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Results: 1 - 56 of 56
Serge Joyal
View Serge Joyal Profile
Hon. Serge Joyal
2016-01-26 18:06
Thank you, Mr. Joint Chair.
Welcome, Mr. Pelletier.
I would like to talk to you about item 2, which is titled “Mature Minors.” That is on page 54 of your report.
As you know, the Carter decision refers to competent adults. Yesterday, your colleague, Professor Hogg, said that there can be different ages of majority in the Criminal Code. In other words, people can reach the age of majority at 21, 18 or 16 years of age.
The Carter decision established that a competent adult had the right to physician-assisted death. I think that Parliament is not limited by that decision or by a strict interpretation of the definition of an adult. It is Parliament's duty to define what the mental capacity of an individual to express their decision and intention should be.
Setting aside what you noted in your report—especially when it comes to Ontario's Health Care Consent Act, 1996, which does not specify the age at which a minor can express their agreement or disagreement with a treatment—as a law professor, can you suggest what approach the committee should use to define the age of accessibility?
Serge Joyal
View Serge Joyal Profile
Hon. Serge Joyal
2016-01-26 18:10
So should we not follow the same procedure as Ontario's Health Care Consent Act, 1996, which has been in practice for 20 years and which basically leaves practicians—the professionals—the role or responsibility to decide on the individual's mental capacity in the case of those referred to as “below the adult age of 18 or 21”?
James S. Cowan
View James S. Cowan Profile
Hon. James S. Cowan
2016-01-26 18:25
Thank you.
Thank you for being here, and thank you for the work you've done.
I want to return briefly to the question that Mr. Rankin asked you earlier with regard to the proposition that Professor Hogg put to us yesterday. I want to get your view as a lawyer and constitutional scholar as well about the authority that the Canada Health Act gives to the Parliament of Canada to act and to move in areas if the provinces or territories do not act.
I think what Professor Hogg was saying was not that we should assume that the provinces wouldn't act, but that we cannot assume that all of them will act and that all of them will act in a way that is consistent with Carter.
Does the Canada Health Act give this Parliament the authority to act in that situation?
James S. Cowan
View James S. Cowan Profile
Hon. James S. Cowan
2016-01-26 18:27
To assure equality of access and opportunity, if that's the proper term—
James S. Cowan
View James S. Cowan Profile
Hon. James S. Cowan
2016-01-26 18:27
—there is a responsibility on the part of the federal Parliament.
James S. Cowan
View James S. Cowan Profile
Hon. James S. Cowan
2016-01-26 18:28
We're both going to be cut off here in a minute, but if I could just say this, I think Professor Hogg's answer to that was equivalency, meaning that there could be a declaration of equivalency if a province came up to a certain standard, even if they did it in a slightly different way. Would you agree with that?
James S. Cowan
View James S. Cowan Profile
Hon. James S. Cowan
2016-01-26 18:28
It initially has to be amended accordingly.
James S. Cowan
View James S. Cowan Profile
Hon. James S. Cowan
2016-01-26 19:00
Thank you for being here, and thank you for your work.
In Carter, the terminology used was “grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual”. Do you see any reason to distinguish between mental illness and physical illness?
James S. Cowan
View James S. Cowan Profile
Hon. James S. Cowan
2016-01-26 19:02
The courts have been very clear on that.
James S. Cowan
View James S. Cowan Profile
Hon. James S. Cowan
2016-01-26 19:02
I have one more question.
There's the business of conscientious objection. Nobody is trying to force anybody to participate in this process. That protects the practitioner, whether they're a physician or another medical professional. The corollary of that, in looking at it from the point of view of the patient, is how we ensure that there is what I would call an effective referral. That means something more than simply saying, “I can't be involved in this. You're on your own. Go and look it up on the Internet. Go call the medical society, and they may be able to help you”. Don't you agree that we need to design a regime that ensures there is a more effective referral than that?
James S. Cowan
View James S. Cowan Profile
Hon. James S. Cowan
2016-01-26 19:04
That's the role of the regulatory authorities, the colleges of physicians and such?
James S. Cowan
View James S. Cowan Profile
Hon. James S. Cowan
2016-01-26 19:05
Exactly. Can I just make sure that your comments would also apply to institutions?
Serge Joyal
View Serge Joyal Profile
Hon. Serge Joyal
2016-01-26 19:20
I'd like to come back to your recommendation 17, where you propose that competence should be substituted for age as a criteria to have access to physician-assisted dying. Could you explain why you removed the age factor? It could apply below 21 years of age, but it would apply over 21 years of age also. If there's no age factor and no more adult status, then, of course, everything becomes a matter of evaluating the competence.
Could you explain why you proposed that approach to the issue of age as a criteria of eligibility?
Serge Joyal
View Serge Joyal Profile
Hon. Serge Joyal
2016-01-26 19:23
If I may, I would like to come back to the issue of initial consent given by persons who become incompetent later in life. I would like to understand clearly the distinction between this and a will, whereby a person provides that in a case where the person is suffering from an accident or another disease and loses his autonomy, the person can decide to opt for somebody to consent that they not be maintained artificially in life. It is suicide, in a way, to decide that in such a condition you prefer to die.
What you've proposed, if I understand well, would mean that when a person is diagnosed with a disease or a physical or mental condition that is irremediable, that person could opt at some point in time to have somebody express consent to terminate their life. Do I understand well these conditions through which you would add to the capacity of a person to decide when that person would be dying at a point in life because her physical or mental condition would be totally irremediable?
View David Christopherson Profile
NDP (ON)
Yes, at the risk of blowing up all this great kumbaya, the first thing I'd like to do is serve notice of a motion:That the Committee conduct a study into the provision of services to the House of Commons Liberal Caucus out of resources of the Senate of Canada in contravention of the Members By-Laws of the House of Commons since the 2011 election, and that in preparation for these hearings the Liberal Research Bureau provide to the Committee all organizational charts, all employment records (with personal information redacted), and all the briefing materials which were produced by employees of the Senate of Canada and then distributed to the Liberal House of Commons Caucus.
That now serves as notice, Chair. We'll deal with it at the appropriate time.
Mr. Mayrand, I'd like to deal right off the top with recent media reports regarding investigations that you may or may not be currently conducting. Certainly, if you read some of the media, you would be left with the impression that the NDP is specifically under investigation, and yet when we look at the recent letter that you sent to the Speaker, there isn't the word “investigation” nor “NDP” there.
I would ask you, sir, with respect, as much as you can in light of the confidentiality around your procedures of investigation, can you tell us whether or not it is indeed specifically only the NDP that is under some kind of investigation, or are you looking at the mailing system itself and therefore all the parties, or, indeed, is there nothing going on and everybody should move along as there's nothing here to see?
Perhaps you could help clarify, sir.
View Ed Komarnicki Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you.
Part of the issue here is that the motion requests us to study the practice and procedures for appealing a decision from the board of referees to the umpire, and we've strayed in many various different directions. Most of the evidence related to presentations to the board of referees in some of the issues they had with that aspect of it; I'm not sure that's actually within the purview of our study, but quite a bit of evidence was heard on that, so I'd like to pose a few questions on that to you.
One of the issues they were concerned about is that in the assignment of the cases, you might have a person coming before the board of referees who would have an obvious conflict with either the employer representative or the employee representative, which meant that they would have to disqualify themselves and the thing would then have to be reset. They'd have to find a new person because of this issue of conflict.
Now, it would seem to me it would be a relatively simple matter to resolve that issue by making the cases and the people who are sitting on the cases known much earlier. Whose purview would that be under? Is that under the department's purview, or would that be something that the commission would need to deal with to improve that area? Do you know?
View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
Just very briefly, I think what's worth noting and should be pointed out, Mr. Chairman, especially given the importance of this particular clause and how vehemently the NDP stands in opposition to these particular clauses, is that even though we're in a minority Parliament, and even though the composition of committees is such that it's supposed to reflect the membership of the parties in Parliament—in other words, committees are constituted in such a way that the opposition in fact has the majority at committees, and a vote like this would not normally carry, if all of the opposition parties brought all of their members to the committee today....
Now, the NDP brought all the members they're allowed to have, which is one, which is me. The Bloc Québécois is in full attendance; they're represented by both of the committee members they're allowed to have. For some reason, the Liberals are lacking one member of the committee.
Many of the important votes that we've just seen pass in a tie, with the chair breaking the tie—which is a rare occasion.... In fact, committees are constituted in such a way that a neutral chair is not often put in the position of having to break a tie. It's the exception, not the rule; yet we have just seen the chair vote in favour of a number of articles that the three opposition parties combined are opposed to. In any normal setting, that would mean that those clauses would not succeed, but would fail.
I think it's worth noting and putting on the record that the majority of Parliament is opposed to these very clauses that have been passing—hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of clauses that have been passing in the budget implementation bill. People can draw their own conclusion on the dynamics that are at play here, especially in terms of this one last part, part 24, dealing with the Employment Insurance Act. We've let the public down. We've let down the people who voted to send us here to Parliament, by not showing up for work to vote against the very clauses they sent us here to vote against.
So I'd like to see a recorded vote on part 24, and I'd like it duly noted that the opposition is not here in full numbers and that this is why these appalling clauses are in fact being passed at the committee stage.
View Thomas Mulcair Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, I'm going to make a general comment to thank all the environmental groups that have made their presentations here today. They were to the point and extraordinarily clear. They concerned the entirely foreseeable harmful effects of the amendments provided for under Bill C-9. What you said is entirely consistent with my analysis. My friend and colleague Linda Duncan, an NDP member from Alberta, was one of the first to sound the alarm on this subject.
I also want to tell you that your presence here today is essential. Last week, we heard from departmental representatives who tried to stuff our heads. They told us a lot of nonsense about the foreseeable effects of this legislation, and it's scandalous. We are elected members. We agree or we do not agree, we dispute but we do our jobs as best we can. On the other hand, officials, agency leaders, the people who are paid to serve the government—if we literally translated the English term, we could say functionaries—are supposed to be a little more neutral. However, neutrality comes more from your side because you have an enormous amount of experience. You examined the bill and you say it cannot produce the anticipated results.
I also take the liberty of thanking you particularly, Mr. Lindgren, for your comments on what you call “the red herring”. It's true that the feared duplication and overlapping of roles is nonsense.
When I was Quebec's minister of the environment, I had no difficulty signing agreements with the federal government. We brought together two members of the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement and a federal government assessor. The results were excellent. The concerns that are expressed in piecemeal fashion by the Canadian right, that all this is too complicated and we have to try to simplify matters for the public, are nonsense and bunkum. It's not true.
What we have before us is an attempt to destroy a system that exists to protect future generations. Earlier I was listening to my friend and colleague Ms. Menzies, who said that last year an attempt was made to improve matters so that infrastructure spending would be done more quickly. In fact, they ruined a 100-year-old act respecting the protection of navigable waterways. That's what they did, period.
Now I want to come back to Mr. Lemelin, from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. I'd like to ask him whether he received a signal from the Liberal Party. The Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party share the idea that Part 15 must simply be deleted from Bill C-9. On the Liberal Party, you have a worthy representative of the left wing in Mr. Pacetti, of the centre in Mr. MacKay and of the extreme right in Ms. Hall Findlay. This will depend on the group that wins the internal battle. That's why I would like to know whether the people from the Liberal Party told you whether they were going to support you in the effort to delete Part 15 from the bill.
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, can we propose that we simply adopt routine motions?
View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Because one of the motions in particular does make reference to a desire to have the meetings with the minister televised, it would probably be nice if we at least talk about that motion.
I believe the other motions will probably be able to be dealt with rather quickly. If it looks like they're not going to be, I'd say we refer them over to a steering committee and we can discuss them another time. But if we can get them out of the way, it would be nice to start with just covering these motions and getting them done, if there's no discussion or not too much discussion around them.
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Instead of talking around this, let's get back to the simple motion that was put forward on that.
The other issue is around scheduling. We have a time for meetings, 3:30 to 5:30, and it's awkward with flights and getting back home to the ridings on Thursday evenings. I understand that, but those are our times. I have to say, from just a quick conference with the three of us, that we're not available at 6 o'clock next Tuesday. We're sort of stuck right now. We have to leave at 5:30. There's going to be difficulty with that.
But rather than referring things to a steering committee, we're here in this meeting right now, so let's try to deal with these motions and get past them, particularly since on the first one, which we felt was the big one, with the minister appearing and being televised.... If we could dispense with that together right now, I think that would be a more efficient use of our time than talking about it some other time.
View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
Absolutely. Thanks, Chair.
This is a very simple motion: That the committee immediately write to the Minister of the Environment to request that he appear before the committee on the estimates and the supplementary estimates and that those meetings be televised.
As I move this, I'd also like to ask a question of clarification or a point of order, Mr. Chair. The matter of inviting the minister to appear has to be passed by motion, I understand. The matter of having hearings televised must be passed by motion. Is that correct?
View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
All right. And that's why this motion has been brought.
The Chair: Very good.
Mr. David McGuinty: Going forward, then, Chair, just for clarification, if the minister were to appear again on other estimates or some other process, it would take another motion.
View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
Right. If he were to appear more than once, then on each occasion it would be televised.
View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
Right. It would be televised as a matter of course through this motion?
View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, just moments ago the government House leader said in the House, if I recall, that the government's prorogation annulled 22 sitting days in the House of Commons. One of the problems we're facing now, as we bottleneck towards the work that's been presented by Mr. Warawa, or the motion that I presented...we're bottlenecked because 22 days of working time has evaporated.
We have until March 23. I can't recall how many sitting days that is. It's generous of the minister to offer us one hour between now and the 23rd. We are sitting next week, the constituency week, the March break week, our children's week, because the Prime Minister decided to have this House of Commons sit. So I'm asking the chair here, perhaps with a letter to the minister, to explore the possibility that we don't have to simply meet with the minister during normal sitting times of this committee. There are all kinds of flexible times in which the minister can join us. We have many days from now until the 23rd, and I'm sure the minister's schedule is not so busy that he can't give us more than one hour in the next....
By calculation, Mr. Chair, how many sitting days do we have until the 23rd?
View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay. Perhaps in your letter you could express the situation with the committee for the minister. I'm sure the minister will want to accommodate this, and I suspect most of us would want to accommodate that flexibility here.
But as for Tuesday night, we know we have votes, Monday night we have votes, and I have another event at six o'clock sharp that has been booked for months, so I've got to be out of here probably at 5:20, Mr. Chair.
That's my suggestion. You may want to take that into consideration when you write to the minister going forward.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Is probably not enough.
To be honest, I don't mind if we could even take a committee meeting that starts at 3:30, if it were possible. I wouldn't even mind going into the evening to try to get through a fair bit of work, but that's up to the committee to decide.
I do think that before the break week, which starts Easter Monday, we absolutely have to meet on the hog crisis for a couple of meetings. We need to give some direction to the government. We need to hear from the industry where it's at. We're losing farmers every day.
On the SRM issue, which has been on the go a long time, unless somebody can tell us where the government's at.... I do know of two plants that are in trouble over SRM. I don't want to end up meeting some of these people on the Easter break week, wondering why in the hell we're not anywhere on the issue. I really do think it's urgent that we deal with at least those two questions specifically, the SRM removal and the hog industry question, right off the bat so that we can make some recommendations to the minister.
Just a question. Pierre's not here, but maybe somebody.... When do we have to have the estimates dealt with?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
The supplementary estimates. We had to move some....
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
March 23. So we have to have a meeting in that regard too, because we all have to be able to ask questions to the department, or the minister, or whoever. That's certainly going to take a meeting.
I want to get the competitiveness report done, but I think there are two or three urgent priorities we have to meet on first, and then let's try to get it done.
I'm going to vote against the motion and leave it up to the steering committee to sort out, to put in the days, and maybe make a recommendation that we meet longer.
View Frank Valeriote Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Frank Valeriote Profile
2010-03-10 16:34
Provided it's not at the expense of those other motions that need to be heard, leaving you with the discretion to extend the meetings into the evenings so they get done.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
On the supplementary estimates, I know we're only looking at money....
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
We're looking at the money in the supplementary estimates. Would CFIA be here as well in terms of the estimates?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Well, no, on the supplementary estimates, who would be expected to be here? Would it be Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada or CFIA? There are some serious questions that have to be raised with CFIA on some of them.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
We don't have time in our schedule if we have to request them separately.
There are some serious problems with the movement of potatoes.
View David Christopherson Profile
NDP (ON)
To be very clear, Mr. Kramp left the impression, and all but said, that we were aiding and abetting, and that he was surprised.
Mr. Daryl Kramp: [Inaudible--Editor]
Mr. David Christopherson: Hang on, Daryl, I listened to you, and I'll listen again if you want to take the floor.
This was corrected by the Auditor General. I want to underscore the correction and that Mr. Kramp was inaccurate in his recollection of our motion. We sent new information to the Auditor General and asked whether in her opinion that new information warranted this to be looked at.
Mr. Kramp, the impression was clearly left that somehow you were shocked that the Bloc, the NDP, and I, were somehow willing to help a Liberal who is now a lobbyist. That's a pretty strong allegation, and that's not the case.
View Shawn Murphy Profile
Lib. (PE)
I would like to call the meeting to order.
Bienvenue.
The first item of business today is to deal with the report of the subcommittee on agenda and procedure of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. Once that is dealt with, we are going to go in camera to deal with a couple of reports.
The first item is the minutes of the steering committee that was held Thursday of this week. Attached to those minutes you will see a schedule that takes us through the next couple of weeks, the working plan of this committee.
I'll perhaps elaborate on the minutes briefly. The first item is the committee decided that if possible we would try, depending on how we get along, to bring forward some of the chapters we had heard testimony on but didn't write a report for. We have draft reports, and we're going to take a stab at this and perhaps start at the next draft meeting and see how we get along, depending on the workload of the committee.
That's not to be confused with the five reports that were done, completed, and tabled in the House of Commons during the 39th Parliament. We passed a motion that those reports would be re-tabled for the sole purpose of inviting a government response within the required 120 days. That was done yesterday. Those reports were tabled, and now the time starts, the 120 days, and we'll get a report from the government at that point in time.
Secondly, colleagues, as you recall, there was some debate at one of the previous meetings as to whether or not this committee would actually have a hearing on chapter 4, “Managing Risks to Canada's Plant Resources--Canadian Food Inspection Agency”. That was discussed at the steering committee, and the basic decision was made to table that until after we received the March 2009 report of the Auditor General just to see how we're getting along.
The third item is the committee schedule of meetings for April. The first one is to consider the March 2009 report of the Auditor General. And I should point out to committee members that on Tuesday, March 31, the Auditor General will be tabling her March report, which has five or six chapters, and it has also reference to about eight or nine special examinations of crown corporations or agencies. That would be a standard meeting that this committee would have immediately following the tabling of the auditor's report.
Also some time during the month of April we would have a meeting, and this is another meeting that we have every year, to consider the main estimates of the Office of the Auditor General. The only estimates this committee deals with are the estimates emanating from the Office of the Auditor General, and at that same time we would deal with her office's departmental performance reports and the reports on plans and priorities for the upcoming year.
Thirdly, the steering committee is recommending that at some time in April we have a general meeting, which should be beneficial and informational, inviting the Auditor General, the Secretary of the Treasury Board, and the Comptroller General of Canada to have a discussion as to the whole issue of accounting and reporting in Canada for the assistance of this committee.
Item four, colleagues, is to revisit or reinstitute the follow-up work that was being done by Jack Stilborn during the last Parliament. This is the follow-up work that we were doing, following up not only the recommendations of the Auditor General but the recommendations of this committee.
We have found in the past, on some occasions, that recommendations would be made, and the department or agency would agree with the recommendations. But 24 months later, we would find that there really hadn't been a lot done. We wanted to institutionalize some of the follow-up so that the departments and agencies would know that they were being followed and that there was follow-up being done. We actually did, in the 39th Parliament, file a fairly lengthy report in Parliament just setting out the follow-up and the work that was done by these various departments and agencies.
The last item is that the steering committee is recommending that the clerk be authorized to purchase from the Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation Parliamentary Oversight -- Committees and Relationships -- A Guide to Strengthening Public Accounts Committees. It's a very helpful document, which certainly explains the roles and duties of members of the public accounts committee, not only in Canada but in all Commonwealth countries.
That is just a summary of the minutes from the steering committee.
Is there any comment or follow-up?
The chair would entertain a motion to adopt the minutes as circulated.
View Russ Hiebert Profile
CPC (BC)
Either we can talk about these parties or we can't. We've already stated a political party is not a public office holder.
The Chair: No. That's my definition.
An hon. member: Who are we investigating?
An hon. member: You've got yourself in a real mess now.
View Russ Hiebert Profile
CPC (BC)
It makes perfect sense--
The Chair: Order.
Mr. Russ Hiebert: --that we would not want to make recommendations to Elections Canada until the legal case has been resolved--
The Chair: Order.
Mr. Russ Hiebert: --because that would provide guidance to this committee.
The Chair: Order.
Mr. Russ Hiebert: I'm seeking understanding, Mr. Chair.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
2008-04-08 15:32
Good afternoon, colleagues.
Welcome to meeting 22 of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development for Tuesday, April 8, 2008.
Before we hear from our witnesses and before I introduce them, we have a little business to attend to. With the Honourable Mr. Wilfert becoming the official critic of defence, we have a few changes, because he was our vice-chair previous to that. So I'm going to open nominations for a vice-chair from the Liberal side.
Mr. Goldring.
View Peter Goldring Profile
CPC (AB)
It would give me great pleasure to nominate Bernard Patry for the position of vice-chair, if it's agreeable.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
2008-04-08 15:33
All right.
Are there any other nominations for that position? If not, we'll close nominations and we'll acclaim Mr. Patry our vice-chair.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
The Chair: I think it's good that he isn't here. He doesn't have to give us one of his election speeches. That might have changed our minds.
Certainly he is no stranger to that, being the chair of this committee for many years and serving as vice-chair in the past. We certainly welcome him.
Today we will have a briefing on the recent violent reaction of the Burmese regime and then later we will hear from Oxfam, as part of our study on Canada's mission in Afghanistan.
In the first hour we will hear from the Institut québécois des hautes études internationales, Estelle Dricot, professional researcher in the institute's international peace and security program; from Rights and Democracy, Madame Lévesque, regional officer for Asia; and from the Canadian Friends of Burma, Mr. Htoo, the executive director.
We welcome you here today. Some of you have appeared before our committee before. We welcome you back. For others who may be new, we give a special welcome to you. We look forward to your initial comments. Then we will proceed to the round of questioning.
Mr. Htoo, perhaps you could give us your opening comments, please.
View Derek Lee Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
I don't want to adopt this motion at this time. I recognize there's a problem. It seems to me whenever an issue pops up around here the Bloc or the NDP get these motions all around. They all go off like cluster bombs.
I can tell you I know the industry committee's looking at this. And believe it or not, the public safety committee's looking at it. They've just finished a report.
Have they reported it to the House?
An hon. member: Not that I know of.
Mr. Derek Lee: I attended a meeting. They have a draft report. They are about to report on this very thing.
Yes, they have had witnesses from the department. If you're wondering why they looked at it, it was, I think, the import and export of these pirated products that was at issue, and CBSA is under that committee.
I appreciate the desire of members to do a good job as MPs, to deal with public issues, but when you're the third committee on the Hill entering into the issue, there's going to be some duplication.
I think we should wait. I'm not saying don't do it. I think we should wait for the public safety committee to report. Take a look at the report and see if it's covered it off nicely.
Lastly, we should not assume that the solution to this problem is an amendment to the Criminal Code. We have other federal statutes that may be brought into play here, dealing with copyright, trademark. We have our CRA, the border enforcement thing. There are a whole lot of different possibilities here that can be brought into play as a solution, and it won't just be a Criminal Code solution. If it's not a Criminal Code solution, this committee, for the time being, doesn't have to do it.
So I think we should look before we leap. No disrespect to Monsieur Ménard and his caucus, but I think we should just check out the lay of the land first before we move and start doing another piece of work. The last time I looked we still had some criminal legislation in the pipeline.
Thank you.
View Derek Lee Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
While I respect the objective of the motion, I'm not going to support it either. I have two reasons. First, it doesn't distinguish between whether it's a person in management, a person in rank and file.... It doesn't distinguish between anything. It just says it's a person.
It would actually disable a person who was fully competent in one of Canada's official languages from being appointed. I don't think the wording of this thing is even constitutional. It would disable the government and the minister from appointing somebody who was fully competent in the official language of French or fully competent in the official language of English, because what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. We must strictly ensure that all departments are functional in both our official languages, and we must ensure that all people who enter the public service have the ability to work and learn to work in both official languages, but I cannot accept that a citizen who is fully competent and functional in one of our official languages, whether that person speaks English fluently or French fluently, cannot be appointed by the government.
This resolution might be reworked so that I could support it, but it's got to come right down the middle and not be worded the way it is now.
Thank you.
View Marlene Jennings Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you.
I support this motion, and the reason I support it is that our country has two official languages, English and French, and when one looks back into history, right up until today I cannot find, and no one I've asked has ever been in a position to give me, an example where a unilingual francophone has been appointed federally to a national body, whether it be the judiciary, a quasi-judicial body, a consultative body—not once in the history of Confederation, and I've asked the question repeatedly.
However, historically, unilingual anglophones have been appointed over and over again to the judiciary, to quasi-judicial bodies, to national consultative bodies. It is the practice and has been the practice of every previous government, regardless of their political taint, and I think that in the third millennium, if our legislation and our charter say that the official languages of this country are English and French, then that practice has to stop. It means that effectively, regardless of what our legislation states, the practice is one of discrimination. It means that a unilingual francophone does not have access to all of these appointed positions at the federal level—and not just appointed positions, because when one looks at the public service, we see the same phenomenon historically, and it is happening today.
It is unacceptable, and I would hope that this committee would be prepared to make the least effort, which is to authorize our chair to write a letter to the minister asking him not to proceed to further nominations if the individual does not have at least a functional knowledge of the second language. We're not asking for complete bilingualism.
I think it's a perfectly reasonable request.
View Mark Warawa Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mark Warawa Profile
2006-12-12 10:53
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I will be sharing my time with Mr. Vellacott.
First of all, I would like to sincerely thank the witnesses for being here as we wrap up the CEPA. Many of you have been here before.
CEPA 1999 has a legislative requirement to be reviewed every five years. The previous government had a responsibility to do that review, and unfortunately, it didn't happen. It was a high priority for our government. So thank you for helping to make this happen. It could have been done a little bit sooner, but unfortunately, the Liberal Party and the Bloc tried to shelve the CEPA review; they voted against continuing. Yet we're able to complete this. So we're very happy. The health of Canadians and the health of our environment is very important.
We've also been able to look at, as many of you made comment on, our chemical management plan and our Clean Air Act, to try to clean the environment and deal with issues that will protect the health of the environment and the health of Canadians. We've heard from a number of different groups--parents with autistic children, the growing problem of juvenile diabetes, AIDS, and cancer--all concerned about the causes of these increasing health problems in Canada. It's another reason why our chemical management plan has been announced and is very important.
I do have some questions. My first question is regarding information. Industry has shared a concern about making that information public, whereas, on the other hand, the public would like that information so they know what is harmful and what is not for the health of Canadians. Could I have some comments on that, and with the limited time that I have, could you make your comments short? Should that information be made public, or should it be protected to protect industry?
I would particularly like to hear again from Professor Schwarcz. I found your comments very interesting. Your PowerPoint was very interesting. There are fears of the unknown, but also there are some genuine things that the government needs to do to take leadership, which I believe we are doing. So could you make some comments on the practical aspects of what we need to do?
View   Profile
2006-11-22 16:44
Mr. Chairman, if I said that in general we do not have access to documents, I did not express myself well. What I wanted to say, is that we have had cases such as the one entrusted to us by the Chief of Defence Staff where it took a long time to get all the documents.
Another aspect I would like to emphasize is that, in the case of informal inquiries, the degree of cooperation between our office and, for example, the officers of the armed forces or the Minister of Defence is very good.
As an example, I would mention the inquiry we are currently carrying out on the state of health of reservists and on the way in which they are treated when they come back from a deployment. I met with the investigators quite recently once again, and they tell me that the degree of cooperation, at every level of the chain of command in all of the bases they visited, is really very good. Therefore, yes, there are areas in which things are not going so well and there are others where things are going very well.
But there is one argument I wish to make and which is, in my opinion, extremely important. What could make a difference as far as we are concerned, is not necessarily that we report to a parliamentary committee, to Parliament or to a minister, but rather that we have a legislative mandate. If we had a legislative mandate that stipulated that the ombudsman could issue notices to appear, and orders for delivery of documents, the department would be obliged to comply with our requests within the time prescribed by the ombudsman, and we would receive the documents much more quickly.
I think we must be very careful to separate what I have just said from the issue of ultimate responsibility, that is to say to whom I report or not, because once again, with a strong legislative mandate, all of these obstacles can be overcome without any difficulty.
View John McCallum Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
My colleagues wanted me to point out to Mr. Arseneau that the $1.4 million for affordable housing was C-48, which was passed by the Liberal government.
View Brian Murphy Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Welcome to the committee, Mr. Fraser. I wish you all the best in your new position.
First let me note that I come from Acadie, from Moncton, and that I am an anglophone. When I arrived in Ottawa, I was astonished to see that the level of bilingualism found here was less than what we have in Moncton. I find this disturbing, because this is, after all, the national capital.
By the way, I would like to suggest that you encourage local politicians to adopt a bilingual policy. If it can be done in Moncton — and we all know about the impact of bilingualism on political life — it can be done in Ottawa, without a doubt. That was a comment, and not a question.
My question is about the impact of Bill S-3. I was not here at the time, but I know that the adoption of Bill S-3 was a very important event, not only because the Conservative Party decided, at the last moment, to adopt a position that is favourable to bilingualism, but also because this bill is very important for the quality of bilingual services everywhere in Canada.
Let me quote what you wrote when you were a journalist, because what journalists write is, as we all know, always true. Last December, you wrote the following in The Toronto Star:
S-3...requires the federal government to promote French-speaking minorities outside Quebec and the English minority in Quebec and gives them the right to go to court if the federal government doesn't take their interests into account.
This week we learned that the Court Challenges Program is about to be cancelled. As I prepared for this meeting, I remembered these words and I wondered whether the Court Challenges Program would deprive the public of a needed resource.
View Michael Savage Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you.
Thank you to all the panellists.
Claire Morris, last year the AUCC put out a publication on a campaign called “Momentum” that celebrated the great success of publicly funded research in Canada at the university level and, in particular, highlighted the Government of Canada's support.
I appreciate the fact that you have to be optimistic and pleasant with the government. But I would have to think this year's publication would be “Momentum Stalled”, based on the fact that following “Momentum”, the economic update had $2.5 billion for research, including the full 40% on indirect costs, and then this budget in the spring I think has the total of $200 million, of which you cite $140 million. I don't see that there's a lot of optimism there, and I think success in research is very important.
Having said that, I'm not going to put you on the spot in answering that question, but I will ask you and/or Mr. Turk, and anybody else who wants to take a crack at this question.
We've heard that the federal government cash transfers to the provinces have been reduced—which is true—yet the government's own documents indicate that in the last 10 years the government contribution to post-secondary education has stayed constant at 25%, the difference being that money has gone into research, the millennium scholarships, the Canada access grants, and so on.
Many people have called for a dedicated transfer, including some here today—which I support in general and which I've supported in the past. My concern is that we have only so much money. What is the number one issue facing post-secondary education today? We know we have decaying infrastructure and new infrastructure needs, but it seems to me that the number one need—and I'll ask your opinion, but I'll give you mine—is access for students.
You can't do the dedicated transfer. CAUT has asked for an education act as well, but we know that's not coming, because the government gave money from Bill C-48 for infrastructure, which wasn't what it was designed for at all.
So if there's only a certain amount of money, do we give it to the provinces and let them decide completely where it goes? Or should the federal government continue to have some determining role and following up the success we've had in research, give direct support to students most in need, so that they have equal access to universities and/or community colleges?
View Karen Redman Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much. Again, if the answers are long, I don't mind getting them in written form.
I actually wanted to ask Ms. O'Hara or Mr. Newman these questions.
Notwithstanding the discussions that have happened, in a perfect world, would the best way to effect this be to have a constitutional amendment?
View Vic Toews Profile
CPC (MB)
Let me make this observation, Mr. Peterson, because I think it tells us more about the Liberal Party than it tells us about anything. You said it was in your experience that whenever you wanted to stall something you studied it to death, and yes, I think that's very true of the Liberal Party. We saw that over and over again.
Hon. Jim Peterson: With all due respect--
Hon. Vic Toews: Excuse me. Just let me finish here.
View   Profile
2006-06-01 12:04
Again, without needing to repeat, I share the views of my Conservative friend on my ambivalence on membership fees and on the debt thing, but I think we'd be open to any change that would make it easier and would be a reasonable one.
With respect to what you call an absence of accountability with respect to leadership spending limits, I must respectfully remind you that the Liberal Party, as the first party to go under Bill C-24--you'll recall the Conservatives acted in great haste to make sure their leadership election was conducted under the previous rules, and did so very, very quickly and mysteriously on New Year's Eve. They were able to escape the rather new regime of Bill C-24.
The Liberal Party has gone above and beyond the Elections Act and has declared a spending limit. All spending must be declared publicly through Elections Canada. All contributions must be declared publicly. I note some discussion around those. The leadership expenses committee, which is a quasi-judicial tribunal in our Liberal world, is there to enforce those rules. We have published those rules and made it clear that any transgressions will not be tolerated. The Liberal Party has acted with extreme accountability, extreme transparency, in running our leadership campaigns. We set the limit based on our party's constitution, based on the fact that we need a nine-month process to have a leadership race. It's a big country, and we want to be able to get from Halifax to Acadie--Bathurst.
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