I call this meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 23 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of January 25, 2021. Therefore members are attending in person in the room and remotely by using the Zoom application. The proceedings will be made available via the House of Commons website. Just so you are aware, the webcast will always show the person speaking rather than the entirety of the committee.
Today's meeting is also taking place on Zoom webinar format. Webinars are for public committee meetings and are available only to members, their staff and witnesses. Members may have remarked that the entry to the meeting was much quicker and that they immediately entered as an active participant. All functionalities for active participants remain the same. Staff will be non-active participants only and can therefore view the meeting in gallery view only. I would like to take this opportunity to remind all participants to this meeting that screenshots and taking photos of your screen are not permitted.
Given the ongoing pandemic situation, and in light of the recommendations from health authorities to remain healthy and safe, all those attending the meeting in person are to maintain two metres of physical distance. They must wear a non-medical mask when circulating in the room. It is highly recommended that the mask be worn at all times, including when seated. As well, those attending must maintain proper hand hygiene by using the provided hand sanitizer at the room entrance. As the chair, I will be enforcing these measures for the duration of the meeting. I thank members in advance for their co-operation.
For those participating virtually, I'd like to outline a few rules to follow. Members and witnesses may speak in the official language of their choice. Interpretation services are available for this meeting. You have the choice at the bottom of your screen of floor, English or French. With the latest Zoom version, you may now speak in the language of your choice without the need to select the corresponding language channel. You will also notice that the platform's “raise hand” feature is now in a more easily accessible location on the main toolbar, should you need to speak or alert the chair.
For members participating in person, proceed as you usually would when the whole committee is meeting in person in the committee room. Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. If you are on video conference, please click the microphone icon to unmute yourself. For those in the room, your microphone will be controlled, as normal, by the proceedings and verification officer.
All comments by members and witnesses should be addressed through the chair. When you are not speaking, your mike should be on mute. With regard to the speaking list, the committee clerk and I will do our best to maintain a consolidated order of speaking of all members, whether they are participating virtually or in person.
I would now like to welcome our witnesses for today. We have Minister Rodriguez, the House leader; Mr. Allen Sutherland, assistant secretary to the cabinet; and Mr. Donald Booth, director of strategic policy and Canadian secretary to the Queen.
We will allow the minister an opening statement of about 10 minutes, which will precede probably two rounds of questions. Just so the committee is aware, the minister will be here for the first part of the meeting for one hour. The officials who are accompanying him will stay behind for the second hour for further questioning.
I want to take some time now to welcome a few new members today.
Welcome back, Mr. Nater.
I see that we have Mr. Fragiskatos with us again.
Mr. Kent, welcome to the committee. I know that an official change was made and that you and Mr. Nater will be our new permanent members of the committee. I think the committee is looking forward, as I definitely am, to working with all of you.
Minister, please go ahead with your opening remarks.