Evidence of meeting #53 for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was ministers.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Louise Levonian  Deputy Minister, Department of Employment and Social Development
Lori Sterling  Deputy Minister, Labour Program, Department of Employment and Social Development

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

Welcome back, everybody. We have a few more moments before the bells start again here.

Thank you, everybody, for coming back. We're going to get started.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.

The schedule indicates that the ministers would be with us until two o'clock today.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

What was agreed upon was that they would be here for one round of questioning. Then they had to prep for question period.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

It does say from noon to two o'clock here, and it includes their names below.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

That is when the meeting is conducted, yes.

We do have the officials here, and we'd like to get going with questions again.

Bob, go ahead.

April 11th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

I'm just following up on what my colleague just brought up. We originally agreed to this. We agreed to a full set of questions, for our entire opposition lineup to ask the ministers questions.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

I agree.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

We've been gone for only about 10 minutes, which gives them lots of time to answer questions and still get back to question period.

The schedule agreed upon was until two o'clock. We knew that we would have a lot to do in this period of time. We certainly had a lot more time between our committee business and 12 o'clock. We had another half hour, so we could have easily had the ministers in a bit earlier. I just find it troubling. It seems that they are using this as an excuse not to come back, because there were votes. If this is what's happening, I would certainly call upon you that we have the ministers reappear and provide adequate time for us to ask questions.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

I think we can discuss that. Are there any other thoughts around whether we would want the ministers to reappear? Guys, let's be honest. This is not how we wanted this to go, either. We've been gone for significantly longer than 10 minutes. I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with you, but we've been gone for nearly half an hour. Apparently, we have another motion coming as we speak.

Mr. Di Iorio, go ahead.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Nicola Di Iorio Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Before we suspended, you did indicate that the ministers would not be here—

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

I said it was likely that they would not come back.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Nicola Di Iorio Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

—and I didn't hear any comments. Nobody insisted that they be back.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

Bob, go ahead.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

What was discussed at committee is what we agreed to, to be clear. When we agreed to have the ministers here, we agreed on the basis that we would all have a chance to ask them questions. Just because you said they weren't coming back, that doesn't mean we agreed to it, to be fair.

I think we need to have the ministers back to fully and adequately answer questions before our committee.

Thank you.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

I'm not sure our timetable allows for that, but we can definitely look into that and see. I would have to look at the calendar. I don't know if the ministers would be.... This was the date when we could get the ministers here in the room. As I said, the events of this morning were not anticipated, and I know that everybody would have liked to ask questions of the ministers.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like that's going to happen today, but we do have the department officials. I would request that, before we get called away again, we do in fact ask questions of the department officials.

Mr. Zimmer, go ahead.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

On the same point, I guess I'm looking for an answer as to whether the ministers are going to be requested to appear at committee again. Is that still up in the air?

I'm asking you to ask them to reappear, Mr. Chair.

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

Fair enough.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

I think it's fair to say that we, as the opposition, are asking for that to happen. We would like that to be asked of the ministers.

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

What I can commit to today, Bob, is that we will look at the schedule and see if there is an opportunity. We have until May 31 in order to have these meetings before the deadline. If there is a day that allows us to do that and doesn't infringe on other commitments of this committee, and if the ministers are able to actually meet that schedule, then I think everybody would like to have that.

I can't say at this point, “Yes, we can do it on this day, and yes, the ministers can arrive.”

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

I'm just asking for them to be asked, Mr. Chair.

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

Fair enough.

Mr. Ruimy, go ahead.

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

I have a point of order.

This happens when we have witnesses. We can't control what goes on in the House. We don't call back witnesses. I'm failing to understand why this is even an issue right now. The chair controls the agenda, but we are at the mercy of what happens in the House. I'm not sure why we are even contemplating this right now.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

I thank Dan for giving me that power, but in fact, this committee controls the agenda.

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

That's right.