Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Lawrence Toet Profile
CPC (MB)
Dr. Kosatsky seems to be referring to a slide deck that I don't seem to have.
I think many of my colleagues are scrambling to find it too.
View Lawrence Toet Profile
CPC (MB)
I just wanted to touch on one of the items that came up from Ms. Nicol.
You talked about why people weren't testing and one of the things I heard was this whole aspect of labelling. Was that part of what you did in any of that research?
One of my concerns with the whole labelling aspect, which we already run into now, is the stigma with homes that have been remediated from grow-ops. You have this stigma in Manitoba that a house will carry for the rest of its life. You could have spent $100,000 remediating the house and going right back to the basics and it will still carry that label for the rest of its life. You can't even get a mortgage for that house. Is that one of the things you've also heard people are afraid of with this whole radon thing, that if we start to label it, we're going to run into this same issue where that house will carry the stigma for its lifespan?
View Lawrence Toet Profile
CPC (MB)
I could ask you a lot more questions but I think Mr. Clarke wants to get a quick one in too.
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Ms. Strom. I was very interested in your testimony. When you talk about the environmental performance in the oil sands, I completely agree. That comes from first-hand experience, because prior to becoming an MP, I did environmental monitoring in the oil sands. I worked on the Kearl project, a project I'm sure you're quite familiar with. The care with which the companies operate was nothing short of extraordinary.
Again, this is a very easy, quick question. I know what the answer is, but I'd like to get it on the record. I assume your operations are done under an environmental licence, and you are always in compliance with the terms and conditions of that licence. Is that correct, Ms. Strom?
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
Yes, I certainly can appreciate that.
The manual we used on the Kearl project to implement the terms and conditions of the environmental licence was about two centimetres thick. Again, when one looks at the overall environmental performance of the oil sands, given the kind of work that's done up there, it's really quite extraordinary how well things are managed.
Ms. Strom, do you have the figures for the number of people, roughly speaking, in Canada, whose employment or livelihoods are based on the oil sands?
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
No, I didn't expect the exact number. The one I saw, and it was a few years ago so I don't know if it's out of date or not, was that around 575,000 jobs in Canada are based on the oil sands. Actually, the number of jobs is still the same, given that production is still going on. It's the new projects, obviously, that are on hold.
Given that there are many people, primarily on the political left, who want to see the oil sands close down, what would be the socio-economic effect if the oil sands cease production in their entirety?
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
I just wish the opponents of the oil sands would appreciate what you just said, because I agree with you 100%. The positive socio-economic impact of the oil sands is simply overwhelming.
Ms. Strom, it must be endlessly frustrating for you and your company that no matter what you do in terms of environmental performance, compliance with your licence, endless consultations with groups, going over and above the studies that you need to do as required by government, there still are groups—as I said, primarily on the political left—who want the oil sands to be shut down.
Why do you think there's that disconnect between your environmental performance, which I know is exemplary, and those who, in my view, maliciously seek to shut down the oil sands? Why can't you build a better image of what you do, given all of the positive environmental activities that you undertake?
View Lawrence Toet Profile
CPC (MB)
Ms. Strom, I want to start with you. I want to get back a little bit to the context of our study, and that is the partnering with not-for-profits and other organizations for local environmental initiatives.
You talked about your founding membership of the Boreal Leadership Council. I was hoping you could expand a little on the work of this foundation, what it has accomplished, and what it's looking to accomplish over the coming years.
View Lawrence Toet Profile
CPC (MB)
Yes, that's good.
I also wanted to talk a little about your business incubator, and the 72 businesses that you had at a recent celebration. I'd like to know a little more about what kind of work you are doing with these, I'm assuming, entrepreneurs, and in what ways you are supporting them. Is it kind of a one-off, or are you actually sticking with them and walking through the process with them?
Can you give us a little better idea of what's happening with your business incubator program?
View Lawrence Toet Profile
CPC (MB)
What kinds of things do you deliver? What is the scaffolding in your view? Are you working with them on financials? Are you working with them on complete business plans? What sorts of things are you doing to support them in this incubator?
View Lawrence Toet Profile
CPC (MB)
As you go through that process, are you tracking at all the success of these companies and their longevity? Do they have that foundation so when the scaffolding, as you referred to it, is removed they are able to continue on?
View Lawrence Toet Profile
CPC (MB)
The final item that I wanted to talk to you a little bit about is the Energy Futures Lab. Could you also let us know about some of the work that's going on in the Energy Futures Lab and the partnerships that are involved in that?
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank the minister, the generals, and the admiral for being here for another technical briefing, which again comes from the basis that we've been very open and transparent about our activities in Operation Reassurance and Operation Impact. I just want to remind Ms. Murray that when we go and show solidarity with our troops it's quite different than the $40 million the Liberals took in the ad scam, or when Prime Minister Chrétien went and visited our troops in Bosnia and couldn't even put on his helmet properly. That being the point, I'll just move on.
I want to get back to the comment and the question around the precision-guided munitions and that the minister had received information that wasn't entirely correct. General Lawson, how did it come to be that we didn't have all that information before sharing it publicly?
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you.
I want to go to Operation Reassurance. Minister, could you go into more detail as to what our troops are going to be doing in Ukraine—what type of training they're going to be providing, where they're going to be providing it—so that we have a better understanding of what's going to be happening there this summer and again later in the fall?
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you.
Mr. Zealand, you may have answered this, but I missed it. What are the most important non-anadromous fish species to the sport fishing community in the Yukon?
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
Okay. Are any of those stocks overfished, and if they are, where are they located?
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
Earlier in the study we were given the astonishing statistic that Canadians release some 60 million fish a year. They catch 100 million fish and release 60 million fish, so that has been a remarkable transformation in recreational fishing. Has the catch and release ethic taken hold in the Yukon?
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
In terms of recreational fishing regulations in Yukon, what's your evaluation of the efficacy of the regulations? If there are some deficiencies, what are they and what would you like to see changed?
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
Does the Yukon government engage in fish stock assessment programs where biologists go out and do index netting, and creel censuses of anglers' catches, and those kinds of things?
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
What's the interaction between the mineral industry and the recreational fisheries industry?
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
Do you see the mining industry contributing some resources to the conservation and enhancement of fisheries habitat? Is that something they seem willing to do?
View Robert Sopuck Profile
CPC (MB)
I think my time is nearly up, but what I would recommend is this. We have the recreational fisheries conservation partnerships program. The budget is up to $55 million now and it's a partnering program. These are basically 50¢ dollars for organizations like yours, so if you can get industry to come up with half the money for, let's say, a $30,000 project, the federal government, I would suggest, would be glad to kick in the other amount. I would urge you to have a look at that program.
Thank you very much.
View Niki Ashton Profile
NDP (MB)
View Niki Ashton Profile
2015-06-16 11:48
Thank you very much.
Thank you to all of our witnesses for coming forward and sharing your expertise with us today. I'd like to direct my questions for the most part to Mr. Gupta and Ms. Hutchinson with regard to the work that you do.
Given that we're not here to just conduct this report but to formulate recommendations, and hopefully take these recommendations to the implementation stage, I'm wondering if you can speak to the situation today in terms of government support for start-ups in IT. Is there more that can be done? What can be done with respect to attracting investors and inventors to our country?
View Niki Ashton Profile
NDP (MB)
View Niki Ashton Profile
2015-06-16 11:51
You mentioned infrastructure, and I know in your presentation you referred in part to broadband access, which of course is an immense challenge in large swaths of our country. I'm wondering if perhaps you could elaborate a bit. When you speak of infrastructure, where do you think the government could play a greater role?
View Niki Ashton Profile
NDP (MB)
View Niki Ashton Profile
2015-06-16 11:52
On that note I represent a northern constituency and a number of the communities I represent do not have access to broadband. It's truly a daily struggle for something as basic as kids accessing the kinds of opportunities online that any other child in another Canadian community would have. Unfortunately while initial commitments were made in terms of the physical towers, that hasn't materialized in broadband connections the way it should have.
I do want to note, however, speaking of Pratt & Whitney, there is a highly technologically intensive operation in our region, a cold weather testing site, just minutes from my home. I think that's an example of a positive investment, and all levels of government were part of that in connecting IT opportunities in northern communities in a much greater way.
Mitacs, thank you for your presentation but also your insight into what we could be doing with respect to education. Obviously the federal government is more involved on the research intensive front and we see the need for greater involvement in post-secondary education and restoring dedicated funding on that front.
I wonder if you could perhaps speak to how to create a culture of innovation that encourages both basic research and commercialization. Is Canada able to strike a balance? How can we do that without giving preferential treatment to commercialization, for example, over anything else?
View Niki Ashton Profile
NDP (MB)
View Niki Ashton Profile
2015-06-16 11:56
That's great. Thank you.
Are there any final thoughts on that point?
View Niki Ashton Profile
NDP (MB)
View Niki Ashton Profile
2015-06-16 11:56
I meant primary education, K to 12.
View Niki Ashton Profile
NDP (MB)
View Niki Ashton Profile
2015-06-16 11:57
That's a good point. Thank you.
View Larry Maguire Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you to the panellists for being here today as well. I certainly appreciate all of your presentations. It was very informative for a person who hasn't had the experience of being on the committee that much.
I certainly wanted to ask you, Mr. Gupta, about one of the comments that you made. It was that obviously these types of technological advancements take place because of, in your comments, three areas: capital, markets, and talent. Rural and remote broadband was one of the things that you pointed out there as well.
Can you just expand on that a little bit more and what's needed in that area? We have programs that are out there now developing some of that and trying to get higher speeds into some of those rural areas. Certainly, in the northern areas, as my colleague across the way has indicated and she represents those areas as well, we need advancements in that.
At the same time, here's a question to everyone. In regard to your experiences and in regard to, maybe we'll call it disruptive technologies, but leaps into the future, could you describe to us where we're going and what you see on the horizon in some of your industries? You touched on a few, but can you expand on some of that as well?
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