Evidence of meeting #40 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 process.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Andrew Lauzon
Vikram Vij  Provincial Member, British Columbia, Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments
Jeannette Arsenault  Provincial Member, Prince Edward Island, Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments
Brian Francis  Provincial Member, Prince Edward Island, Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

To the witness, just remember we're only here to ask about your qualifications. You can answer this if you want, but you don't have to because it's not in our mandate.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

I appreciate what the chair has just said. It would be helpful to Parliament to know those things. If you think you can answer, that would be appreciated.

11:15 a.m.

Provincial Member, British Columbia, Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments

Vikram Vij

Chair, and Mr. Richards, the process was very simple but very well done. We were versed beforehand on one of the initial meetings when we all met. Everybody from Prince Edward Island to New Brunswick, to everybody else, we all met. We were all given a nice binder to read and studied what it constituted. We all read it . We all had time to ask any questions of the chair of the independent council, the three independent ones. We were given enough information to study and go through it to see if there was something that stood out and we were not comfortable with. First of all, I should say that.

Secondly, when the process took place, we were sent, in confidentiality, all the information, which was only read by us. If I had a question about something, I was allowed to call up my counterpart, Anne Giardini, and have a conversation with her about it, but I didn't have to because it was quite well put together. The flow chart worked really well.

There were a couple of questions I had at first about the computer when I wasn't able to figure it out. I was able to get somebody on the phone in Ottawa, and they were able to guide me through the process right off the bat.

Then once we met, once we had made our decisions, we all sat—British Columbia and the national committee—and went through the process. We went through each and every name, basically, and had points, and discussed. It was a full-on, full-day conversation within this process. The conversation took place on why we felt this was a great qualification, what we felt about it, and we had some conversations between each other. The chairperson asked us enough questions, saying things like, “Why do you think this person is qualified?”

They were also asking us why we were choosing who we were choosing. Anne Giardini chose so many, and I chose so many. Then we convened on that again.

It was a very thorough process that took place. Again, we were aware of what was required of us and we wanted to deliver the best candidate possible, or the best five candidates possible. When we walked away from that room, we did not know which individual it was going to be at the end. It depended on the PMO basically to make that decision. We had done our job of making sure that we presented the top five we felt qualified as such.

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Mr. Richards, you have just a minute.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Was that something you found a struggle with, the fact that, as you just mentioned, the Prime Minister's Office would make that decision?

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Ms. Sahota, on a point of order....

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

I guess the bells are going, but even if we come back to that line of questioning, I think we've given a lot of leeway here on the questions about process. We're not here to ask them about process.

I think all of the committee members appreciate Mr. Vij's contribution to explaining how thorough the process was, but we're here to ask him about his competence, his skills, and qualifications.

November 17th, 2016 / 11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Mr. Chair, on the point of order as well, let's deal with the bells first. We have to get unanimous consent to keep on going for a while, including Ms. Sahota's intervention. Let's deal with that first and then we can come back to her.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Okay. Is there unanimous consent to—

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

We are quite far from Centre Block.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

There is no consent.

Okay, we'll come back as soon as the bells are over. I'll mostly ask the opposition members. Do we need the witness from B.C.? Do you have any specific questions? Your time was almost up.

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

I still had some time and still had a question I wanted to ask. I'd like to have him here.

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

For our part, I would like to ask a question of our witness from B.C.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Okay.

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

I understand there's no unanimous consent to go forward. I would entertain to ask for it again so that I can ask a question or two.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Okay.

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

I need unanimous consent.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

We'll try to get you back here. We'll be at least a half hour before we're back.

11:20 a.m.

Provincial Member, British Columbia, Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments

Vikram Vij

I'm sorry. I didn't hear what happened there.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

We have to go to a vote in the parliamentary chamber right now, so we'll be back in about 45 minutes to an hour.

11:20 a.m.

Provincial Member, British Columbia, Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments

Vikram Vij

Okay. Will I just keep waiting?

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

There's a vote called in the House so the bells are ringing.

11:20 a.m.

Provincial Member, British Columbia, Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Are you available in 45 minutes or an hour?

11:20 a.m.

Provincial Member, British Columbia, Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments

Vikram Vij

I'm available until 10 o'clock. I was told 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.