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Results: 421 - 480 of 119369
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you.
Mr. Chair, I would like not only the menus to be provided to committee members, but also the breakdown of expenditures, as I asked for previously, as soon as possible, of course. I do understand that certain catering agencies do not provide an itemized breakdown, but I would be surprised to learn that every caterer refused to provide a such an invoice.
Lieutenant-General Kenny, some of our troops went to Kuwait and to the Middle East. They ate during their flights. How much does it cost to provide a meal to a soldier who's on mission on board a flight to Kuwait or to the Middle East?
Eric Kenny
View Eric Kenny Profile
Eric Kenny
2022-09-22 17:02
I thank the member for her question.
I do not know the cost of the meals provided to our members during these flights.
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
Do our soldiers receive meals that cost less than those provided to the Governor General, her guests and her staff?
Eric Kenny
View Eric Kenny Profile
Eric Kenny
2022-09-22 17:03
I thank the member for her question.
We do not always provide the same types of meals on board our flights as compared to the flights of VVIPs, as I stated previously.
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
And yet in our minds, these soldiers should be considered VVIPs.
That said, we all have the same basic needs. Our meals should be fair. I am not saying that our soldiers should receive meals that cost $350. Rather, I am saying that the meals provided to the Governor General and the 28 or 29 persons who accompanied her should be more like those provided to our soldiers. If our soldiers are given certain meals, then those meals should be good enough for everyone, in my humble opinion.
You stated that snacks were provided. How many snacks, what kind of snacks and how much did these snacks cost in general?
Eric Kenny
View Eric Kenny Profile
Eric Kenny
2022-09-22 17:04
Mr. Chair, I thank the member for her question.
There were snacks that were served on the flights. I do not have the specific breakdown of the cost for the snacks with me at this time.
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
All right.
Would it be possible to send them to us, please?
Eric Kenny
View Eric Kenny Profile
Eric Kenny
2022-09-22 17:04
You've asked as a committee to see the cost of the catering. Whether it breaks down the cost of the snacks, I do not know, though.
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
Christine MacIntyre
View Christine MacIntyre Profile
Christine MacIntyre
2022-09-22 17:04
I would like to clear things up about the meal costs by stating that I was on board one of those flights. I can guarantee that the meals that we received were the same ones that are served on board commercial flights. Nothing in the menus gave cause for alarm. That is why we think it is important that we look at all the processes and see, for example, if we need to provide food during a flight that lasts an hour and a half.
With the information that we have gathered during past and current reviews, we will be able to make decisions and provide alternatives. Your question is relevant. We are looking at all the options in order to save money. Our office is supportive of all the efforts of our colleagues.
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
It would be fantastic if your reviews and all the others led to lasting results.
Christine MacIntyre
View Christine MacIntyre Profile
Christine MacIntyre
2022-09-22 17:06
Absolutely. I'm in agreement with you.
View Robert Kitchen Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you very much.
We'll now go to Mr. Johns for two and a half minutes.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I guess just following that, $218 average for a meal.... Were there any meals that stood out that were unexpected and that were in the hundreds of dollars?
Moving forward, are you going to learn and decide that this is clearly outrageous? I'm not saying that you should eat KD, but I think it would be good for us to know the costs of the meals for our soldiers who are going overseas. As Ms. Vignola spelled out, these are the people putting their lives on the line, and we're spending this much money on a delegation.
Ms. MacIntyre, can you tell me about the objectives of the Governor General's trip and what outcomes were achieved? I think that would be important for us to understand as well, given the cost of this trip.
Christine MacIntyre
View Christine MacIntyre Profile
Christine MacIntyre
2022-09-22 17:07
I will give an overview, and then I'll ask my colleague Mr. Wheeler to add to this, as these are the objectives of the government.
The Governor General is the commander-in-chief. One of the reasons we were going to this region and one of the things she did while she was there was go and visit our troops in Kuwait and in Qatar to accompany them, to see what they were doing, to offer them support and to recognize them.
We were also going to these countries as a gesture of thanks to these countries who helped Canada evacuate Canadians from Afghanistan during the crisis. We were there to build relationships with people who support this very important part in our foreign policy.
These questions.... The costs were really shocking to all of us. We had eggs. We had omelettes.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
I do appreciate that. In terms of the menu options that were presented by the Royal Canadian Air Force, were any of them rejected by Global Affairs? If so, what was the basis of rejecting the menus as presented? Did the selection of alternative options result in increased costs?
Stewart Wheeler
View Stewart Wheeler Profile
Stewart Wheeler
2022-09-22 17:08
I think I could lead on that question to say that there's always a back-and-forth between the flight steward and my team in looking at the options that have been put forward. There may have been changes to some elements, but again, looking at redundancies, looking at variety during the trip.... Are we going to have the same thing for breakfast twice in a row? Are we going to have different things? Are we having chicken, fish or pork?
On the question of the importance of the trip, if you'll allow me, I would just add that not only was the visit to the troops and the high-level engagement with the senior leadership of those countries important to express Canada's thanks and appreciation for everything they have done for our military platform in that region, but also, I would remind the committee, we were at the time reinforcing the importance of regional peace and security in the context of the crisis in Ukraine—
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
That's very important. I appreciate that—
View Robert Kitchen Profile
CPC (SK)
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
Just to wrap up, Mr. Chair, if you don't mind, just one comment: Two hundred and eighteen dollars a meal is about the average cost of the Port Alberni food truck that goes out and feeds over 100 homeless people a night where I live. I just want to make sure that's on the record, because that's what we have to be thinking about.
View Robert Kitchen Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you, Mr. Johns.
We'll now go to Mr. McCauley for five minutes.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'm going to share a bit of my time with my colleague Mr. Redekopp.
Just quickly, Lieutenant-General Kenny, would you be able to provide us with the flight length of each of the trips involved that we're discussing?
Eric Kenny
View Eric Kenny Profile
Eric Kenny
2022-09-22 17:10
Thank you for the question, Mr. Chair—
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
I'm sorry—just to the committee, not right now. Just when you have time.
LGen Eric Kenny: All right.
Mr. Kelly McCauley: Who in Global Affairs would have signed off on the menu? I think we heard in the opening statements that Global Affairs signs off. Who specifically would have done that and would they have seen the price?
Stewart Wheeler
View Stewart Wheeler Profile
Stewart Wheeler
2022-09-22 17:10
The final discussion on menus is a conversation back and forth. As we mentioned, it would be a member of my team, and no, they would not see the price at that time—
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay. Are they going to see the price in the future?
Stewart Wheeler
View Stewart Wheeler Profile
Stewart Wheeler
2022-09-22 17:11
As I mentioned, we.... That is—
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
How are we fixing this going forward so that someone says, “Oh my Lord, this is going to get us dragged in front of committee, a rather unpleasant OGGO”?
Stewart Wheeler
View Stewart Wheeler Profile
Stewart Wheeler
2022-09-22 17:11
We would always be happy to see the committee, but I think you're absolutely right, sir. What we need is to have an environment between the teams where those things are being flagged to us.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
My question back to General Kenny is, then, is someone on your side saying to Global Affairs, “Heads-up, this is all you're getting”? Is it like, “Good Lord, it's $400 for stringy Air Canada chicken, beware”? Or does it just go over and everyone just shrugs because it's the taxpayer?
Eric Kenny
View Eric Kenny Profile
Eric Kenny
2022-09-22 17:11
We're very aware of the use of public funds and we want to make sure we're fiscal stewards of that.
The coordination that goes on with Global Affairs Canada protocols specifically is to the contents of the menu. Once that's passed to us, we will then go ahead and work with the caterer. In many cases, we will not know the cost until after that menu is selected, and then we go back to the caterer, which is when we get the cost.
Many of these catering companies don't actually provide the breakdown of costs until you select the menu. That's one of the challenges we're having right now about trying to get ahead and making sure we're getting the best value.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
What airports tell you, “We're not telling you the price until after you've chosen something”? Having been in that business that actually catered to airlines for decades, I've never seen a process where it's, “We'll let you know the price after you've chosen.”
Eric Kenny
View Eric Kenny Profile
Eric Kenny
2022-09-22 17:12
I will give a bit more clarity on the process, Mr. Chair.
We'll work with Global Affairs Canada protocol, who will tell us, okay, on this flight leg, we are looking for a breakfast and a lunch. Once we get that information, we go to whatever catering company that we can go to. If we have multiple options, we'll do that. We'll say that we need menus for a breakfast and a lunch. We'll then get that information, pass it to Global Affairs Canada protocol, who will look at it to make sure that it meets the purpose—
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
Who is the gate....I don't want to say “gatekeeper”. Who, somewhere, looks at it and says, “We're not paying $218 for eggs, unless they're perhaps dodo eggs.” Who is saying that? Who has that opportunity to say, “Stop—we're not doing that”?
Eric Kenny
View Eric Kenny Profile
Eric Kenny
2022-09-22 17:13
This is one of the things that we're looking at. Obviously, based on what's come to light and why we're here today, there are changes that absolutely need to be made in terms of the oversight and how we determine the best value for what we're trying to do for the mission. This is something that we're working on closely to ensure....
We have already made a change, which is a change to the contingency percentage that we're purchasing.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
I'm going to let Mr. Redekopp have the time. Thanks.
View Robert Kitchen Profile
CPC (SK)
You have a minute and a half.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to pick up on that point of contingencies. You mentioned that there were contingencies. You eliminated part of them in 2019 and now, again.
Can you tell us a bit more about that? When you had the beef, chicken and pork options, how much contingency did you have if you had, say, 30 people on board? Did you have 35 meals? What were the typical contingencies?
What would happen to those excess meals once the flights were completed?
Eric Kenny
View Eric Kenny Profile
Eric Kenny
2022-09-22 17:14
I don't have the exact number of meals that were purchased for each flight and the contingency amount.
What I can tell you is that when you go on an airline right now, they'll often go in order. The first person has two choices and they get what they want, and as they go down, they run out of a specific meal set. That's the contingency. That's offered to more people than not, and that's what we've reduced specifically.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
CPC (SK)
Could you provide the committee with that information? What was the reduction? What was the contingency in 2019, and what did you reduce it to? What have you reduced it to now?
Eric Kenny
View Eric Kenny Profile
Eric Kenny
2022-09-22 17:15
We can look into that.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
CPC (SK)
If you could provide that, that would be great.
If we were to go on a military flight—you're flying officers or military people on those types of planes—would we find the same sort of situation if we were to do an Order Paper question on those types of things?
Eric Kenny
View Eric Kenny Profile
Eric Kenny
2022-09-22 17:15
Is that on flights with just military, specifically? Often, with the military flights, we fly through military airports and get our food from military facilities, which have a very different cost.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
CPC (SK)
Okay. Thank you.
I have one last question for Mr. Wheeler. You mentioned that the protocol office was doing a review, and you were maybe going to have some new procedures and policies.
Could you give us a bit of a timeline on that? Could you then provide that review to the committee, so we could see the results of that?
Stewart Wheeler
View Stewart Wheeler Profile
Stewart Wheeler
2022-09-22 17:15
Yes, absolutely, Mr. Chair. I'm happy to take that on board.
We are constantly working together, and these people work together all the time. What we are asking our teams to do is to work in between the operational working on a specific visit to sit down and say, “What isn't working here? Let's look at the numbers, now that we see those line numbers, and ask why this is part of the standard operating procedure. Nobody asks for this, so why is it part of it? Can we eliminate it in the future? Can we decide that we're going to set up some flags, so that flags go up, a question comes over and we make an alternate choice?”
That's what we're hoping, to instill that kind of rigour. We're hoping it will be an ongoing process and it isn't a one-stop review and then it's over. We want this to be the new practice.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
CPC (SK)
Can you provide that review to us, though—
View Robert Kitchen Profile
CPC (SK)
I'm sorry. It's not a bad question.
Could you provide that? Thank you.
We'll go to Mr. Jowhari for five minutes.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to all the witnesses for coming today. Thank you for acknowledging right off the bat that this is something that's not acceptable and for working toward....
Mr. Chair, I'll be splitting my time with my colleague, MP Kusmierczyk.
Madam MacIntyre, in your opening remarks, you said, “we immediately reached out to our partners at Global Affairs and National Defence to confirm the costs involved, to review processes related to in-flight catering and to evaluate and implement measures to improve efficiencies”. I would be interested in hearing about evaluating and implementing measures to improve efficiencies.
Can you talk about the measures and what you were trying to improve?
Christine MacIntyre
View Christine MacIntyre Profile
Christine MacIntyre
2022-09-22 17:18
The measures I was referring to are the measures that my colleagues are developing. Our office is supportive of anything we can do to bring more efficiencies to these processes—for example, bringing down the contingency, removing choice to the passengers on the flight and looking at questions. Really, we're open to anything we can do, because we were extremely concerned when we saw these costs come out.
For example, as Mr. Wheeler spoke about earlier, the office of protocol often looks at what the program is and how it connects with the flight. Do we need to eat on the flight? Is there an option where people can eat before they leave or after they arrive, so that catering doesn't need to be there? Are there additional elements that are part of the standard practice that we really don't need and that we can eliminate to have better efficiencies when it comes to these visits?
Further, what are other ideas? Let's think outside the box. We know that these costs are increasing in the airline industry. Every Canadian is seeing that when they're booking flights. How can we follow suit? How can we also encourage creativity and these kinds of flags from our department colleagues? That's something we want them to do. We want to encourage that kind of rigour.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
I might suggest that we establish a target or threshold by meal per flight, depending on the length. It would be a good idea. We as MPs have per diems, and we follow those to a T. Anything above that comes out of our own pocket.
I'll just leave it at that, because I want to give my colleague Mr. Kusmierczyk time to be able to ask his question.
View Irek Kusmierczyk Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Jowhari, and thank you very much, Chair.
Actually, my colleague just asked the very question I wanted to ask: Do officials at Global Affairs know if a cost is reasonable? Is there a schedule of rates that can be compared? Is there a guide, for example, that guides the folks who are signing off on these decisions?
Stewart Wheeler
View Stewart Wheeler Profile
Stewart Wheeler
2022-09-22 17:20
From the Global Affairs protocol perspective, I would refer to what the general mentioned, which is the complexity of factors that are in play when the final catering cost comes out. Those change for countries and for airports. It's not like the Treasury Board travel guidelines for a specific location, but I think that's exactly the kind of thinking that we're thinking about. When we get experience with travelling to different airports, we'll recognize, for example, that this is an airport that clearly gouges the state and private aircraft, because they force you to use certain caterers. Can we take that into consideration as well in the selection of which airports we choose to go to along the way?
I think we're open to looking at all possible economies affecting the various elements of our planning process.
View Irek Kusmierczyk Profile
Lib. (ON)
But I guess my question is about whether we can just set up a band, for example, where we can say that this is a reasonable cost, and anything above that requires extra thought or extra reconsideration. I think that would be helpful.
Stewart Wheeler
View Stewart Wheeler Profile
Stewart Wheeler
2022-09-22 17:21
That's precisely the kind of flag I'd like our teams to be developing.
Christine MacIntyre
View Christine MacIntyre Profile
Christine MacIntyre
2022-09-22 17:21
Again, to add a personal experience, I actually contracted COVID on this visit. I had to remain behind and quarantine in Qatar. So in terms of the Treasury Board.... This came to me as a public servant. You talk about per diems for members of Parliament. This to me gives an overall sense of the difference in the scale of price in these countries. For example, in Canada the Treasury Board per diem for breakfast is $22.80. In Qatar it's $42.77. In UAE it's $43.
It gives you a sense that where you go, as the general has said, really plays an important role in determining some of these costs. This is why asking these kinds of questions and having this kind of process is so important to go forward.
View Irek Kusmierczyk Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Ms. MacIntyre. I'm happy to see that you've recovered from COVID and that experience.
Christine MacIntyre
View Christine MacIntyre Profile
Christine MacIntyre
2022-09-22 17:22
It was a very unique experience.
A voice: It was hard to leave her behind.
Christine MacIntyre
View Christine MacIntyre Profile
Christine MacIntyre
2022-09-22 17:22
Yes. The entire motorcade left and I stayed behind for 11 days. It did help me appreciate what some of the challenges are.
View Robert Kitchen Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you.
That ends our second round, but it is my understanding that there is agreement amongst members for one more set of questions.
Mr. Paul-Hus, please go ahead.
View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
General, when the Governor General went to London, what aircraft did she use? She does not fly commercially, so there must have been another aircraft. It was not the CC-150 Polaris, because in the answer provided to the written question No. 512, we can see the list of all the flights taken as of the month of December, and that aircraft is not on the list.
How did the Governor General get to London?
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