If there is something you'd like to mention to the clerk and you don't want to bring it up here today, that's fine. You can speak to the clerk about that, and he will take it into consideration when ordering the meals.
I just wanted to let you know that you can raise your voice and let us know, and we'll try to accommodate you.
The next thing is something that I think might be beneficial for new and old members if you have questions. I had the benefit of sitting down with the clerk and the analysts team yesterday to sort out some questions I had on my mind, and I thought why just me? Why not include all the members of the committee who might have procedural questions or other questions about topics and things that come up here in this committee?
You're free to contact the clerk and the team. They have been gracious enough to say they would be willing to accommodate us and take a meeting. Whether you want to do it party by party or as individuals, they will make time to make sure they can guide you if you have any questions. Please feel free to contact any of us about that.
Now we will start with committee business.
We have Ms. Blaney's motion on the floor, so I think it is only appropriate to go back to that at this point to see if there is any discussion on it, or whether we're in a position to vote on her motion.
We have a list of about four names from the last time. Would we like to go back to that speaking order?
I do have more to say, for sure. I won't be as long as I was at the last meeting. I promise that. You never know, I suppose, but I don't plan to be. I do have a few more things I'd like to say at this point.
I know some of my colleagues had a few things they'd like to say.
I may want to look at maybe moving an amendment at some point as well, but I'll let some of my colleagues have a chance to have a say first, so maybe you could just add me back on the list and if I choose to do that amendment, I can do it at that point.
I obviously outlined some of my concerns last time around, primarily with the Standing Orders changes. Last time I did lay out some of the background of the changes that were attempted in the last Parliament and why it was so important that in order to make those kinds of changes there be agreement among all parties on the principle that all members are affected by those changes as well as how critical that is.
In the last Parliament when the government tried to move forward with changes that weren't supported by opposition parties, it was something that both we, the Conservatives, and the NDP at that time were strongly opposed to. We were concerned about that sort of plan to move forward without having worked with the opposition parties and without having arrived at a consensus with everybody. We remain concerned about that.
There were indications given that some conversations had occurred prior to this being brought forward. I certainly was not aware of those, and when I talked to my other colleagues on the committee, they didn't seem to be aware of them either.
It was something that came before us as a bit of a surprise, and I do remain concerned about the idea that we would make these kinds of changes without everyone agreeing. As a point, at the last meeting I said I was concerned about the changes because I am a fiscal conservative, and we would be looking at adding an extra salary for, I think.... How many committees are there?
My colleague tells me there are 24 committees. So we'd be looking an additional 24 salaries of, I believe, $6,200 each is the pay increase, so we'd be talking about more than $150,000. That's money that comes out of Canadians' pockets and there are a lot of Canadians for whom $150,000 could make a pretty big difference.
I'll get into that in a second, but the bottom line here is that we're talking about additional pay essentially for the entire caucus of the smallest official party in Parliament. In fact it would almost certainly amount to, for some of those members of that caucus, two additional salaries. Given the number of members they have in the caucus and the number of committee there are, it's pretty clear that would have to be the case.
I've sat on a lot of committees. I've chaired a lot of committees. I've been the vice-chair of committees. There are times when a vice-chair does have to fill the chair's role, and that's the recognition of what's being done there, but I think it's pretty hard to imagine a scenario coming up very often, if ever, in which it gets to the point where we have to have a third vice-chair take the chair. So the idea of additional pay for that is something that I think would offend some Canadians, frankly, the idea that someone who probably will never have to actually exercise those duties would receive that. That's a concern that needs to be brought forward here as well.
I know some of my colleagues were a little upset with me last time that I didn't give them an opportunity to speak. I was trying to make sure that I earned my pay and I want to let them to have a chance to earn theirs. Maybe what I'll do, then, is to s yield the floor. I think I have my name back on the list and maybe I can have an opportunity to move an amendment, if needed, at that time.
Thanks, John, and thank you to the committee for giving me this opportunity to speak about what's in front of us.
How we left it last week and what I did for the weekend is what I'm going to talk about today: how the people I represent in Saskatoon—University feel about the work that's getting done in Ottawa or the lack of work.
Most Saturdays, I like to go around to different establishments in Saskatoon. I was at Robin's Donuts on Central Avenue in Sutherland talking to average people about what they're facing in their lives. Without a doubt, if you go out there and talk to seniors, students or people with young families, they're struggling. They're looking to me as their member of Parliament. Especially for the seniors on fixed incomes, it's a tough conversation. They're getting squeezed in every direction. Probably the number one comment they have for me is, “You need to increase my pension. I can't survive on this.”
I don't know what you guys tell people in that situation. We have limited control, obviously, in opposition and out here to affect people's lives, but what I'm hearing is that they're getting squeezed.
There's also another twinge to this. Maybe the guys who aren't from western Canada don't feel this, but every time I talk to someone there's this enraged feeling of neglect and alienation that the rest of Canada doesn't understand us. When I started talking about my work here, I shared with some of the people I represent the work of this committee and what we were discussing last week.
There was outrage that we were considering giving ourselves raises to the tune of thousands of dollars. We're looking at roughly $500 or $600 more a month. You look at these seniors and tell them, yes, this is what we were discussing at committee. It's disgusting. They go back to saying, “What about me? Why can't my pension go up?” I don't have a good answer for them. I don't know if you've had those conversations with the people you represent, but it is disgusting when they understand that we're here debating giving ourselves raises.... That's what ultimately this is. It's about money—or I feel it is.
Six thousand dollars a year for any member who is honoured to become this second vice-chair, it is... I don't know if it's going to make any difference in their lives, but for the people I represent it would be massive. If they could get a $6,000 bump in their pensions, it would be the difference between affording medication and paying rent for that month. For us, $6,000 is a substantial amount of money, but for the average Canadian to receive a bump in pay like that? They would be ecstatic. Also, if they had the power to give themselves that raise...that's where the conversation is a bit of a disconnect with average people. When you start talking about it, they say, okay, so you're on this committee that sets up the rules that govern yourselves in Ottawa, and you have a portion of that committee wanting to spend upwards of $150,000 now? For what?
It's the value for money that average Canadians just couldn't understand, I don't think: that we could potentially give ourselves raises. That goes against, I believe, the convention in this place that members don't do that. It's set to different factors in the economy for our salary and our compensation, and to change that goes against some pretty long-held traditions that we don't do that in this country.
Another thing we don't do, especially since we're a Westminster democracy, is that we don't change the rules unless all parties agree. That's another part of the conversation I had with people back in Saskatoon this weekend. They can't get their heads wrapped around it.
It's like you're playing Monopoly. You have four players. One player has properties here and there, through chance and maybe through good decisions, and they've put themselves in a pretty good position. An analogy is that the other three players want to change the rules. There's no sport, no game, no fair competition that would allow a change of the rules midstream. Ideally, it's before. You set the ground rules of what governs whatever competition, and with consensus.
That's where I have concerns about the direction we're going in at this committee. If we start changing the rules without consensus, then it is a slippery slope. It will be difficult to try to explain this to the people we represent. If this motion passes, ultimately we will end up spending a substantial amount of money on ourselves. I can't, in good faith, go back to the people who elected me and say that this is the good work that we did on this committee.
On the financial side, $6,000 a year to a member of Parliament is a nice bonus. If there's actual work getting done by that individual, I do understand. I support the notion that additional responsibilities warrant additional pay in some circumstances. But this is not normal. Giving ourselves or giving members a raise without consensus is changing the rules without all the players agreeing. I have real concerns about what that leads to in our democracy.
As for the dollars, if you go back this weekend, talk to a senior, to someone who's struggling, about what $6,000, or roughly $500 a month, would do for them. It will be hard to justify why these members are receiving these additional dollars if you look into the eyes of the senior who can't afford his medication and rent and who has to make that tough decision. I can't. I can't support this motion and still go back to that coffee table and explain the work we're doing out here. It's a substantial amount of money.
There's another element to this. Where does this money come from? The money comes from taxpayers. Taxes are important. They pay for important services in our country. But a dollar of overtaxation is theft.
I'll go back to maybe a small business owner in my community who's struggling. They're struggling because of the policies of this government, the policies of this country that aren't working for them. There are people who are going bankrupt right now and laying off people. I'm going to go to that person and say, “Yes, we are also spending an additional $150,000.” It could be that last dollar that put them over the edge and put them in bankruptcy now so that we can afford to give members additional dollars.
I can't square that circle. I don't know how you square that circle if you're talking to a taxpayer, to a senior, to someone struggling, about our reaching into their pockets and taking more taxes that we give to members who sit on a committee. I can't justify that to the people I represent. I don't know how you guys would as well.
Madam Chair, that's the end of my remarks. I'll pass it on to my colleague Eric.
I was just going to say you're welcome, maybe, in return on that. I was riveted to see what he had in those binders, but maybe that's for another day or another topic.
As did the member for Kingston and the Islands, I served in municipal politics for 12 years. I served as a councillor. I got broken in gently at the age of 18, and was mayor for eight years and a regional chair. I'm actually much more comfortable sitting around a committee table like this than I am in the chamber though I am getting more used to that other side. I will say that I do appreciate the chance to speak on this today and to take the time to share some of the concerns and, I think, frustrations we have with the proposal that's before us.
One of my experiences from municipal life is to not be a fan of things just being put on the table and being voted on, and going with those. Having the chance to deliberate, to go back, not only amongst ourselves as committee members but, as Mr. Tochor mentioned as well, into our constituencies and to get feedback from constituents is important. Give us a chance to do that.
I won't repeat what Mr. Tochor said, but, frankly, when I was in my riding in the City of Cornwall, and I mentioned it to a few different constituents of mine in different settings, there was certainly frustration or shock with the proposal on the table and the way we're handling it and doing it.
I'll spend my time speaking on a few technical ends to the proposal and the motion before us. There have been a few comments about precedents being set, and about how there's this special committee right now on Canada-China relations, which has three vice-chairs.
As I am new to the place, you'll have to forgive me. There will be a few times, I'm sure, when I may need to be corrected, but I don't think right now is one of them. When we have special committees, that's exactly what they are. They're special. They're unique, for a variety of different reasons. Particularly given its file, the Canada-China committee, with its timelines and how they're being established, and the attention, frankly, not only within the parliamentary precinct but across the country and the micro-attention it's receiving, is important. The composition of that committee, where it's meeting, how it's meeting, the experts it brings in and how timely it is, I think, present, for a special committee, exactly what that is. It's a special circumstance. In that case, it can go there.
We can go back and look at standing committees in the past in other Parliaments. I think maintaining the two vice-chairs is something that is realistic and fair. That's what standing committees have had, it is my understanding, in majority and minority Parliaments over the years. I think it's something fair to do.
In the current situation, I do take to heart what the NDP says about realizing the situation we're in. No party has a majority. We need to work together on these things. The government needs to have support from at least one other party as we go forward with these things.
To the comments about being inclusive and having a co-operative tone, I took the perspective of the original proposal to include the NDP on the subcommittee of agenda and procedure, for example, as a good and fair way of making sure we're getting that co-operation. My understanding is that we deal with witnesses as we deal with the procedures of this committee. On each and every committee, there is that opportunity for the NDP to contribute to that end. When we look at this proposition, the proposal, the motion, that's on the table right now, frankly, the only difference I see here is the extra 6,000 and some dollars, $6,200 or whatever it is, for extra members.
I'm not opposed, obviously, to having that bipartisan co-operation and having that co-operation, whether it be for this committee or in the precedent we set for other committees. I think when we're getting into having a third vice-chair and having dollars attached to that for, frankly, I don't believe much extra work if any, I think the optics of it are not the most positive. It doesn't look right, I think I could say, to my constituents and the people I've spoken to, but also to Canadians in general.
I hope, over the course of the next several months, for however many years this Parliament lasts and this term lasts, that we can work together on a lot of different topics in a consensus way, going by having all-party support and those types of things. But I think that what we have here now with this proposal does not exclude the NDP, the fourth party, from participating in the direction of the committees and the work that it does.
I just think the optics and the realities of this are not very good for Canadians, and I think are not very good for parliamentarians, frankly, on this end.
There are a few amendments, I believe, that we have put forward to deal with the situation and to maybe give a bit more clarity and decision on this, but I do look forward to getting past this, working on issues and showing Canadians that we are not about dollars, but about them and the workings of Parliament and the many things we have to handle over the next little while.
I'll leave my comments at that. I look forward to working with everybody.
I'm not going to make a lot of extra remarks at this point, but I do have an amendment that I'll move. The amendment is centred around trying to help us with a path forward here.
When we're looking at anything as this committee, I see that one of our key roles here is making sure that for Parliament and the way this Parliament is chosen—mainly with elections law—we're doing it in a way that is looking at it from a perspective of what is fair and what is helpful. I think anything we're doing should be done that way. That's one of the reasons why we have the principle that we do these changes by consensus. Trying to have something with which all parties feel comfortable is very important. It's very important to operate in that way.
The idea that we want to make sure that.... Yes, in the last election, Canadians decided to reduce the number of seats that the NDP held and the number of seats that the government held, and to increase somewhat the seats that our party and the Bloc Québécois hold. That makes a change in terms of how representation works in Parliament, of course, and it also makes a change in how things work in committees.
I think there was a lot of effort to try to make sure the decision of Canadians was recognized in the way the committees were made up and in the way things were done. Respecting the ability of all parties to have a role in a minority Parliament like this one was critical. I think that was recognized and was done, as my colleague just pointed out, in the way that committees and the steering committees for each of the committees were made up.
When we look at this further change that's being requested here, as one of my colleagues pointed out, many Canadians would look at it simply as a way to get a pay increase for one of the caucuses. Essentially, what that boils down to is that it's being suggested for I think a couple of reasons. It's a thought that people have for a couple of reasons. One, obviously, is that it would lead to that entire caucus receiving extra salary and, in some cases, for some of those members of Parliament, receiving more than one additional salary.
Keeping in mind that there are many members, particularly those of the Liberal caucus and the Conservative caucus, who receive no extra salary, I appreciate there might be some indications that as a critic for a party maybe there is some extra responsibility, and there certainly is, but there also is for people who are deputy critics for a party or people in the government caucus. I don't know for certain the situation, but I recall that when I was first here in a minority Parliament as part of a government caucus, I sat on two different committees. There is a fair bit of extra work involved in being on two committees as well, and those things aren't recognized with additional salaries.
Maybe that's a conversation that at some point happens, but I don't think it should be done in the context of what we're talking about here. Also, as one of my colleagues pointed out, the idea that we would have members of committees voting to increase their own salaries, essentially, is something that probably offends Canadians. I don't really believe.... I certainly hope that wouldn't be what this is about.
The other thing that I think some Canadians might look at and call into question is that given that situation you're talking about, with an entire caucus having their salaries increased, in supporting that principle, is that an attempt by the government to buy favour from one particular caucus in order to keep the votes they need to pass legislation and keep themselves in power?
I'm not suggesting that's the case, but I can certainly see how it might appear to some people to be the case. We certainly always want to try to avoid those kinds of appearances.
I recognize that no one would want it to appear that way. No one in the NDP caucus would want it to appear as though they're taking that kind of payment, I guess. Nobody in the Liberal caucus would want to make it appear as though that would be the case.
I think there is a way we could move forward with this, to do what I believe is the intention here, without creating that kind of impression. I think the intention here—I certainly hope this is the case—is simply to recognize with a title the role that an NDP member would be playing on a steering committee, etc. The way we could do that would be by making the following amendment.
The motion, as it's been put forward, currently reads:
That for the remainder of the 43rd parliament, notwithstanding Standing Order 106(2), in addition to the Chair and first vice-chair, there be one vice-chair from the Bloc Québécois and one vice-chair from the New Democratic Party for all committees listed under Standing Order 104.
That's the motion as it stands now. What I would suggest we do would be to make the following amendments. We would replace everything after the words “Standing Order 106(2)” with the following:
for all committees listed under Standing Order 104, the first vice-chair shall be a member of the official opposition, the second vice-chair shall be a member of an opposition party other than the official opposition party, and that the eligible member not selected for the position of second vice-chair be given the title of third vice-chair provided that they do not receive an additional salary under paragraph 62.1(1)(h) of the Parliament of Canada Act.
That would remove any of those impressions that people might have about payments and things like that. What it would do is, of course, provide for that title for the member of the other opposition party who wasn't chosen to be second vice-chair, and, I guess, provide some comfort that the recognition of their role on a steering committee is there. That's what I would move as an amendment at this time.
I just want to start by saying that we brought forward a similar motion at the beginning, which I tried to present by consent. I do believe, when it comes down to it, that if we're going to be changing the rules, that should be done by consent. That being said, if there's a motion on the floor, I'm most definitely willing to entertain it and listen to it. Ultimately we have the responsibility to vote on that. That's how we've come to where we are today. I won't get into all of the discussion I've heard so far, although I would question some of the comments that have been made.
My question, Madam Chair, for the mover of the motion is, just out of curiosity, especially given the comments that have been made by Conservatives today with respect to the need for the fiscal responsibility—and I share their concern, Madam Chair, about that need for fiscal responsibility— why he didn't move the motion in such a way that rather than eliminating the pay for one vice-chair, we take the pay from all the vice-chairs and divide it by three, or remove the pay from all vice-chairs completely. I'm just curious as to why he didn't choose to present his motion in that manner.
I know that he's a vice-chair, so maybe there's a bit of a conflict of interest there, but I'm just wondering why he chose to present the motion in the way he did as opposed to just taking the entire vice-chairs' salaries and dividing those by three. I don't know if he can answer that or if you would even entertain that, but that's just what I'm left wondering at this point.
I think the bottom line here, as I indicated during my comments, is that if we are to decide as a committee or as Parliament to look at the ways in which we recognize the different roles and responsibilities with additional salaries more broadly, then that's a conversation, if people feel it's worth having, that we would have and we would make a decision on. I'm firmly of the belief that we should not make decisions about our own salaries, and that's what we're proposing to do with this motion. It's to make a decision about someone's own salary. But if we were to talk about that in terms of what would happen in future Parliaments, then as MPs we could all have that conversation, if all parties feel it's worth having, in terms of how salaries or additional salaries were to function.
It's one reason that, even for the base salaries of MPs, the decision was made a number of years ago to not put MPs in the position to make those kinds of decisions about their own salaries. We shouldn't be making those decisions for our own salaries. If we choose to change the way that's done for future Parliaments, that might be a different conversation. The problem here is that we're talking about making a change that individual MPs would be voting on that would affect their own salaries. I don't believe we should be putting anyone in that kind of position.
The idea here is to simply allow for the recognition that needs to be there, in some people's minds, of the fact that someone is sitting on a steering committee, but not put anyone in a position to vote for salary increases, especially in a minority Parliament like this one, where questions like those I raised earlier could come from Canadians.
That's the reason I've chosen to do this.
Thank you, Madam Chair. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this important conversation.
I want to recognize first of all that the Conservative members at the last meeting of PROC talked extensively about the reality that for the second vice-chair of course it would happen differently in every committee, and that sometimes it would be the NDP and sometimes it would be the Bloc. I think it's really important that we remember here that this is not about one party. This is about looking at the reality of how this place is built and looking at the reality of the Canada-China committee, where there's now a difference between how some committees will be treated compared to others.
At the end of the day, this is about creating respectful relationships in this place. I'm certainly interested in having discussions about compensation for all roles. I think that's always an interesting conversation to have. I think we're very clear here, by what the chair has indicated from her discussion with the analyst and the clerk, that this isn't the right process to move forward. I'm interested to see what we can do in the future around this issue; obviously it doesn't sound like this committee is the right place.
I really want to also encourage my Conservative friends here. There are some really important conversations about challenges that many of our constituents are experiencing. I hope to see them working with us of course in our call to the Liberals around the increase in the OAS. Right now, the age for that is 75, and of course, as you've heard from our members, we want to see that lowered to the age of 65. If seniors are struggling, we absolutely want to help them as soon as we possibly can.
Also, what I look forward to is that it sounds like there were discussions about people not being able to afford medication, and we're hoping to see support for our plan around having a universal national strategy that's respectful to all provinces and all territories in order to see that move forward.
I hope that answers the member's question. I look forward to continuing this discussion.
I believe the way I interpret those comments is that, yes, that conversation about compensation for people could happen at another occasion if that were something that members felt. Obviously, then, that would indicate to me that the idea of trying to recognize with a title of some kind the role that both of the other opposition parties are playing would certainly be sufficient to recognize that, and it isn't about the money. That's certainly what I hope I understood in those comments.
If that's the case, hopefully, we'll have support for the amendment. Given the advice that I received about the act and the way there's a sort of an anomaly in there, with no one ever having thought that there might be a third, fourth, fifth and sixth, etc., vice-chair, I do believe there is a way we could make just a slight change to the wording here and make this amendment work in order to have the effect that it was intended to have.
Simply, in the part where it talks about the “member not selected for the position of second vice-chair be given the title of”, rather than that, it would just be—and I'm open for suggestions from my colleagues in the other opposition parties if they'd like—that we could use the title of “deputy vice-chair” or “assistant vice-chair”. I'll propose “deputy vice-chair”. Then that takes the language and makes it just different enough that it should meet the test of complying with the Parliament of Canada Act.
Thank you, Madam Chair. I think it's interesting that there's a sort of want to put some responsibility on the NDP for the motion we brought forward.
Again, I will just say this. There was a motion brought forward in the House of Commons through the Conservatives to set up a committee with three vice-chairs. There was a decision to make that, so when it's said that role was not created, it has been created, which has led us in a direction to have a discussion.
Again, I will say this. The purpose of the motion that I have put forward is to create an environment of collaboration with the House of Commons. It seems to me, based on the advice of the clerk and the analyst, that this is a place where these are nice discussions to have, but that will not do what was intended by these motions.
As I said earlier, I think it's an interesting conversation. Perhaps we can have it in a place that actually has the authority to do something with it. I think these kind of conversations are always meaningful.
I want to be clear again. This is about a modification. This is not a fundamental change to the Standing Orders. I just think that needs to be respected and also that all the roles of the parties are respected. This is what we're looking for in this motion.
I'm happy to continue the discussion. I think it's an important discussion. I certainly hope that by the end of committee today we have some resolution.
I apologize, Madam Chair. The challenge—and I listened to Ms. Blaney—and the issue with the Canada-China motion is that it was a motion that was put forward on an opposition day and that was supported by the opposition parties, including the NDP and the Bloc. Let's not conflate the fact that this was a Conservative issue. This was voted on by the House.
The direction of the House of Commons was for the China-Canada committee to be constituted to study the issues with respect to the relations with China. It was a direction of Parliament—not a standing committee, not a standing order—and it was within the purview of that committee to determine whether there was going to be a third vice-chair. They did that. The Standing Orders are much different.
This motion that Ms. Blaney has put forward speaks specifically to changing the Standing Orders for this 43rd Parliament. That's the issue here. I wanted to make sure that was very clear as we move forward, not just in dealing with the subamendment but with the amendment and the main motion when and if we get to that point.
Let's not conflate the issue. Let's not somehow put this on the Conservatives: that somehow the Conservatives created this third vice-chair position within this China-Canada committee. We did not do that. The committee constituted by Parliament, not by the Standing Orders, did that on their own, and one is different from the other. Let's be clear on it.
I want to just make it really clear. There seems to be a lot of confusion for some reason about the idea of a third vice-chair versus the deputy vice-chair versus what exists now, which is nothing. There is no other. Granted that we have to make this change to be able to have the intent work because of the Parliament of Canada Act indicating vice-chairs. The only reason there's no contemplation of having a third vice-chair or a deputy vice-chair is because nobody ever foresaw that. The way things have always operated, and I believe within the Standing Orders, is that there's a first vice-chair and a second vice-chair. The first vice-chair is always a member of the official opposition. The second vice-chair is always a member of another opposition party. There has never been a third vice-chair on standing committees. There has never been a deputy vice-chair.
No matter what we do, we're creating a new position. This is being done because we have a situation where there are two official opposition parties and they both wish to have members recognized in some way. In order to do that, we have to create a new position, a third vice-chair or a deputy vice-chair, whatever you want to call it, in order to make it work. To have the effect that we're trying to achieve with the amendment, we'd have to call it “deputy vice-chair” or “third vice-chair”, but the bottom line is that we're creating a new position that's never existed on standing committees before in one way or the other.
I certainly was not a believer that we should be doing that, especially by a motion like this. Rather, it should be something that should be done with consensus. That didn't happen. We're coming forward with a motion and it appears to me as though it has the support to pass. I'm simply trying to make an amendment here that will clarify in peoples minds that this is not about extra pay for somebody. This is not about the government's trying to buy the support of a party. This is about simply having a new position to give recognition to both of the other opposition parties. In making this amendment, that's what we're doing. If we don't make that amendment, then it leaves the question in some peoples minds as to what is the purpose. Is it simply to make sure that both of these other caucuses get pay that other MPs don't?
I believe everyone should have the new amendment before them. While we were on recess, perhaps the members got to discuss and take a look at and reflect on this new amendment. We've definitely discussed it.
We're resuming debate on the amendment that is before us. There are concerns that, once again, are very similar to the concerns about the original amendment as to how this would practically play out procedurally. It is before this committee, so procedurally this amendment can be moved at this committee and can be debated.
Perhaps I would suggest that, upon reading the act, once again, on the salaries when you hold a position, it says that you “shall be paid” the salary that is listed in the act, so I believe this faces complications similar to those faced by the first amendment. We could pass it here at this committee. Even if the House were to adopt it, it would essentially not have the effect of changing the act, so we have that same problem.
Of course, that is something you can debate, and it probably will help you in making a decision as to whether you're going to vote in favour of this amendment or not.
We'll resume debate on this amendment. Those are the things that you can discuss and decide.