On a point of order, Chair, I have a motion to move.
Witnesses, I know you're here as experts in your field, and I appreciate your being here. However, there is some very important business that this committee needs to address before we get to you. I thank you for your patience and understanding in that matter.
Chair, this motion is urgent and will require unanimous consent in order to proceed to a vote. I will read the motion, but first I have to put it in context.
The context of this motion is that we had a full-time Minister of Veterans Affairs who was called to appear before this committee. It is the tradition of the committee that when expenditures for government are scrutinized, each committee is charged with the task of reviewing the spending. The committee has the ability to ask.... In most of the protocols that have been used in the past, it would be the Minister of Veterans Affairs who would appear before the committee. That has been the tradition of this committee up to this point in time. However, given the circumstances of the chaos that exists at Veterans Affairs with the fact that we lost our full-time minister—she resigned from the position after having been appointed to the position—and given the fact that we have a very tight time frame for the scrutiny of the expenditures for Veterans Affairs in what is called supplementary estimates (B), which we were prepared to look at and it's our responsibility as a committee to look at, I'm putting this motion forward.
Based on getting unanimous consent around the table, the motion reads: “That the committee invite the acting minister of Veterans Affairs to appear on the Supplementary Estimates (B) on February 25 or 27, 2019.”
Those dates are in the motion and are specific because supplementary estimates (B) will go back to the House as deemed reported by this committee without scrutiny at the end of next week if we do not call the minister to come and answer the questions we have about the expenditures at Veterans Affairs Canada.
It's of utmost importance to this committee to do its work, and to be able to do its work amongst the chaos that is happening within the cabinet and within the government. We are still responsible for reporting—if we choose to report as a committee—on the estimates, and making our thoughts known to the House of Commons through the process.
I know the rules for putting motions forward are set out in the standing orders as having to be delivered with some advance notice, but this is so urgent and so important to this committee that I would first of all put the motion forward, seeking unanimous consent of members.