STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES ORGANISMES GOUVERNEMENTAUX
Tuesday 22 November 2016 Mardi 22 novembre 2016
The committee met at 0902 in room 151.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the committee here this morning. We have two intended appointees today.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur
Review of intended appointment, selected by third party: Jonathan Tondeur, intended appointee as member, Grant Review Team—Durham, Haliburton, Kawartha and Pine Ridge—Ontario Trillium Foundation.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Our first appointee is Mr. Jonathan Tondeur, who’s being nominated as member, Grant Review Team—Durham, Haliburton, Kawartha and Pine Ridge—Ontario Trillium Foundation. Please come forward, Mr. Tondeur, and take a seat at the table. Welcome, and thank you very much for being here on a cold November morning. You may begin with a brief statement, if you wish. Members of each party will then have 10 minutes to ask you questions. Any time used for your statement will be deducted from the government’s time for questions. When we begin questions today, we will begin with the government side.
Please take a seat. Thank you.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Good morning, Madam Chair, and good morning, members of the committee. I actually don’t have anything prepared in a written form. My understanding is that everybody has already received a little blurb of some of my background and my volunteer experience and education. I’d be very happy to talk for a moment about that, if anybody would like a little further explanation of that stuff—if that’s all right with you, Madam Chair.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): That’s fine, yes.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: This will be a homey kind of talk. I was born in England—well, actually, in Wales—and came to Canada in 1955. After spending seven years at sea—I was a navigating officer at sea, and I was doing that simply because my father did it and my grandfather did it, and so on back. After about seven years, I thought, “I really don’t want to do this anymore,” and so I elected to come to Canada.
I was very fortunate when I arrived. I arrived and settled immediately in Northumberland county, strictly by accident, and within the first week of being here, I was able to get a job. In fact, I came into this very building. There used to be an employment office down on the bottom floor. I was hired on a survey party. The person who hired me sent me off that day on a Colonial bus—I don’t know if you remember those—to Trenton to join a survey party. That’s where my work began with the old Department of Highways.
With the department of highways, I had various jobs. It reached a point where the ministry asked me if I would like to go back to school and become an engineer. At that time, engineers were short in number and were being hired overseas and brought over with their family and their furniture, and it was really quite costly.
I did that and went to Queen’s University for four years. I graduated in applied science and civil engineering. I had various jobs with the ministry. The last two were as a district engineer for northern Ontario, and the last job was as manager of a branch that you may not have today. It was called the management improvement branch. It was a branch that took a look at the 21 districts that we had and tried to turn them into five regions.
That was actually my last job with the ministry. From there, I went to the county of Northumberland as a county engineer and spent 20 years there. When I finished my time there, I still wanted to work, so I formed a little private engineering company and did private engineering for a while until my wife said, “That’s enough.” So I quit that.
I’ve always been a volunteer. I love volunteering. I spent six years with the Grant Review Team and loved every minute of it. I would have stayed longer if I could have done, but in those days it was six years and you’re out.
I noticed that the legislated number for those kinds of committees is around 20, and I noticed that in the area that I’m interested in, the number is down to around six right now. It does tend to put a heavy load on the volunteers.
The work that I’ve done that would compliment that would have been at the Community Futures Development Corp. I chaired that for 16 years—not a chair the whole time, but on that committee for 16 years, which does similar work, except that in addition to not-for-profits, it also does the private sector.
I’ve been 40 years with the Rotary Club, most of that time with the projects committee, which does the same kind of thing as well, except on a much, much smaller scale.
As I mentioned, I really enjoyed working with OTF. I think that OTF does a fantastic job, and I would like to be a part of it again.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much, Mr. Tondeur.
We’re now going to turn it over to the government side. You have just close to five minutes, Ms. Vernile.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: Thank you very much, Mr. Tondeur, for coming to Queen’s Park today. Did you drive in this morning?
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: I actually got up at 4 o’clock. I drove from Cobourg to Oshawa and got the GO train. I came down on the GO train. I got the 7:15. That worked out very well. I was here by 8:30, so that was really good.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: You avoided all that traffic. Well, we’re very appreciative of the fact that you are here today and that you’ve put your name forward for this board.
I think that you’re being very modest. You talked about volunteering and you mentioned Rotary. But you also have served as chair of Rebound Child and Youth Services for Northumberland; you’ve been a board member of Halcyon Place; you have been a building chair for Habitat for Humanity; a board member and chair for the Northumberland Business Development Assistance Corp.; and you have sat on the engineering advisory board at Cambridge College. Kudos to you for being so committed in self-service to your province and your community.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Thank you very much.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: You say that you have previously sat on the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Grant Review Team. When did you do that and for how long?
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: I did it for two terms when I was there, which was from—I finished in 2010. Up until that point, a person could only serve a three-year term and maybe get another three-year term, but that was the maximum. I served two three-year terms at the time. It was in the same general area, the Northumberland and Durham area, with the regional office in Peterborough. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’m really looking forward to going back.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: Was it part-time back then too?
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Oh, yes. It’s a pure volunteer job. I mean, there’s no remuneration or anything like that. I’m not interested in that. It’s strictly volunteer and enjoyable.
In this particular instance, it’s a question of trying to help people with their grant. They come and apply for a grant. Sometimes it just really doesn’t quite make sense and they need some help. So whether you can recommend they get a grant or whether you can recommend changing their grant slightly to make it more acceptable—either way, I found that you could always help the applicant, which gave them pleasure and certainly gave me pleasure too.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: Can you recall some of the groups that you helped?
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: As I understand it, in 2014-15—the concept of granting has changed substantially. Certainly, if I do get an appointment, I’ve got a lot of catch-up to do, because it has changed substantially from when I was there.
In those days, we would put a new roof on a church, for example—not over the sanctuary but over the area where people met and had weddings and so on—had parties. We did things like helping with a little group of 12 elderly people in the little village of Colborne. They had a lawn bowling operation going, just for the 12 of them. Their little tiny building was falling down, and they applied for a very, very small grant to put the building back up again. That was granted, so we were able to do that.
You mentioned earlier the Rebound Child and Youth Services of Northumberland county. I chair that board. It has 10 full-time employees, all professionals. They catered, last year, to over 700 children in that area. They received—
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): You have 10 seconds.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: They also received a grant from OTF to set up a program to counteract bullying in schools.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: Thank you very much for your service to your community and to the province.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you. We are now going to turn it over to the opposition. Mr. Cho? Oh, Mr. Pettapiece.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I like this term: You’re on “active retirement” right now.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Yes.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I like that term. It seems to me that if you retire, there’s always lots to do, and maybe you’re busier than when you were working.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: That is actually true, sir.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Yes. When my parents retired, it seemed the car was out of the garage every day and they were going and doing something. It’s great that we have people who leave their present jobs but still want to stay active in the community.
I’ve been involved with service work myself for—I don’t know—30 years now, I guess, in the Lions organization. There’s always something to do and, certainly, you don’t need to go looking too far to find it.
There have been some issues with Trillium in the past, but it has mostly been bookkeeping things, like in maybe not giving—it has been hard to find their value for—but I think they certainly cleaned that up quite a bit.
Your contribution to this organization—do you have a vision that you’re working with?
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Not really. It’s to try and help all that I can, and bring whatever I’ve got to the decision. I like working in a team. I like a team concept. Then everybody shares their skill sets and we don’t get one person controlling it. We usually get a better result, I think, when we do that—not every time, but most of the time—so I do prefer working in a group.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: That’s a great attitude. I do know that different groups, when they first apply for this type of funding—you know, the paperwork is an issue.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Yes.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Getting through that, though I believe it’s a little simpler than it was before—have you had any experience? Would you have enough experience to help these groups through that process?
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Well, as I mentioned, the system changed in 2014-15 and now just into 2016. We were fortunate recently to have the CEO, Andrea Cohen Barrack of OTF, come to our Rotary club as a speaker. She spent quite a bit of time talking about OTF and the changes that were taking place. I must admit, I was kind of shaking my head at the end of it. I realized that I would have an awful lot to do to catch up with the new process.
The only thing that really stays there is the need to develop healthy and vibrant communities. Really, that’s what it’s all about. It’s just how you go about doing that.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Yes, it’s a great fund. Certainly the riding I represent has taken full advantage of this fund, as much as they can. We’re very fortunate that the municipal employees involved have really helped the service clubs in doing the paperwork, mostly, and getting through that process to complete our projects.
What would you consider one of the greatest challenges that you might find on this board that you’re applying for?
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Having been away from it for a while, I would hesitate to just guess, but if I were to guess, I would think maybe that we need to look at the growing population in that area. It’s one of the fastest-growing areas in our province.
Also, in the Durham area, that Durham site, with the diversity of different immigration groups—if there’s something we can do there, to help them too. Then again, I understand that the senior citizens in the area have increased in number by 190%, and these are folk over 90. Just what we can do for them, I’m not quite sure, but certainly there are enough things out there for us to work with.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Well, I think you’ll be busy.
I was just at a seniors’ function in the little town that I live in last Thursday night. It was packed. Certainly, seniors are probably the fastest-growing demographic that we have in this province, because the baby boomers are booming. It’s going to be quite a group, and they do depend on these types of things.
Certainly the hall that they had this function in—it was a Christmas dinner—had benefited from Trillium grants before, just to keep it fixed up.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: If I could just add to that: I serve on the board of what’s called Halcyon Place. It’s a home for senior citizens. There are no services provided; it’s just rent-geared-to-income. There are 40 units and about 50 people.
I’m also in this other group with children—as I mentioned, 700 last year. What I find is that it takes us a heck of a lot more time looking after and catering to the 50 seniors than it does to 700 children. There’s always something for us to do to help the seniors. I’m one myself.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: I have to admit that, too, sir. I’m in that crowd. And it didn’t hurt when I got there, either.
That’s all, Chair.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): We are now going to turn it over to Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good morning, sir. How are you?
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: I’m just fine, thank you, sir.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good. I’ll just start by talking about the need to make sure we take care of our seniors.
We have a couple here in Ontario: 93 and 92. They’ve been married for 70 years. They are going to celebrate their anniversary on December 17. Because of their need for long-term care, they’ve actually been separated in two different homes, if you can imagine. That should never happen in Ontario. So when you’re looking for something to take up with seniors in your community, maybe you should raise that issue to make sure that no other couple in the province of Ontario goes through that. To be separated just because you need long-term care after 70 years, I think, is a big mistake in any province or any country, quite frankly. It’s an issue, and seniors are certainly growing. It’s nice that my colleague beside me is admitting that he’s a senior. I’m a senior. But that’s—
Mr. Wayne Gates: Oh, I am. By lots.
The other thing I’d like to say is that I’d like to thank you for your volunteering. Another issue that, again, is important, as you’re finding out with the number of clubs that you’ve done over the last number of years in your life, is that we need lots more volunteers. I think the seniors in all communities across the province of Ontario are doing their job and they’re going it extremely well, but the reality is that we need young volunteers.
In one of the programs that we have in the schools, they’ve got to get out and volunteer. I was at Club Italia in Niagara Falls on Sunday. We had four schools taking care of serving and helping cook the meal, hopefully getting them to understand the importance when they’re young so that they will continue into their adult life, whether it’s the Rotary Club, which does exceptional work with ribfests across the province of Ontario—I think everybody enjoys the ribfest—or the Lions and stuff.
So I just wanted to compliment you on all of the volunteering you’ve done throughout your career. I think we’ve all done our share, but we have to send a message to our young people. We are getting older, a lot of the clubs are getting older, and we need some young people to help out so that they can continue that tradition. So I just wanted to start by saying thank you.
Before I get into a couple of questions that I have to ask, just real quickly, have you ever donated to the Liberal Party?
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Yes, I have.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Can you give us a background on that? I think it’s a fair question to ask when you’re being appointed to any of these types of committees.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Oh, yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Maybe give me a background on your affiliation with the Liberal Party. You don’t have to tell me how much you’ve done or how often you’ve done it. Maybe give me a ballpark of how long you’ve been involved with the Liberal Party.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: I’d be happy to do that.
When I worked for the ministry, for the provincial government, of course I was not involved in politics of any kind. When I went with the county of Northumberland, the same thing applied: I stayed away from politics.
When I retired, it was a little different story. I think, when I look back—I’m being very honest here.
Mr. Wayne Gates: No, I want you to be honest. That’s why I asked the question.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: When I look back, I was at one point a Conservative, and then at another time I was an NDP. Then, after I retired, a Liberal member who I had known for years said to me, “Would you help me with my campaign?” I had such respect for this gentleman, unbelievable respect, that I said I would. Since then, I’ve become what is known in our area as a “Lou” Liberal. As I mentioned, I was very honest with you. That’s simply the way it is. Certainly, anything—
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: We take all colours.
Mr. Randy Pettapiece: Blue Liberal.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: Red Tory, I guess.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Well, I guess the best part of your answer is that—my question was, have you donated to the Liberal Party, and you’ve said yes.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: But I think the key word that you said through all that, sir—and I don’t know you that well, but I can tell that you’re a pretty respectful guy—is that you talked about, “I’m being honest.” I think we all should have that quality, particularly those 107 who sit in that room. I think that’s a key word that you said, so I appreciate your honesty.
In 2008, the Ontario Trillium Foundation noted that the DHKPR catchment area would see a significant population growth, with a particular emphasis on increases in the number of francophones, youth and new Canadians. In the eight years since then, has the DHKPR grant review team taken any particular action to address this growth?
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: I just wish I could answer that question for you but, as I mentioned earlier, my term with them ended in 2010. So from 2010 on, I really don’t have a handle on what they’ve done.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay, that’s fair. When you get appointed—and you will; I’m a little ahead of the vote, but I know how the room works—can you take that message and maybe take a look at what we’re doing for the francophone community, particularly young people and, obviously, new Canadians? Maybe write that down in your notes somewhere, and when you get appointed, just find out what we’ve been doing the last eight years. If we’re not doing enough, maybe you could be a voice for that. It would be greatly appreciated.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: I’d be happy to do that.
Mr. Wayne Gates: All right. And in the past several years, serving on the—I guess this is a little thing, and you might not be able to answer this either. Are there any particular challenges that you as a team will face that have not been appropriately addressed, in your opinion? When you sat there, are there some things that you wish you had addressed while you were sitting there? Maybe when you’re going back—because you always have an interest in this.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Is there something you would like to see addressed?
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: The terribly important thing in the total operation, of course, is the budget. Without a budget, you can’t do anything, anyway. I was always of the opinion that that budget could be changed by Parliament any time it wished. I often wondered whether or not there would be a benefit, certainly to OTF, to have the budget enshrined in legislation in some way, to make it a little more difficult to reduce. That’s just my own personal opinion.
Mr. Wayne Gates: What do you think the greatest challenges are?
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Certainly, maintaining a budget is going to be one. I believe there’s been a little fluctuation this past year; I’m not too sure about that. But certainly that would be one.
Getting enough volunteers out there is another thing, too, because when I was there before, I took charge of approximately 10 grants a year. So that would be two of us who would go out and investigate it and all the rest of it. With the number that is currently on the team, they must be running themselves ragged to try and keep up. So having adequate volunteers to do the work, and good volunteers, too—
Mr. Wayne Gates: Yes. It’s something that we already touched on. Thank you very much for being here.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Thank you, sir.
Mr. Wayne Gates: My pleasure.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): That concludes the time allocated for this interview. I’m going to ask that you step down.
Seeing that our second intended appointee is not here just yet, we’re going to proceed to the vote right now for Mr. Tondeur.
We’ll now consider the concurrence for Mr. Jonathan Tondeur, nominated as member, Grant Review Team—Durham, Haliburton, Kawartha and Pine Ridge—Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Would someone please move the concurrence? Mr. Qaadri.
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: I move concurrence in the intended appointment of Jonathan Tondeur, nominated as member, Grant Review Team—Durham, Haliburton, Kawartha and Pine Ridge—Ontario Trillium Foundation.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any discussion? All in favour? Opposed? The motion is carried. Congratulations, Mr. Jonathan Tondeur. Thank you for being here.
Mr. Jonathan Tondeur: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): We’re still going to wait a while for the next intended appointee. In the meantime, there are some extensions that perhaps we can consider right now.
We have two deadline extensions. Nithy Ananth, nominated as member, Consent and Capacity Board: The certificate deadline expires November 27, 2016. We’re seeking unanimous agreement to extend the deadline from November 27, 2016, to December 27, 2016. Do we have unanimous agreement on this extension? Any discussion? We’re good? It’s unanimous consent. Extended.
We’re looking for a deadline extension for Bernard Roy, nominated as member, Ontario French-language Educational Communications Authority. We’re looking to extend his certificate, which currently expires November 27, 2016, and seeking unanimous agreement to extend this deadline to December 27, 2016. Do we have unanimous agreement for this extension? Perfect. Extension granted.
Seeing that the next intended appointee is not here just yet, I’m going to suggest that we recess for five minutes. Thank you.
The committee recessed from 0931 to 0936.
Mr. Kip Daechsel
Review of intended appointment, selected by third party: Kip Daechsel, intended appointee as member, Ontario French-language Educational Communications Authority.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): We will now begin with our second intended appointee, Mr. Kip Daechsel, nominated as member, Ontario French-language Educational Communications Authority. Bienvenue.
M. Kip Daechsel: Merci.
La Présidente (Mme Cristina Martins): Bonjour, et merci d’être ici aujourd’hui.
Welcome. Thank you for being here. You may begin with a brief statement, if you wish. Members of each party will then have 10 minutes to ask you questions. Any time used for your statement will be deducted from the government’s time for questioning. When we begin questioning, it will begin with the official opposition.
Bienvenue. On peut commencer.
Mr. Kip Daechsel: OK, merci beaucoup.
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. It’s an honour to be here today and it’s an honour to be considered for this position. I thought, just to make your consideration of my candidacy a bit easier, I’d give you a few biographical notes about myself which may explain why I’m interested this position.
I grew up in Ottawa in a predominantly anglophone milieu, but when I was growing up, it was at a time when Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister of Canada. As a young person, I was very much inspired by both his personal example of bilingualism and his commitment to bilingualism as an important tool for building Canada, so I made a decision that I would acquire a proficiency in French. In my undergrad at Queen’s, where I studied political science, I took a number of French courses and continued that—
Mr. Kip Daechsel: Would you like me to wait?
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): No, go ahead. Continue.
Mr. Kip Daechsel: And I continued that during my undergraduate degree. I stayed at Queen’s after graduating in political science and did a common law degree there. I had spent a summer working in Quebec City, and I decided at that point that I would like to become proficient enough in French that I could actually practise in French. The only way I felt I could do that at the time, because there weren’t the same resources that there are now, was to go and do a civil law degree, which I did at Laval university.
When I was at Laval, I met a person who was from Toronto, and she and I ultimately got married. There’s a connection to this; I’ll explain it in a minute. After that, I came back to Ottawa and articled for Ontario, and did the Ontario and Quebec bar admission courses at the same time, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, for a pretty intense six months. My wife and I got married, and our first home was in Montreal. She was studying to become a teacher, and she is now a teacher of French and Spanish at a high school in Mississauga. We decided that, at that point, we could set up our home and build our family either in Quebec or Ontario, but we wanted to come back to Ontario. Her family was based here in Toronto so we came to Toronto.
But we made a determination, because we’re both very strong francophiles, that we would really continue to build and maintain our French, and so we did that in two ways. One was, when we had children—because if you’re familiar with the system for French-language education, to be an “ayant droit,” someone who has a right to send their child to a publicly funded French school, one of the parents has to have gone to an elementary school in French. Even though my wife and I were both pretty much perfectly bilingual, we didn’t qualify. The only way we could qualify was for our children to be able to speak proficient French, so we decided that one of us had to be the designated francophone. My wife is of Italian background—she spoke Italian to the kids—and I was the francophone parent, and have always spoken to my kids in French. To this day—they’re 26 and 24—they still speak to me in French. We put them in the French public system, so they did their elementary school in the Catholic board at St. Marguerite d’Youville, and they did their secondary school at the Collège français here, and they got excellent education.
The second element of our commitment to French language and culture was that I was always involved throughout my whole career in the not-for-profit francophone sector. I was president of our kids’ daycare for a number of years, and then left the board. The board had some issues, and the woman who ran the daycare asked me to come back, so I returned to the board as president for a short period to help them through that transition.
I have also been president of the Club canadien, which is the francophone Canadian club, and I am the president and founder of the Maison de la francophonie, which is a not-for-profit organization designed to provide amalgamated services for francophone not-for-profit organizations, and I continue to work very hard on that.
In my practice, I have been very involved—I speak French and use my French every day. My assistant is francophone. In downtown Toronto I have the pleasure of practising corporate law on Bay Street, and a good part of it is in French. I actually incorporated TFO when it was incorporated on June 25, 2007. As a lawyer on the boards of a number of organizations, I’ve found that it has been helpful to have those extra legal skills when legal issues come up in the middle of discussion.
I’ve always been a big fan of TFO, and my wife is a big consumer of its products for her educational programs at the high school level, so I see this as a very logical extension for me, personally, of what I’ve done to date in the community.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much. We will now begin questioning with the official opposition. Mr. Cho?
M. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: Merci beaucoup.
M. Kip Daechsel: De rien.
M. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: Je m’appelle Raymond Cho, mais je ne peux pas parler français, seulement l’anglais. That’s all I can say.
Mr. Kip Daeschel: I think we’ve met before, actually, at a meeting. Nice to see you again.
Mr. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: Thank you for applying for this position. We have three sons, and the oldest one doesn’t speak French, but the second and third were in the bilingual program, so they are fluent in both languages.
Mr. Kip Daeschel: Excellent.
Mr. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: I was reading that the organization’s activities are classified into six categories. I don’t know if you read it: innovative content, TFO education, agile technology, flexible operational environment, integrated marketing and promotion development, and innovation. Among these six activities, in which area do you think you can make a big contribution once you get this position?
Mr. Kip Daeschel: I think that where I can make a contribution is perhaps more on the organizational level than on the strategic substantive level, because I’m a corporate lawyer by training; that’s what clients pay me for. Obviously I’d be doing this as a volunteer.
I am very interested, though, in some of the innovative things that TFO has done. I went to the launch they had a couple of weeks back of their computer-generated backdrops, and it was very impressive.
I’m also quite keen to support their efforts to internationalize their product line. I think it’s important for us to be proud as Canadians, and the French Canada we have is not limited to Quebec; it is strong outside Quebec as well. To be able to share some of the products that we’ve generated, as they have with recent contracts in Louisiana and with PBS in the United States: That’s an area of particular interest.
I don’t come to this saying that I have substantive knowledge of what they do on a day-to-day basis—that’s just not what I’m trained in—but I have substantive knowledge on governance and governance issues and any sort of related legal issues that come up, and a passionate interest in what they do, which is really what I bring to the table.
Mr. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: Okay. As we know, in Toronto and the GTA we get most of our immigrants, and the new Canadians are busy settling, making adjustments, etc. But it would be great if the children of new Canadians had opportunities to learn the French language.
Mr. Kip Daechsel: I agree.
Mr. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: A lot of schools provide it. But do you have any idea how we could spread this French program so that the new Canadians—children learn a language very fast, right? So do you have any idea? And could you use that through that organization?
Mr. Kip Daechsel: As your personal example shows, I think the immersion programs that are available are an excellent way to make the acquisition of French to new Canadians.
Mr. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: It’s very limited, though, you know?
Mr. Kip Daechsel: Well, it may be, but I think we should try to push those boundaries and provide more opportunities for young people to learn French, not just in the classroom, but online and all these other more modern delivery methods that I know TFO has been working on. I think that could be a real contributing factor to that.
Actually, one of the organizations I was on the board of was the Centre francophone. One of its roles is to settle immigrants who have come to the Toronto area from French-speaking countries, so I’m familiar with some of the challenges that they face.
Mr. Raymond Sung Joon Cho: That’s it. Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): We will now turn it over to Mr. Gates.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good morning. How are you?
Mr. Kip Daechsel: I’m good, thank you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Good. Like our last witness before you got here, I’m going to ask you a question: Maybe you can give me some history on what your role has been or contributions that you’ve given to the Liberal Party?
Mr. Kip Daechsel: I have been active in the Liberal Party. I see being active in politics as an important way of contributing to society. Quite frankly, you ladies and gentlemen wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have people like me working hard at your constituency organizations supporting you. I think that’s an important part of the process.
I have been the president of riding associations at the federal level, not at the provincial level, though I’ve been on executives at the provincial level. I have given generously. The exact numbers, I don’t know; I’d rather not tally them up, because I’d rather not know how much I’ve given. But I have given to the Liberal Party over the years, yes.
Mr. Wayne Gates: That’s accurate, that you’ve given a substantial amount of money to the Liberal Party—
Mr. Kip Daechsel: I don’t know about “substantial.”
Mr. Wayne Gates: Okay, “generous,” I guess, is the word to use.
Mr. Kip Daechsel: I don’t even know—it depends on—
Mr. Wayne Gates: It’s fine. I just wanted to establish that you have.
Mr. Kip Daechsel: It depends on a person’s means. I’ve been lucky enough to be a successful Bay Street lawyer. Given the means that I have, I support individuals that I feel strongly will make a contribution to building a better province and to building a better country. I think that’s an important part of the whole system for all of us, for all the parties, frankly.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Are you now prepared to ensure that all your actions in support of the Liberals—as a member of these boards, you’ll be fully non-partisan?
Mr. Kip Daechsel: I don’t know what that means. Sorry.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Well, you’ve been giving to the Liberal Party. You’re now being put onto a board. Will be it non-partisan? Will you make sure that, just because you’re affiliated with the Liberals, it won’t cloud your decision-making process?
Mr. Kip Daechsel: I don’t see how politics comes into running TFO, quite frankly. There may be a situation where it might, but I don’t see how it would. One of the reasons I stress what I’ve done for all the organizations whose boards I have been on—I haven’t mentioned them all. There is the Théâtre français, the Alliance française and the Centre francophone, which I just mentioned. My commitment to the francophone community has nothing to do with my commitment to the broader community through my political activities.
Mr. Wayne Gates: In October 2016, the TFO signed an agreement with PBS to distribute its French language content across the United States. Do you have any thoughts on how TFO can go about this process so as to best maximize their profits and fund it, while still ensuring that those who want to have French language programs are able to get it?
Mr. Kip Daechsel: Throughout my career, I’ve had to build a business, the business within my law firm. To do that, you go out; you meet people; you make connections; you create networks. I would think that’s what TFO has to do. I would presume that’s what they’ve already done.
I know one of the early founders, Jacques Bensimon, who was very involved early on, and he was originally from Morocco, so had connections through the international francophone community to move product and expand the reach of TFO. My suggestion would be that they continue to do that, which is what people in business have to do to try to get themselves known, and my assumption is that that’s what they have been doing.
Those are huge wins, by the way, I think, on their part.
Mr. Wayne Gates: That’s why I asked the question.
Mr. Kip Daechsel: Thank you.
Mr. Wayne Gates: According to your resumé, you don’t appear to have any particular background in television or educational communications. With that in mind, are there any particular reasons that led you to seek a seat on this board?
Mr. Kip Daechsel: Well, you’re right. I don’t have a background in television. I do have a background in education. I’m a parent, and I’m a parent who has supported both of the French-language systems very actively. I’ve also been on parent committees in addition to the other things I’ve done that I mentioned earlier. I’ve been married for over 32 years to an educator who educates in French, so I’m sensitive to education and education issues, which we discuss regularly around the table. I see education as a critical part to continuing to build our society.
Mr. Wayne Gates: I can tell you that we have something in common. My wife was a French teacher for a number of years.
Mr. Kip Daechsel: Oh, neat.
Mr. Wayne Gates: So I obviously understand the importance of French as well.
What particular contribution do you hope to make on this board?
Mr. Kip Daechsel: I hope to be able to contribute to the efficiency of the way the meetings are run, because to have a lawyer around the table is an asset.
Mr. Kip Daechsel: I know—if it’s a good lawyer, anyway.
I know Glenn O’Farrell is a lawyer by training, but I don’t believe that he’s practised, and I understand that the general counsel usually sits in at the meetings. So I’m not claiming that I’m going to arrive there and change everything, but it’s just an added plus to have there. In my board career to date, if you call it that, that has been my experience. I hope to contribute in that way, and I hope to find other ways to contribute.
In my own career, I’ve built a lot of networks and a lot of connections here and I’ve been quite active in France. Maybe some of my connections might help as well.
Mr. Wayne Gates: Thank you. I appreciate it.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Thank you very much, Mr. Gates.
We will now turn it over to the government side. You have about four minutes.
M. Shafiq Qaadri: Premièrement, merci, monsieur Daechsel, pour votre présence, soumission et aussi votre soutien de la communauté franco-ontarienne.
I of course salute your advocacy of having more lawyers around this place. We could always use more lawyers, and certainly, the more that are present, the more efficiently things run.
I wanted to perhaps ask you a bit of a stretch question, not necessarily tied to your responsibilities as desired here. The government of Ontario, as you may know, has actually increased and also doubled our target for French or francophone immigrants to the province of Ontario. As you know, it’s a bit of a stretch goal in that I think we have achieved more or less 2.5%, but we’ve actually doubled it to 5%.
I wanted to just get your thoughts on how you might suggest we go about doing that. Should we, for example, log on to the diplomatic corps? Should we ask every francophone to import a relative? What do you think our strategy should be?
Mr. Kip Daechsel: I think those aren’t bad suggestions. I think we should just be more visible abroad. I think that people have to understand—because it’s a constant struggle even within Canada. When I go to Montreal and speak to the cab drivers in French, they’re startled that someone comes from Toronto and speaks French. When I explain to them that we have two publicly funded school boards, they’re startled, and they say, “Why don’t people tell us this?” I think some of that is innocent, and some of it is less innocent. People don’t tell them because they want to perpetuate the notion that French Canada stops at the Ottawa River. I think the more we do to encourage awareness of French Canada outside of Quebec, the stronger the community is going to be in Ontario.
I know that the government has also made an effort to try and become part of the International francophone organization, with observer status. I think that’s very exciting, and I think that would help too, because that will raise the profile, just as New Brunswick’s profile has been raised by having that status.
I just think we have to get out there and get the word out that Ontario is the place to come, and particularly the Toronto area, because it’s so strong economically. You can come here, and you obviously have to learn English, but you can maintain your francophone identity. As you know, for a lot of them, it’s not their first identity. It may already be their second identity. But they can keep that and their first identity.
I don’t know how we can get the word out internationally—perhaps on the Internet somehow, or maybe through the Ontario offices that we have abroad. Particularly in countries like France, where young people are suffering because of lack of economic opportunities, it would be wonderful to bring those people over, in addition to northern Africa, where there are a lot of people who have a lot to offer but just don’t have an opportunity to get started.
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: And I certainly recognize your inspiration from Trudeau the First. I think that you even served in the same law firm, Heenan Blaikie, along with our colleague, Laurel Broten, once upon a time.
Mr. Kip Daechsel: Yes, that’s right.
M. Shafiq Qaadri: Encore une fois, merci beaucoup pour votre présence et soumission.
M. Kip Daechsel: De rien. Merci.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: May I add a comment? Do we have time?
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): You have 30 seconds.
Ms. Daiene Vernile: Okay, in 30 seconds, let me say to you that I spent 36 years working in television. I anchored and produced a weekly news and current affairs program. I will say that some of the best people we had in the industry were those who came in with no experience in television, because they provided a fresh perspective. So we welcome you to this board.
Mr. Kip Daechsel: Thank you very much.
La Présidente (Mme Cristina Martins): Merci beaucoup. On a maintenant fini.
M. Kip Daechsel: Merci beaucoup.
La Présidente (Mme Cristina Martins): De rien.
I want to thank you, first of all, for being here, and we will now go to a vote.
We will now consider the concurrence for Mr. Kip Daechsel, nominated as member, Ontario French-language Educational Communications Authority. Would someone please move the concurrence? Mr. Qaadri.
M. Shafiq Qaadri: Merci, madame la Présidente. Je propose l’adoption de la nomination of Mr. Kip Daechsel, nominated as member, Ontario French-language Communications Educational Authority.
The Chair (Mrs. Cristina Martins): Any discussion? All in favour? The motion is carried. Congratulations, Mr. Daechsel. Merci, encore une fois.
So we are good for today. We’ve extended the deadlines and we’ve done the concurrences. Thank you very much. Committee adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 0957.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Chair / Présidente
Mrs. Cristina Martins (Davenport L)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente
Ms. Daiene Vernile (Kitchener Centre / Kitchener-Centre L)
Mr. James J. Bradley (St. Catharines L)
Mr. Raymond Sung Joon Cho (Scarborough–Rouge River PC)
Mr. Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls ND)
Mr. Monte Kwinter (York Centre / York-Centre L)
Mrs. Amrit Mangat (Mississauga–Brampton South / Mississauga–Brampton-Sud L)
Mrs. Cristina Martins (Davenport L)
Mr. Randy Pettapiece (Perth–Wellington PC)
Mr. Shafiq Qaadri (Etobicoke North / Etobicoke-Nord L)
Ms. Daiene Vernile (Kitchener Centre / Kitchener-Centre L)
Clerk / Greffière
Ms. Sylwia Przezdziecki
Staff / Personnel
Ms. Erin Fowler, research officer,