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Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



Tuesday, June 23, 2020

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



     I call the meeting to order.
    It's 3:30, colleagues, and it's nice to see you. It's not so nice to see you in these circumstances, but nevertheless we will soldier on.
    This is the sixth meeting of the public safety committee, and little did any of us think, coming from the fifth to the sixth meeting, that we would be at the intersection of two of the most significant crises of our time, namely systemic racism and the realities of COVID.
    It's regrettable that we have to meet this way, in that we are physically present. Ideally, we would have been other than physically present, but it is what it is.
    First of all, I will read this protocol so that we all understand what it is. I'll summarize the four points.
    We've been asked to limit our movement in the room and to wear a mask unless seated. Obviously, people can follow the markings on the floor. Microphones and seats, as I can see, have been distanced from each other. I see my friend Greg Fergus way down there; at least, I think that's Greg Fergus.
    We have a limited number of personnel in the room, one for each party, and I'll think you're familiar with all of the other protocols that we're exercising.
    We are looking at three motions this morning. I think the first is up on the screen.
    This, as you well know, has been called as an emergency meeting. It is moved:
That pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) the committee undertake a study of systemic racism in policing in Canada; and that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness as well as the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police be invited to testify on Tuesday June 23, 2020.
    The motion is in English and in French.
    Do I have a motion to accept the meeting?
    (Motion agreed to)
    The Chair: The second item is the budget, is it not?
    This is a new system, John. There is way less paper. This is a good thing.
    This is a good thing, Jean-Marie. We're not killing a forest to have a meeting.
    Jean-Marie has done an amazing job in the past week. We are very fortunate as a committee to have Jean-Marie here, and if you had any inkling of all the toing and froing to get to where we are today.... I just want to publicly thank Jean-Marie for his work. I'll thank him more enthusiastically if he can find this thing, this budget.


    I can find it; I just can't move it.
    I'm sorry, Mr. Chair, but I can't display it. If you want, I can give the details to the members.
    The budget is in the amount of $3,300. It's a very small budget, but it's enough to get us going for this first meeting at least.
    That's fine.
    Go ahead, Madam Damoff.
    I'm going to bring a motion forward to add some meetings to what we're doing. Will that impact your budget, or will we just look at another budget if that motion passes?
    Well, usually when we adopt budgets, we don't spend most of it anyway. I would say that we'll just keep this budget for now, and if there is not enough money, then I can always bring a new budget for additional funds to the committee for adoption.
     Is there any other discussion?
    (Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: The third motion—and it's entirely at the discretion of committee members—is that the meeting be on television and be in public, but the subject matter I'm proposing to discuss at this point is further meetings and witnesses. I'd be interested in knowing whether members wish to go in camera at this point.
    I would suggest that we go in camera, Chair. Normally when we're discussing meetings and witnesses, it is done in camera. Then we can come back to a public meeting once we've had that discussion.
    I can move it if you would like.
    Do you have a point of discussion, Charlie?
    Yes. I don't see this as being controversial. My feeling about staying in public is to reassure the public we are taking these issues very seriously and that we are recognizing the concerns that are being raised, particularly in indigenous and racialized communities, and that we're here to talk, as parliamentarians, to find the best in who should be there.
    I'd prefer to stay in public, but this is my first time at your committee, Chair.
    The only point of going in camera was that there would be a witness list, and some will be in favour of this and some will be in favour of that. It's probably better as a private discussion than a public discussion, but I am in the hands of the committee.
    Is there any other discussion? We'll be going in camera right now, and then we'll go back in public when the witnesses are called.
    You wish? Does that mean you're in favour of the motion?


    I want maximum transparency.


    Oh, yes. We're all in favour of maximum transparency, but there are times we want to talk among ourselves as colleagues.
    I see five on this side...six. The motion is passed.
    (Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Thank you, colleagues.
    We are going to go in camera at this point.
    [Proceedings continue in camera]
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