Evidence of meeting #56 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was that's.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Bibiane Ouellette  Clerk of the Committee , Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates
  • Susan Louis-Seize  Association of Compensation Advisors
  • John Gordon  National President, Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Diane Melançon  Association of Compensation Advisors
  • Michael Brandimore  Association of Compensation Advisors
  • David Orfald  Director of Planning and Organizational Development, Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Margaret Jaekl  Classification Officer, Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Rob Walsh  Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, House of Commons

June 7th, 2007 / 3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Diane Marleau

I call this meeting to order, now that we have a chair. I'm told it's always just 3:30 when the chair shows up.

Before we go to our witnesses, Mr. Kramp wanted to say a few words, and I will let him say a few words.

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

I address this to my colleagues. My apologies to our witnesses here today.

Concerning the issue we're dealing with later on with the motion of Madame Bourgeois, I have a couple of concerns. I would ask for your indulgence on this.

The fact is that our committee role is really oversight and not necessarily to make specific decisions on policy, under the practices. There is the possibility that this decision we make could or could not be in the best interests of the crown or of the taxpayer, and there could even be a potential for not only a loss, but maybe even civil liability back to the crown, due to the fact of our having an ongoing thing.

Regardless, I would ask that we obtain legal counsel here today prior to our vote on the motion, just asking for the House's legal opinion on this matter, if they're available to come.

We don't want to put this off. We want to have a decision today and we're quite free to roll with whatever decision we take. But I think this is a fail-safe that could be in place and could ensure that we're not about to do something that might not be in the best interests of the crown, the taxpayers, and/or third parties.

I would ask for your thoughts.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Diane Marleau

On that topic I don't want to take too much time, because we have witnesses here.

Monsieur Bonin.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Bonin Nickel Belt, ON

Madam Chair, I can't speak for my team, but, for my part, I have no objection to receiving legal opinions. However, I will stick to Mr. Kramp's comment, that this must be settled today. So we must be allowed to have a vote today. I'm not afraid of receiving a legal opinion, because a committee can only make recommendations to the House. So the consequences that we fear do not exist. If the House decided to support our recommendation, that would change everything.

So I have no fears on that subject. If you promise us not to delay the meeting until 5:30 p.m., as was the case the other evening, I am personally prepared to support that.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Diane Marleau

Ms. Bourgeois.

3:35 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Kramp, I find it hard to understand the urgent nature of your request. If I've correctly understood, the study of two banks is the only thing on the table. The minister was to ensure that he had a supplementary study. We were to set a third study in motion before taking any action whatever. Did I understand correctly?

At the moment, the buildings are not for sale. So I don't see why we would have a legal problem or why you wouldn't accept my motion. They aren't for sale at this time. Furthermore, Madam Chair, the minister doesn't have the third study, whereas he undertook to get it.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Diane Marleau

Ms. Bourgeois, they are for sale, remember.

3:35 p.m.

An hon. member

Yes, they are for sale.

3:35 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

They're for sale?

3:35 p.m.

An hon. member

There is a bid.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Diane Marleau

We're not going to debate the question. Do we agree to request a legal opinion?

3:35 p.m.

An hon. member

Yes.

3:35 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

You agree, but I'm looking.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Diane Marleau

Who is available and at what time?

3:35 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

It's all well and good to request an opinion—