Procedure and House Affairs Committee on June 18th, 2007
A recording is available from Parliament.
On the agenda
The Chair Gary Goodyear
Before proceeding with our next speaker, I am going to ask the committee if we have any more need for our expert witnesses. Can I dismiss them and their team?
Seeing none, with the greatest thanks from the committee, we certainly appreciate your coming out twice. We certainly appreciate the team that comes behind you that didn't get an opportunity to be recognized by the chair. I do recognize and thank you all.
You're excused. Thank you very much.
Continuing discussion, Monsieur Guimond.
Michel Guimond Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC
I too would like to indicate how worthy I think Mr. Owen's motion is. But I have serious reservations about the two recommendations.
As regards the second recommendation, I wonder if the clerk could enlighten us about its legality. Can our committee impose an agenda on the next Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that will be struck after the next general election? I do not think that we can make commitments on behalf of the next Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
He is asking, and I quote, that: “2. immediately following Canada's next federal general election, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs study the impact of this legislation [...]”
We are always told that committees are masters of their own procedure. So I do not think that it is legal to commit the committee after an election, because this committee dies if the House of Commons prorogues or if there is a general election. For me, there are legal concerns if we commit the next committee to doing something.
Secondly, the first recommendation reads as follows: “1. that the Minister for Democratic Reform immediately begins consultations [...]” I think that is our job as a committee. Perhaps when we come back in September, we could ask the chair to write to representatives of financial institutions, who certainly had good reasons not to accept the invitation that we sent them. The chair of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs could write a letter to representatives of financial institutions to ask them what they think of the bill. There is absolutely no need to ask the minister responsible for democratic reform to do it for us.
For those reasons, therefore, I am not very keen on supporting Mr. Owen's motion.
The Chair Gary Goodyear
Before we proceed further, colleagues, our clerk had some knowledge of this motion prior to it being tabled. I was given the impression that it was in order. I am going to rule that it's out of order.
I don't believe we have the ability to tell a future committee what they can do. We can suggest to the committee what they can do. With all due respect, these are good suggestions, by all means, but the motion does include recommendations, and the recommendations are out of order, beyond the scope of this committee.
That's my ruling. Does anyone want to overturn it?
Stephen Owen Vancouver Quadra, BC
I wouldn't suggest, in any situation, Mr. Chair, that we would want to overturn your ruling. Let me just say that I accept the comments on it, and of course the clerk's advice.
Perhaps this can just stand as an issue of...both a recommendation or for preventative action with respect to any further discussions this committee might have, or advice from the financial services industry, and as a persuasive way for future committees, following the next election, just in the interests of ensuring that we're not having any unintended consequences.
June 18th, 2007 / 1:05 p.m.
The Chair Gary Goodyear
On this note, I'm going to offer two things to the committee.
One, about the banking institutes, a number of them were contacted and they chose not to be here. They were offered the opportunity to submit in writing. We haven't received anything like that.
The second thing I might offer, Mr. Owen, is that if you would want to draft up a letter from this committee suggesting that to future committees as a recommendation, I think we could probably deal with that tomorrow. However, in fairness, I did instruct the committee members that today we would go until two o'clock to deal with clause-by-clause, if necessary. Since we've completed clause-by-clause, I'm happy to put this on the agenda for tomorrow, if you so choose to bring it back.
Tomorrow's meeting, colleagues, should be short. We do have the minister coming to make a presentation. Other than that, we don't have witnesses coming on Bill C-55.
Since we don't have any witnesses, my suggestion, Mr. Owen, is that if you want to get on the agenda, there's more than enough time, if you so choose. If not, tomorrow's meeting will be brief.
If there's any other business dealing with the committee, I'm happy to entertain that now.
Seeing none, colleagues, we'll see you tomorrow at 11 o'clock for the introduction of Bill C-55. Thank you.
The meeting is adjourned.