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Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage



Thursday, November 15, 2007

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



    Members of the committee,


we have quorum.


     We can now proceed to the election of a chair. I'm ready to receive motions.
    I'd like to propose Mr. Gary Schellenberger as the chair.
    Are there any other nominations?
    It's been moved by Mr. Bélanger that Mr. Schellenberger be elected chair of this committee.


    Is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the motion?


    Is the motion carried?
    (Motion agreed to)
    I declare Mr. Schellenberger duly elected chair of this committee.
    Before inviting the chair to come forward, if the committee wishes, we will proceed to the election of vice-chair.
    I need a motion for the election of first vice-chair.
    I nominate Mauril Bélanger.
    Are there any other nominations?
    It's been moved by Mr. Scott that Mr. Bélanger be elected first vice-chair of this committee.


    Is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the motion?
    (Motion agreed to)
    The Clerk: I declare Mr. Bélanger elected vice-chair.


    For the election of the second vice-chair, I need a motion for the election of the


second vice-chair.
    Mr. Clerk, I would like to know if Maria Mourani is a permanent member of this committee.
    Yes, that has been the case since 10:10 this morning.
    I would therefore like to move that Ms. Mourani be elected vice-chair of this committee.
    It is moved by Mr. Malo that Ms. Mourani be elected vice-chair of this committee.


    Is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the motion moved by Mr. Malo?
    (Motion agreed to)
    I declare Madame Mourani elected vice-chair of this committee.


    I now invite Mr. Schellenberger to come forward and take the chair.


    I now invite Mr. Schellenberger to come forward.
    Just before we go to our next order of business, I'd like to thank my nominator. I'd like to thank everyone for the confidence they've put in me as chair. I hope we have a very productive session. We have a lot of business I hope we can get through, at least until Christmastime. I think as a committee we will all work very well together. Thank you again for electing me chair.
    Mr. Bélanger.
    This is not a question, Mr. Chair, but when you get to the next item, on the routine proceedings, I'd like to be recognized. I'd like to note something.
    As we move to the next item of business on routine motions, Mr. Bélanger.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    The clerk has distributed the routine motions that the committee adopted in the previous session. I move that they be adopted as is for this session.


    That's moved, and it's seconded by Mr. Fast.
    All in favour?
    (Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    Thank you very much for that.
    During our last session we spent a lot of time on the role of the public broadcaster in the 21st century. I think to bring things forward, we need a motion for the resumption of the committee's study on the role of the public broadcaster. If someone could make that motion, it would be appreciated. It's my understanding that the draft report we had commissioned is ready for distribution, but we have to do this motion first. So if someone would like to make that motion....
    I so move.
    It is moved by Mr. Scott and seconded by Mr. Batters.
    Would you read the motion, please, sir?
     I move:
That the Committee resume its study on the Role of a Public Broadcaster in the 21st Century started in the previous session and, that the evidence and documentation received by the Committee during the first session of the 39th Parliament on the subject be taken into consideration by the Committee in this session.
    Okay. That motion has been made by Mr. Scott and seconded by Mr. Batters.
    (Motion agreed to)
    Thank you very much for that. It is my understanding, now that this motion has been passed, that the draft report is ready and will be sent to your office this afternoon. So we'll have it in our--
    That's to be treated in confidence.
    Yes, it's to be treated in confidence.
     Next Tuesday I would hope we could meet in camera to deal with the draft report at the first meeting, and if we have some questions....
    It is also my understanding that Mr. Rabinovitch is available to appear before the committee on November 27. It was proposed for November 22, but that won't work, so it will be November 27. I think it's been suggested that it would be good to have President Rabinovitch speak, and that gives us a little time to go through the report and maybe come with some questions.
    I think it's really important. He can definitely speak very differently because he's not going to be around after. But I think he can give us some good, candid answers. So it's on the agenda that we bring him here on November 27.
    The next order of business--and I will bring it up--is that the new president and CEO of CBC, Mr. Hubert T. Lacroix, through Order in Council appointment, is still to be referred to this committee. It's my understanding that somewhere along the line we will ask Mr. Lacroix to come before the committee so that we can question him and meet him and see how his appointment will be handled.
    Mr. Bélanger.
    On that, Mr. Chairman, I had given a notice of motion. I understand it's not valid, because we've just struck the committee. I don't know if everybody has received it. It goes to that sense, that we invite Monsieur Lacroix to appear before the committee. I did say before the end of 2007; that is, before he would come into office in January. I would hope we could accommodate that, but I'm not going to get hung up on that. I think it would be important to have him appear before he comes into his office, if that's feasible.
    I don't know if you need a motion. If not, that's fine, we'll just proceed.


    I think we can proceed on that. I think it is important that we do that. Let's get back into our routine again, and we can bring that up even when we're in camera to see when we can do that. Okay?
    I would like to speak on another matter, if I may.
    Yes, sir.
    I appreciate the will of the committee to invite Mr. Rabinovitch to come back before we conclude the study on the public broadcaster. I apologize for this if it's been done, Mr. Chairman, but I don't know if the committee in the previous session had the opportunity of meeting or hearing from people from either the BBC or the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in terms of comparison.
    I'm not suggesting that we go to London--or Sydney, for that matter--although if Mr. Brown wishes to propose it, I might second it. But it might be very useful to the committee, before it concludes its study and issues a report, to hear from them. I don't know what format that might take. It could be a teleconference. It could be inviting someone here. I leave it to you, Mr. Chairman, and the committee staff, if there's a will around the table to hear from someone about BBC and ABC, or others for that matter, because in our conclusions it might be something very useful.
     Just to speak on that, we did have someone here from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The clerk will get you the script that came from that meeting.
    Secondly, I did make an application to the Liaison Committee to take our committee to the BBC, and I was turned down. I don't have very good luck at the Liaison Committee.
     I think it's very important that we get something from the BBC if we can't go there, whether it's through teleconferencing or by bringing someone here from there.
    Mr. Fast.
     I just want to concur with Mr. Bélanger. I understood there was a consensus at this table from all the members of the previous committee during our discussions--and probably here as well--that we would bring at least one individual from the BBC, and from PBS as well, to provide different perspectives on the whole issue of the public broadcaster.
    Just for clarification, my understanding is that the draft report that will be circulated is actually an interim report that will be published as a final report after we've heard further witnesses. Is that correct?
    That's the way I understand it.
    It's an interim report?
    It hasn't been approved yet.
    It hasn't been approved, so it's a draft report and a working document.
    If there's no other business at this time, the meeting is adjourned.