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View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much to our witnesses. You've presented a number of excellent points today, and some good recommendations.
Professor Ong, I'm curious to get to some more of your thinking. You seem to be at least partially hopeful that there is an ability to reverse the takeover we're now seeing in Hong Kong. You said that it will take time, but you seem to hold out that hope. Could you address that briefly?
If that's the case, should we view Hong Kong not so much by going back to the Cold War but as a Poland, going forward, with that resilience we all know is alive in Hong Kong in the people? Could you comment on your reasons for hope?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Yes, I think that's a good point.
I'm going to turn now to Professor Medeiros.
I take your point that what we're seeing in Hong Kong is not a prelude to war and that we have to be careful. Not only does Canada have about 300,000 citizens in the territory, but there are millions of like-minded friends in Hong Kong, literally millions. I think the talk of a cold war is overstated because of, as Mr. Cheung just said, the ethnonationalism we see on display in China.
I'd like your thoughts. Should we think of what we're seeing in Asia now as more akin to what we saw with respect to Imperial Japan: a nationalist population and government, an expansionary state and a military regime that does not have civilian oversight? If that's the case, should the attention now not turn completely to Taiwan? Taiwan is the nation island. China wants it, and it has long made this clear. Do we not need to stick together on this, particularly with the Taiwan Defence Act in the United States? If this is not managed properly, unlike Hong Kong, this could lead to a real clash in the South China Sea.
Could I get your comments on that? You have just over a minute to respond.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
To our witnesses, thank you for joining us today. You've all added some really solid and good information, as well as insights.
I'll start with Ms. Sharon Hom.
First, thank you for stiffening my spine. Sometimes my questions are rhetorical, but it's always good to hear the reasons for hope and the reasons why we need to do more, not less, for the people of Hong Kong, while we also consider how best to help our friends in neighbouring Taiwan.
I thought earlier today that Professor Ong had some really good points about Hong Kong still being the golden goose for mainland officials and for the country. This means the territory is not going to suddenly or quickly—or even, perhaps, gradually—become just another Chinese city, because of the wealth and prosperity that would be lost. This will benefit both dissidents and activists in Hong Kong to continue their struggle for freedom and human rights.
You asked for a few minutes. Could you maybe give us in 90 seconds all the things you wanted to say but didn't have a chance to? I will cut you off after 90 seconds because I, too, am on the clock and under the mindful eye of our own Big Brother here.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
I'll have to cut you off in about 15 seconds, but go ahead.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you.
Professor Kaeding, I thought your insight was unique. You provided a possible glimpse into the thinking of mainland officials. The point you made that Beijing cannot be trusted has some serious implications, because if a partner cannot be trusted, that means they have to be dealt with as untrustworthy.
What, then, should Canada's policy be? Should it be, then, for Canadian trading, to have commercial relations with both mainland China and Hong Kong, but also have the internal fortitude to denounce and speak out when Beijing is out of step, something that unfortunately we're not seeing now? Is it the combination of both trade, which is mutually beneficial to both parties, and speaking out, finding our voice in Canada and perhaps following in the footsteps of Australia and some of the other Asian nations that are closer to mainland China? What say you to that?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Right. That would mean, of course, that when you speak out, there might be some blowback on commercial relations, but that's just the price of standing up.
Basically, Mr. Chatigny, you do not believe there is much that Canada or its allies can do to change Beijing. Did I understand you correctly?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you very much.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have many questions; I'm going to jump right in.
Professor Davis, I'm going to try to summarize your testimony and responses.
You talked of media raids, likening it to fishing, which left a chilling impact, of course, on other activists and reporters; rigged elections; handpicked judges; a chief executive overseeing the security apparatus, at least outside that of the mainland officials; secret star chambers; the rule of law in Hong Kong being replaced by rule by law, or whatever we say, from officials in Beijing; and a secret police that sounds an awful lot like what we saw in East Germany, the Stasi.
Should we begin to think of Hong Kong going forward as a quasi-east Germany, Poland, Hungary, the eastern European bloc nations? It's a territory now firmly under the control of Beijing's rule. What say you to that characteristic, looking back in time, in terms of the threat to the people of Hong Kong?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Ms. Go, I'll come to you in a second. I have a couple of questions here but I want to go in order. I appreciate your eagerness.
Professor Davis, as a legal scholar who knows Hong Kong international law, what would your advice be to this committee and its members? Should we consider holding hearings in Hong Kong? What would your advice be to us as federal lawmakers in our standing in that territory?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
That's very interesting. We're already seeing a chilling impact; I know Ms. Go has mentioned that.
Currently, there are no visa restrictions required for Canadians entering Hong Kong or for Hong Kong citizens coming to Canada. We might not get arrested, but we simply might not be permitted entry.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Okay.
Your belief is that members who are participating in this committee could well be detained if they made it into either mainland China or.... Let's keep it in Hong Kong, where they had freedoms in the past. We could have said just about anything and been able to travel in and out of the country. That is no longer the case. We could well find ourselves on trial, either in Hong Kong or in mainland China.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Right. Thank you.
Mr. Rogers, very quickly, you're located now in the U.K. Has your group ever been located in Hong Kong, and would you travel to Hong Kong?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
I have 15 seconds to ask you this.
You mentioned that the one country, two systems is caput and that the Sino-British declaration is now null and void. What does this mean for Taiwan?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you very much to all our witnesses. It is very enlightening to hear from all of you today, and I'm glad you are able to join us and share your knowledge and expertise.
I've got six minutes. I'm going to try to spend a few minutes with each of you. I'll ask you to keep your answers as brief as possible.
Professor Cohen, first, thank you for that brief political history of the territory of Hong Kong pre-, during and then post-handover. Could I ask you to explain a term very briefly, so it is clear to everyone? You referred to justice in mainland China as political justice. You don't mean justice by the ballot box there, do you? What is “political justice”, just so that we're clear on the terminology^
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
I will go to someone else. I'll come back to Professor Cohen.
Chair, I hope you'll indulge me and allow me to reset my time here since we have a technical issue.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Chu, I'm going to make a few statements [Technical difficulty--Editor].
In your opinion, have I now violated China/Beijing's, national security law, making me a potential problem for the PRC?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
“I support a democratic China.”
“I believe the PRC should embrace democracy.”
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
All right. I regret that unless things change, you will not be able to visit your ancestral home again, nor potentially even talk to your grandparents.
I had the pleasure of living in Hong Kong during the handover in 1997 and 1998, and I have experienced the freedoms there, both initially under the colonial rule as well as under the Sino-British agreement and the Basic Law. It is clear that much has changed, owing to Beijing's heavy-handedness.
Ms. Boyajian, if you were a foreign affairs adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, what are some of the things you would recommend that the Canadian government do, both to aid the people of Hong Kong and to prepare to safeguard the freedoms currently enjoyed in Taiwan or the Republic of China?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you.
Are you able to speak to Taiwan at all? Is that in your bailiwick?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Chair, I have a point.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
It looked like I was down 50 seconds before you started to—
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Chair, the premise of the motion really bothers me, and I'll explain why. I'd like my colleagues to understand what I mean, without feeling offended.
First of all, I'm not from the province of Quebec. We, francophone members of Parliament from all walks of life who aren't from Quebec, are in a minority here. Look around the table.
Being from New Brunswick, I can tell you that a very superficial search on the Internet about WE Org shows that the organization is present in Quebec and that it has held many activities that many young people have participated in over the past few years. I say that with some reservation, because I'm not from Quebec.
Mr. Chair, if I say that the premise of the motion bothers me, it's that we're telling the Canadian people, since we are in committee and we represent the Government of Canada regardless of our political affiliation, that WE Charity is unilingual, which we don't really know. I'd say that this organization is bilingual. It has a bilingual presence, and its website is bilingual. When I consult it, it appears in French, without me even having to change the language.
So the premise really bothers me, because by passing this motion as written, we'd be telling the Canadian people that we've already determined that WE Org is a unilingual English organization that has no presence in Quebec. That's what we're telling the Canadian people in front of everybody, and that really bothers me.
However, before even studying the content and purpose of the motion, we need to know whether or not WE Org is a unilingual organization, even though we will never know for sure since it no longer has a contract. We know the history. So how does launching such an inquiry advance official languages? First, we have to determine whether or not WE Org is unilingual and whether or not it has a presence in Quebec. That's the starting point of the motion. Until that's established, the rest is futile.
The premise of the motion really bothers me. I can already tell you that, as the first sentence is worded, I'm going to oppose it. We'll come back to that.
I repeat, through this motion, we are telling the Canadian people that we have determined, without any serious investigation, that WE Charity has no presence in Quebec and that it is unilingual.
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I am very touched by the sensitivity expressed by the Conservative Party with respect to bilingualism. I think it's unfortunate that this isn't reflected in the French debates of the Conservative Party leadership candidates.
Going back to what my colleagues Mr. Godin and Mr. Deltell were saying, I never said that WE Charity was fully and completely bilingual; I never said those words.
If, following the testimony of WE Charity representatives, we learned that they can indeed offer services in English and French everywhere in Canada, regardless of whether people are perfectly, moderately or weakly bilingual—we don't know, and that's the premise of the motion—all the rest of the motion would fall apart.
Let's be logical. I don't accept the premise, because I don't know the answer. I don't know whether WE Charity is perfectly capable or totally incapable of providing services in both official languages in Canada. That's what we have to determine first. If we were to find out that they are, in fact, able to do that, the whole rest of the motion would fall apart. Let's be logical. That's the premise of the motion.
I'll take the opportunity offered to me by my colleague Mr. Généreux and ask the following question: Should the Standing Committee on Official Languages not be concerned, or at least study the way in which bilingual services, regardless of the type, are provided to third parties in Canada? How are bilingual services and their performance ensured? How is performance measured? I have no idea.
My colleague Mr. Généreux and I have been on this committee for five years. We've studied many issues and produced many reports, but never a report like this. Why not take this opportunity, in this context, and ask the right questions, regardless of to whom? That's what the Standing Committee on Official Languages must do.
I would say to my colleague Mr. Chong that I'm part of a linguistic minority in Canada and that I am committed to defending the 25% of francophones in Canada, as he said. That doesn't include francophiles and allophones who are also learning French. That's not the issue. The issue is that we're taking for granted a truth that we don't know, here, in order to question ministers. That's the truth. That's the reality of the opposition party.
Let's be logical. If we really want to do this, what's the point of determining whether WE Charity can offer bilingual services or not, when there's no longer a contract out there? We're wasting our time.
Let's take Mr. Généreux's opportunity and make this motion a winning motion for the Canadian government and for the Standing Committee on Official Languages. Let's study how to ensure respect for official languages when the Government of Canada delegates its powers to a third party organization to provide services on its behalf. That's what I'm proposing.
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
You wanted to speak on something other than the amendment.
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
With regard to the motion, I'm taking a little detour to comment on what our colleague Mr. Chong told us. We talked about ethics. He talked about concerns about ethics, conflicts of interest, finances, public funds, and so on. I have no objection to discussing these things in a context other than the Standing Committee on Official Languages, which does not have the mandate to do so. There are committees that do have those mandates and they do it very skilfully and very well. They have done so particularly in recent weeks with regard to the WE affair. We all know that here.
The mandate of the Standing Committee on Official Languages addresses the application of and respect for language rights in Canada. The amendment proposed by my colleague is along those lines. We can start from the premise that WE Charity has caused some concerns about its capacity to be bilingual and to provide services, good, weak or average. In any case, a contract no longer exists. It would be pointless to stop at this study because there is no longer a contract. What would be the purpose of this study?
If we start from the premise that the WE episode has cast doubt in our minds about third parties who are contracted to provide services on behalf of the Government of Canada, if we start from that premise, there is doubt. How do we ensure that this is respected across the country and not just for one event or one organization? That is reflected in the proposed amendment. That is within the mandate of this committee. It does not preclude any colleague around the table from asking the ministers questions about WE or about other contracts. In fact, we are running with the ball; we are starting from a doubt that has been sown by one event and extending it to a topic that is fully within the mandate of this committee.
Mr. Chong, I would like to correct what you said earlier, with no ill intention: very few motions are perfectly worded. I have been a member of this committee for five years. Mr. Généreux may be able to correct me, but to my knowledge, all of the motions that have come through in the last five years have been tabled with amendments from all parties on both sides of the table, and always unanimously. Virtually every report that has been written in the last five years of the committee has been unanimous. So we make great motions in our committee; we make wonderful motions.
In fact, we are not in the process of doing something partisan. Our concern is that we want to know what we need to do to ensure that, under the umbrella of official languages, third-party organizations that get service contracts from the Government of Canada and that have to speak as if they were the Government of Canada, comply with the linguistic obligations of this great country.
That is the amendment on the table, as proposed by my colleague. Then, in subcommittee, we can decide whether we want to call other witnesses or whether we will stick with those already proposed. We had already decided to create a subcommittee to deal specifically with the witness list. We can do that later. We can limit ourselves to those, but one does not preclude the other. I am wondering, on behalf of Canadians and taxpayers, what would be the point of the motion as put forward by the opposition, by the Conservatives. How would we be serving Canadians by focusing on a contract that no longer exists?
Why do we not seize the opportunity to address the doubt that has been cast on the linguistic capacity of third-party organizations by this event? Why not conduct a study that is consistent with the mandate of this committee, which has been a superb committee, Mr. Chong, for at least five years?
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Chair, I just have a question before we vote. Is the number of meetings for a study normally set in advance?
My second question is about the allocated time. I know that we are in a crisis situation owing to COVID-19 and that the same rules don't really apply. We have already gone over the allocated time and we usually need to reach unanimous consent before we continue the meeting.
How will it work and how many days are planned for discussion? I don't know whether my question is out of order, but I feel it's necessary to ask it.
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
That's the date on which we will be able to hear from witnesses. Is that correct?
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Because I am so far away, it is hard for me to attend subcommittee meetings.
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
As a parliamentarian, I have to drive for nine and a half hours to come here, and Air Canada no longer flies to where I live. No other explanation is necessary. We could skip the subcommittee for now and rely on the Chair and the clerk. That is my opinion. I do not know if everyone agrees.
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
I do not see why we need to meet in subcommittee, if "virtual" is no longer an option, of course.
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
I am going to back up a bit. Will the meetings be two, three or four hours long? Usually, they last for two hours and we need the unanimous consent of all committee members to extend them. How does it work with COVID-19?
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you, special guests, for your input and the perspectives that you all bring to the table today. I'd like to direct my questions to Mr. Pearce to start.
DFO recently provided the committee with written responses to questions raised by committee members about the pinniped population in and on the B.C. coast. The DFO responses stated:
The current harbour seal population is in line with historic population norms....
Steller sea lion populations in BC waters have increased by approximately 4-fold since surveys began in the early 1970s.
Do you agree with these statements?
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you.
It is apparent that active management of pinnipeds in our Pacific region could be a valuable tool for conserving and restoring wild salmon stocks. Could you describe what a sustainable pinniped fishery should look like, if the purpose of the fishery is to conserve and help restore the wild salmon populations?
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I just want to go back to Mr. Donnelly one more time, and I want to circle back to whether the Fraser watershed initiative is an initiative of the Rivershed Society of British Columbia. Is it working in conjunction with them?
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Donnelly.
I see that my colleague Mr. Fast is on the call, so I'm going to yield the rest of my time to Mr. Fast.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Dr. Sangay, I want to thank you very, very much for being here today. I have to say that you have a very impressive resumé, with your work in Asia as well as your studies in the United States and elsewhere, and of course your election as well.
I want to go back to something you mentioned earlier about China's growing role in the United Nations. You touched on its infiltration of certain very key spots. One, of course, is its ability now to oversee some of the reporters and the investigating on the human rights file. How do you think this will impact Tibet and the hearing that Tibet has received both at the United Nations and in publications around the world?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Yes. We see that elite capture here. I know there's pressure afoot to have government officials who have worked on the China file to have a cooling-off period so they cannot immediately go to work for the Chinese regime once they leave government service, whether they are politicians or public servants.
I think I have about a minute left here. Could you talk to me a little bit about what life is like on the ground in Tibet in terms of Tibetans getting news and transmitting that news? I know there's a problem all over China, where the state controls news outlets, but your people are folks who are looking for information and to get the word out. Do they get that information in Tibet? Can they share it, or does the state really close things off there as well?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador Mulroney, we actually met 20 years ago in your office in Taipei. I was covering the Taiwanese election there. I think that place remains the truest expression of Chinese democracy, and it's on display every number of years for the world to see that democracy is alive and well in Taiwan.
I'm curious. You've had a long career in mainland China and Taiwan, and you're familiar with the area. Have your views evolved in terms of Taiwan? Looking back 20 years, and before that, how have your views concerning mainland China and Beijing changed over the years, or perhaps they have not?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
I appreciate that and agree with that.
You mentioned in your opening remarks that there would be an economic cost to a divergence from mainland China. I think that's true. Could you talk as well about the costs to Canada in terms of our values, and even economic costs, of continuing on the path we're on, where we're afraid to speak out and the prospect of more trade is more alluring to our business elites?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
You would agree, then, that a sheepish policy towards Beijing has only served to embolden them and to cause us economic difficulties, economic harm. China thinks that because we are sheep dressed up in sheep clothing, we will not do anything, and they feel they have the freedom to push us around.
Mr. David Mulroney: Yes. It's always—
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
I will call this meeting to order.
I apologize. Everybody's sound is great and I forgot to bring my headset with me today. If you can't hear the translation, please let me know. I'll try to speak right into the laptop, loud and slow.
Welcome to meeting number 22 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. Pursuant to the motion adopted by the House of Commons on Tuesday, May 26, the committee is meeting to consider a request received by the clerk and submitted by four members of the committee. This request was made to discuss support measures for Canadian poultry and egg farmers.
I have just a few notes here. When you intervene, please make sure that your language channel is set to the language that you intend to speak, not the floor. This is very important. It will reduce the number of times we need to stop because the interpretation is inaudible for our participants, and it will maximize the time we spend exchanging with each other.
Also, before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. When you are ready to speak, you can click on the microphone icon to activate your mike.
Make sure that your microphone is off when you are not talking.
We are now ready to begin.
Members have all received the letter and had a chance to look at the meeting request. Perhaps at this stage I will open the floor.
I don't know, Mr. Barlow, if you want to talk about the motion or actually move the motion so that we can discuss it. I'll let you explain your request.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
That works fine. Go ahead, Mr. Barlow.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you very much, Mr. Barlow.
We'll open the floor.
I just want to remind members that if they wish to speak, they can use the “raise hand” function at the bottom right-hand side so it is easier to keep track.
I see Mr. Hoback has his hand raised. Would you like to speak to this, Mr. Hoback?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you very much, Mr. Hoback.
Next is Mr. Drouin.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Barlow.
Again, we can look at that. Another thing we could do, if the committee wanted, would be to have a long meeting of four hours, or maybe two three-hour meetings. There are different ways we can do this to maybe save one meeting. I'm just throwing that out there.
Mr. Perron, you have the floor.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Perron.
Could I ask everybody to make sure they're on mute when they're not speaking? We're hearing some background noise.
Mr. Lehoux, you have the floor.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Lehoux.
Mr. Barlow, you have the floor.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Barlow.
Yes, I can certainly work with the clerk on that. Everybody would have to send their lists of witnesses. It's not going to be a very long list, but we need some witnesses for the clerk to work with. I imagine we could set a date as a deadline to have that list submitted. Today is Wednesday. What about tomorrow or Friday? Do you think we could get that list before the end of the day tomorrow or Friday?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Okay.
Mr. Perron, had you—
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
I didn't see your hand. I'm sorry about that. I saw Mr. Perron.
Go ahead, Mr. MacGregor.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. MacGregor.
As I said, I think everybody knows who they want to see as witnesses at this meeting, so maybe we should just make sure that we have that list right now. As you say, definitely there was the minister, and I think Mr. Drouin suggested the four organizations.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Okay.
As for the others, the growers or processors, you can forward them to me by tomorrow, if you wish.
Mr. Perron, did you raise your hand?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Yes, go ahead, please.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Barlow, do you want to comment on that?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Perron, when the minister is here, you will be free to ask your question on any subject you choose. Does that work for you?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
You can submit the list of those you wish to invite, by tomorrow evening.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
We do have a motion. It would need an amendment if we wanted to go there.
Right now, as the motion stands, it's for Canada's poultry, egg farmers and—
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Okay.
Are there any other comments on the motion? I don't see any hands raised.
I'll read the motion again:
That the committee invite the Minister of Agriculture, department officials and poultry and egg stakeholders to provide an urgent update to the committee on the lack of action on promised programs from the government to support Canada’s poultry and egg farmers as a result of losses resulting from recent trade agreements.
That is the motion as presented by Mr. Barlow.
Are we all in favour of the motion?
Or perhaps I can ask this: Is anyone against the motion?
I don't see any hands raised or any signals against the motion. I will take that as consensus for the motion.
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: Mr. Barlow.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Okay.
Just to help with our list of witnesses, we're looking at three meetings. That would be six hours. If we do two hours, one with the minister and one with the officials, that leaves us four hours for other witnesses. At three per panel and three per hour, that would be 12 witnesses.
Since we're here, is everybody ready to provide their list right now? We're really looking for about 12 besides the officials and the minister, if I have this right.
Hang on: Let's just follow the first plan and have you send your list of witnesses by tomorrow. We'll go by the same ranking we had with previous studies. If you can send in your list by tomorrow evening, we'll go with that.
Are there any other comments or questions?
If not, thank you, all. We shall certainly see you soon. Thank you for joining the meeting.
The meeting is adjourned.
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to all the witnesses and fellow committee members who are on the call today.
Obviously, the issues and challenges we're facing in the fishery sector are huge at this time, particularly as they relate to the depleting salmon stocks from coast to coast. Being from the east coast, I know that the Atlantic salmon stocks and the decline of wild Atlantic salmon are a big concern for us on the east coast. We share that concern, and I thank the witnesses for being a part of the discussion today and bringing much-needed focus to this challenging area.
I want to address my first question to Chief Patrick Harry.
Chief Harry, according to DFO's timeline for the Big Bar project, archeology work at the slide site commenced on December 10. Was your administration consulted on this archeological work?
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Chief.
Obviously, the archeological work is going on. I'm wondering whether you are aware of the outcome of the archeological work. Have there been some conclusive findings from that? Do you feel there's still a pathway forward here, within a timely fashion, to get to the desired solution for everyone?
View Wayne Long Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, everybody.
Mr. Charters, first and foremost, I want to acknowledge the great work that you do and that the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada do right across the country. Certainly, in my riding, Saint John—Rothesay, the Boys and Girls Club has an excellent executive director in Amy Appleby-Shanks and her team. They continue to do fantastic work. They opened up their gym throughout this pandemic for Outflow, our men's shelter. They just do wonderful, wonderful work.
Isaac, I want to thank you. Hello from Saint John, New Brunswick, your neighbour. I want to thank you for sharing the youth perspective. Your presentation, your words were very profound and meaningful, so thank you for that.
Mr. Charters, I just want to also throw in that I wholeheartedly support your advocacy for the transformation of the Canada summer jobs program into a Canada youth jobs program. Last Parliament, last committee, I was proud to be part of the committee when we recommended—as part of the report “Experiential Learning and Pathways to Employment for Canadian Youth”—that ESDC explore transforming the jobs program into a broadly based youth jobs program for Canadian youth. I just wanted to throw in that you certainly have my support in that.
Mr. Charters, my question to you is this: Our government announced a $350-million emergency community support fund to support charities and non-profits delivering services to help communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. Has the Boys and Girls Clubs, the local branches, applied for or received any of this funding? If so, what has been the impact of this funding on the ground?
View Wayne Long Profile
Lib. (NB)
That's okay. I just want to get a few of these things in.
You just acknowledged that the fund may not support some of the financial needs of the clubs, and I've heard that from other non-profits too. How would you like to see funding roll out that would impact you more effectively?
View Wayne Long Profile
Lib. (NB)
Okay. Thank you for that.
Mr. Chair, I'd like to share the rest of my time with MP Kusmierczyk.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Welcome, everyone. Hopefully everyone had a chance to get a little rest. We're back. Welcome to meeting number 21 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.
We will spend the first hour of the meeting on our business risk management program study, and the second hour in camera to provide drafting instructions to the analysts for the study's report.
For the meeting to go smoothly, I'd like to outline a few rules to follow.
Interpretation in this video conference will work very much like it does at a regular committee meeting. You have the choice at the bottom of your screen of floor, English or French. When you intervene, please make sure your language channel is set at the language you intend to speak, not the floor. This is very important. It will reduce the number of times we need to stop because the interpretation is inaudible to our our participants. It will maximize the amount of time we can spend on exchanges with each other.
Especially to our witnesses, could you let us know with a nod that you understand this and you can find the function on your screen? I see some heads nod. Monsieur Daigle, everything's good. Okay, we'll proceed.
Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. When you're ready to speak, you can click on the microphone icon to activate your mike.
Make sure that your microphone is turned off when you aren't speaking.
We're now ready to begin.
I want to welcome the witnesses who are participating in today's meeting.
For our first hour we have, from the Beef Farmers of Ontario, Rob Lipsett, president, and Richard Horne, executive director. From the Canadian Young Farmers' Forum we have Paul Glenn, the past chair, and Julie Bissonnette, regional representative, Ontario-Quebec. From the National Cattle Feeders' Association we have Janice Tranberg, president and chief executive officer, and Michel Daigle, chair of the board of directors. Welcome to all of you.
We will start with your opening statements for up to seven minutes between both of you.
Beef Farmers of Ontario, go ahead.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
We'll move to our next.... Hang on.
[Technical difficulty—Editor]
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Can everybody hear me now?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
We're all having connection issues, I guess.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Okay, well, I want to see a recorded vote, please.
Did I interrupt you, Mr. Lipsett? Did you have a chance to finish?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Okay. I wasn't sure.
We'll move to the Canadian Young Farmers' Forum.
Mr. Glenn or Ms. Bissonnette, you have up to seven minutes. Go ahead.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Ms. Bissonnette.
Now we have the National Cattle Feeders' Association, for up to seven minutes.
Go ahead.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Ms. Tranberg. Unfortunately, we're out of time for your opening statement, but I'm sure you'll get questions.
We'll start the round of questions right now, beginning with Mr. Barlow for six minutes.
Go ahead, Mr. Barlow.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you. Unfortunately, we're out of time on that one.
We'll go to Mr. Blois for six minutes.
Go ahead, Mr. Blois.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Louis.
Mr. Perron, you have the floor for six minutes.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Perron, your time is up.
Now we'll have Mr. MacGregor for six minutes.
Go ahead, Mr. MacGregor.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
That's about it, so thank you.
That's about all the time we have for this round.
I want to thank all of our witnesses who took the time to be with us today: from the Beef Farmers of Ontario, Mr. Lipsett and Mr. Horne; from the Canadian Young Farmers' Forum, Mr. Glenn and Madame Bissonnette; and from the National Cattle Feeders' Association, Janice Tranberg and Michel Daigle.
I'm sure it will help us when we do our report.
We will have to break for about 15 minutes, but as we move in camera, I'll remind the members and their staff that they have to log off this meeting and then use the credential provided in the separate email that was sent earlier today to log back in. I remind you that it may take up to 15 minutes to set up the new virtual meeting space, so to all the members, come back in 15 minutes at the maximum. You can come before, but it could take up to that time before we are ready to go.
I'll suspend the meeting, and we'll see you in 15 minutes. Thank you.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you very much, Madam Chair. I'll just ask a few questions since we have a bit of extra time.
I think, first and foremost, we would all recognize or agree that Canadians have taken the public health warnings very seriously when it comes to dealing with COVID-19. We certainly have seen a huge economic impact as a result of COVID-19 and the loss of life has been substantive in this country, but when we look at the overall measures that Canada has taken, we have a lot to be proud of.
I'm hearing a lot of talk about the investments that we could possibly be making with respect to developing an app. If we look at all businesses within the country right now, I think we are all looking at making sure that we have a continuity plan in the event that we have a second wave.
My first question would be for Monsieur Aubé.
On the cost of developing an app, would you be able to provide us with a bit of an estimate? No one is asking that direct question, but I'm wondering what the costs would be for developing an app that we could use for the continuity of Parliament.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
How much time do I have, Madam Chair?
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you so much. I may not be using all of my time, so if other committee members want to get ready, that would be fine.
I also want to take a moment to thank once again the witnesses for appearing today. You always shed a lot of light on the many questions we have, so thanks to each and every one of you for being here today.
I want to follow up on my questions to Monsieur Aubé. During my question, when talking about the issue of cost, you indicated that it's a “sunk cost”. What did you mean by that?
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
That's great. I just wanted to confirm that there's no additional cost being incurred as a result of working on the development of an app.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
That's great.
I think we can all recognize as well, with respect to businesses across the country as I've indicated, that many of them are working to make sure they are prepared to deal with a second wave of COVID-19. All Canadians would expect that we, as parliamentarians, will do all we can to ensure that we can continue to do the important work that Canadians have sent us to do. I think it's very responsible on our part to ensure that we have the tools that we need to use if necessary and that we all stress that we want to be back in Ottawa as soon as possible to be that strong voice for our constituents.
I have another question for Monsieur Aubé. I feel as though I'm picking on you, so my apologies about that. During one of the lines of questioning, perhaps by Madame Blaney but I'm not sure, we talked about the issue of a hybrid system and the possibility that people would vote in person but also electronically, and how we would ensure that that would not take place. Maybe it was Madame Normandin.
You indicated at one point that there would have to be some types of controls put in place in order to ensure that that did not happen. Have you thought about those types of controls? If so, what would they look like?
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
That's great.
I wonder if Mr. Gagnon has anything to add to that, because we often see him around the table making sure that we are voting appropriately.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Welcome, everyone, to the 20th meeting of our House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. We're continuing our study on business risk management programs.
First of all, I will thank my colleague John Barlow for taking the chair at the last meeting. I heard it went quite well, so thank you, John, for doing that.
In calling the meeting to order, I will quickly go over some of the rules to follow.
Interpretation in this video conference will work very much as in a regular committee meeting. At the bottom of your screen, you have the choice of floor, English or French. When you intervene, please make sure that your language channel is set to the language you intend to speak, not floor language. This is very important, as it will reduce the number of times we need to stop because the interpretation is inaudible for our participants, and it will maximize the time we spend exchanging with each other.
We have a few witnesses here. Can I get a nod that you've understood those guidelines? Is everything good? Thank you.
Also, before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. When you are ready to speak, you can click on the microphone icon to activate your mike.
Also, make sure your microphone is off when you are not talking.
We are now ready to begin.
I want to welcome our witnesses to today's meeting.
In the first hour, we have the following witnesses: Mr. Mario Rodrigue, acting director general, and Mr. René Roy, administrator, from Les Éleveurs de porcs du Québec; from MNP, Mr. Stuart Person, senior vice president of agriculture, and Mr. Steve Funk, director of agricultural risk management resources; and Mr. Jake Ayre, farmer, from Southern Seed Ltd.
We will begin with opening remarks of seven minutes each.
I will ask the representatives of Les Éleveurs de porcs du Québec to begin. Mr. Rodrigue or Mr. Roy, you have seven minutes in total. Please go ahead.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
We will now go to Mr. Stuart Person and Mr. Steve Funk, from MNP.
Gentlemen, you have seven minutes.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Funk.
Now we'll go to Mr. Jake Ayre.
Welcome, Mr. Ayre. You have up to seven minutes for your opening statement. Go ahead.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
It looks good. Give it a try.
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Sorry, Mr. Ayre, can you pause for a second? I don't seem to get the French interpretation.
Monsieur Perron, does it work on your end?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
I noticed there was none.
Can we suspend the committee to make sure the interpretation is working, Mr. Clerk?
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
Okay. We'll suspend and work with Mr. Ayre to make sure we have good sound.
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