Evidence of meeting #177 for Finance in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was funding.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Pam Bryan  As an Individual
Susan Roberts  As an Individual
Margaret Schoepp  As an Individual
Kim Rudd  Northumberland—Peterborough South, Lib.
Ken Kobly  President and Chief Executive Officer, Alberta Chambers of Commerce
Lynette Tremblay  Manager, Government Relations, Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association
Mark Scholz  President, Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors
Michael Holden  Chief Economist, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Janet Lane  Director, Human Capital Centre, Canada West Foundation
Wesley Morningstar  Chair of the Board of Governors, Explorers and Producers Association of Canada
Mark Plamondon  Executive Director, Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association
Richelle Andreas  Chair, Board of Directors, Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada
David Malloy  Vice-President, Research, Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities
Chief Marlene Poitras  Regional Chief, Alberta, Assembly of First Nations
Isabelle Des Chênes  Executive Vice-President, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada
Martin Roy  Executive Director, Festivals and Major Events Canada
Lindsay Hugenholtz Sherk  Senior Leader, Sport Matters Group
Marc Kennedy  Olympic Athlete, Sport Matters Group
Neville Wright  Olympic Athlete, Sport Matters Group
Chantell Ghosh  As an Individual
Jim Gibbon  As an Individual
Paul Lucas  As an Individual
Min Hyu Lee  As an Individual
Kyria Wood  As an Individual

12:10 p.m.

Northumberland—Peterborough South, Lib.

Kim Rudd

Exactly. Thank you.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you.

That investment is a good one, but you do mention in your submission that we're only getting a handful of investments to what we should be getting. Why is that? What's the reason, and what needs to be done to solve that problem?

12:10 p.m.

Executive Vice-President, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada

Isabelle Des Chênes

It's an interesting problem. Actually, a number of our members are about to make final decisions on fairly large investments. You have Dow Chemical, which is looking at a $6-billion U.S. investment. It's a competition, really. They're looking at Argentina, they're looking at the U.S. Gulf coast, and they're looking here in Canada.

One of the things that makes the U.S. Gulf coast attractive is the recent changes in the tax structures. Certainly we have similar advantages in terms of low-cost feedstock, and natural gas liquids are fairly inexpensive. It's primarily that competitiveness piece. They like to do business in Canada.

We have a number of other companies, like CKPC, that are in the process of applying for SIF funding. They'll be making their investment decision in January 2019, I believe.

Those are significant opportunities for the Canadian economy, and it's really a matter of incentives, as Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association mentioned earlier. Incentives are par for the course in this day and age, and certainly when we're competing with the United States.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Okay. Thank you.

We'll take one question from Matt, one from Peter and one from whoever wants to go over here.

Matt.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

On that point, you have on your website an article entitled “Canada to lose 635,000 jobs, petrochemical industry at ‘serious risk’ due to U.S. tax reform”. That's quite significant, and thank you for sharing that in your recommendations, as well.

The question I want to ask you, Mr. Roy, concerns the security costs you indicated. We're seeing that our neighbours to the south in Calgary are applying for the Olympics. I imagine this is of interest to you here from Sport Matters Group, as well. I'm curious as to exactly what type of support you're looking at.

I was talking earlier about the Edmonton Heritage Festival. It's a festival that is the scope of a major park in our city, and part of the attraction is the accessibility of it. People ride their bikes. They rollerblade there. It's encouraged, in fact. Policing something like that, or adding adequate security to that, is a significant challenge. A festival like the Heritage Festival encourages a lot of young families to come, but we don't want to make the cost so prohibitive that we can't have the festival.

I'd like your perspective on where that sweet spot is and what we need to do to ensure that there is adequate security but at the same time it is also made as accessible as possible.

12:15 p.m.

Executive Director, Festivals and Major Events Canada

Martin Roy

As I said, the security costs have increased by 60% over the past five years across the FAME membership. I talked with Jim a bit earlier, and he told me that the cost of security at the Edmonton Heritage Festival went from $4,000 to $240,000. It was multiplied by 60, which is just amazing when you think about it.

Another example I can give you is that last summer in Quebec City, for the Festival d'été de Québec, they had to have drone detectors, because now people are flying drones over the crowds. You can think of anything. Of course there are trucks. There's all that. We need to face modern threats with modern technologies, and that's what we are looking for, actually. We need to buy metal detectors. We need to have drone detectors. We need to have everything possible.

Of course, we also need to hire more security agents, and that's also costly. There's no way you can sponsor security. I mean, you don't want metal detectors to have the TD Bank logo on them. It doesn't make sense. It's really a matter of having more revenue. Of course, if you get a bit more revenue you can't just use it all for security. Other expenses increase as well.

As I said, there's a program right now at Public Safety. The security infrastructure program for communities at risk really helps communities at risk, like schools, churches and others, to buy the sort of stuff I just talked about—metal detectors, cameras and all that. We're basically looking to have access to this existing program and to have more funds within the program.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you both.

It actually might be appropriate if they had their logos on the scanners. Banks are pretty good at scanning everything we do, or at least I find that when I go to them for a loan.

Mr. Julian.

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.

Madam Des Chênes, you spoke in your brief about the partnership with the federal government on recycling of plastics. It's very interesting.

I'm wondering to what extent that is being developed now. You reference working currently with Environment and Climate Change Canada to recover the value of waste plastics as potential feedstocks for recycling and redevelopment.

As you know, of course, it's an important area internationally. More and more people are concerned about plastic pollution.

Before I worked in an oil refinery, I worked in a plastic factory. I know plastics first-hand, and I share that concern.

This could be quite a dynamic program, where Canada could be a world leader. Where is that now in terms of development, and what would be the resources that would be required so Canada could be a world leader?

12:15 p.m.

Executive Vice-President, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada

Isabelle Des Chênes

We've been working closely with Environment and Climate Change Canada, through the G7 process and helping to support the development of the ocean plastics charter and the plastic innovation challenge.

A lot of the work that has gone into the innovation challenge is interesting and can be applied to the work that Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment are about to undertake in developing a national framework for a zero plastic waste strategy. We met with the deputy ministers last week, and they invited a number of members of the plastics value chain.

One of the areas that we know government can really help is around regulation and policy. From an industry perspective, we're there to innovate. We have a lot of the technologies in place. There is a lot of interesting work being done around chemical recycling. It's a matter of working with government and ensuring that we can get the necessary supports to do that commercialization in many instances, but also to ensure that the regulations allow companies to treat that diversion as diversion, as opposed to waste and applying sort of waste management regulations to it.

It's a whole-of-society approach really, but there are some interesting levers. The federal government can work through provincial engagement and with municipalities to deliver some best-in-class collection and recovery opportunities for plastics.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you both.

The last question will be to Mr. Fergus.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

I would like to return to Mr. Kennedy. Actually I completely forgot to tell him that, while I was at high school in Montreal, I was the curling skip. We won the silver medal for the Montreal area. It was not at the national level, but it was quite good. I think I was a natural for curling with my curly hair. There were 16 teams at the time.

Mr. Malloy, my youngest daughter is a student at one of your member universities. We know how important research universities are. They are a bit smaller, but they do research on a whole range of subjects. It is extremely important. She had a fantastic experience as a student. She went to Bishop's University and enjoyed very strong ties with the professors there. Now she is studying abroad, in Mexico. It is her term abroad.

There are of course the big universities such as the University of Toronto, McGill and UQAM, but we must also recognize the importance of the universities that your alliance represents, because they offer the majority of students right across Canada a great experience.

In your third recommendation, you call on the government to support the recommendations of the Naylor report. What are the objectives of the universities you represent? This is your opportunity to tell us.

12:20 p.m.

Vice-President, Research, Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities

David Malloy

Thank you for your question. I want to recruit you to be a supporter for ACCRU. You speak very passionately.

The ACCRU alliance wants to have increased funding. If we follow the Naylor report, and if we were able to match or increase the amount based on inflation, this would essentially raise all votes. This would enhance U of T's capacity, as well as Bishop's capacity, to enhance the research agenda.

Yes, we would certainly love to see this increase. It would provide us with much better capacity to not only support the research we have now, but engage in more research, whether it's peer or applied.

I think the RSF is a very important issue for us, but so is the funding for undergraduate research awards. As I mentioned, currently it's NSERC only, but to provide that kind of research opportunity for social sciences and humanities students, as well as for students in the health research world, I think, is very important.

These are skills not just in the typical sense of research. This isn't about being a lab student. This is research writ large. This is students interacting with businesses, with community and with government. These are experiential research opportunities for all of our students that would be enhanced not only by the undergraduate research awards, but also by Mitacs.

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you again to all the witnesses for their presentations, for their briefs and for answering our questions.

We do have five audience remarks coming up in our open-mike session. If members want to chat with any of the witnesses, I would suggest that we suspend for five minutes and then come back for the audience remarks.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

We'll reconvene; and we shall start with Chantell Gosh.

Welcome and I think you know the procedure. Please hold it to about a minute, and just know that there won't be questions from members, but your comments go on the record as part of our pre-budget consultations, and they will be considered in the same way as all the rest.

October 17th, 2018 / 12:35 p.m.

Chantell Ghosh As an Individual

Absolutely. Thank you.

My name is Chantell Ghosh. I am the executive director of the Citadel Theatre, which you'd see if you were to walk out into the lobby and look through the window. I'm also on the board of directors for the Edmonton Economic Development Council.

Today, I'm here to speak to assist my colleagues in Ottawa at the Canadian Arts Coalition. They have asked me to come and provide some supporting comments for our ask for an increase in funding. Welcome to Edmonton. Welcome to the heart of Treaty No. 6 territory. We're happy to have you all here.

I was here earlier this morning and was just listening. I know that there are a number of very valuable demands on the resources of our government. I know that there is a lot of competing interest and a lot of very laudable causes that you're constantly balancing. Thank you for the work you do. I do know it is difficult. I do know you're constantly making compromises and choices.

I'm here to talk to you about why I would like you to make a compromise and choice in favour of the arts in Canada. We of course have that social support for why the arts are important. We are part of making people feel they are part of a community, welcoming new Canadians, including indigenous people into conversations that they have previously been locked out of—all of those kinds of things.

When we're talking about budget, when we're talking about investments, I know that the Canadian Arts Coalition has asked for $30 million over three years toward our presentation and festival fund. I thought I would zero in directly on why that is important.

The cultural industry in Canada is responsible for $54 billion of our GDP. That is bigger than forestry. That is bigger than oil. That is bigger than hunting and tourism. In some spaces, there is definitely a financial case to be made for supporting presentations and festivals and specifically in that value chain of the arts.

We have wonderful support from the Canada Council in terms of creating new works. We have supports for producing those new works. But we have a weakness when it comes to presentations and festivals. That is how you amplify the value of those works. If you look, for example, at Come from Away, you'll see it started out as a small production at Sheridan College, was workshopped and now is one of the highest grossing Broadway plays. I can't even get a ticket.

These are ways we can create the value that then brings dollars back into the Canadian economy. Right now when I present a show that's been produced elsewhere, I am paying royalties to the U.S. I would really like to be able to chose wonderful, spectacular successful pieces that have been built and grown in Canada and now have a life beyond, like Hadestown, which we just produced in November and is now opening in London's west end and going to Broadway in the spring.

These are successes that are happening. With small amounts of investment, we can have great amplified financial benefit to this country and to the creative arts, not to mention that we are place-making. I don't know of a town that I want to visit as a tourist that doesn't have amazing art. This is how we bring tourism dollars. This is how we bring investment dollars.

I don't know of a head office of a company that wants to move its people to a city that doesn't have great quality of life. A great job is wonderful. Good schools are great. Affordable real estate, yes, but if I don't have anywhere to take my kids after school and on the weekends in the winter, I am not going to be a very happy person. That's part of that overall investment.

I wanted to reiterate that ask. It is important to us as an economy. It is important to us as Canadians. It is part of why I have chosen to return to Canada after 10 years living in the U.S., because of the investments that are being made in our country that I'm so proud of.

Thank you.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Chantell.

Jim Gibbon, go ahead.

12:35 p.m.

Jim Gibbon As an Individual

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you to the committee. Thank you, Mr. Jeneroux, for pointing out a few wonderful things about our event.

Welcome to Edmonton. It's always 20 degrees here, even in December, because the Oilers won yesterday, so it gets warmer.

My name is Jim Gibbon. I'm the executive director of the Edmonton Heritage Festival Association. You've heard a little bit about our event. We are the world's largest cultural event. Between 350,000 and a half a million people visit our river valley over three days. We've been recently recognized by the United Nations as an intangible cultural asset because of our size and longevity. Our 46th year is coming up this year. We are a member of FAME, Festivals and Major Events Edmonton, and we're working together with them to try to get some help with the biggest issue we're facing right now.

I want to emphasize the importance of security for the people who come to our river valley to support multiculturalism. We had over 100 representative cultural groups last year in 300 tents, and again, last year, 340,000 people came down to see it.

Our security costs have, indeed, gone from $4,000 a year, where it was almost marginal in our budget, to an estimated $240,000 this year. Our cash budget is $1.1 million, and that hasn't changed in 20 years. We've taken 25% of our budget now and moved it directly into festival costs in the form of security. When you see what's going on in the world, you kind of understand why we've had to do that. You don't want those sorts of things to happen here. We spoke for a few moments about some of the risks that we worry about at this point in time.

All I want to say is, this is moving money from the event itself, where people come down and celebrate multiculturalism and, again, we have the world's largest here. If you get a chance, come visit it. It's an astonishing event, and there's nothing of its scale anywhere else in North America. You have to see it to believe it. I'm so proud to be a part of it, because we're telling the world that Canada is the way the rest of the world should be. We're not perfect yet, but we sure try to get there, and we have this amazing multicultural society that we're so happy to share and to celebrate with the rest of the world.

It's getting to the point where we're risking these. I want to point out, again, we are a not-for-profit. I know there's concern about helping for-profit companies. We had, last year, 72 not-for-profit cultural groups provide the pavilions that people come down to see. There's no for-profit businesses on site.

We're also a charity. We rely on charitable donations just to help us survive in today's society. That money that is potentially on the table right now is of enormous importance. It's not just for us, but for all the other groups like us out there that celebrate Canada, and it's just getting to the point where all we're doing now is paying security. We're not really using that money to celebrate our own country.

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Jim.

We'll turn to Mr. Paul Lucas.

12:40 p.m.

Paul Lucas As an Individual

Good morning and welcome to Edmonton. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.

My name is Paul Lucas, and I represent the festival consortium here in Edmonton. We have 44 festivals. We meet monthly. We're an advocacy group.

I'm going to be speaking a little bit about Taste of Edmonton, which is one of the festivals I produce here in Edmonton. I'd like to address Mr. Peter Julian's question about economic impact and numbers for Quebec.

I have some statistics for you. We attract over 2.8 million people to our festivals. There are about 44 of them. We generate 254 event days with 54 full-time staff. We have over 100,000 hours of volunteer time. We're kind of the backbone of the community in terms of contributing back and getting a lot out of the community. With close to 100,000 hours invested, we feel that we're well-entrenched in this community.

My own festival, as an example, attracts 378,000 people over 10 days. It's the largest outdoor food festival in Canada. As for our economic impact, we generate about $10 million to the economic impact of Canada. Our tax bill is $1.6 million. Of that, $850,000 goes to the federal government, $449,000 goes to the provincial government and $134,000 goes to the municipal government. We have an investment given back to us through the Edmonton Arts Council of $100,000. I'd say that's a pretty good investment in terms of what we return to the community.

As many of our festivals are struggling—and we do struggle—funding has not gone up very significantly. I know it's the way of the world. We try to be as lean and mean as we possibly can, but when you're running on 54 people putting those kinds of numbers together you're the sponsor, you're the cleanup boy, you're doing everything possible. We run these things on shoestrings.

The added problems we're facing now with security are tremendous. It's putting a lot of pressure on the ability to grow our festivals.

One last thing I'd like to bring to your attention is that my colleagues in the festival industry generate, on average, 19% of tourism created right here in Edmonton. We would really love to see that number grow. We're a northern region. We struggle for every dollar we can get. We would like to see a growth strategy within our festival community, particularly as Edmonton is such a northern city.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak.

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Paul.

We'll turn now to Ms. Hyu Lee. Welcome.

12:40 p.m.

Min Hyu Lee As an Individual

Hello. I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak here today.

My name is Min Hyu, and I volunteer with Engineers Without Borders Canada. In budget 2019, I'm asking that the Canadian government commit to a 10-year timetable of predictable and annual increases of 15% to the international assistance envelope. This refers to recommendation 85 that the committee made last year on its support in pre-budget consultations, as well as the OECD report on Canada released mid-September.

Last year, we were encouraged to see Canada increasing its ODA in budget 2018, but despite that increase, Canada's ODA spending is still near a historical low, and well below many of our global peers.

ODA is fundamental in shaping global prosperity. These investments support vital services such as health care and education in some of the least-developed countries in the world. We're not asking the Canadian government to suddenly jump from 0.26 GNI to 0.7% right away. We're asking that the ODA be increased through a predicable timetable in budget 2019 that would show Canada is a committed global leader helping create a better world for everyone.

Thank you again for the opportunity. If you have any questions, I will be sticking around.

Thank you.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Min.

Our last presenter will be Ms. Kyria Wood.

Go ahead, Ms. Wood. Welcome.

12:45 p.m.

Kyria Wood As an Individual

Thank you. I'll be reiterating a little bit of what was just said.

Honourable members, I would like to begin to acknowledging that we are in Treaty No. 6 territory.

By now, you probably recognize the T-shirt I'm wearing. My name is Kyria Wood. I'm a member of the ONE Campaign.

I'm here on behalf of 132 million girls who did not go to school today. I'm here on behalf of 2.7 million infants who die every year at birth. I'm here on behalf of the adolescent girls who account for 74% of all new HIV infections.

I'm proud to live in Canada, but I know that our country can do more to help people around the world.

Your committee has already recommended that Canada establish a path to investing 0.7% of Canada's gross national income in official development assistance by 2030. I'm here today to call on the Government of Canada to act on this recommendation in budget 2019 by increasing Canada's spending on global development and humanitarian assistance over 10 years through predictable 15% annual increases to the international assistance envelope, starting in fiscal year 2019.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thanks very much, Kyria, and thanks to all of you.

This will end our Edmonton session.

The meeting is adjourned.