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Evidence of meeting #1 for Bill C-11 (41st Parliament, 1st Session) in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was going.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Christine Holke David

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

We are talking about work pace. I want to know whether this pace would allow us to invite new witnesses or witnesses I did not have the opportunity to hear from but would like to. I think that if we take such a systematic approach, we will not have enough time to hear from witnesses.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

We need to suspend for one moment, as I have no translation. We just have to get that fixed and then we'll go from there.

I can hear it now. Fantastic.

I'm sure what you said, Mr. Labelle, was fantastic, but would you mind repeating it?

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

I am looking at the proposed schedule and I don't think it leaves much time for witnesses. That is every day. I get the sense there is a desire to move quickly here. This is an important bill, and we want to be able to hear from witnesses again. I was not on the committee. There are witnesses I want to hear from, and I don't think this leaves enough time to bring them before the committee.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Thank you, Mr. Labelle.

Go ahead, Mr. Angus.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Thank you.

I'd like to move an amendment that we meet from 8:45 to 10:45 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That way we're not interfering with the work of other committees and the work of other studies.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Just for clarification, you moved an amendment for 8:45 a.m.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

On Tuesday and Thursday mornings, it would be 8:45 to 10:45.

3:55 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

We'll open up discussion on the amendment. Does anyone have anything to discuss?

I will then call the question on the amendment. We would just change the Tuesdays and the Thursdays, if I am correct, from 8:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

(Amendment negatived)

We're back to the original motion.

Is there any further discussion?

Go ahead, Monsieur Nantel.

February 14th, 2012 / 3:55 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

I am also very concerned. I think we are off to a pretty rigid start. We are being told this is how it's going to work, period. I, too, would like the opportunity to hear from as many witnesses as possible. Throwing this at us right off the bat shows a lack of regard.

I would also like to know whether our schedule is jampacked for just a week. How many weeks are there in the agenda of our neighbours across the way?

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.

3:55 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Go ahead, Mr. Lake.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Can I just get some clarification?

I believe there are five members of the NDP here right now, but I believe they only have four members on the committee. It seems as though there's a filibuster attempt beginning here, and it may be a little bit of a challenge having five members on the committee right now. Maybe we could identify the four members from the NDP sitting on the committee.

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

We're going to have five, and we'll vary the voting, depending on who is going to be on the issue. Today we'll go with the first four. How's that?

3:55 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

On your point of order, Mr. Lake, the four are Mr. Angus, Mr. Benskin—

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Andrew will not vote today--

3:55 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

--Mr. Dionne Labelle, and Mr. Nantel. Those are the four members of the NDP on this committee today.

Is there any further discussion in relation to the times?

Before I get to you, Mr. Cash, we have to clarify at some point when this will start. Can we also have a discussion as to when we are going to start these times?

With that, go ahead, Mr. Cash.

3:55 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

I think it's important to state that we've tried to suggest a constructive way around an issue that's going to affect many of us, including those on the other side, and I think it's important to put on the record that this solution was summarily rejected for no apparent reason other than that they can.

3:55 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

All right. Thank you, Mr. Cash.

As it stands right now, the times are Monday, 3:30 to 6:30; Tuesday, 9:00 to 12:00; Wednesday, 3:30 to 6:30; and Thursday, 9 to 12:00.

Go ahead, Mr. Del Mastro.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

If you wanted a commencement date, we were looking at the Monday immediately following the break. Would that be the 27th? I don't have a calendar.

I move that the schedule begin on Monday, February 27, 2012.

3:55 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Then we would commence these meetings on February 27 at 3:30 p.m.

(Motion agreed to)

Thank you.

Go ahead, Mr. Lake.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

I move that each meeting be divided into two separate panels of one and a half hours, with no more than three witnesses each.

Mr. Chair, three witnesses is the same number that we sought to have in the last Parliament. We felt that it worked okay. The one and a half hours is a little bit longer, I think, than what we did last Parliament, because we were significantly restricted on time in the last Parliament. We think that a panel of an hour and a half would give a reasonable hearing time for the witnesses.

3:55 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Is there any discussion?

(Motion agreed to)

4 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Get your pens ready: this motion is a little longer.

I move as follows:

That the witnesses from any one organization shall be allowed 10 minutes to make their opening statement. During the questioning of witnesses there shall be allocated five minutes for the first round of questioning, and thereafter five minutes shall be allocated to each questioner in the second and subsequent rounds of questioning. The order of questions for the first round of questioning shall be Conservative, NDP, Conservative, Liberal, and questioning during the second round shall alternate between the government members and opposition members in the following fashion: Conservative, NDP, Conservative, NDP, Conservative, NDP, Conservative, Conservative, based on the principle that each committee member shall have a full opportunity to question the witnesses. If time permits, further rounds shall repeat the pattern of the first two, at the discretion of the chair.

4 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Glenn Thibeault

Is there discussion?

Go ahead, Mr. Regan.

4 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Chairman, I want to point out, first of all, that this has not always been the approach taken in committees.

In fact, if you look at what happened in the 37th Parliament at the defence and veterans affairs committee, you'll see that although the Liberal Party had 57.5% of the seats in the House of Commons, it had only 20% of the time for asking questions. At that time, the Canadian Alliance had 22% of the seats, and it had 20% of the questions also. The Bloc Québécois at that time had 12.3% of the seats in the House, but it had 20% of the questions. The NDP at that time had 4.3%, and it also had 20% of the questions.

In the 38th Parliament on that committee, the Liberal Party had 43.8% of the seats and only 37.9% of the time for questions. The Conservatives had 32% of the seats and 29% of the question time. The Bloc had 17.5% of the seats and 20.7% of the question time. The NDP had 4.2% of the seats and 12.1% of the question time.

In the 39th Parliament on that committee, the Conservative Party had 40.3% of the seats in the House—I know that they're liking the way this is going—but only 29.2% of the question time. The Liberal Party had 33.4% of the seats and 37.9% of the question time. The Bloc had 16.6% of the seats and 20.7% of the question time. The NDP had 9.4% of the seats and 12.1% of the speaking time.

In the 40th Parliament, the Conservative Party had 46.4% of the seats and 42% of the question time. The Liberal Party had 25% of the seats and the same percentage, 25%, of the speaking time. The Bloc had 15.9% of the seats in the House but 19.3% of the question time. The NDP had 12% of the seats and 13.6% of the question time.

Therefore, there have been times when it's been much more equitable. Considering that we have a system of parties in which the government obviously has one interest and there are other points of view, it seems to me to be much more reasonable and fair if there is more reasonable sharing among the parties of the time for questions.