I will call this meeting to order. Welcome to meeting number eight of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. Pursuant to the order of reference of Saturday, April 11, 2020, we are studying the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before we start, I'd like to announce the schedule for next week's meetings. Our first meeting will be on Monday, May 4, at 2 p.m. It will last for two hours. The second meeting next week will be on Friday, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Those times are Eastern Standard Time.
I would like to make a few comments for the benefit of our witnesses and our committee members, although I'm sure most of the committee members are quite familiar with the procedures by now.
Before speaking, wait until I recognize your name. When you are ready to speak, you can either click on your microphone icon or activate your mike by holding down the space bar. If you lift the space bar up, you will be automatically muted. When speaking, please speak slowly and clearly, and enunciate clearly. It will help our interpreters greatly if you do so.
I would also like to explain some of the guidelines regarding the interpretation channels. I've gone over this several times in the past, but for the benefit of new members, if you are going to be speaking primarily in English, go to the interpretation icon at the bottom of your screen and click on “English”. If you are primarily speaking in French, click on “French”. If you are going to be alternating between English and French, before you alternate please pause for a beat to allow the interpreters to change their channels, and then proceed in the language of your choice.
Before we get started, I would like everybody to click on the grid icon at the top right of your screen and click on gallery view. That will show you everyone who is participating in today's meeting, and you can see their videos as well.
Right now I would ask Mr. Whalen, even though we are slightly behind, to please make his opening remarks. Try to keep your comments as brief and concise as possible to allow as much time as possible for questions from our committee members.
Mr. Whalen, the floor is yours.