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Results: 1 - 60 of 1182
View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
It's really nice to see all of my colleagues on the HUMA committee. My first questions are for Ms. McGee.
During this unprecedented time in history, as we've seen in other unprecedented times in history, critical social programs that have been created have collectively benefited all Canadians. There was, for example, employment insurance. I believe that now is a time in history when we have a chance to restructure our economy in a way that is more just and equitable for all. I recently introduced motion 46 in support of a guaranteed livable basic income that would be in addition to all current and future government and social programs, including accessible affordable social housing. How do you think a guaranteed annual livable income in Canada could help realize our international legal obligations to ensure the human right to housing?
View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you very much. I completely agree with you and I think, knowing that we could be in this for two or three more years, we need an urgent response to ensure that we can keep people out of poverty. That being said, can you speak about the critical importance of ending homelessness and ensuring adequate housing for all within the government's COVID-19 response strategy? I know that in my riding of Winnipeg Centre, which is the third-poorest in the country, we now have families going into shelters because we just don't have enough houses even for families, and that means kids becoming homeless and living on the street. That's another reason to speak to the importance of guaranteed livable basic income. How, going forward, is this going to be critical in the emergency response to COVID-19?
View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
Yes. I totally agree.
I have one last question for you. Do you believe the national housing strategy should be revised or revisited to consider the increased vulnerability and housing insecurity facing Canadians as a result of COVID-19? I think you've spoken to a lot of that. My concern is that we have a homeless crisis, certainly in Winnipeg Centre, that I believe will grow rapidly. How should the response change as the situation rapidly changes?
View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My questions are for Madame Corriveau. I apologize that I will have to ask them in English. I am taking French classes, though so maybe the next time I can ask in French.
I really appreciated your comments on the need to invest not just in affordable housing but also in affordable social housing. There's a huge difference between the two. I want to speak more specifically about persons with disabilities who have been, in my opinion, completely disregarded during the pandemic, including in terms of our having a real housing strategy with real investments and affordable, accessible social housing. I'm wondering if you could speak more to that.
View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
Just to expand on that, would you say it's important for the government to collect data? I know we talked about it for black and indigenous peoples. For persons with disabilities, there seems to be a real gap in data collection.
Can you expand on that, please?
View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
Madame Corriveau, I have just one last question in that regard. Would you say that the failure to collect data further marginalizes disabled persons from accessing their human right to housing?
View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
I have one last question on the national action plan.
View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
Sorry. I had myriad questions.
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Chair.
I want to start off by saying thank you sincerely to the witnesses, Mr. Falconer and Mrs. Whitman, for their opening remarks, which were very powerful and very emotional. I think all members of the committee can agree that we very much appreciated them.
I have a number of questions for you, Mrs. Whitman. I hope we can fit them all in.
I am the shadow minister for diversity, inclusion and youth. My counterpart is Minister Chagger. Over a year ago, the Liberal government announced the anti-racism secretariat with the mandate to help end systemic racism in our institutions and to inform all government departments on how they can combat this, essentially. This was well over a year ago. We know that it's been in working order since at least June, from the minister's remarks.
Mrs. Whitman, you represent the Native Women's Association of Canada as their president. It is the most prominent advocacy group in Canada for native women. Have you been contacted by the anti-racism secretariat or Minister Chagger's office within the past year?
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
Actually, that leads really well into my next question. On June 3 you released a rather scathing report card of the Trudeau government regarding their response to the national inquiry for missing and murdered indigenous women, which we know was released over 14 months ago. My understanding is that the Liberal government was supposed to release a strategy implementation plan and they have not.
I have seen your comments in the news about enough consultation; time for action. Can you just comment for the Liberal members of this committee and for all members of this committee on what you want to see in this strategy plan, if it ever does get released by the government?
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
That was very well said, Mrs. Whitman. Thank you for those remarks. I appreciate them. I'm sure all members of the committee have heard them and I hope they are taken back to the ministers responsible for releasing the strategy from the Liberal government.
My last question is about human trafficking. We know this government has cut resources to several facilities combatting human trafficking in Canada. I know we see indications that indigenous women and girls are more likely to fall victim to human trafficking.
How can we better resource indigenous communities to stop women and girls from being victims of human trafficking? How can we also better staff our police to get women out of this horrendous industry?
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
That was very well said. I agree and I think all members of the committee would agree that we need more resources for these facilities to better support indigenous women and girls.
Thank you, Mrs. Whitman, for your candid remarks. We appreciate them.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'll just follow up on that line of questioning.
Your organization is part of the Canada service corps. Is that correct?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
I have a record of that call. It was on April 15. What did you say they told you? Was it that different organizations in CSC would be contacted to assist in providing the CSSG? Is that what you said?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
That call, though, being on April 15, would have been seven days before the Prime Minister announced the CSSG and several weeks before it came to cabinet. Was the CSSG explicitly mentioned in that call to you by ESDC?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Sure.
Just out of curiosity, do you believe that the WE organization was the only organization in Canada, outside of the public service, that could have provided the CSSG, given the number of really large and impressive charities in Canada, like, for example, the YMCA and others?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
I have limited time. I have one quick last question.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
I'll go back to the subcontract that you were negotiating and almost got signed. What was the dollar amount of the contract that you would have entered into with WE Charity or WE Charity Foundation?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Professor Tassé, for being here today. I found your opening statement just bang on. I think you've covered all of the right points. I wish I had more time so that I could go through them all with you.
I want to start with conflict of interest. You talked about how, essentially, because of the pandemic, the procurement rules that would normally apply did not apply. For reasons of speed, the government felt it was necessary to get these programs out the door. Wouldn't that be all the more reason for politicians in positions of authority, having a fiduciary duty, to make sure they were not in conflict with the Conflict of Interest Act?
For example, the Prime Minister recognized, in his testimony, that there were potential conflicts, but he chose not to recuse himself from discussion, decision, debate or even a vote in cabinet. The finance minister, we also know, has had similar problems, and he later came out and apologized.
What do you make of the fact that they did not recuse themselves in this case?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
On that point, actually, I'm glad you mentioned the word “perceived”. Professor Arthur Schafer, from the University of Manitoba law school—he's a professor of ethics—wrote a piece in The Globe and Mail recently, and there's a very on-point paragraph in his article. I'm going to read it to you. It says:
Conflict of interest does not require that bias actually occur, only that there is reason to fear that bias may be present. The risk of bias, not the exercise of bias, is what makes both our imaginary scenario and the WE Charity imbroglio real conflicts of interest.
Essentially, I think what he's saying is that even the perception of a conflict of interest should have been enough for both the Prime Minister and the finance minister to recuse themselves in all manner required under the Conflict of Interest Act.
Would you agree with Professor Schafer's assessment?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
I note from your bio that you have some experience dealing with non-profit organizations. One of the peculiar things about this whole scandal is the fact that ultimately the government signed a contract with an organization that had no track record at all in terms of being able to administer that program. I think it falls also under the issue of due diligence.
What do you make of this, that the contract got signed with WE Charity Foundation? WE says they signed it with that company to limit their liability, but doesn't that speak to the lack of due diligence in government, which you touched on, over this matter?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Okay.
The cabinet ministers we had on earlier today claimed that when they were deciding this during cabinet committee, for example, they weren't made aware of the fact that it was going to be WE Charity Foundation. They weren't aware of the problems with WE's financial statements and breaches of bank covenants and those kinds of things. What is missing in this process where the public service either knew or didn't know, but if they knew, they didn't bring these huge red flags to the attention of the decision-makers?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
I'll be taking the first round, Mr. Chair.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank you both, Ms. Bahen and Mr. Thomson, for being here today. Your work on this matter has been exemplary.
I note that, as such a small organization, you were able to do so much due diligence on this charity, compared to the vast resources of the federal government. They seem to have been unable to discover any of the red flags that you've been able to uncover.
One question I have is, how easy would it have been for the federal government to find the information, particularly in the context of the Prime Minister saying that on May 8 he actually pushed back, which should be taken to mean that he wanted extensive due diligence done on this?
Why is it that the federal government either didn't have this information or chose to ignore it?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
In terms of the public service doing due diligence on this, would it have been as easy for them to acquire the information that you acquired if they had chosen to?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
That's what I'm wondering; they would have been able to uncover most of the information, if not all of the information, that you, as a small organization with limited resources, were able to uncover. Is that accurate?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
I'm sure they have people who do.
I was going through your website, and there are literally dozens of charitable organizations across Canada that have your four-star rating. I noted just a couple, the David Suzuki Foundation and Doctors Without Borders.
What is it about WE that caused you to give it only a three-star rating?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Then it would have been a simple matter for those in government doing due diligence on WE Charity, to be specific about that one, to simply go to your website and for a $20 subscription find out that they have a three-star rating. Would that be accurate?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
It just seems awfully concerning that all these red flags that you have uncovered were ignored: the board resigning, the bank covenants that you mentioned, the lack of fiduciary responsibility around the Kielburger brothers not being on the board. It just seems to stretch credulity that the federal government, during their due diligence, wouldn't also have had this information available, given their vast resources.
One of the things I wanted to ask was this. During the Kielburgers' testimony, they attempted to discredit your organization, talking about the charitable licence and about the small nature of your organization, with only two individuals working for the organization. Why do you think that they would have gone after your organization to discredit you under these circumstances?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
When you saw them do that, to attempt to discredit your organization, did you impute any motive to them for doing that? Why did you think they did that?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
No, I guess I'll just finish by saying that given the vast resources of the federal government, it seems to stretch credulity, as I said, that they wouldn't have been able to find this information.
My one last question is—
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Just to clarify this and to put it in simple terms, how easy would it have been for those doing their due diligence within the public service to uncover the same information that you've been able to discover?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Chair, I have a point of order.
I just want to clarify. As per your ruling on Tuesday, July 28, when you said, “If it were politicians, then we'd get into the four-second, four-second”, I just want you to confirm that for this round there will be strict adherence to the practice of equal time for questions and answers.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
I'll be up, Mr. Chair, in the next round.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Telford, I want to return to the question of the timeline that my colleague Mr. Poilievre was asking you about.
On April 22, the Prime Minister, from his front steps, announced this program, the Canada student service grant. You testified that you didn't learn about it until May 8 and that in fact you didn't know WE was being considered until May 8. In fact, you say the PMO policy people didn't speak to WE until May 5.
When the Prime Minister announced this program on April 22, how did the PMO think this program was going to be administered?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
—the Prime Minister said it was a binary—
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
I'm just asking a fair question, Mr. Chair.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
It does stretch credulity though, Mr. Chair.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
In other words, the Prime Minister announced the program, a $9-billion program, part of which is the Canada summer student benefit, and really had nothing nailed down as to how it would be delivered. In fact, on May 8 he was advised that it was a binary choice, that it was WE or nothing, and it ended up being nothing. It just stretches credulity.
Let me ask you this: In your long tenure in politics and as the chief of staff, have you ever had a situation before in which a program was announced, and you and the office you're responsible for had no idea how it was going to be administered?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Yes, but this is different. This is announcing a billion-dollar program without knowing how it's going to be administered. How can Canadians have any faith that you are respecting their taxpayer dollars when the Prime Minister announces a program but has no idea how it will be administered?
Anyway, you know—
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
I still have not heard an answer to the question about how the Prime Minister announced this program without having any idea how it was going to be administered.
That wasn't an answer, quite frankly, Mr. Chair, and maybe they don't have one, because they knew otherwise.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
It seems to stretch credulity that the Prime Minister did not know, when he announced it, how it was being administered. Did he know or not?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Fellows, which ministers' staff members did either you or your intermediaries communicate with in April? Who, and on what dates?
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
That would be great, as soon as you possibly can.
Have you or your intermediaries communicated with the Prime Minister's Office since the contribution agreement was cancelled?
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