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Evidence of meeting #47 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was million.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Daniel Jean  Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage
René Bouchard  Executive Director, Portfolio Affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage
Robert Hertzog  Director General, Financial Management Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage
Anne-Marie Robinson  President, Public Service Commission of Canada
Guy Giguère  Chairperson, Public Service Staffing Tribunal
Lisanne Lacroix  Registrar and Deputy Head, Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal
Casper Bloom  Chairperson, Public Service Labour Relations Board
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Marc-Olivier Girard

4 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage

Daniel Jean

Canadian museums are still very popular. Like all museums, they have an impact on tourism during hard times.

One need only think of the Van Gogh exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada. Last week there was an incredible lineup. The gallery admitted 2,000 people on the first day. Our museums in the provinces and regions are generally doing well. Times are tough, of course, but they are tough for all organizations.

4 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Conservative Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

That is all the time I have.

Thank you, sir.

4 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Pat Martin

Thank you, Bernard.

John McCallum, you have five minutes.

4 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Thank you.

Thank you all for being here with us this afternoon.

I'd like to focus a bit on the Library and Archives. There's a CBC story suggesting that I think 400 people have received notice that they will be losing their jobs—that 20% of the workforce is to be let go. Archival collections in various departments are going to be closed down altogether.

I wonder if you could confirm whether this is correct. What is the state of the cuts, in both dollar terms and jobs?

4 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage

Daniel Jean

In the context of the deficit reduction action plan, the Library and Archives is affected, like many organizations. The head archivist is trying to both meet the need for all organizations to contribute to the deficit reduction action plan and at the same time modernize the way archives are done.

Library and Archives, like most of our portfolio organizations, is an independent organization. It would be very difficult for me to go into more details on the plans of the organization. I think it would be easier if you were to invite them.

If you want some high-level descriptions of where the changes are, I can ask René to describe them.

4 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

I'd like to know, first of all, what are the dollar cuts and the job cuts?

4 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage

Daniel Jean

Go ahead, René.

May 28th, 2012 / 4 p.m.

René Bouchard Executive Director, Portfolio Affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage

With respect to the dollar cuts in the context of the deficit reduction action plan, or DRAP, after three years it's a reduction of $9.6 million for the organization.

Going back to your initial point about the number of positions that may be affected, the organization is also doing its modernization, so there are some changes within the organization that are not necessarily related to DRAP. The organization is making some changes that will affect about 435 positions, and 200 positions will be abolished, but that includes DRAP plus modernization. When we're looking at DRAP only, it's 83 positions that will be abolished.

4 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Okay, so it's $9.6 million and 435 positions.

What's the initial budget? What percentage cut is that?

4 p.m.

Executive Director, Portfolio Affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage

René Bouchard

The initial budget of the organization in 2012-13 is $114.2 million.

4 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

And the jobs?

4 p.m.

Executive Director, Portfolio Affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage

René Bouchard

The number of jobs is 1,150, if I recall properly, and I can provide you with more precision on that.

4 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

So starting with 1,150 jobs, 435 of those will be cut.

4 p.m.

Executive Director, Portfolio Affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage

René Bouchard

I'm saying that of 1,150, there will be a total of 200 positions cut, and 83 of these positions are related to DRAP.

4 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Where does the 435 come in, then?

4 p.m.

Executive Director, Portfolio Affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage

René Bouchard

The 435 is about the number of positions that may be affected. That doesn't mean the position will be abolished. The position is affected, and then you keep a certain number of positions and people apply for the position.

The number of positions that will be abolished will be 200.

4 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

That's close to a 20% cut in staff. I mean, part of the function of this group is to serve researchers to preserve our history. Do you think they'll still be able to do that with cuts of this magnitude?

4 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage

Daniel Jean

I think it would be better if you were to ask that of Mr. Caron, the lead archivist.

The one thing I can say, from having discussed some of these reductions with him, is that one challenge he had a few years ago was that almost 90% to 95% of his budget was personnel. When you reach that level in an organization, and in modernization it needs to rely on technology, and there are other things—it has to pay for the roof and things like that—it becomes very difficult. Every time you hit a bump, you have to let people go.

That's one of the reasons he's had to look at some internal challenges on top of the deficit reduction action plan. But I think he would be in a better position to answer these questions.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Can you tell me how much money the government is spending to commemorate the War of 1812?

4:05 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage

Daniel Jean

Yes. I think it's $27 million. It's over three years.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Maybe this is a political question that you're not prepared to answer, but I find it a bit strange that we're spending $27 million to commemorate the War of 1812, which has little impact on Canadians—or Canadians have little memory of it, that's for sure—and we're spending nothing on the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Can you say anything about that choice?

4:05 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage

Daniel Jean

I think that would definitely be a question for the minister.

4:05 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

That's what I thought.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Pat Martin

That's your last question too, I'm afraid, John. Thank you very much.

For the Conservatives, Mr. Jacques Gourde.

You have five minutes, Jacques.