I am happy to share our conversation.
I am sensitive to the point you are raising, Mr. Reid, with respect to hearing from the minister, hopefully before anything is tabled before the House from this committee.
First of all, let me answer the broad principle. The government is happy to have the minister appear. In terms of the motion you tabled, which I know you have not moved yet, clearly we won't be able to meet your initial deadline of May 12, given that we are now dealing with the privilege motion and we also have the estimates issues that we will have to juggle at some point, but in principle I don't have a problem with the appearance of the minister. From the government side, we are happy to do that. Initially, I was going to suggest that if, for some reason—and I knew we couldn't dispense with the privilege motion—I am aware that the minister is not available at certain periods of time.... That is now moot. As a sequencing process, let's first deal with privilege and then with estimates, because we are under very specific time constraints.
Then, if we can get back to it.... You called for an appearance for two hours. The government's position is that we are prepared to have her appear for one hour. If we need additional time, that's fine. We'll consider it after she has made an appearance. You can ask whatever questions you want to ask based upon the letter that she has tendered.
It just depends on how fast we can dispense with the privilege matter and the estimates matters. At that point, if you wish to move a similar motion that calls the minister, we will be supportive of it, but only if it is for one hour, and obviously within her schedule. I can't undertake that this won't be before something is tabled, because we have these other matters that have come in front of this particular committee.
I don't know her timing with respect to when she might submit something to the House, but if we can quickly dispense with the privilege matter and the estimates matters, we might even possibly be able to fit this in before the end of the month, and if not, hopefully in the first week of June. Then we'll see where we go from there.
I know that's tight, but it's the best we can do, given the circumstances. As I said, had we moved forward on the discussion paper, the minister would have been the first person we would have called from the government. We have nothing to hide on that. Our point is that the minister needs to explain what she was trying to advance. Now that obviously the terms have changed with respect to limiting it to the five platform items—that was tabled in the more recent letter to the opposition House leaders—you are welcome to ask questions about that.
Again, we don't have a sense of what the standing order changes.... We have a framework, but we won't know how they will look until they are actually tabled before the House.