Evidence of meeting #1 for Health in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was clerk.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Mr. David Gagnon

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Are there any questions or discussion on that proposal?

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

May I ask whether there was an alternative distribution model in the past? Do you have an understanding of the reason for the different distribution models?

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Many committees adopt this. Often during the course of testimony the witness will refer to a document and one of the members will ask to please have that sent to the committee. Rather than every time that happens having to request that it be distributed, it's that documents that come to the clerk are automatically distributed to committee members.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

That makes sense.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

It gets tricky when people bring documents other than through the clerk. That's why one of our motions was that the distribution of all documents go through the clerk.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Chair, if I could ask my colleague, how do these affect what we've already passed in the routine motions under distribution of documents?

How is that different, Don?

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

My understanding is that under distribution of documents, it says, “only the Clerk of the Committee be authorized to distribute documents, including motions, to the members of the Committee”, so it specifies that it's only the clerk who gets to authorize them.

This motion puts the positive obligation to have all of the documents that are referred be distributed.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

To everyone.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Yes.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

That's normal, isn't it?

Yes, Mr. Ayoub.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ramez Ayoub Liberal Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

I will speak in French first.

If you have a problem, I'll try to practise my English, but je vais essayer en français.

Are there any documents, be they public or more confidential, that sometimes come back to the chair, against a witness's will? Has that happened in committees in the past? If we ask that it always be public, things become more restrictive. Since this is my first committee meeting, I don't know whether it has happened before.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

I didn't get that.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ramez Ayoub Liberal Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

I'm just asking if sometimes there are documents that the witness wouldn't like the rest of the committee to see at first, or perhaps would like to give to the chair first. I'm wondering what the past experience has been on that kind of thing.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

I can ask for clarification from the clerk, but if somebody refers to a document, we can ask for the document, which has to be distributed to everybody and has to be in both official languages.

If a witness does refer to a document, we have the right to ask for that document, do we not?

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Would it be okay if we asked the clerk for clarification?

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Yes.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

We could ask the clerk to keep confidential documents.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ramez Ayoub Liberal Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

I'm talking about protection for the witness.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Oui. There are two separate questions: one on the distribution of documents, and the other on the confidentiality of documents.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ramez Ayoub Liberal Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Okay.

February 3rd, 2016 / 4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

In the past, whenever there was a confidential document, either from a witness or from one of the members of the panel, it was the responsibility of the clerk to keep that confidential and to outline that to all members of the committee. Those were usually given in camera. We all would respectfully make sure that we were the only members...not even sharing them with our colleagues in the House of Commons.

I would hope that we would always keep to the letter of that responsibility that we take as fellow members of the committee.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ramez Ayoub Liberal Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Good.

Merci.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Mr. Carrie.

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

I wonder if the clerk could perhaps comment on what Mr. Davies proposes.

Would what we've already passed cover his issue?

4:10 p.m.

The Clerk

Thank you, Mr. Carrie.

I guess it would, because it says in the motion that “all documents” received will be distributed by me in both official languages. It's normal practice for each committee to send documents to all members.