Evidence of meeting #74 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 event.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Olivier Champagne  Legislative Clerk, House of Commons
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Andrew Lauzon
Madeleine Dupuis  Policy Advisor, Democratic Institutions, Privy Council Office

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

We had a limit of 45.

October 19th, 2017 / 11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

It's 35 days, so I worry. What if the reporting requirement falls on E-day or...? Running a campaign is the craziest thing I've ever done, and I wonder at people who've done it more than once. They must be insane and out of their mind. Why would they repeat doing this over and over again? As I say this two years later, I'm probably going to do it again, but you're out of your head. It's complete insanity, and volunteers don't know what's happening.

The fast pace of that 30- or 35-day period on average is intense, so I worry if you have a fundraiser that falls right on E-day or the day before. I see a lot of people making errors in their reporting because they don't have the capability.

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Go ahead, Ms. May.

11:55 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'm grateful for the chance to take the microphone again.

If there's anyone who understands Canadian election cycles and rules around Canadian elections, I think it's Jean-Pierre Kingsley, given his history as the person to hold the role longest. I'm just going to quote again what he said before the committee.

If there is a time when people really need to know who is contributing, it is during the election period. We don't have [it] now. This bill would prevent that from happening at this critical moment in the existence of a democracy.

I hear what you're saying, Ruby, but I think my amendment wouldn't have created the doubling. The doubling of the reporting occurs when you combine my amendment with David's amendment. If there were some elegant way to ensure.... I mean, the big policy question before this committee is this: do you want to amend the act to deal with the concern raised by Jean-Pierre Kingsley that it's during an election when Canadians particularly want to know who's donating to different parties and candidates?

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Go ahead, Mr. Bittle.

Noon

Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

I appreciate those comments, but I think Mr. Kingsley was talking about something different in terms of overall donations. That is a completely different conversation from this very specific and narrowly focused piece of legislation, and engaging in this amendment doesn't achieve what Mr. Kingsley was seeking in his own testimony. How the event gets reported instantaneously is logistically difficult as individuals are handing you cheques on the day before the election. Perhaps 10 or 20 years down the road, if everything is online, it will become a lot easier to report it instantaneously, but I don't think Mr. Kingsley's recommendation is in line with the reality of how campaigns continue to work when your 75-year-old supporter comes in with a cheque. It goes to a volunteer and goes through a series of processes that may not be able to be reported in time for the election.

I think what Mr. Kingsley was talking about and what we're dealing with here are two different issues.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Go ahead, Mr. Christopherson.

Noon

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

I have one comment. I'm having some trouble accepting “logistically difficult” as the reason not to do something. If that were the reason not to do something, half of the regulations around elections wouldn't exist because you can apply that “logistically difficult” test to it.

We do an awful lot of things in the campaign, as Ruby has said, that make campaign managers nuts because of all the things that they have to do that seem logistically difficult but that we have deemed are necessary to ensure that we have free and fair elections. I just make the comment that “logistically difficult” doesn't carry an awful lot of weight with me.

Noon

Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

If I can clarify, as a lawyer, I hate to use the word “impossible”, but when we're talking about this and when I'm using the words “logistically difficult”, we are getting to the point where it's unreasonable to put that upon volunteers in a particular situation. I understand what you are saying and I'll adjust my comments accordingly.

Noon

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

I hear what you are saying and I'm not adjusting mine.

Noon

Voices

Oh, oh!

Noon

Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Fair enough.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Can we vote on the subamendment?

Mr. Reid, on the subamendment...?

Noon

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

I have no further comment on it.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

I will call the vote.

(Subamendment negatived [SeeMinutes of Proceedings])

We now go on to the amendment itself, LIB-3. Is there further discussion?

All in favour?

Noon

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

On division.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

It carries on division.

(Amendment agreed to on division [See Minutes of Proceedings])

The vote applies consequentially to LIB-7, as well, which is also passed.

Who is presenting on LIB-4?

Noon

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

I will speak in the name of whomever. Thank you.

This is another one from the CEO. It simply adds exemptions for people who are in support of a disabled person at an event. It would remove them from the reportable list. Did you catch it, David?

Noon

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

No. I had already looked at it earlier, so I think I'm okay.

Noon

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

I wasn't very articulate, so perhaps I need some assistance. Is it understood?

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

If a person is a professional helping a disabled person, they don't have to go on the list.

Noon

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

That's right.

Noon

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Is there any discussion?

Noon

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

I have a question from my ignorance here. How do you take a member or a cabinet minister who is in a wheelchair and who has a professional member who is also a staffer who is politically active?

Noon

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

If they have another role, I don't think they'd be covered. If their role there is purely to support—