Thank you, Mr. Chair.
As I reflected on the response that I received in my last question from Mr. Vij, he's technically correct. I think he certainly answered the question appropriately. It really reminded me of what a sham this so-called reform to the Senate is by the Prime Minister. Listening to the response that I received, although technically accurate, really points to the problems behind the process being set up. Still it's the Prime Minister making the appointments. It was made very clear in the response I received that, should there be conflict, the board would have to obviously accept that the Prime Minister has that right to just go ahead and appoint whoever he wants, whether the people have been recommended by the board or not.
It really points to the fact that this is no kind of reform at all. In fact, all it's doing is adding another layer and another appointment process to the board. No doubt they are conducting their work diligently and they are doing the best job they can. They're quality people; there's no question about that. They offer something. But at the end of the day, their decisions are not binding. Their decisions have no weight at all. If the Prime Minister chooses to appoint whoever the heck he wants to appoint, he can go ahead and appoint whoever it is he wants.
Clearly, there's not really any reform in this at all. It's the Prime Minister making appointments to the Senate just like it's always been in this country. That isn't reform, and it isn't what Canadians want to see. It isn't going to really change anything about how the Senate functions or operates. That's something that was made very clear. I want to take the opportunity to point that out because it's a really unfortunate situation.
We've got a Prime Minister who, like with many things, claims to be one thing and he's actually something completely other than that. In this case, he's choosing to use his dictatorial powers to be able to appoint whoever he wants to the Senate. Unfortunately, this board, no matter how great their qualifications—and I would certainly say from what I'm hearing that we have qualified people who have really worked hard to diligently do their job—at the end of the day, their recommendations are ignored. They can be ignored, and there's nothing anyone can do. The Prime Minister is in charge, and he does whatever it is he wants. If he wants to appoint good Liberals, he appoints good Liberals.
Having said that, I've had a chance to ask Mr. Vij some questions, and I'll ask our other witnesses some questions.
I'll start with you, Madame Arsenault. I'll confess, I was listening to the interpretation when you were speaking in response to Mr. Dusseault. The way it came across in the interpretation, at least, when you were asked about how you had been appointed, you said you had received a call from our minister. There may have been a problem with the interpretation, but who were you referring to when you said “our minister” when you received a call?