ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND
DES AFFAIRES ÉTRANGÈRES ET
DU COMMERCE INTERNATIONAL
[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus*to]
Thursday, June 7, 2001
The Chair (Mr. Bill Graham (Toronto
Centre—Rosedale, Lib.)): Colleagues, I'd like to call
this meeting of the committee to order.
We have with us this morning the Honourable Maria
Minna, Minister for International Cooperation.
Madam Minister, we'd like to thank you for coming.
For the purpose of those watching this on television,
this is the usual hearing of the committee to consider
the estimates of the department.
Minister, I'd first like to say that, as everybody on
the committee knows, originally our hearing on the
estimates had to be postponed because of the death of
your mother, and on behalf of the committee members,
I'd like to express our condolences to you. We hope
everything is well now for you and your family,
and we wish you well.
The Honourable Maria Minna (Minister for International
Cooperation): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chair: I'm sorry we had to put off the meeting
for that personal reason of yours. We appreciate your
coming back at this time, and we've extended the time
for estimates to enable us to do it that way.
As one other comment, colleagues, I put in the House
yesterday the completed Caucasus report.
I'd like to thank, on
your behalf, Jim Lee, Gerry Schmidt, and our
capable staff for the amount of work that went into
doing that report, over the election and all the other
Without any further comments, apart from welcoming
the Right Honourable Joe Clark—it's nice to
have you here in the committee—I'll ask the minister
to make her introductory comments, and then
we'll go to questions.
Ms. Maria Minna: Thank you very much, Mr.
Chairman. I appreciate that I was able to come late
another day. It's
difficult when you have a schedule and your life is
somewhat turned upside down, but I appreciate your
consideration very much.
I have also this opportunity to present to you my
department's report on plans and priorities for
Before I begin my remarks, I would like to recognize the new
members who have joined the Standing Committee since my last
appearance. I welcome your questions and comments on the work of
the Canadian International Development Agency and I look forward to
Our raison d'être as an agency is to support
sustainable development in order to reduce poverty in
the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin
America, and the Caribbean, and we also support
democratic development and economic liberalization in
the former Soviet-bloc countries of central and eastern
Europe—all of this to help create a more secure,
equitable, and prosperous world for Canadians.
Many people feel that world poverty is inevitable,
that there will always be poor people no matter what we
do. This is just plain wrong.
Over the past several decades, we have made remarkable
progress in some key areas - life expectancy, literacy, access to
safe, clean water, to name but a few.
But our work must continue. With almost a quarter of the
world's 6 billion people still living in extreme poverty, we have
a moral obligation to help our fellow human beings. And it is also
in Canada's best interests. The best way to ensure a safe, secure
and prosperous future for Canadians is to establish a world of
secure, prosperous nations.
Poverty is the source of many problems—social,
economic, political—that can sweep across borders.
The fact that new strains of drug-resistant
tuberculosis show up in Canada is just one example.
That's why Canada must continue to help reduce world
poverty. The best way to do this is to work
alongside less prosperous countries to help them make
their governments more effective, their markets more
efficient, and their education and health systems
accessible to all.
The report on plans and priorities that I present to
you today is our practical approach for achieving that
Last year when I appeared before this Committee, I described
CIDA's intention to strengthen its contribution to social
development, in four specific priority areas - health and
nutrition; basic education; fighting HIV/AIDS; and protecting
children. I am pleased to report that my Department developed a
funding framework for these social development priorities, which
will double our overall investment in these areas over a five-year
period. In fact, work is well underway in all four priority areas,
and we're even ahead of our spending targets for health and
nutrition, basic education and fighting HIV/AIDS.
Those of you who followed the events of the Summit of
the Americas in Quebec City may have noticed that
poverty reduction and social issues were very prominent
in our leaders' statements. What CIDA is doing through
its social development priorities—fighting HIV/AIDS in
the Caribbean, supporting basic education in Haiti, and
strengthening primary health care in Nicaragua—is
exactly what our neighbours across the Americas are
Looking ahead to this fiscal year, we will continue
working on two important planning initiatives, which
are described in the report on plans and priorities.
The first is a longer-term review of how we can make
our development assistance more effective. Its purpose
is twofold: to explore new approaches to programming
in a constantly changing global environment; and to
ensure CIDA's continued relevance.
The second planning exercise was part of the
government-wide requirement to table sustainable
development strategies in Parliament. But for CIDA,
this is much more than complying with a legal
requirement. As I said earlier, sustainable
development is our raison d'être. Consider this
Meeting the needs of the world's poor, to which
overriding priority should be given, while recognizing
limits based on the state of technology, social
organizations and the environment itself.
That's how the World Commission on Environment and
Development defines sustainable development and keeps
the focus on reducing poverty. If we do not reduce
poverty, there will be precious little sustainable
development. And, conversely, truly sustainable
development is the best way to reduce poverty.
CIDA's Sustainable Development Strategy 2001-2003 integrates
the work of both our Social Development Priorities and our longer-term
review of aid effectiveness. In fact, the Sustainable
Development Strategy should become CIDA's one-stop business plan
for the future.
It articulates long-term policy, program, and management goals
in line with the Agency's mandate. It sets out the objectives that
support these goals, and the strategies we will put in place to
The Report on Plans and Priorities which I'm presenting to you
today describes how CIDA intends to make this Strategy its overall
business plan, and how we intend to report to Parliament every year
on our progress towards its goals.
I would like to conclude my remarks by emphasizing
Canada's contribution as a global player in
international development. The international community
has adopted a number of specific targets for
international development, summed up in the OECD
document Shaping the 21st Century*to. These targets
are also endorsed by the G-7, the United Nations, the
World Bank, and the IMF.
I will just remind the committee members of two
overarching targets among these: to reduce by 50%
the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by
2015; and ensure that all countries have and implement
a sustainable development strategy by 2005. Poverty
reduction and sustainable development—this is what
CIDA does. This is what the international community
wants to achieve.
Ladies and gentlemen, this government is going to
continue to increase Canada's contribution to achieving
these global targets. With the recent increase in its
official development assistance, with the policy and
management changes that I've described today, I can
fairly say that Canada hasn't been in a better position
to make its mark for some time.
I look forward to answering your questions.
Mr. Chairman, those are my remarks. I look forward to
your questions and dialogue. Thank you very much.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Minister.
We'll go to the usual period of questions.
Mr. Deepak Obhrai (Calgary East, Canadian
Alliance): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to thank the minister for appearing
before the committee today.
Canadians have a proud tradition of generous
development assistance. Foreign assistance to
developing countries has been a hallmark of Canadian
foreign policy since the 1960s. Canadians across the
country support Canada's involvement in development and
humanitarian aid, but want cost-effective aid programs,
not patronage or abuse of public funds.
The Canadian Alliance has been very clear in our
support of development and humanitarian aid that is
targeted, effective, and monitored. We want to ensure
that CIDA funds spent on aid actually help those who
need aid. We have called upon the government to
implement mechanisms to ensure more parliamentary
oversight of CIDA, including the formation of a special
committee of the House that will regularly examine and
scrutinize every activity of CIDA. The Canadian
Alliance believes that Parliament should be more
directly involved in the operations of CIDA; otherwise,
the agency will continue to be vulnerable to criticism
of mismanagement, patronage, and abuse of funds.
I would like to put before the committee again today
the importance of ensuring parliamentary oversight of
CIDA to reaffirm the public's confidence in the
agency's ability to manage funds at its disposal.
Until that time, however, I move the following six
notices of motion, Mr. Chairman, to the estimates of
CIDA. I ask the chair if he would allow me to explain
the rationale for each motion and then allow a vote.
Mr. Stan Keyes (Hamilton West, Lib.): Is this a
point of order, Mr. Chairman, or is this just a point
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: Why would it be a point of
Mr. Stan Keyes: I thought we were questioning the
The Chair: This is true, but we're going to have
to move to this anyway. I spoke to Mr. Obhrai before,
and with the minister's permission.... If he wants to
use his ten-minute period for questioning, he will have
lost that opportunity to ask questions of the minister.
These motions will be put before the committee and you
can review them.
Mr. Stan Keyes: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chair: Point of order?
Mr. Denis Paradis (Brome—Missisquoi, Lib.): Point
of order, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I'd like to know if proper advance notice was
given of the tabling of these motions?
The Chair: I consulted the clerk and since this meeting had
been postponed, it was decided that the opposition would have every
opportunity to table motions of this nature this morning.
Mr. Denis Paradis: However, according to our Standing Orders,
two days' prior notice must be given. We didn't receive these
motions until this morning.
The Chair: That's correct, except that the standing orders
apply to new business. This is not new business, but is related to
past activities. In my opinion, everything is in order.
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: Mr. Chairman, I move that vote
20, in the amount of $138,423,000, less the amount
voted in interim supply, be reduced by $588,000 under
CIDA. My rationale for that is to cut funding for
failing programs, to stop improperly awarding lucrative
contracts to retired public servants. So I move
through this motion that the amount be reduced to zero.
On motion number two, the administration cost has jumped
from 5.3 of CIDA's budget in 2000-2001 to 6.8 in
2001-2002, an increase of $35 million. Canadians want
their aid dollars going to the people who need it, not
for added bureaucracy. So I move that this motion
reduce the amount to zero.
Motion number three.... The Auditor General has been
highly critical of CIDA for awarding a $6.3 million
contract to Transelec when it failed to meet the
relevant experience and Canadian ownership criteria on
the application. I would like to quote what Mr.
Bassett said about awarding the $6.3 million
contract to Transelec: “I think the point is for
us, if he made a mistake on this one”. So I move that
we reduce the $6.3 million to zero.
I move to motion number four. A recent article in
Maclean's*to magazine highlighted the Russian
nuclear safety program and Canada's contribution to it.
The Canadian taxpayer has been duped into paying $60
million over the last 10 years to fund unsafe reactors
in Russia, without effecting new safeguards. CIDA's
own officials have admitted this project has been a
failure. The original purpose of this program was to
shut down unsafe reactors and to help create safeguards
for the industry. Now Canada, through the G-7, has
been asked to contribute $300 million more to the
Russian nuclear program and expend unsafe reactors to
create MOX fuel. So this motion reduces the estimated
$300 million, the amount of new funding being asked
On motion five, Mr. Chairman, on April 25 I asked this
minister why her department provided $400,000 of
taxpayers' money to the UN program earmarked for
assistance and security development, a program aimed at
tackling gun-running in west Africa. This program has
been exposed as a complete failure. So this motion
calls for this estimate to be reduced by $400,000.
Motion number six, Mr. Chairman, says that despite the
decision by the World Bank and USAID to refuse to fund
the Manantali dam project due to potential for
serious health and environmental problems, CIDA chose
to fund the project to the tune of $76 million.
The Manantali dam has had severe impact on regional
ecology, on agricultural production, fisheries, and
public health. So this motion calls for the reduction
of the estimates by the amount $76 million, Canada's
contribution to this dam project.
What I have here, Mr. Chairman, is targeting specific
programs that have been identified by the Auditor
General and everybody as having the potential that CIDA
has not used its money effectively. So I am calling
specifically for these programs to be reduced so that
we can send the message that we want monitoring and we
want safeguards put in place.
Despite what this minister has said and what previous
ministers have said, the cycle keeps repeating every
time the Auditor General does anything. We do not seem
to be seeing a consistent attempt to bring
accountability to these projects, Mr. Chairman. Hence,
The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Obhrai.
There are four minutes left on your time. I think we
should give the minister an opportunity to respond to
the observations you made in the course of your
In case you're following the procedure, colleagues,
those who have their copy of the estimates in front of
them will know that the only two line items that we
have before us today are items 20 and 25 in the
estimates that were voted. All the other estimates
have been passed by the House. So that's why Mr.
Obhrai has referred to vote 20 and vote 25. You can
find that at page 9-2 in your estimates if you want to
follow the motions.
Right Honourable Mr. Clark, you had a point of order.
The Right Honourable Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC):
I have a question.
Mr. Obhrai has specified his concerns associated with
the particular amounts of reductions he wants to
achieve. Does his specifying those concerns in open
committee mean that if those are voted, the cuts would
occur in precisely the programs he has identified?
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: That would be my intent, yes.
Mr. Joe Clark: But procedurally.
The Chair: I think Mr. Clark understands that's
your intent. He's just trying to find out whether
that's what will happen or not.
I will take that question under advisement and get
back to you on it, Mr. Clark. That's a good question.
Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): On a point of order. I
simply want to point out that in the last motion, the amounts
quoted are not the same in the French and English versions.
Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ): Ah yes, the two solitudes.
The Chair: I'm sorry. We should ask Mr. Obhrai which amount is
correct: $400,000 or $76 million?
Mr. Obhrai, could I take it as a rectification for the
record that in fact it's the $76 million referred to?
So in French is should read
$76 million, not $400,000.
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: I must say, somebody is awake
The Chair: Colleagues, that's a procedural matter.
Let's give the minister an opportunity to speak to
Minister, perhaps we could go back and take
Mr. Obhrai's observations as questions about those
particular programs, if you have any comments you'd like
Ms. Maria Minna: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I will try to
address all of the different issues the honourable
member has raised.
Firstly, I take absolute affront at the premise of the
question and at the premise of all of the motions and
at the premise of the honourable member's position with
respect to the fact that CIDA funds are totally
mismanaged, that CIDA funds are used strictly for
patronage and all of that kind of stuff.
Quite frankly, Mr. Chairman, we have probably one of
the tightest monitoring systems in this shop. It's not
perfect, and I'm not here to suggest to you that it is,
Mr. Chairman. But I'll tell you that out of $1 billion
that the Auditor General audited, he found that 97% of
the programs were well run, and he identified areas of
improvement, which we have implemented most of by now.
The internal audits we have in the system, all of which
are released to the public as soon as they are ready.
Many of what the honourable member is referring to are
in fact part of our monitoring system.
The audits in our system are asked for by the
managers. Whenever a manager of a project identifies
or has any suspicion or concerns that there might be
some problem, he or she asks for an audit. The audit
is a mechanism or a tool to identify the problems and
improve and fix the problem. That is done on an
ongoing basis. We have an average of two audits a week
going on in the department right across the system.
So the suggestion the honourable member is making
that the funds at the department are mismanaged is
totally false, inaccurate. I would suggest that he
take some time to really take a look at how the
department is run and how the programs are run, and
maybe take some time to go on the ground and visit some
of the projects, actually visit the programs on the
ground in different parts of the world and talk to the
organizations where they're being delivered and see the
benefit they are producing on the ground. I think it's
much too easy to sit back and....
I think the honourable member is confusing two issues.
He keeps talking about humanitarian aid versus
development. They are two separate things.
Humanitarian aid is when we respond to famine, to
disasters in the world. Long-term development is a
totally different situation. It deals with helping
countries to become self-sufficient. That's why we
refer to it as sustainable development. This is very
fundamental to eradication of poverty and to ensuring
that countries in our world that are poor and suffering
in fact do become self-sufficient, are able to look
after their citizens in terms of eradication of poverty
as well as health, nutrition, and education, and create
strong democracies and a much more stable world for
their citizens and also for ourselves. So I think
there is some very strong misunderstanding here.
With respect to the $35 million that the honourable
member is suggesting was an increase in administration,
if you will recall, we had an election in November, so
the real increase in the operating budget of fiscal
year 2001-2002 is zero. The apparent increase of $35
million, as shown in the allocation table of the RPP,
was last year's 2000-2001 increase reflected only now
because of the use of Governor General's warrants
during the election period. The increase was primarily
for the departmental information, technology renewal,
and upgrading of scientific and technical resources.
One of the things that the audits in fact show is that
we need to upgrade our technical systems and databases
in the department. Those things need to be done if we
are in fact going to do the kind of monitoring and the
kind of work that the honourable member is referring to.
I'm just going to go through some of them. Of the $400,000,
peacebuilding is very important to us to be able to
deliver developmental programs. If we have conflict, we
cannot deliver developmental programs. We cannot
develop or assist the country to become
self-sufficient. As you know, there are many parts of
the world where conflict is a major issue. CIDA is
very involved, not in the conflict itself, but in
assisting with peacebuilding on the ground, in working
with civil society, and many other programs. Again,
that is very fundamental to us.
As far as Transelec, I think I will go to
that next because I think the honourable member made
some assertions with respect to it that were quite
misinformed. When Transelec was part of the bidding
process, this was part of a competitive process. The
company was not disqualified. There were a number of
prequalifications that the company had to meet, and all
of them were under the rules at that time, which have
now changed. By the way, Mr. Chairman, I am proud to
say that we have in fact now changed that system, and we
now have an open, transparent, competitive system. The
contracts go on the MERX—
Mr. Joe Clark: [Inaudible—Editor*to]
Ms. Maria Minna: It was not, Mr. Clark. In fact,
it was open, but it was not the same. The system we
have now is much better than the system under which you
presided at the time. We changed it.
What I'm saying is that the system at the time was
that there would be a prequalification by the
department, and then the companies would be sent to the
minister. That was the system. One of the items of
prequalification was previous international experience.
That was the only item that Transelec omitted to
fill in. It filled all others. The evaluator—this
has nothing to do with me or anyone else—in the
department knew full well that the company did in fact
have international experience. Even with that point,
it marked second of the seven companies that were sent
forward. It had one of the highest marks regardless.
It was sent forward as part of seven companies to the
minister's office. The minister then chose companies
that went to bid, as was the process at the time.
Transelec came forward with a proposal which was
$2 million, or 30%, under any other bidder, and the
project has now been finished within budget.
Mr. Chairman, there were seven eligible companies that
were sent forward to the minister's office. As I said,
the Transelec bid was 30% lower than all of the
others. Those are the facts.
I can go on to all of the points if you like, Mr.
Chairman, or I can stop there. Quite frankly, I'll
just end up by saying, with respect, that the
honourable member's premise of wanting to cut the
programs at CIDA is not different from what was the
honourable member's position and this party's position
during the election and since then. I see the motion
that the budget—which he intends to move later, I
suppose—be cut by $588 million. That doesn't surprise
me at all because there is no commitment to
development. I think it's a matter of policy and
principle here, whether we are or are not committed to
The Chair: Thank you very much, Minister.
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: Can I ask her to table the
document she talked about just now?
The Chair: I beg your pardon?
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: Can I ask her to table the
document she talked about—Transelec information?
Ms. Maria Minna: I don't have a document here.
There's access to those documents through the Access to
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: I'm sure you can table them.
The Chair: The minister is consulting the notes,
which she gets from Mr. Good, which she's entitled to—
Ms. Maria Minna: Yes, these are not documents.
These are my personal notes, with respect.
Mr. Joe Clark: Again, Mr. Chairman, on a point of
order, this is an unusual proceeding, and there is an
interest in having all of the facts available. There
are applications under access to information. We have
some in with respect particularly to Transelec. They
have not been fast in replying.
I wonder if, in the spirit of this extraordinary
meeting, the minister would not agree to make
available, on a case that is now closed and where there is
no commercial confidentiality in place...if she would
not agree to lay upon the table as a gesture of
goodwill to parliamentarians all of the documents with
relation to Transelec—those raised in Mr. Obhrai's
questions and others that might be raised here.
I think that would be a gesture of goodwill that could
go some distance toward helping CIDA and helping the
parliamentary committee. I wonder if she might
Ms. Maria Minna: Again, Mr. Chairman, we have
already sent out a great deal of information on
Transelec. We've had a lot of requests, and we
have sent them out. A delay and an error occurred with
the Bloc Québécois, which we wrote to and apologized.
There was a mistake in the system, and we corrected that
immediately as soon as I found out about it.
But of course, subject to commercial privacy laws and
so on...as the honourable member understands, that's
part of the process. The information we have
already released on Transelec can of course be
released again, if the honourable member.... I imagine
that he's already received some, but anything that
we've already released.... I know that the honourable
member from the Bloc Québécois may already have that
information that we released to them.
The Chair: Well, maybe you could consider it when
Mr. Clark's time for questions comes up. He may have
something precise in terms of a specific document, and
we could deal with it that way, because it's a little
unfair to other members who want to ask questions if we
take up the time in this way.
I'm going to move now to Madam Lalonde.
Before I turn the floor over to Ms. Lalonde
to answer the Right Honourable Mr. Clark's question
about whether or not the reductions requested in the
motions to reduce line items 20 and 25 would affect
the specific programs or whether they would just come
out of the global sums, our understanding is that since
Mr. Obhrai did specify the very programs to which he
was addressing those cuts, they would have to come out
of those programs. They would not just reduce the
general amounts set out in the estimates.
Ms. Francine Lalonde: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Since we have you here, I want to put this question to you
first: what steps to you intend to take to ensure that Canada
increases, rather than decreases, its level of ODA?
Canada is among the least generous donor countries in the
world, according to the figures released by the Development
Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development. As a percentage of GNP, Canada's Official
Development Assistance spending placed it 17th among 22 donor
countries in 2000, down from 12th place in 1999 and from 6th place
in 1995. This is according to a statement by CCIC President and
Director General Barr. Canada is not even close to the average
level ODA, which is .39 per cent of GDP.
Canada's image cannot help but be tarnished by the OECD's
announcement that in terms of social spending, this government
ranks 25th among the 20 OECD member countries, coupled with the
news of our 17th place ranking among 22 donor nations.
What steps to you intend to take to address this situation?
What are your objectives? That's my first question.
Ms. Maria Minna: Yes, of course. Thank you,
You're right. Our ODA-to-GNP ratio has fallen to 0.25,
according to our figures, from 0.28. However, as you
will recall, this is largely due to the fact that our
economy is doing very well, so despite the increase
that we received in the last budget.... It's important to
know that we did have an increase in our
budget of $435 million over three years.
We are doing more than we were before. We have
expanded programs in some areas, especially with
respect to HIV and AIDS, which is a major issue around
the world, and also with
protection of children and education and health issues.
As I said, the Canadian economy is growing faster, and
hence the drop in the ratio. However, as you know, in
Ms. Francine Lalonde: And the wealthy?
Ms. Maria Minna: —Speech from the Throne, the
Prime Minister has made a commitment to increase CIDA's
budget. In the House very recently he also
referred to his commitment, in answer to a question in
the House, that he intends to increase the ODA
budget for Canada, and I'm very sure he will
be doing that.
I can't tell you whether it's today or tomorrow, but
I know that commitment is there on the part of the
Prime Minister and that will take place. In the
meantime, within our own system we have fine-tuned a
lot of the programs we deliver and we have begun to
look at new effective approaches of
delivery systems as well.
Ms. Francine Lalonde: Excuse me, but I asked what
recommendations you planned to make. Could you give us some idea at
least? You're the designated Minister for International
Cooperation, after all.
Ms. Maria Minna: I'm obviously going to
recommend an increase, absolutely. That's my job.
I have done so, and I do that on a regular basis when I
meet with the Prime Minister and the Minister of
Finance. At the cabinet table I have done so; I have put
forward a case for CIDA for an increase, and I will continue
to do that. I have a commitment, and we all do
publicly as well, from the Prime Minister that he will
Ms. Francine Lalonde: I asked you a question last year about
tied aid and I finally received an answered from Mr. Good. I have
here a copy of the committee report in which Mr. Good stated the
At this stage, I would have to say that most of this amount—if I
had to choose an arbitrary figure, I would say 75 per cent, but
that's just a guess - goes back to Canadian businesses.
In the consultation paper that was drafted, we read that
according to studies done by the World Bank and the OECD, tied aid
represents additional direct costs of between 15 and 30 per cent,
which means that developing countries pay on average from 15 to 30
per cent more for goods and services supplied under tied aid.
The paper goes on to say that some NGOs want provisions to
untie aid to be widely introduced, whereas the business community
is opposed to this idea, fearing that other businesses will benefit
from the windfall. Meanwhile, impoverished and indebted countries
end up paying more for products, with Canadian companies ultimately
benefiting from this situation. What concrete measures do you plan
to introduce to put an end to this practice?
Ms. Maria Minna: As you may or may not be aware,
we have been working with respect to
untying aid with our partners in the development
assistance committee of the OECD.
There was an agreement to untie aid to about 49 of the
poorest countries in the world, and Canada is a
part of that agreement. This is an important step
toward untying aid with our program.
Ms. Francine Lalonde: However, no action has yet been taken.
Ms. Maria Minna: No. With respect to the
countries I was mentioning,
that is something that is happening.
It was agreed to at the DAC
meetings to untie aid to 49 of the
poorest countries in the world. Canada is part of
that; therefore, we are proceeding with that,
as we speak.
We are also analysing other actions that we as a
country independently may also take with respect to
that. So there has been a recent movement in that area. There
is 33% of untied aid for the rest of the
countries; the poorest countries will be completely
untied, the 49 of the DAC meetings.
Ms. Francine Lalonde: Mr. Chairman, could the committee be
apprised of the progress made in the untying of aid to see how
these measures would actually apply and to ensure that we don't
merely settle for a decision reached at the OECD level? Would that
Ms. Maria Minna: Madame Lalonde, as I
said in my presentation when I first started, we will
be having public consultations on what we call aid
effectiveness, which is a review of our business, what we do.
Untied aid is part of that. So there will be
in fact a public discussion on that issue in this
country, at this table, I'm assuming, in addition to
what we have been doing as a department with respect to
the OECD agreement now in place. That
definition is an issue that will continue to be
discussed in an open manner.
Ms. Francine Lalonde: However, for the time being, it's the
The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Lalonde.
Ms. Maria Minna: No, with respect, Madame
Lalonde, I did say we have agreed. Canada is
part of the DAC agreement of the OECD to untie
all aid to 49 of the poorest countries. That
is something we are in fact doing.
Ms. Francine Lalonde: However, consultations will focus on
this issue as well.
Ms. Maria Minna: Yes, of course.
The consultation will be on
all the rest of the tied aid we still
have, but for the 49 poorest countries, we have untied
aid is what I'm saying.
Ms. Francine Lalonde: What I'm asking then is that...
Ms. Maria Minna: In certain categories, but the
discussion will continue, yes, of course, in a public forum.
Ms. Francine Lalonde: I would like the committee to be
apprised of the impact of this decision.
Ms. Maria Minna: Absolutely. The paper will come
to your committee and you will discuss that. That's
one of the main issues in that document, of course.
The Chair: So it's clear, I think.
Clearly, the Minister intends in the fall to table documents before
the committee. We'll have an opportunity at this time to weigh the
practical impact of this decision.
I will now turn the floor over to Dr. Patry.
Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds-Dollard, Lib.): Thank you very
much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Minister, for being here this morning. It
seems that CIDA has four priorities, health and
nutrition, as you mentioned, basic education, HIV and AIDS
and child protection. As mentioned, Canadian aid
is divided in geographic multilateral Canadian
partnership programs and in countries in transition.
I have two questions for you this morning. The first
one is concerning HIV and AIDS. We know that worldwide
there are 60 million people who are infected, and already
25 million have died. In Durban last year there was a
big conference concerning the HIV and AIDS plan. What is
the Canadian action plan, what are the goals regarding HIV and
AIDS, and can you tell us if there is any major progress in
the prevention, and mainly on youth?
Secondly, it seems that your department is
changing its approach.
Instead of taking a project-by-project approach, you seem to be
advocating one based on programs, working in cooperation with
international agencies. Why the change? Could you elaborate further
Several years ago, CIDA opened its first regional office in
Vancouver. It appears that a second office is set to open in
Moncton, New Brunswick very shortly. What prompted you to open
these offices and have you reached your objectives in Vancouver?
Ms. Maria Minna: With respect to AIDS,
first I would like to say that
CIDA's social development priorities are not the only
priorities with CIDA. They are part of our first
priority, which is called basic human need. I just want
to ensure that people don't think those are the
only priorities we have in the department. They
were strengthened in the last year, because they are
very fundamental to the development.
With respect to AIDS, we have been at the
forefront. We were the first country to have an
international conference on HIV and AIDS. I in fact
established a separate expenditure line, as you can
see, on HIV and AIDS, specifically because
we felt very strongly at the department that this was a
major issue that needed to be addressed. So in
addition to basic health and nutrition we also added
HIV and AIDS as a separate line. While it's a health
issue, it's also an issue of social...and prevention.
Over a period of five years we're
looking at about $270 million.
You will be reading in the press sometime soon,
or certainly hearing it,
if you haven't already, that there is discussion at
the moment of a global health fund, which would assist
the issue of drugs, specifically, and prevention.
Contributions to the fund would be from donor countries
as well as the private sector, and anyone else who
wants to donate, obviously. This has come out as a
result of the G-8 meeting that was held in Okinawa, and
this is a major new initiative to deal with HIV/AIDS,
malaria, and tuberculosis specifically, both in terms
of prevention of the disease as well as care.
So HIV/AIDS is an area where we have been
extremely involved. We are very involved on the ground
with major programs on the ground in AIDS, as well as
on the international scene with respect to pushing the
issue. So Canada has actually shown quite a lot of
leadership on the global fund. At one point it was
dubbed the Ottawa fund, because of the fact that a lot
of the work was done here in our own country.
With respect to the new approach to development,
shifting slightly from project to project, it doesn't
mean that projects will not continue to be done at
CIDA, but the new program approach is a more effective
way of addressing the issue of long-term sustainability
and it allows us to work with other partners and other
I'll give you an example that fits in
nicely with the issue of HIV/AIDS. In Malawi, we were
doing a lot of programs on the ground by ourselves and
we were the lead country, if you like, in AIDS. Then
Malawi decided to establish a nationwide HIV/AIDS
council to really address the issue properly. We
decided that we would work with Malawi, and two or
three other countries joined us. So in essence, what
we now had is a country-wide approach. It's a program
approach, and it's called sector-wide approach. This
allows us to actually do a much more aggressive
long-term program that will allow us to eradicate the
problem much faster. And it's must more
in that we're not the only partners on the ground on
the issue, and it is not project by project.
So the sector-wide approach, or the program-wide
approach, is one that we are pursuing more and more with
other partners, both not-for-profit and donors, and at
the multilateral level. And it works really well in
other areas. In education, for instance, while one can
build a school in different parts, we're assisting a
country to develop an educational institution with
teacher training, with a curriculum, with governance
and so on, and staying with it long term, for five to
ten years. This in fact leaves behind long term a new
structure that is sustainable and then becomes part
of that country's future. So those are just two
examples. Again, it's a new way that's very well
recognized in the international community .
With respect to the regional offices, as
you know, we have a very large country and it's very
difficult sometimes for people to come and access
programming or feel comfortable with the systems that
are a long way away from them. CIDA is in the Ottawa-Hull
area, and of course for the central provinces it's a
little bit easier to access sometimes, to come and
visit. We wanted to make sure that our partners and
stakeholders in the west of Canada, and eastern Canada,
Atlantic Canada, were also able to have the same ease
I met in round-table discussions with
partners in both regions and there was a sense of
alienation that I wanted to mitigate. This is why
I opened up a regional office in Moncton just a couple of
weeks ago. Its headquarters is in Moncton, but it will
be serving Halifax, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward
Island. In the west, I will be soon looking
to open an office in western Canada, as well. And
while, as you know, British Columbia already has one person,
we will be reviewing that. That is the reason—it's to
improve the effectiveness of our program and to allow
for better access for all of our stakeholders in the
Mr. Bernard Patry: Ms. Minna, you just mentioned
Malawi, but last month in Brussels you were co-chair
with the Malawi minister regarding a thematic session
about health and nutrition. Is there any change for
Canada in terms of its plan d'action*to, in its
call regarding health and nutrition?
Ms. Maria Minna: Thank you. Yes, I did chair the
LLDC-3, the least developed country meetings of the
UN. Canada was asked to chair that, by the way,
because we are in fact one of the leaders in the area
of health and nutrition. I could give you many
examples. As I said, that's another budget line that
was doubled as part of the social development
priorities, because if children are not healthy
they cannot study, and if people are not healthy they
cannot work. So we have to address the issue of health
Just to give you one example with respect to
nutrition, Canada is the lead contributor of vitamin A
around the world. UNICEF in fact recently wanted
to have a major celebration of the one billionth
vitamin A pill that was distributed by them as a
result of Canada's contribution. In the area, for
instance, of polio, I think this committee would be
happy to know that we are one year away from the
eradication of polio worldwide. It is a disease that
has plagued a lot of people, and it gives us hope to
know that we can in fact eradicate diseases if we work
Again, more recently I announced $10 million to
push that one forward a little faster. We're
working in collaboration with other partners such as the
Rotary Club, with whom we are matching dollar
for dollar the moneys they raise as well.
So in health and nutrition we are very active, and as
I say, Canada has a very aggressive action plan on
health. Each one of those four, by the way, has been
released, with the exception of child protection, which
will be released next week, I think. There are specific
strategies on each one, and they are available for the
committee if you wish to have a copy of our strategies
on each one of those four priorities.
Mr. Bernard Patry: Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you, Dr. Patry.
Mr. Robinson, sir.
Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP): Thank
you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to join in welcoming the
minister before the committee and also in welcoming my
colleague, Joe Clark, before the committee.
I wanted to pick up on a couple of points that were
I totally agree with Ms. Lalonde. Canada's ODA spending and
plummeting standing among donor countries is shameful.
As a Canadian, I must say I'm ashamed and appalled
that Canada's position has dropped to the point that we
are now seventeenth among 22 donor countries, as the
OECD has identified. I recall in the mid-1980s
questioning my friend Joe Clark about the level of aid
at that time, when in fact Canada was far higher in
relative terms than we are today. The minister has
suggested that our percentage has dropped because of the
growth in the Canadian economy. Denmark, Norway,
Sweden, and the Netherlands have all managed to achieve
levels of international aid at over 1% of their GNP at
a time of growth in their economies as well, so frankly
it's sophistry to suggest that this is an acceptable
ground for our relative position to decline. I think
many Canadians share this profound sense of anger and
shame that our government's level is dropping.
I met earlier today with a group of dedicated
volunteers from Results Canada. I'm sure the minister
is familiar with this organization—
Ms. Maria Minna: Yes, very.
Mr. Svend Robinson: —as are other members around
this committee. They are outstanding Canadians who are
committed to our country restoring its leadership in
this area, in areas such as micro-credit and other
One of the suggestions they made, and I
think it's an important and powerful suggestion, is
that a signal we can send out that we are serious
about restoring our reputation is a major contribution
to the global health fund to combat AIDS, malaria, and
Later this month the United Nations is going to be
meeting. The minister said we're going to talk about
this and you may hear something in the future.
Is the minister prepared to have Canada
make a very significant contribution to this global
health fund, and if so, at what level is the minister
prepared to contribute on behalf of Canada to help to
restore that reputation and to deal with the
devastating pandemic of HIV/AIDS, particularly in
Ms. Maria Minna: Thank you.
You're quite right,
Canada's aid dropped. I'm not here to be apologetic
about that or even to suggest it's acceptable at
the level we are at. That is not what I'm saying at
all. What I am saying is that there were cuts, as
there were cuts everywhere else in the government.
Mr. Svend Robinson: But we've heard this from
the minister. I'm asking specifically about the
global health fund.
Ms. Maria Minna: No, but I want to finish. I
think it's worthwhile to say that there will be
increases in the annual budget as well. And by the
way, I'm proud to say that Canada took the lead in
developing the global health fund. That is why it was
called the Ottawa fund. That's what it was dubbed,
because it was our department that in fact pulled
together the other players around the table to in fact
Mr. Svend Robinson: So where's the money?
Ms. Maria Minna: The money will be there as well.
I am prepared to make a major commitment with respect
to the global health fund. I don't have a number to
give you today because that's being worked on as we
speak, but there will be a substantial announcement
made with respect to the global health fund. As
I said, I have the four priorities.
Health and nutrition and HIV/AIDS has its own line because
I have very strong commitment to that issue.
There will be a major
announcement with respect to the global health
fund, most likely around the time of the UN.... I'm
working on the budget at the moment.
Mr. Svend Robinson: As the minister knows, the
Canadian Council for International Cooperation, along
with many others, has urged that Canada commit to
reaching the level of 0.35% by the year 2005, as a
concrete means of helping to reach the goal of 0.7%.
The minister has said that she's meeting with
colleagues and pushing for an increase. But is the
minister prepared to commit to pushing for that level
of aid by 2005?
Ms. Maria Minna: Let me put it this way: I am
pushing for a considerable increase. If I come anywhere
close to what I'm pushing for, I think the honourable
member might not be disappointed.
Mr. Svend Robinson: Well, it's not just the
honourable member, it's—
Ms. Maria Minna: It's all our members—and the
people, because I want to be clear that I am very
committed to pushing and lobbying for an increase—
Mr. Svend Robinson: Is the minister pushing to meet
the level of 0.35% by 2005?
Ms. Maria Minna: I'm pushing to meet a level of....
I'm not going to say 0.35%, 0.37%, or 0.40%, but I will
tell you that I'm pushing for a considerable increase,
and I'm confident that at some point we will be able—
Mr. Svend Robinson: The minister is not prepared
to make that commitment, but those who are active in
The Chair: Let her answer.
Ms. Maria Minna: Mr. Chairman, I am saying to the
honourable member that I am committed to pushing for a
considerable increase, and if I get exactly what I'm
pushing for, he will not be disappointed.
I'm not going
to give you exactly what my documents say at this
point, but let me tell you that I am certainly fighting
very hard. I would also like to feel there isn't
resistance at the other side. The minister has been
very open about wanting to increase from the beginning.
Mr. Svend Robinson: We'll see in the budget, I
Let's talk about targets here. In a letter to
Results Canada, the minister indicated that she hoped
her leadership initiative for Canada in health and
nutrition would directly save some half a million people
per year, mostly children. I commend the minister for
setting out that specific target under the health and
However, I note that it's not in the action plan.
I hope the minister will confirm today that this is a
part of her action plan.
I also want to ask about another commitment the
minister made, in Dakar, with respect to gender
equity in basic education by 2005. The minister hasn't
yet set any quantitative targets for how many girls
would be educated under that particular program.
I'm not sure if the minister is in a position to give
us a figure today, but I would certainly ask that she
provide this committee with specific targets for the
number of girls who would be educated under that
program. Otherwise, there's no way of effectively
measuring its success. Is the minister prepared to give
us that commitment today, or can she at least undertake
to provide it to the committee in the near future?
Ms. Maria Minna: With respect to health and
nutrition, we have doubled the budget, as I said
earlier, and we have in fact released our strategy
paper. I'm not sure if the honourable member has a
copy, but we can certainly—
Mr. Svend Robinson: But is the minister saying that
an integral part of the action plan on health and
nutrition will in fact be to meet the target of saving
approximately half a million people per year, mostly
Ms. Maria Minna: Exactly that. This is why we have
increased our funding in health and nutrition
considerably, both in HIV and AIDS, in infectious
diseases, and in additional dollars to polio and our
Mr. Svend Robinson: What about targets in gender
equity for basic education?
Ms. Maria Minna: Gender equity is one of our major
issues, because it cuts across all our programs. We
have already been working very aggressively in the area
of girl child education. We provided funds to a UNICEF
program that has just ended, and if I remember
correctly, hundreds of thousands of girls went through.
That was specifically targeted at girls around the
world. And in Senegal, 200,000 people were educated,
and women and girls made up about 80% of that figure.
Mr. Svend Robinson: Madam Minister, with respect,
I'm asking a specific question. If the minister can't
answer the question now, she can—
Ms. Maria Minna: The international target is to
provide education to all girls by 2015.
Mr. Svend Robinson: What's our target?
Ms. Maria Minna: Our targets are the same—2015.
That's the commitment I made in Dakar: that I would
work with any country that comes forward with a
Mr. Svend Robinson: I'll come back to the question.
Ms. Maria Minna: The international targets are very
clear: that all girl children will be receiving
education by 2015. And we have adopted those same
Mr. Svend Robinson: I have a couple of other brief
questions, Mr. Chairman.
The minister recently met with
the foreign minister of Eritrea, and she is well
aware of the very, very pressing needs of that country.
I also had the opportunity to meet with the foreign
minister. I wonder if the minister could indicate
whether she's in a position to confirm to this
committee that Canada will be providing significant
support to Eritrea.
I'll just put my remaining questions, if I may, and
then ask the minister to respond.
The minister will be
aware that the situation in southern Sudan and the
approaching possible famine could have a devastating
impact on hundreds of thousands of people. What aid are
we prepared to provide to help alleviate the crisis
facing the people of southern Sudan?
Finally, I want to ask the minister whether her
department is prepared to review its policy with
respect to the funding of Peace Brigades
International—an outstanding organization that saves
countless lives. I had the opportunity in Colombia to
meet with some people from Peace Brigades and to hear
from people in that country. I also met with our
ambassador there, who supports the idea of CIDA
providing funding for Peace Brigades International.
So I would ask the minister to review the decision
made some years ago to end funding, and perhaps to
renew funding for that very important organization.
The Chair: Before you answer, Mr. Robinson's time
is up. So maybe you could give us a brief answer about
Eritrea, and then reserve the other two for
correspondence. You could give a written answer, if
Mr. Svend Robinson: I wonder if I might ask to have
the same time provided that the minister took to answer
Mr. Obhrai's questions. I did review the clock, and
I've taken less time in terms of her answers.
The Chair: Mr. Obhrai's questions took 12 minutes,
but there were many interruptions on points of order,
so we gave him some extra time. You're now into ten and
a half minutes, well over your ten. So my suggestion is
to give the minister 30 seconds if she wants to give
very quick answers—but I understood you to say you
wanted a written response.
Mr. Joe Clark: On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I
assume there will be other meetings of this committee,
since we're meeting under an unusual order of the
House, and we have until Tuesday night to hold
meetings. Certainly I have plenty of questions and
would want the opportunity to have them answered, and
there will not be time for the committee to hear mine
and others before eleven o'clock.
So rather than rely on written responses, I hope the
committee would understand its obligation—since it's
operating under a special order of the House—to have
far more extensive hearings than those ending at eleven
The Chair: Perhaps we'll have to consider that when
we get to it. The rule we've adopted for this
committee, Mr. Clark, is that when ministers appear on
estimates, everybody gets ten minutes on the first
round and then we go to five minutes. That's
traditional. Your ten minutes will be coming as soon as
Mr. Robinson is finished. If we haven't completed the
business by eleven o'clock, we'll have to consider what to
do at that time.
Mr. Svend Robinson: Mr. Chairman, certainly the
minister can attempt to respond. If she's not able to
respond to all the questions immediately, then I'm sure
all the committee members would appreciate it if she
could respond in writing.
The Chair: Actually, I'm quite interested myself in
the matter of Peace Brigades International. They've
appeared before us, we've met with them, and they're an
extremely active and impressive group of young people
who work very hard. So we'd all be interested in that,
but we don't want to lose the opportunity of getting a
full answer just to get an immediate response.
Minister, could we go back to the answers?
Ms. Maria Minna: I'll be as quick as I can.
Brigades, yes, definitely I'll review that. I don't
have the information today and I don't have the
updates, but I'll definitely review it. There's no
question of that.
Eritrea—yes, we will be working with Eritrea. I met
with the Eritrean community in Toronto, as well as the
foreign affairs minister. We have been engaged in
Eritrea for a long time, but we will continue to
provide assistance and increase our peacekeeping
presence there, especially with respect to war-affected
children in the area. Also, the whole de-mining
issue is very important.
With respect to Sudan, to date in this year,
2001, $4.25 million of food as well as $2.7 million in
other humanitarian assistance has already been
announced, and we're reviewing further options for
humanitarian aid. We can give you additional
information on our activities there as well, if you
The Chair: Thank you very much for your helpful
Mr. Clark, sir.
Mr. Joe Clark: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I thank the minister for coming. I'd also like to
express my sympathy for the passing away of her
mother. That has had the consequence of delaying this
This is a very unusual meeting of the estimates
committee. We are meeting under an exceptional order of
the House, which has chosen one department for an
intensive examination of its estimates before these are
approved in the House. I want to reassert my view that
if we are to honour the order of the House and the
spirit of Parliament in controlling the estimates, we
should have the kind of intensive examination of CIDA's
estimates that's anticipated in this very unusual
order—part of the standing rules of the House.
The minister knows I've been on the ground with CIDA
projects, and that I'm very well acquainted with CIDA's
administration. I've seen it at its best, I've seen it
at less than its best, and I'm here as a friend of
In general, my worry is that CIDA has become more a
collection of projects and less an international
development agency. This is a matter of concern to
anyone interested in Canada's traditional and effective
role in the world.
I will not recite the figures entered by Madam Lalonde
and Mr. Robinson with respect to the precipitous
falling away from the target set for Canada by Lester
Pearson. It is ironical that a government led by a party
in his tradition has paid so little attention, so
little respect, to the goal he set. Indeed, this
government has been falling back sharply. We hear the
promises, but we are deeply troubled by what we've seen
of the performance.
I recognize—anyone following this issue
recognizes—that there is a growing concern in the
world about the effectiveness of traditional models of
international development. That has had an effect on
levels everywhere. But surely the Canadian tradition
should be to be among the leaders, not among the
followers, in trying to determine more effective ways
to counter the new international realities.
As we revert to projects, we are moving away from
being an international development agency, and we are
doing less and less—particularly as the proportion of
GDP falls and falls as it has.
Now, I was interested in the minister's reference to
two important planning initiatives described in the
program. One of these planning initiatives suggests
“how we can make our development assistance more
effective”, and it goes into an elaboration of a
Mr. Chairman, I'd like to make a suggestion to the
committee and to the minister. As you know, we're
meeting here because the official opposition has
decided that of all the government departments whose
estimates were shown by the Auditor General's
examinations to be deficient, CIDA stands out. In the
view of at least one major party in the House of
Commons, there is more concern about the administration
of CIDA than about all the other departments.
As a friend of CIDA, I have to say that I think this
concern about the agency's administration, and
perhaps its loss of purpose, is very widely shared. You
have your “important planning initiatives”—that's
code language for something you do in-house, and only
tell the public about after it has been decided.
Perhaps you consult a few people along the way, but it
is not really an open process. I know the process, and
I know what the language means, and so do others here.
So I wonder if we might have some agreement that as
you proceed with these initiatives, perhaps it might be
worth looking at striking a special or a joint
committee of this House that could take part in the
planning initiative. It could work with CIDA officials
to ensure that this is done in a genuinely public
This could help us to re-establish the international
development agency that made Canada proud and
distinctive in the past, and that gave us the kind of
international leverage we've enjoyed in trade, human
rights, and many other areas.
It would ensure that there are regular reporting
relations, so that the progress of this so-called
internal planning initiative
could be monitored by a
committee of the House of Commons.
I think that would open up the process of CIDA, which I
think very much needs to be opened up. I think it
would be welcomed by your officials. I know it would
be welcomed by your officials. It would certainly be
welcomed by the community interested in international
development. That is one matter on which I would like
you to reply in just a moment. I want to go to a
specific issue before my time is gone.
I should say, by the way, that in terms of Canada
falling behind, we, like Britain, have just announced
another debt forgiveness program. I'm familiar with an
earlier debt forgiveness program. I'm also familiar
with the fact that when Britain forgave debt, Britain
moved in with a much more broadly based program to try
to help the countries affected by the debt forgiveness.
Canada has not. Britain leads; Canada follows. That
is not the way it should be. That is not the way it
has been historically, and we have to find some way to
restore Canadian leadership.
I want to turn quickly now, if I may, to a very
specific matter, which, as colleagues will know,
interests me, and that has to do with the question of
Transelec. I would like to ask some very
I take the point that when
Transelec won its bid, the system was not as
transparent then as now. I'm not interested in
discussing then and what brought that system into
place. I'm interested in knowing that the system was
not transparent when Transelec won.
There was a discussion a moment ago taking account of
commercial confidentiality, and I make the point that
commercial confidentiality matters less after the
project is over than it does when it is being
contemplated. We do not want the suspicion arising
that matters are being hidden from the public on the
Transelec matter. The questions of commercial
confidentiality no longer apply. The minister has said
that she will make available to the committee
information that has already been made available.
That's not enough. We need to know the whole file—every
jit and tottle of the file—with
regard to Transelec. It should be in the public
domain. As long as it is hidden away in whole or
in part, then there are going to be very deep suspicions
about what is going on.
Some specific questions. Did CIDA or the minister
receive any intervention on behalf of the Transelec
company, or Mr. Claude Gauthier,
prior to the company's pre-qualification for the Mali
electric grid project? Who made those interventions? Were the
interventions written, and will the minister table
copies of them with the committee clerk?
Secondly, is the Mali project to supply hydro poles
completed? Did the project come in under budget or was
there a budget overrun? Was the project successful in
meeting its goals?
A third question: has the selection process for
contracts or contribution agreements, such as the one
Mr. Gauthier and his company qualified for in Mali,
been changed? How has it been changed, and can the minister
tell the committee if ministers' offices still have
considerable discretion in determining short lists of
companies eligible to bid on contracts?
Fourth, what other infrastructure projects are ongoing
now in Mali? Is Mr. Gauthier, or any of his
companies, or companies with which he is associated, currently
working on CIDA projects? Has Mr. Gauthier, or any
companies he might be associated with, been awarded
other CIDA grants, contributions, or contracts? If yes,
will the minister provide the committee with details of
the contracts or contribution agreements and table them
with the committee clerk?
Finally, which seven firms met the criteria for
pre-qualification in the Gauthier case, and which three
I appreciate the minister's presence here today. I
know my time has nearly expired in questions. I look
forward to the opportunity for further meetings of this
committee before the deadline Tuesday night, so that we
can have all of the facts out on this matter and so
that we might make a good start on a process in which
there is a real reform in CIDA and we will not again be
embarrassed by recurrent identification by the Auditor
General of CIDA as a badly run department.
Ms. Maria Minna: Mr. Chairman, with respect, I know
time is up, but I'd like to make at least three points.
The Chair: Minister, before you do, I'd just like
to congratulate Mr. Clark, because I thought Mr.
Robinson had perfected the system of asking so many
questions there'd be no chance to answer them during
the course of....
If I may say,
you've trumped Mr. Robinson and seen him; you've
raised him and taken all his pot. And I'd like to know
what a “tottle” is before we're finished, but maybe the
minister can help us with that as well.
Minister, obviously Mr. Clark's time is up, but if
you could briefly respond to some of his concerns....
He will possibly have another chance of another five
minutes before we're finished. We could come back to
specific answers, and if you don't, maybe you could
again respond in writing. We'll try to work that
Ms. Maria Minna: Well, there are a lot of them here.
I'm sure we can do a lot of them in writing.
Very briefly, first, the contract process
is better. There
is absolutely no short list that goes to the minister's
office. I don't see any of them. The contracts go out
to bid on the works and there's a process: there's a
committee that looks at them and there's approval. I get
Mr. Joe Clark: That's the new system.
Ms. Maria Minna: That's the new system that we
put in place—
Mr. Joe Clark: That's not the system that
Ms. Maria Minna: That's not the system that was
in place before.
Mr. Joe Clark: —with Gauthier.
Ms. Maria Minna: No, that was the old system.
We've changed it and it's much improved. It's much
more transparent. It's an open bidding process for
contracts. I don't get a list. It's as simple as
that. So it is a better process that we have in place
now, but that doesn't mean to say that the process
before was not followed.
Just to go back, because it's important, the other is
the overall issue—and I appreciate the honourable
member's support for CIDA, for ODA, and for how we
deliver our program. I beg to differ a
bit with the fact that the honourable member is
suggesting that the department has fallen apart and is
doing such a bad job; it's horrible and all of that.
It is not. We are one of the lead countries in the
world and well respected on the ground, internationally
and by the countries we work in.
Of course we have aid changes and of course we have to
change our modality. This is part of
our strategy. The heart of our strategy is to move away
from project-based programming to what we call
program-wide approaches, or sector-wide approaches, or
comprehensive development approaches. We are working
very closely with—this all started in
discussions with the Utstein Group;
you may be familiar with what that means. These are
counterparts of mine in Europe whom I work with—other
We are starting on the ground. As I'm speaking,
we have already started changing—I was giving
examples to the other honourable colleague—with
respect to program-wide approaches and comprehensive
approaches. So the heart of our strategy is in fact
exactly that—restructuring and making our aid on
the ground more effective.
The other thing, of course, is that the document to
which the honourable member referred to as being
an internal document and that we would not be receiving
consultation.... In fact, we
will be receiving public consultation. Within the
document, of course, is the issue of tied aid,
which I mentioned earlier to the
So this is a public document.
It will be discussed publicly. I will be hoping to
hold some consultations on my own across Canada. In
addition to that, it will come to this committee after
that and there will be further discussions again.
In the meantime, I would like to say that we have a
tremendous amount of credibility across the world in
how we do our programming. You said you've
revisited many programs yourself, and I'm sure you've
seen the work on the ground and the quality of the work
CIDA does. As I said, as we
speak, we have already started to change how we do business
on the ground, and we are implementing, as we speak,
program-wide programming on the ground.
I'll stop there, Mr. Chairman. I can go on to other
specifics, but I'll try to respond to the rest in....
The Chair: Thank you very much, Minister.
Ms. Diane Marleau (Sudbury, Lib.): I have two questions.
The first one deals with the Night of 1,000
Dinners. As many of you know, I'm
very involved in seeing that there are dinners
organized across the country in the quest to raise
funds for the Canadian Land Mine Foundation
so that they can do more work at de-mining
and more work at victim assistance. As you know, we're
also working with the United States, and we certainly
hope to be going around the world with these dinners.
The U.S., I'm told, has agreed to match funds that are
raised in the United States by these dinners, and I'm
wondering whether CIDA is willing to participate and do
some matching of funds that will be raised during these
dinners in November. That's my first question.
My second question has to do with the
corruption that exists in many developing countries. I
honestly believe that working at poverty eradication is
wonderful, but until there is sound administration in
most of these governments,
unfortunately poverty will
remain endemic because there is no sharing.
I know the international financial institutions are
beginning to work on that particular aspect. I'd like
the minister to elaborate on what has developed further
over the last two years with relation to strengthening
taxation systems and banking systems so that these
governments have moneys to run their affairs properly
and corruption doesn't rule in the end.
Ms. Maria Minna: I will start with the honourable
member's question with respect to the land mines issue,
which is very much of great importance to us. I don't
have to remind anyone what land mines do to people, and
especially to children.
We are working with the land mines organization very
closely. We're not matching dollar for dollar what it
will raise, but we are funding that organization at $1
million per year for the next two years to allow it to
do the kind of work that it wants to do.
We met recently. We've had some good dialogue. We
have a good relationship with them, and it's working
reasonable well. We will continue to work with them,
because it's very important that not only all of us
participate as individuals around the world, but that
we as a country that took the lead on land mines
internationally work very aggressively on this issue
with the land mines organization, as well as in other
programs that we have in de-mining with the UN and
around the world. That continues to be a major
commitment of ours, and we are engaged with this
organization very well.
With respect to corruption, there is no doubt that
without strong governance and proper contracting
processes, due process of law, and things being under
control, it is a problem to have strong democracy and
eradication of poverty, and so on. This is in fact
work that we do. Governance is part of the issue of
corruption, because if you have strong governance with
strong checks and balances in the system, that is
really the best way of dealing with the issue of
It continues to be a major component of our programs
and commitment around the world, and certainly in our
own hemisphere as well, because dealing with the
capacity of the public service, dealing with the whole
judiciary system of checks and balances, of due process
of law, and having trained judiciary dealing with
regulatory systems and banking systems, and all of
that, is very important—and having an ombudsman.
These are all programs that we in fact do fund, and in
the Americas, we funded recently an actual Internet for
ombudsmen, right across the Americas, so they can
actually connect and learn from one another.
There's the election support that we have in every
country, again. But working with civil society to
strengthen and help them understand what their rights
and obligations are within the democratic system is
also very important. So we continue to work in those
areas very aggressively. When you look at development
and you deal with health, education, and governance,
these are areas that are really, to some degree, the
most fundamental, because at the end of the day, you
have a well-educated populace, and they also demand
more from their country; women are educated. Research
I've seen shows very clearly that countries where women
have access to resources, education, and what have you,
have lower levels of crime and actually do better
economically, and so on. So, again, those are very
We continue to do a tremendous amount of work in the
area of governance in all those aspects, because they
are all very relevant, and they feed into one another.
Ms. Diane Marleau: When we write off debt, I'm
always very concerned that while it's a lofty thing to
write off debt for a lot of countries that can't make
the payments, I want to make sure that it isn't just
the wealthy class that ends up benefiting from the
writing off of the debt because there's no proper
taxation system, and we leave ourselves open to just
another debt coming out and it never really getting to
the people we want to help.
That's a great concern for all of us, I'm sure, and I
know there are measures in place to prevent that as
much as possible. But I want to encourage you to
continue working in these areas, because even though
they don't appear to be at the root cause of poverty,
they really are the root cause of a lot of the poverty
in many of these countries.
Ms. Maria Minna: You're quite right, with respect
to the HIPC initiative. As you know, Canada was
in fact the first country to announce money for the
HIPC process and putting moneys in.
Part of the HIPC conditions, as you also know, are the
PRSPs, the poverty reduction strategy plans, which are
to be developed by every country that receives the
advanced HIPC assistance. Again, because of
sometimes the lack of structure within the governance
and the ability of a country to have the capacity to
even develop the PRSPs properly—because part of the
conditions is that they consult with their civil
society and their community—there is a need to assist
countries, especially the poorest countries, with the
development of their PRSPs. Otherwise they're a piece
of paper that doesn't mean much in terms of delivering
So the debt reductions are very much tied to poverty
reduction. Those are very much cause and effect, and
it's very important to note that they are linked. They
are linked to programming, and it's a....
The Chair: Thank you very much, Minister.
We're now going back to Mr. Obhrai for five minutes.
Colleagues, I just want to give you a heads-up that
there should be a bell starting soon. It will be a
30-minute bell, though, so we'll have lots of time. We
have to be out of here at 11 o'clock, so we'll have to
stop at about 10 minutes before that to enable us to
vote on Mr. Obhrai's motion before we conclude. So
just keep your eye on that.
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In response to my question, the minister made two
comments that I thought, for somebody who is a minister
of the crown, were inappropriate for her office, which
was trying to label the Canadian Alliance as being
anti-development, or anything.
The fact of the matter is, quite simply, we are the
official opposition. When we see that you are wasting
taxpayers' dollars, when we see projects are not
working, it is our responsibility to bring it to your
attention and bring it to Parliament for everybody to
know. It's all out there. But for you to come out
with that, that was totally uncalled for.
Your second statement, where you personally attacked
me by saying that I have not travelled and don't know
about CIDA, was absolutely ridiculous. I have to tell
you, even before you became a CIDA minister, I was
travelling around the world. As a matter of fact, I
travelled with that minister around the world, watching
CIDA projects, and I've travelled with the
Governor-General on two state visits. Not only that, I
grew up in a country that is a recipient of CIDA aid,
and I saw what CIDA was doing. So that was totally
But let's get to the
main point on the questions I brought here. We can
have this spat in the House of Commons.
We know, on the MOX program in Russia, CIDA spent
$90 million that went down the tube because there is no
accountability in that country for monitoring these
things. Yet there is a request to give $300 million in
additional funding to Russia for its plutonium
Today we heard that Russia is going to become
an open ground for the world to bring all their
plutonium to for processing. So Russia wants to
capitalize on this as a commercial thing, and yet we, in
Canada, are going to give money to help them do that.
I think CIDA, at this stage, has not been approached,
but in all likelihood, the Government of Canada will
come to the table giving $300 million.
Tell me, is it your position and CIDA's position to
oppose any more funding for the plutonium program in
Ms. Maria Minna: I should tell you a couple of
Firstly, I'm glad that the honourable member has
visited projects. I'm sorry, I was under the
impression he had not, but I'm glad he has.
Then all the more reason that I think he has probably
seen the kind of good work that CIDA does on the ground.
All the more reason I think the honourable member would
have seen that most of the programs we delivered
on the ground are in fact working.
With regard to MOX, I should firstly say that CIDA
does not and will not be doing work that has to do with
nuclear disarmament, plutonium, and all of that. We do
capacity building with regard to assisting in putting
in place safety regulations and so on. We will not be
involved in the military side of things. DFAIT will be
involved with that side of it. We will not be dealing
with the program you are suggesting. CIDA does not
have the expertise nor the ability to deal with
military-type things that have to do with—
Mr. Joe Clark: Land mines are military-type
Ms. Maria Minna: Yes, but land mines are not
plutonium or nuclear. It's the removal. We fund it.
We don't have CIDA staff who actually go out and do it,
Mr. Joe Clark: It's an issue involving the
military. Land mines are military.
The Chair: Order.
An hon. member: The visitor to the committee.
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: I do not have any problem with
the right honourable member asking questions, absolutely not.
Ms. Maria Minna: The kind of expertise required is
quite different. CIDA is working very much with the UN
on the defusing of land mines around the world. With
regard to nuclear weapons, plutonium, and what have
you, that is something that at this point CIDA will
not be dealing with directly.
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: Mr. Chair, how much time do I
The Chair: You have a minute and a half left.
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: I want to ask you another
question. In your draft long-term strategy paper you make
mention of a simplification initiative aimed at
removing unnecessary process demands from development
officers. The process and procedures we are talking
about were made in response to criticisms set out in the
audit reviews and observations from the Treasury Board
and the Auditor General. It says there
that there is a strong sense
that too much of desk officers'
time is spent on process and procedures, with too little
left over to undertake more important analytical work,
which will put in procedures of transparency. These
processes and procedures are adopted to try
to provide Canadian taxpayers with full value for money
spent on development aid.
We understand that you are not in favour of this and
that you are considering removing the process and
procedures from your department that have been
recommended by the Auditor General and Treasury Board.
Is that true? We're talking about accountability.
Ms. Maria Minna: We will continue to respect the
process and procedures that have been established by
the Treasury Board. I don't think that's what that
means at all. To attain accountability it's very
important to respect the procedures that have been set
out by Treasury Board. That's part of our
responsibility. All that is referring to, I believe,
is to simplify the process of the programming work
itself on the ground. We're not talking about
bypassing, shortening, or not respecting the processes
that are set up by Treasury Board, or by the Auditor
General, for that matter.
As I said earlier, most of the Auditor General's
recommendations from his previous report have already
been implemented or are in the process of being done.
In addition, there are the internal audits, which we do
ourselves. Most of the items in the ones we released
in the last year have also been implemented. All of
this activity improves our ability to deliver and
monitor our programs that much better.
The Chair: Thank you, Minister.
Mr. Denis Paradis: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you,
Minister, for appearing before our committee.
Let me begin by saying that we will certainly oppose the
motions tabled by our Canadian Alliance colleague Mr. Deepak who
would like to see CIDA's budgets slashed. In my view, we need to do
exactly the opposite. However, this is in keeping with their
international agenda and their desire to have Canada withdraw from
all international organizations.
We should applaud the Prime Minister and the Minister on their
statements or on the Throne Speech in which the government, to the
contrary, pledged to increase CIDA's budget so that Canadian ODA
represents .7 per cent of the GNP.
Let me give you a concrete example to illustrate the need to
increase the budget. Haiti, one of the world's poorest nations,
attended the Summit of the Americas. Its standing as the world's
most impoverished country is even more apparent when viewed from
within this 34-member organization. Haiti's political problems are
well known. CIDA is justified in focusing on such areas as health
I was surprised at one point to hear someone say that digging
a well advanced the cause of education. A young person forced to
walk for two hours to fetch water and for another two hours on the
return journey has no time to think about getting an education.
Therefore, digging a well serves a useful purpose.
Would it not be possible, for example... We're talking about
health and education. Again, I'll use Haiti as an example. The
country is experiencing a serious water shortage. There are no
sewers, only open drainage ditches. There is no electricity. As
long as people's basic need for water, sewers and electricity and
infrastructure problems are not addressed, health care promotion
will be a difficult endeavor. Perhaps we would prefer to fix the
situation later by telling them to take pills or get vaccinated.
However, setting aside for the moment the political problems in
Haiti, isn't there something we could do to target our assistance
to improving the infrastructure in these countries?
Mention was made of the war effort. During the last war, the
government introduced a victory bonds program to finance the war
effort. Could we not give some thought to introducing programs to
finance the infrastructures of the poorest nations?
I understand that the OAS sent a mission to Haiti with orders
to report back on the situation. In the spirit of expanded
sustainable development, is there room for innovative approaches
and ways of doing things so that we can provide assistance sooner
rather than later to the residents of the most impoverished
countries in the world?
Ms. Maria Minna: Yes, it will make things happen
more quickly, but it will make them more sustainable as
well. Sometimes one can deliver programs in an area,
but it doesn't mean that the region has an actual delivery
system, whether it's in education or in health.
To go back to some of the comments you made, though,
you're quite right, Haiti is the poorest country in our
hemisphere. That is why the largest program we
have in our hemisphere is in Haiti. We have a very
strong program there in the area of basic education.
For the eradication of poverty, peace and stability
are very important, as they are for any of the
developmental work to take place. As you know,
we have a very strong presence in Haiti in order to
establish some peace and order. The RCMP are training
a civil police force, which was non-existent in Haiti.
It's a country-wide program, which is working very well.
We have a lot of credibility in that area.
With regard to one of the things you mentioned,
electricity, about a year ago—I'm trying to remember
the exact date—we finished a major electrification
program in Jacmel, one of the regions of Haiti. It
will make that area somewhat self-sufficient, and it
will attract business and investment. When you have
infrastructure, it also attracts investment, and that
assists the economic growth of that part of the
country. That was a major project. It's finished now,
and it's working very well. That's very important.
In terms of the need for food aid, it will continue to
exist until the country is able to pull itself out of
the dire poverty situation it's in. Along with the
work we're doing with other partners in the field, we
continue to provide food aid to Haiti.
Those are just some examples of work we are doing
in the country. As I say, it is the poorest country in
our hemisphere. I don't have to tell you that it has
had some very unstable times.
It is also our largest program in the
region because of its poverty and its great
need. We are working long-term in many areas, both in
education and sustainable development, to ensure that
the long-term stability of the country is
As you may know, if you've flown over Haiti—I
had the pleasure of doing that with
a helicopter when I went to visit the electrification
program—environmental degradation in Haiti is
horrific. There are no trees left in that country, as
you know, and again that's an area we are doing
some major work in, with respect to reclaiming land for
agriculture with farmers.
It's a long-term program, but, again, if we don't
reclaim some of the environmental degradation and
assist people with.... One thing takes us to the other.
Education is critical to give people access to
employment, investment, electrification, as well as
protection of their environment. They're very
critical. Food security is also very much tied to
environmental degradation. They're very much
interlinked, so we are doing some very major
programming in Haiti with other partners.
The Chair: Monsieur Paquette.
Mr. Pierre Paquette: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning,
First off, I'd like to join with those who have been critical
of the unacceptable level of ODA as a percentage of GDP. We've done
some quick calculations and at this rate, Canada should achieve its
target of .7 per cent of GDP by the year 2082.
As eminent British economist Keynes once said: In the long
term, we'll all be dead. Therefore, I hope we push harder to
achieve this goal within a reasonable period of time, that is
within a few years. In times of economic growth, there is no reason
why we can't achieve this goal within a reasonable time frame.
Secondly, I was surprised to note that a portion of CIDA's
budget was used to finance the Forum of Federations. I was at
Mont-Tremblant when the Forum was created. As I see it, it's nothing
more than a propaganda tool for Canadian federalism. It is of no
help whatsoever to developing countries from a sustainable
development standpoint. In my view, there is no excuse for using
CIDA funds for partisan activities like this.
Finally, and this bring me to my question, Ms. Lalonde
mentioned tied aid. She rightfully pointed out that tied aid was
extremely costly to developing countries, between 15 and 30 per
cent. Moreover, the trade policies championed by Canada, the United
States and a number of other industrializes nations are also
extremely costly to developing countries.
As you know, to be eligible for aid, the IMF and the World
Bank are asking developing countries to open up their markets and
developed countries, Canada and the US in particular, to keep
protectionist measures in place. While developing countries are
opening up their markets, we are maintaining barriers to keep goods
from some of these countries out of Canada.
An OXFAM Canada report issued in May highlighted this
situation and targeted two countries in particular, Canada and the
United States. Let me quote to you some of the figures contained in
this report. OXFAM International maintains that Canada's
protectionist measures are five times more costly to developing
countries in terms of market losses than the assistance we provide
to them. For each dollar of international assistance received,
these countries lose five dollars because their products are not
allowed into certain developed nations.
The report cites the example of Bangladesh. For each aid
dollar Canada sends to Bangladesh, the latter loses $36 because of
trade barriers erected to block the entry of that nation's goods
into other countries. This situation is unacceptable. It
contradicts Canada's official position and must be corrected.
The European Union has launched an initiative entitled Tout
sauf les armes. While it may not be a panacea - there are still
many protectionist barriers in place when it comes to agricultural
products - the fact remains that the European Union has taken steps
to open its markets up to products manufactured in some of the
world's poorest countries.
Aside from the $1 million announced several weeks ago which
will go to help these countries adapt to international trade rules,
do you have any plans to propose or introduce an initiative similar
to the one put forward by the European Union?
The Chair: I'm going to have to ask you, Minister,
to be fairly brief in your answer just because we have
only ten minutes remaining, and I know there are the
votes on Mr. Obhrai's motion. I believe Mr. Clark has
a motion as well.
Ms. Maria Minna: I'll try to be very brief, Mr.
As to the levels, I think I won't go back to that. I think I
answered the question before with respect to levels of
ODA, and I appreciate the honourable member's input in
that. As I said, I continue to work very hard on
that because he's quite right. We need to increase our
levels, and that's it.
With respect to the form of federation, as I just
finished saying earlier, one of the major types of
programming in our system is governance. There are
countries that are federations, such as Russia, which is a
federation with states. There are many other countries
that are federations. This is a way to assist
countries that have similar structures to Canada.
Others are looking into actually developing them to solve
conflict situations within their own borders. To help
them compare the governance...this is part of
what we do. We share our knowledge of governance with
other countries to assist them to actually develop
strong governance systems. This is what this is about.
I don't see anything there that is threatening to
anyone. It's basically dealing with the issue of
governance, and we do have countries that are
federations in the developing countries that we work
with. So that's why that's funded, and I think it's
quite a legitimate fund.
With respect to tied aid, I answered it earlier. As I
said, we have agreed on the issue with DAC and
with 49 countries we have untied, and we will
continue to work on that.
With respect to trade, yes, we are new to trade
strategies within the WTO. In fact, we have a CIDA
representative now at the WTO dealing with the trade
issues, which we didn't have before. We have become
more involved and more aggressive in the issue of trade
as a whole. That's very important for us. The other
is that, with respect to trade with the LDCs, as I
said, that's one of the things that we've done.
We also support capacity building. We do a lot of
work and funding in the area of capacity building for
trade with developing countries, especially in their
ability to deal with international rules and what have
With respect to Canada, yes, we have to look at
opening up trade further. But there are some issues
that we need to address. As the honourable member may
know, in your own province, the issue of sugar is one
area that in fact the EU has excluded for a period of
time. It is exempted. There are some areas where there are
difficulties that need to be addressed about trade,
definitely. Access to trade in order for developing
countries to grow their economies is very important, and
that's something that we in fact are working on very
aggressively. I'm not in the slightest going to suggest to
you that this is not an issue.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Minister. We're
going to have to stop there.
Colleagues, Mr. Obhrai has put six motions.
Mr. Joe Clark: Mr. Chair, on a point of order, if
The Chair: Yes.
Mr. Joe Clark: The consequence of voting on Mr.
Obhrai's motions would be to conclude these meetings.
I want, as you know, to propose a motion that would
extend our hearings to hold a meeting tomorrow morning.
I'm seeking guidance—
An hon. member: When?
Mr. Joe Clark: Tomorrow morning.
I am seeking guidance on a procedural matter as to
whether a motion to extend hearings should be heard and
determined before a vote on particular items, which
might have the effect of ending the process.
Mr. Svend Robinson: Mr. Chairman, I have a point
The Chair: Yes.
Colleagues, we've got ten minutes. If we wrangle
over points of order, we're going to lose all the time
Mr. Svend Robinson: I'll speak just briefly on the
point of order.
I don't believe that voting on the
motions that have been put forward by Mr. Obhrai would
necessarily preclude this committee from continuing to
meet and hear other motions. One of the suggestions
I was going to make is that perhaps there might be some
I believe that one of the motions
of Mr. Obhrai deals with grants and contributions. I
want to suggest that perhaps rather than reducing it
by the amount he suggests—this might be a
subamendment, and I'll seek
the guidance of the chair—there be some funding
restored under the terms of the motion, sufficient to
ensure that a fund be established to provide for
education of members of the Canadian Alliance as to
the incredible history of Nelson Mandela and the fact
that he is neither a communist nor a terrorist, Mr.
Voices: Oh, oh!
The Chair: Mr. Keyes, did you want to make a point
Mr. Stan Keyes: Yes, Mr. Chairman. To preclude
any further discussion on the right honourable
gentleman's suggestion, might I suggest that this
committee not deal with his motion at this level. We
do have a steering committee of the foreign affairs
committee. It can deal with the matter, so that we
don't have to go into a lengthy discussion as to
whether or not we should meet or shouldn't meet.
That's the purpose of a steering committee.
Mr. Joe Clark: Not in these circumstances, Mr.
Chairman. This is an unusual meeting established by a
special order of the House of Commons.
Mr. Stan Keyes: Despite that, Mr. Chairman, we do
have control of our own destiny, as each committee
does, and each committee can decide on its own what it
wants to do.
The Chair: First I'm going to rule, to deal with
Mr. Clark's preoccupation and concern, that disposing
of Mr. Obhrai's motions does not preclude in any way
the possibility of the committee's deciding to hold a
hearing tomorrow morning, if that's going to be the
thrust of his motion. So let's deal with Mr. Obhrai's
Mr. Obhrai, sir, you do have six motions, two of which
deal with line item 20, four with line item 25. I
wonder if we could group them, vote on the two that
deal with line item 20, and then on the four that deal
with 25. Or do you want to consider them separately,
if you want an individual vote? I'm just thinking of
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: In the interest of time, it's a
good idea, but I think we should quickly go around for
a recorded vote and we could probably deal with it
The Chair: We've had an ample discussion on it. I
don't think we're going to move to a discussion. We
won't have time, anyway. I'm therefore going to move
straight to a vote. Do you want a recorded vote or do
we take it on division?
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: Recorded vote.
The Chair: Recorded vote on the first motion, which is
that vote 20 be reduced by $34,605,750.
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: Which is the first one?
The Chair: I've got the one on the top,
Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, Canadian
Alliance): I have a point of order, Mr. Chairman. I
wonder if we could amend this to add a line where we
vote $18 to repair Mr. Robinson's pants.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
The Chair: I don't think that's in order, because
that would have to be a locally acquired pair of pants,
and would interfere with the new philosophy, which is
to acquire all things in the country.
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: On the first motion, I would
like to correct you, Mr. Chairman. It's $588,814.
The Chair: I'm sorry. Thank you very much.
(Motion negatived: nays 13; yeas 5) [See Minutes
The Chair: The second motion is that vote 20 be
reduced by $35,222,000. Would you be willing to apply
the same vote? If colleagues are satisfied with that,
we'll apply that vote. Thank you very much,
(Motion negatived: nays 13; yeas 5) [See Minutes
The Chair: Next is that vote 25 be reduced by $6,300,000.
(Motion negatived: nays 13; yeas 5) [See Minutes of Proceedings*to]
The Chair: I'm just looking for Mr. Robinson's
pants in here. I can't find them.
Mr. Joe Clark: They may be nuclear, Mr. Chairman.
The Chair: Well, they're certainly radioactive.
Next is that the line item vote 25 be reduced by $300 million.
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: Is anyone changing there?
Mr. Stan Keyes: Well, maybe. I mean, the right
honourable gentleman who has professed an increased
funding for CIDA is voting now to rob all the funding
from CIDA. I'm not sure if he wants to change his mind
An hon. member: I think he wants to hold CIDA
Mr. Joe Clark: Mr. Chairman, there will be no
change in my vote. I think the purpose of examining
estimates is to have Parliament exercise control, and
that is what this process is about. I think a signal
needs to be sent to the government and to CIDA that
there can no longer be expenditure without examination,
without consequences. So I support the motion.
The Chair: Okay, colleagues. We've have about two
minutes left, and we have Mr. Clark's motion. So let's
just move along.
(Motion negatived: nays 13; yeas 5) [See Minutes of Proceedings*to]
The Chair: The penultimate item is $400,000
(Motion negatived: nays 13; yeas 5) [See Minutes of Proceedings*to]
The Chair: The last item is to reduce vote 25 by
(Motion negatived: nays 13; yeas 5) [See Minutes
The Chair: Do I have the authorization of the
committee to report the estimates to the House? That
is subject to Mr. Clark's motion. Sir, perhaps you
could speak to that.
Mr. Joe Clark: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to propose that the committee review CIDA's estimates
one more while we await the minister's visit tomorrow at 9.a.m.
The Chair: Everybody knows what the purpose of Mr.
Clark's motion is. I don't think there's any need to
discuss it, so I'm going to put it straight to the
Mr. Joe Clark: I would like a recorded vote.
(Motion negatived: nays 9; yeas 8)
The Chair: Colleagues, I want to thank the
minister, on your behalf, for coming. I want to thank
you for contributing.
Minister, before we adjourn, I just want to leave you
one idea. Yesterday, on behalf of the committee, I
deposited in the House our report, Advancing
Canadian Foreign Policy Objectives in the South
Caucasus and Central Asian Region*to, and you will find
some recommendations in there that might be of interest
to your department.
Thank you very much for coming.