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

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

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you.

Before I move to the amendment, I'll deal with clauses 390 to 392.

Go ahead, Ms. Nash.

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Excuse me, Mr. Chair. Could we separate out clause 390?

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Yes, that's what I was going to do.

(Clause 390 agreed to)

(Clauses 391 and 392 agreed to on division)

I will move to clause 393. That's where we have amendment NDP-44.

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

I move amendment NDP-44.

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you, Ms. Nash.

I have a ruling on NDP-44.

Bill C-38 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to provide for the Canada health transfer growing at 6% for 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2017 and then growing in line with the equalization-sustainable growth track, which is based on a three-year moving average of nominal gross domestic product growth, starting in 2017-18.

The amendment seeks to amend the bill so that after March 31, 2014, the transfer formula will be “negotiated between the federal government and the government of each province and territory, in meetings that must begin within 90 days after this act receives royal assent”.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, states at pages 767-768:

Since an amendment may not infringe upon the financial initiative of the crown, it is inadmissible if it imposes a charge on the public treasury, or if it extends the objects or purposes or relaxes the conditions and qualifications specified in the royal recommendation.

In the opinion of the chair, therefore, the amendment proposes a new scheme that seeks to alter the terms and conditions of the royal recommendation. Therefore, I rule the amendment inadmissible.

(Clause 393 agreed to on division)

(Clauses 394 to 410 inclusive agreed to on division)

We have the next amendment, which proposes a new clause. This is amendment Liberal-6, and I ask Mr. Brison to move it.

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Chair, I move amendment Liberal-6.

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you. That amendment is admissible.

(Amendment negatived)

We will now move to division 18, clause 411, the Fisheries Act. Is there any discussion on this particular clause?

Go ahead, Mr. Martin.

6:25 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I suppose I am concerned that this regulatory change wasn't included in part 3 of the bill, where it would have been reviewed by the appropriate subcommittee, which is I presume why it's before this committee now. That subcommittee would have had the expertise and the background and the information on perhaps the other associated changes to the Fisheries Act.

I note that today press conferences were held. It's kind of appropriate we should be debating this now, because in response to the cuts to DFO that affected the Experimental Lakes Area of northwestern Ontario and the Freshwater Institute in my home riding of Winnipeg Centre, in fact press conferences were held in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Ottawa on this very day to draw the attention of the public to some of these very regulatory changes we find in clause 411.

In the case of the Experimental Lakes Area, there has been a huge international hue and cry and outrage. I understand this has more to do with science and research than it has to do with regulation under the Fisheries Act, but I think the two really are linked in a way they can't be separated.

The question that's being asked and that the government should explain to us is what is the business case for eliminating some of these research facilities when they in fact have paid for themselves time and time again in the 40 or 50 years they've been in place?

This one particular example is $2 million a year. They saved the Province of Manitoba $400 million a year through one piece of research they did. Lake Winnipeg had all these algae blooms. They were worried about the phosphates and the nitrates going into that lake. It was going to cost $400 million to eliminate them both. The research at the Experimental Lakes Area found it's actually counterproductive to eliminate the nitrates simultaneously and may even encourage more algae blooms. So they only went after the phosphates and saved $300 million or $400 million. The Baltic Sea copied them and saved 3 billion euros.

The dedicated work of 17 scientists in the Experimental Lakes Area at $2 million a year has saved the world in terms of the freshwater resource and the costs of ensuring the integrity of our freshwater resources tens and hundreds of millions of dollars.

It's inexplicable. The public are kind of shaking their heads at some of the changes to the Fisheries Act and the elimination of the scientific research that's being done on our freshwater resources.

I can't support a clause that makes regulatory changes to the Fisheries Act, first of all because it has no place in the budget bill, and secondly, I think it's wrong-headed, it's counterproductive, and they can't even point to a business case.

It's more like they're trying to pre-emptively shoot the messenger. If they don't like the information coming out of scientific research, don't even wait until that research is done and then reject it, but do away with the research facility altogether. You know, what you aren't measuring you can't object to.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Thank you, Mr. Martin.

I have Mr. Hoback and then Mr. Brison.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Prince Albert, SK

Thank you, Chair.

I want to speak to what actually is happening here.

Mr. Harrison, correct me if I have my facts wrong, but from what I understand, before 2006 it was a quite common practice that while they were going about their research and in their joint ventures or projects, they would take the catch and actually sell off the catch. Those funds would actually be used up. A court case in 2006 prevented the minister from doing that. This just allows the minister to basically accept the proceeds from the fisheries.

Is that correct, or would you clarify?

June 5th, 2012 / 6:30 p.m.

Nigel Harrison Manager, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

I maybe wouldn't typify it quite that way. I guess prior to 2006 and the court appeal, the minister would maybe pay a contracting party with the proceeds of the sale of fish. In some cases it would just be allocating a quantity of fish such as this bill proposes, to carry out certain scientific research.

It wouldn't necessarily be the minister receiving the funding himself, but it may be funding that goes toward—

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Prince Albert, SK

The project. It's a way of reimbursing the partners in the project.

6:30 p.m.

Manager, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Prince Albert, SK

So it's a fairly basic legislative change that came about because of a 2006 court action. Is that correct?

6:30 p.m.

Manager, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Nigel Harrison

That's correct.