Evidence of meeting #144 for Foreign Affairs and International Development in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was work.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Diane Jacovella  Deputy Minister, International Development, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Sarah Taylor  Director General, North Asia and Oceania, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Arun Thangaraj  Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Planning, Finance and Information Technology, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Mark Gwozdecky  Assistant Deputy Minister, International Security and Political Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Heather Jeffrey  Assistant Deputy Minister, Consular, Security and Emergency Management, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Troy Lulashnyk  Director General, Maghreb, Egypt, Israel and West Bank and Gaza, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Cheryl Urban  Director General, South America and Inter-American Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Michael Levitt

Thirty seconds.

10:15 a.m.

Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Planning, Finance and Information Technology, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Arun Thangaraj

That efficiency measure, the input and output, is done as part of the financial analysis of a specific investment to see what the overhead is, the direct costs and what the end result is—

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Frank Baylis Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

A number?

10:15 a.m.

Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Planning, Finance and Information Technology, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Arun Thangaraj

Do you mean an overall result number or an overall financial number?

May 30th, 2019 / 10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Frank Baylis Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

A comparable number. It had 50% effectiveness here, 77% there.

10:15 a.m.

Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Planning, Finance and Information Technology, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Arun Thangaraj

Again, I'd have to go back to say that all of those project results will roll up into an overall result by area. Yes, you can compare them, provided they're similar enough projects, because an education project, for example, in Ethiopia will be completely different from an education project in Senegal. The results may be different. They may roll up into a larger indicator, but they're not directly comparable given the country context.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Frank Baylis Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Thank you.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Michael Levitt

MP Saini, please.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Raj Saini Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Good morning, and thank you all for coming.

I have one very broad question and two very specific questions.

We live in a global world and things happen very quickly, whether it's a humanitarian crisis or a natural disaster. How do you decide where you're going to respond, because it's infinite, and what will be the appropriate level of response?

10:15 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Consular, Security and Emergency Management, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Heather Jeffrey

I can tackle that one. I would say all of our humanitarian assistance is delivered first and foremost based on need. It's about the very real needs we see in different situations across the world. The need is always greater than any one country could possibly respond to. We prioritize based on a series of metrics about access to food, water, shelter, sexual and gender-based violence; and on a whole range of concerns that arise in emergencies, whether they are short-term emergencies caused by natural disasters, or whether, as is most common right now, long-running emergencies and slow-onset emergencies that develop over time and are caused by conflicts that can last decades.

We no longer prioritize based necessarily on the urgency of the moment, because we find that we're giving year after year. For situations in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, where we know that the needs are long term, we have to invest in a sustainable and long-term approach. We now are able to offer multi-year assistance in these countries, which really has made a difference to the efficiency and effectiveness because we can plan over the longer term. We can hire qualified staff over the longer term. The investments allow us to invest in the people of those regions so they can take control of their own development and advancement.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Raj Saini Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Let me just be specific in two areas.

Over the last few days, we've been speaking about the plight of the Rohingya people, especially in Cox's Bazar. Sometimes aid can be delivered but it's very difficult to deploy it. In Bangladesh you can deliver the aid, but how, logistically, are you able to deploy the aid, and can you give us some examples of the type of aid you've deployed?

10:15 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Consular, Security and Emergency Management, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Heather Jeffrey

It requires a creative and flexible approach. There is no-one-size-fits-all solution.

In conflict areas, often our access is restricted or limited, so we have to work through trusted multilateral partners—for example, the Red Cross or the World Food Programme—which have access, work with local staff and are able to reach the most vulnerable as quickly as possible.

In other areas we have to look at innovation, the use of mobile payment systems and the use of cards, so that we don't undermine local economies by funding food deliveries but rather enable local clients to purchase their own food from local markets and sustain farmers from their own local economy.

There is a wide variety of tools. We work through Canadian NGO partners that have long-standing relationships with local partners. Local delivery is the most effective. It's not always possible, given the security context, but that's the goal we strive for. It's a quite a wide range of very diverse tools.

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Raj Saini Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

As you can appreciate, the other place right now is the tragedy and the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. If we look there, we see it's a different situation, because aid is not being allowed to get into the country itself, so aid is being delivered to the front lines in Colombia. How do you adjust to that factor?

You have one situation where the country may be poor and may not have the capacity to actually receive and deploy the aid because of circumstances or infrastructure that's on the ground there.

However, you have a different circumstance where the country is not allowing the aid to come in. You're sitting on the other side of the border. How are you able to get that aid in?

Say whatever you can. Some of it you may not want to say publicly, but just give us an idea of how you are doing it.

10:20 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Consular, Security and Emergency Management, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Heather Jeffrey

I'll defer to my colleague Cheryl Urban to respond to that.

10:20 a.m.

Director General, South America and Inter-American Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Cheryl Urban

Yes, it's very much so....

Let me just say that Canada is very seized with the humanitarian situation in Venezuela and also the migration crisis, which is the largest outside of Syria right now.

Canada is using a number of different tools at its disposal in order to help Venezuelans. Some of it is humanitarian assistance and some of it is development assistance, and both of them are working together in regions. It is a mixture. The majority of our assistance is provided for Venezuelans outside of Venezuela.

Canada hosted the Lima Group meeting on February 4 in Ottawa, and Prime Minister Trudeau announced $53 million for Venezuelans at that time. A large share of that was going for Colombia specifically. That was a Canadian contribution of about $17 million toward a World Bank policy loan for Colombia in order to absorb the migrants, because the influx of migrants, which in Colombia alone is over 1.5 million people, is putting—

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Raj Saini Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Displacement within Colombia itself—

10:20 a.m.

Director General, South America and Inter-American Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Cheryl Urban

Right. Colombia has been extremely generous. It's been very progressive in its immigration policies with regard to the Venezuelan migrants. Part of what Canada is doing is helping countries like Colombia, which are absorbing large populations, in order to ensure that their services for all people, including Venezuelan migrants—

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Michael Levitt

You have 30 seconds.

10:20 a.m.

Director General, South America and Inter-American Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Cheryl Urban

—are able to meet the demands.

I would just add that there is a small portion that does go into Venezuela, but it's restricted because the Maduro regime does not allow access. There are some local organizations. They have an absorptive capacity but they are delivering, where they can, aid to Venezuelans inside the country.

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Raj Saini Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Thank you.

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Michael Levitt

MP Alleslev, please.

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Thank you very much.

Has a report on exports of military goods from Canada been tabled in Parliament since 2017?

10:20 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, International Security and Political Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Mark Gwozdecky

I'll have to give you the answer to that later, where—

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Thank you.

The follow-up question to that is that usually an annual report on export and import permits gets tabled in the House, as well, and I'm wondering if there has been one since 2016.

10:20 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, International Security and Political Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Mark Gwozdecky

The government has made a commitment to adhere to the Arms Trade Treaty, and under that commitment, which should be made official in a matter of months, there will be an annual report.