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View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
View Don Davies Profile
2015-05-11 15:44
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Thank you.
Mr. Minister, in the United States there's a vigorous debate going on among the President, Congress, and civil society concerning the TPP. In the interest of transparency, American legislators of all parties are permitted access to the negotiated text of the TPP upon signing confidentiality commitments.
Will you permit the same privilege to Canadian legislators so we can foster a similar level of debate in our country?
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View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2015-05-11 15:45
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Thank you for that question.
I can tell you that we have had very robust consultations with our key stakeholders. Since the TPP negotiations were launched, we've had round tables involving over 350 different stakeholders from the economy. We have had one-on-one meetings with over 500 stakeholders during that period of time. I can assure you that those consultations with stakeholders from every sector of our economy inform the positions that we take at the negotiating table.
We will not compromise Canada's ability to secure an optimal outcome for Canadians, in the national interest, by disclosing our negotiating strategy to the other parties at the negotiating table. That's something we will not do. I can assure you that at the end of the day, the standard we have set, as I've mentioned many times in the House, is that we will not sign a trade agreement unless it is in Canada's best interest.
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2015-03-10 17:02
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I can challenge that notion if you like, but the point is, Mr. Chair, we all have the opportunity to hold government to account through many different vehicles. It's up to us, as individual members, to do that. While I totally understand that you do have your strong feelings on things like this, it should be done through the committee process. Therefore, if you'd like to ask the officials questions, you can give it up to the vice-chair, and I'm sure the vice-chair will gladly take the chair so you can fulfill your role and bring accountability in your way.
Thank you.
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2015-03-10 17:03
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It's up to individual members of Parliament to do that, Mr. Chair—
The Chair: Well, as the chair—
Mr. Dan Albas: —and there's still a whole other hour.
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2015-03-10 17:30
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Okay.
Just on this whole topic, because criticisms are raised in this place quite often, and sometimes it's good to check in with them, would you say that you're well acquainted with the supply process and the need to check in with parliamentarians throughout?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2015-03-10 17:30
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With that in mind, because it was raised earlier that we have only this much time at this committee, I was left with the impression that people at home might think we spend only an hour reviewing these particular things. I know you probably spend much more than just that.
Besides this committee, what other opportunities do individual members of Parliament have to hold the government to account when it comes to its spending, both informal as well as formal methods?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2015-03-10 17:33
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I just want to clarify. The reports on plans and priorities I think was what you meant to say, not the departmental reports. Is that correct?
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View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2014-11-05 16:31
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Thank you.
This is just a quick follow-up. The issue is whether it's likely to adversely affect aviation safety or not in the public interest. Is there any structuring of that wide-open discretion as regards public interest? Is there any documentation or guidance that's provided in how that discretion would be exercised?
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View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2014-11-05 16:32
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That go beyond simply public safety, obviously, or you wouldn't have put that there. It's something beyond that, yet it must relate to aeronautics policy.
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View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2014-11-03 16:37
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Building on what my colleague, Mr. Chan, said, it seems to me this points to a larger problem about the failure of the government or refusal to provide adequate data to you to do your job. That would seem to be pretty self-evident, based on that.
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View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2014-11-03 16:38
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I'll go back again to information management. Six months ago the Federal Court strongly upheld the right of your predecessor to take the government to court should it refuse to provide requested information. It was recently reported that you were still struggling, Mr. Fréchette was struggling, to obtain information on the impacts of the massive spending and staffing cuts announced more than two years ago, and you were thinking of going back to court to obtain that information.
Could you update this committee on the status of those efforts?
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View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Joyce Murray Profile
2014-05-08 12:31
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I'm going to ask about a different set of issues.
Mr. Robertson, you mentioned, I think, the key aspects of defence: land, sea, air, space, and cyber. In terms of defence of Canada and defence of North America, I want to ask a bit about cyber.
There has been some controversy recently that Communications Security Establishment Canada has been tracking Canadians through their IP addresses as part of creating a framework for analysis. Also, there has been some concern that there are large amounts of data that are being gathered by the government without warrant, and potentially under ministerial authorities. There's also controversy that there is not really a mechanism that's accountable to the public through Parliament for the activities of CSEC.
In our attempts to have a good balance between information privacy, so people don't feel that Big Brother is watching over their every move, and having security so the kind of intelligence gathering that we need to do for real security needs can happen, are there improvements needed in reporting and in authorization?
What are the pros and cons of allowing this system now that is so much an outlier compared with the other five eyes, in terms of no need for a warrant and broadcast authorizations and lack of clear accountability to the public?
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View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you.
I'd also like to thank our witness tonight. I'm also from British Columbia. I'm the member of Parliament for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, so certainly familiar with the work that you've done and want to thank you for the tremendous work that you've done.
From your perspective, because you have a very unique opportunity to look at the intersection of federal government responsibilities, provincial government responsibilities, and first nations responsibilities, can you talk about some of those challenges and barriers in terms of that particular aspect of the work you do?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-11-27 15:43
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Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank the Auditor General for being here today along with his staff. Obviously, it is a very important function to make sure that Canadians are getting value for money. I certainly look forward to working with you during my time on this committee.
I'd like to start with chapter 1 of your report. Specifically, I want to understand not just the recommendations, but also the problems that are at hand.
First of all, it's my understanding that the Treasury Board policy on internal control was implemented back in 2009. To me, it sounds as if the purpose was to shift the department's focus from audited financial statements to mandatory annual public disclosure of their risk-based assessment of controls over financial reporting and their planned improvements. It's moving from that. It sounds to me as if they're moving from just keeping the numbers, tracking the numbers, to keeping an eye on other priorities such as inventories, liabilities, etc.
Could you explain a little bit more what that shift is?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-11-27 15:45
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Thank you for that.
Your report in paragraph 1.7 states:
While the departments had made some progress toward completing their annual risk-based assessments, none of the departments had fully assessed their internal controls for financial reporting.
I'm bearing in mind that this particular committee takes a non-partisan approach. We're not about the policy per se; we're about value for money. I was disappointed to hear that there was an illusion that none of the seven departments had made improvements, but it sounds to me as if two particular departments made some significant progress. Is that accurate?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-11-27 15:46
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So assertions in this chapter stating that the departments do not have controls over spending are not necessarily accurate. What we're talking about is transitioning to a higher level of accuracy and control from a system where they only monitored through statements. I also believe that it has to do with accountability, as in the Comptroller General's overall position in helping guide departments to comply with the policy.
I think that's another issue you've taken up with the departments. Is that correct?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-11-27 15:47
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Because the policy itself didn't actually set deadlines, is it a fair characterization to say that your office, the Office of the Auditor General, and the Comptroller General's office disagreed with the notion that the Comptroller General, as part of the central agency oversight, would have more of an active role in trying to bring those departments into compliance? Is that correct?
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View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2013-11-25 20:09
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I have to say, though, that I am grateful to you for coming here and putting in context what we are doing as a committee. You will be happy to know you are in good company. The radical organization, the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, today also pointed out the inadequate time available to study such a complicated bill.
I'm grateful to you for pointing out that Stephen Harper railed against a 21-page omnibus bill and today we have to deal with a 308-page bill. This is the fifth hour. We will be here for five hours today to do it, as the government prorogued and took a month away from the scrutiny. Your points are very well taken.
I asked the Minister of Finance what the amendments to the health and safety provisions of the Canada Labour Code had to do with a finance bill, and he said something like, “Well, mediators and the like have to take into account financial issues.” The Supreme Court amendments were an example where, really, I couldn't think of anything financial, but they threw that into the omnibus bill as well.
So thank you for bringing to the Canadian public's attention what I call “legislation by exhaustion” and the inadequate way to address these issues.
On a more substantive, not process, side, you talked about the under-spending each year. You talked about how the deficit looks smaller. You used a provocative expression; you said that it may be that the public is being gamed.
Could you explain what you meant by that?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
And thank you, Madame Legault and Madame Bélanger for your presence here today.
I was quite amused by Mr. Lukiwski. After all the Senate scandals with the Conservative and Liberal senators, he's now promising to do better but in the same breath also seemed to hedge on the whole issue of what we've been mandated to do by Parliament, which is replace the Board of Internal Economy with an independent oversight body—not to study the question, but to do it. Mr. Lukiwski will have the opportunity, of course, Mr. Chair, in the coming days to prove that Conservatives will do better, after all of these repeated scandals and all these problems with transparency.
As you know, Madame Legault, the NDP is a strong ally of yours. We had Pat Martin just last week calling for a complete reform of what is a broken Access to Information Act. I know you've been a strong advocate for that. The NDP is your strong ally on it. Liberal and Conservative governments have broken the act, and the principle is that when taxpayers' money is being used, Canadians should have access to that information.
We also fully support your call to have the Access to Information Act apply to the administration of Parliament. I don't understand why the other parties seem to object to that; it's just common sense. And you said it so eloquently: we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money that the Conservative government just seems to want to keep beyond what citizens should be able to access.
So we're strong allies.
What I wanted to do to start off was ask you, in terms of the issue that is in front of us—the whole question of independent oversight.... We've had the Auditor General say very clearly that there needs to be an independent organization that is responsible for MPs' expenses. We support that fully. That's what the motion says that was adopted by Parliament.
You've referred to IPSA as well, to IPSA's process, which also allows for access to information at the same time as it applies the independent oversight that the Auditor General was so strong on just a few days ago.
My question to you is, do you agree with the idea of independent oversight of MPs' expenses, and do you agree with the approach that IPSA has taken, both in terms of MPs' expenses and independent oversight and in terms of access to information?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Yes, we appreciate that, and you're calling for changes to the Access to Information Act. I should mention to you that when the Auditor General appeared before us, he said that because of the cutbacks we've seen under this Conservative government in the Auditor General's department, he could undertake comprehensive audits of MPs' expenses, but it would cost Canadians, because he'd have to cut back on important audits elsewhere. As we have seen with the F-35s and military procurement, there is a whole range of issues on which the Conservative government has been appallingly irresponsible when it comes to managing public finances.
So the Auditor General's scope needs to be expanded. What he said is that he needs those resources in order to undertake a comprehensive audit of MPs' expenses at the same time as he does the valuable work of looking over all of the various instances of misspending that we're seeing from this current government.
In your case, you are saying that IPSA is a model. But do you have any specific suggestions, beyond having the Access to Information Act apply as well to the administration of Parliament, that would create an IPSA-like model?
Now we're getting into the details of how we transition to an IPSA-like model. Do you have any specific recommendations that you could make about how we can undertake that transition and assure access to information for the taxpayers who pay our salaries and who should know where that money is being spent?
Do you have any specific additions to what you had in your statement?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
And this is a concern with other independent parliamentary bodies. We're seeing those bodies starved of resources.
You are saying that you need more resources to adequately protect the taxpayers' interests.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'm going to reiterate by following up on Mr. Christopherson's comments about what we're actually mandated to do, because I sense from the other side—and we've seen this in the House with the Prime Minister refusing to answer questions about the Senate scandals—there's a move away from what is actually written.
Mr. Chair, I know people in places like Regina and Burnaby and other places across the country will be wondering what exactly happened here. I want to make sure that we have on the record the motion itself, which is to conduct open and public hearings with a view to replace the Board of Internal Economy with an independent oversight body. It follows that we will propose modifications to the Parliament of Canada Act and any other acts as deemed necessary, propose any necessary modifications to the administrative policy and practices of the House of Commons, and report its findings to the House no later than December 2 in order to have any proposed changes to expense disclosure and reporting in place for the beginning of the next fiscal year.
It's very clear, Mr. Chair. What we are asked to do is to replace the secretive internal self-policing Board of Internal Economy, and folks in Regina and North Vancouver Island and Burnaby and Newfoundland are expecting us to do that. With that, I'll turn my time over to Madam Groguhé.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I am quite amazed by some of the Conservative comments by Mr. Opitz and Mr. MacKenzie about expenses. Mr. Opitz was critical of the fact that I've been posting, for seven years now, and that all NDP members actually post direct links from their websites to their expenses as members of Parliament. The reality is I've been doing it for seven years. People do talk to me about them at Tim Hortons, because they can access them. The NDP is the only party that does that. Every single NDP MP has that direct link.
I looked for that for Mr. Opitz and Mr. MacKenzie. They don't even have links to their expenses, so their constituents have no idea what they're spending. It's a little sad and a little unfortunate, so I'm certainly hoping they'll follow our lead on accessibility.
I want to come now to the issue of transition, which Mr. Scott raised.
We are really happy to have both of you back, Madam O'Brien and Mr. Watters. We really appreciate your kicking off and finishing up the study portion.
We do have the mandate to put in place independent oversight. The Auditor General says, “Bring in independent oversight”. The public is saying, “Bring in independent oversight”. Conservatives and Liberals may not be in agreement, but Parliament mandated us to do it, and, by golly, that's what we are supposed to do on behalf of Canadians. I'm wondering then what the transition to independent oversight might look like. I'd like your recommendations or comments on the model of putting in an independent oversight body, a little bit like what is done in Manitoba, which then follows up on administration that takes place through the House, or an IPSA model such as we see in the United Kingdom, which certainly has the advantage of not costing more but actually costing a little bit less than the existing House of Commons framework around finances.
Let's just move ahead with the mandate this committee was given. What is the transition period you foresee? What are the measures and the steps we need to take? What kind of model do you see for independent oversight so we can do away with the secretive, self-policing of the Board of Internal Economy once and for all?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I apologize, Mr. Watters, but it's more the transition, because Mr. Sills testified that there was a reduction in terms of overall expenses. I am interested in the transition process.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Watters, I'd like to come back to the issue of transition. I'd like to get your thoughts, then, on how we put together the transition. Madame O'Brien spoke of a measured approach, and we certainly understand that. But we'd like to know, in terms of the transitional measures to take and in terms of the model, what suggestions you have for us.
Putting aside the debate around it, I think the motion is very clear, and I think the public has been very clear. We really need your forethought in terms of how to achieve this independent oversight, which is clearly what the Auditor General is calling for.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
But certainly between now and the next election, this is very doable, this actual list that you've put out. Having set up organizations, I certainly understand what you're saying about a measured approach. This could be in place and voters could see it in time for the next election, perhaps not for the immediate next fiscal year, but certainly for the fiscal year after that.
On the audit regime you're speaking of, the Auditor General, who is a strong proponent of independent oversight, has said as well that he wants to be involved in comprehensive audits. That's certainly something we support, and that's something that he would require some additional resources for. But he's been cut back by this government. I think there's a strong mood in the public for the Auditor General to be given those additional resources, because it's taxpayers' money, after all. The Auditor General, on behalf of the public, is ensuring that expenses are accurately undertaken.
I'll go to both of you, then, Madam O'Brien and Mr. Watters. Do you have a preference in terms of the Manitoba model with a commissioner, or the IPSA model? Do you have any thoughts on either of those? I'm saying that those are the two choices. You may have another choice, but I'm saying that with the presumption, of course, that the mandate Parliament has given us is that we're doing away with the secretive self-policing and the bureau of internal economy. Given that we're doing away with that, what is your preference in terms of model?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much, Speaker Fraser and Speaker Milliken, for being here today.
I just found out, Speaker Fraser, that you're in Squamish. I'm glad you were able to find the studio, but I'm not sure why you were sent there. It's good to have you both here with us, and thank you very much for your contribution to Parliament and to our country. You have many years of service.
I'm going to go first to questions to Speaker Milliken, and then I'll come back to you, Speaker Fraser.
Speaker Milliken, you spoke of your past history with the BOIE. I'd like you to just tell us the parliament where you had the maximum number of parties around the table, because I think you were Speaker in a period when there was what some people called the pizza Parliament, when there were four or five parties. What was the maximum number of parties you had around the table?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
You referenced two or three votes that were held during the period that you were on the BOIE as Speaker.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Do you recall any vote where it was the government members on one side and the opposition members on the other?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Okay.
Now, as Speaker, you did reference looking for consensus and unanimity. In that kind of situation, even when there are four parties around the table, would you be looking to have some consensus across the aisle, where the government and the opposition, or at least one or two of the opposition parties, are in agreement?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Okay.
That comes to the issue of majority vote. I know the government members are a bit defensive on this, but we did learn from Madam O'Brien that there had been a recent move to the government basically having a majority vote around the BOIE.
I'm wondering, with that kind of situation, would you feel—
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam O'Brien said there was a recent vote; it was a majority vote. It is true that I used the word “move”.
But my point is, and I'll come back to you, Speaker Milliken, if we have a vote where a majority that is just on the government side establishes policy or a decision, do you see that as a precedent that makes it more difficult to establish consensus later on?
Where you have a situation where a majority imposes or decides, then implicitly there is the fact that it could be used in the future. Would you see that as a negative precedent, or an unfortunate precedent?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Yes. But as you said earlier, your job as Speaker is to establish a consensus and to try to have that bridging between the majority—
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Speaker Fraser, I'd like to ask the same question to you.
Can you recall a situation? You, as well, were in a number of different situations as Speaker where there was a vote where the government was on one side and the opposition on the other. That was as opposed to, as you mentioned in your testimony, looking for a consensus and having sensitivity for the opposition and the opposition point of view.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Taylor-Vaisey, for being here today.
I just wanted to mention the good work of the Canadian Association of Journalists. Recently the Canadian Association of Journalists granted the Code of Silence Award to the Conservative government, and I want to quote association president Hugo Rodrigues, who said that the Harper government was the overwhelming choice of the CAJ's 600 members across the country. He said, “The death grip on information has long frustrated journalists in this country, but it may now be reaching a point where the public at large is not only empathetic, but shares it.”
I'm going to ask a series of questions. The first is, do you feel that the public has a greater and greater concern about the secrecy of the current government and, by extension, of course, the secrecy around the Board of Internal Economy decisions?
Secondly, we now have on the other side, on the side of good, the Auditor General, who this week said very clearly that his preference was that there be an independent body “given the responsibility for all matters related to members' expenses and entitlements”. He said, “...it is important that Canadians are confident that its membership is independent and that the members have been chosen in a non-partisan manner.”
You have two examples, of course. The Code of Silence Award is on one side. On the other side, you have the Auditor General very clearly expressing his preference for an independent body.
Very specifically, then, do you think the public shares that increasing concern around secrecy, whether it's the general government direction or MPs' expenses? And do you not feel it would be important to have independent oversight, like the Auditor General has so clearly stated as his preference?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
The Auditor General said it's important that Canadians are confident that the membership of the oversight body be independent and the members are chosen in a non-partisan manner. He gave two options, but we questioned him, and he said his preference was to have independent oversight. This is a body given responsibility for all matters related to members' expenses and entitlement—so no more self-policing. What would be established is an independent body, the Auditor General having enormous credibility with the public in this regard. I think that's something this committee obviously will have to follow very strictly.
Do you not feel that is the type of approach that needs to be taken for credibility?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Absolutely.
Can you spell out to us what measures you feel would enhance accessibility to MPs' expenses, so we're establishing that public trust and confidence the Auditor General has very clearly stated needs to happen?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Measures that enhance accessibility to MPs' expenses. We talked about independent oversight, of course, but what about other measures that you think would enhance that accessibility to MPs' expenses?
I'll give you an example. Every one of our members of the NDP caucus has a direct link from our website that people access locally, because that's the website they get in their materials, their community bulletins, ten percenters, neighbourhood bulletins, so they can go on to directly access MPs' expenses. We've been pushing, of course, at a variety of levels to enhance the transparency and accessibility of expenses.
Are there other measures that you think need to be taken?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
When we talk about accessibility, so that the public can actually access it.... I've been posting my expenses for seven years. Constituents in Burnaby—New Westminster, as in all the 100-odd ridings of the NDP, can go directly on their MP's website and access the expenses. We've been pushing for more transparency, and doing it in a way that we're not comparing apples to oranges or having selective partial disclosure, but having expenses that everyone can access and that people can compare.
From a constituent standpoint, I know that every year as expenses come out, my constituents ask me questions. We're pushing now for quarterly reports, and that's going to start happening early in the new year, which is good. Those are all issues around accessibility that are important.
My question then is, that type of accessibility, going beyond journalists, actually allowing constituents to access those expenses, is fundamentally important, is it not?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-11-20 15:41
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I just want to thank all of our guests for being here today to offer your expertise. Obviously, we appreciate the service you do for the country to make sure that again, as Ms. Cheng said earlier, this is a key accountability measure for parliamentarians and thus for the public, so we certainly appreciate your being here.
In regard to that, this is the 15th consecutive year that the Auditor General has issued an unmodified opinion on the Government of Canada's consolidated financial statements. Could you please comment on what this means for Canada?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-11-20 15:42
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Excellent. I'm very happy to hear that, Mr. Chair.
Now the government's clean audit testifies to the high standards of the government's financial statements and reporting. Can you please share with this committee the requirements needed for the government to achieve this opinion. Are so-called clean audits common in the rest of the world? I know you did say that Australia and some other areas are working toward this same standard. Could you just comment a little further on that?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I thank you, Mr. Ferguson and Mr. MacLellan. Your comments are very important for our report.
We have just come back from a constituency break week. I've been in my riding, which I think is similar to other ridings across the country. Canadians are very concerned about the Senate spending scandals and are concerned about what they have seen from both Conservative and Liberal senators and how they have acted. There is some real concern out in the public mind right across the country that enough is enough. We really need to put in place a really transparent regime.
So the NDP brought forward their motion in June, and happily we were able to get the support of other parties to move towards ending the self-policing regime that exists, the Board of Internal Economy, which you made reference to.
I noticed in your presentation that you referenced very clearly the point that governance could be strengthened by either having an independent body that would advise the board, or that this independent body could be given the responsibility for all matters related to members' expenses and entitlements.
My question to you is very simple. I think in the public's mind they want an end to self-policing. They want an end to this perception that the MPs are policing themselves. What they would like to see is an independent body they can have confidence in.
You provide two doors. Is your preference that this independent governance, this independent body, be given the responsibility for all matters related to members' expenses and entitlements? Do you not feel that is an important way of re-establishing the public trust that I think has been shattered with the Senate spending scandals?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you. I think that's a clear recommendation, and we certainly appreciate your reinforcing what I think Parliament directed this committee to do, which is to put into place an independent authority around MPs' expenses.
You also referenced in your presentation an independent, comprehensive audit process, and we're certainly supportive of that. You're saying you are ready and willing to take on this role. I understand that's with existing resources, that the only thing needed to be put into operation to make that real would be changing the mandate, or adding that to the mandate.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Ferguson, those comments disturb me a little bit, because we have seen fairly substantial cutbacks in support by the current government for the Auditor General's office.
What you're telling us is that if we were to add an independent comprehensive audit of MPs' expenses, it would take away from important work in other areas. We've certainly seen with the F-35s and a whole range of other areas that we need oversight, particularly of this current federal government, of a whole range of expenditures.
I gather that additional resources would be needed for you to continue the work you're doing while adding this function of providing an independent comprehensive audit of MPs' expenses. Is that not true? You would need additional resources so that you wouldn't have to cut back in other areas that are equally important.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
That's an important point you've made. We've objected to the cutbacks the Conservative government has imposed on your office.
I have a final question.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
There has been some push for having political parties put forward partial selective audits. Each party would provide a different framework and some additional information on MPs' expenses. But it wouldn't be a complete approach where every MP's expenses were subject to the same criteria. Do you agree that MPs have to do it together?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Sills, for being here with us today. We're looking at an independent oversight of MPs' expenses, and we just had our very respected Auditor General of Canada come before this committee, and he said he very much would like to see independent oversight of MPs' expenses. So obviously we're looking at the types of models we could put into place for that independent oversight to bring an end to self-policing of MPs' expenses.
I want to know this, just to start off. With the transition to IPSA, was there real resistance to having independent oversight of members of Parliament, and where did that resistance come from, if there was, and what was the character of that resistance?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Fair enough.
I'd like to talk more specifically now about how IPSA functions. Mr. Lukiwski just asked about the findings on claims, which is important. I understand that the minutes of IPSA meetings are made public. Are the meetings held in public? If some meetings are held in camera and some are public, what are the criteria for going in camera?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
You are subject to your freedom of information act. Is there an appeal process if IPSA chooses for whatever reason not to release that information?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
May I ask if you have had situations where it has gone to the information commissioner and then to a tribunal? How long did that process take to get access to the information?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
My final question has to do with how the board makes its decisions. We have a Board of Internal Economy, which has in the past functioned by consensus. Unfortunately, it seems to be moving to a majority model now. Where there is some difference of opinion, does your board rule by consensus or is it a majority vote that decides?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Walsh, and thank you, Mr. Thomas.
I'm very interested, Mr. Walsh, in your proposal where you're talking about a more arm's-length relationship for the BOIE but still looking at it being internal.
I'll come back to the issue of caucus representation, but I'd like you to take a moment to look at the possibility of something being independent...which is certainly what I think the public would demand. They don't expect that MPs will be policing themselves. That's something I hear about regularly in my riding.
If you're willing to make the move to an arm's-length relationship, would it not be better to have in place an independent body that is policing MPs' expenses, for the simple reason that, for the public, they would get a sense that you have that independent, autonomous look at MPs' expenses, and it's not a group of MPs policing themselves?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Walsh. That's an interesting second proposal. This is a lot of meat you're giving us to chew on.
I'd like to follow up with two questions. One is that Madam O'Brien, the Clerk of the House, testified to us earlier this week that we've moved from what was a consensus at the BOIE to a situation where now there can be votes. That is disturbing to me, because of course in a majority Parliament that means the majority ends up getting its way.
I'm wondering to what extent you'd be concerned about that as perhaps not being in the public interest, where you now have a vote that determines decisions, with the vote taken in a majority.
Secondly, I'd like you to comment—just briefly, because I have only a few minutes left—around proposals like those we get from Manitoba and the United Kingdom, which are proposals that are independent. In Manitoba, of course, it's a commissioner who makes those decisions so that members aren't policing themselves.
Perhaps you could answer those two questions: your perception of those independent models and the concerns that arise from Madam O'Brien's comments.
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View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
View Don Davies Profile
2013-11-07 9:23
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Minister, you referred earlier to the fact that you have internal documents and studies estimating the potential increased costs for pharmaceuticals. You've also talked about your commitment to transparency.
Will you table those internal documents estimating the costs regarding pharmaceuticals with this committee in the next 30 days?
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View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2013-11-07 9:24
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I think you correctly said that these are all estimates. We're talking about outcomes that will happen eight to ten years down the road. We have continued to refine those. We're trying to determine exactly what the impact will be on the sector. We cannot do that until we know what steps we will be taking to minimize the impact of that additional protection. For example, we have the ability, the tools, as a government, to speed up the process of having patents approved. Doing that, of course, will have a significant impact on whether the additional patent protection will even be needed, or to what degree it will be needed.
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View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
View Don Davies Profile
2013-11-07 10:02
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Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Verheul, it's been asked why a party can't decide on the most complex and largest trade agreement in the history of Canada based on a technical summary. I'm going to refer to the technical summary and put some questions to you, and we'll see how clear they are.
Under the ISDS provision, on page 14, it says you have negotiated a “transparent ISDS process, making submissions to the arbitral panel public and generally opening hearings to anyone interested”.
With regard to the word “generally”, does that mean there are circumstances where hearings will not be open to the public? If so, what are those circumstances?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
You are very kind. Your presentation was very detailed and very useful. However, it raises all kinds of questions, for me and my colleagues, and it would be important for us to address these matters.
We are studying the NDP motion that was passed unanimously in the House of Commons. The most important question I want to ask you has to do with the Board of Internal Economy's decisions. Are they made on the basis of the majority or is a consensus reached among the board's members?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much.
So what you're seeing with the Board of Internal Economy now is that there are certain decisions that are subject to a vote, where the majority then makes that decision. Is that a fair characterization?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
But it does represent a shift. You understand what I'm saying. If what we have is a situation where a majority makes the decision, we're not talking about an impartial group that makes the decision by consensus.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
If ultimately it can be subject to a vote, then what that means is that it's really subject to a majority control, which I don't think would enhance the reputation of the Board of Internal Economy in the eyes of the public.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
You can understand that it would be a concern to the public, right, when we're talking about public perception? This is why this order of reference was made by the House of Commons. There needs to be in the public eye, I think, a sense that when we're talking about MPs' expenses, when we're talking about taxpayers' money—
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Because these are taxpayers across the country, in my riding and everywhere else, who are paying our salaries and paying those expenses, and they want to make sure that it's subject to a neutral, non-partisan, independent body that is making those decisions based on facts, rather than on having a debate and ultimately some votes taking place, which is exactly the opposite of what I think the public wants.
Can I ask you, because you have a long history and experience, if you have seen that happen in the past. Or in the past has there been a real attempt by Speakers to say, “We're not going to make a decision until all parties agree”?
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View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
Yes. I appreciate Mr. Lukiwski's words earlier. I think Mr. Scott has some specific things to say to this.
Here's our concern specifically with what we've seen. I don't believe we have a date yet from the Prime Minister as to when the House will reconvene. The concern we have, if committee members remember the motion.... I'm not sure if we can make copies available from.... It was in our request for the meeting, if committee members want to refer to it.
The motion that we very specifically put forward in the spring talked explicitly about a number of things. One was potentially replacing the Board of Internal Economy, which is a complex matter. It's not a matter of a simple signature on a piece of paper. It also talked about conducting a brief study to bring us to that type of action and allow us the ability to have transparent and independent oversight of members of Parliament's spending.
The concern we have with both prorogation and how this meeting has come together is with any loss of momentum. One of the things we're asking of the government, and which Mr. Scott will speak to, is the reintroduction, word for word, of what we all agreed to unanimously just a few months ago. I think that's important—certainly from our perspective. As Mr. Lukiwski will remember well, we talked about this at great length before the end of last session, and got the agreement of all members of Parliament to change the way we do things for the better and that it go to this committee to do that work, with a deadline.
If prorogation lasts a number of weeks, or longer, that's the clock running on that deadline that we set for ourselves. That means the study will be less well done. There's a fear that the work will be of lower quality and that we might not get to the result that Canadians expect of us, which is to improve things.
That's the essence of bringing the committee back. Sunday afternoon is an interesting choice of time, but here we are. We understand that things are what they are.
I think we're going to potentially move, and maybe I'll pass to Mr. Scott here, an amendment to this to allow it greater specificity to reduce the concerns we have about what Mr. Lukiwski has presented here today.
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View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
That's right.
This reiterates in black and white what Mr. Lukiwski just confirmed to the committee, the assurance that the government has maintained the political will over the summertime to continue the work that we unanimously agreed to in the spring. It provides specificity and assurance to Canadians that this work will continue.
I take the assurances from Tom just with regard to the committee's work. As soon as we get through this motion—I think we're almost there—I'd like to get into some of that discussion today so that the work can begin in advance on witness lists and whom we would call, with some suggestions made already, and the pace of work. As I've suggested already, while the goal is quite clear, getting there will be somewhat subtle and complex in changing the very, very old institution of Canada's Parliament, specifically the Board of Internal Economy, how to bring the Auditor General in properly, and those kinds of things.
This motion I think it just confirms the assurances that Mr. Lukiwski talked about. I think it should certainly confirm and give validation that the Liberals seem to be seeking. It allows the committee to know exactly what the work is about, and puts it in your hands, Mr. Chair, so that on day one the government House leader can introduce this. Of course, we will agree and we'll move forward, and the committee will have its marching orders to complete its work on that specified date.
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View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
Just procedurally, I want to confirm technically that a prorogation of the House, which we have not had yet, would nullify the motion we passed in the House in the spring. Is that correct? I wonder if we can just—
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View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
Yes, I think that's correct. I ask because people might be wondering why we have all of these assurances. That's because it doesn't exist. The moment the Prime Minister seeks prorogation from the Governor General, the motion we passed in the House in the spring won't exist, so this is a very public confirmation that even though technically that's procedurally true, when we come back we'll have exactly the same wording, in advance, already confirmed by this committee and others.
I just wanted to assure my colleagues and others of that.
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View Ron Cannan Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to our witnesses for coming back to the committee again on a very important issue.
Integrity and public trust in the public procurement processes are paramount. I appreciate the changes that we've embarked on since forming government in 2007 and even recently, as you mentioned, some of the new additions. But there is still some perception that there are loopholes with some companies that are holding contracts with the government and getting around the policy. Maybe you could expand a little bit and clarify where that perception originates from. Thank you.
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View Ron Cannan Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you for that clarification.
On the difference between being convicted and pleading guilty, if somebody knows they have been caught and they say they'll plead guilty, then they can continue to do business, whereas if they were convicted they could possibly be prevented from doing business. Is that correct?
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View Ron Cannan Profile
CPC (BC)
Excellent.
In your preamble you shared a little bit about your successes. Maybe you could expand a little bit more on how the integrity process is unfolding to other agencies and departments within the government.
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View Ron Cannan Profile
CPC (BC)
So does the 83% include real property transactions as well?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-06-04 12:52
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Thank you, Mr. Chair, and I appreciate the witnesses and their testimony here today.
I do think there have been some concerns expressed regarding the fairness monitor and I do know that much of the testimony we've heard already today has outlined some of it. But I'd like to sum up some of it and maybe ask a few questions to add to it.
Can you tell us how the fairness monitor for the 2009 IRP contract was selected?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-06-04 12:52
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Okay, great.
Can you tell us about the terms under which the fairness monitors are engaged?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-06-04 12:53
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Okay.
We've heard some concerns about the current model. To me, you either have an independent fairness monitor outside of government that can put forward its own people and experts in their field and bid on a competitive process, or the alternative is to have it somewhere within the government, whether it be independent or part of a department. To me, there are always going to be concerns regardless, because if they're within government, they could say, well, then, it's not really a truly independent process.
Is that correct?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-06-04 12:55
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Further to that, obviously there are terms and conditions that they have to meet and follow. They submit a final report that basically concludes their obligations to the government under the processes that they were procured under. That's my understanding. Is that correct?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-06-04 12:55
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Now, the situation we have here is that you have a demographic issue in that lots of people are retiring. I would imagine that we have people retiring in government, and we have people retiring in these companies. It's perfectly fair to say that it's very difficult to keep that kind of broad range of skills and experience, other than for the final report. I would say that regardless of which model you use, you would still have those basic challenges, would you not?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2013-06-04 12:56
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Now, further to Mr. Ravignat's line of questioning, I was a municipal councillor and we had procurement processes in place. I remember for certain procurements, if, politically speaking, we asked to prolong a process, that could actually open the process up to lawsuits as well. Is that not true?
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View Russ Hiebert Profile
CPC (BC)
You come across as a very reasonable individual, stating earlier that you understood that Canada might have entered into these negotiations under certain conditions that would have precluded them from sharing any information. Yet at the same time you're asking that the government publicly release this information.
So I'm not sure. If the government has in fact entered into the negotiations with its own version of confidentiality agreements in place, it is simply not an option—if they want to continue to be considered a viable partner—for them to do anything other than stay within the terms they have agreed to.
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View Richard Harris Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Gentlemen, thank you for your presentations.
Mr. Chapin, you made the statement just a little while ago that Canadians want to know what's in it for Canada, and certainly they deserve to know how their taxpayers' dollars are doing. Unfortunately, over the past years, when we've been talking about international foreign aid, the only news that seems to make it into the media is when funding has been hijacked by militia, or goods that were destined for some stricken area have disappeared. That's just a very small part of the total package, but that seems to make it to the media, and Canadians hear that.
I know there's oversight in place, of course. I'm wondering how the effectiveness of the delivery of funds, goods, and services to the people who need it most may be improved with the merging of CIDA into DFAIT. Given the larger body, could we maybe make better use of their communications department to make sure that Canadians know that we are in fact getting a bang for the bucks we're sending overseas?
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View Jean Crowder Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jean Crowder Profile
2013-04-23 9:10
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That's where I'm going on this. It's not that I think this is a great way to do it, because I don't.
With regard to part (c) of your recommendation 3, “A provision that reserves residual authority and jurisdiction to the Minister under s.43 with respect to intestacies still governed by the Indian Act”, the legal opinion that we've had said this would involve an amendment to clause 7 so that paragraphs 43(c) and (d) would not be included in the repealed sections 42 to 47 to allow for the continuing operation of these sections, given that the minister's power contained in section 43 relates to intestacy. Is that what you're suggesting?
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View James Moore Profile
CPC (BC)
We're pretty up front.
I can give you an example. There are two communities in British Columbia that are celebrating their centennial years this year....
I extend this to any member of Parliament. I say this often.
Many communities, as you know, especially municipalities that are very small, or organizations....
As you know, Scott, there are many organizations in this country that are volunteer-led. These are not people who are professional politicians at getting government funding and support; they don't have a bunch of lawyers and accountants and actuaries who can go in and get all this stuff. They are working on a volunteer basis, and sometimes the applications can be too cumbersome and a hassle.
What I often tell organizations, especially those who are applying for funding for the first time, is to call my office. We'll sit them down with the Department of Canadian Heritage staffer in the regions, because we have offices all across the country.
They sit down with staffers at Canadian Heritage and say: “Here's what we have in mind for our festival. How do we put together our festival in a way that will be successful for applications?”—not “How do we apply?” and then be turned down, and then “Omigod, it's the eleventh hour; we can't have our festival this year.” Start it the other way around: what does one have to do to qualify for funding?
Design your festival that way, and then you have a successful outcome. We've had great success with that all across the country with organizations. That's what we do to try to get rid of any mystery there might be between the department and organizations seeking funding, because that's not how it's supposed to be: we don't want to have a tall wall that's impossible for small organizations to scale.
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View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Hedy Fry Profile
2013-03-07 13:50
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It's obvious that there's hope and that there are all of these wishes, etc., but what are the concrete tools that can be used to move the agenda forward, and who can use those tools?
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View Andrew Saxton Profile
CPC (BC)
View Andrew Saxton Profile
2013-03-05 15:43
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Thank you.
In the opening statements of the assistant auditor general, she mentioned that the federal government had not released its sustainability report until quite recently, even though it had committed to doing so quite some time ago. I think it was in 2007.
Can you explain why it wasn't released sooner? Was it possibly because of the recession and other things that came up in the meantime, or what was the reason?
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View Andrew Saxton Profile
CPC (BC)
View Andrew Saxton Profile
2013-03-05 17:10
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Thank you, Chair.
The first thing I would like to bring up is there have been some requests for documentation. I would just like to ask the Department of Finance to provide to the committee the documentation that the committee deems as necessary or relevant to our questioning here today.
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View Jean Crowder Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jean Crowder Profile
2012-12-12 16:17
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With regard to the Auditor General, my understanding is that it's now going to be an independent auditor.
Will that have the same level of transparency that an Auditor General does for Canadians? I'm sure citizens of Yukon hold auditors general in very high esteem. Will an independent auditor have the same effect in terms of transparency and availability of the reporting to the general public?
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View Jean Crowder Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jean Crowder Profile
2012-12-10 15:48
Expand
Great.
One of the things you pointed out was that there could be some confusion and uncertainty if the legislation proceeds as is. Could you highlight key areas where there would be confusion or uncertainty?
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View John Duncan Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you very much once again.
As you all know, Canada's north is home to world-class reserves of natural resources representing tremendous economic opportunities for northerners and for all Canadians. Since forming government in 2006 our government has consistently demonstrated its commitment to equipping northerners with the tools they need to take advantage of those opportunities. I cannot emphasize enough how important Bill C-47 will be in allowing northerners to unlock these opportunities. Bill C-47 fulfills the Government of Canada's last legislative obligations flowing from negotiated land claims in both Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, and proposes mechanisms to improve regulatory processes, encourage investment, and allow resources to be developed in a sustainable manner. This will lead to jobs and benefits for future generations of Canadians.
I understand my officials were here on Monday last week to speak to some of the technical elements of Bill C-47, but their appearance was cut short due to votes. They're here again with me today and can answer some of your more technical questions. I understand they'll be coming again before committee soon.
The first part of this bill is the Nunavut planning and project assessment act. This bill sets out clear, consistent, reliable, regulatory processes that the people of Nunavut can use to manage development of their land and resources that will promote economic development by boosting investor confidence. Not only does this bill implement Canada's legislative obligations under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, it also fills existing gaps in the Nunavut regime for project approval. These improvements are not just necessary, they are urgent. They are needed in order to put in place a state-of-the-art planning and assessment regime to meet the surging tide of resource development opportunity in Nunavut.
The fact that the bill establishes the Nunavut Planning Commission as the single entry for project proponents will provide the clarity and certainty that has been called for and supported in various other jurisdictions across Canada, and will no doubt prove to be equally successful in Nunavut. For example, the bill assigns clear roles and responsibilities to the Nunavut Planning Commission, the Nunavut Impact Review Board, departments and agencies, responsible ministers, regulatory authorities, and project proponents. It allows the development and implementation of critical timelines for key decision points in the process, ensures that all parties to the process do not act until the appropriate approvals have been received, and establishes the critical inspection, enforcement, and monitoring regimes to backstop all decisions taken.
Mr. Chairman, there have been questions raised in the House of Commons about the adequacy of our consultations on this bill. Work on the Nunavut planning and project assessment act began in 2002, and the resulting bill before you today reflects almost a decade of negotiation and close consultation. This bill is a direct result of the government's strong partnership with the Government of Nunavut and Inuit leadership, as well as extensive consultation with the resource industries that will be affected. This bill, produced in partnership, includes valuable input from the Nunavut Legislative Working Group, a group of representatives from the federal government, the Government of Nunavut, and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
Representatives from the Nunavut Planning Commission and the Nunavut Impact Review Board also acted as advisers. Their technical expertise and experience were great assets to the working group.
Representatives of the mining and oil and gas industries also provided useful suggestions related to maximizing regulatory efficiency and avoiding duplication, achieving clarity and certainty through specific timelines, and consolidating roles and responsibilities among institutions of government.
Other groups raised additional concerns. Certain roles and responsibilities outlined in the draft bill required further clarification; monitoring and enforcement provisions needed to be strengthened; and questions over the bill's application to development projects that cross geographic boundaries and political jurisdictions called for further clarity.
I'm proud to say that these consultations have resulted in legislation that will truly serve the needs of the people of Nunavut today and in the future.
The second part of Bill C-47 will establish the Northwest Territories surface rights board. This fulfills obligations in the Northwest Territories under the Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement and the Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement. Both agreements refer specifically to the need for a surface rights board.
The establishment of the board is also consistent with the terms and the spirit of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement and the Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement, the other two comprehensive land claims in the Northwest Territories. The Tlicho agreement allows for the establishment of a surface rights board. The Inuvialuit Final Agreement specifies that any interim measures related to access across Inuvialuit lands to reach adjacent lands will be replaced when a law of general application, such as this bill, is enacted.
The board will, on application, make orders related to terms, conditions, and compensation only where they have been requested to do so and only after such rights have been previously issued. In so doing, this board will contribute to greater certainty and predictability for long-term economic growth and job creation in the territory.
I want to emphasize that this board does not, nor will it ever, issue any kind of right to surface or subsurface resources. To be absolutely clear, this board does not have any jurisdiction in the realm of resource development decision-making. This board does one thing only: if asked by one or both of the parties, it will settle disputes about access to land.
Consultations on the development of the Northwest Territories surface rights board act were also extensive. As I mentioned earlier, this bill responds to our last legislative obligation from the Gwich'in and Sahtu land claim agreements, and completes the regulatory regime that was originally envisioned in the Northwest Territories land claim agreements.
In total, over 35 consultation sessions were held with 13 aboriginal groups and governments, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and industry organizations. These sessions included groups within and outside settled land claims in the Northwest Territories, and groups outside of the Northwest Territories with transboundary claims. That was the comprehensive consultation, negotiation, and collaboration that went into developing the bill. That was the degree of partnership that went into putting together this very important legislation.
The bill before this committee today is a product that reflects the work, the opinions, and the positions of many interests and groups across two territories. All sides contributed to produce a bill that meets the needs of the people of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
As you can see, Bill C-47 responds to a chorus of other groups calling for action. Territorial governments have asked for better coordination and clearly defined time periods for project reviews. Resource companies have urged us to make the review process more streamlined and predictable. All Canadians want to make sure that promising opportunities will no longer be delayed or lost due to complex, unpredictable, and time-consuming regulatory processes. Bill C-47 will help make this a reality.
Thank you, Chair.
I look forward to the committee's review, and my officials and I will be pleased to respond to any questions.
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View John Duncan Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you for the question.
In terms of definitions, there are a number of improvements to the process described in the agreement.
For example, the definition of “project” has been clarified. It establishes the Nunavut Planning Commission as the single entry point for all project proposals. It clarifies the duty of all government departments, including those with regulatory duties, to implement their activities in accordance with land use plans. It affirms the power of governments and Inuit organizations to nominate members to the Nunavut Impact Review Board and the Nunavut Planning Commission.
It makes it possible for territorial and federal governments and Inuit organizations to manage northern resources and lands wisely. It provides legal certainty and predictability for resource managers. And as I mentioned a couple of times, it fulfills our legislative obligations under the land claims agreements by legislating roles and responsibilities for the Nunavut Planning Commission and the Nunavut Impact Review Board and clearly defining the powers, duties, and functions of those bodies.
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View David Wilks Profile
CPC (BC)
View David Wilks Profile
2012-11-19 16:05
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Thanks, Mr. Chair.
Thanks to the witnesses for being here today.
I heard you refer in your introduction to the elimination of the Governor in Council process and to allowing the minister to authorize land designation. I wonder if you could tell me about the opportunities in regard to time efficiency for first nations to move forward with economic development in that process, as well as whether you see anything that would hinder first nations from having the minister make that land designation as opposed to Governor in Council.
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