I will now call this meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 15 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of Monday, January 25, 2021. Members can attend in person in the room or remotely, using the Zoom application.
The committee is considering committee business and future business. With respect to the routine motion adopted by the committee, the meeting is in public. The proceedings will be made available via the House of Commons website. The webcast will always show the person speaking rather than the entirety of the committee.
Given the ongoing pandemic situation and in light of the recommendations from health authorities, to remain healthy and safe, all those attending the meeting in person, if any, are to maintain two-metre physical distancing and must wear a non-medical mask when circulating in the room. It is highly recommended that the mask be worn at all times, including when seated. Of course, they must maintain proper hand hygiene by using hand sanitizer provided at the room entrance.
As the chair, I will be enforcing these measures for the duration of the meeting. I thank members in advance for their co-operation.
Today's meeting is also taking place in a new webinar format. Webinars are for public committee meetings and are available only to members, their staff and witnesses. Members have remarked that the entry to the meeting was much quicker and that they immediately entered as an active participant. All functionalities for active participants remain the same. Staff will be non-active participants only—attendees—and can therefore only view the meeting in gallery view, but not participate.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind all participants and attendees at this meeting that screenshots or taking photos of your screen is not permitted by the House.
For those participating virtually, I'd like to now outline a few rules to follow. Members and witnesses may speak in the official language.... I don't think we need to go through that today because we don't have witnesses. There are only members.
I think we all know the rules when it comes to the “raise hand” function and keeping track of it. Raise the hand if you want to be recognized or if you have a point of order. Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. If you are on the video conference, please click on the microphone icon to unmute yourself. For those in the room, your microphone will be controlled, as it normally is, by the proceedings and verification officer. A reminder that all comments by members and witnesses should be addressed through the chair.
When you are not speaking, your mike should be on mute. With regard to a speaking list, the committee clerk and I will do the best we can to maintain a consolidated order of speaking for all members, whether they are participating virtually or in person. Please try to make every effort to use the “raise hand” function.
We can now discuss committee business. I have a few points to cover.
We have a letter from the Board of Internal Economy. We need members to use the proper headset provided by the House. We did have some problems with that prior to the Christmas break. When somebody didn't have the proper headset, there was trouble and it made translation very difficult and impossible in some cases.
With the added requirements with our new Zoom webinar system, and considering the letter sent to us from the Board of Internal Economy and the Liaison Committee, there is a need for witnesses to be contacted at least a week ahead of time to permit the delivery of a proper headset whenever possible—72 hours—and to permit proper testing to be done before the meeting.
We need to be courteous of our committee staff and the work they need to do to allow us to hear witnesses, so it is imperative that we respect these timelines as we go forward and schedule our meetings in this session. As the chair, I will be making every effort to schedule committee meetings two weeks in advance. This means the committee should have an idea of future plans and it should not be done meeting to meeting.
When starting a new study, it is important that we set a deadline for submitting witnesses, stick to the list of witnesses and avoid suggesting last-minute additions to a study's witness list, as they won't have the proper equipment, as required.
I would like to suggest to members that we set a precedent going forward. In the event we find ourselves wanting to hear from a witness and we don't have one week to schedule them—and the committee doesn't have any further time allocated to hear witnesses on that study—we request that the witness send the committee their testimony in writing, and that it then be distributed to the members of the committee to be considered for the drafting of the report.
Next week, February 1 and 3, we said we were allocating a certain number of meetings—I think it was four, when we amended the motion—for the Pacific salmon study. Witnesses were invited, so we have two more meetings to do. One meeting is on indigenous knowledge, and one meeting is with other witnesses left on the list plus 30 minutes of drafting instructions.
The week of February 8 is constituency week, and the House is not sitting.
February 10—suggested by the analysts for optimal work—is the proposed deadline for members to send to analysts the supplementary drafting instructions and recommendations to DFO for the draft report on the Pacific salmon study.
That brings us to Monday, February 15. The House is not sitting. It is Family Day in several provinces, so it is not a meeting day.
On Wednesday, February 17, we propose to do version one of “moderate livelihood”. The document should be distributed in early February so that you will have time to read it.
On Monday, February 22, it is the continuation of version one if needed, or a new study to be determined today.
On Wednesday, February 24, we will have the continuation of version one if needed, or a new study to be determined today.
Now, of course, we have to hear from the committee on what to do next in regard to a study. I know we have several that have been passed as studies.
Yes. I'm sorry. I don't want to belabour everything here on salmon, but I think there's been some confusion, because we submitted a list in July and some people haven't been called. I'm wondering if we were supposed to be resubmitting them in December.
I know that the committee has been flexible. We were flexible. We allowed the Conservatives to bring forward witnesses on the Mi'kmaq study on very short notice, and it was good. They were important witnesses to hear from.
I'm just thinking that there might be some gaps, that we have some people who haven't actually been called yet.
The other thing is that we haven't even looked at enhancement. We haven't heard much on the hatchery front, which is really important. I know that Mel has talked a lot about hatcheries and the importance of hatcheries. I know that Owen in the Sport Fishing Institute of B.C. had Washington state testify before their group and they were excellent. I think we should be hearing from them as well.
On the other studies, on the IUU, I really want to make sure we're expanding that internationally as well, Mel, to look at the illegal fishing there.