Committee
Consult the new user guides
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the new user guides
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 15 of 395
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
I move that the chair report to the House that this committee has examined the qualifications and competence of Dr. Suzanne Fortier as president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and finds her competent to perform the duties of the position for which she has been nominated.
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
To be honest about this whole process, the doctor who was the president, and operated very, very well as a matter of fact, has resigned that position. It is an important position and very much a scientific, non-political position. Her name was forwarded by NSERC. I think it's quite broadly accepted right across the board—from every university, all the people who have been involved, all of the folks who have anything to do with science research and technology—that she is really an ideal person for the position, so her name was brought forward to the committee. That's really what has happened. It's not a political appointment. It's a recommendation from the entire science community.
Quite frankly, realizing the political spectrum of an election coming forward, I think it would be wise to have a competent person in that position at this point. That's why the motion has been forwarded at this time.
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
Oh, fine. Absolutely.
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
I will accept that as a friendly amendment.
(Motion as amended agreed to)
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, guests, for coming in today.
There are a couple of areas I would like to speak to as well, having to do with a detrimental effect of this legislation on business, as well as fishing expeditions, on which comments have been made.
A couple of the groups here have suggested that this is set up to have the effect of fishing expeditions into business, but that's not the case, because the structure of whatever term of reference must be followed has to be published in the Canada Gazette, which would limit the ability and power in whatever is being investigated. When problems come up, if the Competition Bureau feels that it is of benefit to the nation and of benefit to business in this country that they go ahead and set the terms and publish those terms very clearly, I don't believe that's just widespread ability to move into the markets.
The second area is that you've suggested these studies are time-consuming, costly, and interfere with business. But on the other anti-trust agencies in the other jurisdictions that have been mentioned, the information I have is that they do not stay away but routinely investigate situations that are similar and look into business opportunities. The European Union, the United States, the U.K., and Australia all have the inquiry powers that we're suggesting here, and it doesn't seem to affect or put a major chill on business, as has been suggested here. The studies in other jurisdictions, all the jurisdictions that we primarily do a lot of business with, exist; why should they not exist in Canada, which is a similar competitive country? What is it that makes Canada extremely different in its operation from the other countries that were referred to?
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Chair, I'm really astounded that big business seems to come in with all of the same arguments. Let's stop and look at it. What's competition about? It's making sure the consumer gets a fair, open opportunity, gets the best price, gets the best product, gets what they need in a marketplace.
I think Mr. Janigan was dead-on when he said what the Competition Bureau should be doing is protecting the consumer, making sure fair business practices go in this country, making sure that there are regulations.
We talk about the European Union, we talk about the United States, the U.K., and Australia all having legislation in place to make sure that their regulatory bodies can deal with these issues and look at market studies and move forward with it, and yet we're arguing that maybe if a company is doing criminal things they might self-incriminate themselves. I find that a ludicrous argument.
Quite frankly, they have the same rights and protections of the law in every case. They do not have to self-incriminate, but why the hell should we be sitting here worrying about a company that may be doing criminal actions and trying to protect them and strike down legislation that may disclose this? Quite frankly, I've got a real problem with that.
However, going beyond that, let's look at the fact that the Competition Bureau cannot deal with an issue unless there's a complaint brought forward to them. They're very restricted in their ability to deal with issues. When we're looking at the gas industry or when we're looking at any other industry, we need to know what's happening. They should have the right to look at that industry, and if there are self-incriminating issues that come up they will stop the study dead in its track and they will proceed under section 11 or other avenues.
That's the issue. The issue is that it's happening in all of our other countries. The issue is that we need to protect the consumers. The issue is that small business is getting some problems with it. They were in here, and they said they have some problems with what's happening right now. To say we shouldn't give the tools to the government, to the Competition Bureau, to deal with it, I find that really difficult to deal with.
I'd like Mr. Janigan to comment on it, because he's been very quiet and the others had an opportunity, and then I'd like the others to comment.
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I believe I have six minutes for equal time with the opposition.
I want to talk about the fishing expedition, first. Quite frankly, I think we know that within the recommendations coming forward there are clear parameters. They have to be gazetted. The industry has to know what is being studied. At this point in time, unless charges are laid against an organization, the Competition Bureau is strictly limited in what it can do. And yes, you're right, if the Competition Bureau gets involved in a case today, the fact is that it is leading to further actions. However, if we deal with a study, that is not the case. Therefore, the direction, the whole idea of what the Competition Bureau is doing, gives it an opportunity to better understand the whole impact, the broad nature of that industry, and why things are happening the way they are.
So that's critical. It's not a fishing expedition at all. I don't think it's something that any department would work on irresponsibly. I think they do take very responsible positions.
I also would point out that several people have said that the Competition Bureau administrators aren't necessarily in agreement. Quite frankly, I believe they are in total agreement with having the openness to studies. And studies are exactly what they are--studies of the industry.
When we talk about the detrimental effects that have been brought forward, many of the witnesses have consistently mentioned a detrimental effect to business. It also has been said that there are some limited powers in some areas. Well, very clearly there are limited powers here as well. The Competition Bureau is limited to the study that they set out the parameters for, as they are required to allow the Canadian public, under a gazetted form, to understand what the structure and what the limit of that study will be.
We know, on the effects of.... And there are, very often, studies done in other jurisdictions--Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States. It has been suggested that this is not a regular base, but I've been told very clearly by department officials and by competition officials that this parameter is very often used to look at the operations of business, to see how the different issues interrelate, and to see how the consumer is affected by the things that are happening within the industry.
Quite frankly, the amendments just give the Competition Bureau those tools in order to deal with that in a reasonable, well-organized way, and they have to be very clear in the direction they go in.
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
I realize, Mr. Chair, that I have time to lay it out--
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
--and they may have a shorter time to respond.
My view, quite frankly, is that we need to protect business, and we need to protect business in all different parameters in this country, but we also have a responsibility to the consumer. Do you think the consumer is better served by allowing as much information flow from industry to the consumer...? And I believe the Competition Bureau, in doing studies, can expedite that flow of information, through business and to consumers.
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
They do it on a complaint base.
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
But it's very limited and it's on a complaint base.
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to make a comment with regard to time. When this bill was introduced, we anticipated that the time of Parliament would be a little different than some opposition members are suggesting now. I guess they're making an assumption there will be less time.
It's interesting to point out as well that Werner and the Bloc spent so much time discussing time, and they're the ones who asked for super movement on this bill. It is the three opposition parties who want the increase in speed, so don't point fingers across the way.
May I go back to the people who are here today. Officials want to go through the proper process and make sure there is proper due diligence. There's no question that many of the issues you raised are very important. They are issues that we in the department have examined and ones for which we have felt it was important to listen to the witnesses, listen to the input, and then submit actual amendments that would take into account those perceptions or thoughts or ideas that have come forward.
That is the way we often deal with legislation. In this particular case, because of the complexity of all the issues, we thought this was the process we would like to see. I assure you that we are flexible, and we are looking very carefully at the issues you're bringing forth.
I do want to move to one of the aspects that I think is critical, though, and that is the super-priority. I know both organizations have suggested they don't like the idea of the super-priority. I know it has been suggested that $3,000 in lost wages to a worker could be handled in different ways. I understand at this point in time that many workers don't get that lost wage for a very extended period of time. It's our hope that the super-priority would shorten that time period.
Let's look at the lending ability and the kind of argument that was brought forward—that $1 million reduced to $900,000 concept. Is it not business that looks at risk? They don't take all the money from one factor in every contract they sign. A bank, for instance, looks at companies that are dealing...and maybe one in fifteen would go bankrupt.
So in lending, they're going to look at that shared risk concept, not individual by individual and take 100%. If they do it that way, they're damn greedy, and I'll point that out. I think it's a wrong concept; mathematically, it doesn't make sense.
If we do start talking about shared risk.... We talked about fifteen corporations and that one of them potentially could go bankrupt and therefore the dollars would be shared over fifteen possible corporations in a minor interest rate change. Those are the kinds of concepts that I believe business has always operated under. They're not hard and fast in taking it all from each person.
That's my view. Is there something wrong with my view of how business really operates out there?
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
He announced his retirement quite a while back, so I assume it would be almost immediately. What we're trying to do is get that position filled now. I believe it's a non-political issue. NSERC is really a scientific community, and they do a tremendous amount of work. We need the leadership there.
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Peter, to argue against RESPs is almost like arguing against motherhood. However, bankruptcy is a system to divide the wealth in a fair way, with as little opportunity for abuse as possible. At least, that's the way I see it.
Let's say someone is thinking about bankruptcy right now, today, and he has five kids. Each child is entitled to $4,000, so he could throw $20,000 in today. In January, he could throw another $20,000 in. That's $40,000 that he has just banked and protected from bankruptcy. He can then draw it out two days later, and that's abuse. That's the problem we have.
That's an anomaly we have. Unless the RESP system is altered, that abuse is going to be there, because any bankruptcy lawyer is going to say, “Hey, John, put your money here and protect it, and put it there to protect it next year as well.” So the average of $1,200 isn't really what we're talking about; we're talking about the recommendation of a bankruptcy lawyer to put it in here.
John may not know about it, or Charlie, or whoever it is. They may not have a clue, but any lawyer who understands the system knows to pack all your money where it can't be touched. That's the difficulty. That's how the abuse occurs. I think responsible legislation has to make sure that abuse doesn't continue.
I know it's like arguing against motherhood on one side, but on the other side, that money is not part of the child's ownership, it is part of the person who put it in. The person who put it in can protect capital, which is the danger. This is why our experts who have looked at the whole system have almost solidly said this is the potential abuse.
Can you help me with my thinking around that? I think it's going to be straight on the board that way.
View Jerry Pickard Profile
Lib. (ON)
I agree with much of what you're saying, outside the fact that if a person is going bankrupt—in your case or whatever it would be in anybody else's case—if they threw in $4,000 per child and drew it out three days later, they would have to forego the government support. If that program didn't exist, they would lose that $4,000 on a balance based across scale.
So what the government contribution is in or out of the system doesn't really matter; they are taking money out of the system and putting it in a secure place so that they have it, and anybody who is entitled to it loses that entitlement. It could be workers, it could be families, it could be other people. The difficulty is that the people who would be entitled to it are then put at risk.
Results: 1 - 15 of 395 | Page: 1 of 27

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

For more data options, please see Open Data