Notices of Meeting include information about the subject matter to be examined by the committee and date, time and place of the meeting, as well as a list of any witnesses scheduled to appear. The Evidence is the edited and revised transcript of what is said before a committee. The Minutes of Proceedings are the official record of the business conducted by the committee at a sitting.
Everyone is back, so we'll begin our consideration of the motion that we were discussing the last time we were here. For those who don't remember what it was, it was that we would conduct a study on midwifery starting on May 6 for three meetings.
I am very proud to be able to participate in the work of this committee, which you chair. I have great respect for your work in Parliament.
I am here this morning to encourage my colleagues to give their approval to begin this important study as early as Thursday. The dismantling of Laurentian University will have national implications, and I am very concerned about the midwifery program.
I want to encourage my colleagues to work together at this time, considering the importance of dealing with the crisis in the midwifery program at Laurentian, and to make it a priority so that we could begin on Thursday.
I want to give my colleagues a sense of just how important it is for us to do this work, and I trust my colleagues understand the importance of it.
Tomorrow is the International Day of the Midwife, so I think we all carry an even bigger responsibility. For national midwives' day, let's do something right. As someone whose three daughters were delivered by midwives, I've seen the incredible impact and positive health benefits.
What the Laurentian program did was that it made midwifery possible in the region, in rural regions, in francophone communities and in the Far North communities. Where we've had very low and poor health outcomes for many years, the midwives have been real game-changers. I'm thinking of communities like Attawapiskat and Fort Albany where, when young women are pregnant, they are flown out without family to distant hospitals where they have to stay because they don't have birthing services in their communities. To have midwives in those communities not only makes the birthing experience much more holistic, but it's such a better system and it alleviates massive costs we see in the far northern communities.
This program played a huge role. I'm thinking of the midwifery program at the Centre de santé du Témiskaming in New Liskeard, a francophone midwifery program for rural women. It's really important. This is the only program of its kind in Canada. When we heard about the cuts, we were all so shocked because this is a program that brought its own funding. This had nothing to do with the mismanagement by the Laurentian University board. To cut this program made no sense, but its impacts are huge.
I was talking to a student who'd come from Grande Prairie, Alberta, to study at Laurentian. Why did she leave home, rent a place in Sudbury and come to take this program? Number one, it was a world-class program, but number two, she said, was because this was the one program that understood what it would be like for her to work in a rural region so she could go back to Alberta and bring that expertise.
The decision to cut this program was done so arbitrarily that we had midwives—students—who had no ability to take their placements. They need insurance to be able to get out in the field. There was suddenly no insurance. One midwife professor was fired in the middle of her class. What kind of disrespect is that? We have to do better in our university programs, but the idea that they could put this program under CCAA protection and hack it apart, leaving midwives with no capacity or ability to get out in the field and do the work they had come to be trained for....
I think it behooves us as a committee to study this and to get a report to Parliament as quickly as possible. I want to give a shout-out to my provincial colleagues Jamie West and France Gélinas who've been pushing. We understand the provincial government will be stepping up, but I think it's still important for us to lay the parameters of what we need to do to protect this program.
Certainly I'm speaking on behalf of my colleague Lindsay Mathyssen who's been very involved in this. I'm asking my colleagues. We need to get this midwifery study started as early as Thursday. I'm hoping we can get everyone on side on this, so we can move ahead.
Thank you to all my colleagues on the committee who want to address the important issue of Laurentian University and the midwifery program. As has been mentioned, the current situation facing students, faculty, staff and the entire Laurentian University federation is truly unacceptable, and I want to reinforce that message.
Not only am I an alumnus of Laurentian University, but two of my three daughters were born with the help of a midwife, so I recognize the importance of the university. I also find the elimination of university programs such as the environmental studies program, the midwifery program, and the program related to physical activities to be troubling and unacceptable.
Over the past several months, our government has been following the issue very closely. In particular, the member of Parliament for Sudbury, Paul Lefebvre and I have been very active, both in Ottawa and locally, in seeking a solution. I would like to thank Minister Joly for her direct engagement with ministers Mulroney and Romano at Queen's Park, and Minister Monsef. I would also like to thank Minister Freeland for adding $121 million for French-language services in the budget. We'll come back to this a little later, but the federal government does have a responsibility for French-language post-secondary education.
We were at the table and we will continue to work to see what can be done to enrich the program and enable its continuation.
As we know, the province has a very important role to play in the ongoing court process, as post-secondary education is a provincial responsibility. So we hope to see a plan developed by the province shortly that will address ways to retain the trilingual institution of Laurentian University and support the midwifery program.
It is important that the federal government be at the table and that we find a solution together.
Let's be clear here. We have been at the table to try to find a solution, but obviously the court proceedings that Laurentian has undertaken are troubling. It has caused great concern for the community, the teachers, the students, the faculty and for the community at large. We have to find ways together to get a solution. We're really looking forward to this committee influencing and hopefully providing some solutions, some suggestions, and to seeing the provincial government coming up with a plan that we can support.
Again, I encourage all members here. As we indicated before, we are clearly supporting this motion and we want to ensure that we have the necessary time—three days—set aside. I want to thank our colleague Ms. Mathyssen for putting this forward too, but we have to pull out all the stops here because it's really upsetting to see the court proceedings. These court proceedings are very damaging to the reputation of the university. We have to find ways together to help the students and the faculty of the midwifery program but also of Laurentian University in general.
Thank you for putting this motion.
Thank you, Madam Chair, for letting me have the time to speak on behalf of my region, because it's affecting a lot of us. We have to find solutions together and make sure we make this a strong program moving forward.
First, I would like to mention that this is interference in the areas of post-secondary education and health, which are Quebec and provincial jurisdictions.
Moreover, there were other motions before this one. I received the list of motions, which I reviewed prior to today's meeting, and I saw that there were motions tabled prior to this one. So I'm wondering why we are considering this motion at this time when other work has already been started.
I'd like to follow up on my colleague Mr. Angus's points.
I appreciate his passion for indigenous groups, being in a rural part of Canada and seeing how health care is stressed in rural and remote and indigenous communities, and how important this is, how important the facility in Laurentian is. I can't speak for Ms. Mathyssen or Mr. Angus, but we've addressed many studies that were not on the original roster. Of the studies now, this one is especially crucial because of the court proceedings against Laurentian University.
I think when we look at rural health care, when we look at women affected in rural areas and how important this program is from coast to coast to coast, as my colleague Mr. Serré said, we'll support it. I'm looking at how we can expand this program. We all know how difficult it is to get health care in rural and remote areas, and this is one way to help women at what should be one of the happiest times of their lives, giving birth and bringing new life. We need to make it as stress-free as possible.
Is there any further discussion on the motion? Otherwise, we will vote on it.
Let me read it for you while I'm just checking, so you know what it says.
Monsieur Serré's motion is:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) the committee undertake a study of midwifery services across Canada, of not less than three meetings, starting on May 6, including the ramifications of the elimination of Laurentian University’s midwifery program and strategies to ensure that access to health services is maintained.
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: I would ask that the committee members submit their witness lists to the clerk as quickly as possible. I know we had a few that were suggested already from Ms. Mathyssen, but we'll do what we can to make sure that on May 6 we can get some of them here.
Madam Chair, I have a motion that I would like to move.
That the committee extend its current study into sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces; that the committee invite Zita Astravas for one hour, Lieutenant-General Carignan and Leah West to appear together for one hour, and the Provost Marshal for one hour.
I have a question on my colleague's point. I understand that we've all heard gut-wrenching testimony, and I know we're looking for solutions. Does the member have any days? Is this a day or a day and a half that she's suggesting?
We all want to see this report done so that we can see the solutions enacted. We want to see the report tabled. We've heard from some of these witnesses before, but do we have a time frame suggested? If there are just the three witnesses, is it a day and a half or just a day that she's looking at?
Again, I always think of the clerks and the translation services and everything that goes on. We're into May now. We do have a lot of work to get done. I know how important this is, but can we just have some clarification on that?
I want to advise the committee, though, that because of all the reports we're trying to get in—we have the pay equity one to finish, the unpaid, the rural, the defence report and the Laurentian one now—we would have to add two meetings in the break week, on the Tuesday and the Thursday.
I would like to propose an amendment to Ms. Sahota's motion.
The motion calls for the committee to hear witnesses for three hours. I would like to add one witness to the list, which would allow us to hear witnesses for two full meetings. I would like to add to the motion the name of Mr. Guy Chapdelaine, chaplain general of the Canadian Armed Forces. He has heard personal accounts and would be an interesting witness to have. He could tell us about what survivors may have experienced.
We'll have discussion on the amendment, which is to have Guy Chapdelaine, chaplain general of the Canadian Armed Forces, come and testify about witness experience, so that the motion is now for two meetings.
I'm just wondering. You alluded to how our days are getting shorter and shorter. Would we consider adding some time to one of our sitting days already? Instead of two hours, we make it one, or instead of a day and a half, we'd do two longer sessions and get it done in one session.
I'd be willing to do that, if that's up for consideration from anyone. I know we need to get this work done so that the incredible analysts we have, who are now probably tied in with their fingers and their toes, can get some of this done and we can move on with the great work that we're doing.
Can we have a discussion about that? I know I'm willing to sit longer on the appointed day.
We have flexibility, depending on the availability of a room. The clerk, the analysts and I can talk about that and have a meeting. We can come back with a proposal of what the options would be, whether we have to add an hour to a bunch of different meetings in order to fit all the panels in, or whether we could extend on one day and have it on that day.
I could commit to doing that and bringing it back to the committee.
Excellent. We are very much looking forward to supporting it.
Second, we agree with the Conservative motion that the committee devote another meeting and a half to this study.
That said, Madam Chair, can you see how the schedule could be arranged, as Ms. Hutchings mentioned, so that we do not have meetings during the week we spend in our ridings with our constituents?
With respect to the witnesses who have already appeared before the committee, I wonder if it is necessary to invite them again. In that regard, I would like to hear from the members of the committee here.
In short, we can give ourselves a little bit of flexibility, but we need to make sure that after this meeting and a half, or as soon as possible, we will make a final report with concrete recommendations and then submit it to the House. We need to make sure that we make solid recommendations that will move this issue forward, but more importantly help victims and survivors.
We would be happy to see this happen as quickly as possible, but inviting additional witnesses might also be a good idea, so we will support the motion.
To tell you the truth, after Mr. Serré's speech, I am not sure if we are discussing the amendment that I wanted to move or the motion.
In my view, our goal at the Standing Committee on the Status of Women is to hear from people who have lived through an experience and to focus our attention on the survivors. The chaplain, who has heard personal accounts from survivors and provided support to them, could testify.
The witnesses listed in the motion would testify for one and a half meetings. If we add a two-hour meeting to meet with Mr. Chapdelaine, he could share his experience with us. I think it would be a good discussion. Then we could prepare our final report and close out this study.
We should also remember that even if witnesses are added, there is nothing to prevent us from beginning the drafting of the committee report. That is still the goal. We want the report tabled and action proposed before the end of the session. We are in agreement on that.
How could we both add a meeting with Mr. Chapdelaine, which would conclude the discussions, and begin to write the report based on the testimony we have already heard?
So I'm moving this amendment, just so we can proceed in that manner.
Yes, you're right, and we are discussing your amendment right now.
What I would say—and perhaps the analysts can confirm it for me—is that I believe the defence report has already been sent off to translation. With any of these extra meetings that we have, if there's testimony that we want to include in the report, we would have to identify, when we do the first review of the draft, what those things are so that they could be put in.
The report is already with translation. However, if the committee adds meetings, we could do as you said and either add information after the first review, or Clare and I could go through testimony received, say in May, at the extra meetings, and add in some information to the first draft. We would have to confirm the deadlines with translation and publication for that.
From a procedural point of view, right now we are discussing the amendment to add another panel, with Guy Chapdelaine of the Canadian Armed Forces. That is what we will currently vote on. If we say yes to that, it's one panel of an hour.
From there, we would then vote on the amended motion, which would mean we have two full days: one and half for the Conservatives, and one panel—
Madam Chair, I want to make it clear that this is a two-hour meeting that I would like to have with Mr. Chapdelaine, for the reasons that I have stated. Because he certainly has a lot to tell us, ideally it would be a two-hour meeting, but I am willing to compromise.
We dealt with some of these issues in our Pornhub study, and I think things went very off the rails. We have to be very careful in the kinds of questions we are asking. I am concerned about asking a chaplain to speak for two hours, because there are privacy issues. I think it would put them in a difficult situation. I think if the chaplain were to speak on broad issues, on overall themes, perhaps...but to have someone come for two hours and be asked....
I've just seen it in other committees. If people want to score political points or they want to target, they start asking questions and it puts the witness in a much more difficult light. I would urge a little bit of caution from my colleagues around how we proceed on this.
To Ms. Hutchings point, with the motion and the amendment before us, there is no additional opportunity for people to bring other witnesses. If that was something you desired, once we vote on the amendment, another amendment could be made of that nature, which we would then have to vote on before we voted on the full motion.
I just want to mention that the chaplain general has already spoken about this topic on a program. There are things he wants to say and can say. I invite us to hear him, to get the perspective of someone who has listened to and supported victims. Obviously, it will be within the limits of what he can say. Now, as he has already spoken about this in the media, that is why I am offering his name today.
If a two-hour appearance seems excessive to the committee, I am willing to compromise. The motion proposed that we hear witnesses for three hours in total. If necessary, we could reserve the last hour of the second meeting for the chaplain. I am prepared to make that compromise. In any event, I think that, in order to close the file, it would be interesting to hear this witness.
I'd like to agree with Mr. Angus, my honourable neighbour.
We have to be careful. Obviously, it's about the victims here, and it's a small community. Adding two hours.... Yes, maybe he's spoken publicly on certain issues, but perhaps we could incorporate it within the.... I know that we are going to vote on the amendment, but maybe we could incorporate it within the original Conservative motion and the two hours or so. He could be one of the panellists who come in, but just focusing on him entirely could possibly be problematic. Including him within the list of witnesses for our two days of study may be more appropriate.
I understand. At this point, I'm talking about an hour. I would agree that the witness should be added to the other proposed witnesses and appear during the second hour of the second meeting. Given that we're already planning to hear witnesses for a meeting and a half, and given that we have two-hour meetings, Mr. Chapdelaine's testimony would complement the second meeting. I think that would be a good compromise.
I propose we add one hour of appearances, so as to complete the two hours of the meeting. That is the compromise I would be willing to make. We could add an hour with Mr. Chapdelaine. That would give us two full meetings to hear witnesses.
I don't think the chaplain should have more time than the other witnesses. He should be a panellist like everybody else. I find it very disturbing to have the chaplain come in for even an hour.
As Mr. Serré and Mr. Angus have already mentioned, there are confidentiality issues. It's already very hard for women to come forward. Imagine the betrayal of trust they're going to feel when the chaplain arrives and starts giving examples. The more time he stays, the more he is going to slip up; it's human to err.
These victims came forward in moments of desperation, and they didn't have anywhere else to turn. To have this confidence betrayed.... Whether he went and spoke somewhere else, it doesn't matter. We have a certain responsibility at FEWO, the status of women committee. We have a responsibility to get to the bottom of issues, but I don't believe that it includes violating the trust that these women put in the chaplain. Frankly, I am very disturbed on a very personal level by this motion's being put forward.
I've practised law. I'm a lawyer. Confidentiality is sacred between you and a person when they come to you, especially in this context. I think that we need to think very carefully about what we're doing.
We've seen in the press that people are concerned that we make sure we treat witnesses with sensitivity, because this is a very traumatic issue. We will return to that discussion later in terms of whether we want to change our protocols to address a more trauma-informed approach.
Right now, we're still talking about the amendment, and I just want to clarify that there isn't unanimous consent to have the chaplain for one hour by himself, so I will go back to Madame Larouche to see if she has another idea.
I wanted to say that the committee members need not be confused by my suggestion. The chaplain knows the procedures of the military. Obviously, we don't want him to reveal the victims' secrets. In any case, he won't. You can't underestimate the chaplain. He knows what he can say and what he can do. He has spoken publicly before.
The main thing I want to do is take advantage of his expertise, because he is aware of the army's procedures. In this committee, we are trying to clarify what has not worked and what still does not work, to give victims confidence. For example, we have seen that the issue of procedures has caused problems for many people. So I would like him to come and talk to us about what he knows about procedures, especially. The goal is to help victims and abusers regain their confidence and be able to testify. I want him to come and share with us his experience as a chaplain, plain and simple.
It's not so that he can come and reveal secrets from witnesses, of course, but so that he can tell us about what he knows, especially about the procedures. This is a very important issue. That's what's at the heart of the issue right now. As we have seen, many victims have testified about a problem with procedures. It is from that perspective that I would like the chaplain to come and testify.
I'm going to sort of go between Madame Larouche and my next-door neighbour, Mr. Serré. The fence that we share is probably only about 600 kilometres long, and he doesn't cut the grass on his side of the fence. I'm just pointing that out.
One of the things I think we're getting into here is that a camel is a racehorse that was designed by a committee. We should always remember that. We keep adding things on and then trying to move them around. I think Madame Larouche has given a very good reason why the chaplain should be here. I think that this probably is something that would very much add to our study.
My concern is with having him alone, because I worry that doing that sort of elevates one voice over others. If he were on a panel or we could work it out so we would have a panel for two hours of witnesses so that there would be a broader base of voices, I think that would be a better way to address what we're trying to get to, which, I think, is to hear from the people who know and have them inform us in the best light.
I think this chaplain could probably do a very good job. I'm just worried about having him as a stand-alone witness.
Then it's possible, Madame Larouche, that if you wanted to adjust your amendment or ask for unanimous consent to allow him to come for one hour or two hours with the other witnesses, there would be acceptance for that.
Madam Chair, in that case, I'm willing to put him on the third panel so that we can keep it to a session and a half, so a total of three hours. Let him testify at some point, but I want to make sure his name is on the list of witnesses. He has important testimony to offer with respect to the procedures, plain and simple.
Some people have said that this option would not cause them any discomfort, so let's just incorporate him into the witnesses we already have.
Is there unanimous consent of the committee to allow Madame Larouche to adjust her amendment to say that Guy Chapdelaine, the chaplain general of the Canadian Armed Forces, would join the third panel with the other witnesses?
Madam Chair, I'm sorry, but I'm just trying to understand the original motion and now the changes by Madame Larouche. We all agree that Monsieur Chapdelaine should be like any other panellist, but do we need to have this motion separated? All the parties are entitled to bring in witnesses, submit witnesses. Are we not going to do that, or are we just going to list the witnesses in the motion?
Just help me clarify. Is it the procedure we normally go through, whereby each party provides witnesses, or is it baked into the motion? I'm not sure what we're voting on.
Because the motion and the amendment both specified exactly which witnesses, it is not open to other witnesses at this stage. That's not to say that another amendment or motion could not be made, but at this stage we're talking about Madame Larouche's amendment. She had to have unanimous consent to change her amendment to say that he would come in the third panel along with the other witnesses. It was my impression that there was unanimous consent for that.
That was the question I was asking when you wanted the clarification. If it's okay with you, I would ask again if there is unanimous consent to support Madame Larouche's amended amendment that would say that the chaplain would come for the third hour of the panel.
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: Now we return to the original motion, which was that we would have one and a half of our days, which is three hours, of additional study on defence and that we would call specific witnesses.
Were there specific witnesses on the list? Yes, there were. I forget who they were, though.
That the committee extend its current study into sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces; that the committee invite Zita Astravas for one hour, Lieutenant-General Carignan and Leah West to appear together for one hour, and the Provost Marshal for one hour.
Madam Chair, I want to do a amendment to Ms. Sahota's motion. I think it's unnecessary to call witnesses who have already been called, so I would like to remove the named witnesses. If we are extending the study, all parties should be able to submit names.
The clerk can schedule anyone who is available based on their availability. Anyone who is not available can submit a written submission.
No. They always can submit their written submissions because we have to make the reports too, Madam Chair. We have three reports to finish and possibly another study. We have to remember our role is to make recommendations so that the government is better able to prevent and respond to assault.
We owe it to these women to complete a report and get our report out as soon as possible.
I would like to remove the list of witnesses and the parties can submit theirs.
My motion lists the people we would like to see come forward after what we heard from the witnesses, since some of them appeared last time. It makes sense to have them again based on the information that came out.
In terms of Ms. Sidhu's comment that we need to have the report tabled, it makes sense then to have these witnesses come in for the time indicated and move forward with a recommendation on tabling the report in the House.
We're supportive of extending the study. There are a lot of things going on, and it brings some of the other workload that we currently have for the staff.... I just want to go back. We've always had the opportunity, all parties, to submit witnesses. To name just a few witnesses in this motion.... I think it would be fair and within the spirit of our committee to ensure that all parties are able to submit witnesses.
I also question having a witness come back a second time. Again, if there's a need, we should be able to keep the hours the way they are, but have an opportunity.... That would make sure that we just don't have one witness for an hour. There could be other points of view also. We could have two or three witnesses in that hour to ensure that we have a better sense of some of the recommendations, and all parties would have an opportunity to submit witnesses. I think that's fair.
I just wanted to make those two points, Madam Chair.
The Chair: In fact, we did vote that the chaplain specifically would come, so we can't unvote that. Because of that, it means that Ms. Sidhu's amendment to remove the list of witnesses from the motion and allow all parties to submit their witnesses is out of order, because we have to at least have the chaplain in there.
The option is either for Ms. Sidhu to have unanimous consent to withdraw that amendment and then put forward a different amendment that says that people could add additional witnesses, or change it so that we keep in the chaplain and then everybody submit other witnesses.
I would rule the existing amendment that Ms. Sidhu first proposed out of order, because it conflicts with the one that we voted on for Madame Larouche, which gives Ms. Sidhu then an opportunity to freshly propose an amendment that will keep the chaplain in and allow others to add additional witnesses.
Ms. Sidhu, if you want to make that motion, that's just a suggestion.
I think it's unnecessary to call witnesses who have already been called, so I would like to remove the named witnesses and keep the chaplain.
If we are extending this study, all parties should be able to submit names. The clerk can schedule anyone who's available based on their availability. Anyone who's not available can submit a written submission, and the study would end at the end of these meetings.
To be clear, the new amendment is to remove the list of witnesses in the original motion, except the chaplain, allow all parties to submit additional witnesses, and end the study at the end of these one and a half meetings. Is that correct?
I agree with the amendment proposed by my colleague Ms. Sidhu, because I think all the parties should have the opportunity to submit. Usually in one panel we will have three witnesses and we will be having three panels, so all the parties should be given the opportunity to submit a list of witnesses.
I want to clarify, Madam Chair. The motion that we're now voting for is essentially saying that two parties, Conservatives and the Bloc, are allowed to bring witnesses forward and the other two parties are not.
I want to make sure I understand what we're voting on.
Yes, that is the motion that has been brought forward. The Conservatives identified witnesses in their motion, and the Bloc identified the amendment that we voted on that is now included in that motion.
Madam Chair, I just want to clarify what Mr. Serré said. They can bring in their witnesses later if they want. This was my motion for one and a half days. That's what we're voting on. It doesn't prohibit his or the other party from bringing in witnesses later.
I want to thank Ms. Hutchings so much. I was feeling so lonely and left out. I thought maybe it was just me.
I wanted to correct the record in case people had a false idea. Mr. Serré said this motion was not allowing the NDP to bring witnesses. We are pretty fierce when we want to bring witnesses. For my colleague Lindsay Mathyssen, it's my understanding that this was an attempt to get this study done because there are many other priorities. We agreed with that, so this was an agreement on one and a half meetings. You can stack it up with as many witnesses as you want, but it probably wouldn't be all that useful at the end of the day.
If there were witnesses we felt we needed to add to the study, we would add them, but we are focused on the other priorities of this committee that have been identified. I don't need to enumerate them all. However, if we believe we have to bring witnesses, we will certainly be more than willing to bring witnesses to committee, but at this point we want to try to get this study done and get it moved on so that we can get to the other stuff that the committee is very involved in.
All right. I received the original motion, but I will now read the amended motion for the committee.
It is moved:
That the committee extend its current study into sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces; that the committee invite Zita Astravas for one hour, Lieutenant-General Carignan and Leah West to appear together for one hour, Guy Chapdelaine, the Chaplain General of the Canadian Armed Forces, and the Provost Marshal for one hour.
I just want to clarify, because we seem to be in agreement. I agree 100% with what Mr. Angus just said, that we want to get this report submitted.
By approving this motion today, are we submitting this to the House as a final report? I want to clarify that aspect of the motion, because we do have, as Mr. Angus said, other studies that we're looking at.
I want to clarify the point about ending this and moving forward to make sure we have specific recommendations for victims and survivors.
Yes, it's a good point to clarify, because there's nothing in the motion that says committee members can't decide to have additional defence meetings if they want. I would caution committee members, however, that with the schedule that remains, and with trying to get all the reports done by June 8 in order for them to be translated and presented to the House, you would have to sacrifice one of our other studies if anything further were added than what was added with this current motion.
We've talked about it, but I didn't hear it in Ms. Sahota's motion. Can I present an amendment? I'm trying to rethink what she just said, and what you just said. The amendment would be that the study would end after one and a half meeting days.
Can I present that? It's just to put an end to this, so that we can move on.
The amendment is that Ms. Sahota's motion will take one and a half meeting days, and that time would be at the discretion of the chair and clerk—it may be one big meeting or whatever—but that the study would end after one and a half meeting days.
I agree with my colleagues. Time concerns have been raised. Now, as Mr. Angus mentioned, there was nothing that would have prevented the committee from hearing from other witnesses. I had the idea of adding a witness and I wanted to incorporate that into Ms. Sahota's motion. Originally, I wanted to have this witness appear for a full two-hour session. I then agreed to a one-hour appearance, and finally proposed that this new witness be included in the third panel. I felt that the committee members wanted to close this study.
That said, there was nothing to prevent the committee from adding an hour, if the Liberal or NDP members had wanted to add witnesses, of course. That was not the purpose of the process. It was simply to include in a motion the appearance of a witness whom I considered to be important. The committee seems to be concerned, and rightly so, about the issue of time. That is why the motion focuses on a meeting and a half. If that's the will of the committee, we'll go along with it. I just wanted to make the point, again, that the intent was not to limit the power of members of the Liberal Party or the NDP to add witnesses. Quite simply, the goal was to be able to both hear from additional witnesses and complete this study in a time frame that would allow us to table the report in the House of Commons before the summer recess.
Yes. The amendment says that the study ends at the end of these one and a half meetings.
That would mean there would be no opportunity for the committee to decide to bring more witnesses.
Is there any other discussion on this?
I would ask the clerk, then, to take the vote, which is on the amendment that the study end at the end of those one and a half meetings.
(Amendment agreed to: yeas 6; nays 4)
The Chair: The amendment is then added into the entire motion.
Now, for the benefit of the committee, I will read to you the entire motion so that you know what we will vote on.
The motion is that the committee extend its current study into sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces; that the committee invite Zita Astravas for one hour; Lieutenant-General Carignan and Leah West to appear together for one hour; and the provost marshal and the chaplain general of the Canadian Armed Forces for one hour; and that the study ends at the end of these one and a half meetings.
Is there any discussion?
(Motion agreed to: yeas 10; nays 0)
The Chair: The clerk, the analysts and I will work together and come back to you with a schedule that fits those things in and meets all of our timing.
The one point that was raised during our discussion that I do want to discuss is the possibility of changing. In the future, if we have studies of a sensitive nature, does the committee want to entertain doing something different from the current time allocation for questions—you know, the first round with everybody having six minutes and the second round with all the timing.
One of the things that other committees have done when there was sensitive testimony was to say that each party would get a question, the person would be able to answer and there would be no time limit on that sort of thing. We would go around, each party would get one question and you would keep rotating, so that there isn't so much pressure and we don't have to interrupt witnesses during sensitive testimony.
Does anybody have any commentary on that?
We don't have any of those type of witnesses in the existing study, so it's something the committee can also consider later.
I see that people are nodding that it's a concern but you don't look entirely sure. Maybe we should take some more time as a committee and look at other options. One thing I would ask the clerk and the analysts to do is to reach out to people who are experienced in trauma-informed witness interviews and ask them if there are best practices the committee should consider. I think that would be very helpful.
With that, we now return to our consideration of the pay equity report, where we're making tremendous progress. We are down to the recommendations.
I think that when we're working on the report we should move in camera. We still haven't decided on what's public and what we're going to be publishing. I'd like to say that we move back in camera for the report.