Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 1173, 1175, 1176, 1179 to 1181 and 1186.
Question No. 1173--Mr. Gordon Brown
With regard to the U.S. State Department’s approval of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Canada of ten F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft, eight F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft, and associated parts and spare equipment as issued on September 12, 2017: (a) what is the government’s projected life span of the 18 aircraft; (b) what is the government’s projected cost for the annual operation of the 18 aircraft; (c) what is the government’s projected cost for the operation of the 18 aircraft over the projected life span; (d) what is the government’s projected cost for the annual maintenance of the 18 aircraft; (e) what is the government’s projected maintenance cost over the projected life span of the 18 aircraft; (f) what additional infrastructure will have to be installed at Canadian Armed Forces bases to accommodate the training, operation, and maintenance of the 18 aircraft; (g) what current infrastructure will have to be modernized in order to accommodate the training, operation, and maintenance of the 18 aircraft; (h) what is the projected cost for the additional and modernized infrastructure; (i) what is the anticipated timeline to train current CF-18 Hornet pilots to operate (i) the F/A-18E, (ii) the F/A-18F; (j) what is the anticipated timeline to train current CF-18 maintenance crews to work on (i) the F/A-18E, (ii) the F/A-18F; (k) what analysis was done to determine the interoperability of the 18 aircraft with NATO allies; (l) for each of the above questions, did the government perform the same analysis and or cost estimation for the aircraft manufacturers that provided a response to the CF-18 Replacement Industry Consultation Questions, Summer 2016; and (m) what other aircraft did the government study as a potential interim purchase?Mr. Jean R. Rioux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
as clearly laid out in Canada’s new defence policy, a modern fighter jet fleet is essential for defending Canada and Canadian sovereignty, including in our northern skies, enabling continental security, and contributing to international peace and stability.
Through the new defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, the government has committed to an open, fair, and transparent competition to replace our aging fleet of CF-18 fighter jets with 88 modern airframes.
We have simultaneously engaged governments and our partners in industry to explore the option of procuring an interim fleet of fighter jets to fill the fighter capability gap. Our goal is to ensure that we are able to meet our NORAD and NATO commitments simultaneously, while safeguarding our ability to be responsive to threats domestically.
The Government of Canada is continuing to explore the potential acquisition of 18 interim aircraft to supplement the CF-18 fighter aircraft fleet until the completion of the transition to the permanent replacement aircraft. No decision has been made yet. The government had previously considered the possibility of acquiring 18 Super Hornets. We are also actively looking at other options through discussions with other F-18 users, including Australia. Once all of the information is available, the options will be considered to assess whether they can meet our requirements at a level of capability, cost, schedule, and economic value that is acceptable to Canada.
The operational life span of this interim fleet would start at delivery and not end before the completion of the transition to the CF-18 permanent replacement aircraft.
Question No. 1175-- Ms. Marilyn Gladu
With regard to the government’s proposed legalization of marijuana: will there be a maximum tetrahydrocannabinol percentage in legalized products and, if so, what is that percentage?Mr. Bill Blair (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, it is the government's intention to set regulatory requirements that would standardize the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, in certain cannabis products and to indicate the amounts of THC on product labels. In this way, consumers will have clear information upon which to make decisions about consumption and the risks they are taking.
Currently, under the access to cannabis for medical purposes regulations, ACMPR, the maximum allowable limit of THC in cannabis oil is 30 milligrams per milliliter. As well, for capsules of cannabis oil, in dosage form, the ACMPR limits the amount of THC per capsule to 10 mg. Health Canada is currently evaluating whether these limits will remain the same in the forthcoming regulations under the proposed cannabis act.
Question No. 1176-- Ms. Marilyn Gladu
With regard to the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa's Law): (a) for each provision in the Act, when did it come into force; and (b) for each provision in the Act which is not yet in force, why is it not in force and when will it come into force?Mr. Bill Blair (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act, Vanessa’s Law, received royal assent on November 6, 2014.
Many of its provisions came into effect when the legislation received royal assent. These provisions include important new safety measures, such as the ability of the Minister of Health to recall unsafe drugs and medical devices, compel information, order a label change, and disclose confidential business information when needed to prevent a serious risk of injury to human health. It also gave the court the ability to impose tougher fines and penalties, and to obtain an injunction to stop or prevent the commission of an offence. This allows Health Canada to take necessary action when there is a risk to the health of Canadians.
Other Vanessa’s Law measures require consultations with stakeholders and the development of regulations before they can be implemented. When developing regulations, Health Canada must consult broadly, including with the stakeholders who will be required to follow those regulations, as well as interested and impacted Canadians. Input is sought in many different ways, including publication of discussion papers, face-to-face meetings, webinars, and the publication of the proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette. All regulatory proposals must obtain governor in council approval and undergo publication in the Canada Gazette, part I and part II. This gives all Canadians a chance to provide meaningful input on the policy and development of regulations.
A number of regulatory proposals are under development, as outlined in the notice of intent published in June 2016, to require industry to undertake further tests and studies; require therapeutic products authorization holders to disclose foreign risk information; allow the minister to impose terms and conditions on marketing authorizations; and allow the minister to order a reassessment.
Three of these, namely, tests and studies, reassessment, and foreign risk information, were pre-published in the Canada Gazette, part I, in June 2017 for public consultation. Additionally, white paper consultations were held this past spring for two other Vanessa’s Law measures: public release of clinical information in drug submissions and medical device applications; and mandatory reporting of serious adverse drug reactions and medical device incidents by health care institutions. These regulatory proposals are targeted for Canada Gazette, part I, pre-publication in late 2017 and spring 2018, respectively. The remaining Vanessa’s Law proposals, including disclosure of clinical information, are under development.
Question No. 1179-- Mr. John Barlow
With regard to the proposed changes to small business taxation announced on July 18, 2017: (a) what studies have been conducted by the government regarding the effect the proposed changes would have on individual farm ownership, intergenerational farm ownership, and specifically the ability to pass down family farms from generation to generation; (b) what are the specific details of each study referred to in (a), including (i) who conducted the study, (ii) date, (iii) findings, (iv) methodology, (v) website where findings can be located, if applicable; and (c) what are the details of any briefing notes on the subject, including for each the (i) date, (ii) title, (iii) sender, (iv) recipient, (v) subject matter, (vi) summary, (vii) file number?Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, the government assesses issues arising under the tax system on an ongoing basis. It relies on a range of approaches and information sources to develop an in-depth understanding of potential issues, including the statistical analysis of tax return data, the monitoring of the tax literature, and consultations with the Canada Revenue Agency, academics, tax professionals, and other stakeholders.
When the analysis identifies a need for action, options are developed and assessed against a range of criteria such as their impact on the fairness of the tax system, economic efficiency, and the ease of administration of the tax system.
This process was followed in the development of the proposals contained in the consultation document released on July 18, 2017. Tax data and other information were used to assess the scope of the issues and the impact of different options. In particular, the number of businesses that could be affected by the various options to estimate the fiscal impact of the proposals was assessed, within constraints imposed by available data.
Draft legislation was also released for two of the three proposals contained in the consultation document. Stakeholders, including farmers, were invited to comment on the proposals and the draft legislation. Stakeholders were also specifically invited to provide their views and ideas on whether, and if so how, it would be possible to better accommodate genuine intergenerational business transfers in the Income Tax Act while still protecting the fairness of the tax system.
The government will not be moving forward with measures relating to the conversion of income into capital gains. During the consultation period, the government heard from business owners, including many farmers and fishers, that the measures could result in several unintended consequences, such as in respect of taxation upon death and potential challenges with intergenerational transfers of businesses. The government will work with family businesses, including farming and fishing businesses, to make it more efficient, or less difficult, to hand down their businesses to the next generation.
In the coming year, the government will continue its outreach to farmers, fishers, and other business owners to develop proposals to better accommodate intergenerational transfers of businesses while protecting the fairness of the tax system.Question No. 1180-- Mr. John Barlow
With regard to the proposed changes to small business taxation announced on July 18, 2017: (a) what studies have been conducted by the government regarding the effect the proposed changes would have on individual farm ownership, intergenerational farm ownership, and specifically the ability to pass down family farms from generation to generation; (b) what are the specific details of each study referred to in (a), including (i) who conducted the study, (ii) date, (iii) findings, (iv) methodology, (v) website where findings can be located, if applicable; and (c) what are the details of any briefing notes on the subject, including for each the (i) date, (ii) title, (iii) sender, (iv) recipient, (v) subject matter, (vi) summary, (vii) file number?Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, protecting the health and safety of Canadians is a top priority for our government. That is why we are taking a careful, regulatory approach to cannabis legalization.
Officials have been working actively to determine the most appropriate course forward on our international obligations.
We are committed to working with our global partners to best promote public health and combat illicit drug trafficking? Question No. 1181-- Ms. Rachel Blaney
With regard to accessing the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) when a couple may be considered to be living apart for reasons beyond their control and when the couple didn’t qualify together at the married rate: (a) could couples qualify for GIS benefits at the individual rate if living apart for reasons beyond their control before January, 2017; (b) why did the 1989 policy directive allow for couples to qualify for GIS based on individual income if it wasn’t the intent of the Old Age Security Act; (c) did the 1989 policy directive continue from 1989 to January, 2017; (d) what prompted the government to clarify its position; (e) was the government aware that this would affect seniors; (f) how many times has this topic been discussed with the government and has the question been raised with the Minister or Deputy Minister and, if so, has the Minister provided a response and, if so, what was the response; (g) has there been any briefing with detailed information on the matter and for every briefing document or docket prepared, what is (i) the date, (ii) the title and subject matter, (iii) the department’s internal tracking number; (h) has the government done any studies on the effect of this clarification and, (i) if not, why not, (ii) if so, how many studies have been conducted and which one is the latest, (iii) what are the conclusions and recommendations of these studies; (i) was a gender-based analysis completed to assess how many women would be impacted by this clarification; (j) how many seniors have been refused GIS following these clarifications in 2017; and (k) how many seniors have been grandfathered in since 2017 and will continue to receive their entitlement as per the previous rules and operational policy?Mr. Adam Vaughan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing and Urban Affairs), Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, old age security, OAS, benefits are intended to provide partial income security for seniors in recognition of the contributions that they have made to Canadian society and the economy. Low-income pensioners are entitled to additional assistance through the guaranteed income supplement, GIS. The GIS is calculated based on income to ensure that these benefits are provided to seniors most in need.
The GIS is paid at a different rate based on whether seniors are single or part of a couple. This reflects the different economic realities of single seniors and senior couples.
Since 1971, the Old Age Security Act has contained a provision that allows low-income couples in receipt of the GIS and who are forced to live apart for reasons beyond their control to receive their benefits at the higher single rate, based on their individual incomes. The intent of this provision was to recognize the increase in cost of living where one member of a couple remained in the matrimonial home while the other was required to go into a chronic care facility, nursing home, or home for the aged. These couples are often described as being “involuntarily separated”. In budget 2016, the OAS Act was amended to extend this provision to involuntarily separated couples where one member receives the GIS and the other receives the allowance. These amendments came into force on January 1, 2017.
In January 2017, the department issued an administrative policy direction to front-line Service Canada staff in order to reflect the expanded scope of the provisions for GIS/allowance couples. The department also took the opportunity to clarify the intent of the legislation with respect to eligibility for the involuntary separation provisions.
Specifically, the policy guidance was amended to state that couples must first qualify for the GIS on the basis of their joint income before the involuntary separation provisions could be applied. The policy direction was consistent with the intent of the GIS, which is to target assistance to those most in need. In order to address any possible situations where individuals had been paid under these provisions while their combined income was above the allowable threshold, a “grandfathering” clause was included to ensure that no current beneficiaries would see a reduction in their benefits.
Shortly thereafter, the department began to receive a number of enquiries from members of Parliament and clients with respect to this policy guidance. As a result, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has asked his officials to undertake a further analysis on the impact of the January 2017 policy directive. It became apparent that the implementation of this policy guidance was disadvantaging modest income couples. The minister has therefore tasked the department to correct this issue, by assessing the eligibility of couples involuntarily separated based solely on their individual incomes.
The department has already begun identifying senior couples who were affected by the January 2017 policy direction, a process that will be completed by the end of October. Departmental officials will subsequently reassess the benefit entitlement of any couples who were impacted by the January 2017 directive. The number of couples impacted by the directive is expected to be low. Question No. 1186--Mr. Kelly McCauley
With regard to the Prime Minister’s trip to Fogo Island in April 2017: (a) what are the details of each expenditure, including (i) flights, (ii) vehicle rentals, (iii) accommodations, (iv) meals and per diems, (v) other transportation costs, (vi) other expenses, (vii) security; and (b) of the expenses incurred in (a) which expenses were incurred, and what is the breakdown, by the following groups of individuals (i) the Prime Minister and his family, (ii) ministerial exempt staff, including staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, (iii) departmental staff, (iv) the RCMP and other security? Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.)
the Prime Minister did not travel to Fogo Island in April 2017.
Mr. Speaker, if the government's response to Questions Nos. 1174, 1177, 1178, 1182 to 1185 and 1187 could be made orders for return, these returns would be tabled immediately.
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Question No. 1174--Mr. Larry Miller
With regard to fines issued to the Canadian Coast Guard by Transport Canada or any other government department or agency, since November 4, 2015: what are the details of each fine, including for each the (i) date, (ii) amount, (iii) location where violation occurred, (iv) law or regulation which was violated, (v) details of incident report, (vi) was the fine paid by taxpayer funds and, if not, who paid the fine?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1177-- Mr. Chris Warkentin
With regard to relocation costs for exempt staff moving to Ottawa since December 6, 2016: (a) what is the total cost paid by the government for relocation services and hotel stays related to moving these staff to Ottawa; and (b) for each individual reimbursement, what is the (i) total payout, (ii) cost for moving services, (iii) cost for hotel stays?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1178-- Mr. Chris Warkentin
With regard to salary ranges for Ambassadors and Consul Generals: what is the current Treasury Board salary range for each individual Ambassador and Consul General, broken down by location?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1182-- Mr. Dan Albas
With regard to the revocation of citizenship by the government, since November 2016, and broken down by month: (a) how many individuals have had their citizenship revoked, and in each instance what was the (i) age of the individual, (ii) sex of the individual, (iii) specific reason for their citizenship revocation; and (b) for each of the reasons listed in (a)(iii), what is the total number given, broken down by reason?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1183-- Mr. Jamie Schmale
With regard to the review related to moving expenses announced by the President of the Treasury Board in September 2016: (a) what is the current status of the review; (b) when did the review begin; (c) when is the review expected to be completed; (d) if the review has been completed, what were the findings and recommendations; (e) what are the parameters of the review; (f) who conducted the review; and (g) when did the Prime Minister receive a copy of the review’s findings?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1184-- Mr. Jamie Schmale
With regard to the purchase of carbon offset credits by the government, broken down by department, agency, and crown corporation: (a) what is the total amount purchased in carbon offsets since September 19, 2016; and (b) what are the details of each individual purchase, including, for each, the (i) price of purchase, (ii) date of purchase, (iii) dates of travel, (iv) titles of individuals on trip, (v) origin and destination of trip, (vi) amount of emissions purchase was meant to offset, (vii) name of vendor who received the carbon offset payment?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1185-- Mr. Kelly McCauley
With regard to the 2017 Paris Air Show: (a) how many government representatives attended the event; (b) of the attendees in (a), how many employees attended from each government department; (c) how many non-governmental representatives attended the event; and (d) for each of the employees in (a) and (c), what were the (i) accommodation expenses, (ii) meal and per diem expenses, (iii) overall cost of all expenses?
(Return tabled)Question No. 1187-- Mr. Kelly McCauley
With regard to the government's pilot project testing of Smart Building technology in 13 buildings: (a) what is the cost for the 13 pilot project buildings, broken down by project; (b) what is the energy use for the 13 pilot project buildings, broken down by building; (c) what was the energy use for the 13 pilot project buildings prior to the Smart Building project, broken down by building and month for two years pre-conversion; (d) what was the energy cost for the 13 pilot project buildings prior to the Smart Building project, broken down by building and month for two years pre-conversion; (e) what was the energy use for the 13 pilot project buildings in the Smart Building project, broken down by building and month, post-conversion; and (f) what was the energy cost for the 13 pilot project buildings in the Smart Building project broken down by building and month, post-conversion?
Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.
Some hon. members: Agreed.