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View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
As I see it, it will all depend on when we get it. You said in the evening, but if I get it after six or seven o'clock, I honestly don't think I'll be able to give my feedback the next day, considering the long hours we've been putting in for nearly two weeks now.
What's more, I don't really feel like making my staff work after hours, Monday night, given all the long hours they've been pulling for a while. I'm not questioning, however, your efforts to get it delivered sooner.
If we can get it at a reasonable time, I would gladly make the effort to spend some time on it Monday evening, but I won't work on it until midnight; that's for sure. In any case, I'm on duty Monday.
Let's not forget the constant votes being called without warning. I don't want the committee to count too much on my contribution. I don't mean it in a negative way; I simply wouldn't hold out too much hope.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I agree that there's no rush to deal with the matter, but does it have to be included? That's a question I think we should ask ourselves.
I realize that it's tied to infrastructure, but as far as smart cities are concerned, it's more a matter of infrastructure management. Perhaps we could mention the piping, the way it is managed, and the need to know what the current inventory is. From the comments we heard, we learned that we have no idea as to the inventory across the country, so I don't think using this element as an example poses a problem.
What I wonder about, though, is the reason for incorporating the motion into our study on smart cities. We could simply include all the elements affecting all cities and mention that particular aspect. Does the issue merit a report? I don't really have an opinion on that yet.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I agree with my colleague's sage advice. I think we can hold off on deciding whether to include it in the report. You just said we have until December. That gives us enough time to think about it. Let's not rule out the possibility. I just think we should wait to hear what the witnesses have to say during the next four days of meetings in order to figure out whether we really can connect the two in a meaningful way. I think we can work towards that. We shall see.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I agree with my two colleagues. I have no objection to that idea. What we will need to think about during the next four meetings on smart communities is whether to deal with it fully in that report, merely take it into account, or devote another report to it.
We have no problem discussing that. I see no reason why anyone would think the opposite.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
With all due respect to the committee members and the study on smart communities, I think we can bring in all kinds of witnesses to hear about their experiences. We have heard from many, and heaven knows how important the subject is, but the priority, even before we start thinking about smart cities, should be on hearing from communities that do not currently have access to fibre optics, that do not have access to the technology. As things stand, multiple regions across the country simply do not have access to it.
The minister has all the necessary authority in that regard and makes his infrastructure choices. The government announced a $180-billion plan and says that the infrastructure bank is coming soon. We should know a bit more. Perhaps the bank could even support Canada-wide projects aimed at getting everyone connected.
At the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' annual conference last week, we learned that the federal government intends to hold a smart cities challenge, so the government already seems to have a clear sense of what it wants to do on that front.
I think the people the committee should hear from are those who do not have that access. What should the government do? What should the committee recommend to the Department of Finance and the government to make this an essential service that is accessible to everyone?
That said, I'm not trying to take anything away from the rest of it, but, as the expression goes, we're putting the cart before the horse. It's urgent that we get everyone across the country connected, no matter where they live. That is what we need to build on in order to help all municipalities.
Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, in short, all the big cities, have been working on this for a long time now, believe me. For years, municipal associations have been meeting with experts from all over the world to get advice on best practices. They are already active, they know the programs, they know which doors to knock on for the funding to carry out these projects. They don't need a challenge.
We aren't the ones in the lead; I would even say we're behind them. They are already ahead of us.
We need to give this serious consideration. We need to find witnesses who will make the recommendations that will help the government, so it can make the right decisions to ensure everyone is connected.
That is my humble opinion, anyway. Otherwise, it will simply be a waste of time.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Chair, I just want to clarify something.
I don't oppose Mr. Badawey's motion. In fact, I completely agree that we work on it. My point is simply this: if I had any sway over the witness list, I would encourage the committee to learn as much as it could to figure out how to get communities connected. We could work with private companies—who are willing to work with the government—to put it all together.
I want to make myself perfectly clear: I am not at all against this motion. I, too, have a municipal background. Before we hear from Vancouver and Montreal officials on what their cities are already doing, we should, instead, look at how we can get everyone connected so that we can all make progress.
Believe me, the big cities are already working on it; they don't need us in order to think about it. They have their own experts, advisors, and lobbies looking after them. I just wanted to clarify that I am not at all opposed to this motion.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I want to clarify that I am not against it, just so we're all clear.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
On what was just said, I don't know that we should rush to hear from witnesses as soon as June 14, since we won't be studying the subject until after the summer break, during which we'll all be in our respective ridings. Perhaps we could allow a month to propose witnesses. That would give plenty of time to contact them. That might help us, on our end, do a better job.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, the new team.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Good morning. My thanks to the witnesses for coming here.
My first question is for either Health Canada or the Office of Infrastructure of Canada.
Is there a complete inventory of the water pipes that might contain lead here in Canada?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I would like to hear what the officials from the Office of Infrastructure of Canada have to say about this.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I'm surprised. I was honestly expecting to hear that a national database had been created for that purpose, especially since you say that you work closely with the provinces and, in turn, with the municipalities, I imagine. God knows that this is a serious problem for municipalities. This is the case in many parts of Canada.
Would it not be wise to have such a database?
The government wants to implement programs. It chooses the ones in which it wants to invest money; so it sets priorities.
When it develops its budget, how does it decide to prioritize water quality, for example, in infrastructure programs, and to allow work to be done on the pipes?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
In my opinion, if you rely on the municipalities and they have access to those data, it should not be so complicated—with two territories and 10 provinces—to compile that information in a database in order to be able to monitor the situation. As a result, the government or the department responsible for infrastructure could have a longer-term perspective and a clearer idea of the time required to address the problem across Canada. Honestly, your answer really surprises me.
The infrastructure bank is a topic much debated in the House of Commons. We hear that the bank is going to have $35 billion for projects.
Are the projects related to drinking water and the replacement of water mains among the priorities of the Office of Infrastructure of Canada?
Could municipalities get funding for this through the infrastructure bank?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I encourage you to—
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes. This is just a comment.
I encourage you to go through the exercise with a number of the elected officials here. I can confirm that all municipalities have access to those data. At any rate, the vast majority have access to them.
In order for the government to make decisions, regardless of the party in power, the department should have access to that information to be able to make forecasts. I bring it back to the budget exercise. I think it would make us a little less cynical in the way we see things.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Ms. Block.
Thanks to both witnesses for being with us.
Like everyone else, we are concerned about airport security. We see what is happening in various parts of the world, and in Montreal in particular. My colleague, Mr. Luc Berthold, had intended to talk about this, but unfortunately he could not be here. He sends his regrets. His replacement is Mr. Deltell.
Mr. Berthold and I are very concerned by certain investigative reports that we have seen regarding the Montreal airport. I think the committee would like an answer to certain questions.
In various media reports, we have heard about the profile of certain employees, which could be worrisome. We hear all kinds of stories about individuals whose profile could raise questions. Far be it from me to scare people. I think you do a tremendous job and I am not in any way questioning the coordination of all the services. The information we have received, however, is that there are just six armed SPVM officers who work around the airport, and not necessarily in the restricted area. In fact, acts are not necessarily committed in restricted areas.
Is it true that there are six SPVM officers doing that work at the Montreal airport?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
We know that, in Quebec, it is the Sûreté du Québec. Federally, it is the RCMP. You also have more than 200 members of your internal security service, if memory serves me well.
Are there other police services or security officers from your organizations that patrol the public areas of the airport, or is that the responsibility of the six police officers we are talking about?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I am referring to the public areas. Are there not other police services or security officers who also work in the areas where the SPVM patrols?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
You might not have the figures, but for how long has there been the equivalent of six police officers on patrol? Has it been for five years, 10 years, or is it something recent?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
That's perfect.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Before I start, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that my friend opposite had no reason to point out my colleague’s absence, nor any right to do so. I think it was inappropriate on his part. That is all I want to say on the matter. Personally, I prefer to show my colleague some understanding because I know how very important he feels this topic to be. My intentions were good. I can assure you that he wanted to be here, but he had to be away for an urgent personal matter. That is all I wanted to say about it.
Now, here are my questions.
You said that traffic is increasing by about 5% per year. If we go by what we read in various articles, and the fact that people are going on vacation, especially in the winter to get a little bit of sun, I doubt if the traffic is going to decrease. You confirm that yourself.
Does the level of people’s security also go up each year? Is it in proportion to the increasing traffic and the budgets allocated? I would like to know if you take that into consideration. I imagine that that the presence of more and more people also requires more surveillance, more training, and more resources in order to ensure security.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
So, if I follow your reasoning, are you saying that to decrease the line-ups that are more and more frequent at Montreal-Trudeau airport without adversely affecting security, all we need is more staff?
As I understand it, in order not to decrease the level of security, financial resources have to be allocated to hiring staff or to new technologies. Perhaps there are technologies that can achieve that result. Otherwise, the travellers automatically bear the brunt, either in the quality of the service or in the time they have to wait.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
That's great.
As I understand your comments, your level of security is very high. Would you say that it is higher than at other Canadian and international airports?
Of course, I am talking about major city airports. There is no need to compare situations that are not comparable.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Let me ask the question again. Compared to the security services in airports like New York, Fort Lauderdale, Paris, Barcelona or Toronto, are those at Montreal Airport above average or at the average?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
If the risks to be managed were the same at all those airports and an international incident occurred, would our level of security be higher than or the same as at other airports?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you.
I imagine that you go and see best practices elsewhere. Can you tell me about the practices used in Montreal that set you apart from the airports with which you are in competition?
I suppose “competition” is not exactly the proper term. Let's just say things that are done elsewhere, internationally.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
You can just give me one example, if you want.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
So not all airports provide that service.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I see no problem with Mr. Badawey's motion. I think we all agree that smart communities are important and that it would be desirable for everyone to talk to each other, be it at the municipal, provincial or federal level.
In the motion, it says: “...other levels of government, as they undertake integrated land use planning...” I do not know whether it is a translation problem, but in French, the term “aménagement des terres” is used. I just want to understand what is meant by “aménagement des terres”. Actually, land use planning is ongoing. All communities work on land use planning.
I wonder whether I missed something. Could we just clarify that? However, I completely agree on the substance.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Chair, if you agree, I would like the translation to be revised. What Mr. Badawey is saying is perfectly correct, but it is not reflected in the French version. For the rest, I agree on the substance.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I don't think it's necessary. We agree on the principle, but if you are in agreement, I would at least like it to be translated correctly according to what was mentioned.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Ms. Block.
I want to thank the witnesses for being here.
I want to take another look at an issue that's very important to me. I know the witnesses spent a lot of time preparing their appearance before us. However, I need to follow up on a situation that occurred here the week before the break. The issue is as important as the one we're discussing today. I'm talking about the Canada Infrastructure Bank. The issue, which we studied here for only an hour and a half, involves $35 billion in public funds. That's taxpayers' money.
Madam Chair, I'm following up on the issue because, when I talked about it, you weren't here, unfortunately. I think you were directly linked to my dissatisfaction regarding this issue. I can take the opportunity to summarize the situation.
On Thursday, May 4, you received, on our behalf, a letter from the Standing Committee on Finance. The letter indicated the following:
The Standing Committee on Finance is currently studying the subject matter of Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures. Please find attached a series of motions adopted by the Standing Committee on Finance on Wednesday, May 3 ...
I'll skim over this part of the letter. It went on to say the following:
The motions that were adopted also invite your Committee, if it deems appropriate, to provide us with recommendations ...
Madam Chair, I want to specify that I'm currently talking about the motion I tabled. My colleagues across the way closed the debate on this motion, and I want to resume it. As the clerk explained, the second part of the motion was admissible.
Do people still need a copy of the letter?
If not, may I continue, Madam Clerk?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I want us to resume debating this motion and to have the opportunity to discuss the very important issue of the Infrastructure Bank.
Madam Chair, you were addressed by the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance, who invited the committee to provide recommendations and amendments, as appropriate. The letter specified the following:
Accordingly, the Parliamentary Counsel ... Nathalie Caron ... as well as the Legislative Clerk, Justin Vaive ... are available to advise your Committee, respectively, on the drafting of amendments and their admissibility.
I think the Standing Committee on Finance's message was quite clear.
The letter also said the following:
Therefore, I invite you to send me the Committee's recommendations, including any suggested amendments, by letter, in both official languages, no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 19, 2017.
It was the Friday before the break week, when we returned to our respective constituencies. I'll skip this part.
To my surprise, upon my return, I learned that you wrote a letter to the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance on our behalf. I was personally insulted, since I never felt that I was consulted regarding the matter.
I'll read the letter you sent.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
These are technical details. I don't know whether the clerk can answer me.
I tabled a motion, and my goal is for us to debate the motion. The government members ended the discussion before we reached an agreement. They took all the necessary steps to make that happen. My motion concerns an extremely important matter. Someone spoke on our behalf. I want to know my options so that I can continue the process in order to have my motion passed. I consider that this privilege was taken away from me when the debate was closed. According to my information, I think I have the power to continue the process in order to have my motion passed.
I don't know what I must do exactly. The process seems vague. I'm asking the clerk to clarify whether I can move forward with my motion, either as part of a debate or some other way. I have no idea.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Chair, my motion was never voted on. I was never able to have the motion voted on. I want to know why I can table a motion without having it voted on. All I want is to explain the meaning of my motion and the reasons for it. That's all. I don't see what would prevent us from debating the motion and then voting on it.
I don't know whether you're aware of this, but we're currently in a situation where someone spoke on behalf of the committee, an independent committee. I'm tabling a motion because I want to continue discussing an issue—
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I don't think we can rise on a point of order in this regard, at this time. I want us to debate the matter that interests me.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I'll give the floor to my colleague, Ms. Block.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Chair, I'd like to respond to what you just said.
There may have been a mixup in the date and clerical issues, but the fact remains that you wrote to the chair of the finance committee and said that our committee didn't have any recommendations. You never put the question to the committee members. I had a recommendation; I had it with me that Thursday. I even sent it afterwards, as that was the only way it would get submitted. I didn't have the opportunity to make that recommendation in committee, as I should have.
An hon. member: Yes you did.
An hon. member: No we did not.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
May I speak without constantly being interrupted? I'd like to finish speaking.
I believe it was partly because of them that I didn't have the opportunity to discuss my motion or have it voted on. The arrogance is not coming from over here.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'd like to give notice and read the following motion:
That the Committee reserve a minimum of another complete meeting on the subject of the Canada Infrastructure Bank and invite the former Chair of the Business Development Bank of Canada to appear on the subject.
Now I'd like us to discuss the motion, please.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, it's a new motion. It's not an old motion. I was told that I could no longer speak to it, so I am introducing a new one. I'm glad we're doing this with the microphones and cameras on, thanks to my colleague across the way.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Chair, we are in committee right now. Unless I'm mistaken, we can deal with the motion immediately, without notice.
Madam Clerk can correct me if I'm wrong.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I agree, so I am asking the committee's permission to discuss my motion immediately. Otherwise, I would like us to deal with it in 48 hours.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to thank the witnesses for travelling here. I had some questions to ask you, but, unfortunately for you, I am going to begin by making a motion.
Imagine my surprise, when I arrived here, to learn of a letter that the chair of our committee had sent to the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance before today's meeting, although the letter is dated...
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I would like to move the motion with the text you have in hand. However, I would like to make some changes to it, given that the deadlines have passed.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
As you see, there are dates that need changing. Naturally, I am requesting an amendment to the motion so that it reads: "That the Committee commit two more hours to additional witness testimony on the Infrastructure Bank before finalizing its study, and that the Committee invite three additional witnesses." I would strike the rest...
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Even to correct the dates?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Therefore, I will keep the end of my motion, as it is the only part that is still valid: “That the committee write a letter to the FINA Commitee to request additional time to conduct its study of the Infrastructure Bank.”
Allow me to explain this request.
I have, in my hands, a letter which is curiously dated tomorrow, Friday, May 19, 2017 but was sent yesterday to the Standing Committee on Finance. Does everyone have a copy of this letter? It is signed by our chair, who, unfortunately, is not present. What a shame, because I would have liked to hear what she has to say about this.
The letter reads as follows:
Upon your request, the Standing Committee of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities undertook the consideration of clauses  403 to 406 (Division 18, Part 4) of Bill C-44. In doing so, the Committee heard testimony from the Canadian Electricity Association, the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy, the Canadian Union of Public Employees as well as officials from Infrastructure Canada and Finance Canada.
So far, everything is true.
The problem is when the chair speaks on our behalf and says the following:
I am pleased to inform you that the Committee has no recommendations….
I would like for the clerk to confirm whether we all made this decision together, as a committee. To my knowledge, this is not the case, and I do not believe I have missed any discussions about this subject.
The letter continues as follows:
… or suggested amendments for clauses 403 to 406 of Bill C-44.
I don't know whether my fellow members across the table will have the courage to confirm my statement, but I find this very peculiar. This is the first time since I became a member of Parliament that I have experienced such a situation, that someone speaks in my name, sends a letter two days before the date indicated on the letter, which is already a peculiar way of doing things, and decides for me, in the name of all the committee members, that there will be no amendments.
The letter continues:
Please note I invited Committee Members to contact the Parliamentary Counsel and Legislative Clerk assigned to bill C-44 should Members wish to draft amendments on their own initiative and to submit them directly to the Clerk of the Standing Committee on Finance before Friday, May 19, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.
I have searched all of my emails and letter mail without finding anything in writing in either official languages offering me this possibility.
The letter concludes:
Yours sincerely.
The Infrastructure Bank is a big issue. Many witnesses were of the opinion that such a bank was premature. I will repeat what the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy official said: we are putting the cart before the horse.
I want to make clear that we are talking about $35 billion. That's 35 billion taxpayer dollars that will be used to enrich investors, for the most part foreign investors, to the detriment of Canadians. This is simply a way for the government, and therefore taxpayers, to secure the investments of these businesses or foreign investors.
Our committee chair, a Liberal member, is speaking in my name, in a letter dated tomorrow and sent yesterday, to announce that our committee will not propose any amendments. I just cannot believe it. I hope that our discussion is on the record and that it is not taking place in camera. Are we in camera? No, we are not. I want to try to highlight the inconsistency in which we find ourselves.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I would also like to say that the letter—
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
—that I want to send to the Standing Committee on Finance....
May I continue?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you.
I apologize to the witnesses, although this will allow them to understand a bit what is currently happening in Parliament.
I would like to say to my fellow member on the other side that what is regrettable is the chair's decision to send a letter dated tomorrow, but sent yesterday, in the name of an independent committee.
I would like the committee to adopt this motion, which asks that we write to the Standing Committee on Finance. This is what is asked at the end of the motion: that our committee write a letter to the Standing Committee on Finance to ask for more—
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
The second part of the motion, which, in my opinion, is still very valid and which I would like the committee to support, proposes that our committee write a letter to the Standing Committee on Finance to request that more time be dedicated to the study of the Infrastructure Bank of Canada. In reality, this directly contradicts the chair's decision to send, on our behalf, a letter yesterday—a letter dated tomorrow, I might add—stating that the committee has no amendments or recommendations on this issue.
With respect to this letter to the Standing Committee on Finance, I would like to remind the committee of this:
The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities recommends that your Committee permit more time to study the design and implications of the proposed Infrastructure Bank by removing Part 4, Division 18, and other references to that Bank, from the rest of Bill C-44.
In reality, it's about splitting Bill C-44 to remove the part concerning the Infrastructure Bank of Canada.
I would like to point out that it is not sufficient to examine an issue this important, which affects all Canadian taxpayers, for an hour and a half. Important questions were asked concerning the interests of this bank, the real benefits relative to other existing financing options, and even the evidence supporting its creation.
In order to believe in the merits of the proposed bank, we must be able to further examine the issue. I remind you that we are talking about money belonging to all Canadians, which is not to be taken lightly. We are talking about $35 billion that will line the pockets of businesses, investors, and firms. Who will incur the risks associated with this money? Canadians will.
As someone representing Canadians, I find what is happening unacceptable. An attempt was made to muzzle us by stating, on our behalf, that there were no recommendations to be made. To imagine for a second that we would not make a single recommendation in the report on the study the committee is currently undertaking, one would have had to be oblivious to everything that was said during the question and comment period and to what the witnesses who came here told us. I am speechless. It is the first time that I see such a situation. I am furious. We are talking about our fellow citizens. We were elected to gain their trust.
An attempt is being made to put one over on us, as they say. This is too big. It's like trying to push a train through a mouse hole and thinking that we wouldn't notice. A letter dated tomorrow—because that's the deadline—was sent yesterday on our behalf. I'm not sure whether you realize. It said that we would have the opportunity to have our say, but that's false.
I do not know how we will deal with this, but it is clear to me that we must, at the very least, contact the members of the Standing Committee on Finance and ask them to give us more time to study the issue so that we can get to the bottom of it. If this bank is to be created, it will not be because the Liberals used their majority in the House to push it through under our noses, unbeknownst to Canadians. What we are experiencing is completely ridiculous.
I hope that the government members will at least be embarrassed by this situation and agree to this motion so that we can have more time, especially because we have a letter speaking on our behalf.
I don't know how to react to all of this. I sincerely hope that everyone will agree and that members across the table will support this motion. We would then have more time to ask questions, as we should, and to make recommendations so that the government can make the best decision possible, without smuggling this under our noses.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
So, when will my motion be put to a vote?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, I would like some clarifications on this situation. I bring out the fact that I have a clear feeling of being gagged. I want to know what will happen to my motion.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, I raise a point of order.
I want to know what is happening with regards to my motion. You speak of adjournment, but I don't understand this technicality. I would like for the clerk to elaborate on the topic.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you Mr. Chair.
Can you tell us where we stand? I admit I am still reeling at the idea that the report must be done and sent to the Standing Committee on Finance on Friday without having had the chance to express our views. Yesterday, someone decided on our behalf that we would not have any recommendations to submit.
Are we going ahead with the closed proceedings?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
So we will have absolutely no chance to share our recommendations before the end of the meeting. Is that correct?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I don't know if the clerk could help us with this, but I truly have the feeling that we are in a dead-end.
From what I understand, the analysts must draft a report on the Infrastructure Bank by tomorrow and submit it to the Standing Committee on Finance.
Do we have until tomorrow to make recommendations?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Please excuse my questions, but I want to know if a document wrongly dated sent on our behalf without our consent has any legal standing.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I rise on a point of order.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I am trying to follow the rules. Someone spoke on my behalf and I believe I have the right to express myself on this subject. There is indeed a letter, and the president used her right to send it. She has that power. However, this letter gives instructions and cited the Committee members on this, whereas the members did not consent to it. I simply want to know if this means that, if the president sends a letter, it takes precedence on everything that was said, whether the contents of that letter are true or not.
What can we do, as Committee members?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, I already took up too much time dedicated to the witnesses.
Before giving way to government Members, I would like to apologize, on behalf of all Members, for this unfortunate situation. I feel that my rights have been completely breached today.
I do not have any questions to ask. I will give up my time, regardless of what becomes of it. There is nothing else for me to say today.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Before I get to my questions, I would like to ask my fellow members something.
This is our only opportunity to dig into the very important matter of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Since we had to leave for a vote in the House, would it be possible to extend the meeting by 15 to 20 minutes, rather than ending on time at 1 o'clock? Everyone would still be able to make it to the House in time for statements by members and oral questions.
I'm not sure whether we can come to some friendly arrangement, without jumping through any procedural hoops or resorting to a motion.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you everyone.
I'd like to thank the witnesses for being here. We apologize for the delay.
My first question is for you, Mr. Ali Kahn.
In the paper you co-authored, I believe, with Kevin Page and other members of your institute, you say that the case for the Canada Infrastructure Bank is weak. You also say that the government has no real idea whether the bank will meet its objectives or not, since there appears to be no comparable model elsewhere in the world. The bank's structure will seemingly be based on a transfer of public assets to the private sector.
In light of the new information you now have, do you still stand behind what you wrote in your paper?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
That's great.
Ms. Ryan, when the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities appeared before the committee, along with some of his senior officials, we asked them on what basis projects would be chosen. A senior official said that it would depend on the investment return or benefit of the project. Obviously, they are looking to do better than the 2% to 3% rates that any government—federal, provincial, or municipal—would seek in terms of financing. There is an attempt to make people think that funding opportunities are lacking right now, but I think that's totally false.
I would add that, this week, the Minister of Finance said that it would be cabinet deciding on the projects. We don't know much. I would say that your concerns are well-founded.
Investors, then, looking for good investments, will be the ones investing the bulk of the bank's money.
Who do you think the Canada Infrastructure Bank is really going to benefit?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
It is therefore clear to you that, under this measure, members of the public will be paying more for this infrastructure at the end of the day.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Campbell, could you name a project that the bank could finance, one that the government could not get funding for elsewhere, either through bonds or its own coffers if it managed its finances properly? Name one single project that would need a new funding structure, outside what already exists.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
We have heard endless illustrative examples. We are looking for a specific case. The Minister appeared before the committee, alongside his senior officials. We asked them to name a single specific project, but they were never able to.
Unfortunately, I didn't specify that I was talking about small and medium-sized municipalities. The $15 billion the government has chosen to invest in the bank is money that had been set aside for all of the country's municipalities. That money was transferred to the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
All we keep hearing is that it will be used for power lines, for example. Those are projects that—
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I'm going to split my time with my colleague Pierre Poilievre.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Campbell, will cabinet, the Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance have to approve appointees to the infrastructure bank's leadership and board of directors, yes or no? Will any of them have a say in the final decision?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
The government will ultimately have a say in the appointment of the bank's directors and leadership. Will it not?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you. That's all I wanted to know.
Just this morning, CBC and Radio-Canada reported that a former KPMG executive was now the treasurer of the Liberal Party. That is the very same firm behind the Canada Infrastructure Bank report the government is relying on in establishing the structure.
Can you corroborate that information reported by the media?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
KPMG submitted a report. This morning, CBC and Radio-Canada reported that the treasurer of the Liberal Party of Canada was a former KPMG executive.
Is that information true?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Minister Sohi, my questions are for you, and I am particularly interested in the Canada infrastructure bank. You know how interested I am in this matter, because I am constantly asking you questions about it in the House.
In 2015, Infrastructure Canada published a document stating that no provincial or territorial government had requested the creation of such an institution. Has that changed since 2015?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Let me stop you there, Mr. Minister. My question was whether or not any provincial, municipal or territorial government had asked you to set up an infrastructure bank, yes or no. Have you received such a request? If so, can you name a Canadian province or a Canadian municipality that told you that such a bank was needed?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Great. Thank you.
I have yet to receive the name of a province or territory, but that's fine.
In your mandate letter, you are asked to establish an infrastructure bank so that the federal government can use its strong credit to more easily provide loans to municipalities to finance their many infrastructure projects. By the way, municipalities borrow at a maximum of 2% right now. We know that this infrastructure bank must be of financial interest to private investors. Even Mr. Sabia said that projects should be funded at a rate of about 7% so that it is profitable for the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to invest in this bank.
Can you tell me what the minimum amount of a project will be for this infrastructure bank to accept it? According to the data that we were given in the various discussions and the figures that you have quoted to the House, if I'm not mistaken, the projects should be at least $100 million or $500 million to make it attractive for investors.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Very well, but I want to come back to that. I am really talking about the Canada infrastructure bank. You say that all municipalities could have access to it, whether for small, medium-sized or large projects. I'm not worried about big projects. The governments of large cities will indeed be able to resort to this bank if they see a financial interest.
Having said that, the last time you appeared before the committee, I asked you the following question. I even challenged Mr. Tremblay.
Can you name a project for which a small or medium-sized municipality outside the major centres would benefit from requesting funding from the Canada infrastructure bank and that investors might be interested in funding?
I am referring to funding other than that normally provided by municipalities, which is under 2%.
Can you name a concrete project through which the Canada infrastructure bank could help communities outside major centres across Canada?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank the witnesses for being here and sharing their experience with all the committee members.
Before I start asking the questions I have prepared, I would like to check something with you, Mr. Maybee. In your conclusion, when the chair told you that your time was up, you said that you are limited by Transport Canada's hiring practices. Did I understand correctly?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Maybee and Mr. Mahon, I would like to know whether the budget cuts imposed on the Department of Transport have had an impact on aviation safety. If so, do you have any examples to give us?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Maybee, I am listening.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Maybee, why is that interaction not as fluid or as accessible? Is it because there are fewer people and the personnel is overburdened, or is it rather because the department's culture is making it difficult for it to work directly with you, to share information, to be more transparent or to recognize that your expertise may help it improve aviation safety?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Mahon, would you like to add anything?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I don't know whether I can summarize that by saying that there is a lot of red tape in the system and that, if it was reduced, efficiency would be enhanced. Is what I said correct?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank our three witnesses, who surely have very busy schedules, for joining us and spending some of their precious time with us.
My first question is for you, Mr. Deluce.
Before it amends its regulations or procedures, does Transport Canada consult companies like yours to gather their input.
If not, are you rather presented with a fait accompli and forced to fight to make improvements to the procedures after suffering the consequences of those amendments?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Given your expertise on the ground, why did Transport Canada not take your recommendations into account?
Previous witnesses talked about a serious lack of interaction between Transport Canada and their company or association. We feel that there is something of a disconnect between the work done by those people on the ground and the work done by Transport Canada in its offices.
Mr. Deluce, go ahead.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I would like to know whether the other two witnesses have anything to add.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
My next question is for you, Mr. Donald. It's related to what you just said.
You talked about recruitment difficulties. What could Transport Canada and the federal government do? When it comes to your companies, your organizations, as well as Transport Canada, we really feel that recruitment of personnel to ensure safety is a problem. We have heard other witnesses say the same thing.
What is the solution? Is it to increase the number of spaces in universities, cégeps and colleges, do more promotion, put more money into the system? It is certainly not to lower the requirements so that more people pass. What is the solution after coming to your realizations, which are shared by many others?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
You can give him more time to answer. This is an important issue.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I find the idea very appealing. We even have the parliamentary secretary here. In fact, I think the government should offer up her help to assist the committee. I have no doubt that, if the government is considering privatizing airports, it took safety-related considerations into account in its decision-making.
I think the motion is entirely appropriate. I have trouble seeing how the committee could possibly vote against such a request.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I thank the witnesses for being here, and for sharing their experiences with us.
My first question is quite simple and is addressed to you, Mr. Speer. If you had any recommendations to make to Transport Canada to improve the situation, whether concerning the fatigue-related risk management system or any other improvement that could be made to ensure the safety of flights, passengers and material resources, what would they be?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Could you point to other elements aside from fatigue that should be taken into account to ensure safety? Could you list the points we should prioritize, or make recommendations the committee could include in its report?
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