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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 15:32
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I'm good to go.
As a very quick reassurance, Mr. Taylor, the minister and the head of CMHC have both rejected the idea and communicated that to your organization. The line of questioning we just heard, while interesting, is not applicable to any policy decision the government is going to make.
Mr. Taylor, we've communicated that we're not pursuing that idea under any circumstance. That's been communicated to you.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 15:33
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Thanks very much.
Ms. McGee, I have a couple of questions on Reaching Home.
We have been asked by some of the opposition parties to end Reaching Home and to send the dollars straight to provincial capitals and not to front-line services, particularly in B.C., by the member for Vancouver East, Ms. Kwan. What would the impact of that be on some of the prairie provinces—Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta—where support for homeless services, in particular harm reduction, has been very slow to meet the front-line needs of a COVID response?
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 15:35
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In terms of the $19-billion restart fund that we just delivered to the provinces and territories, how much of that have you received so far?
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 15:35
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That's out of the restart program that we just recently shipped to.... It's federal money that's being distributed by the province to your organization.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 15:36
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That's the risk of funding the provinces and asking them to do federal work. Sometimes the provinces have different priorities, and therefore the money wouldn't get to the front lines. And it hasn't.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 15:36
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In terms of the acquisition of assets to support distancing people, quarantining people and providing health services, how many sites has your organization helped secure during COVID to provide more stable housing for individuals who are in precarious situations?
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 15:37
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I have one last quick question. In terms of the CERB or basic income delivered by the federal government, and in terms of housing supports for individuals, do the supports work better when the assets are owned? That would drive down the cost of delivering those programs. Would you recommend that we support the acquisition of sites as we build out supportive housing networks across the country to deal with both COVID and homelessness going forward?
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 15:38
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To be clear here, basic income works, but it works better when there's affordable housing attached to it. In other words, if there's a system to tie it to, then basic income goes further, works harder and provides more support for people.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm going to move over to Ms. McGee.
Ms. McGee, we know that in 2016 and 2018, point-in-time counts were done, and looking at those gives us an idea of what homelessness looks like. In 2020, of course, it's been postponed.
What kind of impact will that have on data collection, and what will we be able to do so that we have that coordinated response that you speak of?
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. That's great to know.
When you're looking at first-time homelessness, I know that for many people who are unfortunately finding themselves without a home, it is for the first time and it is due to the pandemic. What does that look like, and are there any factors we should be looking at? Are there financial needs because of the pandemic, or is it something to do with a variety of addictions and other things that are occurring? What would you say is one of the biggest causes during this pandemic for increased first-time homelessness for people?
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. I'm going to switch over very quickly to Paul Taylor.
Right now, what are you seeing on the trends when it comes to the first-time homebuyers getting into the market during this pandemic?
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View Kate Young Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kate Young Profile
2020-08-17 15:59
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Thank you very much, Chair, and I apologize for that. I actually lost connection for a good 10 minutes, so I apologize if I'm repeating anything that's already been asked.
Ms. McGee, you mentioned that you have established new partnerships because of COVID-19. You mentioned hotels, and here in London our city has been using a hotel. I wonder about the sustainability of that model. As you said, something is going to have to give. What will happen to those 600 people in Edmonton who are being housed in hotels right now?
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View Kate Young Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kate Young Profile
2020-08-17 16:01
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Thank you.
Indigenous homelessness has been an issue that we've grappled with in London, and I was pleased to support a motion by MP Gazan to actually study indigenous homelessness. It's been put on hold because of COVID, but of course the problem is that much worse. I just wonder if you could comment on how COVID has changed the dynamics, if at all, for indigenous homelessness.
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View Kate Young Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kate Young Profile
2020-08-17 16:03
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I also want to pick up on something that MP Vaughan was talking about, which was money flowing from the province and maybe some of the concerns there. Certainly in some provinces, they're not getting the funds necessary within the right time frame.
Is building new housing the answer to this? Is that really the bottom line of what we need to do?
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View Kate Young Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kate Young Profile
2020-08-17 16:04
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Thank you very much.
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View Irek Kusmierczyk Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I just want to say what an excellent conversation we're having here this afternoon and to thank my colleagues for the excellent questions and the panellists for the excellent responses.
My question is directed to Ms. McGee and Madame Corriveau. I'm not sure if Ms. McGee is available.
Vancouver recently did its annual homeless count and for the first time they used race-based data, which revealed and confirmed that people who identified as black and as indigenous were disproportionately represented among the homeless population. Statistics Canada recently released its labour force survey, again using disaggregated race-based data for the first time, and it revealed that COVID-19 is hitting hard Canadians who identify, for example, as south Asian, Arabic, black and indigenous.
How important is the gathering of disaggregated race-based data when it comes to housing and homelessness, and why is that important?
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View Irek Kusmierczyk Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
I would ask Madame Corriveau for her opinion on this too.
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View Irek Kusmierczyk Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Chair.
Thank you very much for your answers. That gives us a lot of food for thought and is much appreciated.
We know that through the Reaching Home initiative there is an indigenous homelessness funding stream. I just want to ask both of you again to comment on the following: Compared with the general population, do indigenous people experience homelessness and face additional or different vulnerabilities when it comes to COVID-19?
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
I'm going to turn to Mr. Taylor, but first of all, I would really like to thank Ms. Corriveau and Ms. McGee for talking about the continuum as we're looking at it. When I look at housing, I look at the whole thing and the impact in terms of that simple physics measure that whenever there is one action, you're going to get the opposite reaction as well. I look at that, and when we're talking about housing and homelessness, we also have to look at the other end.
However, my major concern right now is in the middle of this continuum. From some statistics I was looking at from the CREA, the Canadian Real Estate Association, one of the greatest concerns I have right now is about supply. Right now, housing inventory is at a 16-year low, and in my community it's at about 1.1 months of inventory, when we should be having averages of between five and eight months of inventory. This is just way out. The average cost of a house in Canada right now is $571,500. We know that it's gone up. Of course, there were going to be people wanting to get into the market, so we were expecting a bit of a boom, with sales going up by 26% in the month of July. I'm really concerned about the impact and I'm just going to tell you a little story about my own community.
Though I know that people who live in Toronto love having Mr. Vaughan there, they like to move to my community where they get a more affordable house, a variety of different things, especially with COVID. We have backyards, we have so many great things, but we're seeing the price of housing going up. Just recently a house that was on sale for $289,000 went over the asking price by $83,000. That's almost a 33% increase. That's what we're seeing in my community, especially for first-time homebuyers, for the people tyring to get into the housing market.
What do you think the federal government needs to do, or what are some of things we should be aware of as we're moving forward, knowing that we have low inventory and that first-time homebuyers are being pushed out of the market because we're seeing such high prices right now? Knowing the financial turbulence facing many people right now, how are they going to be able to get a mortgage?
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Go for it.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Adding to that, we're just hearing that the cost of softwood lumber is going to go up by about 30%. The cost here in our community, as one of the hardware store owners just explained to me, is going to increase by 30%. If we're trying to build a house and one of the main things it needs is framing and there's a a 30% increase in the cost of creating this house, what are some of the factors we should also look at, and what can we do to help there?
Obviously, that's probably for a trade negotiation that just hasn't been happening, but what can we do there?
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you so much.
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 16:50
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Thanks very much.
Madame Corriveau, would you agree that if the federal government puts new dollars on the table for provinces, the provinces should not be allowed to cut provincial spending limits on housing? As we put money in the front door for the housing system, the Quebec government should be required not to take money out the back door so that it becomes a wash. Would you agree that's a reasonable request by the federal government?
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 16:51
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Exactly, and in terms of new rent supplement programs, for example, the Canada housing benefit, which aims to subsidize rents for the very individuals you talked about, if the federal government has a program that requires cost-matching dollars from the provinces, should the provinces have to match the new program or should they be allowed to say that we're already doing that and, therefore, we don't have to add any of our new dollars?
Should provinces be brought into a stronger housing system with the federal authority, as long as it's provincially designed and delivered? Would you agree with that?
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 16:53
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Right. For example, would it be a reasonable request by the federal government that it should be spent on rent supplements and should be new money?
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 16:53
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—if we're expending federal dollars on capital programs, is it reasonable, based on your assessment of people with disabilities, to ask for new housing to meet minimum standards around accessibility? For example, the national housing strategy requires all new builds to be 20% accessible. Is that a reasonable social goal that a province could sign onto?
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 16:54
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You do know that someone without disabilities can live in accessible housing. It doesn't require a person with disabilities to live there, but if it's purpose-built from the start, it's there in the future to be used. It's reasonable to set social parameters around social spending, especially when it's addressing people's charter rights. Wouldn't you agree?
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View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2020-08-17 16:56
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You've been very clear—
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
My hand is up, Mr. Chair.
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
If I could, I would like to introduce a minor amendment to this motion that, after the word “between”, we insert “representatives of the Tibetan people (His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives and/or the Central Tibetan Administration) and the government of the People's Republic of China”.
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
I'll read it from the beginning. The amended motion would read:
That this committee call for dialogue between representatives of the Tibetan people (His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives and/or the Central Tibetan Administration) and the government of the People's Republic of China with a view to enabling Tibet to exercise genuine autonomy within the framework of the Chinese constitution, and report this motion to the House.
Essentially all we're doing is clarifying that it's not just the Central Tibetan Administration, and that we would want dialogue with representatives of the Tibetan people, which could be His Holiness the Dalai Lama, his representatives or the Central Tibetan Administration. We just wanted to broaden it a bit in terms of who we were saying we would want to have representation and dialogue from with the Government of the People's Republic of China.
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
No, it would be after “the Central Tibetan Administration”. The brackets are around “His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives and/or the Central Tibetan Administration”, essentially offering permutations and combinations of three elements—His Holiness the Dalai Lama, his representatives or the Central Tibetan Administration—who would be representing the Tibetan people.
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
I apologize but I don't know the answer to that. I think Central Tibetan Administration or Tibetan Central Administration....
Garnett?
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
The Central Tibetan Administration is correct.
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View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2020-08-17 10:44
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Thank you, Chair.
We're speaking simply to Ms. Alleslev's suggested amendment and not on the main terms of Mr. Genuis's motion. Is that correct?
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View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2020-08-17 10:44
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On Ms. Alleslev's amendment, happily I'd say that I had noted something very similar to the fact that it would be useful to expand the terms of the original text proposed by Mr. Genuis to include something along the lines of “and/or envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama”. “Envoys” is usually used as a term of art but the term “representatives” works just fine.
I do think it's important that we expand it out. I am in agreement with what Ms. Alleslev has suggested in terms of her recommended changes. The reason, for the benefit of Mr. Harris and others, that I think it is important to zoom out a little bit here—pardon the pun, since we're on Zoom—and to broaden it is that historically this dialogue actually occurred with envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama between 2002 and 2005. It came to an abrupt end once the Central Tibetan Administration became a known entity with political power. If we restrict it to just dialogue between the CTA and the People's Republic of China, it might be very simple for that overture to be rejected. If we broaden it, that would allow for more options and permutations, which would be beneficial for the overall objective, which is that this dialogue needs to restart.
I would be in favour of having a broader approach, including the language that Ms. Alleslev mentioned.
Thank you.
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-08-17 10:45
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'll echo that.
To Jack's specific point, I actually think this makes it less specific and makes it a bit broader. It opens up more options and is a little less prescriptive, so it gives a broader range of dialogue partners. It honours the fact that we want that dialogue to happen and we don't want it to be limited by our prescribing which partner it should be.
I am in favour of the amendment.
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View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2020-08-17 10:53
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Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I'll keep it brief.
In terms of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue, just for the committee's benefit, this was something that was active and ongoing between 2002 and 2005. Four meetings took place, three in the People's Republic of China and one in Switzerland. It came to an abrupt end shortly thereafter. Since it came to an end, Canada has taken the public position that the dialogue should be resumed. I think resuming it is critical.
It's critical for the rights of Tibetans, who struggle for linguistic, cultural and religious freedom. It's also critical for clarifying misunderstandings about what the Tibetan cause is all about and for clarifying what the middle-way approach seeks to do, which is not a call for rebellion or separatism but a call for autonomy on those bases—religious, cultural and linguistic autonomy—within the construct and the confines of the Chinese constitution. It's simply seeking to fulfill the rights that are already guaranteed under that Chinese constitution. It has been aptly described and articulated by an academic named Michael Van Walt Van Praag, to whom I would commend people.
I've heard the appeals for the resumption of this dialogue from my constituents and from people around the country and from the diaspora literally around the planet. It's critical that we resume it. That is why I and my party will be supporting this motion.
I will say that I think the timing is a bit awkward, in terms of doing it right in the middle of the meeting when we do have other motions to consider, such as Mr. Harris's proper motion about hearing from others on the Tibetan cause, but I will speak to that when the time arrives. I will be casting my vote in favour of this motion, as amended, rightfully, by Ms. Alleslev, because broadening it out is a critical step forward.
Thank you. Thuk-je-che.
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
My apologies, Mr. Chair, but I didn't have my hand up this time.
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-08-17 10:57
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I am just going to say that, yes, I support the motion as amended. I think it's important. However, I am looking for a general nodding of heads and an agreement in a gentle person's way that this does not preclude us from continuing study on Tibet. We've heard from only one witness on Tibet. I don't think that's appropriate. I would much sooner, as Mr. Bergeron has said, wait until we've heard from other witnesses. I know Mr. Harris will be bringing something, but I just want to trust that we have an agreement within the committee that this doesn't mean we're done with Tibet and that we will continue. Otherwise, I couldn't vote for this motion.
We've been put in kind of an awkward situation, as Mr. Bergeron said, that we of course want to support this motion, but someone could, at a subcommittee, say, “We've done Tibet, so now let's just move on.” I think we need to consider civil society, Canadians of Tibetan origin, officials and all of those things. For a full report on Canada-China, we need those.
I just need to see heads shaking for “yes”. I'm getting it from Leona. When we're in a room, we can kind of read body language. I'm seeing it from Garnett. Are we okay with that?
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-08-17 10:58
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Okay.
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-08-17 11:01
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Mr. Chair, I am predisposed to support the motion. However, Mr. Genuis's argument actually makes me more nervous about supporting it. He said he wants to do this because the ground could “shift” by the time we actually get to our major report, which means we could have an irrelevant report. I would need a clarification from him on why he thinks it would be better to have a report now, which I had been totally willing to support until he raised that argument counter to having a report now, because I don't want to look like an irrelevant parliamentarian who is making a report for the sake of making a report. That's not why I got elected to Parliament. I got elected to make a difference on public policy issues. If the ground is shifting, why wouldn't we want to make sure that we are going to do it? I'm still predisposed to support the motion, but that argument worries me.
Second, this would really fall under a point of order, Mr. Chair, as opposed to a point of debate. On a point of order, I would like you to rule on how long we will be in this portion of the meeting before we come to an end in order to hear from the witnesses who have been invited. The clerk mentioned 15 minutes, but I didn't hear from you. I think it would be fair for committee members, for our own preparation, as well as for invited witnesses to know when we will end this debate. We might have a reached a vote by then or not, but I think it would be fair for us to know that.
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to echo Mr. Garnett Genuis and perhaps provide some clarification based on my understanding of what he said.
We were thinking that the landscape here at home, as a result of the minority government, might change at any time. We on this committee don't want our work to be lost and not have the opportunity to put it forward for the government to consider, as they or all parties might, if by some chance we found ourselves in an election.
There's no question that committees are incredibly important. We know that this China committee is very important, which is why we brought it back and are doing this incredible study in such an intense and compressed time frame. We believe that what we are learning is of value, and that Canadian citizens want to understand what we have learned. Part of the responsibility we as parliamentarians have is to provide that information in a report that informs and advises not only the government but also the Canadian public.
I would hate for us to just do a study for the sake of a study and not be able to provide that very important feedback in terms of a report that can be used by government and the Canadian public at large on such an important topic. That is why I think there is a sense of urgency, and that is why I think there is substantive value in providing a timely and comprehensive report on this subject so that we don't miss all this great work that we've done over the last few weeks.
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-08-17 11:09
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I'm sorry. I forget to lower my hand, but I agree with Mr. Genuis on that point.
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View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2020-08-17 11:14
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This is apropos to what Mr. Harris just mentioned and to what Mr. Oliphant said 10 minutes ago. I'm not trying to complicate matters, but we could have some language inserted that allows for the possibility of including other people, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Michael van Walt, the academic I mentioned in the earlier part of the meeting. There are a number of people who have expertise in this area. We could have some wiggle room in the language of the current text, so that it's not just one briefing from GAC officials. The potential for further guests or witnesses to speak to it would be welcome.
I'm not picky as to what the wordsmithing looks like, but I would like to allow for that in the text of this motion.
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-08-17 11:15
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I will just add that the agreement we had earlier around other witnesses was what we would take to the subcommittee. We'll hear this, but we'll also look at this debate and be reminded that we were requested to look at Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch or academics or Canadian Tibetans. I think we're in agreement on that.
I'm noticing nodding or nodding off. It looks okay.
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View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the witnesses.
I want to begin with Professor Medeiros. Professor, I only have six minutes, as you know.
Can you spend a couple of minutes on the following? It's a question not directly relating to Hong Kong, but it's important because I think Canada's foreign policy choices, even with respect to Hong Kong, will be shaped by the evolution of the U.S.-China relationship.
Recently you gave an interview to NPR in which you said the following about U.S.-China relations: “[The two countries have] gone through some very difficult times in 1989 after the Tiananmen massacre, but it looks like we're increasingly on a trajectory to a long-term strategic competition.”
Where do you see the U.S.-China relationship going? As I said, I think it shapes Canada's foreign policy choices indirectly, even with respect to Hong Kong.
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View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
I have another question for you, and then I'll turn the same question over to Professor Ong, if I may.
We do hear about the need for multilateral approaches to be taken here. I think that's quite warranted. It's one thing to say that, though; I think the more important questions are these: What should a coalition of like-minded countries actually focus on? What areas, what specific actions, are most likely to have an impact on the Chinese regime's actions? What are they most likely to listen to? What particular tools can this coalition look to put in place?
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View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
Professor Ong, I did say that I wanted to ask you that question, but Professor Medeiros put his finger on something that he'd mentioned in his introduction, so I want to take it in a different direction, if I could.
We heard today at this committee, and we've heard in previous meetings, about the need for Canada to look to policies that would have our country continue to provide refuge to individuals fleeing persecution, in this case, Hong Kong. What are your thoughts on that approach? Perhaps you can expand on that, looking specifically at Hong Kong and the issues that a number of political activists continue to face there. Is this an effective way for Canada to exert some impact on the Hong Kong issue and to help Hong Kongers who are facing great difficulty?
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View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to all the witnesses. As each of you has pointed out, our ability to take appropriate action in terms of our own foreign policy and as members of the multinational community is entirely dependent on the accuracy of the information we have with which to understand the situation and chart a path forward.
Toward that end, Mr. Cheung, you made some very important points around the threats to Canadian businesses operating in China, as well as the threats to Canadian citizens here on Canadian soil, from various forms of influence and coercion from the People's Republic of China. As parliamentarians, it's our responsibility to provide some information and advice and a course of action. We need to perhaps put in place legislation that would mitigate or at least protect in some regard Canadians on Canadian soil from the influence of the People's Republic of China and to protect to some extent those Canadian businesses operating in China.
Could you provide us with some recommendations, some specifics, on what type of legislation and what actions Canada could take to achieve those two very important goals?
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
Could you cite any examples of those types of threats that you're aware of that have occurred for Canadian businesses in China? Would you have any idea of whether the situation is escalating or is pretty much the same?
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
You also mentioned how important it is for us to have accurate information and that there are all kinds of pressures against those who would provide us with that accurate information to not do so, because of the threats and consequences that they may face.
How do we know and what can we do to ensure that we are getting the right information accurately and in a timely fashion, so that we can make appropriate and informed decisions?
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
Are you suggesting an integrated, whole-of-government approach, not only with a point person but with co-ordination among all of the departments, so that we understand all the fronts that information is coming in from and all the pressures from all corners?
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View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
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View Jean Yip Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Jean Yip Profile
2020-08-17 12:33
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This question is directed to Professor Ong.
We have heard from you that the Hong Kong stock market is the best way to raise capital. Also, four out of 10 companies are planning to leave their headquarters and go elsewhere.
How dependent is China on Hong Kong as a financial hub?
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View Jean Yip Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Jean Yip Profile
2020-08-17 12:35
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How can Canada help the Canadian businesses there?
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View Jean Yip Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Jean Yip Profile
2020-08-17 12:36
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Is there any way that the international financial community could bring some further pressure to bear?
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View Jean Yip Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Jean Yip Profile
2020-08-17 12:37
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That sounds hopeful.
My next question is directed to Professor Medeiros.
If you were asked to predict how U.S.-China relations might change under Trump's administration to possibly Joe Biden's come November, what would you say, and how will Canada benefit?
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-08-17 13:25
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Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Before I follow up on Mr. Williamson's questions, which I thought were really very fine questions, there are just a couple of quick things.
Ms. Hom, I would appreciate something in writing from you with respect to some of your legal analysis: the translation issues, etc. If you would be willing to do that, the committee could really benefit from your legal mind on this. It's something a bit different; we've had some generic comments on the law, but you were getting specific and we don't have time here to do that. I want to make that request through the chair.
Mr. Chatigny, again, I would like to plumb the depths of your immigration knowledge. If you have some specific immigration suggestions for us, vis-à-vis this new context with Hong Kong, I think we'd very much appreciate your expertise at the committee. If you're willing to give us anything in writing, even a letter, of some of your key points on immigration, that could be helpful for us.
Following up on Mr. Williamson's very good questions, the other half of the goose with the golden eggs was that we are challenged to find a way that strongly condemns the actions of Beijing on Hong Kong. We have to find a way to do that with impact, yet we've heard before today that the impact obviously needs to be targeted and can't hurt the people of Hong Kong. Professor Ong, this morning, suggested that if in fact we went too far on that, we could actually ruin Hong Kong's advantages for Beijing to want to keep it successful.
I would like your comments on that, Ms. Hom, and maybe Mr. Kaeding's as well, if we could do that.
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-08-17 13:29
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I'm just going to cut you off there. Thank you.
Mr. Kaeding, you can comment on that as well if you like. I have a good answer, but I have another question for you as well. If you could be short, do you have any comments on that one?
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-08-17 13:29
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Based on what evidence?
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-08-17 13:30
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Sure. Thank you.
The main question I have for you is this: How homogenous is the movement in Hong Kong that you have talked about as localism? When I have looked at the world, in any kind of movement around anything there are usually people with different goals, but they coalesce around a movement to get their different goals. How homogenous is the Hong Kong movement, and what are the divisions?
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-08-17 13:31
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Very good.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 14:28
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Madam Chair, I would ask if we could maybe quickly deal with this through unanimous consent. I have a small amendment but I think we could get this motion passed.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 14:28
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I think though that you can ask for unanimous consent to deal with the motion, and if we're granted that, then we can proceed quickly to that. I could be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that was the case for procedure unless it's different this time.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 14:30
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We can't request a vote for that? This is time-sensitive and I'm kind of perplexed as to why we would show inflexibility, especially given the circumstances we have and what's presented to Canadians. I just hope, perhaps, we can rethink that. I would be willing to give up some of my time to deal with it. It's that critical.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 14:30
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Thank you, Madam Chair.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 14:48
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Thank you, Madam Chair.
With regard to the start of the meeting, I want it to be clear that the NDP supports this excellent motion that was presented for us to consider in future business. I want to make a small amendment. Just so people know where we're coming from, I will let you know that we would add third party sellers on the Amazon marketplace, or those formally on it, and consumer organizations. Being from Windsor, I watch the United States very carefully. U.S. lawmakers have been going after a number of issues related to Amazon. I'm simply tired of Canada being treated as a colony by some of these organizations. This is an opportunity that we should take. I'm sorry we missed it this time, but I'm looking forward to that.
With that, Madam Chair, I will turn to our excellent witness panel here.
Mr. Ratto, you gave a great example of the production of real goods and services from the university that get to our streets. I thought that was excellent. Where I'm from, the University of Windsor has been doing that in a variety of ways, everything from the automotive sector to a whole series of science and health products and so forth that were, before COVID-19, a part of our culture here.
I do want you to maybe mention or at least highlight some of the patent barriers you might have and some of the intellectual property barriers you might have. This committee has studied some of those in the past. Perhaps you can shine a light on how those things can be altered, especially during emergencies, or how they can be refined for more open research to help these types of initiatives, which you should be, and I'm sure you are, quite proud of.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 14:52
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Yes. It's a missed opportunity, in many respects.
Mr. Landon, I'd like to get you in on the conversation for an important issue, I think. You mentioned that there are quarantine capabilities available by universities for foreign students coming in. I think it's important for you to articulate the plan in place in case people get sick. Here in Windsor, the government allowed migrant workers to come in, with a plan that was altered, allowing a three-year-old business plan to be submitted. They didn't do on-site inspection. It shut us down to stage two for a long period of time and it caused the death of three workers. Many more are actually in hotels right now, held up because they got sick in Canada, not coming into Canada. They were healthy when they got here. Now they're sick.
What can you say about that situation? That's a really significant problem. It's not just the humanitarian aspect with regard to the deaths of individuals; there are also consequences for the entire economy, as we were left out of moving through the different stages.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 14:54
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Do you have everything, from translation to education services for the different cultures coming in? Do they have personal insurance for health care? Also, are there communications with the services in case they do get sick, so they aren't overwhelmed?
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 14:54
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Thank you, Madam Chair.
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View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2020-08-14 15:00
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Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, again, to the witnesses for being here today.
Mr. Dreeshen covered a few of my questions, but I want to go back to Mr. Landon, maybe with a little bit of a different ask on the question.
I met with the CSA group from the University of Guelph this past week and listened to their concerns as students returning in the fall. We had undergrad as well as grad students. There's much in common, but there are some real differences between undergrad and grad students, especially where grad students have family or they have to find housing and they have challenges around some of the costs in terms of having their family with them as they go through their education. They talked about tuition costs—there's no change in the cost of tuition, even though there's a change in the delivery of material—and challenges with communicating with supervisors and professors. Looking at rural students, as Mr. Dreeshen mentioned, there is poor connectivity, socio-economic status—not everybody can afford the electronics to study—and limited access to mandatory and paid-for student resources. They don't have access to the library, but they're still paying for library resources.
Has Universities Canada been working with student groups? Do you have a working group that's looking at the impacts from a student's point of view, how COVID has impacted their lives and how universities are working to provide them with opportunities going forward?
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View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2020-08-14 15:03
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Great. Thank you.
My next question is for Université du Québec à Montréal.
As was just mentioned by Mr. Landon, looking at the cost of running the university, we have support staff, cleaning staff, the professors themselves, the researchers, unionized in different sectors. Most of them are funded through the provincial funding models. How can the federal government support universities in terms of the wages and the cost of operation from the wages of the staff?
I'm directing it to Quebec, but if Mr. Landon or anybody else wants to chime in, that would be helpful as well.
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View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2020-08-14 15:05
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Thank you. That helps to get the complexity into our report. I appreciate that.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
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View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2020-08-14 15:11
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Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you to all our witnesses.
I'm going to question each one of the witnesses on a different aspect of international students. I do understand there's been accommodation made for the new applicants to be able to participate online. However, I'm getting a lot of feedback and our office is getting a lot of feedback from the existing international students who reside in Canada and who are engaged in master's, doctoral and post-doctoral studies, and some of them in their first four years.
What we are hearing is that they are having problems sourcing finances from their homeland. Therefore, they are having a lot of issues being able to find accommodations to live and being able to pay for their books, food and also their education. What is happening is that now they're under a lot of stress to be able to, first and foremost, pay for their education, and they put that first. They're making compromises in other aspects of their lives, such as having four, five or six people now living in a single room, sharing some books or just not being able to do their studies.
My question for each of the witnesses is this: How can the universities help these international students, and how can the federal government partner with universities to help these international students get through this?
I've also collected some information, some suggestions from them, which I will gladly share.
If I may, I'll start with Mr. Landon from Universities Canada. Can you share your thoughts with us on how we can manage this challenge?
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View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2020-08-14 15:14
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Let's go to Dr. McCauley.
How can your university help, and how can the federal government help?
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View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2020-08-14 15:15
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Let's go quickly to the Université du Québec. There were some recommendations made that I'd like to share and put on the record.
Monsieur Martel.
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View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2020-08-14 15:16
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Thank you.
I have about 10 seconds to go.
Can the universities kindly consider using some of their excess capacity as it relates to their residences, which are empty right now, to help these students, as well as consider providing an extension to the international students over one or two terms as it relates to their tuition, with the commitment that they will pay? Their families are also suffering as a result of COVID-19.
I thank you, Madam Chair, for your consideration.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 15:19
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Thank you, Madam Chair.
I want to continue, if I could, with Mr. Landon, to get an overall sense of where universities are with regard to critical needs for infrastructure and a green economy. The other thing, too, is housing. Is there an inventory list? With perhaps not as many students returning....
My daughter is actually at NSCAD, and she's staying there because she doesn't want to fly back and so on, a series of other decisions, just to be safer there. I know that some of her classmates are staying. Some will be coming back, but they will be fewer.
Is there any opportunity here? For example, maybe older residences and other living accommodations that may not have a high standard could be enhanced—greenhouse gas emissions reductions or safer living quarters designed for future challenges like this one. Obviously, we could have this extended further, or we could have a similar scenario evolve that we don't expect.
Is there an opportunity here, with a reduced population, to perhaps seize that and do some bold, innovative improvements for our universities, on campus or just around campus with facilities?
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 15:22
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Thank you.
I know, Madam Chair.
I just got yellow-carded and I don't want to get red-carded, so thank you.
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View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes, if this works.... My connection might cut out.
The one amendment I would like to see is to replace the language of “contact tracing” with “exposure notification”, because it isn't in fact a contact-tracing app; it's an exposure notification app. So, I would move that we replace the words “contact tracing” with “exposure notification”, just to be clear and precise.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 15:24
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Could you read it one more time?
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View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
“Exposure notification”.
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View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thanks, Madam Chair.
First, I just wanted to note, in light of today's news, that I think it's interesting that the Competition Bureau is investigating, because in June 2019 our international committee on big data and privacy, joined by parliamentarians from other countries, had Amazon attend before us and we put questions to them. I remember Raj Saini asked probably the most pointed questions on the competition issues of Amazon at the time. It's interesting that the Competition Bureau has undertaken it. I think it's a useful thing for this committee to look at, and maybe to look broadly at strengthening our competition laws along the way, in light of recent meetings.
My first question is in relation to IP strategy.
On May 24, Natalie Raffoul and Jim Hinton wrote in the Globe, “Canadians picking up the tab for foreign companies' research is a familiar and systemic problem, especially for strategically valuable technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence.” One example they noted was this: “Public funding via Dalhousie University experts has contributed a slew of patented inventions that are the basis for Tesla's new 'million-mile' battery.” They point to what they call a “unique disease”: “the propensity for Canadian taxpayers to fund and create ideas that other countries commercialize.”
I'm interested in Mr. Landon's view on this. I know much of this work is ultimately provincial, and the provincial government in Ontario has taken some steps recently, but I wonder if you would have any view on the federal steps that could be taken on this subject matter.
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View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
In light of those comments, where there are different strategies within different universities—and obviously you've referenced the U.K.—I would maybe put this to each one of you, starting with Mr. Martel, and then Mr. McCauley and Mr. Landon: Within Canada, what would you identify as a best practice that you would like to see federal and provincial governments work together on to make the best practice and standard?
Internationally, could you identify a best practice for us to look at as well?
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View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
Does anyone else have anything to add?
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View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2020-08-14 15:42
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Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Thank you very much to all the esteemed witnesses we've had the opportunity to hear from today.
I'll start with Professor Ratto with the University of Toronto. Professor Ratto, I want to pick up where MP Lambropoulos had actually started asking you a question. You talked at length about how innovation takes place in settings that can be atypical or other mechanisms. Given your passion for seeing collaboration between universities and communities, what would you say would be the implications for universities making sure they can be capable of harnessing closer collaboration with their surrounding communities?
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View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2020-08-14 15:44
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Thank you.
Is there any university that sticks out, in your opinion, in terms of doing a good job of benchmarking these things and encouraging its faculty and students to do so?
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View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2020-08-14 15:45
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Thank you very much for that.
Now, I'll turn to another issue, Mr. Landon, if I could. We've been hearing that there's a huge spike in the number of domestic students who intend to actually defer for this academic year. Do you have any sense as to what those numbers are and what the impact would be on Canadian universities?
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View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2020-08-14 15:47
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I open it to other witnesses.
Dr. McCauley, what has been the experience at your university? To the extent that there are students deferring, what would be the impact on the bottom line of your university?
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View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2020-08-14 15:48
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Thank you.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 15:51
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Thank you, Madam Chair.
I don't want to ignore the other witnesses, but I will pick just one for now. Mr. Martel was speaking, so I'll go to him next. If we have any time left, I'd invite Ms. Fusaro and Mr. McCauley to quickly jump in as well.
I'm wondering what your personal opinion is in terms of the quality of education when we get through this, and how the private and public sectors will view a degree during COVID-19, since most stuff is going online. I'm just curious to know whether you've thought about that.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 15:52
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I don't know if there's time left, but Ms. Fusaro—
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2020-08-14 15:53
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Thank you.
Ms. Fusaro, you have time for a quick answer.
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View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Welcome to the meeting of the study on systemic racism. We have two witnesses: Chief Nishan Duraiappah, and Chief Larkin from Waterloo. Each of you have seven minutes to present.
I'm going to ask Chief Duraiappah to make his presentation first. Then we'll go to Chief Larkin.
Go ahead, please, sir.
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View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Chief Duraiappah.
With that, we'll go to Chief Larkin, for seven minutes, please.
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View John McKay Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
That completes our two seven-minute presentations. For the six-minute round of questions, we start off with Mr. Paul-Hus, then Madame Khera, Madame Michaud and Mr. Harris.
You have six minutes, Mr. Paul-Hus.
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