Evidence of meeting #2 for Official Languages in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was amendment.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Michel Marcotte
Lucie Lecomte  Analyst

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Emmanuel Dubourg

Committee members, I can see a quorum. We'll start the meeting.

Good afternoon. You have the agenda. We'll be discussing committee business.

I'll start by filling you in on what happened this morning. As you know, the subcommittee met this morning. First, I must tell you that I signed part of the committee's estimates, the spending authority, so that we could have coffee, but we'll talk about that a little later.

We mainly discussed the next meeting, this coming Thursday, and what the subcommittee is proposing. We'll pass around the subcommittee's first report.

In a nutshell, a motion tabled by Mr. Arseneault referred to Statistics Canada. The subcommittee proposes that the committee invite the Statistics Canada representatives this coming Thursday to a two-hour meeting, since we have many questions to ask them.

To get you back in the swing of things and as a reminder, I'll read the motion tabled.

3:30 p.m.

The Clerk of the Committee Mr. Michel Marcotte

It's in the minutes of the last meeting.

Do you have it?

February 25th, 2020 / 3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Emmanuel Dubourg

Yes, it's in the minutes of the last meeting.

That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(f), it is proposed that the committee convene Statistics Canada and other witnesses on the following subjects: 1. Update by Statistics Canada on the question of the enumeration of rights holders, and of the results of the work and tests carried out on this subject in relation to the 2021 census questionnaire; 2. The steps to follow, if necessary, to ensure that the questionnaire meets all the requirements of article 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, relating to how to count the beneficiaries of the 2021 census; 3. Advantages and disadvantages of the short form versus the long form with regard to the counting of beneficiaries; 4. Other questions.

This motion was tabled, and we discussed it at the subcommittee this morning. In light of these various points and given that there are “other questions” and “other witnesses,” we want to begin by meeting with Statistics Canada representatives starting on Thursday. They've been notified.

Specifically, we'll ask them about rights holders and other related topics. We also discussed—we'll come back to this issue in the committee—the need to schedule the other meetings. We have a one-week break coming up. At the next two meetings, we want to continue discussing the issue of rights holders and to invite witnesses.

In terms of witnesses, we established that it would be helpful to have two to four witnesses at each two-hour meeting. At the end of the report that the analyst sent to us by email last Friday, we can see the list of all the witnesses who came here to talk about official languages and rights holders.

We'll discuss this so that the parties can submit the names of the witnesses to the clerk no later than Friday of this week. In keeping with the representation of the parties in the House, and if the committee wishes, the clerk and I will select these witnesses and invite them. Since this is the period after the one-week break, these people should be notified.

We'll start by hearing some comments.

Mr. Angus, you have the floor.

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

First, I want to apologize for not being able to attend this morning's subcommittee meeting. Our work involves many other issues. We're now the fourth party. That's the new reality.

I have a list of potential witnesses and I'm ready to submit it.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Emmanuel Dubourg

That's for the clerk.

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

I spoke with Mr. Arseneault. I think that the list is reasonable and simple. There are five witnesses. I'm ready to submit the list.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Emmanuel Dubourg

Okay, but could we first talk about the meeting on Thursday with Statistics Canada? I want to know what you think about the fact that we're inviting the people from Statistics Canada to a two-hour meeting. Do you want to comment on that?

3:35 p.m.

The Clerk

Thursday is in two days.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Emmanuel Dubourg

Yes.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Emmanuel Dubourg

Okay.

Mr. Godin, you have the floor.

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

I think that we all agree that we should meet with the people from Statistics Canada on Thursday. Mr. Arseneault's motion calls for this meeting. For me, the process is quite clear.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Emmanuel Dubourg

Okay.

Ms. Lalonde, you have the floor.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marie-France Lalonde Liberal Orléans, ON

Mr. Chair, I want to bring up a point regarding Statistics Canada. This point also concerns my colleagues. I suggest that we make a special effort to ensure that the chief statistician appears, if he's available. I think it's Anil Arora. We could also invite people who worked on this issue. It would be helpful to have them here to talk about all this.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Emmanuel Dubourg

Ms. Lambropoulos, you have the floor.

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Arseneault's motion, which you read, contained three questions. Do we want to add more questions? We could send the questions to our witnesses in the invitation letter, so that they at least have the proper information when they come to meet with us.

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Emmanuel Dubourg

The fourth point does says “other questions.” We discussed the issue this morning with Mr. Beaulieu. I gathered that these questions would concern rights holders or matters really under the responsibility of Statistics Canada, and that we might have some sub-questions to ask the witnesses following their presentations.

Mr. Beaulieu, you have the floor.

3:40 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Beaulieu Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

If it would be helpful, I could send these people one or two questions that I plan to ask them. The questions concern their methods for analyzing language used, the distribution of multiple choice, and so on.

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Emmanuel Dubourg

Since the meeting is on Thursday, we suggest that you send these questions to the clerk as soon as possible so that these people can be notified.

3:40 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Beaulieu Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

I'll do so this evening.

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Emmanuel Dubourg

Mr. Godin, you have the floor.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Chair, I want to use the right tools. You said in your introduction that we received minutes and that we had Mr. Arseneault's motion. Unfortunately, I don't have access to SharePoint and I have only crossed-out and corrected written material.

I want to know the exact wording of the motion.

Did you receive the minutes?

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Yes and no. I'm in the same situation as you. The documents were sent through the A1 parliamentary email account and not through the P9 account.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

It should be consistent.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Chris d'Entremont Conservative West Nova, NS

We don't have access to the A1 account.

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Emmanuel Dubourg

Okay. While this may be the start of the session, the information has been sent out. I gather that everything related to the minutes is on the Parliament website. If you visit the committees page, you can read these documents. However, when the email states that the information is in the binder, you must visit the Source site to find the information that isn't public.