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Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage


NUMBER 009 
l
1st SESSION 
l
42nd PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Thursday, April 14, 2016

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (0845)  

[English]

     Good morning, everyone.
    I would like to welcome, on behalf of the committee, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Mélanie Joly.
    We will begin the proceedings. The minister is aware that she has 10 minutes to present and that there will then be rounds of questions and answers. I will indicate the length of time for the question and answer session.
    Please be reminded that the time includes both the question and answer. There is no specific time for either the question or answer. If there is a seven-minute round, it means both questions and answers must be fulfilled within the seven minutes.
     Madam Minister.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Good morning to all the members of the committee. It is a pleasure to be here today.

[English]

    I'm very happy to be here with Andrew Francis and, of course, the other people from Canadian Heritage. Andrew Francis will assist me in answering any of your more financial questions. Graham Flack is my deputy minister, whom I guess you already had a chance to meet because of the briefing given to the heritage committee earlier this week.

[Translation]

    I am also very pleased to have the opportunity to meet with you for various reasons, not only to answer your questions but also to continue the collaboration between the committee and our office. I think most of you had the opportunity to meet with the Canadian Heritage officials at a briefing session on the various matters handled by the department. I also think a number of you have read the briefing documents that I have made public. I hope that all those initiatives that foster dialogue and transparency are relevant to you and help you in your work as parliamentarians.
    I would like to turn to budget 2016 that was tabled on March 22.
    Our department will invest a historic amount of $1.9 billion in the arts, culture and cultural infrastructure. This is the largest investment in arts and culture in the last 30 years. We are probably the only country in the world to make such a massive investment in arts and culture.
    The amount of $1.9 billion is broken down as follows.
    An amount of $1.26 billion is invested in CBC/Radio-Canada, Telefilm Canada, the NFB and the Canada Council for the Arts.
    An amount of $105.9 million over five years is invested in our national museums, of which $6.1 million is invested annually.

[English]

    In terms of cultural infrastructure, there's $156.4 million given to a storage facility that will help the Science and Technology Museum, the National Gallery, as well the Canadian Conservation Institute. The National Arts Centre is given $114.9 million. These are just some of the highlights of the cultural infrastructure commitments made to our national museums or national institutes.
    There's also $35 million over a period of two years for cultural exports. As you may have seen in the budget, for those who had the chance to read everything pertaining to Canadian Heritage, we will also launch public consultations to develop a strategy regarding cultural exports. I will, of course, answer any of your questions regarding cultural exports.

[Translation]

    In terms of the department's 2016-17 main estimates, the overall amount is $1.29 million. Of that amount, $104.6 million are earmarked for the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Let me remind you that, as announced earlier this year, the four themes of the 150th anniversary of Confederation are diversity and inclusion, youth, the environment and reconciliation with aboriginal peoples.
    Several signature projects have been announced. By signature projects, I mean pan-Canadian projects. These are interesting projects. There will also be SESQUI domes in 50 communities across the country. Those geodesic domes represent the latest Canadian technology in terms of immersive experience. There will also be a partnership with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with a view to creating a musical score for the 150th anniversary. Those projects have all been announced. So I will be able to answer any questions you may have about them.
    It is also important to note that, for the 150th anniversary, we have launched a project with 191 community foundations across the country, in which we have invested $10 million in partnership with the community foundations. Another amount of $10 million will be raised by various philanthropists, including Jim Balsillie, to create a fund for micro-grants for a number of organizations in the country. Those grants could add up to $15,000.
    Furthermore, I would like to tell you about the shift that my team and I have made at Canadian Heritage since our arrival.

  (0855)  

[English]

    We believe that Canadian Heritage has never been so strategic in a government. Why? It's because we were elected as the government on the basis that we ought to generate growth in our economy.
    How do we do that? Well, there are different ways and, of course, the budget highlights different measures to grow the economy. When it comes to growing the economy, we have to invest in innovation. How do you invest in innovation? You do it in different ways, but one of these ways is certainly to make sure to invest in arts and culture.
     Why? Well, you have to generate innovation. Innovation doesn't just happen with a snap of the fingers. You need to have the right ecosystem in order for different ideas to emerge and become business ideas or research ideas. The flora and the fauna of that innovation ecosystem are the people, all our stakeholders who are in the arts and culture world. This is why for us it was so strategic to invest $1.9 billion over five years.
    I would add to this that when you look at the impact of arts and culture and in general of creative industries, you see that they amount to $47.7 billion of our GDP. That's more than agriculture, forestry, and fisheries all together. This is why we see our role as key to the economy and key to generating innovation and generating growth. Ultimately it will better the lives of Canadians.
    The other reason we think that Heritage has never been so strategic is that we think there's an important digital shift happening, affecting all the different parts of our portfolio, including media, entertainment—
    The Chair: You have one minute, Minister.
    Hon. Mélanie Joly: Yes. Thank you.
    —meaning music, and of course, books, films, etc.
    I know that right now as a parliamentary committee you're doing an important study on local news. We're very interested in partnering with you to understand the issues and also to know what your recommendations are. This is key for us to understand what's happening with the digital shift, and I'll be launching public consultations on this subject.
    I'm here with my team to answer all your questions. There are many other things that relate to many more financial and operational measures, but I can answer all of your questions.

[Translation]

    Of course, I am here to answer any questions you may have either about official languages or the support for arts and culture.
    Thank you.

[English]

    Thank you very much, Minister. You're bang on 10 minutes. Thank you.
    Now we begin the first round of questions. These are seven-minute rounds.
    We will begin with Mr. O'Regan for the Liberal Party.
    In the budget there is $1.9 billion for arts and culture, $675 million of it for CBC/Radio-Canada. There are a number of us in the room who understand that broadcasting is in a particularly dynamic environment at the moment.
    How do you see that as a strategic investment, and how do you strategically place that investment in CBC/Radio-Canada both domestically and internationally?
    That's a very good question. Thank you.
    Of course, this is not news for anybody around the table or for Canadians, because we campaigned on it, so of course this is part of our campaign commitment. More than that, we believe in the role of a public broadcaster, and I would add that we believe in it because of its importance in making sure that we have strong Canadian diversity and that people around the country have access to information that relates to their region and also to what's happening in the country in general.
    We also believe that, because of what's happening in the media world right now and the impact of digital on the media and because of technological changes that can have an impact on how people consume information, we ought to strengthen our public broadcaster and its role.
    That's why we have expressed important wishes to the CBC, while of course respecting their independence. That $675 million will support three important priorities that they have also expressed, which are to support more content and, of course, more people developing local content throughout the country; also, to support their digital shift, really helping CBC/Radio-Canada to develop its digital background, maybe through jobs in understanding algorithms and big data—everything that a media organization needs to have to understand all the different ways people are consuming information in this digital age.

[Translation]

    Third, in our view, it is clearly fundamental to build the next generation, to create new jobs for young people, precisely in order to ensure the sustainability of CBC/Radio-Canada so that, in 50 years, our public broadcaster is strong.

[English]

    These are the three important priorities of CBC/Radio-Canada that we're supporting. This is why the investments that were announced in budget 2016-17 are so important: they really support these three priorities.
    Let me take it to a local level. I'm very proud of the fact that one of the postal area codes that I represent has more artists than any other in the country.
    One of the big recipients here is the Canada Council for the Arts. Can you talk a little bit about that particular investment, what sort of impact you see it having and how you plan on delivering that money in an effective way?
     We are reinvesting $550 million in the Canada Council over the next five years. It's the best way for us to support and strengthen the arts and the artists themselves.
    What's great about that investment is that it will happen concurrently with the great work the Canada Council has been doing over the last years to reform all of its programs. Of course, you could ask the questions of Simon Brault, who is in charge of the Canada Council.
    There used to be nearly 148 programs at the Canada Council. There has been a lot of restructuring and thinking about how to better support artists and different artistic organizations. Now they're down to six programs. By reducing red tape and by facilitating the organizations to better create, rather than just working on understanding the different modalities of programs in order to get the funding for the Canada Council, it's going to be easier because it's only going to be six programs. Our $550 million will give access to better artistic creation, to better support to indigenous artists and indigenous art in general, and to help in terms of exports, by helping all our different artistic organizations to access new markets and export the best of Canadian culture.

  (0900)  

    At this rate I'll allow you 40 seconds to elaborate a little more on.... Everybody talks about innovation and the role of arts and culture in innovation and how it produces results for the economy.
    Canada is the third most important music producer in the world. Canada is the third most important video game producer in the world. These are just two examples of the fact that we already have a strong ecosystem, but we also have a chance to invest in it in order to produce better results. This is the first time in a long time that the government is doing this.
    The reaction to this has been great, and it's not only the arts and culture world that has been reacting well. The reaction is based on the fact that we're answering the needs of the organizations and also of the market, because by doing that I think we'll be creating the jobs of tomorrow. We're developing the pillars of the future creative economy that has great potential and that Canada needs to embrace.
    Thank you very much.
    Thank you, Mr. O'Regan.
    We now move to Mr. Van Loan, from the Conservative Party.
    Thank you very much.
    Thank you, Minister, for coming today.
    I want to start by congratulating and thanking you for using the phrase “150th anniversary of Confederation”. I've noticed you've used that regularly. I think that's important because it is the event that we are observing and commemorating.
    I noticed that the four main themes—and it's in your notes circulated today—to be featured are diversity and inclusion, national reconciliation with aboriginal people, youth, and the environment.
    What seems to be missing, notwithstanding that you keep using the phrase, “150th anniversary of Confederation”, is any notion of history, or particularly the event itself, namely, Confederation. Shouldn't Confederation be one of the themes of the 150th anniversary of Confederation?
    When I inherited this project, there were already projects that were in line with history, commemoration, military importance—for example, the Vimy 100th anniversary commemoration—and a lot of initiatives in line with sports, arts, and culture.
    There were four things that were less supported, which were the ones that I talked about: diversity inclusion, youth, environment, and national reconciliation with indigenous people. That is why we put these themes forward to also attract new projects that would support these themes.
    It doesn't mean that projects that don't fall under these four themes can't be supported. A lot of them will be supported. Of course, there is going to be emphasis on explaining to Canadians what happened over the last 150 years, and also how we can have an optimistic outlook on the future of our country.

  (0905)  

     I have to respectfully disagree with some of that. You say these themes weren't there before. I'm looking at the news release when the previous government announced it, and under themes and vision it talks about an open, diverse, and pluralistic society, for example, bringing Canadians together. That sounds like diversity and inclusion to me. I think you will find that some of those themes were being emphasized.
    My concern is that Confederation and history are perhaps being missed when it comes to things like the micro-grants and so on, that we aren't really focusing on encouraging communities to focus on that the way you are in your terminology of the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
    Historica Canada has done some good research over time. In 2007 they told us that only 16% of Canadians could name the four provinces of Confederation. The same year, only 46% of young Canadians could name the first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. In 2008, when they looked at the population as a whole, they did a little better: 61% knew Sir John A. as the first Prime Minister. By 2013 that had gone up to 74%, which was good. A similar improvement happened over knowing that 1867 was the year of Confederation: in 2008 only 61% knew; by 2015 that was up to 72%.
    I think what that tells us is Canadians do want to know more about their country and they do want to know more about Confederation. Do you agree that we need to focus on getting more of that knowledge of Confederation to the public?
    I agree with the fact that we shouldn't play politics with the 150th anniversary.
    If we talk about the history of it, we can. Up there we have, for example, a portrait that includes the Fathers of Confederation. They're from both political parties.
    If I may—
    It's a non-partisan thing. For example, I don't know if many Canadians—
    Mr. Van Loan, could we allow the minister to answer your question? Thank you.
    I only have seven minutes. I heard her answer. She said she agreed and it shouldn't be partisan. I'm saying—
    No, but I can answer why I agree. For example, the Museum of History—
    Well, I only have seven minutes, with the greatest of respect, Madame.
    Please go ahead.
    You've answered the question to my satisfaction that we should do it and it shouldn't be partisan. We have a portrait of the Fathers of Confederation here. It is not partisan. They're from both political parties. For example, I'd like each Canadian to be able to name, say, just four of those, the four key figures, for example. Could you do that?
    Of course I can, but Mr. Van Loan, the idea—
    Could you name four of the Fathers of Confederation?
    Order, please.
    —of the 150th anniversary is not to polarize it but have it very inclusive.
    Exactly. You can name them from both parties.
    The Museum of History, for example, will present

[Translation]

    its new Canadian History Hall. It will then be possible to present Canada's history over the past 150 years, including both the good times and the more difficult ones. Our country's history will need to be explained and Canadians must be allowed to become more familiar with it. I agree with you on that issue. That is one of our indicators at Canadian Heritage.
     I also think the country's history is diverse—

[English]

    Okay, in fairness, I have limited time and I'd like you to answer more questions.

[Translation]

    I would just like to add one point about our country’s history, Mr. Van Loan—

[English]

    Madam Chair, I'd like an answer to my question. With respect, could you name four of them?
    I'll just finish.

[Translation]

    In terms of our country’s history, we have launched another program on innovation.

[English]

    That's not my question.

[Translation]

    We wish to celebrate the history of our scientists over the past 150 years. I just wanted to reassure you by saying that history may be told in various ways, by looking at a number of its facets. That is what we do at Canadian Heritage.

[English]

    Could you name four? Can you name four?
    Yes, I can.
    Then let's do that. Could I hear you name four?
    Mr. Van Loan, the idea—
    Madam Chair, I must say this is truly out of line. What is this?
    Order, please.
    I presented facts that show that Canadians don't know their history. I think I'm demonstrating that.
    Yes, but Mr. Van Loan, I do not believe that whether the minister can name you four Fathers of Confederation has anything to do with estimates at the moment. You asked her about history. She explained it. You have a minute.

  (0910)  

    It goes to the importance of Confederation as the theme for the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Canadians should know who the key figures are. You have Sir John A. Macdonald, and Étienne-Paschal Taché. You have George Brown; you have George-Étienne Cartier. You have Oliver Mowat. They're all up there, right there in front of you. It wasn't that hard.
    Could you tell me the three Confederation conference locations?
    Mr. Van Loan, I said in particular this has nothing to do with estimates.

[Translation]

    I don’t think this is a trial, Madam Chair.

[English]

     I would like you to stick to the estimates question, please.
    I think I've made my point that we need a greater focus on history. Canadians need to know more about their history, including all of us around this table. You're not the only one who, if I asked that question, would find it a challenge. That's not unusual.
    Mr. Van Loan, that's it. Your time's up, I'm sorry.
    Now we go to Mr. Nantel, from the New Democratic Party.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Thank you for being with us, Madam Minister.
    My thanks also go to Mr. Flack and Mr. Francis whom we have in fact met recently.
    I will talk about the future. Culture happens in the past but also in the present and in the future.
    I am part of the cultural community and I am pleased to see your clearly federational and enthusiastic approach. However, there may be a wrench in the works. First, I’m thinking of the make-up of CBC's board of directors. Despite the nice investments into CBC, we know that its board is very partisan and conservative. I think that was basically the selection criteria because at least nine members of 12 are affiliated with the Conservatives. For instance, I’m thinking of the people who were appointed and will sit for quite some time, including Robert Jeffrey, former treasurer of the Conservative party in Nova Scotia. That man will still be on the board for almost four years. Conversely, some people will be leaving soon. I am referring to Hubert Lacroix and Rémi Racine, whose contracts expire in December and June 2017 respectively.
    The Liberal Party indicated that an independent appointment process would be set up. When will that be?
    That is a good question.
    We are actually working together on introducing this new appointment process in the next few weeks. That is a priority for us. My mandate letter actually includes the development of a new appointment process to rebuild the public’s trust on the matter.
    So please rest assured on the issue.
    Great. We are looking forward to it.
    The other generalists had a strong reaction to the funding. Like newspapers and radio, they are also in trouble because of the leak of advertising capital to other web media. Internet broadcasting is also placing them in a hard position. We must keep in mind that 80% of advertising revenue from the web goes to search engines, so directly to the U.S. without taxes being collected and without an advertising contract for the companies here.
    This brings me to the question of digital platforms, which you have mentioned a great deal. As you said, audiences are migrating to these new technological platforms that are not regulated. It is difficult to contain them and to find compensation for our rights holders.
    Could you give me your personal opinion on the commitments made by your predecessor, Mr. Dion, who used to sit right here in my place on this committee? He was asking that the way in which the Copyright Board of Canada operates be reviewed. During the election campaign, you also indicated that you would hold preliminary consultations on the review of the Copyright Act.
    We all know that Parliament must move forward with the review of the Copyright Act.
    Will there be preliminary consultations?
    Of course we are going to work with the committee to ensure that this piece of legislation is reviewed. Prior to that, we are also going to hold public consultations on digital platforms and on how to support Canadian content in the digital era. Clearly, copyright issues will definitely be raised by the various stakeholders. As a result, we will already have information on the issues and problems we need to address and their solutions. In those circumstances, we will also be able to review the legislation properly, which should take place in 2017.
    However, the Copyright Board of Canada has done very little when it talked about Tariff 8 in terms of streaming. Let me remind you that it is urgent for music rights holders that Canada set up an administrative tribunal that will assist in developing the agreement between rights holders and broadcasters.
    You must have read—I’m actually convinced that he you have read it seeing the suitcase you brought with you when you came into the room—the Nordicity report by Peter Miller, which refers to the many job losses that would result from the infamous Let's Talk TV hearings and the skinny basic, as we call it.
    Could you share your thoughts on that? Is your team thinking of solutions to fix this mess? Actually, many producers and small broadcasters will be squeezed dry.

  (0915)  

    As part of our public consultations on digital platforms, we’re clearly going to try to understand how we can build the new model to support Canadian content in a digital context. We are also trying to figure out how to ease this transition and determine which measures might mitigate the sometimes more negative effects of technological changes.
    The rather interesting trend that we see when we look at the figures is that profits in the music world are on the rise.
    Allow me to question what you have just said. You will have to explain your train of thought.
    The music world is on its knees right now because of the ludicrous royalties it gets from streaming services. Even the famous Pharrell Williams, who has nothing to do with Canadians, received $10,000 of his entire income from the streaming of his song Happy.
    I have one last question—
    I understand your view. The issue of royalties must be examined. Profits are on the rise, but we must find out how they are redistributed afterwards.
    Right on.
    That’s why we want to know the impact of technological changes, especially on our artists, our authors, our musicians and our songwriters.
    I appreciate your intentions. Clearly, I will always be here to remind you of them.
    I have one comment this morning. Xavier Dolan will be at the Cannes Festival this year. I’m sure that you were excited about that. It’s very good news that he will be there again this year. I wrote on Facebook this morning that we are proud that a child was able to grow up in a world where cultural content is protected and showcased. He felt he was being stimulated and he felt that he could stand up and speak, which led to this accomplishment.
    What can we do to ensure that our children who now look at their parents’ iPads are able to see content that stimulates them?
    I think that—

[English]

     I'm sorry, Minister, but the time is up.
    Mr. Vandal, for seven minutes.
    Madam Minister, in my part of the country, Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, which was the home of the previous heritage minister, we are all incredibly positive and looking forward to the celebrations of Canada 150.
    We all support the change in general direction you have embarked on in key areas. However, I am wondering if you can you give us some examples of the projects that we'll be seeing as this process unfolds.

[Translation]

    We are all proud of our francophone heritage all across the country. In the case of Saint-Boniface, I like to say that it is a Franco-Métis heritage.
    Let me turn to Madam Minister and those accompanying her.
    Could you tell us how the celebrations and projects for the 150th anniversary will reflect our country’s linguistic duality as well as the indigenous and Métis reality, which is very important for Saint-Boniface—Saint-Vital?
    Thank you.
    That is a very good question.
    I will turn to the issue of reconciliation with indigenous peoples and the Métis nation.
    For us, it goes without saying that we must be able to celebrate the next 150 years in a much more positive way than the past 150 years, particularly in terms of our relations with indigenous people and the Métis nation.
    A number of projects did not receive a lot of support from the previous government, which means that this part of history was unfortunately ignored. We decided to reopen discussions with the various organizations that support indigenous peoples and are in charge of cultural mediation to set up projects that will truly reflect the entire country.
    I also had the opportunity to talk to various mayors across the country. The mayors from Vancouver and Calgary were very interested in supporting various projects, especially those related to the reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
    Linguistic duality is of course a priority. In fact, the major Canada-wide projects contain clauses that require project managers, our clients in fact, to provide services in both languages. We have also supported various projects that celebrate linguistic duality, precisely in order to talk about the history in a positive way and to show the major role minority language communities play across the country.

  (0920)  

[English]

     Madam Minister, in my riding, as I said, which was the previous home to the heritage and culture minister, groups such as Centre Culturel, Le Cercle Molière, Le Musée de Saint-Boniface, La Société historique de Saint-Boniface, were getting pretty demoralized about the lack of forward-looking policy that was evident from the previous political leadership.
    Can you tell me how the almost $2 billion in new money in arts and culture, which has recently been announced, will support those local organizations?

[Translation]

    I am talking about the francophone organizations in Saint-Boniface—Saint-Vital, which I have just named.

[English]

    Can you tell me how those local organizations are going to benefit from this new funding?
    The organizations will benefit in different ways, especially through the Canada Council that will support more organizations in Saint Boniface and Manitoba, in general.
    That will ramp up over five years. It's $40 million this year only. That's why there was a great reaction on the part of different organizations throughout the country, including different French and English theatres in the Winnipeg region. They were really happy.
    There's also support for CBC/Radio-Canada to ensure that we have more local content, more information regarding what's happening in the arts and culture world, so that people in the regions of Saint Boniface and Winnipeg can really know what's going on in their backyard and in their cities.

[Translation]

    That will certainly promote cultural vitality a great deal.
    There is also the fact that we will be able to better support the various minority language communities.
    In addition, overall, the amount of $1.9 billion is an investment of such a size that it will benefit the entire ecosystem in all the regions and ridings of the country.
    Also—

[English]

     You have one minute, Mr. Vandal.

[Translation]

    I would like to make a comment.
    Radio-Canada, La Liberté, groups, magazines and newspapers in a minority setting have had their funding slashed over the past 10 years. On behalf of my community, I thank you for your leadership and your commitment to heritage and culture.

  (0925)  

    Thank you very much.

[English]

    Thank you.
    Now we'll go to the second round, which is a five minute round. We begin with Mr. Waugh from the Conservatives.
    Thank you, Minister, and thank you for the other morning, and thanks to your staff, Mr. Flack and Mr. Francis, for the briefing.
    I'm going to pick up with Mr. O'Regan on the CBC. As we all know, they have a budget of over $1 billion and we have been sitting here for weeks talking about the demise of local media in this country. We've been searching for solutions to the current state of media in this country, and will continue to search for solutions, but to me the $675 million that you've handed over to the CBC is really a $61% increase in their budget over five years, according to my numbers.
    I understand from you just said that with the shift in resources you're asking them to go to digital media. I know that you state that in growing the middle class, you will work with the CBC to develop a five-year accountability plan. So they are going to receive $675 million. Normally in business, you do have a plan and then you give the money. It seems to me that you've given them the money, but I don't see the plan.
     Have you started the plan with the CBC, because the money obviously is going to be rolled out here?
    As I expressed a bit earlier in this conversation, we have expressed wishes to the CBC that this $675 million would go to the three priorities I previously mentioned. And we will be working with the CBC. While respecting its independence, we all know it is very important to our democracy to make sure that there is an accountability plan.
    Where is the accountability, if you don't mind my asking?
    Of course, we need to partner with them in developing that accountability plan. But clearly, that money is to help the CBC to shift and become a 21st century public broadcaster—and, I would add, a public content creator in the digital age.
    In this country right now, not everybody gets digital. We're having those discussions across the river here in Gatineau. We can't even agree on that right now.
    I think this has caused an unlevel playing field. We've seen witnesses over the weeks here talking about this problem. Now we know what the problem is: this is going to turn out to be an uneven playing field. You have the public broadcaster getting gobs of money, if you don't mind my saying so, and you have the private people in the exact opposite position: they're short of money. We can see their problems. Yet the CBC continues to make cuts in Kamloops and to other small stations in this country. So I do have some problems. We're going to end up with one broadcaster in this country, and that doesn't serve anyone well.
    If I may, the $150 million is a 15% increase, rather than a 65%, so that's one point. But I would add to that—
    It's an increase, though.
    I would add also that it was clear in our campaign commitments that we would reinvest that money, and that was because the population was supportive of the importance of a strong public broadcaster.
    On that question, if I may, we agree to disagree.
    In general—
    My issue here is that we're going to sit here for three or four months talking about the industry, and now I have seen this result for the public broadcaster, and another for the private—
    Again, I agree—
    You've just said it, that it's a 15% increase.
    I think we agree to disagree in the sense that I profoundly believe that the $1.9 billion will also help the entire ecosystem.
     I am not talking about the $1.9 billion. I am talking about the CBC here.
    It will help the private broadcasters have access to content that will be—
    You still have to pay for content.
    —eventually aired on their different broadcasting—

  (0930)  

    Devices.
    —devices. I hear you—
    You have to pay for content.
    I hear you, that in general there is a big question about the future of news and entertainment in this country. That is why this is such an important question.
    This is such a difficult question that we will need to launch public consultations on this, because if we don't do so, we will leave it up to the market to take care of it—
    The market will be only the public broadcaster.
    —and to struggle with it. That is not what we want to do.
    We want to act as a responsible government that understands that our vision, policies, and legislation need to be up-to-date with what's happening in our society and all the technological changes that are happening. That is why we need to be up-to-date, and that is why we think this will be very transformative because our entire model was developed in a radio and television era.
    That's why—
    You see where I'm coming from, Minister—
    I'm sorry, the five minutes are up. Thank you, Mr. Waugh, and Ms. Joly.
    Now we go to Mr. Breton from the Liberals for five minutes, please.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    I also thank the minister and the minister's representatives for being here with us today.
    I am pleased to see that an additional $2 billion are being invested in arts and culture, especially since scientific studies in recent years have shown that a dollar invested in this area brings seven times its value. So we can certainly expect that $2 billion could easily generate additional economic benefits to the tune of $14 billion. Across the country, people from the private sector will certainly be in favour of this investment; they will welcome it and make their own contribution.
    Madam Minister, as you know, we are currently conducting a study on the media and local communities. To date, we have heard from a number of local organizations. One of their challenges is to adapt quickly to the evolving digital platforms.
    Could you share your priorities with us in that regard? How do you plan to meet the challenges of local communities?
    As I said earlier, I am mindful of the work that you do as a parliamentary committee. I also know that the committee has previously conducted a number of possibly relevant studies.
    Generally speaking, there needs to be a broad consultation process, open dialogue, with various stakeholders, about media and entertainment. In fact, few countries have truly understood how technological changes could be managed by governments and how existing models could be adapted to the digital reality.
    However, I also think the digital era is a wonderful opportunity in the sense that it allows for much more content and much greater access to that content. In our case, this means a greater role in supporting Canadian content.
    That is why the $675 million invested in CBC/Radio-Canada are vital. We are fortunate to have a public broadcaster, a public creator of content whose role will be more important than ever as it will provide local and national content tailored to the needs and expectations of various audiences and consumers of online information. Of course, the high quality of radio and television will need to be maintained as well.
    At any rate, I will definitely look at your findings about local media.

  (0935)  

    Thank you.
    I have one last question.
    You briefly talked about your approach to official languages. Your mandate letter mentions the need to develop a multi-year plan to support official language minority communities.
    Could you briefly provide an overview of your plan in the coming years to support those communities?
    Although the current roadmap expires in 2018, I wanted to go on the ground at the outset of my mandate to meet with organizations all over the country, from Yellowknife to Vancouver, from Halifax to Toronto and Calgary, organizations that support the various official language minority communities. Naturally, the response to our approach was very positive. I wanted to take the pulse before starting to work on the new multi-year plan you mentioned. The plan will likely be developed over the next year. I also wanted to use a different approach in helping arts and culture and official language organizations, meaning that I wanted—

[English]

     Could you please wrap up? We're over the five minutes. Thank you.

[Translation]

    I will have an opportunity to answer your questions later.
    I am not sure whether you have seen The Globe and Mail and La Presse articles this morning about our innovative approach to ensuring that people have access to their funding more quickly and predictably. I am talking about multi-year funding.

[English]

    We do have some time left, so according to the rotation on which we agreed as a committee, we will have room for two other questioners, but they will be for three-minute rounds, not five-minute rounds.
    I will go to Mr. Waugh, for the Conservatives, please, for three minutes.
    Thank you, Chair.
    I want to re-emphasize that the 61% increase on the CBC budget that you have outlined in your budget is over five years, but here's what my question is really about. I know now how you are paying for this.
     Our previous government had what was one of the best plans in this country. It was the children's arts tax credit, and I see that you have done away with it. That was $105 million that helped families in Canada. It helped families for culture, history, dancing, and music, and you've done away with it. It was $105 million, so I can see that now we're going to have everyone on the couch watching our public broadcaster instead of where they should be.
    Maybe you could talk about why you would cut that when it was bringing people out of their homes and giving us the arts and culture that we need in this country. That arts tax credit was a great plan, and you've taken that $105 million and given it to the public broadcaster.
    If I may, I'm very happy to say that, as a government, we launched the most innovative and—how can I say it?—
    Ditched it all—
    —important program to support our families since universal care, and that's l'allocation canadienne pour enfants, the child benefit plan. Just to reassure you, our families, for example, that earn $90,000 per year—
    Yes, I know, Madam Minister. I'm going to interrupt because I only have three minutes here.
    —will get up to $2,000, which is way more than the former tax credit, to really support them in their needs—
    Mr. Kevin Waugh: Yes, we also did that.
    Hon. Mélanie Joly: —including making sure that children have access to arts and culture activities.
    We also did that.
    I just want to reassure you that our families will have the right—
    I know. We also had the universal child care benefit—
    Order, please. You are talking over each other, and that's not the way to do it.
    Yes, and we only have three minutes.
    We also had the universal child care tax plan, but we also had the arts and the sports, and both have been taken away. Both of these are great for families and have been taken away. We forced kids off the couch with this, and now you've taken this $105 million and given it to public broadcasting and to digital. You're forcing people to use this instead of getting off the couch, and I want you to realize that. Families are going to feel this in their homes.
    As you know, we're trying to get our kids to be active, and you have taken away this arts tax credit for arts and culture, for music, and for dance. I brought up two kids in my family on that, and I'm not the only one. Millions across the country have used it, and now it's gone.

  (0940)  

     Three minutes are up. Thank you.
    I'm sorry, Minister, we have to move on.
    The next one is Ms. Dabrusin for the Liberals, for three minutes, please.
    Thank you, Minister.
    I was really happy to see that we included reconciliation in the Canada 150 themes. We've talked a lot over the past week about the need to really move forward on that.
    Do you have any plans specifically to support indigenous artists and their contributions to our national culture?
    As I said a bit earlier, it will also be under the purview of the Canada Council. The $550 million to be given to the Canada Council will help support not only indigenous artists and their own ways of addressing different arts and cultural activities and their own governance, but indigenous people will also have access to all the programs. These may include programs for international exports, and maybe cultural and artistic creativity, and there will be much more for research. They will have access to a big pool of programs and money to really better support indigenous art and culture.
    Also, for CBC/Radio-Canada, as I understand it, their plan will also be to better support information online on what's happening in the indigenous communities across the country, and also to showcase the great cultures that are present in our different indigenous communities. Also, in general, in the 150th anniversary because we've highlighted it as a priority—and that was really not the case before, which is sad—we will be able to promote the great arts and culture of first nations, the Métis nation, and the Inuit of this country.
    There's less than one minute left, Ms. Dabrusin.
    In my own community we hear stories about people having a hard time getting access to funding in time. For example, somebody may be applying for Canada Day funding, and then the money arrives in August, after the event has occurred.
    I recently heard about some of your plans regarding delegation of authority. Perhaps you can quickly discuss that.
    Yes. When I was first appointed I realized that I had 8,000 contributions to sign myself, or my political staff did, which really didn't make sense. It was creating a backlog back in Ottawa, and because of that, organizations were getting their cheques even after the events they were organizing had taken place.
    I decided to do a massive delegation of power—
    Minister, we're over three minutes, so can you wrap up your sentence?
    —and by doing so—you can find more information on that in La Presse and The Globe and Mail this morning—organizations throughout the country will get their cheques months before they used to. There will also will be less political interference.
    Thank you.
    Thank you very much. I'd like to thank the minister for coming.
    It's a pleasure.
    I'd like to thank members for participating by asking questions.
    We will now suspend for a couple of minutes while we move into the next hour. Thank you.

  (0945)  


  (0945)  

     Order, please.
    Now we will begin our second hour.
    To respond to our question on the estimates, we have before us the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.
    Minister, you have 10 minutes to present, and then we will go into rounds of questions and answers. Thank you.
    Begin, please.

  (0950)  

    I'm pleased to be here today to appear before this committee for the first time.
    With me today from the Department of Canadian Heritage are the associate deputy minister, Patrick Borbey, and chief financial officer, Andrew Francis.
    I'd also like to congratulate all the members on their appointment, and I look forward to working with you all.
    By way of background, I'm a two-time Paralympic swimming medalist, an experienced administrator in Canada's sports system, and a human rights lawyer. My mandate as minister allows me to combine two of my main passions: sport and advocacy in action for Canadians with disabilities.
    The committee has asked me to speak about the main estimates for 2016-17. Let me give you some highlights.
    For the 2016-17 fiscal year, the overall budget for the sport program is just over $206 million. This includes $12 million in operating expenses and $194 million in grants and contributions. In total, this year's budget represents a decrease of $37.6 million from the last year. This is the result of the completion of funding for the Toronto Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. This is very common in the cycle of sport funding when we host an event in Canada.
    As stated in my mandate letter in relation to sport and recreation in our country, I am tasked with working with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities to support the construction of recreational infrastructure to allow more children access to sport and recreation; working with the Minister of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada to support a national strategy to raise awareness for parents, coaches, and athletes about concussion treatment; working with the Minister of Canadian Heritage to champion the inclusion of sport and recreation in government-wide efforts to promote the celebration of Canada 150, with a particular emphasis on the achievements of athletes and people with disabilities; leading the preparation for the Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro and other major sport events; and creating greater links between our elite athletes and young Canadians to promote health and achievement amongst young people.
    As you can see, I have a very full agenda. I look forward to working with my parliamentary colleagues, my provincial and territory counterparts, our departmental officials, and all the stakeholders across Canada's sport system to meet the needs and expectations of all Canadians in the area of sport and recreation.
    As the single largest investor in our country's sport system, the Government of Canada, through Sport Canada, supports all level of sport from recreation all the way up to our high-performance athletes and teams. We have three funding programs: the sport support program, the athlete assistance program, and the hosting program.
    The sport support program provides approximately $146 million in funding to 58 national sport organizations, 23 multi-sport organizations, and seven Canadian sport centres and institutes to support programs and services that have a direct impact on athletes and athlete development.

[Translation]

    Canada has developed a leading-edge approach to targeted excellence, with the technical expertise provided by Own the Podium. This enables us to focus our resources on programs that give athletes the best chance to win medals at Olympic and Paralympic Games.
    The targeted excellence approach has been used for close to a decade. Canada's results at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games have markedly improved during this period, but the quest for medals requires constant re-evaluation.
    That is why I think it is timely to examine the impact and effects of the targeted excellence approach across the Canadian sport system. The review I propose will encompass all aspects of the approach, including, but not restricted to, the contributions of Own the Podium.

[English]

    In addition, we provide funding through our bilateral agreements with provinces and territories to support programs and services aimed at children and young people as well as under-represented groups.
    In particular, I'm committed to making sport more accessible to indigenous people and as a means of personal and community development.
    The hosting program, with a budget of approximately $20 million per year, aims to enhance the development of sport excellence and the international profile of sport organizations by helping sport organizations host the Canada Games and approximately 90 international sport events a year in Canada.

  (0955)  

[Translation]

    Let me mention just one of them. I am excited that the Jeux de la francophonie will be hosted by Moncton-Dieppe in 2021.
    Events like these are expected to leave significant sport, economic, social and cultural legacies.

[English]

     The athlete assistance program provides approximately $28 million per year in direct monthly support to about 2,000 of Canada's top high-performance athletes to help relieve some of the financial pressures associated with preparing to participate in international sport, including living, training, and education expenses.
    Sport is also important to Canadian communities. In budget 2016, we introduced a number of initiatives for social infrastructure, including support for sport and recreation infrastructure. The amount of $150 million will be made available through regional development agencies to upgrade sport and recreation facilities across the country. I'm also pleased to say that sport and recreation projects are now an eligible category under infrastructure programs like the small communities fund.
    We make these investments because we know that sport is important to Canadians as individuals for its physical and mental health benefits. Seventy-two percent of Canadians believe that sport is a key contributor to their quality of life. More than five million Canadians belong to national sports organizations. Data shows that 84% of children between the ages of five and 10 participate in sports, both boys and girls. Unfortunately, participation declines with age, especially amongst girls. By their late teens only 58% of girls are still involved in sports compared to 62% of boys. We need to do a better job in the sport system to keep young people involved in sports. Sport facilities are natural gathering places. Hosting sporting events like the Canada Games builds civic pride and community spirit.

[Translation]

    Sport is also a good way to integrate newcomers, people with disabilities and others who might otherwise feel they are on the sidelines.
    Sport is part of our cultural identity. Sport builds pride in our nation. Our athletes are wonderful role models, especially for our young people, of the dedication and passion that is required to reach for and attain a goal.
    At the same time, our athletes are tremendous examples of the benefits of sport and of living a healthy, active life. Many of our common memories of shining Canadian moments are linked to sport. Donovan Bailey's double gold medals in Atlanta, and Sydney Crosby's “golden goal” in Vancouver—I was there—are just a couple of examples.

[English]

    In turn, we're looking down the road to Rio to cheer on our athletes as they look to write a new chapter in our country's rich sporting history.

[Translation]

    Can our Paralympic swim team dominate the pool the way we did in London?
    How many Canadian kids are going to go out in their backyard or local park to emulate the new Olympic hero who inspired them at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games?
    Beyond the Games, it is important that Canada have a strategic approach to engagement in international sport. We will work with international sport bodies to make all of sport open, fair and welcoming and provide all athletes with a level playing field.
    Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to be part of a government that places so much importance on sport and active communities.

[English]

    As I said earlier, sport is one of my great passions. As an athlete, and now as the Minister responsible for sport in Canada, I can assure that we will continue to invest in today's high-performance athletes, as well as in the next generation.
    Not only that, we will work across departments to increase access to sport and recreation and make sports programs safer, more accessible, and more inclusive. I thank you for the opportunity to be here today, and hope that I will have your support to make this vision a reality.
    I'd now be happy to answer any questions you might have.
    Thank you very much, Minister.
    Now, we're going to begin the question session. We'll start with Mr. Sarai for the Liberals.
    You have seven minutes, Mr. Sarai.
     Minister, that includes the questions and answers.
    Minister, thank you for coming. It's an honour to have a minister who has won medals and participated in international competitions such as the Paralympics.
    In 2005, prior to the Vancouver Games, Canada set up the Own the Podium program to ensure that our athletes perform the best, and that the best of them is brought out. I had the opportunity of going to many of the 2010 Olympic Games venues and noticed that it was a success.
    How about now, 11 years later? Do you, Minister, have confidence that this program is still the best program to support our athletes?
    I think, like any good coach would tell you, that we need to be constantly upping our game. We need to be constantly reviewing our approach to any given situation, especially sport. Because of the investment of public dollars in this, I think it's not only prudent but also necessary and incumbent upon us to review our approach, and that's exactly what we're doing.
    Own the Podium has had very good success. Our athletes are doing better than they were. We are now taking a more general approach in reviewing what is called the “targeted excellence” approach to high-performance sport, a big component of which is Own the Podium, just to make sure that internationally it's still a best practice, that we're getting the best results for our public investment, and that we're on the right track with this program. We might be. We might end up going down the exact same path we're heading now, but it's prudent to make sure that it's still the right way to go.

  (1000)  

     Has your department identified areas in this program that can be improved currently?
    I think it's a little premature to say that. What we are hearing from sport organizations is that they, too, want to make sure this is still the best way to go.
    I wouldn't say there are concerns. As I said at the very beginning, athletes, sport organizations, sport administrators, and coaches are by nature competitive, and they want to make sure we still have that cutting edge that we had 10 years ago, by using this program as the vehicle to achieve medal results at international competitions.
    Thank you, Minister.
    There are two days that mark the 99th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, an important aspect of the Canadian identity. It marks the important sacrifice made by our military and the many soldiers who bravely fought for our freedom.
    In 2017, the Invictus Games are scheduled to be held in Toronto for the 150th anniversary of Canada. These games are intended to honour the sacrifices of soldiers everywhere.
    Can the minister give us more details about the Invictus Games to be held in 2017 and the events that surround them, including the two major conferences?
    Absolutely. As was said, the Invictus Games are really a celebration of the efforts and the sacrifice that our vets have made for our country. What it allows us to do is that bridge between active participation in the military and active participation in life.
    Here is a tiny little history lesson. The Paralympic movement itself was actually born out of an initiative in the U.K. to help wounded war vets rehabilitate, and they recognized very quickly in the early 20th century that a really impactful way of doing this was by providing sport and recreational opportunities to veterans. That snowballed into what is today a very well-respected and high-performance sport movement around the world.
    The Invictus Games allow us to bring together athletes from a number of countries—mainly in the Commonwealth, but around the world—to celebrate the accomplishments of these military men and women, and do it through sport.
    If you recall, money was allocated to the Invictus Games through budget 2016, but what they are going to build around, in Toronto in 2017, is both a celebration of sport and a celebration of the contributions of military women and men who serve across the world.
    The other thing is that they are going to be hosting two conferences around this event. The first one is the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research conference, which will bring together more than a thousand academics and researchers from around the world. This conference is specifically focused on the mental and physical health of our military, veterans, and their families.
    The second is the True Patriot Love foundation's international symposium, which brings together foundations, veterans, advocate groups, and primary caregivers to discuss the state of military families today.
    It's something I think we should be very proud, as Canadians, to host next year. I think there is a wonderful symmetry between hosting this event in 2017 and it being our 150th birthday.
    Minister, as we approach the games in Rio we all know that our athletes are the pride of our country. It takes a lot of sacrifice and effort to be a part of that. We have a duty to support these athletes, who are representing us.
    In my riding of Surrey Centre, as well as yours, Delta, which abuts mine, there are many athletes who are aspiring to be in the Olympics but in sports that maybe are not considered the top-tier sports and get less funding, perhaps like field hockey or others.
    Can you tell us more about the athlete assistance program?
    I'll do it very quickly, Madam Chair. I am mindful of the time.
    The AAP, or the athlete assistance program, provides a monthly amount of money that goes directly to around 2,000 of our athletes towards travel, living, and other related personal expenses.
    The AAP also has the education expenses component so that our athletes get the opportunity, either during or after their athletic career, to pursue academic studies at the cost of the government, which is fantastic.
    The AAP also has special programs that offer additional support, whether it be through caregiving, child care, or other special needs that might arise for athletes.
    It is a very important component of our system, and our athletes are very grateful for this assistance.

  (1005)  

    Thank you very much.
    You have 30 seconds.
    I'll pass over my time.
     Thank you very much, Mr. Sarai.
    Now we go to Mr. Kitchen for the Conservatives.
    Thank you, Minister, for coming.
    To start, perhaps you can help me with this. In the Canadian Heritage 2016-17 report on plans and priorities, it suggests that in the main estimates there will be $206 million, but just the other day we were presented with a briefing that suggested that sport really only amounts to $194.2 million.
    Can you explain that discrepancy?
    I'll turn that over to my ADM.
    The $194 million you mentioned refers to the grants and contributions programs. You have to add another $12 million approximately in operating costs associated with Sport Canada. That gives you your total budget in the main estimates for the coming year.
    Thank you. I appreciate that. I forgot about the operating costs.
    On that note, when we're talking about the projects in there, we have the hosting program of $20 million, the sport support of basically $146 million, and then the individual athlete program of $30 million. You talked about Own The Podium. Some of the reviews have identified that some of the unintended consequences of that were limited development of athletes.
    The next-generation project was created, and in budget 2015 we proposed $20 million over four years, which would be matched by the public, starting in this fiscal year 2016-17. In my discussion at the briefing the other day, I asked a question on that aspect of where the money is, what we're looking at, and where we're going with this.
    I'm wondering if you can comment on that.
    What we know—as you said, calling it a vacuum—is that it's not enough to invest in athletes who are within four years of their peak performance. We need to look beyond those athletes. We need to look at athletes who might be five to eight years away and figure out the best way to support them in their pursuits. The next-generation funding that was announced was exactly targeted to do just that.
    What we're looking at now, and we're talking with stakeholders, is that the money is still there. That money is still in.... I don't know the word, I apologize.
    Mr. Patrick Borbey: The fiscal framework.
    Hon. Carla Qualtrough: Yes, it's in the fiscal framework.
    I apologize; I didn't know the government-speak for it.
    It will also be matched by private dollars. Right now we're talking with stakeholders about how to best deliver that money. What's the best organization to house the next-gen funding? Is it Own The Podium? Own The Podium isn't historically in the business of looking at athletes five years out. Is it the Olympic Committee, the Paralympic Committee? Should it be a grants and contributions program that Sport Canada manages?
    We're working with stakeholders now. That money is definitely there. I think we're almost near the end of those consultations. I'm personally extremely excited to provide a whole-of-athlete program suite for our athletes, whether it be athletes who are five to eight years out or athletes who are zero to four years out. Then, of course, we need to think of our transitioning athletes. Again, that's where the AAP provides some of that education support.
    I'm really excited about that money, and I'm really excited to be able to come back and announce—in the near future, I would say—how we're going to distribute those funds.
    As you mentioned in your preamble, and from what we saw in your mandate letter from the Prime Minister, you're basically to collaborate, develop a strategy, and raise awareness for parents, athletes, and coaches on the issue of concussions and their prevention and treatment. The Canadian Heritage 2016-17 report on plans and priorities indicates that it's already started.
    Can you expand on that and tell us where it started? What's been going on?

  (1010)  

    That's an important question, and I appreciate your asking it.
    There's some good work being done at the national level on concussions, whether it be by the Canadian Concussion Collaborative or the FPT, the federal-provincial-territorial, working group on sport and recreation. What the Minister of Health and I are tasked with is providing federal leadership in developing a national or federal strategy for concussion.
    What we are planning to do in June of this year is to have an FPT ministers' meeting on sport. One of the things on the table is discussion of approving a framework for building a national concussion strategy in collaboration with the provinces and territories. What we don't want to do is duplicate efforts or reinvent the wheel, because there are some brilliant minds already turning their thoughts to these issues regularly—and certainly more than I have in my life. I'm humbled every time a concussion expert walks into my office and shares with me the thinking about and impact this issue has on our kids. I have young kids, and as they head into more aggressive sport opportunities, I am extremely mindful of the impact, for lack of a better word, of concussion on our children.
    I'm excited that we're moving forward with this. There are some key milestones coming in the next year in delivering this for our country. I think we have some strong advocates at the national level, including the Governor General. This is of particular interest to him, and he's lending his support to any of our efforts around concussions.
    What I can assure you is that we're on top of this, that it is a top priority of mine and the Minister of Health. We look forward to sharing our plans and strategy as we move forward on this file.
    You have less than one minute, Mr. Kitchen.
    I'll follow up on that. Maybe you can expand a little on it. One of the concerns we have is the following. I agree with you that there's a lot of great research on it, having been a sports practitioner and having dealt with athletes who have concussions. One of the biggest problems we find is that although we have the research and the information, knowledge transfer and knowledge translation is a big issue, and not only knowledge translation but also knowledge retention. Oftentimes we present that information to the personnel in a rural area, wherever it may be, and they stay with the best practices for a week, and then the next week they go back to what they're used to. Are you looking at that as being part of the process and ensuring that is in the project?
    I would say, absolutely. I think you're bang on when you say we have some good research, but we need to make sure the practitioners are living it and that it becomes the way we do business.
    It's also a huge culture shift must happen in the sports community. In some sports in particular there's a culture of, “suck it up and get back on the field”. What I've told parent groups and others is that if I, as an athlete, sprain my ankle, you don't throw me back in the pool. If I, as an athlete, sprain my brain, you're more than willing to put me back on the ice, and I don't understand that. I think a big component of this for us, particularly in sport, is going to be education and a culture shift around respecting that this is in fact a brain injury and that we need to treat it as such.
    Thank you. The seven minutes are up, so thank you, Minister.
    Mr. Nantel for the NDP, for seven minutes, please.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Madam Qualtrough, my thanks to you and the folks who are here with you this morning.
    I was about to write to a volunteer from the Jeux du Québec that were held in Longueuil in 2014. I also volunteered and it was a fantastic experience. What has often moved me to tears is seeing the feeling of accomplishment that sport can bring to youth. There is also the experience of working as a team, of being part of a great movement, of coming together and celebrating.
    I heard that the 2016 Jeux du Québec organizers, which will be held in Montreal, is expecting news from your department about its funding. I have no doubt that it will receive it, but I wanted to point out that they are starting to be a bit concerned. The Olympic Games were held in Montreal in 1976, and it so happens that this is a nice anniversary.

  (1015)  

    Absolutely.
    We are increasingly hearing about the Olympic stadium in the news, and for good reason. Its director is very dynamic and he is raising awareness about the scale of that monument and the life it can hold.
    Do you have any news for the people from the Jeux du Québec about the funding?
    I'm sorry, but I cannot read what it says because the font is too small. The Associate Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage will answer on my behalf.
    No problem.
    Minister Joly has recently met with stakeholders in Quebec and they had a discussion about the proposals submitted. The project is being studied and we can assure you that we are taking it very seriously and we want to provide an answer as soon as possible. We must also consider the Canada 150 activities. We also have an opportunity to provide assistance for that. Everything is being studied right now.
    Thank you for not evading the question and for answering frankly. But I must admit that I'm a little surprised because the 150th anniversary won't be in 2016. The 150th anniversary will be celebrated next year, in 2017.
    Having said that, so much the better, and I hope the delays won't be too long. I am constantly seeing that the government machine is missing many pieces because the pieces have been sold to avoid a deficit. I'm joking, but there's some truth to it.
    I have another question for you.
    You're an athlete, and you can imagine the determination required in your training, in your deeds and in your performance. Anyone remotely interested in sporting success was amazed to learn recently that Jean-Luc Brassard, chef de mission of the Canadian Olympic Committee for the Olympic Games in Rio, had resigned from his position. He criticized the COC's management of the case of former COC president Marcel Aubut, who is accused of sexual harassment. Mr. Brassard faced the storm with courage, in a conference room worthy of Star Trek.
    Could you give us an update on the situation at the Canadian Olympic Committee? The COC is funded by private partnerships, but also receives a lot of public sector funding. There's also the whole aspect of national pride that the COC inspires. What's happening at the COC?
    I fully agree with you: it's very serious. The Government of Canada has a zero-tolerance policy on harassment, and we must be 100% certain that our workplaces are absolutely free of harassment.
    Mr. Brassard made his decision. I want to congratulate him and thank him for his efforts. He is a hero, an athlete I admire greatly, and he worked hard for the COC. I am encouraged because he and I both have a lot of confidence in the new COC president. I would also say that she is bringing a new management style. Tricia Smith is an athlete as well: she has competed in rowing at four Olympic Games and won a gold medal. She is also a lawyer and arbitrator with the Board of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport. She is a person of integrity, and I have absolute confidence in her.
    Two or three days ago, Jean-Luc Brassard said he would return to work at the COC one day, in another capacity, because he knows that Tricia Smith will clean things up at the Canadian Olympic Committee. I feel the same way. Curt Harnett, the new chef de mission, also said publicly that if he didn't have confidence in the management of the COC, he would not have accepted the position.
    I speak to Tricia regularly. She has her own style. She remains more behind the scenes. She launched an investigation, and the process continues. She doesn't want to influence the decision or the process. When an athlete is running an organization like the COC, the approach is a little more different. She knows the athletes and their needs, and what it takes to get to the podium. I have the utmost confidence in her leadership.

  (1020)  

    To restore public confidence, I invite you to talk about it and to raise the profile of the new COC president. You do it cheerfully and enthusiastically. We already know Mr. Brassard, and the new chef de mission seems to be a fine person.
    By the way, you speak French very well. Congratulations.
    Thank you.
    It's important to talk about the positive aspects of this situation because the story is drawing out and goes beyond sexual harassment accusations. It's starting to sound like a Swiss banking scandal.
    Good luck.
    Thank you very much.
    I think that changes about the future of the organization will be announced in the coming days.
    Thank you.

[English]

     Thank you very much.
    Ms. Dabrusin from the Liberals, for seven minutes.
    As the mother of two girls who are involved in sports, one competitively, I see the impact of sports on their self-confidence and development.
    In my own community, I've coached girl's ball hockey for many years. We had a ball hockey league that was co-ed. Girls weren't participating for very long; they were dropping out. Then we expanded into a girl's division and now there is an interest in it. There are waiting lists. It's a growing league.
    How are you and the department going to focus on encouraging women and girls in sport, to encourage their numbers and participation?
    This is a really important question, something that I'm quite passionate about because, as the mother of a 5-year old girl and a 16-year old girl, I've lived the experience of my daughter losing her love for sport. We lose girls around the age of 14. We need to build systems and we need to create experiences for them where we won't lose them.
    One of the things Sport Canada does is fund CAAWS, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity, to the tune of approximately $250,000. CAAWS works with national sport organizations and multi-sport organizations basically to increase awareness about how we can be more inclusive with women and girls in our sport experiences.
    It's very interesting to me because of the 1,900 or 2,000 athletes we card through our athlete assistance programs, 50% of them are women. At that level we have a 50% representation in sport.
    What's happening? How is it that we lose them, but then at the high performance level we seem to have them? I'm interested in figuring that out and it's something that we're turning our minds to as we look at being more inclusive.
    The other piece I'd like to talk about is your comment about the kind of sport experience our girls are having. We need to be creative and inclusive. We need to provide integrated opportunities where girls get to play with boys, but we also need to respect the fact that some girls like to play with girls and that the experience is different when you play in a girl's league than when you play in a co-ed league.
    The more the variety and the range of sport experiences we can provide our girls the better. We need to be mindful not to lose them.
    What kind of good sport experience will keep them in the game longer? We know, as I said in my opening remarks, that by a certain age they're no longer experiencing sport at the same levels as boys.
    Given that you mentioned inclusive sports and trying to develop that, I think it's wonderful that our Minister of Sport is a Paralympian. Was it in 1992 and 1998?
    I was very young, yes.
    Because we are talking about women and girls, I would also note that you were recently honoured with the International Paralympic Committee's International Women's Day Recognition award this year.
    Thank you.
    You mentioned that we did very well at the Paralympics in London. What are your thoughts about the Paralympic movement now worldwide, and how can the Government of Canada support Paralympians?
    How much time do I have? I need a lot of time.
    Ms. Dabrusin and you together have another three minutes.
     Okay, thank you.
    As you know I did swim in the Paralympic Games and I can tell you all very seriously that it changed my life. As a person with a disability, I was quite good at sport in my youth and then at some point the fact that I can't see very well—I'm legally blind—caught up to me. I wasn't performing as well as I had when I was younger, and that was when I found Paralympic sport and a system of sport that levelled the playing field for me. I was competing against other athletes who couldn't see, instead of competing with athletes could and who had started to beat me. As you can appreciate, in swimming the non-visually impaired athletes were beating me by hundredths of a second because they could see the wall and I couldn't. I fell in love with the Paralympic movement and continued volunteering after my retirement, and ended up being president of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
    So much has changed since I competed in the Paralympic Games. When I swam for Canada, my parents had to pay for my uniform. Uniforms for the Paralympic team weren't funded, and that wasn't that long ago in the history of this movement. Now the Government of Canada has an equality policy whereby Olympic and Paralympic athletes are funded equally and equitably. I would make that distinction, because sometimes it costs a little more to support someone with a disability and the Government of Canada has programs in place to make sure that that additional support and care are provided, both on the personal side but also on the sport technical side. For example, a totally blind runner will have to run with a guide. That guide also receives support so they can train regularly with this athlete, or bike regularly with them if they are a cyclist. It's really fantastic. We've come a long way. Do we have further to go? Absolutely. Is the television coverage the same. Not quite yet, but it's a lot better than it was.
    When you think about movements, and I would say that as much as it's a sport movement, the Paralympics is also an important social movement internationally. I'm very proud that Canada has the policies and programs that we have for equitable treatment of our athletes. You will never hear me nor any of the Sport Canada officials say “Olympic” without also saying “Paralympic”. We fund our national teams equitably in all para sports. We have encouraged the national sport and multi-sport organizations to have Paralympic and para sport representation within their leadership and government models.
    As I say, we've come a long way, but my point is also that we do have a lot further to go. I'm certainly proud of how far we've come.

  (1025)  

    Thank you very much. You've got about 40 seconds. You cut yourself short. Did you have anything else you wanted to add? Otherwise I can ask you another question. I just wanted to make sure.
    No, I'm good. I would simply ask that please support your Paralympic athletes in your ridings this summer heading into Rio, because they are high performance, excellent athletes.
    Thank you. You have nothing more to add, Ms. Dabrusin? Thank you.
    Now we go into the second round, which is a five-minute round, and we begin with Mr. Waugh from the Conservatives.
    Sport Minister, I want to congratulate you for what you've done in this country throughout your career. As a father of a swimmer who made the Canada Summer Games team way back when, I just want to....
    What summer games?
    Those in Prince Edward Island. He was a long distance swimmer.
    I know the hours you have dedicated to the sport of swimming. We get up in the morning at five and are still at the pool at 7 p.m. So I just want to congratulate you.
    Thank you very much.
    That said, the sports tax credit is gone, and you know how much Canadians from coast to coast to coast dearly loved it. It gave people in this country a chance to try different sports, not only hockey, or whatever, 12 months of the year, as you know. I'm really disappointed. The the arts tax credit is gone as well, as you know, because you were here when I talked about it an hour ago. I think it's so important to get the kids of our country off the couch and participating, to have the chance eight years out to say they didn't know they loved this sport so much and they may have a chance to be at Canada's summer games, the Pan Am Games, whatever. Now we've taken that away from the dreams of the kids in this country, I believe. That was an important tax credit. I'd like your thoughts on that.
    Thank you.
    Sorry, was it your son or your daughter who...?
    My son.
    Honestly, the Canada Games is a phenomenal experience. Thank you. As a parent of a swimmer I can imagine the hours you put in as well.
    Hours and money.
     Yes, hours and money: that is swimming.
    On the children's fitness tax credit and the decision to let go of that particular tax credit, the thinking behind it, as you've probably been told, is that our new Canada child benefit puts money directly in the pockets of families. One thing we learned from the fitness tax credit over the years is that it actually didn't result in increased participation in sport, because you still had to be able to afford sport in order to claim that credit later on during the year. It didn't put money into the pockets of somebody.... If I can't afford the $200 for swimming, it won't matter that a year or eight months later I can get a credit for it or get part of that money back.
    On the thinking that having a child Canada benefit puts money directly into the hands up front, what I'm hoping is that it will give parents more flexibility financially to actually get their kids out into the pools and onto the fields. It's a kind of philosophical discussion as to how we invest, right? We've decided to go with the child Canada benefit that puts money in pockets up front instead of requiring parents to claim the fitness tax credit at the end.

  (1030)  

    I'm just hoping that instead of putting food on the table, which most of them may use that money for, we can get them back on the diamonds or the soccer pitches.
    One thing I really have a problem with the IOC on is this. I'll take Rio as an example, with the summer games coming up. All of a sudden we have the new sport of golf included in the games. We have three golf professionals who I think will represent us fine. Unfortunately, we didn't know that golf was coming along as an included sport until Rio decided, with the IOC, to make it an Olympic sport. How do you fund these marginal sports? I'm not saying that golf is marginal, but you know what I mean.
    I know what you're saying. I do.
    You're telling me eight years out.... I have no idea four to eight years out from an Olympic Games if they're going to slash, in this case, baseball and softball, and go into something else. Then you go to Own the Podium. How can you go to one of the top businesses in this country and ask them to look after a sport when eight years down the road it may not be there?
    I share your frustration with the Olympics cycle. It provides a ton of challenges for national sport organizations, because, of course, we fund based on Olympic and Paralympic programs. If you're not necessarily in that program in any given quadrennial, then your access to programs and services is quite limited.
    I think what we need to do is encourage the IOC to make the decisions earlier on so that we can have a longer runway into the games. That's an IOC decision. It's also a host community decision. The IOC will tell them that they have to put on a certain number of sports, and the host organizing committee will get to pick.
    Mr. Kevin Waugh: Okay. I'm just—
    I'm sorry. That's it. For a comment, you can have 13 seconds.
    As my last statement, I would point out that the last gold medal winner in golf was a Canadian. We have Graham DeLaet of Saskatchewan who, hopefully, will be in Rio, so we might win gold again.
    Thank you, Mr. Waugh.
    Now we'll go to Mr. O'Regan, for the Liberals.
    I'll pick up on where my colleague was going. As you know, perhaps more than most, that runway you spoke about is getting shorter and shorter. We have 113 days before the opening ceremonies of the Olympics and 146 days before the opening ceremonies of the Paralympics. How ready are we right now, in your estimation?
    That's a good question.
     I'm excited about Rio for a couple of reasons. First of all, we're in a bit of a transition year. Many of our athletes retired after London, so we have some really new and exciting faces that we're going to see for the first time on the international stage. We have so many team sports that have qualified. Perhaps historically we haven't been as lucky in having that many teams. We have a lot of female teams, including women's field hockey and women's wheelchair basketball.
    I think our athletes are ready. Our athletes are always going to be as ready as they can be. Quite frankly, regardless of the systems that are in place for our athletes, excellence is just part of their DNA, and they're going to be as ready as they can be. Our job is to support them as much as we can.
    I think we're doing that. I think Own the Podium is doing that, and I think the national sport organizations are doing that. I think we're going to have some breakout performances in Rio, both on the Olympic side and on the Paralympic side. I'm not sure what the medal count will be. I think we're in a year of transition, and I wouldn't want to speculate. That's not my job. It's up to the COC and Own the Podium to make those predictions, but I'll be there.
    I think we need to remember that qualifying for the Olympic or Paralympic Games is pretty darned impressive. About this focus on medals, on the one hand, I understand, as a competitor and as someone who went there and a couple of times who said, “Oh, so close”.... But being 12th in the world, being on the Olympic team and wearing that jacket for Canada, that's an impressive accomplishment in and of itself. We need to celebrate all of our athletes who make these teams and, as we sit on our couches and judge, remember that maybe 12th isn't such a big deal, but 12th in the world in any sport, in anything, is pretty darned impressive.
     Let me ask you specifically about the preparation of athletes for the Games. Are there any security concerns on your radar that you're worried about going into Rio?

  (1035)  

    I would say not more than any other games. Rio is not the safest place in the world, but thankfully, we have a very strong relationship with the RCMP through Global Affairs, and with the COC and CPC. They do table-top exercises, and RCMP accompany the team. When I'm there, I will be surrounded by security.
    As you know, there is an Olympic bubble, as we say. You move from event to event, from venue to venue. You're within the confines of the Olympic precinct, or the Paralympic precinct, and you don't stray too far from that when you're in that experience. Whatever goes on around you in the world, you're kind of in the bubble.
    Let me ask you specifically about the Zika virus, because it has been in the news a lot in the past couple of days. Is that a threat at all to our athletes?
    I wouldn't say it's a threat. I think it's something that we're aware of. We're working with Public Health Agency, we're working with Global Affairs, and we're working with the COC and the CPC so that our athletes and the medical teams have the best and most up-to-date information because they have to make choices.
    I'm not sure how many of our Olympic or Paralympic athletes may or may not be pregnant, but we need them to know what the risks are if they go to Rio and to make their own personal choices accordingly. That's what is being advised, that if you are or might be pregnant, you shouldn't go. Athletes will have to make those choices.
    I don't think it's a big threat for our teams.
    You're in a unique position because of your participation as an Olympian, so I want to ask you this. When you look at the role government played in preparing you then as an athlete and as an ambassador for our country, how are we doing now? It's 113 days, or 146 days, and it's probably too late to make any significant changes, but as we learn more and more what government's proper role should be, how do you see us improving in the future?
    I think generally speaking we could use sport as a means and an end in government and in life. We focus a lot on sport as an end, but if we look at the power of sport to address broader social policy objectives and broader public policy challenges, whether it be childhood obesity, substance abuse, or isolation, I think it is our Olympic and Paralympic athletes who are the role models for potentially marginalized groups. I think there may be a way, as Public Health looks at combatting obesity and as we look at juvenile justice issues, we can use these ambassadors, these leaders, and these success stories to inspire other kids to be the best they can be and follow whatever dreams they have.
    Thank you very much.
    We've come to the end of our question and answer period, because we need to vote on the estimates. I want to leave us time to do that.
    I want to thank the minister and the committee for a really good session.
    We will allow the minister and her officials to leave and will then vote on the estimates.
    Thank you.
    Thank you very much.
    Order, please.

  (1040)  

     Now we will go to the votes. We are going to vote on the main estimates of 2016-17.
CANADA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS
ç Vote 1—Payments under section 18 of the Canada Council for the Arts Act..........$182,347,387
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
ç Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$927,306,798
ç Vote 5—Working capital..........$4,000,000
ç Vote 10—Capital expenditures..........$106,717,000
    (Votes 1, 5, and 10 agreed to)
CANADIAN HERITAGE
ç Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$183,944,057
ç Vote 5—Grants and contributions..........$1,084,961,970
    (Votes 1 and 5 agreed to)
CANADIAN MUSEUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
ç Vote 1—Operating and capital expenditures..........$21,700,000
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
CANADIAN MUSEUM OF HISTORY
ç Vote 1—Operating and capital expenditures..........$66,199,477
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
CANADIAN MUSEUM OF NATURE
ç Vote 1—Operating and capital expenditures..........$26,129,112
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
CANADIAN MUSEUM OF IMMIGRATION AT PIER 21
ç Vote 1—Operating and capital expenditures..........$7,700,000
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
ç Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$5,072,595
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES OF CANADA
ç Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$94,905,525
ç Vote 5—Capital expenditures..........$11,937,824
    (Votes 1 and 5 agreed to)
NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE CORPORATION
ç Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$79,397,056
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
NATIONAL BATTLEFIELDS COMMISSION
ç Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$6,461,761
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
NATIONAL CAPITAL COMMISSION
ç Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$66,412,180
ç Vote 5—Capital expenditures..........$22,380,000
    (Votes 1 and 5 agreed to)
NATIONAL FILM BOARD
ç Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$61,894,820
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA
ç Vote 1—Operating and capital expenditures..........$35,888,410
ç Vote 5—Payment for acquisition of objects for the Collection and other costs attributable to this activity..........$8,000,000
    (Votes 1 and 5 agreed to)
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
ç Vote 1—Operating and capital expenditures..........$59,979,776
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
TELEFILM CANADA
ç Vote 1—Payments for the purposes set out in the Telefilm Canada Act..........$95,453,551
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
    The Chair: Shall I report the main estimates 2016-17 to the House?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: I want to thank you very much.
    Can we have a motion to adjourn?
    An hon. member: I so move.
    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Van Loan,
    The meeting is adjourned.
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