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Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



     Good afternoon, members of the committee. I see a quorum.
     I must inform members that the Clerk of the Committee can only receive motions for the election of the chair. The clerk cannot receive other types of motions, cannot entertain a point of order, nor participate in debate.
    We can now proceed to the election of the chair.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 106(2), the chair must be a member of the governing party. I am ready to receive motions for the chair.
    Mr. Kamp.
    Mr. Clerk, I would like to nominate Rodney Weston.
    Are there any other nominations?
    It has been moved by Mr. Kamp that Mr. Rodney Weston be elected chair of the committee. Is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the motion?
    (Motion agreed to)
    The Clerk: I declare the motion carried and Mr. Rodney Weston duly elected chair of the committee.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    The Clerk: Before inviting Mr. Rodney Weston to take the chair, if the committee wishes, we will now proceed to the election of the vice-chairs.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 106(2), the first vice-chair must be a member of the official opposition. I'm now prepared to receive motions for the first vice-chair.
    Mr. Kerr.
     I was going to nominate Robert Chisholm. It was either that or Fin, I wasn't sure.
    It has been moved by Mr. Kerr that Mr. Chisholm be elected first vice-chair of the committee.
    It could be the kiss of death.
    Are there any other motions?
    Is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the motion?
    (Motion agreed to)
    The Clerk: I declare the motion carried and Mr. Chisholm elected first vice-chair of the committee.
    Thanks to my nominator.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Pursuant to Standing Order 106(2), the second vice-chair must be a member of an opposition party other than the official opposition.
    I am now prepared to receive a motion for the second vice-chair.
    Mr. Casey.
    I move the nomination of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay.
    It has been moved by Mr. Casey that Mr. MacAulay be elected second vice-chair of the committee.
    Is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the motion?
    (Motion agreed to)
    The Clerk: I declare Mr. MacAulay elected as the second vice-chair of the committee.
    I now invite Mr. Weston to take the chair.
     Thank you very much, members.
    Before we start, I want to take a moment to thank you for your support once again to chair this committee. I certainly look forward to some great work from this committee once again.
    I want to take a moment to welcome Mr. Cleary back to the committee and to welcome Mr. Leef back to the committee as well. We also welcome, as a new member of the committee, Mr. Kerr.
    I certainly look forward to working with all of you. I know you all have great experience within the industry, and I certainly look forward to your input in the business we will undertake in this committee.
    Mr. Casey, please offer our best wishes to Mr. MacAulay. I know you mentioned earlier that there is some illness in the family, so please tell him our thoughts are with him at this time.


     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Now, before we move into other business, as you can see, the agenda today is basically the election of the chair....
    Mr. Chisholm, did you want to make a point?
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    First of all, on behalf of the opposition caucus, I want to welcome you back as chair. I think we've done well as a committee. We've had some differences from time to time—only because of Bob—but we've been able to sort that out largely as a result of your skill and ability as the chairman. I appreciate that, and I also look forward to working again with Ryan, but also with my fellow Nova Scotian, Greg Kerr. There is some knowledge that will certainly be of benefit to this committee. I look forward to working to that.
    Mr. Chairman, on that point, I just want to take the opportunity.... I know we're going to talk a little bit about routine motions, and there are a couple of issues that I want all of us to consider as we go about the discussion of routine motions.
    Actually, I haven't gone down that road yet.
     I understand that, but there were a couple of things I wanted to say, Mr. Chairman, as I know this will be an item that we will be moving on to.
    I want to make a couple of points as they relate to the whole question of the routine motions. I know it has been the practice, and will undoubtedly be the practice in this case, that we will be looking at and probably adopting as is the routine motions we've passed before.
    I want to raise a couple of small issues, and I hope we'll have the opportunity to talk about them when we get to it.
    We've agreed that when documents are being distributed, for example, they will be distributed to members of the committee only when such documents exist in both official languages. I think we've upheld that practice on a routine basis and I'm pleased with it.
    There is one weakness that we may get to in that regard, related to document distribution, and that is that whenever an order in council appointment or a certificate of nomination for appointment is referred to the committee. We've had this happen on a few occasions. I want to ensure, Mr. Chair, that pursuant to Standing Order 111(4), the clerk shall obtain a copy of the corresponding curriculum vitae for distribution to all members of the committee.
    With any of the appointments made under the auspices of our committee, it's important that we be made aware of who these individuals are and that we take the opportunity to review them. We will of course decide this by a vote. But at the very least I am asking—and will be asking when we get to that item—that we get the CV of each one of those members. That will help us.
    It has happened before that we say, well, we know who this person is and we don't necessarily need to bring that person forward. But we'll know this a lot better if we have an opportunity to see their CV.
    Mr. Chairman, when we get to the routine motions, there's an item that we have talked about before that has to do with the whole question of in camera meetings. We think it's extremely important that there be some restrictions on the whole question of in camera meetings. It has frankly gotten a little bit out of hand, I would argue, and we'll want to make that argument when we get into that discussion.
     I want to suggest, and I'll raise it with you now, that we hope we'll be able to have the opportunity to discuss the merits of adding to the routine motion, as it relates to in camera meetings, that the committee may meet in camera only for the purposes of discussing the following: (a) wages, salaries, and other employee benefits; (b) contracts and contract negotiations; (c) labour relations and personnel matters; (d) a draft report; and (e) briefings concerning national security. And finally, we would also add that all votes taken in camera should be recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings, including how each member voted when recorded votes are requested. As you will recall, Mr. Chairman, all that's recorded in the minutes is whether a vote passes or doesn't pass—a vote to go in camera or the result of a vote when we're in camera.
    I'm trying to suggest that we put some parameters around the use of in camera meetings. I think it will be more helpful for us. Also, I think it's important that all votes taken in camera be recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings, including how each member voted when recorded votes are requested. I think that's important. It would perhaps be unfair of me to suggest that from time to time the motions to move in camera are abused, but there have been cases where I've objected to it, and I think other members of our committee have objected to it.


    So just to make sure that we conduct ourselves in the most prudent and productive manner we possibly can, when we get to the routine motions, I will be making those additional recommendations, Mr. Chairman.
    Finally, I would look forward to the opportunity.... In fact, I would hope that we would deal with this today, that a meeting of the subcommittee be set forthwith to confirm our business over the next number of days and weeks. We've got a few important issues in front of us.
     We had agreed as a committee to look at the Arctic, and we divided that up into two pieces. We had begun on the first part, and I think it's probably a good idea that we continue. I had the opportunity to visit the Northwest Territories this summer, Yellowknife and Hay River. It was an interesting trip. I hope we have the opportunity to pursue this.
    I would add, though, that there are some other issues out there. The results of the lobster panel will be coming down shortly. The Cohen's a year tomorrow since the commission released its report and we haven't heard boo officially. I know Mr. Kamp has been in the newspaper a couple of times suggesting that the government is moving forward, but we've not had an official response from the government to any of those 75 recommendations. Let's not forget that $26 million was spent on a study that is not only important for the Fraser sockeye, but it's important for the industry on the west coast. It has implications for habitat management and good science and DFO practice right across the country. So I hope we get there.
    There have been other issues that have come up over the summer with respect to marine safety—the condition of our coast guard equipment, the ability to get out, the whole question of what's happened between the station in Halifax and the station in Quebec in terms of handling calls, and handling calls in one or both of our official languages. That's an issue that's come forward that we need to examine fairly quickly.
    With the replacement of vessels, some questions have been raised about whether that's going to happen or whether or not it's been put off for some time in the future. As you would know, Mr. Chairman, the whole issue of the CETA negotiations has been raised as they relate to the fishery in Atlantic Canada. It's something we may want to talk about.
    I'm sure I missed a few things, but there are a bunch of things that we need to examine. We've been meeting quite often, and I look forward—I know my colleagues do—to having in-depth discussions and hearing from expert witnesses and other interested parties from across the country on these and other issues. I look forward to this committee working, and I look forward to your chairmanship, Mr. Chairman, to help us do that.


    Thank you, Mr. Chisholm.
    Opening comments, Mr. Kamp?
     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I too want to congratulate you on your re-election as chair. You provide capable leadership, so we're pleased to see that you're with us again, and I want to congratulate Mr. Chisholm and, in absentia, Mr. MacAulay as our vice-chairs as well.
    I want to echo Mr. Chisholm in welcoming our new members: Mr. Cleary, Mr. Leef, and Mr. Kerr. I think it's safe to say we have one of the best, most well-informed and engaged fisheries committees that we've had in a long time. These new members will certainly help us to become that, and that's a good thing. Welcome. I look forward to an interesting session.
    Mr. Chisholm has raised some issues, and obviously we have some routine motions. He's indicated verbally, at least, that he has an intent to move another routine motion. In fact, we think there needs to be another routine motion, when we do get to that, to address the confusing issue of members who are not part of a caucus, where they have an opportunity to consider amendments to legislation. Up until recently it's been in the House of Commons itself, and we're beginning to think it might be more appropriate for that to happen in a committee like this. Although they are not members of this committee, we need to find a way to address that. We might well bring a routine motion on that subject as well.
    There may be other committee business that we need to look at. As far as I know, we don't have anything planned for our next meeting. I think it would be good to consider that committee business, including the routine motions, and any additional routine motions at the next meeting.
    I would move that we adjourn.
    Thank you, Mr. Kamp.
    It's been moved by Mr. Kamp that this committee now adjourn.
    (Motion agreed to)
    The Chair: This committee stands adjourned.
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