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View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2022-09-20 11:26
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thanks to all the committee members for some discussion. I think it's a very important study for this committee, on many different aspects.
Madam Chair, I gave notice of motion:
That, pursuant to the motion adopted by the committee on June 6 to undertake a study of the Potential Impacts of the ArriveCan Application on Certain Canadian Sectors, [that] the committee undertake five additional meetings under the study; that the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, the Minister of Tourism...and the Minister of Transport, each be invited to appear; and that, if possible, the meetings with the Ministers be televised; that additional witnesses be selected from lists provided by [all] parties; and that the Committee report back to the House of Commons.
Madam Chair, I would like to fix one thing that I said there, and that is to undertake three meetings, Madam Chair, not “five”.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
View Tony Baldinelli Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you to my colleagues. I think this is an excellent opportunity for us to pick up on the study that we paused just before the summer break.
If you look at the StatsCan data on leading tourism indicators, which was published recently, land border crossings were at 1.1 million. That's still 50% below 2019 levels. All three of our communities—Mr. Masse's, Mr. Lewis's and mine—are border communities. I have four international bridges in my community alone. Tourism employs 40,000 people in my riding. For three years, essentially, we've lost our tourism seasons because of COVID. The first two years it was essentially because of COVID. This third year, because of delays and having ArriveCAN in place, it has been self-inflicted. It's a disappointment to see that it's still in place, when over 60 countries in the world have dropped their border restrictions for travel. It's something that needs to be examined. My hope is that it will eventually be dropped so that we can facilitate tourism visitations back to Niagara, to get back to those 2019 numbers.
It's critically important for our sector. I was pleased to host our shadow critic in August. She came down and she spoke to stakeholders. They told her the difficulties they're facing. My understanding was that the Ontario Liberal caucus met in Niagara for two days and had a tour of the Niagara Parks Commission. Well, I was their communications manager for 18 years. The Niagara Parks Commission is a provincial agency of the government. It doesn't rely on any operational funding from the Government of Ontario. It was established in 1885. Only Banff National Park is older than it. In 2019 it generated $127 million in revenue, as a self-funding agency. In the first year of COVID the Province of Ontario had to give it $13 million. That's how devastated Niagara was because of COVID and because programs such as ArriveCAN limited—essentially closed—the borders and stopped visitation from coming in.
The Minister of Tourism is starting a new national tourism strategy. We need to remove the hindrances and allow our tourism stakeholders to do what they do best, and that's welcome people from throughout the world. ArriveCAN does nothing to help us do that. I'm fully supportive of this.
Thank you.
View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2022-09-20 11:33
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, all committee members.
It's not part of the motion, Madam Chair. I would just ask for consideration from the chair and from the committee that the study, if passed here at committee, would commence on September 22. I understand that ministers are very busy and they may not be here on September 27, but perhaps in those three days, we'll be able to figure out our schedules.
Thank you, Chair.
View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2022-09-20 11:34
I understand, Madam Chair.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, I'd like to raise a point of order regarding the scheduling for this committee. I will say at the outset that I'm very disappointed by what we're seeing. This is an important issue, and I hope we can proceed in a collaborative way.
The committee held a meeting on July 15 and agreed to summer hearings. The committee wished to hear from ministers before July 22. That didn't happen. The committee met once on August 4. It has now been over a month since the committee last met.
In the context of this meeting, we received a notice for a three-hour meeting to hear from witnesses, according to a schedule. Members made plans, prepared questions and provided your office with rounds of questions to be asked, and you, by all indication, unilaterally changed that agenda and shortened the meeting with less than an hour to go prior to the beginning of the meeting. If you proceed with this plan, it will significantly limit our ability to engage with important experts in accordance with the notice that was provided to the committee.
We also requested that there be some time for committee business, so that we could discuss the committee's agenda. You have shortened the committee's agenda, but you have provided no additional opportunity for committee business to talk about the forthcoming agenda and to try to reach some kind of consensus. Of course, in cases on which consensus had been reached in the past, such as having summer hearings, that consensus wasn't honoured by your office.
It's very frustrating and disappointing to see a chair operating in the manner that you have with respect to the schedule, Mr. Chair. I am disappointed and frustrated. This is not what the committee saw in the past from Mr. Spengemann or Mr. Levitt, other chairs who were able to set aside their partisan affiliation and deal respectfully with all members regarding the agenda.
Can you provide an explanation for your conduct, Mr. Chair? Why have you not allowed the committee to meet for over a month? Why did you suddenly shorten this meeting with less than an hour's notice to members? Why are you behaving in such a fashion? Do you think this is an appropriate or respectful way for a chair to operate?
If you would consider appeals from the committee to go back to the agenda that was originally proposed, which was a three-hour meeting, we could hear for three hours from witnesses. Perhaps we could also set aside some time for committee business in the near future, so that we can agree on an agenda and move forward.
Thank you.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, on the point of order.... Maybe Mr. Bergeron can go first.
I would like to clarify my point of order, because I don't think it's been addressed, but Mr. Bergeron is welcome to go ahead of me.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, on the point of order, first of all it's been said a number of times that you conducted consultations with other members. I don't doubt that you conducted consultations with some other members, but I think it would be useful if you told the committee which members from which parties you consulted. I certainly know that no Conservative members were consulted about the last-minute change made to the schedule this morning, for example.
Mr. Sameer Zuberi (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Lib.): I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Garnett Genuis: I'm raising a point of order.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
May I raise my point of order, Mr. Chair? Thank you.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, I have a point of order to raise. I hope you'll respect my right as a committee member to raise these points. I will be brief. Since we have a three-hour time slot available, I think we can certainly accommodate the concerns of Mr. Zuberi.
My comments, briefly, are these. Mr. Chair, you said you consulted with other members. Which members did you consult with before making a last-minute change to the schedule? You said there was a one-week network outage, but we have had six weeks since the July 15 meeting, and compared to your predecessor, you seem to be uniquely unable to schedule witnesses or to find times when they are available. I don't want to presume bad faith, but that is concerning. Previous chairs didn't, on sensitive subjects, suddenly find themselves unable to schedule times that worked for the witnesses.
Again, I want to ask: Would you set aside time at the end of this meeting for committee business, given that we have a three-hour time slot?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
I think you've shown a lot of bad faith, Mr. Chair. I honestly do, respectfully.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Your first act as chair was to rule out of order a motion that your predecessor had ruled in order and that we were already debating.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
It is great to see the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, UCC, back after so long. I have a couple of questions about other matters related to Ukraine before we get to turbines.
To your knowledge, is there a fully operational Canadian embassy in Kyiv right now?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you very much. That's important information.
Canada has been behind our allies in imposing consequences on Russian diplomats. Are you satisfied with the approach that the Government of Canada has taken on this, and why has the government, in your view, not been more aggressive on this front?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
Is it fair to say you're disappointed with the lack of response from the government so far?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
With respect to the turbine issue, we've seen three different explanations from government officials on this. First they said it was about German energy security. That turned out not to be true. Then they said it was about calling Putin's bluff. That, of course, doesn't make any sense in light of new events, as the government continues to plan to export turbines in spite of the fact that gas has been cut off anyway.
We saw a third explanation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs in court filings in response to the Ukrainian World Congress. In that explanation, the government was essentially showing that this decision was about trying to protect jobs in Montreal, speaking about jobs at a Siemens facility that is in fact relatively close to Minister Joly's own riding. This raises questions about whether the government was trying to take into consideration constituency politics in granting a sanctions waiver.
What was your reaction to the information in those filings, that the minister was taking into consideration jobs close to home in the decision to grant this waiver?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay. Thank you very much for that.
Related to questions of Siemens' relationship to the government and these considerations, we did a search of the lobby registry and found that on April 13 of this year, representatives from Siemens met with David Morrison, the deputy minister for international trade in Global Affairs Canada, and John Hannaford, another deputy minister.
Do you have any indication as to what Siemens was discussing when it was lobbying the government back in April, and how lobbying by Siemens might have played a role in this decision that is very much contrary to Ukraine's interest but might be in Siemens' own commercial interest?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Perhaps I'll make a comment for the benefit of this committee, that it would be useful to hear from Siemens at some point, if the chair is able to find time to schedule them.
Thank you.
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to extend a welcome to Mr. Michalchyshyn and Mr. Zakydalsky. Thank you for coming here today.
Allow me to reiterate our support for the people of Ukraine in their valiant fight against an aggressive and hostile invading army.
Canada should be doing all it can to assist the democratic and free Ukrainian people in upholding their sovereignty and their right to live as free people in their own country. In my opinion, this includes maintaining sanctions on all trade with Russia.
As recently as August 22, Canada's Prime Minister stated that Canada “will be there to support Ukraine and Ukrainian people with what they need for as long as it takes.” These are words in the air, without substance, after the government's decision in July to grant a two-year exemption to federal sanctions and allow a Canadian company to return repaired turbines from a Russian-German natural gas pipeline. This was a decision that Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, called “a manifestation of weakness”, and I agree. No sooner had the Canadian government capitulated than Russia constrained the supply of natural gas to Europe.
The narrative quickly changed to saying that we called Russia's bluff because we didn't want to be blamed for the shutdown of Russian energy delivery to Europe.
Mr. Michalchyshyn, is it your opinion that there was any bluff to call, or is this just another pivoting narrative from a government with diminishing relevance in international affairs?
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
Let's explore energy security and the notion of weaponizing energy, which one of my colleagues previously referred to.
In 2009, Ukraine underwent its own natural gas supply conflict with Russia. In that sense, Russia showed a clear resolve to weaponize its energy supply to Europe. In spite of this, many European countries ignored the obvious and doubled down on the supply of Russian gas. If Nord Stream 2 had been finalized, fully 80% of Germany's natural gas would have come from Russia.
Can you comment on the naïveté of European countries that are doubling down on energy supply from a hostile provider for the sake of relatively cheap energy, versus the obvious outcome of the energy insecurity that was going to ensue?
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Point taken, Mr. Zakydalsky. Let me intervene. I have only so much time here. That's a point I also raised with the German ambassador a year and a half ago.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, I don't believe Mr. Aboultaif is on it. Either I or Mr. Chong could take the round. I will defer to Mr. Chong if he wants to, but otherwise I'm happy to proceed.
I guess the limitation of a hybrid meeting is that we can't whisper to each other as we normally would.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
I will proceed. That's excellent.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Could one or both of you comment on the impact that this turbine decision has had on Canada-Ukraine relations?
President Zelenskyy chose to speak personally to this issue. I know from friends and contacts I have spoken to in Ukraine that there's a lot of disappointment. There's a sense of betrayal. There's a long history of close relations between Canada and Ukraine, but in this very dark time for Ukraine, what was the significance of this decision for Ukraine?
Also, maybe related to that, the government talks about standing with our allies. Germany and the U.S., our allies, have said this was okay. Ukraine is also supposed to be an ally, yet the government speaks of standing with our allies with no acknowledgement of the response to this decision from Ukraine.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Personally, I think the study that Ms. McPherson spoke about, a study on the effectiveness of our sanctions regime, would be very important and worthwhile in order to build on the work that we're doing in the context of this discussion.
As a follow-up to Mr. Bergeron's point, some of us took the position right at the beginning that this was a terrible decision. That was where we as the Conservative Party were at. I think there were others who were maybe a little bit more sympathetic to the government's decision initially, and then since more facts have become clear, since Gazprom hasn't taken the first turbine and Russia is seeking further concessions, more and more people are coming over to the point of view that surely even if the decision was justifiable in the first instance, there's no reason to continue the waiver now.
Have you had ongoing engagement with the government, even in the last couple of days, since the most recent announcements from the Kremlin? What is the government saying now? Are they saying the same things? Are they saying different things compared to what they were saying at the beginning?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
I'm assuming you would welcome the opportunity for further engagement with the minister. We would welcome the opportunity to have her back as some of these new revelations have come out. Are you seeking opportunities for further engagement with the minister to get clarity on what the government's position is now in light of the new information?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Further, following up on Mr. Zuberi's comments, one of the principal arguments for—
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Before I direct my questions to the witnesses, I'm wondering if you invited the foreign affairs minister of Ukraine to appear in front of this committee, and, if so, what was the response?
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to direct my question to Dr. Schmitt.
According to the Finnish Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, Russia has raked in €158 billion since the war began in Ukraine from the sale of oil and gas exports, more than half of which have been to the European Union. In fact, this Finnish research centre has indicated in its report that €43 billion has been added to the Russian budget from the sale of these exports to the European Union.
Canada could displace Russian gas in western Europe. We are the fifth-largest natural gas producer in the world and we have the longest coastline in the world. According to my back-of-the-napkin calculation, a simple 15% increase in Canadian natural gas production could displace more than a third of all Russian gas in western Europe.
Recently, Chancellor Scholz was here in Canada, and he said:
As Germany is moving away from Russian energy at warp speed, Canada is our partner of choice.
He further added comments:
For now this means increasing our LNG imports. We hope that Canadian LNG will play a major role in this.
The Canadian Prime Minister rejected the German request to work with Germany to export more Canadian LNG to Europe.
I'd like your comments on that.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
On that last point, Dr. Schmitt, the current government has indicated it takes five to 10 years to build an LNG facility here in Canada, but Germany is about to construct two new LNG terminals in the Baltic Sea within about 12 months. Germany is not a major energy producer, yet it is able to construct these two new terminals in the Baltic Sea in just over 12 months. That's what the German economic minister has recently said. They announced the construction of these two new terminals just shortly after the war began on February 24, and yet we as an energy producer—the fifth-largest natural gas producer in the world with an immense capability to engineer, design and build energy infrastructure—has a government that says it's going to take five to 10 years to construct. I want to finish on this point and allow you to comment on it.
The Prime Minister said during Chancellor Scholz's visit that there has “never been a strong business case“ for LNG facilities on the east coast and yet Timothy Egan who is president of the Canadian Gas Association essentially said the Prime Minister was wrong. He said that “the biggest obstacle” is not that there isn't a business case, but “regulatory uncertainty” from the federal government. He said that there's “an incredible business case if the regulatory framework is clear. Are the environmental approval processes going to be fast enough and clear enough? How is it that this can happen so quickly in the United States and it can't happen as quickly in Canada?”
I would like your comment on our inability to be a willing partner in the NATO alliance, to step up to the plate to export natural gas to Europe to displace Russian gas, which is funding Putin's war regime.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
I have no further questions, Mr. Chair.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This is really high quality testimony we're receiving from all three of you. Given your thoughtful and biting critique, I now find it no surprise that the Liberal chair made a last-minute change to the agenda that limits the time we have with you, though it is unfortunate.
Mr. Kolga, you mentioned the ability of committees to be able to nominate people for sanctions.
I want to note, for your information and for the record, that Bill C-281, tabled by my colleague, Philip Lawrence, the international human rights act, contains some of those provisions. We will be debating that bill in Parliament this fall. Hopefully it will be coming to us here at this committee soon.
It's been reported recently, as well, by CBC that the value of frozen sanctions in Canada has dropped in recent months to suggest the possibility that some people have been allowed to sell off assets.
Do you have any reflections or information about how it is that the value of frozen assets under sanction would somehow be dropping?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay. It's something that maybe the committee should seek further information on.
This question is for all of the witnesses. The Canadian Press reported recently that the Government of Canada was considering the domestic economy, jobs and inflation in making their decision on granting the sanctions waiver. The fact that they were considering domestic economic factors was a big surprise, given that it was discordant with the explanations previously given. We know that the government was lobbied recently by Siemens, but we don't know on which subjects. It seems that the minister has waived sanctions on Russia, rejecting concerns raised by Ukraine, in part to protect the interests of a large company that operates fairly close to her riding.
I wonder what kind of precedent is set when the government is saying that they are granting an exemption like this not because of geopolitical factors but because of domestic economic factors.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
Are there any other...?
A voice: If I may, I'd like to—
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Schmitt, you talked about the energy delivery from Russia to Germany. Let's talk about fund flow and the choking back of natural gas delivery. There is one pool of natural gas delivery to foreign entities in the world, and it gets balanced back and forth.
The pricing of natural gas in Europe now is about 11 times higher than North American benchmark pricing. Russia can afford to cut back summarily its natural gas production and its supply to the world and still benefit economically and use that money to continue the war machine.
Do you have any comment on the algorithms they must be using in order to maximize their own fund flow here?
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
If I can interrupt, Mr. Schmitt, that's exactly the case.
The issue is that Canada, at the same point in time, is not supplying its energy to the world because we've been constrained in production to the point where we're actually getting negative numbers for our natural gas in North American delivery, versus the 11 times the U.S. benchmark that we were receiving.
Mr. Chair, I'm going to turn the rest of my time over to Mr. Genuis, please.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair; thank you, Mr. McLean, and thank you to the witnesses again.
Just to avoid further shenanigans and delays, I think it's important to move the following motion. My motion is as follows:
That the committee meet in public within seven days of the adoption of this motion for a discussion of committee business related to the study of the export of Russian Gazprom turbines.
That motion has been moved; the clerk has it in both official languages and can distribute it to members.
In light of the fact that it's been a month since the committee met, in light of the last-minute changes we've seen to the agenda, and in light of some of the issues we've had, I think it is important that the committee provide clear direction to the chair, in the form of a discussion on committee business, that programs our path forward. That is why I am moving this motion. It's very reasonable that we would, within seven days, meet, do committee business, and be able to define an agenda so that we don't have some of the things that have happened from the chair's office happening again, and so that we can establish some clarity going forward.
That's the motion. It's been distributed. Thank you very much.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I just want to clarify. Are you engaging in debate on my motion or...?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you for the clarification. I guess my motion to be debated—
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Certainly how it's being run under you, Mr. Chair, I'm not familiar with at all.
Thank you.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
On the point of order, Mr. Chair, I would suggest that we vote on the motion and then proceed to give the Liberals their round. I'm prepared to vote if others are.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
If we can allow this briefly, Sameer, on what day, or days, is your caucus retreat?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Do you mind just saying the day? That will help us move this forward.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
I'm sorry. Is it the full day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday that you're in meetings?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
We also have a caucus retreat...I had the floor, so I'll finish my comment.
We also have a caucus retreat in the next seven days. I think it would be good for the chair and the clerk, in scheduling this meeting, to take into consideration potential conflicts with caucus retreats. However, a seven-day window is a pretty wide window. We could meet on Friday; we could meet.... Someone could propose an amendment to move it to eight days or nine days, but I'm really sick of the delays. We were sitting on our hands for a full month.
I think this motion is very reasonable. We should work around caucus schedules, but I somehow highly doubt that any caucus is meeting solidly for the next seven days from dawn until dusk. We can probably find a window that works.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
No, it doesn't. It's a dilatory motion and we go to a vote, Mr. Chair, on Ms. Bendayan's motion to adjourn debate.
Thank you.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
I'm sorry, Mr. Chair, but just on a point of order, there's an amendment on the floor, but I don't quite understand the specific language of that amendment. Maybe there's a translation issue, but just which words are being removed and which words are being added? Could that be clarified?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, I have a point of order.
To save time, I suspect you'd find unanimous consent to deem the amendment and the motion adopted, rather than have us go through the votes again.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, I move the adoption of the budget.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's good to see you again.
Minister, as well as Wade MacLauchlan, it's good to see both of you. I hope you're doing well. Thank you for your contributions to this process, which has resulted in the nomination of Justice O'Bonsawin.
Minister, I want to echo your remarks around the retirement of Justice Moldaver. I wish him well in his retirement.
Wade MacLaughlan mentioned the various individuals involved in the process, some of whom are former judges, former premiers, former prime ministers, individuals who have “honourable” or “right honourable” in front of their names. It's important to have the views of individuals with deep experience in the process.
I was listening to the remarks by Justice O'Bonsawin about having access to justice and Canadians feeling that they are a part of our system. I think it's important, too, that everyday Canadians have the ability to give input through this process. One of the ways they do that is through us, members of the House of Commons. It's our job to represent the views of everyday Canadians, our constituents. Later today we have been invited to what is called an informal moderated Q and A session. It's not an actual committee of the House of Commons or the Senate, but a Q and A session moderated by someone who is not a parliamentarian.
I want to ask, Minister, for your thoughts. I have faith that our chair of the justice committee could have easily conducted this meeting and had a more formalized parliamentary committee rather than an informal chat, while still respecting the individual, the nomination and the process. I have every bit of faith that he and our committee members could have done that and maintained that stronger link, I feel, back to our constituents by doing our role as members of Parliament, not by an informal Q and A session.
I want to get your thoughts on that. That's something that struck me when the invitation came out.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Minister. I thought that is what you would say.
I don't share the concern around hyper-partisanship. I have every bit of faith, having worked with members on our justice committee, that they would be able to engage in this process in a parliamentary committee. I participated in the one on the appointment of Justice Rothstein, an ad hoc parliamentary committee. They would be able to conduct themselves in a way that respects the gravity of the process. We are all well aware of the impact of decisions that come from our Supreme Court, the weight of the types of decisions that are being contemplated as well as the very real impact they have on our day-to-day lives.
I heard from Justice O'Bonsawin a commentary around access to justice. This is an important appointment. A vacancy was created and your government is acting to fill it, as it should, and I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity while you're here at our justice committee to remind you, as I've done over the months, of the vacancy in the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, and ask that every effort be made to have that position filled as quickly as possible.
View Larry Brock Profile
CPC (ON)
There's no translation, Mr. Clerk.
View Larry Brock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
It's good to see you again, Minister Lametti, and welcome, Justice MacLauchlan. I'm very, very appreciative of your attendance today and your input.
I have a couple of areas I want to follow up on with respect to my colleague Rob Moore's questioning.
I've done a little bit of research with respect to some of the information that's available on the website of the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada.
I understand, Minister Lametti, that once the short list is finalized, you are required to consult with a number of stakeholders—obviously, the Chief justice of Canada, which you've alluded to; relevant provincial and territorial attorneys general, which you've alluded to; relevant cabinet ministers, which you've alluded to; and opposition justice critics. What I haven't heard and what is clearly spelled out on the website is that you're also to consult with members of both the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the equivalent standing Senate committee.
My question for you, Minister Lametti, is this: Who in particular on the justice committee did you consult with?
View Larry Brock Profile
CPC (ON)
I can put it on the record right now that I was not consulted. I know that our justice critic, Rob Moore, was, but as far as the other standing members of the committee are concerned, I don't think anyone was consulted, so please look into that and advise us accordingly.
I know that there are big shoes to fill with the pending retirement of Justice Moldaver. Justice Moldaver has had a very distinguished legal career, not only as a leading expert when he was in private practice but also in serving as a leading expert on the bench with the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court with respect to his impeccable knowledge of criminal law matters.
Minister Lametti and Justice MacLauchlan, as you know, the Supreme Court of Canada, this year alone, pronounced two significant decisions with respect to life sentences and the extreme intoxication defences, which have received considerable commentary not only in the press but across Canada as well as discussions in the House of Commons.
What attributes and what specific experience level would Justice O'Bonsawin have to replace that considerable expertise of Justice Moldaver?
View Larry Brock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, sir.
I also consulted with a number of victims groups across this country with respect to the vacancy in the position for the ombudsman for victims of crime. What specifically will you tell those organizations as to when this vacancy will be filled? The position has been vacant for approximately 11 months. The vacancy with respect to the Supreme Court was filled in less than two or three months, and that one is now 11 months.
What do you say about that, Justice Lametti?
View Larry Brock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to Minister Lametti and to Chairperson MacLauchlan.
I'm following up on the questions of my colleague, Mr. Fortin, and other colleagues. I would like to ask each of you to confirm whether you or anyone on your behalf or part of your committee consulted, not just Liberalist, but anything as to the political affiliations of the candidates you vetted.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you.
I think a lot of us in the legal profession have a great deal of respect for Justice Moldaver and are sorry to see him go. He was both learned and congenial in the way he approached his important position. It has been mentioned before that he was a leading specialist in criminal law, and although mental health absolutely is an aspect of criminal law, my understanding is that criminal cases constituted 55% of the cases that the Supreme Court of Canada heard in 2021.
Given the importance of criminal law in the court, I'm interested, Minister Lametti, on how this gap of knowledge and skill set with Justice Moldaver's retirement was taken into consideration in appointing a nominee.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
With respect, Mr. Chair, we only have so much time. We don't need to go over the past justice's credentials. I've already acknowledged—
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
All right. Thank you.
Am I correct, Minister Lametti—
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