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Results: 1 - 15 of 17
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
Mr. Chairman, thank you for your very kind remarks. They are much appreciated, and I'm glad to be back with the committee once again, this time, of course, presenting the 2019-20 main estimates for the public safety portfolio.
To help explain all of those numbers in more detail and to answer your questions today, I am pleased to be joined by Gina Wilson, the new deputy minister of Public Safety Canada. I believe this is her first appearance before this committee. She is no stranger, of course, in the Department of Public Safety, but she has been, for the last couple of years, the deputy minister in the Department for Women and Gender Equality, a department she presided over the creation of.
With the deputy minister today, we have Brian Brennan, deputy commissioner of the RCMP; David Vigneault, director of CSIS; John Ossowski, president of CBSA; Anne Kelly, commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada; and Anik Lapointe, chief financial officer for the Parole Board of Canada.
The top priority of any government, Mr. Chair, is to keep its citizens safe and secure, and I'm very proud of the tremendous work that is being done by these officials and the employees who work following their lead diligently to serve Canadians and protect them from all manner of public threats. The nature and severity of those threats continue to evolve and change over time and, as a government, we are committed to supporting the skilled men and women who work so hard to protect us by giving them the resources they need to ensure that they can respond. The estimates, of course, are the principal vehicle for doing that.
The main estimates for 2019-20 reflect that commitment to keep Canadians safe while safeguarding their rights and freedoms. You will note that, portfolio-wide, the total authorities requested this year would result in a net increase of $256.1 million for this fiscal year, or 2.7% more than last year's main estimates. Of course, some of the figures go up and some go down, but the net result is a 2.7% increase.
One key item is an investment of $135 million in fiscal year 2019-20 for the sustainability and modernization of Canada's border operations. The second is $42 million for Public Safety Canada, the RCMP and CBSA to take action against guns and gangs. Minister Blair will be speaking in much more detail about the work being done under these initiatives when he appears before the committee.
For my part today I will simply summarize several other funding matters affecting my department, Public Safety Canada, and all of the related agencies.
The department is estimating a net spending decrease of $246.8 million this fiscal year, 21.2% less than last year. That is due to a decrease of $410.7 million in funding levels that expired last year under the disaster financial assistance arrangements. There is another item coming later on whereby the number goes up for the future year. You have to offset those two in order to follow the flow of the cash. That rather significant drop in the funding for the department itself, 21.2%, is largely due to that change in the DFAA, for which the funding level expired in 2018-19.
There was also a decrease of some $79 million related to the completion of Canada's presidency of the G7 in the year 2018.
These decreases are partially offset by a number of funding increases, including a $25-million grant to Avalanche Canada to support its life-saving safety and awareness efforts; $14.9 million for infrastructure projects related to security in indigenous communities; $10.1 million in additional funding for the first nations policing program; and $3.3 million to address post-traumatic stress injuries affecting our skilled public safety personnel.
The main estimates also reflect measures announced a few weeks ago in budget 2019. For Public Safety Canada, that is, the department, these include $158.5 million to improve our ability to prepare for and respond to emergencies and natural disasters in Canada, including in indigenous communities, of which $155 million partially offsets that reduction in DFAA that I just referred to.
There's also $4.4 million to combat the truly heinous and growing crime of child sexual exploitation online.
There is $2 million for the security infrastructure program to continue to help communities at risk of hate-motivated crime to improve their security infrastructure.
There is $2 million to support efforts to assess and respond to economic-based national security threats, and there's $1.8 million to support a new cybersecurity framework to protect Canada's critical infrastructure, including in the finance, telecommunications, energy and transport sectors.
As you know, in the 2019 federal budget, we also announced $65 million as a one-time capital investment in the STARS air rescue system to acquire new emergency helicopters. That important investment does not appear in the 2019-20 main estimates because it was accounted for in the 2018-19 fiscal year, that is, before this past March 31.
Let me turn now to the 2019-20 main estimates for the other public safety portfolio organizations, other than the department itself.
I'll start with CBSA, which is seeking a total net increase this fiscal year of $316.9 million. That's 17.5% over the 2018-19 estimates. In addition to that large sustainability and modernization for border operations item that I previously mentioned, some other notable increases include $10.7 million to support activities related to the immigration levels plan that was announced for the three years 2018 to 2020. Those things include security screening, identity verification, the processing of permanent residents when they arrive at the border and so forth—all the responsibilities of CBSA.
There's an item for $10.3 million for the CBSA's postal modernization initiative, which is critically important at the border. There is $7.2 million to expand safe examination sites, increase intelligence and risk assessment capacity and enhance the detector dog program to give our officers the tools they need to combat Canada's ongoing opioid crisis.
There's also approximately $100 million for compensation and employee benefit plans related to collective bargaining agreements.
Budget 2019 investments affecting CBSA main estimates this year include a total of $381.8 million over five years to enhance the integrity of Canada's borders and the asylum system. While my colleague Minister Blair will provide more details on this, the CBSA would be receiving $106.3 million of that funding in this fiscal year.
Budget 2019 also includes $12.9 million to ensure that immigration and border officials have the resources to process a growing number of applications for Canadian visitor visas and work and study permits.
There is $5.6 million to increase the number of detector dogs deployed across the country in order to protect Canada's hog farmers and meat processors from the serious economic threat posed by African swine fever.
Also, there's $1.5 million to protect people from unscrupulous immigration consultants by improving oversight and strengthening compliance and enforcement measures.
I would also note that the government announced through the budget its intention to introduce the legislation necessary to expand the role of the RCMP's Civilian Review and Complaints Commission so it can also serve as an independent review body for CBSA. That proposed legislation, Bill C-98, was introduced in the House last month.
I will turn now to the RCMP. Its estimates for 2019-20 reflect a $9.2-million increase over last year's funding levels. The main factors contributing to that change include increases of $32.8 million to compensate members injured in the performance of their duties, $26.6 million for the initiative to ensure security and prosperity in the digital age, and $10.4 million for forensic toxicology in Canada's new drug-impaired driving regime.
The RCMP's main estimates also reflect an additional $123 million related to budget 2019, including $96.2 million to strengthen the RCMP's overall policing operations, and $3.3 million to ensure that air travellers and workers at airports are effectively screened on site. The increases in funding to the RCMP are offset by certain decreases in the 2019-20 main estimates, including $132 million related to the completion of Canada's G7 presidency in 2018 and $51.7 million related to sunsetting capital infrastructure projects.
I will now move to the Correctional Service of Canada. It is seeking an increase of $136 million, or 5.6%, over last year's estimates. The two main factors contributing to the change are a $32.5-million increase in the care and custody program, most of which, $27.6 million, is for employee compensation, and $95 million announced in budget 2019 to support CSC's custodial operations.
The Parole Board of Canada is estimating a decrease of approximately $700,000 in these main estimates or 1.6% less than the amount requested last year. That's due to one-time funding received last year to assist with negotiated salary adjustments. There is also, of course, information in the estimates about the Office of the Correctional Investigator, CSIS and other agencies that are part of my portfolio. I simply make the point that this is a very busy portfolio and the people who work within Public Safety Canada and all the related agencies carry a huge load of public responsibilities in the interests of public safety. They always put public safety first while at the same time ensuring that the rights and freedoms of Canadians are properly protected.
With that, Mr. Chair, my colleagues and I would be happy to try to answer your questions.
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, all, for your presentations.
This is to Malika.
The future First Lady, Melania Trump, stated, “It is never okay when a 12-year-old girl or boy is mocked, bullied, or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground, and it is absolutely unacceptable when it's done by someone with no name hiding on the Internet.”
I have two questions.
When celebrities take on an issue as a key platform, how might this impact the awareness and ultimately the policy and issues such as cyberbullying? Second, if you were a member of Mrs. Trump's committee, what would you hope she would highlight?
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you very much for an absolutely fascinating presentation. I have about 5,000 questions for you. I'll start with some general ones.
The big one I would like to start with would be about your website itself. You've put some amazing statistics on your website, such as that 88% of video games are developed by males. I want to focus on that from the beginning and then go into some of the questions that my other colleagues have asked in terms of young children.
We're flying back and forth from Ottawa to our homes, and we see young children on the airplanes or in the airports or even at restaurants, some as young as a year and a half, using an iPad and watching video games. So before children can even articulate feelings and reactions, they're certainly being socialized by the video games or any kind of games that they're playing with online.
Marshall McLuhan coined a famous expression “the medium is the message”. How would you help us, using Marshall McLuhan's expression, relate that to your topic today?
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you.
On that as well, you were talking about feminism. We even heard our Minister of Status of Women talk about how perhaps sometimes it's the concept of feminist behaviour that is singled out, not only the male-female relationship. Behaviour that's determined or deemed to be more feminine seems to be singled out. We often hear in our media slighting comments even about our Prime Minister, about his hair, or how he looks, or his dress; it isn't always so much about what he said. It's demeaning in the same way it would demean a woman.
Ms. Soraya Chemaly: Yes.
Ms. Karen Ludwig: You talked as well about power and control. In any work that I've looked at in this area, certainly that is a significant part of it. Have you looked at the demographics of those who are perpetrators?
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
You may not have a quick answer to this question. One of the blogs on your website talks about Yazidi women and girls and maybe changing the language from talking about “sex slaves” and “rape” to help them feel more empowered. What would you suggest as some of the other options?
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you all for an excellent presentation including the ones that we had earlier. Altogether, this is certainly very comprehensive.
Ms. Dooley, my first question is to you. You talked about the systemic challenges around cyber-bullying. I identified three areas and maybe you can help me see if I am heading in the right direction. One is school policies. We tend to have school policies that are one size fits all. If a student comes forward to report cyber-bullying or bullying in the classroom, there is generally one way that the school is accountable and responsible for responding.
Two, you had mentioned curriculum and certainly again, that is typically centralized and not individualized curriculum.
The last area is one I would like to discuss with all of you, and that is budgeting. I know it really doesn't seem to fit in. I'm wondering whether you see that often it is easy to get a line put into a budget for technology in a school curriculum, which I know from being in education for almost twenty-five years, whereas there is no money or very little money put in for mental health or for the general health of students.
I'm wondering if Ms. Dooley could respond to that first, followed by her colleagues here.
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
A recent article in The Globe and Mail called “Where to find school bullies? Not where you might expect” actually focused on the background of students. It said, for example, that a study showed conclusively that “more immigrant-heavy schools have a lot less bullying, as reported by students, teachers and parents—especially if more than 20 per cent of the students are foreign-born.”
I live in the east, so I know that we don't have a lot of diversification, but certainly in a city like Vancouver, have you heard anything about ethnicity, race, or background in relation to cyber-bullying or bullying?
View Sheri Benson Profile
NDP (SK)
Thank you, Ms. Shariff and Ms. Karaian, for great presentations and lots to think about.
I'll try to go through a couple of questions about where we've positioned the conversation in what appears, from my point of view—and I'm not following my notes—to be a big piece.
What I'd like both of you to talk about a little bit is, if we're looking at a large policy piece for the government around gender-based violence, what part of what you're talking about today would fit into that framework? I think some of it was in the earlier part of both your presentations when you started talking about the intersectoral nature.
I would ask you to comment on your direction to the committee about where to focus on what seems to be a very.... We could go all the way back to positive education and whatnot, and we can talk about the other end of it when you were talking about the Stanford case. Could you give us some advice about where to focus our resources to be able to move to a better place on this issue, for both children and ourselves, I guess?
View Sheri Benson Profile
NDP (SK)
I'm going to interrupt because I'm going to ask Ms. Karaian to continue.
I'm hearing you say there is a need to be able to have more support and funding and evidence-based research so when we start to intervene in a policy area, we are not simply throwing good money after bad. You end up in the wrong place, getting the least impact.
Since my time is limited—
View Sheri Benson Profile
NDP (SK)
I see what you're saying.
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you.
Thank you for your excellent presentations.
In terms of university rape culture—I'll start with that area—you've suggested looking at changing the curriculum. Would you recommend going back a step further and when faculties are setting their own degrees, or in the case of the K-to-12 system, when people are being trained to be teachers, that this curriculum also be changed? The people who have the first one-on-one encounters are our K-to-12 teachers, and then at universities I know from teaching at a university for a long time that faculty training is voluntary. What are some of the recommendations that you might offer there?
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
If I could take the position of a university professor, I would just add that to have a student take one awareness course has always been my personal challenge with a women's studies program. How could we better help faculty integrate these elements into the curriculum so it becomes more of a culture in all courses?
View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you.
My next question is for both of you.
Continuing on with the rape culture at universities, certainly we have a challenge in Canada because universities and colleges are not mandated to report them. In fact, the internal administration culture of some universities says that there isn't necessarily a positive outcome for one university to be reporting when 99% of other universities are not reporting.
I have two questions.
First, how can we, as federal legislators, mandate reporting for all universities? Second, in terms of slut-shaming—and Laura also mentioned the whore culture—so often we hear about boys who are sharing these images. What about the cases, as well, of girls who are also sharing images of other girls?
Those are my two questions, which I'm sure will take a while to answer.
Thank you.
View Sheri Benson Profile
NDP (SK)
Thank you both for being here.
I want to reiterate comments from other committee members here. In particular, I appreciate the view you and other speakers have brought, giving us a perspective from young people. I see just by some of our questions that it's an adult view of a world for children. They have a different perspective and have grown up—some of us are younger than others here—in a different place, so I really appreciate that both of you have brought that view, those voices of kids, from the work you've done together.
We heard from the other speaker as well that when we start to treat children as objects and start using words like “cyber” and create something new, in fact we're just confusing things in a way.
I'd like both of you to comment on a more general piece.
The other speakers spoke as well about the importance of using a lens that looks at the intersection of sexism, classism, and racism within this particular subject. It's important to have that lens, but I'm wondering how this fits into the overall narrative when we look at gender-based violence. Do you feel it's detracting or adding when we use terms like “cyberviolence” and “date culture”? From my point of view, it seems to kind of get us off track. It's almost as though it puts in barriers to what the real issue is. My concern is that we'll start to implement interventions and we'll have missed the point.
I'd like your general comments, Jane and Matthew.
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