Mr. Chair, when I heard Mr. Norlock speak about the trust and faith that Canadians and, I think, he have in judges, it made me as the vice-chair of the justice committee wish that he had been on that committee when we were discussing matters of sentencing. Indeed, if that were the prevailing view among him and his colleagues, we'd have a lot more consensus on that committee.
Mr. Chair, this is essentially a negotiation about process. There are two issues: the number of meetings and the number of witnesses per meeting. That's what the motion is about. There is certainly a willingness on this side of the table for extra meetings, extra sittings, and extended hours. I haven't heard that on the other side, but I would expect that we could probably get consensus on that.
We do have a precedent. In the fall of 2001, when the twin towers and the Pentagon were smouldering, Parliament was faced with a very serious situation. Parliament was faced with a piece of legislation to deal with the terrorist threat. The committee studying that piece of legislation in the fall of 2001 held 19 meetings, heard from 80 witnesses, and had its business done within a month. The situation that we face today is no less serious, no less complex, and no less worthy of our time and effort.
The government motion and the amendment do not, in my respectful submission, allow adequate examination. The number of witnesses, 48, quite frankly, Mr. Chair, is a bit of a mirage, because when you put three witnesses on a panel, six witnesses per meeting, it does not allow for the depth of examination and the detailed questioning that this matter warrants. Liberals cannot support the subamendment. We do support the NDP amendment. I am encouraged by what we've heard from Mr. Norlock and also from Mr. Payne, that there appears to be some room for compromise. I would urge both the official opposition and the government to put some water in their wine. Canadians expect us to get on with this and to deal with it in a reasonable manner. We have a precedent, and we would be doing this a great disservice not to be the adult in the room and come to a reasonable conclusion.