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Results: 1 - 100 of 3023
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
I would like to begin with questions on party funding. An article published in La Presse on April 1, 2019, unless I am mistaken, talked about the possibility for a minor to fund a political party. The article reminded readers that the situation is different in Quebec, where only adults can donate to a party.
The Bloc Québécois has censured itself, in a way, by accepting only donations from people aged 16 and over, as that is the minimum age for acquiring a party membership card.
I would like to hear your comments on the possibility of amending the federal legislation to avoid minors being able to participate in the funding of a political party, as we can assume that this could lead to the practice of using other people's names in some cases.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
To your knowledge, have there been cases where very young people were investigated? Do you have any statistics on that?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
My next question is also about public funding. We know that the public funding system that provided subsidies to parties in proportion to the number of votes they had received has been abolished. Do you occasionally conduct studies on the potential cost of reinstituting that public funding system for parties?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
I will keep to the issue of public funding for parties. I may then move on to another topic.
We see that the vote tends to be increasingly fragmented. We are currently in a context of a minority government, and the parties are splitting votes quite a bit.
As we know that a candidate must obtain 10% of the vote in their riding to be entitled to a reimbursement, would it be a good idea to carry out a study on voting trends—in order words, on the way the vote manifests and the consequences of that minimum threshold of 10% of votes on the party's funding? Should that be reviewed and those requirements adjusted based on the type of electorate?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
I will continue on the same topic.
Correct me if I am wrong, but, to obtain a reimbursement on a national level, a party must have secured at least 5%—it may be 2%, I'm not sure—of votes in all the ridings in which it ran a candidate.
In addition to the vote fragmentation, there seems to be some sort of vote regionalization, where regions like the prairies vote mostly Conservative. In those conditions, it seems to be more difficult for a party to reach that threshold in all ridings in which it runs candidates.
On the one hand, do you believe that could also be subject to review? On the other hand, do you have any figures related to that trend?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Perrault.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
I have a general question on the possibility for a voter to vote without a piece of identification if someone vouches for them.
Do you have any statistics on that? Our wallets are getting thicker every year, and we have more and more pieces of identification. Do you have any statistics that would help establish a trend in terms of the number of people who use that method to establish their identity?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you very much.
Thank you for being here, Minister.
The first question I want to ask you has to do with francophone immigration. I know that this is one of the issues that you are addressing, as indicated on page 17 of your departmental plan.
I'll start my question by referring to an article in La Presse from March 2. This article mentions that between 70% and 90% of the applications of French-speaking international students from Cameroon, Guinea, Algeria and Senegal are refused, which means that half of the international students end up in Ontario, which corresponds to almost twice the weight of its population in Canada, and only 12% end up in Quebec, which is half the weight of its population in Canada.
Does the minister have an explanation for this situation? Why are there so many refusals and why are 51% of foreigners who want to study in Quebec denied their permits, compared to 38% in the rest of Canada?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
I'll continue in the same vein.
We note that many educational institutions admit students from, among others, French-speaking countries, mainly from Africa, and that these places are not filled because, even if Quebec accepts students, the federal government refuses them.
Can you explain to me why this is happening?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
My next questions are about the Municipal Nominee Program, another flagship project mentioned in your mandate letter.
Given the existence of the Canada-Quebec Accord and the possibility for Quebec to select its own candidates for economic immigration, does the minister agree that the application of this program in Quebec would be an intrusion into its jurisdiction, which would create a duplication of procedures and entry points for economic immigration?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
Fine.
I'll clarify my question, Minister. Do you intend to implement the Municipal Nominee Program in Quebec?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
If the municipalities in Quebec tell you that they want the program and Minister Jolin-Barrette tells you that he doesn't want it, do you already have an idea of what your position will be?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Soraya Martinez Ferrada Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Minister.
My question will focus on francophone immigration.
As you said, governments and communities have set a goal of 4.3% francophone immigration by 2023. This is an ambitious challenge. I think the percentage is currently about 2.3% or 2.4% of the objective.
Can you talk more about the government's policies for the integration of immigrants into minority language communities? What measures can we take to increase the number of immigrants entering the country? Not only do we need to work on integration in the communities, but above all we need to increase the number and the pool because the demographic weight of francophone communities is decreasing.
View Soraya Martinez Ferrada Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you.
I have a second question. I'd like to hear from you on the issue of labour shortages. As you know, the committee will be studying this issue and how immigration can respond to it.
How can the different skill levels of immigrants be better integrated to achieve this? What are your department's linkages, particularly with the Department of Employment and Social Development, to ensure that immigration is one of the solutions to the labour shortage, and addresses all skill levels needed in the country?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you.
My next question is simple; it should elicit a yes or no answer. Has the department considered using subsection 10(3) of the Safe Third Country Agreement to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
Unfortunately, this doesn't answer my question, which is simple: has this possibility been studied?
I'll allow myself, once again, a preamble. During the last election campaign, the Bloc expressed support for a suspension; the Conservatives expressed support for a suspension; the NDP expressed support for a suspension. There was very broad public support. My riding is a stone's throw from Roxham Road and that has been mentioned.
Is this possibility so frivolous to the government that it hasn't even been explored?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Anju Dhillon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Good morning.
The first question I have is in regard to sponsorships and spousal work permits. A lot of constituents feel that they have been discriminated against because officers are not always fit to understand the nature of their relationships. As we know, in many cultures, people do not live together prior to marriage, and in some cases marriages are even arranged. Does that automatically disqualify somebody from sponsoring their spouse, even though in their view the relationship is bona fide and they plan on spending a lifetime together with their partner?
What kinds of measures are being taken to make sure that officers are receiving cultural sensitivity training and help in understanding the many cultural nuances that exist in many countries across the world?
View Anju Dhillon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Okay. Can you talk to us a bit about the bias training?
View Anju Dhillon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Perfect.
Madam Chair, I'd like to point out that maybe witnesses could be instructed to answer the question they're asked, because time was taken out of something that I had to inquire about.
View Anju Dhillon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Perfect. I have a very brief question.
When a constituent applies for a temporary resident visa for the first time, they're also required to submit and pay for biometrics. If the application is refused and they decide to reapply, the first biometrics submitted are still valid and they don't have to pay for those again. However, a lot of constituents don't know this, because the refusal letter they receive doesn't say that they're still valid. Only when they call our office do they realize this.
We had a case just last week where a constituent's father submitted a third temporary resident visa application and was asked to submit biometrics. When the constituent was told by the office that he did not have to pay again, he had already paid. Is there any way that you can make it clear, when the officials send out refusal letters, that these biometrics remain valid?
View Anju Dhillon Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
My question is specifically for Mr. Kochhar. It relates to my colleague's question and follows up on a question I asked last time. This is the preamble to my question.
Mr. Kochhar, at the last meeting, you explained to us that, before sending their files back to the clients, IRCC officers contact them if documents are missing from the file. I was a little surprised by your answer. I myself have worked as an immigration lawyer, and in that context, on several occasions files have been returned to me because documents were missing. I would send the files back. Then they were sent back to me. Sometimes there were up to three or four trips back and forth. I thought maybe the directive had changed since I was elected and no longer work as an immigration lawyer.
However, as my colleague mentioned, your response on social media has also provoked reactions. Several lawyers mentioned that this was still the case and that files were systematically returned to them when documents were missing.
My question is this. At present, what is the directive with regard to missing documents in a file?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
Am I to understand, though, that this is at the discretion of the officers, since there is no formal directive?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
All right.
Does the departmental representative agree with me that it can be easy for an officer to simply return an application if the file is thick and complicated or if there is a missing document? Does he agree that this unduly lengthens delays, adds to the workload and prevents the proper processing of files, since they can be reviewed two, three or four times before they are finally opened?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
Relying on the good judgment of officers has clearly not worked in the past, as processing times are very long and files are returned.
Is the department open to the idea of issuing a clear directive as to the handling of files where there are missing documents?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you.
Am I correct in saying that, in addition to health and security reasons, the main reason for refusing student visa applications is the fact that a student does not have sufficient financial guarantees that he or she will return to his or her country of origin at the end of his or her studies?
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
One of the wishes of the Government of Quebec is to ensure that students, on the contrary, stay in Quebec when they finish their studies.
In your opinion, isn't there a contradiction between the Canadian government's desire to ensure that they leave at the end of their studies and the Government of Quebec's desire to ensure that they stay when they finish their studies?
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
Lib. (QC)
If my honourable colleague agrees, could we ask the subcommittee to deal with this motion? Then we would discuss it in committee. As my colleague said, we are not necessarily against it, but we want to do it in an orderly fashion.
Mr. Aboultaif, it would be a good idea to set the motion aside for today and come back to it after we discuss it at the subcommittee.
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
Lib. (QC)
I would therefore move the adjournment of the debate.
(Motion agreed to)
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you.
I was looking at the estimates. I'm trying to understand all this. I saw that your goal was to transform and streamline IT services, modernize the 485 data centres by consolidating them into seven centres, to move from 50 networks to a single one and to consolidate the 63 email systems into one, all while providing cost-recovery technology services and so on.
I have a few questions and I would appreciate quick answers.
When were the 485 data centres created?
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
That's it. When were they created?
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
What does this consolidation into seven centres mean in terms of financial and real property investments? I gather that these data centres are somewhere in a building.
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
I'm not denying that's important. What I'm asking is how much that will end up costing. Will those investments translate into real savings?
At this time there are four centres, and we want at most seven. When will all this be completed and where are these centres located?
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
Okay.
I also saw that you are using a cost-recovery approach. When agencies or departments use SSC's services, they are billed and must pay SSC, as I understand it.
How effective is cost-recovery, given that the money is coming from the government? That money comes from a big pocket. For example, when Health Canada is billed for the services it uses, the money ultimately goes from the left pocket to the right pocket.
How can the cost-recovery approach save the government money?
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
Okay.
You have certain critical programs. For me, the definition of "program" involves a planning component, and the term "critical" means it's important. We can't do anything without this critical aspect. You are asking for supplementary funding for the delivery of critical SSC programs. I don't understand that.
If these are critical programs that enable SSC to deliver on its mandate, why aren't they in the Main Estimates?
If I understand correctly what a critical program should be, why is additional funding being requested for programs and services that should have been planned in advance?
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
According to your mandate letter, you are tasked with identifying all core and at-risk IT systems and platforms.
How is that work coming along? When can we see the report on that identification exercise?
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
That's fine.
Mr. Bilodeau, you said earlier that you had an application health file.
Would that file be readily available for consultation and analysis?
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
Would it be possible to transfer it?
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to thank you all for being here today. We sincerely appreciate it.
I would like to come back to the supplementary estimates.
You are requesting $8.1 million for accommodation space. This year efforts to resolve Phoenix pay issues were successful in 98% of cases. Last year, around $8 million was also requested for accommodations, and in that case, it was specified that given the issues with Phoenix and retroactive pension payments, more staff was needed.
Why is this $8-million amount needed again this year, when it was decided to keep these new employees, who account for the 98% success rate in retroactive pay cases?
Why isn't this $8 million in the Main Estimates, since this has become ongoing?
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
I understand that there have been more staff increases and that they account for the $8.1 million. Now that that has stabilized, there will be no further requests for supplementary funds, since we are now able to plan.
Is that correct?
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
Maybe I just have the wrong idea of what a budget should be. Since the cost of administering the pension services should not vary all that much from year to year, I still have the same question. Why can't we plan for these services in advance so that we can include them in the Main Estimates?
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
According to your mandate letter, you are required to implement a new vision for Canada Post.
I, for one, have lived in many places. I now live in the city, but I've also lived in what could be called a rural area, meaning towns of 3,000 to 5,000 people. Right now ATMs are being removed, even in rural areas. We're no longer even talking about having a bank or credit union branch; there's absolutely nothing.
Canada Post is proposing not only to create its own MoneyGram services, but also to offer banking services to the public, which is already being done in several countries around the world.
What do you think of this proposal?
View Steven MacKinnon Profile
Lib. (QC)
You're a great chair.
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Baker.
Welcome, Minister.
As you know, any discussion about climate change necessarily leads to a discussion about water resources. At the end of the day, climate change impacts our water resources, whether through flooding or droughts. As you know, during the last election campaign, we committed to creating the Canada Water Agency. It's a pretty innovative idea, and you're responsible for bringing it to life.
Can you share with us your vision for the new agency that is in the works?
Are you envisioning a large-scale organization that will bring together everyone at the federal level responsible for water management and protection?
Otherwise, do you have more modest beginnings in mind, perhaps focusing on a few foundational pieces such as flood prevention and adaptation?
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
Some would argue that Canada's water legislation needs to be modernized.
Have you had time to consider ways to keep the legislation relevant, so it can serve to better protect our water going forward?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Minister, thank you for your appearance today and your opening statement.
In fact, my question ties in with something you said in your statement. It's about the Trans Mountain expansion project. You said, and I quote: No longer can we think of economic opportunities without also considering environmental impacts.
I'd like to take you back to June 2019. A provision stipulated that, should costs be revised upwards, the bill would be passed on to users, similar to toll highways. That wasn't retained, however. Trans Mountain rejected the option. The Canada Energy Regulator could have stepped in to prevent taxpayers from being stuck with those costs, but it didn't, so taxpayers are the ones who will be on the hook.
Oil companies will get to use the pipeline at a lower cost than the market value. The pipeline won't bring in any profit. Taxpayers are the ones who will have to pay for it, since pipeline users won't be paying any tolls, so to speak. Those costs weren't exactly laid out clearly in the budget.
Isn't the government underestimating the project costs to keep them under wraps, to some extent, so the public doesn't become outraged? The fact of the matter is that the costs are going to go up and the pipeline is going to become more and more expensive.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
Let's set the Trans Mountain pipeline aside and turn to fossil fuel subsidies. It appears that there was an agreement with Argentina. The initiative dates back to 2018 and was launched through the G20. Six countries gave themselves 12- to 24-month time limits.
Further to the agreement, where does Canada stand progress-wise?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
They're supposed to be phased out by 2025, but have any tangible measures been taken? Can you give us an example?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
Forgive me. I wanted to take advantage of our time with the minister to have him answer a question in a way that is also political, since we are in politics, after all.
I'll ask another question, then, but I'm not sure it will be deemed in order, either. It has to do with health and the environment.
Numerous experts around the world are beefing up research on the health impacts of environmental degradation. Since we have to stay on the topic of the estimates, I'd like to know whether any funding has been earmarked to make scientific and medical publications available to the public to help people properly understand the effects of climate change on their health, particularly with regard to endocrine-disrupting substances. As we all know, a significant number of studies have examined the issue.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
Ms. Hogan, would you care to comment?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
I'm going to talk about the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. As we all know, numerous recommendations were made during the last Parliament. Is there any money in the estimates for monitoring associated with the public environmental protection mechanism? Should we see funding for that?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
My first question is for the Environment and Climate Change Canada officials.
The supplementary estimates seek an additional $4.37 million in grants and contributions.
Can you tell us what that money was used for and how? Can you also provide some examples?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
I don't have the exact line.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
An additional $4.37 million in grants and contributions was requested.
This brings Environment and Climate Change Canada's total proposed authorities for grants and contributions to $791 million.
What initiatives is that money being put towards?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
The interpreter is telling me that they missed the second item. Trans Mountain is one, but what is the other?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
Very good. Thank you.
My next question is for the Parks Canada officials.
Expanding protected areas is also very good for the environment. Was any additional funding allocated to expanding protected areas?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
I'd like to come back to the election promise to plant millions of trees.
At Parks Canada, do you know who's going to be in charge of that? Will it be environmental groups? Local groups across the country? They may be willing to work on the initiative.
How are you going to proceed?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
In the supplementary estimates, funding has been set aside for youth. Is there a connection with tree planting?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
My next question is for the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada officials.
The agency requested a transfer of $2 million to the Department of the Environment to reduce operating pressures on the department.
Could you tell me what exactly "operating pressures" refers to?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
The money had been allocated to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, so what was it meant for originally?
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I have a quick question to begin. Do you have a number that describes how much the department would spend in any given year on programs and activities related to fresh water? Do you have a summary figure, or is it just too difficult to pull together?
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
Would it include oceans?
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
I think it would be a useful measure to allow legislators and parliamentarians to get a better grip on this issue in your department. I would also ask the same questions of NRCan and Fisheries, and so on.
I would like to speak about the freshwater action plan. The departmental plan for 2020-21 indicates that funding for the plan will be decreasing in 2022-23. Is that correct?
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
Okay. I don't mean to interrupt, but I have limited time.
I'm specifically concerned about the sunsetting of the funding in budget 2018 for the national hydrological service.
The reason I'm concerned is that, referring to Mr. Redekopp's point, there are only four indicators in the departmental results report of 2018-19 that were not met. Two of these were in relation to water. I will try to find them here.
One of them has to do with the national hydrological service and the satisfaction that the provinces expressed with the service and their interactions with the service.
It says here that in regard to the hydrological service program, the indicator is a percentage of provincial and territorial partners rating their satisfaction with Environment Canada's hydrometric services. The target is 80% and the actual result was 56%.
I am concerned about the fact that funding for the service.... I'm told it is in the process of trying to upgrade its monitoring stations. Is that correct?
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
Will the sunsetting of these funds make it harder to upgrade these interactions with the provinces?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you.
My question is for the Parks Canada Agency officials.
The supplementary estimates allocate $175,000 to the Parks Canada Agency for "innovative approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in government operations". I'd like to hear what those approaches are because I'm always interested in new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Could you describe some of the approaches for us?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
That's fine, but you didn't provide any specific examples.
When you have some, I'd be interested in hearing about them. When I asked about tree planting, you referred me to Natural Resources Canada, but you are the tree experts. Have you put together a plan setting out the species to be planted? Obviously, there will be mixed vegetation, but what else?
How far along is the work?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-11 16:00
Thank you, gentlemen, for your presentation.
Something struck me in your response to the question as to why softwood lumber was not part of the negotiations in the Canada–U.S.-Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA. I don't know if it came from the interpreters, you'll tell me. You seemed to be saying that we needed to focus on other priorities, and this is not the first time I've heard that. Wasn't there a turn of phrase that sounded like that?
The phrase “focusing on other priorities” is quite telling to me. I get the impression that the various softwood lumber crises we are experiencing are partly due to the fact that Canada has an economy that is fairly integrated with the United States in the auto sector and that it does not want to weaken that sector. This leaves me with the impression that softwood lumber is often the currency of trade.
I don't remember exactly, but I do know that we have been successful in many cases that we have taken to the World Trade Organization, or WTO. I know that in one of the settlements in those disputes, some of the money that was supposed to be paid to us by the United States was never paid out. I believe it is close to $1 billion.
I attended a presentation on this subject by representatives of a company in my region, Resolute Forest Products. This company, which is involved in forestry and the export of lumber, sees this as a form of ransom. It is still paying the surtax, between 15% and 20%, which has been in place since 2017.
Here's what worries me. If we get a settlement for the five ongoing cases you're talking about, we'll still be tempted, in order to maintain good relations with our American neighbours, to accept this ransom system where, ultimately, we don't receive our fair share of the compensation that would be offered to us as a result of a court decision.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on that.
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-11 16:06
I understand your answer very well, but there is a rather pernicious logic. These softwood lumber wars are causing many producers to run out of steam. They will not have the strength to continue their operations, which is why they are inclined to accept agreements that may not be advantageous. Between two evils, one chooses the lesser one. There is that aspect to consider.
As you probably know, Quebec has changed its forestry regime to put in place a new system, which allows for the auctioning of public land. This system is much the same as the one in place in many U.S. states.
With this change, do you think there will be positive rulings from the courts, particularly the WTO, or perhaps through the CUSMA?
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-11 16:07
Okay. I'm sorry.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon to our witnesses.
I'd like to welcome you to your House of Commons.
I'm an MP from Quebec. In my riding, there aren't, strictly speaking, any forest areas and forestry companies as vast and successful as the ones you mentioned earlier.
However, I'd still like to point out that this industry is very important to the Quebec economy. Earlier, Ms. Brassard gave us a good picture of the reality: the industry is much more than just producing planks, much more than lumberjack work, it's also high-tech.
Three years ago, I went to the Fjord region, in the riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, and I discovered the scent of wood. I was very happy to discover that smell, a smell I like to breathe when I'm walking around. Moreover, wood is used in the composition of many by-products. As Ms. Brassard said earlier, the industry is modernizing, it gives rise to added value. It must change, improve, and that is exactly what's happening.
Ms. Brassard also reported on the investments that have been made and the steps taken by Canada Economic Development. During the years 2009 to 2013, when I was a member of the provincial government, there were fruitful and interesting collaborations that proved beneficial to Quebec workers in the forestry sector. I am also very pleased to point out that those years coincided with my time in government.
Thereafter, we cannot say that things have improved. By a strange coincidence, exactly four years ago today, March 11, do you know where our Prime Minister was? He was in the White House with his good friend, the president at the time, Barack Obama—it's nice to have good relationships like that—and it would have been an extraordinary opportunity to resolve the softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the United States.
What existed four years ago still exists today. Unfortunately, four years ago, when there was perfect harmony between the two heads of state, the Canadian head of state and the American head of state, our Prime Minister failed to resolve this problem which, unfortunately, is affecting the forestry sector, both in Quebec and across Canada, namely the issue of tariffs.
The issue of the tariff problem is a huge one; it is still a 20% tariff, and its application has repercussions. We won another victory last September. Once again, the arbitration tribunal ruled in our favour as Canadians. So what's the big deal? The problem is that this victory has yet to be proven and more needs to be done.
Ms. Brassard, can you explain to us what impact the U.S. anti-dumping tariff, which was challenged by the court, has had on the forestry industry in Quebec?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
Perfect.
Entrepreneurs are knocking on your door, and your advertisements say that you're the only bank to invest in businesses.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
You're right. I'm sorry, and I apologize. I'm using the wrong abbreviation.
What is the main concern of entrepreneurs when they knock on your door? What brings them to you, other than the fact that they have to deal with this U.S. tariff of more than 20%?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
As for softwood lumber, our main customer is definitely the United States because it's the closest country to us, geographically.
At the same time, it's the country that's holding us most hostage when they charge such a high tariff. Do entrepreneurs tell you about it when they knock on your door?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
Can we talk about networking between Canadian companies and provincial companies?
Quebec companies obviously work together to support each other. However, can we consider more co-operative networking with other Canadian companies from coast to coast to coast?
View Gérard Deltell Profile
CPC (QC)
Very good, thank you.
That's what we want.
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-11 16:56
Thank you.
Good afternoon, Ms. Brassard.
I'm speaking to you, but I don't want you to think that I mean to criticize you personally. Instead, I'll criticize the government's actions.
In your presentation, you talked about the community adjustment fund, which was in place from 2009 to 2011, and the temporary initiative for the strengthening of Quebec's forest economies, which was in place from 2010 to 2013. However, I believe that, since 2013, not much has been done for the forest industry.
You spoke of a strategy to address the spruce budworm epidemic, but I don't have any information on this issue.
Can you provide that information?
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-11 16:57
We're talking about $6 million.
In the same period, in British Columbia, $200 million was provided to fight the spruce budworm. In the western provinces, $75 million was provided. These figures show that Quebec may not have enough power in this federation and that it's somewhat overlooked.
We're currently experiencing a period of climate change. The forestry sector is probably one of the most promising sectors. You spoke of CED's willingness to invest in new forestry technology. However, nothing is happening, and I'm wondering why.
In my region, Resolute Forest Products has launched an initiative to produce cellulose fibre. Personally, I've been hearing about this for the past 10 years. There was talk of a revolution in this area. However, without the government's support, it won't happen.
I gave this example earlier this week to a woman who came to speak and whose name I've forgotten. I told her that this was done to make the oil sands profitable. A considerable amount of money was invested. When it comes to softwood lumber, why isn't there any money?
What does CED's forestry strategy look like?
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-11 17:01
Okay.
From the perspective that I mentioned earlier, wood is a very promising material in the fight against climate change.
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-11 17:02
Okay.
On your end, have any studies been conducted to promote the use of wood in the construction industry? Is this part of CED's activities?
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-11 17:02
Has CED made any investments in this regard?
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-11 17:02
Thank you.
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-11 17:20
I want to say that it would be helpful if everyone could respect the time allotted so that we can ask questions in the second round. For the last two comments, we didn't have enough time.
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-11 17:21
I just don't want that flexibility to come at my expense. I know that we must give the witnesses time to answer questions. However, for the last two comments in the second round, neither one of us had the opportunity to speak.
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-11 17:21
Perfect.
View Élisabeth Brière Profile
Lib. (QC)
Good afternoon.
Thank you, Commissioner, for your presentation.
One of the recommendations in the report prepared by the committee in the previous Parliament was to limit the amount of data and to clarify the consent rules for the exchange of personal information between government departments and agencies.
Have you begun to follow this recommendation in your work?
View Élisabeth Brière Profile
Lib. (QC)
All right.
I have a similar question. How can people be confident that their information is not used for purposes other than those for which they gave their consent?
View Élisabeth Brière Profile
Lib. (QC)
Okay.
What are the Office of the Information Commissioner's priorities for the coming year?
View Élisabeth Brière Profile
Lib. (QC)
In your presentation, you underscored the importance of reducing the backlog of complaints. I would imagine that this is a major challenge, for example, in terms of the number of employees and the available funds.
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