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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-18 11:43
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Thank you, folks.
It's nice to sit in at a fisheries committee for a meeting. I think it's fair to say that the conservation measures implemented as long ago as 15 years have been successful in the lobster fishery, if not almost too successful from a fisherman's point of view, in terms of pricing at the moment.
I’m probably the only one around this committee who remembers the escape mechanisms, nicknamed the Mifflin spawn scraper due to the opposition to Fisheries Minister Mifflin’s putting in those escape mechanisms. Fishermen were strongly opposed at the time, but now they think they're one of the best things ever invented.
Adam, to your comments on whether there is a crisis, I would say there certainly is at the fishermen's level. I met with a fisherman on Saturday, an established fisherman who owes absolutely no money on his boat’s gear. He said he was able to pay the fuel and pay his labour bill, but he doesn't expect to have money left over for his own labour—there's still a week left—or if he had debt, to pay it.
One of his colleagues is a young guy who paid $340,000 for a fishing boat last year. I can tell you that when the banker comes calling, asking that young fisherman…there's a very big crisis. So I want to establish that there is a crisis, and a very serious one, on the water.
Isn't the real problem this year one of too many lobsters and not enough processing capacity, and a lack of market?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-18 11:46
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But, Nadia, the situation this year is this. When a crisis was evident from the beginning, we have seen the federal government, instead of decreasing costs to fishermen, downloading costs to them—including gear tag charges, lack of observers. There is an endless downloading of costs by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, by the Government of Canada, through budget cuts and everything else. These are additional costs to fishermen when they can least afford them.
You heard me talk about this 15 years ago. Why is the federal government not trying to establish some safety nets in the fishery as we have for farmers, such as AgriStability and AgriInvest? In the good years, you set money aside in some programs that are shared with government to help you in a financial crisis.
You know that in the natural resource sector you're going to have boom and bust, supply and demand, so how come, after all this time, there is no safety net program to protect the income of fishermen and their families when you have a crisis such as this? Now we're against the wall, and some people are likely going to go broke.
The second area I think the federal government has a responsibility in is not just Canadian lobster, but it's also Maine. Are there any discussions taking place with the Americans on the cross-border issue of how we feed the market rather than dump into the market?
Is there anything happening in those areas?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-18 12:14
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I want to come back to the situation in oversupply and how it relates to or involves Maine as well. Are there any cross-border discussions happening to look at how to manage supply?
I'm a little worried by some of the things you have said. They kind of lead me to believe that you may be leaning towards a quota system.
I think in your own words, Kevin, you indicated that there hasn't been a precipitous decline in lobsters that you know of, and that has been with the effort fishery. I know there's a tendency towards DFO management by DFO management, because it would make it easier for them if there was a quota system, but the effort fishery has worked well in lobsters. It's one of the most healthy fish stocks out there. So the effort fishery has worked out.
Our problem isn't conservation at the moment. Our problem is oversupply. To go to a quota system is not necessarily going to solve that problem.
Have any discussions taken place on the cross-border issues—because we can't do it alone in Canada, I'll admit that—to look at somehow managing supply to feed the market?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-18 12:15
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That's for sure.
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-18 12:17
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I know it's likely well known around this table, Mr. Chair, that carapace size increase is a little bit of a sensitive issue for fishermen where I come from. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are a little bit more prone to increasing carapace size than we are, because we do have a canner market, which is the smaller lobsters.
From a federal government perspective, have any discussions been held or is anything taking place in terms of looking at further processing capacity, further marketing, into Asia or Japan?
I'm on the trade committee, and I know we've been looking at some of those issues. There's certainly an opportunity in China. There have been trade delegations go to China to promote sales of seafood, but the market certainly hasn't opened up to the extent of taking the surpluses yet.
What's happening there from Fisheries and Oceans Canada's perspective?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-18 12:19
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I don't want to interrupt you, Nadia, but then you can tell them, based on this meeting, that we think they should get off their butt and do a little more marketing, and get it done.
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-13 16:02
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Kenney, I am replacing Mr. Stéphane Dion. I am going to quote a few of his comments that have appeared in the newspapers and I would invite you to respond.
First of all, I need to give you a little bit of background.
The new Roadmap indicates that your department intends to refocus its official languages activities in order to take the modernization of the immigration system into account. Here is a comment made by Mr. Dion on this issue:
There is always the danger that the Roadmap be used as a showcase enabling the Conservative government to hide its program cutbacks. We see an example of this with the use of part of its plan to finance another government objective, an objective other than the one to promote the vitality of our official language minority communities.
Do you have a response to this issue?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-13 16:03
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It is a big challenge. I started learning French immediately after the election.
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-13 16:06
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I want to focus in on the concern that this $120 million and the change in emphasis is going to result in teaching the official language of the majority to economic immigrants.
Mr. Minister, you know that this subject was raised at this committee by the Commissioner of Official Languages. He expressed concern that the road map had gone through a change of name, from being a road map for linguistic duality to being a road map for official languages. He shared Mr. Dion's concern that this is exactly what would happen. His concern was that this fund for official language training would end up being spent on something other than the promotion of linguistic duality.
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-13 16:09
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If, as you say, we're being realistic and this isn't necessarily about linguistic duality, is the funding really aimed at majority language training as opposed to minority language training?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-13 17:08
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
After hearing some of the questions from my colleagues from the NDP, I'm very, very tempted to ask you about the closure of the CIC office in Charlottetown, and to explain to you how devastating it has been. I do hope that at some point I will be able to get you to listen to me on that.
Today, I have an obligation to carry out my marching orders issued by Mr. Dion.
Minister, you don't need me to tell you that under the Official Languages Act and under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, your department has certain positive obligations with respect to official language minority communities.
Now we have a road map. The title has changed from emphasizing linguistic duality to different wording. We know that the financial commitment under the old road map and the new road map has gone up really only because of this $120-million fund, which you admitted today is demand-based, and will likely very well be used for purposes other than promoting the languages of the minority.
I guess my question for you is, do you not see that this is not only not fulfilling the role you are statutorily obliged to fulfill, but it is actually taking away from it, given the change in emphasis and the fact that the funding that is in there now, based on your frank admission, is likely to be used to teach people the language of the majority?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-13 17:12
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You candidly indicated in the first round of questions, though, that you fully expect that people who go to Calgary are going to be looking to learn English—
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-13 17:12
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—and this $120 million is there to help them learn English.
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View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
2013-06-13 12:39
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Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I appreciate you recognizing me.
Welcome, Minister Ramsay, and your backup team.
First of all, the fair price for your fur impressed me. I'm pleased to hear that, I want to tell you.
That's a traditional industry that I would expect is doing quite well. Am I correct?
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View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
2013-06-13 12:39
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Now that's great.
You also indicated that the fish are returning to Yellowknife Bay and Great Slave Lake. About 40 years ago, you had an excellent fishery there and it was overfished.
What is the major reason for the decline in stocks there? Was it overfishing? Was it environmental issues? What happened? Was it just overfishing or was it not handled properly?
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View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
2013-06-13 12:41
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Thank you very much.
I also expect that you'd be very strong, just looking at what happened over the years, on a very intensive environmental review before mining operations were put in place. Am I correct?
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View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
2013-06-13 12:41
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We hope not.
You mentioned the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. How is that viewed in your community? Does it have good rapport? What's the situation with this marketing corporation?
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View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
2013-06-13 12:43
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That's a good political answer. I appreciate it.
I'd like to ask you a couple of things first. My time is short.
I'd like you to speak first on your rapport with the first nations.
Another thing that interests me a lot, not knowing a lot about your area, is that you talk about fishing lodges and outdoor experiences. To me, it would be a great marketing tool for your area. You told me, if I understood correctly, that it has declined somewhat.
I would wonder why. Is it because of the promotion? You would think that people worldwide, for the likes of an experience that you can provide, like Mr. Sopuck had when he was up there, would pay a lot of money just to experience what you take for granted.
Thank you.
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View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
2013-06-13 12:46
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Well, I would believe you could too.
I'd also like you to.... It's interesting, of course, in that there are certain invasive species....
But before you answer that, on the first nations, what's the rapport?
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View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
2013-06-13 12:47
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I want to thank you very much. I hope we see you soon. You have a very interesting area.
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View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Lawrence MacAulay Profile
2013-06-11 11:05
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Yes, Mr. Chair.
I want to present my motion on the lobster fishery, that, due to the current crisis—
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-10 18:51
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Carmody, at the outset you gave us some sense of the size of the department and the budget. I want to make sure that I heard you correctly.
You have about 320,000 clients, is that right?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-10 18:52
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And a budget of about $12 billion?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-10 18:52
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Interesting. You have 50% more clients than we do, but your budget is 3.5 times ours. The cost to run your department is about the same, so good for you. It's quite an interesting comparison.
At our last session we heard from some officials from the United Kingdom. There was a stark difference in their disability award, so I'll talk to you about that for a moment. There's quite a debate raging in this country over a decision that was taken with the agreement of all parties some time ago to introduce the new Veterans Charter and to replace a pension system with a lump-sum payment as a disability award for a certain class of veterans.
Do you have something like that in your country, or are disability awards in the form of a pension as opposed to a lump sum?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-10 18:54
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Is there a legislated maximum lump sum?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-10 18:55
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That's interesting. In this country it's $300,000 and in Britain it's $900,000.
All governments in recent years have gone through some austerity measures, and we also had quite a debate in this country as to whether the Department of Veterans Affairs' budget should be included or exempted from the austerity measures. Did you have a similar debate, and how did you resolve it?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-10 18:55
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Would that include closing offices?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-06 9:03
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Mr. Rutter, I want to start with a bit of a broader question. I noticed that your department's Service Personnel & Veterans Agency is actually part of the Ministry of Defence, which is unique among the countries we're studying because Australia, United States, and Canada each have a stand-alone department. I am also aware there was a bit of a merger done back in 2007 that gave rise to the structure that you have.
Can you offer any comment on the benefits or the challenges to being a part of the Ministry of Defence as opposed to being a stand-alone department?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-06 9:05
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In this country one of the biggest issues we hear about from veterans' groups is this whole idea of a lump-sum payment versus an ongoing pension allowance. I notice that in your country the lump-sum payment was doubled from £285,000 to £570,000—about $900,000 Canadian—back in 2008. Can you tell us the reason for the original lump sum? What was the rationale for it, and what was the discussion and debate around the increase?
Why was it at the level it was and why was it increased?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-06 9:07
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Still on the subject of compensation, I know that you had a 2010 review of your compensation scheme. There has been a suggestion that promotions in service be factored into the amount of compensation that a veteran receives, such that, if they start from a certain level and you assume that over the course of their military career they would have been promoted but for their injury, that assumption is factored into their compensation. I know that was one of the recommendations.
Can you tell me whether it has been implemented?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-06 9:07
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Not at all; you explained up front that you have a particular specialty. There are just some areas that I need to learn about in order to better do the comparison.
Let me try one final one, if I may.
Your ministry, your department, serves about 900,000 veterans, if my research is correct. Your total budget is just under $20 billion. That would be about six times the budget in Canada and for four times the number of clients. Can you break down the most expensive elements of that $19 billion of spending on the program?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-06 9:09
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My numbers came from the SPVA corporate plans for 2009 to 2012. The figures I have are 900,000 clients, 190,000 of whom are war pensioners.
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-05 16:11
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Jim and Rick, for coming in.
You answered previously that you had both signed confidentiality agreements, so the government is in at least some phase of negotiations. Have you seen any text of any agreement?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-05 16:12
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From our perspective at least, getting a report, whether it's from the chief negotiator or whoever, is crucial. It's their opinion. One of our great concerns with the government is the amount of secrecy around the negotiations. It's important that people see the text so they can offer advice and criticism in areas where the government can manoeuvre. It has happened in the past that texts were available to people involved in SAGITs, and so on. I think this is a major area of concern for the government as we go down this road.
In terms of Japan versus the TPP, if you look at all of the rest of the countries and compare them to Japan, do you have any idea of the percentage of trade you do with the total mix of countries versus what you do with Japan? I'm raising the point because I really sincerely feel that the government is not doing a great job on trade. They're signing agreements for the sake of signing agreements. They haven't established priorities. In my view, certainly Japan should be a priority, and that's where the emphasis should go. Yes, we need to be part of the TPP, but I think we'll be a long way down the road before that happens.
In terms of a comparison, how important is Japan versus the rest of the countries put together?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-05 16:16
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I don't disagree with you at all in that regard. Whether it's a low-level presence or the maximum residue level tolerance, those are extremely important areas, especially for an industry like canola and some of the other GM crops that are coming to the fore.
Are there any countries we have an agreement with that can be used as a model for low-level presence or maximum residue level tolerances? Does Australia or any others have agreements where we do not on the non-tariff barriers? I think increasingly non-tariffs are becoming more important than tariffs. Do we have any models to follow?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-05 16:17
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You mentioned Triffid flax. We don't want any more examples like that.
Charles McMillan, who used to be a policy adviser in Brian Mulroney's government, was here and is big on the Japan discussions and their importance. In fact, he has worked on this for years. When he was here he said—and I agree with him—that there are other areas of trade that we need to look at. The government seems to feel that you sign a trade agreement and that's it. But we're not doing that well in creating jobs in Canada and adding value here.
What other areas do we need to be looking at, whether it's transportation or whatever, that would enhance our ability to take advantage of trade agreements when we sign them?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-05 16:44
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But obviously not P.E.I., though.
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-05 17:03
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, folks.
At the risk of having another rant or sermon from the member opposite, I think you mentioned, Mr. Phillips, that it's not a question of being for or against an agreement. I'd agree with you, but one of the difficulties we do have with this government.... I think the real idea is this. How do we get the best deal to make a trade agreement work for Canada?
I maintain and stand by the fact that we're not doing well under trade. Of the last 61 months, 41 have shown trade deficits. Now, even with a trade deficit, you're still in the value chain and make some gains within Canada. Mr. Clark mentioned the $100 million in pork exports to Korea, where we had a market. In total, when you add in beef, it's a billion-dollar market lost, and the Americans are bragging about taking over our market.
I don't think we're doing well under the trade agreements, and I agree with Mr. Clark that we would do worse if we didn't have them. However, any time you open up a discussion to say there are some problems here, the government takes it as criticism.
Do either of you have any suggestions as to how we can do better under the current trade agreements than what we're doing? What do we need to do to make trade agreements work for Canada? Those questions are for both of you.
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-05 17:07
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It's a good idea.
Voices: Oh, oh!
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-05 17:07
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You did say in the beginning that you've seen the real value of this as being a bridge to Asia, and that this is very important. I happened to be at a trade session put on by the school of economics at the University of Calgary, which was here in Ottawa the other day. One of the things that came up there was in terms of the timeframes we're working with. I think there's a real concern that if we do not sign trade agreements within the next 10 years—it seems like a long timeframe, but it's not—that the driving force in future trade agreements would be China, and they would be different kinds of agreements from what we might want to accept. What's your view on that? It's not really related to TPP, but I know you're involved in that area.
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-05 17:09
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Are you saying that some of the bilateral agreements will eventually lead to a kind of a multilateral agreement?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-05 17:09
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That's what was said the other day, and that's an interesting concept. That would be a good thing.
You raised some really serious points, I think, on the United States—the exclusion of the states, the cagey game they have on access—and you raised your concerns about the automotive industry. Could you expand on that? I do think that's a real issue for us. We lock in everything on our side. The Americans have really a double standard.
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-05 18:17
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Triano-Antidormi, I came in just as you were starting your testimony. It was very compelling. I want to say first to you, thank you very much for telling your story, and thanks for having the courage to do it in such a public way.
In furtherance of your story, my question directly relates to the woman who murdered Zachary. Has she responded to treatment? Where is she now, 16 years later?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-05 18:18
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Thank you.
Mr. Summerville and Ms. Latimer, I apologize in advance if my questions were already covered in your testimony because, as I indicated, I just came in when Dr. Triano-Antidormi started to speak.
Mr. Summerville, have you or any member of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada been consulted by the government on this legislation?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-05 18:18
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On Monday, the minister appeared before this committee. I had the chance to question him about the lack of consultation with mental health groups. In his answer, he basically said that he had consulted extensively with provincial attorneys general and that health care, and mental health in particular, are within the purview of provincial governments.
In your view, is that sufficient?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-05 18:20
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Thank you, Mr. Summerville.
Ms. Latimer, I'd be interested in your views on this topic as well. I did hear you say that the John Howard Society of Canada had not been consulted. Now that you know the minister's response to a question regarding consultation was essentially to reference the involvement of provincial governments, how do you react to that?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-03 15:54
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Minister, several weeks ago there was an alliance of mental health groups who stated their opposition to this bill and complained that not one single mental health organization was consulted during the creation of Bill C-54.
My question, sir, is why not?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-03 15:56
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Do I understand you to say that the responsibility to consult with mental health groups is one that rests with provincial attorneys general and not with the Government of Canada, which is bringing the bill forward?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-03 15:58
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Along that same line, Mr. Minister, you are aware that shortly after Bill C-54 was tabled in the House, my colleague, Mr. Cotler, brought forward an order paper question asking you about the treatment capacity in institutions where not criminally responsible individuals would be held. The government's answer to virtually every single aspect of his question was that only the provinces would have access to this information.
But a couple of the questions he asked, I would suggest to you, Mr. Minister, you should be able to answer. First, what steps are your government taking to ensure adequate capacity? Also, what analysis has your government performed of any potential need for increased capacity? I don't see why that type of information would be solely within the domain of the provinces.
So my question for you, Mr. Minister, is this. What, if any, analysis has the government performed to determine whether Bill C-54 will result in a need for increased capacity in treatment facilities?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-03 16:47
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We tried in writing, and we tried with the minister. I'm going to try again. I think it's a simple question that just requires a yes or no answer. Has the government done any analysis to determine what the impact will be of the bill on the capacity of mental health care facilities? Yes or no.
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-03 16:49
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So if any has been done, it doesn't fall within your bailiwick, within your job description.
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-03 16:49
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Do you know whether any provincial jurisdiction has done any analysis into the impact that these changes will have on the adequacy of the capacity in those institutions?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-03 16:49
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So if we don't know of any analysis that has been done at the federal or the provincial level, can you tell me how much time the provinces are going to have to prepare for these unknown changes and challenges to capacity?
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View Sean Casey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Casey Profile
2013-06-03 16:50
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I'm going to step away from the issues of capacity in health care institutions and talk to you a little about constitutionality.
I'd like your comments on constitutional concerns in two respects. One, as my initial question suggests, if these changes result in an overburdening of mental health care facilities with more patients than they're equipped to accommodate, what are the constitutional concerns there? Two, are there any constitutional concerns with respect to continuing to detain an individual with a mental illness after that person has been found by experts not to pose a significant public safety risk?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-03 16:00
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
And thank you, folks, for your presentations.
No, Ed, I'm not going to take the bait. The fact is that under this government, we do have—
Voices: Oh, oh!
Hon. Wayne Easter: —a fairly substantial trade deficit, and for some reason, people do not want to look at the real reasons behind that merchandise trade deficit. Those are the things we should be looking at. We support trade, but we need to find ways to ensure that we're gaining value in Canada.
Mr. Geist, you're not the first one who's come before this committee on this whole “lack of transparency” business. I submit that you are absolutely correct. This is not just a negotiation on trade in commodities and on tariffs. It's a much broader agreement that can have implications for—you named copyright, intellectual property—a whole range of other areas. In fact, previous governments did provide texts to groups that held that information confidential. So those groups could actually see the text and comment on it, and were not just given a briefing on it, which might either have been accurate or just somebody's opinion. Previous governments did have a much more.... It wasn't open to the public, no, but it was open to a cross-section of representatives of the public, who could actually deal with it. That's not happening any more, and I think that's a problem.
How would you suggest going about ensuring that transparency, in terms of a good cross-section of the public, and still maintaining confidentiality, which we have to do?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-03 16:03
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We're not sure on this one where the provinces are at, whether they're at the table or not. I don't know if they're provided with copies of the text either. But in terms of the industry groups that are given access at the moment, do you have any information on how broad or how narrow that might be?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-03 16:05
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From our the last meeting on May 27, I just tried to get the exact quote from Richard Doyle, who was with the Dairy Farmers of Canada.
He said basically the same thing, that they don't have a copy of text, and it's a problem. From my point of view, if you're advising the government and you don't have the text, then the consultations are a farce because you're dealing with somebody's interpretation of what they saw in the text. Other people might see different things.
To the Forest Products Association, where are you in these open discussions? Do you think they should be broadly based? Albeit they shouldn't be public, but if the government is using an advisory group, shouldn't civil society be represented in those discussions as well, because we're not dealing just with forest products: lumber and trees. We are dealing with international property, copyright, etc.
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-03 16:07
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But you weren't entitled to the text either.
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2013-06-03 17:04
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm sorry I missed your presentations. They were the ones I really wanted to hear, especially Charlie being a fellow islander. I don't know if he's a resident there or not; we have some who are not. In any event, you both know how this place operates, so I had to go over and give the government a little praise for their current budget implementation bill.
Both of you had fairly extensive involvement in previous agreements on the inside, and one of the things that we're hearing a lot about at this committee is the extreme secrecy surrounding TPP. In some previous negotiations, committees, a broad section of Canadian society, did actually see the texts. We're under confidentiality, and that's understandable, but I think in the past it did provide the public and organizations with some confidence that they were getting firsthand knowledge of what was happening in the negotiations and that they could sincerely critique or praise that relevant sections of the agreement.
In this one there's no such thing. There are briefings but there's no text. How do you see getting around that and how important is it to be at least relatively open? You have to protect confidentiality and I think we all understand that, but how do you see getting around that?
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