Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
I'd like to start by continuing the questioning from Ms. Moore regarding labelling of homes. As you say in your notes, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies radon in group 1, which means we know it's carcinogenic.
This is a question for everybody. Do you think houses should be labelled once they've been tested and that before and after remediation perhaps one could have a different label?
View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Well, on labelling, if you've done a test, presumably the results of the test are there.
View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
I just wanted to throw it out there.
Mr. Rankin had another question, which I want to ask in a different way. I'm wondering if anybody has thought about it from an economic point of view. If you had an extra dollar to spend, where would you help people the most? Would it be in spending it on reducing smoking or on reducing exposure to radon? Has anybody tried to figure out which one of those two will have a bigger effect on lung cancer? It's an economics question, so maybe it's too hard to calculate or something.
View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Maybe I'll try another question. You mentioned that Health Canada has studied the effects of energy retrofits on radon. My question is about whether there's a synergy. We want to encourage energy retrofits for other reasons, and I'm wondering in terms of these two issues, energy efficiency and exposure to radon, whether there's some synergy in promoting both at the same time.
View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
My first question is just to satisfy my curiosity a little bit. I'm trying to interpret one of the graphs that Ms. Henderson produced. It's the one where at the top of the page there are different numbers corresponding to becquerels. There's a jump in the graph for women for higher radon areas, from between 400 and 300. Is that just statistics?
View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay.
The y axis of these graphs doesn't cross at zero. Presumably there's a whole bunch of lung cancer from smoking, and then on top of that you're seeing the effects—
View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay.
Is this the only study that has picked out the difference between male and female trends in high radon regions over time?
View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay.
I'm just curious, have all federal government buildings been tested? Does anybody know the answer to that?
View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
You've proposed that we simply build out new residences and replace old residences as our priority strategy. May I assume that once you either build a new home to the correct specifications or remediate an old home, essentially for the life of that residence you don't have to...?
Your head is shaking, Ms. Nicol. When do you have to test again?
View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Has any research been done following remediation for perhaps older homes? How valid is the measurement—
View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
How many years does it last?
View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
On behalf of Ms. Fry, I would just thank you, Chair, the other members, and the analysts, the clerk, and all the others who work at this meeting, for your service.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Chair.
To the witnesses, I particularly appreciate your being here, but I will direct my first questions to Ms. Strom.
Suncor is a really serious player in energy generation. You're a $50-billion corporation, which makes your revenues greater than those of the Province of Alberta. So it's really quite interesting that your CEO, Steve Williams, seems to have stepped out and started a really good conversation in conjunction with Ecofiscal on climate change and pricing carbon.
Currently in Alberta you're at about $15 a tonne for your intensity-based regime. What does that shave off the bottom line for Suncor?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
I buy all of that. I'd be interested in knowing, and possibly the committee would as well, what that means to a corporation like Suncor in percentage terms or absolute dollars on an annualized basis.
There's a secondary question that comes out of that. We're all interested in a cleaner environment, and energy companies are no different from the rest of us. We all think we have to breathe. In terms of the intensity-based regime, does that come out of your research budget, such that you end up doing research? You set out here a whole bunch of things—good things, I would say—that Suncor is doing for the environment. It's not clear to me how those funds get allocated among issues directly pertaining to energy generation, particularly out of the oil sands, and what gets allocated to projects that are of larger environmental impact, such as looking after water and animals and all that sort of stuff.
Do you have any idea how that breaks out?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
I appreciate that this is maybe a level of detail for which you would not necessarily be prepared, but I'd be interested in how Suncor allocates its $15 per tonne and what influence it has on the fund itself.
My secondary line of questioning has to do with the statement by your CEO, who said “Climate change is happening. Doing nothing is not an option we can choose”. He talked about the leadership position and echoed Chris Ragan, “The truth is that a federal government of any political stripe would face significant challenges instituting a top-down, one-size-fits-all carbon pricing policy, especially if associated revenues would then flow out of the provinces”. My sense, having had various oil companies into the office recently, is that there's a real appetite, particularly in Alberta, to, if you will, spread the pricing pain in the form of a tax on consumers or on the general population.
I'd be interested in knowing Suncor's position on this conversation, in 25 words or less.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
To me, that sounds like a tax, smells like a tax, feels like a tax, and might even be a tax.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
I take it that smile means yes.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
You certainly wouldn't want to end the meeting on questions from me; I'm sure my colleagues will be running around trying to figure out how to repair whatever questions I ask.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Well, I can see that Mr. Carrie is getting anxious.
I want to pick up on Mr. Woodworth's Corporate Knights reference. Usually Corporate Knights does a calculation based on information in the public realm in terms of stock price, market capitalization, moneys allocated to corporate social responsibility, moneys allocated to environmental initiatives, and anecdotes and interviews as well. I'm just trying to frame it, because I think Suncor as well is in the top number companies for corporate social responsibility, according to Corporate Knights.
To Ms. Grondin in particular, can you frame this in terms of your gross revenues in Baker Lake? How much is allocated to the corporate social responsibility budget and how much is allocated to the environment budget?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
I don't wish to interrupt you, but the time is draining.
Given that I suspect that the information is readily available, could you convey to the committee the gross revenues that you receive on an annual basis and then disaggregate from those gross revenues the corporate social responsibility and environmental component, whether it's through the impact agreement or not, so we could have some sort of a feel for that?
I have a similar question for Suncor. I want to follow up on my question about how this $15 a tonne gets used. First, how much of it is from Suncor's bottom line, and how does it get used both to the benefit of the environment but also to how you do your work better? Second, do you know how much your CSR/environment budget is?
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
I appreciate that in some respects it may be difficult to disaggregate the numbers at a committee hearing like this. Again, if you could undertake to forward that information to the committee because, frankly, it's nice to talk about values and the original views and visions of the company, but usually you can find out where a company's values are by looking at its balance sheet. So I'd be interested not only in the number but also the percentage stated in terms of annual revenues.
View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, on the remote possibility that this might be our last meeting, I'd like to wish colleagues all the best. I think it would also be appropriate that you, on behalf of the committee, thank our very able clerks and analysts for their work over the past months and years in putting up with us, and me in particular.
Voices: Oh, oh!
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you very much, Chair.
I'd like to ask a question of General Lawson. Is the department looking at closing any military bases in Canada over the coming 12 to 18 months? If so, which ones?
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Okay, so you are considering closing some but you're not going to tell us which ones are under consideration.
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Okay, thank you.
What could have possessed you to make the comments you made to Peter Mansbridge, General?
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you, General. I heard that explanation earlier. I thought there may be some clarity. It was not a slip of the tongue. It was clearly a belief because you reinforced it several times.
My question would be.... I have to say that it's not since I was a young teenager that the idea or the excuse would be made that boys just can't help themselves. That's the kind of thing people used to say 35 or 45 years ago, so this is a very interesting excuse for sexual harassment and assault.
How do you think your comments regarding sexual violence in the military might affect those serving in Operations Impact and Reassurance?
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Okay. I would like to explore the idea of the trust and confidence of the troops that the CDS must command in order to be in that role. I would like to ask the minister whether he believes that the comments and the attitude, and what I would consider the normalization of inappropriate sexual behaviour and hostility, might affect the trust in command and the confidence of the troops, especially women and LGBTQ military members.
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Exactly, so my question is this. Do you believe that your Chief of the Defence Staff can still command the trust and confidence of women and LGBTQ armed forces members?
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you, so I'm hearing no answer to that question. I'll have to expect that the answer might be no, that he cannot command the trust and respect of the troops.
I have another question. I'd like to say, Minister, that I support the idea of showing solidarity with Canadian troops, especially ones who are in dangerous situations abroad, but I'd like to ask some questions about the cost of these photo opportunities. We have the Prime Minister, his wife, the minister and entourage, photographers, and videographers on HMCS Fredericton, which had to interrupt its participation in a NATO squadron exercise in order to have photos of the minister and the Prime Minister looking through binoculars. Can the Chief of the Defence Staff give me an estimate of what might have been the cost of that exercise?
Secondly, with the visit to Kurdistan, near Erbil, the media were left in Erbil but an entire platoon of JTF2 commandos had to be flown in for this photo exercise, along with an entire convoy of heavily armoured sport utility vehicles, according to media accounts. What might have been the cost of setting up that photo exercise? Together, can you give me an estimate of what this has cost the Canadian Armed Forces?
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
[Inaudible--Editor]...the minister's inappropriate—
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you very much for your history. I would like an answer to my question, and perhaps the Chief of Defence Staff could compare it to the cost of updating military family housing, of which I understand 41% is substandard, which is an expression of this minister's priorities.
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
You've made a number of comments about the business model, which we appreciate is changing, and certainly those of us who have worked in the industry understand it to be changing.
What I don't understand is why you have formerly used U.S. programming to subsidize multilingual programming. As a platform provider and not simply a content provider, you have a robust business model, all of it granted to you by federal statute. Why are you not using those other privileges granted to you by the CRTC, such as Rogers being a cable provider, which is gaining revenue as a result of media changes? Why are you not cross-subsidizing within your larger corporation? Why are you choosing to only cross-subsidize within OMNI?
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
No, I appreciate that. The question was, why aren't you using Rogers' full spectrum of revenue streams to cross-subsidize, to sustain the promise of performance you've made to the CRTC?
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
You're misunderstanding the question, and I hope it's not deliberate. Rogers has a number of broadcast platforms, which it is given privilege to broadcast in. It has a number of telecommunications operations. To fulfill your promise of performance for multilingual programming, which is the reason the station exists, why have you not chosen to cross-subsidize through the Rogers' family of businesses? Why have you chosen to have OMNI stand alone when other wings of Rogers cross-subsidize one another?
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
Those stations could be used to cross-subsidize to sustain your promise of performance to the CRTC.
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
If the station was created to serve multilingual communities locally, and you can no longer fulfill that mandate, why don't you surrender the licence?
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
If the local communities disagree, and if the local communities say they're not being served by the change—i.e., switching news to lifestyle or current affairs to infotainment—and if they don't want the change from local news to simply getting international news, if the local communities you're required to serve are not happy with the product that's being served, and if your audience continues to diminish as a result, which is the argument you've put in front of us, why wouldn't you surrender the licence and allow broadcasters that want to perform those duties to step up and take over the channel?
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
You mean even though it contradicts your promise of performance.
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
It contradicts the spirit of your promise of performance.
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
You disagree that you have an obligation to provide local news programming.
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
Having not used my full allotment of time, I would ask the committee's indulgence to have a second go-round. I didn't use the full time.
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
On a point of order, Mr. Chair, the issue raised by Minister Fantino is a significant one. A change to a promise of performance is properly done through a public hearing at the CRTC at the time of licence renewal.
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
Just let me finish. This is the point of order.
Insofar as there has not been a public hearing under the regulatory process, it would be entirely responsible to ask for this committee to reconvene and to call witnesses from the communities that have been affected.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2015-06-16 15:57
Let's hear your French, Ben.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2015-06-16 16:13
Thank you, witnesses, for your presentations.
I can tell you that these statistics—80% more women die from lung cancer than from breast cancer and 200% more men die from lung cancer than from prostate cancer—were shocking to me. Those are shocking facts based on the publicity out there on breast and prostate cancers.
With regard to one of the key causes of lung cancer, smoking, how are we doing in Canada? I'm from Prince Edward Island and I see more young people smoking than I did a few years ago. I have no statistics or anything. I don't know. How are we actually doing especially in terms of young people smoking? One of the things I hear is that flavoured tobacco products are in fact potentially enticing youth to smoke. What's your view on that?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2015-06-16 16:15
I think the reality is that if you can target young people and prevent them from starting to smoke, that's where the efforts have to be made. I look back to my own time in school, in high school, when if you didn't smoke, you were on the wrong side of societal favour. That's changed immensely, but I still see too much of it.
You're basically suggesting that we ban menthol and flavoured tobacco products, and I know they've moved on that in my province.
On early detection, you mentioned that there is a screening program in place in the United States. What has the experience been under that program? Do you have any idea of the cost? We have a public health care system here, so you have to look at the cost as an investment more than just as a cost. Can you comment on that?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2015-06-16 16:19
Coming back to the early detection, what can be done both federally and provincially to enhance early detection? I hear too many stories. In fact, I was talking to a husband this morning whose wife had died and who had waited for a year before she could get into our hospital system. Would it have made a difference? We don't know.
What can be done to enhance the early detection, and operations if needed, in these kinds of matters from a policy perspective at the governmental level?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2015-06-16 17:09
Thank you, Chair.
Thank you to all the witnesses on this panel.
I'd like to start with you, Dr. Ricard. Thank you for the reality check. You make a potent point, I think, on the need for funding for research and early detection methods. I can't help but think that in your occupation you would likely be one who would be getting regular checks. That is so different from many in society, who don't get regular checks.
From your experience, or from having gone through what you've gone through, is there anything that you think governments can do, or the health system can do, that would make a difference in earlier detection?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2015-06-16 17:12
Thank you for that answer.
Dr. Pantarotto, you mentioned that in Ottawa, going from an abnormal CT scan to really getting into the system for treatment takes 117 days, I think. I can tell you that's far, far, far better than it is in a lot of regions in this country. I can name my own, Prince Edward Island, as one. We finally just put a second shift on CAT scans, and we've been fighting for that for years.
First, what has to be done and what can be done by governments to reduce those wait times much more?
Second to that, I said in an earlier question that I see it as an investment. I think if you get early detection and early treatment, your expenditures within a public health care system will be a heck of a lot less.
Perhaps you could respond to that.
View Lise St-Denis Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Nicholls also had a baby this past weekend.
View Lise St-Denis Profile
Lib. (QC)
I just mentioned it so we can congratulate him.
View Lise St-Denis Profile
Lib. (QC)
I don't have a notice of motion, but it seems to me that we voted not to have a meeting next Thursday. We already voted on that.
View Lise St-Denis Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Gravelle talked about the importance of francophone programs for small communities, and I fully concur. However, he said something that's not true, and I cannot believe it.
I personally listen to the radio a lot when travelling to Ottawa. However, Radio-Canada does not talk about the Champlain Bridge until 9 a.m., but about the cities in the region, Saint-Joseph Boulevard and other Gatineau streets. Afterwards, they switch to the national network, and the programming content becomes more cultural. What you are saying is false, but aside from that, I completely agree that we must make sure Radio-Canada maintains its services to all the small remote francophone communities in the rest of Canada.
However, I completely disagree—my apologies to Mr. Nicholls and others—with working this summer. This is a very important topic. It may actually be the most important issue we can tackle, and that is why we have to approach it very seriously. That cannot be done haphazardly in two meetings, in the middle of the summer, to piss off everyone else. Pardon my impolite language.
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Welcome, Mr. Zealand.
On the invasive species issue, first of all I congratulate you. If you can keep it under control you'll save a lot of money, because after it happens it seems to be a desperate problem. I'm sure you're fully aware of that.
Do you have catch and release in the Yukon?
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