Evidence of meeting #26 for Canada-China Relations in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was amendment.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Iain Stewart  President, Public Health Agency of Canada
Christian Roy  Executive Director and Senior General Counsel, Health Legal Services, Department of Justice
Philippe Dufresne  Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, House of Commons
Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Marie-France Lafleur
Guillaume Poliquin  Acting Vice-President, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada

7:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you very much, Madam Clerk.

7:45 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

I have a point of order.

7:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Go ahead, Mr. Genuis, on a point of order.

7:45 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Could I just quickly clarify my motion by responding to Madam Clerk?

First, I just sent you an email with the French version, so hopefully that version allows the motion to be distributed.

Second, I was very intentional in this amendment in not raising the question of the privileges of the committee. I understand that questions of privilege have different implications for the House and that is a further option that the committee has before us. I would propose, if it's agreeable, given that you've done the work in preparing that draft report, that you do distribute it to members so we can have it for our consideration, but that is not the amendment I'm proposing.

The amendment I'm proposing—and you noted this in your comments—would say that if the documents are not provided within seven days, that a report be sent to the House, which if concurred in would amount to a House order for the production of the documents. It would still, at that point, not be a privilege issue; it would be a House order.

Madam Clerk, correct me if I'm wrong, but I have intentionally stopped short of taking this to the furthest possible extreme.

7:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

The clerk is nodding in agreement, it appears.

I'll go to Ms. Zann, now.

7:45 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Regarding my original motion, I had said at the end of it something that Mr. Oliphant repeated, and that was to request the Parliamentary law clerk to review the documents and ascertain the fairness of them. That was actually in my motion. It read:

That the unredacted documents from the Public Health Agency of Canada be provided to the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel for him to review and ascertain the fairness of them.

Mr. Chair, are we going to vote on that motion? I'm certainly willing to listen to more questions and ask more questions if people would prefer me to take my motion off the floor. I can do that too.

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

We are presently debating an amendment to your motion, Ms. Zann, and that amendment is on the floor. Prior to that, your motion was on the floor.

As I understand it, that motion now belongs to the committee, so an individual who has moved a motion can't retract the motion. The committee has possession of the motion once it's been moved.

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Thank you.

Could the clerk make sure the last part is there?

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

I think the clerk may have that wording, but perhaps—

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

When she repeated it, it wasn't part of it.

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Perhaps you could text or email her to make sure the wording is right.

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

I don't know if I have her email.

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Madam Clerk, do you have the wording as Ms. Zann has stated it?

7:50 p.m.

The Clerk

What I read previously was, “That the unredacted documents from the Public Health Agency of Canada be provided to the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel.”

I do have another part, “to review and ascertain”, and then I am missing additional words.

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

They are “the fairness of them”.

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

The motion is before us.

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

Lenore Zann Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Thank you.

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

The amendment of that motion is also before us, and we are debating the latter at the moment.

7:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Just a minute, Mr. Williamson. I am talking about a point of order at the moment.

Either of those could be withdrawn, but only with the consent of the committee.

I recognize Mr. Williamson on a point of order.

7:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

I thought we were working off the motion that was put by MP Zann, which the clerk read, and then MP Genuis made an amendment to modify it, and that is the debate.

It seems that MP Zann has now come in and added other words. I don't know how that impacts Garnett's amendment, but I want to make sure we're not amending the motion while discussing the amendment to it.

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

As I see it, Ms. Zann has indicated that the clerk didn't get all the wording of the motion she made.

May 10th, 2021 / 7:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

I have a point of order on that. The motion, as she put it forward, was read by the clerk, and that was her time to correct it. It seems odd that we're having it amended now. I hear what you're saying, but if she is permitted to do that, then MP Genuis should be allowed to tweak his.

I'm not sure that having the law clerk judge fairness is in his purview. That is a question, I think, for legislatures. He is here to provide us legal counsel, so I worry that the term “fairness” is modifying her motion in a way that Garnett did not respond to, and he should be given the ability to do so if he thinks that is necessary.

7:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Geoff Regan

Thank you, Mr. Williamson.

Madam Clerk, could you read the motion as Ms. Zann is indicating she first made it, and then read the motion to amend, please?

7:50 p.m.

The Clerk

Yes, absolutely.

The first motion moved by Ms. Zann was, “That the unredacted documents from the Public Health Agency of Canada be provided to the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel.”

It's very possible that I missed the last part, but that was the version I had.

I have the amendment moved by Mr. Genuis, which I sent to all of you by email maybe two minutes ago. I can read that as well.