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Results: 1 - 15 of 1327
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
In your comments you noted cybersecurity and misinformation. You mentioned that you have experienced no cybersecurity threats of significance beyond those faced daily by any federal government organization. You also recently put out a report that indicated the same. I know this was something we heard a lot about from the previous minister in the previous Liberal government prior to the last election. There was a lot of concern about whether there would be foreign influence and that Russia and places like that would be trying to influence our elections. This was something they seemed to be quite concerned about. You indicated that you took some measures concerning cybersecurity that you think were important in protecting the process.
You're saying you didn't experience any threats. Can you give us examples of how those measures actually prevented that, or do you think it was just that nobody made the effort to try to interfere in our elections from outside of Canada?
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
What you're saying is that you didn't see anything that was outside of what would ordinarily be experienced in a government department on a regular day, week, month or whatever.
I guess what I'm trying to determine is that there were all of these.... We seemed to get a lot from the Liberal government in the last few years leading up to the election that there were going to be all of these threats from outside of Canada—all these foreign threats—that would be impacting our election in some way. What I think I'm hearing from you is that that didn't materialize. You put measures in place.
You're not telling me that you saw anything outside of the ordinary. Is that what you're saying, that as far as you can tell, there was no attempt by Russians or other foreign countries to try to interfere in our elections?
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I appreciate that.
In terms of foreign influence and interference in our elections, one of the things I kept trying to point out was that maybe we needed to look a bit at how foreign money was coming in to third parties and how that was allowing foreign influence in our elections. There was certainly some talk in 2015 that there were organizations that claimed they changed the results of the election with money from outside of Canada. In the 2019 election, obviously there were some new rules put in place around third parties and their funding.
Are you able to give us any indication as to whether that prevented foreign money from coming in and influencing the election, whether it be in the pre-writ period, or in what I call the "pre-pre-writ" period, or even during the writ period? Tell us whether you think that foreign money was still able to be utilized by these organizations to influence our elections or whether you think that was completely prevented.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
I've been told I only have a very limited amount of time left. I think I basically have what I needed in terms of that. Obviously you're right. Parliament does have to consider whether that's still occurring or not.
During the last election, you chose to pay some people you called “social media influencers”, and that was I guess to try to promote the 2019 election. There was a bit of an uproar about that and you pulled back on that. It was, I think, because there was some discovery that maybe with at least one of those individuals, there had been some partisan activities that had taken place.
Can you tell us a little more about the criteria for choosing those influencers, whether those were Elections Canada employees and whether you would consider doing that kind of initiative again?
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Does he not have time to answer?
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
CPC (AB)
I've had many constituents approach my office whose family members have applied for visas. When they are rejected, the letter is usually very brief and doesn't really explain much. It's a very generic answer that they get, usually along the lines that immigration officials don't feel that they're going to return to their country. Sometimes it's because they're single; basically, it implies that they might do a marriage of convenience at the time.
I'd like to know what objective criteria visa officers are using when arriving at those decisions, because I'm concerned that there may be potential for arbitrary and inconsistent judgements happening.
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
In the 2017 mandate letter to then-minister Hussen, there was a commitment to conduct “a review of the visa policy framework, including its application to the transit of passengers through Canada, in a way that promotes economic growth while ensuring program integrity.”
On May 31, 2018, in a meeting of this committee, my colleague the Honourable Michelle Rempel questioned the assistant deputy minister of strategic and program policy at the time. She said, “The department promised to deliver its review of the visa policy framework within this year. When will that be done?” The assistant deputy minister responded that it would come within a few months. Obviously it's 2020 now. It has been over a year; we're in a new parliamentary session.
Was this review ever completed? Can you explain the review's findings with respect to my concerns regarding the reasons for visa refusal, which I highlighted previously?
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
CPC (AB)
Just as a follow-up, could we find out why the review was late and also why that review doesn't appear in the new mandate letter? Is it still a priority? That's what we would like to know.
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay, thank you.
That's all I have. Can I pass my time on to my colleague?
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
CPC (AB)
Good morning, Minister. Thanks for appearing today before committee along with your team.
I was interested to hear about your vision. In your speech, you recognized that government IT projects have not gone as well in the past because of our old way of working and due to the aging government IT systems. You wrote, “A group of very well-meaning people in one department work on an application over several years and then we implement and the system struggles.” It's a very strong statement. I think it speaks a lot to what's going on and to the status quo of our system.
In that case, it leads me to ask you, Minister, if you would support a study by this committee to look further into the aging government IT system and accept recommendations on how we can improve services for all Canadians. Would you accept a study?
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
CPC (AB)
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you. In that case, would you be willing to appear before this committee to give us your thoughts on the issue and talk further about your vision?
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, in that case, I have a motion to move. I would be happy to table it, if that's possible.
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
CPC (AB)
I'm going to be tabling a motion.
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
CPC (AB)
I'll read the motion.
You have a copy of it, I believe.
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