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Results: 1 - 15 of 440
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Your Excellency, for being here to meet with the committee. I have to say that I feel very much more optimistic about a number of the things that seem to be coming into sharper focus. I'm interested in pursuing a little bit some of the issues raised in this very excellent and quite comprehensive study that's been done. Reference has already been made to the “Unheard Voices” study that has been done by a number of NGOs, supported by the UN, supported by CIDA, and we should acknowledge that. What really emerges is a real cry and a whole set of recommendations for understanding that without really serious aggressive changes in some of the approaches, we're going to see an intensification of the instability, the injustices, and the insecurity. I'm just wondering if you're familiar with the study, which has now been released.
Actually, this afternoon there was a magnificent photo display that I think really helped to tell some of the stories through the faces as well as the voices of Afghanistan's most marginalized, poorest people. Are you familiar with that study and the recommendations?
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
I don't mean the Oxfam study going back to Matt Waldman, but this most recent study that's just in.
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
Okay. Well, I don't want to put you at an unfair disadvantage at all, but I would just very briefly refer to a couple of the things that I think particularly stand out. One was the major concern about whether sufficient effort was being concentrated on the humanitarian crisis. There are many components to it: dire hunger, inadequate health care, in many cases a complete marginalization of the poor. Some of those concerns were underscored in the Manley report, especially the complete lack of coordination.
You've made the point--and I think we very much agree--that it's extremely important that Canada's contribution here help to strengthen the state, which is part of the confidence-building that people need. And yet two-thirds of assistance from foreign countries bypasses the Afghan government. If I'm not mistaken, almost 100% of the aid from the U.S. bypasses the Afghan government, which makes it impossible, really, to coordinate this.
My question would be whether at this point you're satisfied that there is sufficient attention and concentration on the most marginalized, the poorest of the populations, who then become ripe for recruitment into the insurgency effort in the south particularly.
Secondly, they concentrated a good deal on the concern about whether there was enough being done, really working with the Afghan people on the ground to improve agricultural production so that we're not talking about a never-ending cycle of external aid but really helping to build the agricultural sector.
I wonder if I could ask you to comment on those two particular things.
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
Mr. Chairman, a point of order. I'm not a regular member of the committee, but it is my understanding that in previous meetings of the committee, Ms. Black, on behalf of the New Democratic Party, had a second final brief question. Am I not correct about that?
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
I don't wish to hold up the committee. It was just my understanding that that was not the case.
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I'm pleased to be here substituting for my colleague Peggy Nash, who is dealing with a family health crisis at the moment.
Thank you to the witnesses. There are so many different areas of questioning one could pursue.
In a general way, it may be known to you that this committee has been looking at the impact of the high Canadian dollar on various sectors. I'm wondering if you could comment, perhaps the two representatives from BIOTECanada and CATA, on the impact on the service sector.
Secondly, I'm interested in pursuing the human resource side of the question a little bit. You have spoken about the overall shortages, the intense competition, and so on. Can you comment on whether there is a regional nature to that, how the problem is distributed across the country, and any recommendations that you might have?
Thirdly, there was a bit of discussion early on about the issue of attracting more women into these jobs. I'm struck by the fact that there are some very creative projects that have been started up from time to time to try to deal with this, but they always seem to be very limited in duration because they're on a shoestring in terms of the kind of funding, and it comes out of some innovative initiatives. But there doesn't seem to be any kind of durability to some of those projects. I'm wondering if you can comment on that from the point of view of any public policy recommendations that you might have.
Thank you.
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
Do you have any public policy recommendations? I appreciate that it is early, but it seems clear that the impact is going to be felt. Is there a way to—
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
Thank you very much.
Well, I'm going to pick up right there where you left off. I have two questions for anyone who feels inclined to address them.
One is that we're having a lot of trouble attracting our own young people into these fields. How much are we really looking at the incredible cost of post-secondary education, the uncertainty around continuing inadequate funding for post-secondary education? It's my understanding that at least in some universities in some parts of the country the first-year tuition seems prohibitive enough, but then when it gets to second year, it takes a huge leap. I'm wondering if this isn't driving young people away from investing their own dollars in this field, because there aren't enough public dollars to support those choices.
Secondly, I'm wondering whether we need to be concerned--and this is an issue that's raised from time to time by the post-secondary education community--about inadequate dollars being invested in basic research on the basis of which, of course, breakthroughs are ultimately made, and so you get to the applied research and development level.
I'm wondering if you could comment on those two questions or problems, as you see them.
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
I want to speak in support of the motion.
I think we all know there have been horrendous job losses in both manufacturing and forestry. While it appears as though the government is moving to respond in a somewhat more appropriate and timely way, we know that the proposal now coming before the House is one that is very, very inadequate in light of the massive impact of the job losses.
I think this goes a step in the right direction of a strong recommendation for more resources to meet this truly national crisis in terms of job losses.
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
Thanks very much.
I appreciate all of your presentations. It's always difficult to figure out how to get at each one, but I want to try to do a little bit of an overview from the presentations we've heard so far today.
Nineteen out of 21 groups have made very convincing and compelling and, I think in most cases, pretty passionate pleas for the need to see a reinvestment of our very massive surpluses year after year, nine a row, into all the various things that people have identified: health, education, grassroots sports, culture, environmental initiatives, health, and so on. Yet—and I'm going to put this question very directly to you, Valerie—the chamber of commerce in the city is consistent in its position again this year, for the ninth year in a row, that despite the fact that we're in the ninth year of surpluses, the argument has been for faster debt reductions and deeper and faster tax cuts.
Since you yourself acknowledged that there have been massive cuts that were very punishing to us here in Atlantic Canada between 1993 and 1997, and never made up—never was there any rebalancing, which means that the gap is growing between Atlantic Canada and the rest of Canada in terms of federal infrastructure and investment—how do you reconcile the position you are taking, with the almost universal clamour from every segment of the community that you and I live in, for investment?
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
You don't call it spending, you call it investment in the business community. How is it you cannot bring yourself to understand that this is about investment in communities?
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
Unfortunately, we never have time to debate this at length. You've cited Ireland. It's my understanding that it was the major investment in education and in culture and in targeted tax cuts that resulted in the Celtic tiger.
You are advocating broad-based tax cuts, and even from a business analysis point of view, we know that's the least efficient thing to do. It's very difficult to square the advocacies of the chamber of commerce with the results that you see in Ireland if we pursue your remedies.
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd love to get seven questions in, but I doubt that I'll do it.
I'll quickly start with Glenn Drover.
I appreciated your citing authoritative references that indicate that other countries using public policies and taxation measures different from Canada's have produced results of lower poverty rates, more equal distribution of income, higher pensions for seniors, lower infant mortality rates, higher educational outcomes, and better environmental performance. I don't want to say it's all-inclusive, but it seems to me that you've just cited the general aspirations that Canadians express, and why they pay taxes, if not joyfully, at least with an understanding that this is the price for a civilized society.
Can you speak directly to the government on this issue, in the sense that we can talk until we're blue in the face, but the government is not listening? You have government members here; you have a committee that reports back to government on this issue. What is it? Is it pure ideology? Is it pure ignorance? What is it that makes it impossible for them to understand this, and can you try again?
View Alexa McDonough Profile
NDP (NS)
Ms. Sholzberg-Gray, I noted that several of your strongest recommendations are very high priorities from the Romanow commission. I know how closely engaged you were in that process. What do you think happened? The Romanow royal commission recommendations were measured to be supported by some phenomenal percentage of Canadians, yet the previous government didn't move on most of those recommendations, and certainly the current government isn't doing so either. I'm thinking about the information stuff, about the home care, and about the national pharmacare program, just to mention three.
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