Evidence of meeting #46 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 c-33.

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On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Does that include, Minister, coming back, as the motion I had put forward on Friday suggests, to answer questions regarding MyDemocracy.ca and the government's planned agenda for electoral reform?

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Maryam Monsef Peterborough—Kawartha, ON

Yes, if you believe that's a good use of your time, and if you think that is a good idea, I can make sure that I have the right time frame set aside, but also we'll make sure that we have officials in the room who can provide any technical explanations or descriptions as you see fit.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

That's fantastic.

I do want to move to Bill C-33. In order to facilitate that, now that we know you'd be willing to come back, Mr. Chair, I move:

That the Committee invite the Minister of Democratic Institutions to appear for not less than two hours to answer questions regarding MyDemocracy.ca and the government’s planned agenda for electoral reform.

I take it, Mr. Chair, because we moved off the topic, that we can conclude that I haven't used up my seven minutes yet. I'm not using up the time for the questions to the minister.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Larry Bagnell

Right.

Mr. Chan.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Arnold Chan Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

I have a question on the motion. Is it the exact one that you filed? Is it verbatim?

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Yes. If I deviated in any way, regard the written text as the one that is being moved here.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Larry Bagnell

Ms. Sahota.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Brampton North, ON

I have a comment on the motion. It's written in a way where it says “not less than two hours”. To me, I understand that the intent may be to have the minister here for a full two hours, but the way it reads, you could suggest six hours, eight hours, or whatever. I was just wondering if you'd be open to a friendly amendment to say “for two hours”.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

For two hours. Yes, I would be agreeable to that.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Larry Bagnell

Are people ready for the question?

(Motion as amended agreed to)

You can carry on with your questions.

December 13th, 2016 / 12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. We were at one minute and 45 seconds when we stopped.

First of all, Minister, thank you for coming here to talk about Bill C-33.

Minister, I've been on this committee for over a decade, through a number of election cycles, starting under the Chrétien government, and every election cycle, the minister, or rather, I correct myself, the Chief Electoral Officer submits a report on recommended changes subsequent to the election and the experiences that he—it's been a he so far, so that's not sexist language—Mr. Kingsley or Mr. Mayrand, thinks ought to be made based on the experience.

Then the procedure and House affairs committee engages in an exhaustive review of that report, makes recommendations based on a riffing off, if you like, of the CEO's recommendations, submits those, and the government responds. It may respond in a way the committee judges to be satisfactory or unsatisfactory, but the fact is that you wait for that process.

You moved ahead without waiting for our report, and although we're not permitted to say what we were discussing, I can tell you that some of what we were discussing in our report was, I thought, of enormous use, and cannot be dealt with in some supplemental piece of legislation because it very much featured some of the key issues that you're dealing with and setting in stone in this piece of legislation.

May I ask why you didn't follow the precedent of all your predecessors in this regard and wait until our report had been submitted? If I may say so...well, let me just stop there and ask that question, Minister.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Maryam Monsef Peterborough—Kawartha, ON

Mr. Chair, first, I'm thankful to the honourable member for his decade of service on this committee. I used to watch committee proceedings like this on television, and I'm continuously in awe of the work that you do and the collegial way in which you do it. I've been following the work of this committee closely. I know that you've been working on a review of all the recommendations—over 100—that the Chief Electoral Officer made. I can assure you that nothing is set in stone.

As you understand the parliamentary process, introducing the bill is step one. There will be ongoing debate, and your recommendations and the work that you've done can be formulated into thoughtful amendments to the bill. As I've indicated, I'm interested in making sure that the strongest possible legislation moves forward, and that includes input from you as well.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Mr. Chair, I will split my time with Mr. Schmale.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Thank you very much, Minister. It's always good to have my geographical neighbour here at this committee.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Maryam Monsef Peterborough—Kawartha, ON

We're neighbours. That's right.