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View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Mr. Roussel, can you confirm for the committee that when you're talking about Bill C-19—Elections Canada obviously and rightly has an important public health focus—that you don't consider turnout to be part of your mandate? When you comment on C-19, you're not providing comment on whether turnout would be likely to be better under a C-19 regime versus the existing regime.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Along that same line, in the event that Bill C-19 did not pass Parliament before the summer, and passed, let's say, sometime in September or October, it would then likely take 90 to 120 days from that point in order to implement the provisions of C-19, or would you expect that these provisions would be implemented by September, whether the bill passes or not?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Maybe I could just start by offering some congratulations to you and to the committee, and a big thank you to all the staff who have made this happen. In the final analysis, the timeline was very tight and it wasn't clear if we were going to get there. There is a fair bit of blame to go around on that. I won't belabour that point, Madam Chair. I think anyone who is interested in that question can look at the record, and there are many comments by many people to that effect.
I want to take the opportunity to recall what I thought was an important committee and discussion that took place in the last Parliament around changes to our electoral system, changes that haven't been made. We continue to have a first-past-the-post voting system here in Canada and frankly, I think we're witnessing some of the damage that system can do.
Here we sit. We've finally dispensed, at committee, with a pandemic election bill in the context of a lot of speculation about an election. Of course the government has denied that's what they want, but the Prime Minister also refuses to say that he won't call one during the summer, so the country is left wondering whether or not we'll be plunged into an election.
Why is that? We have a voting system under which a political party that is riding around 40% in the polls can hope to squeeze out a majority government. If we had a more proportionate voting system, you wouldn't have a governing party in the position of believing that it might get a majority with 40% of the vote. That would likely mean we wouldn't be facing the same kind of election speculation that we have been and which has been dominating Parliament in the last number of weeks.
As I say, I hope it's much ado about nothing. I hope it comes to naught and that we don't have an election during the pandemic, but I am proud of the work that the NDP has done to try to prepare the country for that eventuality in the case that the Prime Minister chooses not to do the right thing.
In any event, what I am trying to say, Madam Chair, is that our voting system is actually contributing to this anxiety and all of the dysfunction, frankly, that I think election speculation has been causing in Parliament and elsewhere in government. I think it's quite timely to recall that discussion about changing the electoral system. I know there are many Canadians out there who were disappointed when the government walked away from their commitment to electoral reform and essentially tossed the Special Committee on Electoral Reform's report in the dustbin. They would like to see that conversation continue and for us to try to do that in a way that's productive and that could lead to meaningful results.
Right or wrong, fortunately or unfortunately, one of the lessons that a lot of Canadians took away from that conversation at the special committee, and particularly the government's response to that conversation, which did actually issue a majority report with a path forward towards changing the electoral system.... Everybody put some water in their wine, on the opposition side anyway, and came up with a plan and a proposal—a recommendation, if you will—to have a referendum on a mixed member proportional system.
Even though it was a majority Parliament, at the NDP's suggestion that committee was not a majority Liberal committee. It actually represented parties in their right proportion, according to the percentage of the vote they got in the last election. Even the Green Party had a member on that committee, which of course members here will all know is quite exceptional. That was to try to model what New Democrats have envisioned for a long time under a mixed member proportional system, where parties have a voice in proportion to the votes they get.
It's an important conversation to keep going. Many did, and as I say, unfortunately I think part of the lesson—and more unfortunate still is that it may be true—that Canadians took from that was that elected politicians who are part of a partisan political system can't be trusted to have that dialogue in good faith and come out with workable solutions for how to get to voting reform.
Where the conversation has gone in the voting reform community across the country since then has been to renew the emphasis on the need for a citizens' assembly in order to tackle some of these questions.
The hope is that by doing that, we can avoid a rehashing of what happened in the Special Committee on Electoral Reform last time. In particular, we could avoid a situation where a prime minister feels that he's at liberty to simply dismiss those findings because other people who belong to other political parties had a part in crafting them.
The hope is that a citizen process that's independent of partisan politics would be able to provide advice that is harder to ignore, both for the government of the day—because it would be very hard to accuse such a body of any vested political interest—and also for Canadians. Their trust in politicians to navigate these issues was seriously injured by Justin Trudeau in the last Parliament, and those ministers he appointed in order to throw the work of that committee under the bus, so to speak.
It's in that spirit of keeping that discussion alive on the floor of Parliament and its various committees within this Parliament—which hopefully will continue past the summer and provide more time in order to consider these kinds of questions—that I want to move the following motion, Madam Chair.
I'll read the motion out for the benefit of the committee:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(a)(vi), the committee undertake a study on the advisability of establishing a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform to make recommendations about how to improve Canada’s electoral system, including the question of how Canadians elect Members of Parliament and how the make up of Parliament reflects the votes cast by Canadians; that the committee’s study shall include an examination of: (a) the terms of reference for such an assembly; (b) the composition of such an assembly; (c) a timeline for the completion of such an assembly’s work; (d)—
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
You are not on mute, Mr. Therrien.
Shall I take it from the top?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
That's all right. I'm sure those listening are patient.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I think I will indeed take it from the top, just because the interruption was a little longer than planned—or foreseen, as the case may be. I don't think it was planned.
I'll just start from the top with the motion, Madam Chair. The motion is as follows:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(a)(vi), the committee undertake a study on the advisability of establishing a National Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform to make recommendations about how to improve Canada's electoral system, including the question of how Canadians elect Members of Parliament and how the make up of Parliament reflects the votes cast by Canadians; that the committee's study shall include an examination of: (a) the terms of reference for such an assembly; (b) the composition of such an assembly; (c) a timeline for the completion of such an assembly's work; (d) public reporting requirements for such an assembly; (e) the resources required to support the work of such an assembly, including measures to ensure comprehensive and effective citizen engagement throughout the process; (f) any other matters the committee deems pertinent to voting reform; that the committee report back to the House; and that the committee's report either (I) recommend not to proceed with such an assembly or (II) recommend to proceed with such an assembly and include a detailed plan for how to proceed that provides for the issues raised in items (a)—(f).
That's the motion, Madam Chair. What it's meant to take in and the reason the last part is prescriptive is that—frankly—one of the challenges with the special committee's work in the last Parliament was that while it did lay a path for how to proceed, it was, in my opinion, too vague. When we get the attention of parliamentarians on this issue, if we are to lay a path forward, we have to get beyond the point where there's a lot of discretion left to government on how to proceed.
This is something we should be taking on as legislators. I think this is a question, first and foremost, for the legislative branch. While under a citizens' assembly we, as legislators, won't be leading the process—which I think is one of the virtues of this proposal—we need to lay out a clear path. We need a clear mandate that comes from the legislature, not from the government, on what citizens who are participating in this are going to be asked to do and what authority they will be granted to make detailed and specific recommendations on a way forward.
I think, to date, one of the points of concern, and where efforts at electoral reform have sometimes fallen apart, has been around controversies around the government's sincerity in its engagement or how it's laid out that process. I think it would be better to see much of that decided by people who are not in government.
First, we need a mandate from legislators for a citizens' assembly that clearly delineates their scope and authority in order to empower them to be prescriptive and to set out a determinate plan within that scope and within that authority. We need to make it clear coming out of that citizen-led process what the next step is for the country, who needs to make a decision, how that decision is going to be made and what the questions are going to be to get to that decision.
It's not an accident that this is prescriptive in terms of how things ought to proceed.
If I could, Madam Chair, I also want to offer a few remarks.
I've already talked about the extent of the current election speculation and the madness of going to polls while we are still in a pandemic. I'm coming to this committee from Manitoba. We're in serious lockdown. We still have some of the highest numbers in North America.
To be hearing that we might be going into an election right now is insulting, frankly. It's reminiscent of Jean Chrétien calling an election during the 1997 flood. People here were very unhappy about that, because it showed a blatant disregard for what Manitobans were going through.
While I'm very happy for people in other parts of the country who are seeing lower rates and whose lives are getting somewhat back to normal, when you're talking about a federal election, and when you're a federal leader who's responsible for the entire country, it's not enough to say, “Oh, well, Manitoba's just a small province. We don't care what's going on there. As long as Ontario, Quebec and B.C. are doing well, we're off to the polls. We'll sort out the rest later. The smaller provinces can just put up with it.”
Here we find ourselves in that situation. I think the first-past-the-post system is clearly contributing to that situation of anxiety, but I would say also, to the extent that some people are wary of mixed member proportional representation because they're concerned about minority Parliaments, I would point to this Parliament as an example of where Canadians got better results for the real and more meaningful dialogue that's taken place in this Parliament.
It's not always perfect. I haven't always been satisfied with the results. It's a challenge when there's give-and-take. Let's face it. In a majority Parliament, it's easier to get up and just say what you want to say when you know that the government is going to do what it's going to do anyway. The government doesn't listen very much. I think it could have listened more in the context of this Parliament, but having a minority Parliament actually forced more listening. It forced more negotiation and more compromise. I think Canadians are the better for it.
To those in this debate who have often said that we need majority governments because they're strong and they're decisive, I would say that this minority Parliament has put paid to those concerns. In the face of a once-in-a-lifetime public health crisis, it was challenging not only for Canadians in their day-to-day lives, but it was also challenging for Parliament in the very mechanics of how it works. It's one thing to have a crisis and still be able to assemble in the chamber. It's still difficult to make the right decisions, do it in the right way and do it in a timely way, but we had the added factor of Parliament not being able to meet in its normal way.
Even in the face of that serious challenge and the administrative and logistical challenges of having a Parliament meet virtually, we were able to rise to the occasion. As I say, there are aspects of the response that I wish were different or that could have been better, but I know that we got a better response because I was part of the NDP negotiating team that leveraged real results out of the government, which they would not have done on their own. If we had had a majority government, Canadians would not have been as well served. If a minority Parliament can generate those kinds of results and that kind of steady leadership in the context of a global pandemic, surely to God they can do it in normal times too.
I'm hopeful that people, that we as a country, will see this as an example of how we can move past the concern about minority Parliaments and get more comfortable with the idea that Parliament really is a place not just for people to go to expound their views on matters and then have the party that happened to get the most seats, usually with only 40% of the vote, do whatever it is they were going to do anyway, but that it be a place where people come and express their points of view and then have some legitimate back-and-forth debate and negotiation and come up with a way forward that is perhaps different from what either party suggested at the outset but hopefully is better for the input and some of that give-and-take that happens in the context of this Parliament.
There may be people who say that electoral reform is the last thing you need to think about during a pandemic. Certainly, there are some pressing concerns, but I think the pandemic has shown how that background infrastructure of a first-past-the-post system can make things far more challenging, as it has in the case of this summer and the speculation about a possible election while things are still not great.
It has also, on the positive side, shown just how well minority Parliaments can work. I think that ought to give Canadians cause to think hard about what kind of voting system they want, what kind of change is possible and how well things can work if we adopt some of the practices that aren't new and theoretical but are being practised elsewhere.
Well-functioning democracies have other ways of voting. The first-past-the-post system is only one way of doing it. It's not a particularly good way of doing it. It's a way of doing it that is designed for a two-party system, which is not what Canada has. I think it's about time Canada had a voting system that was well adapted to the actual political preferences of Canadians and to the political practices of our elections and of our Parliament.
That's why I'm excited about this motion. I'm really glad to have worked collaboratively with Fair Vote Canada to design this motion. I look forward to, I hope, a good proposal for how we can have a truly citizen-led process that engages Canadians and brings us to the point where we can move beyond the first-past-the-post system to something that will serve Canadians better.
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
I have a quick point of clarification on that, Madam Chair, before we have the vote. I recognize it's a dilatory motion, and I won't be debating it.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
I want to know, if the meeting does adjourn in this fashion, does that mean we'll come back to this topic at the beginning of the next meeting?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
If I could, Madam Chair, I just want to offer apologies to Mr. Barrett and Mr. Tochor, who I'm sure subbed in today anticipating a longer and more joyful conversation about electoral reform.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Perhaps they'll have to visit us again on Tuesday.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you so much, Chair.
Thank you, Dr. Pritchard, for informing this committee as we examine Bill C-205.
You were chief veterinary officer of British Columbia—also my home province. Can you tell me a bit about some of your main duties in that role?
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Dr. Pritchard, during that time, in the conversations you had with the minister of agriculture and other departmental officials, did you ever discuss any shortcomings with the existing Health of Animals Act? Did you see a gap that Bill C-205 is now trying to fill, at that time?
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
I guess one of the struggles we have had with competing witness testimony thus far is on the question over jurisdiction. Property and civil rights fall under provincial jurisdiction, which is why they make trespass laws, and, of course, biosecurity is definitely an applicable federal criminal law power trying to prohibit public health evil and bring the prohibitions to stop it.
In your view, is the issue we are trying to address here an issue of trespassing on farms and causing all of that unrest that farmers have to deal with, often by themselves, for a few hours before enforcement comes, or are we legitimately trying to plug a hole in existing biosecurity gaps right now?
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
I've visited a few egg farms in my riding, and all over the barn are clearly marked signs about biosecurity measures being in effect, such as a warning that special types of clothes are needed or that there is no unauthorized access. You would have to be blind to not see the signs. It's quite apparent to anyone visiting the property that those are in place.
We are always going to have a group of people in this country who are committed activists, but I am wondering about the people who are persuadable. I'm wondering more about the conversation that needs to happen between agricultural producers and the general Canadian public.
I look at things like the National Farm Animal Care Council. Do you have any recommendations, in the short time I have, about maybe how we, as a federal government, can be strengthening that particular policy?
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Chair.
Dr. Pritchard, a lot of the animal activist groups have been saying that respecting property rights is incredibly important, and it's good to see. We have heard that statement.
Obviously, though, there is a gap, because we have heard from farmers and they have been, for several decades now, raising the cry that there are not enough legal protections. We have seen some provinces react, notably Alberta and Ontario, by increasing penalties for their trespass laws.
You must have heard these stories coming from farmers while you were in the positions you held in British Columbia.
Why do you think the majority of Canada's provinces have been slow on the uptake in strengthening their trespass laws? We acknowledge that farmers have this right to safely and securely enjoy their property, to conduct their work in peace in accordance with all applicable laws, but they're still feeling that a gap is there. Why do you think provinces have been a bit slow in not strengthening trespass laws?
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
I appreciate your appearing before the committee.
I'll leave it there, Chair. There will be no more questions from me.
Thank you, Dr. Pritchard.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to our witnesses.
I'm just wondering if the Dairy Farmers of Canada can clarify the amendment for me. It's in clause 1. Are you proposing that the sentence “kept knowing that or being reckless as to whether” be deleted? You want to remove both the “knowing” and the “reckless” reference so that it just refers to anyone who is entering a place.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Yes, I was having a conversation with legislative counsel about that, because in my opinion.... Do you not feel that having “recklessness” in there would cover everything? If a person knows they could transmit a disease, that requires a higher burden of proof, but if the Crown can establish that someone was completely reckless when they entered a place, that of course requires a lower burden of proof. You would still object even with that terminology in there?
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you.
For my next question, I would like to have both groups respond. Amongst your member farmers, your producers, do your organizations have a signed policy in which you recommend that farmers clearly mark their properties with a “no trespassing” sign or signs to the effect that there are biosecurity measures in effect? Is that a uniform policy across Canada amongst your membership so that anyone who is approaching a property is, number one, aware that trespassing is not tolerated and, number two, aware that strict biosecurity provisions are in effect? Would that be something that is uniform across Canada, so that any would-be activists could not claim not to know?
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Okay.
Monsieur Leblanc.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Section 7 of the existing Health of Animals Act states that if there is an area in which a disease or a toxic substance is present, the minister can require that the farm clearly put up a notice that biosecurity measures are in effect. There is also a provision that says that no person shall knowingly enter that building if that sign is in effect. Do any of your farmers have experience with that happening, and have those signs mandated under that existing section of the act been successful at keeping anyone off the farm? I'll open it up to anyone who might want to answer.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Throughout the testimony on Bill C-205, the word “trespass” has come up repeatedly. Under our Constitution, if you look at the exclusive powers of provincial legislatures, subsection 92(13) states that property and civil rights are under the domain of our provincial legislatures.
Under Canadian law, animals are considered property. That's a widely accepted legal interpretation, no matter which province you're in. Provinces will be very quick to speak up any time they feel the federal government is encroaching on their jurisdiction. I have colleagues in the House of Commons who will speak up if there is even the slightest chance that the federal government is intruding on something that is clearly under provincial jurisdiction.
If we're continually using the word “trespass”, my question to both groups is, how do we square that constitutional circle, if we're dealing with a crime against property, which is so clearly marked under provincial jurisdiction? Do you have any thoughts on how we square that circle?
The provinces may speak up and say, “No. You are intruding on something that is under our domain to legislate.” Do you have any thoughts on how they might push back against that?
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you. I think that's my time.
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you to everyone for being here.
I want to talk to Mr. Schaan. Last week, he mentioned that federally regulated pensions are protected, because they're required to be 100% funded. However, I understand there are a lot of federally regulated pensions that aren't 100% funded. Is that true?
If you look at Canada Post, are they 100% funded? Do you know what the deficit is?
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Schaan, I understand, but what I'm trying to get at is that Canada Post has a huge deficit. They've had a five-year plan, but they've also asked for extension after extension and they're not paying into it, so the deficit gets higher and higher.
Who is going to be responsible for that if something happens?
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
Right, but at the same time, with Air Canada, I think it was Mr. Flaherty at that time who actually put limits on the dividends and the executive pay to stop such a large deficit until the fund was going.
My other question is this. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which was the lion's share, illustrated that companies with defined benefit plans have the capacity to fund their pensions, but they just don't have to. Do you think, after listening to all the witnesses...?
They were saying that a change is needed, that it's time. If we don't do something, then companies are just not going to have to, because they're not obligated to. We have to put some pressure on them to make those payments.
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Schaan, do you have any data to demonstrate to me that Canadian companies with defined benefit plans are currently experiencing liquidity problems? How many companies are there? What is the dollar exposure?
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
I'm sorry, Mr. Schaan, for cutting you off there, but we have very little time.
Indalex demonstrated, even given the pension deficit deemed trust status, it did not result in a tsunami of liquidations. I don't see, as Mr. Poilievre said, a lineup of business people here as witnesses protecting what they're saying, which is that the sky will fall. In fact, what I'm hearing is a lot of people saying enough is enough and that we need to change the law to protect pensioners from deferred wages that they worked for not to be taken up by the global market.
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
Right, and pensioners are really worried about saving their pensions and not losing them.
Madam Chair, I'm just wondering. Are we going to be going clause by clause, or are we just going to be asking questions all day? I was hoping that in clause 1 that we're dealing with, we would start to have a vote on it and get down to business.
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
I have a point of order, Madam Chair.
I'm just wondering if we could have some precise questions and answers and not be going on. We have to finish this, but we're just going on and on, and time is running out. I think it's just proper that we do this clause by clause.
Of course, there are important questions, but we don't have to be going on with the long answers.
Thank you.
View Scott Duvall Profile
NDP (ON)
Madam Chair, on a point of order, thank you for what you've just explained to us. We don't mind the questions, but they're repeating themselves and we're getting repeat answers. It's just going over and over to run out time. I think that's very unfair to the Canadians who are looking for us to do the proper work and protect their pensions.
If they have anything that's relevant to ask, that's fine, but why are we getting the same questions and the same answers, over and over?
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank the witnesses who are here before us.
I'm the member representing Hamilton Centre, but I certainly know the west coast perspective. Both Gord Johns and Rachel Blaney have been up in the House talking about the great work coming out of the west coast. Certainly, we have distillers in Ontario.
In fact, I will even state at the outset that at some of our darkest points during COVID, our government, in fact all governments and I believe Canadian society, looked to those good-news stories, those stories of goodwill and the all hands on deck, team Canada approach. While I'm not government, I want to begin my comments by thanking you for not being cynical and for doing everything in your ability, within your association and within your sector, to provide one of the most critical PPEs, hand sanitizers. To change up that production on the fly, to just do the right thing because it was the right thing to do, is really commendable. As a member of Parliament, I just want to take this moment to thank you.
You mentioned, Mr. Dyck, that it was about more than hurt feelings. I do want to get into some deeper understanding about whether your association has done any preliminary estimates on what it would take to be made whole. Perhaps Mr. Guitor from Ontario could also comment.
We have heard what individual distilleries have put out, but have you, from a national perspective, looked at the amount of, I will say, goodwill—but these are real dollars—that you have invested into this recovery? Could you estimate the amount that would make these distillers whole for the contribution they had early on and without any promise of profit?
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
Perhaps I could pause you right there as I think we might be getting to something here.
I want you to correct me if I'm wrong, but if I understand the escalator that you're talking about, it's an increase of 12.6¢ for a litre bottle of 100% pure alcohol spirits.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
For 750 millilitres are we talking about four cents, essentially?
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
My apologies. It was for the 40% whisky specifically.
Just so that I am clear, what I am trying to do in this very short time that we have is find things that we can control. If you're saying there isn't a number that we can make you guys whole with, at least to know what it was, then maybe we could look at this excise tax on distilleries and do something at tax time here.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
I have a minute. I want to make sure we're clear on this while I have my rounds because they reduce in time.
Mr. Dyck, not only is it about ending the escalator on it, but it is also about rolling it back so that it's more competitive. If you were to do that, notwithstanding that for me the motivation would be the contribution you've made here, how long would you want that for? Would you want that forever?
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you. I'm very glad to get to the heart of the matter.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
Please do make sure to pass along condolences to your father on the loss of his beloved whisky.
Mr. Guitor, you raised some issues that I have flagged as being very concerning. While you are here at committee, I think it's important that, with candour, with whatever you are comfortable in expanding on.... I think it would be important for us to get an understanding of the nature of some of these probing calls: calls in which people talked about having connections, calls which may have been characterized as questionable conduct. Would you please take this round and just expand on that experience?
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
I would suggest to you, sir, that in this committee or in public accounts, when a review is done.... I would imagine that in the next session, the next Parliament, when we come back, if we're able to, parliamentarians will be taking on the work of retroactively reviewing what happened.
Can I ask a question? Again, feel free to pass on the question. Did any of these come by way of email? At the appropriate time, if you were called back to committee to provide testimony more in depth on these types of exchanges, would that be something you would be comfortable doing?
View Matthew Green Profile
NDP (ON)
We are in a parliamentary committee, and I'm not trying to put you in [Technical difficulty—Editor]. What I think needs to happen, when we look back on this moment—because it is not just this we have heard this about; we have heard this in other areas of procurement—is make sure that the public has confidence in government that, in a global pandemic like this, when it really hits the fan, we have integrity within our procurement supply chains, and not simply the people who are well connected inside of political partisan circles or government circles....
Thank you for your candour. I appreciate that. I hope I'm given the opportunity in the future to come back to a committee you're on where we can get a little deeper into the question.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Chair, and I want to thank all of the folks who are here to testify today. I really appreciate it. For those of you who have served, thank you so much for your service. It means a lot to every Canadian.
Bill, I'm going to come to you first, of course.
The more that you teach me and the longer we do this study, the more I can see that we need national standards so that the end-user benefits. Without these standards, there are so many broken pieces that create this fragmented framework that leaves veterans behind.
Could you tell us, Bill, how having a service dog changed your life?
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
You talked in your testimony about the challenges you experienced. Most specifically, and one that we worked together on, was your experience with the service dog and how that really impacted your ability to have shelter, to have a home. I think that's really important, because you're not the only veteran I've heard from who's had a similar experience.
Could tell the committee a bit about that so that we have that testimony?
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
That's a pretty significant difference.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
I agree, and that's what I was going to ask Bill to talk about as well, because that is the reality right now. When you move from one part of Canada to another, the standards are different.
Here you are as a veteran. You have your dog with you to provide the standard of care that you require to live the life you want to. You testified earlier about being able to go off antipsychotic drugs. I think that is amazing.
I wonder if you could talk about what changes you see when you move from province to province. You talked about moving to British Columbia. What was one of the biggest changes that you noted?
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
In your opinion, what needs to happen at VAC in order for veterans across Canada to safely and securely obtain a service dog?
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Chair.
Ms. Moss, if I could come directly to you, based on the testimony we heard prior to this and to what you said, it sounds like market share and turf issues may have created roadblocks to developing—and I'm going to get this acronym right—CGSB NSCs for service dogs.
Wouldn't this be a common challenge when developing national service standards for Canada when bringing together marketplace competitors? In the process that you're working through, how are you addressing that?
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Chair.
I'm going to come to you again, Bill, and then follow up with Ms. Moss.
If I understand correctly, all standards in the service dog industry, whether in Canada or globally, are applicable only to the organizations that develop them and their members' organizations. I want to make sure that I have that right.
As the other part of that question, why is it so important to have a third party organization actually review the work that is being done?
Hopefully that makes sense, Bill.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you.
Ms. Moss, would you comment?
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
It's the same question, and the other part is about the third party organization.
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, and thank you to the witnesses for being here today.
I'm going to pick up on something. I'll start with Mr. Romano from Hyundai.
You mentioned that the challenge for hydrogen and fuel cells is the charging infrastructure. It's like the pain point you mentioned for electric vehicles: having a charging station. The challenge for hydrogen is having that recharging.
If we're going to look to a future, and hopefully it's sometime in the near future, when we can have semi-trailers travelling across Canada and trains and cars using hydrogen fuel cells, as we've heard from witnesses, we need that infrastructure in hubs across the country. We've heard from other witnesses that this is where the government could really play a role, just as it has started to play a role in expanding the EV charging infrastructure, in building those hubs and building that infrastructure to move hydrogen to those hubs where they can be used by the trucks, trains, or whoever is using them.
I wonder if you would like to comment on that. What role could the government play in building that infrastructure as part of this team that we need?
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you.
I'd like to put that same question to Monsieur Pocard from Ballard. What role can the federal government play to help in building that hydrogen infrastructure? As Mr. Romano said, we have to do this at the same time or we'll get problems with supply and demand.
Monsieur Pocard, could you comment on the role the federal government can play in helping to build that infrastructure?
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
How much time do I have?
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Okay.
Mr. Pocard, we've heard about competition with China around critical minerals. Maybe you could spend a few seconds talking about competition with China around hydrogen infrastructure and vehicles and that sort of thing.
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you. I'm going to turn to Mr. Moore.
You talked about a project in Saudi Arabia where you're producing hydrogen, I believe you said, for export. This is something I've heard from other sources. I was at a G20 meeting where the German minister talked about investing in green hydrogen projects in Chile with massive solar panels—I assume this is what's going on in Saudi Arabia—and then capturing that energy as hydrogen and exporting it around the world. The Japanese minister indicated the same sort of thing.
I've asked this of other witnesses in this study. I'm wondering if you could comment on the future of that global market in hydrogen, how it could play a role over the next 30 years as we go to net zero globally, and what opportunities there are for Canada, especially in green hydrogen and perhaps also in blue hydrogen. I might get to more on that later, but what are the opportunities for Canada to play a role in that global hydrogen export-import market?
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you.
I'd like to go back to Mr. Moore.
Earlier Monsieur Simard was talking about the differences between green and blue hydrogen and whether we want to use those colours or not. I know your project in Alberta involves carbon capture and storage, but I'm not sure if I heard you mention whether that project involves storage that uses enhanced oil recovery, as most carbon capture and storage projects do in North America.
The fact is that projects using enhanced oil recovery start out as carbon negative because they're storing carbon, but over a period of years, six to 10—I forget the exact number of studies in the United States—they turn carbon positive. I'm wondering if your industry has factored that in or whether you're not using enhanced oil recovery.
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you. That's the main question I had, because I do have concerns, and a lot of people have concerns, about carbon capture that does involve enhanced oil recovery. In fact, most of the 45Q investments in the United States are used for those kinds of projects, and that's the concern I had with Mr. McLean's bill.
I'll go back to Mr. Romano.
The Conservative narrative here seems to be that this can't work and that this shift to electric or hydrogen vehicles can't happen. Can you comment on the period of time when there is a carbon footprint of the production of the vehicles and when that footprint shifts to positive? How long is the period for an electric vehicle until it becomes truly carbon negative?
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
The narrative we get is that there are a lot of carbon dioxide emissions in the production of the vehicle, but over time—and I don't want to lead the witness here—it seems to be a year or two when that is overcome and the vehicle becomes carbon negative, whereas an ICE vehicle just continues to be positive throughout the life of the vehicle.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would also like to bring forward the motion that I have given notice of. I'll read it, if that's your pleasure.
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