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37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

Standing Committee on Transport


EVIDENCE

CONTENTS

Thursday, October 2, 2003




¿ 0905
V         The Clerk of the Committee
V         Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance)
V         The Clerk
V         Mr. Stan Keyes (Hamilton West, Lib.)
V         Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay—Superior North)
V         The Clerk
V         Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance)
V         The Clerk
V         Mr. Ken Epp
V         The Clerk
V         The Clerk
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Clerk
V         The Clerk
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Ken Epp
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair

¿ 0910
V         The Clerk
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Moore
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Moore
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Ken Epp
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, BQ)
V         The Chair

¿ 0915
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         The Chair
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP)
V         The Chair
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais
V         The Chair
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais
V         The Chair
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rex Barnes (Gander—Grand Falls, PC)
V         The Chair

¿ 0920
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair
V         The Clerk
V         The Chair
V         The Clerk
V         The Chair
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais

¿ 0925
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Cannis (Scarborough Centre, Lib.)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway (Sarnia—Lambton, Lib.)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway

¿ 0930
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Roger Gallaway
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Yolande Thibeault (Saint-Lambert, Lib.)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Larry Bagnell
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Joseph Volpe (Eglinton—Lawrence, Lib.)

¿ 0935
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Marcel Proulx (Hull—Aylmer, Lib.)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Marcel Proulx
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Marcel Proulx

¿ 0940
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Marcel Proulx
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         Mr. James Moore
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         Mr. James Moore
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise
V         The Chair
V         Mr. James Moore
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Larry Bagnell
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         Mr. James Moore

¿ 0945
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais
V         Mr. Stan Keyes
V         The Chair










CANADA

Standing Committee on Transport


NUMBER 034 
l
2nd SESSION 
l
37th PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Thursday, October 2, 2003

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

¿  +(0905)  

[English]

+

    The Clerk of the Committee: Honourable members, I see a quorum. We can now proceed to the election of the chair. I'm ready to receive any motion to that effect.

+-

    Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance): I nominate Mr. Comuzzi for chair.

    (Motion agreed to)

+-

    The Clerk: I declare Mr. Comuzzi elected chair.

    We are going to proceed to the election of vice-chairs, if that's the wish of the committee.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes (Hamilton West, Lib.): I nominate—oh, sorry, Joe do you want to do that first?

+-

    Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay—Superior North): I nominate Mr. Moore.

+-

    The Clerk: Are there any other nominations?

+-

    Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance): Are these nominations for both vice-chairs, all in one sweep?

+-

    The Clerk: We are doing them one at a time. We're doing Mr. Moore now.

+-

    Mr. Ken Epp: Do we have two nominations now or not?

+-

    The Clerk: I have only one on the floor.

    (Motion agreed to)

+-

    The Clerk: Now we'll have the second nomination for the second vice-chair.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: I nominate Mr. Cannis.

+-

    The Clerk: Are there any other nominations?

    (Motion agreed to)

+-

    The Clerk: I invite Mr. Comuzzi to take the chair.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you all.

    Do we have a motion for adjournment?

+-

    Mr. Ken Epp: I just want the record to show that our acquiescence to not having a secret ballot is in no way to be taken as a precedent, because in some future elections we may require that.

+-

    The Chair: That's duly noted, Mr. Epp.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: Mr. Chair, is Ken Epp going to be a regular member of this committee?

    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

+-

    The Chair: On other business, we're going to talk now about the future agenda and the work of the committee. Mr. Clerk, would you explain to us, please, what the parliamentary calendar looks like? When do you anticipate the breaks will be?

¿  +-(0910)  

+-

    The Clerk: Today is October 2. We have next week, which goes from October 6 to 10. Then there is a break week. Then we have two more weeks in October--the 20th and the 27th. The first week of November begins on the 3rd. There's a break on November 10. Then there are two more weeks--the 17th and the 24th. In December there are two weeks--the 1st and the 8th. That totals eight weeks of sittings of the House.

+-

    The Chair: I think we'll go down this row and have you tell us, as succinctly as possible, what you think should be discussed in future business of the committee. Don't forget we have Bill C-26 in front of us--but in addition to Bill C-26.

    Mr. Moore.

+-

    Mr. James Moore: Obviously, there are a few things that arose over the summer. The principal issue that has seemingly dominated the immediate forethought of our transport minister with regard to financing is the Windsor-Quebec City rail project. No specifics are on the table, but he mentioned publicly that he was going to bring it to cabinet.

    This is an extraordinarily expensive project. The committee hasn't been consulted; we haven't seen any information on it. So if we were to do anything beyond Bill C-26, it may be at the top of the agenda to examine whether or not the committee thinks it's as good an idea as the transport minister does.

+-

    The Chair: Would that be after Bill C-26 or before Bill C-26?

+-

    Mr. James Moore: After Bill C-26.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Epp.

+-

    Mr. Ken Epp: I'll pass because I'm going to get heckled from the other side if I become too active here.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Jaffer.

    Oh, he's gone. I didn't want to miss him, in case he just stepped out for a moment.

    Mr. Laframboise, welcome. It's nice to see you again.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, BQ): Good day. The pleasure is all mine, Mr. Chairman.

    I concur with Mr. Moore about the need to discuss the high-speed train proposal further. However, everything hinges on the government's agenda. Will Bill C-26 be examined soon? I think we'll be able to discuss the Quebec City-Windsor high-speed train proposal when we discuss VIA Rail in conjunction with our study of Bill C-26. We can do that at the same time. It shouldn't present a problem.

    However, I would like the committee to reconsider the question of air transportation. Committee members will recall that the government rejected all of the findings of the report we submitted. Should we let the matter rest or should we take another kick at the can? Of course, Air Canada is in the process of restructuring its operations, but no doubt some timely air transportation issues will come to the forefront.

[English]

+-

    The Chair: Would you want to discuss that prior to starting the discussion on Bill C-26 or after, if we were able to get through Bill C-26?

¿  +-(0915)  

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Yes indeed, given the urgent nature of the report when we submitted it and given that the government rejected every single recommendation put forward. However, I wouldn't want to delay consideration of Bill C-26 unduly. Whatever you decide, I'll go along with that. But, my sense is that air transportation issues will again be in the news once Air Canada's new investors are revealed.

[English]

+-

    The Chair: Thank you.

    Ms. Desjarlais.

+-

    Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP): I agree with Mr. Laframboise that the air transportation issue isn't sort of dead and gone. I think it's still very much in front of us. Even representatives from the international air traffic community have questioned the security tax in Canada being that much higher than anywhere else in the world, and the effect it's having. There's also the discriminatory effect they think it's having on travel to other countries. So I think it is having an effect overall, and we should discuss it.

    I believe we also have the estimates before us, which we should probably look at. I could be wrong, but I thought they were in there somewhere.

+-

    The Chair: I'll check on it. I don't recall seeing any estimates.

+-

    Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: They were tabled last week, I believe.

+-

    The Chair: Do you mean the supplementary estimates?

+-

    Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: Do we have a sort of timeframe on Bill C-26? From my perspective, it isn't as important as the issue with air transportation.

+-

    The Chair: So your recommendation is that air transport takes precedence over anything else, particularly the security tax and the supplementary estimates, as they relate to it.

    But you're aware--and I think it should be brought before the committee if the clerk can produce it--that the revenues up to August 31 have been ascertained at $390 million. CATSA has submitted its first annual report with expenditures of $174 million. You have a very valid point that....

+-

    Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: I haven't seen the report.

+-

    The Chair: Could we provide the committee with the revenue figures on the air security tax, plus the annual report? Did CATSA not send us an annual report? I've just been told that they've submitted an annual report. Did no one in the committee receive an annual report on CATSA? Yes. Will you circulate it to the members? Thank you. Okay, that answers your question, Ms. Desjarlais.

    Mr. Barnes, nice to see you again.

+-

    Mr. Rex Barnes (Gander—Grand Falls, PC): I'm glad to be back.

    Bill C-26 is on everyone's mind, from the airport authorities.... We should get through that bill. There's a lot of concern about it, although a lot of people are saying they should be meeting to change a lot of it. I don't know if that's happening, but I think it's important that we get through it.

    I also think Air Canada's going to be back in our lap before we know it. It's still a hot issue, especially with the thought that two major investors are going to look at taking Air Canada out of the sinkhole. If you read the papers and believe what they say, there are going to be major changes coming.

    According to one spokesperson, Air Canada may only fly to the profitable places. That could leave out pretty well all the rural areas in this country, with no one to pick up the slack. So with all the fees the government has attached to the airports.... There was some reduction, but I think we may have to take on that one before we realize it.

    I know Stan raised the issue at the last meeting of the piloting situation. I don't know if that's ongoing or if there's still concern about that.

+-

    The Chair: Your preference is air transport and then Bill C-26. Thank you.

    Mr. Keyes.

¿  +-(0920)  

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: Was I on the list?

+-

    The Chair: We're going down the line.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: I too have concerns about Air Canada and the aviation industry. I also have concerns about the airports. I suppose we can look at what we have on our song sheet. We have Bill C-26. That bill is going to deal with four facets--and they're all very important to us today--on the rail side, on the airline side...amendments to the CTA.

    I think some of the discussions we have, some of the concerns we have, whether on the air side or the rail side, can be dovetailed nicely into questions to witnesses who may appear before us at the committee. So we'll have an opportunity to ask the questions that are pertinent to Bill C-26, but at the same time go beyond that to ask questions of liability or opportunity, etc., to the witnesses who appear before us, as an addendum.

    We also have Bill C-27, which is the Airports Act.

+-

    The Chair: I don't think we're going to....

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: We may not. I never like to shut the door on these things, but I think too we have to take one step back and look at this picture realistically.

    Our clerk has outlined the schedule. It's on the calendar, and he's absolutely correct: pull out your calendars and that's where the blocks are. But with all the talk we've been hearing about whether the House is going to adjourn earlier or whether it is sticking to the schedule, who knows for sure. I think we have to proceed.

    Frankly, I'm going to show my bias here. I think we should be vigilant. I think we have to look at a witness list that is representative and fair in order to get a fair and clear hearing on Bill C-26, so that we can do our best to get the information we need, take the time we need to strike amendments, if those amendments are necessary, and then get that bill to the House. As I say, if there are other subject issues that can be discussed through that bill, let's take the opportunity and have those discussions.

    I think we've got one bill before us. We will get our witness list, and I hope, with the cooperation of the opposition, we can keep the witness list tight, but representative, and move the bill along.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Keyes.

    Mr. Clerk, will you explain the money situation as you explained it to me in my office last week?

+-

    The Clerk: Are you referring to Bill C-26?

+-

    The Chair: Yes, Bill C-26, for the information of the committee.

+-

    The Clerk: The situation is that the committee doesn't have any funding to invite witnesses to come to Ottawa if the witnesses request that they be paid. Also, the committee did not get permission to travel.

    So if the committee is contemplating inviting witnesses who cannot pay their way, the first thing the committee should do is to apply for a budget to have witnesses come here on Bill C-26.

+-

    The Chair: To put that into focus, we applied for travel money but were turned down by the liaison committee, the authority that turns down or approves the money.

+-

    Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: Mr. Chair, my understanding is that when the committee is going to travel, we apply for money for a budget. But when witnesses are coming to appear, I have to tell you that in all my years I don't ever recall that we had to apply for money for witnesses to come. It has never happened in all my years as part of this committee that we had to apply for money for witnesses to come. I will be leaving here to verify that that is the case, because it is ludicrous. This committee has done zero travel compared to other committees. We have had next to no witnesses coming from anywhere around Canada, and if transportation isn't going to be given due consideration, then there's a real issue.

¿  +-(0925)  

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: I vote to send Bev Desjarlais to the liaison committee to argue for our cash.

    An hon. member: I'll join her.

+-

    The Chair: I'm just saying that's a fact, as related to me, that the clerk of the committee is evidently supposed to have funds available in order for us to invite witnesses to come before us if we can't travel. Unfortunately, for some reason or other, we don't have any funds.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: I have a point of order, Mr. Chairman. I think we can nip this in the bud very quickly. I move that the chairman have the authority to go to the liaison committee to request a sum of money, to be established at the time we decide our witness list. All right?

    That's the motion. Let's just get the money.

+-

    The Chair: First off, does the motion require 24 or 48 hours' notice? Do I have the approval to accept a motion?

     Some hon. members: Agreed.

    The Chair: Okay, I have approval to accept the motion.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Chair: Mr. Cannis.

+-

    Mr. John Cannis (Scarborough Centre, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Before I also address what I think should be our priorities, I can't help but say that this is ridiculous. This committee has been so frugal, but we get stymied every time we need to do our work. As to those who make these decisions in the liaison committee or wherever--and I will not use any other words to describe that committee--in all fairness, and I've seen it for as long as I've sat on this committee, how do they expect us to do our work? How do they expect us to get the information to try to make the right decisions, whether it be on air transportation or the Windsor-Quebec rapid train system? Mr. Chairman, I'm very frustrated and disappointed, because this committee is just not going to function properly. I think you should go and give them a piece of our mind through you.

    I've heard the members around the table, and so far the majority have spoken the same way. I too tend to agree with them; the priorities they've mentioned are my priorities as well, and Bill C-26 is the main one.

    And of course let's not be fooled; we're dealing with certain timetables and certain things are up in the air. Our party is in transition, as other parties in the past have been, and respectfully, I suggest there could be some changes coming in unbeknownst to us in this committee, at least on our side.

    But I think we should look at Bill C-26 as one of our top priorities.

    I do agree with everybody, and Mario said it as well, that in the air industry and with Air Canada there is a situation unfolding before us daily as we speak, and it is something we have to highly prioritize. It is my view, and I believe the view of most Canadians--I would say the vast majority of Canadians--that if we as a government do not address the Air Canada issue or the aviation industry as a whole, then we will be abrogating one of our biggest responsibilities.

    Thank you.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Good....

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway (Sarnia—Lambton, Lib.): My name is Gallaway. I'm new here.

+-

    The Chair: I was going to say Mr. Goodale.

    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

    The Chair: Why would I say Mr. Goodale? Mr. Gallaway, I apologize.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: We're both from west of here.

    Anyway, I'm a little concerned about Bill C-26. It's fine to pay all this homage to this bill, but I think we want to be very careful in that we have perhaps four weeks at the most. I don't think we should be stampeded into passing a bill through this committee simply because we have four weeks. I think we want to do a proper job, and if we can't get it through, we can't get it through.

    We never set the agenda on when this bill would arrive in the House. There's a history to this bill that apparently it somehow sat in a minister's office for a number of months before it was ever presented in the chamber. That's none of our doing, and I don't think we want to get into a scenario where we're shortchanging witnesses in particular. I know that Mr. Moore, Mr. Gouk, Ms. Desjarlais, and Mr. Barnes have a number of witnesses they feel very strongly about and who should be heard. If there's anything that's incumbent upon a committee, it's to be fair and to give everyone a fair hearing. That's not to say we're going to hear from everyone, but there must be a good cross-section.

    As to Bill C-26, yes, let's deal with it, but I don't think we should be sitting in here four days a week in some sort of mass session just to deal with the bill because it's been sitting in somebody else's office for a period of time.

    That's number one, and number two, I want to be nice to Ms. Desjarlais.

¿  +-(0930)  

+-

    The Chair: I think you're nice to her every day.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: But I also want to say that I think it's incumbent upon this committee to have one session on the supplementary estimates. This committee has done a lot of work on the estimates and I think we should have a little session, one meeting, on the supplementary estimates. We should be aware of how much is being requested, who's requesting it, and, more importantly, why.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Gallaway.

    That's preceding Bill C-26.

+-

    Mr. Roger Gallaway: It's going to be in the midst of it all.

+-

    The Chair: Ms. Thibeault, welcome to the committee.

[Translation]

+-

    Ms. Yolande Thibeault (Saint-Lambert, Lib.): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. My comments will be very brief.

    Based on what I've heard this morning, I think we should move as quickly as possible to consider Bill C-26.

    Thank you.

[English]

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Bagnell.

+-

    Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.): As the work plan goes, I'm happy to do whatever my esteemed colleagues would like to do.

    As we do our deliberations, I'd like to thank you all for your continued support for Air North, an airline that was on the national news yesterday, and also for our great railway project to join the Alaskan railway with the Canadian railway, which I think is visionary.

    Just on Bill C-27, this committee has dealt with a lot of complaints about fees for the airline industry. We have these airports using their power to impose all sorts of fees and then using the fees to do all sorts of building in the airport without even having the airlines on the board of directors or having a significant say. The ones using the airport could give good design to it, and Bill C-27 is designed to have an effect on that.

+-

    The Chair: Bill C-27 is still in the House; it hasn't come to the committee yet.

    Thank you, Mr. Bagnell.

    Do you want to read the note I sent to you to the effect that through your efforts for Air North you have succeeded in driving Air Canada out of that market? Is that correct?

+-

    Mr. Larry Bagnell: No, they still have one flight, which is good. We have competition.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Volpe.

+-

    Mr. Joseph Volpe (Eglinton—Lawrence, Lib.): If we keep driving Air Canada out of all of these airports, the biggest airport in the country, which is still under construction, may not have anybody to fly in and out of it.

    Mr. Chairman, I guess my sense of where the committee ought to go--because the last time we met was when we were considering the estimates--would reinforce what I thought I heard Mr. Gallaway say, that the supplementary estimates that have been presented to this committee should be looked at thoroughly to at least gauge them against what the expectations and findings of the committee were when it considered the estimates, for a series of reasons, the least of which, of course, is that committee work can be substantive, especially in the context of what spending is authorized by the House for whatever departments. It's the first step of accountability the parliamentary process has.

    Equally important in that, I suppose, is that in the supplementary estimates you have the issue of spending authority. If we're concerned about where moneys are going to go--and at the very least the government needs to have money in order to function--the supplementary estimates and their approval are going to be crucial to whether the government operates for the next four weeks, as somebody suggested, or eight weeks, as the clerk suggested the calendar proposes.

    I think we shouldn't treat that issue lightly.

    On the second thing, in terms of whether the committee ought to do its appropriate work, which is always to deal with legislation, yes, there's a bill before the committee that needs to be looked at thoroughly. In my view, it can't be done appropriately if you don't take a look at what the various constituencies have to say regarding the bill.

    I was a little disturbed when I heard Madam Desjarlais' reaction about where we ought to go, where the money is. I know, from having been on the liaison committee in the past, that it's a constant struggle to get money to subsidize virtually everything that has to happen. But effectively, money is allocated and budgeted. The clerk, usually in conjunction with the executive of the committee, then determines...actually, they predetermine how much of it is going to go for witnesses and for travel. The liaison committee, on occasion, has made decisions that are inconsistent with the expectations of the various committees.

    So if the money is not there, I kind of scratch my head and say, who are we going to listen to until we get that money or until we put a plan forward, a budget for the committee's work? I think it would be probably a little hasty for us to say we're going to do X or Y with a particular committee.

    I think the first order of business, Mr. Chairman, is to convene a meeting wherein we determine what our witness list will be, what the expenses would be for it, and propose it, as the motion by Mr. Keyes indicated. Then you go to the liaison committee at its earliest meeting and get your money. Then you know whether you can get started or not. If you don't have any money, I think a lot of the other discussions are rather moot.

    If you get money--on a presumption that you would--I think Bill C-26 has such immediate concerns that the constituencies have to be heard and those issues have to be addressed. It has, in my view, other considerations that have to equally be brought forward. I don't see that being done properly if there's--to use an overly dramatic term--a rush to judgment.

¿  +-(0935)  

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Volpe.

    Mr. Proulx, the parliamentary secretary to the minister.

+-

    Mr. Marcel Proulx (Hull—Aylmer, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chair.

    Mr. Chair, Mr. Keyes has summed up very well what could be done while studying Bill C-26. I think he's absolutely right. We can choose our witnesses. We can ask them any questions we want to ask in regard to Bill C-26 or whatever else. I think our priority should be Bill C-26. We started on Bill C-26 in the spring. We were derailed for some time by the air transportation issue, which was fine, but now we should get back to Bill C-26, choose our witnesses very carefully so that we have a proper sampling from all the different aspects of Bill C-26, and get on with it.

    Thank you.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Proulx.

    If I draw a consensus that we should have the deputy minister as our first witness scheduled at our next meeting, to discuss the supplementary estimates, would that be the proper person to bring before the committee?

    I'm asking you, Mr. Proulx.

+-

    Mr. Marcel Proulx: Well, if you're putting the supplementary estimates as a priority, of course.

+-

    The Chair: The deputy minister?

+-

    Mr. Marcel Proulx: Yes, if you want to discuss the estimates to start with.

¿  +-(0940)  

+-

    The Chair: I'll come to that.

    When is the final day for approval of the estimates?

    A voice: I think it's the end of the month.

    The Chair: October.

+-

    Mr. Marcel Proulx: We could in essence start with Bill C-26 and somewhere along the process look into supplementary estimates.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Keyes.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: Might I make a suggestion, Mr. Chairman. I don't think anyone is prepared...we are, but I'm not sure the opposition is prepared to....

    I'll ask the question first, Mr. Moore. Is the opposition prepared to present their suggested witness list to us today?

+-

    Mr. James Moore: Not today.

+-

    Mr. Stan Keyes: So that means they may need to supply us—

+-

    Mr. James Moore: You mean the amended list.

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    Mr. Stan Keyes: Hopefully amended--250 witnesses may be a bit much.

    While it's obvious the opposition has to come forward with their suggested witness list, we do as well. Then we have to have a discussion on how we pair that with who is going to be a witness or not. At the same time, while that's happening, our chairman is going to the liaison committee to say, look, we need at least this much money to cover off, say, 25 witnesses who are asking for reimbursement to come to our committee. So we could get money for 25 witnesses.

    While he's doing that and we're getting the list and preparing for our first hearings on Bill C-26, we could have a day as early as next week to deal with supplementary estimates--while all those mechanisms are coming together with Bill C-26. So we'd have our day in court for supplementary estimates, and then in the very next meeting we'd be right into our witnesses on Bill C-26.

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    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Keyes.

    Mr. Laframboise.

[Translation]

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    Mr. Mario Laframboise: Thank you.

    Mr. Chairman, you're wise to suggest that we start with the supplementary estimates. As Mr. Keyes was saying, this will give us an opportunity to submit our witness list and to request the necessary funds, because some of the witnesses' expenses will need to be reimbursed. Therefore, I'd like us to begin with the supplementary estimates. I think that would be a wise move. It would lay the groundwork for our study of Bill C-26.

[English]

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    The Chair: Mr. Moore.

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    Mr. James Moore: Just for information, we are going to have regularly scheduled meetings as usual on Mondays and Wednesdays.

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    The Chair: Let me just finish what I started to say.

    I suggested we bring the deputy minister in at the very first meeting to discuss the supplementary estimates. During that time it would give the opportunity for the clerk and I to attend the liaison committee to arrange financing.

    After we hear from the deputy minister on the supplementary estimates at the first meeting, we would then sit for a short time, and I would ask each of the groups to submit their witness list. Then we could take a look at the witness lists—it doesn't matter if it's in camera or not—and arrive at an agreed upon witness list for Bill C-26. We'll make sure by that time that we have the financing for those who can't afford to come on their own but have the right to be heard.

    Does that meet with everyone's approval?

    Thank you so much.

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    Mr. Larry Bagnell: I just want to ask the clerk a point of clarification. What is our official time on Tuesdays and Thursdays?

    A voice: Nine to eleven.

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    The Chair: So we'll be prepared to discuss the estimates with the deputy minister next Tuesday morning.

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    Mr. Stan Keyes: On a point of order, you said Tuesdays 9 to 11. Is that it, with no afternoon...?

    A voice: Tuesdays and Thursdays, with no afternoons.

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    Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: It's all in relation to the agreement between the parties on switching the times; we had the other time before and now another group has that time. So it's our time....

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    Mr. Stan Keyes: No, no, I'm just wondering if the chair can't request that we'd like to meet in the afternoon as well, like 3:30 to 5:30, or something.

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    Mr. James Moore: There's a problem with that, though. I think Rex sits on multiple committees.

¿  -(0945)  

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    Mrs. Bev Desjarlais: Plus there's also the room allocation that was available.

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    Mr. Stan Keyes: Well, rooms we can deal with. My concern is that we're going to meet for two hours on Tuesday and two hours on Thursday and that's it?

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    The Chair: As it stands now we're going to meet at the regularly scheduled meetings. Let's hear the estimates, let's get the witness list, and then we can decide if there's an interest in the committee to meet more often than Tuesdays and Thursdays. Then we will go through the process of finding out where we'll meet.

    Is there any other business that we have to talk about today?

    Thank you very much.

    The meeting is adjourned.