Evidence of meeting #110 for Health in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was chair.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Marie-Hélène Sauvé
Karin Phillips  Committee Researcher

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Right. I have one last comment.

I can understand if Mr. McKinnon's schedule is full—it is a busy time of the year, and I wouldn't question that for a second—but I would say that if you had a meeting.... It sounds as though the Liberals are not interested in it, and that's okay. There could be a meeting next week, because a lot of the people who would be presenting would be in either Toronto or Ottawa already or the following week. I'm sure they would be happy to attend, and I know there are Liberal members of Parliament, surprisingly enough, who represent rural ridings. I know there's one east of here in Ontario. I know there are some just over the border in Quebec. As well, there are some in eastern Ontario that have beef or dairy cattle, and some others have chicken and layers as well. I know that if they were called by their local representatives to appear, if the members here—and I realize that not everybody is from right around here—that at least we shouldn't let all of our schedules and all of the impossibilities be that, because it is such a significant issue. I know I've had enough calls to my office. I know that other members of Parliament have, and especially if you're from a rural riding, it will definitely make an impact on the way things are done, and the way the processing plants are done.

I can see that it's not going to go our way, but I just want to express that about schedules for MPs, because there should always be three or four members of Parliament from all parties, who would want to make sure that their rural representation has been heard around the table.

So, that's it.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Dr. Leitch.

June 13th, 2018 / 4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

I just want to echo what my colleague Mr. Lobb has spoken to.

My understanding is that as members of Parliament we are responsible for actually being available to the Canadian public and hearing what their viewpoints are.

We have members of the public here, individuals who represent a wide range of industry, and quite frankly a wide range of Canadian families, who want to present to us as parliamentarians. I thought that was our job. I thought we came here to actually hear what Canadians had to say, and then to bring that forward to ministries so a change could take place.

What I am hearing from the Liberals is that we're not interested in listening to Canadians as they profess in the House; we're just interested in making sure we get through the process.

I would encourage my Liberal colleagues that they might want to practise what they preach in the House of Commons, and actually listen to Canadians who genuinely want to present to us as parliamentarians.

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Mr. Angus.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Thank you, Chair.

I am sitting in on your committee and I find it very fascinating. I will keep my remarks short, as I haven't been involved in the larger discussion. I would just say two things.

One, I represent a rural region. The issues of farm communities and food safety are huge. This is the bedrock of many of our communities. The second thing I find confusing concerns the role of a committee. I wasn't elected to be a technocrat. I wasn't elected to be a bureaucrat. I wasn't elected to provide notes to a minister. I was elected to be part of a process where the Canadian public can hear the discussions, hear debate, and hear ideas put forward with recommendations. That's the role of a committee, having representation from each party.

I'm just surprised that we would take written evidence, not bother to hear from people, and not be able to even question them. To me that is not the role in terms of what committees have done in the past, and to me it would set a concerning precedent.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Mr. Lobb.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

I have some questions on the motion. In this process, is there a time when we would be able to see this letter? Is there a time when we would be able to critique this letter? What documentation would be attached to this letter?

Perhaps we can have a little bit more information regarding that.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Mr. Oliver.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

The motion says:

that the analysts prepare a letter from the Chair of the Committee to the Minister of Health that contains a summary of evidence from all testimony and briefs received by June 22

Therefore, I think it would be up to the analysts to prepare that summary of evidence and have it reviewed by the chair.

I don't know if the analysts want to add any thoughts on how they would prepare the summary of evidence.

4:40 p.m.

Karin Phillips Committee Researcher

I think one main question we would have is about the length of the letter or summary of evidence. Some of the briefs we received are quite fulsome. Having some guidance from the committee about the length would help us with deciding how much information to include in the letter. That would be the main issue.

Usually summaries of evidence contained in a letter would look very similar to what would be in a report, just without recommendations. As this would maybe be a bit of a different format, we would need guidance on the length, because it could end up being quite voluminous.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Would it be different from a typical report?

4:40 p.m.

Committee Researcher

Karin Phillips

It would be different in the sense that the process is different. For a report, there's a very formal process of adoption. As you know, in the past we've written summaries of evidence just for the committee. I think the difference between them is that we would write a summary of evidence, but it would be the contents of a letter that would then be addressed to the minister.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Okay.

I'll call for a vote on this motion.

Yes, Mr. Lobb.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

I don't know that I got a clear answer on the actual letter. I understand that there will be some sort of document, but I don't know that we've actually determined what is in that document. Are we going to attach with that letter all of the submissions that were presented, plus all the submissions of people who weren't able to appear? Are we going to attach all of those to the letter?

Again, I'm not critiquing you, I just want to get clear what I'm hearing, that it's similar to a report but without recommendations. I think we all know around this table how much critiquing all the MPs like to do with a report. If Ms. Gladu, for example, wanted to critique something in the letter, how would that process work? I don't think you want 10 MPs emailing you all summer with critiques. Maybe you do, but I don't think you do.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

I would assume that the actual reports would be included with the letter and that the letter would be the summary, the interpretation. I think all the reports would have to go into the department.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Then I'm wondering if it's your interpretation, Chair, that the letter would say, “Dear Minister: Here are the reports we received from committee. Have a nice summer.”

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

No, no.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

I'm not trying to be smart here.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

I know. I think we—

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

I'm just asking, is that the brief letter you'd like to see, or are we talking 10 pages of review with everything attached?

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

I'm just reading the motion, and the letter will be a lot more than “Have a nice summer.” I do think the total submissions should be included. That's my opinion.

Mr. Oliver.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

I agree. I think there should be a summary of the evidence prepared by the analysts, but the full reports could be attached.

Just on the approval process, the motion says that the chair will review and approve the letter on behalf of the committee, ensuring that it contains only a summary of evidence, and that it be sent to the Minister of Health. If you want, we could add to the motion.

Do you want to make a friendly amendment that the written and oral submissions be appended to the letter?

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Do you want to do that?

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Agreed.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Okay.

Mr. Lobb has proposed a friendly amendment.