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House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Conflict of Interest and Ethics CommissionerRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Pursuant to section 28 of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, it is my duty to present to the House the report of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner on an inquiry in relation to the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table in both official languages the government's responses to 54 petitions.

Parliamentary Science Officer ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-558, An Act to establish the position of Parliamentary Science Officer.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today to introduce my very first private member's bill, Bill C-558, an act to establish the position of parliamentary science officer.

Science in Canada is at a crossroads. For too many years we have heard that scientific evidence is often ignored by policy-makers and that federal scientists are being unduly prevented from sharing their research with Canadians.

My bill calls for the creation of an independent office tasked with providing Parliament with sound information and expert advice on all scientific matters of relevance. This would revitalize the exchange of knowledge between scientists and politicians and give public science a more robust voice in the legislative process.

Modelled after the U.K.'s Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy and our very own Parliamentary Budget Officer, my proposal aims to help ensure decisions made in Ottawa are informed by the best scientific evidence available.

A parliamentary science officer would be a significant improvement on the previous Office of the National Science Advisor, which lacked the institutional independence from the government of the day.

As science is fundamentally a non-partisan issue, I hope this legislation will receive the support of members from all sides of the House.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Reform Act, 2013Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-559, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (reforms).

I have the honour to present my bill. It is a bill that would strengthen the principle on which our democratic institutions in Canada were founded, that being the principle of responsible government. It would strengthen local control over party nominations. It would restore and strengthen the concept of confidence in House of Commons parliamentary party caucuses and would reinforce the caucus as a decision-making body.

The bill is based on some old ideas that people like Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine—a monument to whom is standing behind the Centre Block on Parliament Hill—put forward that established the principles on which modern Canadian political institutions are based. These ideas have laid the foundations for this country. If adopted, I hope this bill will strengthen those ideas and allow our Parliament to flourish in the 21st century.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal CodePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, today I have hundreds of signatures on a petition from Ontario that requests Parliament amend the Criminal Code to decriminalize the selling of sexual services and criminalize the purchasing of sexual services, and provide support to those who desire to leave prostitution.

In this day and age, the petition is extremely important, and it is the Canadian public that is bringing forth this request.

SciencePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.

The first petition calls on the Government of Canada to respect the right of Canadians to access unbiased information through the collection of requisite statistics, adequately fund basic research, and free scientists to speak openly on all tax-supported findings, apart from those subject to legitimate national security constraints.

Shark FinningPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the petitioners say the practice of shark finning results in an estimated 73 million sharks a year being killed for their fins alone and that over one-third of all shark species are threatened with extinction as a result of shark finning.

Measures must be taken to stop the global practice of shark finning and ensure the responsible conservation management of sharks. They call on the Government of Canada to immediately ban the importation of shark fin to Canada.

Sambro Island LighthousePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I present a petition on behalf of Nova Scotians, who are calling on Parliament to create a strategy to preserve the Sambro Island lighthouse, an important symbol of our local heritage. In fact, it is the oldest lighthouse in operation in North America. I met with the community and with MLA Brendan Maguire recently, and I saw how strong the attachment is in the Sambro area.

I want to congratulate the Sambro Island Lighthouse Heritage Society for its efforts to preserve and maintain this iconic structure. The society has actually gathered more than 5,000 signatures in support of the lighthouse. On behalf of those who signed the petition I am tabling today on behalf of all Nova Scotians who want our heritage preserved, we call on the federal government to continue to fund the Sambro Island lighthouse.

Mining IndustryPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning I have the honour to present a petition on behalf of hundreds of petitioners from Sherbrooke.

This petition was initiated by Development and Peace. I met with representatives from the organization in Sherbrooke, in the Eastern Townships, where it is quite active.

In this petition, the organization is calling for the creation of a legislated, extractive sector ombudsman mechanism in Canada that would have the capacity to receive and investigate complaints and assess compliance with corporate accountability standards that are based on international labour, environmental and human rights norms.

It is a very simple request. I hope to receive a satisfactory answer from the government for the hundreds of people who have signed the petition in Sherbrooke and the rest of the Eastern Townships.

Lyme DiseasePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

December 3rd, 2013 / 10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.

The first petition is from residents of my constituency, Saanich—Gulf Islands, from Sidney and Saanichton, supporting my private member's bill for a national Lyme disease strategy, Bill C-442, and they are very hopeful that it will receive non-partisan support across this House.

Proportional RepresentationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls for proportional representation to make sure every vote counts in Canada.

The petitioners are from Edmonton, Port Moody and Langley, as well as some from within my riding.

International TradePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Independent

Bruce Hyer Independent Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of many Canadians who are calling on our government to decline to ratify the Canada-China FIPA, that is the foreign investment, promotion and protection agreement, and take immediate steps to limit the influence of state-owned enterprises on our democracy.

FIPA compromises Canadian sovereignty and it gives the communist Chinese state-owned enterprises a say in Canadian law-making.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 51, 53, 55, 56, 58 and 59.

Question No. 51Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

With regard to the development of greenhouse gas regulations for the oil and gas sector: (a) what is the total of all relevant government expenditures related to the activities of the Process Working Group (PWG) including, but not limited to, (i) travel expenses (transportation, accommodation, rental of meeting spaces or equipment, food, and other travel-related expenses), (ii) staff time costs, including any overtime pay incurred, (iii) any services or other support procured from consultants or other contractors, (iv) other relevant expenses incurred, with a break-down of all related details; (b) in addition to those expenditures incurred through the operations of the PWG, what are any other government expenditures regarding consultation, discussion, engagement or negotiation with oil and gas sector companies including, but not limited to, (i) travel expenses (transportation, accommodation, rental of meeting spaces or equipment, food, and other travel-related expenses), (ii) staff time costs, including any overtime pay incurred, (iii) any services or other support procured from consultants or other contractors, (iv) other relevant expenses incurred, with a break-down of all related details; (c) in addition to those expenditures incurred through the operations of the PWG, what are any other government expenditures, regarding consultation, discussion, engagement or negotiation with oil and gas sector industry associations including, but not limited to, (i) travel expenses (transportation, accommodation, rental of meeting spaces or equipment, food, and other travel-related expenses), (ii) staff time costs, including any overtime pay incurred, (iii) any services or other support procured from consultants or other contractors, (iv) other relevant expenses incurred, with a break-down of all related details; (d) in addition to those expenditures incurred through the operations of the PWG, what are any other government expenditures, regarding consultation, discussion, engagement, negotiation with the government of Alberta, including, but not limited to, (i) travel expenses (transportation, accommodation, rental of meeting spaces or equipment, food, and other travel-related expenses), (ii) staff time costs, including any overtime pay incurred, (iii) any services or other support procured from consultants or other contractors, (iv) other relevant expenses incurred, with a break-down of all related details; (e) in addition to those expenditures incurred through the operations of the PWG, what are any other government expenditures, regarding consultation, discussion, engagement or negotiation with other provincial or territorial governments, including, but not limited to, (i) travel expenses (transportation, accommodation, rental of meeting spaces or equipment, food, and other travel-related expenses), (ii) staff time costs, including any overtime pay incurred, (iii) any services or other support procured from consultants or other contractors, (iv) other relevant expenses incurred, with a break-down of all related details; (f) what are the government’s expenditures, regarding consultation, discussion, engagement or negotiation with First Nations representatives, including, but not limited to, (i) travel expenses (transportation, accommodation, rental of meeting spaces or equipment, food, and other travel-related expenses), (ii) staff time costs, including any overtime pay incurred, (iii) any services or other support procured from consultants or other contractors, (iv) other relevant expenses incurred, with a break-down of all related details; (g) what are the government’s expenditures, regarding consultation, discussion, engagement or negotiation with representatives of other governments (e.g. municipal governments, U.S. officials, etc.), including, but not limited to, (i) travel expenses (transportation, accommodation, rental of meeting spaces or equipment, food, and other travel-related expenses), (ii) staff time costs, including any overtime pay incurred, (iii) any services or other support procured from consultants or other contractors, (iv) other relevant expenses incurred, with a break-down of all related details; (h) what are the government’s expenditures regarding consultation, discussion, engagement or negotiation with environmental organizations, including, but not limited to, (i) travel expenses (transportation, accommodation, rental of meeting spaces or equipment, food, and other travel-related expenses), (ii) staff time costs, including any overtime pay incurred, (iii) any services or other support procured from consultants or other contractors, (iv) other relevant expenses incurred, with a break-down of all related details; (i) what are the government’s expenditures regarding consultation, discussion, engagement or negotiation with scientists, economists, and other independent experts, including, but not limited to, (i) travel expenses (transportation, accommodation, rental of meeting spaces or equipment, food, and other travel-related expenses), (ii) staff time costs, including any overtime pay incurred, (iii) any services or other support procured from consultants or other contractors, (iv) other relevant expenses incurred, with a break-down of all related details; and (j) what are any additional government expenditures not included above regarding consultation, discussion, engagement or negotiation with other stakeholders, with a break-down of all related details, including, but not limited to, (i) travel expenses (transportation, accommodation, rental of meeting spaces or equipment, food, and other travel-related expenses), (ii) staff time costs, including any overtime pay incurred, (iii) any services or other support procured from consultants or other contractors, (iv) other relevant expenses incurred, with a break-down of all related details?

Question No. 51Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (i), based on readily available information, Environment Canada’s total travel expenditures related to the development of greenhouse gas regulations for the oil and gas sector is approximately $135,680. This includes travel related to activities of the process working group as well as other travel for consultation, discussion, and engagement. A detailed breakdown of the expenditures by stakeholder type is not available, as trips frequently involve multiple meetings with different stakeholders, individuals, or organizations. For this reason, some of these expenditures may include travel for purposes other than the greenhouse gas regulations.

With regard to (ii), Environment Canada has no database that records project-specific staff time costs. Based on readily available information, Environment Canada’s overtime expenditures related to the development of greenhouse gas regulations totals approximately $3,643.

With regard to (iii), based on readily available information, services or other support procured by Environment Canada from consultants or other contractors to directly support the development of greenhouse gas regulations totals approximately $187,294.

With regard to (iv), other expenditures made by Environment Canada to support the development of greenhouse gas regulations total approximately $4,772. This amount includes expenditures for non-travel hospitality and room rentals.

Question No. 53Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

With respect to the chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) clinical trial being undertaken by Dr. Traboulse: (a) what milestones are reportable to the government, (i) on what date(s) is reporting expected to occur, (ii) how will this information be communicated to patients, the medical community, and the general public; (b) on what date did each of the trial sites pass ethical review; (c) on what date did recruitment of patients begin for each of the trial sites; (d) how many patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are being recruited for each site, and how is consistency in diagnosis and treatment being ensured across sites; (e) who is performing the diagnoses for CCSVI for each site, (i) how is the diagnosis being performed, including, but not limited to, ultrasound and venogram, (ii) how many diagnoses has each person undertaking the diagnosis at each site performed prior to the study, and by whom was each person trained; (f) who is performing the procedures for each site, (i) how is the procedure being performed, including, but not limited to, anesthetic, balloon size, (ii) how many procedures has each person undertaking the procedure at each site performed prior to the study, and by whom was each person trained; (g) what are the selection criteria for the trial, including, but not limited to, type of MS, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score, venous abnormality/malformed valve/stenosis, mobility, (i) how do these criteria compare with the international literature, (ii) with how many international studies to date will the selection criteria be analytically comparable; (h) if both progressive and relapsing-remitting forms of MS are to be examined in the trial, how will statistical significance be ensured given that 50 of 100 patients will undergo a “sham” procedure, 25 patients will have a progressive form of the disease, and 25 will have a relapsing-remitting form of the disease, and will people with both primary progressive and secondary progressive forms of the disease be included, and if so, how will statistical significance be ensured; (i) given that research has shown numerous venous abnormalities in the head, neck, and chest of MS patients, (i) how will statistical significance be ensured if there are only a limited number of patients, but multiple types of venous or valvular abnormality, (ii) how will a venous stenosis be measured (e.g. diameter, size); (j) what outcomes will be measured, including, but not limited to, EDSS, Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale, and Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Inventory, and at what time scales; (k) will patient-reported quality of life scores be included, and if so, what is the specific methodology; (l) what specific follow-up care will patients undergoing the “sham” procedure and treatment receive, and at what specific time periods; (m) if patients received the “sham” procedure, within what time period will they receive treatment; (n) how will the results of this study be interpreted within the growing international body of research, (i) to how many studies will this study be compared, (ii) to how many studies will this study be directly comparable; (o) what long-term follow-up will those enrolled in the trial receive and for what time period; (p) what is the cost of the trial, and what are each of the partners contributing, including, but not limited to funding, equipment, expertise, pharmaceutical products; (q) what is the cost of each diagnosis, (i) what is the cost of each “sham” procedure, (ii) what is the cost of each procedure; and (r) who is overseeing the trial, (i) the safety of the patients, (ii) the integrity of the results?

Question No. 53Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, with regard to milestones and the reporting process in the Canadian MS clinical trial supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research as queried in questions (a), (b), (c), (d), (n), and (r), the Canadian MS clinical trial supported by the Government of Canada is taking place in four sites across the country: Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal, and Quebec City. The trial led by Dr. Anthony Traboulsee from the University of British Columbia started on November 1, 2012; two sites, Vancouver and Montreal, received ethics approval in 2012, and the other two sites received ethics approval from their research institutions by February 2013.

The four teams have met on a regular basis to ensure harmonization of the protocol among the sites. Protocol training, ultrasound technician training, and interventional radiologist training took place at the four sites over the course of 2013 and were completed by September 2013.

The recruitment of patients has started at the four sites and is expected to be completed over the next year. In all, 100 patients are expected to participate in the trial.

In August 2013, Dr. Traboulsee announced that researchers had been able to assess approximately 50 patients to determine whether they have the CCSVI condition and that procedures had been done on fewer than 10 patients.

It is important to note that the study is a double-blind study. In other words, neither the subjects of the experiment nor the persons administering the experiment know the critical aspects of the experiment. This process is important, as it guards against both experimenter bias and placebo effects. In this context, the researcher team will be unable to analyze and share preliminary data before the study is completed.

Dr. Traboulsee expects to reach final conclusions on the safety and efficacy of the CCSVI procedure by 2016. It is expected that the results of this study will be published in peer-reviewed journals. Under CIHR’s open access policy, researchers awarded CIHR funding are required to ensure that all research papers generated from CIHR-funded projects are freely accessible through the publisher's website or an online repository within 12 months of publication.

As indicated in the request for applications, the principal investigator will have to submit a final report to CIHR. He is also required to submit annual progress reports.

With regard to the protocol and funding of the MS clinical trial as queried in questions (e), (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), (k), (l), (m), (o), (p), and (q), funding of the $6 million study over four years is a collaborative effort of CIHR, the MS Society of Canada, and the provinces in which the trial will take place. The Provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, and Québec and the MS Society of Canada have each pledged $500,000 towards this clinical trial.

Details regarding the funding opportunity developed by CIHR to support a phase I/II MS clinical trial, including the selection criteria, are available on CIHR’s website.

The proposals submitted to CIHR for the funding opportunity were rigorously evaluated by a panel of international experts. The panel recommended supporting the application submitted by Dr. Anthony Traboulsee, which ranked first in the competition.

It is important to note that all of the 100 MS patients participating in the trial will receive the CCSVI procedure at some point. During the first year of the trial, half of the patients will receive the CCSVI procedure, while the other half will undergo a placebo procedure. In the second year, MS patients who received the placebo procedure in the first year will undergo the CCSVI procedure, while those that received the CCSVI procedure in the first year will undergo the placebo procedure. MS patients participating in the double-blind clinical trial will be monitored over a two-year period. Specific questions regarding the protocol of this independent research project or the cost of the clinical procedures should be addressed directly to the principal investigator of the study.

Question No. 55Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

With regard to Health Canada’s Radiofrequency Exposure Guidelines known as Safety Code 6: (a) how was the code established; (b) does the code deal with potential dangers from all electromagnetic devices; (c) what is the distinction between thermal and non-thermal effects of exposure to radiofrequency (RF) energy; (d) does existing research on the thermal effects of exposure to RF energy adequately determine whether such exposure is safe for humans; (e) does existing research on the non-thermal effects of exposure to RF energy adequately determine whether such exposure is safe for humans; (f) what work is Health Canada undertaking to remedy the uncertainty surrounding the non-thermal effects of exposure to RF energy by carrying out additional research into the non-thermal effects of exposure to RF energy; and (g) are changes to the code planned to include the most up-to-date scientific research on devices such as Hydro “smart” meters?

Question No. 55Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the exposure limits in Safety Code 6 were developed in accordance with the World Health Organization’s Framework for Developing Health-Based EMF Standards, where “EMF” represents “electromagnetic fields”, and are based on the lowest exposure level—that is, the threshold--at which any scientifically established human health hazards occur. Safety factors were incorporated into these limits to add an additional level of protection for the general public and personnel working near RF sources.

When developing the exposure limits in Safety Code 6, Health Canada scientists consider all peer-reviewed scientific studies, thermal and non-thermal, and employ a weight-of-evidence approach when evaluating possible health risks from exposure to RF energy.

With regard to (b), Safety Code 6 sets forth human exposure limits for electromagnetic fields in the frequency range 3 kHz to 300 GHz. The exposure limits in Safety Code 6 are established to protect individuals from established adverse health effects from electromagnetic radiation, regardless of their origin. This would include exposure to emissions from all wireless devices and associated infrastructure. The sum total of electromagnetic exposure from all sources combined must not exceed the limits in Safety Code 6. As long as wireless devices do not expose persons to electromagnetic fields in excess of the limits of Safety Code 6 there is no danger to human health.

Wireless devices such as cellphones, smart meters, Wi-Fi, and their associated infrastructure, such as cellphone towers, are regulated by Industry Canada. To ensure that public exposures fall within acceptable guidelines, Industry Canada has developed regulatory standards that require compliance with the human exposure limits outlined in Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 as of 2009.

With regard to (c), thermal effects are defined as biological effects resulting from heating of the whole body or a localized region resulting from exposure to electromagnetic energy, where a sufficient temperature increase has occurred that results in a physiologically significant effect. Non-thermal effects are defined as biological effects resulting from exposure to RF fields that are not due to tissue heating. Safety Code 6 considers both thermal and non-thermal effects for the establishment of human exposure limits.

With regard to (d) and (e), yes, Health Canada scientists monitor the scientific literature on this issue on an ongoing basis, and Safety Code 6 is periodically updated to take into account recent scientific data from animal, in vitro, and epidemiological studies carried out worldwide. The limits recommended for general public exposure to RF energy are designed to provide protection for all age groups, including children, on a continuous basis. Based on a thorough review of scientific data conducted over the past 50 years, Health Canada has concluded that there is no scientific basis for the existence of any short- or long-term adverse health effects or of cumulative adverse thermal effects associated with RF exposure at levels below the limits outlined in Safety Code 6.

With regard to (f), for more than two decades, Health Canada has conducted its own research on the potential non-thermal effects of RF energy. This research has increased the scientific knowledge regarding the intensity of RF energy in our environment and has helped to establish the human exposure threshold at which potentially adverse health effects can occur. This important information, along with the review and consideration of other Canadian and international studies, forms the basis for establishing safety standards for RF energy that protect the health of Canadians. All Health Canada research on RF energy is funded by the Government of Canada. Research publications from this research are available at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/radiation/cons/radiofreq/research-recherche-eng.php.

With regard to (g), Safety Code 6 is currently under review to ensure that the most up-to-date scientific studies on the potential effects of RF energy on human health are reflected in the code. The review includes an independent assessment by an expert panel of the Royal Society of Canada. It is anticipated that the expert panel report will be released early next year. It is important to note that Safety Code 6 sets forth maximum human exposure limits for a range of frequencies in the RF spectrum and not device emission limits.

Question No. 56Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

With regard to the Royal Society of Canada’s Expert Panel on Potential Health Risks of Radiofrequency Fields from Wireless Telecommunication Devices, commissioned by Health Canada: (a) for the period of 1990-2012, how have panel members been selected; (b) for the period of 1990-2012, what has been the composition of the Panel by (i) professional background, (ii) regional origin; (c) are any conflict of interest provisions imposed on committee members and, if so, what are they; and (d) with regard to the conflict of interest provisions referred to in (c), who determines if they apply?

Question No. 56Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the selection of expert panel members is an independent process undertaken at the discretion of the Royal Society of Canada, the RSC, as per their internal policy guidelines. The 2013 contract with the RSC stipulated the various areas of technical expertise required of the members that comprise the expert panel. As per the standard process established by the RSC with respect to the development of expert panels, Health Canada provided recommendations in 2013, upon request by the RSC, on potential members for consideration. All selections and final decisions regarding expert panel membership are made by the RSC. As such, any queries regarding the selection process should be directed to the RSC. Health Canada has no record of the process used for the selection of expert panel members contributing to the first report, dated March 1999.

With regard to (b), the 1999 expert panel consisted of a molecular biologist, a geneticist, a bio-statistician-epidemiologist, a biophysicist, a physician-immunologist, an epidemiologist, a radiologist, and a neurologist-biochemist. In terms of regional origin, six of the 1999 expert panel members were from institutions located in Canada: three from Ontario, two from British Columbia, and one from Quebec. Two members were from American institutions, one located in Ohio with the U.S. federal government and one located in California with a public university.

The 2013 expert panel is composed of an epidemiologist, a physicist, an engineer, a neurologist, a biologist, two radiologists, and a public health expert. Two members of the panel are from Ontario, one from Alberta, and one from British Columbia. The other four members are from international institutions, including one from the United States, an academic; one from the United Kingdom, a consultant; and one from the Netherlands, from government.

With regard to (c), the RSC has conflict of interest provisions for expert panel members outlined in their procedural manual Expert Panels: Manual of Procedural Guidelines. These provisions require the disclosure of personal involvements that may impact service on an expert panel. It indicates that prospective panellists are required to complete declaration forms outlining any issues that might give rise to a real, apparent, or potential conflict of interest in relation to their official duties. Specific considerations are given to the following categories: individual economic impact; proprietary information; public statements and positions; access to government information; reviewing one’s own work; and employment by a sponsoring agency. Conflict of interest policies often acknowledge that the existence of such considerations does not in itself establish that the individual is in conflict.

Additional information on the RSC’s conflict of interest guidelines can be found in their procedural manual online, available in English only.

With regard to (d), the assessment of conflict of interest, as it relates to expert panel members, is an internal RSC process carried out by two committees; the Committee on Expert Panels and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Expert Panels. Procedures for reviewing points of view and conflict of interest are outlined in the RSC’s document; Expert Panels: Manual of Procedural Guidelines. These committees assess the declarations of prospective panel members and determine if any adjustments need to be made to the membership of the expert panel. All queries regarding this process should be made directly to the RSC.

Question No. 58Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

With regard to the Department of Natural Resources and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB): (a) can the department provide details of any studies carried out on helicopter night flights to oil facilities, specifically the safety of day flights versus night flights in transporting employees to and from the offshore work site; (b) has the government taken any action to implement recommendation 29(a) of the 2010 Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry into the establishment of an independent offshore safety regulator; and (c) has the government investigated the costs associated with establishment of the office of an independent safety regulator, and, if so, can the department provide a breakdown of the cost?

Question No. 58Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, Canada’s offshore installations and the equipment and training required to operate them must meet strict regulatory standards that are among the highest in the world. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, the C-NLOPB, continues to act on the recommendations in the 2010 Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry, the OHSI, that are within its purview, including in the area of worker safety on helicopters.

While industry has signalled its interest in extending flying hours, the C-NLOPB has not yet received a formal application. Once received, the C-NLOPB will conduct a thorough analysis and ensure that the eight conditions required by the Board are met. Until then, night flights will not resume.

Further information on the C-NLOPB eight conditions may be found at http://www.cnlopb.nl.ca/pdfs/ohsi/advdoc12.pdf.

With regard to (a), the following four publicly available studies on helicopter night flights to oil facilities, related to the safety of day flights versus night flights in transporting employees to and from the offshore work site, have been conducted and can be found on the C-NLOPB’s web site: report by SMS Aviation Safety Inc. in support of the OHSI implementation team, entitled “Operational Safety Risk Analysis of Night Helicopter Transport Operations in the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Industry”, at www.cnlopb.nl.ca/pdfs/ohsi/osrareport.pdf; operators’ report, entitled “Return to Night Passenger Transport Operations”, at www.cnlopb.nl.ca/pdfs/ohsi/nightpassengerupdate.pdf; “Level of Service Requirements for First Response Helicopters”, at www.cnlopb.nl.ca/pdfs/ohsi/levofserv.pdf; and “Level of Service Analysis Gap”, by Cougar Helicopters, at www.cnlopb.nl.ca/pdfs/ohsi/losanalysis.pdf.

With regard to (b), the Government of Canada takes the recommendations of the 2010 Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry seriously and continues to work with the boards, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia to strengthen worker safety in Canada’s offshore.

The government has full confidence in our experienced, independent offshore regulators to responsibly manage occupational health and safety requirements as well as oil and gas development. The C-NLOPB has been structured in such a way as to ensure that worker safety is managed separately under the supervision of a chief safety officer, a CSO, with considerable independent authority. The CSO can order the discontinuation of an operation at any moment if he or she believes there is risk of serious bodily harm. Such an order can only be overturned by a judge.

Further, following consultations with industry, regulators, and labour groups, the Government of Canada, in partnership with the Provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, is proposing improvements to legislation that will establish a clear occupational health and safety framework in legislation that is enforceable by law and free of any jurisdictional uncertainty. The proposed changes will also provide modern enforcement powers to new occupational health and safety officers and existing operational safety officers and will clarify that the occupational health and safety regime applies to employees and other passengers in transit to and from offshore workplaces.

With regard to (c), the Government of Canada has not conducted a detailed cost estimate for an independent safety regulator.

Question No. 59Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

With regard to Transport Canada, and specifically the St. John's Port Authority: (a) what new commercial infrastructure projects does the Port Authority currently have underway on the St. John's waterfront; (b) what are the details of the commercial arrangements for the infrastructure projects; and (c) what other developments does the Port Authority have planned for the St. John's waterfront?