I call the meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 15 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
In the first hour of the meeting, the committee will continue its study on the inclusion of indigenous languages on federal election ballots.
We have two panels of witnesses again today, joining us virtually. The first panel will include Jean-François Daoust, assistant professor at the University of Edinburgh; Dwight Newman, professor of law and Canada research chair in indigenous rights in constitutional and international law at the University of Saskatchewan; and Allison Harell, professor in the political science department of the Université du Québec à Montréal.
On behalf of PROC committee members, I would like to welcome you all here today. We will get right into it, with up to five minutes for your opening comments.
We'll start with Monsieur Daoust.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Good morning, everyone.
When I learned the subject of today's discussion, I saw three separate components.
First, we have to look at the principles and values of our society that would lead us to include, or not, indigenous languages on federal election ballots. This is a fundamental discussion described as "normative" that relies on the values of Canadians.
The second component is the technical aspect. How might it work and be applied in practice?
The third and final aspect is the involvement and potential consequences from what we know of empirical studies of election participation by indigenous people.
I am going to focus on the first and third components: the normative aspect and the empirical documentation aspect, leaving aside the technical considerations.
With respect to the normative aspect, we have to consider the values of our society. What are they? How can they be reflected in public policy and improve the electoral process? Obviously, Canadian society claims to be inclusive.
In political terms, and in connection with the electoral process, that means promoting inclusion of all groups in society, so that as many people as possible are able to participate in the political process, especially in elections, which are a key moment in our democratic cycle. In order for as many people as possible to participate in elections, we have to pay particular attention to the groups that systematically participate less in democratic life in our society.
In many regards, Canadian society in 2022 is not inclusive of indigenous communities. Indigenous people face systematic barriers and this means that they participate less in democratic life as compared to non-indigenous people.
It therefore seems entirely consistent and desirable to enable indigenous people to vote with instructions in their language that would be included on their ballot. For that reason, I think we should approach this question with a somewhat sympathetic view of this kind of initiative and its aim of inclusion.
I am now going to talk about the empirical aspect. I think the big question we have to ask ourselves is this: can we expect an increase in electoral participation by indigenous people as a result of this measure?
In my opinion, that is probably not the case; if it were, their participation would be very limited.
We should expect an increase in electoral participation if and only if this measure meant that it became easier for indigenous voters to go and vote and if this consideration, the ease of voting, has a major influence on their decision of whether or not to vote.
Although samples of data concerning indigenous people are very limited, the large majority of people obviously find that voting is either very easy or somewhat easy.
Second, we know that ease of voting is not one of the most important considerations that influence people's decision as to whether to vote or stay home on election day. In other words, the people who abstain from voting do so for other reasons that are not associated with how easy it is to vote.
In conclusion, with respect to the normative aspect and inclusion of indigenous people in Canadian society, I don't see any reason not to include indigenous languages on ballots.
However, with respect to the empirical aspects, from my reading of the documentation, we should not expect a significant increase in electoral participation by indigenous people, because the reasons why they abstain often lie elsewhere than in the ease of voting. While this bill is noble from a normative point of view, it does not consider those factors, for example indigenous people's interest in Canadian politics.
With that said, my conclusions are based on relatively limited research data and on samples gathered from indigenous people.
I think we have a great need for further studies to help us think about these questions. I am thinking, in particular, of the study by Patrick Fournier and Peter John Loewen published in 2011 and the study by Allison Harell, who is with us today, and her colleagues that was published in 2010.
That concludes my statement.
Good morning, honourable members. I'm Dwight Newman and I work as a professor of law and Canada research chair in indigenous rights in constitutional and international law at the University of Saskatchewan. I appear today as an individual.
Proposals to add indigenous languages to election ballots in Canada have circulated in recent years. There's a new imperative to thinking on these matters insofar as Canada adopted last year the , or UNDRIPA, which received royal assent on June 21, 2021.
Amongst its provisions, section 5 of that act establishes a statutory requirement for the government taking “all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the Declaration.” That's a far-reaching statutory obligation, and it bears on many topic matters that are seldom discussed.
Article 13.2 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has a clause requiring that states “take effective measures to ensure...that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other appropriate means”.
That clause of that article has received very little attention in the UNDRIP scholarship, but it represents an important commitment concerning participatory rights of indigenous peoples. Partly because article 13.2 establishes rights for indigenous peoples as collective entities, though, rather than pertaining to individuals, article 13.2 probably does not mandate any specific requirement of ballots being available to individual indigenous voters in indigenous languages.
However, the adoption of such a practice would certainly be in accord with the underlying objectives of the UNDRIP. The enhancement of indigenous participation in democratic decision-making accords with the declaration and represents good policy in a democratic state meant to have full involvement of all voters.
Sections 3 and 5 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, protecting the right to vote and rights against discrimination, may well offer stronger legal arguments against impediments to voting. As with other barriers that Elections Canada has worked to overcome, there are arguments for it to overcome linguistic barriers, particularly in the case of individuals who use other languages and have limited proficiency in English and French.
In some ways, Canada is behind on these issues, notably as compared with the United States. I draw the committee's attention to the 1975 amendments to the U.S. Voting Rights Act that added section 203, which established various forms of language assistance in districts where that was needed for minority language communities. That's decades back that the U.S. has done this, and there have been challenges at times on implementation, which has not always been smooth, but there has been a statutory commitment there in U.S. legislation.
In the context of indigenous peoples, though, the U.S. has had some ongoing challenges. Here, I would draw the committee's attention to the March 2022 “Report of the Interagency Steering Group on Native American Voting Rights”, which was just reported to the White House and has examined a range of factors affecting indigenous participation in elections. There is discussion of language factors, but there is a wide range of other factors that need to be taken into account, which raises questions about what are going to be the most effective means of enhancing indigenous participation in elections.
With regard to the language issues at hand, there are a number of key questions to consider, which I know this committee has already been discussing in some ways: whether Nunavut is a special case and where there's a particularly strong argument; what population cut-offs might bear on whether it works to provide translation of ballots in a particular riding; issues concerning what particular form of indigenous languages might be used on ballots, whether in the form of syllabics or in transliterated forms in the context of languages that have both versions; and other issues concerning the costs generally and whether those costs might be more optimally invested in other ways of supporting indigenous electoral participation.
There are many things that we could talk about. I'll just say that there are also many options the committee could consider in terms of the most effective ways of advancing indigenous electoral participation in cautious ways. The use of sample or facsimile ballots is an option, rather than changing the main ballot. Other forms of language assistance are possible. The committee could also think about something like a pilot program in the context of Nunavut that would test things out in one riding before making Elections Canada try things out across the country all at once.
I'll stop there and just say that there are big questions about bridging principle, the aims of legislation and what legislation can and will achieve in practical ways.
It's wonderful to see the committee working to live up to commitments of supporting indigenous electoral participation. It's important to do that right.
Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to be here, Madam Chair.
I'd like to acknowledge that I'm calling from the unceded territories of the Kanien’kehá:ka nation on whose land the Université du Québec à Montréal is located.
I'd also like to situate my comments. I speak for myself as a specialist in the study of electoral democracy, and I'm particularly interested in my own research in how various groups and people can build a more inclusive democracy. My remarks this morning will be focused on what research in this area tells us.
I'd like to raise three issues that are worth considering when thinking about the inclusion of indigenous languages on ballots.
First, I think it's important to think about this issue from the perspective of barriers to political participation. We know quite a bit—and my colleagues have mentioned it on the committee this morning—about the reasons that people do not engage in federal elections in this country. In a past study that I conducted with Dimitrios Panagos and Scott Matthews in 2009 for Elections Canada, we showed that, as we have seen across many countries and contexts, socioeconomic resources are an important barrier to all electors. This is true as well for indigenous people's participation in electoral politics. Yet we've also shown the importance of trust in the federal government and the salience of indigenous issues as mobilizing, especially for young indigenous electors. Here, I think, is where our findings are important for the current discussion before the committee.
The presence of indigenous languages on ballots is an important symbolic gesture to indicate that Canada is interested in the participation of indigenous peoples in the electoral process, that their voices are important and that we want to make sure that they're included in that conversation.
Indigenous peoples were, as you know, one of the last groups in Canada to have restrictions on their voting rights removed, which was in 1960, and historically have participated in federal elections at some of the lowest levels, though this varies across individual elections as well as across indigenous nations.
It's important to note that participating in elections is a choice, and while it is important for free and fair elections to remove barriers to participation, many indigenous people and nations choose not to participate in Canadian elections.
I'm not speaking on behalf of these communities in any way, but I think it is important to recognize that Canada's colonial history means that we need to ensure that indigenous people can participate on their own terms in our electoral processes while acknowledging that some may not see the electoral process as either legitimate or their own.
Making ballots multilingual could be a step to increase the legitimacy of the electoral process for these electors, and perceptions of legitimacy not only support broader participation but are also important for the health of our democratic system.
This brings me to my second point. As the Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Canada pointed out to this committee on March 29 of this year, the diversity of languages, the complexity of the production timelines and translations and the current regulatory framework make putting in place multilingual ballots a challenge.
I don't want to discount the organizational challenges that implementing this change would create, but I would like to point out that the presence of a ballot in one's own language can have multiple benefits. There are symbolic benefits. The importance of recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples, cultures and languages to exist and be included cannot be understated.
There is also a benefit of access for indigenous peoples to participate in their language of choice. For indigenous electors who speak a language other than English or French and prefer to speak a language other than English and French, English and French only ballots can create an unfair barrier to participation.
I think there's also a benefit towards reconciliation. If we're serious about reconciliation with indigenous peoples, then beyond the symbolic and access benefits to indigenous peoples themselves, we need to make a strong statement as settlers that indigenous nations are on equal footing with English and French in this country.
This brings me to my final point. I'm not an indigenous person; I'm a settler on these lands. I think the key issue for considering indigenous languages on ballots should be whether indigenous nations and electors want them in order to fully participate in the electoral process. While there may be costs and challenges in implementing multilingual ballots, I think reconciliation requires a serious commitment on our part to make accessible the electoral process to indigenous electors in their own language.
I'm glad we're having this conversation today, and I'm glad to be taking part in it.
Thank you. I'm just pulling up my copy of UNDRIP, if we're getting into further articles of it.
I'll say, first of all, with respect to the commitment on what's sometimes called “implementation”, Canada has passed a particular statute that has two key obligations in it. One concerns an action plan to pursue the objectives of the declaration. The other part is a commitment to seek the consistency of Canada's laws with the provisions of the declaration. Those are two key commitments.
In respect of other articles of UNDRIP, they may shed light on the broader objectives of it. Certainly, article 1 is with respect to general provisions of international human rights law. If your suggestion is that this gives rise to an obligation in respect of indigenous languages in voting, it would be in the context of that obligation potentially arising with respect to other language communities as well. Article 9 concerns rights to belong to an indigenous community or nation and wouldn't bear directly on federal election processes, in my view. Article 15, concerning general provisions on the cultural rights and dignity of indigenous peoples, again sheds light on the objectives of the declaration, as all the articles should be read together. Again, it wouldn't bear as specifically on something like a federal election process.
Article 13.2 is the one that is, in my view, closest to the issue. Although, as I've suggested, in some ways the reading gives rise to limited consequences in specific terms, even while the broader objectives of indigenous participation in decision-making would call for good policy that promotes indigenous languages in this context.
Thank you for your question.
Yes, I think it's important. However, we seem to be assuming that symbols are minor and of no great consequence, as if something symbolic has no substance. As Ms. Harell said, symbols sometimes have effects that influence other attitudes, including political attitudes.
It was suggested that trust in the federal government, for example, may encourage electoral participation. Measures like these have the direct effect of reducing the cost of participation and making the vote more accessible and easier, and may have a very limited direct impact in themselves. But if measures like these affect other considerations, for example the fact that indigenous people may have more trust in the government, and spills over onto other attitudes like that one, including interest in politics, it might have a bit more more substantial impact.
I don't think we could expect a major impact, for the reasons I gave in my opening statement. Even in the indigenous samples, the people think it's easy to go out and vote. The main objective of this measure is to facilitate the act of going and voting. Since it is already easy to do that, the impact may certainly be limited. It is mainly symbolic, but it can have indirect effects that are more important than the direct effects.
[The witness spoke in Innu-aimun.
In my language, I greet everyone present.
Thank you for your invitation, which confirms the great importance of dialogue before implementing major projects to benefit the greatest number of people, including First Nations members.
I am Innu from the community of Uashat mak Mani-utenam on Quebec’s North Shore. I am the Executive Director of Institut Tshakapesh, I am the general manager of the Institut Tshakapesh, an organization that has been working for what will soon be 45 years with our nation to preserve and promote Innu-aimun, our mother tongue.
In this context, it appears to us that First Nations and Inuit members would have the opportunity to fully exercise their rights as citizens, with access to documentation, including ballots, in their own language. They must also be greeted and served in their language.
A meaningful way to give First Nations the right to be heard is to recognize them as a nation and to recognize their language, culture and identity. It is now time to go beyond simple tokenism and officially take concrete action by seeing them as having an important political role to play. Participating in the development of a legislative framework, in this case including indigenous languages on federal election ballots, is a step forward.
Many of our members do not see themselves in Canada’s current democratic process. They feel excluded and therefore powerless. So, to express their resistance, they abstain from voting in federal or provincial elections or refuse to participate in the Statistics Canada census. All of this has enormous consequences for our communities, especially in terms of socioeconomic conditions, to name just one.
Indigenous peoples have greatly contributed to Canada’s development over the millennia and continue to do so.
I will end this section by saying that I have only scratched the surface.
Now I will discuss the importance of being able to use one’s own language.
One of the permanent and fundamental characteristics of an individual’s development is their identity. The most significant pillars of this identity are the ability to speak one’s own language and familiarity with one’s own culture. Using our own language helps us form a vision of the world and our sense of belonging to a nation and, most importantly, defines who we are and where we come from. Indigenous peoples have formed a close relationship with and have great respect for nature, including all living things. This is our way of life. To us, respect is a fundamental value that must be mutual.
According to the Public Inquiry Commission on Relations between Indigenous Peoples and Certain Public Services, residential schools have had a long list of enormous intergenerational impacts. I trust that you are sufficiently aware of the consequences of these impacts on the threatened disappearance of Indigenous languages and the profound changes that this has had for our communities. Of course, we cannot make everything black and white, but the many consequences suffered by First Nations are less than stellar.
Cohesion in a democracy requires all Nations to be included. According to 2011 data, there were 1,400,685 First Nations and Inuit members and their numbers have been growing since then. This demographic weight represents hope for the future of young people, provided that they feel welcome in the democracy.
Accessibility with respect to various government structures is possible if everyone is taken into account. The government of Canada has at its disposal all the reports of the Royal Commission on Indigenous Peoples and the Hawthorn-Tremblay Commission, to name but two, to establish or reestablish genuine, healthy and respectful relationships.
First Nations have the right to participate in the development of Canadian society, to access the same benefits enjoyed by all Canadian citizens. All the recommendations and concrete solutions are outlined in these studies. It takes political will to create a fair and just society for all.
Thank you for listening.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'll express myself in French.
I will need seven minutes, if you'll allow me.
[Member spoke in Wendat.]
My name is Denis Gros-Louis. In my language, that means "men who works for freedom".
[Member spoke in Wendat.]
I am taking part in the meeting today from the unceded territory of my nation, Wendat Land, near Quebec City.
My name is Denis Gros-Louis and I am the Director General of the First Nations Education Council. I would like to reassure Ms. Idlout, the member for Nunavut, and tell her I am bilingual: I speak French and English. I would also like to thank the member for La Prairie, Mr. Therrien, for inviting me today, and all of you. We are meeting to discuss a very important subject.
The First Nations Education Council is an association made up of eight of the 11 nations of Quebec for the purposes of education: Abenaki, Algonquin, Atikamekw, Wendat, Pekuakamiulnuatsh, the Wolastoqiyik First Nation, Micmac and Kanien'keha:ka.
The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador has delegated the task of testifying before you today to the FNEC, my organization. I also have the approval of the Chiefs Committee on Education to present issues that are specific to Quebec. Our organization also has the mandate of accommodating and supporting the coordinator of the regional committee on ancestral languages here in Quebec.
I hope the information and recommendations I will be providing you with will be useful in your study to allow the translation of ballots in federal elections into indigenous languages. This study is a good first step that would mean respecting our languages, and I see it as a gesture toward reconciliation.
In Quebec, we have 11 indigenous languages, some of which have their own dialects. Their vitality varies, depending on the community: some are in a state of dormancy, while others are spoken regularly and are the language used in schools. Some elders in our communities are unilingual: they speak only their own language. When they leave their community, they become foreigners in their own country.
Our languages are the vehicle for expressing our vision of the world. They are the thread that connects the past and the future. In other words, they are the cornerstone of our identity. But the link between identity and First Nations turnout in federal elections is much more complex, as my colleague, Ms. Tshernish, explained.
To give you a quick picture, but one that is realistic and honest, I also have to point out that views are polarized in the nations and communities that belong to the FNEC regarding the issue of First Nations voting. Some nations are participating in this exercise, but others categorically refuse to do so.
Recent Statistics Canada data show that the reason most often cited by indigenous people for not voting is political. We absolutely do not feel like stakeholders in federal matters. This refusal is based on reasons that sometimes go back to the very existence of the Canadian Confederation and, of course, its Indian Act, which has not always had a positive effect on our nations.
Whether because the First Nations are affirming their sovereignty or because they do not feel respected or involved in the issues, there are numerous reasons why voters from these nations are disengaged.
Overall, the identity question is central to the thinking you are doing to have a positive effect on First Nations turnout. What do you have to do for us to get out and vote? An Elections Canada study of changes in First Nations turnout shows that the communities in Quebec have the lowest turnout in federal elections: approximately 27.8 per cent, while the average turnout in Canada seems to be about 34 per cent.
Who is on the ballot, what are the issues presented, and how are they presented? All of that certainly has a big impact on our communities' interest and participation in the electoral process. In other words, solutions and initiatives will have to go beyond just translating ballots into our languages to show your respect for our languages and cultures. It will all have to be sincerely and concretely aimed toward reconciliation.
Translation of ballots into indigenous languages is a good way of promoting the languages. We teach our languages in our schools, and seeing them reproduced on a ballot obviously represents a good way of seeing the world and encourages us to participate in the electoral process. When language is marginalized, however, it often marginalizes our cultures and the visions of our member communities.
You could also observe certain colonialist positions stated before the courts through the conduct of the government machine and the positions taken before those courts, often to develop programs that do not generate interest in federal politics, because those policies are still harmful in 2022.
Last week, representatives of Elections Canada said in their testimony that translation was an expensive exercise, whether because of the time, the quality control, the planning or some other reason. Well, a simple speech saying it's expensive doesn't encourage our communities to participate in the electoral process. So I would like respect for our languages and reparation of the harm caused to them and to our cultures not to be seen as having a price. As a former public servant in the elections branch of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, I can tell you that policies intended to increase turnout are a matter of honour and responsibility. Access to a democratic right was restored to us only a few decades ago. That has to be taken into consideration, as well.
I spoke about identity and maintaining languages. Well, in Quebec, we find ourselves facing a unique situation in terms of language. We are witnesses to the colonialist approach of the provincial government in the way it updates the Charter of the French Language. This government's efforts hinder the use and maintenance of our languages, and at worst downgrade them, and flout the modern treaties in force. Some of our members don't understand or don't see government action, whether at the provincial or federal level.
So we have four recommendations. First, to act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action No. 57, it is important to offer awareness training to senior management and staff at Elections Canada, focusing on our history, but also on the intercultural skills that officials at Elections Canada should have.
Our second recommendation consists of creating consultation and collaboration connections between Elections Canada and the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages, which is the guard dog for indigenous languages in Canada.
Third, as was proposed in the Assembly of First Nations report on First Nations voter turnout, and in order to improve turnout in Quebec, you should make sure that information for voters is not just on the ballot, but also in a document that we have worked on with the Atikamekw nation. It goes beyond the vote and is designed to help unilingual speakers to understand the process and how things proceed on voting day. It should be offered to the 10 other indigenous nations in Quebec, of course.
Fourth and finally, it is also important to make sure that the images presented in the booklets reflect our nations' identity.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
All my questions are through you. The first is actually to both witnesses.
Mr. Gros-Louis, you spoke about the 11 languages in Quebec and the different dialects. We also heard witnesses from I believe the Northwest Territories, which also had, I think, 11 various indigenous languages.
In the Northwest Territories, we heard that they were able to provide, in provincial or municipal elections as one example, the language of that particular community or riding, as we would know it, or voter district. But from an Elections Canada perspective, that nimbleness of ballot printing by riding and language translation, I think we can see there are some challenges with the time lines.
To Ms. Tshernish, you also mentioned that all nations must be respected. I wrote that down because if we are able to move forward and there are multiple indigenous languages with multiple dialects, some using syllabics and some of it being translated, how do we best respect all nations and languages given the number of languages to make sure they're reflected in the communities—which I think both of you have talked about—and ensure that residents of those communities are actually using them.
How can we best respect those language rights, or how do we best choose which languages are most commonly used in various parts of the country?
That's a big, long question there, but I'll leave it open to both of you who have some advice and guidance for us.
If it's the intent of Parliament to provide guidance to Elections Canada to do that, Ms. O'Connell, I would add that, first and foremost, Elections Canada doesn't have the expertise nor the capacity to do that.
It's a simple fact of reaching out to our communities. They will tell you who wants to have it done in their language. We'll do the translation. As I said, the Atikamekw nation was one member of the First Nations Education Council that has done it.
The process to go through the day and to be prepared and interested in the elections is already done. You know that eventually there will be an election, so therefore you can start working on it right away. You don't need to wait for that. Being proactive is a gesture of reconciliation.
In the previous panel there was a question about pictures. We do work with pictures. A lot of our languages are visual and cannot be translated because of all the stories that are behind them. It would create a sense of respect to have more visuals in the guidelines and preparation. As you see, we have a lot of pictures within the Atikamekw communities that have been used. Therefore, that can be started right away. You don't need to wait for the calling of the election and the writ to drop to do that.
In September 2018 in the Canadian Journal of Political Science, there were three researchers, Dabin, Daoust and Papillon. I guess Daoust was a previous speaker. They said clearly that, “Higher voter turnout in Indigenous communities corresponds with a higher proportion of Indigenous candidates.”
We saw what happened in Kenora in the last election. Three fly-in communities didn't get their ballots on time. There was a first nation candidate who could have had a shot at being voted in.
It's stuff like that, as I said, and being proactive. We'll do the translation for you, no problem. That would be an engagement.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Good morning to our witnesses. I am really very happy to have your hear this morning.
We have just witnessed one of the noteworthy moments in our meetings. We saw that a lot of tools were already available. During our meetings, we have learned that there were already 16 documents translated into different languages. I hope this meeting will lead you to believe that we want to build, establish and continue the dialogue with you. This is particularly true of the Bloc Québécois.
In fact, in the riding of Laurentides—Labelle, there are three First Nations communities: the Atikamekw, the Algonquin and the Mohawk. A cultural centre is going to be created that will enable Caucasians to better understand and know about the various indigenous cultures.
I heard you talk about the first step. We have met with Mr. Gray-Lehoux and Mr. Vollant of the First Nations of Quebec-Labrador Youth Network. I think you know them. They told us that there was training and accompaniment for having an experience. But I would like to know whether that first step will be really decisive, since, from what they said, a lot has to be invested for each community to be able to reappropriate its language and culture, or preserve them.
I would like to hear from our two witnesses on that subject.
Mr. Gros-Louis, you have the floor.
Thank you for your time today. I have to say that it's probably one of the best gifts anyone can receive, and on behalf of PROC committee members, I would like to thank both of you for sharing with us.
Please do not hesitate to provide us anything additional in writing, including the Elections Canada document, which we would like to have as part of the items we will reference as we draft our report.
With that, I hope both of you keep well and safe. We look forward to continuing this work together.
For PROC committee members, I would like to put two things on the record.
The first is that on March 31 we were not able to have Inuktitut interpretation for this study. I would like to notify all committee members that the Translation Bureau has sent us an official letter of apology and is working to ensure that there are better resources, and to ensure that we can actually have adequate resources when it comes to ensuring that interpretation is available. I want to make sure that we put it on the record that they instantly followed up on that. They're taking it very seriously. We will continue to push to ensure that the resources are there. I'd like to thank everyone for the way we were able to handle that and move forward.
Secondly, subcommittee members received an email regarding how we can move forward when we return from the two constituency weeks. I have asked that when we return on April 26, we continue with the report on the Conflict of Interest Code. I'm not going to say that we'll complete it, but we're going to try. On Thursday, April 28, we would actually be starting with both the intent of the motion from Mrs. Block as well as—as the committee had agreed—the intent of the motion from Mr. Turnbull. I am asking that we have lists of witnesses for Mr. Turnbull's motion by April 14.
We've laid out a way that we can all work together to make it work. I want to thank everyone for that. We're not in camera, so we can't really get into the details of it, but please do share it with your members.
Madame Gaudreau, did you want to say something quickly?