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Minutes of Proceedings

43rd Parliament, 2nd Session
Meeting 1
Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 11:03 a.m. to 12:17 p.m.
Webcast

House of Commons
• Christine Lafrance, Procedural Clerk
 
Library of Parliament
• Jean-Rodrigue Paré, Analyst
Pursuant to Standing Order 106(1), the committee met for the purpose of electing a chair. Pursuant to Standing Order 106(2), the clerk of the committee presided over the election of a chair.

On motion of Darrell Samson, it was agreed, — That Bryan May be elected Chair of the committee.

At 12:17 p.m., Bryan May took the Chair.

Pursuant to Standing Order 106(2), the clerk of the committee presided over the election of vice-chairs.

On motion of Cathay Wagantall, it was agreed, — That John Brassard be elected First Vice-Chair of the committee.

On motion of Darrell Samson, it was agreed, — That Luc Desilets be elected Second Vice-Chair of the committee.

The committee proceeded to the consideration of matters related to committee business.

On motion of Marie-France Lalonde, it was agreed, — 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.

On motion of Marie-France Lalonde, it was agreed, — That the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure be established and be composed of five members, namely the Chair and one member from each recognized party; and that the subcommittee work in a spirit of collaboration.

On motion of Marie-France Lalonde, it was agreed, — 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 four members are present, including two members of the opposition and two members of the government, but when travelling outside the Parliamentary Precinct, that the meeting begin after 15 minutes, regardless of members present.

Motion

Marie-France Lalonde moved, — That witnesses be given ten minutes for their opening statement; that, at the discretion of the Chair, during the questioning of witnesses, there be allocated six minutes for the first questioner of each party as follows: Round 1: Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Bloc Québécois, New Democratic Party.

For the second and subsequent rounds, the order and time for questioning be as follows: Conservative Party, five minutes; Liberal Party, five minutes; Conservative Party, five minutes; Liberal Party, five minutes; Bloc Québécois, two and a half minutes; New Democratic Party, two and a half minutes.

Amendment

Rachel Blaney moved, — That the motion be amended by replacing the word “ten” with the word “five”; and by replacing the words “Conservative Party, five minutes; Liberal Party, five minutes; Conservative Party, five minutes; Liberal Party, five minutes; Bloc Québécois, two and a half minutes; New Democratic Party, two and a half minutes” with “Conservative Party, five minutes; Liberal Party, five minutes; Bloc Québécois, two and a half minutes; New Democratic Party, two and a half minutes; Conservative Party, five minutes; Liberal Party, five minutes”.

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Rachel Blaney and it was agreed to.

After debate, the question was put on the motion, as amended, and it was agreed to.

The motion, as amended, read as follows:

That witnesses be given five minutes for their opening statement; that, at the discretion of the Chair, during the questioning of witnesses, there be allocated six minutes for the first questioner of each party as follows: Round 1: Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Bloc Québécois, New Democratic Party.

For the second and subsequent rounds, the order and time for questioning be as follows: Conservative Party, five minutes; Liberal Party, five minutes; Bloc Québécois, two and a half minutes; New Democratic Party, two and a half minutes; Conservative Party, five minutes; Liberal Party, five minutes.

On motion of Marie-France Lalonde, it was agreed, — That only the clerk of the committee be authorized to distribute documents to members of the committee only when the documents are available in both official languages, and that witnesses be advised accordingly.

On motion of Marie-France Lalonde, it was agreed, — That the clerk of the committee be authorized to make the necessary arrangements to provide working meals for the committee and its subcommittees.

On motion of Marie-France Lalonde, it was agreed, — That, if requested, reasonable travel, accommodation and living expenses be reimbursed to witnesses not exceeding two representatives per organization; and that, in exceptional circumstances, payment for more representatives be made at the discretion of the Chair.

On motion of Marie-France Lalonde, it was agreed, — That, unless otherwise ordered, each committee member be allowed to have one staff member at an in camera meeting and that one additional person from each House officer’s office be allowed to be present.

On motion of Marie-France Lalonde, it was agreed, — That one copy of the transcript of each in camera meeting be kept in the committee clerk’s office for consultation by members of the committee or by their staff.

On motion of Marie-France Lalonde, it was agreed, — That a 48 hours notice, interpreted as two nights, shall be required for any substantive motion to be considered by the committee, unless the substantive motion relates directly to business then under consideration, provided that (1) the notice be filed with the clerk of the committee no later than 4:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday; that (2) the motion be distributed to Members in both official languages by the clerk on the same day the said notice was transmitted if it was received no later than the deadline hour; and that (3) notices received after the deadline hour or on non-business days be deemed to have been received during the next business day, and that when the committee is travelling outside the Parliamentary Precinct, no substantive motions may be moved.

On motion of Marie-France Lalonde, it was agreed, — That, in relation to orders of reference from the House respecting Bills: a) the clerk of the committee shall, upon the committee receiving such an order of reference, write to each member who is not a member of a caucus represented on the committee to invite those members to file with the clerk of the committee, in both official languages, any amendments to the Bill, which is the subject of the said order, which they would suggest that the committee consider; b) suggested amendments filed, pursuant to paragraph (a), at least 48 hours prior to the start of clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill to which the amendments relate shall be deemed to be proposed during the said consideration, provided that the committee may, by motion, vary this deadline in respect of a given Bill; and c) during the clause-by-clause consideration of a Bill, the Chair shall allow a member who filed suggested amendments, pursuant to paragraph (a), an opportunity to make brief representations in support of them.

Sean Casey gave notice of the following motion:

That the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs agrees that all substantive motions adopted by the committee to undertake studies or hear from witnesses in the first session of the 43rd Parliament are hereby readopted by the committee, without modification or amendment.

By unanimous consent, the motion was withdrawn.

Luc Desilets gave notice of the following motion:

That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee resume at the earliest opportunity its study on the backlog of disability benefit claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which it began in the 1st Session of the 43rd Parliament; that the committee give special consideration to the possibility of pre-approving all disability benefit claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs; and that the evidence and documents received by the committee at that time on the subject be taken into consideration by the committee in this session.

Luc Desilets gave notice of the following motion:

That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study on the quality of life of veterans in major centres and the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on them; that the committee devote a minimum of four (4) meetings to this study; and that the committee report its findings and recommendations to the House.

Luc Desilets gave notice of the following motion:

That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study on administrative delays in processing files at Veterans Affairs Canada, including the differences in processing times between the files of English-speaking and French-speaking veterans; that the committee devote a minimum of two meetings to this study; and that the committee report its findings and recommendations to the House.

Luc Desilets gave notice of the following motion:

That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study and make recommendations on the challenges and barriers faced by minority veterans (women, LGBTQ2+ and racialized veterans); that the committee give particular attention to the specific needs of veterans in these minority groups, as well as specific supports and services that could be provided by Veterans Affairs Canada; that the committee devote a minimum of three meetings to this study; and that the committee report its findings and recommendations to the House.

John Brassard gave notice of the following motion:

That pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), the committee undertake the study of the Supplementary Estimates (B) 2019-2020, and that the committee invite the Minister of Veterans Affairs and departmental officials to appear.

John Brassard gave notice of the following motion:

That as its first order of business and pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee conduct a study of the backlog of pending veteran disability benefit applications at Veterans Affairs Canada, and that no fewer than four meetings be devoted to this study.

John Brassard gave notice of the following motion:

That pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study of the Royal Canadian Legion and other veteran organizations and their financial health during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

John Brassard gave notice of the following motion:

That as the fourth order of business and pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study of a) the efficacy and use of psychiatric service dogs by Canadian Armed Forces veterans to alleviate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder; b) that the resources required by Veterans Affairs Canada to implement access to psychiatric service dogs; c) the challenges faced by veterans with psychiatric service dogs; and d) what should constitute minimum national standards for the training of PTSD psychiatric service dogs, and that no fewer than three meetings be devoted to this study.

Sean Casey gave notice of the following motion:

That pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study of federal supports and services to Canadian veterans, caregivers and families; that the committee report its findings to the House with recommendations on how the government could improve these services and supports to better meet the unique needs of veterans, caregivers and families; and that no fewer than three meetings be devoted to the study.

Sean Casey gave notice of the following motion:

That pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study of a long-term Canadian strategy for commemorations, which recognizes and honours the service, sacrifice and achievements of all Canadian veterans; takes into consideration future events, monuments, memorials, graves and cemeteries, both at home and abroad; that the committee invite officials from Veterans Affairs Canada, interested stakeholders and Canadian veterans, educators and other partners; that the committee report its findings to the House with recommendations to the government on the best way forward in the 21st century to inspire and educate Canadians and citizens around the world to recognize the service and sacrifice of all who have served our country; and that no fewer than three meetings be devoted to the study.

It was agreed, — That members send the committee clerk the names of those members who will form the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure, and that the subcommittee meet at the next scheduled committee meeting, to discuss future business.

At 12:17 p.m., the committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.



Jolène Savoie-Day
Clerk of the Committee