Evidence of meeting #43 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was summit.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Pontiac, QC

Very clearly, colleague, it was for the good and simple reason that the committee responsible for making the recommendations felt that, based on the criteria, that was the appropriate place.

9:25 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Shefford, QC

Mr. Cannon, you're answering the question I asked earlier. I just asked you a new question.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Pontiac, QC

Yes, but that allows me to continue, Mr. Vincent. It was exactly the same type of committee as the committee that determined the site, for example, of the North American leaders' summit held in the constituency of your colleague, Mr. Laframboise. It's the same procedure that was used when my predecessor, Pierre Pettigrew, held the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in the constituency of your colleague, Ms. Gagnon. That was in the middle of Quebec City, in the constituency held by your colleague. You may tell me that's not possible, but I'm telling you that these are criteria, for reasons of security and so on, that govern the conduct and the decisions that are made.

9:25 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Shefford, QC

I'm answering that no funds were invested in Quebec City, apart from a fence that was not used.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Pontiac, QC

Stop thinking all the time that no funds were invested in Quebec City by the federal government because of the Bloc Québécois.

9:25 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Shefford, QC

No, you think that!

What must be most frustrating for you and your government is that you invested so much money in the G8 Summit in order to show off and that you didn't get the seat at the UN. That must be quite frustrating, mustn't it?

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Pontiac, QC

And you're talking to me about the recession and the importance of addressing this issue?

9:25 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Shefford, QC

Yes, it goes together.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Pontiac, QC

Do you think for one second that, when the G20 leaders, the heads of government and heads of state met in Toronto, they talked about anything else than the economy and the global recession? That's exactly—

9:25 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Shefford, QC

I don't know because nothing came out in the papers, Mr. Cannon.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Pontiac, QC

Obviously, if you had taken the trouble to follow what came out of that meeting, you would have been able to see they got quite a lot of work done.

9:25 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Shefford, QC

There were no results; the newspapers said there were no results.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair John McKay

Monsieur Vincent, Mr. Minister, the time is finished. Thank you.

I'd just say to all colleagues, it's better if you don't talk over each other.

Mr. Holder, for five minutes.

December 9th, 2010 / 9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Thank you, Chair. I'll try my best not to do that.

I'd like to thank our guests for being here today.

As I've heard testimony today, my sense is this is a one-sided dialogue. On the one side I hear questions that are only intended I think to try to find ways to embarrass the government. I find that disappointing, because, quite frankly, I think this is about full disclosure, when we've heard testimony from people on the ground who would know, and we've heard several.

We've heard that the G-20 was the right location, for any number of reasons; that we hosted four international summits--unprecedented--that came in under budget; that the security we had was appropriate for the purpose. We can talk about security in past summits internationally where there have been tragic consequences; that did not happen here. We've heard previous testimony--Mr. Chowdhury, I recall some of your testimony--that said many items, from dishes to fences, had been recycled for future use. Some items we bought for the summit were bought used and recycled again.

“Recycled” seems to be the operative word, because it seems that every question we've heard today is recycled. We've heard all these questions put to previous witnesses, and frankly, I think their testimony has been thoughtful and straightforward.

No disrespect to our current guests, but I would tell you the testimony I heard prior to this was incredibly transparent, and you can take that back to your officials. My sense is they were honest and sincere and clear.

It's interesting, I've now found a new definition of austerity. My friend from the NDP shared it with us today when he suggested what we might want to consider--I think he said there was an air base that had 400 heated houses that we perhaps could have used, and I think of the 5,000 officials and the 3,700 media. I think the new definition of austerity is 22 to a room. I think that's a new approach. A little cozy, though, Pat, and I'm not sure I'd encourage that.

A lot has been made of the legacy fund. I was looking at past summits that we've been involved with, and I didn't hear my friends from the Liberal Party complain. I just saw Geoff Regan here a moment ago, and in Halifax, where he's from, in the 1995 G-7 summit they provided upgraded sidewalks and street improvements and landscape improvement, I didn't hear any objection there about those kinds of improvements. Then in Vancouver, in 1997, under a Liberal government, when they widened Highway 1 and they had a connector bridge to the Vancouver airport and a new forestry research centre at UBC, I didn't hear them complain. The 1999 summit, de la Francophonie, in Moncton, when, again, the Liberals were in power.... You know what? They put in $4.5 million to prepare the airport for the Summit of the Americas. In Kananaskis, 2002, Liberals in power again, they had a $5 million federal gift to contribute to the construction of a wildlife bridge.

We weren't complaining about those things, and it seems because the circumstances have turned...that's where I get frustrated, because I think there has to be integrity in the questions that are asked.

Mr. Cannon, can I put this question to you, please? It strikes me that what we're losing in all of this are the outcomes. The outcomes of what this was intended to do were to put an international focus on an issue that's of critical importance. From what I have seen, we've been able to deliver some $7.3 billion in new money to save the lives of over one million moms and their babies in the poorest places in the world, and if we don't make the point that this is the point, then what is this about? Why do we have these kinds of summits?

Minister Cannon, would you comment on that, please?

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair John McKay

You have about one minute.