Parliamentary Update

Parliamentary Outlook (Winter & Spring 2023)

Parliamentary Outlook (Winter & Spring 2023)
Long description

This slide provides a Parliamentary Outlook for Winter and Spring 2023. The image is divided into three sections – Defence Dynamics and Parliament, OPQs to be Tabled Before 23 June, and a Timeline from March to June.

The Defence Dynamics and Parliament section is further divided into Key Statistics and Winter and Spring issues for National Defence.

Key Statistics:

  • Approximately 168 Parliamentary Returns have been assigned to National Defence since September 23, 2022
  • Key subjects of interest:
    • Government expenditures and contracts
    • Defence infrastructure and equipment
    • Personnel issues (e.g. housing)
    • VVIP Travel

Winter & Spring issues for National Defence

  • Defence spending (including contracting and consulting)
  • Procurement (ships, jets, subs)
  • Recruitment, Retention, and Reconstitution
  • Culture Change
  • Defence Policy Update

The second section, OPQs to be Tabled before 23 June includes the following:

  • Q-1472 – Challenger Flights since February 1, 2023
  • Q-1474 – Polaris Flights
  • Q-1476 - Expenditures with Telecommunications Companies
  • Q-1478 – CAF Housing
  • Q-1483 - Grants and Contributions since November 4, 2015
  • Q-1485 - Advertising Expenditures with the CBC
  • Q-1486 - Unused DND/CAF Owned Property
  • Q-1489 - Loans and Contributions over One Million since January 1, 2019
  • Q-1498 - Government Owned Buildings (Except DND)
  • Q-1500 - Web3 Sector Contracts
  • Q-1506 - Leases on Government Offices
  • Q-1509 - Expenditures on Sporting Event Tickets
  • Q-1510 - Expenditures on Concert or Gala Tickets
  • Q-1516 - IT Projects over $1 Million
  • Q-1517 - Big 6 Consulting Firm Contracts

The third section, a Timeline from March to June, notes the following committee appearances:

  1. Arctic Water Surveillance (PACP): DM + Defence officials [6 March]
  2. High-Altitude Objects (NDDN): MND + DM + CDS + Defence officials [7 March]
  3. Supplementary Estimates (C) (NFFN): VCDS + Defence officials [8 March]
  4. Contracts to McKinsey & Company (OGGO): MND + DM + CDS + Defence officials [20 March]
  5. Afghanistan Final Report (CIMM): MND + DM + CDS + DOS + Defence officials [29 March]
  6. Main Estimates (NFFN): VCDS + CFO + Defence officials [19 April]
  7. Arctic Security (SECD): MND + DM + CDS + Defence officials [24 April]
  8. Military Health Services and Transition (NDDN): Defence officials [28 April]
  9. Main Estimates (NDDN): MND + Defence officials [2 May]
  10. Military Health Services and Transition (NDDN): Defence officials [16 May]
  11. Afghanistan (CIMM): DOS + Defence officials [17 & 31 May]
  12. Experience of Women Veterans (ACVA): Defence officials [1 June]
  13. McKinsey Submissions (OGGO): DM + Defence officials [5 June]
  14. Canadian Forces Superannuation Regulations (REGS): Defence officials [5 June]
  15. Situation in Ukraine (NDDN): DOS + Defence officials [5 June]

Additional events include:

  • House & Cabinet break [20 Feb–3 March]
  • House & Cabinet break [13–17 March]
  • INAN Committee Travel: Arctic, JTFN HQ in Yellowknife [13–18 Mar]
  • DPU Engagement (NDDN + SECD) [March 27]
  • Federal Budget [March 28]
  • House & Cabinet break  [3–14 April]
  • Tabling of Government Response Survivor Pension Benefits (Marriage After 60) [14 April]
  • NATO Assembly Visit [17-18 April]
  • Tabling of External Monitor’s First Status Report [2 May]
  • House & Cabinet break  [19–26 May]
  • PACP Update on Supplying the CAF (Recommendations 1, 2, 5) [31 May, 15 & 30 June]
  • Summer Adjournment [23 June]

House Committee on National Defence (NDDN): Membership and Committee Dynamics

Committee Dynamics

  • Composition: Following the CPC leadership race, there are now two CPC critics for National Defence, one of whom focuses on recruitment and retention. Both critics became members of NDDN in October 2022.
  • Atmospherics: Following membership changes in October 2022, tensions appear to be increasing; however, the dynamics are still evolving.
  • Question Style: Members are expressing a greater desire for detailed information and will press for concrete updates. Questions often include constituent concerns and can also be short and rapid fire.
  • Interests: So far during the 44th Parliament, the Committee has studied a variety of issues, including domestic CAF operations, Arctic security, and cybersecurity / cyberwarfare. They are currently studying military health and transition services. Reports to date:
    • Interim Report on the Defence of Canada in a Rapidly Changing Threat Environment (June 2022)
      • Government Response presented to the House in October 2022
    • Modernizing Recruitment and Retention in the CAF (June 2022)
      • Government Response presented to the House in October 2022
    • A Secure and Sovereign Arctic (April 2023)
      • Government Response due when the House resumes in September
  • Ministerial Appearances: So far during the 44th Parliament, the Minister of National Defence has appeared five times at NDDN on the following topics:
    • Mandate and Priorities (February 2022)
    • Main Estimates 2022-23 (June 2022)
    • An Update on the Arbour Recommendations (December 2022)
    • Main Estimates 2023-24 (April 2023)
    • High-Altitude Object (March 2023)

Committee Membership

John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood, ON) – Chair

Defence-related interests: Icebreaker procurement; replacement of North Warning System; renegotiation of NORAD treaty; Arctic sovereignty; China as an “existential threat”

James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB) - CPC Critic: National Defence - Vice-Chair

Defence-related interests: Provision of weapons and materiel to Ukraine; support for NATO; Ukraine becoming a NATO member; defence policy; relocation of Afghan nationals; sexual misconduct and culture change in the CAF

Christine Normandin (Saint-Jean, QC) – Vice-Chair – BQ Critic: National Defence

Defence-related interests: Follow-through actions on MND’s Fall 2021 apology; ensuring fighter pilot recruitment; CAF recruitment and retention; support for Davie shipyard; the CAF’s actions in Afghanistan; Huawei

Lindsay Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe) – NDP Critic: National Defence

Defence-related interests: Implementation of external reports; transfer of sexual misconduct cases to civilian system; family support and impacts of privatization on recruitment and retention; operations and CAF readiness; vulnerability of Arctic; procurement and supply chains

Bryan May (Cambridge, ON) – Parl Sec: MND

Defence-related interests: Workplace harassment; eradicating violence and sexual misconduct; advancing culture change in the CAF; defence innovation and technology; the impact of increased domestic operations on the CAF; cooperation in Indo-Pacific military operations

Jennifer O’Connell (Pickering—Uxbridge, ON)

Defence-related interests: Ensuring Arctic security; Russia and China’s potentially “competing interests” in the Arctic; support for Ukraine; prioritizing procurement projects to prepare for future threats; sexual assault training for judges; recruiting women in the CAF

Darren Fisher (Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS)

Defence-related interests: Challenges and improvements to procurement systems and projects; investment in Arctic; support for Ukraine; NATO spending, readiness, and cyber pledge; climate threats; how the current and future threat environment will influence the design of the CAF; Universality of Service

Shelby Kramp-Neuman (Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON) – CPC Critic: National Defence (Recruitment and Retention)

Defence-related interests: Recruitment and retentions, Arctic security, NATO commitments and support for Ukraine, Op LASER, economic supports for veterans

Charles Sousa (Mississauga Lakeshore, ON)

Defence-related interests: Defence cooperation; cybersecurity and cyberwarfare

Emmanuella Lambropoulos (Saint-Laurent, QC)

Defence-related interests: Advancing culture change in the CAF; Canada’s role in NATO; understanding what the Russia-China military relationship means for Canada; recruitment and retention issues, including family supports

Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON)

Defence-related interests: CAF constituent issues such as access to health care and services; costing for Surface Combatants and AOPS; China and Russia’s use of AI and cyber; CAF resources and capabilities; conditions for a No-Fly-Zone over Ukraine; services and transition benefits for veterans

Pat Kelly (Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB)

Defence-related interests: Support for Ukraine, NATO commitments, Russian and Chinese activities in the Arctic, and Canadian Armed Forces recruitment

Key Issues

  • Mental Health and Suicide
  • Recruitment and Retention
  • Health Services for Military Families
  • Healthcare for Women and Diverse Members
  • Transition Supports
  • Relationship with Provinces / Territories

Senate Standing Committee on National Security, Defence and Veterans Affairs (SECD)

Committee Dynamics

  • Study: The Committee’s study on issues relating to national security and defence generally began in April 2022 and this will be their sixth meeting. The Committee has explored a range of related topics under this general order of reference, including the cyber threat landscape, disinformation and national security, recruitment and retention challenges, and the Minister of National Defence’s mandate and priorities.
  • As part of this study, on June 20, 2022, MGen Prévost and GAC officials provided a briefing on the security situation in Ukraine. This was the last appearance of National Defence before SECD specifically focused on Ukraine.
  • Of note, on May 15, 2023, the Committee received testimonies from LGen Lise Bourgon, LGen Jennie Carignan, and BGen Krista Brodie on recruitment and retention in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
  • Interests: While over the past year SECD has primarily been focused on its examination of Arctic security, Senators also asked senior Defence officials to comment on personnel issues, such as culture change, recruitment, and retention. Senators are also keen to learn about Russia’s ambitions in light of the Ukraine invasion, and seek to receive updates on Canada’s defence capabilities and the operational readiness of the CAF.
  • Question Style: Questions tend to be dialogue-based and broad. Senators will also follow-up on information from previously tabled reports and hearings, and seek progress on recruitment and retention programs and initiatives.

Committee Membership

Tony Dean (ISG - Ontario) – Chair

Defence-related interests: Russian activity and aggression in Eastern Europe; short-term procurement benchmarks; healthcare for military families

Jean-Guy Dagenais (CSG - Victoria, QC) - Deputy Chair

Defence-related interests: Procurement: F-35s, Coast Guard ships and National Shipbuilding Strategy; Arctic sovereignty; Russian and Chinese ambitions; recruitment and retention; budget for Reserves.

Margaret Dawn Anderson (PSG - Northwest Territories)

Defence-related interests: Impact of Arctic defence on Indigenous Peoples; cooperation and consultation with Indigenous Peoples on defence issues; impact of climate change on CAF operations and infrastructure; culture change; diversity and inclusion

Peter M. Boehm (London—Fanshawe) (ISG - Ontario)

Defence-related interests: Arctic sovereignty; Russian and Chinese ambitions; expenditures of CAF missions abroad; coordination with NATO/Arctic Allies; peacekeeping; culture change; diversity and inclusion; CAF commitment to Eastern Europe.

Donna Dasko (ISG - Ontario)

Defence-related interests: Climate change; Op UNIFIER; potency of threats to Arctic security following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; lack of armaments available to Ukraine; Arctic sovereignty; potential for greater conflict with Russia and China; NORAD preparedness.

Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu (C - Quebec)

Defence-related interests: Development of Resolute Bay for Arctic sovereignty; military preparedness for potential future near-peer conflict; defence procurement; military justice system and sexual assault; recruitment and retention of women in the CAF.

Marty Deacon (ISG - Ontario)

Defence-related interests: Arctic sovereignty and infrastructure; seeking support from other Arctic states; increased support for Ukraine; evacuating remaining at risk Afghans; increased support for Black and Indigenous Canadians; Finland/Sweden NATO accession.

Clément Gignac (PSG - Quebec)

Defence-related interests: European dependence on Russian energy; ballistic missile defence; nuclear submarines; Turkey’s reliability as a NATO member; contracts for Indigenous businesses.

David Richards (CSG – New Brunswick)

Defence-related interests: Canada-US defence relations; burden sharing; process for sexual assault complaints, mental health services for CAF members and Veterans; Arctic sovereignty, and Canada’s aid to Ukraine.

Victor Oh (C - Ontario)

Defence-related interests: Rights of vulnerable groups, such as seniors, youth, and migrants; procurement; impact of climate change on Arctic security; economic growth; diversity.

Hassan Yussuff (ISG - Ontario)

Defence-related interests: Ensuring Arctic security; Russia and China’s competing interests in the Arctic; impact of climate change on CAF operational readiness; NATO’s role in the Arctic; impact of military build-up in the Arctic on Indigenous Peoples.

Key Issues

  • Operations (UNIFIER and REASSURANCE)
  • Equipment Donations and Future Contributions
  • Defence Spending / Funding
  • Weapons (Supply, Delivery, Tracking)
  • Cooperation with Allies
  • Latest Developments and Status of the Conflict

OPQ Process in Practice

OPQ Process in Practice
Long description

OPQ appears on the Notice Paper

Day 0: D Parl A tasks out to L1s; sometimes a scoping email is required

Day 0-7: PCO tasks DND with OPQ. Delays in receiving instructions can lead to delays in resolving L1s’ questions

Day 15: L1s have questions about definitions and instructions. They provide their input after meetings and conversations with D Parl A

Day 15-30: D Parl A begins the development of the OPQ package, usually with partial datasets and/or draft input from L1s. For complex OPQs, significant review is required

Day 30-33: OPQ package sent to VCDS for approval

Day 33-36: OPQ package sent to DMA for approval

Day 36-40: DMA/VCDS-approved package sent for MND approval

Day 40-44: Signed OPQ sent to PCO

Day 45: OPQ tabled

Approval Process: each office may have further questions requiring D Parl A to follow-up with L1s

OPQ Stats – 2018 to Present

OPQ Stats – 2018 to Present
Long description

This graph demonstrates OPQ counts from 2018 to June 2023 (Ongoing).

Sept 2018 to Aug 2019: 197 (Top issue: Government spending by riding (51))

Sept 2019 to Jul 2020: 114 (Top issue: Government expenditures (27))

Sept 2020 to Aug 2021: 217 (Top issue: Government expenditures (102))

Nov 2021 to Jun 2022: 162 (Top issue: Government expenditures (61))

Sept 2022 to June 2023 (Ongoing): 168 (Top issue: Government expenditures and contracts (43))

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