You're correct, Chair.
I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't stepping out of turn here in terms of commenting before the report had actually been motioned onto the floor.
The fact is that we spent a good deal of time dealing with the issues around live-in caregivers. We were able to pull a previous report regarding ghost consultants, because we actually couldn't get any to appear here, which leads me to what I think is the bigger issue surrounding this whole report.
I actually think when we've completed the report, hopefully at the end of the week, we'll have a reasonable piece of work for you to forward in the House of Commons. That said, we invited, through the clerk's trying, anyway, a number of people to come to this committee. There was a witness list provided. Those witnesses were contacted. Those who did show up certainly provided good testimony. I don't think there was a witness who didn't provide us with some reasonably good advice that will probably end up in this report. However, we had a number of people who just simply declined, who said they weren't going to come. They weren't going to participate. They weren't going to be included. In fact, Ms. Dhalla's brother, who she's indicated has full accountability and responsibility for the issues that took place in their home, was called repeatedly. He was faxed a memo to respond to, confirmation that in fact was found.
There was one e-mail returned by Mr. Dhalla, who simply said he was too busy to come to the committee. This is the first time in the three and a half years that I've been here in the House of Commons where we actually had witnesses who decided it was better for them not to appear for whatever reason. Some of them couldn't find the House of Commons, I guess. Some of them had fire alarm issues. But I can tell you, the closer we got to the issues at hand, the more it became—certainly from my perspective—difficult for people to actually want to show up here.
It's a serious and significant issue. I'd like to think it would be one of the reasons we have witnesses here, because they can actually give testimony and provide sound advice as to what's happening.
Ms. Dhalla herself showed up here to defend herself at committee. I think it was certainly very reasonable for her to do that. There's a lot of conflicting testimony about what happened in the Dhalla home. That's not for us to research anymore, and I understand that. But I'll tell you, the fact that she came says a lot about at least her perspective and seriousness on the issue. It doesn't speak very well for her family, and certainly not for her brother, who could have easily come to this committee. His flight would have been paid for and his accommodations would have been taken care of. He could have easily shown up here to do what everyone else did, everyone else who showed up, anyway, to at least provide an accounting of what had happened and perhaps some advice—I'm not sure how much advice—as to how we would envelop the issue into the report.
We had other witnesses, witnesses who were called repeatedly and either did not respond to those calls, didn't respond to those concerns, didn't respond to those invitations, or said things like, “Well, I'm not going to come unless I can bring my lawyer with me.” That is, from my perspective, a significant concern when we have people who are being requested to come. Once they're here, certainly their testimony is public, but in terms of the approach we took here, everyone came under the assurances that they would be treated fairly, and they were.
When witnesses say they're sorry, that they'd like to appear and they'll come and appear but they need to have their lawyer with them, I would like to know why we have witnesses who are so concerned about an issue we're studying that they won't come to appear before the committee, at the House of Commons, because they can't have their lawyer with them.
So while I'm looking forward to getting in and completing this report, I certainly do want to say for the record that I'm disappointed. We're disappointed. Regardless of the perspective that anyone would have taken coming to this committee, whether they're pro or con, whether they're in support of or not in support of, to me, that's immaterial to the fact that we had a number of people who made the determination that they just simply didn't want to come.
I think that (a) it's unacceptable and (b) it certainly will not allow us to produce the quality of report that we might have based on the evidence and testimony that would have been delivered.