I call to order meeting number four of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.
Welcome, everyone. Good afternoon to some of you, and good morning to those of you who are joining us from the west coast.
First, I would like to read a health and safety notice, a reminder to all attendees in the room to physically distance themselves from others by at least two metres and to wear a mask unless you are seated and you are more than two metres from anyone else.
This is a hybrid meeting. Some members are appearing in person in the parliamentary precinct and the other members are appearing remotely. I remind all members to please speak at a pace slow enough for interpretation to keep up. The clerk will be tracking raised hands and keeping a list for the chair. All questions should be decided by a recorded vote except for those decided unanimously or on division. This is based on the order adopted by the House on September 23. The meeting is being webcast and is available on ParlVU.
Before we go into the scheduling issues for today, I would like to read a clarification in regard to in camera meetings of the subcommittee:
Thank you for the opportunity to clarify certain elements related to in camera proceedings. Members of the Committee asked if meetings of the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure are held in public by virtue of the motion the main Committee adopted regarding in camera proceedings.
For the benefit of members of the Committee the motion reads as follows: “That any motion to go in camera be debatable and amendable; and that the committee may only meet in camera for the following purposes: to consider a draft report; to attend briefings concerning national security; to consider lists of witnesses; and for any other reason with the unanimous consent of the committee; and, that all votes taken in camera with exception of votes regarding the consideration of draft reports be recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings including how each member voted when the recorded votes are requested.”
By agreeing to this motion, the main Committee has decided to govern its in camera proceeding in a particular manner. However, its application to a subcommittee remains another matter.
House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Third Edition, at page 974 states:
“Once established, subcommittees carry out their own work within the mandate entrusted to them. They are free to adopt rules to govern their activities, provided these are consistent with the framework established by the main committee.”
Subcommittees on agenda and procedure are established primarily to relieve the main committee of planning and administrative tasks.
I wish to draw the attention of committee members to page 1088 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Third Edition, which states that:
“Subcommittees on Agenda and Procedure usually meet in camera.”
Subcommittees meet to plan the work of the main committee in a more informal and collegial manner. Based on the motion establishing it, a subcommittee can conduct its business as it sees fit so it can exercise its mandate efficiently and report a work plan back to the main committee for consideration.
For these reasons there is a long set of precedent for holding subcommittee meetings in camera and, as such, the Chair can use her discretion in determining whether subcommittee meetings commence in camera or in public.
That is just a little clarification I wanted to provide.
Today we had to do some juggling of the schedule to accommodate the votes scheduled for 2 p.m. with bells starting at 1:30 p.m. I'm hoping for your understanding and flexibility. It was my judgment that we did not have time to proceed with the first panel before the vote, as there are witnesses with important testimony who deserve a full opportunity for uninterrupted questioning by the committee. We will schedule this panel, and I will return to that in a bit once we go into the details.
We will suspend this meeting at the bells and return after the vote for the originally scheduled second panel of witnesses, for one hour at approximately 3 p.m.
Going forward, the committee will be meeting from 3:30 to 5:30. A agreement was reached between the whips, and the CIMM committee meetings will be on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. while the House is in session. This will be in effect as of Monday, November 16. The clerk circulated that to all committee members, but I wanted to bring it to everyone's attention.
Next week, the committee can meet from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, November 13, if it wishes. I sent out an email to the members of the subcommittee asking them to let me know if that is the desire. Initially we were looking to see if the minister can could come to that. The minister is not available on November 13, so if we decide there will be a meeting on November 13, it would be to continue our study on the impact of COVID-19 on immigration. We could choose to invite today's first panel to come back next Friday, November 13, or we could invite them during a regular Monday or Wednesday meeting. It is the will of the committee to meet next week, so I would like to have members' input on whether the majority of you, or all of you, agree to hold the meeting on November 13 to listen to witnesses.
I see a hand raised. Mr. Dhaliwal.