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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
Excellent.
There are three main reasons why we feel this motion must be supported. First and foremost, this is about preserving free speech in a democracy, and about the non-partisan nature of our federal public service. Second, it's also about the rapidly deteriorating relations with China and what the government's policy actually is on China. Third, and almost as important, it's about the checks and balances of the institution of this government and the balance that a House of Commons standing committee puts forward in holding the government to account.
What do I mean when I say “free speech”? Clearly, we are in a democracy and, therefore, people who have expertise based on the history of their careers and the experience they have gained over their careers can inform citizens on government behaviour. Whether it was an academic career, a financial management career, an industry career or the public service is irrelevant. They have gained experience, and once they are private citizens, they have the opportunity to inform the public.
We cannot have a Prime Minister's Office, or the Prime Minister himself, for whatever reason, looking to prevent anyone in this country from having the opportunity to speak freely to an issue and to inform citizens on that issue. A democracy is only as good as the information that citizens have. We know from the media reports that part of the conversation is that the PMO directed not to speak out against the government because this is an election year.
Even more so in an election year do we need to have the opportunity to have experts speak out, so that when citizens go to the polls, they have valid and informed information so that they can make a decision on whether or not the current government is the right government to lead them, going forward.
China, and our relationship with China, is one of the most important or significant issues facing the nation at the moment, with two people who are imprisoned in China—wrongfully, in Canada's opinion—and the serious economic impact of our exports of soy, pork and other grains being prevented from getting into China. This is a significant diplomatic and economic relationship and we need to know what experts think of the government's approach before we go to the polls.
We absolutely need to understand whether or not this Prime Minister has continued a pattern of behaviour of attempting to silence those who are experts or private citizens from being able to provide informed opinions, upon which Canadians, in a democracy, can make informed decisions about the shape and direction of their nation, and of course, the expertise of the government.
Secondly, we're looking at the partisan nature of the public service. If, in fact, the Prime Minister's Office is attempting to take non-partisan public officials and arm-wrestle them into behaving in a way that is partisan, if in fact that's what happened when they were asking the assistant deputy minister, Mr. Thoppil, to call these former diplomats and tell them that it's an election year and that they need to check in with the government on the government's policy, then the very fabric of Canada's democracy is at risk.
In Canada we have a non-partisan public service for the very reason that it spans across different governments. If they are asked, or directed by the PMO, whether or not they were specifically directed or whether the PMO merely intimated that direction, everyone in the public service knows that the Prime Minister's Office and the use of the term "Prime Minister's Office" are not to be taken lightly. They are, in many respects, a not-so-veiled threat that your behaviour needs to be a certain way. It's a very difficult position for a public servant to be in when the Prime Minister's Office calls and asks them to do something.
We as a committee have a responsibility to determine whether or not the Prime Minister's Office actually directly phoned a public servant and asked them to behave in an inappropriate way, in a partisan way, when doing so is totally and completely outside of that individual's responsibility to do so and goes against everything in the nature of our government.
Furthermore, we need to understand whether or not that supposed Prime Minister's Office individual did it with the knowledge of the Prime Minister, because the buck stops with the Prime Minister. We also need to know if it went to the Clerk of the Privy Council, or if in fact it completely skipped him, which also would be inappropriate. From free speech to not muzzling people to ensuring that we have non-partisan public servants and whether there is any way the Prime Minister's Office is asking public servants to behave in a partisan way—these are serious allegations that we need to get to the bottom of.
Additionally, we need to talk about Canada's policy on China. Clearly the government's policy up to this point has been weak and has not achieved what we need it to achieve. When supposedly these private citizens—the former diplomats Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Saint-Jacques—were told that they needed to check in with the government on their policy so that they can speak with a single voice, well, perhaps the opposition and all parliamentarians and Canadians should have and be afforded the same opportunity to hear what the government's policy is. We at this committee need to hear from the foreign affairs minister exactly what Canada's China policy is. If this senior associate deputy minister is able to tell two private citizens that they need to check in on the China policy of the country, then I think that all Canadians have as much responsibility to have that information as well. That is the role of a committee, to ensure that information gets to the citizens of the country.
Last, but by no means least, we have a responsibility, as the legislative branch, to do these kinds of investigations. There are only about 30 members of Parliament who are in cabinet, and in our country, in our democracy, they form the executive branch of our government. The other 300 or so, in addition to those cabinet ministers, form the legislative branch. House of Commons standing committees and all members of Parliament in the legislative branch have a responsibility to represent not only the citizens in their respective ridings but also citizens across this country to ensure that we hold the government to account. We're here to understand what the government's doing. We're here to challenge the government. We're here to represent all Canadians in holding the government to account and influencing the government's direction.
If that's not the role of members of Parliament, if the role, specifically of Liberal members of Parliament, is simply to do whatever the government says, then what is the role of members of Parliament and how is that undermining the very fabric and foundation of our democracy?
We saw quite clearly that the Prime Minister and senior people, both elected and unelected...because, of course, one big challenge of the Prime Minister's Office is that they have an incredible amount of authority and are able to dictate all kinds of things, but with far fewer checks and balances by not being elected officials.
If we saw, as we did with the SNC-Lavalin scandal and certainly with the Admiral Norman affair, the undermining and erosion of the independence of the judicial branch and how members of Parliament, specifically Liberal members of Parliament on the justice committee, were shutting down any kind of inquiry and open and transparent democratic investigation into the behaviours of the government, it affects not only one of the key pillars, the independence of the judicial branch, but also the checks and balances and the independence of the legislative branch.
Therefore, I am calling on all members of Parliament today at this committee to assume their responsibility to the citizens of the nation, to the office they hold and to their responsibilities as members of Parliament to hold government to account and ensure not only that the policies and the practices are correct, but also that the institution of government and the Parliament itself remain intact. We must vote in favour of this motion because there is far too much at stake, from free speech to the jeopardizing of a non-partisan public service, to not knowing what the government's China policy is and, therefore, not being able to hear from those who would agree with whatever it is and those who may disagree, and to ensure that we preserve and protect the very structure of our foundation of the independence of the executive, the legislative and, of course, the judicial branches and the role and accountability of a House of Commons standing committee to investigate when the Prime Minister is potentially overstepping his role and responsibility with a pattern of behaviour to muzzle anyone who would criticize, putting partisan goals ahead of the responsibility and the structure of the nation and, of course, covering up what's really going on and hiding the truth from Canadians.
The motion is to hear from these witnesses, to investigate these serious allegations and to protect and preserve Canada's democracy. I am pleading with the members of this committee to vote in favour of the motion.
Thank you.
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View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
View Pat Kelly Profile
2019-06-11 12:09
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The minister did claim, boldly, that tax cheats can no longer hide, and yet you say that it is beyond her ability, because she is independent of the prosecutorial decision...and that tax cheaters will continue not to be named. Your lengthy explanation is no comfort to Canadians who still see a set of, presumably wealthy, Canadians who received a settlement.
The question that is unanswered is whether or not taxes were paid. Canadians don't know that.
This is not consistent with the repeated assertions of transparency. You've spoken of transparency, sir, but we see none. We see unnamed taxpayers cutting deals with the CRA.
Back to the case of the single taxpayer and the $133 million, a right to privacy is not absolute. There are public interests as well that have to be considered. If this single taxpayer, for example, were a corporate entity that received a subsidy from the government or that had dealings with the government, there would be an overwhelming public interest, I would imagine. What are you actually doing to increase transparency so that we don't continually have cases of non-transparent settlements being made with taxpayers?
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Bob Hamilton
View Bob Hamilton Profile
Bob Hamilton
2019-06-11 12:11
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I know my answer was lengthy, so I'll try to keep this one short. On the general issue of transparency, we're doing a number of things to make sure that the information the CRA has that would be helpful to people is made transparent. For example, we are making publicly available the tax gap analysis we are doing to try to identify the gap between taxes that should be paid and taxes that are paid.
We made available a study that we did on some of the strengths and weaknesses of CRA, and that included the weaknesses.
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Bob Hamilton
View Bob Hamilton Profile
Bob Hamilton
2019-06-11 12:11
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On that general idea, we're taking a number of actions. On the specifics of this case or of settlements in particular, we're in the process of trying to find a way to increase transparency. I certainly would prefer a situation in which we could talk about what actually gets settled. In any of the cases I've been involved in, I believe the agency has done a very good job, together with Justice, to find an outcome that's in the public interest. However, there is this tension, since we cannot reveal taxpayers' confidential information. We need to find a way, and that's what we and the minister have endeavoured to do, and we'll be looking forward to having some better transparency in the future.
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View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
View Pat Kelly Profile
2019-06-11 12:12
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We're well over time, but this is only a comment on the tax gap. Your agency is, in fact, not providing the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer the full anonymized data that it says it needs to be able to estimate it itself. Your measures are simply internal and they are not subject to outside scrutiny as they are now.
I would say, sir, that you fall short on the transparency.
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Bob Hamilton
View Bob Hamilton Profile
Bob Hamilton
2019-06-11 12:13
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Yes, we have ongoing discussions with the Parliamentary Budget Officer and we do provide information to his office on every tax gap study that we do.
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View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
2019-06-05 17:50
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Okay, it's my time.
Thank you, Minister, for being here. Welcome. This is your first meeting here.
You were part of the process where we have been trying to align the budget and the main estimates. When the government tried to do it from a reconciliation perspective, it put in a vote 40—a one-time vote. There were challenges with it. It was assumed that from a governance perspective, it was not the right thing to do because only one committee, which is ours, was able to review vote 40.
I know the government has listened and made changes. Could you tell us what are some of the changes going forward? How are you continuing to improve accountability and transparency so that we as MPs can understand the spending?
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View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you for raising the topic of the budget implementation vote from last year, which I saw as a step forward from what we had before.
Before, we had a situation where the estimates were tabled first and the budget was tabled afterwards, so the estimates had no relation to the decisions being made by government through the budget as to what spending would be added for the year. That was the disconnect that you as a committee were aiming to improve.
It was improved by the budget implementation vote, by taking all of those budgetary items and putting them in one budget implementation vote, which was broken down by departmental and program intention for those funds so that when they were approved by Treasury Board and forwarded to the departments they could be tracked monthly online.
The committee's concerns that this was not going far enough were very valid. It was an important first step, but we needed to do more. That is exactly what Treasury Board did this year. It took the budgetary funds, broke them into the individual departments' allocations and named what program they were for. They were not discretionary funds for that department; they were targeted to a purpose outlined in the budget. Those funds are now scrutinized by the appropriate committee.
From my perspective and that of Treasury Board, this is another step forward, and a big one, in the direction Parliament has been asking for, which is to have faster and fuller ability to follow the money and to be accountable to Canadians for government spending.
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View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
2019-06-05 17:53
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Thank you for that.
When we look at the pillars in the budget and the estimate process, we looked at pillar four as well. In your departmental plans you talked about pillar four being the departmental plans being tabled the same day as the main estimates.
How are departments managing this new process? What are some of the challenges and opportunities that you see?
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View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
I'll take a crack at it, and because the officials with me are the ones who really had to wrestle with that, I'll turn it over to them as well.
One of the concepts here is that the departmental plans also need to align with the budget to help parliamentarians understand what's planned. The challenge is that when there were only a few weeks between the tabling of the budget and the tabling of the estimates and departmental plans, not all of that planned spending could be incorporated in the departmental plans. However, the departments very quickly worked to complete their plans and tabled supplementary pages to bring it to full alignment. That full alignment was in place before any of the committees were examining the estimates and the departmental plans. That is another piece of the puzzle, as you mentioned, pillar four, of reporting and information.
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View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
I would expect no less.
Minister, you and your predecessor and your department and have pushed a digital government strategy. I'm wondering if you could give our committee an update.
At the same time, I know there was an open government partnership international summit last week. I was hoping you could provide some context into what the objectives and outcomes of that conference were.
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View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
That is a very important part of my mandate. Digital is about improving services to Canadian citizens. That's the bottom line. We're part of what was the D9—there may be more digital countries that have banded together, but there were nine the last time I heard—to share information, best practices and new ideas as to how to move forward to improve services to citizens.
The Open Government Partnership is almost a parallel initiative. It is a group of over 80 countries that have signed on to a partnership to improve and increase citizens' access to their government. Why is that important? It's important because by having access to government data, people can use the data to solve problems, to create apps or businesses and serve and grow the economy. By having government be open to citizens, they can be involved in decision-making. They can be consulted, so that better decisions get made.
When governments are more open and provide their data openly and consult, there is a stronger level of trust between citizens and their government. For some countries in this partnership, it has been a means of reducing corruption. Once the data is out there, then people can press their government to actually flow the funds that were supposed to have flowed to a particular initiative. One example that came up was a maternal health clinic. It's a very powerful tool for trust and for having better decisions made and having superior outcomes in the government's delivery of services.
Lastly, trust is about strengthening democracy as well. As the digital world gets much more sophisticated, that's a good thing, but at the same time we're seeing that it can be exploited or abused for negative purposes that divide people and create opportunities that undermine democracy. Open government is also about addressing that and finding ways to strengthen democracies and innoculate against the kinds of attacks on democracies that we've been seeing and that have used digital as a way to do it.
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View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Just on a personal basis, I want to congratulate you for your new role, although you have been in your new role for quite some time now. I certainly miss you not being here anymore, but I'm getting used to Mr. Fergus now.
We've often talked about digital government and aspiring to what Estonia has done with its citizens, for example. I know that in Estonia, I think citizens get a notice on their cellphones—or they can pick which device to receive it on—when governments are sharing information about them. Is that something Canada can aspire to in the future? I know we're a lot more complex than the Estonian government, but do you think that's a vision we could aspire to?
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View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Absolutely, but in the Canadian way, because we have a federation and provinces and territories.... There is already work being done with a trial province to coordinate some digital identification with the province's digital identification.
Yes, we want to move forward on that. We're going to do it very carefully and hand in hand with our provincial partners.
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View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Okay.
What accountability measures by your department are taking place, in terms of the spending of these dollars?
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Claudia Ferland
View Claudia Ferland Profile
Claudia Ferland
2019-05-28 11:10
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With regard to first nations, we have very close working relationships through our regional offices. When a first nation applies for a project or does project work, it does a plan at the local level—
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View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Claudia Ferland
View Claudia Ferland Profile
Claudia Ferland
2019-05-28 11:11
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They do a band council resolution. It comes to the regional level, and then there is a reporting capability by the first nation and the region, but we do not ask first nations to report on their own money.
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View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Do they not have to report at the end of a project or give a schedule of completion date? For any of that funding that's flowing to first nations, do they not have to report back how that money was spent, or if it was spent in the project that they had asked for?
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Claudia Ferland
View Claudia Ferland Profile
Claudia Ferland
2019-05-28 11:11
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It depends on the scope and scale of the projects. The majority of the larger scope projects will do a project plan. We will work with them. We follow milestones. But it is their project, so they will manage their projects.
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View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
But is there a responsibility placed on them by the department?
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Chad Westmacott
View Chad Westmacott Profile
Chad Westmacott
2019-05-28 11:52
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There are responsibilities. They are the owners and they are the operators of that infrastructure, and they are responsible to make sure that infrastructure works appropriately. We support them—
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View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Madam Chair. I have another couple of questions.
Both of you referred in your presentations to the work you're doing to co-develop; I hope I got that correctly. We're hearing in terms of different pieces of legislation—and, of course, most obviously Bill C-92—that a lot of people and organizations are not feeling that this is the correct way to describe the interaction and that it was certainly not co-development. We have heard that repeatedly.
I am just wondering what your mandate is around co-development. How is that progressing through time?
We know that on Bill C-97 we've heard from the AFN that there are concerns around jurisdiction. We've heard from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs that there has not been a meaningful consultation. There seems to be a lot of interest in making sure that consultation is actually defined as something a little more concrete and not interpreted by the government.
I think co-development is the way that the language is moving, but is the actual action behind it happening? How, in both of these departments, are you accountable to indigenous communities across the country in terms of developing the definitions of co-development and consultation?
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Jean-François Tremblay
View Jean-François Tremblay Profile
Jean-François Tremblay
2019-05-14 10:01
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Co-development is a difficult area of the business, because it involves...and could mean a lot of people at the table. You can look at Bill C-92. We have been co-developing the legislation with the national organizations, but we also did a lot of engagement at the regional level and at the local level over the last year. The objective of this legislation—and it's an important element that we're trying to do as much as possible—is defined less...as little as possible in the legislation.
The real story about Bill C-92 is not just the legislation. It's that actually we say to first nations, Inuit and Métis, “Go ahead and develop your legislation and come to us with it.” It's not legislation that tries to impose an approach. It's legislation that just says, “You should be the ones developing this approach.” It's a co-development that leads to an approach that is actually their developing of their own legislation by themselves. I think it's important to see the distinction. Case by case, we did a lot of co-development on the education side.
In terms of reporting to indigenous people, as I mentioned before, we have more and more regional discussions and annual gatherings among our staff and first nations, Inuit and Métis—with first nations specifically because of the services on the reserves—where we discuss how the relationship is going.
I invite the national organizations to come to my senior management committee every three or four months—we try to be regular—to discuss how things are going. We attend their meetings with them: their executive committees, their committees on housing, their committees on education. For us, as much as possible, it's to be transparent in the way we do our business and what we are doing, and that's how we achieve co-development. I think we made significant progress, to be fair.
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View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
One of the questions I have, though, is on what you mentioned the last time we chatted: the part about “take charge” and what indigenous communities are ready to take on. I look at some of the communities that I serve and there are multiple challenges, so when we say “take charge”.... Recently, we had a young man commit suicide in one of my communities, and that community has rallied, has pulled in resources and has been trying to do things. We have a lot of young people discussing on social media. I look at another community such as Grassy Narrows, for example, which is dealing with poisoning right now. They have waited a very long time, and people are very ill and dying because of that.
When we talk about co-development, consultation and indigenous people taking charge, we have to put it in that context, so where is the accountability back to those communities, especially to a community like Grassy Narrows, where what they have to deal with is beyond the imagination of the everyday Canadian?
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Jean-François Tremblay
View Jean-François Tremblay Profile
Jean-François Tremblay
2019-05-14 10:04
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The issue we have at the moment is we treat all first nations communities the same way. You implement programs the way they have been developed, even if you had higher or lower capacity. If we move with grants and more self-determination, the communities that are ready will take that, which means our staff will be able to focus more on the relationship with first nations that have more needs.
Who should help them? A lot of the work we have done with the first nations institutions has been on how they can help us to get first nations out of third party management, for example, not our going there and telling them what to do, but more first nations institutions working with them.
For communities like Grassy Narrows, like Cat Lake and communities in the north in many cases, the question is how do we support them and help them to get the capacity, rather than just going with the compliance with our programs. That's the way we want to see the shift and how we move them towards this stream so they end up with self-determination.
Self-determination doesn't necessarily take a local-only aspect. It could be regional. The work we've done on education in the north, for example, is not just with one community; it's with many. I think it's looking with them at the models that would help them get there and make the decisions they want to make to achieve self-government.
In the past it was a one-size-fits-all approach; the program was the same for everybody, even if you're in a better position, even if you don't necessarily need this money for this specific aspect, because you already addressed this issue. How can you reallocate? We're getting this flexibility and we're giving to the communities that are ready to take it, which will give us a chance to have a plan and work directly with the communities in need.
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Daniel Watson
View Daniel Watson Profile
Daniel Watson
2019-05-14 10:06
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The lessons about the way we have tried to deliver programs in exactly the same way I think are important in the world of consultation and co-development. If you have a modern or a historic treaty or if you don't have any treaties, the way you engage is different and the capacity to co-develop may be different, depending on what experience you've had in the past.
So coming up with a single definition of how we will do co-development everywhere in the country and follow this definition or be offside I think would repeat some of the past mistakes, but it doesn't mean we are not taking it seriously. It means we have to work out with those individual communities the things we can and cannot do. I have no doubt that we will have very different views over time as to the best and most appropriate way to move forward.
I think the important thing, though, is to have those conversations and to be open on both sides and particularly, obviously, with my responsibilities on the government side, the public service side, to make sure we listen to what we hear, but we still have to make some important calls as to how we engage most effectively.
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
So you submit your reports but there has been no follow-up or reply on the recommendations. Is that right?
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View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
View David McGuinty Profile
2019-05-13 15:46
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NSICOP hopes that there will be some follow-up. We are still waiting for a response. We have raised the matter with the appropriate authorities.
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View Pierre Paul-Hus Profile
CPC (QC)
We certainly see that, basically, colleagues from all parties who work with you on the NSICOP have done so seriously since it was created. That is also clear as we read your report. There is a desire to take the work very seriously.
However, we still have doubts about what will come of your reports. Right from when you submit a report in which you identified serious matters, the Prime Minister basically always has the last word.
The concern we have had since the beginning, when Bill C-22 was introduced, is about the way information is transmitted. Of course, we understand that highly secret information cannot be made public.
However, when the Prime Minister himself is the subject of a study, we don’t expect a response.
As chair of the committee, do you expect at the very least a reply to your studies from the government and the Prime Minister?
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-05-13 15:50
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My thanks to the witnesses for joining us today.
First of all, I want to thank you and all the members of the NSICOP for the work that you have done up to now. Given that this is the first experience for us all, please know that, if we are asking more technical questions on the procedure, it is in order to reach certain conclusions, it is not that we are criticizing your work, quite the contrary.
I would like to know more about the follow-up to your recommendations. As an example, when the Auditor General submits a report, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts generally makes it a point to hear from representatives of the various departments.
In your case, it is a little more complicated for two reasons. First of all, the information needed for the follow-up may well be classified. Then, you are not completely able to engage in the political jousting that is sometimes necessary to achieve good accountability.
Would it be appropriate for a committee, like ours, for example, to be given the responsibility of conducting the follow-up with some of the organizations mentioned in your recommendations?
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View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
View David McGuinty Profile
2019-05-13 15:51
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That is a question that the members of the committee have discussed at length: how can we push a little harder and require the recommendations to be implemented?
We are considering several possibilities. We have learned, for example, that the CSE carries over recommendations that have not yet been implemented from one report to the next. That is a possibility we are looking at, but we are in contact with the people involved every day.
To go back to Mr. Paul-Hus’ question, the Department of National Defence has never yet been examined by an external committee of parliamentarians like the NSICOP, which has the authority to require all that information.
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View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
View David McGuinty Profile
2019-05-13 15:52
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Since we have had DND in our sights, they, for the first time in their history, have established a group of employees with the sole responsibility of processing all the information requested. That alone is progress.
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View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2019-05-13 16:27
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Excellent. Thank you. I couldn't help but mention it.
I have one last quick thing to ask you.
To go back to the first question I asked, is there a plan to formally monitor the implementation of the recommendations made by the NSICOP? I asked the same question at the beginning of my intervention, but I just want to make sure that there is a formal follow-up on these recommendations.
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View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
View David McGuinty Profile
2019-05-13 16:27
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Yes.
The NSICOP has a plan to do exactly this kind of follow-up. We are really pleased to be here today, and perhaps be invited to the Senate later, to address your counterparts there. We think this is a good start to raise awareness among parliamentarians at the very least.
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Kelly Gillis
View Kelly Gillis Profile
Kelly Gillis
2019-02-28 11:15
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Good morning, and thank you for inviting me to speak before you today about Infrastructure Canada's supplementary estimates (B) and interim estimates.
To support the Government of Canada's priorities, Infrastructure Canada is seeking $150,000 in contribution funding to support research knowledge-sharing activities in innovative projects. These projects help strengthen the evidence base around the role that infrastructure can play in addressing economic, social and environmental issues.
We are also seeking to transfer $2.2 million from our operating vote to our capital vote to cover the development program for management tools that will support the delivery of programs under our bilateral agreements and accommodate requirements related to workplace 2.0.
We are also requesting $1.8 billion of cash to allow for prompt payment of contributions and amounts owing to the department until June 2019.
I would like now to provide a brief update of progress under the investing in Canada plan, the plan designed to help grow the economy, build inclusive communities and support a low-carbon green economy. The plan rolled out in two phases.
Under the Investing in Canada plan, Infrastructure Canada alone has approved over 4,700 projects worth over $18 billion. The department also continues to implement new processes to advance payments to our partners as construction takes place. The pilot project is currently underway with Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.
Progress billing means that we will make payments to provinces and territories based on project progress information provided to the department. It will result in payments that better align the flow of funds to construction activities.
This will result in the department reimbursing costs incurred in the year, rather than waiting until the end of the project or until provinces and territories decide to submit their claims to the department.
I would like to conclude by highlighting Infrastructure Canada's ongoing commitment to transparency and openness in the delivery of our investments.
The department is committed to regularly updating Canadians on the results of our investments. We do this in several ways: our online geomap provides information on all projects that have been announced and have a longitude and latitude component across the federal government under the Investing in Canada plan.
Our database tables show by department, by program, by funding base, by the number of projects approved, projects started and funds reimbursed to our partners to date.
The open data portal provides information on the progress of projects that Infrastructure Canada supported through our programs. We have posted a dashboard that tracks our progress being made on projects approved under our bilateral agreements. These tools are all updated regularly and provide Canadians with easy access to information about our investments.
Looking ahead to the new fiscal year, we will also be releasing a progress report which will contain further information on the details of the results achieved through our infrastructure investments under the plan.
We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
We would be happy to answer any questions that you have.
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View Lisa Raitt Profile
CPC (ON)
View Lisa Raitt Profile
2019-02-27 18:28
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Why do you think that the provision that amended the Criminal Code regarding deferred prosecution agreements ended up in the budget implementation bill and not in your criminal justice reform bill?
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View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
The deferred prosecution agreements and providing an additional tool to prosecutors was something that was being advanced by a number of ministers around the cabinet table, including the Minister of Finance.
I, of course, as the Minister of Justice, am responsible for the Criminal Code. As such, I was part of the documentation and the discussions leading up to and including the introduction of the budget implementation bill, with respect to deferred prosecution agreements, because I alone could change the Criminal Code.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2019-02-21 16:24
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Okay.
In terms of that process as it moves forward, is there anything the federal government can do to override city zoning?
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Meg Davis
View Meg Davis Profile
Meg Davis
2019-02-21 16:24
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To my knowledge, no. I think the planning comes from the Planning Act, so it's a provincial statute. I don't think there's a federal override.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2019-02-21 16:24
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Only the provincial government can declare a provincial interest. The federal government has no planning authority over any of this.
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Meg Davis
View Meg Davis Profile
Meg Davis
2019-02-21 16:24
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I think that's correct, but I'm not a lawyer. I'm a planner.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2019-02-21 16:25
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Two of the checks and balances on Waterfront Toronto activities were explicitly asked for by the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario. One was that the Province of Ontario be the controlling legislator on this. In other words, you are a creature of the province, because you're a product of provincial legislation, not federal legislation. Two, the City of Toronto refused to surrender final say on all planning and infrastructure investments.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2019-02-21 16:25
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In terms of this leaked document that suggests that perhaps Google would build the LRT and then recoup its costs through taking a slice of the taxes, a slice of development charges and a slice of property lift on adjoining properties, the City of Toronto would have to consent to that one hundred per cent. The city has full control over whether you could even entertain such an agreement.
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Meg Davis
View Meg Davis Profile
Meg Davis
2019-02-21 16:26
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Absolutely. I think the province would have a say too, because the tax increment financing is provincial legislation.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2019-02-21 16:37
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To be very clear about this, did the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister's Office or any federal Liberal bring this project to you and ask you to approve it?
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View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-02-07 11:54
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You mentioned that the problem with some of the arbitration is that it's done in secret. It's parallel to the problem of allowing us to opt into the different provisions the government has chosen not to opt into at this point. Equally, with orders in council or cabinet-level decision-making, there are no extensive minutes. The debates are not published. There's simply an order in council, an enumerated number that's published along with the year that says in one line what the decision is about. It doesn't provide a debate.
I'm asking, because it's something, Mr. Marley, that you brought up with some of the other provisions related to permanent establishments—articles 10, 12, and 13—that right now Canada is reserving its position on. In the future, though, by cabinet decision, we could be opted into it. We could withdraw our opposition to it. Then we could go into it without having a parliamentary debate and broader discussion on it.
Is that the right way to go? Should we, then, amend this bill and provide for that parliamentary review of certain optional sections of this international tax treaty—the “tax treaty of tax treaties”, as I called it in debate—or should we just leave it as it is at the cabinet level?
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Toby Sanger
View Toby Sanger Profile
Toby Sanger
2019-02-07 11:55
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I agree with greater transparency. I think there should be greater transparency both in terms of the arbitration panels for.... Lower-income countries are at a disadvantage. They don't have expertise in that, and I'd absolutely agree about the need for transparency in making changes to the legislation.
This ends up being very complex legislation, and the application of it is complex. You have a number of law firms and highly paid accounting firms that employ their resources to deal with these issues. I think it's extremely important that we move to assist them in a way that is simpler and fairer for all companies. I want to underline the point that it is the larger corporations, in particular, that can most take advantage of these provisions and can afford to hire the higher-priced—
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View Ken Hardie Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Ken Hardie Profile
2018-11-29 15:46
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If there's not a definitive answer of yes or no, then “it depends”, I suppose, is an answer. It just leaves a window of doubt open.
The transparency of the operations on the west coast is in question. I've had numerous conversations with Alex Morton, who attempts to go in and conduct research. She's driven off and banned from being there. I think sunshine is the best disinfectant here, because the more that happens, the more there appears to be gaps in either perception or reality. I don't know why she isn't given full rein to go in and conduct what she wants to conduct, peer review it, and either disapprove of it or support it, as the case may be.
Sir, from Vancouver, do you have a thought on that?
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Andrew Thomson
View Andrew Thomson Profile
Andrew Thomson
2018-11-29 15:47
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Yes, thanks very much, Mr. Hardie, for the question.
In terms of transparency, our regulatory program, which requires a significant amount of monitoring and reporting as well as auditing by our regulatory staff, is largely reported on our website. There's a vast amount of data as to sea lice counts, use of antibiotics, how much deposition, predator control and interactions. All this data is on the website. In terms of transparency there really is a very significant amount of information already put out into the public sphere.
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View Robert Aubin Profile
NDP (QC)
View Robert Aubin Profile
2018-11-29 9:21
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Thank you, Madam Chair.
I would like to thank each of the guests for being with us this morning. You're arriving almost at the end of this study, and there is a very broad consensus in your testimony. I have several questions and would ask you to provide brief answers so I can get as much information as possible. I am now preparing recommendations to table, rather than understanding the issue, since we've already been presented with the real picture.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Natalizio strongly suggested recommending the creation of an ombudsman position, for example. I would like you to tell me quickly if you find this an interesting avenue. If not, would you give more priority to Transport Canada's reappropriating a number of powers that it had before the creation of NAV CANADA, for example, and that it should have?
I would like to hear the answers of Mr. Kaiser, Mr. Lachapelle and Mr. Natalizio, in that order.
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David Kaiser
View David Kaiser Profile
David Kaiser
2018-11-29 9:22
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I will give you the same answer: this need is real. If Transport Canada is the authority, that's fine, but then it's about bringing the right people to the table and aiming for a more permanent structure and policies to control noise.
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Pierre Lachapelle
View Pierre Lachapelle Profile
Pierre Lachapelle
2018-11-29 9:22
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Responsibility should be assigned to Transport Canada, with accountability to the public.
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Antonio Natalizio
View Antonio Natalizio Profile
Antonio Natalizio
2018-11-29 9:22
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We have a situation where both Nav Canada and the airport authorities are accountable to no one. Health issues are not going to be addressed by organizations that have a private interest. These are issues that have to be addressed by the government. There's no other way.
I've studied airports around the world. The best ones—the ones that have night curfews, that have restricted hours of operation that are eight hours long and not just six hours, as we have at Toronto Pearson, for example—
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Antonio Natalizio
View Antonio Natalizio Profile
Antonio Natalizio
2018-11-29 9:23
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—they are done by regulation, not by goodwill. It's clear.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2018-11-19 17:26
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Dr. Wayne Smith, the former chief statistician, said that Bill C-36—this is your bill that you had in the House of Commons—does nothing to prevent a repeat of the uproar after the 2011 switch from mandatory to voluntary long-form census.
We're back here now, and I can understand the reservations of people, because the reality is that data will be mined down to your postal code in terms of influencing consumer behaviour. Bill C-36 is different on a couple of things from the bill I had, and I would like your opinion on these things to end this meeting.
One of the biggest things was that the chief statistician would be responsible to Parliament, similar to the Auditor General, and wouldn't be the creature of the office of the Minister of Industry, as it is right now. Would you agree to that change?
Another thing would be, would you actually fulfill the promise that you had in your election platform with regard to making a new appointment process that's different from what we have right now?
Last, will the Statistics Canada department continue to be the one that actually gets the data from Canadians, and not Shared Services Canada?
Those were the divergent points. I agree that data is a very important point, but what is just as important is the quality of the data and also the empowerment and the personal confidence people have in giving it. In this situation, the chief statistician has undermined his own process, because people will change their banking ways with what's taken place.
On those three things, can you give at least some guidance in terms of whether you would change Parliament and the Statistics Act to create a culture of inclusion and accountability for the position of the office?
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View Navdeep Bains Profile
Lib. (ON)
Under the legislation we presented, accountability is a key feature. The reason why we would not be able to repeat what happened in the past, which was political interference when it came to the long-form census, is that with the new legislation, for any of those policy changes you need to inform Parliament, so there's that transparency. What this says is that ultimately, as government officials, as elected officials, we drive policy. We say—
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View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you to our guests.
My first question is for Ms. Shields.
Ms. Shields, is it your testimony today that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard is abdicating the department's legal responsibility for small craft harbours?
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Sarah Shiels
View Sarah Shiels Profile
Sarah Shiels
2018-11-06 16:06
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I can only speak to my experience, but I have worked with more than 20 harbour authorities on the east coast in various capacities. There have been a number of occasions upon which we have approached representatives of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans asking specifically for enforcement support. That could be for removing a derelict vessel or perhaps for dealing with a conflict situation. We have never received that support.
In my view, there is a role for enforcement that is clearly laid out in the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act. I know that business managers with the department are designated enforcement officers. My understanding, and this is somewhat circumspect, is that the reason they do not exercise their enforcement powers is due to a lack of training and a fear of liability.
The problem with that approach in practice is that the enforcement role does not go away. It is downloaded to the people on the ground. They, however, are no better equipped to carry out that role.
Whether the minister is abdicating his responsibility, I'm not certain, but I think there are issues internal to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that certainly need to be looked at.
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View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
The reason I ask is that one of the other harbours we toured during our Maritimes tour in June had designed pilings and walls that failed within, I believe, less than a year.
Ms. Shiels, are you able to indicate who might be responsible for the design of that infrastructure and who is responsible for it when it fails?
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Sarah Shiels
View Sarah Shiels Profile
Sarah Shiels
2018-11-06 16:30
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I would say that the design of the infrastructure would be with the department. They are often working closely with Public Works. These are federal properties. Minor repairs, which can range from small to large fixes but, generally, I would say less than $5,000 to $10,000, that's the range cost-wise that we're looking at for a lot of the minor repairs. Some of those would fall to the harbour authority, but the infrastructure is on the federal government side.
I do know they work with consulting engineers in Halifax. I can't comment in detail on the engineering front, but I do feel there's a liability on the part of the department for the condition of its infrastructure. I have heard frustration voiced by individual fishermen that sometimes the design of these structures does not address their needs and, in particular, some of them who have been working at individual harbours for decades feel that they have a better understanding of wave action, the movement of tides and wind, than some of the engineers who visit their harbours. They would like to have an opportunity to express those concerns prior to development of these major projects.
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View Ken Hardie Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Ken Hardie Profile
2018-10-23 17:17
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We notice a pattern of reports from this committee or other committees going to Parliament and we get a reaction from the ministry saying, “We accept all of the findings.” Here, they agree with everything you say. That and two bucks gets you a big coffee at Starbucks.
Do you go back and look and say, “You agreed, so what did you do about it?” Do you do that?
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Julie Gelfand
View Julie Gelfand Profile
Julie Gelfand
2018-10-23 17:17
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Technically it's actually your job to do that, to hold the departments accountable. Parliament develops the rules and sends them down to the government. The auditor comes in and checks whether the government is doing their job and reports back to Parliament. Technically, Parliament holds the stick, if you will. I definitely don't hold it.
However, we do follow-ups. As Elsa was saying, we were actually looking at doing two follow-ups. We go in and we assess whether or not there is an issue, or whether or not there is a risk. Then if we don't find any big risks, we go to where we do find a risk, and in this case marine mammals was the risk. All the other issues were not so well.
In the past the Auditor General has done that. The public accounts committee, for example, requests an action plan from the departments and often follows up with the departments directly.
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View Ken Hardie Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Ken Hardie Profile
2018-10-23 17:19
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You could audit many different ministries, and certainly many different parts of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We've done a lot of studies since this Parliament began and it just seems that there are so many gaps, so many missing pieces. Are the things that we're asking the DFO to do far and away greater than they could possibly ever really do?
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Julie Gelfand
View Julie Gelfand Profile
Julie Gelfand
2018-10-23 17:19
Expand
That's a great question.
I can only audit what you've asked them to do, and whether or not that's something that they can do or not is really something the department has to answer.
We do ask a lot of our civil servants. I would also say that in our audits, we tend to very quickly tell you that they are doing research. All the good things that we do tell you they're doing don't get a lot of space, but all the things where they need to fix things, that's what gets reported in our audits in a much bigger way.
When we find out that they're doing good things, we do indicate that and we try to be really fair. I don't think people in DFO get up in the morning and say, “What are we going to do today to kill some whales?” I don't think that happens. I think the civil service is a very dedicated group of people working in the public interest, trying to protect, and doing the best they can with the resources they have.
I am always finding the places and always telling you about the places where they're not doing well, but please recognize that they are doing some good work and they are doing their best. They're trying.
We identify the gaps and we recommend that they fix those gaps.
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Mark Kuess
View Mark Kuess Profile
Mark Kuess
2018-10-23 8:52
Expand
Thank you.
Madam Chair, distinguished committee, we're honoured to be invited by the chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to appear before your committee today as a representative of the Community Alliance for Air Safety.
The Community Alliance for Air Safety represents more than 40 communities and more than 45,000 people. Our focus is to ensure the safe operations and responsible growth of Toronto's Pearson International Airport and other airports across Canada.
Since our formation about a year ago, we've engaged with most of the operational stakeholders, including pilots, airport unions, industry experts, the airlines, the GTAA and Nav Canada. In the past year we've also engaged with several key government stakeholders including the GTA caucus, Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. After more than a year of effort, we are encouraged that Transport Canada has recently accepted our invitation to engage in a collaborative discussion on the concerns of the communities that we represent.
We completed our first face-to-face discussion with Transport Canada a few weeks ago and raised three areas of concern. We believe this summary highlights the core of our concerns and we're going to use these as the basis of our introduction today.
The first one is that Transport Canada has been challenged to do more with less in the last 15 to 20 years as a result of available funding. We ask Transport Canada how they're going to bridge this gap between their budget constraints and the objective oversight of the airports across Canada.
The second one, further to the point above, is that Transport Canada has now started to move the responsibility of operational compliance to their operators. This trend is called self-regulation. This is concerning as CAAS is not sure how clear, objective oversight can be achieved when the operator such as the airport, the airlines and Nav Canada are checking themselves. Recent press has highlighted the issue and has included statistics about the lack of effectiveness of this self-regulation model.
The third one is the transparency of Transport Canada's approval process and oversight. We have a few examples. CAAS has requested regular public disclosure of data regarding enforcement of penalties and rule violations. We've received some limited data but we still believe there are significant gaps with the violations that are happening today and what's being enforced. There continues to be no commitment from Transport Canada to publish and discuss this data on a regular basis in a public forum.
We have a few other examples that we've shared in the transcript.
A key point is that the significant growth is concerning us on a number of fronts. At today's volume, the airport experiences a significant number of safety issues annually. As previously stated, the self-regulation model is simply not effective in creating meaningful accountability to ensure these safety issues are reported and resolved.
Second, the current footprint of the GTAA is landlocked on all four sides, which means the growth in traffic is limited to the same size airport. There is simply no physical room to grow.
Third, Transport Canada stated in 1990 that the GTAA is at capacity. The operational density at the airport is at an all-time high. CAAS's view is that if the GTAA continues to grow as quickly as possible to 90 million passengers, we will have planes landing every 15 seconds. This will introduce a significant level of higher risk operationally. We believe that has not been appropriately evaluated. It's definitely not been addressed with the public. We've raised this issue on many occasions. Transport Canada is the only organization in Canada that has full responsibility and full authority to ensure that these critical issues are acknowledged.
In summary, we're honoured that CAAS has been invited to share these concerns with the committee. CAAS is committed to continuing regular discussions with all stakeholders to ensure that the safety and well-being of all those who work and live in close proximity to any airport in Canada are respected. In the end, we're here to ensure that all key stakeholders keep safety top of mind when all decisions are being made regarding the past or future Canadian transport policies or procedures.
We hope we can add to this discussion. We welcome any questions.
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View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I want to thank all three of you for joining us this morning. This is very important.
I hope I will have enough time to talk to you, Mr. Schiller. I am fascinated by the situation of border radio stations. There are many decisions and situations taken for granted, and that continues. It is completely ridiculous and surprising.
Mr. Dagonas, you referred earlier to the report issued by the CRTC. Like me, you saw a lot of lucid things in that report. Were you disappointed that the government's response was to delay this indefinitely, or at least until January 2020?
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Mathieu Dagonas
View Mathieu Dagonas Profile
Mathieu Dagonas
2018-10-04 12:44
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No. We trust government to do the right thing in this circumstance, and sometimes difficult decisions take time to evaluate. We trust that through consultations and with the recommendations of the CRTC, we will reach decisions that are good for documentary filmmakers, although obviously there are a number of other stakeholders that have an interest in seeing the Copyright Act service them. I think these decisions have to take time.
I look forward to the decision, yes, but from my perspective, we want to be part of the conversation. I think it's responsible to at least have a conversation that can proceed over time, because as I said, we're a minority and we think that often decisions are made too quickly. Sometimes that disproportionately affects smaller communities.
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View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
There are other things contained within this legislation. For instance, you talked about a pre-writ period and throwing more transparency upon the pre-writ period. You're obviously in favour of that.
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Greg Essensa
View Greg Essensa Profile
Greg Essensa
2018-10-02 11:16
Expand
Yes, I have written quite extensively about that over the last 10 years, in my role as CEO. I am a firm believer that all political actors should be treated equitably and fairly. Where political parties and candidates have spending limits and expense limitations, third parties in Ontario for a long period of time had no such requirements. It meant that third parties would spend unknown amounts of money during that period because there was no transparency, there was no regulation, and there was no requirement for them to provide any information to us, as the regulator.
There were always concerns raised by a multitude of different parties that this was an unfair advantage, and sometimes it could potentially impact the electoral results.
I had advocated for a long period of time that we needed to treat all political actors fairly and equitably and under the guiding principle of a fair and level playing field.
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View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ruby Sahota Profile
2018-10-02 11:39
Expand
How would you envision greater transparency? Would it be a separate election fund? Then they'd have to be able to trace all money that's deposited into the election campaign fund for that organization and let you know who the donors were. How would you do that?
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Greg Essensa
View Greg Essensa Profile
Greg Essensa
2018-10-02 11:40
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I think it's very clear it's no different from what political parties are required to do now. You have to provide us with a list of who is providing you money that you utilized during your campaign.
We publicize those lists. Federally, here in Ontario, we have a 10-day direct posting, so if someone gives you $100 towards your campaign, we post it within 10 days of that. There are financial reporting requirements. I think that similar types of requirements could be put in place for third parties that would clearly indicate where the money was coming from, so that if XYZ corporation was supporting a third party and they're based in Alberta, and they gave $5,000 towards that third party, then you would clearly understand that's where the money came from, from that corporation. They provided the money and there was transparency to that.
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View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ruby Sahota Profile
2018-10-02 11:41
Expand
Where does it end? That corporation may have money in their account that comes from foreign actors as well.
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Greg Essensa
View Greg Essensa Profile
Greg Essensa
2018-10-02 11:41
Expand
Very well, and you will have multinational corporations that have that. But I do believe there does need to be greater transparency in this process. I hear from Ontarians. Certainly up until we made the changes in Bill 2, and certainly when I travelled the province, I heard extensively from Ontarians who said that having third parties just spend in an unregulated way was something they were quite concerned about. They wanted to have greater transparency on where the money was coming from and who was spending this money.
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View Tony Clement Profile
Ind. (ON)
Thank you, Chair. It's great to be back.
Congratulations, Madam Kelly, on your appointment.
I just want to go over a bit of familiar ground.
You have acknowledged that under section 6 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, you serve under the direction of the minister on all matters related to the service. Is that correct?
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View Tony Clement Profile
Ind. (ON)
Is it safe to say that ministers historically, and this minister, certainly has the power to issue directives to the commissioner regarding conditions of confinement?
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Fraser Macaulay
View Fraser Macaulay Profile
Fraser Macaulay
2018-09-27 16:12
Expand
I'm just going to try to get through some of the—
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Fraser Macaulay
View Fraser Macaulay Profile
Fraser Macaulay
2018-09-27 16:12
Expand
Okay. Well, he has general direction, but not on case-specific incidents.
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View Tony Clement Profile
Ind. (ON)
Okay. That's good to know, because historically I can think of various ministers, such as Minister Day, who issued a directive regarding first degree murderers spending a certain amount of time in maximum security, or Minister Toews, who issued a directive banning the practice of prison pizza parties. However, you would say that is not specific but general.
Could a minister, if he so desires, have a say on the transfer of child killers to a minimum security facility when they are nowhere near the parole eligibility date? Is that something that a minister could do?
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Fraser Macaulay
View Fraser Macaulay Profile
Fraser Macaulay
2018-09-27 16:13
Expand
Again, it's going to be tested through the courts, so you're asking me to then do the next step of what the courts would view that as.
There are mechanisms in place...I mean, you're well aware. You're part of the parliamentary workings from which laws and so on get formulated. The present laws don't have those conditions within them.
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View Tony Clement Profile
Ind. (ON)
However, it is true, based on some of the other examples I gave, that a direction crafted and issued by a minister could carve out, let's say, a child killer in the system, and say that those people in the system have to be in a maximum security situation and confinement for a period of time. Is that not correct?
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Fraser Macaulay
View Fraser Macaulay Profile
Fraser Macaulay
2018-09-27 16:14
Expand
Well, I'm going to repeat again that it would be tested through the courts. We've done similar things, and we've had issues, even challenges of individuals. We base our assessments on individual case management assessments.
Laws are one thing. For principles and policies, there are processes in place that get tested all time.
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View Tony Clement Profile
Ind. (ON)
Absolutely.
Do you recall Minister Day issuing a directive requiring first degree murderers to spend a certain amount of time in maximum security?
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Fraser Macaulay
View Fraser Macaulay Profile
Fraser Macaulay
2018-09-27 16:14
Expand
Sorry; I've only been in the organization 10 years, and that was prior to my arrival if that is the case.
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View Tony Clement Profile
Ind. (ON)
No worry. Stockwell Day is getting a bit old now.
However, the point is that you can issue a directive on a specific class of individuals within the system and require them to be in maximum security for a period of time. That's the point I'm making.
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Fraser Macaulay
View Fraser Macaulay Profile
Fraser Macaulay
2018-09-27 16:15
Expand
The issue there is you're now interfering with their liberties, and as soon as you're interfering with their liberties, then it becomes a test in the courts, and there are laws around those things. It's a different thing—
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View Tony Clement Profile
Ind. (ON)
Right: interfering with liberties is the whole idea of prison. I just want to make that point clear—
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Fraser Macaulay
View Fraser Macaulay Profile
Fraser Macaulay
2018-09-27 16:15
Expand
Yes, but the courts have been very clear that there—
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View Tony Clement Profile
Ind. (ON)
Thank you, Chair.
Could I just go back to something that you affirmed, which was that you believed that the minister could not issue a specific directive on a specific person, right?
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View Tony Clement Profile
Ind. (ON)
In 2001, I actually was a member of the Ontario legislature—a cabinet minister, in fact, in the Harris government—and I recall in that year that there was a prisoner who was being transferred. He was a murderer of a police officer, I believe in Sudbury, being transferred to a facility in British Columbia that earned the nickname Club Fed.
I believe at the time that Premier Harris was up in arms, as was most of Ontario society, that this cop-killer was going to a minimum security facility on Vancouver Island. There was a unanimous decision of the Ontario legislature to condemn that, and I recall that the minister, Lawrence MacAulay, who serves in the cabinet now, actually reversed the decision to send that individual to minimum security and made sure that he was held in a higher security prison.
Do you recall that at all? Would that be considered a precedent that is analogous to the current situation, sir?
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Fraser Macaulay
View Fraser Macaulay Profile
Fraser Macaulay
2018-09-27 16:17
Expand
It would be previous to my time in the service. However, in many decisions that took place in the 1980s and 1990s and even as recently as 2000, the courts continue, as you are well aware, with jurisprudence and other things where limitations come into play, and they make court decisions that restrict—
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View Tony Clement Profile
Ind. (ON)
Is there any evidence that the minister has received that advice, sir?
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View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you.
Thank you all for being here with us today on this really important issue.
Robin, I will start with you.
One of the things we've heard very clearly across this study is that jurisdiction is just a continuous issue. You talked about medicare and how it would be good to see the provincial—if I'm saying it wrong, tell me—government more accountable to the federal government for the medical care that is needed on reserve. You talked about people actually being denied and sent back to the reserve with nothing, and you guys don't have the power. Could you talk a little bit more about that? Also, you said that you have data that backs up some of these claims. Could you talk about that?
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