Evidence of meeting #33 for Finance in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was infrastructure.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Mark McQueen  Board Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wellington Financial, Canada's Venture Capital and Private Equity Association
  • John Gamble  President, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies
  • Susie Grynol  Vice-President, Policy and Public Affairs, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies
  • Claude Lajeunesse  President and Chief Executive Officer, Aerospace Industries Association of Canada
  • Robert Simonds  President, Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs
  • Geoff Smith  Director, Governement Relations, Canadian Electricity Association
  • Richard Rémillard  Executive Director, Canada's Venture Capital and Private Equity Association
  • Jayson Myers  President and Chief Executive Officer, National Office, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters
  • Michel Arnold  Executive Director, Option consommateurs
  • Anu Bose  Head, Ottawa Office, Option consommateurs
  • Vaughan Dowie  Executive Head of Public Affairs, McGill University
  • Mark Cohon  Commissioner, Canadian Football League, 100th Anniversary Grey Cup Festival
  • Chris Rudge  Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, 100th Anniversary Grey Cup Festival
  • Michael Clemons  Representative, 100th Anniversary Grey Cup Festival
  • Barbara Cameron  Associate Professor, York University, Centre for Feminist Research
  • Kathleen Lahey  Faculty of Law, Queens University, Centre for Feminist Research
  • Jean-Michel Laurin  Vice-President, Global Business Policy, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters
  • Sandra Crocker  Assistant Vice-Principal, Research and International Affairs, McGill University

October 6th, 2010 / 4 p.m.

Richard Rémillard Executive Director, Canada's Venture Capital and Private Equity Association

Perhaps I could add to that, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you again for your interest.

We're happy to send around this document that we prepared two months ago, if the committee so desires. It is on our website already, for those who are interested.

Israel is a very interesting case. They've made a lot of small and large decisions to enhance the development of their high-tech and their venture capital space. On the small side, they've taken one of their most leading entrepreneurs—I think one of the co-founders of RIM—and plunked him into the Department of Finance and told him his mandate is to come out with the next generation of programs for Israel to keep at the forefront of the world industry.

Second, in terms of large, they came up with a very innovative program called the Yozma program, about seven to nine years ago. They realize it has come to its natural conclusion, and they are working on Yozma II right now. There are some interesting indicators that we can discuss with you offline on that score.

4 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

They've even taken their government procurement, not only at the national level but at the cities level, and are using it to buy and promote next-generation technologies. And Shai Agassi, with the electric car work he is doing there, has really made Israel a game-changer in that space. Again, that speaks to the important role of procurement in terms of the aerospace industry and creating national champions. Other countries are doing it. We're probably not doing enough of that, and haven't done so for a long time.

I want to speak to the volunteer firefighters issue, because what a lot of people don't realize, and what Mr. Simonds brought to this committee, is that in rural and small town Canada, the volunteer fire protection and also the medical first response in communities like Cheverie, where I live, is provided by volunteers. They are paying for their equipment, in a lot of cases, either by fundraising or, in many cases, paying for it out of their own pockets. They are paying for training, spending their time and money out of their own pockets to do it, and they're providing an incredibly important essential service and risking their lives for the privilege of doing so.

We're very supportive, and our party is very supportive, of your initiative in terms of the $3,000 tax credit.

There's one thing I want to ask you. It's 200 hours to qualify for the $3,000 tax credit. For some in smaller communities, their sacrifice is significant, but it may be 100 hours because of the nature of the calls. Should we be looking at a smaller tax credit to perhaps reflect 100 hours to make it more broadly available and equitable?

4 p.m.

President, Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs

Robert Simonds

Mr. Chair, I'd offer that the notion has absolutely been discussed. A variety of considerations have been discussed with the fire chiefs across Canada. What we have indicated to government is that we are committed to working with them to find the most optimum solutions so as to recognize the invaluable contributions of those volunteer firefighters.

As Mr. Brison suggested, if the thresholds need to be changed, we can certainly revisit that. However, at this juncture, the feedback we have received from the fire chiefs across Canada is that the 200-hour threshold would be a meaningful and appropriate one.

However, going back to our previous discussions with the senior officials from the finance department, we are committed to working with them to find an optimal solution that may very well address the concerns that have been expressed here.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

You have 20 seconds.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Okay.

I mentioned procurement earlier and its importance to venture capital, potentially, and to new technologies and their early adoption. In terms of aerospace, we're getting feedback from companies like IMP in Halifax on the importance of in-service support and that the changes to the policy on in-service support have been detrimental to the Canadian aerospace industry. So I'd appreciate your industry's feedback on that and how important it is in procurement that we have long-term, in-service support contracts for Canadian aerospace.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Mr. Brison, just for your information, when I say “20 seconds”, it means for questions and answers.

So you have three seconds to answer.

4:05 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

I don't know if you want to come back to that.

4:05 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Aerospace Industries Association of Canada

Claude Lajeunesse

That's a very important issue for our members. There are thousands of jobs at stake across the country, and we believe we are in the best possible position to keep those jobs, to increase those jobs, and I certainly hope the policies will be developed to allow that.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you.

Mr. Paillé, over to you.

4:05 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Hochelaga, QC

My first questions go to the representatives from Canada's Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.

I would like to make a comment first. I am not sure how you will see it. On page 6 of your brief, you protest too much, methinks. Let us leave the histrionics to the lawyers. You say that the number of funded companies has dropped by 38% from 2005 to 2009. That seems to me to be a little coy for finance people. I feel that you should be talking about amounts of venture capital and providing annual averages or annual composite averages. Whatever, you get the right result anyway.

When we look at the figures, we see that they go from $1.7 billion to $1.35 billion in the two years you have chosen. That is right, because it comes to 39% over four years, but let's say that we might hope for more financial rigour.

I would like to highlight another point, the $300 million fund that you propose on page 8 of your brief. Would this $300 million be leveraged to get other investments? The amount seems much too small.

4:05 p.m.

Board Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wellington Financial, Canada's Venture Capital and Private Equity Association

Mark McQueen

We chose that number because we thought it was achievable, not because it was the perfect number, sir. You know, Teralys in Quebec—

4:05 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Hochelaga, QC

Are we talking about $300 million per year?

4:05 p.m.

Board Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wellington Financial, Canada's Venture Capital and Private Equity Association

Mark McQueen

It would be one time...for six or seven years, let's say. Relative to what Teralys is doing in Quebec, which is $750 million, it is obviously not sufficient money. We saw that number as representing five or six or seven lead orders for five or six or seven funds, and that it would be leveraged probably three to one or four to one with private sector investment.

4:05 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Hochelaga, QC

So the multiplier would be about three or four times. That would be about $1 billion or $1.25 billion, wouldn't it, Mr. Rémillard?