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Results: 1 - 15 of 1064
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, ever since the decision was made to close the Emergency Preparedness College in Arnprior, the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness, OCIPEP, has gone from crisis to crisis, totally unprepared, and the training programs are in shambles.
On March 12 of this year the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness produced a threat analysis to Canada's critical infrastructure. Under this section “Impact of Accidental Threats on Canadian Critical Infrastructures”,it had this to say about power failures:
The North American hydro grid is more interconnected today than it was at the time of the Great Northeast Blackout. “This interconnectedness has increased the ability of the grid to withstand unexpected disruptions as managed by coordinated real-time monitoring across North America.” Officials have gone to great lengths to ensure that the entire breadth of the North American electricity grid is carefully monitored for fluctuations and special protection systems are in place. This work is therefore making the possibility of another massive blackout that would leave large areas of North America without power, remote.
Nowhere in the minister's “Lessons Learned” document does he acknowledge or even consider the need to be prepared for a power blackout, let alone apologize to Canadians for this subsequent misinformation that came out of OCIPEP.
This is even more serious given the fact that the minister is aware that in the aftermath of 9/11, CSIS and the RCMP had been monitoring a missing employee from the Labrador hydroelectric power station and that detailed blueprints were found of power stations on his personal computer. Yet the minister still considered that there was no risk to power installations.
Now, this week, we learned that the Deputy Prime Minister was sailing through the Caribbean instead of participating in Operation Topoff--that stands for “top officials”--a joint U.S-Canadian emergency preparedness exercise that was two years and $10 million in the making. He assumed that because of the U.S. focus on Saddam Hussein at the time, Topoff would not proceed.
We know that the Deputy Prime Minister had a luxury jet follow him around through the islands to the tune of $25,000 a day, but the defence minister's agency could only muster a tabletop version of the exercise instead of the full capacity for Operation Topoff that was intended. That was only after Mr. Rumsfeld personally called Mr. Manley to find out whether or not he was still going to proceed.
How can the minister justify the fact that OCIPEP crashed within 50 minutes of zero hour for the exercise, and why are Canadians being asked to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on an office like OCIPEP that doesn't work and is out of control, and considering the fact that OCIPEP continues to fail Canadians?
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
That still doesn't answer my question about the missing employee and why we weren't prepared for the blackout, given that he has the grid plans for the entire eastern seaboard.
The decision to grant Bombardier a 20-year sole-source contract at Moose Jaw has now come back to haunt that company, and as you know, they have been trying to break that $1.3 billion contract during the last several months. How much is breaking that contract going to cost the taxpayers of Canada?
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to begin by thanking CIBC for taking the position and allowing our veterans in Canada to have poppies sold in their institutions. I am speaking on behalf of all veterans and Canadians, for that matter, when I say that we really appreciate that.
It is my understanding--and please correct me right away if I'm wrong--that in addition to Canadian chartered banks, you also represent foreign banks?
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. Now, in the smaller areas outside Toronto and Calgary, small and medium-sized businesses find it very difficult to access these particular institutions. What are the challenges that these institutions are facing in getting to the people who would like to have access to the products and services they provide?
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
There seems to be some serious disconnect between the statistics you quoted from Stats Canada and those we received from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. For example, everyone here has claimed that they are serving the SMEs very well, yet we hear from CFIB--and I must say, in my constituency I hear the same thing--that 59% of business owners are not satisfied with the banking services they receive.
With that in mind, and knowing and acknowledging that bank loan applications have been decreasing over time, I would suggest that perhaps it's not totally because there's not a need for them. The complaint we get overwhelmingly is that businesses cannot expand because they do not have the access to capital. One reason they haven't been going to the banks is that the loan amounts they are applying for are a fraction of what is demanded in terms of collateral. The amounts are just disproportionately larger. I know the excuse is that the assets might not sell for 100¢ on the dollar, but a 10-to-1 ratio, collateral to loan, that's still way out of line.
SMEs are literally unable to obtain commercial mortgages through chartered banks. People have to mortgage their homes and use that equity to put into their business. So again, this is a serious failure on the part of the chartered banks. It reflects not at all on the success of the businesses that would like to acquire more commercial property.
I'd like you to comment on that.
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
Before I ask a question, I just want Mr. Campbell to clarify the response to the initial question with regard to foreign banks. You were referring to niche markets. Am I to understand that the foreign banks really are not interested in financing SMEs?
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
What can municipalities do to encourage an actual physical presence, an establishment of foreign banks in their communities?
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
In the coming years, if not months, we are going to be asked to comment and perhaps even be on a committee where we are going to have to play a role in ruling on approvals for bank mergers. There seems to be a positive correlation between the merging of financial institutions and the decreased availability and decreased service and competitiveness to the SMEs as these occur. Given this and the cattle crisis right now, farm equipment dealers are having their lines of credit cut off even though they have never missed a repayment.
How can we justify to our constituents the fact that the banks want to merge, which will decrease competition? The response is that it is better for people in the long run but they are getting decreased service and access to capital.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm not sure whether some documents in fact already exist. I'm wondering if we could ask our researcher to compile some form of list of the oaths of office in a variety of similar jurisdictions—the various provinces, particularly Quebec, but also Britain, Australia and its states, New Zealand, and other similar countries.
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Through you to the witness, first of all, I want to get an idea of how representative your data is of business across the country. You surveyed your members, is that correct?
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. So what percentage of SMEs would your membership represent?
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
But as a percentage of SMEs across the country, would you have an estimation of that?
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
The reason I ask is that by virtue of being a member of your organization, the sentiments might be skewed more in one way than in another.
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you. And I certainly appreciate the surveys that the federation sends to my office, as well. It keeps me on pulse with the businesses.
Now, in terms of the banking, one of the common complaints I get is that collateral-wise, the actual loan applications are a fraction of what is being demanded in terms of collateral. Legislatively speaking, are there actions or measures you would like to see on that part?
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