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Hon. Wayne Easter - 16:26
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank the witnesses.
Ms. Drever and Ms. Lidder, as you know, Guy Caron, who was an NDP member, tabled a bill in the last Parliament that addressed the transfer of family farms and businesses. We'll come back to that bill in this Parliament. Thank you for your comments.
I'll start with you, Ms. Tassé-Goodman. In your brief, you talk not only about informal caregivers, but also about the importance of establishing a public and universal drug plan. We already know that assistance for seniors and drug plans can improve the health of these people. As a result, our health care system saves money.
To your knowledge, have any analyses been conducted to look at this issue more closely? What's the impact of a drug program? What's the impact of additional support for informal caregivers with regard to maintaining a good quality of life and good health?
Gisèle Tassé-Goodman - 16:27
Yes, of course, and it would improve the quality of life.
Gisèle Tassé-Goodman - 16:28
A universal public drug program would have the same impact. It would improve quality of life and prevent people from needing to use health care services because their health would be better.
We also understand the importance of indexing the Canada health transfer by 6%. The former Conservative government reduced this transfer by cutting funding for the health care sector. Unfortunately, the new Liberal government hasn't fixed this. Clearly, this issue must be addressed.
I'd like to go to Dr. Gaden and Mr. McClinchey.
I'm surprised—and maybe I misunderstood—that Canada is not keeping its obligations under the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries. As I understood it, Canada was actually providing less than half of what the treaty requirements oblige Canada to contribute. I'm wondering what the impact is of Canada not contributing its full share. Does that mean that many of these initiatives are taking place only on the American side of the Great Lakes, or does that mean that the United States is trying to fill the hole that's not being met by Canada, or does it mean simply that programs go without and we're not able to accomplish what is so vitally important in the Great Lakes? What is the consequence?
Marc Gaden - 16:30
Brian Masse, the MP for Windsor West, has been very outspoken on this. You provided some guidance about how Canada can fully meet its obligations, but would you suggest we need to go beyond that? If we're already cutting short what are vital investments that need to be made, should Canada be thinking of going even beyond that? For how many years have we been shortchanging this treaty?
Marc Gaden - 16:31
Hon. Wayne Easter - 18:14
I’d like to thank the witnesses.
My first questions are for Mr. Lampron and Mr. Weins. You talked about the expanded market access under the recent trade deals and the negative impact on supply management. I have two questions for you. The first has to do with the reciprocity of standards between Canada and the U.S. As we know, Canada has higher standards than the U.S. American dairy products contain all sorts of additives that are prohibited in Canada.
Does the reciprocity of standards concern you?
Mr. Weins, you talked about the surcharge on exports. It will be important to explore how the surcharge on exports can be avoided within the context of an administrative agreement, and if I understand correctly, even in relation to countries other than the U.S. and Mexico.
Do you think that’s possible?
Pierre Lampron - 18:16
Mr. Weins, did you have anything to add?
David Wiens - 18:16
You're underscoring the importance of that. I don't want to cut you off.
I'm just going to go to Ms. Ballantyne. I was going to ask you about the cherry blossoms just west of Harrison Mills as it's minus 10° in Ottawa, but I think I'll go right to child care. You talked about $1 billion more per year over 10 years, but also about negotiating enhanced child care agreements with the provinces, setting up a secretariat, putting in place a child care program that really is national in scope.
I guess I would ask you two questions. First off, we're probably talking about an additional close to $2-billion investment per year, I would expect, in order to really do this right. Is that not true? Second, how important is this for middle-class prosperity when you have families paying up to $2,000 a month per child care space? How essential is this to take that burden off? How does that contribute to Canadian prosperity when you make that investment? How does that contribute to accessing the labour force and providing more economic growth?
Morna Ballantyne - 18:18
Hon. Wayne Easter - 13:47
Although I don't necessarily have questions for the Canadian Juries Commission, I want to say that any laughter you heard was disbelief, not humour. That's remarkable. The notion that we're going to put people in harm's way in the name of the public interest without giving them the tools to be well on the back end is unconscionable to me. I want to thank you for your advocacy.
I'll begin with Egale. You mentioned that one recommendation you'd be hoping to see would be a $12-million contribution to community organizations. I tried to do a bit of quick math here, and if it were a population-based share, my home province of Nova Scotia would probably see about $350,000. I have two concerns. The first is figuring out why $12 million is the correct amount. The second is that I realize that in a lot of smaller communities, like some of those I represent, the organizations are made up of good-natured volunteers who see a need that's going unmet but have virtually no capacity to fill out sometimes complicated calls for proposals. They're lucky if they can sometimes find the volunteer hours to submit an application for the Canada summer jobs program.
Are there safeguards we can put in place to make sure there is enough funding and a simplified application process for these community organizations so that, regardless of their volunteer capacity or lack of paid positions, they're actually able to access funding that might be attributed to such an important cause?
Helen Kennedy - 13:49
Thank you so much. I have very limited time, and I want to ask a couple of other questions, if you don't mind.
To Mr. Lamy from Intact, you mentioned some of the challenges tied to climate change for the insurance sector, particularly flooding, flood mapping and the need to assist with the cost of relocation and devaluation of property. One comment you made jumped out at me, and that was the importance of better using grasslands and wetlands to mitigate the impact of climate change for your industry and more broadly for society. I'm curious to know whether you meant protection or restoration.
How can we best use grasslands and wetlands to reduce the cost of climate change for plan members and taxpayers?
Mathieu Lamy - 13:50
Do I have a short question left, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Wayne Easter - 13:51
To JDRF, thank you for your work. It's absolutely remarkable. I have two very quick questions.
I understand that there's a real problem sometimes when someone loses access to the disability tax credit. If they age out, for example, they lose access not just to the disability tax credit but also to the contributions that have been made to a registered disability savings plan. There was a fix that you suggested for the disability tax credit, around life-sustaining therapy automatically qualifying. Would that take care of both issues?
Part two of the question is about Diabetes 360°, which we heard about previously. You mentioned that it would save billions of dollars in downstream costs to the health care system. Do you have a breakdown of how those cost savings could accrue, which perhaps you could submit to the committee? I don't think we have time in this question to get to it now.
Hon. Wayne Easter - 13:52
Dave Prowten - 13:52
Hon. Wayne Easter - 13:52
Ruby Sahota - 11:03
First of all, I appreciate the amendment to the motion and I think that's an important part of the discussion. There's some clarity that I will be seeking around the initial motion as well.
I guess at this point we're debating the amendment. It would be interesting to hear about the rationale for bringing the minister in for the two hours. Do ministers usually come for two hours? I thought sometimes it's their.... I would like some clarity from the member on whether he's expecting the minister to come for two hours, or for the first hour, as I've seen at other committees, and then have staff and bureaucrats come for the second session.
I'm wondering if I could get some clarification on the amendment, please.
Blake Richards - 11:05
Blake Richards - 11:05
Thank you for that clarity.
Ruby Sahota - 11:05
Ruby Sahota - 11:27
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I thank the member for the motion. This is a really important issue and one that is of concern to many Canadians, so it's good that we'll be looking at this and bringing more transparency to the process.
One of the things that would help me understand is that this motion actually doesn't tell us how long the study will be. Based on the briefings the Senate is receiving, is there is any way to understand how long this process would take?
Just so I understand, if there isn't a timeline listed in the motion, how was that established by the committee? Could I have some information about that?
Ruby Sahota - 11:28
Ruby Sahota - 11:30
Thank you, again, for your patience as I learn and understand this.
It sounds like we have some decisions to make as we go along the process, and I am clear about that. What I am wondering about is how we will report back.
If we continue, let's just say we say that PROC is going to keep this and get regular updates. Will each update be a different report and will we be tabling them in the House? I'm just curious about the process. Maybe this is not the place to discuss it, but I just have some questions about how that would work.
Ruby Sahota - 11:32
Ruby Sahota - 11:33
Ruby Sahota - 11:33
Ruby Sahota - 11:37
I think the steering committee is there for a purpose. I think it's a good way to start, to see how it goes. Then when we bring that information back to the committee, we'll become quickly aware of whether it's going to be a consistent practice of having everyone participate or whether it will be case by case. It's good to try the steering committee role first, bring it back and see how the committee feels about it.
Ruby Sahota - 11:38
Ruby Sahota - 11:47
I'm trying to understand this. Of course, as a new member of the procedure and House affairs committee, I'm not aware of how things have been done historically, so I appreciate your bringing this to our attention.
I'm wondering if I could get clarity around the usual practice. If we invite someone to participate in a meeting, will it set a standard that other people from other countries who come feel concerned that they weren't invited to a formal meeting of the committee?
I would just like—
Ruby Sahota - 11:48
Ruby Sahota - 12:07
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I think this conversation is actually very interesting, thoughtful and worthy. I just want to be really clear here that what I heard earlier from Mr. Richards—and I'm paraphrasing here—is that this is not the normal practice in the House. This is typically not done. I would just say that we actually don't know that. I think that's an important part of this conversation: What has been the normal practice for smaller parties? We could have a whole discussion on how that works, and it would definitely be interesting to look into.
I did meet with the clerks earlier today and had a really important conversation. What I heard very clearly is that by putting together this amendment with the original motion—and I would love to hear from the chair and the clerk on this—it would nullify the main motion, which is a concern because we're trying to get something done.
Could I just get clarity on that and hopefully be able to come back after getting that clarity to discuss?
Ruby Sahota - 12:08
What I understood was, if the motion as originally tabled by me went to the House, it would be able to move forward. I think this is important. I believe it's two separate things. For me, what I would propose or move is that we suspend debate for today and perhaps look for clarity. I'm not sure what the process is because I believe there are two separate things. I just want to make sure, as we're having this discussion, that we're actually getting the end result we're hoping for. That would be my proposition.
Ruby Sahota - 12:10
I am moving to adjourn debate because I feel that these are two separate things, and I'm not sure how other people are feeling, but we're not getting the information I feel I need to make a decision moving forward.
Ruby Sahota - 12:11
Ruby Sahota - 12:14
At this point, I am not being paid for anything other than one role, so I don't perceive a conflict.
Thank you so much for the question.
Ruby Sahota - 12:15
Colleagues, this meeting of the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations will come to order.
Mr. Harris, I understand you have a point of order.
Jack Harris - 17:36
Let me check with the clerk.
We received several documents at 4 p.m. today that will be distributed tomorrow morning. I'm not sure whether that is one of them. The clerk will check on that. Hopefully, we can have an answer to that question before the end of the meeting, or perhaps at the end of the meeting.
Colleagues, before us today we have His Excellency Ambassador Dominic Barton, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Canada to the People's Republic of China. With him, from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, is Mr. Shawn Steil, executive director, Greater China.
Ambassador, you'll have 20 minutes for your opening statement, followed of course by questions.
Dominic Barton - 17:37
Thank you very much, Ambassador.
Our first questioner today is Mr. Genuis.
Garnett Genuis - 17:58
Garnett Genuis - 18:04
Thank you. I'm sorry, but you've exceeded your time.
Ambassador, I'm afraid you'll have to wait for an opportunity if you wish to respond to that.
We're on to Mr. Fragiskatos.
Peter Fragiskatos - 18:04
Dominic Barton - 18:10
Peter Fragiskatos - 18:10
Thank you Mr. Fragiskatos.
Stéphane Bergeron - 18:11