Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Chair.
Thank you, witnesses, for being here.
Mr. Boucher, I was intrigued by your opening comments on the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security being the national authority on cybersecurity and leading the government's response to cybersecurity events:
As Canada's national...security incident response team, the Cyber Centre works in close collaboration with government departments, critical infrastructure, Canadian businesses, and international partners to prepare for, respond to, mitigate, and recover from cyber incidents.
That's fantastic. It also leads to this question by me: What standards or measures do we have in place now? We consider banking in Canada to be a critical infrastructure in this country. What standards are in place at this moment to ensure that those are met? Do we have incentives? Do we have penalties? Do we have anything in the way of ensuring that we have a uniform approach across the industry to make sure that Canadians are safe? It's Canadians we are here for and are serving in that capacity. I'm curious to know if we have a mandatory baseline that everybody needs to operate at. If we don't, how come? And how can we?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Approximately 2.9 million entities, individuals and Canadian businesses, are impacted by this particular occurrence, but millions of others across this country have also been victims of having their identities and credit card information stolen. They may not find solace in that particular statement that we have a mature banking industry in this country, because they continue to be victimized. I'm curious to know whether we are as vigorous in that way as we could or should be in pursuing the financial security of those institutions and of the people who put their trust in them.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay. Thank you.
Chief Superintendent Flynn, as we've learned from this circumstance and from others, data is the hottest commodity on the dark web. We know that. People's names, addresses, dates of birth, social insurance numbers, IP addresses, email addresses—all those sorts of things are commodities that are traded at will on the web. I guess a couple of things come to mind for me. Can you help the Canadian public understand, number one, how that information is used by the criminal element, and number two, how they can then be vigilant? You answered Mr. Drouin partially with a response, but as the law enforcement agency in this country, what red flags or alarms could you make the Canadian public aware of that they need to be vigilant about if they've been compromised, and even before they become compromised?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Chair.
Again, thank you to the departmental officials for being here.
I have just two quick questions for the Department of Finance. You say that your first objective is to prevent data breaches. We know the reality is that these happen and are not localized to the financial sector.
Ms. Ryan, you said that when cybe events occur at a federally regulated institution, which is what we're talking about, control and oversight mechanisms are in place to manage them. Can you explain to Canadians in practical terms what that actually means when you play that out?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Basically, it's just oversight. Now, in this particular circumstance, it's oversight of what's happened to make sure that—
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay, so that's one question. The other question is for Ms. Ryan, or whoever might....
I'm just going to read the summary that you gave. You said that “cybersecurity is an area of critical importance for the Department of Finance. We are actively working with partners across government and the private sector to ensure that Canadians are well-protected from cybe -incidents and that when incidents do occur, they're managed in a way that mitigates the impact on consumers and the financial sector as a whole.”
What does that actually look like to impacted consumers, to consumers at large, to the financial institution, to the banking industry, to various government departments? You can say that, but what does it actually look like?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
I have just one quick follow-up question to that. If I were one of the 2.9 million Canadians impacted by this circumstance, or one of the millions in this country who have already been impacted by data breaches of various varieties, I would want assistance in getting my life back, like them. Right now there is a lot of talk about what that looks like, but in practical terms, Canadians want to know how to get their lives back. They want to mitigate the risks and the impacts that a breach like this has on their personal lives, on their financial futures and on those of their families.
I'm curious; it seems that the Department of Finance has a role to play in having a location from which Canadians can find the information they need, follow a template, call numbers, or whatever it may be to help get their lives in order, because this is, and will be, devastating to those whom these criminals are going to take advantage of.
As government, we have a responsibility to ensure that we protect Canadians as well as we can. This is not going to go away.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Chair.
Thank you for being here, gentlemen.
If we're to believe the information that we received, approximately 200,000 Canadians outside of Quebec have been impacted by this particular situation. Do you know about how many in each province were impacted?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay.
You mentioned that you purchased State Farm in 2015. You're saying that none of them are impacted.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
In 2017 you created Aviso Wealth. That was the combination of a merged Credential Financial, Qtrade Canada and NEI Investments. Those all merged.
Mr. Denis Berthiaume: That's correct.
Mr. Glen Motz: Were any of those impacted?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
What about previous Desjardins clients whose accounts were closed? Has any of their data been impacted?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
They used to be clients. Do you still store their data even though they are no longer clients? Was any of that data compromised?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Just to be clear, if you do not have an active account with Desjardins, you have not been impacted by this data breach. Is that what I'm hearing you say?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
It doesn't really answer my question. If I'm hearing you correctly, you have to have an active account with Desjardins to have been impacted by this data breach. Is that a yes or a no?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
That's what I asked previously.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
I'm not worried about the letter because Canadians don't care about the letter. They want to know, if I am a current member, is it yes or no? The answer is yes. Current or former clients could be impacted.
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
In 2018, Desjardins Ontario merged with about 11 Ontario credit unions, if I remember correctly. Would any of those potential clients be impacted by this data breach?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
In 2013 the Desjardins Group purchased insurance firms out west, particularly Coast Capital Insurance in B.C., First Insurance in B.C., Craig Insurance in Alberta, and Melfort Agencies and Prestige Insurance in Saskatchewan.
Would any of these clients be impacted by the Desjardins data breach?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Could the phones of clients who use Apple Pay or Android Pay as part of their banking practices be compromised by this data breach, and are they at higher risk for any fraudulent texts that could occur as a result of this?
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
I'll share my time with Mr.—
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and good afternoon, everyone.
I first of all want to acknowledge something that is on everyone's mind today, which is the passing of a colleague and a friend to many. On behalf of our government and my family, I want to extend my deepest condolences to the family of Mark Warawa, my colleague, and to our colleagues from the Conservative Party and many others who have lost a friend today.
I would also like to take a moment to recognize that I am speaking to you from Treaty No. 7 territory. Such acknowledgements are important, particularly when we are meeting to talk about doing resource development the right way. Our government's approach to the Trans Mountain expansion project and the start of the construction season is a great example of that—of resource development done right.
Let me also begin by recognizing that I know this expansion project inspires strong opinions on both sides—for and against—and with respect to both sides of the debate, I want to assure everyone that our government took the time required to do the hard work necessary to hear all voices, to consider all evidence and to be able to follow the guidance we received from the Federal Court of Appeal last August.
That included asking the National Energy Board to reconsider its recommendation, taking into account the environmental impact of project-related marine shipping. It also included relaunching phase III consultations with indigenous groups potentially impacted by the project, by doing things differently and engaging in a meaningful two-way dialogue.
On that note, I would like to take a moment to sincerely thank the many indigenous communities that welcomed me into their communities for meetings over the last several months. I appreciate your openness, your honesty and your constructive ideas and sincerity of views.
Honourable members, no matter where you stand on TMX, this decision is a positive step forward for all Canadians. It shows how in 2019, good projects can move forward when we do the hard work necessary to meet our duty to consult indigenous peoples and when we take concrete action to protect the environment for our kids, grandkids and future generations.
When we came into office, we took immediate steps to fix the broken review system the Conservatives left behind. When the risks made it too difficult for the private sector to move forward, we stepped in to save the project. When the Federal Court of Appeal made its decision back in August of 2018, we made the choice to move forward in the right way.
When we finished this process, we were able to come to the right decision to deliver for workers in our energy sector, for Albertans and for all Canadians, a decision to support a project that will create jobs, diversify markets, support clean energy and open up new avenues for indigenous economic prosperity in the process.
Where do we go from here, now that the expansion has been approved? While these are still early days, we have a clear path forward for construction to begin this season and beyond. The Prime Minister laid out a lot of this on Tuesday afternoon as he announced our decision. Minister Morneau expanded on some of these details when he was in Calgary yesterday, talking about the road ahead and about launching exploratory discussions with indigenous groups interested in economic participation and about using TMX's revenues to ensure Canada is a leader in providing more energy choices.
We have also heard from the Trans Mountain Corporation about both its readiness and its ambition to get started on construction. Ian Anderson, the CEO of the Trans Mountain Corporation, made this very clear yesterday.
That's also what I heard when I visited with Trans Mountain Corporation workers yesterday in Edmonton. There were a number of contractors there. They are ready to proceed on the expansion of the Edmonton terminal, as well as on many of the pumping stations that are required to be built in this expansion.
The message is clear. We want to get shovels in the ground this season, while continuing to do things differently in the right way.
The NEB will soon issue an amended certificate of public convenience and necessity for the project. It will also ensure that TMC has met the NEB's binding pre-construction conditions. The Trans Mountain Corporation, meanwhile, will continue to advance its applications for municipal, provincial and federal permits. We stand ready to get the federal permits moving.
As all of that is happening, our government continues to consult with indigenous groups, building and expanding our dialogue with indigenous groups as part of phase IV consultations by discussing the potential impacts of the regulatory process on aboriginal and treaty rights and by working with indigenous groups to implement the eight accommodation measures that were co-developed during consultations, including building marine response capacity, restoring fish and fish habitats, enhancing spill prevention, monitoring cumulative effects and conducting further land studies.
We are also moving forward with the NEB's 16 recommendations for enhancing marine safety, protecting species at risk, improving how shipping is managed and boosting emergency response.
What is the bottom line? There is no doubt that there are a lot of moving parts. This is a project that stretches over 1,000 kilometres, but it is moving forward in the right way, as we have already proven with our $1.5-billion oceans protection plan, our $167-million whale initiative, our additional $61.5 million to protect the southern resident killer whale, and our investment of all of the new corporate tax revenues, as well as profits earned from the sale of TMX, in the clean energy projects that will power our homes, businesses and communities for generations to come.
Before making a decision, we needed to be satisfied that we had met our constitutional obligations, including our legal duty to consult with indigenous groups potentially affected by the project, upholding the honour of the Crown and addressing the issues identified by the Federal Court of Appeal last summer.
We have done that. We accomplished this by doing the hard work required by the court, not by invoking sections of the Constitution that don't apply or by launching fruitless appeals, both of which would have taken longer than the process we brought in.
While Conservatives were focused on making up solutions that wouldn't work, we focused on moving this process forward in the right way. We have confirmation of that, including from the Honourable Frank Iacobucci, former Supreme Court justice, who was appointed as a federal representative to provide us with oversight and direction on the revised consultation and accommodation process.
I will close where I began, which is by saying that we have done the hard work necessary to move forward on TMX in the right way, proving that Canada can get good resource projects approved and that we can grow the economy and deliver our natural resources to international markets to support workers, their families and their communities, all while safeguarding the environment, investing in clean growth and advancing reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
Mr. Chair, I think this is a good place to stop and invite questions.
Thank you so much once again for having me here today.
View Kent Hehr Profile
Lib. (AB)
Just prior to my asking questions of the minister, I'd like to applaud the chair for his exceptional work and leadership for this committee. You've done excellent work.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
Hon. Kent Hehr: Minister, it's a thrill to have you back. I was in Calgary yesterday for Minister Morneau's presentation and his address to the Economic Club of Canada in Calgary. The excitement was present in the air, and there was a hop in the step of people in the room, which was good to see.
I think it's fair to say that last year's Federal Court of Appeal decision came somewhat out of the blue. The court said—and it was clear—that we needed to do our indigenous consultation better and our environmental considerations better.
I was chatting with Hannah Wilson in my office this morning, and I learned that this is happening not only here in Canada but also in the United States. In the case of Keystone XL, Enbridge Line 3 and other energy projects around the United States, the courts have been clear that this is the way things need to be done. Our government is trying to see that through, with indigenous consultation and environmental protections being at the forefront.
What was done differently this time, in consideration of the court decision that we were working with?
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
The process we put in place this time was quite different from what was done in past consultations.
First of all, we co-developed the engagement process with input from indigenous communities. We provided proper training to our staff and we doubled the capacity of our consultation teams. They worked tirelessly to engage in a meaningful two-way dialogue.
We also provided participation funding to indigenous communities so they could properly participate in the consultation process. We held more meetings and we met with indigenous communities in their communities. I personally held 45 meetings with indigenous communities and met with more than 65 leaders to listen to and engage with their concerns.
I am very proud of the outcome. We are offering accommodations to indigenous communities to deal with their concerns over fish, fish habitat, protection of cultural sites and burial grounds, as well as issues related to oil spills, the health of the Salish Sea, the southern resident killer whales, underwater noise and many others.
The accommodations we are offering, Mr. Chair, actually go beyond mitigating the impact of this project and will also go a long way toward resolving some of the issues and repairing some of the damage that has been done through industrial development in the Salish Sea. They will respond to many of the outstanding issues that communities have identified, related not only to this project but also to many of the other cumulative effects of the development that communities have experienced.
View Kent Hehr Profile
Lib. (AB)
Thank you for that, Minister.
The Trans Mountain Pipeline is important to Calgarians. In fact, it's in the public interest. It not only provides jobs for Albertans but also provides us an opportunity to get fair prices for our oil. None of that is possible without shovels being in the ground, so to speak. What steps must take place before that can happen? Will shovels be in the ground this construction season?
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
Mr. Chair, as I said in my opening remarks, the National Energy Board will issue the certificate in the next couple of days. I was in Edmonton and had a chance to meet with workers and some of the contractors. They're ready to get down to work and they're preparing some of the work that does not require regulatory approval. The company can start mobilizing the contractors and subcontractors. They can start mobilizing their workers. They can start bidding for reconstruction work that is necessary and they can start applying for permits.
As we heard from the Trans Mountain Corporation, they're planning to put shovels in the ground by September. The goal is to complete the construction by mid-2022 so that we can start flowing the oil to markets beyond the United States.
It is very important, Mr. Chair, to understand that 99% of the oil we sell to the outside world goes to one customer, which is the United States. It is a very important customer for us. We need to expand our market with them, but we need to have more customers than one, because we are selling our oil at a discount and losing a lot of money. Over the last number of decades, the situation has remained the same. We want to make sure that this situation changes. That is why getting this project moving forward in the right way and starting construction is very important, not only to Alberta workers but also to all Canadians.
View Kent Hehr Profile
Lib. (AB)
Part of the approval of the pipeline was deeply linked to meaningful consultation with indigenous peoples. Are there ways we are ensuring that indigenous peoples meaningfully benefit from Trans Mountain in terms of jobs and other opportunities?
Also, I've heard some exciting things around possible equity stakes. Can you inform us about any of those conversations?
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
Yes, and a large number of indigenous communities have signed benefit agreements with the company. Those amount to close to $400 million of economic opportunities for indigenous communities. There are other communities that are still in discussions about economic benefits.
As Minister Morneau stated here in Calgary, he is launching a process whereby indigenous communities can explore options to purchase the pipeline or make other financial arrangements. This is something that I have personally heard, Mr. Chair, from a large number of communities that are interested in seeking economic opportunities for their communities to benefit from resource development. We see a lot of potential in that, and Minister Morneau is going to be leading that. Ownership by indigenous communities could be 25% or 50% or even 100%.
We are also providing funding for indigenous communities so that they'll be ready to participate in that process.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2019-06-20 16:23
Thank you, Chair. I too want to express that I've really enjoyed working with you and with all the members of this committee over the past four years.
Thank you, Minister, for joining us in committee today in response to my request, through a motion that was supported here, to give some concrete details about the Trans Mountain expansion, which your government has approved formally for the second time now in two and a half years.
I want to start with something you mentioned. The backgrounder indicated, and you have just stated as well, that the government-owned Trans Mountain Corporation is required to seek approvals from the National Energy Board for construction and continued operation. I understand there will be several hearings required by the NEB in relation to the route of the pipeline before construction can start. Can you tell us exactly what the timeline will be for those hearings?
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
As many of us will remember, the National Energy Board imposed a number of conditions on this project. Trans Mountain Corporation, like any other private company, would have to comply with those conditions and respond to the NEB, and would need to apply for those permits. As you heard from CEO Ian Anderson, they are putting a process in place to work with the NEB to get those permits issued in an expedited way. The construction is supposed to be starting in mid-September.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2019-06-20 16:24
Thank you, Minister. Of course, the Trans Mountain expansion used to be owned by a private company, but now, of course, it's a wholly owned subsidiary of the Government of Canada, which is why I'm asking you. It's also one reason, I assume, that your government delayed by a month your decision, which was supposed to have been made by May 22. I think it would have been reasonable for Canadians to expect all of those authorizations required by the NEB, as well as permits and construction contracts, to be firmed up by the time you gave your second formal approval, after spending billions of dollars and promising that it would be built immediately.
Something else that Ian Anderson said was, as you've indicated, that construction may start in September at the earliest, but that there could still be delays in the construction and completion of the pipeline caused by anti-energy activists and legal challenges. Unfortunately, those are the same risks that were posed to the project when you first approved it in 2016.
Can you tell us specifically what your government's plan is to deal with multiple legal challenges that will be filed by the project's opponents and other levels of government?
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
Mr. Chair, first of all, we have done the consultations in a way that reduces the chances of litigation. If somebody does challenge this decision in the Federal Court of Appeal, we are in a very good position to demonstrate that we have discharged our duty to consult by having extensive consultations and by keeping a record of the consultations.
It's also very important, Mr. Chair, to understand that unlike Conservatives, we will not undermine the due process that needs to be followed. We will not cut corners on the regulatory steps that need to be taken by the proponent in this case in relation to the NEB. Conservatives wanted us to cut corners at every step; we refused to do that. That is why we have reached this decision.
We owe it to Alberta workers. We owe it to the energy sector workers to do this.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2019-06-20 16:27
It is not the case that Conservatives have ever advocated for any steps at the NEB to be skipped. Those steps, of course, were all followed and completed when Kinder Morgan, the private sector proponent, was advancing the Trans Mountain expansion, after which you failed to provide the legal and political certainty for them to go ahead.
Ian Anderson has also indicated that the court injunction remains in place, so what is your government prepared to do if foreign-funded or domestic anti-energy protestors seek to hold up construction?
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
As I said earlier, unfortunately energy sector projects such as [Technical difficulty—Editor] controversial because of the steps taken by the Stephen Harper government to polarize Canadians by not respecting Canadians' right to participate and by gutting the environmental protections that were put in place. We will do whatever we can to ensure that this project moves forward in the right way.
In the case of an injunction, I understand that an injunction is in place and we expect anyone who is going to participate in any form of activity to do that within the rule of law. The rule of law will be respected, but I'm not going to speculate on something that has not happened. Our goal is to reduce the tension. Our goal is to reduce the polarization.
I'm confident that the work we have done over the last seven months will allow us to demonstrate to Canadians that we followed due process and are offering accommodations that appropriately deal with the concerns of indigenous communities.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2019-06-20 16:29
Part of the concern is that literally last year, one week before the Federal Court of Appeal said you failed in your indigenous consultations last time around, you said you believed that your process would hold up. Then the Prime Minister, the finance minister and the natural resources minister all promised legislation to give the legal and political certainty needed for the private sector proponent to proceed. Then you didn't deliver, and then you attacked anyone who suggested the very thing your own Prime Minister promised.
Let's just look at costs quickly, since this is a really important aspect to taxpayers now that you've put them on the hook. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says that if you miss this year's construction season, it will cost taxpayers billions of dollars more and that these increases in construction costs will reduce the sale value of the pipeline and drop the value of the asset.
Can you explain exactly what the cost to taxpayers will be for the construction and completion of the Trans Mountain expansion?
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
It is very important that we see moving forward on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion as an investment in Alberta's economy, in the Canadian economy, in the workers of Alberta. They deserve that support. We are providing them that support because having not a single pipeline to get our resources to non-U.S. markets has hurt our potential in Canada.
We—
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2019-06-20 16:30
Of course, Minister, the vast majority of—
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2019-06-20 16:30
—product shipped through TMX will go to U.S. refineries, and the only two export pipelines have been cancelled by your government.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
First of all, we acknowledge and appreciate the diversity of opinions on this project among indigenous communities, as among other Canadians.
I have met with Chief Lee a number of times. I have met with leadership of the Tsleil-Waututh, with the former chief and with Chief Leah, who is the current chief, to talk about these issues. As far as Coldwater is concerned, our discussions with them are continuing. There are a number of options we are exploring with them to deal with their outstanding issues.
Our consultation doesn't end because the approval of this project has been given. We will continue to work with them.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
I know that this issue has been raised by the NDP before. If you talk to industry folks and to premiers in Alberta who have been advocating this project, from Premier Notley to Premier Kenney, 80% of the capacity of the expansion has already been booked by shippers for up to 20 years. That demonstrates to you that there's a demand. The existing pipeline has been full for the last number of years. There's a capacity that is required, and we believe that building this capacity will allow us to get those resources to the global market.
I'm really disappointed to hear the Conservative members saying that TMX will not get our resources to global markets. I hope that the Conservative members will have discussions with Premier Kenney and will be better engaged on that file. The premier has been advocating for this project because it allows us to get a better price and expand our markets beyond the U.S.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
The building of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion does not undermine or hinder our ability to meet our Paris Agreement commitments. We are putting a price on pollution. We are phasing out coal. We are supporting investment in public transit. Every dollar earned from revenue from this project will actually be invested back into a greener and cleaner economy so that we can accelerate our transition to a clean economy.
We all know that as the world transitions, there will still be a demand for oil, and our oil resources are developed in a sustainable way. The intensity of the emissions from the oil sands is continuing to decline, and we are supporting the industry to further reduce that intensity. We want to be the supplier of the energy that the world needs and at the same time use the resources and the revenue to accelerate that transition. It's a win-win situation for our economy: creating jobs at the same time as protecting our environment and dealing with the impacts of climate change.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
This is a very important project for our country. This is a project that is in the public interest. This is a project that will create thousands of jobs in Alberta, in British Columbia and in the Atlantic provinces.
As we all know, the growth of the energy sector in Alberta has provided opportunities for many people throughout this country from the Atlantic provinces through Ontario, Quebec and the prairie provinces. When we were in Fort McMurray the last time with the Prime Minister, we met with workers from British Columbia who were working in Fort McMurray.
This is about prosperity for all Canadians. It's very important for us to recognize and communicate this. This is about expanding our global markets. It's very disappointing that the Conservatives say that we don't need to expand our global markets and that we can continue to rely on the U.S. The U.S. is a very important customer for us, but we did the hard work necessary to get to this stage and we will continue to do the hard work necessary to ensure it gets to completion.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
I think it is very important that we make sure to follow the proper processes and procedures put in place for the NEB and our proponents. Whenever you undermine them, whenever you undercut them, you get into trouble and good projects get delayed.
Going back to why the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion got into this situation in the first place, in 2013 and 2014, when the initial review was started, the decision was made by the Stephen Harper government to not do the review to understand the impact of marine shipping on the marine environment and to—
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
No. I think we need to take some responsibility as well. They made the mistake of not including the marine shipping and its impact on the marine environment, and we did not do a good job on the consultation. I take full responsibility for that. That's why we need to do better. We need to improve our process to ensure that good projects can move forward.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
I am a firm believer that if Bill C-69 had been in place in 2013 when this review was started, the Trans Mountain pipeline would have been completed by now and would have been in operation, delivering our resources to non-U.S. markets. It is very important, because we are fixing a broken system.
As far as the exploratory oil wells in the Atlantic provinces are concerned, having a regional review done actually expedited some of that work.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
When we creating jobs, we want to make sure that Canadian workers are able to benefit from that job growth. The building trades have been engaging with Minister Morneau's officials to see what role they can play. They have the expertise and the know-how, and they are workers who have been building pipelines for a long time. We want to tap into their expertise, and Minister Morneau is exploring options with them to see what role they can play in the construction of the pipeline.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
In the work we have done on the consultation of late for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, in the thoroughness and the meaningful two-way conversation and engagement that we had, and the assurance from Justice Iacobucci that we have corrected the defects and remedied what the Federal Court of Appeal wanted us to by engaging in meaningful two-way dialogue, I am confident that we have fully discharged our duty to consult with indigenous communities.
I know some people, particularly Conservative politicians, wanted us to make consultation with indigenous communities optional in Bill C-69, which could have been devastating for energy sector projects. Then people would have taken us to court and we would have lost every time we went to court, because you cannot fail to fulfill your duty to consult and to meet the constitutional obligation for meaningful consultation with indigenous communities.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
I think it is very important, and I will encourage the honourable member to look at the Federal Court of Appeal decision. The appeal was very clear that when the decision was made to not undertake the study of tanker traffic and its impact on the marine environment, it was done completely under the Stephen Harper government.
We were in a good process—
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
You cannot do that. You have to discharge your duty to consult, which means that you have to engage in a two-way meaningful dialogue. Relying on a transportation report is not a substitute for discharging your section 35 obligations.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
As I said earlier, through you, Mr. Chair, this is an investment in Canada. This is an investment in Canadian workers and Canada's energy sector. This is a commercially viable project. We have professionals at the Trans Mountain Corporation who will undertake further analysis and refine cost estimates now that approval has been given. They will refine construction timelines. This is a project that's going to generate close to $70 billion in revenue for Alberta oil producers. This is a project that will generate close to $45 billion of additional revenue for governments. This is a project that will generate half a billion dollars for the federal government, which we will use to transition and accelerate investments in green technologies and green products to make sure that other future generations have clean water, clean air and clean land, and to make sure that we are reducing the impact of climate change.
From every angle you look at it, this is a good investment in Canada and in Canadians.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
As far as the offsets for the emissions are concerned, that was part of the NEB conditions that were imposed earlier on and part of the commitments the company has made.
As far as permits are concerned, there is a process to get those permits issued. NEB is going to work with the Trans Mountain Corporation to issue those permits.
I think it's very important that we follow due process. I know Conservatives don't respect due process. They don't respect the rule of law and they always encourage us to cut corners, and that's how you get into trouble. We will not cut corners. We want to get the construction going on this project in the right way.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
Mr. Chair, for large projects such as this, there are always municipal, provincial and federal permits required, and there's a process in place to get those—
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
Mr. Chair, what the honourable member is saying would have been devastating for this project. The member is suggesting that we should have approved permits prior to having approval—
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
Mr. Chair, it's very important to understand that giving approval to permits prior to the approval of the projects would have undermined administrative justice and would have undermined the due process. It is irresponsible for anyone to suggest that we not respect the process for proper approval of this project, because that is very important and it would have been devastating for energy workers.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
First of all, I'd like to thank the member so much for her leadership on sustainability. We've often discussed how we can provide options for people so that they can make choices that are sustainable.
I want to assure Chris and I want to assure the environmental leaders and people in your constituency that building the Trans Mountain pipeline does not in any way compromise or hinder our ability to meet our Paris commitments. As a matter of fact, it will help us accelerate our investments into a clean economy, into a green economy, and allow us to meet our Paris commitments. The revenue we will generate from this project will be half a billion dollars once the construction is completed. Multiply that over the next 20 or 30 years. On top of the billions of dollars we're already investing into fighting climate change, that will allow us to do more.
At the same time, we also understand that the production that is happening in the oil sector now needs to move. The best way, the safest way and the most cost-effective way to do that is through pipelines, not through railways, as railways cross so many urban centres. As I heard from many of my colleagues, they would prefer oil moving by pipelines, not rail, because rail, even though it's safe, is not as safe as pipelines, so this is a very good investment. It will allow putting a price on pollution, and it's leadership that our government is demonstrating.
Investing in a thousand public transit projects throughout this country, having better fuel standards, investing in new technologies that allow emissions to go down, building RV electrical vehicle charging stations and investing millions of dollars in incentives for people to buy electric vehicles—all of those things are making a real difference and giving people choices so that they can reduce their impact on the environment.
We are committed. I can tell you that I am so excited about what we are doing. With the building of this pipeline and taking action on climate change, we can grow our economy. We can create thousands of jobs for hard-working Canadians and at the same time make a real difference in the protection of the environment.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
I think one of the fundamental differences is how we engaged with the communities, and also how we responded to their concerns. There are more accommodations offered in this than ever was done in the past. We're actually dealing with the cumulative impacts of development. We are engaging in how we better respond to spills; how we prevent spills from happening; how we protect water, fish, fish habitat, southern resident killer whales; how we protect cultural sites and burial grounds and all of those things that have been identified by indigenous communities.
Another thing that we have done differently is that we have engaged at the political level. You know, pipelines are controversial. The northern gateway was controversial. Energy east was controversial. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was controversial and is still controversial, but I compare the effort that we have put in and the effort that I have personally put in through the 45 meetings that I have held with indigenous communities. I compare that effort with the few meetings the Conservative ministers held with indigenous communities. For 10 years under Stephen Harper, ministers made no effort to actually meet with indigenous communities and listen to their concerns and then work with them to resolve those concerns. We have put our time in and we are very proud of the work we have done.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2019-06-20 16:59
Thanks, Chair.
Minister, as a person who is part Ojibwa and as a person who represents nine indigenous communities in Lakeland that are all involved in oil and gas and support pipelines, I really hope that this time the indigenous consultation process implemented by your government holds up. I did want to say this: I thought the one that you guys implemented in 2016, before you approved it, would have held up too. I mean that sincerely, and I hope, for the sake of all Canadians and for the execution of the project, that this remains the case. There was of course a missed opportunity in cancelling the northern gateway and losing the opportunity to redo it.
I just want to clarify what we are saying in terms of your government's mismanagement of the timelines around ensuring certainty around the permits, the contracts and the hearings, and why this is a detriment to the project.
What we are talking about is that when the NEB recommendation for approval was made in April—for the second time—your cabinet was supposed to have responded on May 22, and I suggest to you that every Canadian would think it would be utter insanity to think that your cabinet was even considering rejecting the Trans Mountain expansion, given that you spent $4.5 billion on it in tax dollars last year.
What we are talking about is the timeline that elapsed between the NEB's second approval of the Trans Mountain expansion and the announcement your cabinet made on Tuesday. That is when all of the details and all of the specifics should have been firmed up and certain so that the Tuesday announcement was not just literally the same announcement you made in November of 2016, after which literally nothing got done. Construction could have been able to start immediately. You could have been accountable to Canadians and taxpayers by giving the precise start date, end date, completion date, operation and cost.
It's mind-boggling to me that a federally owned project with a federally owned builder, with a federal government decision, failed to secure the federal government authorizations, as well as the provincial and municipal authorizations that surely you would have known were required for construction to start. That is the certainty you must provide Canadians so that they believe you that the Trans Mountain expansion will actually be built.
I think it's very clear that there never has been a concrete plan for construction to start.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2019-06-20 17:02
I want to tell you I've heard from drillers in my riding that banks are revoking their loans—
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2019-06-20 17:02
It wasn't a question. I was just clarifying that point.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
With due respect, your understanding is completely wrong. With the utmost respect for you, MP Stubbs, what you were suggesting would have actually gotten us into trouble, because when the Federal Court made the decision in August of 2018, they quashed the decision. There was no project.
We gave new approval on Tuesday to this project. Issuing any permits prior to Tuesday's decision would have been in violation of the procedures under NEB. It would have been taken to court, and we would have lost. We would have done more damage with what you were suggesting.
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
CPC (AB)
View Shannon Stubbs Profile
2019-06-20 17:02
The reality is that you spent $4.5 billion tax dollars last year and promised Canadians that the expansion would be built immediately.
Here we are today. You have given a second approval and you have not a single concrete detail or specific plan to assure Canadians when it will start being built, when it will be completed, when it will be in operation and what the costs will be.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
Now, as long as government owns it, they will remain with the government, so Canadians will benefit from those profits.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
That is the goal. The half billion dollars that government will earn in additional tax revenue and corporate revenue will go into a green fund to accelerate our investments into a clean and green economy.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
There are 156 conditions by the NEB, and there were 16 recommendations made by the NEB that we have adopted that allow us to deal with the cumulative impact of the project.
If I may say so, I think it's very important, Mr. Chair, to note that what MP Stubbs was suggesting would actually have gotten us into trouble. Issuing permits or even talking about permits prior to the approval would have been a violation of the procedures, and they would have been challenged.
We do have a plan in place to start construction, and the NEB is going to issue a certificate. They're going to put a process in place for the permits to be issued, and the construction is going to start. The preliminary work can start any time and the construction is going to start on this project in September.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
Thank you so much for actually raising that question. It is very important, because if we don't build the pipeline capacity, oil going to be transported and it will be transported by rail. We have at least seen more oil being shipped by rail, putting pressure on other commodities that need to be shipped. There are not only issues around safety, but growth in other natural resource sectors such as forestry and mining is being hindered, and farmers have also identified issues with not being able to ship their products because of the lack of capacity in the rail system.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
It is, absolutely. Investing in a green economy—in wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal, all of which we are doing—supports and creates green jobs. Those allow us to actually have a better energy mix. Oil and gas will continue to be our energy mix for decades to come, but as we transition, we need to build more renewables. This investment of half a billion dollars ongoing every year will allow us to do that.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
Through you, Mr. Chair, we are investing today. We are investing $28 billion in public transit over the next 10 years, and that started in 2016.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
We are investing $9 billion in green infrastructure, also starting in 2016. We have put a price on pollution that is actually reducing emissions; you have seen that in British Columbia. We are bringing in better fuel standards.
I was in my province supporting a solar farm, where two-cycled capturing of energy is tested. We were in my province a couple of months ago, where we are investing in geothermal energy. If that demonstration is commercialized, it will create 50,000 jobs in Alberta. We are doing all those things. We want to accelerate that by investing this additional revenue.
View Amarjeet Sohi Profile
Lib. (AB)
Alberta is my home, so I am home.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-20 11:09
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and also for shortening the meeting so that we can give our final statements at the passing of Mark Warawa.
Mr. Giroux, thank you very much for coming in. I know we've met many times before. You and your staff do great work, and I really appreciate all the effort that goes into it. In a fit of cross-party co-operation, though, I will pass my time to my NDP colleagues so they can ask questions.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:14
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm going to talk about non-budgetary items here, starting with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the purchase of shares, because in the main estimates I see $51,400,000.
Can somebody please tell me how much has been spent to date in cash terms, and how much will be spent in the following fiscal year and the year after, if you have those numbers already, if they're preset?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:16
Could you provide that information to the committee later?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:16
Okay.
My next question is going to be just on one of the budgetary line items here. It says, “other interest costs”. What is “other interest costs”? That's a significant amount of money, and it's actually decreasing year over year. I know what “interest on unmatured debt” is, but as for "other interest costs”, what is that?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:17
My next question, then, is this. On the back side there is authorization being sought for additional monies for ministers' salaries and motor car allowances, for $87,700. What is that for, exactly? Is that a new minister's salary boost and car allowance?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:17
Okay.
The rest of my questions are for OSFI.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:18
You won't dock my time?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:18
My questions are general to OSFI's program domestically for the D-SIBs. That's the acronym for the domestic systemically important banks. One of the capital requirements went from 1.75% to 2%. I want to know why that was.
For the D-SIBs, one of the capital requirements has gone up 0.25% to 2%. I want to get more information from you on why that was, and why that was being done.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:18
It's program expenditures. It's all the work that OSFI is responsible for.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:19
Is that the correct acronym for it? There are tons of acronyms on OSFI's website.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:19
Is there a particular reason that the increase happened now, as opposed to just a few years ago?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:20
Is there anything particularly different that has happened over the past four years that's warranted an increase? I can quote tons of numbers on the residential debt having gone up, such as homeowner debt. Other debts have gone down as a proportion of it. Is there still something in particular?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:20
Sure. If OSFI can provide it to the committee through the clerk, that would be great.
Moving on from there, on OSFI again, again this is program expenditures, so it's everything that OSFI does. I just see it as we're being asked to pass the budget for salaries and the program operations of this regulator.
On B-20—and it's not going to be a surprise to any member on this committee that I'm going to bring up B-20, because I think it's one of the major policy tools that has come out—is there a reason for a discrepancy between the reasons OSFI has given for the strictness with which B-20 is being applied since its implementation? One given is the stability of the banking system, and that's fine. That's OSFI's mandate. Then there are the political press releases that have gone out that say it's about reducing consumer indebtedness. There's been a discrepancy between the two, and it's a discrepancy I've seen between the Department of Finance, the regulator, and the political leadership.
You can't comment on the political leadership, but is there a discrepancy on why OSFI is offside?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:21
I would disagree with you, because program expenditures, the entire operations of OSFI, depend on our passing these estimates for different programs that you have, so how can you not have answers for those questions?
I'm being asked to approve it as a parliamentarian and then confirm that I'm okay with the policy direction, the administration of the money and how it will be spent and when it will be spent, but what is the money that is being sought supposed to achieve? It's integral to the estimates process.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:23
In OSFI's opinion, has the B-20 stress test achieved what OSFI wanted to achieve in the marketplace?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:24
I have it here with me, so I'm glad you mentioned it. One thing I noticed is that three charts are being used. There really should have been a fourth chart, because there has been an increase in the largest markets—the greater Toronto area, the greater Vancouver area—in terms of B-lending. A lot of people have moved into the B-lending market, which is outside the purview of OSFI. I would have thought that in looking at the systemic risks to the financial system and the banking system, a sudden prolonged move—and it's significant, because in the GTA it is 6%—would be of concern to OSFI.
I notice there is no mention of that in what was posted on the website in the residential mortgage underwriting practices and procedures guidelines. It was updated with these three charts here, which have the revised B-20 cited in them. I'd like to know why that wasn't mentioned here either as an area to look at further or as an area of concern, as an unforseen consequence of the way B-20 was revised.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:51
Mr. Chair, is this a five-minute round?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:51
Thank you.
I'll just go back to equalization for a moment, because I might have missed a portion of the feedback given there.
Do you have any projections for the next three years in terms of the shares of equalization payments, and specifically a breakdown by province?
I'm thinking of the big provinces here—B.C., Quebec and Ontario—and their share of the total amount. There's quite a bit of a jump there in terms of the amounts they will be receiving.
Is the total projected to increase in the next three years? Is the share expected to stay the same?
Quebec gets just over 50% now. Alberta gets zero.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:52
Okay.
I thought it was a three-year rolling average, so it was possible for numbers to actually go down at a certain point.
Is there any expectation of it going down, or is it simply going to keep going up?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:53
I know the formula was put into an omnibus budget bill about two years ago, or it might have been three years ago. It was basically the same formula as previously. There were no changes in it whatsoever, despite a totally different economic condition.
Going forward, when is the next so-called renewal date?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-06-18 11:54
Okay.
I want to go back to OSFI now. I wish the minister had been here so I could ask him a question that I think he might have an answer to, because it's based on the consultation that was done.
At the time that the original draft of the B-20 guideline was put out in October, bankers had identified a problem with the pre-final draft, the finalized version that OSFI was comfortable with before they put out their final version. There was a loophole identified, in that amortizations were not being dealt with inside the B-20 guideline.
Because you could change the length of amortizations used in the qualifying calculation, that percentage basically could be changed. Then you would be paying less for housing, so you'd qualify for a bigger mortgage. Extended amortization would reduce it, and basically you could extend it 25, 30 or 35 years. Your payments would be lower and you'd be able to pass the stress test much more easily. That was basically being left up to the chartered banks to decide.
I'm assuming it was unintentional. Do you know whether that loophole has been closed since then?
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