Evidence of meeting #215 for Finance in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was chair.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Maude Lavoie  Director General, Business Income Tax Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Trevor McGowan  Director General, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Charlene Davidson  Senior Project Leader, Financial Crimes Policy, Financial Systems Division, Financial Sector Policy, Department of Finance
Samuel Millar  Director General, Corporate Finance, Natural Resources and Environment, Economic Development and Corporate Finance, Department of Finance
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. David Gagnon
Darryl C. Patterson  Director, Corporate, Insolvency and Competition Policy Directorate, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Department of Industry
Tolga Yalkin  Director General, Consumer Product Safety Directorate, Department of Health
Colin Stacey  Acting Director General, Pilotage Act Review, Department of Transport
Sara Wiebe  Director General, Air Policy, Department of Transport
Joyce Henry  Director General, Office of Energy Efficiency, Energy Sector, Department of Natural Resources
André Baril  Senior Director, Refugee Affairs, Department of Citizenship and Immigration
Michel Tremblay  Senior Vice-President, Policy and Innovation, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Ariane Gagné-Frégeau  Procedural Clerk
Karen Hall  Director General, Social Policy Directorate, Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development
Hugues Vaillancourt  Senior Director, Social Development Policy Division, Social Policy Directorate, Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Department of Employment and Social Development

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Dusseault.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

In this regard, I would like to say that these recommendations were shared with the committee as part of its consultations. I am glad my colleague is following up on it. That being said, I would like the officials who are present to tell us whether, before this bill was proposed, consultations were held and, if so, whether the people consulted also recommended that housing be considered a fundamental right in the law.

How is it that after these consultations, if they took place, this is not part of the bill?

4:45 p.m.

Michel Tremblay Senior Vice-President, Policy and Innovation, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Thank you for the question, Mr. Dusseault.

Yes, there were consultations, and they took place from March to July and August. Our original intent in the bill was to strike a balance between the consultations and the feedback we had received. As the member mentioned, there is always room for improvement. That is why the government has opted for amendments that could improve the bill.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

As the saying goes, “better late than never.”

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

We are ready for the question on LIB-10.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

As I said, NDP-10 cannot be moved due to the line conflict.

NDP-11 is inadmissible because it's beyond the scope of the bill. Clause 313 of Bill C-97 proposes the national housing strategy act. Amendment NDP-11 brings several modifications to the strategy. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states on page 770:

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.

In the opinion of the chair, NDP-11 seeks to provide the federal housing advocate with new duties and functions and to introduce new concepts that are beyond the scope of the bill. Therefore, I rule the amendment inadmissible.

On NDP-12, Mr. Dusseault, go ahead.

May 27th, 2019 / 4:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you for your decision. I'm not quite happy to hear it, but I understand it and I understand the rules. As you know, this would have greatly strengthened the role of the federal housing advocate, which, in the absence of the amendments, is unfortunately a little meaningless. In any event, I heard a few minutes ago that my colleague had taken good note of these recommendations and that he would follow up on them. I will wait to see what happens, but know that we will be following this closely. In addition, we expect that this person will have significant powers, including the ability to undertake studies and receive petitions. I don't want to go into the details, since you've ruled that inadmissible.

I will therefore move on to amendment NDP-12. Its purpose is to have the minister respond to the recommendations that the federal housing advocate will make to him. This advocacy role is created in the bill. It doesn't have the bite I would have liked, but at least it was created. My amendment is to add subclause 17.1 after clause 17, since the advocate is accountable to the minister and to Parliament.

I also thought it would be good to ensure that the minister has an obligation to respond to the recommendations. I propose that he be required to do so within sixty days of receiving the recommendation. When the defender makes recommendations, they should not remain unanswered. In other words, the government must not shelve them, thank people for their work, wish them a good day and then move on to the next task.

We want some transparency in the government's responses. This is the case when we ask it to respond to committee reports, petitions or questions on the Order Paper. We are asking ministers to be responsible and answer all of this, and of course to do so publicly. This is what justifies amendment NDP-12, which concerns the addition of subclause 17.1.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. McLeod.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Chairman, I think it's important that we allow a time frame that will give the government time to consult with relevant federal departments and agencies and talk about solutions and discuss the problems identified in the reports.

The bill states that the minister must table a response to the annual report of the federal housing advocate in Parliament within 150 days of tabling the advocate's report. I think that's what we would like to support.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Are we ready for the question on NDP-12?

Mr. Dusseault.

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Section 17 states that the advocate must provide an annual report. Basically, the government's response is to this annual report, but what about the advocate's recommendations? Are they all in his annual report? How can we ensure that there is a follow-up to those recommendations?

The officials could probably clarify this issue.

4:50 p.m.

Senior Vice-President, Policy and Innovation, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Michel Tremblay

Thank you for the question, Mr. Dusseault.

I assume that the Federal Housing Advocate would include his recommendations in his annual report. If he determines that this is a substantial recommendation, I assume it would indeed be included in his annual report and that the minister would then have to respond to it.

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

We hope that this will be the case. We'll take you at your word.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

We'll vote on amendment NDP-12.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

Next is amendment CPC-14.

Mr. Kmiec.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

This would add another reporting requirement, including the total number of houses constructed annually under the national housing strategy. I've done a lot of these in the past in Parliament.

I think it's wise to require Parliament to know and the minister to know and then report back to us the final numbers of what they have achieved, because too often we don't get that type of information and feedback. It's an accountability measure.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Fragiskatos.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, there's an issue of redundancy here. I know my colleague is always advocating ideas that will make Parliament better and more responsible. There is always wisdom in that, but there's no wisdom in redundancy.

To add to that, what I mean is that in addition to regular reporting to Canadians on national housing strategy progress, including the investing in Canada plan, the annual report of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and semi-annual reporting on targets and investments by provinces and territories—we already have that happening. I worry that what my colleague opposite is proposing would add another layer of complexity to this.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Poilievre.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Fragistakos mentioned—

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

It's Fragiskatos.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Can you repeat that? I want to say it properly.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

You wouldn't be the first, don't worry. It's Fragiskatos.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Fragistakos.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

You're fine, just continue.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Can I call you Peter?

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

You can, yes.