I don't want to move to a discussion of a subamendment unless I've thought it through carefully and made sure that it makes sense and deserves the attention of the committee.
Then it would continue on about operating outside the normal hours to accommodate clause-by-clause consideration, which can be incorporated regardless of when the start time is.
I would say that I think some people might have reservations about this without some kind of limitation as to what is meant by “outside of normal hours”. I suspect that you would find a greater willingness from members of all parties to accommodate “outside of normal hours” if it is on normal sitting days. It's one thing to sit late into the evening on a Tuesday or Wednesday, or even a Thursday. It's an entirely different matter to do so on a day of a week when people thought they were going to be in their constituencies. That would impose a considerable and unreasonable burden on members of the committee, so that's a relevant consideration.
“That the Chair may limit debate on each clause to a maximum of five minutes per party, per clause” means, effectively, 15 minutes. I suspect with regard to this one—and colleagues should listen to see if they agree with this—that a realistic guess is that if one party wants to extend the debate on some point, and it's only one party, we'll find actually that it isn't practised, and it won't be five minutes per party; it'll be five minutes and then no one else will take the time, so it's actually five minutes per clause.
I think you will find that there's actually a genuine concern over the wording of some clauses, which can happen with a technical bill like this one, especially if an amendment is being considered. We'll find that there will be some kind of indication, and I would want to suggest that in such a circumstance, if the chair senses that this is the case, then the chair exercise his discretion to allow on that particular clause a greater amount than five minutes per party.
The way you do it is to see the other parties are feeling about this, right? It's at the chair's discretion, so you could say, “Two of three want it; that's enough.” You could say, “No, I want to see, essentially, a consensus, unanimity.” That then becomes a kind of version of what we informally call “the Simms rule”, after our colleague who developed a way of getting around some of the highly formalistic restrictions that can exist here, as long as there was a will from all sides to do so. It didn't supersede the Standing Orders. It provided a bit of breathing room within the space of the Standing Orders that could be reimposed at any time by the simple expedient of any member of the committee saying, “We should be moving on here. We don't want to cede the floor that way.” That was very effective, and this could be effective, too. I actually think this is a pretty good clause.
Then there is the last part, moving to clause-by-clause for anything that's left by 1 p.m. on October 16. Presumably the point of doing it at that time is that we're just going through however many clauses we have left, and it takes a maximum of a minute each at that point, probably less actually, maybe 30 seconds each. We could go through relatively quickly so that we could, I think, be done by that evening.
This is the government's bottom line, isn't it? The government's bottom line ultimately is that it wants to have this thing moved by October 16. Presumably, if you're going through it at that speed, it's by October 16 at midnight. That's what the government is after.
The question is, given that, how important other things really are. The goal I would suggest is to have some kind of way that allows us to have witnesses such as Mr. Essensa and still come up with some kind of global list that the government move on.
That's the direction in which I think I'd like to go with a subamendment. I think Mr. Essensa's testimony is great, so let's start. I'll make a simple subamendment to this effect, that we simply.... Hang on and let me see if this works: that the committee do not commence clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-76 before the committee has heard from the chief electoral officer of Ontario on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, at 11 a.m. I'm adding those words back in.
I wonder if I should deal with more than one topic at a time. Maybe I should just stop by putting those words in. Then I can come back once we've dealt with that and suggest a further one. If we adopt that, we can then come back and deal with a further subamendment that I'd like to consider, but I think if I get into too many things at once it will be a problem. What I'll do is put in that adjustment on the time at which he's coming, and then we'll go back to the main motion, or rather, to Mr. Nater's motion, and I'll have a further subamendment to suggest at that time.