Evidence of meeting #139 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 year.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

David Christopherson  Hamilton Centre, NDP
Stephanie Kusie  Calgary Midnapore, CPC
Linda Lapointe  Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Lib.
Andre Barnes  Committee Researcher
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Andrew Lauzon

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Welcome back to the 139th meeting. We just want to close up on a few informal and hopefully fun things for the last words in the year 2018.

One is that the committee is excited and should be complimented that, because of its work, indigenous languages have started to be used officially in the House. On page 24,766 of the Commons Debates, the Honourable Hunter Tootoo, member for Nunavut, made a short statement in Inuktitut that's in Hansard in the symbols of Inuktitut. That's the first time. It's great to have that on the record.

Also, while we're doing closing Christmas statements, I want to apologize to Mr. Reid, who suggested a few weeks ago—which I totally agreed with and wanted to do—that we have another one of our informal dinners to discuss the future of the committee. Unfortunately, I never organized it. As I said when I came to Parliament at the beginning, my bias is to actually accomplish things, and I think those types of meetings lead us to think about concrete achievements that we can do, like the item I just mentioned. We have a lot of talent on this committee.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

With that in mind, the next opportunity we'll have to do this would be in the new year and in the new House. There is a restaurant there. Am I right?

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Yes. It's smaller, one third the size, but yes.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Okay, but it's big enough for us, especially if we get a reservation in early. Thinking of that, if it's agreeable to members, why don't we consider having an informal meeting of the members? We're back on the Monday, I assume. Would the Tuesday night be...?

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Or we could have an informal luncheon at our old committee spot that Thursday.

12:50 p.m.

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, NDP

We should probably do it before the debate about this document, or everyone may not be there.

12:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Or after, I suppose....

12:50 p.m.

Hamilton Centre, NDP

David Christopherson

Maybe both: one at the front and one at the back....

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Let's leave it a little flexible, but I'll try to organize something.

December 13th, 2018 / 12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Okay. It would be really a super idea, I think.

If I might say this, just as a thought, what I had in mind was this. As we approach the end of a parliamentary term—it's a fairly predictable ending time—we could find our agenda jammed up with material that is hard to get through entirely. Alternatively, we could find ourselves with unexpected amounts of free space, which could be used for some items that are not on the public's radar screen. We could do some useful low-key work there that is probably achievable by means of consensus, but sometimes some prep work is required, and if we haven't thought about that in advance, we might miss our chance. That's really where I think the kind of business that could be discussed at that meeting might go.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Just to throw some totally irrelevant information into the situation using my prerogative as chair—this will be discussed at the dinner—I've mentioned before that all the northern nations in the world now have electronic voting in their parliaments as an option. I learned this morning from the clerk that they've checked the United States. Of the 100 legislatures in the United States, something in the order of 90 out of 100 have electronic voting.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Is that the upper or the lower Houses in all the states?

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

It's lower and upper.

Mr. Christopherson, go ahead.

12:55 p.m.

Hamilton Centre, NDP

David Christopherson

I'd like to build on Mr. Reid's idea.

Again, it stems from Mr. Simms' comments at our previous meeting about Centre Block and that whole second chamber idea. That has to start somewhere. Right now it's in the past. We refer to discussions we had about it and the interest that some of us had in seeing that as a welcome addition, possibly, to our current parliamentary process. Maybe in the times that Mr. Reid is identifying, this could be one of the things that we start doing, some of that work to help inform the next Parliament, which will be tasked with making some decisions about what will happen with the temporary chamber we're about to move into.

To repeat myself, it makes that discussion current. Even if we just issued a report that said we've talked about it and here are some thoughts, that would put it on the political radar and it would be there so it wouldn't get lost. I really think that's probably one of the biggest potential changes that could find agreement, in my humble opinion, in future parliaments. There could be room for that kind of a major reform, which would be significant. They would only do it if it was possible, and we've talked about the benefits of it. We haven't looked at all the pitfalls, which there are bound to be, too.

All of that is to say that I like Mr. Reid's idea, and if we have time, let's do some work that otherwise we wouldn't have the opportunity to do. We're all that much more experienced now at the end of this Parliament. For some people, it's the end of their first parliament. For others, it's polishing up after a number of parliaments. We're all stronger and, I'd like to think, smarter and more experienced now. It's that kind of a discussion. It's non-partisan and shouldn't, in any way, affect the silly season that we're going to be in as we get into the pre-election time. All that is to add my voice that maybe that is one of those unique ideas or special ideas we could look at that would be planting a seed for future parliaments. It would be to talk about that second chamber and how we might be able to advance opportunities for, especially, private members to have more time, more say, and more priority.

Thanks.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

I'll take that advice and that input, not only to the dinner for this committee but also to the subcommittee on agenda.

12:55 p.m.

Hamilton Centre, NDP

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

I just want to go around the table before we leave, because it's Christmas.

Mr. Nater and I already made some closing comments. I'll go around if anyone else wants to say anything, not only to wrap up this year but to wrap up the three years we've had together. We've never done that, so if anyone wants to make any comments, go ahead.

I did have a suggested motion that we see the clock at June, but I won't follow up on that.

12:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

We'll start with Stephanie, and then anyone who wants to make any closing remarks before the holidays.

Stephanie, go ahead.

12:55 p.m.

Stephanie Kusie Calgary Midnapore, CPC

Merry Christmas. Happy new year. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Kwanza.

See you next year.

Thank you.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Mr. Reid, go ahead.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

I'm already looking forward to our dinner in the new year. Actually, I'm quite excited that the first experience of the new restaurant will be in the company of you guys. That will be nice.

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Is there anything else?

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Chair, I'll just repeat my earlier comments that I made in camera.

Thank you for your leadership on this committee and the flexibility that you've shown to this committee over the past year that I've been on it, or barely a year. I appreciate that.

I appreciate working with the members of this committee.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.