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  8. 2019 Fall campaign newsletter / infolettre campagne d'automne 2019
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  10. 2019-07-15 SECU 171
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  12. 2019-06-17 14:14 House intervention / intervention en chambre
  13. 2019-06-17 SECU 169
  14. 2019-06-13 PROC 162
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  16. 2019-06-06 PROC 160
  17. 2019-06-06 INDU 167
  18. 2019-06-05 23:27 House intervention / intervention en chambre
  19. 2019-06-05 15:11 House intervention / intervention en chambre
  20. 2019-06-04 INDU 166
  21. 2019-06-03 SECU 166
  22. 2019 June newsletter / infolettre juin 2019
  23. 2019-05-30 RNNR 137
  24. 2019-05-30 PROC 158
  25. 2019-05-30 INDU 165
  26. 2019-05-29 SECU 165
  27. 2019-05-29 ETHI 155
  28. 2019-05-28 ETHI 154
  29. 2019-05-28 ETHI 153
  30. 2019-05-27 ETHI 151
  31. older entries...

newer | archives, page 2 | displaying entries 31 to 60 | older

2019-05-27 SECU 164

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



The Chair (Hon. John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood, Lib.)):

Ladies and gentlemen, it's close enough to 3:30 to get started. I see quorum, so I will bring the meeting to order.

We are dealing with Bill C-93 clause by clause.

The first clause has no amendments.

(Clause 1 agreed to)

(On clause 2)

The Chair: On clause 2 we have amendment NDP-1, but I have received a note from the legislative clerk that we want to deal with NDP-1 and NDP-2 together. Consequential to NDP-2, the suggested ruling is that it is inadmissible, which would render NDP-1 null.

As this is, in effect, a discussion about the scope of the bill, I'm perfectly prepared to hear Mr. Dubé's arguments as to why both amendments are within the scope of the bill.

Mr. Matthew Dubé (Beloeil—Chambly, NDP):

Thank you, Chair.

NDP-1 and NDP-2 both seek to do something we heard from, dare I say, all witnesses—or nearly all, certainly if we exclude the minister—which is to make the process automatic. In other words, instead of putting the burden on individuals seeking to apply.... We did a lot of research on this, my office in particular, because there were a few back-and-forths about certain considerations.

For example, with regard to the Privacy Act, the exemption already exists with the Parole Board to be able to do the work, instead of asking marginalized Canadians who have been saddled with these records for something that is now legal to be doing the work.

Ultimately, I think it's within the scope of the bill, because we'd be putting the onus on the Parole Board as opposed to on Canadians. Especially if it's not an issue of royal recommendation. In other words, if we're not talking about an issue of money, I think the mechanism for the process that's been created by this bill, which seeks to remediate what the minister refuses to qualify as a historical injustice, is certainly well within our prerogative as a committee, if not something that unfortunately could have been done from the get-go in the drafting of the legislation.

As I said, there was enough back and forth with people who are much smarter than me on this to know that the amendment covers all of our bases in terms of giving the appropriate powers to the Parole Board.

The Chair:

Do any other colleagues have any comments on the admissibility or inadmissibility of amendment NDP-2? Do the witnesses have any comments? Is there any other debate?

Yes, Mr. Dubé.

Mr. Matthew Dubé:

I would seek a clear understanding of why it's beyond the scope of the bill. We haven't even gotten to the discussion about expungement yet. This is simply making the record suspension process automatic, and giving the appropriate powers to the Parole Board.

Could any clarification be provided there?

The Chair:

My reaction—and I will turn to the clerk for some clarification here—is that it's a positive obligation on the part of the Parole Board, requiring positive actions. While I agree that we heard a lot of evidence to the effect that this process could be made a lot more, if you will, user friendly by positive actions by the board, it is at this point apparently beyond the scope of the bill.

I will let the legislative clerk weigh in on it.

Mr. William Stephenson (Legislative Clerk):

Essentially, as Mr. McKay said, in this case the scope of the bill is fairly narrow. It creates an onus on the applicant and allows them to apply for a record suspension. It also waives the fee. Because of that fairly narrow scope in this bill, introducing a new concept that would essentially create a positive obligation on the board is beyond the scope of the bill.


Mr. Matthew Dubé:

I'm just wondering because I can think of tons of amendments that create positive obligations on other entities. I'm not sure I'm following the argument here. For many pieces of legislation that I've studied in committee, we adopted amendments that would clearly force different bodies to undertake actions that were not initially codified in the bill, so I'm not sure if I'm following what the distinction is there.

Mr. William Stephenson:

In other circumstances, there are examples of creating an obligation to report back to the House or something like that, and it's still within what the department does and within what the bill foresees.

In this case, the concept is clearly to allow the applicants to apply on their own initiative. It's kind of meant to restrain the administrative action or the administrative onus, from what I understand. Maybe officials would like to weigh in on that. In this case, the issue of causing the board to identify those records on its own is a new concept.

The Chair:

Do officials want to weigh in?

Mr. Broom.

Mr. Ian Broom (Acting Director General, Policy and Operations, Parole Board of Canada):

Sure, I can weigh in. Thank you very much.

Under this amendment, from the Parole Board of Canada's perspective, we don't currently have the technological capacity to implement what is outlined in this motion. We'd need to consult with partners. We would want to verify some of the privacy and consent implications that could be involved in automatically ordering a records suspension.

As was mentioned, current process now is that applications are received with supporting documents. The onus is placed on the applicant. Examples would be court documents that would outline the nature of the conviction, dispositions involved, or whether or not the sentence was complete. We don't have any memorandum of understanding or information-sharing framework or infrastructure in place that would permit us to do that when conducting inquiries. I think, from the board's perspective of what we could implement, there are a number of challenges that we'd want to assess.

The Chair:

Mr. Dubé.

Mr. Matthew Dubé:

Thank you, Chair.

As for the privacy considerations, as far as I've understood, given that the records suspension branch of the Parole Board is an investigative body, they do have Privacy Act exemptions. We spoke with them, and they confirmed they have access to CPIC, so I do find it a bit unfortunate that we're basically saying it would be too much work and we're not accepting to make it automatic, when the reality is, as has been pointed out by numerous people, that the burden is then put onto marginalized Canadians.

I would also just ask for clarification from the clerk, perhaps. I think back to Bill C-83 when we were studying SIUs and I believe amendments were adopted that created additional criteria for health care professional reviews, for example. I'm not clear on the distinction that creating additional actions on the part of public servants in one instance would be acceptable, but here, because we're prescribing the process in a certain way—even though the end result this amendment seeks would still be one of these individuals having records suspensions—it would no longer be within the scope of the bill. I mean, it's titled “no-cost, expedited”. Ultimately is that what we're relying on, the title? It doesn't seem to make much sense to me.

The Chair:

The general argument is that, when you're going beyond the scope, you're going beyond the purpose of the bill. That's the general argument. I agree that we are down to some fairly narrow points at this point, but I'm perfectly open to any other interpretation or information as to why we would consider this to be beyond the scope.

Mr. William Stephenson:

In the case of adding criteria to something in a bill, when you have a list of criteria, you can always play around within the scope of what's required. In this case, we're going beyond just requirements and giving the board additional responsibility, creating an additional administrative burden. In arriving at our analysis of the bill, we looked at the summary of the bill and we looked to the way the bill is drafted.

The summary of the bill reads as follows: This enactment amends the Criminal Records Act to, among other things, allow persons who have been convicted under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Narcotic Control Act and the National Defence Act only of simple possession of cannabis offences committed before October 17, 2018 to apply for a record suspension without being subject to the period required by the Criminal Records Act for other offences or to the fee that is otherwise payable in applying for a suspension.

Basically, the bill does two fairly narrow things. It allows people to apply for a record suspension without being subject to the period required by the Criminal Records Act for other offences, and it waives the fee that's otherwise payable in applying for that suspension. That is what guides us in our analysis, as well as the way the bill is drafted. You'll note there are clauses that specify that the onus is on the applicant to prove various things.

committee hansard secu 32087 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 27, 2019

2019-05-17 10:59 House intervention / intervention en chambre

Deaths and funerals, Statements by Members,

Décès et funérailles, Déclarations de députés,

Mr. Speaker, I learned just a few hours ago that one of the most interesting people I have ever met passed away suddenly during the night. Journalist, storyteller, war correspondent, constituent and friend, Paul William Roberts is known for his coverage of the two Iraq wars for Harper's Magazine, as well as his many books, including Empire of the Soul, Journey of the Magi and A War Against Truth.

He was born in Wales, and his career spanned the world, having studied in England and taught in India before working as a producer for both the BBC and the CBC, among others. In 2005, he was the inaugural winner of the PEN Canada Paul Kidd award for courage in journalism.

A humble man, Paul suffered the effects of the many wars he had covered, and about a decade ago, he lost the ability to see. He was felled by a sudden brain hemorrhage last night and was transferred to Sacré-Coeur Hospital in Montreal early this morning to offer his organs for transplant. It should encourage all of us to know that his enormous heart will live on.

To his wife Kara and his kids, my deepest condolences.

Monsieur le Président, j'ai appris, il y a quelques heures à peine, que l'une des personnes les plus intéressantes que j'aie rencontrées est décédée subitement dans la nuit. Journaliste, conteur, correspondant de guerre, habitant de ma circonscription et ami, Paul William Roberts est connu pour avoir couvert les deux guerres en Irak pour le magazine Harper's ainsi que pour avoir écrit de nombreux livres, dont Empire of the Soul, Journey of the Magi et A War Against Truth.

Né au Pays de Galles, il a parcouru le monde au cours de sa carrière. Il a étudié en Angleterre et enseigné en Inde puis travaillé comme producteur à la BBC et à la CBC, notamment. En 2005, il a été le premier lauréat du prix Paul Kidd de PEN Canada pour le courage en journalisme.

Homme humble, Paul a subi les conséquences des nombreuses guerres qu'il avait couvertes et, il y a une dizaine d'années, il a perdu la vue. Victime hier soir d'une hémorragie cérébrale soudaine, il a été transféré tôt ce matin à l'Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur, à Montréal, afin que ses organes puissent être transplantés. Nous devrions tous être encouragés de savoir que son cœur rempli de bonté continuera de battre.

Je présente mes plus sincères condoléances à sa femme Kara et à ses enfants.

Watch | Hansard

Ecoutez | Hansard

hansard parlchmbr statements tributes tv 429 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 20:26 on May 17, 2019

2019-05-16 ETHI 150

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics



The Chair (Mr. Bob Zimmer (Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, CPC)):

We'll call the meeting to order. This is the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, meeting 150.

Pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), we are considering the main estimates 2019-20, vote 1 under Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, vote 1 under the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, vote 1 under the Office of the Senate Ethics Officer and votes 1, 5, 10 and 15 under the Offices of the Information and Privacy Commissioners of Canada, referred to the committee on Thursday, April 11, 2019.

With us today we have, from the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Mr. Mario Dion. With the commissioner, we have Sandy Tremblay, director of corporate management.

In the second hour, we're going to have the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying. With us will be Nancy Bélanger, Commissioner of Lobbying, and Charles Dutrisac, director of finance and chief financial officer.

Mr. Dion, it's good to see you. You have 10 minutes.

Mr. Mario Dion (Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner):

Thank you, Chair.[Translation]

Mr. Chair and honourable members of the Committee, first of all I would like to thank you for inviting me to appear before you today as the Committee considers my Office's budgetary submission for the 2019-2020 Main Estimates.

As the Chair said, with me is Sandy Tremblay, our Director of Corporate Management.

As you know, the purpose of my appearance today is to discuss the current budgetary requirements of the Office. For context, I will begin by reviewing some of the projects and activities we undertook last year, as well as some of the activities planned for this fiscal year.

I will start with our mission, because it is key; it is the basis of everything we do. The Office established a mission a little more than a year ago, and it describes what we do.

Our Office provides independent, rigorous and consistent direction and advice to Members of Parliament and federal public office holders. That is the first thing. Second, it conducts investigations. And third, where necessary, it makes use of appropriate sanctions in order to ensure full compliance with the Conflict of lnterest Code for Members of the House of Commons and the Conflict of Interest Act.

Last year, we implemented a rolling three-year strategic plan to guide our projects and activities in support of our mission. It identified three key priorities, those being to improve communications and outreach, to modernize technology and information management structures, and to maintain operational excellence. It also identified how we would achieve them.

One key priority is to build and improve communications and outreach processes to help Members and public office holders understand and meet their obligations under the Code and the Act.

Education and outreach have been a key focus of my approach as Commissioner for a year and a half now. We strive to ensure that Members and public office holders are fully aware of their obligations. As for the methods used to do that, I intend to go beyond the traditional classroom approach and instead leverage new media technology for presentations and other educational uses.

We looked at all of the educational materials that our Office has issued over the past 12 years, in fact since it was established, to explain how the rules of the Code and the Act apply. The goal was to simplify that material and make it a more effective source of information for Members and public office holders.

Last year, we revised and updated 12 of those documents, condensing their content into seven new information notices that explain various requirements of the Act. This year, we will focus on modernizing and simplifying the instruments that relate to the code governing the conduct of members.

Our new educational tools included two webinars about gifts that I hosted with my colleague the Lobbying Commissioner, who will be appearing immediately after me. We adopted a more proactive approach with our use of Twitter to communicate directly with Members and public office holders. We also produced a few short videos to provide additional channels to reach our stakeholders.



That was it on the communications and outreach side of things.

A second priority in our strategic plan was to modernize technology and information management structures. Last November we launched a new version of our case management system. All the information from our old system was migrated to the new one. Our upgraded information technology infrastructure is compatible with existing systems and allows the office to explore new technology options for delivering our mandate. We are still dealing with technical and procedural issues but I am confident that they will be resolved by the end of this fiscal year.

We're also presently working on the development of a new website that will make it a more effective source of information for members of Parliament and public office holders. It will be mobile-friendly, which is not the case now, so that it better reaches our busy stakeholders on the device platforms available today. We're planning to launch our new website before the October 2019 election.

Our third key priority identified in our strategic plan is to maintain operational excellence with a focus on our people and on the tools we have at our disposal. In my first year I took steps to ensure that our office invested in employee training and professional development, and provided the tools and equipment employees needed to perform their jobs. I also acted to ensure that we offered a respectful, diverse and inclusive workplace.

I was asked last year whether I'd be making recommendations in my annual reports to strengthen the regimes that we administer. At this time last year, with only a few months of experience, I did not feel ready to do so in the annual reports. I did express the hope last year that the committee would invite me to present my thoughts on possible amendments last fall. Otherwise, I would include something in this year's annual reports.

Indeed that is what we'll do shortly. Next month, June, the office will be tabling its two annual reports: one under the act and one under the code. We have drafted some potential amendments that would strengthen the operation of the act in the event that there is another review of the legislation, and we will include some of those key points in our annual report under the act.

Our strategic plan also provides my organization with a guiding document. It's used to align our priorities as we deliver on our mission to provide independent, rigorous and consistent direction and advice, and I will report on our achievements under the strategic plan in future annual reports to Parliament.

Investigations continues to be an area where there is a lot of interest on the part of the public and parliamentarians. We've been very active in relation to investigations. In 2018-19, we issued eight investigation reports: five under the act and three under the code. There are currently four matters that I have yet to report on, and our investigation team must balance confidentiality, integrity and procedural fairness with work that is very complex and time sensitive. [Translation]

Our Office conducts its operations in support of its mission with a total of 49 full-time positions. The Advisory and Compliance Division accounts for over one-third of our staff resources. This total is reflective of their daily interactions with those individuals-over 3,000 who fall under the Act or Code. Those interactions form the majority of the work the Office undertakes in compliance, accounting for over 2,000 calls or inquiries last year.

The remainder of the Office falls into three broad categories: corporate services, which Ms. Tremblay directs, communications, directed by Ms. Rushworth, and investigations and legal services. A daily demonstration of rigour, professionalism and guidance on compliance matters is what we are aiming for.

I have complete confidence in the quality of work and the integrity of all members of my senior management team and indeed in all the Office staff. [English]

Unless there are unexpected increases in the demands on our resources, I expect our office will be able to implement its mission in this upcoming fiscal year with a budget of $7.1 million. It represents a slight increase of 4% from the last fiscal year. The base budget has been unchanged in the 12 years of existence of the office. This is the first actual increase of 4%, and it's needed this year to enable our office to prepare for the election while continuing to ensure operational excellence.

There has traditionally been a significant increase in the workload whenever there is a general election, and we wanted to be ready and to prepare for it. Election readiness is a key focus of our activity already at this point in time. We've started to hire term employees to help with the increased workload. We're also updating letters and information kits for, potentially, new members of Parliament, for people who, in the future, will be joining offices, ministerial offices, and so on and so forth. All of these elements flow from our strategic plan and will enable the office to better serve its stakeholders in a busy election year.

As part of this planning we always have a reserve. We have $100,000 that we do not allocate in order to face, in a nimble way, important changes and what the needs would be.

I am confident that we'll be able, with this budget that is before you, to operate efficiently, effectively and also economically in carrying out our mission.

Mr. Chair, this concludes my opening statement. I'll now be happy to discuss any questions the committee may have. Thank you.


The Chair:

Thank you, Commissioner.

Just for the sake of the committee, too, we did have an amended agenda. The agenda before you is incorrect. We're going until 4:15 p.m. It gives us enough time. I'm going to try to get us through the first four questioners—Ms. Fortier, Mr. Kent, Mr. Cullen and Mr. Erskine-Smith—and then we'll move to the next commissioner. That's all the time we have. Just to clarify again, the agenda is amended. It will take us to about 4:20 p.m., or so. Thanks.

Go ahead, Madam Fortier. [Translation]

Mrs. Mona Fortier (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.):

Thank you very much.

Mr. Dion and Ms. Tremblay, thank you for being here today.

We know you work very hard. You had a chance to prepare a presentation, and I would like to ask you a few questions about the challenges your office is facing. I understand the strategic planning and your priorities. Would you please tell us about your current challenges and the steps you're taking to address them?

Mr. Mario Dion:

We're still facing a challenge associated with timelines, as I mentioned earlier. By that I mean we are required provide our services on a timely basis. We have service standards regarding the first contact we make, and that always creates pressure.

We also have service standards for responding to media representatives and members of the public who communicate with us. We are always under pressure, even if no service standards or timeframes are prescribed by the act when we investigate a matter. We're always under pressure to do things punctually, promptly, so that our report is relevant when it becomes available. That's one of our challenges, but we always have to operate with a sense that things have to move, and move quickly.

committee ethi hansard 24141 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 16, 2019

2019-05-16 PROC 156

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs



The Chair (Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)):

Good morning. I call the meeting to order.

Welcome to the 156th meeting of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. This meeting is being televised.

Our first order of business today is consideration of the main estimates under the Leaders' Debates Commission.

We are pleased to have with us the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions.

She is joined by officials from the Privy Council Office. They are Allen Sutherland, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Machinery of Government and Democratic Institutions; and Matthew Shea, Assistant Deputy Minister of Corporate Services.

Thank you for being here. I'll now turn the floor over to the minister for her opening statement.

Hon. Karina Gould (Minister of Democratic Institutions):

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the committee for inviting me back here today. I am pleased to be here to discuss the main estimates of 2019-20 for the independent Leaders' Debates Commission.

I am grateful to be joined by Mr. Al Sutherland, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Machinery of Government and Democratic Institutions, as well as Mr. Matthew Shea, Assistant Deputy Minister for Corporate Services.[Translation]

During my February 19 appearance before this committee, I reiterated the essential role that leaders' debates play in Canada's democracy, and I emphasized that such debates should be organized in a manner that puts the public interest first.[English]

The commission is exercising its independence and impartiality in executing its primary mandate, which is to organize two leaders debates, one in each official language, in advance of the 2019 general election, and in related spending. Through these estimates, the commission is requesting $4.6 million to organize these debates. [Translation]

The commission, led by the Right Honourable David Johnston, has established a small secretariat made up of Michel Cormier, Executive Director, Stephen Wallace, Senior Advisor, and four other staff members. [English]

On March 22, 2019, the members of its advisory board were announced, and on March 25 it held its first in-person meeting with the commissioner and the executive director. The board will provide advice to the commissioner on how to carry out its mandate. It is composed of seven individuals who reflect gender balance, Canada's diversity, and a broad swath of political affiliations and expertise.

The commission has established a web presence, and on April 4 it launched a request for interest related to debates production, which informed a full request for proposals that was issued earlier this week.[Translation]

Additional costs are expected for the contracting of a production entity to produce and broadcast the debates, the ongoing operation of the advisory board, awareness raising and engagement of Canadians, and administrative costs.

As the members around the table will know, the commission has the independence to determine how best to spend the operating funds it has been allocated while remaining within the funding envelope.[English]

In his recent appearance before this committee on May 2, 2019, the debates commissioner, the Right Honourable David Johnston, reiterated his intention and duty to use funding in a responsible manner. Furthermore, he emphasized that the funding being sought is an “up to” amount and that the commission will ensure it operates cost-effectively in all of its work.[Translation]

Finally, the Order in Council setting the mandate of the commission is clear: the Leaders’ Debates Commission is to be guided by the pursuit of the public interest and by the principles of independence, impartiality and cost-effectiveness.

The commission provides a unique opportunity for Canadians to hear from those looking to lead the country, from reliable, impartial sources.[English]

As we know, online disinformation is something we will all contend with leading up to the next election.[Translation]

The leaders' debates become even more important this year as they provide a venue to communicate clear and reliable information that is accessible to everyone at the same time.

I am pleased to answer any questions members may have on this topic.

Thank you, Mr. Chair. [English]

The Chair:

Thank you very much, Minister. Thanks for coming. You come here a lot.

I'd like to welcome Bob Bratina to the committee.

Mr. Bob Bratina (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, Lib.):

Thank you.

The Chair:

We'll open the questioning with Madam Lapointe.[Translation]

Thank you.

Ms. Linda Lapointe (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Lib.):

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

I'm trying to start up my computer. Yesterday, I visited the commission's website. We have been told that the commission is on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I was looking at the financial aspect in particular. I don't know if you have checked out the commission's site, but there is no link to Instagram. The site only indicates which platforms the commission is using.

Are you aware of this?


Hon. Karina Gould:


Ms. Linda Lapointe:

You didn't check it out? Yesterday, I checked it out.

That was my first question. I am trying to start up my computer but it is not co-operating.

Hon. Karina Gould:

I know that my staff looked everywhere today and found the link to Instagram. It may be easier to access from the app than from the computer.

Ms. Linda Lapointe:

No. I tried it.

Hon. Karina Gould:

We could show you how to do it.

Ms. Linda Lapointe:


committee hansard proc 28631 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 16, 2019

2019-05-16 INDU 163

Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology



The Chair (Mr. Dan Ruimy (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, Lib.)):

Welcome, everybody. Thank you for being here today.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, May 8, 2019, the committee is studying M-208, on rural digital infrastructure.

Today, we have with us the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development, along with her officials, from the Office of Infrastructure of Canada, Kelly Gillis, Deputy Minister, Infrastructure and Communities; and from the Department of Industry, Lisa Setlakwe, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategy and Innovation Policy.

Minister, you have 10 minutes.

Hon. Bernadette Jordan (Minister of Rural Economic Development):

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered here on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin peoples.

As you said, Mr. Chair, I am joined by Kelly Gillis, my deputy minister, and Lisa...I never say it right. Sorry.

Ms. Lisa Setlakwe (Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategy and Innovation Policy Sector, Department of Industry):


Hon. Bernadette Jordan:


Thank you. Sorry.

Lisa Setlakwe is senior ADM of strategy and innovation policy at ISED.

I'd like to thank the distinguished members of this committee for the opportunity to update them on our government's efforts to bring high-speed Internet service and mobile wireless service to the millions of Canadians who live in rural and remote regions.

First, I want to acknowledge the valuable work that the committee has contributed and is contributing to our understanding of this complex and vitally important issue.

From day one, our government has been working to ensure that all Canadians have an equal opportunity to succeed no matter where they live. I know this committee shares that goal, as do all members of Parliament. The unanimous support that this House has given to Mr. Amos' motion shows government and private sector partners who are working together to address the Internet and wireless deficit across the country that there is a real commitment to get this important work done.

Since January, when I was appointed Canada's first Minister of Rural Economic Development, I have met and spoken with Canadians from all walks of life in rural and remote communities from coast to coast to coast.

From my own personal experience of living in rural Nova Scotia, I have seen how rural Canadians make our country a more vibrant and prosperous place to live and work.

Though small in population, rural communities account for roughly 30% of our country's gross domestic product. They are the drivers of Canada's natural resource and agricultural sectors, and they are supported by dedicated workers who are deeply committed to their communities.

In his mandate letter to me, the Prime Minister asked me to develop a rural economic development strategy.

Since I started travelling across this country in January, I have listened and learned, and while each community is unique and faces different challenges, the number one on most of their lists is the need to be connected.

Our rural economic development strategy is in its final stages of development, and I can assure you that it will fully reflect the concerns about broadband and wireless that I have heard repeatedly throughout my travels. We know that, when it comes to digital infrastructure, there is an urban-rural divide, and I'd like to take a moment to look at some of these disparities.

Although more than nine of 10 urban households have access to high-speed Internet service, only one in three rural households have the same access. Lack of high-speed service means that these communities lack the essential services that urban Canadians take for granted. It means that Canadians cannot sell their products and services online. They must resort to accessing government services over the phone instead of online. Many farmers with multi-million dollar agribusinesses still rely on phones and fax machines to run their operations. These realities are having a real impact on people in rural Canada and, in some cases, are leaving them behind.

It's incumbent upon us as the federal government to work with provincial, territorial and private sector partners to bridge that divide.

The divide that we're talking about shouldn't be limited specifically to the communities in rural and remote areas of our country. It exists on our roads and highways where there is no mobile wireless coverage. This lack of connectivity is a significant challenge for those working in the transportation industry, such as truckers, for example, and it is a risk to public safety, particularly for rural Canadians, who need to be able to communicate along remote roadways, fields and natural areas.

Wireless coverage is also essential to the national public alerting system, which relies on wireless service to deliver emergency alerts to Canadians.

On a more basic level, rural wireless mobile services are as important to rural communities as they are to urban communities in terms of economic development, as well as personal use. That is why we announced the accelerated capital cost allowance, which is helping telecommunications companies make investments in rural Canada. As announced by Bell, Rogers, Shaw, Telus and Xplornet, this change will connect thousands of people in their homes and provide cell coverage along unserved highway corridors across the country.

With respect to both broadband and mobile wireless access, this digital divide holds back rural Canadians from participating fully in the global and digital world. Through the connect to innovate program, we are extending high-speed Internet access to 900 rural and remote communities and an estimated 380,000 households, with more to come. That includes 190 indigenous communities across Canada. This program sets the stage for increased investments coast to coast to coast.

Since launching the connect to innovate program in budget 2016, the government has leveraged $554 million from the private sector and other levels of government for about 180 projects. These projects will improve Internet connectivity to those 380,000 households and 900 communities, more than tripling the 300 communities initially targeted. ln total, through the connect to innovate program, 20,000 kilometres of fibre network will be installed across this country.


We are connecting households and business, schools and hospitals, as well as supporting mobile wireless networks. We are establishing fibre optic connections in the farthest point north in all of Canada.

These investments show that our government recognizes that access to high-speed Internet and mobile wireless service is not a luxury; it is a necessity. We're not finished making these investments.

ln budget 2019, our government has made an ambitious new commitment to ensure that, over time, every single household and business in Canada has high-speed connectivity. As you know, we anticipate having 95% of the country connected by 2026, and 100% of the country connected by 2030.

We are investing in tomorrow's technologies, such as 5G and low earth orbit satellite capacity, today. The budget announced $1.7 billion in new broadband investments, including a new universal broadband fund and a top-up for the connect to innovate program that will focus on extending backbone infrastructure to underserved communities. For the most difficult to reach communities, funding may also support last-mile connections to individual homes and businesses.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank will seek to invest up to $1 billion over the next 10 years and leverage at least $2 billion in private capital to increase broadband access for Canadians. The CRTC's $750-million broadband fund, launched last fall, will help to improve connectivity services across the country, including wireless mobile services. Broadband infrastructure projects are also eligible for funding under the $2-billion rural and northern communities stream of the investing in Canada infrastructure program.

We understand that our success depends not only on our government's commitment to invest, but also that of our provincial, territorial and private sector partners. That's the reason we created the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which is currently exploring opportunities to attract private sector investments in high-speed Internet infrastructure for unserved and underserved communities.

Overall, budget 2019 is proposing a new, co-ordinated plan that would deliver $5 billion to $6 billion in investments in rural broadband over the next 10 years to help build a fully connected Canada.

To ensure maximum efficiency and coordination and to bring maximum benefit to underserved Canadians, officials are currently drafting a national connectivity strategy that promotes collaboration and effective investments of public dollars. This strategy will outline clear objectives and targets against which progress can be measured; provide a tool to guide efforts and improve outcomes for all Canadian homes, businesses, public institutions and indigenous peoples; and create accountability and responsibility for all levels of government to contribute towards eliminating the digital divide.

I'm proud to be part of a government that recognizes that building our nation's high-speed Internet is as important as building our nation's roads. That's how we will ensure that all Canadians have equal opportunities to succeed, regardless of where they live.

Thank you for the opportunity to address the committee. I'm happy to take your questions.


The Chair:

Thank you very much, Minister.

We're going to get right into questions, starting with Mr. Longfield, for seven minutes.

Mr. Lloyd Longfield (Guelph, Lib.):

Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Minister Jordan, it's great to have you here representing rural Canada.

committee hansard indu 21563 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 16, 2019

2019-05-15 SECU 163

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



The Chair (Hon. John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood, Lib.)):

Colleagues, I see quorum. This is the 163rd meeting of this august committee, the best committee on the Hill.

I'm pleased to welcome our guests today, all of whom have never made presentations to parliamentary committees before. I've asked my colleagues to go easy on you.

As you know, you each have 10 minutes. I'm going to ask Mr. Jarry to go first. At the end of his 10 minutes, I'll ask Mr. Gull to introduce his group and proceed with their 10 minutes.

Mr. Jarry. [Translation]

Mr. Luc Jarry (Senior Advisor Cybersecurity, As an Individual):

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Good afternoon to all committee members.

My name is Luc Jarry and I'm a senior cybersecurity advisor for Cascades Inc. I'm also a lecturer and I teach industrial cybersecurity at the Polytechnique Montréal, which is affiliated with the University of Montreal.

This is my first time appearing as a witness. I spent some time reading the evidence from other witnesses and I noted that several topics were discussed. Today, I'll talk about a subject that affects virtually every domain, from financial affairs to the industrial, business and personal worlds. I'm talking about the Internet of Things, better known as IoT, which is of course associated with artificial intelligence.

What is IoT? I think the best definition is also the shortest: IoT is a direct integration between the physical world and computer systems. In the past few years, there has been an extraordinary revolution in the way objects connect to TCP-IP networks. I'm talking about the Internet. It has been estimated that by 2020, between 40 billion and 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. We will have to ask ourselves wether the "Internet of Things" will become the "Internet of All."

Together with artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things makes possible what was only imaginable a few years ago. Think for example of self-driving cars. They are still in the testing stage. We have all heard about them. Currently, if your car is even halfway modern, it will probably have a monitoring system that measures the pressure in your tires. If a tire's pressure is low, the monitoring system will send a message to the car's computer to warn the driver that one of the tires is low on air. The driver will then have to deal with the problem.

The same thing will happen with the Internet of Things, but in addition to informing the driver, the car itself will make an appointment at the dealership or the garage responsible for maintenance. The car will then drive itself to the dealership so the problem can be fixed, and it will then return to its point of origin. You can start seeing the potential involved. This will open up extraordinary opportunities in all areas.

Unfortunately, all these new technologies make us susceptible to new threats and vulnerabilities. However, computers, which have microprocessors and are controlled by operating systems, are virtually the only devices connected to the Internet. This makes it possible for us to implement basic cybersecurity defences. For example, I can see there are open laptops in this room. I'm sure that those computers have basic cybersecurity protections. This would involve a personal firewall turned on and probably an antivirus program—which I hope has the latest virus updates—as well as a malware scanner. There is something important to note here. These computers have a processor and are able to encrypt and decrypt data. I'm talking about encryption, a widely used strategy in cybersecurity.

The problem with the Internet of Things is that the objects have no operating system or processors. It is therefore impossible to give them basic protections, as we can do with computers. These makes them extremely vulnerable.

Over the last 15 or 20 years industries have invested heavily in mechanization and automation technologies. Today, modern factories use industrial control systems such as programmable automatons and SCADA, which communicate with each other via their own telecommunications protocols on private networks within factories. These networks are invisible to the Internet. We often refer to them as an intranet. For industries to ensure they can use and benefit from the advantages of artificial intelligence, they must connect these automatons or industrial control devices to the Internet in order to communicate with AI service providers. This makes these devices very vulnerable.

Another thing is that, based on my own observations, most industrial controls in factories are maintained and supported by electrical engineers, most of whom have no training in cybersecurity.

There are currently many factories connecting things to the Internet in a way that creates gaps in their internal networks, opening them up to possible intrusions. I'm talking about theft of information and industrial espionage, in short, unauthorized access.

There are now things worse than that. With the Internet of Things, we can imagine a hacker or even a terrorist group taking remote control of critical infrastructure such as a hydroelectric dam, a water processing or oil industry plant, a hospital and so on. Imagine all the ensuing damage and danger to public and financial security and safety.

We must also keep the privacy issue in mind. As you know, an increasing number of users are connecting devices to their own networks at home or via cellular networks. You can for example buy a smart refrigerator equipped with a tablet-like screen that takes inventory of all the food and drinks it contains, monitors their expiry dates and even suggests recipes for the food inside, thanks to artificial intelligence. It's a wonderful thing. However, from a privacy perspective, we might ask whether life insurance companies would be interested in knowing what is in their customers' fridges. The answer is yes.

In Canada, citizens are protected by privacy laws, but there is a problem. Many studies have shown that nearly 95% of users agree to terms and conditions of confidentiality without reading them. Often, people don't really know what they are agreeing to.

Still on the subject of privacy, there are now assistants that connect to the Internet and are activated by a specific sentence or word spoken by a user. You can dialogue with the assistant to obtain various kinds of information available online, such as weather forecasts or the news. If these types of devices are connected to an unsecured home network with easy access, a hacker could use a computer worm to record you. If the device has a camera, the hacker could take pictures of you. This would obviously be a breach of privacy.

I could give you several examples. The document I submitted contains a series of recommendations, but unfortunately I won't have the time to go over them all.

With your permission, Mr. Chair, I will now answer questions.

Thank you.


The Chair:

Thank you, Mr. Jarry.[English]

I'm probably going to have to get one of those fridges, because that fridge can make a meal of what's in my fridge. That will be a truly miraculous event.

Mr. Michel Picard (Montarville, Lib.):

They don't make the meal for you.

The Chair:

Bologna sandwiches are still bologna sandwiches, no matter who makes them.

Mr. Gull, for 10 minutes, and I'll ask you to introduce your colleagues.

Mr. Tony Gull (President, Tawich Development Corporation):

Thank you.

[Witness spoke in Cree]


In my language, I thank you for hearing us out and giving us an opportunity to share with you a little in terms of opportunities we're looking at for our nation—the Cree nation—and our community, more specifically, Wemindji.

On my left are my advisers who are working on this file with us, our corporation. This is Sam Gull, an adviser; this is Jean Schiettekatte, another one of our advisers; and this is Robert Milo. They are three advisers and somewhat experts too in this field in terms of what we're trying to accomplish.

I guess the message here today from us, as you can see, is that it's a northern international fibre telecommunication highway to link Canada, Asia and Europe. It's key to assuring Canadian financial Internet cybersecurity.

For us, in terms of the corporation itself, it's wholly owned by the community of Wemindji, which is about 1,400 people. Right now the corporation, just to give you an idea, is called Tawich. Tawich means “far out”. It's a far out development corporation—that's the translation.

Just to give you perspective, right now Tawich employs over 1,000 people across Quebec, in the region of Abitibi and in certain other areas within the province. We have various companies. This is just another exciting opportunity we're looking into to basically reach the goal of convincing certain people to get into this project together.

As you know, it's basically keskun, which means clouds. When you're talking about cyber, Internet and talking about clouds, it's keskun, as it is pronounced in our dialect. Basically, it's the data centre project that we will be building on the Cree territory of our community. Keskun is essentially an industrial storage park and major Nordic data centres that we're looking at.

The project will initially require a power supply of about 200 megawatts. The most reliable green energy source in North America, as we all know, is the big Robert-Bourassa power station that is just a couple of hours' drive away from home. The Quebec energy board authorized the allocation of a certain amount of megawatts to calculation centres on April 29, 2019.

Right now we feel that Canada is basically limited to the U.S. for its international Internet connectivity. About 11% of Canadian international Internet traffic doesn't pass through the U.S.

We talk a lot in terms of what this gentleman just spoke about. The way I look at it is that it's a superhighway that we're trying to connect to and bring into our area. Canadian cybersecurity, including financial transactions, is dependent on the U.S.A. This is part of what we feel is kind of a weak link.

With that being said, I'll let my advisers and colleagues touch more on the project.


committee hansard secu 19162 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 15, 2019

2019-05-14 RNNR 136

Standing Committee on Natural Resources



The Chair (Mr. James Maloney (Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Lib.)):

Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you for joining us.

We are going back in time today. Back in 2016, when we first convened this committee, the first thing we did was to study the oil and gas sector, and produced a report entitled “The Future of Canada's Oil and Gas Sector: Innovation, Sustainable Solutions and Economic Opportunities”. The government provided a report in response, and today we're here to discuss an update on those issues and to get a briefing from our friends at NRCan to tell us where things stand as of 2019.

We're grateful to you for taking the time to be here. After your remarks, we will open the floor to questions from members around the table.

Welcome, and thank you.

Mr. Frank Des Rosiers (Assistant Deputy Minister, Innovation and Energy Technology Sector, Department of Natural Resources):

Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's a pleasure to be here and to report on our progress.

I'm accompanied by two colleagues: Dr. Cecile Siewe, director general of the CanmetENERGY laboratory in Devon, Alberta; and Chris Evans, senior director in the petroleum resources branch at Natural Resources Canada.

We shared a copy of a short overview presentation, but I thought perhaps I could touch on it quickly to give you a bit of sense of what has happened since our last encounter on this topic.

With regard to the broad context and sheer importance of the oil and gas sector in the country, it is a major industry, a major driver of jobs, GDP, and exports. You have seen some of those data in the report itself, but it's worth reminding ourselves that it's 276,000 jobs around the country, so it affects a lot of people and their families. It accounts for some $100 billion in exports and 5.6% of GDP. Canada is a very large player in the global scene in the production and export of both oil and natural gas.

As we all know, the industry has faced some pretty challenging times in recent years, in particular thanks to the decline in commodity prices affecting world markets. Our industry and our people working in this industry surely felt it most directly.

Despite the short-term turmoil, the long-term future of the oil and gas industry remains quite strong, as shown in NEB reports, as well as assessments conducted by the International Energy Agency. Despite those challenging times, we've had our share of good news lately with some major project announcements, including the largest project in Canada's history, the LNG Canada project, a $40 billion project in British Columbia. This project will make Canada a prominent player in the LNG space, which as we know is a very important trend globally in energy markets, with our being the cleanest energy producer in the world. This will assist us in servicing our Asian clients, who are trying to move away from coal.

Another key project worth noting is in the offshore of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Hebron project, a $14 billion initiative. There are also major petrochemical projects in Alberta, which were announced in recent months. These are certainly encouraging signs. [Translation]

We're coming back to the elements of the government's response to the report you produced. They are grouped around four main themes.[English]

The first one was around intergovernmental collaboration and co-operation, the second focused on building public trust and transparency, the third was directed at engagement with indigenous people and resource development, and the fourth was on innovation in oil and gas.

I hope to cover some of this in my interim remarks, but because of time considerations, we may have to cover this during the Qs and As.

I'd like to note some of the major initiatives currently in play. There is Bill C-69, which is currently in front of the Senate for deliberation. There is the work around the consultation for the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which is also ongoing. I should also note the sizable investment made by the government in clean technology innovation—some $3 billion has been invested to date, with some key investments in the oil and gas sector, which I will touch on.

Looking at the engagement with citizens was also a key element of our focus this past fall. Our department's Generation Energy Council is engaged with some 380,000 Canadians on what the future of energy should look like. In those discussions, four pathways have emerged. One of these was being a clean oil and gas producer, which remains central to our game plan.

To cut to the chase, the key takeaway from that consultation, which lasted several months, was the desire of our citizens to see us as competitive, to make sure that our oil and gas industry can thrive, and to sustain those jobs and wealth creation. However, it also looked at ways to improve our environmental performance in terms of both GHGs and also our impacts on water and land.

Those two themes were very present throughout our conversation, along with the theme of the innovation required to get to that desired objective.

The industry has gone through a rather challenging environment lately, and this past December the government announced a support package to help the workers and communities affected by the downturn in the price of oil and gas. The total package was worth $1.6 billion.


I want to perhaps touch on some of those key components, the first one being $1 billion in commercial financial support coming from Export Development Canada to support the working capital needs of companies as well as their export potential in new markets.

The second envelope was $500 million from the Business Development Bank to help commercial financing to diversify those markets.

The third component was around R and D, with a $50 million investment from the clean growth program at NRCan being set aside. The total value of those projects is $890 million.

The next component was from the strategic innovation fund from ISED, the innovation department. That's a $100 million envelope.

Lastly, there is access to the national trade corridors fund, with a total value of $750 million. A significant amount of commitments have been made in that regard.

To close, in terms of tax measures, in the fiscal updates in the past fall, as colleagues will know, Mr. Chair, there was a significant announcement with regard to accelerated capital cost allowance measures to boost the competitiveness of all industry sectors in the country. The total value of those measures was in the order of $5 billion in terms of foregone tax revenues. Obviously, the oil and gas sector, being such a major player in terms of domestic industry, was one of those that obviously benefited from it, especially in terms of expensing clean energy equipment investments.

That brings me to the innovation team, which I touched on earlier. Obviously I will not be comprehensive here, but again, through our conversations that will follow, we may be able to touch a bit more on that. The government has been working very closely with industry and provincial governments to look at ways to really help drive the industry forward in terms of the future, as the title of your study invites.

While the industry does a terrific job in looking at those incremental improvements, there's a collective sense that we need to look at leapfrogging in terms of environmental performance and cost reductions. This is where renewed efforts with extraction technologies, tailing ponds management, air emissions as well as carbon use have been widely seen as being critical.

I won't go into those in detail, but to give you a bit of a hint, in terms of extraction technologies, there are some promising leads there that we and the industry are pursuing with vigour, to look at both reducing the cost of production but also reducing emissions by the order of 40% to 50%. We have a number of projects in this area, which are very exciting indeed, that we are driving quite actively right now.

It's the same thing in the area of tailings. We hear a lot of concern among our citizens in terms of how we can cope with those and reduce the production of those tailing ponds. There's effort there. It's also looking at using some of those tailing ponds and making sure that we're able to extract the valuable hydrocarbon and heavy metals such as titanium to be able to make better use of it. It's very much in the spirit of a cyclical economy, being able to recycle some of those products.

We have a large-scale project currently under way, which was announced by the Province of Alberta with Titanium Corporation, to do precisely that.

These are, for us, very encouraging signs of what Canada is able to do. Of all sectors, the oil and gas sector in Canada has been known for decades to be extremely innovative and entrepreneurial. I have a lot of confidence that we'll be able to advance those projects successfully.

The the penultimate slide speaks a bit to how we went about doing it. As you know, the pan-Canadian framework was anchored around this notion of working collaboratively with provincial and territorial governments. We felt it was the right thing to do to pay special attention to how we went about doing business.

There I could point out perhaps three elements that were, in our eyes, quite meaningful. The first is the establishment of a clean growth hub, which is essentially a one-stop shop for people to interact with the federal family. Sometimes it's a bit difficult if you're a university researcher, a small firm out there, to figure out whom to talk to. Their wish was to have have a one-stop shop where they could interact with us. We heard that feedback, and we took it to heart and established this hub. It is is a grouping of 16 department and agencies physically co-located in an office here in downtown Ottawa. They are able to interact with clients and direct them, whether they need financing, access to market, regulatory changes or issues around procurement—whatever topic they may have.


In our one short year of operation, we've had more than 1,000 clients come our way to look for guidance and support, and it's a very popular feature of our ecosystem nowadays.

The second thing I would note is around the trusted partnership model. We have finite resources both federally and provincially to invest taxpayers' dollars, so we have to try to find ways to use those limited resources smartly. We reach out to provinces and say “How about we try to identify together what the most promising technologies are and look at having an integrated review process?”.

Instead of having researchers in universities go through separate processes both federally and provincially, we essentially recognize each other's process, saving an enormous amount of time for the researchers and innovators to access the federal or provincial funding, and also it speeds up the process considerably. We have eight or nine of those trusted partnership models across the country, which have proven to be quite successful.

The third and last thing I would note is that the government announced, in budget 2019, $100 million in funding for the Clean Resource Innovation Network, or CRIN for short. It brings together innovators in the oil and gas sector, mostly in western Canada, and the grouping has been active now for about a year. The federal government was happy to provide some support for that. They were actually in town just this past week, and it looks to be quite exciting in development. [Translation]

To conclude, I'll talk about the national energy labs.

We have a network of four national labs located in several parts of the country, in Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, Ontario, and Alberta. They bring together more than 600 researchers, engineers and technicians in this field.[English]They cover a wide range of technologies: renewable energy, PV, geothermal, bioenergy, marine, energy efficiency, advanced materials. They look at artificial intelligence application in energy as well as fossil energy.

We have the privilege of having Dr. Cecile Siewe here, who is the lab DG from our CanmetENERGY-Devon facility, which is focusing precisely on oil and gas research. As we'll hear during the audience, there's a lot of work there around water research, extraction technologies, partial upgrading, oil spill recovery and a lot of those domains of expertise. Dr. Siewe is a highly renowned scientist in her own right but also the lead of that lab. I thought it could be of interest to the committee members to interact directly with her.

I'll pause here and turn the floor over to you.

The Chair:

Thank you very much.

Mr. Whalen, you're going to start us off.

Mr. Nick Whalen (St. John's East, Lib.):

committee hansard rnnr 26198 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 14, 2019

2019-05-14 PROC 155

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs



The Chair (Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)):

Good morning, everyone.[English]

Good morning and welcome to the 155th meeting of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

This morning we are hearing witnesses for our study on the mandate of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and oversight of the Centre Block rehabilitation project and the long-term vision and plan, as discussed at the meeting of Tuesday, May 7.

From the House of Commons, we have Michel Patrice, deputy clerk, administration; and Stéphan Aubé, chief information officer.

From the Department of Public Services and Procurement Canada, we have Rob Wright, assistant deputy minister, parliamentary precinct branch; and Jennifer Garrett, director general, Centre Block rehabilitation program.

We also have Larry Malcic, architect from Centrus Architects.

Thank you all for being here. I've been told that you're all available to stay for the two hours of the meeting. From what I understand, there will be an opening statement to be followed by a presentation on the long-term vision and plan. After that we'll move to questions by committee members for the remainder of the meeting.

As you know, we all have a great interest in increasing communications on this topic, so this is very good. Everyone's very pleased this meeting is occurring.

Mr. Wright, please begin your presentation. [Translation]

Mr. Rob Wright (Assistant Deputy Minister, Parliamentary Precinct Branch, Department of Public Works and Government Services):

Good morning, Mr. Chair and committee members.

I am pleased to be here today to update you on the Centre Block rehabilitation program.

I am accompanied by Jennifer Garrett, director general for the Centre Block rehabilitation program, and Larry Malcic from Centrus, who is the program's design consultant.

We are pleased to be working on this exciting program with our parliamentary partners and to have the opportunity to discuss the restoration of the Centre Block with you this morning.[English]

Since the historic move of parliamentarians out of Centre Block last Christmas, PSPC has been working in collaboration with the administration of the House of Commons on preparing the Centre Block for its major rehabilitation. This involves working hand in hand with Parliament on decommissioning the building so that it is fully separated from the rest of the Hill. This includes such things as rerouting underground IT networks and removing the building from the central heating and cooling plant.

Another key part of the decommissioning process is ensuring that the remaining art and artifacts in the building are safely moved and stored. During this work, the Centre Block remains under the control of Parliament, and we expect that it will be officially transferred to Public Services and Procurement Canada by the end of the summer.

While we continue to collaborate on the important decommissioning process, we are also advancing the assessment program, which had begun while you were still using the Centre Block. We have now progressed to opening up the floors, walls and ceilings to deepen our understanding of the building's condition, which is an important component of de-risking the project.

In addition to working to better understand the building's condition, we have also been working closely with parliamentary officials to define the functionality desired for the Centre Block of the future. In modernizing the Centre Block so that it supports a modern parliamentary democracy, we are also taking care to restore the beautiful building. We have heard loud and clear from you and other parliamentarians the desire to immediately recognize the Centre Block when it reopens and to feel immediately at home again.

An important element of the conversation on the Centre Block's future is phase two of the visitor welcome centre. Much like phase one is done for the West Block, the expanded visitor welcome centre will provide security screening for visitors to Parliament Hill outside of the footprint of the Centre Block and East Block. As well, it will provide additional services to Canadians and international tourists visiting the Parliament Buildings. It is also envisioned that this underground facility will provide functions that directly support the operations of Parliament, such as committee rooms.

You will see in the upcoming presentation that the design and construction of the visitor welcome centre will join the West, East and Centre Blocks in one parliamentary complex. As we move forward, thinking of the Centre Block as a central part of this unified parliamentary complex should provide some interesting opportunities. Approaching the Centre, West and East Blocks as a parliamentary complex is part of a larger initiative to transform the precinct into a more integrated campus. This campus will tie together the facilities on the Hill, as well as important buildings in the three city blocks facing Parliament Hill, such as the Wellington, Sir John A. Macdonald and Valour buildings.

This shift involves moving from a building-by-building approach to a more holistic strategy on such important and interconnected elements as security, the visitor experience, urban design and the landscape, material handling and parking, the movement of people and vehicles, environmental sustainability and accessibility.

Gaining your feedback on the functions you feel should be contained in the Centre Block and the visitor welcome centre and how the space should work for parliamentarians, media and the public is invaluable for our work going forward. We are happy to be back at this committee to hear your thoughts, and we are very eager to continue engaging with parliamentarians on this important work.

I will now ask Ms. Garrett and Mr. Malcic to walk you through the presentation. Along with my colleagues from the House of Commons, I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you.


Ms. Jennifer Garrett (Director General, Centre Block Program, Department of Public Works and Government Services):

Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Chair, and members of the committee.

With regard to how are going to roll out this presentation, I'm going to take you through what I call the programmatic aspects of the presentation. Then I'm going to hand the floor to Mr. Malcic to take you through some of the initial ideas that the architect has to respond to the 50% functional program that we've received to-date from our parliamentary partners. Then we'll close with you on the next steps.

This next slide depicts the project scope for the program. Launching off the successes of both this building and the Senate of Canada buildings, we're now launching the biggest heritage rehabilitation program that PSPC has ever done. That program contains essentially two key components, the first being the modernization of Centre Block program proper, which is effectively a complete base building upgrade from masonry to structural to seismic to modern and mechanical and electrical systems, just to give you a sense. Essentially, the entire base building needs to be upgraded to meet modern standards. Along with that, there needs to be design to address a functional program to ensure that we're supporting modern parliamentary operations well into the 21st century.

The second component of the program scope is to construct phase two of the visitor welcome centre. Essentially, if you look out in front of Centre Block—and yes it is an underground facility—we're going to dig a very large hole and build that visitor welcome centre phase two. That facility will have capabilities to support parliamentary operations and services in support of visitors who are coming to Parliament Hill, and we'll connect the triad—the East, West and Centre Blocks—effectively forming what Mr. Wright referred to earlier as a “parliamentary complex”. That triad will obviously be part of a broader parliamentary campus.

The next slide shows this joint effort between the House of Commons administration and us to map out for you the construction and the design process as we go through the program.

I would say that at this point we're still working with our construction manager to formalize the final project schedule, but we have key milestones that we can share with you this morning, and we basically have a three-year outlook for the program at this point.

In terms of design, we've essentially launched the functional program phase, as well as the schematic design process. By the end of this fiscal year in March, if you're following along the two top rows of arrows—the functional program and the design arrows—our target is to effectively have a preferred design option at the schematic design level for the Centre Block and visitor welcome centre. But if we start to move down a row and start to follow the construction activities, this is a layered integrated program approach. We're not waiting for the design process to be complete, but are starting construction activities. Two key construction activities that we are going to be launching through the fall and winter time frame are targeted demolition and abatement in a November time frame within Centre Block, as well as the start of excavation in a winter 2020 time frame. To do that, our construction manager has already started the tendering process.

That is the key outlook for the big programs standing up.

The other thing that we're going to be doing, which we've already launched and are actively working on, is completing that comprehensive assessment program that Mr. Wright referred to in his opening remarks and completing the projects that we call the “enabling projects”, things like the temporary loading dock. The books of remembrance relocation was part of that, and there are temporary construction roads, and there's effectively standing up the construction site.

Regarding the next slide, perhaps some or all of you may have seen an early drawing of what we expected to be the construction delineation site early on in the program. This slide in front of you represents our latest thinking and our interactions on planning with the construction manager. It represents our understanding of what we think that site construction delineation is going to be for the program. Effectively, what you'll see, if you look to the left of the slide, is that we've outlined where visitor welcome centre phase one is, and the grey hatched in area is essentially the footprint for the proposed visitor welcome centre phase two, based on the functional program requirements we've received from parliamentary partners to date.


That effectively drives it in combination. The three considerations that drive the delineation of that line are support of existing parliamentary operations, the construction needs of what is going to become a very large construction site, and also managing the visitor experience.

We want to make sure that we're balancing all of those, so there has been a significant amount of activity and coordination to ensure that we're setting that line with the administrations of the House, Senate and the Library in consultation with our construction manager. The line we think will allow us to continue to support parliamentary operations and enable a program of visitor experience on the front lawn but allow the construction manager to execute the program.

I'll go to the next slide. Before I hand the floor over to Larry, there are some things or key design challenges that I wanted to flag that we know about right now and that we will start to work through in the coming months over the course of the program. As I referred to when we were talking about the scope slide, base building modernization is going to be significant in terms of Centre Block, and it will take up space. In studying that, what we know to date right now in terms of our assessments and our understanding of modernization and code requirements is that it's going to take up space from the functional program in Centre Block proper to the tune of about 2,500 square metres.

To give you a sense of what that means in terms of physical space, that would be the equivalent of all the offices on the fourth floor of Centre Block. That's to put in things such as conduits for modern HVAC and to increase the structural: put the seismic solution in place, washrooms, IT closets, etc., all the sort of space-building functional requirements. That's the first one.

The second one is the technical challenges of actually modernizing and undertaking a very significant modernized program in what is one of our highest heritage buildings in the country. Rest assured that we have conservators and all sorts of experience with us to do that, but it is not an insignificant challenge. In support of that, we've mapped completely the heritage hierarchy of the building, and we are doing our very best to put design into the building or to design the building so that we're having the least amount of impact on heritage in heritage areas where there would be a lower hierarchy in the building. We're working through that.

Finally, the functional program demand that we have received to date from parliamentary partners does exceed the availability or the supply. We have a demand-and-supply issue, so part of the work that we're going to be going through in the coming months is working through that. There's a series of key decisions that we'll bring you back to, once the architect has taken you through the program, to have a bit of a sense of how we're going to go through that.

We'll go to the next slide, and without further ado I'm going to pass the floor to Mr. Malcic.


Mr. Larry Malcic (Architect, Centrus Architects):

Thank you.

I'm pleased to return to this committee to share information and ideas regarding the rehabilitation of Centre Block.

It is, as Mrs. Garrett has said, a high heritage building, and we wish to preserve that key important heritage. But it's also the working heart of the Canadian parliamentary democracy, and that has evolved over the last century since the building was designed and built. What has remained constant is the importance of the fundamental planning principles that created the building and, indeed, the triad of buildings in the first place. Those are the beaux arts design planning principles that have emphasized the hierarchy of spaces and the importance of both ceremonial circulation and processional routes, as well as providing a very strong infrastructure for the functional aspects of the building. You have the symmetrical displacement of the two chambers, the House and Senate, the placement of the library on axis, along with Confederation Hall, and in more recent years the Centennial Flame. We want to ensure that as we move forward with the project, we extend that beaux arts plan to create a campus or a complex of buildings that are appropriate in every way to the historical intentions of the original creators of Parliament Hill.

committee hansard proc 37283 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 14, 2019

2019-05-13 SECU 162

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



The Chair (Hon. John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood, Lib.)):

I'll bring this meeting to order.

Welcome to the 162nd meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

We have the Honourable David McGuinty and Rennie Marcoux. Thank you to both of you for coming and presenting the annual report of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which has the unfortunate name of NSICOP. I'm sure Mr. McGuinty will explain in his own inimitable style what NSICOP actually does.

Welcome, Mr. McGuinty, to the committee. We look forward to your comments.

Hon. David McGuinty (Chair, National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians):

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Good afternoon, colleagues. Thank you for your invitation to appear before your committee. I am joined by Rennie Marcoux, executive director of the Secretariat of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, or NSICOP.

It's a privilege to be here with you today to discuss the 2018 annual report of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

The committee's first annual report is the result of the work, the dedication and the commitment from my colleagues on the committee. It is intended to contribute to an informed debate among Canadians on the difficult challenges of providing security and intelligence organizations with the exceptional powers necessary to identify and counter threats to the nation while at the same time ensuring that their activities continue to respect and preserve our democratic rights. [Translation]

NSICOP has the mandate to review the overall framework for national security and intelligence in Canada, including legislation, regulations, policy, administration and finances.

It may also examine any activity that is carried out by a department that relates to national security or intelligence.

Finally, it may review any matter relating to national security or intelligence that a minister refers to the committee.[English]

Members of the committee are all cleared to a top secret level, swear an oath and are permanently bound to secrecy. Members also agree that the nature of the committee, multi-party, drawn from the House of Commons and the Senate, with a broad range of experience, bring a unique perspective to these important issues.

In order to conduct our work, we are entitled to have access to any information that is related to our mandate, but there are some exceptions, namely, cabinet confidences, the identity of confidential sources or protected witnesses, and ongoing law enforcement investigations that may lead to prosecutions.

The year 2018 was a year of learning for the committee. We spent many hours and meetings building our understanding of our mandate and of the organizations responsible for protecting Canada and Canadians. The committee was briefed by officials from across the security and intelligence community and visited all seven of the main departments and agencies. Numerous meetings were also held with the national security and intelligence adviser to the Prime Minister. NSICOP also decided to conduct a review of certain security allegations surrounding the Prime Minister's trip to India in February 2018.

Over the course of the calendar year, the committee met 54 times, with an average of four hours per meeting. Annex E of the report outlines the committee's extensive outreach and engagement activities with government officials, academics and civil liberties groups.

The annual report is a result of extensive oral and written briefings, more than 8,000 pages of printed materials, dozens of meetings between NSICOP analysts and government officials, in-depth research and analysis, and thoughtful and detailed deliberations among committee members.

The report is also unanimous. In total, the report makes 11 findings and seven recommendations to the government. The committee has been scrupulously careful to take a non-partisan approach to these issues. We hope that our findings and recommendations will strengthen the accountability and effectiveness of Canada's security and intelligence community.



The report before you contains five chapters, including the two substantive reviews conducted by the committee.

The first chapter explains the origins of NSICOP, its mandate and how it approaches its work, including what factors the committee takes into consideration when deciding what to review.

The second chapter provides an overview of the security and intelligence organizations in Canada, of the threats to Canada's security and how these organizations work together to keep Canada and Canadian safe and to promote Canadian interests.

Those two chapters are followed by the committee's two substantive reviews for 2018.[English]

In chapter 3, the committee reviewed the way the government determines its intelligence priorities. Why is this important? There are three reasons.

First, this process is the fundamental means of providing direction to Canada's intelligence collectors and assessors, ensuring they focus on the government's, and the country's, highest priorities.

Second, this process is essential to ensure accountability in the intelligence community. What the intelligence community does is highly classified. This process gives the government regular insight into intelligence operations from a government-wide lens.

Third, this process helps the government to manage risk. When the government approves the intelligence priorities, it is accepting the risks of focusing on some targets and also the risk of not focusing on others. [Translation]

The committee found that the process, from identifying priorities to translating them into practical guidance, to informing ministers and seeking their approval, does have a solid foundation. That said, any process can be improved.

In particular, the committee recommends that the Prime Minister's national security and intelligence advisor should take a stronger leadership role in the process in order to make sure that cabinet has the best information to make important decisions on where Canada should focus its intelligence activities and its resources.[English]

Moving on, chapter 4 reviews the intelligence activities of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. The government's defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, states that DND/CAF is “the only entity within the Government of Canada that employs the full spectrum of intelligence collection capabilities while providing multi-source analysis.”

We recognize that defence intelligence activities are critical to the safety of troops and the success of Canadian military activities, including those abroad, and they are expected to grow. When the government decides to deploy the Canadian Armed Forces, DND/CAF also has implicit authority to conduct defence intelligence activities. In both cases, the source of authority is what is known as the Crown prerogative. This is very different from how other intelligence organizations, notably CSE and CSIS, operate. Each of those organizations has clear statutory authority to conduct intelligence activities, and they are subject to regular, independent and external review.

This was a significant and complex review for the committee, with four findings and three recommendations.

Our first recommendation focuses on areas where DND/CAF could make changes to strengthen its existing internal governance structure over its intelligence activities and to strengthen the accountability of the minister.

The other two recommendations would require the government to amend or to consider enacting legislation. The committee has set out the reasons why it formed the view that regular independent review of DND/CAF intelligence activities will strengthen accountability over its operations.

We believe there is an opportunity for the government, with Bill C-59 still before the Senate, to put in place requirements for annual reporting on DND/CAF's national security or intelligence activities, as would be required for CSIS and CSE.

Second, the committee also believes that its review substantiates the need for the government to give very serious consideration to providing explicit legislative authority for the conduct of defence intelligence activities. Defence intelligence is critical to the operations of the Canadian Armed Forces and, like all intelligence activities, involves inherent risks.

DND/CAF officials expressed concerns to the committee about maintaining operational flexibility for the conduct of defence intelligence activities in support of military operations. The committee, therefore, thought it was important to present both the risks and the benefits of placing defence intelligence on a clear statutory footing.

Our recommendations are a reflection of the committee's analysis of these important issues.



We would be pleased to take your questions.[English]

Thank you.

The Chair:

Thank you, Mr. McGuinty.

Mr. Picard, you have seven minutes, please. [Translation]

Mr. Michel Picard (Montarville, Lib.):

Thank you.

Welcome to our witnesses.

committee foss hansard secu 36325 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 13, 2019

2019-05-09 ETHI 148

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics



The Chair (Mr. Bob Zimmer (Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, CPC)):

Good day, everybody. We're at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, meeting 148, pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(h)(vi) and (vii), a study of election advertising on YouTube.

Today we have with us, from Google Canada, Colin McKay, head of public policy and government relations. We also have Jason Kee, public policy and government relations counsel.

Just before we get started, I want to announce to the room that the release went out at 3:30, so it's going out as we speak, with regard to the matter that we dealt with on Tuesday, so watch for that.

We'll start off with Mr. McKay.

Mr. Colin McKay (Head, Public Policy and Government Relations, Google Canada):

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you very much for the invitation to speak to you today.

I'd like to start off with an observation. First and foremost, we would like to clarify that we feel there is an inaccuracy in the language of the motion initiating this study. Specifically, the motion invited us to explain our “decision not to run ads during the upcoming election” and our “refusal to comply with Bill C-76”. To be clear, our decision to not accept regulated political advertising is not a refusal to comply with Bill C-76 and the Canada Elections Act, but rather was specifically taken in order to comply.

Free and fair elections are fundamental to democracy, and we at Google take our work to protect elections and promote civic engagement very seriously. On cybersecurity, we have developed several products that are available to political campaigns, elections agencies and news organizations free of charge. These include, as I've mentioned to you before, Project Shield, which uses Google's infrastructure to protect organizations from denial of service attacks and our advanced protection program, which safeguards accounts of those at risk of targeted attacks by implementing two-factor authentication, limiting data sharing across apps and providing strong vetting of account recovery requests. These are over and above the robust protections we've already built into our products.

We have also undertaken significant efforts to combat the intentional spread of disinformation across search, news, YouTube and our advertising systems. This work is based on three foundational pillars: making quality count, fighting bad actors and giving people context.

I'll turn to my colleague.

Mr. Jason Kee (Public Policy and Government Relations Counsel, Google Canada):

We are making quality count by identifying and ranking high-quality content in search, news and YouTube in order to provide users the most authoritative information for their news-seeking queries. This includes providing more significant weight to authority as opposed to relevance or popularity for queries that are news related, especially during times of crisis or breaking news.

On YouTube, this also includes reducing recommendations for borderline content that is close to violating our content policies, content that can misinform users in harmful ways or low-quality content that may result in a poor user experience.

We are fighting bad actors by cutting off their flow of money and traffic. We are constantly updating our content and advertising policies to prohibit misleading behaviours such as misrepresentation in our ads products or impersonation on YouTube and to prohibit ads on inflammatory, hateful or violent content or that which covers controversial issues or sensitive events.

We enforce these policies vigorously, using the latest advances in machine learning to identify policy-violative content and ads, and we have a team of over 10,000 people working on these issues.

While diversity of information is inherently built into the design of search news and YouTube, each search query delivers multiple options from various sources, increasing exposure to diverse perspectives. We are also working to provide users further context around the information they see. These include knowledge panels in search that provide high-level facts about a person or issue; content labels in search and news to identify when it contains fact-checking or is an opinion piece; and on YouTube, dedicated news shelves to ensure users are exposed to news from authoritative sources during news events and information panels identifying if a given channel is state or publicly funded, and providing authoritative information on well-established topics that are often subject to misinformation.

Mr. Colin McKay:

ln relation to elections, we are partnering with Elections Canada and Canadian news organizations to provide information on how to vote and essential information about candidates. We will also support the live streaming of candidate debates on YouTube and we are creating a YouTube channel dedicated to election coverage from authoritative news sources.

Our work to address misinformation is not limited to our products. A healthy news ecosystem is critical for democracy, and we dedicate significant resources to supporting quality journalism and related efforts.

The Google news initiative has developed a comprehensive suite of products, partnerships and programs to support the news industry and committed $300 million to funding programs. We are also supporting news literacy in Canada, including a half-million-dollar grant to the Canadian Journalism Foundation and CIVIX to develop NewsWise, a news literacy program reaching over one million Canadian students, and a further $1-million grant announced last week to the CJF to support news literacy for voting-age Canadians.

We're funding these programs because we believe it's critical that Canadians of all ages understand how to evaluate information online.


Mr. Jason Kee:

In line with this, we fully support improving transparency in political advertising. Last year we voluntarily introduced enhanced verification requirements for U.S. political advertisers, in-ad disclosures for election ads, and a new transparency report and political ad library for the U.S. mid-terms. We deployed similar tools for the Indian and EU parliamentary elections. While we had intended to introduce similar measures in Canada, unfortunately the new online platforms provisions introduced in Bill C-76 do not reflect how our online advertising systems or transparency reports currently function. It was simply not feasible for us to implement the extensive changes that would have been necessary to accommodate the new requirements in the very short time we had before the new provisions took effect.

First, the definition of “online platform” includes any “Internet site or Internet application” that sells advertising space “directly or indirectly”, and imposes the new registry obligation on any platform that meets certain minimum traffic thresholds. This captures not only social media or large online advertising platforms, but also most national and regional news publishers, virtually all multicultural publications, and most popular ad-supported websites and apps, making its application extraordinarily broad.

Second, the provisions specifically require that each site or app maintain their own registry. Unlike some companies, Google provides a wide array of advertising products and services. Advertisers can purchase campaigns through Google that will run on both Google sites and/or third party publisher sites. These systems are automated. Often there is no direct relationship between the advertiser and the publisher. While the page is loading, the site will send a signal that a user meeting certain demographic criteria is available to be advertised to. The advertisers will then bid for the opportunity to display an ad to that user. The winning advertiser's ad server displays the winning ad in the user's browser. This all happens within fractions of a second. The publisher does not immediately know what ad was displayed and does not have immediate access to the ad that was shown. To accommodate the new provisions, we would have had to build entirely new systems to inform publishers that a regulated political ad had displayed and then deliver a copy of that ad and the requisite information to each publisher for inclusion in their own registry. This was simply not achievable in the very short time before the provisions took effect.

Third, the provisions require the registry to be updated the same day as the regulated political ad is displayed. This effectively means that the registry must be updated in real time, as a regulated political ad that was displayed at 11:59 p.m. would need to be included in the registry before midnight. Due to the complexities of our online advertising systems, we simply could not commit to such a turnaround time.

A final complication is that “election advertising” includes advertising “taking a position on an issue with which a registered party or candidate is associated”. These are generally referred to as “issue ads”. Issue ads are highly contextual and notoriously difficult to identify reliably, especially as the definition is vague and will change and evolve during the course of a campaign. Given these challenges, we generally prohibit this class of advertising in countries where it's regulated, such as our recent prohibition in France.

Mr. Colin McKay:

We wish to stress that our decision to not accept regulated political advertising in Canada was not a decision we took lightly. We sincerely believe in the responsible use of online advertising to reach the electorate, especially for those candidates who may not have a sophisticated party apparatus behind them, and for legitimate third parties to engage in advocacy on a range of issues. It is also worth noting that any time we opt to no longer accept a category of advertising, it necessarily has negative revenue impacts. However, after several months of internal deliberations and explorations of potential solutions to try to otherwise accommodate the new requirements, it became clear that this would simply not be feasible in the few months we had available. Consequently, it was decided to not accept regulated political ads, and focus our efforts on promoting civic engagement and other initiatives.


Mr. Jason Kee:

In the coming weeks, our decision to not accept regulated political advertising in Canada will be formally reflected in our ads policies. We will continue the process of notifying all affected parties of the change. Similar to other ads categories that we don't accept, the policy will be enforced by a combination of automated systems and dedicated ads enforcement teams, who will undergo rigorous training on the new policy. We will also continue our work with Elections Canada and the commissioner of Canada elections on interpretation and enforcement matters and the relevant industry organizations that are working on measures to assist online platforms and publishers with the new obligations.

We appreciate the opportunity to discuss our elections activities in Canada and our decision to prohibit regulated political advertising.

Thank you.

The Chair:

Thank you to both of you.

First up in our seven-minute round is Mr. Erskine-Smith.

Mr. Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches—East York, Lib.):

Thanks very much.

I understand that Facebook and Google together are 75% of digital ad revenue. The decision of Google to not accept political ads is thus pretty significant for the upcoming election. Do you agree with that?

Mr. Colin McKay:

We think it's significant for us to take a decision like this. However, that number is generalized. It may not reflect the market for political advertising.

Mr. Nathaniel Erskine-Smith:

It's a significant decision for the Canadian election.

Now, I want to contrast and compare two really large companies that operate in this space.

Have you read the recent report from the OPC, on the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica breach?

Mr. Colin McKay:


Mr. Nathaniel Erskine-Smith:

committee ethi foss hansard 35244 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 09, 2019

2019-05-09 TRAN 142

Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities



The Chair (Hon. Judy A. Sgro (Humber River—Black Creek, Lib.)):

I call to order this meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

Welcome to everyone.

We gather today to study three departmental plans for agencies that fall under the purview of the Minister of Transport, as well as the main estimates 2019-20.

A number of votes were referred to the committee for discussion on Thursday, April 11, 2019, namely votes 1 and 5 under Canadian Air Transport Security Authority; vote 1 under Canadian Transportation Agency; votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 under the Department of Transport; vote 1 under Marine Atlantic Incorporated; vote 1 under the Federal Bridge Corporation Limited and vote 1 under VIA Rail.

We are delighted to welcome the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, along with his officials. They are Michael Keenan, Deputy Minister; Kevin Brosseau, Assistant Deputy Minister for Safety and Security; Anuradha Marisetti, Assistant Deputy Minister for Programs and André Lapointe, Chief Financial Officer.

For the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, we have Mike Saunders, President and Chief Executive Officer, as well as Nancy Fitchett, Acting Vice-President for Corporate Affairs and Chief Financial Officer. Welcome back.

For the Canadian Transportation Agency, we have Scott Streiner, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, and Manon Fillion, Secretary and Chief Corporate Officer.

For Marine Atlantic, we have Murray Hupman, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Shawn Leamon, Vice-President of Finance.

Finally, for VIA Rail Canada, we have Jacques Fauteux, Director of Government and Community Relations.

Welcome, everyone, to our committee. Thank you for coming.

I'll start the discussion by calling vote 1 under the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

Minister Garneau, it's over to you for five minutes. I know that you're not feeling well today, and we really appreciate the fact that you're here with us today.

Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport):

Thank you very much, Madam Chair. I know that people would have been very disappointed if I weren't here today.

Voices: Oh, oh!

Hon. Marc Garneau: I'm delighted to be here today. If I occasionally cough and splutter, please don't worry. I'm alive and well. I don't want to make a habit of having a cold when I come here, but I am fine. Thank you.[Translation]

Madam Chair and members of the committee, thank you for the invitation to meet with you today. I am joined by the people you have already mentioned. [English]

There is a great deal of important work being done in the federal transportation portfolio, which includes Transport Canada, crown corporations, agencies and administrative tribunals.

Regarding this year's main estimates, I will begin by mentioning that for the fourth year Transport Canada is involved in a pilot project, as we assess how effective it is to link grants and contribution votes to their purpose.

To help the parliamentary study of the estimates and the scrutiny of government expenditures overall, planned Transport Canada expenditures are presented in the main estimates for 2019-20 in accordance with the department's results framework.

The overarching goal at Transport Canada is to ensure that our transportation system is safe and secure, efficient, green and innovative. We work towards this goal by proposing laws, policies and regulations; monitoring and inspecting the transportation industry to ensure that these laws, policies and regulations are respected; and funding projects to strengthen the transportation network. We also collaborate with a variety of partners, including indigenous peoples, industry, provincial and territorial governments, and international bodies.

Transport Canada's main estimates for 2019-20 total $1.86 billion. That total can be broken down into four categories, which are $879 million under “Efficient Transportation”, $374 million under “Safe and Secure Transportation”, $252 million under “Green and Innovative Transportation” and $194 million for “Internal Services.” There is also $162 million for new budget 2019 items.

This is an interesting and exciting time for transportation in Canada. Innovation is delivering new opportunities and new challenges. In response, we are allocating resources to address these challenges, and we are always seeking ways to take advantage of new opportunities to make transportation safer, more secure, and more efficient, with less impact on the environment.

Budget 2019 announced a $300-million commitment for a new incentive program for zero-emission vehicles to help us achieve our targets for new light-duty vehicles in Canada of 10% by 2025, 30% by 2030, and 100% by 2040. The first portion of that amount, $71 million for the 2019-20 fiscal year, is included in these main estimates.[Translation]

Transport Canada is also requesting $2.1 million in these main estimates for protecting critical cyber systems in the transportation sector. Budget 2019 announced more than $12 million over three years to implement the modernized Motor Vehicle Safety Act. This includes using fines to increase safety compliance, and more flexibility to support safe testing and deployment of innovative technologies.

Budget 2019 also allocated nearly $46 million dollars over three years to support innovation and modernization of Transport Canada's regulatory regime. This would affect commercial testing of remotely piloted aircraft systems beyond visual line of sight, cooperative truck platooning pilot projects, and an enhanced road safety transfer payment program.

I will also provide some highlights from these main estimates for federal agencies and Crown corporations in my portfolio.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) is seeking $875 million, to continue to protect travellers with effective, consistent and high-quality security screening.

Budget 2019 included $288 million for fiscal year 2019-20, to continue securing critical elements of the air transportation system, to protect the public.

Budget 2019 also announced our intention to advance legislation that would enable us to sell the assets and liabilities of CATSA to an independent, not-for-profit entity. The funding envelope for 2019-20 includes transition resources to support this corporate structure change.



Marine Atlantic is seeking nearly $153 million for year-round constitutionally mandated ferry service between North Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as non-mandated seasonal service between North Sydney and Argentia, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Marine Atlantic brings more than a quarter of all visitors to Newfoundland, and two-thirds of all freight, including 90% of perishables and time-sensitive goods. Marine Atlantic service is vital to the interests of companies that do business in that region and to the people who travel to and from the island of Newfoundland. Budget 2019 mentioned that we will extend support for existing ferry services in eastern Canada and will look to procure three new modern ferries, including one for Marine Atlantic.[Translation]

VIA Rail Canada is requesting almost $732 million in these main estimates. As our national passenger rail carrier, VIA Rail's objective is to provide a safe, secure, efficient, reliable, and environmentally sustainable passenger service. ln addition to trains that run through the Quebec City—Windsor corridor, and long-haul trains between Toronto and Vancouver and between Montreal and Halifax, this also includes passenger rail service to regional and remote communities, some of which have no access to alternative year round transportation.

ln conclusion, the financial resources outlined in these main estimates will help these agencies, Crown corporations, and Transport Canada to maintain and improve our transportation system. Our transportation system is vital for our economy, and for our quality of life. It is vital for our safety and security. And by making improvements to our transportation system, we are making it safer and more secure.

And we are also creating good, well-paying jobs for the middle class, and ensuring a better quality of life for all Canadians.

I would now be happy to answer any questions you may have. [English]

The Chair:

Thank you very much for that presentation, Minister Garneau.

We'll go now to Ms. Block for six minutes.

Mrs. Kelly Block (Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, CPC):

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I want to thank you as well, Minister, and your departmental staff, for joining us today.

Where does one begin with the opportunity to question you on the main estimates, the departmental report on plans and priorities and the Canadian Transportation Agency, as well as the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority? It feels like the field is wide open.

At first blush, Minister, it would appear that you have been very busy, but a closer look reveals that whether we're looking at legislation you've introduced, regulations that have been gazetted or the recent measures included in the Budget Implementation Act, much of the heavy lifting has been left to the department or to industry itself.

Take the numerous initiatives undertaken in the air industry. Consistently we have heard that the cumulative effect of these initiatives—regulations on flight duty time, the air passenger bill of rights, the recent creation of a new entity for security screening through the BIA and the tight timelines, for which industry must be ready—is overwhelming the industry's capacity to implement these changes in a safe and seamless manner.

On top of this, the industry is continuing to grapple with the recent grounding of their Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft and the subsequent changes that have had to be made by the airlines to continue providing safe air service to Canadians.

committee hansard tran 33942 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 09, 2019

2019-05-09 INDU 161

Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology



The Chair (Mr. Dan Ruimy (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, Lib.)):

We're moving on to the second portion of our committee today. Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), we're going to do a study of the subject matter of private member's motion 208 on rural digital infrastructure.

Today we have with us the mover of that private member's motion, William Amos, MP from Pontiac.

Sir, you have 10 minutes. You have the floor.

Mr. William Amos (Pontiac, Lib.):

Thank you, Chair.

I appreciate the speed with which you and our colleagues here have agreed to address this issue. I want to thank the members, both of the party I belong to but also members opposite for their unanimous support yesterday. I think that puts Parliament in a good light, and I think this is obviously a crucial issue for Canadians coast to coast. Whether you live in urban or rural Canada, you care that rural Canada is connected.

The exclamation point was placed on this issue in the Pontiac context by the tornado last year and the floods this year. I don't want to wax poetic about that stuff. People who are suffering from floods currently, who have basements underwater, want us to get down to brass tacks, so I'll try to do that today.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this before you and I appreciate also that you organized as a committee to get to this quickly. [Translation]

I know that the people in my riding of Pontiac are grateful to you, as well as all of those who live in Canada's rural regions.

Of course the digital infrastructure is an important issue that includes various aspects touching on regulation, finances and the private sector, and the influence of federal, provincial and municipal governments is not always clear.

Since last November, that is to say since I tabled the motion, the situation has changed somewhat because of Budget 2019. We have to be very honest and very clear about that. When a government makes promises and plans for large budgets of approximately $5 billion, it is because, in my opinion, it recognizes the importance of this issue.[English]

Since this motion was first brought forward, the government, with its 2019 budget, has really taken a major step forward. Major steps were taken prior. In the 2016 budget, there was $500 million over five years for connect to innovate. That money has been brought forward in a variety of ridings, my own included, where 20 million dollars' worth of projects have been announced as compared with $1.2 million to $1.3 million in the riding of Pontiac in the decade prior. Major steps are being taken already, but this new budgetary investment is really important.

Where do we go from here? How does the study that would move forward through INDU advance this? I think we need to look to the new Minister of Rural Economic Development. I think we need to appreciate the fact that the government has seen fit to establish this new institution, which is great news for rural Canada, and recognize the responsibility of Minister Bernadette Jordan to develop that strategy and incorporate the issue of digital infrastructure. When one reads the text of the motion, which goes specifically to cellular infrastructure, it's there that we find the first nexus of interest between where this Liberal government is going and where this unanimous motion brings us.

The connection is the following. Such significant investments are planned to be made for the next several years, over $5 billion in a decade, including a new universal broadband fund of $1.7 billion and the CRTC's fund of $750 million over five years that is on the cusp of opening. These are such significant funds that Canadians have reason to be optimistic, but there needs to be greater clarity, in my mind, as to how cellular infrastructure is enabled through this.

Like most Canadians, I'm not a technical expert. I don't know how fibre-to-home infrastructure outlay can enable cellphone service, but I am led to believe that it does. I think that what we need to see is clarity so that the Canadian public has confidence that these investments that are forthcoming will deliver not just high-speed Internet results on the ground for rural Canada, but also cellphone results. Obviously, both are crucial for economic development reasons, for community preservation and development reasons, and also for public safety reasons, as has been discussed in the House during the course of debate around M-208.

I think that it would be a valuable contribution on the part of this committee to discuss how cellular infrastructure can be accelerated through the government's own plans and to also draw upon witness testimony to secure the best ideas possible for achieving this.

I note that this committee has done very good work in relation to Internet in rural Canada. I appreciate that. I applaud that.



However, the specific issue of mobile or cellular telephony infrastructure has not been discussed in a complete manner. It would be essential to do so. About ten mayors in the Pontiac believe that this is one of three priorities in the region, and I know that this is also true in other regions of Canada.

In addition to the technical and economic aspects, I would like to see this committee discuss the public safety aspect. The mayor of Waltham, Mr. David Rochon, told me that he would like us to send carrier pigeons to his community so that people can communicate better. He does not think that there will be a mobile telephony system to respond to emergencies, such as when people ask for sandbags or more precise information about water levels.

If the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security does not have time to consider this matter, it would be important for this committee to do so.[English]

I think I'll conclude by requesting that a critical eye be brought, with regard to the role of the CRTC and its regulatory and incentive-creating functions, to help generate a greater impetus towards Internet and cellphone infrastructure development. The 2016 report, “Let's Talk Broadband”, brought some significant advances in terms of establishing standard upload and download rates, defining what high speed is, identifying this as a crucial issue and enabling the creation of a fund. That $750 million over five years I'm sure will be put to good use. I think, though, that we as parliamentarians need to engage in a dialogue with the CRTC to explore what more can be done, and this committee, I believe, is the ideal organ for that dialogue.

We now have before us the CRTC's preferred approach. Does Parliament believe this is adequate?

I for one don't believe that $750 million over five years is sufficient. I believe that the CRTC can go further, and I would like to also explore the Telecommunications Act, which is presently being reviewed. I would like to see how the act enables the deployment of cellphone and Internet infrastructure, and how it could be augmented to better enable it.

With those comments, colleagues, I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you also for the support. I think this motion is demonstrating some positive collegiality, and that's appreciated.


The Chair:

Thank you very much.

We're going to rush right into questions, starting off with Mr. Graham.

You have seven minutes. [Translation]

Mr. David de Burgh Graham (Laurentides—Labelle, Lib.):

Thank you, Mr. Amos, for guiding us in the right direction on the matter of cellular services.

At 7:00 a.m. this morning I took part in an interview with Ghislain Plourde, from CIME FM, to discuss your motion. I think it's extremely important.

Since our meeting in the beginning of 2016, we have worked very hard on telecommunications. Together we made presentations to the CRTC in 2016 to move this file forward. We had some major successes with Internet services. We studied the Internet services file in this committee, but we aren't making much headway on the cellular services file.

We have experienced problems in connection with this in our respective ridings, in the context of the current disasters.

Can you give us a picture of what is happening with cellular services in your riding?

In Amherst, in my riding, people from various services have to meet at city hall to discuss the situation and then go back out into the field, precisely because they are unable to communicate on the ground.

Is the situation the same in your riding?

Mr. William Amos:

Thank you for your very relevant question. I commend your efforts on this issue since you were elected. I know that your fellow citizens in the Laurentides—Labelle riding are really grateful to you for the way you have focused on these issues, not only Internet services, but also cellular telephone services.

As to public safety, it's clear that we could imagine extremely serious consequences for people who happen to be in regions where there is no signal, but it's also a matter of effectiveness, as you mentioned.

It's not only about the mayors, councillors, municipal employees or first responders who are on the ground. Clearly, all of these individuals whose responsibility it is to respond to emergencies must be able to communicate. However, there are also neighbours helping each other out and communities that get together to support each other, as is the case at present. We see that these people are much less effective without cell services.

We also know that members of communities like Waltham will no longer be able to use the pager service as of June.

The lack of technological capability to allow for a proper response to emergencies is another aspect of this issue.

Mr. David de Burgh Graham:

Should we be looking for regulatory solutions, and not just financial ones?

We will not have access to the paging system either after June 30. It will no longer exist. We will no longer be able to call our first responders to have them respond to emergencies on the ground. This is very serious.

Are there regulatory solutions we could look at?

committee hansard indu 14908 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 09, 2019

2019-05-08 SECU 161

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



The Chair (Hon. John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood, Lib.)):

Ladies and gentlemen, I call this meeting to order.

Again, I apologize to our witnesses for the interruptions, but both of you being sophisticated witnesses, you will know exactly what's going on here.

Colleagues, the likelihood is that we'll be interrupted again.

I propose to run the meeting to the next set of bells. Either at that time, or a little later if there's some interest in carrying on past the bells with unanimous consent, or before we all adjourn, I propose that we then move the motion as to whether we refer it back to the finance committee with or without recommendations or amendments.

With that, I think we will start and ask the officials for their opening statements. We'll watch the clock and hopefully get through some of the testimony and questions and answers.

Mr. Koops, are you going first?

Mr. Randall Koops (Director General, Policing Policy, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness):


Good afternoon. I'm Randall Koops, the director general of policing and firearms policy at Public Safety Canada.[Translation]

I am accompanied by Jacques Talbot. He is a lawyer and legal counsel for the Department of Justice.[English]

We're happy to appear today to assist the committee in its examination of division 10 of part 4 of Bill C-97. This bill would make amendments to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act to establish in law a new management advisory board to advise the commissioner of the RCMP on the administration and management of the force.[Translation]

The bill sets out the Board's mandate, composition, administration, and other requirements.

In January 2019, the government accepted the recommendations contained in two reports on harassment at the RCMP: one from the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, or CRCC, and the other from the former Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser.

These reports, as others have before them, identified governance change as a necessary part of stamping out harassment within the ranks of the RCMP.

The government agreed and committed to establishing a management advisory board to guide the RCMP transformation agenda, which proposes major points of intervention for the government to reshape the foundations of the RCMP and orient it towards better long-term outcomes.

The proposed management advisory board would support the Commissioner of the RCMP in accomplishing her mandate commitment to lead the force through a period of transformation, to modernize it, and to reform its culture; in ensuring the sound overall management of the RCMP; in protecting the health and safety of RCMP employees; and in making sure that the RCMP delivers high-quality police services based on appropriate priorities, to keep Canadians safe and protect their civil liberties.[English]

The mandate of the board would be to advise the commissioner of the RCMP on the force's administration and management, including its human resources, management controls, corporate planning and budgets. The composition of the management advisory board would be up to 13 members, including a chairperson and a vice-chairperson appointed by the Governor in Council on a part-time basis for a period of no more than four years.

In selecting these members, the government has indicated that it will consider regional and gender diversity, reconciliation with indigenous peoples, and executive management skills, experiences and competencies, for example, human resources and labour relations, information technology, change management and innovation. The bill would permit the minister to consult provincial and territorial governments that have contracted the services of the RCMP about these appointments. Also, the bill sets out the grounds of ineligibility, most importantly to avoid real, potential or apparent conflicts of interest for board members.[Translation]

Regarding its operations, the management advisory board would be able to set its own priorities, work plans, and procedures. The Deputy Minister of Public Safety Canada and the Commissioner of the RCMP may attend all board meetings as observers, but will not vote.

To make certain that the board is able to advise on anything in its mandate, the RCMP will be obliged to provide the board with information it considers necessary. In addition, the board would be able to share with the minister any advice given to the commissioner. [English]

Most importantly, under this legislation the establishment of the management advisory board would not change the existing roles, responsibilities or accountabilities of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, who will remain accountable to Parliament for the RCMP and retain the authority to direct the commissioner and to establish strategic priorities for the RCMP; of the commissioner of the RCMP, who will retain control and management of the force; nor of the existing RCMP review bodies and existing national security review bodies whose mandates will remain unchanged. Neither will it change the responsibilities of the Treasury Board, which will remain the RCMP's employer.

Bill C-7, which was assented to in 2017, provided for the unionization of RCMP members and reservists. This process is now under way. In C-7, Parliament has reaffirmed the Treasury Board as the force's employer and nothing in these amendments revisits Parliament's decision or disrupts those relationships.

The proposed legislation fully respects a fundamental principle of Canadian policing, which is that police independence underpins the rule of law. The board will not, in any way, impinge upon the independence of RCMP policing operations. It will not be authorized to ask for information that might hinder or compromise an investigation or a prosecution and personal information and cabinet confidences are also out of bounds.

Assuming the bill receives royal assent, the amendments will become effective on a date prescribed by the Governor in Council.

However, if the government creates an interim board in the meantime using its existing authorities under the Public Service Employment Act, then a transitional provision included here in Bill C-97 would continue the tenure of those appointments under the new provisions in the RCMP Act.

In conclusion, the commissioner of the RCMP has said that the creation of a management advisory board is a critical step to help modernize and support a diverse, healthy and effective RCMP. Bill C-97 would make that role permanent to support the current commissioner in her mandate commitment to lead the RCMP through a period of transformation and to support future commissioners in maintaining a force that is trusted by Canadians for its policing excellence.


We would be happy to respond to any questions the committee may have.

The Chair:

Thank you, Mr. Koops.

Again, I'm conscious of our time limitations. My suggestion to colleagues would be that we do five minute rounds.

With that, we have Mr. Graham for five minutes, please.

Mr. David de Burgh Graham (Laurentides—Labelle, Lib.):

Mr. Koops, would advice from the board be in any way binding on the RCMP?

Mr. Randall Koops:

Not at all. The role of the board would be to support the commissioner by providing her with advice. The commissioner retains command and control of the RCMP under the direction of the minister and nothing in the bill would alter that relationship.

Mr. David de Burgh Graham:

What kind of experience is required for a board member to become a board member? What kind of training is provided to them once they're there?

Mr. Randall Koops:

Training would be a question that the RCMP and the board will want to discuss once the board is in place. I think it would be open to the board to have views on what kinds of training would be useful to them, both about police operations and about management. It would also be open to the RCMP to offer that to the board.

On your first question about qualifications, the minister has said that the qualifications that would be considered would include representative qualifications, for example, to reflect the diversity of Canada and geographic representation. Also, the membership that are being sought are folks who have significant experience in leading and guiding transformation in major national institutions.

Mr. David de Burgh Graham:

The proposed changes would provide the right for the board to proactively provide advice that is not necessarily solicited, is that correct?

Mr. Randall Koops:

That's correct. The bill would leave the board open to determine its own priorities and determine its own ways of working. We would foresee an arrangement similar to what would exist between many other advisory boards, or boards of management, and a deputy head, which is a healthy dialogue between the two about where advice would be necessary and welcome.

Mr. David de Burgh Graham:

What are some of the most pressing issues the board is looking at, or do you have sense of that? You mentioned harassment. Are there other things as well?

Mr. Randall Koops:

If we look at the government response to the CRCC and Fraser reports that was made public in January 2019, the things that the Minister of Public Safety highlighted included transparent and accountable governance structures, trusted harassment prevention and resolution mechanisms, the leadership development within the RCMP and the RCMP's enterprise-wide commitment to diversity and inclusion.

committee hansard secu 12719 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 08, 2019

2019-05-07 RNNR 135

Standing Committee on Natural Resources



The Vice-Chair (Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC)):

Good afternoon.

Today we will resume the committee's study of international best practices for engaging with indigenous communities regarding major energy projects. It will be our final meeting for this study.

I want to welcome all of the witnesses joining us today. We are again joined by Robert Beamish from Anokasan Capital by video conference, and Raylene Whitford from Canative Energy. Ms. Whitford is joined by her colleague, Chris Karamea Insley. We'll go to each of them for their 10-minute opening round and then follow that with our usual rounds of questions from the parties.

Mr. Beamish, the floor is yours.

Mr. Robert Beamish (Director, Anokasan Capital):

Thank you very much for having me back again.

My name is Robert Beamish, and I am the co-founder and director of Anokasan Capital. I'll keep the introduction brief, as I was introduced previously.

We specialize in securing investment from east Asia for projects in indigenous communities in Canada. I'll be speaking about best practices from an international perspective and the perspective of indigenous communities within Canada.

These best practices are quite similar to the ones I mentioned in my previous presentation, but this time I plan to go into a little more detail on their value and why they are what they are.

I will start with the first one, which is to start with understanding. It is so important in relation to engaging with communities to not only allocate time, but also to budget for the understanding and needs-analysis process. If it's in the budget, it can be tracked and it can be delivered, and...finding out if there's alignment between community members and government for certain project developments. The more alignment you have, the more knowledge you can have of a community, and that will only help as the project develops and the negotiations continue to develop.

In a lot of communities there seems to be a process where people and individuals who go through the communities are very transient, coming for a time to learn or volunteer, and then ending up leaving. Over time, it can be an emotionally extractive process when you share your story, your culture, what things mean to you and your way of life and world view, and then people leave. Then more people come, and it's another process of sharing and leaving. This can also happen from the business perspective. In order to be successful, there needs to be that longer-term commitment from all partners.

Understanding goes to more than just project requirements; it's also understanding what the community's development goals are, what their history is, how they want to develop and where they are in that development process.

The next best practice would be communication alignment, and this relates to providing the platform for concerns to be voiced. If one isn't provided, then one will be created. It's about having regular intervals for communication, not only for dispute resolution, but also for an open floor to provide community members with feedback and details on the development of the project.

As different communication styles need different approaches in order to get all of the information out, you need to have set intervals, whether they be bi-weekly or monthly, to discuss the project's development as it relates not only to community members, but also to project leaders and stakeholders. Having these scheduled interviews allows the time for different people to process that information and perform the different types of analysis that they find valid.

For example, there was a geothermal project that was being worked on. It was in line with the values of the community. It was a renewable energy project, and it had education and employment opportunities included. When the project started to go forward, the machinery that was being brought to the community resembled classic oil rig machinery. When community members saw this, they said, “This isn't in line with what we thought we were getting into.” There wasn't a platform to provide information or dispute resolution, so one was created, and there was a process for this. There ended up being a team that went around to educate community members about what the machinery of a renewable energy project looks like, how it would change and what it would look like in terms of phases. They had to add this as an additional stage in their development process in order to ease the social unrest.

If there had been a platform for that open, free flow of information for community members to ask questions and provide feedback, that could have been avoided.

The next point would be cultural alignment. This one relates to the differences in cultures. Our differences can only bring us together once we understand how they separate us. It's about being proactive in understanding the protocols associated with the land, the land's relationship with that community, and what it means not only in terms of protocols and what should be done while on the land but also what it means in terms of the relationship with the land and why.

As well, a very important practice that we implement is a cultural bias awareness practice where we're self-aware of our own cultural biases. We do this because usually we're working with investors from the Asia-Pacific region, specifically China, but also with indigenous communities. We ourselves have our own cultural biases that we come in with. If we're aware of those, we can understand how our cultural biases are affecting how we're trying to do business, how we're going into this situation, how the cultural biases of the different partners at the table may be affected, and how they're going into doing business.

The next point would be the “four Es”, namely, employment, equity, education and the environment. These four Es affect every community in some way, some on a greater scale than others. We're proactively seeking these out in the “understanding” stage—for example, finding out the employment requirements, the expected equity in projects, the environmental concerns and the education for members, whether that be in training or literacy education. Looking for these and looking for ways to tailor these four Es to communities is an excellent way to proceed as a better partner, but likely these four Es are affecting communities in different ways. Whether they're all at the same time or one is greater than the other, integrating these into projects as opposed to leaving them as concessions is a much better way to start building a relationship.

A segue into the next one is information alignment. What gets measured gets delivered. When these Es can be measured, whether they're by literacy tests prior to a project starting, during the project start, during the training being implemented, or after the project or training has been completed, you are able to mark the improvements in literacy or education or as they relate to skills development. If these items are being measured, then they can also be delivered. Project requirements are measured and delivered upon and timelines are measured, but just as project requirements are measured, these social development requirements should be measured as well. Many communities are lacking in information when it comes to this area. It can be difficult to provide policy and create policy around where the community should go next if this information around literacy rates or around environmental contamination is not available. This information that you can provide to a community is value added to the community in their continued development as well.

I know that this is the last meeting on this topic of best practices, but I think it is very important to heed these best practices. A lot of them are not being implemented. There are challenges to implementing these practices, but the challenge that comes with these practices is also the great reward that comes from implementing them. Understanding these communities and understanding the individuals we'll work with on these projects will change how projects can be developed and how relationships can be developed, and it will affect mutual prosperity going forward. As we know from the different meetings that have been held on this topic, there are so many of these practices. I can only think of the ones that have been mentioned during the two presentations that I'm a part of. They will likely take effort, money and time to implement. They will take understanding and sacrifice in order to develop and be useful going forward, but it will be for the mutual benefit of all the people of this generation and the ones that follow.


I do thank you for your time on this. I'm looking forward to your questions.

The Vice-Chair (Mrs. Shannon Stubbs):

Thank you, Mr. Beamish. You're right on time. That's better than most of us in the House of Commons on a daily basis.

Now we will go to our next witness.

Ms. Whitford, together, you and your colleague can split your time.

Ms. Raylene Whitford (Director, Canative Energy):

Thank you, everybody. It's a pleasure to appear in front of you again.

I'm calling in from Rotorua in New Zealand. I'm here with Chris Karamea Insley, who is one of the advisers to Canative Energy.

I requested to appear again before the standing committee just because this is a topic that I feel very, very strongly about. This is my life's work, and it has been my career to date so far. I'm an indigenous finance professional. I have worked internationally in the energy sector since I began my career. I spent three years in Ecuador working in social development with Ecuadorian indigenous communities that had been impacted by the energy sector.

As for what I'd like to share with you, I'll just touch base on the three points I raised previously and then bring up another two that I think are very important. It's echoed in what I'm seeing here in New Zealand as well.

The first point I brought up was diversification. It's really important that these communities are not completely dependent on income streams generated from the energy industry.

It's also really important that they have a long-term plan in place. At some point, I saw some Ecuadorian communities that were looking into the future, but some are very nearsighted, and it's very difficult to engage with a major capital project if you are looking only at what is right in front of you.

The third point is building capabilities. Last time, I spoke about the education aspect, the literacy, etc.

I think this next point echoes Robert Beamish's point about energy literacy. What is energy literacy? Basically, it's providing the education and the awareness of what the industry is. What do these capital projects look like? What is the terminology being used? What is the machinery that they're going to see coming through their community? This is really important. It's really difficult to engage with something if you don't know what's going to happen, especially in these communities. They're very tightly knit, so they get a lot of their information from their neighbours and their families. Sometimes the messages change. Sometimes they're coloured a bit by people's ontologies, so it's really important that the government promote energy literacy within these communities so they're able to engage effectively.

The last point is the prioritization of youth voices. What I've seen is the polar opposite of what happens in the energy industry. In the energy industry, it's usually the oldest, loudest voice at the table that's prioritized in the boardroom, whereas in the communities that I've seen operating effectively in their space, they're actually bringing children and youth into the room and asking them for their opinion because they are the leaders of the next generation. They're engaging with these individuals with the expectation of empowering them and engaging them in the conversation to be able to move this forward.

With that, I'll hand it over to Chris. He'll tell you a bit more about what's going on in New Zealand.


Mr. Chris Karamea Insley (Advisor, Canative Energy):

Thank you, Raylene.

Good afternoon, Madam Chair, and thank you for the opportunity to speak and share some of the experiences from us, as Maori people down in New Zealand.

My background is that I similarly trained in finance and economics in New Zealand, and also in the U.S. My work experience has been largely concentrated in the natural resources area. I've spent a lot of time working in forestry, including in the U.S. and in Canada—in British Columbia—so I have some experience there. Like Raylene, it's been my life's work in terms of driving Maori and, in turn, indigenous development among the likes of Robert, Raylene and others.

What I want to do is sort of share with you, members of the committee, a little bit about New Zealand, a little bit about Maori, and what makes sense for governments of the world to embrace—the challenges and the opportunities, and the opportunities are big.

As a population, we have around six million people, so we're small in New Zealand. Of that, there are around 600,000 Maori people. If you trace back through time, we as Maori people have shared, if you like, the same challenges that we see among the indigenous first nations people of Canada and elsewhere around the world—like Australia—in terms of high unemployment, all the bad things.

I'm going to echo some of the points that Robert and Raylene have made. It makes sense for governments to try to understand how to work collectively together with indigenous people. From the New Zealand experience, around 30 to 40 years ago, a piece of work was done to measure what the economic size of the Maori economy was within New Zealand. They measured it at around about $30 billion—New Zealand dollars—at that point in time. I might add that interest is concentrated in the natural resources: farming, forestry and fishing, and energy to an extent.

That same piece of work was remeasured, redone, in the last 12 months. The Maori economy today is around $50 billion. If you do the numbers, you'll see that the Maori economy is growing at a compound annual growth rate of around 15% to 20% year-on-year, while the rest of the New Zealand economy is growing at around 2% to 3%. That's triggered a lot of activity and thinking within New Zealand governments that the Maori economy has become a cornerstone of the success of the New Zealand economy in terms of some of the things that Maori are doing. It makes sense; that is the point.

In terms of best practice, again I'm going to echo the points that Raylene and Robert have made. From a government policy point of view, if you understand.... I believe from my assessment in Canada, with the kind of natural resources our first nations folks are involved in, there is enormous potential for that to be grown for first nations and for the economy of Canada, if some of the lessons that we've certainly learned along the way might be transferred.

committee hansard rnnr 21915 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 07, 2019

2019-05-07 SMEM 21

Subcommittee on Private Members' Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs



The Chair (Ms. Linda Lapointe (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Lib.)):

Welcome to the 21st meeting of the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on the determination of non-votable items pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(1).

Mr. Graham, Ms. Kusie and Ms. Trudel, welcome. You have the list before you. Are there any comments? Do you want us to study them one by one?

Ms. Karine Trudel (Jonquière, NDP):

The NDP has no comments on any of the bills and motions that have been introduced.

The Chair:

Ms. Kusie, do you have any comments?

Mrs. Stephanie Kusie (Calgary Midnapore, CPC):

We have no reason to oppose the bills on the list.

The Chair:

Thank you.

What about you, Mr. Graham?

Mr. David de Burgh Graham (Laurentides—Labelle, Lib.):

I have no objection to these bills, and I am prepared to call the question.

The Chair:

The motion reads as follows:

That the Subcommittee present a report listing those items which it has determined should not be designated non-votable and recommending that they be considered by the House.

Do you all agree? I can see that you do.

(Motion carried)

Sous-comité des affaires émanant des députés du Comité permanent de la procédure et des affaires de la Chambre



La présidente (Mme Linda Lapointe (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Lib.)):

Je vous souhaite la bienvenue à la 21e réunion du Sous-comité des affaires émanant des députés du Comité permanent de la procédure et des affaires de la Chambre sur la détermination des affaires non votables, conformément à l'article 91.1(1) du Règlement.

Monsieur Graham, mesdames Kusie et Trudel, soyez les bienvenus. Vous avez la liste devant vous. Y a-t-il des commentaires? Voulez-vous que nous les étudiions un par un?

Mme Karine Trudel (Jonquière, NPD):

Le NPD n'a de commentaire à formuler sur aucun des projets de loi et des motions qui ont été déposés.

La présidente:

Madame Kusie, avez-vous des remarques à faire?

Mme Stephanie Kusie (Calgary Midnapore, PCC):

Nous n'avons aucune raison de nous opposer aux projets de loi sur la liste.

La présidente:


Qu'en est-il de votre côté, monsieur Graham?

M. David de Burgh Graham (Laurentides—Labelle, Lib.):

Je n'ai rien à redire à ces projets de loi, et je suis prêt à proposer le vote.

La présidente:

La motion est la suivante:

Que le Sous-comité présente un rapport énumérant les affaires qui, selon lui, ne devraient pas être désignées non votables et recommandant à la Chambre de les examiner.

Vous êtes tous d'accord? Je vois que oui.

(La motion est adoptée.)



committee hansard smem 425 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 07, 2019

2019-05-07 PROC 153

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs



The Chair (Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)):

Good morning. Welcome to the 153rd meeting of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

For members' information, we're sitting in public.

Before we start, related to what we just saw, do you remember when we were discussing parallel chambers and also the elm tree and there was a question about who has the authority? You'll get this notice soon, but I had the researchers look into it and in 1867 when the Constitution was created, there was a transfer to a government department and then at the same time it was placed under the control of the Department of Public Works and Government Services.

You'll get this. It's being translated but I thought it would be interesting for people to know where the authority rested.

The minister can come on Thursday, May 16, related to the main estimates for the Leaders' Debates Commission.

The order of the day is committee business. I've asked the clerk for a short list of potential items of business that the committee discussed, which has been handed out.

These matters have been raised in committee or put on notice in recent weeks. Although there is no obligation for members to put their items forward for today's discussion, I thought it could help guide us in our deliberations.

I open the floor to the committee.

Ms. Kusie.

Mrs. Stephanie Kusie (Calgary Midnapore, CPC):

I'm not sure if I have to raise a point of order further to the situation with the bells and unfortunately where we had the time allocation vote on the last visit of the minister, but I wanted to bring forward again the motion I had.

I'm not sure. Was it tabled or did we just dismiss it because we were concerned we didn't have enough time to debate it?

The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Andrew Lauzon):

The suggestion was that the committee would come back to it.

Mrs. Stephanie Kusie:

Okay, I do have another copy of it today here again.

The motion asks that we “continue the study of Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections; that the study consist of five meetings”—since the group didn't like the original 12 meetings I suggested, although I feel there is enough material for that when we cover all aspects of the spectrum from privacy to disinformation, which is the term that Jennifer Ditchburn prefers as indicated at the Policy Options breakfast this morning. I was happy to see our chair Larry Bagnell there.

Although there is not a lot of new information unfortunately but it would consist of five meetings so I think that seems reasonable. I recognize, in the context of the time that's left, it might be hard to fit this in, but five meetings seems enough.

Especially from my meeting with parliamentary secretary Virani it seems as though this would be a service to the government to help them get information. I'm seeing more and more that it's unfortunate the government wasn't able to consider this earlier because I see the solutions being very high level and complex, but perhaps even if we could provide any recommendations or insight, I think the minister would genuinely benefit from it and appreciate it as would, therefore, the government and Canadians, of course, which is the reason we're here.

As I said, it would consist of five meetings and the findings would be reported to the House.

Mr. Chair, thank you.

The Chair:

Thank you.

Just before I open the discussion I want to welcome Mr. Guy Caron to the committee. Just to let committee members know, I spoke in glowing terms of his role as a member of Parliament yesterday in the House. He comports himself very professionally so we like to have him at this committee because the members here are very forward thinking as well. It's great to have you here.

Mr. Guy Caron (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, NDP):

Thank you.

The Chair:

To open discussion, we have Mr. Nader.

Mr. John Nater (Perth—Wellington, CPC):

I don't want to say too much. The motion is self-explanatory. I do think it's important that we, as the PROC committee, undertake the study. Five meetings are reasonable, but I don't think it's a hill that we're going to die on. If there's some flexibility, it would be important.

The one point I want to get on record is that it would be important to hear from at least the chair, if not all five members of the panel that's been created to oversee interference in the upcoming election. Even in the short period of time between when it was announced to today, we've seen a change in membership on that committee based on changes in the people who hold those positions.

There's a new Clerk of the Privy Council, who was the DM for foreign affairs, so it's a new position there as well. It would be important to hear from at least the chair, the Clerk of the Privy Council, if not all five members of the committee. Whether we do that in camera, if that's necessary, I don't think anyone would be opposed to that. At least hearing from the chair and members of the committee would be important, given the context of our being five months away from an election.


The Chair:

Mr. Bittle

Mr. Chris Bittle (St. Catharines, Lib.):

Thank you, Chair.

I'd like to thank Ms. Kusie for bringing this motion forward. However, we're in the last bit, the final stretch, and we had already gone through these matters. We had extended discussions and debates related to our elections on many occasions, but especially in our consideration of Bill C-76.

I know a lot of that time was filled up with debate unrelated to the matter itself and protecting Canadians, and there was an extended filibuster on that. That would have been an excellent opportunity to extend our study on that, but it's late in the game.

I know there's work already being done by the ethics committee on topics related to this. We've already discussed it and I don't see us getting into this at this particular stage.

The Chair:

Mr. Reid.

Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, CPC):

I want to confirm, for the discussion of this and any other items that come forward, and I think I'm right in looking at the schedule. We have 11 meetings left, not including today's meeting. One of those is taken up with having the minister, so I believe that's 10 additional meetings.

The Chair:

Half of one would be with the minister.

Mr. Scott Reid:

Fair enough, we have 10 and a half left.

It's probably unlikely that we're going to spend an entire meeting again on the committee schedule, our agenda. Am I right on that? Okay, so we have 10 and a half meetings. For anything we discuss, we should bear that in mind, because the issue now essentially is that one item will crowd another off the list. That is true regardless of which motion we're speaking to, or which subject matter we're speaking to.

The Chair:

committee hansard proc 25201 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 07, 2019

2019-05-06 SECU 160

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



The Chair (Hon. John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood, Lib.)):

Ladies and gentlemen, I see quorum, and as far as my eyesight allows, I see that it is close enough to 3:30.

We have with us Elana Finestone from the Native Women's Association, and Mr. Cudjoe from the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers.

I'll ask Mr. Cudjoe to go for the first 10 minutes, only because technology is not necessarily always trustworthy.

Colleagues, we've achieved the first element for the process today, which is to merge the two panels so that we are time efficient. I'm anticipating a lot of questions for both panellists and we may go into the second hour.

Second, I'm hoping that over the course of the two hours today, we will agree on a process going forward for the submission of amendments and picking a date for clause-by-clause.

My suggestion to Mr. Paul-Hus and Mr. Dubé has been that we have amendments done by the end of the week. I appreciate that there are some difficulties with translation, because the drafters don't deal with amendments until the bill is actually referred to the committee. This a difficulty for all parties, by the way.

If, over the course of the two hours we have together, you could indicate to me whether we can go with a motion, we won't have to have a subcommittee meeting, but if we can't agree on a motion, we will have to have a subcommittee meeting to agree on a process.

With that understanding, I'll now ask Mr. Cudjoe to make his initial presentation for 10 minutes.

Thank you, sir, for being here with us today.

Mr. Gordon Cudjoe (Vice-President, Canadian Association of Black Lawyers):

Thank you very much for the opportunity to be heard. On behalf of CABL, we really appreciate the fact that somebody thinks our voice is worth hearing.

My apologies for not attending in person. This assignment came to me quite late in the process, which is why there's also no written material.

Looking at all the material I've seen presented by the other parties, most of the ground has been covered, and I don't think I'll be too long.

The recommendation from the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, I don't know if you've heard it. I've heard the request to expunge the records and to make changes to the suspension of records. The main concern for young Black and indigenous youth who have gone through the system on possession of marijuana charges will be future employment and how that will affect them.

The suspension of the record will almost seem like a token gesture if the committee considers that these convictions perhaps should not have happened in the first place. Having had a discussion with our board, our recommendation is that simple possession of marijuana charges and associated charges be deemed regulatory offences.

That would not take them off the books completely—reference can always be made to them—but the one advantage, and I'm speaking on behalf of youth who are trying to get their first job, is that one question asked by employers to get around the suspension of records act is, “Have you pleaded guilty to a criminal offence?”

It doesn't matter whether you've been pardoned or not, you can't get around that question. If on that form you say that you have pleaded guilty to a criminal offence, you don't even get your foot in the door for an interview, which is why the suspension of a record for many young men trying to get into the workforce is actually a token gesture. Employers are not asking whether you have a criminal record, but whether you've pleaded guilty to an offence, or you've been found guilty by a court of an offence.

For young people, it's even worse. Your record as a youth may be sealed after three to five years, depending on whether you're convicted of a summary or an indictable offence. For a simple possession of marijuana charge, that record could be opened again for any future occurrences. Even with the suspension, I don't know how that's going to work in sealing your record for good as a youth. The problem is that provinces are reporting records for youth, as there's something on their record, but they can't tell us. For a possession of marijuana charge, that puts an individual in line with somebody who has committed homicide, robbery, break and enter, sexual assault, and guess what? They can't tell you what it is. This makes it even worse for the young person.

Our recommendation is that these be deemed regulatory offences. For example, I coined a phrase, “the simple possession of marijuana act.” From that, you can get around things that are blocking people from getting their first-time employment, by sealing their records for good.

I know that Ms. Finestone is going to get into the administrative charges, but there's one charge in particular that I have seen from the ground level that has arisen for young people as a result of possession of marijuana charges.

The second time a young person of 14 or 15 is met and questioned by a police officer, they get scared. They're already in the court system. They may not actually be committing any offence at the time, but because they have a possession of marijuana charge, many times they've lied about their name. They then get an obstruction of a police officer charge. This is all as a result of their original possession of marijuana charge, and guess what? Their criminal career has begun.


For many who live in suburban areas, go to better schools and have better chances in life, this may not be a big stumbling block. However, for many who are coming from extremely poor areas and families who don't have the means to push them forward, this is a huge stumbling block. This is why the suspension of records, which may seem to be carte blanche for everybody across the board, doesn't take into account the numerous people who were charged with possession of marijuana, especially as young people.

I'd ask the committee to look at the numbers of first nation and young black men who were charged with possession of marijuana and to keep these numbers in mind when the recommendations are being followed, or whichever way the committee decides to go. The reality on the ground for black and indigenous youth is very different from the reality for others. Many times we hear police refer to somebody as “known to the police”. Sometimes it is a simple possession of marijuana charge, but it brings that person into the eye of the police who are walking the streets. Many of these young men are not able to stay at home all day playing video games—perhaps they don't have them—and they're out on the streets and come into regular contact with the police.

One particular case went all the way to the Supreme Court: R. v. Mann. Mr. Mann was walking down the street. The police had a call about a break and enter. They saw Mr. Mann, and Mr. Mann, being a young, indigenous man, fit the description. The clothing was completely different, but he fit the description. He was stopped by the police, and the police, for safety reasons, searched him and found marijuana in his pocket. Eventually, the Supreme Court threw it out, but this case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

What does this mean for Mr. Mann and many of the young men who are brought before the court on possession of marijuana charges? Let's review the process. There's a court appearance; it's basically a public shaming of the young man for possession of marijuana. There's the risk of further charges because he is released on conditions. There's the risk of detention if he is arrested for anything else. There's the stigma of walking into the courthouse with people who have been charged with a lot more serious charges. Furthermore, if at the end of it this young person is not given proper advice, he may decide to do what other young people say, that “I want to get it over with.” He is now branded for life with a charge of possession of marijuana. Employment opportunities are going out the window. This is for young men who already find it hard to get into the workforce.

Following that, you have the fail to appear, fail to comply and fail to comply with probation charges, meaning failure of the youth to report to the probation officer. When the record is suspended, what shows up? I say that sometimes for a charge of possession of marijuana, it can actually be more insidious if the provinces are going to report it as “There's something there, but we can't tell you.”

I will respond to one particular comment that was made about deals and how the prosecutor would make deals that would lessen the charges for the possession of marijuana. I think that's questioning the integrity of the prosecutor's office. I doubt they would make deals that were not real. Furthermore, we are well aware—


The Chair:

Mr. Cudjoe, I'm not sure if you can see me, but I've been kind of waving at you.

Mr. Gordon Cudjoe:


The Chair:

You had two minutes, and now you're down to one minute.

If you can arrive at a conclusion, that would be good, please.

Thank you.

Mr. Gordon Cudjoe:

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

I was on my last point—

The Chair:


Mr. Gordon Cudjoe:

—and I didn't think it would take 10 minutes.

Thank you very much.

With regard to some of the deals that were referred to, I'd like the committee to take into account that many deals are made as a result of overcharging. I think that it's a red herring to go down that path.

I'll sit back and wait for any questions.

Thank you very much.

The Chair:

committee hansard secu 23181 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 06, 2019

2019-05-03 12:10 House intervention / intervention en chambre

Introduction and First reading, Parliamentary precinct, Parliamentary Protective Service, Safety,

Cité parlementaire, Dépôt et première lecture, Projets de loi émanant des députés, Sécurité publique, Service de protection parlementaire

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-445, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (management and direction of the Parliamentary Protective Service).

He said: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a bill that would change subsection 79.55(2) of the Parliament of Canada Act relating to the Parliamentary Protective Service. The act reads, in essence, that the director “must be a member of the [RCMP].” This bill would add the word “not” and mandate that the two Speakers, without outside intervention, would jointly select the director of our integrated security force.

While we appreciate the RCMP's efforts to integrate the security forces, this bill would give the Crown three years to complete the transition back to the House. Nothing in this act would prevent the RCMP from continuing to protect the Prime Minister in the House, nor from calling on the RCMP for backup should the need arise. However, all decisions going forward would belong to the House and Senate rather than to the executive. While it is not a matter for legislation, I hope that this would also allow the designated airspace known as CYR537 to be handed over to the Parliamentary Protective Service.

As I consider this to be, first and foremost, a matter of protecting parliamentary privilege, I ask that this bill be ultimately referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

I thank the member for Hamilton Centre for seconding this bill, demonstrating the cross-party support it will need to move forward.

demande à présenter le projet de loi C-445, Loi modifiant la Loi sur le Parlement du Canada (gestion et direction du Service de protection parlementaire).

— Monsieur le Président, je prends la parole aujourd'hui pour présenter un projet de loi visant à modifier le paragraphe 79.55(2) de la Loi sur le Parlement du Canada relativement au Service de protection parlementaire. Essentiellement, la Loi stipule que le directeur « doit être un membre [...] de la [GRC] ». Le projet de loi ajouterait les mots « ne » et « pas » pour préciser que le directeur ne doit pas être un membre de la GRC. Il prévoit également que le Président du Sénat et le Président de la Chambre des communes nomment conjointement, sans intervention extérieure, la personne devant occuper le poste de directeur du Service de protection parlementaire.

Nous remercions la GRC de tout ce qu'elle a fait pour assurer la coordination des services de sécurité. Toutefois, ce projet de loi accorderait trois ans à la Couronne pour remettre les rênes entre les mains des deux Chambres. Il n'y a rien dans ce projet de loi qui empêcherait la GRC de continuer à protéger le premier ministre à la Chambre, ou qui empêcherait la Chambre de réclamer des renforts auprès de la GRC si le besoin se présentait. Cela dit, à l'avenir, il appartiendrait à la Chambre des communes et au Sénat, plutôt qu'à l'organe exécutif, de prendre toutes les décisions. J'espère que cela permettrait également de confier l'espace aérien désigné correspondant au code CYR537 au Service de protection parlementaire, même si cette question n'est pas visée par le projet de loi.

Comme je considère que cette question vise d'abord et avant tout à protéger le privilège parlementaire, je demande que ce projet de loi soit finalement renvoyé au Comité permanent de la procédure et des affaires de la Chambre.

Je remercie le député d'Hamilton-Centre d'avoir appuyé le projet de loi. L'appui de tous les partis sera nécessaire pour le faire aller de l'avant.

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hansard parlchmbr tv 608 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 04:42 on May 03, 2019

2019-05-03 11:10 House intervention / intervention en chambre

Public transit, Rural communities, Statements by Members

Communautés rurales, Déclarations de députés, Transport en commun

Mr. Speaker, the mayor of Mont-Tremblant, Luc Brisebois, just announced that, as of June 21, the local bus service will be free for everyone all the time. This measure benefits everyone: workers, employers, students, families, seniors, and even tourists.

This will help cut greenhouse gas emissions. It is a measure that shows that economic development and environmental protection can and must go hand in hand. Everything we do, individually as well as collectively, has a significant impact on the fight against climate change. Public transit is one of the best ways to help the environment.

The town of Mont-Tremblant is at the leading edge of rural public transit. By offering it for free, they are sending an even stronger message about what we can do for the future when we are bold enough to fight for it.

To the leaders of Mont-Tremblant and all the current and future bus riders, I say bravo and thank you.

Monsieur le Président, le maire de la Ville de Mont-Tremblant, Luc Brisebois, vient d’annoncer qu’à compter du 21 juin le service d’autobus sera accessible gratuitement pour tous et en tout temps. C’est une mesure qui rejoint tout le monde: les travailleurs, les employeurs, les étudiants, les familles, les personnes âgées et même les touristes.

Cette mesure permettra la réduction des gaz à effet de serre. C’est une mesure qui démontre qu’on peut et qu’on doit combiner le développement économique et la protection environnementale. Chaque geste que nous posons, seuls ou collectivement, a une incidence capitale dans la lutte contre les changements climatiques. Le transport en commun est l’une des meilleures manières d’agir pour l’environnement.

La Ville de Mont-Tremblant est à l’avant-garde des services de transport en commun en milieu rural. En l’offrant gratuitement, on lance un message encore plus fort sur ce qu’on est capable de faire pour l'avenir, quand on ose agir pour l'avenir.

Aux dirigeants de Mont-Tremblant et à tous les usagers d’autobus actuels et futurs, je dis bravo et merci!

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hansard parlchmbr statements tv 350 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 20:26 on May 03, 2019

2019-05-02 14:00 House intervention / intervention en chambre

Emergency response and emergency responders, Floods, Statements by Members

Crues, Déclarations de députés,

Mr. Speaker, people across the country are dealing with the impact of climate change. As we know, thousands of people have been hit hard by the flooding in Quebec. For the past two weeks, the riding of Laurentides—Labelles has also been dealing with floods.

We absolutely have to address the issue of cellular communication in rural areas such as Amherst, which had to declare a state of emergency along with other municipalities. Just imagine the flood victims who were isolated, the emergency services that tried to reach them and the worried families, and let us quickly take action before an even more serious crisis occurs.

I also want to tell the people and thousands of volunteers in Montcalm, Piedmont, Ferme-Neuve, Kiamika, Lac-Saguay, Rivière-Rouge, Huberdeau, Val-David, Nominingue and every one of the 43 municipalities in my riding, which have practically all been affected, that the way they have come together and the strength of our communities is remarkable. They deserve our respect, gratitude and support.

Monsieur le Président, partout au pays, les citoyens sont aux prises avec les conséquences des dérèglements climatiques. Au Québec, on le sait, les inondations ont causé des milliers de drames humains. Laurentides—Labelle n'y a pas échappé depuis deux semaines.

Nous devons impérativement régler la question de l'accès aux communications cellulaires dans les régions rurales, comme c'est le cas à Amherst, qui a dû, comme beaucoup d'autres municipalités, déclarer l'état d'urgence. Songeons aux sinistrés qui étaient isolés, aux services d'urgence qui essayaient de les joindre et aux familles inquiètes et agissons rapidement avant que ne survienne un drame encore plus grand.

Je souhaite aussi dire aux citoyens et aux milliers de bénévoles de Montcalm, de Piedmont, de Ferme-Neuve, de Kiamika, de Lac-Saguay, de Rivière-Rouge, d'Huberdeau, de Val-David, de Nominingue et de chacune des 43 municipalités de ma circonscription, qui sont pratiquement toutes affectées, qu'elles font preuve d'une entraide exceptionnelle et démontrent la force de nos communautés. Elles méritent tout notre respect, toute notre gratitude et tout notre appui.

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hansard parlchmbr statements tv 353 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 20:26 on May 02, 2019

2019-05-02 PROC 152

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs



The Chair (Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)):

Good morning.

Welcome to the 152nd meeting of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.[English]

We had discussions with all parties, and if it's okay with everyone, we will proceed with 45 minutes for each set of witnesses because we have two sets and a half hour less.

Is that okay with everyone?[Translation]

Very well.

This morning, we are continuing our study on the main estimates for 2019-20, vote 1 under Office of the Chief Electoral Officer.

The witnesses are from Elections Canada. We have Stéphane Perrault, Chief Electoral Officer; Michel Roussel, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Electoral Events and Innovation; and Hughes St-Pierre, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, Internal Services.

Thank you for being here today.

I will now hand the floor over to you, Mr. Perrault. You may go ahead with your presentation.

Mr. Stéphane Perrault (Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada):

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

It is a pleasure to be before the committee today to present Elections Canada's main estimates and plans for 2019-20. This appearance also provides the opportunity to update committee members on the implementation of Bill C-76 and, above all, our final preparations for the general election.

Today, the committee is voting on Election Canada's annual appropriation, which is $39.2 million and represents the salaries of some 440 indeterminate positions. This is an increase of $8.4 million over last year's appropriation. As I indicated when I last appeared before this committee, the increase is essentially a rebalancing of the agency's budgets, moving expenses for terms and contract resources out of the statutory authority and into the annual appropriation in order to fund indeterminate resources. It does not represent any spending increase overall. In fact, it results in a slight spending reduction.

Combined with our statutory authority, which funds all other expenditures under the Canada Elections Act, our 2019-20 main estimates total $493.2 million. This includes $398 million for the October 21 election, which represents the direct election delivery costs that will be incurred in this fiscal year.

Our most recent estimates indicate that total expenditures for the 43rd general election will be some $500 million. The expenditures may vary due to various factors such as the duration of the campaign.

I note that, while preparing our budgets last fall, we had estimated the cost of the election at some $470 million. The difference is mainly due to Bill C-76—$21 million—which had not been passed at the time of preparing our estimates and therefore had not been taken into account.

Elections Canada continues to implement Bill C-76 and bring into force its provisions as preparations are completed.

Following my last appearance, the new privacy policy requirements for political parties, the administrative reintegration of the Commissioner of Canada Elections within the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, as well as the establishment of the new register of future electors, came into force on April 1.

On May 11, the changes brought by Bill C-76 for electors residing outside Canada will also come into force. The balance of other provisions will come into force in June. From an electoral operation perspective, Elections Canada will then be ready to conduct the election with the required Bill C-76 changes. Our applications, training and instructions will have been updated, tested and ready for use.

In terms of regulatory activities, all guidance on political financing will be finalized and published prior to the beginning of the pre-writ period on June 30. Leading up to that date, we will continue consulting parties on various products through the opinions, guidelines and interpretation notes process.

The agency is also gearing up to complete the audits of political entity returns following the election. We are expecting increases in the audit work stemming from the new requirements introduced by Bill C-76, notably for third parties, as well as the removal of the $1,000 deposit for candidates.

Despite this increase, we aim to reduce the time required to complete the audit of candidate returns by 30% in order to improve transparency and ensure more timely reimbursements. To achieve this, we are implementing a streamlined risk-based audit plan.



A key priority as part of our final preparations is to further improve the quality of the list of electors. Every year some three million Canadians move, 300,000 pass away, more than 100,000 become citizens, and 400,000 turn 18. This translates roughly into 70,000 changes in any given week.

To ensure the accuracy of the register, Elections Canada regularly draws on multiple data sources from more than 40 provincial and federal bodies as well as from information provided directly by Canadians, mostly online. This will be facilitated by recent improvements made to our online registration systems to capture non-standard addresses and upload identification documents.

With the enactment of Bill C-76, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is now able to share information about permanent residents and foreign nationals. This provides Elections Canada with a much-needed tool to address the long-recognized issue of non-citizens appearing on the register of electors. This spring, we expect to remove approximately 100,000 records as a result.

We have also recently written to 250,000 households for which we believe we have records that need correction. Efforts to improve the accuracy of the list of electors will continue and will be supported by a new pre-writ campaign to encourage Canadians to verify and update their information over the spring and the summer.

On April 18 the agency concluded an extensive three-week election simulation exercise in five electoral districts. The simulation allowed us to test our business processes, handbooks and IT systems in a setting that closely resembles that of an actual election. Election workers were hired and trained, and they participated in simulated voting exercises that factored in changes introduced by Bill C-76. This exercise also gave some of our new returning officers the opportunity to observe local office operations and exchange with more experienced colleagues.

Overall, the simulation exercise confirmed our readiness level while identifying a few areas in which we need to refine some of our procedures, instructions and applications. The final adjustments will be made this spring.

With the assurance provided by our simulation and most recent by-elections, I have a high level of confidence in our state of readiness and our tools to deliver this election.

From an electoral security perspective, the agency is engaged this spring in a number of scenario exercises with the Commissioner of Canada Elections and Canada's lead security agencies to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clear and that proper governance is established to coordinate our actions. As indicated in the Communications Security Establishment's most recent report, Canada is not immune to cyber-threats and disinformation.

Since the last general election, a wide range of organizations, including Elections Canada, have worked to adapt to the new context and strengthen Canada's democratic resilience in the face of these evolving threats. Elections Canada and its security partners approach the next general election with a new level of vigilance and awareness and unprecedented level of co-operation.

General elections are one of Canada's largest civic events. Our role is to provide a trusted and accessible voting service to 27 million electors in some 338 electoral districts. lt involves hiring and training more than 300,000 poll workers deployed in more than 70,000 polls across the country. Our returning officers have been continually engaged in improvements planned for the next election. I had the opportunity to meet with our field personnel across Canada. I can assure you that they are engaged, ready and resolved in their commitment to provide electors and candidates with outstanding service.



Mr. Chair, I would be pleased to answer any questions the committee members may have. [English]

The Chair:

Thank you very much. It's great to have you back again. We have a great working relationship.

We'll go to Mr. Simms for seven minutes.

Mr. Scott Simms (Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, Lib.):

I'm going to be sharing my time with Mr. Graham.

First of all, welcome back, as always. I want to talk about some of the good things you've done over the past little while: the new policy requirements for political parties, the register of future electors and of course the administrative reintegration of the Commissioner of Canada Elections, which I think was something very important for them to do their jobs.

In the meantime, one new element of Bill C-76 that many people had questions about was the ramifications, both financial and administrative, for what we now know as the pre-writ period.

Can you comment on that, please?

Mr. Stéphane Perrault:

We have new rules that will be in place for June 30. They're not in force right now; that period starts at that point in time. At that point there are now extensive rules for third parties on the one hand to cover all of their partisan expenditures and rules for parties to limit their partisan advertising expenses, which covers only the direct advertising. This is a new feature that we did not have in previous elections.

Mr. Scott Simms:


Let me return to the future electors list, which is also a new process. Can you describe how it's going? I know, as of April 1, it's now in force. However, what do you have left to do to make sure this is ready for the coming fall election?

committee hansard proc 30244 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 02, 2019

2019-05-01 SECU 159

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



The Chair (Hon. John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood, Lib.)):

Ladies and gentlemen, it's 3:30, we have quorum, and I want to respect witnesses' and members' time, so we are now in session. This is the 159th meeting. My goodness, this is a hard-working committee if I've ever seen one.

We have two witnesses for the first hour, the first from the Canadian Police Association, and the second from Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty.

At the end of the first hour, I'm going to ask someone to move acceptance of the subcommittee report. I'm going to ask Mr. Eglinski to be ready, since he's been so friendly.

With that, we'll simply ask the witnesses to speak in the order in which they're listed.

From the Canadian Police Association, we have Mr. Stamatakis.

Mr. Tom Stamatakis (President, Canadian Police Association):

Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. Thank you for inviting me to appear before you this afternoon as part of your committee's ongoing study of Bill C-93.

I'm appearing this afternoon on behalf of the Canadian Police Association, which, as many of you know, is the largest policing advocacy organization in the country, representing over 60,000 front-line civilian and sworn law enforcement professionals from coast to coast to coast. Our members are the proverbial “boots on the ground” when it comes to issues of public safety and are the first to feel the effects of decisions made by elected officials at all levels of government.

As is my usual habit, I want to keep my opening remarks relatively brief to allow for as much time as possible for your questions and comments, particularly given that the subject matter in Bill C-93 is relatively straightforward.

At the outset, let me say that the Canadian Police Association is generally supportive of the goal of Bill C-93. While obviously we have seen a significant change in the legal status of cannabis within the last year, there is no doubt that social attitudes towards marijuana have been changing for quite some time. We certainly see it with the policing level and with the general public as well. While we often hear the popular term “war on drugs” with respect to policing attitudes around these substances, which aren't just limited to cannabis, most police services in Canada, in my experience, if not all, have long since de-emphasized enforcement for simple possession.

Now that the legal framework has caught up to the social attitudes, there isn't any good reason, in my opinion, to deny people who have otherwise been law-abiding members of society being given a clean record and a chance to fully participate in areas that might otherwise have been denied to them on the basis of a past mistake. On that basis alone, our association is generally supportive of this legislation.

That said, we would like to take this opportunity to express some concern about the automatic nature of record suspensions being proposed by this bill. There's absolutely no doubt that the overwhelming majority of applications that will be made under these amendments will be from individuals who pose no ongoing risk to public safety, and they should certainly be dealt with as expeditiously as possible.

However, I would note that there will also be some applications made by offenders where simple possession may have been a charge that was arrived at based on a plea agreement with the Crown and down from a more serious charge. In those circumstances, it is possible that both the Crown and the court may have accepted the plea agreement based on the assumption that the conviction would be a permanent record of the offence and would not have accepted the lesser charge if they knew this would be cleared without any possibility of review at a future date.

While I understand that it would be both impossible and entirely unfair to hold unproven charges against someone, even in the case of a plea bargain, I do believe that this legislation could be quite easily amended to ensure that the proposed changes to the Criminal Records Act— specifically, the addition to section 4.1, which bars the Parole Board from conducting any evaluation of the applicant's history—don't allow habitual offenders to slip through the cracks.

An amendment that would allow the Parole Board to retain at least a slight amount of discretion to consider an applicant's conduct since conviction, or certainly any subsequent convictions, would alleviate any concerns police might have about ensuring community safety isn't compromised by the small number of repeat offenders who might take advantage of this legislation, and it will maintain the reputable administration of justice.

As I mentioned, I do want to keep these opening remarks brief. The legalization of cannabis has certainly been a significant change for front-line law enforcement, and I should note that it is a testament to the professionalism of our members that the transition to this new regime has been remarkably seamless over the eight months since the changes were enacted.

This legislation on the whole seems like a common-sense approach toward ensuring that criminal records reflect the new consensus around cannabis in Canada. We appreciate that the government has been very forthright in consulting with law enforcement experts as they've proceeded with this policy change, and we look forward to continuing that consultation.

We believe that Bill C-93, with a few small amendments to ensure that the Parole Board retains some amount of discretion to ensure long-term and habitual offenders are held accountable, will allow people to avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction and give those who deserve it a much-deserved second chance.

Thank you very much for inviting me appear before you today.


The Chair:

Thank you, Mr. Stamatakis.

For Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty, we have Annamaria Enenajor. You have 10 minutes.

Ms. Annamaria Enenajor (Founder and Director, Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty):

Thank you.

Good evening, Mr. Chair, and members. My name is Annamaria Enenajor. I am a criminal defence lawyer and the founder and campaign director for the Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty.

The Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty is a not-for-profit advocacy group focused on righting the historical wrongs caused by decades of cannabis prohibition. It was founded in April 2018, not too long ago, in response to the absence of federal legislation addressing the stigma of previous convictions for offences that would not longer be illegal under the Cannabis Act. Since then, the campaign has been calling on the government to enact legislation to delete criminal records relating to the simple possession of cannabis. We believe that no Canadian should be burdened with a criminal record for minor, non-violent acts that are no longer a crime.

It is an honour to appear before you today, and I offer you some observations and modest recommendations with respect to Bill C-93. The campaign supports the implementation of measures to remove the stigma of past cannabis convictions that disproportionately impact marginalized Canadians. As it is currently drafted, however, Bill C-93 does not go far enough.

The story of enforcement of cannabis possession offences in Canada is one of historical injustice and inequality. Canadians of different backgrounds consume and possess cannabis at comparable rates. In fact, Canada has one of the highest rates of cannabis consumption in the world. In 2017, 46.6% of Canadians—almost half of Canadians—admitted to using cannabis at some point in their lives.

Despite this widespread consumption, a growing body of social science evidence has shown that not all Canadians face the same consequences for these actions. Racial profiling and suspicion of specific groups on the basis of stereotypes means that some Canadians are more likely to be closely scrutinized by law enforcement than others. Black Canadians, indigenous people of Canada and low-income Canadians are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated for cannabis possession offences than white Canadians. This is not a tragic and accidental phenomenon. This is a historical injustice and a systemic charter violation that cries out for redress.

The equality provision of the charter was intended to ensure a measure of substantive, and not merely formal, equality. The Supreme Court of Canada has consistently held, beginning with the case of Eldridge, 1997, that a discriminatory purpose or intention is not a necessary condition to finding a violation of the equality provision of the charter. It is sufficient if the effect of the legislation, while neutral on its face, is to deny someone equal protection and benefit of the law. To the extent that the government seeks to draw distinction between laws that are discriminatory on their face and laws that are discriminatory in their effects, a distinction is illegitimate for the purpose of our constitutional protections.

While historical cannabis protection laws were not discriminatory on their face, they most certainly produced discriminatory effects in their enforcement. They perpetuated disadvantage on the basis of race, ethnic origin and colour, all of which are prohibited grounds under the charter.

The unequal and disproportionate enforcement of cannabis-related offences on this scale and of this magnitude encourages distrust and resentment of law enforcement, cynicism towards the administration of justice and an understandable sentiment that the promise of substantive equality under the charter is a myth for many Canadians. An appropriately powerful response to this shameful history is therefore also necessary to maintain the integrity of our justice system.

While the campaign applauds the government's willingness to recognize the disproportionate stigma and burden that results from the retention of conviction records for historical simple cannabis possession, we believe the bill does not go far enough.

Given the serious consequences of a cannabis possession conviction on the lives of Canadians and the legacy of inequality through disproportionate and discriminatory enforcement, the federal government must respond to this historical injustice with a measure sufficiently powerful to denounce a shameful history. People with simple cannabis possession records should be put in the same position as those millions of Canadians who did and who continue to do the exact same thing.


While it was criminal, they did not face any consequences because of factors that have no bearing on their moral culpability or criminality—factors such as their race, income, family connections and their neighbourhood of residence. As a result of that, they were never arrested and never convicted and were able to proceed through their lives with opportunities that were not available to other Canadians. As a result, Bill C-93 should be amended to provide for free, automatic, simple and permanent records deletions for simple cannabis possession offences.

If the government is not willing to go that far, then we suggest that there are other aspects of that kind of regime that the government could tap into that would still be satisfactory. For example, the government could incorporate aspects of an expungement scheme that could improve the bill's utility and allow for the implementation in a way that would benefit as many people as possible.

For example, on Monday when this committee met last, we heard that because of our decentralized and often archaic record-keeping practices, attempting to find and then destroy all relevant records would simply be too arduous. Just because we can't do this for all records doesn't mean we can't do it for some, and in fact, for the most important. As the honourable Ralph Goodale mentioned on Monday, while records relating to criminal offences do not exist in a single national database, records for convictions that have the greatest impact on jobs, volunteering and travel, in fact do.

The Canadian Police Information Centre, CPIC, is a national database maintained by the RCMP. If someone is arrested, charged and convicted of a crime, this record exists in the CPIC database. When an employer asks for a background check, for example, and requests it from the RCMP, the RCMP doesn't dispatch agents to rummage through courthouses to get all these disparate court records and information about an individual. They scan CPIC. When Canada discloses conviction information about its citizens to the United States, it also doesn't send photocopies of papers in boxes that are all across the country in disparate jurisdictions. It shares one database: CPIC.

Whereas we can't delete all records, what we can do is target one extraordinarily important database. Automatically removing all simple cannabis possession offences from CPIC would go a long way to alleviate the impact of a conviction from the lives of Canadians, even though this would not constitute a full expungement.

The automatic deletion of CPIC entries in relation to simple cannabis offences is also a cost-effective way to provide immediate relief to Canadians. An application process involving the collection of records from provincial, territorial and local police databases involves delays and hidden costs. Even if Bill C-93 eliminates the $631 application fee ordinarily required for record suspension applications, applicants may still need to pay for fingerprinting, court information and local police record checks, which can add up to hundreds of dollars.

There has been some discussion in this committee about whether record suspensions assist Canadians when crossing the border to the United States. I'd like to speak very briefly about that, and I could be asked more questions about that later. Record suspensions do not assist Canadians seeking to cross the border to the United States. The United States does not recognize any foreign pardon, irrespective of the effect of conviction. In fact, neither foreign pardons nor foreign expungement are effective in preventing inadmissibility to the United States. They are essentially equally useless.

I have provided to this committee fulsome submissions in writing that outline further recommendations, points and observations about this law. However, I wish to conclude with our primary recommendation, which is this: Bill C-93 should provide for the permanent and automatic deletion of all conviction entries for cannabis simple possession in the CPIC database.

Our subsidiary recommendations are outlined in our written briefs.


We hope that the recommendations that we proposed would increase the bill's utility, assist in achieving its stated goals and allow for implementation that would benefit as many people as possible.

Thank you for your time.

committee hansard secu 37087 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 01, 2019

2019-04-30 PROC 151

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs



The Chair (Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)):

Good evening, and welcome to the 151st meeting of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. I should also say good morning to our witness, who is in Canberra, where it's 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

As we continue our study of parallel debating chambers, we are pleased to be joined by Claressa Surtees, the Acting Clerk of the Australian House of Representatives, who is appearing via video conference. Before we get to your opening statement, the clerk and analysts, at my request, pulled together a few short clips from both Westminster Hall and the Federation Chamber, so we can have a better sense of what these second chambers actually look like. There are two videos from each chamber, the first being the opening of the sitting and the second showing the lead-up to a suspension for division bells in the main chamber.

[Video presentation]

The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Andrew Lauzon):

That was Westminster Hall.

Next, you'll see the Federation Chamber in Australia.

An hon. member: Can the witness see this video?

The Chair:

She's there every day.

[Video presentation]

That was fascinating. Thank you very much, Mr. Clerk. That was great. It really gives us a sense of what they do there.

We have before us, Claressa Surtees, the Acting Clerk of the Australian House of Representatives. Hello, can you hear us now?


Ms. Claressa Surtees (Acting Clerk of the House, House of Representatives of Australia):

Yes, I can hear you.

The Chair:


Thank you very much for being here for us.

We will give you some time to give us introductory remarks, and then some of the committee members will probably have questions for you.

Ms. Claressa Surtees:

Thank you very much, Chair.

Good evening, members.

My name is Claressa Surtees. I appear before the committee in my official capacity as Acting Clerk of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia.

I'm pleased to be able to speak with you in relation to your committee's study of parallel debating chambers. In 1994 the House of Representatives amended the Standing Orders to establish the Main Committee, as it was then called, as a parallel debating chamber. This establishment gave effect to recommendations of the House procedure committee in a 1993 report. The Main Committee met for the first time on June 8, 1994, so as you see, it's coming up for it's 25th birthday next month.

The Main Committee was renamed the Federation Chamber in 2012. Over time its role has expanded, as have its hours of meeting. The parallel chamber allows extended time to debate mostly non-contentious bills, as well as committee and delegation reports and government papers. The agenda also permits private members, other than the Speaker and the ministers, opportunities to raise and debate matters of concern to them. Overall it assists the House with not only its legislative function but also government accountability, ventilation of grievances and matters of interest or concern.

The Standing Orders provide that the Deputy Speaker has principal authority in relation to the Federation Chamber in the same manner as the Speaker does in the House. With the establishment of the Main Committee, the office of Second Deputy Speaker was created to assist the Deputy Speaker in this regard. This office is filled through an election process and is held by a non-government member.

Through practice, the Deputy Clerk is the clerk of the Federation Chamber and has responsibilities for the minutes of proceedings.

The establishment of this second debating chamber has had an enduring impact on the work of the House of Representatives. Aside from the additional opportunities it has provided to members to speak on proposed legislation and matters of their own choosing, it has had an impact on resourcing. Just like the chamber, the Federation Chamber must be supported by chairs and clerks and broadcasting and Hansard services.

Of course, the other aspect of this is that those requirements have contributed to building capability. The Federation Chamber has been a valued initial venue for the professional development of chairs and of clerks.

The venue itself must be suitable for the purpose. For us, this meant the adaptation of a committee room, but that means that room is alienated for most other purposes for which it had previously been used.

The Federation Chamber meets every day the House sits, for 21.5 hours each sitting week.

It meant a fundamental change to the legislative process. Prior to the establishment of the Main Committee, detailed consideration of bills was taken by a committee of the whole membership of the House in the chamber. However, with the establishment of the Main Committee, the name of this stage of the legislative process was changed to consideration in detail. The key motivating factor for the establishment of the Main Committee was to provide a second legislative stream to ease pressure on the legislative business of the House, because the guillotine had been increasingly used and, therefore, debate often was limited.

In particular, the parallel debating chamber may consider bills referred to it for the second reading stage and the consideration-in-detail stage. An immediate improvement was noted by the reduction of the use of the guillotine in 1994. Only 14 bills were guillotined in that year, compared to 132 in the previous year.

Originally only bills where there was no disagreement were to be considered in the Main Committee. However, before long, more controversial bills were referred, as long as there was agreement to this end. The role of the Main Committee has expanded over the years.


The enduring feature of the Federation Chamber is that it operates on the principle of consensus, and from the beginning, procedures were designed to strongly encourage co-operative debate. In particular, the quorum requirements—the Deputy Speaker or the chair, one government member and one non-government member—mean that quorum can be lost easily. The requirement for unanimous decisions provides any member with the ability to have a question considered unresolved and the matter then reported to the House for a decision.

Although it is formally the government's decision which bills and other matters are referred to the Federation Chamber, the co-operative nature of operations in this second chamber makes referral of government business items also contingent on agreement with the opposition.

There have been several reviews into the operation of the second chamber. The procedure committee's 2015 inquiry labelled the Federation Chamber an unparalleled success and concluded that it had earned its permanent place in the functioning of the House, having met the aims first put forward and evolved with the needs of the House. Review and recommendations designed to increase effectiveness have continued, including in relation to providing for a more interactive debate.

Some of the measures that are trialled in the Federation Chamber are later confirmed in the standing orders and then introduced into the House itself.

Thank you, Chair. Those are my opening remarks.

The Chair:

Thank you very much. This is very interesting.

Before I go to questions, I'll ask a quick one.

In our system, when a bill is passed at second reading, it then goes to one of 30 different committees, depending on the subject. Are you saying that detailed study of your bills used to be in committee of the whole, but the bills now go to a main committee that sits in the Federation Chamber?

Ms. Claressa Surtees:

Our system is a little bit different, Chair. The stage you have of referral to the investigative committees doesn't happen in the House of Representatives as a matter of course. It is possible for individual bills to be referred to committees, but it isn't a common practice in our House.

The way the legislative process takes place is that the bill is presented in the House and read a first time. The sponsoring minister moves the second reading and makes the significant second reading speech, and after that, a bill may be referred to the Federation Chamber for the remainder of the second reading debate and then the consideration-in-detail stage, at the conclusion of which it must be referred back to the House for the final process.


The Chair:

committee hansard proc 14753 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on April 30, 2019

2019-04-30 RNNR 134

Standing Committee on Natural Resources



The Chair (Mr. James Maloney (Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Lib.)):

Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you for joining us. Our apologies for the last-minute room change. Apparently there are some technical difficulties upstairs which necessitated the move, but we're all here now. It all worked out thanks to our clerk and everybody else who made the change work out so quickly.

This afternoon, pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), we're considering the main estimates for 2019-20: vote 1 under Atomic Energy of Canada Limited; vote 1 under Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission; votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 under Department of Natural Resources; votes 1 and 5 under National Energy Board; and, vote 1 under Northern Pipeline Agency. These were referred to the committee on Thursday, April 11, 2019.

Minister, I want to start by thanking you for taking the time to join us today. We all know how incredibly busy you are. We're always grateful to you for making time in your schedule to be here with us. I'd like to also welcome your colleagues who are joining us as well.

You all know the process, so I don't need to give any explanation. I will turn the floor over to you. Following that, we will be going to a period of questions and answers.

Minister, the floor is yours. Thank you.

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi (Minister of Natural Resources):

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Good afternoon, everyone.

It's great to be here again to talk about what important investments our government has made in forestry, mining and the energy sector since October 2015, and how we can continue to invest in the future of Canada's natural resource sectors. This is a critically important time for our resource sectors and, more importantly, for Canadian workers.

As we all know, the world's energy needs are changing. Countries are increasingly looking to import sustainably sourced products. There is a growing consensus on the need to take immediate and sustained action on climate change. Some may choose to ignore these changes, keep their heads in the sand and hope for the best, but that is not the Canadian way. We are innovators.

Let's not forget that it was Canadians who first discovered how to get oil out of the oil sands. It was Canadians who created the first all-electric, battery-powered gold mine. It was Canadians who first built the largest North American passive house.

So how do we prepare for the future while also responding to the needs of today?

It starts with listening. In 2015, Canadians made it clear that protecting the environment and growing the economy could no longer be treated by the government as opposing goals.

Through Generation Energy, over 380,000 workers and leaders from renewable energy and clean tech, from oil and gas, from municipalities, indigenous leaders and Canadians helped build the idea of what our energy future could look like and how we can get there. We listened, and we have taken action to deliver for middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join the middle class.

We have done this by attracting new investment, extending the mineral exploration tax credit for five years, which is the first ever multi-year extension, and unveiling a plan that will position Canada as the world's undisputed mining leader. It is creating tens of thousands of jobs by supplying the minerals that will drive the clean growth economy.

We are reimagining the forest sector so our vast forests continue to play an essential role in our economy, not just here in Canada but around the world.

Through our investment of over $1 billion in energy efficiency, we are helping Canadians save money on their energy bills while fighting climate change.

We are building our energy future with a clear focus on expanding our renewable sources of energy, gaining access to global markets and making our traditional resources, such as oil and gas, more sustainable than ever.

Continuing this work and building on our progress to date is the big picture behind our main estimates. It mirrors a lot of what you have studied in your work as a parliamentary committee and the valuable recommendations you have provided to our government. I want to thank you for your work on behalf of Canadians.

The funding contained in this year's main estimates would support our department as we address the challenges in front of us, but also the opportunities ahead. This funding includes: advancing the use of new, clean technologies in the resource sector; helping remote, northern indigenous communities reduce their reliance on diesel; combatting the spruce budworm outbreak through early intervention; and extending our support to the many communities impacted by the unjustified tariffs on softwood lumber.

It will also give us the funds needed to implement key pillars of budget 2019. This includes new investments to encourage more Canadians to buy zero-emission vehicles; engage indigenous communities in major resource projects; improve our energy data, a key study from your committee; and enhance our ability to prepare for and respond to disasters that increasingly require federal action.


As I noted at the beginning of my remarks, this is a pivotal moment in our country's history and it is not without its challenges, whether they are building pipeline capacity in the west, fending off protectionist measures to our south or changes across our economy in all regions of our country.

Canada's unemployment rate may be at a 40-year low, but we need to be mindful of Canadians who are anxious about their future. ln my home province of Alberta, we have seen ongoing challenges for many workers because of fluctuating commodity prices. Our government sees all of these challenges, and we are taking them head-on.

That is why we announced a $1.6-billion action plan to support workers and enhance competitiveness in our oil and gas sector. That is why our government is providing up to $2 billion to respond to the U.S. tariffs that are threatening Canadian workers in our steel and aluminum sectors. lt is why we built on the $867 million through our softwood lumber action plan with continued support to the forest sector in budget 2019.

lt is why we are providing $150 million to ensure a just transition for workers and communities affected by the phasing out of coal-powered electricity. lt is why we are improving the way we make decisions on major projects, so that all Canadians have trust in their reviews, ensuring that we can advance nation-building projects that will grow our economy without putting our health, environment or communities in harm's way.

It is also why we have been doing the hard work necessary to follow the path set out in the Federal Court of Appeal's decision on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. While that decision was a disappointment to many, it provided clear guidance on how the process could move forward in the right way, in a specific and focused way.

Some argue we should ignore that guidance, disregard the court and respond with lengthy appeals designed to avoid our obligations to the environment and to indigenous peoples. Our government took the responsible and more efficient path. We directed the National Energy Board to conduct a review of marine shipping and committed to getting phase three consultations right.

That important work is well under way. The NEB report was delivered on time on February 22. ln parallel, our consultation teams have been hard at work on phase three consultations. These teams, nearly double their original size, have been engaging in meaningful, two-way dialogue to discuss and understand priorities of indigenous communities and to offer responsive accommodations where appropriate. I have also personally met with many indigenous communities to help build a relationship based on trust.

Our work to date has put us in the strong position we are in today to deliver this process for all Canadians. Our work on TMX, our historic investments in solar, wind, geothermal and other forms of energy and our commitment to innovation and the development of new technologies are laying the foundation for a strong Canada both for today and for tomorrow.

Mr. Chair, our government sees our resource industries playing a key role in driving Canada's clean growth economy. We value the expertise and experience at Natural Resources and the drive of all Canadians to help make it happen.

These main estimates are a down payment on Canada's future, a future that our children will inherit with pride and build upon with confidence, a future that will continue to create well-paying, middle-class jobs for Canadians and future generations.

With that, I would be happy to take your questions.

Thank you for having us here.


The Chair:

Minister, thank you for your remarks.

The honourable Kent Hehr is going to start us off.

Hon. Kent Hehr (Calgary Centre, Lib.):

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Minister, thank you so much for coming. You have explained how Albertans figured out the oil sands. It was 1975 when Premier Peter Lougheed, Premier Bill Davis and our Liberal government invested in the modern oil sands. In 1997 it was Premier Klein and then prime minister Chrétien investing in the oil sands and expanding them once again.

You rightfully point out the purchase and the going ahead with Trans Mountain pipeline in the right way, but in my riding of Calgary Centre there are many oil companies and in fact energy workers from whom I continue to hear questions about the industry's competitiveness. They are concerned about a potential layering effect from the various environmental regulations and how they might make our oil and gas industry less competitive. We want to ensure that Canada is the supplier of choice for oil and gas around the world. How do we make sure that we are protecting our environment and yet ensuring that we remain competitive globally?

Hon. Amarjeet Sohi:

Through you, Mr. Chair, I thank the member so much for that question.

As you know, we were in Calgary last week announcing funding support for a very promising new technology that is investing in testing a prototype for geothermal. When you talk to companies like that, they know that if they are successful in commercializing that technology, it can create 40,000 jobs in western Canada, mainly for people who are currently working in the oil sector, people who are drilling and doing that work. We're investing in new technology and investing in our traditional oil and gas sector to make it more clean and green, with the provisions of the accelerated capital allowance announced in last Year's fall economic statement as well as the $100 million allocated in budget 2019 to foster collaboration and innovation amongst the oil and gas sector.

I can give you a number of examples that make our energy sector competitive. We will continue to keep an eye on it so that we remain competitive. We want to make sure our oil and gas sector, our renewable sector, remains a source of well-paying middle-class jobs for Canadians for decades to come. We will continue to make sure our support is there.


Hon. Kent Hehr:

committee hansard rnnr 28664 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on April 30, 2019

2019-04-30 PROC 150

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs



The Chair (Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)):

Good morning, everyone.

In spite of the fact that our witnesses aren't here yet, welcome to the 150th meeting of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

Our first order of business is the main estimates for 2019-20. Today we'll be considering vote 1 under House of Commons and vote 1 under Parliamentary Protective Service.

We are pleased that we will shortly be joined by the Honourable Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House. He will be accompanied by the following officials from the House of Commons: Charles Robert, Clerk of the House of Commons; Michel Patrice, Deputy Clerk, administration, House of Commons; and Daniel Paquette, Chief Financial Officer.

Also here, from Parliamentary Protective Service, are Superintendent Marie-Claude Côté, Interim Director; and Mr. Robert Graham, Administration and Personnel Officer.

Before we start, I want to remind people that we have an official meeting at 7:00 p.m. tonight to hear from Australia. We have something very special for you, too, at the beginning of that meeting, which the clerk has organized. It's a 45-second video of each of the Australian and British Houses, of their second chambers. I think it will be very interesting to see that.

We've already introduced all our guests, and because the bells will be ringing in about 15 minutes, we want to get started.

Mr. Nater.

Mr. John Nater (Perth—Wellington, CPC):

Very briefly, because we will be having bells, can the witnesses stay a bit past 12:00 today?

The Chair:

Can you stay?

Hon. Geoff Regan (Speaker of the House of Commons):


The Chair:

When the bells start ringing, seeing that the chamber is right upstairs, is the committee okay to stay a bit longer, closer to the end of the bells?

Mr. John Nater:

If it's okay with the witnesses.... I know they have to....

Hon. Geoff Regan:

I have to be there, too, at a certain point.

The Chair:

How about 10 minutes before the vote?


Mr. Speaker, it's great to have you back. You're on.

Hon. Geoff Regan:

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. It's a pleasure to be here.[Translation]

As Speaker of the House of Commons, I will be presenting the main estimates for fiscal year 2019-2020 for the House of Commons and the Parliamentary Protective Service. I am joined by officials from both organizations.[English]

Representing the House of Commons administration we have Charles Robert, Clerk of the House of Commons; Michel Patrice, Deputy Clerk, Administration; and Daniel Paquette, Chief Financial Officer.

From the Parliamentary Protective Service, we are joined by Superintendent Marie-Claude Côté, the service's Acting Director; and Robert Graham, the service's Administration and Personnel Officer.

I'll begin, Mr. Chair, by presenting the key elements of the 2019-20 main estimates for the House. These estimates total $503.4 million. This represents a net decrease of $3.6 million compared with the 2018-19 main estimates.

I want to point out—I think members probably know—that the main estimates have been reviewed and approved by the Board of Internal Economy at a public meeting.[Translation]

The main estimates will be presented along five major themes, corresponding to the handout that you received. The financial impact associated with these themes represents the year-over-year changes from the 2018-2019 Main Estimates.[English]

The five themes are as follows: cost-of-living increases; major investments; conferences, associations and assemblies; MP retiring allowances and MP retirement compensation arrangements; and employee benefit plans.

I'll begin with the funding of $4.9 million that is required for cost-of-living increases. This covers requirements for the House administration, as well as for members' office budgets and House officers' budgets. Ensuring that members and house officers have the necessary resources to meet their evolving needs is essential. The increase to members' office budgets, the House officers' budgets, and the travel status expense account provides members and House officers with the necessary resources to carry out their parliamentary functions on behalf of their constituents. These annual budgetary adjustments are based on the consumer price index.



Additionally, members' sessional allowance and additional salaries are statutory in nature and are adjusted every year, in accordance with the Parliament of Canada Act.

Cost-of-living increases are also essential to recruitment efforts for members, House officers and the House Administration as employers, and funding for these increases is accounted for in the estimates.[English]

I'll now move on to the funding for major investments that the board approved, a net increase of $600,000 in support of major House of Commons investments. In light of the renewal of many parliamentary spaces, investments are also needed to deliver support services to members. One notable example of this service delivery initiative has been the implementation of a standardized approach for computer and printing equipment in constituency offices across the country.

This initiative was launched as a pilot project this year and following the next general election will be implemented in all constituency offices. Its purpose is threefold: to ensure parity between the Hill and the constituencies' computing services, to enhance IT support and security, and to simplify purchasing and life cycling of equipment in constituency offices. [Translation]

As part of the long-term vision and plan, the Parliamentary Precinct continues to undergo extensive restoration and modernization to support the efficient operations of Parliament and to preserve Canada's heritage buildings.

The recent West Block rehabilitation project and the construction of the new Visitor Welcome Centre were milestone achievements and, in many ways, will serve as models for the upcoming rehabilitation of Centre Block.[English]

The lessons learned from this project's successes can help guide us in restoring our heritage buildings to their former glory while also incorporating the modern functionality required to support Parliament. For the Centre Block project, the House of Commons administration is committed to engaging members to ensure they're involved in discussions on the design and operational requirements for the building during every step of the project from its outset to its completion.

As the heart of our parliamentary democracy, Centre Block of our Parliament Buildings has great symbolic importance to all Canadians. However, it's also a workplace for members and their staff or will be again once the House returns there. Therefore, their continuous involvement will be crucial to the success of this historic undertaking. Along with the board and its working group, this committee will serve as a forum to consult with members about their views, expectations and needs on a regular basis. [Translation]

Let us now turn to parliamentary diplomacy. The sunsetting of the funds included in the 2018-2019 Main Estimates for conferences and assemblies resulted in a decrease of $1.4 million in the 2019-2020 Main Estimates.[English]

Whether welcoming visiting parliamentarians and dignitaries to the House of Commons or participating in delegations to foreign legislatures and international conferences, MPs play an active role in parliamentary diplomacy. Two important events will be hosted in 2020-21. The 29th annual session of the Parliamentary Assembly, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia, in July 2020. The 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in January 2021. May I say that's an excellent choice. I'd love to take credit for it; I had nothing to do with it, but it's still an excellent choice. Both of them are, of course. [Translation]

I will now touch on the total funding reduction of $9.3 million for the members of Parliament retiring allowances and members of Parliament retirement compensation arrangements accounts.[English]

The MPs' pension plan serves more than 1,000 active and retired senators and members of the House of Commons. The plan was established in 1952 and is governed by the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act. In January 2017, the contribution rates for plan members increased to bring their share of the current service cost to 50%, thus reducing the cost that must be funded by the House of Commons.



The final item included in the House of Commons main estimates is a funding requirement of $1.6 million for employee benefit plans.

committee hansard proc 17721 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on April 30, 2019

2019-04-29 SECU 158

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



The Chair (Hon. John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood, Lib.)):

I am calling this meeting to order.

I see that the minister has his coffee, so clearly he is ready to provide his testimony.

This is the 158th meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Safety, and pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), we are studying the subject matter of Bill C-93, an act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis.

With that, I want to welcome the minister on behalf of the committee, and I would anticipate that he will introduce his colleagues.

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good afternoon, once again, to the committee.

I am glad for the opportunity to discuss Bill C-93 this afternoon, legislation that will make it much easier for people convicted of simple possession of cannabis to clear their records and move on with their lives.

I am pleased, Mr. Chair, to be joined by Angela Connidis, from the Department of Public Safety; Ian Broom, who is with the Parole Board of Canada; and Jennifer Gates-Flaherty, who deals with criminal records at the RCMP.[Translation]

In the old system, when cannabis was illegal, Canadians were among the biggest, and youngest, consumers of cannabis in the world, to the delight of criminal organizations. Last autumn, we fulfilled our commitment to put an end to that ineffective and counterproductive ban.

However, a number of Canadians still have a criminal record for simple possession of cannabis. With Bill C-93, they will be able to rid themselves of it expeditiously. [English]

For people convicted solely of possessing cannabis for personal use, this legislation will simplify the process of getting a pardon in several ways. Ordinarily, applicants would have to pay a fee to the Parole Board of $631. We are eliminating that fee entirely for these purposes. Applicants also face a waiting period of up to 10 years to become eligible under the usual system, and we are getting rid of that waiting period too.

As the law currently stands, the Parole Board can deny applications based on a variety of subjective factors, such as whether a pardon would provide the applicant with a “measurable benefit”. Under Bill C-93, such factors would not be considered in the context of this legislation. In addition to the measures in the bill, the Parole Board is taking further steps, such as simplifying the application form, creating a 1-800 number and an email address to help people with their applications, and developing a community outreach strategy to encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of this new process.

We're doing all this in recognition of the fact that the criminalization of cannabis had a disproportionate impact on certain Canadians—notably, members of black and indigenous communities. We are doing it because we will all benefit when people with criminal records for nothing more than simple possession of cannabis can get an education and a job, find a place to live, volunteer at their kids' schools and generally contribute more fully to Canadian life. They are impeded in doing those things because of that criminal record.

There were several points raised about the bill during second reading debate and in public discussion that I would like to address. Let me say also that I certainly commend the committee for taking the initiative of holding these hearings with respect to Bill C-93 to do a prestudy and to deal with this matter in as expeditious a manner as possible.

First, there is the question of why we're proposing an application-based system instead of pardoning people's records generically and proactively as has been done, for example, in certain municipalities in California. Unfortunately, doing that same thing in Canada on a national scale is simply a practical impossibility.

For one thing, Canadian conviction records don't generally say “cannabis possession”. That's not the language that's used in the records. They say something like “possession of a schedule II substance,” and then you have to check police and court documents to find out what the particular substance was. The blanket, generic approach is not all that obvious, given the way that charges are entered and records are kept in the Canadian system. Doing this for every drug possession charge that potentially involves cannabis would be a considerable undertaking, even if all the documents were in one central computer database.


In reality, that is not the case in Canada. Many of these paper records are kept in boxes in the basements of courthouses and police stations in cities and towns across the country. It's not as simple as just pushing a button on a computer. We could start the process today, but people would still be waiting for their records to be cleared years from now because of the way those records are retained. By contrast, when someone submits an application for a pardon under the provisions that we're proposing in Bill C-93, Parole Board officials can zero in on the relevant documents right away, and the person can get their pardon much faster.

Another question raised at second reading was about the appropriateness of waiving the fee. There was concern that taxpayers would be footing the bill for people who broke the law.

The fact is that if we don't waive the fee, wealthy Canadians with cannabis possession convictions will be able to get their pardons quite easily, but lower-income people will remain saddled with the criminal record and the stigma. Many people with records for cannabis possession don't have that spare $631 lying about. They need the pardon to get a job and earn a paycheque. It's a bit of a vicious circle. Also, waiving the fee is a good investment. A person who gets a pardon is better able to get an education and a job, and contribute to their community in all sorts of ways, including by paying taxes.

Finally, there's the question of why we are proposing an expedited pardons process rather than expungement. I would remind the committee that expungement is a concept that did not exist in Canadian law until we created it last year to destroy the conviction records of people who were criminalized simply for being gay. In those cases, the law itself was a patently unconstitutional violation of fundamental rights and the convictions that flowed from it were never legitimate in the first place.

The prohibition of cannabis on the other hand was not unconstitutional. It was just bad public policy. There is no doubt though that the manner in which it was applied disproportionately impacted certain groups within our society, particularly black and indigenous Canadians among others. That's why we're proposing to waive the fee and the waiting period, and to take numerous other steps to make getting a pardon for cannabis possession much faster and much easier.

As for the practical effects of pardons as opposed to expungement, criminal record checks come up empty in both cases. The effect of a pardon is protected by the Canadian Human Rights Act, and pardons are almost always permanent. Since 1970, more than half a million pardons have been issued and 95% of them are still in force today.

It's important not to minimize the effect of a pardon. Some of the debate in the House has made it sound as though a pardon is an insignificant thing. It's worth remembering that when this committee studied the pardon system in the fall, it heard from witnesses who emphasized just how consequential a pardon can be.

Louise Lafond, from the Elizabeth Fry Society, testified that a pardon is “like being able to turn that page over” and allow people to “to pursue paths that were closed to them.”

Catherine Latimer, from the John Howard Society, testified that pardons “allow the person to be restored to the community, as a contributing member without the continuing penalization of the past wrong.”

Rodney Small testified that for years he wanted to apply to law school, but couldn't for want of a pardon.

In other words, making pardons more accessible, with no fee and no waiting period, will have life-changing impacts for people dealing with the burden and the stigma of a criminal record for cannabis possession. We will all reap the benefits of having those people contribute more fully to their communities and to Canada as a whole.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your attention. I'd be happy, along with my colleagues from the various departments and agencies here, to try to answer your questions.

The Chair:

Thank you, Minister.

With that we go to Ms. Sahota for seven minutes, please.

Ms. Ruby Sahota (Brampton North, Lib.):

Thank you, Chair.

Thank you, Minister, and thank you, everyone, for being here today.

My first question is going to be along the lines of what you just finished with: the productivity increase.

There has been a lot of argument or debate on the issue of whether taxpayers should be footing the bill for the cost of all of these pardons. I'd like to hear a little more about what you think the cost might be and what tax revenues or benefits we may see as a result of people receiving these pardons.

Hon. Ralph Goodale:

Obviously, on the cost side of the equation, Ms. Sahota, it will depend exactly on how many people come forward and apply. Based on the best calculations the department can do, cost estimates have been made. My understanding is that the department expects a cost factor of about $2.5 million over a period of time to process the paperwork that's involved to do the necessary investigation.

That would relieve the burden of a criminal record on several thousand individuals. If they're able to get a better job or get a job at all or find themselves in the position of paying taxes for the first time, if that has been their life experience up to then, obviously it wouldn't take society very long to recover the cost. It would end a discriminatory practice that is now really quite out of sync or out of whack because the whole legal regime around cannabis changed last fall. Last fall we stopped the process of criminalizing people for simple possession moving forward. This is an effort at simple fairness to try to rectify the situation as much as that is humanly possible with respect to those who have a record of simple possession that has been impeding their ability to be as productive in society as they would like to be.

Ms. Ruby Sahota:

As you know, and as you've referenced in your introductory remarks, there's been a lot of debate about providing pardons over expungement. Are there any benefits that you can see, other than the ones you've pointed to, of pardons over expungement?

I know that our parliamentary secretary mentioned some in the debate in the House regarding crossing the border into the U.S. and prior records the border services there might have on a person and any others you might see. Why is this the step you and your department have chosen to take?

Hon. Ralph Goodale:

We've thought this through extensively and had a very good internal discussion about the various alternatives for trying to deal with the issue we're advancing here. As a result of weighing all of the pros and cons of one technique versus another, I think there are six factors that argue in favour of the route that we've laid out in Bill C-93.

Number one, the pardon process is the most efficient process from the point of view of the Parole Board. It is the least expensive and can be done faster than the other alternatives. Therefore, efficiency is one of the arguments.

Number two, it's a very simple piece of legislation. Bill C-93 is not hundreds of pages. It's four or five pages. It's very simple, but we're able to accomplish two important objectives that recognize the unfairness of the situation that we're trying to correct: There's no fee and there is no wait time. That can be done in a very simple way by means of this legislation.

Number three, this approach deals with the reality of how records have been historically kept in this country in a very dispersed manner. They are not all contained in one comprehensive database where you can simply push a button and instantly alter the whole thing by one keystroke. By setting up the system that we're setting up—where people make an application—the system can deal with the reality of how records are kept.

committee hansard secu 33833 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on April 29, 2019

2019-04-11 PROC 149

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs



The Chair (Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)):

Members, all the committee members aren't here, because we normally don't meet when the bells are ringing. I will ask the permission of the committee to continue for the sole purpose of hearing the minister's opening statement. Nothing else will occur. If we could let her do that, then we would go to vote.

Mr. David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre, NDP):

I'm good with that.

The Chair:

Are you guys good? Okay.

Thank you very much, Minister. We'll get right on with it, because we have to go vote. Then you will come back after the vote.

The Honourable Karina Gould (Minister of Democratic Institutions):


Thank you very much for the invitation to address the committee today. I know all of you have a copy of my remarks. I will be giving a slightly shorter version, but you have all of that information.

It is my pleasure to appear and to use the opportunity to outline the government's plan to safeguard the 2019 federal election.[Translation]

I'm pleased to be joined by officials today who will speak about the technical aspects of our plan. These officials are Allen Sutherland, Assistant Secretary to Cabinet, Machinery of Government and Democratic Institutions at the Privy Council; Daniel Rogers, Deputy Chief of SIGNIT at the Communications Security Establishment; and André Boucher, Assistant Deputy Minister of Operations at the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.

Elections are an opportunity for Canadians to be heard. They can express concerns and opinions through one of the most fundamental rights, which is the right to vote. The next opportunity for Canadians to exercise this right is coming this fall, with Canada's 43rd general election in October.[English]

As we have seen over the past few years, democracies around the world have entered a new era, an era of heightened and dynamic threat that necessitates intensified vigilance by governments, but also by all members of society.[Translation]

Each election plays out in a unique context. This election will be no different. While evidence has confirmed that the 2015 federal election didn't involve any incidents of sophisticated or concerted interference, we can't predict what will happen this fall. However, we can prepare for any possibility.[English]

Earlier this week, along with my colleague, the Minister of National Defence, I announced the release of the 2019 update to the Communications Security Establishment’s report entitled “Cyber Threats to Canada’s Democratic Process”. This updated report highlights that it is very likely Canadian voters will encounter some form of foreign cyber interference in the course of the 2019 federal election.

While CSE underlines that it is unlikely this interference will be on the scale of the Russian activity in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the report notes that in 2018, half of all the advanced democracies holding national elections, representing a threefold increase since 2015, had their democratic process targeted by cyber-threat activity and that Canada is also at risk. This upward trend is likely to continue in 2019.[Translation]

We've seen that certain tools used to strengthen civic engagement have been co-opted to undermine, disrupt and destabilize democracy. Social media has been misused to spread false or misleading information. In recent years, we've seen foreign actors try to undermine democratic societies and institutions, electoral processes, sovereignty and security.

The CSE's 2017 and 2019 assessments, along with ongoing Canadian intelligence and the experiences of our allies and like-minded countries, have informed and guided our efforts over the past year. This has led to the development of an action plan based on four pillars, engaging all aspects of Canadian society.[English]

Therefore, in addition to reinforcing and protecting government infrastructure, systems and practices, we are also focusing heavily on preparing Canadians and working with digital platforms that have an important role in fostering positive democratic debate and dialogue.

The four pillars of our plan are: enhancing citizen preparedness; improving organizational readiness; combatting foreign interference; and expecting social media platforms to act.

I will highlight some of the most significant initiatives of our plan.[Translation]

On January 30, I announced the digital citizen initiative and a $7 million investment towards improving the resilience of Canadians against online disinformation. In response to the increase in false, misleading and inflammatory information published online and through social media, the Government of Canada has made it a priority to help equip citizens with the tools and skills needed to critically assess online information.

We're also leveraging the “Get Cyber Safe” national public awareness campaign to educate Canadians about cyber security and the simple steps they can take to protect themselves online.



We have established the critical election incident public protocol. This is a simple, clear and non-partisan process for informing Canadians if serious incidents during the writ period threaten the integrity of the 2019 general election. This protocol puts the decision to inform Canadians directly in the hands of five of Canada’s most experienced senior public servants, who have a responsibility to ensure the effective, peaceful transition of power and continuity of government through election periods. The public service has effectively played this role for generations and it will continue to fulfill this important role through the upcoming election and beyond.[Translation]

This protocol will be initiated only to respond to incidents that occur within the writ period and that don't fall within Elections Canada's area of responsibility for the administration of the election.

The threshold for the panel in charge of informing the public will be very high and will be limited to addressing exceptional circumstances that could impair our ability to hold a free and fair election. The panel is expected to come to a decision jointly, based on consensus. It won't be one person deciding what Canadians should know.

I'm thankful that the political parties consulted on the development of this protocol set aside partisanship in the interest of all Canadians. The incorporation of input from all parties has allowed for a fair process that Canadians can trust.[English]

Under the second pillar, improving organizational readiness, one key new initiative is to ensure that political parties are all aware of the nature of the threat, so that they can take the steps needed to enhance their internal security practices and behaviours. The CSE’s 2017 report, as well as its 2019 update, highlight that political parties continue to represent one of the greatest vulnerabilities in the Canadian system. Canada’s national security agencies will offer threat briefings to political party leadership, to ensure that they are able to play their part in securing our elections.[Translation]

Under the third pillar—combatting foreign interference—the government has established the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections Task Force to improve awareness of foreign threats and support incident assessment and response. The team brings together CSE, CSIS, the RCMP, and Global Affairs Canada to ensure a comprehensive understanding of and response to any threats to Canada. The task force has established a baseline of threat awareness, and has been meeting with international partners to make sure that Canada can effectively assess and mitigate any malicious interference activity.[English]

The fourth pillar is with respect to social media platforms.[Translation]

The transformation of Canada's media landscape affects the whole of society in tangible and pervasive ways. Social media and online platforms are the new arbiters of information and therefore have a responsibility to manage their communities.[English]

We know that they have also been manipulated to spread disinformation, create confusion and exploit societal tension. I have been meeting with social media and digital platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft, to secure action to increase transparency, improve authenticity and ensure greater integrity on their platforms. Although discussions are progressing slowly, and have not yet yielded the results we expected at this stage, we remain steadfast in our commitment to secure change from them.[Translation]

Our government has prioritized the protection of Canada's democratic processes and institutions. As a result, we've committed significant new funding towards these efforts. Budget 2019 included an additional $48 million in support of the whole-of-government efforts.[English]

This comprehensive plan is also bolstered by recent legislative efforts. I’d like to also highlight the important advances we’ve made to modernize Canada’s electoral system, making it more accessible, transparent and secure.



Bill C-76 takes important steps to counter foreign interference and the threats posed by emerging technologies. [English]

The provisions in this bill, which this committee obviously knows well, are: prohibiting foreign entities from spending any money to influence elections where previously they were able to spend up to $500 unregulated; requiring organizations selling advertising space to not knowingly accept election advertisements from foreign entities; and, adding a prohibition regarding the unauthorized use of computers where there is intent to obstruct, interrupt or interfere with the lawful use of computer data during an election period.[Translation]

Canada has a robust and world-renowned elections administration body in Elections Canada.[English]

While it is impossible to fully predict what kinds of threats we will see in the run-up to Canada's general election, I want to assure this committee that Canada has put in place a solid plan. We continue to test and probe our readiness, and we will continue to take whatever steps we can towards ensuring a free, fair and secure election in 2019.[Translation]

Thank you.

I'll be pleased to answer your questions either now or after the vote. [English]

The Chair:

We'll do that after the vote period.

Before people leave, I have a couple of things.

First, just for the minutes, this is the 149th meeting.

One thing I'll ask you, committee members, when you come back, will relate to future work, which I think we can do really quickly. It's with regard to the estimates on the debate commission and who you want as witnesses. Also, regarding the parallel debating chamber, when we hear from the Australian witness, it has to be in the evening of Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

committee hansard proc 20324 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on April 11, 2019

2019-04-10 SECU 157

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



The Chair (Hon. John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood, Lib.)):

It's 3:30 and we have quorum.

We have two witnesses for our first panel, Mr. Ryland and Mr. Fadden.

Before I start, colleagues, we've had a couple of curves thrown at our agenda going forward and we need to give the clerks and the analyst some instructions. The meeting of the subcommittee was scheduled to start at 5:30. However, bells may ring at 5:30, in which case I would not be able to start the subcommittee meeting.

Mr. David de Burgh Graham (Laurentides—Labelle, Lib.):

Start at 5:29.

The Chair:

You're running a little tight at 5:29. I was thinking more like 5:20. We may end the current meeting at 5:20, or we can stretch it a bit to 5:25.

Unless there are other considerations, I'll call upon our witnesses to speak, in no particular order, although I take note that Mr. Fadden has spoken at this committee many times, and Mr. Ryland, I believe this is your first opportunity.

Mr. Mark Ryland (Director, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Amazon Web Services, Inc.):

That's correct, yes.

The Chair:

Maybe I should let the pro go first and then you'll see how an excellent witness can make a presentation.

Mr. Mark Ryland:

That sounds good.

The Chair:

Mr. Fadden, please.

Mr. Richard Fadden (As an Individual):

Thank you, Chairman. I'll hold you to that assessment when I'm finished.

The Chair:

Don't put it to a vote.

Mr. Richard Fadden:

Thank you again for the opportunity to speak to you.

As I start, I want to note that in discussions with the clerk and the staff of the committee, I told them that I wasn't an expert on the financial sector, and it was suggested to me that I could make some general comments on national security and cyber, so that's what I'm proposing to do. I hope that will be helpful to the committee.

I want to comment in an odd sort of way on your order of reference, which talks about national economic security. I'm sure that careful thought was given to that, but I'd like to suggest to you—and I'm doing a bit of marketing here—that the issues you're talking about are national security issues, period. They're not a subunit of national security.

This goes to the definition of national security. I hope and think that you use a fairly broad one, but to my mind, it's anything that materially affects a nation's sovereignty. The things that the committee is talking about now can potentially very much affect a nation's sovereignty, just like money laundering conducted by a foreign state, or a devastating national security issue. That's just a small marketing effort on my part.

While I'm not an expert in financial systems, I hope and think that I can offer you a couple of useful context points. One is that context in the environment in which cyber-attacks occur, be they against the financial institutions or anywhere else, is important. These things don't occur in isolation. I would argue that you cannot deal with cyber-threats in the financial sector without an understanding of cyber-threats generally, and you can't understand cyber-threats without understanding threats generally directed against Canada and the west. We all live in a globalized world, and that certainly applies to national security threats.

I say this for a couple of reasons. Some of you may be old enough to remember the Cold War where it was fairly simple: those who were causing trouble and those who were receiving trouble were basically states. I'm oversimplifying, but it was the Warsaw Pact against the west. Some companies were affected.

I think one of the contextual points that are important is that our adversaries or instigators today are states, terrorist groups, criminal organizations—and I'll come back to that—corporations, civil society groups and individuals. I think that any of these could be causing difficulties in the financial systems that you're concerned about.

The targets, on the other hand, used to be basically states. I'd argue that they're now states, corporations, civil society, political parties, non-profits and individuals. The world is fairly complicated, and if either the financial institutions themselves or the government is going to deal with cyber-attacks against them, my suggestion to you is that they have to know and understand the context in which all of that is occurring. They just can't build walls abstractly.

I think the question of who or what might initiate cyber-attacks against our financial sector is very relevant. I don't try very hard to do sound bites, but I have one: National security is not national. It's not national in the sense that no single state can deal with these issues— certainly not a relatively small middle power like Canada—and you need international co-operation.

Second, I would argue that no federal state or nation state can deal with these sorts of things without the help of provincial or regional governments, and corporations and society generally. I would argue with you that it is a significant mistake for financial institutions to argue that they can do it all themselves, just as it is a mistake for the government to accept that hypothesis.

I talked a little bit about context and environment, so I would just like to lay out very quickly the kinds of threats to national security that Canada's facing. I think of the revisionist states, Russia and China; extremisms and extremism generally, including terrorists; the issue of cyber; the dysfunctional west; and the rogue states and issues—Iran and North Korea, come to mind.

I'm emphasizing this a little bit because I think all of these are interrelated far more than they might have been 15 or 20 years ago. They leverage against each other, and they amplify their effects. For example, Russian and China use cyber systems and benefit from a dysfunctional west because we're not fighting them together. Terrorist groups benefit from the discord caused by revisionist states, and they use cyber systems. All of them interact with one another, and I think that we need to keep that in mind when we do that.


One of the other issues I want to emphasize and suggest to you is that Canada is very much threatened by cyber-attacks generally and against our financial institutions. I say this, because when I used to be working, one of the things that used to drive me to distraction was the view of many Canadians that Canada wasn't threatened because we had three oceans and the United States. That view made it very difficult for governments and others to deal with a lot of national security threats. The average Canadian, absent an event, didn't think there was a great issue.

I think Canada is very much threatened by a variety of the institutions and entities that I just talked about, but why is this the case? We have an advanced economy, advanced science and technology; we're part of the Five Eyes and NATO, and we're next to the U.S.

To be honest, we're not thought internationally to have the strongest defences on the cyber side, and any institution will go to the weakest link in the chain. Sometimes we are thought to be that, although I don't think we're doing all that badly. Also, we're threatened, sometimes simply because we're hit at random.

I think it's especially important for the committee to make the point that our financial sector is indeed threatened by cyber-attacks, because I don't think a lot of people believe that.

One of the other things I'd like to talk about is who I think are the main instigators of potential attacks. I think they're nation states and international criminal groups.

What are they going to try to do? They're going to try to deny service, old-fashioned theft—and I'll come back to that—information and intelligence acquisition, intellectual property theft, and identification theft, for both the purposes of acquiring money and espionage.

Let me give you a couple of examples about states that play with countries' financial systems.

North Korea finances a lot of their operations, gets a lot of their hard currency by using their cyber-capabilities to access the financial systems of various and sundry countries. For example, they had a program some time ago that allowed them to steal money systematically from ATMs around the world. They also had a program that allowed them to claim ransoms using ransomware. More generally, they are the country that was thought to have frozen the United Kingdom's national health service a few years ago.

My point is that you can find out as much about this as I can just by Googling them. The United States has indicted a number of people from North Korea who have tried to do this, and this is just one example of a state that tries to get into western countries' financial systems.

Another one is Iran. You will have seen in the newspapers over the last five or ten years, a couple of examples of how Iran has tried to do this, in particular against the United States and banks. There are indictments against seven or eight Iranians.

I have a couple of words about Russia and China and how I don't think you cannot ignore them when you talk about this topic. I think their main objective is twofold: one is denial of service, and another is to simply reduce western confidence in our institutions. They do this systematically.

Criminal groups I think are becoming much more prominent in this area, and it's something we don't talk enough about. I hope you've had an opportunity to talk to the RCMP about this. If you look at either RCMP or Statistics Canada figures, the extent to which international criminal groups are playing with our financial institutions has gone through the roof over the last little while.

In summary, cyber-attacks on our financial system are a national security issue in my view. These attacks must be viewed in broad context if we're going to deal with them effectively. There's no silver bullet to any of this. It will only work, and we will only reduce the risk, if governments, corporations and civil society co-operate.

I think government needs to share more information with the private sector. It's something that we do far less of than the United Kingdom and United States. You can't expect private corporations to be an effective partner if they're not aware of what's going on.

The financial sector needs to report these attacks and breaches far more systematically than they do.

committee hansard secu 38137 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on April 10, 2019

2019-04-09 PROC 148

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs



The Chair (Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)):

Good morning. Welcome to the 148th meeting of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

I want to welcome the Conservative whip, Mr. Strahl, and Don Rusnak and Karine Trudel from the NDP, to the most exciting committee on the Hill. I'm sure you'll all enjoy yourselves.

I want to let the committee members know that you'll soon be getting two pieces of information that I've asked for some more research on. One is the number of members who normally attend the dual chambers in Australia and Great Britain, and the second is on when the exact legislation was passed that gave the authority for the parliamentary precinct to Public Works, related to things we've been discussing.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(a)(iii), we are pleased to be joined by Charles Robert, Clerk of the House of Commons, to brief us on progress on the initiative to modernize the Standing Orders. As you remember, on February 27, 2018, he mentioned that this process was starting. These aren't substantive changes, but an effort at reorganization so that the Standing Orders are clear. It's hard for people to find things. It's that kind of work. You got some documents yesterday from the committee clerk.

The bells will sound shortly, so hopefully we can get through his opening statement soon.

Maybe I should just mention while we're still here what I propose for the meetings when we come back after April. The estimates have to be tabled this week. There are three panels of estimates that we would normally have. On the first panel would be the Clerk, the Speaker and PPS for the House of Commons estimates and the PPS estimates. On the second panel would be the Chief Electoral Officer for the elections estimates, and on the third would be the minister and/or the commissioner of debates for the debates estimates.

Does anyone have any problem with that schedule of having those panels for the estimates?

Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, CPC):

I would like a little more specificity than “the minister and/or the commissioner of debates”—

The Chair:

That's up to the committee. Do you want the—

Mr. Scott Reid:

Can we get back to you on what we would prefer?

The Chair:

Yes. You can get back to me.

Mr. Scott Reid:

This shouldn't be a scheduling issue, unless one of the others has a scheduling issue of their own, but as to the actual breakdown, perhaps we can get back to you on what would be preferable from our perspective—

The Chair:

On that third one, everyone can get back to me as to who you would like for the witnesses.

Hopefully we can get your opening statement in before the bells.

Maybe I can ask for the permission of committee members. Is it okay for a few minutes after the bells have started—because it's just upstairs—to get his opening statement finished? Is that okay?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Chair: That's great. Thank you.

Mr. Mark Strahl (Chilliwack—Hope, CPC):

We'll stay for the statement.

The Chair:

Okay. Thank you.

Mr. Clerk, you're on. Thank you very much for being here again.

Mr. Charles Robert (Clerk of the House of Commons):

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

When I became the Clerk in 2017, one of my goals was to unify the administration as one entity serving the members. In terms of procedural services, one way to proactively support the needs of the members was to review the Standing Orders. From my reading, I found them overly complex and not really accessible to members and their staff.

As a consequence, I launched an internally driven project to improve the style and organization of the rules and to enhance their accessibility.

Specifically, my aim was to rewrite the Standing Orders in plain language, using consistent terminology and eliminating internal references, and to reorganize the Standing Orders to improve the navigation of the document by adding a comprehensive table of contents with matching marginal notes, and I proposed a new numbering scheme that acts as a memory device and organizes related procedures in discrete chapters. Finally, I wanted to do this without making any substantive changes to the rules. This was my commitment to you at this committee at my first appearance.

The project has involved two phases of activity.

Phase one was to rewrite and reorganize the Standing Orders with a view to improving the logical flow of the rules, disaggregating complex and lengthy rules into subsections to provide a step-by-step understanding of the procedure and, where possible, combining certain procedures to improve the conciseness of the document.

Phase two was to work with the legislative services to ensure that there are no discrepancies between the English and the French text. To do this, we have involved jurilinguists on the project; these are specialists who work in the Law Clerk's office. This will also improve the level of French in the Standing Orders.



I know that you have all received a bundle of documents to prepare for the meeting. Three documents are part of it. There is a general information note describing the genesis of the project, the principles applied in the review and the approach adopted to improve the style and organization of the Standing Orders. There is a proposed table of contents and the first seven corresponding chapters, which provide a basis for the work done in the House. There is an appendix that draws members' attention to inconsistencies between rules, divergence between rules and outdated usages or rules.[English]

Where possible, we have suggested changes to improve the internal consistency of the rules and to improve the alignment of the rules with our practices.

There has been no attempt to introduce new concepts or to recommend substantive changes to the interpretation of any rule.

Let me take some time to walk you through some specific proposals that are designed to improve the accessibility of the document.

Let's begin with the table of contents. As compared with the existing version, the proposal of a comprehensive table of contents using marginal notes or subheadings will improve the ease of navigation of the document.

Another thing users will note is the writing style, using plain language and the active voice. We also placed a premium on concision, which improves the clarity of the text and the ease of comprehension.

The removal of internal references is a major improvement in understanding the operation of the rules. For expert proceduralists, this may not seem to be an obstacle, but for new members and new staff who possess limited procedural knowledge, internal references represent a barrier to understanding the rules and how they work together.

In this same vein, we have added notes and exceptions under rules to explain linkages to other rules, exceptions to the application of rules, and references to statutory and constitutional authorities.

By using consistent terminology, we hope to eliminate the use of redundant text where the application of a term is different.

These are examples of how we propose to improve the writing style of the Standing Orders. Now here are some examples of how we organized the document to improve its navigation.

We found that certain groupings in long chapters were not particularly helpful in finding what the reader is looking for. For example, we reorganized the chapter on financial procedures. We took the procedures dealing with the budget debate and put them in the special debates chapter. We took the ways and means procedures and grouped them with non-debatable motions in the chapter on motions. And we kept the remaining procedures dealing with the business of supply in the chapter named after business of supply.

In addition to adding an index to the document, we are also proposing to include a glossary of terms that we hope will improve the understanding of the Standing Orders.[Translation]

committee hansard proc 19054 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on April 09, 2019

2019-04-08 SECU 156

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



The Chair (Hon. John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood, Lib.)):

Ladies and gentlemen, I see we have quorum.

I apologize to the witnesses for all the difficulties with votes, but it is what it is and we're in the season that we are in.

Before I start, there has been some conversation about Mr. Dubé's motion. I'm going to allocate the princely amount of one minute to see whether there is an appetite to deal with Mr. Dubé's motion.

The first question I have is.... I shouldn't even ask this. I should say we're going to have this in open meeting as opposed to in camera; otherwise, we'll just waste more time.

Mr. Dubé, do you want to move your motion? We'll see whether we can get this done in one minute.

Mr. Matthew Dubé (Beloeil—Chambly, NDP):

Hopefully I will need less than that. I've already presented it and explained why. It's on the record, so I'm happy to move to the vote.

The Chair:

Ms. Sahota.

Ms. Ruby Sahota (Brampton North, Lib.):

I would just like to state that I'm supportive of the motion; however, I do feel that the time frame is very loose. It allows up until June 21. I do think there is some urgency to the matter, because there are a lot of people who feel uncomfortable about the way the report was put out initially in December. I would urge that we perhaps state that it should be done at the minister's earliest convenience.

That's just a friendly amendment, so that we don't give such a lengthy deadline but do it as soon as possible.

The Chair:

Mr. Dubé.

Mr. Matthew Dubé:

Thank you. I appreciate that. Understanding that we have a busy committee, I would perhaps just amend it to say “at the minister's earliest convenience but no later than” the date that's in the motion, so we don't say that the earliest convenience is when some of us come back.

Ms. Ruby Sahota:

Yes, I think that's a good amendment.

The Chair:

Okay, do we have consensus on that?

Properly, I should have Ms. Sahota move an amendment and then we will vote on the amendment. Do you want to move your amendment?

Ms. Ruby Sahota:

Yes, my amendment is, after the words “the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to appear”, to say, “at his earliest convenience but no later than Friday, June 21, 2019.”

The rest of it is the same.

The Chair:

Okay. The vote is on the amendment.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Motion as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The Chair: Excellent, thank you very much.

Now we'll turn to our witnesses. Notice the extraordinary level of co-operation among colleagues on the public safety committee, unfortunately not replicated anywhere else.

Our first witness is Ms. Terri O'Brien from the Interac Corporation, and the second witnesses are Mr. Ferrabee and Mr. Kyle from Payments Canada. I thank you for your patience.

I'm going to ask you for your opening statements.

I'll point out to colleagues that we are supposed to be voting again at 5:30. I assume that's when the bells go.

The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Naaman Sugrue):

There may be bells at 5:00.

The Chair:

Okay, so let's at least get the statements done. We started the meeting. Thank goodness for that.

Do I have unanimous consent to proceed until we can no longer proceed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Chair:

Okay, that is probably 20 minutes.

Please proceed. Again, I apologize for these procedures, but they are what they are.

Ms. O'Brien, go ahead.

Ms. Terri O'Brien (Chief Risk Officer, Interac Corp.):

Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you very much for the opportunity to address the committee.

My name is Terri O'Brien. I lead the risk management practice at Interac Corp.

For my opening remarks today, my goal is to provide insights and recommendations on cybersecurity from our unique position in the financial services landscape. Many of you know Interac already. Like millions of Canadians each day, you use our products and services to withdraw money and pay and transfer funds with security and convenience.

What you may not know is that Interac is 100% Canadian-owned and operated. What sets us apart is not only our Canadian roots, but the trust we have established with Canadians over our 35-year history. Last year, Canadians made 6.6 billion transactions, moving over $415 billion in value across our suite of products, including Interac debit and Interac e-Transfer.

Interac has been in the business of facilitating real-time payments between Canadians for decades, including our Interac e-Transfer product, which has been facilitating real-time payments since 2002. Of course, this includes real-time 24-7 fraud detection. With real-time payments comes the need for real-time security, prevention and detection capabilities, which we've built up over our history. Our real-time cyber and fraud capabilities help Canadians digitally transact with confidence across a variety of devices and platforms, including mobile devices. At the same time, we adhere to our core values that have been central to our history, including corporate responsibility, safety and soundness.

committee hansard secu 29048 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on April 08, 2019

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