Mr. Chair, for the benefit of Canadians watching us on television, I must say that I really appreciate Mr. Green's input, but I can imagine how it will play out. If we decide on six meetings, what Canadians do not know is that the first thing we will do as members, in camera, is draw up the list of witnesses. If we are talking about a four-hour meeting, we suggest witnesses to take up four hours of testimony, and we select people who we think would be in the best position to give us the most relevant information for our study.
If we decide to have 12 hours of testimony, everyone will have a bucketful of proposed testimony. Everyone will invite someone to appear, their brothers and sisters, cousins. I expect that, after a few hours, we will find there is really no issue, there is no scandal. Then people will say we have to wait until we have heard the 24 other people proposed to appear before the committee. We will have listen to everyone before deciding that there really is no issue, even though we knew that from the outset. That is how it goes.
I know Mr. Green would like us to be very efficient, but let's be frank. We will find a way to continue that kind of testimony until we have reached or surpassed the reasonable limit for digging into the matter.
That is why, Mr. Chair, I think that, in the interest of efficiency, we should carefully select the people we invite to discuss this matter. In that way, we will be able to determine whether there is a prima facie case to be explored. There is not.
Moreover, if we decide on six meetings, they will drag out over several weeks. It is important that we find a way now to decide how we will approach this matter. I might not have been the best student at university, but if there was one thing I knew how to do, it was answer exam questions. Even before I started answering the questions, I always did a quick overview of the whole exam, to get the bigger picture. We have to do the same thing here before we invite everyone and his dog to appear just because we have to fill the allotted time. I think it would be better to take a look at the situation. We could even ask our analysts to prepare a document to help us.
If we take Mr. Green's sound suggestion, we would plan for two meetings, four hours of our time, and would invite the people responsible for awarding the contracts for this program.
Then, if we find any concrete evidence, we could pursue the matter further.
On the other hand, allocating six meetings, or 12 hours of our time, when there are other matters to be considered, I really think that would be a huge waste of our time. I think it is entirely reasonable to take all the time we need to debate this now.
If we are to discuss the options to determine exactly what we want to study, we should take the time to do that today, rather than waste six or seven meetings later on.