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The world according to David Graham


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Recent entries

  1. PMO Staff Run Government; Ministers Represent It
  2. On A Mostly Harmless Birthday
  3. The Trouble With Political Communications
  4. Politics: War By Other Means
  5. On the function of Social media
  6. C-18 is an existential threat, not a benefit, to democracy
  7. On Missing A Little More Than A Sub
  8. The Realpolitik Of Open Nomination
  9. What Is An Open Nomination, Really?
  10. Alberta election about identity, not policy
  11. The Trouble With Electoral Reform
  12. Mr. Bains Goes to Rogers
  13. Question Period
  14. Why do lockdowns and pandemic restrictions continue to exist?
  15. Parliamentary privilege: an arcane concept that can prevent coups
  16. It's not over yet
  17. Trump will win in 2020 (and keep an eye on 2024)
  18. A podcast with Michael Geist on technology and politics
  19. Next steps
  20. On what electoral reform reforms
  21. 2019 Fall campaign newsletter / infolettre campagne d'automne 2019
  22. 2019 Summer newsletter / infolettre été 2019
  23. 2019-07-15 SECU 171
  24. 2019-06-20 RNNR 140
  25. 2019-06-17 14:14 House intervention / intervention en chambre
  26. 2019-06-17 SECU 169
  27. 2019-06-13 PROC 162
  28. 2019-06-10 SECU 167
  29. 2019-06-06 PROC 160
  30. 2019-06-06 INDU 167
  31. older entries...

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

2019-06-05 23:27 House intervention / intervention en chambre

Government bills, Third reading and adoption,

Troisième lecture et adoption

Mr. Speaker, if my friend from Provencher is so convinced that we can cut our way to growth, how is it that his government left the country completely penniless?

Monsieur le Président, si mon ami de Provencher est tellement convaincu que l'on peut exercer des compressions pour favoriser la croissance, comment se fait-il que son gouvernement ait laissé le pays sans le sou?

Watch | Hansard

Ecoutez | Hansard

hansard parlchmbr tv 84 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 20:26 on June 05, 2019

2019-06-05 15:11 House intervention / intervention en chambre

Drowning, Government assistance, Information dissemination, Oral questions, Pleasure craft

Aide gouvernementale, Bateaux de plaisance, Noyades, Questions orales,

Mr. Speaker, my riding, Laurentides—Labelle, has an estimated 10,800 lakes and bodies of water, and many of them are used recreationally during the summer. We are working on a number of issues concerning the management and protection of our lakes, but we hear less about boating safety.

According to the Red Cross, every year there are about 160 boating-related fatalities in Canada.

Can the Minister of Transport talk about what is being done to raise awareness about pleasure craft safety?

Monsieur le Président, on estime que ma circonscription, Laurentides—Labelle, a environ 10 800 lacs et plans d’eau, dont beaucoup sont utilisés à des fins récréatives pendant l’été. Nous travaillons à plusieurs enjeux autour de la gestion et la protection de nos lacs, mais celui dont on parle moins est la sécurité nautique.

Selon la Croix-Rouge, il y a environ 160 morts liés aux activités nautiques chaque année au Canada.

Le ministre des Transports peut-il nous dire ce qu’on fait pour la sensibilisation de la sécurité des plaisanciers?

Watch | Hansard

Ecoutez | Hansard

hansard parlchmbr qp tv 190 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 20:26 on June 05, 2019

2019-06-04 INDU 166

Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology



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

Good morning, everybody.

Good morning, Mr. Allison. Welcome to our committee.

Mr. Dean Allison (Niagara West, CPC):

It's good to be here.

The Chair:

And Ms. Rudd, welcome to our committee.

Ms. Kim Rudd (Northumberland—Peterborough South, Lib.):

Thank you.

The Chair:

Welcome, everybody, to meeting 166 of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, May 8, we're continuing our study of M-208 on rural digital infrastructure.

We have with us by video conference, from Left, John Lyotier, co-founder and chief executive officer of RightMesh Project; Chris Jensen, co-founder and chief executive officer of RightMesh Project; and Jason Ernst, chief networking scientist and chief technology officer, RightMesh Project.

Welcome, gentlemen, from my home town.

Dr. Jason Ernst (Chief Networking Scientist and Chief Technology Officer, RightMesh Project, Left):

Good morning.

The Chair:

You can hear us. Right?

Dr. Jason Ernst:

We can.

The Chair:


From Xplornet we have Christine J. Prudham, executive vice-president and general counsel.

Do you hear us, Christine?

Ms. Christine J. Prudham (Executive Vice-President, General Counsel, Xplornet Communications Inc.):

Yes. Good morning.

The Chair:

Good morning. Great, that's two for two.[Translation]

We also have Mr. André Nepton, coordinator at the Agence interrégionale de développement des technologies de l'information et des communications.

Good morning, Mr. Nepton. How are you?

Mr. André Nepton (Coordinator, Agence interrégionale de développement des technologies de l'information et des communications):

I'm fine, thank you. [English]

The Chair:

We're going to get started. We basically have five-minute presentations and then we'll get into our round of questioning.

We're going to start with Jason from Left.

Sir, you have the floor.

Mr. Chris Jensen (Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, RightMesh Project, Left):

Actually, it's going to be Chris from Left, but very similar.

Thank you for inviting us. We refer back to the mandate of this committee where you said that reliable and accessible digital infrastructure from broadband Internet to wireless telecommunications and beyond is essential. We're focused on the beyond part and John will tell you why.

Mr. John Lyotier (Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, RightMesh Project, Left):

I grew up in a small town in northern B.C., one of your classic rural communities. I was very fortunate to discover technology at an early age, which brings me here today. For the last several years I've been working on technology called RightMesh, which is mobile mesh networking technology focused on connectivity decisions around the world.

In large parts of the world, including Canada, connectivity is not sufficient. Our focus is on helping to bridge the digital divide. We know that 5G technology is not going to be sufficient in the future to address the needs of the population. There are large parts of the world where 5G will be inadequate due to cost structures, network infrastructure densities and other reasons.

We have been working on a project up in northern Canada in a town called Rigolet in northern Labrador for the last few years. Jason will talk a bit more about that.

Dr. Jason Ernst:

In Rigolet there are no cellphone towers and the throughput of the network there when we first started going there was about one megabit per second. It's now usually around two to four megabits per second, and there are still many people in the town who aren't connected. About 300 people live there and there are about a hundred houses. Many of the people don't actually have a direct connection to the Internet. So they gave us a map of everyone in the town showing the houses that have connections and the houses that are sharing with other people and the houses that aren't connected at all.

They've built this app to try to document the climate change that's going on there. They're monitoring the environment. They're documenting their experiences, but the problem is that it doesn't work very well because the Internet is so limited up there. They invited us in to try to use some of the technology we're building to be able to improve the connectivity in the town. So rather than going up through the Internet for everything, they're able to share from phone to phone to phone and offload some of the traffic from the Internet.

Some of the work that we're doing that supports this is through a Mitacs grant. We received this grant about six months ago now. It was a $2.13 million grant supporting 15 or 16 Ph.D. students and four post-docs over the next three to five years. That's mainly to help with the really technical challenges for some of this stuff, but it's also to support [Technical difficulty--Editor] within the community, doing trials and doing pilot projects up in the north.

We've also had a lot of interest from other communities in the north. This is just our first community up in Rigolet, but many of the other places in Nunatsiavut have also been interested, places like Nain. The other partner in the project, Dan Gillis from the University of Guelph—that's the main university we're working with—has also been meeting with people in Nunavut. We've also partnered with a bunch of the other universities involved in the project. The app they're building is called eNuk. It involves Memorial University and the University of Alberta. We're also working with UBC. This grant is really the way we've been bringing together universities across Canada to solve this problem in a unique way that doesn't necessarily depend on infrastructure.

We know about the types of initiatives where you can throw a lot of money out the window, build a lot of expensive infrastructure, but there are also unique ways to solve the problem using the things that people already have, the funds they already have. We're coming at it with that type of approach.


Mr. John Lyotier:

Really from a technology standpoint, what we've created is a mesh networking software protocol that allows phones to talk to each other; so it's phone-to-phone communication. Should one person have connectivity, the entire network can have connectivity from that one person.

committee hansard indu 15510 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on June 04, 2019

2019-06-03 SECU 166

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



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

I'm calling this meeting to order.

I want to thank Minister Goodale for his presence. He is here to talk about the main estimates.

Before he starts, I want to note that this is possibly the last time the minister will appear before this particular committee. On behalf of the committee, I want to thank him not only for his attendance here, but for his willingness to co-operate with the committee and to review all of the amendments that have been put forward by this committee to him, and his willingness to accept quite a high percentage of them.

Minister, I want to thank you for your co-operation and for your relationship with the committee.

With that—

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

You mean in this Parliament, right?

The Chair:


Mr. David de Burgh Graham: You mean in this Parliament, right?

The Chair: Yes, in this Parliament. We're not going back to the days of Laurier or anything of that nature.

Mr. David de Burgh Graham: It's not the last time ever.

The Chair:

No. Thank you.


Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness):

Mr. Chairman, thank you for your very kind remarks. They are much appreciated, and I'm glad to be back with the committee once again, this time, of course, presenting the 2019-20 main estimates for the public safety portfolio.

To help explain all of those numbers in more detail and to answer your questions today, I am pleased to be joined by Gina Wilson, the new deputy minister of Public Safety Canada. I believe this is her first appearance before this committee. She is no stranger, of course, in the Department of Public Safety, but she has been, for the last couple of years, the deputy minister in the Department for Women and Gender Equality, a department she presided over the creation of.

With the deputy minister today, we have Brian Brennan, deputy commissioner of the RCMP; David Vigneault, director of CSIS; John Ossowski, president of CBSA; Anne Kelly, commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada; and Anik Lapointe, chief financial officer for the Parole Board of Canada.

The top priority of any government, Mr. Chair, is to keep its citizens safe and secure, and I'm very proud of the tremendous work that is being done by these officials and the employees who work following their lead diligently to serve Canadians and protect them from all manner of public threats. The nature and severity of those threats continue to evolve and change over time and, as a government, we are committed to supporting the skilled men and women who work so hard to protect us by giving them the resources they need to ensure that they can respond. The estimates, of course, are the principal vehicle for doing that.

The main estimates for 2019-20 reflect that commitment to keep Canadians safe while safeguarding their rights and freedoms. You will note that, portfolio-wide, the total authorities requested this year would result in a net increase of $256.1 million for this fiscal year, or 2.7% more than last year's main estimates. Of course, some of the figures go up and some go down, but the net result is a 2.7% increase.

One key item is an investment of $135 million in fiscal year 2019-20 for the sustainability and modernization of Canada's border operations. The second is $42 million for Public Safety Canada, the RCMP and CBSA to take action against guns and gangs. Minister Blair will be speaking in much more detail about the work being done under these initiatives when he appears before the committee.

For my part today I will simply summarize several other funding matters affecting my department, Public Safety Canada, and all of the related agencies.

The department is estimating a net spending decrease of $246.8 million this fiscal year, 21.2% less than last year. That is due to a decrease of $410.7 million in funding levels that expired last year under the disaster financial assistance arrangements. There is another item coming later on whereby the number goes up for the future year. You have to offset those two in order to follow the flow of the cash. That rather significant drop in the funding for the department itself, 21.2%, is largely due to that change in the DFAA, for which the funding level expired in 2018-19.

There was also a decrease of some $79 million related to the completion of Canada's presidency of the G7 in the year 2018.

These decreases are partially offset by a number of funding increases, including a $25-million grant to Avalanche Canada to support its life-saving safety and awareness efforts; $14.9 million for infrastructure projects related to security in indigenous communities; $10.1 million in additional funding for the first nations policing program; and $3.3 million to address post-traumatic stress injuries affecting our skilled public safety personnel.


The main estimates also reflect measures announced a few weeks ago in budget 2019. For Public Safety Canada, that is, the department, these include $158.5 million to improve our ability to prepare for and respond to emergencies and natural disasters in Canada, including in indigenous communities, of which $155 million partially offsets that reduction in DFAA that I just referred to.

There's also $4.4 million to combat the truly heinous and growing crime of child sexual exploitation online.

There is $2 million for the security infrastructure program to continue to help communities at risk of hate-motivated crime to improve their security infrastructure.

There is $2 million to support efforts to assess and respond to economic-based national security threats, and there's $1.8 million to support a new cybersecurity framework to protect Canada's critical infrastructure, including in the finance, telecommunications, energy and transport sectors.

As you know, in the 2019 federal budget, we also announced $65 million as a one-time capital investment in the STARS air rescue system to acquire new emergency helicopters. That important investment does not appear in the 2019-20 main estimates because it was accounted for in the 2018-19 fiscal year, that is, before this past March 31.

Let me turn now to the 2019-20 main estimates for the other public safety portfolio organizations, other than the department itself.

I'll start with CBSA, which is seeking a total net increase this fiscal year of $316.9 million. That's 17.5% over the 2018-19 estimates. In addition to that large sustainability and modernization for border operations item that I previously mentioned, some other notable increases include $10.7 million to support activities related to the immigration levels plan that was announced for the three years 2018 to 2020. Those things include security screening, identity verification, the processing of permanent residents when they arrive at the border and so forth—all the responsibilities of CBSA.

There's an item for $10.3 million for the CBSA's postal modernization initiative, which is critically important at the border. There is $7.2 million to expand safe examination sites, increase intelligence and risk assessment capacity and enhance the detector dog program to give our officers the tools they need to combat Canada's ongoing opioid crisis.

There's also approximately $100 million for compensation and employee benefit plans related to collective bargaining agreements.

Budget 2019 investments affecting CBSA main estimates this year include a total of $381.8 million over five years to enhance the integrity of Canada's borders and the asylum system. While my colleague Minister Blair will provide more details on this, the CBSA would be receiving $106.3 million of that funding in this fiscal year.

Budget 2019 also includes $12.9 million to ensure that immigration and border officials have the resources to process a growing number of applications for Canadian visitor visas and work and study permits.

There is $5.6 million to increase the number of detector dogs deployed across the country in order to protect Canada's hog farmers and meat processors from the serious economic threat posed by African swine fever.

Also, there's $1.5 million to protect people from unscrupulous immigration consultants by improving oversight and strengthening compliance and enforcement measures.

I would also note that the government announced through the budget its intention to introduce the legislation necessary to expand the role of the RCMP's Civilian Review and Complaints Commission so it can also serve as an independent review body for CBSA. That proposed legislation, Bill C-98, was introduced in the House last month.


I will turn now to the RCMP. Its estimates for 2019-20 reflect a $9.2-million increase over last year's funding levels. The main factors contributing to that change include increases of $32.8 million to compensate members injured in the performance of their duties, $26.6 million for the initiative to ensure security and prosperity in the digital age, and $10.4 million for forensic toxicology in Canada's new drug-impaired driving regime.

The RCMP's main estimates also reflect an additional $123 million related to budget 2019, including $96.2 million to strengthen the RCMP's overall policing operations, and $3.3 million to ensure that air travellers and workers at airports are effectively screened on site. The increases in funding to the RCMP are offset by certain decreases in the 2019-20 main estimates, including $132 million related to the completion of Canada's G7 presidency in 2018 and $51.7 million related to sunsetting capital infrastructure projects.

I will now move to the Correctional Service of Canada. It is seeking an increase of $136 million, or 5.6%, over last year's estimates. The two main factors contributing to the change are a $32.5-million increase in the care and custody program, most of which, $27.6 million, is for employee compensation, and $95 million announced in budget 2019 to support CSC's custodial operations.

The Parole Board of Canada is estimating a decrease of approximately $700,000 in these main estimates or 1.6% less than the amount requested last year. That's due to one-time funding received last year to assist with negotiated salary adjustments. There is also, of course, information in the estimates about the Office of the Correctional Investigator, CSIS and other agencies that are part of my portfolio. I simply make the point that this is a very busy portfolio and the people who work within Public Safety Canada and all the related agencies carry a huge load of public responsibilities in the interests of public safety. They always put public safety first while at the same time ensuring that the rights and freedoms of Canadians are properly protected.

With that, Mr. Chair, my colleagues and I would be happy to try to answer your questions.


The Chair:

committee hansard secu 34724 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on June 03, 2019

2019 June newsletter / infolettre juin 2019

A Word From David

Dear friends,

There have been two principal objectives to my time in office: see what Canada can do for the Laurentians, and to show how the Laurentians is a leader across Canada.

I was born at the Sainte-Agathe hospital and grew up in neighbouring Sainte-Lucie. My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents on both side were closely connected to the Laurentians. This is my home and I am very proud to be from here. We are a community that comes together, works together, and finds solutions.

We are the first community in the history of Canada to have a universal public Internet access project categorised and funded by the federal government as infrastructure, for all residences in Antoine-Labelle. We are the number one tourist region outside of the big cities in Quebec. We have innovative companies that are active internationally. Many of our fellow citizens are doing us proud all over the world in sports and in cultural activities.

But for a generation, we had federal representatives whose principal objective was to show that the federal government could not work, could not be a part of our region, that Canada was a fundamentally bad idea.

Over the past four years, in partnership with people working in the provincial government, in the three MRCs of our territory, in each of our 43 municipalities and especially with you, we have demonstrated that we are, in fact, stronger working together than we are working against each other. We have managed to bring major, serious, real Internet access solutions to communities in every MRC in Laurentides— Labelle. The struggle of an entire generation culminated in the creation of a sports centre in Pays-d’en-Haut. We have helped lift thousands of children in the region out of poverty and maximized programs to support seniors. And while the solutions are not always easy, we continue to work and make progress on critical issues: protecting our lakes and rivers and doing everything we can to combat climate change so as to preserve and protect our environment.

We can realistically say that this federal partnership has brought more to our region than we have seen in decades. We must work together to protect our social fabric. We have a duty to do so, in order to keep it healthy for future generations. We are stronger when we work together. Laurentides–Labelle is proof of this!

- David

Mot de David

Chers amis,

Parmi les objectifs que je me suis fixé depuis le début de mon mandat, deux me tiennent à cœur: démontrer ce que le Canada peut offrir dans la région des Laurentides, et démontrer comment la région des Laurentides est un leader d’un bout à l’autre du Canada.

Je suis à né à l’hôpital de Sainte-Agathe et j’ai grandi dans le village voisin de Sainte-Lucie. Mes parents, mes grands-parents et mes arrière-grands-parents étaient tous liés intimement à la région. Je suis d’ici et j’en suis fier. Collectivement, nous formons une communauté qui sait comment s’unir et travailler ensemble pour trouver des solutions.

La communauté qui compose la MRC au nord de la circonscription est la première, dans l’histoire du Canada, qui déploie un projet d’accès à Internet reconnu comme un projet public d’infrastructure et financé en ce sens. À l’exception de la métropole et de la Capitale nationale, nous sommes la région touristique numéro un au Québec. Nous avons des entreprises innovantes qui sont présentes sur la scène internationale. Plusieurs de nos concitoyens nous font honneur partout dans le monde sur les scènes sportives et culturelles.

Mais durant toute une génération, nos députés fédéraux avaient comme principal objectif de démontrer que le fédéral ne peut pas fonctionner, qu’il ne peut pas faire partie intégrante de notre région. Ils s’assuraient de faire obstruction au travail du gouvernement pour les citoyens, en disant que le Canada est en soi un concept impossible ou une mauvaise idée.

Depuis quatre ans, en partenariat avec les gens qui œuvrent au gouvernement provincial, au sein des trois MRC de notre territoire, dans chacune de nos 43 municipalités et surtout avec chacun d’entre vous, nous avons démontré que nous sommes plus forts unis que lorsque nous nous opposons. Nous travaillons à mettre en place des vraies solutions pour un vrai accès Internet sur tout le territoire de Laurentides—Labelle. Le combat de toute une génération culmine pour l’obtention d’un centre sportif dans les Pays-d’en-Haut. Nous avons contribué à ce que des milliers d’enfants de la région puissent sortir de la pauvreté et avons maximisé des programmes de soutien aux aînés. Et malgré qu’ils soient parfois difficiles à régler, nous continuons à travailler et progresser dans les enjeux primordiaux – protéger nos plans d’eau et tout mettre en œuvre pour lutter contre les changements climatiques afin de préserver et valoriser notre environnement.

Nous pouvons, de façon réaliste, affirmer que ce partenariat fédéral a apporté plus dans notre région que tout ce qui avait été fait au cours des dernières décennies. Nous devons travailler ensemble à protéger notre tissu social. Nous avons le devoir de le faire, afin de le garder en santé pour les prochaines générations. Nous sommes plus forts lorsque nous travaillons ensemble. Laurentides—Labelle en est la preuve !

- David

KNOWING OUR REGION: from the past to the present...

There is an adage that goes: “You have to know where you come from to know where you’re going.” In recent years, my father, local historian Joseph Graham, has presented different elements of our regional history through this newsletter. For this edition, he takes us back to another century, when people’s biggest fears were disease, fire and the wrath of the clergy. Enjoy!

CONNAÎTRE NOTRE RÉGION : d’hier à aujourd’hui

Il y a un adage qui dit: « il faut savoir d’où l’on vient pour savoir où l’on va ». Au cours des dernières années, mon père, l’historien local Joseph Graham, nous a présenté différents pans de notre histoire régionale via cette Infolettre. Pour cette édition, il nous ramène à un autre siècle, alors que les maladies, le feu et les foudres du clergé étaient les principales craintes des citoyens. Bonne lecture !

Consecration by Fire and Faith

The summer of 1907 promised great things for Sainte-Agathe. After four years of planning and hard work, the new stone church, modelled on Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, was to be inaugurated. Mgr. J. Thomas Duhamel, Archbishop of Ottawa, who had long conspired with Curé Antoine Labelle to create a new diocese in the Laurentians, would come personally to consecrate the church. The parish had raised $75,000, the price of a hospital, to finance the construction, and the event was set for August 22. Nothing could dampen the excitement.

Spring weather has always been unpredictable. Wednesday June 12 started off cold and gusty. Joseph Saint-Louis decided to keep the gasoline heater going in his barbershop on Rue Principale in SainteAgathe. The warmth might draw people in for a haircut.

The wind became violent after lunch and it blew the fire back down the chimney. Within minutes, the whole building was engulfed in flames, fed by the explosion of gasoline from the stove. It licked its way out of the building and the wind carried it south-east, away from the lake. By the time the volunteer firemen arrived on the scene, it was working its way along both sides of the street. Four buildings had already been lost as the fire raged towards the old wooden church, right next to the new one. Around four o’clock, Archbishop Duhamel arrived from a pastoral visit along with the parish priest. Seeing the state of affairs, they joined the women and children in the old church to lead them in prayer, asking God to intervene. Mayor H. A. Bélisle, having less faith, used the modern telegraph to send an emergency message to Saint-Jérôme.

Commandeering the railway, the Saint-Jérôme fire brigade set a new record, making the trip in only 53 minutes, ready to fight the blaze. But according to contemporary accounts, the priests, women and children praying in the wooden church had the problem in hand. As the flames approached the church, the winds turned around, driving the fire north-west towards the lake, taking 20 more houses with it. Their prayers had been answered; God had intervened. By the time the Saint-Jérôme brigade arrived, all they had left to do was help finish putting out the embers. Dr. Edmond Grignon, who recorded the incidents surrounding this devastating fire, makes no mention of casualties, although there must have been at least some injuries. He, like other parishioners, was not going to let the huge, black scar between the church and the lake dampen down enthusiasm for the consecration of the new church.

God played a big role in those times and the good doctor could write of His intervention with complete conviction, never questioning the wind that blew the fire across town and back. I can’t help but wonder, if I had been standing there after the 1907 fire, would I have believed that the archbishop’s prayers had induced God to redirect the wind?

The archbishop returned to consecrate the new church on August 22, along with the priests of almost every parish between Saint-Jérôme and Aylmer. The whole town, right down to the youngest children, dressed all in their finery, were waiting at the station from long before the train arrived. It was a sunny August day, perfect weather for such a grand event.

Nearly 112 years later, the lake's wind continues to blow softly and the sun shines brightly on this monument that reminds us of the bond that was once very strong between the Laurentians and its beliefs.

- Joseph Graham

Une consécration par le feu et la prière

L’été 1907 s’annonçait bien à Sainte-Agathe. Après quatre ans de planification et d’efforts, la nouvelle église de pierre, inspirée de la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, allait être bientôt inaugurée. Pour la construire, la paroisse avait réussi à amasser 75 000$, l’équivalent du même coût que pour construire un hôpital. L’archevêque d’Ottawa, Mgr J. Thomas Duhamel, qui souhaitait depuis longtemps, comme le curé Antoine Labelle, qu’un nouveau diocèse soit créé dans les Laurentides, allait lui-même venir inaugurer l’église. L’événement, prévu le 22 août, suscitait déjà beaucoup d’enthousiasme.

La météo printanière avait toujours été impossible à prédire et le mercredi 12 juin s’annonçait frais et venteux. Dans l’espoir d’attirer quelques clients, le barbier Joseph Saint-Louis décida de laisser marcher son poêle à essence dans sa boutique de la rue Principale. Au début de l’après-midi, le vent, devenu violent, refoula à l’intérieur de la cheminée et déclencha l’explosion du poêle.

En quelques minutes, tout le bâtiment est la proie des flammes. Le vent, soufflant depuis le lac des Sables, transporte l’incendie vers le sud-est. Le temps que les pompiers arrivent, le feu fait rage des deux côtés de la rue. Quatre bâtiments sont déjà ravagés, et le brasier se propage vers la vieille église en bois, située à côté de la nouvelle. Vers 16 heures, l’archevêque Duhamel et le curé Corbeil, reviennent d’une tournée paroissiale et devant l’ampleur de la situation, rassemblent les femmes et les enfants dans la vieille église, les invitant à prier Dieu d’agir. Le maire H.A. Bélisle, un peu moins fervent, envoie de toute urgence un message par télégraphe vers Saint-Jérôme. Les pompiers de cette ville réquisitionnent alors le chemin de fer et arrivent en un temps record, soit 53 minutes !

Selon les témoignages de l’époque, les femmes et les enfants en prière ont toutefois les choses bien en main. Les flammes s’approchent de l’église, mais le vent finit par tourner et pousse le feu au nord-ouest, vers le lac, emportant une vingtaine d’autres maisons au passage. Les prières des fidèles sont exaucées : Dieu est intervenu.

Quand les pompiers de SaintJérôme arrivent, il ne reste plus qu’à éteindre les braises. Le docteur Edmond Grignon, qui a consigné les circonstances de cet incendie dévastateur, ne parle pas de victimes, mais il y a probablement bien dû y avoir quelques blessés. Comme les autres paroissiens, il refuse de laisser la grande traînée noire qui s’étend de l’église au lac refroidir leur enthousiasme à la veille de la consécration de la nouvelle église.

La relation à Dieu était très présente à l’époque, et le bon docteur n’hésite pas à parler avec conviction d’une intervention divine, sans jamais mentionner le vent qui a entraîné puis repoussé l’incendie. Si j’avais été sur place, en cette journée de 1907, est-ce que j’aurais cru moi aussi que les prières avaient convaincu Dieu de faire tourner le vent ?

L’archevêque et les prêtres de presque toutes les paroisses entre Saint -Jérôme et Aylmer arrivent le 22 août, pour consacrer et inaugurer la nouvelle église. Bien avant que le train entre en gare, tous les villageois, du plus jeune au plus vieux, les attendent sur le quai, tirés à quatre épingles. Le soleil brille et il fait un temps parfait pour ce grand événement.

Près de 112 ans plus tard, le vent du lac continue de souffler doucement et le soleil de briller ardemment sur ce monument qui rappelle l’union de la communauté laurentienne et le pouvoir des croyances populaires.

- Joseph Graham

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history newsletter 2184 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:42 on June 01, 2019

2019-05-30 RNNR 137

Standing Committee on Natural Resources



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

I would like to bring this meeting to order and recognize Mr. Whalen.

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

Thank you, Ms. Stubbs.

In light of your motion, consideration of which was postponed on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, and which I understand you would like to debate now, I move for unanimous consent that David de Burgh Graham be appointed as acting chair of the committee for the duration of the consideration of Ms. Stubbs' motion only.

Do we have unanimous consent?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

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

On the discussion, Ms. Stubbs.

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC):

Thank you, Chair.

I appreciate the opportunity to be able to revisit this motion today. To remind everybody of the subject that we're talking about, I'll read the motion that I moved on April 30: That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Committee immediately invite the Minister of Natural Resources to appear before the committee on June 20, 2019, for no less than a full meeting, to advise the Committee of the government's plan to build the Trans Mountain Expansion; and that this meeting be televised.

I hope that this motion will receive support from all members of this natural resources committee. I want to make the case for why it's important and why I'm confident that we'll have the minister here to explain to Canadians exactly what the next steps will be after the June 18 decision.

Of course, the Trans Mountain expansion was already approved by the independent expert National Energy Board and then by the current Liberal government three years ago, and was recently recommended for approval a second time by the independent expert regulator. However, not a single inch of the Trans Mountain expansion has actually been built to date.

The majority of British Columbians, Albertans, Canadians and also indigenous communities directly impacted by the Trans Mountain expansion support it. However, the issue around the Trans Mountain expansion has become about more than just the pipeline itself, and even more than about the long-term sustainability of Canada's world-class oil and gas sector, which is, of course, the biggest Canadian export and the biggest private-sector investor in the Canadian economy. This is especially given the almost unprecedented flight of capital from the Canadian energy sector in the last three years, and the news again this week that yet another oil and gas operator in Canada has been bought out and will be leaving the country.

It's really about confidence in Canada, about the ability to build big projects and to ensure that major investment can be retained in Canada, and that when big projects are approved in the national interest, they can then go ahead and be built.

I want to make the case to all of my colleagues here that on June 18, Canadians expect, and I'm confident, that the Liberals will again approve the Trans Mountain expansion in the best interests of all of Canada.

However, I think at the same time that the Liberals must also present a concrete plan on how and when the Trans Mountain expansion will be built. I think it's the least that the Liberals owe Canadians, since they've spent $4.5 billion in tax dollars on the existing pipeline and said that would ensure the expansion would be built immediately.

I hope that the natural resources minister will join us to answer outstanding questions, like what will the Liberals do in response to immediate court challenges from anti-energy activists that will be launched as soon as the Trans Mountain expansion is approved again? What will the cost be to taxpayers? How will that litigation take place? How exactly will the Liberals exert federal jurisdiction to prevent construction from being obstructed or delayed by say, weaponizing bylaws and permits by other levels of government or other measures that other levels of government might take? When will construction start? When will it be completed? When will the Trans Mountain expansion be in service? What will be the total cost to taxpayers? What's the plan for ongoing operation and ownership of the Trans Mountain expansion? Will there be a private sector proponent? Will taxpayers be expected to provide a backstop for the costs?

There has been an ongoing discussion, started about a year ago and more recently, about potential split ownership between an investment fund and perhaps an indigenous-owned organization. I think we all know that there are at least four organizations seeking indigenous purchase and ownership of the Trans Mountain expansion right now. I hope that the Liberals will be able to answer how that will work.

If that is a possibility, will there be transparent and regular reporting to Canadians about both the progress of construction and also the total costs incurred? Will there be dividends paid to Canadians if the ownership of the Trans Mountain expansion is transferred and purchased by somebody else, since of course every single Canadian now owns the pipeline because of the Liberal's $4.5-billion expenditure?

I think those are, at the very least, a number of the issues that need to be addressed immediately after June 18, when we all hope and are confident that the Trans Mountain expansion will be approved by the Liberals once again.


That's why I hope all members will support the natural resources minister's coming to committee on June 20 to let all Canadians know those answers.

The Acting Chair (Mr. David de Burgh Graham):

Thank you, Ms. Stubbs.

Mr. Schmale.

Mr. Jamie Schmale (Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, CPC):

Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's good to see you there.

I had quite a bit to say, actually, but I do get the impression that there might be a positive response on the other side, so I will just support what Shannon Stubbs has said. I do agree with everything she has said. Hopefully, we can get some progress on this and, hopefully, the Liberals will support this motion and Canadians will be able to get a view of what the government's plan is to build that Trans Mountain expansion.

The Acting Chair (Mr. David de Burgh Graham):

Mr. Whalen.

Mr. Nick Whalen:

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

While I, obviously, take some issue with a lot of the axioms that underpin Ms. Stubbs' motion, the motion itself is largely fine.

I do want to reassure her that in a similar context, when investors had pulled out of the Hibernia oil field development back in the eighties and nineties, Canada came in and invested, and it turned out to be one of the best investments, from a return-on-capital perspective, that the Government of Canada ever made. Those investments now are, under the Atlantic Accord, paid back to Newfoundland and Labrador on an ongoing basis for the life of the field. Ultimately, I would like to see, at some point, a situation where British Columbians and Albertans get to benefit from this what I hope will be an excellent investment.

I also take some issue with the concerns about foreign direct investment because, of course, Canada's been a world leader in that now during our tenure in government.

Missing from her statement, of course, was Tsleil-Waututh Nation et al. v. Attorney General of Canada et al—the citation for that at the Federal Court of Appeal is 2018 FCA 153—which makes it pretty clear where the problems lie and whose process failed and had the injunction that required Canada to step in to save Albertans and this project.

We would be delighted to have the minister come to speak to all these matters and be able to give Canadians confidence that this was the right decision.

In fact, Ms. Stubbs has said June 20, 2019. I would propose to amend that slightly because it may be possible to do it earlier, and we would actually like to make it clear that it will happen as soon as possible following the announcement on the decision.

If she would accept that friendly amendment that he appear before the committee as soon as possible following the announcement of the decision by the Government of Canada on TMX....

The Acting Chair (Mr. David de Burgh Graham):

Ms. Stubbs, is that a friendly amendment?

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:

I think it would be at little...to just say “on or before” June 20 since the decision is supposed to be rendered on June 18.

The Acting Chair (Mr. David de Burgh Graham):

Mr. Whalen.

Mr. Nick Whalen:

Is it on June 18, 19, 20 or 21? I have no idea. I can't tell you what day it's going to be.

Mrs. Shannon Stubbs:

committee hansard rnnr 9196 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 30, 2019

2019-05-30 PROC 158

Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs



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

Good morning. Welcome to the 158th meeting of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(a)(iii) and the motion adopted on May 16, we are studying several proposed changes to the Standing Orders.

Today we are pleased to be joined by Frank Baylis, member of Parliament for Pierrefonds—Dollard, as well as Elizabeth May, member of Parliament for Saanich—Gulf Islands and leader of the Green Party of Canada. Thank you both for being here.

I would just remind members that we've set some precedents on this committee, new ideas. One is the Simms protocol, and another one for today's meeting is that, probably for the first time ever, we're giving the witnesses unlimited time as opposed to a 10-minute limit.

We're going to start with Mr. Baylis and then go to Ms. May.

Mr. Frank Baylis (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Lib.):

Thank you, Chair.

First of all, I'd like to express my gratitude to PROC for agreeing to look at this motion, to Mr. Christopherson for presenting it and to everybody on PROC who had an open mind. I understand that agreement isn't to say we accept it or we agree with everything in the motion, but that you would have a serious look at it. I'm very grateful for this opportunity. Thank you.

Two things brought me to bring this motion forward. Since I arrived here, I was shocked, and I think anybody I spoke to was shocked, at the lack of civility and decorum in the House and lack of productive debate. I don't believe any one party or one person is to blame. I think we all share a little of the responsibility.

I spent the first year or two asking people, talking to people, trying to cajole people to be a little politer or have better debates. And I realized at some point that it was no longer paying. It was better to have confrontation than collaboration. That had happened over time. There had been changes and things had progressed away from how we used to run the place to a point where now it was better to have confrontation.

We probably need to look at our Standing Orders. This phenomenon of consolidation of power into the centre is not new. It's not unique to Canada. Professors will tell you what they call the third wave of autocratization, as we heard at one of our committees with Ms. Kusie.

In any system, democracy is always in a constant battle with autocracy. As we see right now in the world, many great nations are moving toward autocracy. We can see this in one place where a leader has named himself dictator for life. We see another great nation where a leader is a dictator in all but name because they have the pretenses of elections, and we see another nation where another leader is constantly attacking the very foundations of their democracy. And we see that in so many countries.

Here in Canada we don't have a leader who's done this, but over time power has been centralized, seeped inward towards what we call the PMO or the OLO. With this pulling together of power, many things have happened. The role of the MP has been slightly modified. The role of the Speaker has been drastically changed. Citizens have been disenfranchised.

People often say to me that when we brought the cameras in, that's when it all got bad. I don't believe that for a second. I looked at many ideas. One of the ideas was if we had cameras on everybody all the time, I bet you it would change overnight. It was explained that can't be done because we have certain rules that the camera can only be on a person speaking.

I looked at how they run the audiovisuals. That rule is such that bad behaviour can go unpunished because it's never seen.

For example, the Senate moved and they now have the right to show all camera angles. They said it makes for much better, much more interesting TV, but it's also going to have an impact. One of my ideas was let's put cameras everywhere and if someone is behaving badly all the time, everybody will know that. I didn't use that idea here. Why? Because we're in politics and we look at the art of the possible.

I read all the ideas that had been presented over the last dozen years or so. Then I chewed on it; I thought about it and then I tried to say what is doable. I considered low-hanging fruit. I thought this motion was very simple.

Many people have said to me this is way too big, it's way too much. I don't think it is, and I'm going to challenge all of you in PROC to look at it from that perspective.

Serendipitously, you have just done a study on second chambers, and the majority of this motion turns around the implementation of a second chamber, so I don't think we need to do another study on a second chamber. I believe you have done a good study. If you've done a study on a second chamber, you can now ask yourselves whether you should try or not bother trying it. Or you could say, “Let's do another study again next Parliament”, but if you're going to do another study again next Parliament, I would challenge you to ask what questions you didn't ask during this Parliament, in your study right now. I believe we're ready to try something.

What is it that I'm proposing and how did I come to these packages? There are three areas where I want to take power that's been centralized over time and just decentralize it. At this point, I want to say none of these ideas are new, except for one part of one idea, and that's the one I'm getting the most push-back on. That was my idea, so I'm pretty sure it won't make the cut. Having said that, none of these ideas are mine, number one.

Number two, I didn't write most of this motion.

Here I'd like to stop to say thank you to the people who did do it. First of all, I'd like to thank Scott Reid, and especially his assistant, Dennis Laurie. They did the brunt of the work writing the whole section on a second chamber.

I'd like to thank Michael Chong, because he collaborated a lot and he's very knowledgeable on issues of decorum, powers of the Speaker, and how things changed over time.

I'd like to thank Daniel Blaikie and Murray Rankin, because they took the ideas that had been proposed by Kennedy Stewart, who had taken these ideas from the United Kingdom about how to give citizens the right to bring matters of debate into Parliament.

I'd like to thank David Graham, because he looked at ideas for how to make it fairer for people who are doing private members' business to have their chance, because sometimes you may have people who have been elected three times and they never get up, but someone who was elected once gets up. There's a core unfairness in how we do private members' business, and he had ideas about that, which I incorporated.

I'd like to thank Scott Simms, because he studied how the United Kingdom has strengthened its committees and brought those ideas into the package.

Obviously, I'd like to thank Elizabeth May, because as everybody knows, she has been a strong voice for strengthening Parliament overall, for changing—or even, I would say, honouring—our rules. She'll speak a bit about that idea in a moment.

I thank all those people. I also recognize that none of those ideas are new; none of them have not been debated; none of them have not been studied. To hear the argument that it's too much, I tell you now, if you're going to make a second chamber today, tomorrow, in a year or 10 years from now, it'll be a big motion. You can't get around that. You have to write it.

What's inside the actual motion now? The first thing is the Speaker, powers to the Speaker. The Speaker has the name “Speaker” for a simple reason: in every Westminster system, including ours, up until the 1980s and early 1990s, the Speaker has decided who speaks. It seems pretty reasonable. He's not called “the reader of the list”; he's called the Speaker, because his job is to decide who speaks. It's that simple. I'd like him to do his job. I think we all want him to do his job. If he does his job, two things will happen: decorum will shoot up, because he'll have a carrot and a stick to let people who are behaving speak and let people who are not behaving not speak. The second thing is that debate will improve. This is how it's done in every other Westminster system. We are unique: We are wrong.

I spoke at length with other Speakers—I spoke at length with our longest-serving Speaker, Mr. Peter Milliken—and they all agree that this is a perversion of the system and it should be put back to the way it was.

How did it happen? There was a lady, Madam Jeanne Sauvé, who couldn't see very far, and she asked for help with people at a distance who might be getting up to speak, so they were giving her a few names.


There was another speaker—I won't give his name—who was not that interested in doing his job, and said, “Can you just make it easier for me? Just put them in alphabetical order, or whatever, and just....”

Then, over time, the whips decided we had more power, and the whips got stricter with the lists, until something happened in the previous government where a ruling had to be made about what the powers of the whips, the House leadership and the Speaker really were.

We need to put it back the way it was, and the way it should be. That's number one.

The second thing is powers to the citizens—a simple idea. Bruce Stanton mentioned this when he came and spoke about the second chamber. In the United Kingdom, if they reach the threshold of 100,000 signatures on a petition, it gets debated in their second chamber. Of note is that these are the debates that everybody watches. This is what people care about. This is what their citizens watch.

We took that number of 100,000 and made it 25% higher by population so that we don't have any spurious debates, and we ensured that anything that meets that threshold would still come to PROC to be looked at, to make sure it's not some silly thing, or something that's already been debated. As long as it hasn't, it would get a take-note debate in the second chamber.

That would re-engage our citizens to say, “Hey, I have a say in what goes on. It's not just once every four years that you ask me my opinion. If I really care about, say, the salmon run in B.C., and it's really important to me, and I have 70,000 other Canadians who say it's really important, then I want to hear Parliament express themselves.” They'll get a chance to do it. They'll engage themselves. Just like what happened in the United Kingdom, they'll be more engaged in their democracy.

The third thing is powers to the members of Parliament.

Again, over time there has been a degradation of power and a degradation of the role of the member of Parliament, who is a representative of her constituents. When she is elected and has to come to Ottawa, she is elected under a banner. We have to always answer the balance. I'm elected as an NDP/Liberal/Conservative/Green Party, but I'm also elected because I'm Frank Baylis, or Elizabeth May or Linda Lapointe. I have to balance what my citizens want with what I think, sometimes, is morally right, and with what the party wants.

But I am not elected as a trained seal, to simply do each and every time exactly what the party demands. If so, then they don't need any of us. We have no role to play, if that is our role. If I say that all I do in my job is to vote 100% the way the party votes, every single time, well, great, they don't actually need me. They'll just take the percentages, do the math and get out of the way.

We have a role to play. We have a role to play sometimes if enough of our constituents.... And this has happened to me. A lot of them wrote to me on a certain subject, and I said, “Okay, I have to listen to them. I'm not going to vote with my party on something here, because I'm going to represent them.”

This is our role. We need to give our members of Parliament their power back. How do we do that?

We looked, first of all, at our ability to bring private members' bills forward. Right now, it's fundamentally unfair. If you're lucky, you may get one. If you're unlucky, you won't get one. If you're half lucky, like me, you might get your first hour, which you might blow; but that's another question.

There might a lesson there. I haven't found it yet.

Voices: Oh, oh!


The Chair:

committee hansard proc 31093 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 30, 2019

2019-05-30 INDU 165

Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology



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

Good morning, everybody. Welcome to meeting 165 of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

Pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), we're resuming our study of the main estimates 2019-20.

With us today we have the honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport.

Welcome, Minister. Thank you for coming today.

From the Department of Industry we have David McGovern, Associate Deputy Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

You have up to 10 minutes to tell us your story.

Hon. Kirsty Duncan (Minister of Science and Sport):

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Esteemed committee members, thank you for the opportunity to be here on the occasion of the tabling of the main estimates for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Science research and evidence-based decision-making matter. They matter more than ever as the voices that seek to undermine science, evidence and fact continue to grow.

Canadians understand that science and research lead to a better environment—cleaner air, cleaner water—new medical treatments or cures, stronger communities, and new and effective technologies.

Our talented researchers and students are developing robotic devices to help people recover from strokes and injuries, making it easier for seniors and persons with disabilities to lead fully independent lives.[Translation]

Researchers are also developing vaccines and technologies to combat infectious diseases.[English]

Canadians understand that science and research are essential to innovation and to the foundations of a 21st century economy. At the same time, the world's top economies systematically invest in research for its own sake.[Translation]

The growth of modern economies has been driven largely by science, technology and engineering.[English]

Investments in fundamental research come back to Canadians in the form of new jobs and higher wages. It's for these many reasons that our government has prioritized science and research since day one. We reinstated the long-form census, encouraged our scientists to speak freely and reinstated the position of the chief science adviser.

I requested that Canada's chief science adviser work with science-based departments to create departmental chief scientist positions in order to strengthen science advice to government and to develop a scientific integrity policy.

We have taken a very different approach in working with the science and research community. We have listened carefully to the community and have undertaken six major consultations.[Translation]

One of those consultations was the first review of federal funding for basic science in 40 years.[English]

We are committed to returning science and research to their rightful place. Four successive federal budgets have invested a total of more than $10 billion in science and research and in our researchers and students. We are putting them at the centre of everything we do. That means ensuring they have the necessary funding, state-of-the-art labs and tools, and digital tools to make discoveries and innovations.



We invested $4 billion in science and research in 2018.[English]

This included the largest investment in fundamental research in Canadian history. In fact, we increased funding to the granting councils by 25% after 10 years of stagnant funding. The impact of this decision was profound and positive. We are hearing directly from researchers who say that because of increases to NSERC and SSHRC, they are able to hire students who gain the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

We provided $2 billion for 300 research and innovation infrastructure projects at post-secondary institutions from coast to coast to coast. We also invested $763 million over five years in the Canada Foundation for Innovation and have committed predictable, sustainable, long-term funding for the organization.

We also devoted $2.8 billion to renewing our federal science laboratories because we understand the critical role that government researchers play in Canada's science and research community.

In parallel to these historic investments, our government is making important changes to the research system itself. We will shortly announce the establishment of the council on science and innovation to help strengthen Canada's efforts to stimulate innovation across our country's economy. Minister Petitpas Taylor and I have already announced the establishment of the Canada research coordinating committee to better coordinate and harmonize programs of the three federal granting councils—CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC—as well as the CFI.

The Canada research coordinating committee's action over the last year has led to the creation of the new frontiers in research fund, which supports international, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking and high-reward research.

The committee also launched the first-ever dialogue with first nations, Métis and Inuit regarding research. We provided 116 research connection grants to support community workshops and the development of position papers to inform this effort. More than half of these grants were awarded to indigenous researchers and indigenous not-for-profit organizations to help chart a shared path to reconciliation.

As we put into place the foundations for this significant culture change, we vowed that each and every Canadian would benefit.[Translation]

To achieve our vision, the scientific and research communities must reflect Canada's diversity.[English]

We want as many people as possible experiencing our world-class institutions, but it is not enough to attract people. We also have to retain them. That's why I put in place new equity and diversity requirements for our internationally recognized Canada excellence research chairs and Canada research chairs.

Because of our changes, more than half of the Canada excellence research chairs resulting from the last competition are women. I'm thrilled to say that in the most recent competition, for the first time in Canadian history, we had 50% women nominated for the Canada research chairs, and we had the highest percentage of indigenous and racialized researchers and scholars, as well as researchers with a disability.

Earlier this month, we took the historic step of launching a program that we are calling “Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada”.[Translation]

This is a pilot program inspired by the internationally recognized Athena SWAN program.[English]

We are encouraging universities, colleges, polytechnics and CEGEPs to endorse the dimensions charter to signal their commitment to ensuring that everyone has access to equal opportunities, treatment and recognition in our post-secondary institutions. I am pleased to share that 32 institutions have already signed the charter.

We have repeatedly heard that inadequate parental leave creates many challenges, especially for early-career researchers who are women.



No one should ever have to choose between having a research career and raising a family.[English]

We know that a delay in career progress early on can often mean that women achieve lower levels of academic seniority and earn a lower salary and pension. That's why, in budget 2019, we are doubling parental leave from six to 12 months for students and post-doctoral fellows who are funded by the granting councils.

Budget 2019 also plans to provide for 500 more master's level scholarships annually and 500 doctoral scholarships, so that more Canadian students can pursue research.

Remaking Canada's science and research culture is a huge and complex undertaking, but we are hearing from G7 countries that Canada is now viewed as a beacon for research because of the investments we are making. We saw it first-hand with the international interest in the Canada 150 research chairs.[Translation]

Obviously, there's still much more to do and it will take time.[English]

Canadians can be proud, however, that in a short period, the landscape of science and research has forever been altered. We want Canada to be an international research leader, continuing to make discoveries that positively impact the lives of Canadians, the environment, our communities and our economy.[Translation]

I'm sure that all committee members share this goal.[English]

Mr. Chair, I'd like to finish by saying thank you to all the members of this committee for the work they have done over these last three and a half years.

I'd be pleased to answer any questions you may have.[Translation]

Thank you. [English]

committee hansard indu 21532 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 30, 2019

2019-05-29 SECU 165

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



The Vice-Chair (Mr. Matthew Dubé (Beloeil—Chambly, NDP)):

Good afternoon, everyone. We will begin the meeting, now that we finally have enough government and opposition members here.

Before I give the floor to our witness, who will be joining us by videoconference, I would like to take a moment to discuss today's proceedings.

Given the time we have already lost, and the uncertainty about this afternoon's schedule due, in part, to the possibility of further votes following the procedural manoeuvres in the House, I would like to make a suggestion.[English]

What I would suggest is, given the fact that we still do have time in the remaining meetings to accommodate Mr. Amos, and given the uncertainty.... He is a member of Parliament, and he is around these parts more often than not, so it's easier to reaccommodate him. We would hear from the witness, do questioning and then, depending on how time is going, move on from there, and put Mr. Amos' testimony to another day.[Translation]

I would like to hear what committee members think.

Let us start with Mr. Graham.

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

Mr. Amos plans to attend the meeting in any case. He has arranged to be replaced in his duties in order to be here.

I suggest that we do all the work we can until there are no further questions. If there is no vote in the House, the PayPal representative could appear for 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the number of questions. Then Mr. Amos could have the time to give his presentation at the end.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Matthew Dubé):

It is a possibility, but the problem—and this is what concerns me—is that Mr. Amos is sponsoring the motion. We may not have an opportunity to question him if it is nearly 5:30 p.m. or if the bells call us to vote.

The clerk informs me that this would have little effect on our schedule in the next weeks before the end of the session.

That is my personal, very sincere opinion. I am replacing Mr. McKay, but I do not want to impose my point of view. Even so, because of the number of days we have left, we may well not be able to move forward the study that Mr. Amos is asking for in a meaningful way.

I am still open to your suggestion, Mr. Graham.

What do you think, Mr. Paul-Hus?

Mr. Pierre Paul-Hus (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, CPC):

I agree with you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Johnson from PayPal has been waiting for an hour. Let us hear his presentation and take the time to ask our questions properly. Then we can adjourn.

Mr. Amos can appear at another time.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Matthew Dubé):

Does anyone object to proceeding in that way?

It seems unnecessary to do otherwise.

Mr. David de Burgh Graham:

It depends when we will be able to come back.

A motion has been unanimously adopted by the House recommending that we undertake this study. I want to ensure that we come to grips with it as quickly as possible. This must not drag on for another month. We have already lost our time today.

That is why I suggest that Mr. Amos introduce his motion. That way, we can move on with the study.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Matthew Dubé):

Once again, the clerk has informed me that there is no problem with the schedule. I have checked the information. Mr. Graham, that may reassure you about our ability to hear from Mr. Amos at another time. As Mr. Paul-Hus said, we have already kept our witness waiting.

We have an hour and a quarter, but, even if this witness's testimony takes only 45 minutes and Mr. Amos then appears, we still may run out of time or be called to vote. So I prefer to avoid that uncertainty, especially considering the ease with which we can invite an MP to another meeting. With most witnesses, we can rarely do that.

So let us continue the meeting.


Mr. David de Burgh Graham:


Let us begin; let us not waste any more time. [English]

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Matthew Dubé):

Thank you, colleagues.

I will now move to our witness. I want to thank Mr. Johnson for his patience. The procedural wrangling that goes on in this place does have that impact sometimes. Joining us by video conference, we have Brian Johnson, who is Senior Director for Information Security at PayPal.

You have 10 minutes, Mr. Johnson, for your opening statement. We'll take questions from the members, and we thank you for taking the time this afternoon.

Mr. Brian Johnson (Senior Director, Information Security, PayPal, Inc.):

Thank you very much. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.

Again, my name is Brian Johnson and I do serve as the Senior Director of Information Security at PayPal. I appreciate your giving us the opportunity to speak with you today and for making the time in your busy schedule.

I suspect you all know a bit about PayPal generally speaking, but allow me to add a bit of detail.

Founded in 1998, PayPal is a leading technology platform company that enables digital and mobile payments on behalf of more than 277 million consumers and merchants in more than 200 markets worldwide. We offer online and mobile merchant acquiring and money transfer services. PayPal is the most popular digital wallet in Canada.

We are based in San Jose, California, and our Canadian headquarters is in Toronto with offices in Vancouver. PayPal Canada was incorporated in 2006. We have more that 7.1 million customers including more than 250,000 small business customers in Canada.

Fuelled by a fundamental belief that having access to financial services creates opportunity, PayPal is committed to democratizing financial services and empowering people and businesses to join and thrive in the global economy. Our open digital payments platform gives PayPal's 277 million active account holders the confidence to connect and transact in new and powerful ways, whether they are online or on a mobile device. Through a combination of technological innovation and strategic partnerships, PayPal creates better ways to manage and move money, and offers choice and flexibility when sending payments, paying or getting paid.

We believe now is the time to reimagine money and to democratize financial services so that managing and moving money is a right for all citizens, not just the affluent. We believe that every person has a right to participate fully in the global economy. We have an obligation to empower people to exercise this right and improve their financial health. As a fintech pioneer and an established leader, we believe in providing simple, affordable, secure and reliable financial services and digital payments that enable the hopes, dreams and ambitions of millions of people around the world. We have a fundamental commitment to put our customers at the centre of everything we do.

Securing our customers and their data is central to our mission. For financial companies, data security is the main pillar. Through strong partnerships, strategic investments and a tireless commitment to protecting consumers, PayPal has resolved to be an industry leader in cybersecurity capabilities and to help make the Internet safer.

We have in our favour more than 20 years of experience in processing electronic transactions safely. PayPal has one of the most sophisticated fraud prevention engines in the world, which gets smarter with every transaction that goes through our system. With our advanced fraud monitoring technology, we detect and prevent attacks before they happen.

committee hansard secu 14640 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 29, 2019

2019-05-29 ETHI 155

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics



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

I call to order this meeting of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. This is meeting 155.

This is the last of our international grand committee meetings this week, the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy.

With us today from Amazon, we have Mark Ryland, director of security engineering, office of the chief information officer of the Amazon web services.

From Microsoft Canada Inc., we have Marlene Floyd, national director of corporate affairs, and John Weigelt, national technology officer.

From the Mozilla Foundation, we have Alan Davidson, vice-president of global policy, trust and security.

From Apple Inc., we have Erik Neuenschwander. He is manager of user privacy.

We're going to get into your testimony. I wanted to say that the CEOs were invited today, and it's unfortunate that they didn't come. Again, as I've said to many of you just prior to the meeting, this is supposed to be a constructive meeting on how to make it better, and some of the proposals that your companies have right from the top are good ones, and that's why we wanted to hear them today and have the CEOs answer our questions, but we do appreciate that you're here.

We'll start off with Mr. Ryland for 10 minutes.

Mr. Mark Ryland (Director, Security Engineering, Office of the Chief Information Security Officer for Amazon Web Services, Amazon.com):

Thank you very much.

Good morning, Chair Zimmer, members of the committee, and international guests.

My name is Mark Ryland. I serve as the director of security engineering in the office of the chief information security officer at Amazon web services, the cloud computing division of Amazon.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you today. I'm pleased to join this important discussion. I'd like to focus my remarks today on how Amazon puts security and customer trust at the centre of everything we do.

Amazon's mission is to be the earth's most customer-centric company. Our corporate philosophy is firmly rooted in working backwards from what customers want and continuously innovating to provide customers better service, more selection and lower prices. We apply this approach across all our areas of business, including those that touch on consumer privacy and cybersecurity.

Amazon has been serving Canadian customers since we first launched amazon.ca in 2002. Amazon now has more than 10,000 full-time employees in Canada. In 2018, we announced plans to create an additional 6,300 jobs.

We also have two tech hubs, one in Toronto and another in Vancouver. These are clusters of offices employing more than 1,000 software engineers and a number of supporting technical workers, building some of our most advanced global systems. We also have offices in Victoria for www.abebooks.com, and our AWS Thinkbox subsidiary in Winnipeg.

We operate seven fulfillment centres in Canada, and four more have been announced. They will all open this year, in 2019.

I would now like to talk about our cloud platform.

Just over 13 years ago, Amazon launched Amazon web services, which is our cloud computing business. Montreal is home to our AWS Canada region, which is made up of a number of distinct data centres. We launched AWS, because after over a decade of building and running amazon.com, we realized we had developed a core competency in operating massively scaled technology infrastructure and data centres. We embarked on a broader mission of serving developers and businesses with information technology services that they can use to run their own businesses.

The term “cloud computing” refers to the on-demand delivery of IT resources over the Internet or over private networks. The AWS cloud spans a network of data centres across 21 geographic regions around the globe. Instead of owning and maintaining their own data centres, our customers can acquire technology such as compute power, storage, and databases in a matter of seconds on an as-needed basis by simply calling an API or clicking a mouse on a graphical console.

We provide IT infrastructure and services in the same way that you just flip a switch to turn on the lights in your home and the power company sends you electricity.

One of this committee's concerns was democracy. Well, we're really democratizing access to IT services, things that only very large organizations could previously do, in terms of the scale involved. Now the smallest organizations can get access to that same type of very sophisticated advanced technology with simply a click of a button and just paying for their consumption.

Today AWS provides IT services to millions of active customers in over 190 countries. Companies that leverage AWS range from large Canadian enterprises such as Porter Airlines, Shaw, the National Bank of Canada, TMX Group, Corus, Capital One, and Blackberry to innovative start-ups like Vidyard and Sequence Bio.

I want to underline that privacy really starts with security. Privacy regulations and expectations cannot be met unless systems are maintaining the confidentiality of data according to their design. At AWS, we say that security is “job zero”, by which we mean it's even more important than a number one priority. We know that if we don't get security right, we don't really have a business.

AWS and Amazon are vigilant about the security and privacy of our costumers and have implemented sophisticated technical and physical measures to prevent unauthorized access to data.

Security is everyone's responsibility. While we have a world-class team of security experts monitoring our systems 24-7 to protect customer data, every AWS employee, regardless of role, is responsible for ensuring that security is an integral component of every facet of our business.

Security and privacy are a shared responsibility between AWS and the customer. What that means is that AWS is responsible for the security and privacy of the cloud itself, and customers are responsible for their security and the privacy of their systems and their applications that run in the cloud. For example, customers should consider the sensitivity of their data and decide if and how to encrypt their data. We provide a wide variety of encryption tools and guidance to help customers meet their cybersecurity objectives.

We sometimes say, “Dance like no one's watching. Encrypt like everyone is.” Encryption is also helpful when it comes to data privacy. In many cases, data can be effectively and permanently erased simply by deleting encryption keys, for example.


More and more, organizations are realizing the link between IT modernization offered by the cloud and a better security posture. Security depends on the ability to stay a step ahead of a rapidly and continuously evolving threat landscape, requiring both operational agility and the latest technologies.

The cloud offers many advanced security features that ensure that data is securely stored and handled. In a traditional on-premises environment, organizations spend a lot of time and money managing their own data centres, and worry about defending themselves against a complete range of nimble, continuously evolving threats that are difficult to anticipate. AWS implements baseline protections, such as DDoS protection, or distributed denial of service protection; authentication; access control; and encryption. From there, most organizations supplement these protections with added security measures of their own to bolster cloud data protections and tighten access to sensitive information in the cloud. They also have many tools at their disposal for meeting their data privacy goals.

As the concept of “cloud” is often new to people, I want to emphasize that AWS customers own their own data. Customers choose the geographic location in which to store their data in our highly secure data centres. Their data does not move unless the customer decides to move it. We do not access or use our customers' data without their consent.

Technology is an important part of modern life, and has the potential to offer extraordinary benefits that we are just beginning to realize. Data-driven solutions possess potentially limitless opportunities to improve the lives of people, from making far faster medical diagnoses to making farming far more efficient and sustainable. In addressing emerging technology issues, new regulatory approaches may be required, but they should avoid harming incentives to innovate and avoid constraining important efficiencies like economies of scale and scope.

We believe policy-makers and companies like Amazon have very similar goals—protecting consumer trust and privacy and promoting new technologies. We share the goal of finding common solutions, especially during times of fast-moving innovation. As technology evolves, so too will the opportunities for all of us in this room to work together.

Thank you. I look forward to taking your questions.

The Chair:

Thank you, Mr. Ryland.

Next up is Microsoft. Will it be Ms. Floyd or Mr. Weigelt?

Ms. Marlene Floyd (National Director, Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Canada Inc.):

We will share.

The Chair:

Okay. Go ahead. [Translation]

Mr. John Weigelt (National Technology Officer, Microsoft Canada Inc.):

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

We're pleased to be here today.[English]

My name is John Weigelt. I'm the national technology officer for Microsoft here in Canada. My colleague Marlene Floyd, national director of corporate affairs for Microsoft Canada, joins me. We appreciate the opportunity to appear before this committee today. The work you've undertaken is important given our increasingly digital world and the impact of technology on jobs, privacy, safety, inclusiveness and fairness.

Since the establishment of Microsoft Canada in 1985, our presence here has grown to include 10 regional offices around the country, employing more than 2,300 people. At our Microsoft Vancouver development centre, over 700 employees are developing products that are being used around the world. Cutting-edge research on artificial intelligence is also being conducted by Ph.D.s and engineers at the Microsoft research lab in Montreal. That's in partnership with the universities there.

Powerful technologies like cloud computing and artificial intelligence are transforming how we live and work, and are presenting solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems. At Microsoft we are optimistic about the benefits of these technologies but also clear-eyed about the challenges that require thinking beyond technology itself to ensure the inclusion of strong ethical principles and appropriate laws. Determining the role that technology should play in society requires those in government, academia, business and civil society to come together to help shape the future.

committee ethi foss hansard 68302 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 29, 2019

2019-05-28 ETHI 154

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics



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

We'll call to order the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics for meeting 154, an by extension, the international grand committee on big data, privacy and democracy.

I don't need to go through the list of countries that we have already mentioned, but I will go through our witnesses very briefly.

From the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, we have Mr. Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

As an individual, we have Joseph A. Cannataci, special rapporteur on the right to privacy for the United Nations.

We are having some challenges with the live video feed from Malta. We'll keep working through that. I'm told by the clerk that we may have to go to an audio feed to get the conversation. We will do what we have to do.

Also we'd like to welcome the chair of the United States Federal Election Commission, Ellen Weintraub.

First of all, I would like to speak to the meeting's order and structure. It will be very similar to that of our first meeting this morning. We'll have one question per delegation. The Canadian group will have one from each party, and we'll go through until we run out of time with different representatives to speak to the issue.

I hope that makes sense. It will make sense more as we go along.

I would like to thank the members who came to our question period today. I personally thank the Speaker for recognizing the delegation.

I'll give Mr. Collins the opportunity for to open it up.

Mr. Collins.

Mr. Damian Collins (Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, United Kingdom House of Commons):

Thank you.

Let me put my first question to all three of the witnesses.

The Chair:

Shall we have statements first?

Mr. Damian Collins:


The Chair:

We'll have opening statements. We'll start with Mr. Therrien.

Go ahead for 10 minutes.

Mr. Daniel Therrien (Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada):

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Members of the grand committee, thank you for the invitation to address you today.

My remarks will address three points that I think go to the heart of your study: first, that freedom and democracy cannot exist without privacy and the protection of our personal information; second, that in meeting the risks posed by digital harms, such as disinformation campaigns, we need to strengthen our laws in order to better protect rights; lastly, I will share suggestions on what needs to be done in Canada, as I'm an expert in Canadian privacy regulation, so that we have 21st century laws in place to ensure that the privacy rights of Canadians are protected effectively.

I trust that these suggestions made in a Canadian context can also be relevant in an international context.

As you know, my U.K. counterpart, the Information Commissioner's Office, in its report on privacy and the political process, clearly found that lax privacy compliance and micro-targeting by political parties had exposed gaps in the regulatory landscape. These gaps in turn have been exploited to target voters via social media and to spread disinformation. [Translation]

The Cambridge Analytica scandal highlighted the unexpected uses to which personal information can be put and, as my office concluded in our Facebook investigation, uncovered a privacy framework that was actually an empty shell. It reminded citizens that privacy is a fundamental right and a necessary precondition for the exercise of other fundamental rights, including democracy. In fact, privacy is nothing less than a prerequisite for freedom: the freedom to live and develop independently as individuals, away from the watchful eye of surveillance by the state or commercial enterprises, while participating voluntarily and actively in the regular, day-to-day activities of a modern society.[English]

As members of this committee are gravely aware, the incidents and breaches that have now become all too common go well beyond matters of privacy as serious as I believe those to be. Beyond questions of privacy and data protection, democratic institutions' and citizens' very faith in our electoral process is now under a cloud of distrust and suspicion. The same digital tools like social networks, which public agencies like electoral regulators thought could be leveraged to effectively engage a new generation of citizens, are also being used to subvert, not strengthen, our democracies.

The interplay between data protection, micro-targeting and disinformation represents a real threat to our laws and institutions. Some parts of the world have started to mount a response to these risks with various forms of proposed regulation. I will note a few.

First, the recent U.K. white paper on digital harms proposes the creation of a digital regulatory body and offers a range of potential interventions with commercial organizations to regulate a whole spectrum of problems. The proposed model for the U.K. is to add a regulator agency for digital platforms that will help them develop specific codes of conduct to deal with child exploitation, hate propaganda, foreign election interference and other pernicious online harms.

Second, earlier this month, the Christchurch call to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online highlighted the need for effective enforcement, the application of ethical standards and appropriate co-operation.

Finally, just last week here in Canada, the government released a new proposal for an update to our federal commercial data protection law as well as an overarching digital charter meant to help protect privacy, counter misuse of data and help ensure companies are communicating clearly with users.



Underlying all these approaches is the need to adapt our laws to the new realities of our digitally interconnected world. There is a growing realization that the age of self-regulation has come to an end. The solution is not to get people to turn off their computers or to stop using social media, search engines, or other digital services. Many of these services meet real needs. Rather, the ultimate goal is to allow individuals to benefit from digital services—to socialize, learn and generally develop as persons—while remaining safe and confident that their privacy rights will be respected.[English]

There are certain fundamental principles that I believe can guide government efforts to re-establish citizens' trust. Putting citizens and their rights at the centre of these discussions is vitally important, in my view, and legislators' work should focus on rights-based solutions.

In Canada, the starting point, in my view, should be to give the law a rights-based foundation worthy of privacy's quasi-constitutional status in this country. This rights-based foundation is applicable in many countries where their law frames certain privacy rights explicitly as such, as rights, with practices and processes that support and enforce this important right.

I think Canada should continue to have a law that is technologically neutral and principles based. Having a law that is based on internationally recognized principles, such as those of the OECD, is important for the interoperability of the legislation. Adopting an international treaty for privacy and data protection would be an excellent idea, but in the meantime, countries should aim to develop interoperable laws.

We also need a rights-based statute, meaning a law that confers enforceable rights to individuals while also allowing for responsible innovation. Such a law would define privacy in its broadest and truest sense, such as freedom from unjustified surveillance, recognizing its value in correlation to other fundamental rights.

Privacy is not limited to consent, access and transparency. These are important mechanisms, but they do not define the right itself. Codifying the right, in its broadest sense, along the principles-based and technologically neutral nature of the current Canadian law would ensure it can endure over time, despite the certainty of technological developments.

One final point I wish to make has to do with independent oversight. Privacy cannot be protected without independent regulators and the power to impose fines and to verify compliance proactively to ensure organizations are truly accountable for the protection of information.

This last notion, demonstrable accountability, is a needed response to today's world, where business models are opaque and information flows are increasingly complex. Individuals are unlikely to file a complaint when they are unaware of a practice that may harm them. This is why it is so important for the regulator to have the authority to proactively inspect the practices of organizations. Where consent is not practical or effective, which is a point made by many organizations in this day and age, and organizations are expected to fill the protective void through accountability, these organizations must be required to demonstrate true accountability upon request.

What I have presented today as solutions are not new concepts, but as this committee takes a global approach to the problem of disinformation, it's also an opportunity for domestic actors—regulators, government officials and elected representatives—to recognize what best practices and solutions are emerging and to take action to protect our citizens, our rights, and our institutions.

Thank you. I look forward to your questions.


The Chair:

Thank you once again, Mr. Therrien.

We're going to double-check whether Mr. Cannataci is able to stream. No.

committee ethi hansard 37857 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 28, 2019

2019-05-28 ETHI 153

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics



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

We'll bring to order meeting 153 of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics and by extension the international grand committee on big data, privacy and democracy. We will have countries' representatives speak as well. We'll start off with my co-chair, Mr. Damian Collins from the U.K.

The way it will work structurally is that we'll go through the delegations, one representative per country initially and then the second representative. You each should have your own five-minute time slot exclusive to yourself.

Before we begin, Mr. Angus has a comment.

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP):

Mr. Chair, just as a point of order for our committee, we are very surprised, I think, that Mr. Zuckerberg decided—and Ms. Sandberg—to ignore the summons of a parliamentary committee, particularly as we have international representatives here. As far as I know, we were not even informed that he wasn't showing up. I have never seen a situation where a corporate head ignores a legal summons.

In light of that, I would like to bring notice of a motion to vote on: That the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, on account of the refusal of Mr. Mark Zuckerberg and Ms. Sheryl Sandberg to appear before it on May 28th, direct the Chair to serve either or both with a formal summons should they arrive in Canada for any purpose to appear before the Committee at the date of the next meeting from the date of their summons, and should they be served with a summons when the House is not sitting, that the Chair reconvene the Committee for a special meeting as soon as practicable for the purpose of obtaining evidence from them.

Mr. Chair, I don't know if we've ever used an open summons in Parliament—we've checked and we haven't found one—but I believe you'll find that this is in order. If Mr. Zuckerberg or Ms. Sandberg decide to come here for a tech conference or to go fishing, Parliament will be able serve that summons and have them brought here.

The Chair:

Thank you, Mr. Angus.

For the ex officio members of the committee, we have a motion before our committee that we will have to vote on, so there will be some discussion.

Is there any discussion from any other members about the motion?

Mr. Kent.

Hon. Peter Kent (Thornhill, CPC):

Thank you, Chair.

Yes, the official opposition, the Conservative Party, is fully willing to support Mr. Angus's motion. As we heard in some of the previous testimony, Facebook, among others of the large platforms, has shown extreme disrespect and disregard for sovereign governments and for committees representing sovereign governments, with regard to their concerns and the search for explanations as to why meaningful action has not been taken to date and for a clear and explicit explanation of their response to the concerns from around the world and certainly within democracies and the members of this international grand committee.

We will support this motion. Thank you.

The Chair:

There was a discussion previously about no substantive motions being brought before the committee. That said, with all agreement at the table here, I think we can agree to have that heard—and we are hearing it today—and voted on.

Do we have...? I see all in favour of having that motion moved before us.

Are there any other comments about the motion?

Mr. Lucas.

Mr. Ian Lucas (Member, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, United Kingdom House of Commons):

This is a case of recidivism by Mr. Zuckerberg. This has happened previously, and it is a matter of deep concern. It's particularly of great concern to me, because unfortunately governments are continuing to meet with Mr. Zuckerberg, and I think it important that we should communicate, as parliamentarians, our concern about the disrespect that Mr. Zuckerberg is showing to parliamentarians from across the world. They should consider the access they give Mr. Zuckerberg, access to governments and to ministers, operated in private, without respect to us as parliamentarians and without respect to our constituents, who are excluded from the confidential discussions that are happening on these crucial matters.

The Chair:

Thank you, Mr. Lucas.

Mr. Erskine-Smith.

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

I would just note that it's funny that less than two months ago, on March 30, Mark Zuckerberg wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. He wrote that he believes Facebook has a responsibility to address harmful content, protecting elections, privacy and data protection and data portability—the very issues we're discussing today—and that he was looking forward to discussing them with lawmakers around the world. Those were his words less than two months ago. If he were an honest individual in writing those words, he'd be sitting in that chair today.

The Chair:

Thank you, Mr. Erskine-Smith.

Are there any further comments on the motion?

Frankly, to answer your question, being the chair of this committee on both levels, the international and our ethics committee, it's abhorrent that he's not here today and that Ms. Sandberg is not here today. It was very clearly communicated to them that they were to appear today before us. A summons was issued, which is already an unusual act for a committee. I think it's only fitting that there be an ongoing summons. As soon as either Mr. Zuckerberg or Ms. Sandberg step foot into our country, they will be served and expected to appear before our committee. If they choose not to, then the next step will be to hold them in contempt.

I think the words are strong, Mr. Angus, and I applaud you for your motion.

If there is not any further discussion on the motion, we'll go to the vote.

(Motion agreed to)

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Angus.

Next, we'll go to the platforms. We'll start with Facebook, go to Google, and then....

I'll mention the names. With Facebook Inc., we have Kevin Chan, Global Policy Director for Canada, and Neil Potts, Global Policy Director. With Google LLC, we have Derek Slater, Global Director of Information Policy; and with Google Canada, Colin McKay, Head, Government Affairs and Public Policy. From Twitter Inc., we have Carlos Monje, Director of Public Policy, and Michele Austin, Head, Government and Public Policy, Twitter Canada.

I would like to say that it wasn't just the CEOs of Facebook who were invited today. The CEOs of Google were invited. The CEO of Twitter was invited. We are more than disappointed that they as well chose not to show up.

We'll start off with Mr. Chan, for seven minutes.

Thank you.


Mr. Kevin Chan (Global Policy Director, Facebook Inc.):

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

My name is Kevin Chan, and I am here today with my colleague Neil Potts. We are both global policy directors at Facebook.

The Internet has transformed how billions of people live, work and connect with each other. Companies such as Facebook have immense responsibilities to keep people safe on their services. Every day we are tasked with the challenge of making decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising and how to prevent sophisticated cyber-attacks. This is vital work to keeping our community safe, and we recognize this work is not something that companies like ours should do alone.[Translation]

New rules for the Internet should preserve what is best about the Internet and the digital economy—fostering innovation, supporting growth for small businesses, and enabling freedom of expression—while simultaneously protecting society from broader harms. These are incredibly complex issues to get right, and we want to work with governments, academics and civil society around the world to ensure new regulations are effective.[English]

We are pleased to share with you today some of our emerging thinking in four areas of possible regulatory action: harmful content, privacy, data portability and election integrity.

committee ethi foss hansard 63340 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 28, 2019

2019-05-27 ETHI 151

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics



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

We'll call to order our meeting of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, and to a larger extent, our international grand committee.

We'd like to welcome especially the visitors from around the globe tonight.

You will notice some empty seats beside you. We've heard of some unexpected flight delays for some of the delegations. They will definitely be here. Some are arriving as we speak. Some are arriving in about an hour from now. Again, my apologies for their not being here as planned.

I'd like to go through, first of all, the countries that are going to be represented tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday. Then we'll go around and have some brief introductions, and get right into the presentations.

We're still expecting some of our witnesses to come, as well.

We'll start off with the countries that are represented, confirmed just today—Canada, of course, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Ireland, Germany, Chile, Estonia, Mexico, Morocco, Ecuador, St. Lucia, and Costa Rica.

I will say that we have lost a few due to something called elections around the globe that we can't really have control over. Those have gotten in the way of some of the other countries being able to get here.

I see some of our witnesses. Mr. Balsillie and Mr. McNamee, please take your seats at the front. We're just getting started. Welcome.

I want to go around the table quickly and have the delegates say their name and introduce the country they're from.

Let's start off with our member from Estonia.

Ms. Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Vice-Chairwoman, Reform Party, Parliament of the Republic of Estonia (Riigikogu)):

Hello, everyone.

I am Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, representing the Estonian Parliament today.

Ms. Sun Xueling (Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, Parliament of Singapore):

Hi, everyone.

I am Sun Xueling. I'm the senior parliamentary secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, from Singapore.

Thank you.

Mr. Edwin Tong (Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Health, Parliament of Singapore):

Good evening, everyone.

I'm a member of Parliament from Singapore and also Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Law in Singapore.

Thank you.

Mr. Jens Zimmermann (Social Democratic Party, Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany):


My name is Jens Zimmermann. I'm a member of the German Bundestag, and I'm the spokesperson on digitalization for the Social Democrats.

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP):

I am Charlie Angus, vice-chair of this committee and a member of the New Democratic Party. I represent the constituency of Timmins—James Bay, which isn't a country, but it is larger than France. [Translation]

Mr. Jacques Gourde (Lévis—Lotbinière, CPC):

I'm Jacques Gourde, Conservative member for Lévis—Lotbinière. [English]

Hon. Peter Kent (Thornhill, CPC):

I am Peter Kent, the member of Parliament for Thornhill on the northern city limits of Toronto. I am the critic for the official opposition, the Conservative Party, on the ethics committee, which is responsible for ethics, lobbying, information and privacy.

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

I'm Nate Erskine-Smith. I'm a Liberal member, representing a Toronto area riding called Beaches—East York. I'm the Liberal vice-chair of this committee.

Mr. Raj Saini (Kitchener Centre, Lib.):

My name is Raj Saini. I'm the member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre. I'm a Liberal member. I also sit on the foreign affairs and international development committee.

Ms. Anita Vandenbeld (Ottawa West—Nepean, Lib.):

I am Anita Vandenbeld. I'm the Liberal member of Parliament for Ottawa West—Nepean, which is about 15 minutes west of here. I'm also on the foreign affairs committee and chair of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights.

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

My name is David Graham. I represent the riding of Laurentides—Labelle, which is a much smaller riding than Charlie's, but it is much bigger than Singapore. I'm on four other committees. In terms of this one, I'm not a regular member but I am a regular member, if you can call it that.

Thank you for this.


The Chair:

Thank you.

I'll finish.

My name is Bob Zimmer, member of Parliament for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, the beautiful northern British Columbia riding with the Rockies running right through it. I also chair the access to information, privacy and ethics committee that we sit before tonight.

Also, I'll give Mr. Kint some credit today. I gave you some credit earlier. This whole idea of the international grand committee came out of a Washington summit meeting in a pub with me, Mr. Erskine-Smith, Ian Lucas and Damian Collins. That's how it really started. We wanted to do something better—we thought better together as a coalition of countries to work out some solutions to these problems. So I'll give you some credit for probably buying one of the beers that one night. I appreciate that.

Mr. Angus has a comment, and then we'll get into the presentations.

Mr. Charlie Angus:

I'm sorry to interrupt, Mr. Chair, but I just wanted to confirm that our committee, through all-party consensus, issued a subpoena to Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg. I do believe that's unprecedented. I am reading reports that Facebook is speaking to media, saying they're not showing up to our committee. I am not aware whether they have officially responded to the subpoena.

Can you inform this committee whether they have bothered to respond to us on this issue?

committee ethi hansard 19595 words - read the full entry at permanent link - comments: 0. Posted at 22:44 on May 27, 2019

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:

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