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View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
I want to respond to that very quickly.
It's ironic that Mr. Albas is saying that this matter has been compressed. This is a very short bill, yet we are many hours into this process and the Conservatives are slow-walking this bill. Having originally supported it, now they're against it. Maybe they'll support it yet again. We don't know. They're going to consult.
They're even dragging on an issue of whether to correct the French language in this bill on a minor point. To say that this is compressed is interesting, given the amount of time, including the amount of time that Mr. Albas has spent already in this meeting on a couple of very minor points.
It's interesting. It's ironic. I will stop.
In the past, I know that the members of this party have asked for unanimous consent to change a vote because they perhaps weren't paying attention. That's acceptable from the rest of the House, but it's denied in these particular cases for Mr. Albas if it will delay this process even more. It's rather unfortunate. I want to point that out. Thank you.
View Ya'ara Saks Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ya'ara Saks Profile
2021-06-07 15:56
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
We're entering into the field of debate. It's really not the time or the place for this. We really do need to get to work on the process of getting through this bill. I really don't feel it is the time for this.
View Ya'ara Saks Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ya'ara Saks Profile
2021-06-07 16:04
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, colleagues.
Mr. Chair, I'm happy to introduce a motion to modify subclause 15(2) of the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act.
This motion ensures that the assessment reports will include additional information, something we've heard much about, such as a summary of Canada's most recent official GHG emissions inventory known as the NIR; information submitted by Canada under its international commitments on climate change; and an assessment of the co-operative measures, whether they be with the provinces or other governments, and how they contribute to Canada's efforts to achieve its targets. This motion strengthens the act by consolidating, in its assessment reports, information already contained in Canada's other reports related to GHG emissions.
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2021-06-07 16:51
On a point of order, was the vote not called?
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2021-06-07 16:52
I'm raising a point of order. You called the vote. This isn't a time for debate.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Albas does not have the floor and is just interrupting.
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
Again, I have a point of order.
Mr. Chair, Mr. Albas just keeps interrupting. He's a stickler for the rules, but he doesn't—
View Yvan Baker Profile
Lib. (ON)
I was not going to move this one, but I can move it. Let me see.
Mr. Chair, I am introducing this amendment to add new language to subclause 20(2) of the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act to require the Minister of the Environment to publish the advisory body's terms of reference and amendments made to them. This strengthens the act by increasing transparency in the process.
View Yvan Baker Profile
Lib. (ON)
It's subclause 20(2).
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
I agree with Ms. McPherson that extra time would have helped, certainly at the beginning, to try to move this forward. In fact, several times at the beginning of the study of Bill C-10, I tried to get extra time for extra meetings so that we could move through this quickly.
We have now reached a point where, in the last meeting, we did not vote on a single amendment. Adding extra meetings during the summer isn't going to help us get to where we need to be because at this point, we have just reached a standstill. Quite frankly, Ms. McPherson is well aware that there is a motion for time allocation and I would hope she would support that so that we can put this important bill forward and make sure that we are doing what we need to have web giants pay their fair share and to support Canadian artists.
I would point out that the Conservatives have been filibustering here at committee, as is their right to do by parliamentary procedure, the same as it is our right to bring forward a motion for time allocation.
I would like to point out to Ms. McPherson that I think it's been laid bare at this point, when I am looking at statements that have been made by the Conservatives, that the issue here isn't about freedom of expression that they are really pushing for. In fact, I would just point out what Ms. Harder stated to her local press about Bill C-10 specifically, and what is trying to be done. The quote I have is:
These artists are not able to make a living off of what they are producing, so they require grants that are given to them by the government. And so these little, niche lobby groups composed of outdated artists are going to the Liberal government and asking them to charge these large streaming companies in order to bring about more money to put into these grant funds so these outdated artists can then apply for that money so they can continue to create material Canadians don’t want to watch.
That's the fight we're in about Bill C-10 right now. That is saying that artists like the Arkells or shows like Heartland are not things that Canadian want to watch, and that we shouldn't be supporting, as a government. I don't believe that's true.
My question for Ms. McPherson is, is she going to support time allocation so that we can move forward to support artists, or is she going to take the position that these are outdated artists whom we don't need to be providing support for?
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, I want to revisit the point that there's absolutely a need to move to time allocation, because we could sit all summer. We are going through entire meetings without voting on a single amendment. For the past several meetings, even when we do vote on an amendment, it's one or two a meeting. At that pace, we will not complete the study of Bill C-10 . We will just keep going for months and months and months.
I do believe there's a bit of a disconnect, if anything, on that, to say that if we just add in a few more meetings this summer we'll be able to complete it. That's clearly not what's been shown over the past weeks and even, I would say, months.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
No, I think you had Monsieur Champoux before me. My hand is down.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
I move to adjourn the debate.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, I find this amendment interesting for two reasons. One is that it seems to very much mirror an amendment that had been voted down by this committee previously. In addition, it is again trying to carve out contributions toward our cultural production funds.
In light of what Ms. Harder said in her local press, I believe that a lot of what the Conservatives are seeking to do right now is, in fact, reduce our cultural production funds as a whole. Part of the reason I feel this way is this quote, which stood out to me:
That arts fund actually goes toward a very niche group of artists that are stuck in the early 1990s because they haven’t managed to be competitive on new platforms. So they are very reliant on government grants in order to continue to exist. And, quite frankly, they are producing material that Canadians just don’t want.
I apologize—
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, I have a point of order.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm wondering if Ms. Dabrusin could focus on the actual amendment instead of what another Conservative member has said to her local media.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
I was. I appreciate that, Mr. Chair, because it goes to the point about contributions to the funds, which is actually what this amendment goes to.
If I may, I'll just complete it to make sure that it's clear what I believe the actual background is to this amendment. Then I will have a question, actually, beyond that.
She continued to say, “Because, at the end of the day, if Canadians did want it then there would be a market for it. And if there was a market for it then these artists would get paid based on the market.”
Basically, in that quote there is a huge disrespect, a tremendous disrespect, for our cultural production funds and for our artists.
As I pointed out, there is that background to it, as well as the fact that this is something the committee has already considered. I was wondering if perhaps the department could help me to better understand what the impact of this amendment would be. What would be the net impact of allowing this amendment to proceed?
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Perhaps the department can help me with getting some clarification, because the way I understood Mr. Waugh's argument, he was talking about user-uploaded content to companies, and I understand that user-uploaded content is excluded.
I wonder if I could get some clarification. This proposal is about the companies, is it not? Could you help to clarify that for me?
View Tim Louis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Point of order, Mr. Chair.
View Tim Louis Profile
Lib. (ON)
It's only a technical thing, Mr. Chair.
I believe Mr. Ripley's transmission was broken, and I just couldn't hear him at a very critical spot. I wonder if he could repeat that, just on a technical side. I don't believe we could hear his answer fully.
View Tim Louis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thanks, Mr. Chair.
If you could repeat the whole answer, it would really help with the flow.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
I would just to quickly say that I was just pointing out that it has come up in the House in debate and it came up in that article that the Conservatives have said that Canadian creators are a niche market and that there has been a certain denigration of having cultural production programs and funds to support our Canadian creators. That does cause me to question the filibustering we have seen as well as the onslaught of these many new amendments being proposed and how that's been happening.
That is my point, and I think it's been raised in the House in debate, here at committee in the ongoing debate, and in that article that I quoted.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
I do believe though that raises a valid question. Perhaps I could ask the department whether there is any analysis as to what the impact of this amendment on cultural production funds would be. It might assist in the argument, given what Mr. Shields has raised.
View Marci Ien Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Marci Ien Profile
2021-06-07 12:49
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
I'm so sorry to interrupt, but the bells are ringing in the House. We have to vote.
View Marci Ien Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Marci Ien Profile
2021-06-07 12:49
My apologies.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order. I'm so unfamiliar with sitting in a committee room. How do I make sure that my hand is raised? I don't want to hold it up the entire time. I just want to make sure that I'm in the queue. On Zoom I would just leave my hand up, but here it might fall off.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
I think it's only most appropriate that I go after those three distinguished parliamentarians.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank Mr. Ripley for those final few comments. I automatically thought “cue the lobbyists”, because there are nine months to try to influence things to make them the way you want them to be.
I actually want to focus specifically on that issue.... In general, it relates, I think, to my problem overall with big government programs. The bigger the government, the more interference and the greater the chance for undue influence. Mr. Waugh quite capably raised that issue. I actually want to ask the question of Mr. Manly, specifically, because he has some experience with the system as it exists today. I have absolutely zero experience with the traditional broadcasting realm.
If I could start with this question, I'm curious to know, Mr. Manly, in the process of trying to get recognized as Canadian content in the traditional system, were you aware of situations where high-paid lobbyists were clearly able to get their client's product broadcast somewhere, ahead of a smaller operation like yours?
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
It was a much longer answer to my question than I expected. You must be in politics now. Well done. You actually answered it right off the hop when you said, “That's exactly how the system works.”
At the risk of precipitating another longer answer, I wonder about this. If that's the way the system works, do you not recognize the risk of actually recreating the existing system on the Internet? I thought one of the great advantages of these online tools was the remarkable democratizing effect they had, where anybody could be producing what they want. I keep coming back to the example of Justin Bieber, who didn't have to worry about some producer in some tower in Manhattan deciding that he was good enough. He became a superstar because of this tool that was available to everybody, equally.
I appreciate what you're trying to do. You're Mr. Compromise, which is lovely, but do you not fear that with your amendment this is going to just perpetuate a really bad system on the Internet?
I'm sorry. That's to Mr. Manly as well.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
But Mr. Manly, isn't it a fairly wild assumption to think that the CRTC would only have discoverability requirements that say there has to be “Canada” in the tag? Clearly there's quite a process to adjudicate whether something is sufficiently Canadian to be promoted as Canadian. You can't just have a tag that says “Canadian”—
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
I think we've reached the point.... Right now, we are not going into CRTC regulatory-making pieces. This is going quite far afield from this amendment.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
It's not really far afield.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
I didn't really get to finish the question that I was asking him before I was unceremoniously interrupted there.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
I just want to get to this point about how, Mr. Manly, you feel that we won't be recreating the same bad system, because there aren't two individuals to sort of decide what gets on CTV or CBC. The CRTC, through its discoverability rules.... Do you think it's conceivable that the only thing that they will require for discoverability rules is to have a tag that says it's Canadian?
What about all of the rules that determine what is sufficiently Canadian or not? You say right now that you have to fill out these lengthy forms to describe where it was produced and all of that kind of stuff, to determine how Canadian it is and whether it meets the Canadian content requirements.
I have to assume, then, that when the CRTC starts to apply these rules online, it will have to have more than just a simple “Canadian” tag. It would have to have an awful lot more detail, would it not?
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
I think I'm done. I think Mr. Manly has more faith in the bureaucracy than I do, but that's good for me.
Thank you, sir.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
This sounds a whole lot more like debate than a point of order, and we have an amendment on the floor.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
I feel that we're debating the debate that was in the House and not the amendment that's on the floor. If Ms. Harder would like to discuss this amendment, that would be lovely.
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
2021-06-03 15:50
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thanks to the witness, Ms. Dupuis-Blanchard.
It's great to have you here. Thanks for your testimony.
I want to go back to what Mr. Vis was talking about in relation to social isolation and loneliness. Certainly it's a concern. I am fully aware in my community of constituents in long-term care, but also seniors who are isolated at home for long periods of time. From your perspective, what are the health impacts that seniors have been experiencing as a result of this?
As an example, my mother has vascular dementia and has been isolated for almost 15 months in long-term care and I've seen a very significant decline in her overall physical health.
Could you comment on the health impacts of that?
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
2021-06-03 15:53
Thank you for those comments. They're really appreciated.
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
2021-06-03 15:55
Thank you.
I'll go to Mr. Kuperman. Thank you for being here. I suppose you probably caught the tail end—
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
2021-06-03 16:00
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
That was absolutely perfect, because the question I was going to ask you was basically answered in your opening remarks. Thank you for that. I have other questions that follow up on your opening remarks, so perhaps I'll get to dive a little further into the topic as a result.
You mentioned intergenerational programming as potentially a way to reduce social isolation and loneliness among seniors. You also talked about digital literacy and the divide that is perhaps there. I think we're all present to that. I know the new horizons for seniors program has at times, at least in my riding, focused on some of the programs that can be delivered in a virtual format during the pandemic.
Mr. Kuperman, could you expand on how we address digital literacy when dealing with seniors?
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
2021-06-03 16:02
Coming out of the pandemic, assuming we are, which I think we're all very hopeful for at this moment.... Certainly with vaccinations increasing across the country and case numbers going down in most areas of the country, I think perhaps we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
There is this sort of shadow pandemic of mental, physiological and emotional health and cognitive functioning, which you spoke to, within the seniors population, and I wonder how we begin to address that as we move forward. Do you have broad suggestions for us on what we can do to ensure that seniors' health, both physical and emotional, doesn't decline further?
View Han Dong Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Chair.
I want to thank the witnesses for coming to the committee today.
Dr. Dupuis-Blanchard, I have a quick follow-up on MP Tochor's question with regard to long-term care. After the release of the report by our military on project Laser, what kind of response or feedback did you receive from the NSC?
View Han Dong Profile
Lib. (ON)
Did any recommendation on what the federal government can do going forward stand out for you?
View Han Dong Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
Professor Kuperman, do you have any comments or suggestions on this?
View Han Dong Profile
Lib. (ON)
I want to talk about something that you are familiar with.
You mentioned that we know for a fact that seniors feel happier when they're aging at home with their family, community and neighbours. Can you tell us a little bit about what social isolation does to a senior's physical health?
View Han Dong Profile
Lib. (ON)
I have to share with you that in my family line, a few people at the end of of their lives were patients of dementia. Is there a direct or indirect link between social isolation and dementia?
View Han Dong Profile
Lib. (ON)
Dr. Dupuis-Blanchard, you talked about the new horizons program. We've seen $25,000 awarded to organizations like the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, Diversity 101 and Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward Island. The seniors who identify as a member of the LGBTQ2+ community faced different additional challenges during the pandemic. Do you have any views on what else the government can do to support them?
View Han Dong Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
It's great to see the Conservatives supporting the boost to the guaranteed income supplement. They voted against it, of course, when we did it in the last mandate, which was a landmark move to help reduce seniors poverty. I'm glad they're coming on board to understand that seniors need this help now.
I'd like to ask Deb Shime about some of the collective efforts and the individual efforts.
Of course, individual transfers are important, but Dr. Kuperman from McMaster was here earlier as a witness. He said that there was a real pivot point at the end of August and the beginning of September in terms of major indicators that he was following around seniors health. This is interesting, because in the first wave of support for seniors in the pandemic, we increased direct transfers to seniors, but we were convinced by the provinces that they needed support, too, so we did a block transfer with the safe restart agreement that kicked in for September. It was a $22-billion transfer to the provinces.
Did you receive funding from provincial governments at that point to sustain and extend your services through the safe restart agreements?
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
Direct transfers for long-term care were part of that block funding as well. Doug Ford, in our province of Ontario, boasted that he was going to put an “iron ring” around long-term care with these new federal dollars, but we saw even worse results in the second wave than we saw in the first wave. The only real iron ring that was put around seniors residences was a legal one, which prevents families from suing for neglect of care.
Did you see any long-term care specific engagements from the provinces or were we better to spend our money directly with front-line services than with transfers to provinces?
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
On aging in place, there are some who say we should do direct transfers to individuals through CPP and OAS and just send people individual cheques. In terms of seniors, we also heard that the collective action—engagement in social settings, physical activity, being checked-in—and the community care were as critical to seniors' health and outcomes.
In that regard, is it just a question of transfers or a question of dollar amounts being sent in cheques, or do we need to also build systems that provide additional supports to help people age in place?
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
If you have mobility issues, you may have a cheque to go to the grocery store, but if you can't get up or down the stairs to get to the kitchen or out of the house to get to the supermarket, if you don't have the supports around to realize the menu, there's no point in having money if you can't get to the grocery store or cook and clean afterwards.
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
On the individual transfers, people talk about the guaranteed income supplement. We, of course, boosted that by 10%. They don't talk about the GST rebates. That was about $400 per person across the country, which is also a direct transfer to individuals. Now, as well, there is the new top-up for people over the age of 75. All of these measures collectively....
Madam Tassé-Goodman, at the end of the day it doesn't matter what cheque from the government becomes bigger. What matters is that the household contribution grows. Whether it's CPP, OAS, GIS, the GST rebate or even the refund on a price on pollution, as long as all of the federal transfers to individuals increase, seniors do better. It doesn't need to be one or the other.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, colleagues.
I want to thank all the officials for being here today and for all their hard work.
I know you've given us some of the statistics, Ms. Underwood, but I do think it's important to have a little bit more on record in terms of the difference in challenges faced by seniors between the ages of 65 and 74, and the challenges or the data that we have for those who are 75 and over.
I know you talked about those who are 75 and over. We know they have some more needs and challenges, but could you provide some of the data you have on those between the ages of 65 and 74, and maybe a little bit more on the 75-plus?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
As a follow-up, Ms. Underwood, and as part of the conversation we're having today, have you any specific data that you might want to share, that you think might be helpful for us to know, regarding seniors between the ages of 65 and 74?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Perfect. Thank you.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, I'd like to hear what Mr. Ste-Marie says first before I go, if that's okay.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Look. Just in terms of the debate of these, there is no intention or desire to discriminate. I don't agree with the premise of what Mr. Julian has said. I think everybody knows that in every budget there are choices that need to be made when there are limited dollars. I think that we heard very clearly from our officials that half of those over 75 have a disability of which 56% are severe, and 75% of them are women, who live longer and have lower incomes. There is a desire to provide some additional support to this group.
I guess maybe I'll end with a question to officials that I hope will be helpful in this discussion. Is there research that shows how the costs for seniors increase once they pass the age of 75 and why financial assistance is useful at this moment?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
That's excellent information.
Can I just clarify, Mr. Chair?
You mentioned something about 59%. Could you just repeat the data that you gave on the first one? I missed it.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you so much.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I think my colleague just said that the government made this ruling. I think it was you who made this ruling, and I just want to put that on the record.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
It's just a quick one, Mr. Chair. Thank you.
Can our officials just let us know which stakeholders support these revised provisions?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Can I ask one quick follow-up question, Mr. Chair?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Ms. Beattie, has this measure been informed by the findings on diversity detailed in this year's public service employee survey?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I want to thank Ms. Hall and her team for their hard work.
My question is around negotiations with provinces and territories. How will that be set up?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Could I ask one more question, Mr. Chair?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
The Minister of Finance set up a task force on women in the economy. Could you relay what role it plays in informing the government's strategy on child care moving forward?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
No, it's okay, Mr. Chair. I'll pass for now. Thank you.
(Clause 291 agreed to on division)
(Clause 292 agreed to on division)
(On clause 293)
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'm sure he shares the concern that I have, which is that Mr. Julian put some things on the record that were not accurate by any means. To defend the chair here, I know you're modest, Mr. Chair. You're not going to get in the way of Mr. Julian's making an argument, letting his opinions cloud what are the facts, and the facts are not what he said.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank Ms. Paquet for the explanation.
Could you tell us a bit more about the ruling from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you. I have a follow-up, if it's okay, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Paquet, can you kindly refresh my memory on section 91?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
Can I have one more small question, a definition one?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Could you just define for us what “knowledge requirement” means?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes, that's on behalf of us all.
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
Colleagues, welcome to meeting number 39 of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.
We're meeting today pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) and the motion adopted on May 25, 2021, to receive a briefing on the current situation in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
As always, to ensure the smooth running of the meeting, I encourage participants to mute their microphones when not speaking and address comments to the chair.
When you have 30 seconds of speaking time left, either during the question period or your testimony period, I will signal you with this card.
You can access the interpretation services by clicking on the globe icon at the bottom of the screen.
I would now like to welcome our witnesses from Global Affairs Canada. We have with us this afternoon Troy Lulashnyk, director general, Maghreb, Egypt, Israel and West Bank and Gaza; and Karen Garner, director, Israel, West Bank and Gaza.
Mr. Lulashnyk, the floor is yours for your opening remarks of five minutes.
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Lulashnyk, for your opening remarks and for being with us this afternoon.
We will go to round one of our interventions. They consist of six-minute segments.
Leading us off this afternoon will be Mr. Chong.
Please go ahead. The floor is yours.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to our witnesses for appearing to brief us on the situation.
I noted that the government, during the recent conflict, highlighted the rocket attacks on Israel that were coming from the Gaza Strip. I also noted that the government's statement called on foreign entities that support Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to end their material and financial support for these groups.
I'm assuming that the foreign entity that the government is referring to is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Is that correct?
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you for that answer.
As you pointed out in your opening remarks, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are terrorist entities listed under the Criminal Code of Canada.
I'm interested in finding out from you what material support they are getting. The government obviously has indicated that they're getting financial support, but what kind of material support are they getting from Iran? Is Iran supplying ready-built rockets or the raw materials for those rockets? Is it supplying personnel? What exactly does the material support consist of?
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Iran obviously is a big player in this conflict.
The Prime Minister indicated in 2015 that the Government of Canada intended—that he intended, as head of government—to reopen Canada's embassy in Tehran. Can you tell us if that is still the case?
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. Thank you. I have one quick final question before my time runs out.
We know that the big counter to Iran in the region is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Government of Canada has indicated previously that it welcomed the Abraham Accords. What impact will the recent Gaza conflict have on the status of the Abraham Accords and their potential extension to other states in the region?
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chong.
Ms. Saks, you have six minutes, please.
View Ya'ara Saks Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ya'ara Saks Profile
2021-06-03 15:44
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to our officials for being here. Thank you for the hard work you do on behalf of Canadians and for making yourselves available to the committee today.
Let me start with this. I am an Israeli Canadian citizen. I lived in Israel during the second intifada. I have been witness to, and unfortunately present at, terrorist bombings. It's an indescribable and awful experience. It's hard for Canadians to relate to it from here.
During the recent conflict, I had family huddling in bomb shelters. I know the stress of worrying for their safety. Is everyone from Canada's mission staff in Israel all right? Is their mental health okay? Is support available to them during this time?
View Ya'ara Saks Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ya'ara Saks Profile
2021-06-03 15:46
Absolutely. Thank you.
Unfortunately, at this time, with Hamas in a leadership role in Gaza and its absolute control in the planning and coordination of military activities there, life in Gaza for Palestinians is difficult and challenging. The military wing is really not distinct from the civilian leadership on the ground. From my understanding, women and LGBTQ and religious minorities face discrimination in treatment, as do political dissidents.
In light of that persecution and other things that we've heard on the ground there, dealing with humanitarian on the ground in Gaza is challenging. How would you respond to that?
View Ya'ara Saks Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ya'ara Saks Profile
2021-06-03 15:48
On that note, since 2014, Hamas has been holding the bodies of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. Since 2014, Hamas has also been holding Avera Mengistu, an Israeli civilian, prisoner, as well as an Israeli Bedouin civilian, Hisham al-Sayed, since 2015.
Are there any indications, especially now with the ceasefire discussions that are going on, that, after nearly seven years, Hamas is willing to return the remains of Goldin and Shaul to their families for burial or release the additional hostages?
View Ya'ara Saks Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ya'ara Saks Profile
2021-06-03 15:50
It certainly would be in the efforts of moving toward peacebuilding.
On that note, I am personally very pleased about the peacebuilding funding, the $25 million that the Canadian government has allocated. I worked on people-to-people initiatives, including some CIDA-funded ones in the early 1990s as part of the Oslo accords. They're essential for building the foundations for peace, for both Israelis and Palestinians in the region.
Could you possibly provide more information on why this funding is so important, and what kinds of initiatives Canada will be supporting, perhaps a bit more than what you mentioned in your opening remarks?
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Ms. Saks.
Thank you very much, Mr. Lulashnyk.
Mr. Bergeron, you have the floor for six minutes.
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Bergeron.
Thank you very much, Mr. Lulashnyk.
We'll now go to the final questioning in this round, with Mr. Harris for six minutes.
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thanks very much. We'll have to leave it there.
We'll now go to round two. Leading us off is Mr. Morantz for five minutes.
Please, go ahead.
View Sven Spengemann Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Morantz, I'm sorry. We'll have to leave it there. You'll have a chance to perhaps follow up in a second round.
We'll give the floor now to Ms. Sahota, please, for five minutes.
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
I appreciate both of the witnesses being here today and their experience and depth of knowledge. I have a few questions to get through.
Canadians have been watching this unfold very closely, and many have been horrified at the human rights violations they have seen. As people have been digging into it and more and more of my constituents have been asking me questions about Canada's role in this, I want to understand it better but also understand Canada's view as to the viability of the two-state solution.
You look at the map currently, and it's like a whole bunch of puzzle pieces. There have been more and more expansions of settlements and forced evictions happening into the Palestinian territory.
What effect does that have on the fact that Canada believes in a two-state solution? Do we then believe, if we do not recognize the annexation of East Jerusalem and other territories in Gaza, that Israel would have to cede that area? What are our thoughts on that?
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
If we are acknowledging the inherent illegality of the current land ownership, what do you think Canada's role can be in helping make sure that each have clear...? If we're working toward a two-state solution with clear borders that are defined, what can we do to help that happen?
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Can you help me better understand why 138 countries that are a part of the UN have recognized Palestine as a state, but we have not yet? Can you explain to me a little bit more as to why Canada has taken that stand?
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