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View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)

Question No. 1314--
Mr. Robert Kitchen:
With regard to the statement by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons on November 2, 2017, that “Never before in the history of Canada have we seen a redistribution of Canada's wealth to the middle class and those aspiring to become a part of it”: does the government consider this statement to be accurate and, if so, what specific information does the government have to back up this statement?
Response
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the comments by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons were in reference to the government’s efforts to support Canada’s middle class and those working hard to join it and to ensure the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. Since coming to office, the government has helped middle-class Canadians by reducing the rate on the second personal income tax bracket from 22% to 20.5%, while asking the wealthiest Canadians to pay a bit more through the introduction of a new top income bracket of 33%. The government has also introduced the Canada child benefit, which is providing increased benefits to nine out of 10 families with children, and which is better targeted to those who need it most compared to the previous system of child benefits. In addition, the government is taking steps to address tax advantages that disproportionately benefit the wealthy.
The government is also taking steps to expand opportunities for individuals seeking to join the middle class. Investments in areas such as early learning, child care, and affordable housing will provide a foundation for upward mobility to those who are currently struggling with these needs, while investments in skills training will provide greater opportunities for workers to upgrade their skills and attain better-paying jobs.
Moreover, the government is taking actions to strengthen the position of middle-class workers in the workplace. The government has introduced legislation to restore a fair and balanced approach to organized labour and is working on further legislative changes and other policy options to address emerging issues in the labour market, such as unpaid internships and a fair wages policy for businesses that have dealings with the federal government.
The government supports Canada’s middle class and is working to deliver a more balanced and fair economy where growth is shared by all Canadians and does not just benefit the wealthy.

Question No. 1320--
Mr. Len Webber:
With regard to the seven Books of Remembrance that lie in the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill: (a) what is the government going to do to ensure uninterrupted public access to the Books during renovations on the Centre Block; (b) when will these changes take place; and (c) until what date will the alternate arrangements be in place?
Response
Hon. Seamus O'Regan (Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Books of Remembrance commemorate the lives of more than 118,000 Canadians who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving Canada in uniform. During the renovation of the Centre Block, the Books of Remembrance will be located in phase one of the Visitor Welcome Centre in a suitably designed space where public viewing and the daily page-turning ceremony will continue.
It is currently unknown how long the Books of Remembrance will remain in phase one of the Visitor Welcome Centre as the Centre Block renovation is in the early stages of its execution and a schedule is still in development.

Question No. 1321--
Mr. Len Webber:
With regard to the Peace Tower Carillon on Parliament Hill: (a) what is going to be done to ensure the weekday noon-time concert will continue to play while renovations on the Centre Block take place; (b) when will any changes take effect; and (c) until what date will the alternate arrangements be in place?
Response
Mr. Steven MacKinnon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Parliament Buildings belong to all Canadians. Part of our responsibility is to engage them on the projects taking place here on Parliament Hill.
The government is considering several ways to ensure a positive visitor experience on Parliament Hill during this time.
Public Services and Procurement Canada, PSPC, is working with the House of Commons to ensure live performances by the Dominion Carillonneur continue for as long as possible during the renovation of the Peace Tower. The project is still in the early stages. PSPC is currently carrying out a detailed investigation that is critical to defining the scope, budget, and schedule of the renovations. At this point, no determination has been made about the timing of any potential impacts on the carillon or on alternative arrangements.

Question No. 1324--
Mr. Robert Aubin:
With regard to the statement by the Minister of Transport in the House of Commons on October 30, 2017, that “We are not getting rid of the function of checking the check pilots of the airlines”: (a) on what evidence or documents is the Minister’s statement based; (b) what are the details of the evidence or documents in (a); (c) has the Minister read the document entitled “Risk Assessment--Oversight of the ACP/AQP Evaluator Programs (Ottawa, ON; 6-10 February 2017) Conventional Tool”; (d) if the answer to (c) is in the affirmative, when did the Minister read this document; (e) did the Minister approve the policy as described in the document in (c); (f) does the Minister intend to overturn the decision made by the Civil Aviation Directorate and National Operations at Transport Canada to delegate responsibility for the evaluation of company check pilots to the airlines as of April 1, 2018; (g) when was the Minister informed that Transport Canada had decided to delegate responsibility for the evaluation of company check pilots to the airlines; (h) did the Minister speak to the Director of National Operations at Transport Canada about this statement; (i) if the answer to (h) is affirmative, what are the details of this conversation; (j) what other member countries of the International Civil Aviation Organization have transferred responsibility for evaluating company check pilots to the airlines; (k) has Transport Canada assessed the internal need for aviation safety inspectors; (l) if the answer to (k) is affirmative, what is the result of the department’s assessment; and (m) what is the impact of this need in terms of inspectors on the new policy adopted by Transport Canada?
Response
Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the safety and security of Canadians is a top priority for the Government of Canada.
With respect to the statement by the Minister of Transport in the House of Commons on October 30, 2017, that, “We are not getting rid of the function of checking the check pilots of the airlines”, and with regard to parts (a) to (i), Transport Canada has a rigorous regulatory program in place and conducts oversight activities to verify industry compliance. Under the Canadian Aviation Regulations, it is industry’s responsibility to comply with all safety regulations and to operate safely.
On behalf of the minister, Transport Canada delegates the responsibility of conducting pilot proficiency checks of industry ?pilots by experienced and qualified pilots. For over 25 years, delegates have been monitoring industry pilots. Similar to our oversight regime, the department inspects based on a series of risk criteria. If a risk is identified with the company’s approved check pilots or with the company’s compliance with any regulations, the department will not hesitate to take action in the interest of aviation safety.
With regard to parts (j) to (m), the program is in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, standards and aligns with other civil aviation authorities such as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, whose delegates are known as “check airmen”. The department’s use of ministerial delegates is also well established for aircraft certification, pilot testing of various licences, and pilot written exams.
Transport Canada requires that professional pilots receive a pilot proficiency check, PPC, to confirm and test skills and proficiency in dealing with aircraft standard operations and emergency procedures. The requirements and standards for these check rides meet or exceed ICAO requirements.
A pilot proficiency check is conducted every six months, year, or two years depending on the type of operation, size, and complexity of aircraft.
The department is aware that the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority has extended similar privileges to its senior examiners.
Transport Canada continually analyzes its workforce, and focuses on recruitment and retention of staff to ensure it has the necessary number of oversight personnel with the required skills and competencies to plan and conduct oversight activities. As in any workplace, total workforce can fluctuate at any given time due to changing demographics, promotions, retirements, and other factors.
The new policy will not impact inspectors. The department is focusing surveillance on areas of greater risk based on data. When an area is deemed a low risk, resources are reallocated to areas identified as higher risk.

Question No. 1326--
Ms. Elizabeth May:
With regard to the drafting of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act: (a) did the government study the environmental impacts of the Canadian cannabis industry and consider this in the drafting of legislation; (b) if the answer in (a) is negative, why not; and (c) if the answer in (a) is affirmative, what are the details of any correspondence, reports, or documents related to the subject of the sustainability of the legislation contained in Bill C-45, including (i) date, (ii) sender, (iii) recipients, (iv) title, (v) summary of contents?
Response
Mr. Bill Blair (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, prior to the introduction of Bill C-45, Health Canada carried out the mandatory assessment of environmental impacts, strategic environmental analysis, in the context of developing a federal legal framework to legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict cannabis.
Under the proposed framework, licence-holders would be subject to federal and provincial/territorial statutes and regulations with respect to environmental protection. These laws and regulations establish clear rules to limit potential negative environmental impacts due to commercial cultivation and manufacturing, such as poor air quality, harmful effects of unauthorized pesticide use, water contamination, and improper use and disposal of harmful substances.
A key objective of the framework set out in Bill C-45 is to displace the illegal market. The current illicit cannabis market relies on unregulated cultivation and manufacturing practices, for example, potential mishandling of chemicals, including unauthorized pesticide use, or improper disposal and release of harmful substances, which may have detrimental effects on the environment. Reducing illegal cannabis production can be expected to lead to a decrease in negative environmental impacts due to these unregulated practices.
Consideration of environmental impacts will form a part of the regulatory impact analysis statement that will be required prior to the publication of federal regulations, subject to parliamentary approval of Bill C-45 by Parliament.

Question No. 1328--
Mr. Mark Warawa:
With regard to the so-called “Mandate Letter Tracker” on the Privy Council Office website: (a) is any third-party non-government analysis conducted to ensure that the claims made on the website are not Liberal Party propaganda; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what are the details of any such contracts, including (i) person who conducted the analysis, (ii) vendor, (iii) amount, (iv) date and duration of contract, (v) file number; (c) what are the costs associated with setting up the website, broken down by individual item; and (d) what are the anticipated ongoing costs of maintaining the website, broken down by individual item?
Response
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to the so-called “mandate letter tracker” on the Privy Council Office, PCO, website, the response from PCO is as follows:
In response to (a), no. The Mandate Letter Tracker was produced by the results and delivery unit, RDU, in PCO with support from all federal government departments.
In response to (b), this is not applicable.
In response to (c), the development of the website was completed with existing Government of Canada financial resources. Ongoing maintenance of the website will also rely on existing financial resources. The tracking of mandate letter commitments and priorities is one of many roles and responsibilities of the results and delivery unit in PCO. These roles also encompass efforts to monitor delivery, address implementation obstacles to key priorities, and report on progress to the Prime Minister. The unit also facilitates the work of the government by developing tools, guidance, and learning activities on implementing an outcome-focused approach.

Question No. 1330--
Mr. Mark Warawa :
With regard to the Fall Economic Statement tabled by the Finance Minister on October 24, 2017: for each investment horizon in chart 3.8 (10 years, 20 years, 30 years), how much total tax would be paid in a personal savings account, versus in a private corporation, for the entire life cycle of the investment, including taxes paid on the final distribution to the corporate owner of all funds?
Response
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, as chart 3.8 of the 2017 fall economic statement illustrates, a high-income individual can realize significant tax advantages from holding passive investments in his or her corporation. By benefiting from a lower rate of tax on business income, the amount of after-tax income that can be invested passively in a private corporation is larger than what can be invested had the income been distributed as salary or dividends. As shown in the example, a corporate owner is able to earn after-tax interest income that is about 1.8 times more than he or she could realize at the personal level after 10 years, after distribution. After 30 years, the additional after-tax interest income from saving in a corporation is more than double what they could have obtained by saving at the personal level. This implies that investments made inside a private corporation are effectively subject to a lower implicit tax rate than investments made inside personal savings accounts.

Question No. 1333--
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
With regard to Canada’s participation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and testimony at the Standing Committee on Finance on November 7, 2017, by the Director, International Finance and Development Division, International Trade and Finance Branch, of the Department of Finance: (a) on how many of the AIIB’s 21 approved projects (Philippines: Metro Manila Flood Management Project, Asia: IFC Emerging Asia Fund, India: Transmission System Strengthening Project, Gujarat Rural Roads Project, India Infrastructure Fund and Andhra Pradesh 24x7--Power For All, Egypt: Round II Solar PV Feed-in Tariffs Program, Tajikistan: Nurek Hydropower Rehabilitation Project--Phase I and Dushanbe-Uzbekistan Border Road Improvement Project, Georgia: Batumi Bypass Road Project, Bangladesh: Natural Gas Infrastructure and Efficiency Improvement Project and Distribution System Upgrade and Expansion Project, Indonesia: Dam Operational Improvement and Safety Project Phase II, Regional Infrastructure Development Fund Project and National Slum Upgrading Project, Azerbaijan: Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project to be co-financed with the World Bank, Oman: Duqm Port Commercial Terminal and Operational Zone Development Project and Railway System Preparation Project, Myanmar: Myingyan Power Plant Project, Pakistan: Tarbela 5 Hydropower Extension Project and National Motorway M-4 Project) as of November 9, 2017, did the government conduct its own environmental and human rights review as part of its project assessment; (b) on how many of the AIIB’s nine proposed projects (China: Beijing Air Quality Improvement and Coal Replacement Project, Oman: Broadband Infrastructure Project, Sri Lanka: Climate Resilience Improvement Project–Phase II, India: Bangalore Metro Rail Project–Line R6, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, Madhya Pradesh Rural Connectivity Project, Amaravati Sustainable Capital City Development Project and Mumbai Metro Line 4 Project, Georgia: 280 MW Nenskra Hydropower Plant) as of November 9, 2017, did the government conduct its own environmental and human rights review as part of its project assessment; (c) broken down by individual project (i) what were the outcomes and findings of all the environmental and human rights reviews for all of the AIIB projects that the government conducted, (ii) when was each review completed; and (d) what was the criteria considered within the environmental and human rights reviews by the government when it conducted assessments of all of AIIB’s projects?
Response
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, on November 6, 2017, Department of Finance officials testified at the Standing Committee on Finance on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, AIIB. In the testimony, officials explained that the Government of Canada conducts assessments of projects being considered by multilateral development banks of which Canada is a member. As Canada is not yet a member of the AIIB, the government is not yet undertaking assessments of AIIB projects.

Question No. 1334--
Mr. Alupa A.Clarke:
With regard to the appointment process of the Commissioner of Official Languages in the most recent selection process with a cut-off date of September 12, 2017: (a) what was the total number of applicants; (b) what was the number of applicants who submitted applications after the initial cut-off date; (c) what was the number of candidates who passed the initial or preliminary round of screening; (d) what are the details of the steps in the selection process, including (i) number and types of exams given, (ii) number of interviews, (iii) other steps, including a description of each step; and (e) what was the intended date of announcement of the selected candidate for Commissioner of Official Languages?
Response
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to the appointment process of the Commissioner of Official Languages in the most recent selection process with a cut-off date of September 12, 2017, the response from the Privy Council Office is as follows:
In response to (a), 67 applications were submitted.
In response to (b), 24 applications were submitted after September 12, 2017.
In response to (c), the number of candidates who passed the initial or preliminary round of screening has been withheld to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.
In response to (d), candidates are assessed through a variety of means at various points in a selection process, e.g., the screening of applications against the education and experience criteria set in the notice of appointment opportunity for the position. The selection committee interviewed a short list of qualified candidates and checked their references. As the position requires proficiency in both official languages as set out in the Language Skills Act, candidates were also asked to undergo a language skills evaluation. Shortlisted candidates also underwent psychometric assessments to assist in determining their personal suitability for the position
In response to (e), the government is committed to carrying out selection processes as quickly as possible. At the same time, the government is committed to identifying the most qualified candidates through open, transparent, and merit-based processes, and will take as long as is required to find the right person for such an important leadership position. The appointment of Raymond Théberge as the new Commissioner of Official Languages was announced on December 14, 2017.

Question No. 1337--
Ms. Irene Mathyssen:
With regard to claims for disability benefits processed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and to the entire process required to treat those claims, including, but not limited to, receipt of claims, assessment of claims, investigation of claims and gathering of evidence, denial of claims, appeals processes, court appearances, and dealing with complaints, broken down by year since 2012: (a) how much money has been spent by the Department processing claims that have been denied, including (i) staff hours, (ii) court time, (iii) costs for experts, (iv) administration fees, (v) all other relevant expenses; (b) what is the number of claims that were denied and the proportion of total claims it represents; and (c) what is the average length of time for applications to be processed before being denied?
Response
Hon. Seamus O’Regan (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), Veterans Affairs is unable to provide a breakdown of expenditures related to the processing of claims by approved claims versus denied claims as its financial system does not track expenditures in this manner. However, the overall administrative cost of the adjudication process within Veterans Affairs since 2012 is broken down as follows: 2011-12: $17.7M (Salary $16.7M / Operating $1.0M); 2012-13: $19.2M (Salary $17.8M / Operating $1.5M); 2013-14: $19.1M (Salary $16.9M / Operating $2.2M); 2014-15: $19.6M (Salary $16.5M / Operating $3.2M); 2015-16: $23.3M (Salary $19.8M / Operating $3.6M); 2016-17: $25.3M (Salary $ $22.1M / Operating $3.2M)
Figures have been rounded.
These expenditures are for the centralized operations division, which is responsible for the adjudication of most of Veterans Affairs Canada’s programs and benefits, such as disability awards and pensions, critical injury benefit, earnings loss, retirement income security benefit, and career impact allowance. These expenditures capture the administrative cost, salary and non-salary, of preparing, processing, and adjudicating benefit applications. However, there are other areas of VAC that also contribute to the adjudication process, including but not limited to the following: health professionals, e.g., doctors and nurses; bureau of pensions advocates, e.g., lawyers; and program management and field operations, e.g., case managers and veteran service agents. Expenditures for these areas are not included above.
In response to (b), from January 1, 2012 to November 21, 2017, there were 178,667 conditions ruled on by Veterans Affairs Canada. Of those, 60,293, or 33.7%, were denied. This is not representative of the number of veterans who have been denied disability benefits, as a veteran may receive rulings for multiple conditions.
In response to (c), for those denied, the average turnaround time was 126 days.
Veterans Affairs Canada is working hard to provide veterans and their families with the care and support they need when and where they need it. It is looking at the entire disability application process from intake to decisions to expedite decisions and respond to veterans’ needs more quickly.
Veterans Affairs Canada receives a significant number of applications that often require additional information from veterans. This process takes time to complete to ensure the correct information is gathered to make an informed disability benefit decision. This has affected its service standards for applications.
Although Veterans Affairs Canada has hired additional resources, it recognizes that the adjudication process needs to be streamlined even further and additional adjudicators hired to make application decisions in a more effective and timely manner.
Veterans Affairs Canada is working to implement further measures to reduce the backlog and improve program success by continuing to hire more front-line staff, simplifying the decision-making process for some medical conditions, and working with partners to speed up access to service health records.
The number of disability benefits claims submitted to Veterans Affairs Canada has increased by 20% in 2015-16, as compared to the previous fiscal year.

Question No. 1351--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
With regard to the November 24, 2017, claim of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport in the House of Commons that Canadians expect a government to come out with legislation that is multi-jurisdictional: (a) does the Attorney General concur with the Parliamentary Secretary’s assertion; (b) is it the government’s position that the laws passed by the Parliament of Canada are not limited to the constitutional jurisdiction of Parliament; (c) has the present government proposed bills which would legislate beyond the constitutional jurisdiction of Parliament; and (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, which bills are they and what are their extra-jurisdictional provisions?
Response
Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, on November 24, 2017, the parliamentary secretary made reference to Bill C-64, the wrecked, abandoned or hazardous vessels act, in the House of Commons, and in so doing, referred to the multi-jurisdictional aspects of the bill. In this regard, Bill C-64 includes provisions to enable multi-jurisdictional collaboration, such as delegation of authority and information-sharing provisions, as a result of consultations with indigenous groups, provincial-territorial representatives, port authorities, and other stakeholders. Bill C-64 also includes interdepartmental coordination provisions between the Department of Transport and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, with each having their respective areas of jurisdiction under the proposed bill. The proposed legislation enables collaboration and coordination while falling clearly under federal jurisdiction as it deals with matters pertaining to shipping and navigation.
The government introduced Bill C-64 following consultations with indigenous groups, provincial-territorial representatives, port authorities, and other stakeholders. The purpose of the proposed legislation is to help prevent future occurrences of abandoned and wrecked vessels and reduce the impact of those that do occur. By doing so, the proposed legislation would protect coastal and shoreline communities, the environment, and infrastructure. It also aims to reduce the burden on taxpayers. To date, governments have borne many of the costs to remove and dispose of problem vessels. This legislation is a core element of the national strategy on abandoned and wrecked vessels that was announced as part of the oceans protection plan in November 2016.

Question No. 1355--
Mrs. Cathy McLeod:
With regard to the meeting between the Chief Administrative Officer of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the Policy Advisor and Special Assistant for Western Canada and the Territories to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, on June 1, 2017: what are the titles of all briefing notes provided by the government to the Policy Advisor and Special Assistant between May 1, 2017, and June 8, 2017?
Response
Hon. Amarjeet Sohi (Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, between May 1, 2017, and June 8, 2017, Infrastructure Canada did not provide briefing notes to the policy adviser and special assistant for western Canada and the territories to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities with regard to his meeting with the chief administrative officer of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District on June 1, 2017.

Question No. 1360--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
With regard to Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act: (a) did the Minister of Finance sign the proposal to have Cabinet adopt this legislative proposal as its policy; (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, on what date did he sign it; (c) on what date was the legislative proposal adopted as the policy of Cabinet; (d) on what date was it decided to propose that the amendments in clause 1 of the Bill would have effect for the 2016 tax year; (e) on what date was the drafting of Ways and Means Motion No. 1 completed; (f) on what date was the drafting of the Bill completed; (g) on what date did the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons hold the Bill review meeting; (h) was the Minister of Finance in attendance at the meeting referred to in (g); and (i) on what date was it decided to schedule the tabling of Ways and Means Motion No. 1 for December 7, 2015?
Response
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, as publicly stated by the government House leader on November 4, 2015 as the reason to call back the House in December 2015, the Government of Canada took the first step to fulfill one of its key mandate commitments on December 7, 2015, which was to give middle-class Canadians a tax break.
On that date, the Minister of Finance tabled in the House of Commons a notice of ways and means motion to reduce the 22% personal income tax rate to 20.5%. To help pay for this middle-class tax cut, the government asked the wealthiest one per cent of Canadians to contribute a little more. Therefore, the motion also included provisions to create a new top personal income tax rate of 33% for individual taxable incomes in excess of $200,000 and provisions to return the tax-free savings account annual contribution limit to $5,500 from $10,000.
These measures were included in Bill C-2, which was tabled in the House of Commons on December 9, 2015, and received royal assent on December 15, 2016. By proposing that these tax changes take effect as of January 1, 2016, the government was able to offer immediate help to nearly nine million Canadians, while laying the groundwork for long-term economic growth.
The government applies the principles set out in the Access to Information Act in processing parliamentary returns. Information related to cabinet deliberations and decision-making has been withheld on those grounds.

Question No. 1361--
Mr. John Brassard:
With regard to the climate change report prepared by Abacus Data and presented at the meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment on Friday November 3, 2017, in Vancouver, British Columbia: (a) when was the tendering process for this study released; (b) how many firms replied to the tender; (c) who was questioned for the data that was used for the report; (d) what are the details of the contract with Abacus Data related to the report, including (i) contract amount, (ii) date, (iii) duration, (iv) description of goods or services provided, (v) file number; and (e) what are the details of all meetings between the Chairman of Abacus Data and Environment and Climate Change Canada or the Privy Council Office, including (i) date, (ii) ministers and exempt staff in attendance as well as any other attendees, (iii) agenda items, (iv) location?
Response
Hon. Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, Environment and Climate Change Canada has no contract recorded in relation to Question No. 1361.

Question No. 1362--
Mr. Louis Plamondon:
With regard to the Office of the Governor General, for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017: how many people did it employ, including (i) the list of all employees, by position, with job descriptions, including the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSGG), (ii) the total of all salaries, including benefits, of the management positions for the OSGG?
Response
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to the Office of the Governor General, for the years 2015, 2016, and 2017, the response from the Office of the Governor General is as follows: The office of the secretary to the Governor General is headed by the secretary who serves as a senior adviser to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.
As of March 31, 2015: Salaries: $11.62M Benefits: $1.89M As of March 31, 2016: Salaries: $11.94M Benefits: $1.87M As of March 31, 2017: Salaries: $11.71M Benefits: $1.80M.
With regard to policy, program and protocol, this branch plans and implements the Governor General’s program domestically and abroad, including over 500 events yearly; administers visitor and interpretation services--over 300,000 visitors last year--at both official residences, Rideau Hall and the Citadelle; provides editorial and public affairs services, and is responsible for providing overall support to the viceregal family.
The number of FTEs, which includes the secretary’s office, is as follows: As of March 31, 2015: 83 As of March 31, 2016: 92 As of March 31, 2017: 95.
The Chancellery of Honours With regard to the chancellery of honours, the chancellery branch administers all aspects of the Canadian honours system including the Order of Canada, the bravery decorations, the meritorious service decorations and the sovereign’s medal for volunteers; and the Canadian heraldic authority which creates and records armorial bearings.
The number of FTEs is as follows: As of March 31, 2015: 28 As of March 31, 2016: 36 (additional funds allocated following the honours review: https://www.budget.gc.ca/2015/docs/plan/ch4-2-eng.html). As of March 31, 2017: 39.
Corporate Services With regard to corporate services, the corporate services branch supports internal services and implements central agency policies and guidelines that apply across the organization. This branch is divided into two components. One component encompasses financial and materiel management, information technology, information resources, and mail management. The other component encompasses people management, i.e., human resources; workplace management, i.e., accommodations, security, and transportation services, as well as strategic planning and internal communications.
The number of FTEs is as follows: As of March 31, 2015: 49 As of March 31, 2016: 46 As of March 31, 2017: 39.

Question No. 1373--
Mr. Jamie Schmale:
With regard to directives and instructions provided by the Privy Council Office (PCO) to any department or agency since November 4, 2015, and excluding any instructions provided by the Legislation and House Planning section of PCO: what are the details of all directives and instructions including (i) sender, (ii) recipients, (iii) date, (iv) directive or instruction provided?
Response
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office does not track all directives and instructions provided to other departments or agencies. Attempting to address this inquiry within the allotted time frame could lead to the disclosure of incomplete or misleading information.

Question No. 1377--
Mr. Dan Albas:
With regard to the statement by the Minister of Finance in the House of Commons on November 30, 2017, that “No one outside the closed circle within the Department of Finance and those who needed to know within our government would have known about our actions in advance of that date”, in reference to the tabling of the Notice of Ways and Means Motion to amend the Income Tax Act: what are the titles of all individuals who knew about the actions prior to December 7, 2015, and when did they know?
Response
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Department of Finance Canada’s responsibilities include the development and evaluation of federal taxation policies and legislation. Accordingly, the department supported the Minister of Finance in developing the notice of ways and means motion tabled in Parliament on December 7, 2015, as well as the implementing legislation, which was introduced in Parliament as Bill C-2 on December 9, 2015. The department also worked on preparing communications material to support the December 7, 2015, announcement, including a news release and a backgrounder.

Question No. 1382--
Mr. Phil McColeman:
With regard to the statement by the Minister of National Revenue in the House of Commons on November 6, 2017, that “Over the past two years, we have invested nearly $1 billion to combat tax havens. This investment has helped our efforts to recover nearly $25 billion”: (a) how much of the nearly $25 billion has been recovered from tax havens; and (b) what is the breakdown of the $25 billion by country or continent where the tax haven is located?
Response
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.): :
Mr. Speaker, with respect to the question, here is the response from the Canada Revenue Agency, or CRA. In terms of part (a), fiscal impact is the traditional measure used for the CRA’s departmental performance report to report on the audit assessment and examination results from compliance activities. More specifically, it consists of federal and provincial taxes assessed, tax refunds reduced, interest and penalties, and the present value of future federal tax assessable arising from compliance actions. It excludes amounts reversed on appeal and uncollectable amounts.
Over the past two fiscal years, the CRA identified $25 billion in fiscal impact from audit activities: $12.7 billion in 2015-16 and $12.5 billion in 2016-17. Some of the CRA’s audit functions focus on large business and aggressive tax planning by high net-worth individuals. Audits in these areas have yielded approximately two-thirds of this fiscal impact, $15.9 billion. A large part of these adjustments for large businesses, by value, are based on CRA reassessments of intra-company transfer prices on payments made to related companies in low-tax jurisdictions.
Taxpayers, especially those with complex tax structures, may have many transactions, both domestic and international, that lead to a specific account balance requiring payment. The complexity of the calculations for payments on taxes owed and the attribution of them to audits versus other sources of debt in a given year is very difficult to do accurately. Audit assessments, particularly those involving large amounts or related to aggressive tax planning, are frequently appealed and then litigated, and as a result, it can be several years before there is judicial confirmation of the amount owed. In addition, there can be issues securing payment from taxpayers and bankruptcies can also occur. As such, the CRA cannot provide a specific number in the manner requested.
However, the CRA can confirm that in fiscal year 2016-17, the CRA resolved $52.1 billion in outstanding tax debt from all revenue lines, most notably individual tax, corporate tax, GST/HST, and payroll deductions, which were payable for current and previous years.
In terms of part (b), as noted, the CRA does not track fiscal impact in the manner requested.

Question No. 1383--
Mr. Alain Rayes:
With regard to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017: what was the total remuneration paid by the Corporation, including all bonuses, the overtime buyout, the celebrity premium, the clothing allowance and all other premiums, for each (i) male host of a French-language television news program, (ii) female host of a French-language television news program?
Response
Mr. Sean Casey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the Privacy Act and the principles set out in the Access to Information Act. The requested information has been withheld on the grounds that it constitutes competitive as well as personal information.

Question No. 1384--
Ms. Lisa Raitt:
With regard to the Disability Tax Credit and individuals who self-identify with type 1 Diabetes: (a) what percentage of individuals with type 1 Diabetes were (i) approved, (ii) rejected, for the Disability Tax Credit during the 2015-16 fiscal year; and (b) what percentage of individuals with type 1 Diabetes were (i) approved, (ii) rejected, for the Disability Tax Credit between May 2, 2017, and December 5, 2017?
Response
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with respect to the question, here is the response from the Canada Revenue Agency, CRA. In terms of parts (a) and (b), to be eligible for the disability tax credit, an individual must have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions, as defined in the Income Tax Act and as certified by a medical practitioner. Eligibility is not based on a diagnosis, but rather on the effects of the impairment on their ability to perform the basic activities of daily living. Eligibility determinations are not made, or tracked, based on diagnosis. Therefore, the CRA is unable to respond in the manner requested as the data is not available.

Question No. 1385--
Ms. Lisa Raitt:
With regard to the Privy Council Office’s “Mandate Letter Tracker” and the 13 commitments listed as “underway with challenges”, as of December 5, 2017: (a) what specifically are the challenges, broken down by commitment; (b) what specific actions is the government planning in order to overcome the challenges, broken down by commitment; and (c) for each of the 13 commitments, does the government plan on keeping its commitment or not?
Response
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), transparency and accountability are central themes of the Government of Canada’s mandate, as illustrated by the November 2015 public release of ministerial mandate letters. The Canada.ca/results website creates a central, accessible space anyone can go to, to monitor the progress against the government’s commitments to Canadians as outlined in the ministerial mandate letters. The website includes not only an overall status of progress for all commitments, but also a paragraph with more information on the status of implementation. For those commitments that are “under way with challenges”, more information on the specific challenges can be found in that paragraph.
With regard to (b), an “underway with challenges” status means progress toward completing this commitment is going more slowly than expected or that the commitment is complex by its very nature. The government is working with departments to overcome the challenges identified. While the 13 commitments that are “under way with challenges” can be found across a variety of the government priorities, four are under the indigenous priority, and progress requires longer-term, transformative changes that are part of reconciliation with indigenous peoples. Some of the other commitments are taking longer to implement than anticipated. More specific context is given in the text associated with the 13 commitments classified as “under way with challenges”, as well as a link to additional information as appropriate.
With regard to (c), as of December 5, 2017, the government is planning on keeping all the 13 commitments that are “under way with challenges”. Updates to the status of commitments will be reflected in future updates of the mandate letter tracker.

Question No. 1388--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
With regard to the $576,500 paid to Vox Pop Labs Incorporated for Project Tessera: (a) what goods or services did the government receive as a result of the payment prior to project’s originally scheduled end date of September 30, 2017; (b) did Vox Pop Labs Incorporated fulfill the conditions of its applications; (c) how did Vox Pop Labs specifically fulfill “Justification 6” of its application where it stated “the project will be created and launched in a timely fashion, resulting in a significant impact during the celebratory period in 2017”; (d) how did Vox Pop Labs specifically fulfill “Justification 7” on its application, where it was projected that the project would reach in excess of 1,000,000 individuals; and (e) how many individuals have viewed Project Tessera, since January 1, 2017, broken down by month, or what is the best estimate, if exact figures are not available?
Response
Mr. Arif Virani (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism), Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), Vox Pop Labs Incorporated--Vox Pop--originally received a contribution from the Canada 150 Fund of $576,500 for Project Tessera, a Canada 150 signature project. Vox Pop subsequently received a supplement of $228,782, bringing the total contribution to $805,282.
The Government of Canada supported Project Tessera under the Canada 150 fund through a contribution and not a contract. Therefore, the Government of Canada is not procuring goods or services. Project Tessera is not a Government of Canada project; Project Tessera belongs to Vox Pop Labs Incorporated.
Vox Pop Labs Incorporated has changed the name of their project from Project Tessera to Echoes.
With regard to (b), Vox Pop is fulfilling its obligations as per the contribution agreement with the Canada 150 fund. The key activities for the project as outlined in the original contribution agreement are as follow: create a digital quiz that will survey users on themes such as culture, values, symbols, and belonging to Canada, and encourage participants to learn about their own national identities and cultures and explore the commonalities they have with other people across the country; generate a unique data set on public perceptions about Canada and what it means to be Canadian in 2017; and ensure the findings of the survey, including all relevant data, are placed in the public domain and freely accessible to Canadians by December 31, 2017. The survey results will serve as a legacy of Canada 150 for future generations.
The “digital quiz” now called Echoes was launched on Monday, December 4, 2017. Echoes will generate a unique dataset on public perceptions about Canada and what it means to be Canadians in 2017.
With regard to (c), the launch of the project was originally scheduled to coincide with the Canada Day celebrations; however, after completing the analysis of their panel studies, Vox Pop Labs determined that their design did not sufficiently capture a user’s sense of collective and individual belonging to the Canadian cultural mosaic as per the goals of the project specified in the contribution agreement. Vox Pop Labs chose to delay the launch so the survey could be improved.
With regard to (d) and (e), the Echoes survey was launched on Monday, December 4, 2017. It is too early to say how many individuals will participate.

Question No. 1389--
Mr. Wayne Easter:
With regard to the contract that was signed between Transport Canada and the City of Charlottetown and any of its agencies pertaining to the Charlottetown Port Authority: (a) what are the guidelines or conditions of use; and (b) do these include a provision for industrial use?
Response
Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), Transport Canada transferred the port of Charlottetown under the port divestiture program on April 21, 2005, to the Charlottetown Harbour Authority Inc.
The operating agreement between Transport Canada and the Charlottetown Harbour Authority Inc. dictated conditions of use for the first four years of operations. The agreement expired on April 21, 2009.
After this date, the Charlottetown Harbour Authority Inc. is free to use the facility as it wishes, provided it follows all applicable federal, provincial, and municipal laws.
With regard to (b), there are no specific provisions on the industrial use of lands in any of the agreements. As mentioned, any and all use of the property must follow all applicable federal, provincial, and municipal laws pertaining to that specific use.

Question No. 1393--
Mr. Robert Kitchen:
With regard to the November 21, 2017 news release titled “Government of Canada provides financial support to Ontario college students affected by labour dispute”: (a) what are the details of the financial support, excluding any support students would have normally received had a labour dispute not occurred, including (i) how many students received payments, (ii) what was the average amount received by a student, (iii) what percentage of the payments required repayment, such as loans; (b) broken down by type of financial assistance received, as referenced in (a), what criteria was used to determine if an applicant would receive financial assistance; (c) how many students applied for the financial support referred to in (a); and (d) how many of the students referred to in (c) were granted financial assistance?
Response
Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, Canada’s prosperity depends on young Canadians getting the education and the experience they need to prepare for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
With regard to (a), affected students will be eligible to receive additional financial assistance for the weeks added to their school terms.
With regard to (a)(i), nearly 140,000 Canada student loans and grants recipients were affected by the strike. Where extensions to school terms occur, the associated assessments for additional financial assistance will take place until the spring of 2018. As a result, final statistics on additional payments due to the strike will only be available approximately six months after the conclusion of the academic year.
With regard to (a)(ii), the amount each student receives will depend on their individual eligibility for Canada Student Loans and Grants, and on the time period by which their individual programs are extended.
With regard to (a)(iii), final statistics on additional payments due to the strike will only be available approximately six months after the conclusion of the academic year.
With regard to (b), criteria to determine a student’s eligibility for financial assistance due to the strike do not change from the regular assessment process. Affected students who received the Canada student grant for full-time students will receive an additional amount of grant based on their family income and extended weeks of study; Canada student loan recipients may be eligible for up to an extra $210 per week, depending on individual needs—that is, additional cost of living and available resources.
With regard to (c), nearly 140,000 students affected by the strike could qualify for additional financial support. Students from Ontario will not be required to reapply, as data on extended sessions will be available to assess their additional needs. Students from other provinces studying at Ontario colleges will need to reapply; however, data will only be available approximately six months after the conclusion of the academic year.
With regard to (d), final statistics on additional payments due to the strike will only be available approximately six months after the conclusion of the academic year.

Question No. 1394--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
With regard to homeowners whose property was burned as a result of the wildfires in British Columbia: are they required to declare timber salvaged from their property as a capital gain?
Response
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the determination of how income from the sale of trees on a woodlot would be taxed under the Income Tax Act is a question that would require a review of the facts and circumstances of the particular situation.
“Woodlot” is used in a broad sense to mean land covered with trees. A woodlot includes treed land held primarily as a source of fuel, posts, logs or trees, whether the trees are grown with or without human intervention. The term also includes treed land that is part of a cottage property and a farmer’s wooded land.
Generally, where a woodlot is a non-commercial woodlot and money or other valuable consideration is received for the sale of timber or the right to cut timber, the sale proceeds are subject to tax on capital account, as a capital gain, generally as a disposition of personal-use property. Generally, a loss on the sale of personal-use property is not deductible.
A capital gain is generally calculated as the proceeds of disposition on the sale of property minus the adjusted cost of the property and related selling expenses. Depending on the situation, capital gains could result from the sale of salvageable lumber.
For more information on capital gains, members may refer to “T4037 Capital Gains 2016” on www.Canada.ca.
The CRA recognizes the difficulties faced by Canadians affected by wildfires in British Columbia and understands that natural disasters may cause hardship for taxpayers whose primary concerns during this time are their families, homes, and communities.
The Canada Revenue Agency, or CRA, administers legislation that gives the Minister of National Revenue discretion to grant relief from penalty or interest when the following types of situations prevent a taxpayer from meeting their tax obligations: extraordinary circumstances, actions of the CRA, inability to pay or financial hardship, or other circumstances. For more information about the circumstances that may warrant relief from penalties or interest, members may refer to “Cancel or waive penalties or interest” on www.Canada.ca.

Question No. 1401--
Mr. Harold Albrecht:
With regard to the Canada Summer Jobs Program for the Summer of 2017: (a) which organizations received funding; and (b) how much funding did each organization receive?
Response
Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the list of organizations funded through the Canada summer jobs program for the summer of 2017, including the amount paid, will be made public on the program website. It will be available at www.canada.ca/canada-summers-jobs.

Question No. 1409--
Ms. Candice Bergen:
With regard to Ministers who are responsible for various regional development agencies: (a) between January 1, 2017 and December 8, 2017, how many days did the Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency spend in (i) Nova Scotia, (ii) New Brunswick, (iii) Prince Edward Island, (iv) Newfoundland and Labrador; (b) between January 1, 2017, and December 8, 2017 how many days did the Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification spend in (i) British Columbia, (ii) Alberta, (iii) Saskatchewan, (iv) Manitoba; (c) between January 1, 2017 and December 8, 2017, how many days did the Minister responsible for the Canada Economic Development Agency for the Regions of Quebec spend in Quebec; (d) between January 1, 2017 and December 8, 2017, how many days did the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Initiative in Northern Ontario spend in Northern Ontario; and (e) between January 1, 2017 and December 8, 2017, how many days did the Minister responsible for the the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario spend in Southern Ontario?
Response
Hon. Navdeep Bains (Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to the information requested on travel by the minister responsible for the regional development agencies, please refer to the proactive disclosure on travel for the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development at the following link: https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/ic/trvlHsptltyDsclsr/pblc/indx.do?lang=eng.
In addition to travelling to various cities across Canada, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and his staff meet with stakeholders from all regions of the country to discuss regional and local issues on a regular and ongoing basis.

Question No. 1411--
Mr. Dean Allison:
With regard to Bill C-27, An Act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985: (a) did the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons convene a bill review meeting prior to the Bill's introduction; and (b) did the Minister of Finance attend the bill review meeting?
Response
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the details of a bill review process, including individual ministers’ involvement in the process, are considered a cabinet confidence.

Question No. 1422--
Mr. Harold Albrecht:
With regard to revenue which will be received by government as a result of the sale of marijuana after July 1, 2018: (a) what is the projected annual revenue generated from taxation on marijuana; and (b) what percentage of the revenue referred to in (a) will be given to (i) provinces, (ii) municipalities, (iii) First Nations, Inuit, and Metis organizations, (iv) other organizations, broken down by recipient?
Response
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, on November 10, 2017, the Department of Finance Canada published for consultation a proposed excise duty framework for cannabis products. The proposed framework will support our twin goals of keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth, and profits from its sale out of the hands of criminals as we work to legalize and strictly regulate access to cannabis. The public consultation period closed on December 7, 2017.
Finance Canada is still assessing the potential size of the legal cannabis market, which will be a key factor in determining how much revenue will ultimately be collected under the proposed excise duty framework. In the short term, the size of the legal market will depend on a number of factors, including the supply of legal product, and the distribution and retail systems developed by provinces and territories, the details of which are still being assessed.
At the finance ministers’ meeting on December 11, 2017, ministers agreed that for an initial two-year period following the legalization of non-medical cannabis, taxation revenues will be shared on the basis of 75 per cent for provincial and territorial governments and 25 per cent for the federal government. Provinces and territories will work with municipalities according to shared responsibilities towards legalization. From 2018¬-19 to 2019-20, the federal portion of cannabis excise tax revenue will be capped at $100 million annually. Any federal revenue in excess of $100 million during this time will be provided to provinces and territories.
The department will report on its fiscal projections at a future date.

Question No. 1425--
Mr. John Nater:
With regard to responses provided by the government to questions on the Order Paper, since November 4, 2015, where the government cited the principles of the Access to Information or Privacy Act as a justification for not providing the requested information: for each response that has such a citation, or any similar type of citation, what are the specific principles used to justify withholding the information, broken down by response and by question?
Response
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, Parliament adopted the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act in 1983. Since then, successive governments have provided information in parliamentary returns in a manner that respects the principles governing the disclosure of government information contained in these acts.
Since parliamentary returns are not formally processed under these acts, specific sections are not quoted to justify non-disclosure. However, parliamentary returns officers consult officials responsible for access to information and privacy to ensure that the Privacy Act and the principles governing exclusions, exemptions, and prohibitions contained in the Access to Information Act are applied to proposed responses to parliamentary returns.
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View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2016-09-22 11:04 [p.4953]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the motion to call upon the Prime Minister and the government to appoint an Atlantic Canadian to fill the vacancy caused by Justice Cromwell.
Since the Supreme Court was established in 1875, every government has respected Atlantic-Canadian representation on the court, every government until the current government.
The fact that the government has opened the door to shutting out Atlantic Canada from the Supreme Court is objectionable, on multiple grounds. It demonstrates a total disrespect for Atlantic Canada and Atlantic Canadians, not to mention the dozens of high-calibre jurists and lawyers who are eminently qualified to fill the vacancy of Justice Cromwell.
It also shows a total disrespect for regional representation, which has been a staple of the institutional development of the Supreme Court, and, indeed, which has been a staple, more broadly, of the institutional development of Canada. It totally disregards a constitutional convention guaranteeing Atlantic-Canadian representation on the Supreme Court as well.
It was not more than two years ago that the Supreme Court, in the Nadon decision, held that Parliament did not have the unilateral authority to change the composition of a court.
Today, it is not Parliament that is seeking to unilaterally change the composition of a court; it is the executive branch. It is the government that seeks to unilaterally overturn the composition of this court by shutting out Atlantic Canada.
A little more than a month ago, the Minister of Justice appeared before the justice committee. I asked her, in the face of the Nadon decision, exactly what authority, exactly what jurisdiction did the government have to unilaterally change the composition of a court. With the greatest of respect to the Minister of Justice, I did not receive a clear answer, and since that time I have yet to hear a clear answer from the her, or from anyone on that side of the House, on that important question. I suspect the reason I have not heard a clear answer is that there is a strong legal argument to be made that the government does not have the authority to unilaterally overturn the composition and change the composition of a court by shutting out Atlantic Canada.
What would the implications be if the Prime Minister decided that he would appoint someone other than an Atlantic-Canadian to fill the seat of Justice Cromwell? Obviously, Atlantic Canada would be shut out of the Supreme Court for the first time in 141 years. What is more, Atlantic Canada would be singled out as a region. It would be singled out because it would be the only region on the Supreme Court without representation. In light of the constitutional convention, there would be serious legal questions that would immediately arise, calling into question the constitutionality of such an appointment.
It is therefore no wonder that the Liberal appointment process has been widely critiqued by lawyers and academics right across Canada, from the Canadian Bar Association, from the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association, and on and on.
However, who has not raised any objection and been collectively silent on the issue of Atlantic Canadian representation on the Supreme Court? They are the 32 Liberal MPs from Atlantic Canada. There has been not a word, not a peep, from the 32 Liberal MPs from Atlantic Canada; not a word, not a peep from the Minister of Fisheries; not a word, not a peep from the minister responsible for ACOA, the minister for Atlantic Canada. Where is he from? The minister responsible for Atlantic Canada is from Mississauga. I guess the memo never got to the Prime Minister that Mississauga is in Ontario and not in Atlantic Canada. Nonetheless the minister for Atlantic Canada from Mississauga, Ontario has said not a word in support of Atlantic Canadian representation on the Supreme Court.
What do we have? We have 32 Liberal MPs from Atlantic Canada who have been MIA, missing in action, when it comes to standing up against a constitutionally questionable appointment process. They are missing in action when it comes to standing up for 141 years of Atlantic Canadian representation on the Supreme Court. They are missing in action when it comes to standing up for the eminently qualified jurists and lawyers who hail from Atlantic Canada. Above all else, they are missing in action when it comes to fulfilling the core responsibility that they were entrusted by the people of Canada to do in this place, and that is to stand up for Atlantic Canada.
Over the nearly one year that I have been here, I have had the opportunity to become acquainted with a number of members from Atlantic Canada. I genuinely believe they are here to do what is right and to do their very best to represent their constituents and their region. That is why it is so sad and so disappointing that on this critical issue they have been missing in action.
However, this opposition motion provides those 32 Liberal members an opportunity to join us in the Conservative Party to stand up for Atlantic Canada. They have a choice. They can stand up for Atlantic Canadian representation or they can stand behind the Prime Minister's constitutionally questionable, objectionable appointment process to shut out Atlantic Canada. The choice is clear. It will be interesting to see which choice they make.
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