Evidence of meeting #131 for Health in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was witnesses.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Abby Hoffman  Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy Branch, Department of Health
Valerie Gideon  Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Indigenous Services Canada
Tom Wong  Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of Public Health, Indigenous Services Canada
Robert-Falcon Ouellette  Winnipeg Centre, Lib.
Bob Benzen  Calgary Heritage, CPC
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Alexandre Jacques
Marlisa Tiedemann  Committee Researcher

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

—and explain their role? We don't have the information. You just said that we don't know how often this is happening, that we don't know where it's happening and that we don't know the circumstances. Could those witnesses provide that?

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Yes, Mr. Chair. If I might add, I spoke today with lead counsel from Maurice Law Barristers & Solicitors, who represent the now, I think, over 100 women in Saskatchewan in the class action. However, these other groups have all played a role as well—including the Minister of Justice, who, I think it's quite obvious from comments that Mr. Ouellette made.... I think he's quite right.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

If there's a lawsuit and a class action, are they the right people to have testify?

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Yes, I spoke to them and the counsel was fully prepared to testify. Obviously, there will be matters of confidentiality and privilege, but to generally describe the nature of what the information is and what they're hearing would be very helpful, I think—and they're willing to come.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Okay.

Go ahead, Ms. McLeod.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Chair, my only comment would be that, typically, when a study is extended, there is the opportunity for other parties to add to the potential witness list. I think we would certainly appreciate wording that would allow us to perhaps submit additional witnesses, if we think there are gaps.

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

I'd be happy to amend the motion to include “and such other witnesses as my Liberal colleagues and Conservative colleagues may suggest” as well.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

I'm not a lawyer, so I just don't know. Are we going to interfere with a lawsuit that is under way? Are we going to be interfering, if we're going to have one side of the party here to testify? I don't know. Can you give us advice on that?

January 31st, 2019 / 4:40 p.m.

The Clerk of the Committee Mr. Alexandre Jacques

No. As Mr. Davies said, the committee can decide to invite the witnesses and the witnesses can decide not to answer, and the committee can then ask them to answer. It's really the will of the committee.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Okay.

Yes, Mr. Ayoub.

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ramez Ayoub Liberal Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I just want to make sure that we're following the procedure, so that each party can prepare properly.

I don't necessarily disagree with the motion, quite the contrary. I'm looking for the truth, and I want to make sure that we'll receive as much relevant information as possible. I want to ensure that the motion can be amended so that we can have the best possible witnesses. You said that we must also look at the legal aspect of the issue.

There's also the time frame available to our committee. There are other topics that we had planned to study. We need to look at our timetable and make sure that we have enough time to study the issue.

I'm sure that the committee members agree on the need to address this issue. Moreover, perhaps we should spend more time on the issue and do more than what Mr. Davies' motion calls for.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Sorry, Mr. McKinnon.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Chair, I move that the debate be now adjourned.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

I want to clarify what we're voting on because Ms. McLeod did suggest that my motion be amended to the effect, “and such other witnesses as may be”, or as the other parties may want, which I would agree to. As a friendly amendment, I'd be happy to have the motion I read out include that. I want to be clear that's what we're voting on.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

We're voting on the motion now to adjourn the debate.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Oh, pardon me.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

However, I really don't know the ramifications. It just doesn't seem that the committee should be inviting guests who are in the middle of a lawsuit against the government. I don't know what's right there. It strikes me that we should seek some legal advice on this to find out if it's the right thing to do.

Anyway, we have a motion to adjourn debate, which is not debatable.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Can I have a recorded vote?

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Yes.

4:45 p.m.

The Clerk

Yeas 4, nays 4.

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

I'm going to vote for the adjournment of debate, just because I think we need some legal advice on whether we're going to discuss a lawsuit in the middle of that lawsuit.

Mr. Davies.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

While I understand and respect the substance of your position, I respectfully disagree with it.

However, to the clerk, are any conventions as to how a chair ought to vote in a situation where there's a tie, when the question is whether to adjourn debate, or is there a convention to continue debate?

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Mr. Lobb.

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

I have a question: How is it a tie? There are nine members sitting at this table. It's 5-4.

4:45 p.m.

The Clerk

My apologies. You're right. I'm sorry.

(Motion negatived: nays 5; yeas 4)