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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 video 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

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative 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 NDP 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 Conservative James Rajotte

We'll go to Ms. McLeod, please.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative 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 Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Thank you.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Thank you, Ms. McLeod.

Mr. Mai.

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP 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 Conservative 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 NDP 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.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

You'll be voting differently on...so you'd like the clauses done—

5:15 p.m.

NDP

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

Clause by clause, yes.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Okay.

I have Mr. Jean, please.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Chair, on the CMHC, the government has to respond. It's all about financial stability, and the government has to respond. It's responded significantly in the immediate past—July 2008, February 2010, and January 2011—in respect of what's taking place with the world economic crisis as well as what's happening in our domestic market. As a result of that, we have to always be at the forefront of change and flexibility to make sure that the people of Canada have the best financial security in their CMHC-insured mortgages, which is obviously a very significant part of our borrowing structure in Canada. As a result of that, I think these changes are necessary.

As well, I think the government will continue to respond on a case-by-case basis as necessary, depending, of course, on the fluidity of the market and the continual need of Canadians to borrow, and also the security vis-à-vis the rest of the world economy.

As a result of that, I'm in support of these changes and think they're very necessary. As well, I would encourage the government to continue to do that and respond accordingly as is necessary, given the economy and the economic conditions of the rest of the world.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Thank you.

I will now move to the votes.

Mr. Caron, do you want me to do each one individually, or can I—

5:15 p.m.

NDP

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

Do each one individually, yes.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Okay.

(Clause 350 agreed to)

(Clause 351 agreed to on division)

(Clause 352 agreed to)

(Clause 353 agreed to on division)

(Clauses 354 and 355 agreed to sequentially)

(Clause 356 agreed to on division)

(Clauses 357 and 358 agreed to sequentially)

(Clause 359 agreed to on division)

(Clause 360 agreed to)

(Clauses 361 to 364 agreed to on division sequentially)

(Clause 365 agreed to)

(Clause 366 agreed to on division)

(Clause 367 agreed to)

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

That's it for that division. Thank you.

We'll now go to division 12, which is clauses 368 to 374. This is the proposed Integrated Cross-Border Law Enforcement Operations Act.

I have Ms. Nash.

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Yes. Thanks very much.

First of all, I just want to say that I don't think this should be before the finance committee. This is something that pertains to public safety. It's about our border operations and should not be before the finance committee. It really needs a very full debate and review, and we shouldn't be dealing with it here as part of an omnibus budget bill. It concerns us that this is in here when it doesn't have the possibility of proper oversight and accountability.

We have some unanswered questions about this provision. We know, for example, that there have been other initiatives in the past to create an integrated cross-border maritime law. The pilot program for Shiprider was in fact in Windsor, Ontario, and has now been expanded. This notion was originally introduced in the Commons during Bill C-60, and then it was introduced in the Senate as Bill S-13. At that time there was no budget analysis available for this provision. It was just a framework, so we don't know at this point if there have been any cost analyses done for this.

While we believe that the notion is important that an agreement deal with common border issues such as illicit trade, trafficking, smuggling, terrorism, counterfeit goods, etc., it shouldn't be before the finance committee, and we really need to have more discussion and review and more information.

So we won't be supporting it at this time.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Thank you.

Is there any further discussion?

Ms. Glover, and then Mr. Brison.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I want to thank the witnesses who have appeared again today. This is a division that I care quite a bit about, and it's been discussed not only among caucus members as a whole, but we do have what's called the law enforcement officers' caucus, made up of 13 parliamentarians who are all former peace officers or police officers. Interestingly enough, all 13 are Conservatives. There aren't any other police officers in Parliament in any other party.

Nevertheless, when we spoke with them about this...of course, they have seen the challenges involved in trying to make sure that our borders are protected, that smuggling of contraband is addressed. This division has been worked on for many years. As Ms. Nash pointed out, it's been introduced a couple of different times, and sometimes through no fault of its own had to be put on the back burner because of elections and those kinds of things. Nevertheless, its importance is still significant.

I know a pilot project was launched, and I would like the witnesses to briefly address what was involved in the pilot project, and whether or not the pilot project was successful, which then led to the writing of this very important section of this bill.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Who would like to address that?

Mr. Bolton.

5:20 p.m.

Stephen Bolton Director, Border Law Enforcement Strategies Division, Public Safety Canada

Thank you. It's a pleasure to be back here again.

I'll be speaking about the pilot. The RCMP would normally be the ones to speak to it, but I can speak to the results of the 2007 pilot in the Cornwall area because there were a number of notable successes there.

In terms of seizures for this two-month period in 2007, 1.4 million contraband cigarettes were seized and over 200 pounds of marijuana. The operation helped in the return of an abducted child. Numerous vehicles and vessels were seized that were being used by criminal bands. It had six direct arrests and contributed to 41 other arrests.

So for a relatively short period of time, relatively limited in scope, it was a quite successful pilot, as indicated.

Thank you.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

May I continue?

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Absolutely, Mrs. Glover.