issues, both of which are dealt with in subsequent amendments.
     I don't think there's anything else I can add to that.
    Mr. Martin.
    I think our amendment will clarify the concern the government is mentioning. If you look at my amendment, which is 256772, it really rewords paragraph 9(a) and says “the total amount spent by the Government of Canada on official development assistance in the previous fiscal year”. So that is very clear, and I think it will probably clarify the concern the government has expressed.
    Mr. Patry.
    I don't know what you're talking about.
     We're talking about CPC-2. It amends clause 9 by replacing lines 8 to 28 on page 5 with the following:
(1) The Minister shall cause to be submitted to each House of Parliament, within twelve months after the termination of each fiscal year or, if that House is not then sitting
    Do you have that?
    Mr. Casey.
     I just noticed here that it says in paragraph 9(1)(b),
a summary of the annual report submitted by the Committee under section 8;
    Didn't we just do away with clause 8?
    He's correct.
    Are you looking at amendment L-5?
    No, he's looking at paragraph 9(1)(b).
    Yes, there will be consequential changes, editorial changes—I guess they'd be amendments—that will come from some of the things that we have done, and those will be reflected later.
    If you look at the reports that are listed here, it just seems to me an onerous list of reports. I think an annual report should be adequate, and that's my proposal.
    The proposal here—I don't have to read it to you—is to have a report containing a description of any activity; a summary of the report; a summary of the annual report submitted on Bretton Woods, and they already do that anyway, so why duplicate it; a summary of any representation by Canadian representatives with respect to priorities and policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; a summary of department performance; and a statistical report on the disbursement of development assistance within one year. It just seems to be an onerous, repetitive bunch of reports.


    It's already done. We're only asking for a summary.
    Are we ready for the question?
    (Amendment negatived)
    All right. Now we will move to amendment L-5.1, reference number 2566772, on clause 9.
    Mr. Martin.
    I'll give you a second to find it.
    I want to tell the committee, we're scheduled to go until 5:30. I know there are some flights that are going to be caught out of here, and others have meetings beginning at six, so my intention is to drop the hammer at 5:30 if we aren't....
    Go ahead, Mr. Martin.
    I'll read this out, Chair, and hopefully we can get through this very quickly.
    I think we can.
    It says,
the total amount spent by the Government of Canada on official development assistance in the previous fiscal year;
    That is paragraph 9(1)(a).
    Does everybody have it?
    What's going to happen to amendment NDP-11, then?
    Amendment NDP-11, that is the one. There is a line conflict with amendment NDP-11. Pass that on to Madam McDonough. If we carry amendment L-5.1, amendment NDP-11 cannot be put. Is that all right?
    Yes, that's fine. Let's move. Call the question.
    All right.
    Does anyone want to speak to amendment L-5.1?
    Mr. Menzies.
    We're just trying to get the paperwork in front of us.
    Yes, that's what we're doing here.
    I'll read it again:
That Bill C-293, in Clause 9, be amended by replacing line 15 on page 5 with the following:
    I'll continue:
(a) the total amount spent by the Government of Canada on official development assistance in the previous fiscal year;
    And paragraph 9(1)(a.1),
a summary of any activity or initiative
    Is that correct?
    That's the second line there, “a summary of any activity or initiative”. That's paragraph 9(1)(a.1).
    Mr. Menzies, and then Mr. Goldring.
    On the second part, “a summary of any activity or initiative”, it doesn't provide a lot of clarity to it as to “any”. I would think “any activity or initiative” is pretty broad as far an interpretation is concerned on when to trigger intensive reports.
    Paragraph 9(1)(a), as it reads right now, is “a description of any activity or initiative taken under this Act”. We're just rewording it to say, “a summary of any activity or initiative taken under this Act”. We're just changing “description” to “summary”.
    It changes “description” to “summary”.
     Yes, it's not a cataclysmic event.
    Mr. Patry.


    The French version and the English version are not always perfectly identical. In French, we have: “un résumé des activités ou des projets“, whereas, in English, we have:


“summary of any activity or initiative”. I may be wrong, but for me “initiative” means something that you try to do. It's not a project; it's something you'll try to do. Let's say you want to go with ODA to such-and-such a country. You say, we're looking at this, but you don't do it. Are you going to do a summary of this?
    Change it to “initiative” en français.
    Do you not want to change it in English to “projects?”


    It would be “toutes les initiatives“. Very well.


    An hon. member: Question.
    No, we have an amendment first, if you don't mind.
    That's fine.
    Madame St-Hilaire.


    I am not convinced that in this context the term “initiatives“ is really appropriate in French. I much prefer the word “projet“, which is the equivalent of “initiative“ in English. In French, a project is something that you set up in the hope of realizing it.




    Then shall we leave it as it is?
    Actually, Mr. Patry, did you move this?
    Okay. Then we will leave the English and French as is?
    Some hon. members: Yes.
     Mr. Menzies, were you going to speak to this?
    Yes. I am concerned about once again burning up a bunch of departmental time to write reports on something that we will be providing an overall report on to Parliament at the end of the year. Writing extra reports is not good use of taxpayers' money.
    The question is on amendment L-5.1.
    (Amendment agreed to) [See Minutes of Proceedings]
    Amendment NDP-11 is now not put.
    Next is NDP-12. Madam McDonough.
    Consistent with the consensus that has already been achieved, we remove all references to the advisory committee. That is where this is coming from.
    This is consequential from another amendment. It deletes proposed paragraph 9(1)(b), lines 17 and 18 on page 5:
(b) a summary of the annual report submitted by the Committee under section 8;
    Is anyone speaking to that? I will give you time.
    (Amendment agreed to)
    Next is amendment NDP-13. Madam McDonough.
    This is again very straightforward. It is a response to wanting to make this more inclusive. It is that proposed paragraph 9(1)(d) be amended by replacing lines 24 and 25 on page 5 with the following:
priorities and policies of the Bretton Woods Institutions; and
    It replaces “World Bank and the International Monetary Fund” with “Bretton Woods Institutions”.
    I so move.
    All right. Is it consequential? It is not really.
    Does anyone want to comment on this?
    Mr. Patry.
    I just want to ask Madam McDonough this. Do the World Bank or IMF or all the Bretton Woods institutions not report on a yearly basis? Why should we put that here? I'm just asking. I think they report.
    Let me look back.
    I think it's redundant, that's all.
    It's not redundant. We're just changing—
A summary of any representation made by Canadian representatives with respect to priorities and policies of the
    Bretton Woods institutions—and the International Monetary Fund?
    It just replaces the IMF with Bretton Woods institutions; it's generic.
    My question—
    Go ahead, Mr. Patry.
    Thank you.
    When you talk about any representation made by a Canadian representative with respect to priorities and policies, does it mean that anytime the board of any Bretton Woods institution has a meeting, any representation or summary of these meetings should be available to the committee, even if it's an in camera meeting, including the fact that Canada is also representing some other countries, such as Ireland and some of the Caribbean countries?
    Subject to the confidentialities that we just passed.
    I think if I understand your question, the point of this is that whatever reporting requirements there are for the now World Bank and International Monetary Fund, we're broadening those to say the Bretton Woods institutions. Those reporting requirements don't necessarily respond to the criteria that we set out in this bill. It's a way of reinforcing that whatever their reporting requirements may be, we have some criteria that we want to be sure are taken into account. That's the point of it.
    It's not some totally new set of requirements; it's just making sure that we're hearing back on the provisions of this bill that we're adopting here.
    Regarding my question, if there is a meeting of the IMF or the World Bank, and inside the meeting they're discussing the facts about giving grants or subventions for anything they're doing in the world in any country, you want to ask the competent minister, the Minister of Finance, and the World Bank to give us a résumé of what was discussed over there.
    That's what I'm asking you. That's what we're requesting: a summary of any representation, a representation by Canadian representatives with respect to priorities and policies. Have you discussed policies? We're going to discuss policy, and at the end they are going to say we have three or four policies, and we end up with one.
    Do you want to know everything that's going to be discussed in the World Bank or in all these institutions?
    First, the operative word is summary.
    Secondly, we need to come back to what this exercise is about. It's also about greater accountability and transparency, which is something we all agree is important. I think there is a concern to establish that what we're advocating on behalf of Canada is both reported back to Canada and is understood to be consistent with the priorities we have adopted here.
    Summary is the word. We're not talking about verbatim reports and everything that gets discussed, but a summary of what it is we are there advocating and representing on behalf of Canada.


    All right.
    Mr. Patry.
    Regarding Canadian representatives, does it mean just the one who is responsible, the key person, or does it mean any staff over there? They are representatives of Canada over there.
    That's why we want to know what they're doing on our behalf, and whether it's consistent—
    If you have a staff of 20 people, do you want to know what the 20 people are doing for transparency? I'm reading this.
    A summary of any representation made by Canadian representatives—
    We're nitpicking here. Let's get on with the question.
    I want to get answers; that's my privilege. I'm sorry about that. We're not nitpicking. I want to be sure that's what it means.
    Mr. McKay, I'm sorry.
    I don't know whether it can be any clearer. We're trying to make the language consistent, so that Bretton Woods is the institution. All the amendment contemplates is to the priorities and policies of the Bretton Woods institutions, as to a summary of any representations made by Canadian representatives. Of course, that's exactly what we want: a summary of any representation made by Canadian representatives with respect to the Bretton Woods institutions. With that information, we will then be able to assess ODA.
    I don't know what else I could do in terms of any other phrasing I could possibly use.
     I think it is clear that's what we're looking for, and people will vote accordingly. I would move this amendment and hope we can move to the question, unless people have other—
    Mr. Menzies.
    I'd like to have a clarification here if I could, Mr. McKay. Are we going to get different ministers involved here again when we're dealing with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund? We're talking about the “competent minister”. Is this then going to be the finance minister dealing with Bretton Woods?
    It will be the finance minister specifically?
    That's the way it works currently.
    Okay. So just so—
    But remember, they're advocating on behalf—
    —whoever that particular minister is that's dealing with that.
    That's right.
    Bretton Woods falls under the finance minister's responsibilities.
    Are we specifically saying that?
    We don't need to be.
    We don't have to because that's his area. That's his jurisdiction.
    It's their representative.


    All right. Are we ready for the question?
    But it says “the minister”. Once again, we're still wrestling with the “minister” issue.
    But “the minister” is previously defined as “the competent minister”.
    As “the minister of the”—
    It's in the definitions clause.
    Sorry, okay.
    Mr. Patry.
    If I understand properly, it means that the Minister of Finance will give the report to the minister, and the minister will give, at that time, the report to Parliament. The Minister of Finance will be, in a certain sense, under the jurisdiction of the minister of CIDA.
    That's a possible way of doing it.
    Yes, that's a possible way. Do you think the Minister of Finance will agree with being under his jurisdiction?
    It doesn't matter whether he agrees or whether he doesn't agree.
    But it matters for me, because you see there is a certain solidarity. Because he could say by “a summary of any representation made by Canadian representatives with respect to the priorities...” done by the competent minister. You should have there “the competent minister”. If you want to do something, do something with “the competent minister”, because I would not like to have the Minister of Finance reporting to a minister of CIDA.
    I'm sure you're not commenting on the competence of the current Minister of Finance.
    I think we all understand what he's—
    I'm sure that's true.
    With “a competent minister”, you're adding “a summary of any representation made by the Canadian representative with respect to priorities”...a summary by the competent ministers.
    He has a point there. Maybe it's just been so long that some of these things are starting to make sense to me. He does have a valid point there.
    That's the problem. They don't make sense.
    Yes, you can go back to subclause 9(1), though, Mr. Patry. I'd just point out that it says,
The Minister, after consultation with every competent minister, shall cause to be submitted to each House...
    And then it talks about getting a summary of the representations made with respect....
    So I think maybe the upper part, subclause 9(1), answers the question. Does it?
    Yes. You could change it to just “The Minister or the competent minister”.
    Put “competent minister” after “consultation”? Is that what you're saying? I'm not quite sure what you're driving at.
    He's saying that we include “The Minister or the competent minister”, and then strike the rest after “consultation with every competent minister”?
    No, you say “The Minister or the competent minister”. Delete “after consultation with every competent minister”. It's “The Minister or the competent minister...shall cause to be submitted...”.
    That makes sense.
    Okay, fine.
    Can you repeat that, please?
    “The Minister or competent minister, after consultation...”.
    No, not after.... We delete “after consultation with every competent minister”. The competent minister will not consult with himself.
    No, I know. But you'd still have “after consultation, shall cause to be submitted”, right?
    “The Minister or competent minister, after consultation, shall cause to be submitted to each House....” Is that correct, Mr. Patry?
    You're calling for the question?
    No. Mr. Patry has a good point. How many reports is this going to generate? Who actually submits a report? If the competent minister is the Minister of International Cooperation, does she then submit the report from the finance minister?
    No. It's the competent minister at that time for finance. For CIDA, it's “the minister”.
    So it's a different minister.
    Mr. Patry has a point.
    Mr. Ted Menzies: I know he has, and there's confusion on this.
    The Chair: “The minister or the competent minister shall cause to be submitted...”. That breaks it out a little better there. Do we ask the question on that?
    Now can we ask the question on that?
    You're on subclause 9(1)?
    Yes, we have to go back to it.
    I just want to know what's going on.
    This is a friendly amendment to subclause 9(1). Then we'll go back to NDP-13.
    Are we in favour of the friendly amendment to subclause 9(1) as read?
    Some hon members: Yes.
    Now back to NDP-13. We've debated this.
     Are you ready for the question?
    (Amendment agreed to) [See Minutes of Proceedings]


    All right, CPC-3.
    I just want to ask a question on paragraph 9(e).
    On 9(e)?
    Yes, 9(e), before subclause (2).
     All right.
    It says “a summary of the Departmental Performance Report of the Canadian International Development Agency”.
    Is CIDA doing it now?
    Yes, they have just issued the new one.
    Is that the report?
    Yes. So it stays.
    It's redundant, but that's okay.
    So it's done. Okay. I just wanted to know. Thank you.
    CPC-3. Mr. Casey.
    This is in line with what we did with clauses 6, 7, and 8, so I don't think it should be a problem if you want to vote it down.
    Just on that, you see where it says “the positions taken by Canada”. It's “(a) the position”. We're wondering if there should be a (b) before “a summary of the manner”? There is in the French. So that would be to include “(b)”, “a summary of the manner in which Canada's activities...”.
    All right, Mr. Casey, go ahead.
    Based on the testimony we had, we think this should be eliminated.
    You mean delete lines 29 to 31, so delete subclause(2). It's a deletion.
    It's a replacement, isn't it?
    Okay, so you delete this and replace it with:
The Minister of Finance shall, in addition to the report required under section 13 of the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act, contribute to the Report to Parliament under this Act:

(a) the positions taken by Canada...”.
    All right, Mr. McKay.
    The statistical report is pretty important. The premise is that you take out the statistical report and then you provide a summary of the positions taken by Canada.
    We think that hard numbers are rather critical to knowing what our performance might be under this bill. I can't see how I can give up on some sort of statistical summary. That's the problem with the amendment.
    Mr. Patry.
    I have a question for Mr. McKay.
    Go ahead.
    When it says “The Minister shall issue a statistical report”, what do you mean? Is it a report about the ODA itself? Is it a report about ODA by humanitarian sections and the number of emergencies? What type of report do you want? Is it by region? What type of a report? This is very vague. The department will give you what they want to give you.
    I imagine the first time they will give me what they want to give me.
    I don't know—
    Then the second time, if I'm not happy with it, or more accurately, members are not happy with it, they'll ask for a breakdown, whether it's a regional breakdown or a country-by-country breakdown.
     I don't think you can phrase it beyond simply saying “statistical”.
    Yes, but if you're not happy, are you going to come back to change the bill?
    No, you don't have to come back. You can say you're not happy with the statistical report and that there's more information to be generated.
     I don't see the issue here.
    Mr. Goldring.
    The way I'm reading this motion is that it makes reference, under “section 13”, to a report under section 13 of the Bretton Woods agreement. I guess the question is whether that report is a statistical report that would meet the intentions of your deleted lines, in which case it would still be in there but would also have the additional provisions that are listed below.
    Is that report required under section 13 of the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act not a statistical report that meets your original requirements?
    Not necessarily; it may be simply a summary of activities.


    Mr. Patry.
    My answer to this is, it's very easy. If we're not satisfied with the report, it's not an MP who is going to tell CIDA what to do or not to do. It needs to be done by Parliament; we cannot tell CIDA.
    But the report would be deposited to this committee, presumably. And if it were just a bland report saying virtually nothing, then you or any other member could move to say that we want greater statistical analysis than has been provided. All this does is give you the opportunity to ask that question.
    Mr. Casey.
    My point in making this proposal is that when I look at this, it looks as though paragraph 9(1)(a) is pretty much the same as paragraph 10(a), and paragraph 9(1)(d) is pretty much the same as paragraph 10(b). These are just duplicate reports—duplicates on duplicates.
     I don't know whether you're trying to get contradictions, or get so much information that the department won't be able to do anything else, or what, but it seems to me there's too much duplication in the reporting requirements in this. It's actually a short, simple bill, relatively speaking, but there are so many reports required under it; this is duplication on duplication.
    I'd just propose that we do away with clause 10, because everything else is covered.
    Mr. Patry.
    Mr. Casey in a sense is right, because there is a duplication. We amended subclause 9(1) to put in “competent minister”, and in clause 10 we talk about “Minister of Finance”. This is why we talked about this in clause 9.
    I agree with the description that we should have “any activities”. Paragraph 9(1)(b) has been deleted. Paragraph 9(1)(c) concerning Bretton Woods is in clause 10. It's the same with paragraph 9(1)(d), which is covered in clause 10. We're just duplicating.
    Is there anyone else?
    Mr. Menzies.
    Yes, I would agree with Mr. Casey's amendment, recognizing that it is the Minister of Finance who should issue these reports. That's what we're dealing with: what we're doing according to the Bretton Woods institution. This just makes it far simpler and equally as good a reporting as what is suggested in the bill as proposed.
    Mr. McKay.
    The issue here is hard numbers. The Minister of Finance is in possession of those hard numbers. I don't see what is challenging for the Minister of Finance—or the “competent minister”, as the case may be—in providing a statistical report on the disbursement of development assistance.
    What's the challenge here?
    Clause 10 has duplication that is—
    There is some redundancy. I'd concede that point. Having said that, you'd want to make sure that everything.... You see, the way the original concept was set up was that there would be “the minister” and the Minister of Finance, in the anticipation that “the minister” was the CIDA minister.
    Now that you've renovated it so that it's the minister or “the competent minister”, in some respects you might want to jam everything of clause 10 into clause section 9.
    It's pretty much there now, I think.
    Well, you'd just want to go through it paragraph by paragraph. I don't want to get into procedural issues here, Chair, but—
     Yes, we're on subclause 9(2), and we're dealing with Mr. Casey's amendment. I think Mr. Casey's amendment.... You're right, it's duplication.
    Paragraphs 9(1)(d) and 10(b) have the same wording.
    Is there an amendment coming to delete clause 10?
    All right. I think what the Conservatives put forward here was a motion to delete clause 10, recognizing that the department had said it was duplication, but accepting, then, the amendment dealing with subclause 9(2).


    You were on clause 10, and now we're back on clause 9.
    No, we're on clause 9 now.
    That's okay.
    What we would have to do is vote against clause 10. We won't even withdraw it, we just have to vote against it.
    That's okay.
    If it's the same clause, we don't want to include it, because I think everyone here wants to make this bill a little better. And you've heard the government's concern that there's a lot of duplicate reporting.
    Mr. Chair, as just a quick summary--and I don't like doing things quickly--it seems to me that the argument is correct that clause 10 is duplication, given some of the changes that we've already made. I would suggest that in order to make sure we cover all of our bases we take amendment CPC-3 and instead of replacing subclause 9(2), we just simply add it as 9(3).
    I think that would cover everything.
    I'm sorry, could you say that one more time, John?
    All right. Delete clause 10.
    Okay, well, we'll do that later, yes.
    Okay. Insert amendment CPC-3, not as a replacement for subclause 9(2), but as an addition.
    That will cover the Conservatives' concern and will fulfill the finance concerns in the bill.
    Okay, well, Mr. Casey, that would take a friendly amendment to change deleting lines 29 to 31. That part of it would be changed so that Bill C-293 would be amended in clause 9 by adding, after line 32, new subclause 9(3), which would begin:
The Minister of Finance shall
    But we'd keep subclause 9(2) in place as it is now.
    Subclause 9(2) stays as it is, and 9(3) is the addition of the CPC amendment.
    Could you show me this on paper?
    Mr. Menzies.
    We're into duplication again, but at least that does make some sense. We're not duplicating ourselves. I go back to—
    You are in some way, because the statistical report and Mr. Casey's amendment basically deal with Bretton Woods. They're still both there, but clause 10 is gone.
    But what is the report from Bretton Woods if it isn't going to be statistics? What are you going to tell them?
    I think we're duplicating again.
    Well, maybe it would be the same.
    We'll risk it.
    Are CIDA's wages ODA-able, because we're certainly going to be hiring more people to put all these reports together.
    All right.
    Mr. Casey, are you willing to accept that as a friendly amendment, that it begin, “that Bill C-293 be amended in clause 9 by adding after line 32 on page 5 the following”, and then as written?
    No problem.
    All right. Let me think this thing through.
    Do we accept the friendly amendment?
    (Amendment agreed to) [See Minutes of Proceedings]
    Now, on CPC-3, as amended.
    (Amendment agreed to)
    (Clause 9 as amended agreed to on division)
    (Clause 10 negatived)
    (On clause 11--Order in council)
     We are on amendment NDP-14 on clause 11.
    We'll go to Madam McDonough.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    This proposes that clause 11 be amended by replacing the lines 11 to 13 on page 6 with the following: “This act comes into force 30 days after the day on which it receives royal assent.”
     The intention of this amendment is simply to remove the open-ended option for the government with respect to bringing it into force. It would therefore obligate the government to enforce it within 30 days of receiving royal assent.
    Do you have a question?


    Is it regular to...? With the Governor in Council, what's the difference? You don't want it to be postponed, is that all?
    What is the regular...?
    Mr. Menzies.
    I guess I'm concerned that with all the reporting we've put in place here it's going to take a long time to prepare for this, so I don't want to restrict the time any more than we already have.
    It just accelerates the reporting period.
    I recognize that.
    It basically says that rather than waiting for the Governor in Council, and then the day after that comes in, this is 30 days after receiving royal assent. Logistically, I don't know what the difference is. Normally in bills like this it does go to Governor in Council. Is that the deal?
    Well, not to be suspicious or paranoid, but history is replete with examples of legislation being passed and never ending up receiving royal assent. So we just want to make sure that doesn't happen.
    If this were a government bill, you wouldn't have to worry about that. This is a private member's bill, and frankly, the government can just stall royal assent, then, bingo, Parliament dissolves, end of story. So that's the point.
     The amendment says “after it receives royal assent”, so it then becomes—
    It is the coming into force--the proclamation.
    Would you be willing to go to 60 days? I don't know what the logistical.... I'm not certain why 30 days is taken and not 90 or whatever.
    Well, for the sake of cooperation, to bring this wonderful collaborative effort to fruition, I'd certainly accept a friendly amendment. Take your pick, 45 or 60.
    How about 45?
    Okay, 45 is a good compromise.
    Mr. Menzies.
    Going back to how hastily put together this piece of draft legislation is, what is standard? What is doable? We're talking about probably four different departments here. Is that doable? I'm not sure it's doable in 60 days.
    A voice: It's irrelevant.
    Mr. Ted Menzies: Yes, the whole thing seems irrelevant to you, sir.
    I'm just throwing that out. I don't want to handcuff anyone here. It's going to receive royal assent.
    Are you willing to go to the 60 days, Madam McDonough?
    I actually think I'd rather keep it at 30. We see too much straining against getting on with this, so let's put it to a vote and.... It has been two and a half years in the works.
    Mr. Goldring.
    Well, there seems to be a misunderstanding.
    I'd like to end this on a happy note. Rather than tying the.... Go ahead.
    On one hand we're hearing that the concern is because, according to John, it's been known to be held up and not receive royal assent. Then we're hearing on the other hand that there's a concern about putting a time figure in afterwards.
     What is a normal, appropriate period of time, and does it depend on the complexity of the bill, and do you want to tie it down too badly? And if it is a matter of deciding on something here, I would think 60 or 90 days would be a reasonable amount of time to put into it, not a narrow focus of 30 days or 45.
     All we're talking about here, Mr. Chairman, is the act coming into force 30 days after the day on which it receives royal assent. The various reports that are due, and so on, don't even start—
    That would be a year down the road, after the fiscal—
    That's right.
    Yes, I realize that.
    Given what a long, long labour this bill has had, we should try to get it to come into force 30 days after the day on which it receives royal assent and get on with it.
    Some hon. members: Call the question.


    Is there anyone else on debate?
    (Amendment agreed to on division)
    (Clause 11 as amended agreed to on division)
    Now, on the short title....
    Mr. McKay.
    As a point of clarity, I just want to make sure that amendments NDP-4 and NDP-5 were withdrawn.
    Okay, so that's done.
    Given the renovation that we put into clause 9 with respect to the competent minister and the elimination of clause 10, I think it now would be better to read paragraph 9(1)(e) as “summaries of the Departmental Performance Reports of all competent ministers” with respect to their activities of official development assistance. We've essentially put the entire reporting function right into clause 9 and eliminated clause 10. So I think it's only appropriate that all of the summaries of all of the competent ministers be put into it.
     I could read that in:
summaries of the Departmental Performance Reports of all competent ministers with respect particularly to activities related to official development assistance.
    That would replace the singular report of the CIDA minister.
     Does that makes sense?
    I'm not sure I see where it's going.
    It would replace—
    A voice: We adopted the clause.
    We can't.
    Okay, we can't.
    All right. We'll go back to the short title.
    I'll call the question on clause 1, the short title, as amended, because of this whole amendment from the NDP on the definition of “developmental assistance”. That's why we have to change that. It was the (b) part to the amendment that she brought forward.
    So shall clause 1, the short title, carry as amended?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: Shall the title as amended carry?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: Shall the bill as amended carry?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: On division.
    The Chair: Shall I report the bill to the House?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: Shall the committee order a reprint of the bill as amended?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Congratulations, Mr. McKay.
    On behalf of the committee, I want to thank all of you for the hard work that we've had here in this session. Certainly as we break for this holiday season, the Christmas season, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays. Enjoy your time away from this place. Be safe.
    And a special thank you to our staff.
    I was getting to that, Mr. Martin.
    Also, we have staff who have given a lot of time and expertise to helping us as a committee, so we wish them the same and we give them a hand.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    The Chair: I look forward to getting back here with you after the break. Be safe.
    The meeting is adjourned.