There are a couple of things I want to touch on. One thing I wanted to discuss is very similar to what Mr. Boulerice just had to say, so I won't spend a lot of time on it.
I think it was clear to everybody that there was a lack of due process followed here in this situation. I heard some statements today from some of the witnesses that were, I think, incredibly shocking to hear.
I heard statements about an exceptional lack of ethics by the government, that no artist is going to wish to take part in future competitions, that they've never seen outside experts disregarded, that it will tarnish the government's credibility, that it undermines confidence in the government. I heard that although competitions can be cancelled, in everything they've ever seen, generally the jury's decision is received and then conveyed to those who would put it in place. They talked about people being discouraged from entering future competitions and people being discouraged from being a part of juries. We had a witness say that Canadians need to be told why such a decision was made. I heard a lot of statements today that concern me.
I think what Mr. Boulerice just said was very accurate. The idea that somehow, just because the government changed ministers a few months ago, they can come in and say that they don't really know what happened and avoid accountability for what we're hearing is an incredibly unusual, if not unprecedented, situation in a jury's decision being completely disregarded. Whatever one thinks about the monument that we will have is irrelevant; there is a need for people to follow a process and for the government to follow a process.
From that perspective, I think it is important that we do hear from them, because accountability does rest with ministers who were in place when the decisions were made. We need to follow that line.
Had I not heard the kinds of things I heard today, I might have viewed this motion differently. Hearing those kinds of things and seeing ministers shrugging off accountability because they weren't there at the time the decisions were made tells us that this is a pretty important thing for us to hear.
The idea was put forth by one of the government members that this would somehow make us disregard our current important study that we're doing on women veterans. We have nine meetings left. We have eight meetings left in our study on women veterans. Hopefully, that means we can complete it by Christmas.
I know there are other things. I don't know if there will be supplementary estimates or anything like that, but there's a chance that other things will come up. Even if that were to occur and we're one or two meeting shy of being able to complete it, we could give the instructions to the analyst to start preparing a report based on everything we have heard, which would be 95% of the testimony we will hear. Then we finish the last couple meetings and the analyst can add in from those meetings, and we really wouldn't be delaying at all our ability to have a report.
We're going to hit Christmas. We're going to have six or seven weeks when the analyst can work on the report. He can do that either way. Either way, early in the time period after we come back from that break, we can review that report and have it completed. The report would not be delayed by more than maybe by a couple of days. Given that we've given it such a thorough study, I think taking a couple of extra days to finish a report won't be the end of the world. I think we can still do it the justice it absolutely deserves and also ensure that we're doing this the justice it deserves as well.
If you have ministers coming in and saying, “Well, I wasn't there, so I'm not accountable”, then we need to hear from those who were there.
I'll leave it at that.