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CANADA

Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities


NUMBER 001 
l
2nd SESSION 
l
39th PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Thursday, November 15, 2007

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (0905)  

[Translation]

    Honourable members of the committee, I see a quorum. We can proceed to the election of the chair.

[English]

     I am ready to receive motions to that effect. Do I have a motion for the chair of the committee?
    Are there any other motions?

[Translation]

    Is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[English]

    (Motion agreed to)
    The Clerk: I declare the motion carried, and Mervin Tweed the duly elected chair of the committee.

[Translation]

    Before inviting Mr. Tweed to take the chair, if the committee wishes, we will now proceed to the election of the vice-chairs.

[English]

    Do I have a motion for the first vice-chair from the official opposition?
    I would nominate the Honourable Joe Volpe.
    Are there any other nominations?
    I would nominate Don Bell.
    Since we have two nominations, we will have a secret ballot.

[Translation]

    Since more than one candidate has been nominated, pursuant to Standing Order 106, I am authorized to preside the election of the vice-chair by secret ballot.

[English]

    Before proceeding, I will briefly explain how the process will be conducted. Were there any other motions, or only the two motions?
    This is for the first vice-chair, is that right?
     From the official opposition.
    Okay.
     My colleague, who is a procedural clerk with the House of Commons, will pass on each side of the table to issue ballots to members. After members have clearly written their choices by writing the first and last name on the ballot and have deposited it in the box, we will count the votes and announce the result.
    If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, I will conduct another ballot. That's what we're doing for the vice-chairs.

    


    

    The Clerk: I declare Mr. Joe Volpe to have received a majority of the votes; therefore, Mr. Joe Volpe is elected first vice-chair of the committee.

  (0910)  

[Translation]

    I am now prepared to receive motions for second vice-chair. This individual must be a member of an opposition party other than the official opposition.

[English]

    I nominate Mario Laframboise.
    Do I have any other motions?
    Is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the motion?
    (Motion agreed to)
    I declare

[Translation]

    Mr. Laframboise duly elected second vice-chair of the committee.

[English]

    I now invite Mervin Tweed to take the chair.
    Thank you, everyone, for your kind support in giving me the honour of being the chair. And congratulations to our vice-chairs.
    I think in this initial meeting there isn't a whole lot of business as far as the agenda is concerned.
    Mr. Masse, I know you're new, and I think the one thing we tried to establish the last time was how we would proceed in the general meetings as far as order of questioning is concerned. I don't know if you're familiar with that at all, Brian, but I guess we do have routine motions that we can go through. Or if everybody was happy the last time.... There may be some changes they want to make. But basically what we did was have a 10-minute presentation by our guests and then a round of questioning for seven minutes, seven minutes, seven minutes, and seven minutes, and then five, five, and five until everybody had a chance to ask a round of questions.
    Mr. Volpe.
    I just want one little bit of clarification, because as you'll recall, I came to the committee late in the last session.
    After you've done your first round of seven minutes and you go to five minutes and five minutes, you're ensuring that the members of the official opposition, the opposition, and the NDP, or others, get a chance to speak. Is that it?
    Yes. Basically we would have one, one, one, and one until everybody's had a chance, and then we'd open the floor if there's still time.
    I do have a list of the routine motions. If you want to go through them one by one, that's probably the best way of doing this, and we can establish them, or we can agree that what we did the last time was satisfactory.
     The first one talks about the analysts from the Library of Parliament. We talked about the subcommittee, where the procedure would be to have the chair and the two vice-chairs....
    Mr. Masse.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I'm curious, but I don't see on here the second and the third and the fourth rounds. Has it been the tradition of this committee to have witnesses within one hour or an hour and a half? I guess it depends upon what you're doing at that time, but I'd like to see what the second, third, and the fourth round order is.

  (0915)  

    Okay. I can tell you--and we can certainly provide it to you in writing--we do try to ensure that everybody, opposition-wise, has a chance to speak. So it would go Liberal, Bloc, NDP, Conservative, for seven minutes. Then we would go Liberal, Bloc, Conservative. Then we would go Liberal, Conservative; and Liberal, Conservative; and then we would open the floor if there's time.
    So what we do is let everyone get a seven-minute round.
    Right.
    My concern is with getting a second round of questioning. In all of the committees I've participated in here, they have always given us the opportunity to have a second round of questioning at some point in time, and that's what I would request happens, with due respect.
    Mr. Jean.
    Actually, you would have that. You would have the first seven-minute round going to your party, and then you would get the third five-minute round.
    Would he not?
    No, that isn't the way we did it the last time, and I would look to the committee for direction on this.
    Mr. Volpe.
    Mr. Chairman, I think it says right here in motion 4—which we haven't yet moved and accepted—that thereafter the five minutes be allocated for a second round to each party. That's why I asked you for the clarification on what this is, whether it goes Liberal and Conservative; Liberal, Conservative; Conservative, Conservative, Bloc, and so on. You have to get all of the opposition members in.
    Yes, absolutely.
    And since among all of the opposition members there would be three Liberals and one Bloc—or four opposition members—that would mean you'd have to have four government members in that exchange before you'd get to the NDP or an independent. That's how I thought we would try to operate, so that every member of the committee would have an opportunity to have input.
     If there is time left over, of course, you can continue along the party lines, and then you would go to an independent. But you'd have five, four, two, and one who get to make their address first before you'd get to a third or fourth round that would include the NDP.
    Monsieur Laframboise.

[Translation]

    The motion before us today reflects what we had last time. That is why we left item 4 to your discretion, so that all committee members would have an opportunity to speak on the first round. I think the proposal we have today is the same as that in place before prorogation. We could start alternating on the second round, but by that time, it takes hours of discussion, and often we never get that far. That is why I move that we adopt the routine motions that have been presented and that are the same as those we had in the last Parliament.

[English]

    Mr. Bell.
    My understanding is that motion 4 is not how we practised last time. Last year we actually handed out a chart that showed the speaking order. It showed what you described earlier, Mr. Chair. Rather than five minutes for each round to each party, it was to members of each party that had not yet spoken. That's the distinction.
    So number 4, as printed, is not what we adopted as our practice for last year. We actually had a diagram, and we went to great pains at that time to show a diagram.
    And that was what I tried to read out, in the sense that in the seven-minute round, the first round of questioning, every party would get seven minutes. After that it would alternate between—
    That's not what it says.
    Is it not?
    It says for the second round, five minutes to each party.
    I do have a copy of the motion that we adopted last year.
     We would have to have it translated.
    It is translated.
    Okay, thank you.
    Basically, after the first round with everyone participating, we would go Liberal, Bloc, Conservative, and then we would go Liberal, Conservative, till everyone has a chance to participate, and then the floor would be opened up again to all parties.
    I know, Mr. Masse, your question is, do we want to change that?

  (0920)  

    Yes. I mean, the committees that I've participated in have always had at least a second opportunity for the NDP to ask some questions. Obviously I'm open to making sure all committee members get an opportunity to participate--I mean, it's healthy for the committee--but at the same time I would look for assurances that at least I have an opportunity to get in on the second round at some point in time.
    I hope the other committee members would say that I was very fair about trying to allocate. If time was remaining, I basically took questions as people had them. We didn't assign people. Whoever put up their hand at that point got on the list.
    In fact, I think Mr. Julian did very well in time allocation simply because he had lots of questions. Would that be a fair comment for the committee?
    Absolutely.
    That's why we elected you chair.
    So if everybody is comfortable with that, I think Mr. Jean has circulated how the—
    Only one copy thus far.
    It hasn't gone around? Okay.
    But if we're of that understanding...maybe, Brian, you'd like to read that out simply to make sure everybody's clear on it.
    Actually, Mr. Masse, the reason we did it this way is so that everybody from every different area of Canada would have an opportunity to question the witnesses, because everybody has a unique difference.
    But in English it would read as follows:
That witnesses be given 10 minutes for their opening statement; that for the questioning of witnesses, 7 minutes be allocated to each party for the first round, and that for all subsequent rounds, 5 minutes be allocated to each party for their members who have not yet spoken, starting with the Official Opposition, and any further time allowed will be allocated equally between each opposition party at the discretion of the chair.
    So the key words are “that have not yet spoken”.
    Mr. Masse.
    I only have a little bit of a concern, in the sense that the record might prove that your allocation was fair and just, but I would be more comfortable if there were at least another spot for us allocated in there. I would appreciate that. I think that's important.
    Have we made it a motion?
    Yes. I think that was the discussion we had when we came up with this motion the last time too.
     I accept your point. It was up to the committee to make that final decision. We do have a motion, if we want to deal with it that way.
    Mr. Zed.
    Mr. Chair, could I try to expedite this a little bit?
    As for these routine motions that you have, could we as a group agree that routine motions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 be moved?
    I would like to move those as a block of motions, so that they're on the table. If there's any debate or discussion on that, then we would move forward. We could then come back to the more contentious issues.
    Is that acceptable? If so, I'd like to move that as a motion.
    Mr. Zed has moved that motions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 are so moved as written.
    Seconder? Mr. Shipley.
    Debate? Mr. Jean.
    Actually, Mr. Chair, I wonder if the other parties would entertain a change in number 8. Number 8 is on the staff at in camera meetings.
    What would you want changed?
    My suggestion is to allow one member of each party there as well, as designated by the person. It allows each member to have a staff member there, but I'm wondering whether they would entertain the possibility of having somebody from the party there.
    Do you mean the House leader or--
    Exactly.
    I suppose if you said the House leader or the whip's office or the research bureau, that's fine. I think we're okay with that.
    Do we have to designate that, or one person from the party?
    Let's just be specific about it. I think that's what our understanding is.
    The whip's office or House leader's office or one of the House officers.
    This one has to be the House officer. And by that we mean House leader, House whip, and the research bureau that responds to them.

  (0925)  

    That's the only amendment that I would see out of those motions.
    Monsieur Laframboise.

[Translation]

    I do not understand. We never had any problem with this before. I fail to see why this is being introduced today. We never abused this measure. There could be long in camera meetings during which we might need the support of our assistants. I just do not understand. If we had had problems in the past, I would understand, but there was never any problem with respect to this matter.

[English]

    Mr. Jean.
    I also see, indeed, Mr. Chair, that we agreed last time that the parliamentary secretary would be a member of the subcommittee. I see that all of these are actually routine motions, not from our last meeting.
    I'll have to verify that.
    So I would also ask for an amendment on motion 2, if it's the will of the committee, that the parliamentary secretary be in the subcommittee meetings.
    Mr. Volpe.
    So far we have a motion to move all of these together. Perhaps it's turning out to be not the easiest thing to do. Why don't we simply go through them individually?
    I was trying to be helpful.
    You were, and I appreciate that.
    Why don't we just check off the ones in which they're...? If there's going to be an amendment to any one, we'll just skip it and come back to it. Is that easier?
    I'll withdraw my motion.
    (Motion withdrawn)
    Thank you, Mr. Zed.
    We're going to look at motion 1, services of analysts from the Library of Parliament. It's moved by Mr. Zed, seconded by Mr. Volpe. It reads:
That the Committee retain, as needed and at the discretion of the Chair, the services of one or more analysts from the Library of Parliament to assist it in its work.
    (Motion agreed to)
    The next is on the subcommittee on agenda and procedure.
    Let's talk about that after.
    Okay. We'll move to motion 3, reduced quorum. It's the same as last year:
That the Chair be authorized to hold meetings to receive evidence and to have that evidence printed when a quorum is not present, provided that at least five (5) members are present, including two members of the opposition.
    So moved.
    So moved by Mr. Zed and seconded by Mr. Watson.
    (Motion agreed to)
    We're passing on motion 4.
    We'll go to motion 5, distribution of documents. It's moved by Mr. Zed and seconded by Mr. Shipley. It reads:
That only the Clerk of the Committee be authorized to distribute documents to members of the Committee and only when such documents exist in both official languages.
    (Motion agreed to)
    Next is working meals. It's moved by Mr. Maloney and seconded by Mr. Fast. It reads:
That the Clerk of the Committee be authorized to make the necessary arrangements to provide working meals for the Committee and its subcommittees.
    (Motion agreed to)
    Now we are on witnesses' expenses. It's moved by Monsieur Laframboise and seconded by Mr. Bell. It reads:
That, if requested, reasonable travel, accommodation and living expenses be reimbursed to witnesses, not exceeding one (1) representative per organization; and that, in exceptional circumstances, payment for more representatives be made at the discretion of the Chair.
    (Motion agreed to)
    This was the one in which I requested that a member from the party be included. There seems to be general consensus.
    No, that's not motion 7.
    Oh, I'm sorry. I thought we had moved on to motion 8.
    We'll come back to motion 8.
    Motion 9 is on in camera meetings and one copy of the transcript.
    So moved.
    Moved by Mr. Bell, seconded by Mr. Maloney.
    (Motion agreed to)
    Motion 10, notices of motion, is as it was last year. Monsieur Laframboise so moves, seconded by Mr. Maloney.
    (Motion agreed to)
    We'll go back to motion 2, which is the subcommittee. Again, this is more for Mr. Masse's information.
    Last session we established the subcommittee, which included the two vice-chairs, the parliamentary secretary, and Mr. Julian, at that time. Although that isn't how it's reflected in this statement, we would have to have an amendment, if that was agreeable to everybody.
    Go ahead, Mr. Masse.
    Chair, for clarification, this says “and a member of any other opposition party”. I thought that was inclusive, then.
    Yes, but we had amended it to include the parliamentary secretary. Again, that is more for updates and information.
    We'll have Mr. Jean.
    I so move that.
    At the end, then, it includes, “and the parliamentary secretary”.

  (0930)  

    What was the motion the committee agreed to before, in the last session, Mr. Chairman?
    Well, according to what I have in front of me, motion 2 as it reads right now is what we have as documents. I know we had a discussion around it and we did agree to have Mr. Jean.
    Go ahead, Mr. Jean.
    I was just going to mention that it started, actually, with the parliamentary secretary not being included, and then after we found that it was not working efficiently--I think after the second meeting--we changed it. There was a change made at the second meeting to include the PS. It reflects here, in our opinion, that it is critically important that the PS be a member of the steering committee.
    The motion was that the subcommittee on agenda and procedure be composed of the chair, the two vice-chairs, the parliamentary secretary, and a member of the other opposition party, which is obviously the NDP.
    We'll have Monsieur Laframboise.

[Translation]

    I am in favour of this suggestion, given that the committee includes not only transport now, but also infrastructure and communities. It is therefore important that the parliamentary secretary be able to tell us about the department's approach, particularly when we are discussing future business. So I will support this motion.

[English]

    Go ahead, Mr. Volpe.
    Did the parliamentary secretary have a vote on that steering committee at the time?
    I think he did, but I don't think we ever had anything come to a vote. I think it was just by agreement most of the time.
    My recollection from past committees, for whatever it's worth, is that I don't think anyone had a problem with the parliamentary secretary being on. It was a non-voting.... It was like an ex officio person. I'm just throwing that out. That's my recollection from other committees I've been involved with.
    The only advantage of allowing that vote is that it would break a tie, or it would force me to break a tie. Again, I don't think we ever.... I can't predict that it won't happen, but we didn't have that problem before.
    Mr. Volpe.
    Yes, and in the spirit of maintaining the kind of collegiality that developed in the committee in the latter part, as least when I was present, that I can recall.... All the guys on my side always choke when I do that. It's all emotion.
    It's just keeping in mind that I think there's been a desire here to include the NDP as part of that. Since this is all going to go back to the full committee for any final approval, anyway, I don't think we have a problem with that.
    Again, as I've been advised, if it comes back to the committee as a whole, and if the committee disagrees with that decision, everyone can voice a vote at that point.
    I guess it's fine. I don't have a problem.
    All right.
    So motion 2, as moved, with the amendment by Mr. Jean, basically would read “and a member of the other opposition party and the parliamentary secretary”.
    (Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    Motion 4, again, is on time allocation. The way it was written is the way we operated last year.
    Yes, Mr. Jean.
     I was going to say that I did a spreadsheet—I don't know whether the clerk has a copy of it—that indicated the time each party and each member would receive. Quite frankly, on the basis of that distribution, which I don't have today, unfortunately, it seemed quite fair. In fact the NDP and other opposition parties were getting the majority of the time, to be blunt.
    It seems fair, given the geography of Canada and the demographics of where each of us comes from, that each member should be able to include their constituency views and requests, especially on something such as transport and infrastructure in communities, which deals much more on the local than the broad level. That's why we went that route.
    Mr. Carrier.

[Translation]

    I support Mr. Jean's motion. I think the active participation of each committee member is essential if we are to maintain interest and enrich the discussion. The issue does not necessarily involve time allocation by political party, but rather the participation of committee members who are interested in having the committee function smoothly. So the most important thing is to ensure that everyone has a chance to speak before any consideration of partisan priorities.

[English]

    Mr. Masse.
    I don't disagree with that. I don't know whether there's a mixup with what the committee was practising and the clerk has here, but there's a specific clause in here about a second round of five minutes.
    What I'd be looking for, and maybe as some kind of amendment, is assurance that once every member has spoken, then I would get a second round of questioning. That would then provide at least some.... Everybody would get an opportunity to speak, and the parties have all gone through multiple speakers at that point. That's where I would look to have the second round of questioning assured.
    I think that's a reasonable request. I'm not trying to get into a situation where we have a time problem and members don't get an opportunity to ask questions. I don't want that to be the case either. But if I had that assurance...because this was moved at some point in time—“and that thereafter five minutes be allocated to a second round for each party”—for a reason.
    Once again, I don't object to every member getting a round, but I'd just look, before the chair uses the discretion.... The chair's discretion might be very good, but with this amendment I'd never have to worry about it, and the committee would never have to worry about it, if there's a substitute chair or something like that, or if things change. That assurance would be very important to me.

  (0935)  

    I know Mr. Volpe has a comment.
    I will say that we didn't designate a time space at the end of everyone having a chance, because usually people at that point had one question or two questions; they didn't necessarily need five minutes or seven minutes. It was just that whoever put their hand up was recognized by the chair, if there was time.
    Mr. Volpe.
    Mr. Chairman, this motion was designed to ensure that, as Mr. Carrier has said, every single member has an opportunity to speak. It wasn't so that the party would be guaranteed a particular speaking order; that's already handled by the first round. After that, it's all members of the committee. So only those members who have not spoken are the ones this amendment is designed to protect.
    What I can derive from Mr. Masse's concern, and if we institutionalize his suggestion, is that it would be that then, in a subsequent round, assuming there is time or that other members do not want to speak, we actually invert the order of questioning and the NDP get the first next official round. I think I would have difficulty with that, not because I don't want them to speak but because my recollection of the way this committee has worked is that we don't always fill every particular spot, and the NDP member on this committee prior to today has always been ready to fill whatever vacancy was available. I think the chair, in using his discretion, ensured that would take place—in other words, that there would be protection for the member's interest.
    But I'm not sure we need to institutionalize the partisan aspect of the next round. This committee works well when the chairman is allowed the discretion of saying, “Okay, we have 10 minutes to go, and I have five people who want to speak. I'm going to give everybody a chance to speak again, and it's two minutes each,” as opposed picking two people and that's it.
    So I prefer the flexibility that has been brought in, because it addresses members and not parties.
    If I may—and we certainly can have more debate on this—does everyone has a copy of the motion that Mr. Jean has brought forward?
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Chair: I'm going to read it into the record and then we will get copies. It does vary a little bit from what is listed in motion 4, but I think it says what Mr. Volpe is saying.
    The motion reads:
That witnesses be given 10 minutes for their opening statement; that, for the questioning of witnesses, seven minutes be allocated to each party for the first round; and that, for all subsequent rounds, five minutes be allocated to each party for their members that have not yet spoken, starting with the official opposition, and any further time allowed will be allocated equally between each opposition party at the discretion of the Chair.
    I think that summarizes what you're saying, Mr. Volpe.
    It's probably fairer than I would like to grant, because we are the official opposition, and what it does is give you, the chairman, an opportunity to bypass one of our members and go to either the Bloc member or the NDP member because we're giving you the discretion. But on the understanding that the composition is pretty well what it was last time and that this committee did try to cooperate, I would accept that.

  (0940)  

    It does state, “starting with the official opposition”. So that's in there.
    Mr. Masse.
    With all due respect, I don't think I'm trying to be partisan by guaranteeing a second round of questioning after every member has participated, because even in the amendment—which I don't have a copy of and would like to have copy of, as I think that's only fair, to have that in front of me in terms of motions—is the actual quote, a subsequent second round for members of a party. So it is in there, even in the second round. It goes to those members of parties there.
    So I think what I am asking is quite reasonable in the sense that once every member has spoken, I would have the opportunity to have the next round of questioning, prior to going to the discretion at that point, because it is still based upon party allocation as it goes to the second round and getting each individual member.
    Generally speaking, I think once we've finished that, to have that guaranteed round would be appreciated, in my respect. I've always had an opportunity to have a second round of questioning. Most committees operate on that basis, and I'm not looking to undo anything.
    When you look at this motion 4, it came to us for a reason. It has either been part of the history, or maybe the committee diverged from it in the last set of rounds, but it has shown up here from the clerk for a reason, because it was part of the past practice and it is part of a lot of other committee practices. I'm willing to diverge from that, but once again, just having that opportunity guaranteed for a second round when free time becomes available would be much appreciated, from my perspective.
    Monsieur Laframboise.

[Translation]

    I disagree with Mr. Masse. Mr. Chairman, you chaired our meetings in such a way that you allowed members, including those from the NDP, to ask as many questions as possible.
    If Mr. Masse insists on that, obviously we are not prepared to give up our turn. If there is a second round, we will start with the Liberals, followed by the Conservatives, then the Bloc, and then the NDP.
    If we do that, you will lose out, Mr. Masse. You would be better off accepting the motion before us. We know from experience that when you exercise your discretion, Mr. Chair, you generally give all members an opportunity to speak. Otherwise, if we want to get into games here, we will replay the same scenario as before. I am not sure that that would be in your interest, Mr. Masse.

[English]

    Mr. Jean.
    I was going to say what Mr. Laframboise said.
    We have this motion.
    Yes, simply because we don't have it circulated to you.... I've read it.
    We're ready to vote on the motion.
    If you're comfortable with that...but I will see that it does get distributed.
    (Motion agreed to)
    Motion 4 is passed.
    As amended.
    As amended, yes.
    Motion 8, and this is the last one.
    Mr. Jean.
    I was just suggesting that we should also include the ability to have one staff member from the House officers. I thought that would be reasonable. Everybody is treated fairly. Well, all the parties would be treated the same, and if it's necessary, I thought it would be an advantage.
    What you're saying is that each official party can have a House officer--
    A staff member.
    --a staff member if they so choose.
    Mr. Laframboise.
    As long as they identify who they are, that's all.
    Are the researchers here included?
    Yes, I just thought it would be one staff member from the party, whoever you wanted. So I would consider a researcher to be a House officer who's there under somebody's allocation.
    Monsieur Laframboise.

[Translation]

    I may have misunderstood the first time, but does that means we would add a party representative to the staff representatives who can accompany us?
    Is that it? Agreed.

[English]

    Is there any other comment?
    Not from the party.
    It's from the House officers.
    Right.
    Maybe I'll get Mr. Jean to read his amendment so that we know exactly.
    Yes. It reads:
That, unless otherwise ordered, each Committee member be allowed to be accompanied by one staff person, and each party be permitted to have one House officer staff person at an in camera meeting.
    Do you want me to do that again?
    I think you should, yes.

  (0945)  

    I don't know if I can.
That, unless otherwise ordered, each Committee member be allowed to be accompanied by one staff person, and each party be permitted to have one House officer staff at an in camera meeting.
    How does that sound?
    It's a little confusing, but I think we understand where we're going.
    Is there any debate on that?
    No.
    (Motion agreed to)
    Very briefly, for our next meeting on Tuesday, our first official meeting, I think everyone is aware that Bill C-8, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act (railway transportation), has been referred to the committee. I know we had some discussion about that prior to the ending of the last session. I am advised that officials would be prepared to attend next week. That is to be verified, but if the committee wishes, I would suggest that....
    Go ahead, Mr. Jean.
    I'm sorry, Mr. Chair. I just wanted to let you know that the minister would also be prepared to come on Thursday to introduce Bill C-8 and to answer questions for an hour.
    Mr. Bell.
    Through you to Mr. Jean, when is the report from the panel going to be available?
    I'm not sure.
    That was supposed to be the end of October, wasn't it?
    I'm really not sure, Mr. Bell. I can get back to you, though. I will.
    My understanding is that the panel was going to report by October 31.
    Secondly, my question is, when are we going to make a decision and recommendations based on the testimony we heard? I would ask that that be on the agenda.
    I think what I'd like to do is ask the subcommittee to meet on Tuesday, and we'll set forward the agenda with those issues. On Thursday, if the committee is agreeable, we can bring the minister and officials in to present Bill C-8. I know at the end of the last session there was some urgency to get this dealt with.
     If the committee so agrees, I would try to confirm that the minister and his officials be here for Thursday. We can set the rest of the agenda on Tuesday at a subcommittee meeting, but this would get the ball started.
    Monsieur Laframboise.

[Translation]

    Could you explain what Bill C-8 is about, please?

[English]

    It was on freight rates, shippers' rights, remedies. It was Bill C-58 last time.
    We had talked about doing a fairly extensive review.

[Translation]

    Has Bill C-8 been tabled?
    An hon. member: Yes.

[English]

    I will invite the minister and his officials to attend on Thursday to present the bill, but on Tuesday we will have just a subcommittee meeting to set the agenda for the rest of the fall session.
    Mr. Bell.
    Will we have the binders before the minister comes on the bill?
    They were sent out yesterday by Transport Canada. I'm sure you'll get them this morning.

  (0950)  

    I also know that briefings will be offered to all members on this bill, if you elect to do that.
    On Tuesday we will have a subcommittee only, and then on Thursday we will start the agenda with Bill C-8, with the minister and officials.
    The meeting is adjourned.