Evidence of meeting #70 for Finance in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site.) The winning word was clauses.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Gordon Boissonneault  Senior Advisor, Economic Analysis and Forecasting Division, Demand and Labour Analysis, Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch, Department of Finance
  • Sue Foster  Acting Director General, Policy, Appeals and Quality, Service Canada
  • Margaret Strysio  Director, Strategic Planning and Reporting, Parks Canada Agency
  • Stephen Bolton  Director, Border Law Enforcement Strategies Division, Public Safety Canada
  • Michael Zigayer  Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice
  • Garry Jay  Chief Superintendent, Acting Director General, HR Workforce Programs and Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Jeff Hutcheson  Director, HQ Programs and Financial Advisory Services, Coporate Management and Comptrollership, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Darryl Hirsch  Senior Policy Analyst, Intelligence Policy and Coordination, Department of Public Safety
  • Ian Wright  Executive Advisor, Financial Markets Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance
  • Nigel Harrison  Manager, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
  • David Lee  Director, Office of Legislative and Regulatory Modernization, Policy, Planning and International Affairs Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Department of Health
  • Anthony Giles  Director General, Strategic Policy, Analysis and Workplace Information Directorate, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development
  • Bruno Rodrigue  Chief, Income Security, Federal-Provincial Relations and Social Policy Branch, Department of Finance
  • Gerard Peets  Senior Director, Strategy and Planning Directorate, Department of Industry
  • Suzanne Brisebois  Director General, Policy and Operations, Parole Board of Canada, Public Safety Canada
  • Louise Laflamme  Chief, Marine Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Department of Transport
  • Judith Buchanan  Acting Senior Manager, Labour Standards Operations, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
  • Mark Hodgson  Senior Policy Analyst, Labour Markets, Employment and Learning, Department of Finance
  • Stephen Johnson  Director General, Evaluation Directorate, Strategic Policy and Research Branch, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development
  • James McNamee  Deputy Director, Horizontal Immigration Policy Division, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
  • Graham Barr  Director General, Transition Planning and Coordination, Shared Services Canada

5 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

So I propose amendment NDP-43.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

You are moving NDP-43. Okay.

The chair has a ruling, as assisted by our wonderful legislative clerks.

Bill C-38 amends the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act by creating a new social security tribunal. The tribunal will hear appeals of decisions made under the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Pension Plan, and the Old Age Security Act. Tribunal members are selected by means of Governor in Council appointments.

The amendment attempts to specify that where an appeal involves a disability benefit, the member of the tribunal must be a person who is qualified to practise medicine or a prescribed related profession in a province.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, states, on page 766, and I quote:

An amendment to a bill that was referred to a committee after second reading is out of order if it is beyond the scope and principle of the bill.

Therefore, in the opinion of the chair, the introduction of the criteria of medical competency with regard to tribunal members is a new concept that is beyond the scope of Bill C-38 and is therefore inadmissible.

That deals with NDP-43.

(Clause 224 agreed to on division)

(Clauses 225 to 281 inclusive agreed to on division)

I want to thank our officials for being here for that division.

We will then move to division 7, which deals with clauses 282 to 303, consolidation of privacy codes. I have no amendments for this division.

Does anyone wish to speak to this division?

(Clauses 287 to 303 inclusive agreed to)

We'll then move to division 8, dealing with social insurance number cards.

These are clauses 304 to 314, and we'll start with Ms. Nash, please.

5 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I want to again raise the point that there are many Canadians who will be disadvantaged by not having a physical card with their social insurance number.

I remember, as a kid, when I got my first job and I got my SIN card. I still have the same one today. You take care of it and you look after it. It's an important number that you carry with you, and it's an important piece of identification.

There are many Canadians who still do not have access to the Internet, and not everybody has the literacy or media skills to be able to keep track of this information online.

I think of my own community where there are a number of low-income people who don't have a driver's licence. It's an important piece of information for them. If it's only available online, they may not have access to it.

While I do think it's a great idea to have this information online for those for whom it will make their lives a lot easier, I think there are some Canadians who may fall between the cracks, for the reasons I've just mentioned.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you.

For further discussion, I'll go to Mr. Van Kesteren.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Chair, the SIN card was never supposed to be a form of identification. It was never an identity card, so it doesn't contain any of the security features. Those who apply for jobs or need to produce their SIN numbers aren't required to produce it physically. It's one of these things that has reached its full use, as far as necessity. As such, the government has recognized that it's no longer necessary to issue these cards. We will cease to issue and produce and mail the plastic cards.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you, Mr. Van Kesteren.

I see no further speakers on this division. Therefore, I will call clauses 304 to 314.

(Clauses 304 to 314 inclusive agreed to on division)

We now move to division 9, amendments to the Parks Canada Agency Act, the Canada National Parks Act, and the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act. This deals with clauses 315 to 325.

I have Monsieur Mai, please.

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I want to talk about division 9 of part 4, which removes the Parks Canada Agency's obligation to produce an annual corporate operations plan and the obligation of presenting an annual report on the agency's operations to be tabled before Parliament. It also changes the period between reports on the state of heritage areas and programs from two years to five years. We have another concern. Division 9 amends the act and increases the period between departmental reviews of management plans for national historic sites, national parks and marine conservation areas from five years to at least 10 years.

I am going to talk about my own personal experience. Unlike Mrs. Glover, I am not a police officer, but I was a scout when I was younger. I appreciated the parks a great deal, and they were part of my childhood. So parks protection is very important for me. In my former life, I wasn't a soccer mom, but I was a scuba diving instructor. Marine conservation areas are also very important to me. The period between departmental reviews, intended to inform the ministers about what action to take, is changing from five years to 10 years. A delay is also being added between the drafting of the report and the government's actions. I see a problem here.

If we really want to protect the environment, which is very important to me, we need to monitor what is going on in the parks and marine areas. Despite the explanations I've received, I don't think changing the period between reports from five to 10 years is fostering environmental protection.

Furthermore, the Auditor General will not receive an annual report from Parks Canada. That is really moving in the direction of a lack of transparency and accountability. Why remove that protection and attack the environment? The justifications I've received are not enough. That is why we will vote against division 9.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

We'll go to Ms. McLeod, please.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I regret to hear that what the NDP are going to be voting against are very practical and common-sense measures moved by the government regarding the requirements to report, and also the ability to really take care of our parks, especially in the remote areas.

Perhaps we could have Ms. Strysio say a few words about the measures and why we believe they're practical and commonsensical and will really continue to provide both that important management function and the protection of our parks.

June 5th, 2012 / 5:10 p.m.

Margaret Strysio Director, Strategic Planning and Reporting, Parks Canada Agency

Within our planning and reporting framework for managing our parks and national marine conservation areas, we're looking at a ten-year strategic planning cycle with a five-year overall reporting cycle. We are moving to an annual engagement model whereby each year we'll be meeting with stakeholders—and we already do that—and we'll be continuing to meet on an annual basis with stakeholders in each and every park and site to ensure that there is accountability and to ensure that we're working on implementing the elements that are within the plan, rather than relaunching a whole new planning process every five years. So this will allow us to focus our resources on implementing the plans that are in place.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Thank you.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you, Ms. McLeod.

Mr. Mai.

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

As I said, my concern stems from the fact that we are not letting the Auditor General have this oversight. It isn't that I don't trust the Parks Canada Agency. I think the work it does is very good. But by reducing the Auditor General's budget, we are eliminating this aspect of accountability.

This isn't an attack, on the contrary; I love Canadian parks, but I think we gain by ensuring that everything is managed properly and that there is follow-up. We are talking about a corporate management plan that will have to be drafted not every five years anymore, but every 10 years. A gap is forming with respect to the review done by the minister or the department. Our concern has to do with that instead.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you. Merci.

Seeing no further members, I will then call clauses 315 to 325.

(Clauses 315 to 325 inclusive agreed to on division)

We'll now go to division 10, which is clauses 326 to 349. This division deals with amendments to the Trust and Loan Companies Act, the Bank Act, and the Insurance Companies Act.

(Clauses 326 to 349 inclusive agreed to)

We will now go to division 11, dealing with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. This is clauses 350 to 367.

Do I have any discussion on this?

Mr. Caron.

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Thank you.

The division on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation can be split in two, even if they overlap depending on the clauses. This division deals with the oversight of the corporation. However, CMHC has expanded enormously since it started. It is really big, which is another concern for us. That's why we are going to support the clauses that focus on oversight, particularly those clauses that place the corporation under the supervision of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. That seems logical to us, given that the superintendent is able to carry out that kind of supervision.

However, we are going to have to oppose certain provisions, particularly those that deal with covered bonds. It's an issue we consider very important; it has ramifications and consequences. Given the little time we have been given to address this issue and the impact that such a decision could have on the future of society, and on the situation of society and the government, in the case of real estate bubbles and economic crises in general, we cannot back these clauses. That's why, when we vote on clauses 350 to 367, we are going to divide our votes differently, depending on whether we are dealing with clauses to provide better supervision or clauses dealing more with the issue of covered bonds.