Evidence of meeting #89 for Fisheries and Oceans in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was funding.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Catherine Blewett  Deputy Minister, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Jeffery Hutchinson  Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

9:05 a.m.

Catherine Blewett Deputy Minister, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

It would be a pleasure.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Thank you.

Mr. Hutchinson, on January 19 of this year, the Prime Minister announced that your department was commencing negotiations with Davie for four ice breakers that they proposed under their Project Resolute. Last week PSPC announced that you were negotiating for three Viking supply ships, medium-sized icebreakers only.

Can you tell us why you have ignored the Prime Minister's direction by not negotiating for the most needed and available icebreaker, the MV Aiviq?

9:05 a.m.

Jeffery Hutchinson Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Chair, our understanding of the publicly stated direction from the Prime Minister is that he announced negotiations for up to four icebreakers. We're not aware of any reference to Project Resolute. We're in ongoing negotiations with Davie for icebreaker capacity.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Can you advise us of any technical deficiencies that the Canadian Coast Guard identified from its inspection of the MV Aiviq in July 2017? In addition, can you provide this committee with the Canadian Coast Guard inspection report on the Aiviq by the end of this week?

9:05 a.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

The MV Aiviq was built for a very specific purpose, to move oil drilling platforms in the Beaufort. We do see the ship as having limitations in providing service to the Canadian Coast Guard. We would be happy to provide our documentation on that.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Thank you.

Can you also table with this committee by the end of this week any emails, briefing notes, or reports related to concerns raised by the department or experts around operating the 55-year-old Louis S. St-Laurent in Arctic regions where polar class 3 icebreakers are allowed to operate without restriction when refuelling or resupplying northern communities?

9:05 a.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

We would be happy to provide that.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Thank you.

Mr. Hutchinson, do you think it's safe and environmentally responsible to operate a 55-year-old heavy single-hulled icebreaker in Arctic polar class 3 waters? Are you not rolling the dice, given that the polar code requires new commercial vessels that are similarly classed to be double hulled to vastly reduce the risk of an oil spill and environmental disaster?

9:05 a.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

The icebreakers in our fleet are extremely capable, and in no way do I think it's irresponsible to operate those vessels in the conditions we operate them in.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Hutchinson, in a recent news article, Seaspan stated that the three offshore fisheries science vessels are 90%, 60%, and 40% complete. Since it now appears that these delivery dates are no longer considered secret or under commercial confidence, can you please provide this committee with a report, by the end of this week, with the precise dates as currently stated on each vessel's build schedule?

9:05 a.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

I can advise the committee this morning that we expect to take delivery of the first OFSV in autumn 2018 and that we expect to take delivery of the other two in 2019. Subject to any commercial confidence that I would have to verify, we would be happy to provide delivery dates.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Thank you.

That goes to my next question. Could you provide, by the end of this week, the specific dates that the Canadian Coast Guard is planning to have the following vessels in service: OFSV 1, OFSV 2, OFSV 3, OOSV, and the CCG John G. Diefenbaker?

9:05 a.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

With respect to the OOSV and the John G. Diefenbaker, neither one of those ships is subject to a construction contract at this point, so I can't give you a in-service date for either one of them.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Okay.

Mr. Hutchinson, can you confirm whether the Canadian Coast Guard is considering using an Arctic offshore patrol ship as an icebreaker, given that it is being built to the lowest possible ice class, polar class 5, and would be useless as an icebreaker on the St. Lawrence or in the Arctic? Will you table with the clerk by the end of this week any emails or briefing notes related to this proposal?

9:05 a.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

Again, there may be matters of commercial confidence that we will have to pay attention to, as well as cabinet confidence. Subject to those provisions, we would be happy to share what we're able to.

The Arctic offshore patrol vessel is a very capable vessel for what it's designed for, and I would have to review our material on that.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Thank you.

Mr. Hutchinson, the CCG has set aside funding to build three high-endurance multi-task vessels and five OPVs. Can you table with this committee all emails, briefing notes, and reports related to when this RFP will be issued, as well as any briefing notes or reports related to the reasons for the delay in getting these vessels built, when the funding has already been allocated?

9:05 a.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

With respect, that may be a difficult request to honour, simply from two perspectives.

One is that at this point those ships would follow the ships that are already in the NSS build schedule. I don't expect we'd have anything discussing an RFP for those vessels.

The second part of the question was about causes for delay. Again, we see those ships following the current NSS build schedule. I wouldn't expect that we have internal exchange on that. I'm happy to take a look and happy to provide what we have.

March 20th, 2018 / 9:10 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Minister, as we were preparing for this meeting, we went out to our constituents, those in our riding, those in our province, and asked if they had any questions they would like us to pose to you. One of the largest first nations within the province of British Columbia, Lax Kw'alaams, has asked us to pose this question to you. Why is the government continuing to allow American NGOs to dictate policy in relation to our natural resources and impacting the well-being and revenues of our ordinary Canadians? They went as far as to say that for a government that professes to support UNDRIP and reconciliation, you are proposing to go forward with a plan that will seek to limit what first nations who are opposed to a tanker ban can do with their traditional territories.

What do you have to say in response to that?

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Obviously I don't share the view that Canadian policy is being dictated by American NGOs.

Canadian policy, from our perspective, is dictated by what we think is in the best interests of Canadians: growing an economy sustainably; protecting the environment; providing jobs, including for indigenous communities like the ones you referred to, Mr. Doherty.

We made a commitment with respect to a tanker ban in northern British Columbia in the election campaign. That was a clear commitment we made in the 2015 campaign.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Was it based on science?

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Of course it was, Mr. Doherty. Of course it was.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

The commitment was...?

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

The commitment we made in the election campaign was to proceed with that tanker ban. I have had a chance to meet the indigenous groups you referred to. I understand their point of view. I've listened carefully to their point of view. But my colleague, the Minister of Transport, has also had an opportunity—

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

How many tankers go through the southern part of our province?

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Sorry, but I have to interrupt right there. We're over time right now.

Minister, if you have a last thought on that, I'll let you go ahead with it, but I have to call it there, otherwise. We have to go to the next question.

Go ahead.