Evidence of meeting #55 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was questions.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

June 5th, 2007 / 11:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Gary Goodyear

Colleagues, we're going to start our meeting this morning.

This morning's meeting will pretty much deal with two key issues. One is the steering committee's recommendations on where this committee should go over the next couple of weeks, and the second part will be based on whether we accept that report or not.

First, colleagues, let me tell you that we potentially have six meetings left. That's not a lot of time. The steering committee met this morning at eight o'clock and reviewed all the different motions before the committee, as well as leftover business, or some small items requiring more detailed discussions—which time potentially does not permit. As well, we looked at the list of potential legislation that could be sent before this committee.

The steering committee had lengthy and very in-depth discussions, and ultimately, here's what the steering committee decided.

We will deal this morning with Monsieur Guimond's motion in relation to questions by independent members during question period.

The second thing the committee recommended was that because all the other motions on your list require significant discussion, they should be put off until the fall.

The committee discussed Bill C-54 and a number of potential witnesses to be called on Thursday. We've narrowed the list down to four witnesses, all of whom will be contacted, if they've not already been contacted. Lucile has already sent out some e-mails this morning. The witnesses we requested will be here on Thursday, and those who can't make it on Thursday will be requested to submit a report by the end of day Friday, which will be translated and submitted to members late on Monday, if all goes well, for Tuesday's meeting. So we should finish our investigative process as a result of that action. We should be able, therefore, to begin clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-54 on Tuesday, June 12.

Again, rumours are flying about how much time we have left here in Parliament, but we may then begin with Bill C-55 on Thursday—but I think we're moving too far ahead. The steering committee only decided, therefore, on the plan of action for today's meeting, as I said, which will be to deal with Mr. Guimond's motion. If the committee agrees with that, we would ultimately adjourn today, and on Thursday we would come back to hear the witnesses.

I should also point out that the Conflict of Interest Code has been finished by our subcommittee after, I think, 11 meetings and some fairly arduous work. That is ready to be presented on Thursday. We'll have a look at that on Thursday as well, along with having our witnesses.

On Tuesday we'll begin clause-by-clause. We need to agree as a committee on a 24-hour notice for any amendments to Bill C-54, and we need to approve a budget.

So that's what we need to do today. Are there any discussions on that?

Madame Robillard, you're first, and Madame Redman, you're second.

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

I have a question, Mr. Chairman.

My understanding is that if the witnesses slated to appear with regard to Bill C-54 are unable to come on Thursday, you will ask them to provide the committee with a brief by Friday if practicable.

Might we advise Mr. Mayrand, the Chief Electoral Officer, of the precise date and time of our meeting? The last time, we asked him for a more in-depth analysis of Bill C-54. We should therefore let him know that we would be expecting his document on Friday.

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Gary Goodyear

We're supposed to have that by Friday of this week. It's already in the works, and we've been promised it by Friday. Of course, I'm assuming it will be in both official languages. As soon as we get it, it will be forwarded on.

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Thank you.

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Gary Goodyear

Madam Redman.

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

First of all, I appreciate the work of the steering committee, and just for record, we Liberals would be very happy to be here until the 22nd, if we need to, to get all of this done.

I want to clarify if you said in your report on the steering committee that we could potentially be doing Bill C-54 clause-by-clause and the Conflict of Interest Code on the same Thursday, or am I wrong?

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Gary Goodyear

No.

Sorry, you did hear that wrong, or perhaps I said it wrong. This Thursday we would have the witnesses for Bill C-54, and the Conflict of Interest Code. Clearly, if there ends up being a lengthy discussion on this issue, we won't be able to deal with it on Thursday.

There has been such a lot of work done on that code.

Madame Redman, you were on that committee, so you know that there was a lot of work done.

Mr. Owen, you were on that committee, and a number of us were there. Chances are we'll have a look at that, and there may be brief discussions, and we'll be able to do it this Thursday.

Clause-by-clause on the contract--I can't see that starting until Tuesday, simply because I don't expect all the witnesses to be able to attend. One of them is a superior court judge. We're asking them.

For another witness--I believe, Madame Redman, recommended by you--we have only an e-mail address. There is no phone number. There is no way to contact them, and we're doing our very best.

I sense that some of them will ultimately be submitting reports rather than appearing in person. I can't see that happening before Monday, so I can't see us starting clause-by-clause before Tuesday, which means Thursday.... Anyway, that's all I have to say about that.

Mr. Lukiwski.

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Thanks, Chair.

My only question was that I understand we're going to deal with Mr. Guimond's motions today.

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Gary Goodyear

As soon as this steering report is dealt with.

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

That's great, and I'm aware of what the motions are. I'm familiar with them, but I don't have the exact wording. Do we have copies of them here?

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Gary Goodyear

Yes. As soon as the team supports the steering committee's report, if that's where we're heading, we'll distribute the motion, and we'll distribute the budget, I suppose. Actually, no--that's just for me. I'm the only one that gets to see the budget.

Okay. Is everybody in favour of that?

Mr. Owen.

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Vancouver Quadra, BC

Just to make sure we're all anticipating the same thing, the four witnesses who are being contacted are who?

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Gary Goodyear

The executive director of Equal Voice. The steering committee asked that the most...I guess the best word was the most ardent of the provincial folks, the toughest and most restrictive, come. That turns out to be Ontario. If Ontario can't come, the steering committee said we'll ask for the second toughest, so we're trying to get a face here, but it will be the chief electoral officer of one of the following provinces, beginning with Ontario. The Honourable Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, or the Right Honourable Antonio Lamer--and Mr. Raymond Garneau, who I believe is a loans officer and....

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

He's a former bank executive.

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Gary Goodyear

He's a former bank executive and a former member of Parliament, which sounds like a great choice. So those are our attempts.