Committee
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 60 of 746
Kim Moody
View Kim Moody Profile
Kim Moody
2020-12-07 20:07
Expand
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good evening, committee members.
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the 2021 federal budget priorities. My name is Kim Moody. I'm a chartered professional accountant and the CEO and director of Canadian Tax Advisory services for Moody's Tax Law and Moody's Private Client.
I have a long history of serving the Canadian tax professionals in a variety of leadership positions, including chair of the Canadian Tax Foundation, co-chair of the joint committee on taxation of the Canadian Bar Association and CPA Canada and chair of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners for Canada to name a few.
Given the limited time we have tonight, I'm going to keep my opening remarks shorter than usual.
March 19, 2019, does that date mean anything to anyone? Well, it should. That was 629 days ago, and that was the last time the federal government released a budget. We are quickly approaching the Canadian record for that kind of delay of 651 days.
As former parliamentary budget officer, Kevin Page, said in October this year that “are fiscal plans. And to say that, 'because there's too much uncertainty, we're going to manage without a plan', is kind of bizarre.... The reason we have plans is because there is uncertainty.” I absolutely agree.
In this day and age of uncertainty, a fiscal budget and plan is needed, and the recent November 30, 2020, fall economic statement is not that plan.
As esteemed economist, Dr. Jack Mintz, who recently appeared before your committee, stated in the National Post on December 3, 2020, “I was hoping our new minister of finance, once a fine journalist, might produce a fall fiscal statement written clearly and to the point. Instead, we are treated to 237 pages of repetitive back-slapping and cliché-laden phrases that few will bother to read.”
I agree. As Kevin Page stated in a CBC news article on December 6, yesterday, after the release of the fall economic statement, “We don't really have a good view—almost no view—of the government spending today. We have estimates of what the government thinks it will spend for 2020, 2021, but those are not the actual monies that are going out the door”.
Accordingly, it is critical for our country's fiscal future to develop a well- thought-out budget and to do it quickly and thoughtfully. Pre-budget consultations are famous for organizations and individuals who provide their views on how the Government of Canada should spend and/or raise their money. There's no shortage of funding requests, and today is no different.
With the above in mind, I believe there are two key broad objectives that the government should set their focus on. Number one is targeted short-term spending to continue to assist business owners, job creators, so they can continue to employ Canadians. Jobs, jobs, jobs should be of primary importance in the short-term. Number two is to engage in comprehensive tax review and reform.
With respect to the jobs priority, it's important to remember that government does not create jobs or wealth. That distinction is left mainly to the private sector; however, government can certainly provide a fertile garden to encourage job growth. How can it do that in the short-term? The continuation of the wage subsidy and rental subsidy will certainly help, but non-budgetary matters, pre-approved resource projects and accelerating permitting time for construction projects would greatly assist the acceleration of employment.
Collapse
View Dane Lloyd Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
In our last meeting last week, it was indicated that the bulk of technology spending in the Government of Canada is done by Shared Services Canada, which has a budget of about $2.2 billion.
An Order Paper question submitted by my colleague, Ziad Aboultaif, asked for a summary of all technology spending by the Government of Canada in 2018 and 2019. The response from the government was that $6.8 billion was spent on technology that year.
I have two questions. Why is so much technology spending happening outside of Shared Services Canada? Do you, Minister, have oversight over this additional digital spending across the federal government?
Collapse
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Digital government is about supporting the other ministries in being effective in serving Canadians through the IT and digital tools they have. Through the chief information officer branch, we have policies like the policy on service and digital, and policies on security and other matters that provide guidance to public servants in all of the ministries.
Collapse
View Dane Lloyd Profile
CPC (AB)
Minister, do you have oversight over the estimated $4 billion that's being spent on technology in other departments?
Collapse
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
No. That's not my role to have oversight over all of that spending, though probably SSC and CIOB have a very good handle on the spending in the other ministries as well.
We're the central agency that provides guidance and support through the chief information officer branch, connecting with the CIOs and their teams in all the departments.
Collapse
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
View Julie Vignola Profile
2020-11-30 19:57
Expand
We're now talking about vaccines from abroad, but also from Quebec. I believe that a Calgary or a Vancouver company also received grants in April. We therefore have what it takes in Canada to lend a hand.
I'd like to discuss another matter.
In your statement, you said that eight organizations were asking for over $500 million each. For the Treasury Board Secretariat, it was $646.6 million. This amount includes $20 million for the initiative to upgrade applications. Approximately the same amount has been requested for negotiated wage settlements. Once again, nearly that amount is allocated to the stabilization of the Phoenix pay system.
Why were these expenditures not foreseeable enough to include in the main estimates, thus requiring us to put them in the supplementary estimates now?
The stabilization of the Phoenix pay system is certainly nothing new. As for the negotiated wage settlements, they should have been expected because they were negotiated.
Collapse
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-11-30 19:58
Expand
This can be explained by another success story. Over the past few months, we succeeded in signing solid agreements with many unions that were respectful not only the public service, but to the capacity of Canadians to pay for government services. This, in large part, explains why these items are appearing now.
I will now ask Ms. Hassan or Ms. Cahill To give you further details, since you want to be well informed.
Collapse
Karen Cahill
View Karen Cahill Profile
Karen Cahill
2020-11-30 19:59
Expand
I can answer this question, Minister.
I'd like to thank the MP for her question.
In short, it's a question of dates. When the main estimates were being prepared, these items had not yet been approved. The collective agreements had been neither signed nor negotiated. So the reasons are simply the result of timing. That's why they are in the supplementary estimates (B) 2020-2021.
Collapse
View Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Profile
BQ (QC)
Apparently, 70% of cases elude us, which means that the system only works in 30% of cases. If I make an analogy with the school, that 30% isn't even a passing grade.
In addition, in order to improve these processes, there has been major investment to manage, among other things, enforceable removal orders. We are investing more money, but the number of removals has remained virtually unchanged in recent years, even for priority cases.
We invest more money to be more efficient, but we're handling almost the same number of cases. How can we explain this?
Collapse
Karen Hogan
View Karen Hogan Profile
Karen Hogan
2020-11-24 11:46
Expand
The purpose of our audit was to examine the cases included in the inventory. The question of what the agency did with the surplus money should be asked directly to the agency.
Collapse
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
View Raquel Dancho Profile
2020-11-24 11:53
Expand
I just want to talk a bit about the cost to taxpayers of the recent influx over the last couple of years. We know that in 2017, 2018 and 2019, 169,000 people illegally or, as others have said—the federal government in particular—irregularly crossed the border into Canada, most of which claimed asylum, for most of which we found their asylum claims were not valid and many of which we now cannot find to remove.
My understanding is that the agency in 2018-19 spent $34 million on this removal program. The year following, the federal government more than doubled that, adding $36 million for a total of $70 million for our removal program. Further, the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship committed in 2019 $1.18 billion over a five-year period to increase the capacity of Canada's asylum system to process 50,000 asylum claims per year.
For the deputy minister of immigration, can you confirm that this $1.18 billion does not include welfare payments like food, lodging, travel and others?
Hello?
Deputy Minister, can you confirm that this $1.1 billion does not include the welfare payments to those asylum-seeking claimants?
Collapse
Catrina Tapley
View Catrina Tapley Profile
Catrina Tapley
2020-11-24 11:54
Expand
You are correct.
Ms. Raquel Dancho: Okay. I—
Ms. Catrina Tapley: If I may, Mr. Chair, I'll just take one moment to say congratulations.
It's my first opportunity to congratulate you on you appointment as our critic. We look forward to that.
Collapse
View Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'll address Mr. Harris and Mr. Ossowski of the Canada Border Services Agency.
I can say that the Auditor General's report is quite damning for your organization. I want to focus primarily on the removal of refused immigrants. It's this alarming situation that is the main focus of the report.
In recent years, much more investment has been made in this area. I read an article from La Presse, dated July 8, 2020, written by Jim Bronskill. In that article, he says that in recent years, the government has made much more investment to improve the processing of enforceable removal orders. The Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for enforcing removal orders issued against foreign nationals who have been inadmissible to Canada.
Gentlemen, can you tell us how much money was allocated to this particular program in the last budget?
Collapse
John Ossowski
View John Ossowski Profile
John Ossowski
2020-11-24 12:05
Expand
I can give you some highlights from past years. In 2010, for a program called refugee reform, the agency received $95 million for five years and $19 million ongoing.
There was another injection of funds in 2016 for the Mexican visa lift program. That's when we stopped requiring visas for Mexican travellers coming into Canada. That was $20 million for five years and $5 million ongoing.
Budget 2018 received $7.45 million for one year and nothing ongoing.
In budget 2019 the agency received $77 million for three years.
When you look at those numbers, it's important to understand that a lot of that was for us to deal with what we call the “border management” side of things. This was to process people, either through immigration levels or volumes of asylum claimants we were seeing, and it wasn't focused specifically on removals.
As we recognize this process, removals tend to be at the later edges of those things. Typically when somebody starts a process—maybe three years later if everything works well in the appeal processes and due process is afforded to people—we would be in a position to remove somebody.
Collapse
View Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Profile
BQ (QC)
Great, Mr. Ossowski. Thank you for this clarification.
Can you clarify some information? According to the figures I have for the fiscal year 2018-19, $34 million is dedicated to the removal of foreign nationals program.
I would like a written response from the department.
Collapse
View Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I am going to continue talking about the removal program.
I am talking to the witnesses from the Canada Border Services Agency.
I have been doing some research of my own, still using Report 1 from the Office of the Auditor General, which is about removing immigrants who were refused entry. Paragraph 1.2 reads:
In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the agency spent about $34 million on its removal program.
We are talking about $34 million for a program that works 30% of the time.
More specifically, of the 50,000 people who are subject to enforceable removal orders and who have exhausted or waived all legal recourses to stay in Canada, two thirds, about 34,700, according to the report, are in the wanted inventory, and 2,800 of those were individuals with criminality.
Does the Canada Border Services Agency find that acceptable?
Collapse
John Ossowski
View John Ossowski Profile
John Ossowski
2020-11-24 12:35
Expand
We've accepted the Auditor General's findings. We have an action plan to move forward on this. I am convinced and I am committed, along with my partners in other departments, to improve this situation. We will achieve better results.
Collapse
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Minister, can you prepare an oral accounting of the amount that was spent last year? We're now eight months since the end of the fiscal year. Can you table that with our committee?
When your government tabled the main estimates in February, it sought a dollar for the debates commission. In June, in the supplementary estimates, nothing more was sought. Then in September you asked for $5.4 million for the debates commission.
There has been a minority government throughout this time, so what has changed?
Collapse
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2020-11-17 11:19
Expand
Sure, I can take a crack at that.
Todd, I will ask the assistant secretary to the cabinet, Allen Sutherland, about this. He probably has some of the detailed information you're looking for now. Obviously, if it's not adequate, we'd be happy to ensure that we provide to the committee, in writing, detailed information around that spending. Obviously we can do that, but Mr. Sutherland, I think, can offer some precision.
Mr. Sutherland will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the reason there was a placeholder of one dollar was simply that cabinet had not, by order in council, reconstituted the commission, as cabinet did some weeks ago. Therefore, the commission, now having been formally stood up again, is in a position to have a spending authority appropriate to what was done last time. But before the government had decided to recreate the commission.... I point out that the recreated commission would reflect the suggestions Commissioner Johnston made in his report of the 2019 election. We wanted to ensure that the recreated commission would track as much as possible the thoughtful suggestions that Commissioner Johnston had made to improve it.
Perhaps Assistant Secretary Sutherland can provide some of the detailed financial answers that Mr. Doherty is looking for.
Collapse
Allen Sutherland
View Allen Sutherland Profile
Allen Sutherland
2020-11-17 11:20
Expand
Sure. I think the minister has it right. The one dollar is simply an accounting placeholder. It's fair to call it that. In the opening months of the fiscal year, the commission was not in place and was therefore not incurring any expenses.
Collapse
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-11-17 11:27
Expand
Good morning, Mr. LeBlanc, Mr. Sutherland and Ms. Paquet. I'm very pleased to hear from you today.
I need some help in understanding what's going on with expenditures. Mr. LeBlanc, I'm confident you're here to help us.
In the last election, it cost $4.6 million to produce the leaders' debates.
Is that correct?
Collapse
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2020-11-17 11:28
Expand
Yes, Madam Chair. According to the figures I have, that's the amount the commission needed in 2019, and that's the same amount we're proposing now.
Collapse
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-11-17 11:28
Expand
Okay.
You said that funds in the amount of $800,000 were not spent.
Is that right?
Collapse
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2020-11-17 11:28
Expand
As I understand it, the remaining $800,000 of the 2019 allocation has been transferred to this fiscal year for the commission's preparatory work. I want to give you specific answers, and Mr. Sutherland can correct me if I'm wrong.
Collapse
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-11-17 11:28
Expand
Right.
If I do a simple calculation, it cost $4.6 million, plus the $800,000 that wasn't spent, for a total of $5.4 million.
Is that correct?
Collapse
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2020-11-17 11:29
Expand
Yes, assuming that for the fiscal year of the next election, the commission will require $4.6 million. The full amount may not have been required, as almost $1 million remained.
Collapse
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-11-17 11:29
Expand
Okay. If there was $800,000 left over, that means the costs were less than expected.
Now, you're budgeting $5.4 million to produce the leaders' debates. That's an increase in the cost of producing the debates. You're telling us that the $800,000 will be used to organize the next debates, among other things. That's what I've understood.
Collapse
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2020-11-17 11:29
Expand
That's it. As I said in response to a question from Ms. Petitpas, the context for the preparation of the debates will be a little different from the last time since the election date is unknown. I think that's a matter for Mr. Johnston.
Mr. Therrien, you probably know Michel Cormier, who was director general of the commission. He had a career as a journalist. He's an Acadian from New Brunswick, which warms my heart. He ended his journalism career as news director at Radio-Canada in Montreal. He worked with Commissioner Johnston, and I hope he will continue to help him in his work.
We will be able to provide you with very specific answers in writing, if that's better for you, and Mr. Sutherland will also be able to comment.
Collapse
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-11-17 11:30
Expand
All right. I'm having a hard time understanding what the $800,000 will be used for. If this amount has been carried forward, it means that the expenses were less than what was planned. Now you're presenting us with expenditures increased to $5.4 million instead of $4.6 million. I'm wondering what this money will be used for.
You said that there are costs associated with the fact that we would be in a pandemic situation if there was an election coming up. I have already thought that this would also increase costs. I can understand that installing Plexiglas and all the necessary equipment because of COVID may cost a few dollars more, but I don't think such a large cushion is necessary. I think the additional expense of holding debates in times of pandemic would be very small.
Collapse
View Corey Tochor Profile
CPC (SK)
This is my time, Minister.
Let's go back to the cost. You're of the belief that $4.6 million of taxpayers' money is better spent on holding a debate that could be held privately rather than on health care during a pandemic. I just want to be clear on that.
Collapse
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
2020-11-17 11:49
Expand
I think you should acknowledge that our government is spending a great deal on health preparedness in the—
Collapse
View Bernard Généreux Profile
CPC (QC)
We will have to get used to that. Perhaps even our committee members should take the test. I think we would pass it, because honestly, we do interesting work here.
Mr. Commissioner, you talked about your financial needs earlier. I want to come back to that quickly. Have you assessed what you might need to be able to perform even more eloquently than you do now?
Collapse
Raymond Théberge
View Raymond Théberge Profile
Raymond Théberge
2020-11-13 12:25
Expand
We have not looked into that issue to date for the simple reason that we are sticking to our mandate. We have, however, begun to reflect on the impact of the increase in complaints.
As I mentioned in my opening remarks, if we spend more time on investigations, we will spend less time on monitoring, for example. Monitoring is an important part of our work. We must follow up on recommendations. There's no point making recommendations if we don't follow up on them. We are looking into that.
The other point I brought up involves studies and research. We recently published a document about official languages in emergency situations, and yesterday we released a report on section 91 and language requirements for positions. Since I took up my duties, I have noticed that we need a lot more information to better understand some of the things I believe we should look into. We are currently putting together a study on immigration for the coming year because we know very well how important immigration is.
We could establish a much larger research program to inform not only our thinking, but also the government's. A modernized Act could certainly have an impact on the operations of the Office of the Commissioner.
Collapse
View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I have a few questions for you, Mr. Commissioner.
You mentioned that your budget was already limited and that the pandemic had tripled the number of complaints you were receiving. Is your current budget preventing you from fully carrying out your mandate?
There is talk of a modernization that could lead to an expansion of your mandate. Do you have any expectations in this regard?
In light of this modernization and the discussion we've had today, I have one final question that relates to immigration. Do you track the number of immigrants who are not proficient in either official language? Is that a concern for you?
Collapse
Raymond Théberge
View Raymond Théberge Profile
Raymond Théberge
2020-11-13 12:49
Expand
I believe that if modernization continues and becomes a reality, and if the recommendations I have made in this regard are taken into account, it will certainly create new needs within our organization. That's clear. In this context, a submission to Treasury Board will have to be prepared.
To answer your second question, as far as I know, we can't follow up with immigrants who are not learning either official language. When we deliver a bilingual message, we estimate 98% of Canadians understand it. That's the number we use.
Collapse
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you very much.
I will go back to the estimates.
In your preamble, before you started answering all our questions, you talked about a total budget of $21.5 million, which includes everything: salaries, activities, and so on. Just after that, you talked about funds being divided into three, including funds for the protection of official language rights. Is that part of the total budget?
Collapse
Raymond Théberge
View Raymond Théberge Profile
Raymond Théberge
2020-11-13 12:56
Expand
It's $21.5 million for everything, including tax!
Collapse
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Okay.
You specify the three areas to which these amounts are devoted in a proportion of about one-third each: the protection of official language rights, the advancement of English and French, and internal services. You say that, for the year 2020-2021, only 75% of the budget has been obtained because of the pandemic.
Is that correct?
Collapse
Raymond Théberge
View Raymond Théberge Profile
Raymond Théberge
2020-11-13 12:57
Expand
It was until now, but we will be receiving the remaining 25%.
Collapse
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Let me ask you a hypothetical question. You are suggesting that we give more powers to administrative tribunals. Have you considered what the best possible budget could be to modernize the act in accordance with your recommendations?
Collapse
Raymond Théberge
View Raymond Théberge Profile
Raymond Théberge
2020-11-13 12:57
Expand
We have not allocated any amounts; nothing like that. It is very difficult to conceive of the needs of an organization, given the little information we have on future decisions. If I am told that my 18 recommendations will be implemented, I can work towards that. If there is a regulatory framework on active offer, if there is a regulation on Part V or a regulatory framework for Part VII, it is clear that this will add tasks, but it is too early to predict those things.
Collapse
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Okay.
I see I have about 30 seconds left.
If you had a recommendation to make for this year or on the budget that will be adopted later, what would it be? It's a hypothetical question, since we are still in a pandemic.
Collapse
Raymond Théberge
View Raymond Théberge Profile
Raymond Théberge
2020-11-13 12:58
Expand
In my opinion, we should have the opportunity to review our activities and submit any given project to Treasury Board, for example. I am not talking about funding for current programs; I am talking about funding for new programs. I think we need to think about that.
Collapse
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
BQ (QC)
It is indeed difficult to limit the discussion to the budget.
Mr. Commissioner, you say that the planned spending for the advancement of English and French for 2020-2021 is $7.1 million, 33% of the total budget. Does this amount include activities to promote the official languages? Can you give us some examples and tell us what it would mean in Quebec?
Collapse
Raymond Théberge
View Raymond Théberge Profile
Raymond Théberge
2020-11-13 13:00
Expand
In concrete terms, the regional offices do the promotion in schools and federal institutions. Staff from our Montreal office give presentations in anglophone and immersion schools. They also work with the Quebec Federal Council. They travel to various regions of Quebec, to the remote communities in the north, for example. Those sorts of promotional activities happen in every province, whether in Manitoba, Saskatchewan or anywhere else.
We are trying to reframe the promotion so that we can speak more to the majority. We used to talk about promoting linguistic duality, but now it is important to address both majorities and minorities. We often talk among ourselves, but it is important to talk to others as well.
We also have research projects, specifically on immigration and on section 91. Those sorts of promotional activities bring up issues or themes that we can shed light on or pay special attention to. In the past, we had promotional items, booths at conferences, for example, with a view to better promoting linguistic duality.
Collapse
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2020-11-04 19:42
Expand
I have a quick question. It may have been the translation, but when my colleague, Ms. Vignola, was asking about COVID spending, you seemed to state that all of the COVID spending was on the Government of Canada's website, which is the opposite of what Parliamentary Budget Officer stated, whom you say you highly esteem.
Who's right, and who's wrong, or is it just lost in translation?
Collapse
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-11-04 19:43
Expand
No. What I tried to say—and I certainly would like to be as precise as I can and should be—is that all of the financial information related to the budgetary estimates process in which you are, obviously, very involved is available on GC InfoBase with a lot more detail than we can perhaps talk about at the meeting.
Collapse
View Dane Lloyd Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay. We'll hold you to that, Minister.
Here's my next question. Given all the money that's pouring out, which is necessary for this COVID pandemic, and given that there's been a great deal of change in the way that the private sector is working in the lives of everyday Canadians, has your department undertaken any efforts to identify possible savings during this pandemic? If so, can you tell the committee about those?
Collapse
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
2020-11-04 20:04
Expand
Thank you, Mr. Lloyd. You're exactly correct in suggesting that we should focus our efforts on the pandemic. That's what we are doing.
Of course, we are also trying to be mindful that if we want to exit strongly and united out of this crisis, we also need to be acknowledging the vulnerabilities and inequality that existed before the pandemic with respect, for instance, to indigenous peoples. That requires—
Collapse
View Glen Motz Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Chair. Thank you, Minister for being here.
Minister, the Eglinton West Crips were taken down recently by a joint police investigation. They seized 31 firearms; seven kilograms of cocaine; two kilograms of fentanyl; two kilograms of meth; other drugs including heroine, oxycodone, Percocet and MDA; along with $300,000 in cash.
How many of those arrested were licensed firearms owners, and how many of the firearms were legal in Canada?
Minister, no, I'm not going to ask you to answer that because we already know the answer. You and I, as well as all Canadians, know that the answer to that question is “none”. None of those arrested were licensed firearms owners, and none of those firearms were legal in this country.
Since coming into government in the last five years, your government has spent over $4 billion more on public safety departments and agencies than in the previous five years, yet with all that extra funding, since 2015, every crime statistic tracked by Statistics Canada has increased. The crime rate is up. The crime severity index is up. Gang shootings are up. Gang homicides are up. Domestic violence is up. Drug use, drug addiction and drug overdoses are up. Police resource challenges are up. Border security concerns are up. Cybercrimes are up; and I could go on.
Canadians have lost trust in you and your party to protect them, regardless of the huge sums of taxpayer money that you continue to pour on the problems. Your plan is obviously failing, Minister.
Why is your massive spending failing to protect Canadians and reduce crime, as they expect their governments to do for them?
Collapse
View Bill Blair Profile
Lib. (ON)
One thing I would point out, because you began talking about some of the outstanding work that was done by the police in Ontario to deal with guns and gangs in their jurisdiction, is that we committed $327 million to that effort, including $65 million in the province of Ontario.
I would contrast that, Glen, with the investment that the Conservative government, in 10 years, made in dealing with gun and gang violence in Canada. In comparison to the $327 million that we invested in a robust police response to deal with those criminals and that violence, in 10 years of Conservative government, it was not a nickel: Not a single dollar was allocated to support those police efforts.
I appreciate that you don't think we should make investments in policing, but we do, and that's—
Collapse
View Tony Baldinelli Profile
CPC (ON)
View Tony Baldinelli Profile
2020-10-29 11:34
Expand
In your remarks, you had mentioned the role of Destination Canada. You had started in August—the $30-million fund—working with the provincial and territorial destination marking boards, which is great. It is a start. You were also saying that you're going to be targeting that $40 billion that had been previously spent abroad by Canadians to kind of stay home.
That's why I was kind of surprised when I was looking at the supplementary estimates (B) for 2021 and noticed that no new money was committed by the federal government to the Canadian Tourism Commission, which is now known as Destination Canada.
What is your reaction to that?
Collapse
Marsha Walden
View Marsha Walden Profile
Marsha Walden
2020-10-29 11:35
Expand
We work with the appropriations that we are provided. We make the best possible use of those in the markets where we feel there's the most opportunity.
At this time we do not have any insight into changes to our budget. We feel that we can do good work with the appropriation that we have.
Collapse
Benson Cowan
View Benson Cowan Profile
Benson Cowan
2020-07-23 12:31
Expand
Thank you for the opportunity to speak.
I'm the chief executive officer of the Legal Services Board of Nunavut, which is the territorial legal aid provider.
Nunavut's legal aid context is a little different. There are very few private lawyers in Nunavut. The Legal Services Board is by far the largest employer of lawyers in Nunavut, perhaps even in the Arctic. Certainly that's the case with respect to criminal law. Almost 100% of criminal cases pass through our staff lawyers and our contract lawyers at some point, and we probably carry more than 90% of them to conclusion.
I reside in Rankin Inlet, which is a community of about 2,500 people in the Kivalliq region in central Nunavut. I've been there since January 2019. I grew up in a series of remote first nations communities in northern Manitoba and northern Ontario. While I have a lot of experience working and living with indigenous communities, I want to be really clear that my perspective is not that of an indigenous person. I was listening in on the previous witnesses. With respect to Nunavut, President Obed and President Kotierk's evidence and perspective is, I'd submit, the lens through which these issues need to be dealt with. I can offer some technical advice, but I want to be really clear that I don't experience the systemic racism in the same way that the Inuit members of my community do.
When we talk about systemic racism, for me it's a fairly simple equation: Is there a racialized group that is experiencing a disproportionate burden or barrier? Is that ongoing and persistent? Are remedial efforts ineffective or nonexistent? I would submit that the evidence that this is the case with respect to policing in Nunavut is overwhelming.
We can start in terms of evidence. We can look at the data from StatsCan that suggest that Nunavummiut, people who reside in Nunavut outside of Iqaluit—in most communities, that's over 90%—are four times as likely to be charged with a criminal offence than other Canadians. Once charged, they're more likely to be prosecuted. Once prosecuted, they're more likely to be convicted. Once convicted, they're more likely to be sentenced to jail. They are sentenced to longer sentences, and they serve more of those sentences. I've summarized some of that data in the Legal Services Board 2018-19 annual report, if you're interested, and there are sources for it as well.
Also, when we look at the evidence of systemic racism with respect to policing in Nunavut, we can also look at the repeated instances that we hear throughout the justice system of interactions between the police and members of the community that are fraught with violence and that are otherwise problematic. I summarized almost 30 of those last June and forwarded them to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP. I met with the commissioner and asked her to consider doing a systemic review. However, those instances that I reported on are still a fraction of what we hear in the community on a regular and ongoing basis. They're present in the courts. There's a consistent process of charges being withdrawn or judicial commentary on these instances. There is a wealth of evidence that there are, on the ground, problematic interactions of a nature that, frankly, just don't exist to the same extent in other jurisdictions in the country.
Then the other piece of evidence is sort of what's missing: any systematic, public or transparent approach to the conduct in criminal investigations and proceedings in relation to this conduct. There have been a few conduct investigations and one set of criminal charges that have been laid in Nunavut against police over the past 20 years.
Generally speaking, I estimate that partly because there is very little in the way of a systematic approach to conduct investigations on the part of the RCMP senior management and partly because it's not a transparent model, we just don't see evidence of these matters being addressed.
Very quickly, I'd say that obviously it's really clear that a new model is required for policing in Nunavut. Regardless of the content of that model, I'd say that there are three elements that must be addressed for any change to be possible.
One is increased resources to front-line policing. In this age of “defund the police”, I know that's not a very popular point of view, but the conditions that rank-and-file officers are forced to deal with are unbelievably arduous and stressful, and no change is possible without more resources. Also, frankly, you're never going to attract qualified Inuit applicants to go and work in those conditions either. Without increased funding for front-line policing, no change is possible.
Second, you need increased resources for restorative justice and social services in the communities. I cannot emphasize enough the lack of alternative dispute resolution or counselling or therapeutic services in Nunavut communities. There is basically a dearth of any of the range of services that are provided in other communities in this country. As a result, all these problems are handed to the police, and they respond with the tools they have, which more often than not are tools of coercion, arrest and charging.
The third thing that has to change is there needs to be meaningful, robust, independent civilian oversight. That means independent civilian investigations on criminal and use-of-force and death allegations, independent complaint-based conduct investigations, and independent oversight at the national level of RCMP policy and strategic direction. I think it's clear that the senior management of the RCMP are unable to drive change and respond to this. The current situation, in which they're not accountable to civilian oversight in a structured way, is part of the problem.
Collapse
View Kristina Michaud Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. White.
Mr. Cowan, you also touched on the issue of funding, which is a divisive issue. Some people talk about defunding, while others talk about having more resources. How do you see that on your side?
Collapse
Results: 1 - 60 of 746 | Page: 1 of 13

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data