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37th PARLIAMENT, 3rd SESSION

Standing Committee on Finance


EVIDENCE

CONTENTS

Tuesday, February 17, 2004




¿ 0905
V         The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Richard Dupuis)
V         Ms. Diane St-Jacques (Shefford, Lib.)
V         The Clerk
V         Mr. Alex Shepherd (Durham, Lib.)
V         The Clerk
V         The Clerk

¿ 0910
V         The Clerk
V         Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, CPC)
V         The Clerk
V         The Clerk
V         Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Lib.)
V         The Clerk
V         The Chair (Mr. Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North, Lib.))
V         The Clerk
V         The Chair
V         The Clerk
V         The Clerk
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, CPC)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, CPC)
V         Mr. Nick Discepola (Vaudreuil—Soulanges, Lib.)
V         Mr. Grant McNally
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ)

¿ 0915
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette
V         Mr. Monte Solberg
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Monte Solberg
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Monte Solberg
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Monte Solberg
V         The Chair
V         Hon. Maria Minna (Beaches—East York, Lib.)
V         The Chair
V         Hon. Maria Minna
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Monte Solberg
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Monte Solberg
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Monte Solberg

¿ 0920
V         The Chair
V         Hon. John McKay (Scarborough East, Lib.)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette
V         Hon. John McKay
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette
V         The Chair
V         Hon. John McKay
V         The Chair










CANADA

Standing Committee on Finance


NUMBER 001 
l
3rd SESSION 
l
37th PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

¿  +(0905)  

[Translation]

+

    The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Richard Dupuis): Good day. Since we have a quorum, I will proceed to our first item of business, that is the election of the Chair, in conformity with Standing Orders 106(1) and 106(2). I am ready to receive motions to that effect.

    Ms. St-Jacques.

+-

    Ms. Diane St-Jacques (Shefford, Lib.): I nominate Mr. Nick Discepola.

+-

    The Clerk: Are there any other nominations?

    Mr. Shepherd.

[English]

+-

    Mr. Alex Shepherd (Durham, Lib.): Yes, I'd like to propose the name of Roy Cullen. His background is as a chartered accountant, and he's been a long-term member of this committee. I think he's done some good work and I think he'd make a fine chair of the committee.

+-

    The Clerk: Are there other nominations?

[Translation]

    Pursuant to the Standing Orders, since more than one person has been nominated for the position, we will conduct an election by secret ballot.

    [Secret ballot election]

+-

    The Clerk: The ballots having been counted, I declare Mr. Cullen duly elected as Chair of the committee.

¿  +-(0910)  

[English]

+-

    The Clerk: Now I'm going to proceed to the election of the vice-chair. It is up to you.

+-

    Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, CPC): I'd like to nominate Monte Solberg.

+-

    The Clerk: Are there any other nominations?

    I declare Mr. Solberg duly elected.

    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

+-

    The Clerk: The next item of business is the election of the Vice-Chair for the government. I am ready to receive motions.

+-

    Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Lib.): I nominate Mr. Discepola.

+-

    The Clerk: One member has been nominated. Are there any other nominations?

+-

    The Chair (Mr. Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North, Lib.)): May I also nominate someone?

+-

    The Clerk: Go ahead.

+-

    The Chair: I nominate Sophia Leung.

+-

    The Clerk: Are there any other nominations?

    We will proceed to conduct an election by secret ballot.

    [Secret ballot election]

+-

    The Clerk: Since Ms. Leung has withdrawn, I declare Mr. Discepola duly elected as Vice-Chair.

[English]

+-

    The Chair: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, for bestowing upon me this confidence. I much appreciate it. It's sort of a déjà vu from the last time we had an election of the chair of finance. It's very gratifying. Thank you for all of your support.

    Now we need to get on to the business of the committee.

+-

    Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, CPC): I have a point of order, Mr. Chairman. I have a motion I would like to submit dealing with the estimates.

+-

    The Chair: Can we do it after, Mr. Solberg, we've gone through the other lot of these procedural agenda items? We have to....

    The first item is about the subcommittee on agenda and procedure. This is to set up a steering committee to assist the committee in setting some priorities and an agenda.

    I'm told by the clerk that motions two through eleven were agreed to in the last session. But for number one, concerning the subcommittee on agenda and procedure, we need to appoint two Liberal members and one member from each of the opposition parties. Is that how it works? Can we have some nominations?

    Oh, we don't need nominations? We just need to agree with the motion. Okay.

    Yes, you have a question, Mr. McNally.

+-

    Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, CPC): Yesterday in the industry committee we had a bit of a clarification issue because of the wording “parliamentary secretary”. Are we to understand this means the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Finance, or does it mean any parliamentary secretary? There were a couple of parliamentary secretaries who were involved in the industry committee.

+-

    Mr. Nick Discepola (Vaudreuil—Soulanges, Lib.): We only have one.

+-

    Mr. Grant McNally: Okay. I just wanted to check on that.

[Translation]

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Paquette.

+-

    Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Chairman, in deciding the composition of the subcommittee, without naming names, we should at least list the names of the parties.

¿  +-(0915)  

+-

    The Chair: We can do that. Have you any suggestions?

+-

    Mr. Pierre Paquette: I move that the subcommittee be composed of two members of the Liberal Party, one member of the Conservative Party, one member of the Bloc Québécois and one member of the NDP.

+-

    The Chair: Are we agreed? Yes.

+-

    Mr. Pierre Paquette: It goes without saying.

[English]

+-

    Mr. Monte Solberg: I'm sorry, was that one Liberal member?

+-

    The Chair: No, it's two Liberal members.

+-

    Mr. Monte Solberg: So the Liberals would have five and the opposition members would have three.

+-

    The Chair: That's right; that's what that works out to.

+-

    Mr. Monte Solberg: Mr. Chairman, usually the way these things work, the Liberals have one more, for instance, on the committee, and I guess an extra with the chairman. Would it be a problem just to have one Liberal member? This is a fairly large subcommittee; we're getting eight people on there.

+-

    The Chair: Is there any discussion on that?

+-

    Mr. Monte Solberg: I guess I'm moving that we have one Liberal member, for a total of four Liberal members and three opposition.

+-

    The Chair: Is that okay with everybody?

    Ms. Minna.

+-

    Hon. Maria Minna (Beaches—East York, Lib.): Just as a comment, Mr. Chairman, the subcommittee is a planning committee. Its report has to come back to the full committee for ratification anyway. What difference does it make if there's one more or one less? You just get the input of an additional person. I don't see what the problem is here. Nothing can happen there that isn't ratified here, in any case. It's a planning body; it's not a definitive decision body.

+-

    The Chair: Does that mean we're agreed we'll have a majority of one Liberal member instead of two?

    Oh, you're suggesting we have two?

+-

    Hon. Maria Minna: Leave it alone; it doesn't really matter. Why are we even bothering about it?

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Pierre Paquette: Mr. Chairman, it's important for us to remember that there were two Liberal members because there were four opposition parties. Since there are now three opposition parties, we need to remove one Liberal member from the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure to maintain a balance between the government and opposition parties.

[English]

+-

    The Chair: I think if we have an agreement we could proceed in that way. Do we have our consensus on that—on a one-Liberal majority? Okay, thank you.

    Is there anything else, Mr. Clerk?

    Mr. Solberg, do you want to speak to your motion, or just table it?

+-

    Mr. Monte Solberg: I'm sorry, is there a problem with moving the motion at this point?

+-

    The Chair: You have to have 48 hours' notice.

+-

    Mr. Monte Solberg: It sounds as though this is something everyone agrees on. Basically the motion calls for finance department officials and ultimately, I think, the minister to come before the committee when estimates and supplementary estimates are tabled in the House, and that we also make provision to televise anything the Auditor General makes reference to that we discuss. That's basically what the motion is dealing with.

    I think there is interest on all sides in having this happen, and given the current situation, it is probably a good idea to be as transparent as we can on these issues.

+-

    The Chair: I have one question when you say “subject under the mandate of the committee”. We're having this debate publicly now in terms of what is under the purview of the Minister of Finance. Finance covers so much—

+-

    Mr. Monte Solberg: Personally, I'm not very interested in trying to replicate what the public accounts committee is doing. For instance, if there were something the Department of Finance did with respect to advertising—not that I've ever seen anything—it might be appropriate for us to discuss it here, but chances are it might go to the public accounts committee. I'm not really interested in turning this into another public accounts committee.

¿  -(0920)  

+-

    The Chair: Mr. McKay.

+-

    Hon. John McKay (Scarborough East, Lib.): In keeping with the rules of the committee that we just adopted, which is 48 hours for a notice to be submitted and considered by members, I don't think it's appropriate that we get into debate at this point. If we could just defer it until the next relevant meeting, we can have some thought-out response on this.

+-

    The Chair: Absolutely; those are the rules of the committee. That's fine; we have the notice.

    Thank you, Mr. Solberg.

    Is there any other business?

    Monsieur Paquette.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Pierre Paquette: At this time, I would like to give 48 hours' notice of a motion to split Bill C-18. Let me read the text of my motion, which I will also forward to the clerk:

That the Standing Committee on Finance ask permission from the House to split Bill C-18, an Act respecting equalization and authorizing the Minister of Finance to make certain payments related to health, so that the whole question of payment to the provinces of an additional $2 billion under the Canada Health and Social Transfer can be dealt with separately.

    I would like the two issues addressed in the bill to be dealt with separately, that is the extension of the equalization formula on the one hand and payment of the $2 billion to the provinces for health care on the other hand. I hereby give notice of motion to the committee.

[English]

+-

    Hon. John McKay: If I may speak to that, the 48 hours I think applies to that motion as to everything else, but I can say to Mr. Paquette in advance that the government will oppose that motion.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Pierre Paquette: What a surprise!

[English]

+-

    The Chair: Yes, I know.

+-

    Hon. John McKay: Just to add to that point of relevance, though, tomorrow at the first available opportunity the government will make available the officials on that bill, with the anticipation that it proceed in an expeditious fashion.

-

    The Chair: Thank you. I think that concludes the meeting.

    I look forward to working with you, although for how many months we don't know. The committee obviously deals with legislation that's referred to it by the government, and any other legislation. If there are any initiatives that you think we should be looking at, please get your thoughts in. There's nothing to preclude the committee from doing nothing other than reviewing legislation, so I'm not proposing a make-work program, but if there's something you think the committee should rightfully look at, please get your ideas in to the planning committee, and myself and the clerk. Thank you.

    The meeting is adjourned.