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Minutes of Proceedings

43rd Parliament, 2nd Session
Meeting 19
Monday, March 8, 2021, 12:01 p.m. to 2:57 p.m.
Webcast
Presiding
Karen McCrimmon, Chair (Liberal)

House of Commons
• Leif-Erik Aune, Procedural Clerk
 
Library of Parliament
• Marie Dumont, Analyst
• Anne-Marie Therrien-Tremblay, Advisor
Pursuant to Standing Order 106(4), the committee commenced consideration of the request by four members of the committee to discuss their request for additional witnesses for the study of addressing sexual misconduct issues in the Canadian Armed Forces, including the allegations against former chief of the defence staff Jonathan Vance.

Motion

Randall Garrison moved, — That the committee invite the Minister of National Defence to return to the committee and clarify his previous testimony given during his first appearance as part of the study of addressing sexual misconduct issues in the Canadian Armed Forces, including the allegations against former chief of the defence staff Jonathan Vance, now that the committee has heard testimony from the former National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman, Mr. Gary Walbourne. As the former Ombudsman’s testimony conflicts with what the Minister disclosed about his meeting of Thursday, March 1, 2018 with Mr. Walbourne, the committee requires clarification from the Minister.

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

Motion

James Bezan moved, — That, the committee, concerning its study of addressing sexual misconduct issues in the Canadian Armed Forces, including the allegations against former Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance, expand the scope of the study to include the allegations against Admiral Art McDonald; and that the committee invite the Minister of National Defence, alongside the Deputy Minister of National Defence, to testify at his earliest opportunity, for no less than two hours; and that this meeting be held in public and televised; and that should the Minister not agree to appear within fourteen days of the passage of this motion; that the chair be instructed to report to the House requesting that the committee be empowered to compel the Minister’s appearance from time to time; that the committee summon Lieutenant Commander Raymond Trotter to testify within five days of the passage of this motion; that the meeting take place in public and be televised; that the witness appear for no less than two hours; that the witness appear alone; and that the witness be permitted to appear with counsel; and, that the committee issue a summons to the following witnesses to testify: a) Zita Astravas, b) Michael Wernick; that the witnesses appear no less than two hours; that no more than two witnesses be scheduled for each meeting; that these meetings be held in public and be televised; and, that the witnesses be called to testify within fourteen days of this motion passing; and, that the committee invite the following witnesses to testify: c) Elder Marques, d) Janine Sherman, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Senior Personnel, Privy Council Office, and e) Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Bernard Boland. That the witnesses appear no less than two hours; that no more than two witnesses be scheduled for each meeting; that these meetings be held in public and be televised; and, that the witnesses be called to testify within fourteen days of this motion passing.

Amendment

Anita Vandenbeld moved, — That the motion be amended by replacing the words “and the committee issue a summons to the following witnesses to testify” with the words “and the committee issue a written invitation to the following:” and that the motion be amended by deleting the words “b) Michael Wernick”.

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Anita Vandenbeld and it was agreed to on the following recorded division:

YEAS: Larry Bagnell, Yvan Baker, Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, Randall Garrison, Yves Robillard, Sven Spengemann, Anita Vandenbeld — 7;

NAYS: Leona Alleslev, Bob Benzen, James Bezan, Cheryl Gallant — 4.

The motion, as amended, read as follows:

That the committee, concerning its study of addressing sexual misconduct issues in the Canadian Armed Forces, including the allegations against former Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance, expand the scope of the study to include the allegations against Admiral Art McDonald; and that the committee invite the Minister of National Defence, alongside the Deputy Minister of National Defence, to testify at his earliest opportunity, for no less than two hours; and that this meeting be held in public and televised; that should the Minister not agree to appear within fourteen days of the passage of this motion; that the chair be instructed to report to the House requesting that the committee be empowered to compel the Minister’s appearance from time to time. That the committee summon Lieutenant Commander Raymond Trotter to testify within five days of the passage of this motion; that the meeting take place in public and be televised; that the witness appear for no less than two hours; that the witness appear alone; and that the witness be permitted to appear with counsel. That the committee issue a written invitation to the following: a) Zita Astravas; that the witness appear for no less than two hours; that no more than two witnesses be scheduled for each meeting; that these meetings be held in public and be televised; that the witness be called to testify within fourteen days of this motion passing; and that the committee invite the following witnesses to testify: b) Elder Marques; c) Janine Sherman, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Senior Personnel, Privy Council Office; d) Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Bernard Boland; that the witnesses appear for no less than two hours; that no more than two witnesses be scheduled for each meeting; that these meetings be held in public and be televised; and that the witnesses be called to testify within fourteen days of this motion passing.

Amendment

Anita Vandenbeld moved, — That the motion be amended by adding after the words “Bernard Boland;” the following: “e) Ray Novak, former Chief of staff to the former Prime minister Stephen Harper; and f) Gerrit Nieuwoudt, former Chief of Staff to the former Minister of Defence Jason Kenney”.

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Anita Vandenbeld and it was agreed to on the following recorded division:

YEAS: Leona Alleslev, Larry Bagnell, Yvan Baker, Bob Benzen, James Bezan, Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, Cheryl Gallant, Randall Garrison, Yves Robillard, Sven Spengemann, Anita Vandenbeld — 11;

NAYS: — 0.

The question was put on the motion, as amended, and it was agreed to on the following recorded division:

YEAS: Leona Alleslev, Larry Bagnell, Yvan Baker, Bob Benzen, James Bezan, Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, Cheryl Gallant, Randall Garrison, Yves Robillard, Sven Spengemann, Anita Vandenbeld — 11;

NAYS: — 0.

The motion, as amended, read as follows:

That the committee, concerning its study of addressing sexual misconduct issues in the Canadian Armed Forces, including the allegations against former Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance, expand the scope of the study to include the allegations against Admiral Art McDonald; and that the committee invite the Minister of National Defence, alongside the Deputy Minister of National Defence, to testify at his earliest opportunity, for no less than two hours; and that this meeting be held in public and televised; that should the Minister not agree to appear within fourteen days of the passage of this motion; that the chair be instructed to report to the House requesting that the committee be empowered to compel the Minister’s appearance from time to time. That the committee summon Lieutenant Commander Raymond Trotter to testify within five days of the passage of this motion; that the meeting take place in public and be televised; that the witness appear for no less than two hours; that the witness appear alone; and that the witness be permitted to appear with counsel. That the committee issue a written invitation to the following: a) Zita Astravas; that the witness appear for no less than two hours; that no more than two witnesses be scheduled for each meeting; that these meetings be held in public and be televised; that the witness be called to testify within fourteen days of this motion passing; and that the committee invite the following witnesses to testify: b) Elder Marques; c) Janine Sherman, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Senior Personnel, Privy Council Office; d) Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Bernard Boland; e) Ray Novak, former Chief of Staff to the former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and f) Gerrit Nieuwoudt, former Chief of Staff to the former Minister of National Defence, Jason Kenney; that the witnesses appear for no less than two hours; that no more than two witnesses be scheduled for each meeting; that these meetings be held in public and be televised; and that the witnesses be called to testify within fourteen days of this motion passing.

Motion

James Bezan moved, — That, in respect of the committee’s study of addressing sexual misconduct issues in the Canadian Armed Forces, including the allegations against former Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance, the committee send for all electronic and paper correspondence including, but not limited to, emails, text messages, memos, and briefing notes, concerning the allegations against General Vance in March 2018 and the period of April - May 31, 2019 inclusive; between a) Gary Walbourne and the Privy Council Office, b) Zita Astravas and Gary Walbourne, c) the Minister of National Defence or Deputy Minister and the Privy Council Office, d) Zita Astravas and the Privy Council Office, e) Elder Marques and the Privy Council Office, f) Zita Astravas and Elder Marques and g) Elder Marques and Gary Walbourne; that the Parliamentary Law Clerk remove any information that could identify the person or persons making an allegation or who may have been the subject of misconduct by General Vance; and that these documents be tabled at committee no later than ten days following the adoption of this motion; should these records not be turned over within ten days to the Parliamentary Law Clerk in an unredacted form; that the Chair, at the earliest opportunity report to the House the following report: Your committee, having requested and not received certain documents from the Department of National Defence and the Privy Council Office, therefore recommends that should this report be concurred in; that an Order of the House do issue for the unredacted version of all documents produced by the government in response to the March 8th, 2021 order of the Standing Committee on National Defence; and that these documents shall be turned over to the Parliamentary Law Clerk within one sitting day of the adoption of this Order; and that the Parliamentary Law Clerk remove any information that could identify the person or persons making an allegation against or who may have been the subject of misconduct by General Vance before turning the documents over to the Standing Committee on National Defence.

At 12:54 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 1:04 p.m., the sitting resumed.

Amendment

Anita Vandenbeld moved, — That the motion be amended by adding after the words “allegations against General Vance in March 2018 and the period of April 1-May 31 2019 inclusive” the following: “and 2015” and that the motion be amended by adding after the words “g) Elder Marques and Gary Walbourne” the following: “h) Ray Novak and Privy Council Office, i) Gerrit Nieuwoudt and Privy Council Office, j) Gerrit Nieuwoudt and Ray Novak, k) Former Minister of National Defence Jason Kenney or his deputy minister and the Privy Council Office”.

At 2:25 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 2:49 p.m., the sitting resumed.

By unanimous consent, the amendment was withdrawn.

Amendment

Anita Vandenbeld moved, — That the motion be amended by adding after the words “allegations against General Vance in March 2018, the period of April 1 to May 31, 2019 inclusive,” the following: “and January to August, 2015, inclusive” and that the motion be amended by adding after the words “g) Elder Marques and Gary Walbourne” the following: “h) Ray Novak and Privy Council Office, i) Gerrit Nieuwoudt and Privy Council Office, j) Gerrit Nieuwoudt and Ray Novak, k) Former Minister of National Defence Jason Kenney or his deputy minister and the Privy Council Office”.

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Anita Vandenbeld and it was agreed to on the following recorded division:

YEAS: Larry Bagnell, Yvan Baker, Bob Benzen, James Bezan, Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, Terry Dowdall, Randall Garrison, Pierre Paul-Hus, Yves Robillard, Sven Spengemann, Anita Vandenbeld — 11;

NAYS: — 0.

The question was put on the motion, as amended, and it was agreed to on the following recorded division:

YEAS: Larry Bagnell, Yvan Baker, Bob Benzen, James Bezan, Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, Terry Dowdall, Randall Garrison, Pierre Paul-Hus, Yves Robillard, Sven Spengemann, Anita Vandenbeld — 11;

NAYS: — 0.

The motion, as amended, read as follows:

That, in respect of the committee’s study of addressing sexual misconduct issues in the Canadian Armed Forces, including the allegations against former Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance, the committee send for all electronic and paper correspondence including, but not limited to, emails, text messages, memos, and briefing notes, concerning the allegations against General Vance in March 2018 and the period of April - May 31, 2019 inclusive and January to August, 2015, inclusive; between a) Gary Walbourne and the Privy Council Office, b) Zita Astravas and Gary Walbourne, c) the Minister of National Defence or Deputy Minister and the Privy Council Office, d) Zita Astravas and the Privy Council Office, e) Elder Marques and the Privy Council Office, f) Zita Astravas and Elder Marques and g) Elder Marques and Gary Walbourne, h) Ray Novak and Privy Council Office, i) Gerrit Nieuwoudt and Privy Council Office, j) Gerrit Nieuwoudt and Ray Novak, k) Former Minister of National Defence Jason Kenney or his deputy minister and the Privy Council Office; that the Parliamentary Law Clerk remove any information that could identify the person or persons making an allegation or who may have been the subject of misconduct by General Vance, and that these documents be tabled at committee no later than ten days following the adoption of this motion; should these records not be turned over within ten days to the Parliamentary Law Clerk in an unredacted form; that the Chair, at the earliest opportunity report to the House the following report: Your committee, having requested and not received certain documents from the Department of National Defence and the Privy Council Office, therefore recommends that should this report be concurred in; that an Order of the House do issue for the unredacted version of all documents produced by the government in response to the March 8th, 2021 order of the Standing Committee on National Defence, and that these documents shall be turned over to the Parliamentary Law Clerk within one sitting day of the adoption of this Order, and that the Parliamentary Law Clerk remove any information that could identify the person or persons making an allegation against or who may have been the subject of misconduct by General Vance before turning the documents over to the Standing Committee on National Defence.

At 2:57 p.m., the committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.



Wassim Bouanani
Clerk of the Committee