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Evidence of meeting #50 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 40th Parliament, 3rd 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

William V. Baker  Deputy Minister, Department of Public Safety
Doug Nevison  Director, Fiscal Policy Division, Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Ned Franks  Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Studies, Queen's University, As an Individual

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Point taken, Mr. Chair.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Thank you.

Mr. Minister, if you would like to finish that answer, then we'll get to another question.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Yes, I would, Mr. Chair.

As I've indicated, I've been working very closely with the provincial government in respect of the very serious flooding issue that exists in Manitoba. I believe my presence was required in Manitoba, but in my respect for the committee, and even though I'd not been formally summoned, I felt it was also my responsibility to be here at the committee.

What does concern me, Mr. Chairman, is that these documents here provide all the information the members are looking for, and yet I am so concerned, and perhaps you could help me here, why they would bring up extraneous material with respect to the F-35, which isn't even a part of this particular motion. It appears to me to be a terrible waste of the time of the public servants and an insult to the public servants who are here.

I see Mr. McGuinty laughing. He thinks it's funny, when in fact these public servants are here to enlighten Canadians. It's clear that Mr. McGuinty has no interest in getting any of the facts before the committee. It's a deliberate strategy by Mr. McGuinty--

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Mr. Reid.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Rather than ask the same question of Mr. Nicholson, because I think I've made the point, I'd like to ask Minister Nicholson a separate question relating to the fact that some of the bills are not costed.

In particular, when I go through it, I see extensive charts that provide excruciatingly detailed costs, such as the one for Bill C-23, I think it is. There are multiple pages for that particular chart. There are numerous other charts that provide similar detailed cost information. But I notice, and I'll use as an example Bill C-16, which amends the Criminal Code to end house arrest for property and other serious crimes by serious and violent offenders, that there's no cost estimate provided for that one, and there are a couple of others that are in the same category. I wonder if he could explain why that's the case.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

You mentioned Bill C-22, Bill C-16, and a number of bills, and I don't mind explaining in some detail as to why that would be.

The first bill you mentioned, Bill C-22, would require Internet service providers to turn over to the appropriate authority information with respect to child pornography. Again, in terms of what costs there might be to the federal government, we're not able to ascertain any particular cost requiring them to do what they have a moral responsibility to do.

A number of the bills are streamlining the processes that will actually help with the administration of justice. Another example is the bill that we have on megatrials. Streamlining the process and making the system work doesn't mean that millions of dollars in costs are going to be incurred by the federal government. What we say is, no, there are no ascertainable costs to the federal government, but I disagree with the characterization that somehow it's not important to bring them forward. I think they are very important.

This is what I'm asking committee members to do. If you're concerned about the costs, by all means, but for some of them there are no costs attached for the federal government that we can ascertain. Requiring an Internet service provider to turn over that evidence, for the most part, to provincial law enforcement agencies or to a designated authority is appropriate. Again, to be fair, many of them do this already. But in my discussions with them, I've said to them that a moral authority to turn over evidence of child pornography is not enough; they have to have a legal responsibility.

Again, the fact that there are no particular costs to the federal government is not something I would apologize for.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Mr. Reid, thank you very much.

Do you have a point of order, Mr. McGuinty?

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

I do, Mr. Chair. Thank you very much.

Mr. Chair, I want to go back to something you referred to earlier and something I think Mr. Reid picked up on. I think you mentioned something about there being no reference to contempt in this matter that's been referred to this committee.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Yes. I think I've ruled on it, Mr. McGuinty. Do you want it read there?

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

I just want to simply give you an indication of where House of Commons Procedure and Practice, O'Brien and Bosc, actually comes down on the question of privilege versus contempt. I just want to read it for you, Mr. Chair.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

I have read the book, Mr. McGuinty. It's funny, I use it for bedtime reading, because as chair of the committee on procedure and House affairs, it is almost required reading.

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

I sympathize with you, Mr. Chair.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Unless you're going to give me a piece of new information on this point--

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

I think it is a piece of new information.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Well, get to it quickly then.

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

It is. It says—I want to quote here, sir—simply that “all breaches of privilege are contempts of the House”.

Thank you very much.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Thank you. Great information.

Monsieur Nadeau, thank you for coming and joining us today. You have five minutes.

March 17th, 2011 / 10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

My question is for Mr. Toews, Minister of Public Safety. On Bill S-7, which seeks to deter terrorism, the documentation provided yesterday contains an analysis of the reallocation of money for the department of foreign affairs. That is what it says, it's done.

As for Bill S-10, which also pertains to public safety, there are costing details affecting foreign affairs, among others. That bill, by the way, has to do with trafficking in a controlled drug or substance.

I want to know whether an analysis was done on the additional costs the department of foreign affairs would have to incur under Bill C-5 for the international transfer of Canadian inmates abroad.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

I'm not exactly sure which bill he wants to cite.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Do you want Bill S-7 or Bill S-10? You did mention both, to be fair.

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

I will repeat my question, sir. I may have been too quick for the interpreter and my colleagues.

You did actually provide information on Bill S-7. We have that.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

All right.

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

We also have the information for Bill S-10.

Mr. Minister, my question has to do with Bill C-5, which pertains to the international transfer of Canadian inmates. I wanted to know whether you had an analysis similar to what was done in the previous two cases.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Chair, I can turn that over to the officials who have compiled this information. My deputy minister, Mr. Baker, will respond.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Mr. Baker.