Notices of Meeting include information about the subject matter to be examined by the committee and date, time and place of the meeting, as well as a list of any witnesses scheduled to appear. The Evidence is the edited and revised transcript of what is said before a committee. The Minutes of Proceedings are the official record of the business conducted by the committee at a sitting.
I'd like to call the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to order--it being Wednesday, March 12, 2008--for our deliberation, as a committee, pursuant to the order of reference of Monday, March 3, 2008, on the statutory review of the proposed appointment of Mr. Brian J. Saunders as the Director of Public Prosecutions.
I would ask that Mr. Saunders come to the head of the table.
A point of order, Mr. Chairman. Yesterday when you evacuated the chair you had ruled out of order a motion I made, that this committee should begin hearings into allegations surrounding the attempt to bribe Mr. Cadman. You ruled that out of order.
A colleague of ours challenged that ruling. My understanding is that at that point your obligation is to put to a vote immediately a challenge to your ruling. Instead you chose simply to abandon the chair.
So I'm hoping that without delaying Mr. Saunders' presentation, you will immediately put to a vote the challenge to your ruling of yesterday so that we can proceed.
Given that this is another actual part of committee business and Mr. Saunders is here to testify, I will say this: the motion, whether it's on the table now or not, is a matter of question. It was ruled out of order. I will continue to rule it out of order even if it is presented again. And on the fact that the chair was challenged on that particular ruling, so be it.
I will address Mr. Saunders and apologize to Mr. Saunders for his appearance here at the committee today. It's unfortunate. We were looking forward to listening to his testimony, but I am not prepared to take that vote and I will vacate the chair. That is an issue right now that I intend--
You have no choice, you have to proceed with the vote straight away. I have a point of order, Mr. Chairman. You cannot rewrite the Standing Orders. You have to call the question on the motion straight away.
Yesterday, we ended our meeting on a point of order. I asked that the committee vote on your decision. That means you must automatically call the question. You cannot rewrite the Standing Orders. You are not above the House of Commons and its Standing Orders. We are asking you to call the question immediately. It is not debatable. Check with the clerk if you are uncertain. You asked us to show decorum. If we are to do so, you must assume your responsibilities as the guardian of the Standing Orders. Our Standing Orders stipulate that we must proceed immediately to the vote and I insist that this be done.
Mr. Chairman, I am going to challenge your ruling in that regard right now. I'm going to challenge the chair on your refusal to take the vote on the challenge to the chair. I am asking that you take a vote on my challenge to your decision that you will not take the vote on the challenge to the chair.
If we're going to read from the rules, it's pretty clear that in the absence of the chair and the vice-chairs of a committee, an acting chair must be chosen. We have a vice-chair here who can take over when the chair isn't here.
It's right on page 829. There is a vice-chair here. According to the rules, the vice-chair has to take the chair.
Madam Clerk, my understanding is that it is the option of the vice-chair to decline to take the chair. The committee is chaired by the Conservative Party. We have one vice-chair here who has declined to chair the committee, and therefore we need to determine an acting chair.
It says the vice-chair, in the absence of the chair, has to take it. In the absence of the vice-chair and the chair, an acting chair has to be nominated; until that point, the vice-chair has to take it.
Madam Clerk, I am actually going to give verbal notice now of my intention to move non-confidence in the chair--this is going on the record--and also notice of my intention to nominate Mr. Rick Dykstra as chair for purposes of electing a new chair. I'm giving that verbally now for the record.