Interventions in Committee
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View Erin Weir Profile
CCF (SK)
View Erin Weir Profile
2019-08-21 13:31
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to thank you and all members of this committee for giving independent MPs an opportunity to participate in today's meeting.
One of the things I've really appreciated about being an independent MP is the opportunity to take a more dispassionate look at the issues. That's what I've tried to do in all the committee hearings on SNC-Lavalin.
I'd like to say a few words about my reading of the Ethics Commissioner's report and some of the topics that I think might be worth pursuing if this committee decides to hear from the Ethics Commissioner and perhaps other witnesses.
The commissioner's key conclusion is that there was a violation of section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act, which says that public office holders should not:
seek to influence a decision of another person so as to further the public office holder’s private interests or those of the public office holder’s relatives or friends or to improperly further another person’s private interests.
I don't think anyone is alleging that the Prime Minister sought to further the private interests of his family, his friends or himself. I also don't think there's any doubt that many, if not most, public policy decisions will either further or detract from the private interests of various companies and individuals. The key conclusion from the Ethics Commissioner is that the Prime Minister improperly tried to further another person's private interests.
That finding hinges critically on an interpretation of what is “improper”. I think it would be well worth this committee's time to dig into that with the Ethics Commissioner. We've heard a lot about findings of fact but really this conclusion comes down to an interpretation of one word in the Conflict of Interest Act, which is something that I think could be open to challenge and certainly could be open to further exploration.
It's a little bit unclear to me whether the Ethics Commissioner believes the Prime Minister is guilty of any kind of conflict of interest in the classic definition of that term. It does seem clear that the Ethics Commissioner believes that the Prime Minister is guilty of improperly furthering another person's private interests but there's already been some debate about how that language should be interpreted and what's improper. I would suggest that as an appropriate focus for this committee's work.
View Erin Weir Profile
CCF (SK)
View Erin Weir Profile
2019-08-21 15:12
Thanks very much.
Since we seem to have entered a bit of a broader discussion of the SNC-Lavalin case, I just want to make the point that I think it would have been far preferable had there been a more robust investigation and prosecution of the specific executives involved in alleged wrongdoing, rather than being left in this scenario of prosecuting the company as a whole, which inevitably will have negative consequences for people who had no involvement at all in the wrongdoing.
Whether or not members of the committee believe the figure of 9,000 jobs, I don't think anyone would dispute that going after the company as a whole is going to have negative consequences for a lot of people who are totally blameless in this thing. I do think one of the key take-aways from the SNC-Lavalin controversy is that we should have much more effective prosecution of the individual corporate executives who are involved in wrongdoing, rather than relying on the legal fiction of corporate personhood to prosecute whole enterprises.
Thank you.
View Erin Weir Profile
CCF (SK)
View Erin Weir Profile
2019-07-30 13:33
Mr. Chair, I'd like to begin by thanking you and all members of the committee for enabling me to participate in today's meeting. The reason I want to participate is that China's market has been closed to Canadian canola seed. Notwithstanding the fact that the wheat sheaf continues to be Saskatchewan's provincial symbol, wheat has been surpassed by canola as our most important crop and China has emerged as the most important customer for our canola exports.
My appeal to the committee would be that, to the extent that it decides to undertake a study of Canada-China diplomatic relations, the study not simply focus on the inner workings of our foreign service, but rather try to focus on the practical consequences of that diplomatic relationship for prairie farmers and other Canadians.
Mr. Chair, I think what we need to keep in mind at today's meeting is, first and foremost, the Canadians being held hostage in China, but also the prairie farmers whose livelihoods are being held hostage to this unrelated diplomatic tiff.
Thanks very much.
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
If I may, Mr. Chair, I'd like to ask the witnesses questions. I'm not sure whether the agenda allows for that, but if so, I'd like a few moments.
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
I have a quick question for Mr. Flynn. I say quick, because I have just two minutes and I also have a question for Mr. Boucher.
Two years ago, 19 million Canadians were the victims of fraud as a result of a data breach at Equifax. Similar data were stolen in that case. Last year, some 90,000 CIBC and BMO customers were targeted. This year, it's Desjardins members.
Can you tell us whether, further to these events, crime involving the use of the stolen data has increased?
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
Yes, but I'm talking about this type of crime.
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
All right, but has there been an increase in crime involving data stolen as a result of these breaches? Has the crime rate gone up?
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
I see.
My second question is for Mr. Boucher.
Mr. Boucher, in your brief, you give three recommendations to deal with increasing cyberthreats. The second is to invest in training and awareness so that people have the tools to respond. Has the federal government earmarked funding to work with the Quebec government to improve the security of Quebecers' information?
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
Sorry, I don't mean to rush you, but as you know, two minutes isn't much time.
Are any investments planned, and if so, how much? Has the federal government made so many millions available to work with Quebec on a training program or other cybercrime initiative, for example?
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Chair, I have some questions for the witnesses, but I will leave it up to you to decide on a good time for me to ask them.
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Cormier, Mr. Brun and Mr. Berthiaume, I too will begin by congratulating you. I must admit that when I arrived here this morning, I had questions and concerns, which you answered. I think that your statement this morning is very beneficial to Desjardins. I too am affected by what happened at Desjardins, and I appreciate the measures you have taken.
About two or three weeks ago, the Bank of Canada established the Financial Sector Resiliency Group to address IT threats. As far as I know, Desjardins Group has not been invited to join this group. Chartered banks, among others, and systemically important banks were invited.
First, can you confirm that Desjardins Group has not been invited? Then, do you consider it would be appropriate for it to participate in such a working group?
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
You have the support of the Bloc Québécois on this. I hope my colleagues across the way will follow up on this and propose that the Bank of Canada invite you.
Presently, there are discussions on the establishment of a national identity validation system. Previously, the social insurance number was used in the relationship between the employer and employees and the government. Now we see that it is used in almost every way. It is no longer clear how to behave in this regard, but it is clear that the simple social insurance number is no longer sufficient to ensure a certain level of security for citizens.
In your opinion, would an identity validation system, which would include a PIN, fingerprint or whatever, be useful in a situation like the one you have experienced?
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