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Results: 1 - 15 of 150
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-05-13 15:59
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Chair, I'm not a regular member of this committee, but I have served on this committee in the past. In fact, in the 1990s I chaired the ethics committee. That was part of a basket of issues, including the whole area of the ethics counsellor, when he was a counsellor and not a commissioner, and the Lobbyists Registration Act.
I find the recent ruling of the Ethics Commissioner very troubling. I could not have imagined in the 1990s, when we, as parliamentarians of all stripes, came together to develop a series of ethical standards, that we would have ended up in the situation we are in today with the commissioner's ruling.
Mr. Hiebert, I just want to say to you that there is indeed a strong chill. As a lawyer who practises in the area of corporate and commercial law, as many of the people around this table can tell you, lawyers who bring what I consider almost Republican legal tactics into the British parliamentary tradition are really altering the fundamentals of how we should be conducting ourselves as Canadian parliamentarians. I find it very litigious and I find it disruptive of why we are, in fact, sent to Parliament.
We are encouraged to express points of view. We are leaders of our communities. And we are not like every other Canadian. Respectfully, Mr. Hiebert, I would disagree with you. We have been elected by the people of constituencies throughout Canada. And to play the wordsmith game about this word and that word, I think, is very dangerous.
I must say that I'm ashamed, as a parliamentarian, to find that other committees aren't working. I'm a full member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and I can tell you that our committee works very well. We have very serious issues before us, and we deal with those issues on a regular basis.
I'm ashamed, as a parliamentarian, to hear that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which I also chaired in the 1990s, when we shared very difficult, not dissimilar issues, is being disrupted by tactics that are not intended to advance the public's rights.
The libel chill and the chill generally that's occurring with this kind of ruling by the Ethics Commissioner is very deeply troubling to me. My four kids talked about it this weekend when I was home. We had a conversation about how crazy this kind of situation is. We end up having parliamentarians not even able to speak their minds about serious issues, whether it's tasers, drugs, or a variety of other subjects, and the ultimate consequences of where they could lead.
I'm not suggesting that we have more rights than other Canadians, but we obviously speak to our rights. We speak more frequently and in a more public way about a variety of issues. Surely we're guided by the same principles of libel. We're guided by the same principles of due process and guided by the same principles of Canadian common law. But, and I emphasize the “but”, by interfering with our rights as members of Parliament, I think the Ethics Commissioner has gone way too far.
Mr. Chairman, I don't think we can pretend that our opinions are not relevant. Our opinions, as they relate to standards and ethics and having them interfered with by the Ethics Commissioner in this fashion, I think require urgent public discussion, reporting, and change, whatever that change is, in the House of Commons.
I agree with you, Mr. Hiebert, that it's unfortunate the procedure and House affairs committee is not seized with this. Maybe it's more appropriate. But I agree and commend Mr. Martin for bringing this matter urgently to this committee, and I would support getting it reported back, as I expect would all members of the House, who should be equally ashamed of having this troubling matter before us today.
Thank you.
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-05-13 16:32
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Welcome to the committee, Mr. Paulson and Mr. O'Brian.
Does the current Privacy Act unduly limit the RCMP or CSIS from conducting its work?
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-05-13 16:34
Thank you.
What principles, in your view, should Parliament consider when deciding on how to balance the right to privacy with our security needs? Perhaps you both could comment on that.
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-05-13 16:36
Go ahead, Chief Superintendent Paulson.
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-05-13 16:37
In the vein of internationalism, and referencing some of the friendly or not so friendly states you can recall, are there other countries whose privacy laws Canada could review or should review? And what can we learn from them?
The other question I would pose, Mr. Chair, in terms of convenience for the witnesses to answer, is whether you can comment on our laws and data breaches. In other words, where may there be some deficiencies or some breaches in data that need to be strengthened?
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-05-08 11:55
No, I don't think so.
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-05-08 11:55
I'm tired of sharing my time.
Thank you, Minister, for being here. I have a couple of quick questions.
I was looking through the estimates for the Atlantic gateway, and I wasn't able to find it. Perhaps you could draw my attention to it. Or is it in your estimates? Is it just policy still?
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-05-08 11:56
Okay.
Minister, you can likely anticipate what a couple of my questions might be.
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, as you know, have a super-highway, a marine super-highway, called the Digby ferry. I was wondering whether you might today be in a position to confirm that your government would be ready to recommit money for the Digby ferry. Specifically, would you consider using the Atlantic gateway initiative for that?
That's one of my questions. If you like, I can give you three or four of them at once.
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-05-08 11:57
The other one is the Saint John Harbour Bridge, another favourite subject of ours in New Brunswick. I notice that in the estimates there are other federal bridges, and I was wondering what distinguishes the Saint John Harbour Bridge from other federal bridges.
This isn't necessarily directed at a party. As you know, sir, this is a long-standing issue for the people of New Brunswick and the federal government.
I was wondering whether you would consider, once again, forgiving the debt on the Harbour Bridge, considering that the bridge originally was built for $18 million and the debt on the bridge is now, I think, $23 million. I know that the tolls on the bridge have gone up.
There is another thing I was wondering, sir. You may be aware of the fact that southern New Brunswick is going through a major energy boom. We're expecting to have anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 to 30,000 new people moving to southern New Brunswick. I know that your government has been instrumental in working together, as past governments have, with the provincial government on a new border crossing between Calais and St. Stephen. I want to compliment the government for following through with that, but I am concerned, specifically, about rail service. I was wondering if you could indicate to us whether the government has any plans to consider passenger rail service or to assist with a private sector company being involved in passenger rail service.
My last question involves the small airport policy question. Sir, I'm sure you appreciate the fact that small airports are very important for us in Atlantic Canada. I was wondering whether you might take a minute or two to review small airport policy for us. And can you tell us how you might, as a government, reinvest in smaller communities that need funds for capital infrastructure?
Thank you.
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-05-08 11:59
We have a good chairman. He'll be very anxious to hear from you.
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-04-29 12:05
Ms. Findlay and I are going to share. We both have short questions, but I'll let her go first.
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-02-28 12:49
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-02-25 16:37
Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank you and the Standing Committee on Finance for inviting the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada to appear before you.
I am proud to say that I have recently been appointed commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, as of mid-December. I will do my best to respond to your questions.
To begin the discussion today, I would like to first highlight the mandate of the agency and then present to you some key activities that the agency is undertaking and that may be of interest to you.
The agency's mandate is to supervise and monitor the conduct of federally regulated financial institutions that take deposits and make retail loans. It is also charged with the mandate of consumer education in the financial sector.
Our work complements the regulatory framework that includes the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, which supervises the safety and soundness of our institutions; the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, which protects consumers through its insurance of retail deposits; and the Department of Finance, which is charged with the financial sector policy framework.
At its most fundamental level, the agency's role is to ensure and promote compliance with the disclosure provisions found in the various financial institutions' statutes. Our mandate does not give us a role in matters of redress. Parliament, in establishing the financial consumer protection framework, clearly separated individual consumer redress from enforcement of the law. The ombuds services were a response to Parliament's desire that all financial institutions belong to a third party dispute resolution body, to provide redress for individual consumers based on fairness.
As the market conduct regulator, our ultimate objective is to encourage a fair and competitive marketplace by ensuring that consumers have the information to make informed decisions.
Pursuant to our mandate on consumer education, the FCAC educates consumers on their rights and responsibilities when they are dealing with financial institutions. We provide Canadians with accurate and objective information on products and financial services, on a timely basis, in order to help them better understand and select products that will help them better manage their personal finances.
Our publications and online tools give consumers information on various products and financial services such as credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts, credit records, and payday loans.
By filling in the information gaps that exist in the marketplace, the agency provides Canadians with the tools they need to help them navigate a complex financial marketplace.
Demand for our services is growing. Every year more and more Canadians come to us to obtain information or to register a complaint about a financial institution. Since 2001 the agency has received more than 140,000 phone calls, e-mails, and letters from Canadians. Last year, in the 2006-07 financial year, we distributed 750,000 publications to consumers across the country.
Our website has become one of Canada's best sources of objective, up-to-date information on financial products and services. In the previous financial year, our website received in excess of 1.4 million distinct visits.
Through our outreach program, the agency is working with a growing number of partners in order to increase our reach and awareness of the agency among consumers. In 2006-07 our partnerships with the Canada Revenue Agency and Human Resources and Social Development Canada helped us reach over 8 million consumers directly, through inserts in GST rebate, child tax benefit, old age security, and Canada Pension Plan cheques.
Last year Parliament voted the agency $3 million over two years as an initial investment in improving financial literacy among Canadians, and in particular youth. We are forming alliances across the country in an effort to leverage these funds as much as possible in terms of spurring interest in investment and improving the financial capability of Canadians.
Canadians are expected to take charge of their financial affairs in a rapidly changing financial marketplace to invest for their futures and their families' futures and to accumulate enough savings to support their retirement.
To this end, Canadians need tools, information, advice and training to manage their personal finances with confidence.
With our funding, we are working with the British Columbia Securities Commission on a joint project to develop a web-based curriculum for high school students. We are piloting a project with George Brown College and the Ontario Investor Education Fund in presenting convenient mini-courses for college students. We are working with other government departments and Statistics Canada to carry out a national baseline survey to determine the financial strengths and capabilities of Canadians that will provide substantial data for focusing more efforts in this field.
We are also working in collaboration with a non-profit organization called the Social and Enterprise Development Innovation (SEDI) as well as the Autorité des marchés financiers du Québec in view of holding a second conference on financial ability. This conference will bring together experts and stakeholders to share knowledge, and develop the necessary networks to advance this program.
Lastly, the Internet will serve as the main platform to set up a resource centre that all of our partners and all Canadians will be able to use and share.
In closing, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to appear before the committee. I look forward to answering any questions you have.
I will be very pleased to answer your questions.
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-02-12 11:27
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I may end up running out of questions, but I'll share time with Mr. Bell, if necessary, and if not, then I will in another round.
Thank you very much for being here today.
Do you have any information you want to share with the committee at this early stage about what other jurisdictions in other countries might be doing as it relates to this subject area? Obviously, Canada, from the information you've presented, is somewhat behind, given the fact that it hasn't renovated its act in a period of time. Are we alone? Are we consistent with other countries? That was something I was interested in.
View Paul Zed Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Paul Zed Profile
2008-02-12 11:28
Okay, and on that subject--
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