Finance Committee on Oct. 6th, 2010
A recording is available from Parliament.
On the agenda
- 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 / 5:10 p.m.
Vaughan Dowie Executive Head of Public Affairs, McGill University
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, my name is Vaughan Dowie. I'm the executive head of public affairs at McGill. I'm with Sandra Crocker, who's the assistant vice-principal for research at McGill.
You have our brief. I won't repeat everything that's in it. I just want to highlight a couple of themes.
We would like to acknowledge the government's positive action to support the excellence of Canada's universities, especially through programs such as the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, the Canada Excellence Research Chairs and the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships.
From 1998 to 2008, the number of full-time professors in Canada increased by 25% from 33,700 to 42,000. Since the proportion of full-time students has also increased by 40%, the student-professor ratio continues to grow.
We recognize the role played by the higher education sector in research in Canada. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada estimates the value of research at $10 billion with 55 to 60% of research being funded through external sources, especially through McGill's contribution. According to a recent study by SECOR Group, McGill generates economic spinoffs of $5.2 billion per year in the province. McGill has established a fruitful academic relationship with the industry, with companies like Bombardier, Saputo, AstraZeneca, and so on.
We have organized our brief around three themes, and I want to touch on those themes very briefly, because I know your time is limited.
The first is a theme that will probably be familiar to members of the committee who have been here year after year: the question of the indirect cost of research. We both support the direct costs of research through the various granting bodies, as well as organizations like the CFI and Genome Canada, and also the need to finance university research by having an equitable formula for the indirect costs of research. Our brief deals with that, and we're more than willing to answer questions about it.
The second is the question of the support for people. There have been a number of very, very interesting and exciting programs that the Government of Canada has announced recently, such as the Vanier scholarships, the Banting post-doctoral fellowships program, and the Canadian graduate scholarship program. Many of these have very short windows with a sunset clause, and we'd like to ask the finance committee to examine the extension of these programs.
In the end, as you know and have no doubt been told many times, graduate students will form the backbone of the workforce of tomorrow in Canada, especially in the knowledge economy. So the gestures that have been posed up to now, or that have been taken up to now, are well appreciated by Canadian universities, but we need to make sure those programs don't end, that they continue into the future.
I want to talk a little bit about supporting international and sectoral research collaborations. Innovation leadership of Canada and the ability to recruit and retain talent depend on successful collaborations in strategic areas with leading researchers and scholars in international research networks. Areas such as energy, green technology, digital media, e-health, nano technology are all critical areas for investment.
Innovation regions bring together leaders from different sectors--government, university, industry, and not-for-profits--leveraging the financial and human resources and the know-how from people of each sector. While universities have talents and facilities to play a leading role in establishing international research collaborations, federal government support is critical to developing, sustaining, and maintaining these collaborations.
Building these partnerships requires early stage investment and partnership development, an investment that is crucial to continuing selectivity partnered with the best institutions in the world. We need to be able to support these initiatives and investments.
Overall we applaud the investments to date and we encourage instruments to be put in place that will remain in place. We need flexible instruments around international collaboration that are able to react quickly to opportunities that arise both inter-institutionally and internationally. We urge the committee to look at these.
We're more than willing to answer any questions you may have.
The Chair James Rajotte
Thank you very much for your presentation.
We'll now hear from the Canadian Football Lepage, 100th Anniversary Grey Cup Festival.
I notice we have something in the room here that's quite prominent.
Mark Cohon Commissioner, Canadian Football League, 100th Anniversary Grey Cup Festival
You cannot take a drink out of it.
Chris Rudge Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, 100th Anniversary Grey Cup Festival
It will be available for photo-ops later.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, committee members, ladies and gentlemen.
We are here today to represent the Canadian Football League and the 100th Grey Cup Festival Committee.
My name is Chris Rudge and I chair that committee. I've just finished seven years as the chief executive officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee and chairman of the Own the Podium program.
We'll conclude our short presentation today with a few words from Mark Cohon, the commissioner of the CFL.
But first, you will hear from Pierre Vercheval, often seen as the face of football in Quebec and former all-star offensive lineman for the Montreal Alouettes, who is now a commentator on the RDS channel, and
Michael “Pinball” Clemons, a former all-star running back and head coach of the Toronto Argonauts and a prominent businessman and community leader.
Michael Clemons Representative, 100th Anniversary Grey Cup Festival
Thank you. Merci beaucoup.
As Mr. Rudge said, I am a proud Canadian by choice. Like so many of us, I wasn't born here, but I belong here. I belong in Canada because this is where I was greeted with love and given an opportunity. I belong to Canada because this is where my family and I feel the desire and obligation to serve our community and in that way humbly do our part to build this great nation.
The sense of belonging is what comes from the Grey Cup. It is about all Canadians. Nothing brings Canadians together year after year, decade after decade, quite like the Grey Cup. Prime Minister Diefenbaker suggested that it was Canada's greatest unifying force. It is more than a football game, though; it is a cultural phenomenon, one that is distinctly and intensely and proudly ours.
Thousands make a pilgrimage each year to the host city from every region of our country, and millions join them in spirit via television. They watch a championship football game, of course, but what they are really championing is Canada, the idea that we have our own game and our own league, but more important, our own traditions, history, and culture, our own story, our own sense of belonging to something big and special and unique, and that's Canada.
The 100th Grey Cup in 2012 is a truly historic opportunity to celebrate this sense of belonging and in doing that help build a stronger, prouder, and more united Canada. Our mission is to make the 100th Grey Cup a truly national celebration, with events spanning the entire year in every region of our country and culminating in the biggest and best festival ever.
The Vancouver Olympics reinforced for us a lesson taught annually by the Grey Cup: that when you combine sport and culture and passion, well, you have a recipe for national pride and unity. The Own the Podium concept transcended sport and became an audacious expression of belief in ourselves.
Celebrating the Grey Cup has the potential to convey the same sort of strength, the kind of strength that enables a country to overcome challenges and seize opportunities, that empowers a country to take on the world—
The Chair James Rajotte
You have one minute.
Representative, 100th Anniversary Grey Cup Festival
We need your help and support to make the 100th Grey Cup a national cultural celebration that includes and inspires Canadians from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The Chair James Rajotte
I hate to cut off a lineman, but you have 30 seconds. It's given to each organization, so I have to be fair to each organization. So however you want to finish your 30 seconds....
Commissioner, Canadian Football League, 100th Anniversary Grey Cup Festival
Maybe I'll try to summarize.
I will never follow Pinball Clemons again.
Just to summarize really what this is all about, and to thank members of the committee, as the commissioner of the Canadian Football League, I have the opportunity to talk to thousands of Canadians across this country, and when you talk about the Grey Cup, they are very passionate about what that means to Canadians.
It was interesting that two years ago, when Ipsos-Reid, the Dominion Institute, and the Globe and Mail asked Canadians, “Since the birth of our nation, what are the defining events?”, Canadians said Confederation, they said World War I, World War II, the Battle of Vimy Ridge—and the Grey Cup was number seven. That just brings home to all of us what this means and how important it is to our country. That's why we want to celebrate it in the way that the 100th Grey Cup really deserves.
The Chair James Rajotte
Okay, thank you.
We'll hear next from our final presenter, the Centre for Feminist Research. You have your five-minute opening statement.
Barbara Cameron Associate Professor, York University, Centre for Feminist Research
Thank you. We're sharing five minutes, so I'll be quick.
We are asking the committee to think about the budget in terms of the values that are behind it. We are putting forward, I think, a different set of values than perhaps you've heard from many of the other presenters.
We want to remind the committee that Canada has commitments to human rights, and these human rights commitments are in our Constitution: a commitment of the government and the Parliament of Canada to equal opportunity. We have a set of values that we've committed ourselves to in international human rights agreements.
What we tried to do in our presentation is bring the attention of the committee to what is an initiative internationally to link budgets to the commitments that we have made under international law to human rights. We highlight, in particular, a commitment to an adequate standard of living and the principle that there should be the maximum utilization of resources that a society has to meet those obligations.
This human rights value should inform decisions whether or not we're talking about stimulus spending or cuts because that's where the value decisions come in: what you cut, how resources are allocated. We invite the committee to engage with us on this.
I want to hand over the microphone to Professor Kathleen Lahey.
The Chair James Rajotte
You have three minutes.
Professor Kathleen Lahey Faculty of Law, Queens University, Centre for Feminist Research
Just to remind members of the committee, Canada has been in the forefront for several decades in the implementation of a tool, a technique of budget and policy analysis, known as gender-based analysis or gender budgeting. As a result of a number of important developments taking place at the level of the federal government over the last several years, Canada is now in a position where the Privy Council Office, Treasury Board, and the Department of Finance have all agreed to implement their own action plans to carry on gender-based analysis of all matters relevant to the federal government. On October 6, 2009, the government released its action plan.
We have some very specific requests to make of this committee in anticipation of its role in implementing this very important program.
First, we would like to request that the committee itself make plans to undergo its own gender-based analysis training with Status of Women Canada or with whatever resources seem appropriate for that; second, to include an explicit gender-based analysis in all of your recommendations coming out of your pre-budget consultations; and third, to bring the Feminist Centre for Research back when you review the 2011 budget so that we can share our own impressions. In order to give you a sense of the kind of methodology that's involved in this, we have provided some additional materials relating to Budget 2010 that illustrate how a gender-based perspective on federal government spending would be carried out, both on the macro level and at the program level. I think it is a very revealing document.
I invite questions, if anyone has any, during the discussion afterwards. Thank you.
The Chair James Rajotte
Thank you very much for your presentation.
Colleagues, the bells will start ringing in about two minutes, and I'm just going to ask now for unanimous consent to at least do one round for each party prior to the vote. Six-minute rounds? Five-minute rounds? Okay?
Mr. Pacetti, please.
Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC
Thank you, monsieur le président.
Merci aux témoins for being here today.
I don't want to underplay the witnesses who are here. I know they've worked hard to be here.
I sympathize with Ms. Lahey and Ms. Cameron. When it comes to gender, I think the Liberal Party has stated that it believes there should be gender analysis based on any program the federal government comes out with. At McGill, I've spoken to your group on many occasions, and I think we're also in favour of increasing the indirect costs.... We've had a group here this week in terms of trying to get more international students, so I think we're all in favour of that.
Mr. Myers, I think we've spoken to you.
Mrs. Bose and Mr. Arnold, you have already appeared before the committee on a number of occasions to address various issues.
This will only happen once in my lifetime,
so I have to ask my question to the Grey Cup people. It's an honour, but I guess the question is actually quite easy: why do we have to give you guys some money?
I don't think you put it on the record, but I think you have a recommendation requesting some help for your 100th anniversary. I don't know if you want to put on the record what your request is, but I can just read it quickly. I'll do it for you--how's that?--because I have it right here. You're recommending the support of “a recommendation of $12 million in the 2011 Budget to support the pan-Canadian celebration of the 100th Grey Cup culminating in the game and festival in Toronto in November 2012”.
There are certain programs available. My colleague, Mr. Brison, was telling me that there was some money available in the marquee fund. We have some money available for festivals. Have you approached anybody in the Government of Canada for money?
Again, could you also answer my question: why should we give you money when we have other groups around the table that also need money?