Evidence of meeting #105 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was monday.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Andre Barnes  Committee Researcher
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Andrew Lauzon

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

That's right.

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

What date?

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

The Sunday is June 3. What we've done in the past, Mr. Chair, to maximize the committee's time on the road is this. You are in the province you seek to be in on the Monday morning. You arrive the Sunday night; you start Monday morning. You have either a full day there.... I'm following the ERRE path where we would spend most of the day there. Sometimes you can hit two spots, but that is relatively rare. You then travel the afternoon or evening, arrive in the next place, and do Tuesday. It can be exhaustive—I mean exhausting. It's not going to be exhaustive.

If you pull back and ask what the bare minimum you'd want in terms of the regions, you'd have to say somewhere in the east. You'd have to say Quebec. You'd have to say Ontario. You'd have to say somewhere in the flat part, and then you'd have to say somewhere on the coast. That excludes a ton, because you're going to say no to Saskatchewan and Manitoba or Alberta. You're going to say no to the north.

I would strongly encourage us to consider that we don't just do cities. We have to consider at least one rural area. We fudged it a bit on ERRE. We would stop in Leduc, where the airport is in Edmonton, and call that the rural visit, which for you and me, Mr. Chair, doesn't even come close to counting as rural or remote, but what do you do with logistics, right?

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

I believe you have to go outdoors and smell fresh air to qualify it as rural. Just staying at the airport does not qualify.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

June 4 right through to the Saturday. The committee essentially ends its work on a Friday afternoon, which is June 8, and people make their way.

Aside from the rural, whatever that means to people, we encourage interaction with the first nations communities. The way voting rights are realized within first nations communities, as Cathy and I know, is absolutely different from the majority of Canadians. For some of the changes that are being talked about here in enfranchisement, one of the groups that is typically and often named is the aboriginal people who vote at a much lower rate.

I'll stop there, but I think part of our day should be spent talking to young Canadians. We did this before when we moved a bill about voting age rights. In the afternoon or morning, depending on the travel schedule, we stopped at a high school. The reception and information we got as parliamentarians, as part of that process, was better than the public evening events. For any of us who have ever done high school debates during campaigns, their questions are typically way harder and much better than the public debates. We're in camera, right?

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Seniors ask tough questions.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Seniors, yes. The two voting ends of the spectrum. Sure, let's say that for the seniors.

That's what I propose. Then to come back, mop up witnesses, the minister, and even though it gives me great hesitation to say this, the committee starts heading to clause-by-clause sometime around June 13, 14, 15 to get it out of committee for that final week of Parliament.

I'm not saying what the government is or isn't going to do, but I don't imagine a scenario in which they're not moving time allocation on this thing at the final stages, because you'll only end up with a maximum of one or two weeks of the House sitting. You're going to do midnight hours but even that won't qualify you if people want to talk. It gets you back in time. We tried to tick both boxes but you can tell I'm not totally thrilled with it. I think we're going to skip off the surface of a lot of conversations. It's our voting rights. We shouldn't be skipping too much.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Okay, Chris and then Ms. Sahota.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

I want to ask the clerk for the logistics of a week of travel starting on June 4, how that would work, if it's possible.

12:50 p.m.

The Clerk

We would need a budget approved by the liaison subcommittee, and then House authorization before we could do anything.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

How long does that usually take?

12:50 p.m.

The Clerk

It depends on the will of the people involved. It can be done quickly. A request can be made to have the subcommittee on budgets meet.

As far as the logistics are concerned, whatever the committee desires, we'll work to make it happen.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Do I have the floor?

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Yes.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

I like a lot of Nathan's ideas. I think you can gain a lot of valuable information when you go on the road, coming from the ERRE experience, but—that word always gets me laugh, because of one of the witnesses—I worry about the time constraints we're under, and whether we are going to get it approved.

I agree that we have to hear from youth, seniors organizations, and various important voices that don't usually get heard. I think there may be a way of doing that and not necessarily having to take all that time and go on the road. Through technology and other means we can probably conference in people who would wish to speak on the matter. We could also talk to organizations that have a presence here, like Samara and other organizations that work for voting rights. Disability organizations have come before us. We had a lot of witnesses in the electoral reform process that I think would have a presence in Ottawa. We could speak to them because they do engage with people across the country and collect that information and their thoughts. They could present and I think they would be able to answer a lot of our questions in a good way.

I don't know what your vision is, if we're going to have open public forums where people come to the mike. Are we talking to more professional witnesses or will we have general public discussions? What are your thoughts on that?

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

I will answer quickly. I think it would be similar. It would be a mix. The two o'clock to four o'clock afternoon session in Edmonton is with academics, the heads of Elections Alberta, just to give you an example, and then the evening becomes more the public's opportunity. I know people appreciated it. Even if it was clipped and even if it was sometimes political, folks saw a House of Commons committee trying to hear from them, as opposed to having just the usual suspects.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

I think so, but I think we can video conference in, especially if you want to do a remote reserve community. I think that can even be done. One of our bigger open-mike sessions was right here in Ottawa. We got a lot of good feedback, I think, from that session as well. I'm not against doing a session like that per se. In order to get the most input from people within the time constraints we have, I think we can do a lot of it from here and then limit the time in between the flights and travel and all of that and actually have maybe more hours of witness testimony that we can take in.

You proposed having one hour with Elections Canada up front. I think we'll probably need two hours with Elections Canada right up front, because they have some of the most detailed information as to how some of these things in the bill are going to function. I think we're going to need more time with them. In the past they've been excellent as we've tried to figure out recommendations of the CEO.

We've already studied a lot of the stuff that's in this bill.

Nathan, I know you didn't have the advantage of that, not having been a member of this committee, but for all of the other members here, 85% of what's in this bill has already been studied by this committee for months on end with Elections Canada in the room. We were able to benefit from asking all the questions we had on everything, back and forth, and they were able to go back, do some research, and tell us how they would implement a lot of these changes.

There was a lot of great feedback and we gained knowledge through that process. I think a lot of that is done. Don't take me wrong—I'm not saying that we don't still have to go through it thoroughly at this point, but in order to leave more time to do the clause-by-clause, I think we could make more effective use of our time and do it here through video conferencing, and still have engagement.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Ms. Tassi.

May 24th, 2018 / 12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

Mr. Chairman, I'm looking at the time. In the interest of time, I'm sensing agreement that we want to hear from the minister and that we want to hear from Elections Canada. If Monday we can get the minister and Elections Canada and confirm that we have agreement on that, we can start with that. I want to make sure before we proceed that we're all in agreement with that, so that we can make that happen and then continue with the discussion.

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

We can do a two-hour or three-hour meeting.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

We can have a two-hour or three-hour meeting, the first hour with the minister and then two hours with Elections Canada, and then maybe bring the minister back in order to deal with Blake's point. I think you're right that we do need more time, but I think we'll learn so much through the process that at the end we could bring her back and we could ask more effective questions.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

That's on Monday, right?

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

What's your proposal exactly for Monday?

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

I'm saying three hours.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

That would be starting at what time?