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Evidence of meeting #3 for Foreign Affairs and International Development in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was million.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Nadir Patel  Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Finance and Operations, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Sabine Nolke  Director General, Non-Proliferation and Security Threat Reduction Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Charles Lamarre  Director General of Operations, Strategic Joint Staff, Department of National Defence
Christopher Ram  Legal Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

If you check, there is an asterisk there.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

What is the new initiative?

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

We'll be coming forward with it in short order. If you notice there is an asterisk. We have been given the $85.7 million. We can go back in supplementary estimates (C) to go to the $130-odd million amount.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

You're saying that would make up the 30% that we're not seeing in the estimates?

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

There's a specific asterisk.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Right. But I'm asking you whether that what would make up the 30%.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Yes.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Okay. Because you did say last April, “I've got a great new idea,” which is what I thought was coming forward. That was last April and we're now in November and going into December and you're saying it's coming?

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Yes.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

We're waiting and we'll be happy to hear about it.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Dewar, we appreciate your enthusiasm and your anticipation for this new initiative.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

I'm concerned, Minister. There's a pattern here. We're seeing a lot of people who are wanting us to do more. And even with the cuts to your department, the money that has been allocated hasn't been actually allocated. In other words, we're seeing a lapse in the funding. If I may, it seems like people are doing their job, but it gets to you and it stops. I'm wondering why we're not seeing approval for that money that's allocated?

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

We don't approve every dollar that's recommended to spend. We try to act in a fiscally conservative way.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Dean Allison

That's all the time we have. We're going to move over to the Conservative side.

Ms. Brown.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Welcome to the committee, ministers. Thank you very much for being here. I have two questions for Minister Paradis and one for Minister Yelich.

Minister Paradis, we have seen in the last week a horrific situation in the Philippines and Canada has been there. Would you update the committee on the situation there and what Canada's doing?

I had to write my second question out so I made sure I got my French grammar correct.

Last week, you were in Paris and Senegal. The countries of the Francophonie are very important for Canada.

Can you tell us what your Francophonie-related projects are and what they mean for Canada?

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Thank you for your question.

When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, the government initially announced an amount of $5 million. Two days later, it announced a matching relief fund for the typhoon victims. Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced an amount of $15 million to match the relief fund set up by Canadians. Canada's contribution is $20 million from the government and $19.6 million from Canadians for a total of just under $40 million.

Let me tell you of this amount now from the $20 million committed by the government. There is $12 million that has been allocated: the United Nations World Food Programme $4 million; the United Nations Children's Fund will receive $3 million; the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, $2 million; the International Organization for Migration will receive $2 million; the World Health Organization will receive $800,000 and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs will receive $200,000.

Then after that, Canadian organizations will receive $8 million and here's the breakdown: $1 million will go to CARE Canada; $1 million will go to Médecins sans Frontières Canada; $1.5 million is going to Oxfam Canada, $1.5 million is going to Plan Canada; $1 million is going to Save the Children Canada and $2 million is going to World Vision Canada.

The capacity and the access to communities is taken into account. As we speak, these organizations are already working on the ground.

In terms of the Francophonie, I went to Senegal last week. Two issues were discussed. The Sommet de la Francophonie will be held in Dakar in 2014 and an economic strategy will be discussed. Canada is looking forward to that. The development and involvement of the private sector to generate revenue and break the cycle of poverty will be discussed at the summit.

We signed two major agreements with Senegal. First, we signed the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a product of the G-8 Summit that took place at Camp David. It is the first time that an initiative like that has been launched in Africa. We know that 10 African countries have joined, but the first major event took place in Senegal, when the agreement was signed. We also signed the mutual accountability framework between Canada and Senegal, which stems from the Paris declaration on the effectiveness of aid to development. The fifth principle of the declaration deals with mutual accountability. This is the first time Canada has signed a mutual accountability framework on development assistance with a member country.

Both from the perspective of the Francophonie and the engagement of francophone Africa and others, the summit in Dakar is very promising in terms of the principles of governance and development. Just last week, the experience in Senegal became a tangible success story.

Thank you very much.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Thank you very much.

I have three minutes.

Minister Yelich, as you know, my office has worked considerably with your office over the last number of years on several cases from my constituency of children who have been taken abroad by estranged parents. Thank you; the work your office has done has been quite remarkable.

Tomorrow is Universal Children's Day. I know you talked a little about that earlier. Can you tell us how the Government of Canada is moving forward to try to work better with the kinds of cases that we've seen out of my constituency?

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Conservative Blackstrap, SK

Thank you and thank you for that question. It allows me to emphasize that Canada already is a leader on children's issues, and we're working closely with provincial partners and stakeholders to assist children and parents abroad. Examples of the cases that we work on include child welfare, abduction, medical assistance, international surrogacy, forced marriage, and family distress. The total number of children's cases opened in 2012 was 561, and of these, 71 were of child abduction out of Canada.

Due to the growing demand and complexity of these cases, this afternoon I did make an announcement about revising the unit that we had created, the vulnerable children's consular unit. It includes an increased number of specialized officers and policy advisers, who will improve the level of support, including for the left-behind parent. This will resolve cases more quickly or it will help prevent cases and improve interdepartmental and federal-provincial collaboration. This is to maintain Canada's leadership status on the world stage. Finally, with the vulnerable children's consular unit we will be focusing on promoting Canada as a leader in tackling this issue. It will work to modernize existing international tools and policies like the Malta Process and the Hague Convention. It's important to note that the Hague Convention does not force foreign courts to return a child to Canada, but it gives those foreign courts the tools to decide where the child is best placed to live. I invite you to visit travel.gc.ca to learn more about what to do if your constituents are facing international child issues and to order the free publications for your offices. They are a handy item and very well put together.

Thank you.

4 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Dean Allison

Thank you, Minister.

Now we're going to turn to Mr. Garneau for seven minutes, please.

4 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

My first question is for Minister Paradis.

The 2012-2013 public accounts seem to indicate that CIDA’s budget has been cut. It dropped from $3.9 billion to $3.4 billion between 2011 and 2012, before the amalgamation. That is 13% of the budget. Could you tell us which programs have been cut?

4 p.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

There is a gap of $561 million in the figures you are referring to. First, not all the money was used for the Pakistan debt relief. That money will be available for next year. There is also an unused portion of the crisis pool quick release mechanism. That amount will be placed in the crisis portion of the international assistance envelope in the next few years.

The operating budget hasn’t been used fully. An amount of $8 million will be carried over to the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which leaves $190.5 million unused in contributions. The following order has been established: Haiti, Mali, the Diamond Jubilee and Mozambique. Given some of the challenges with those issues, an amount of $190.5 million was unused.

4 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Does that mean that this is a temporary situation, not recurrent, because of the various circumstances and that the budget will go back to its previous level?

4 p.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

That is the goal. However, I would like to point out that an amount of $190.5 million of the budget has been added back to the consolidated revenue fund. I could provide you with more information on the reasons for that for each of those issues, if you wish.

4 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

No, that’s enough.

4 p.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

In terms of the balance, that is $561 million minus $190 million, it has already been carried over to subsequent years for various reasons.