Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I will give my presentation in both French and English, although we have well-qualified interpreters here with us.
I attended the Bali Conference as an adviser. I was accompanied by Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the former assistant deputy minister at Environment Canada and former director of the United Nations Environment Program; by Mary Simon, one of the most prominent figures in Canada's far north; and by Ian Morton, who will be speaking later. We were there as individuals. We were part of the delegation but did not represent Canadian positions. We appreciated the fact that the minister allowed us to speak with him.
Our mandate and the object of our functions was essentially to advise the minister at his will--and it turned out to also be at our will--on various elements going on during the conference. The object of this advice was a lot about the process. As you know, most of these conferences are pretty concentrated on process. Secondly, some of us gave advice to the minister on various delegations that were present or the various bodies that were represented at the meeting. Finally, we commented for the minister on certain events taking place.
On our activities, we were to be available to the minister and present at the various briefings given by officials. We accompanied the minister to various bilateral meetings--not all of us, but some of us some of the time. We talked with some of the delegations. I talked mostly with European delegations because I've known some people on that circuit for a few years now. That was also the case with Elizabeth Dowdeswell, who happened to know people from all over the world at this conference. Finally, we attended certain types of events, including so-called side events that take place during these conferences. I attended a conference given by the leader of the opposition, Mr. Stéphane Dion.
I'm ready to answer all possible questions, although I consider that the advice exchanged with the minister was on a confidential basis. The minister was obviously well supported by very competent, diligent, and experienced officials. Secondly, he was well briefed and obviously knew the issues--I would say more than most of us who were his advisers, because we didn't have the benefit of the briefing he got in Ottawa before going to the conference.
I must say that he was quite open in taking our advice. He was open in his availability to take our advice. He was also quite open-minded in taking on, or at least listening to more than just politely, what we had to say individually or collectively in various meetings.
That was essentially our function there, Mr. Chairman.