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View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-06-03 16:21
Thank you, Chair.
Thank you to those who've been helping to shepherd us through the meeting while I was absent. I appreciate your support.
My question relates to the figure the chair just referred to: $2.9 billion. The commitment in the recent budget for the national early learning and child care framework is in excess of $30 billion over the next number of years. Can you just give us some clue as to how the figure of $2.9 billion was arrived at and what goal it's seeking to achieve?
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-06-03 16:22
Yes.
In effect, there have been a couple of commitments made by the government in respect of the child care strategy. One is to reduce the cost by a half in the next year, and I'm wondering if this $2.9 billion will get us there or whether there will be additional supports required through the estimates that would obviously have to go through the parliamentary process before we'll be able to see that goal achieved.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-06-03 16:28
Mr. Chair, I think you were around as a member of Parliament when Ken Dryden won the Conn Smythe Trophy before he won rookie of the year. We can learn from your experience.
Ms. Hall, I want to follow up on the investment in child care.
The economic argument behind the policy is essentially that the return on investment is greater than the cost of making the investment. There's obviously a social argument as well in terms of equitable participation in the economy, should parents and women, who have been disproportionately impacted by a lack of access to care, choose to access it.
This is a lot of money—nearly $3 billion for the next year. I had an interesting exchange with Nick Leswick, from the Department of Finance, earlier in the study of this bill. He indicated that depending on who you ask, some folks have the view that the revenue for government could be greater than the cost. I think there are few who would argue that the increase in GDP would be less than the cost of making the investment.
I'm curious if you can offer insight on the economic impact of this proposed investment, and whether we should expect to see returns, either through an increased GDP or through increased revenue to government, as a result of more people contributing to the economy and paying taxes.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-06-03 16:36
Yes.
It's just a nuance that I hadn't actually picked up on until your comments. I'm interested in the interplay between someone who has exhausted their EI claim and seeks to subsequently apply for the Canada recovery benefit.... One of the conditions of the Canada recovery benefit is that the applicant lost their income or work as a result of COVID-19. Is that criteria also applied to someone who has exhausted their EI, or is there a presumption that if you've run out of EI, you're eligible?
If not, I'm curious more broadly as to what mechanism is being used to investigate an individual applicant's claim that their job loss was due to COVID-19.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-06-03 18:03
I expect this is the same point of order that Ms. Koutrakis was about to raise. I think there's a technical issue with the phone lines, Mr. Chair.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-06-03 18:03
Someone trying to dial in can't hear.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-06-03 18:04
I think we're okay.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-06-03 18:07
Thanks very much.
I'll do my best to be concise. Ms. May and I had a conversation about this issue as well, which I was grateful for.
The issue around this proposed amendment is that it pertains to a section that only deals with the seasonal pilot program, as Ms. May has quite rightly acknowledged. My fear is that it's not entirely innocuous. My understanding is that there would be risk if we create a different definition of the zones in Bill C-30 that refers to the seasonal pilot while the regulations that apply to the ordinary EI zones remain as they are. We could, in an unintended way, actually lead to the perverse consequence where Islanders would not be eligible for the seasonal pilot expansion.
I just have a final point. This is a problem that actually impacts my constituency. I was looking for other ways to address the issue for my own constituents, who sometimes work for the same employer or live in the same community, but have access to different EI benefits. I understand that the commissioner's review of the program is under way. There will be an opportunity in the medium term—I don't have a specific date for you—to actually address the underlying issue through the regulatory change, which I would submit is the proper course of action rather than amending Bill C-30.
I'll leave it to members to decide what they're going to do, but for that reason and with great respect to Ms. May, I'll be voting against the amendment, despite the fact that I want to fix the problem in my own community.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-06-03 18:11
Mr. Chair, I meant to raise this at the beginning of the meeting, but I had a substitute, so I didn't. I promise not to take long on this.
There was one clause during the course of our clause-by-clause exercise that I wanted to raise for the potential opportunity to revisit. I'd like to propose a short motion and then just give a one-minute explanation as to what it is. It is a motion that relates to Monsieur Ste-Marie's initial proposed amendment that would have limited the transfer of funding to the Canadian Securities Transition Office to $1. The amendment was defeated, which would have had the effect of ultimately not allowing the organization to operate.
The Conservatives sided against the amendment, as did other parties as well. I did also. Subsequently, on the vote on the main motion, the main motion was defeated, which, in effect, resulted in the same outcome. I don't know. I view those two outcomes to be at odds. I was hoping to propose a motion.
I move that the results of the vote by the committee on clause 158 of Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021, and other measures, be rescinded.
I can boil it down to the Coles Notes. I think this organization is important. It has important impacts on capital markets regulation. It has a major opportunity to work not only with the bank on securities regulation, but also with the major banks to strengthen our anti-money laundering regime in Canada.
Finally, the reason I raise it.... I would have taken everybody's vote at their word, but it was one of the few things, when former Prime Minister Harper was in office, that I was quite in agreement with when it happened. I just wanted to give the opportunity for folks to revisit this issue at committee before we deal with the bill in the House.
I'll leave it there. I could repeat the motion in French if that would be for the benefit of the crowd, if the translation wasn't accurate. I see Monsieur Ste-Marie's shaking his head no, so I'll leave my submission there.
View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2021-06-03 16:18
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to the witnesses.
I'll start with Mr. de Graaf because he's the hometown fella on the committee, being from the Annapolis Valley.
Nick, let me thank you for your leadership here locally through Chicken Farmers of Canada. You talked about some of the work that's already ongoing.
I know that we have a good relationship. Maybe we're fortunate that there haven't been some of these events in our neck of the woods. Has there been a high incidence of these types of sit-ins that you've alluded to, or have we largely escaped that in this area right now?
View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2021-06-03 16:19
I know that we're fortunate in the sense that there haven't been a whole lot of incidents of this, but when you speak to your other producers across the country, do they explain what they do? I can only imagine that I'm a farmer and that I look out my window and see that there's a large group of people who may be going into my barn, not knowing what this could do to my livelihood.
Do they explain what they normally would do? Do they call the police? Do you have any experience that you might have offhand from your fellow members?
View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2021-06-03 16:20
Just for your benefit, Nick, we've been hearing different testimony. Part of the challenge, of course, is understanding that although it is laudable to try to avoid the spread of a biosecurity risk resulting from the activity of individuals who are trespassing on a farm, the question, as Mr. Evans has talked about, is the compliance and how we enforce it and what tools might already exist. We've heard from other members that perhaps police may or may not have the tools available to them.
Can I ask about the CFIA? This has been a key piece of the testimony, as well—its ability to enforce this. I know that the CFIA, for example, would go to Victor Oulton's farm because there's a processing element. How often does the CFIA show up at your particular farm, or would it be more like at Eden Valley, at the processing side?
View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2021-06-03 16:22
Okay, I appreciate that. One of the things that I think could be a recommendation from this committee in the days ahead is how we can educate people about some of the biosecurity risks.
I want to go to some other witnesses, but first I'll go on record and thank you, Nick, for your leadership locally.
Mr. Evans, you talked about compliance. We just heard from Mr. de Graaf that the CFIA is more at the processing level. You spoke about this a little earlier, but can you just...? I have 35 seconds here that I want to allocate to you. Can you talk about some of the challenges you see in terms of having that handled through that agency?
View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2021-06-03 16:23
Mr. Evans, I have about 15 or 20 seconds left. I guess I would say, if I could table this, is that part of the element is strict liability versus absolute liability. Where this is a strict liability offence, there has to be some level of intent, notwithstanding Mr. de Graaf's comments about some of the signage and awareness. I think that's an important element. Perhaps you can speak on that if someone else asks the question.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
[Member spoke in Mi'kmaq]
[English]
I just wanted to thank you in my language.
This has been a difficult week for most of us, but for you this was your reality for years, listening to this and hearing this.
This emergency meeting was to help us reflect and understand based on your knowledge. We felt it was important to hear from you, as you live this every day.
There are so many questions as Canadians are going through the grief, the shock, the denial and the pain. Indigenous people are going through the same and are triggered, asking why: Why was our language, why was our culture, and why were our lives so insignificant? Why were we such a threat that this is what we went through?
I think your reflections have really helped us, and your words and recommendations continue to guide our work. We're going to be working hard in this committee to make sure the recommendations are implemented in full.
Thank you.
View Mike Kelloway Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Hello, colleagues.
Thank you to all of the witnesses for their testimony today.
This study is very important. As members of the justice committee and, of course, as parliamentarians, it's really incumbent on us to hear testimony from officials, groups and individuals on how victims of crime can be better supported.
My first question is for Ms. Morency.
I understand that through the victims fund we've made more than $20 million available to provincial and territorial governments and non-governmental organizations. Can you take some time to talk about some of these projects and how they have benefited Canadians?
View Mike Kelloway Profile
Lib. (NS)
That really does provide a bit of an in-depth lens on it, and I appreciate it very much.
This could be for Ms. Morency or you, or others who want to chime in, but primarily it would be for you two.
The government created a federal victims strategy to support the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. Again, I'd like to have you or others talk about some of the initiatives that were part of that strategy. I think it's important for Canadians to hear the ins and outs of that particular strategy and the initiatives attached to it.
View Mike Kelloway Profile
Lib. (NS)
That's wonderful.
Madam Chair, how much time do I have left?
View Mike Kelloway Profile
Lib. (NS)
Okay.
Thank you very much for your testimony. It's very much appreciated.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. It is great to be here with all of you again. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you all today.
First of all, I would like to acknowledge that I'm coming to you from Wolastoqiyik and Mi'kma'ki, the traditional unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq people.
Joining me are several of my officials, including Timothy Sargent, the deputy minister of Fisheries and Oceans; Dr. Niall O'Dea, senior assistant deputy minister, strategic policy; Jean-Guy Forgeron, senior assistant deputy minister for fisheries and harbour management; Rebecca Reid, regional director general, Pacific region; Arran McPherson, assistant deputy minister, ecosystems and ocean science; Alexandra Dostal, assistant deputy minister of aquatic ecosystems; Hugo Pagé, assistant deputy minister and chief financial officer; and Andy Smith, deputy commissioner, shipbuilding and material.
Given that this is my first appearance since budget 2021 was tabled in the House, I would like to talk about some of the investments that are specific to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Today I will discuss the budget and focus on the key themes of conserving and protecting our marine resources and supporting coastal communities and economies. Over the next five years, DFO and the Coast Guard will receive significant investments that will allow the department to continue its important work in these areas.
I will also be happy to take your questions on the topic of Pacific salmon.
Our government knows that the health of our oceans is intrinsically linked to the health of our economy and the health of our people. One way we can conserve and protect our marine resources is by establishing a network of marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. MPAs are proven to be a way to help aquatic species, habitats and ecosystems recover from human-induced stresses such as overfishing, natural resource extraction and pollution.
When our government took office in 2015, less than 1% of our oceans were protected. Today that figure stands at almost 14%, with a goal of increasing this to 25% by 2025, working towards 30% by 2030. To help Canada meet its ambitious marine conservation targets, budget 2021 earmarked $976.8 million over the next five years. This investment will be used to expand our network of MPAs on all three coasts by working closely with indigenous, provincial and territorial partners and local communities to better protect and manage vulnerable areas. Ultimately, this work will benefit the broader marine environment, coastal communities and local economies.
Budget 2021 also signals a strong federal response to address the serious decline of Pacific salmon on the west coast. Despite extensive conservation measures in recent years, climate change and threats caused by humans, including deteriorating habitat; contaminants; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; changes in how land and water are used and international fishing pressures have negatively affected Pacific salmon at every stage of their life cycle.
Currently, 50 different Pacific salmon populations are being considered for listing under the Species at Risk Act or are pending assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The reasons are numerous, complex and incredibly concerning. When unforeseen events such as the Big Bar landslide occur, the risks to vulnerable salmon stocks are magnified even further. Bold, sustained and coordinated action is needed to stabilize, protect and rebuild Pacific salmon for the communities that depend on sustainable fisheries and the ecosystems that support them.
Last April, as many of you know, our government announced a historic investment in Pacific salmon. This unprecedented $647-million investment is the single most transformative investment the government has ever made towards saving salmon. It is aimed at stopping the declines now, while helping to rebuild populations over the longer term. Our government will be taking a collaborative approach that focuses on strengthening partnerships with provinces and territories, first nations, industries, organizations and others who are already doing so much to protect and conserve salmon.
We must bring key partners to the table and identify and prioritize actions to support healthy salmon. I know this investment comes on the heels on the committee's study on this important issue. I want to thank the members for their work on this file. I look forward to hearing your recommendations. I'm confident that this investment will provide a coordinated response to help the recovery of Pacific salmon to support the many communities, harvesters and businesses that rely on the health of these stocks.
Mr. Chair, budget 2021 will give my department the financial means it needs to meet our marine conservation targets, address declines of Pacific salmon and protect aquatic species at risk. It will also provide the Coast Guard with additional funding to prevent and mitigate environmental incidents on the water through an extension of the emergency towing vessels located on Canada's west coast.
Budget 2021 will also help coastal communities build back better and stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes investing significantly in small craft harbours.
In 2019, the commercial fishing industry had landings valued at almost $3.7 billion and employed more than 45,000 workers. Even during the hardships of the past year, fish and seafood were among the largest single food commodities exported by Canada. Budget 2021 includes $300 million to repair, renew and replace infrastructure at small craft harbours over the next two years. This will help shore up the future for the industry by providing safe, functional harbours while at the same time creating well-paid jobs for Canadians.
We are also strengthening our commitment to marine safety for indigenous coastal communities by ensuring that communities can get the boats and equipment they need to keep people safe in local waters.
Mr. Chair, these investments in coastal communities are a down payment on our future that will pay dividends in the months and years ahead for Canada while the world recovers from this global pandemic.
Whether we’re talking about conserving and protecting our marine resources or supporting coastal communities and economies, all of this work is interconnected. Ultimately, budget 2021 is an investment in Canadian families and communities. These are investments that underscore how our nation’s economic prosperity and the long-term health of our environment can and must go hand in hand.
As minister, I’m confident that the funding I outlined today will position Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard to deliver on key priorities that contribute to a stronger maritime economy, healthier oceans and more resilient coastal communities.
Now I’m pleased to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to say that I would disagree with that assertion. We consult widely with a number of different stakeholders as we make decisions. We also make decisions based on science.
Over the past year I have met countless times with first nations communities, with the industry, with commercial harvesters, with stakeholder groups and with environmental organizations. Actually, probably one of the largest parts of my job is meeting with stakeholders and listening to their concerns and their comments. A lot of the policy we develop comes from those consultations.
I will also say that we do meet regularly with provincial and territorial partners with regard to fisheries management decisions. However, many of the decisions we have to make are based on the science regarding where the stocks are and what is happening within the sector.
For example, during COVID-19 we had some really tough decisions to make with regard to the opening of seasons—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
—but we made sure we were able to do that, because we listened to the harvesters.
Thank you.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I would say that we have actually engaged with industry, which is why we were able to come up with a solution for this season. That is why we are continuing to engage with them to make sure that we find the right way forward for the prawn tubbing issue. You know, this is something I am committed to making sure that we have solved, and we are actively engaged in making sure that we do that.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
This is actually a regulation that has been in place for many years. As I said, we recognized that it was a challenge for the harvesters this year. That is why we worked with them to find the solution. We are now continuing on with that engagement to find the long-term solution for the harvesters, because we know how important this industry is and we know how important this issue is, and we are committed to making sure it gets solved.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I'm sorry. Can I answer that?
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I would say that we are going to find a long-term solution in collaboration with the industry.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I will say that this was a very difficult decision to make. It was not one I took lightly. I recognized that it was a very challenging decision for many people. I will also say that the decision was made after there was consultation with the seven first nations in that area, recognizing that aquaculture is extremely important to British Columbia—well, to many coastal communities—and recognizing that there is a way forward with it. However, we want to make sure that it is also in keeping with the first nations territories that did not feel that this was a good fit for them.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
First of all, I would say that I have full confidence in the science that the DFO produces. There is a robust process in place when it comes to the peer-review process for aquaculture. All decisions that are made are based on the best available science, using the precautionary approach, and the aquaculture industry, while undergoing a transition on the west coast, is extremely important right across the country. It supports thousands of jobs.
The DFO has immense expertise. It makes sure that it is working in collaboration with the industry as well. I have also begun work on things like the an aquaculture act, which will provide clarity to the industry. My parliamentary secretary, Terry Beech, has been doing consultations with regard to the 2025 transition commitment. You know, we're going to continue to work with industry. We're going to continue to base our decisions on science, and I have full confidence in the department's science process.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I'm very proud of the fact that our government has made this historic investment of $647 million in wild Pacific salmon, recognizing that this is the largest investment to help this species. However, we need to act in partnership and in collaboration with the Province of British Columbia, with Yukon, with first nations, with industry, with environmental organizations, with anglers. There are a number of groups that have great expertise in salmon. We need to bring it together, find the path forward and make a strategic investment where we do the strategic work. However, I think bringing it all together under one umbrella is going to be critical.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Of course, we have not rolled out the salmon strategy yet. We are hopefully going to be doing that in the coming weeks, at least the first phase, which will be a consultation process to find out what the best ways forward are.
The centre of expertise is looking at the many people who work on the ground with salmon, who know the populations and the challenges they're facing, and we need to bring all of that under one umbrella. We need to make sure that we're not all working at cross-purposes. Everybody has the same goal, and that is to protect, conserve and grow the salmon populations. What we need to make sure we're doing is that we're all doing it in the same direction.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
First of all, I want to thank the committee for the work they did on that study. I think it was an extremely important one to recognize the challenges being faced with regard to ownership on the west coast.
This year on the east coast we were able to enshrine owner-operator in legislation. It has taken many years for us to get to that point. We have started work on the west coast with regard to questions around foreign ownership and things like that, recognizing that DFO is currently reviewing the existing foreign ownership restrictions and gathering data. It does take time. I often say it's like unravelling a very tangled knot, but we are committed to doing that work. I believe that when we responded to the committee report, we indicated that this is something we are moving forward with right now.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Salmon are in serious decline. I think we are seeing some populations as low as 90% down in some areas. We have almost 50 different types of salmon that are on the possible species at risk listing, so there is no time to waste in making sure that we find the right path forward.
I'm not sure, but if I could turn to my deputy, he may have more numbers with regard to what the salmon stock numbers are.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I will say that we recognize the job that Quebec has done with regard to salmon and their management of it, although we are seeing real declines in Atlantic salmon on the east coast as well and we know that more work needs to be done there. That's why we put in place an Atlantic salmon initiative in 2019 and 2020.
Of course, we are always open to learning from others, recognizing that the Province of Quebec has done a very good job with salmon. I have actually been in touch with Minister Lamontagne in Quebec with regard to a number of the projects that he has on his front, and he often talks about the salmon strategies there.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
We have now put $647 million on the table to protect wild Pacific salmon, recognizing what a critical state they are in. The last thing I think we need right now is another study. There have been multiple studies done with regard to salmon and how we best move forward. What we are doing now is putting money behind the initiatives that we know will work, including things like the B.C. SRIF program, in which we will be doubling the investment. That is a habitat restoration plan.
All of the things we put forward are actually going to support job creation as well, recognizing that this has to be an “all hands on deck” approach. The salmon are not in good shape and the stocks are in serious decline, but I'm very proud that we're putting money into making sure that we deal with this problem head-on.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
We had a number of conversations with a number of different organizations and groups, as well as the provinces, territories and first nations communities, around the importance of wild Pacific salmon, not only as a resource for commercial harvesters but for recreational purposes. These salmon drive an economy on the west coast, and they are also culturally significant to first nations communities. I would say that in pretty much every meeting I had with British Columbians, the state of the wild Pacific salmon stocks was the priority. We heard countless times, over and over again, that we needed to have a full-court press to make sure that we are doing everything we possibly could. That was one of the reasons we worked so hard to make sure that it was in the budget. I'm very proud that there is $647 million to address the concerns we're seeing in those declining stocks.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I have met with countless stakeholders on the west coast, as well as with first nations. I have met continually with the Province of British Columbia on this issue. I have met with environmental organizations, with anglers and with industry. I would say that we have done an awful lot of consulting when it comes to what needed to be addressed in a wild Pacific salmon strategy.
I will also say that we have actually had very good feedback from pretty much everyone who is involved in preserving and conserving salmon. They're very happy to see that this money is coming to actually put some work into making sure that we do what we have to do.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I would say that Canada has been working collaboratively with the five Nuu-chah-nulth nations to advance reconciliation in the areas of collaborative governance, increased fishing access and community-based fisheries. We signed an incremental agreement with the five nations in September 2019, and we continue to work closely with them on their comprehensive reconciliation agreement.
Of course, we want to make sure that we see first nations out on the water. We are currently, as you know, Mr. Johns, reviewing the court decision, and we'll have more to say on that—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
We are still reviewing the decision. We are looking at it. We will have more to say on it in the near future. Our government and my department have been working very diligently to make sure that we can get fishers out on the water.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
You know, this is an issue that is extremely challenging. There is no question that it's complex. Nobody wants to see a repeat of what happened last year with first nations on the east coast exercising their moderate livelihood right. We of course will have C and P officers on the water. We will also have the Coast Guard. We will also have RCMP officers who deployed to that area if needed. These measures are all put in place to protect all fishers and make sure that people are able to work safely.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
As I said earlier, this is not an easy thing to untangle. There are many different webs that you have to unwind to get to where ownership is. I'm going to turn to my deputy to see if he has anything to add, but I know that this is ongoing work within the department. It is something that we committed to doing after we received the committee report, but Deputy Sargent....
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
As I said earlier, we have actually put in place something for this year. We are continuing to work with the industry to determine whether or not that is something that can continue into the future. We will make sure that this is done hand in hand with the industry, but I will give you my commitment right now to making sure that we solve this issue.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
As I have said, Mr. Johns, the decision will be made in collaboration with the industry, but I am very much committed to solving this issue.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Science would be the primary driver of the decisions that we make, but there are other considerations that are taken into account.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I would say that we have actually, as a government, done a great deal with regard to salmon enhancement. There is more that needs to be done, and I could not agree with you more that we need to do it in collaboration with the organizations that work on the ground in these really important areas. We are committed to doing that.
That's one reason that the salmon strategy we will be putting forward will be done in collaboration with the province, the territory, with first nations, with environmental organizations, with industry and with anglers.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Our government has made extremely difficult decisions when it comes to fisheries management. We've also based our decisions on science. I will stand firmly behind our process with regard to the peer-reviewed science that we used to make our decisions. Management decisions are often very difficult because they, of course, impact livelihoods—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I would say, sir, that because of previous cuts that we have seen from the previous government, DFO science was challenged. We have been working very hard to make sure that we are able to invest in science again. We are making sure that we have the right tools in place to make these very difficult decisions.
I will say that this government is committed to making sure that we take that very seriously and that we make sure those decisions are based on peer-reviewed science within the department.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I would first like to thank the harvesters in your area who every day.... I know it can be challenging when we have to shut down an area because of a whale sighting, but we've been working hand in hand with industry to make sure that there is the least disruption possible when it comes to making sure we are protecting the North Atlantic right whale.
Our government has been committed to making sure we do everything we possibly can. There are very few of these creatures left. I think there are fewer than 100 at this point.
It's important for us to make sure we do it for a number of reasons, not only because it's the right thing to do, because we share the oceans with these whales, but also because it impacts our ability to sell our products overseas. Other countries want us to have good measures in place to protect these creatures.
Our government has made sure there is money available to help harvesters with regard to some of the measures that we've had to put in place, including the Atlantic fisheries fund, which has been able to test things like easy-breaking rope and ways to track. We've also put in place the ghost gear fund, which was extremely popular when we launched it two years ago. It was then an $8-million project to clean up ghost gear. In the budget this year, it was increased with another $10 million to make sure we are dealing with ghost gear.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
You can count on us to make sure we're continuing to work with the industry to find out what works for it. We want to continue to have the conversations to see where the challenges are so that we can address them. We recognize how difficult this can be, but we are there to make sure that we're not only protecting the North Atlantic right whales but also that we're able to support the harvesters in this initiative.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
We were extremely pleased to see $300 million in the budget, recognizing that our small craft harbours actually drive our rural local economies and coastal communities. They are not in good shape. They need a lot of work, basically, because of things like climate change.
The budget has not been significant enough for them over the last number of years. Our government has actually put in close to $1 billion on small craft harbours over the last five years. This $300 million is going to be an added benefit to our coastal communities that rely on those harbours.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
We take into account a number of different initiatives when we are talking about managing our resources in all our rivers and in our ocean space.
With regard to the wild Pacific salmon, there are a number of people who do really great work in B.C. and do everything they can to protect and conserve the salmon.
I am not aware of whether there is a river-to-river system in place in British Columbia. I could perhaps turn to my deputy to see if he can answer that question.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
The plan for Atlantic salmon is currently under review. We are going to be updating that shortly.
Deputy, I'm not sure if you have any updates on where we are with that right now. I know there has been work done on it, but I'm not really sure if there's anything else.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you for the question.
A number of people have reached out to me directly with regard to PRV and the concerns they've seen. We welcome any new research that can help us identify and understand the potential risks of the PRV virus and associated strains. We do continue to support research on the number of factors that impact the health of our wild salmon.
All our science is peer reviewed. We will look at what has been put forward and make sure that we have the right path going forward.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I would say that our science is peer-reviewed, Mr. Johns. That is one of the reasons it is held to a very high standard.
With regard to the independence of the public service, they don't do this for political reasons. This is their job, and they take this science very seriously. I stand behind them in the extremely important work that they do.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you for the question, Mr. Calkins.
As I have said to you before, I am not averse to a mark-selective fishery. I do believe it needs to be done in a measured fashion. We cannot have something happening that may impact the wild stocks.
We have opened up mark-selective fisheries in a small scale in some areas as a test—as a pilot program—to see what can work. We have to recognize that the potential of increased fishing effort and increased mortalities from hooking and releasing are all things that have to be taken into consideration and are a real concern. We also need to make sure that—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I recognize how challenging this has been for the rec fishery, not only because of COVID but also because of the management measures we had to take. That is one of the reasons that this investment we have put in the budget is going to be so significant for making sure that we can do everything we have to do to see how we go forward with a mark-selective fishery.
I look forward to working with the anglers and the sport fishers to find out what that can look like for them, recognizing, though, that stocks are in serious decline. We have to be very careful with what we're allowing to happen in areas where there are challenges to those fish.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
That decision will be coming soon, Mr. Calkins. We are also developing a framework on whether chinook mark-selective fisheries and mass marking can be applied as a management tool. DFO is consulting on the chinook mark-selective fishery proposals from the recreational sector, and we are planning to proceed on a pilot basis in 2021, this year, so there are steps being taken.
As I have said many times, I am not averse to a mark-selective fishery. It just needs to be done within the right time frame and in the right way, and while recognizing that there are stocks of concern that we do need to be very careful about. Making sure that we have the right information, making sure that we have the right data, and making sure that we are addressing these concerns that we're hearing from people are all parts of the process.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you for the question, Mr. Morrissey.
One of the things that we all hear about is the unreported sales of fish. This is a challenge. Of course, as you know, DFO regulates the fishery, but once it hits the wharf, it becomes provincial jurisdiction with regard to processing and to who's buying it.
I will say that we are working collaboratively with the province on this issue. Also, of course, RCMP officers have a number of different tools that they use to address the concerns and do investigative work. We do not direct them. They are independent.
I think it's also important to note that I will be meeting with my eastern fisheries ministers very shortly, in the coming weeks, and this will br a topic of discussion, because it is a concern. When people are selling outside of the boundaries of the law, it impacts all of us. It impacts the price; it impacts the data we have, and it impacts our exports, so we want to make sure that this is done in an above board fashion.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Absolutely. I did not pick that up in my speech. I do apologize.
I was part of this committee when we did the year-long study that Mr. Arnold put forward on marine protected areas. We know that the best ones are built from the ground up. They are built in collaboration with all stakeholders, with indigenous peoples, with communities, with fishers. That's how they succeed.
Of course the intent of an MPA is not to close a fishery; the intent of an MPA is to make sure it's sustainable for the long term and make sure there's fishing for generations to come.
Are there areas where there is closure? Absolutely. This is not the case here, though. This is not what we are talking about. We are not talking about closing down industry.
I'm going to give some kudos here because I recognize that the Conservative Party, when they had their recent annual meeting, actually approved the 25% by 2025 goal for MPAs. I think that was a good step in the right direction for the Conservatives.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Absolutely.
This is something I'm extremely pleased about, because the Coast Guard does such critical work in our coastal communities. We rely on it heavily for the safety of our mariners, as well as for science, for research, for making sure areas are clear. We have actually put forward a plan to basically rebuild a number of the ships in the Coast Guard and to replace the older ones. We have some that will be, by the time they're replaced, 60 years old, which is older than I am. We're going to be making sure that our smaller boats are new and are put into areas that need them. New icebreakers are extremely important to the north.
We're making sure that the Coast Guard has the tools it needs to do the very important job that its doing.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I'm going to have to turn to my department, because I will admit that I am not aware of that.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you for the question, Mr. Zimmer.
As I have said to Mr. Calkins, I'm not averse to a mark-selective fishery. I do believe that—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Would you let me finish, please?
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
We currently have a pilot program in place. We will continue to work to find the best way forward, recognizing that the wild Pacific salmon are in dire straits in some areas—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
—and we need to make sure that anything we do does not impact the conservation of those fish.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
My end goal is to make sure that we have wild Pacific salmon. That is my end goal.
We have a stock that is in serious decline. We need to do everything possible, and we are making sure that we do that. A mark-selective fishery is a possibility, no question, but we need to make sure that before anything moves ahead, we do what we have to do to conserve the stock that we have.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I met with the sport fishing advisory board, and—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Can I finish answering the question?
View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Minister, for joining us today.
Minister, today's discussion has been mostly around the budget and Pacific salmon, but I would be remiss if I didn't quickly follow up on our reports on the implementation of a moderate livelihood.
A main focus was bringing groups together. We heard of the need to bring scientists, indigenous fishermen and commercial fishermen who are non-indigenous together in a room and really hear from the indigenous leaders and our knowledge-keepers, as well as commercial fishermen and researchers, in a dialogue on the issues.
I'm wondering if you could update us on we whether we have made progress on that front.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Battiste.
I also want to thank the committee for the report and the recommendations. It was a very good report, and I look forward to being able to provide you with a response in the near future.
One thing we heard loud and clear throughout a lot of this, and through your report, was that we needed increased communication between the department—me—commercial harvesters and the first nations. We have set up tables to make sure that happens.
We have made progress on having information available to harvesters with regard to first nations' rights and what they mean and what it looks like. We have seen a great uptake from the commercial sector with regard to the information sessions we have put out and the workshops we put in place, but we know there's more work to do.
This has been a long-standing issue, as you well know. It's not one that we will solve overnight, but we are committed to making sure that we are listening. We are doing everything we possibly can to make sure that the concerns we have heard are addressed.
View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Minister.
I also want to say thank you for the small craft harbours funding. I know that's going to mean a lot to our communities in the Atlantic.
This funding, I understand, is part of our broader blue economy strategy, which I know is currently soliciting feedback from the same stakeholders we discussed earlier: indigenous peoples, commercial fishermen, environmental groups.
Could you speak a bit about the importance of the consultation to the strategy as a whole?
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
The blue economy strategy is a priority in my mandate letter, recognizing that Canada, with three oceans and the longest coastline in the world, has the potential for significant growth in the ocean sector. We can look at countries that are other ocean nations, like Norway, where 37% of their GDP is driven by the ocean sector. In Canada, it's 1.6%. We know there's a lot of potential and that we could do a lot more.
To your point with regard to the small craft harbours, making sure that our coastal communities have the infrastructure they need in order to drive their economy is critical. That's why that investment in the budget is so significant and so important.
I will also say that the consultation process that we've undertaken for the blue economy strategy has been significant, and it's extremely important, because we need to make sure that any investments we make are done strategically. We need to make sure that we have the right path forward with regard to the environment and the economy, making sure that our blue economy strategy is sustainable and making sure that this is there for the long term. It's not just a quick fix and it's not just a one-year plan as we come out of COVID; this is going to drive our rural coastal communities' economies for the next 15 to 20 years.
View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Minister.
How much time do I have, Mr. Chair?
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Jaime Battiste Profile
Lib. (NS)
Okay. Thank you, Minister. I didn't quite get that.
Minister, one of the things that we heard during the moderate livelihood study—and I know you've heard it from the Mi'kmaq communities—was about netukulimk and ensuring that conservation is practised for generations to come. I wonder if you could speak a bit about what you've heard from the Mi'kmaq communities on the need for conservation and what you have learned about this concept that we've heard so much about in this study.
I know that I didn't give you a lot of time to answer, but could you?
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I would say that the first nations communities are stewards of the ocean. They're stewards of the environment. Conservation is a priority for them. I think that's one of the things that we all have in common. Everybody wants to see the species that we rely on available for generations to come; nobody wants to fish something into extinction. That's one of the reasons conservation will always be the underpinning reason for any decision we make.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you for the question, Mr. Trudel.
I will say that “urgency” is absolutely the way that we have to frame this. We have to make sure that wild Pacific salmon survive. This is a unique opportunity and a time for us to make sure that we do everything we possibly can.
The budget announcement is significant because it is a historic amount of money to be put forward, but we have to make sure that we're doing it strategically. We have to make sure that we are doing it in collaboration with other stakeholders, with the indigenous communities.
To that point, one of the main things that we will be doing as we move forward is working in collaboration with those organizations to find out what the priorities are and make sure that we find where the strategic investments have to go, where the policies are that need to change and where the regulations are that possibly need to change. These are all parts of the process, and we are working very hard to make sure that we get those things right.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
We already have programs that we are funding this year, programs like the B.C. SRIF program and the habitat restoration program on the British Columbia coast. Those are all programs that are already ongoing and that we've put the investments in, so it's not like there's no money there now and this is just a small amount. There's already money available that we're working with from previous years.
To your point, there is an ongoing ability for us to invest in making sure that we're doing the right things, because there is money here now, but this is an additional amount that we've been given.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you Mr. Johns. I would like to thank you for your advocacy. You and I have had a number of good discussions over the last few years with regard to this issue, and I appreciate your comments.
The new centre of expertise is going to be something that will bring people together so that we aren't working at cross-purposes. This is one of the challenges we have seen when we have so many different groups trying to do the same thing. It's really important to make sure we come together and find the right path forward by working in collaboration.
I know that people say, “Oh, you say that all the time”, as Mr. Zimmer did, but the reality is that we have to do this with first nations, the province and environmental groups. A centre of expertise is going to give us that ability to work with the best people on the ground who are doing this work now.
Your point is very well taken. That is actually the goal I have. It is to make sure we are working with everyone to make sure we find the best way to conserve and protect these species.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I believe Mr. Bragdon is frozen.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I have been constantly consulting with industry, first nations, environmental organizations, and communities that have been impacted. I have numerous meetings. My departmental officials also meet with them on a regular basis. My staff meet with people on a regular basis, so with regard to...
I want to approach the moderate livelihood issue specifically, because you did bring that up first with regard to the premier's comments. Quite frankly, his comments with regard to having everybody at the table were inappropriate. These are nation-to-nation negotiations. This is something that we do with first nations at the negotiating table. The industry was well aware of what was going on. We met with the industry on a regular basis. I met with industry—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Bragdon, could I finish my—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Bragdon.
I will continue to say that I meet with industry regularly. I meet with my provincial counterparts regularly. I meet with first nations on a regular basis. I—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I had many meetings with Minister Popham. I have had meetings with....
I will continue to have those discussions.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
My decision on the Discovery Islands was, as I have said many times, not an easy one to make. It was made after there were consultations with the seven first nations in that area, recognizing that this was not a good fit in their territory. This is what I heard from them during the consultation process that I went through with them.
I will say that I have met with the Province of British Columbia. My parliamentary secretary has an ongoing relationship with the Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture in British Columbia. I have met with Premier Horgan. I have met with a number of stakeholders on both the west and east coasts, and my departmental officials have continually been meeting as well.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Are you asking about the new centre of expertise for the salmon, the salmon strategy?
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
That will be run out of DFO, but it will be done in co-operation with the stakeholders working in this industry on the ground.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
Can I also mention that there is also going to be an arm's-length advisory board at the centre of expertise as well? It will be made up of individuals both inside and outside of DFO.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I am going to turn to my department on that one.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
The work on the aquaculture act is already well under way. Of course, recognizing that aquaculture is governed differently on the west coast from the way it is governed on the east coast, we have to do this in collaboration with partners.
I think the whole focus of the act has to provide clarity to the industry. We recognize how important the aquaculture sector is. We know how important it is to jobs and to providing a food source. It's an extremely important industry. It is very different in Newfoundland and Labrador from what it is in British Columbia and in Prince Edward Island.
The aquaculture act will give us an ability to provide clarity to the industry with regard to sustainability and regulation and just make sure that everything is there, because aquaculture is not covered under the Fisheries Act as well as it should be.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
With regard to the guardians program, I've been doing consultation under the blue economy strategy. I think I have probably done somewhere in the vicinity of 35 round tables. It comes up on a regular basis at almost every one of them about how important that program is, so I can see that being part of the path forward with regard to the blue economy.
We have also made some significant investments in indigenous communities with regard to the Coast Guard Auxiliary by providing boats for indigenous communities. I think there has been collaboration on the west coast with indigenous communities and the Coast Guard.
I think the guardians program is an amazing program that we really need to do more with—absolutely.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I'm sorry. I'm not sure I understand the question.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
First of all, I'm going to say that I'm extremely proud of our government and the decisions that we have made with regard to investments in making sure that we are doing everything we possibly can to protect the wild Pacific salmon. You talked about that.
We've also invested, in budget 2018, I believe, $43 million for aquatic invasive species. Is there more to be done? Absolutely.
With regard to the B.C. shrimp program, we have made significant investments in habitat restoration. With regard to science—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
We are continuing to make sure that we are working to deal with aquatic invasive species. Of course, there is ongoing funding for things like the Asian carp and sea lampreys, and of course we know there have been challenges this year with regard to the quagga mussels. We are continuing to work in collaboration and to get the science to make sure that we make the right decisions with regard to these species.
It is a challenging—
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I would say that we actually have absolutely communicated to stakeholder groups and first nations on decisions. The management decisions are often very tough, because it does mean that we have to sometimes cut quotas and sometimes cut total allowable catch, depending on where you are. These are tough, Mr. Arnold. There's no question.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
As I have said, with regard to the spot prawn specifically, I am 100% committed to getting this issue solved for the long term. We were able to work with the industry to have a plan in place for this year, but we will be making sure that there is a plan in place as we go forward. That has to be done in consultation with the industry.
View Bernadette Jordan Profile
Lib. (NS)
I am actually going to turn to my deputy minister for this one, please.
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