Well, thank you, Madam Chair. It's good to be here at PROC bright and early. I want to thank and acknowledge the chair for providing more times to meet. I was very concerned when I came here on Tuesday after question period and saw that we were not resuming. I think it's important to get back to this work. I appreciate that we've seen this happen after some conversations.
I am interested in this. Today we were supposed to meet with the ministers. I want to question them, and I think that's an important part of the work we do here. I am concerned about the fact that we'll have a couple of ministers, when there was pretty much clarity that we wanted one minister at a time to focus on. That does concern me. I'm hoping that if there are two, the ministers will come back to see us again.
I have some process questions that, at the end of my intervention, I would really appreciate the clerk to provide us some information and guidance on.
I know that today we are returning to a suspended meeting from Tuesday. I also noticed from the PROC notice of meeting that the ministers are coming, apparently, from 12 to one today, with a meeting prior to that hour, from 11 to 12, that says “to be determined”. I'm just wondering if the process can be explained. If the ministers are coming, would we have to adjourn this particular meeting to start another meeting? I would like some clarity on that. I think that will have an influence on some of the decisions I have to make today.
For me, the goal I'm hoping we get to before the ministers come to see us is that we vote on Mr. Turnbull's amendment and then on the initial motion brought forward by Mr. Cooper and amended by me. I want to know from the chair if there will be time after question period to resume this meeting if we do not get that work done. I also want to know, from the clerk, if that will impact other committees and what that would look like.
I also want to put on the record for my friends around this table that at 3:30 p.m. today, I have a very important meeting with a community in my riding that has come all the way out to Ottawa because they are calling for a state of emergency because of the number of deaths they've had in their community. They're feeling very concerned about overdoses and suicides, largely among young people. I cannot miss that meeting.
I am asking for everybody to just consider—we obviously have time to consider this—that if we do come back to this meeting, perhaps we can wait till 4:30 p.m. so that I can be at that very urgent meeting with my constituents. They came here from across this country. It is imperative that I be there.
I also want to recognize that sometimes it's hard to find subs on a Thursday afternoon.
Madam Chair, this is so serious. We are sitting around this table discussing things that are so important. There are so many leaks, and they are, in fact, detracting Canadians from having faith in our institutions. I think it's unfair to simply say to this committee in this work.... We know those leaks are coming out. More came out yesterday. That is why I'm here in this very difficult position.
I hear again that Mr. Fergus is courting my very good friend—I'm the whip and he is the House leader—Mr. Julian, whom I work with. I have a lot of pride in the incredible work and dignity he brings to this position. It was not an easy decision for the NDP to pull forward staff, and it's not a comfortable place, but we also have to understand that the day after Mr. Julian made his very important remarks—which I think we should all listen to very carefully and consider—we again saw more information come out. When that keeps happening, you have to find a way forward.
We have asked the Prime Minister very clearly to make sure there is a public inquiry. Jagmeet Singh has been very clear. My leader has said repeatedly that there needs to be a transparent, public and independent process here.
I deeply respect the work of NSICOP and the members from every party who are on that committee. I think the work they do is incredibly important. I very much honour the fact that national security is something we should be careful about. This is why, historically, I have voted against motions the Conservatives have brought forward. I felt they did not address the issue of national security sufficiently, and that concerned me.
I'm also concerned that national security and our institutions are being threatened by how many leaks are coming out in the press. I just want to remind everyone that these journalists are people who take their work very seriously. There are other people who call themselves “journalists” who do not take their work very seriously, and if the sources were coming from them, I would be very hesitant to take this step. That is not who this is coming from. These are journalists who have very high standards, and I think we need to listen to them. I feel very uncomfortable to be put in the position that I have to make the decisions I'm having to make.
I am not very content, Mr. Turnbull, with the amendment you brought forward. It doesn't meet the criteria I have. I understand that a special rapporteur is going to be appointed, but we're still waiting to see who that will be.
I want to be very clear: With everything the Prime Minister has proposed, it is all secretive. It doesn't allow for what we are calling for, which is a transparent, public and independent process. I also want to be clear that within these processes, honouring our national security and making sure that information isn't broadcasted can be done in that process. We need somebody who's independent leading this so that Canadians can have faith in their institutions. This is undermining the fundamental belief of so many Canadians in these institutions, and that matters to me greatly.
I will wait here and have this conversation, and I'm hoping I can have some answers. If I can't have them right away, it would be good to have them fairly soon. I just want to know what the process is so that I can better understand it.
I also want to say I agree that, through this system, through what we've seen happen over the last few months.... I am concerned about the rhetoric I'm hearing from the Conservatives in their positions. I think it's frightening. It's divisive. It is such a system that says, “Let's be afraid of everything, and everything is broken.” I don't believe everything is broken. I don't believe so because we have strong, amazing Canadians across this country who represent every single party in how they vote. They are strong and they have faith. We know that if we come together, we can find good solutions, and that is what I'm focused on.
I don't want this to be about drama and intrigue. I want this to be about getting down to answers. The minute that we see a public inquiry that is transparent, independent and public, we're going to have lots of different conversations. That is when the doors are opened for Canadians. At the end of the day, that's whom I'm here fighting for.
I want Canadians to have absolute faith in their institutions. I believe in our institutions, and I have a lot of pride in our institutions. I want to make sure we strengthen them with everything we do. I have tried to do that in this committee, but unfortunately this is where we're at. I've had to make some very uncomfortable decisions, and I will make them because Canadians require that and they deserve the truth, so let's get to it.