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 thank.

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

5:45 p.m.

Executive Head of Public Affairs, McGill University

Vaughan Dowie

I'll take a stab at this.

Part of this is a federal-provincial issue. By and large, undergraduate education and the education part of the university role is really part of a provincial jurisdiction. We could talk about tuition policy, and we talk about it a lot in Quebec, about the pros and cons of tuition, and how tuition should be looked at, whether or not tuition in the end, at the end of the exercise, is a debt, or whether or not tuition at the end of the exercise is an investment that then gets repaid over time. In Quebec, we're in a kind of special place in the tuition discussion, and the debate is an ongoing one.

What could there be? We look a lot to the federal government in terms of support at the graduate student level. I know that's not the thrust of your question, but there are a number of programs the federal government has rolled out nationally that have had, really, a very important role in terms of supporting graduate students. I mentioned them a little bit in the presentation, and our brief does, too: the Vaniers, the CGS, whatever.

There have been efforts by the Government of Canada in the area of millennium scholarships, for instance, which was one of the areas where undergraduates were touched. That requires a certain amount of federal-provincial coordination. Another way to try to put money in the hands of undergraduates is through a scholarship model like the millennium scholarship model, to the extent that you were able to get the cooperation of the provincial governments. This then becomes, really, a unified exercise and not an exercise that will lead to problems.

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Thank you.

Go ahead.

October 6th, 2010 / 5:45 p.m.

Sandra Crocker Assistant Vice-Principal, Research and International Affairs, McGill University

Just to pick up on that, in response to that, on a slightly different tack, there are a number of federal programs that are very effective in supporting our undergraduate students, to ensure they have research experience over the summer, so that they're actually working on research, laboratory-based research mostly, or working toward a thesis paper, as well as getting paid for the summer work.

We have programs through some of the federal granting councils and the national centres of excellence that are very effective and are the kinds of things that are very supportive, including work-term placements for undergraduate students.

I think that through our research experience we can continue to support even the undergraduate research experience as well as the graduate.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

You have one minute.

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Since there's only one minute left, I'll give Madam Bose or perhaps Monsieur Arnold that last minute to make your last pitch, since the time was limited. I apologize for that today.

5:45 p.m.

Head, Ottawa Office, Option consommateurs

Anu Bose

I think our last pitch would be that it is well within the bounds of the government's duty of care to its citizens to take the advice of Senator Hugh Segal, who has said that the cost of poverty is borne by those who are not poor, and it is a quote that we put into our brief.

Investment in human capital is an investment and not an expenditure. I would ask members of this committee to think on this when they go home at night and to their constituencies.

Thank you.

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Allen.

Colleagues, I'm going to push it. I know the whips are going to be upset with me, but I'm going to allow three more very brief rounds of two minutes each.

We'll have Mr. Brison and Monsieur Paillé, and then I'll take a two-minute round.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Thank you.

My question is for the manufacturers association. When the government announced the 5% increase to EI premiums, Mr. Myers, you said that the increase on EI premiums would have a negative impact on manufacturers' cashflow and competitiveness. The CFIB has estimated a job loss of around 58,000. How many jobs will be lost in Canadian manufacturing as a result of the increase?

5:45 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, National Office, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

Dr. Jayson Myers

I really can't say. We haven't done that calculation, but I think right now for companies—and many of them are really having a hard time surviving—any increase in payroll taxes, any increase in tax costs that would be borne by this sector, is going to have a negative impact on not only employment growth but also jobs.

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

I agree with you regarding the importance of a competitive corporate tax rate, but I think there's a big difference between cutting corporate tax rates when we're in surplus, which is what the Liberal government did, and cutting them on borrowed money in a deficit. I think your members would appreciate that difference as well.

You also said that we need to come up with creative solutions to reduce business costs. One of the best ways we could reduce your members' business costs is to cut their energy costs and energy consumption. What are the types of investment that a government can make to help you and your members cut energy consumption and their carbon footprint and the costs that are taking away from their bottom line?

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Go ahead, very briefly.

5:50 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, National Office, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

Dr. Jayson Myers

If you look at the progress that manufacturers have made already—and they've achieved a 9% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions since 1990—it's all been based on the investments they've been making in new technology and capital turnover. That's why our recommendations, particularly to extend the two-year writeoff for a period of at least five years, provide to especially the large capitalized energy-intensive sectors the incentive they need to make these investments to reduce emissions.

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you.

Mr. Paillé, go ahead.

5:50 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Hochelaga, QC

I will be quick.

My comment is for the representatives from McGill. You must have surely heard about the bill in which the Conservative government wanted to set a $250,000 limit on the income of those working in charities. If it is more than that, they could not issue tax receipts. Could you tell me your opinion on this somewhat silly bill?

5:50 p.m.

Executive Head of Public Affairs, McGill University

Vaughan Dowie

I think you are talking about Bill C-470. Canadian universities say unanimously that this bill should not apply to universities. Universities have staff and top researchers who sometimes make more than $250,000. We are making representations to the four political parties so that everyone is aware of our situation.