Evidence of meeting #17 for Justice and Human Rights in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was provinces.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

8:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

We will call this meeting to order.

This is meeting number 17. Today, pursuant to Standing Order 106(4), we have a meeting requested by four members of the committee to discuss their request to undertake a study of Bill C-290, an act to amend the Criminal Code,sports betting.

Mr. Harris, sir.

8:45 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Thank you, Chair.

This was referred to the committee in the early part of November, and we haven't had a chance to discuss it. Given the uncertainty of what meetings we would or would not have, we thought it best to bring it forward and schedule a hearing.

My understanding from the mover of the bill, Mr. Comartin, who's observing today—although as a member of Parliament he's certainly entitled to sit at our bench, but I know he's modest—is that we'd like to get it on the agenda. I believe it's agreed our hearing will be fairly short, involving Mr. Comartin and one witness from the Ontario Gaming Association. I believe there was a possibility that the Department of Justice or some agency of government would want to have a witness as well. I'm hoping we can deal with this before we rise at Christmastime.

The letter was merely to ensure that it was on today's agenda, and to ask that there be a meeting. There is some rule about five days, but I think we can be collegial about that. Hopefully we can have a meeting to deal with that bill and see where it goes from there.

8:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

It's my understanding, Mr. Harris, that this meeting is held within those five days. It is now for us to discuss how to go forward.

8:45 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

We can set it for next March, for example.

8:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

It's whatever the committee decides.

8:45 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

This is the meeting to set the meeting, I guess.

8:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

That's right.

Mr. Goguen.

8:45 a.m.

Conservative

Robert Goguen Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

I know this is somewhat unusual; this is mostly used as procedure when we're not sitting. We haven't forgotten Mr. Comartin's bill, but in essence we're at the same position we were when we last met: we're still in discussions with the provinces. Until we've firmed up what they want to do, we can't tell which witnesses—if any—we'd have to call. Once we've ascertained that, it may be very quick, as Mr. Harris has suggested.

But for the time being, it's our suggestion—I'd make that motion—that we set it aside until such time as we studied the organized crime bill, which we've committed some amount of time to. Mr. Comartin was there, and I think he'd probably be in agreement with that.

As for setting it in March, why set it in March? It will probably be much quicker than that. Once we have the provinces' positions and we know where we stand with witnesses, as Mr. Harris has suggested, it shouldn't take that much time.

Sorry, it was the organized crime study, not the bill.

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

Mr. Harris.

8:50 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

I hear you, Mr. Goguen. But the initial thought here was that.... The bill itself, as one can see from looking at it, is not extremely complex.

The question doesn't seem to be whether or not this ought to be repealed. I guess the question is for the provinces and others, to see what the implications of it are in terms of implementation. My understanding from the speeches was that both sides of the House were in agreement on this.

I'm just wondering how the delay would advance the cause here if the legislation itself, as opposed to the implementation, and what the other consequences would be in terms of government organizations.... But that's not necessarily a matter for this committee in any event.

I'm wondering why there is a delay for the consultation.

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

I have another speaker on the list.

Mr. Jean.

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

I'd be more than happy to defer to the parliamentary secretary.

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

Okay.

Mr. Goguen.

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

Robert Goguen Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

It really has to do with discussions in regard to Finance; that's something they will explore. They haven't determined the positions of the provinces nor the issue they want to canvass.

Of course, we've been accused of rushing things through. We talked about initial thought—we're still thinking about it in that regard from the Finance perspective. We're sort of in hold right now.

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

Mr. Jean.