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House of Commons Emblem

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



Monday, October 24, 2022

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



    Welcome, everyone, on this fine Monday afternoon to meeting number 40 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
    I will start by acknowledging that we are meeting on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin people.
    Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of November 25, 2021. Members are attending in person in the room and remotely using the Zoom application. The meeting is public.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 106(4), the committee is commencing consideration of the request by five members of the committee to undertake a study of developments regarding the allegations of political interference in the Nova Scotia mass murder investigation.
    I will now open the floor for debate.
    Ms. Dancho.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I'm going to formally move the motion, as follows:
That pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) the committee meet for one meeting, on Thursday October 27th, in relation to the public release of the recording of RCMP Commissioner Lucki’s call to the Nova Scotia RCMP and the allegations of political interference in the 2020 Nova Scotia Mass Murder Investigation, and that RCMP Commissioner Lucki appear in the first hour, that Minister Blair be invited to appear in the second hour, and that the previously scheduled witnesses for C-21 be added to an additional meeting for the C-21 study.
    Thank you. The motion is in order.
    The motion is on the floor. Is there any debate?
    Ms. Damoff.
    Mr. Chair, I've read over the transcripts. I see absolutely nothing in here that changes what we already heard in two hours of testimony with Minister Blair and Commissioner Lucki.
    I want to thank you, Chair, for finding the time for us to meet today so that we didn't have to lose a meeting on our study of Bill C-21. In theory, this motion that was brought forward could have had us lose two meetings on Bill C-21, which, quite frankly, on this side of the House, is a priority for us. Getting Bill C-21 passed and hearing from witnesses who are making the time to come and talk to us about Bill C-21 are a priority, so thank you for doing this, Chair.
    I notice that the motion brought forward stipulates that an additional meeting be added, but given House resources, there's never any guarantee of additional meetings. I would think that a written explanation from the commissioner would suffice, but if not, I would like to amend the motion, Mr. Chair. I'll officially do this.
    Where it says that “the committee meet for one meeting, on Thursday October 27th, I move that we amend it to say that “the committee meet following consideration of Bill C-21”.
    The amendment is in order. Is there debate on the amendment?
    We had Mr. Ellis after Ms. Damoff.
    Mr. Ellis, go ahead.


    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Certainly, this is shocking. It's shocking in the sense that you have to really repress the disbelief and dismay with which I hear members opposite speaking about this. This is a point where we understand very clearly that there was interference from a political level in an active police investigation in my riding in which 23 people died. I can't underscore that enough.
    If this committee refuses to find time to revisit this issue, when it's related to political interference and also to an RCMP commissioner, of course, at the very highest of the high levels of the RCMP, how can anybody have faith in the process of government in Canada? This is absolutely ludicrous and, as I said, shocking. From the perspective of the people I represent, it's quite a slap in the face, I would suggest.
    I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
    Are we debating the amendment, or are we debating the main motion? I just want clarification.
    We are debating the amendment, and I hope Mr. Ellis will get to that point.
     Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Once again, I find it shocking that I get interrupted. We need to underscore the importance of the ridiculous nature of the amendment that's proposed here. People died, and for a government to use this for political gain is absolutely shocking. This committee does not want to undertake any type of action to remediate the situation, which has clearly changed, when now we know very clearly that Mr. Campbell's notes pointed out what Commissioner Lucki said and what Minister Blair said.
     Now we have a transcript of a meeting, which also corroborates that, and we have other testimony from the Mass Casualty Commission, which corroborates all three of these things going together, to have an understanding of exactly what happened.
    We have an unbelievably clear picture here. For this committee not to want to undertake having those members back again is shocking. It's a slap in the face. It's a disservice, and it's an apolitical move towards the people in my riding. Quite frankly, it's an affront to democracy.
    I can't understand how anybody could sit here and not want to understand very clearly, when new evidence has come forward, exactly what is happening here.
    Once again, I can't understand this at all. This type of amendment to a very simple motion to have the major players return to a committee that has tried to understand this unbelievable political interference for many meetings now certainly, in my mind, is not enough to assuage the concerns of people in the riding of Cumberland—Colchester.
    When you look at that, you know what? People from Nova Scotia don't want excuses anymore. They want answers, and they're not getting answers from the Mass Casualty Commission. Another affront to their goodwill and solitude is this committee, which, again, does not want to provide them with any answers about what happened at a political level.
    I just can't understand how anybody on the opposite side could want to vote against this.
    Thank you, Mr. Ellis.
    We will go to Ms. Dancho, then Mr. Perkins and then Madam Michaud.
    No, Mr. Chair, I'm fine, thank you.
    Mr. Perkins, go ahead, please.
    As a fellow Nova Scotian, I echo Mr. Ellis's comments.
    I would point to the amendment to the main motion, which is delaying the examination of this new evidence that was released only last Friday but then given to the Mass Casualty Commission after the Mass Casualty Commission has finished its public hearing process, so I think it's incumbent upon this committee to delve into the details of the clear contradictions and lies in what has been said in committee, what has been said in the House, and what has been said by witnesses at the Mass Casualty Commission.
    The Mass Casualty Commission is on an urgent agenda to finish their report, but they don't have the ability to re-examine these witnesses at this time because of the mandate and the way the mandate was structured by the federal government, so I would encourage all members to vote against the amendment and vote for the main motion so that we can get to this urgent study. What could be more urgent?
    I understand that Bill C-21 is urgent to a number of people, but I think the mass murder of 22 Nova Scotians is of utmost importance for this committee and of paramount importance to be studied. The study of Bill C-21 can wait another meeting or two while we delve into these clear contradictions by the former minister and the commissioner.


    Thank you.
    It's Madam Michaud and then Mr. MacGregor.


    It's an extremely important meeting that we need to have. I agree with my colleagues from the Conservative Party.
    However, like my colleagues in the Liberal Party, I'm concerned that consideration of Bill C‑21 will be delayed.
    Could you answer my question, Mr. Chair or Mr. Clerk: Is it possible to have a meeting outside of our regular committee hours to hold this meeting, much like we're doing today? The committee doesn't usually meet on Mondays.
    Would it be possible to hold this meeting in a timely manner without using the meetings scheduled for Bill C‑21?


    I'll answer that.
    It is extraordinarily difficult to find extra time. We got this meeting today only because foreign affairs cancelled, and we heard through the grapevine that it was available. We have been trying for a number of weeks to get the coming two Thursdays extended by an hour. That has been declined. It's very difficult to get any extra time in the schedule.
    I hope that answers your question.
    You still have the floor if you're not finished.


    I will add that, in this case, I find it quite difficult. I find it annoying that we have to put this off because I feel like it's going to take a long time to study Bill C‑21. We have a lot to look at together. I am sure we will have a lot of things to discuss when we get to clause-by-clause consideration.
    This is fairly urgent, I agree. It's up in the air, we just got the transcripts of Ms. Lucki's meetings. It would be strange to come back to that in two or three months.
    That said, it would be nice to have assurances from the Conservative Party members that only one meeting will be devoted to this subject and that they won't come back again with something new to try to delay consideration of Bill C‑21.
    I know they are acting in good faith and they are not trying to delay Bill C‑21, but if they continue bringing urgent matters to us, we may have to delay consideration of this bill, which I see as a priority.
    I'd be willing to have a meeting soon, but only one.


     Thank you.
    Mr. MacGregor, go ahead.
    Mr. Chair, with respect to Bill C-21, I also have an interest in getting on with it. By my count we still have five meetings of witnesses remaining for Bill C-21. We've agreed to a total of eight meetings and we've done three meetings. If we were to continue with the current schedule, that would take us to the week following Remembrance Day, the constituency week we have.
    I think the Conservatives acted in good faith with their original motion by adding that last line. I understand that it's not always easy to find an additional meeting, but we did manage to find an additional meeting today. In the interest of not delaying Bill C-21, I would be open to trying to find some time during the constituency week if that would help, but I think we should keep it open.
    The only thing that concerns me is whether by naming October 27 specifically—I know that the minister and the commissioner, by virtue of their positions, are pretty busy people—we are shoehorning ourselves if they're not available. I am interested in seeing them come as soon as possible, but we do have to work with two very busy people's schedules.
    With respect to the amendment, I'm not sure I'm totally in favour of it yet. I think we can find a way to accommodate both the bill and the timeliness of this particular issue that's before us.
    Thank you.
    Next is Ms. Damoff, followed by Ms. Dancho.
    An hon. member: [Inaudible—Editor]
    The Chair: Okay, we'll go with Ms. Dancho.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I appreciate the comments from all parties.
    About the additional meeting, I appreciate the mention from my colleague from the NDP. We did in good faith want to make efforts with this motion not to delay Bill C-21. We recognize that certainly parts of the bill in particular are a key priority for other parties and for us. That's why we added that in.
    My understanding is that the Liberal whip's office was looking to have additional meetings for Bill C-21 anyway, so I believe they are very familiar with the committee's schedule. I'm surprised that now it seems we're not able to find time. I'm very confident that we can find time to have an additional meeting to fit in Bill C-21 on schedule should we need to.
    In terms of the timing for the minister and the commissioner, I will say that we don't normally ask for ministers to resign or for the Commissioner of the RCMP to resign, but it's very clear, based on the audio recording and what was said in committee, that someone is not telling the truth, and that would be either the head of the RCMP or the former minister of public safety.
    That is very significant. I would be pretty shocked if the minister was not willing to make time in his schedule to come and defend himself. It's the same for the RCMP. In fact, I would be very shocked and surprised. I think they owe it to Canadians to come and explain themselves. We have conflicting testimony from those involved. Again, these are powerful people who appear to have very much misled the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
    I would assume they would put everything aside to come and defend themselves as they have in their statements. They need to be held accountable by this committee on behalf of Canadians. I am very confident that they will make time in their schedules, as per the motion, unless there's a medical reason or they're out of the country. Even then, we have Zoom capabilities, and if they're out of the city they can still appear by Zoom. Barring some life-threatening situation, I would assume they would want to come and defend themselves and answer our questions, Mr. Chair.
    It is our expectation, as the motion passes, that they will honour this motion and that they will come and explain themselves to this committee.
    Last, I would say again that I am completely open to meeting during the break week. We are not looking to delay this bill. That is our intention, and I remain committed to that.
    I very much appreciate working together with the opposition parties to hold this government accountable as is our duty to Canadians.


     Thank you.
    For your information, it wasn't the Liberal whip who was looking for time; it was me. I was trying to find more time to move things forward.
    Pardon me?
    You got promoted.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    There you go. I'm not sure that's a promotion.
    It's Ms. Damoff followed by Mr. MacGregor.
    Thanks, Chair.
    No, I don't think we can assume there's going to be extra time available to us. I think everyone seems to be agreeable to doing it during the break week, providing this won't—
    It would be just one meeting during the break week.
    Should we have cross-conversation here, Chair, or what should we be doing?
    No, we shouldn't. I guess we should direct things through me and I will try to sort things out.
    I think there's agreement to have an additional meeting during the break week.
    We have a schedule for this week.
    With all due respect to my Conservative colleagues and to Mr. Ellis for saying we have refused to deal with this, both Minister Blair and the commissioner have appeared at the committee on exactly this issue, and the commissioner of the RCMP issued a statement yesterday about the recording—which is only a partial recording, I would add—to say that nothing has changed in her statements. Therefore, to say that no one has been accountable....
    They have both appeared before this committee in the past. They have been here. We did make time for them to come.
    I read the transcript. I think quite frankly the commissioner is very frustrated with the local RCMP and the lack of communication from the local RCMP during this horrific massacre that occurred. She's frustrated by the way they were dealing with communications from Nova Scotia.
    That's obvious, but on the date, Chair, I have suggested that it be following Bill C-21, so I guess maybe, if you want to, we should vote on that and if someone wants to put in an alternate date, then I would be open to that, Chair.
    Thank you.
    We will go to Mr. MacGregor followed by Ms. Dancho followed by Mr. Motz.
    Mr. MacGregor, go ahead, please.
     Mr. Chair, I'm not sure I can support the amendment.
    I would have a suggestion for alternative wording after a vote, but, with respect to my Liberal colleagues, these are pretty damning quotes when it says, “it was a request that I got from the minister's office”, and then later on when the commissioner is talking about what's going on in the world of handguns and the fact that they're trying to get legislation going and that this legislation is actually to help police.
    My ultimate goal with this is not just to focus on the problem. I think we also need to look at solutions. I think part of the problem is the fact that our Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, in section 5(1), is far too vague and open to interpretation. It just reads that there should be a “Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, to hold office during pleasure, who, under the direction of the Minister, has control and management of the Force”. What does “under the direction of the Minister” mean? What direction is that? That's very open to interpretation. I think this will continually bring us back to this problem. There are provincial jurisdictions in Canada and there are jurisdictions around the world that have attached far greater specificity in their police acts as to what powers a minister has and what powers a police commissioner has, and those two shall never cross.
    I hope that through this conversation we get clarification from the minister and the commissioner, and I think they do need to come as quickly as possible, but I also think we, as a committee, have a duty to Canadians to explore how we prevent this from happening in the future. Not exploring that question would be a dereliction of our duty to Canadians. We want to get to the bottom of this and find the truth but we also have to be solution-oriented.
    I'll leave it at that, Mr. Chair.


    Thank you, Mr. MacGregor.
    Mr. Motz, go ahead, please.
    I move that we adjourn debate on the amendment.
    You move to adjourn debate.
    That's debate on the amendment.
    I think you can only move to adjourn debate—
    You can move to adjourn debate on an amendment.
    —because the debate will carry on as long as anybody wants to speak.
     No. You can adjourn debate—
    What would that do to us?
    Why don't we just vote it down?
    If there are no more speakers on the amendment—
    An hon. member: Let's just go to a vote.


    Can you read the amendment out loud again before we go to a vote?


    Go ahead, Ms. Damoff.
     Rather than adjourning, I think we should just vote that down and then look at doing something on a break week.
     Alistair, you said you had wording for that.
    The amendment was to remove “Thursday, October 27” and replace it with “following consideration of Bill C-21”.
    Is there any more discussion on the amendment?
    Let's go to a vote.
    I'm sorry...?
    We're voting on the amendment.
    The amendment is to change the motion so that the date is following the consideration....
    Ms. Raquel Dancho: [Inaudible—Editor]
    The Chair: Yes.
     All in favour of the amendment? All those opposed?
    I think it's defeated.
    (Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Go ahead, Mr. MacGregor.
    I will move an amendment to the main motion, and it's a simple one. After the words “Thursday, October 27”, I would simply insert “or as soon as possible”.
    The amendment is in order.
    It's just to give a bit of leeway. I understand that schedules can be a bit demanding, but we do want them here as soon as possible.
    Is there debate on Mr. MacGregor's amendment?
    Go ahead, Ms. Dancho.
    Chair, I do appreciate the amendment.
     I again want to reiterate that I think it provides the minister and the commissioner an out. They could not be available until after Christmas, for example, and we don't have any accountability mechanism for that. I just wanted to make it very clear that I think this provides an out for those who we are trying to hold accountable.
    Thank you.
    Next we have Mr. Motz.
    Is it possible, Alistair, that rather than “as soon as possible”, we put an end date on the “as soon as possible”? That would be at some time certainly before we have to break, before the end of next week.
    I'm all for that.
    I think that's a subamendment.
    Can we do a subamendment?
    Not if he chooses to include that in his motion.
    That's a subamendment, I guess.
    Or is it a friendly amendment?


    Strictly, there's no such thing as a friendly amendment.
    If Mr. MacGregor agrees to that amendment....
    If you restate it, we'll pretend that's how you moved it.
    Mine was the amendment, so I'll let Mr. Motz read out how he will amend my amendment.
    He has the wording.
    Go ahead.
    Mr. Chair, as a subamendment to the amendment by Mr. MacGregor, I would say that “as soon as possible” be deleted and that we put in “by November 1”.
     On the subamendment, we have Ms. Damoff, please.
    I'm a bit confused. It's on Thursday, October 27 or before...?
    It's as soon as possible before November 1.
    Before November—
    That's a week from tomorrow.
    Before November 1, you said, Glen...?
    By November 1. That's next Tuesday.
    That provides Friday, Monday, Tuesday—
    —and Wednesday and Thursday this week.
    It just gives us a couple of extra days.
    I'm sorry to do this, but could we amend that to “before November 10”?
    We can't go any further down the amendment rabbit hole.
    We're limited to our regular meeting slots. We have Thursday, Tuesday and we have Thursday again. The clerk is checking into possible availability during the break week, but that's what we have right now.
    If I could adjust my subamendment to give more flexibility, to say “by the 3rd”, that gives us 10 days from now to have it completed. That gives us three more meetings after tomorrow's.
     Your subamendment to Mr. MacGregor's amendment is that it occur on or after this Thursday.
    It's on or before, such that it's “on or before November 3”.
    We're playing a little bit fast and loose with procedure here, but I think we can work with that.
    Madam Michaud.


    I don't think I can move another subamendment to that.
    Would Mr. Motz agree to move the date from November 3 to November 10?
    That way, the clerk will also have the week we spend in our constituency. I don't like to sit during the weeks we spend in our constituency because we have so much to do in our respective ridings. That said, if the minister and the commissioner are unavailable, or we don't find room to schedule this meeting, we could meet during our week in our constituency.
    I don't know if he's willing to amend his subamendment. If not, I may vote against his subamendment so that I can move a subamendment that says November 10.


    Mr. Motz.
    No. I think having the motion read “November 3” gives us four full meetings.
    Okay, fair enough.
    Is there any further discussion, and are we clear about this subamendment?
    Mr. Chair, could you clarify what we are voting on, please?
    Mr. MacGregor made a motion to amend the date to be on the 27th or as soon as possible afterwards. Mr. Motz has modified that, such that it is “on or before November 3”.
    Is that fair enough?
    Mr. Chair, to be clear, it extends the original motion by an entire week of availability. Now we're looking at 10 days of leeway for the commissioner and the minister to come to committee, which is considerable, compared to the original motion.
    Thank you.
    Ms. Damoff.
     Chair, we wouldn't support what's on the floor, but we would support the change that Kristina proposed to “November 10”.


    Okay, fair enough.
    We have to have a vote on this subamendment. Is there any further discussion on this subamendment?
    I raised my hand, Mr. Chair.
    I'm sorry. Go ahead, Mr. Van Bynen.
    Thank you.
    The intent here was to utilize a free time. That is why I would support the “before November 10” amendment. I think it's important, but I think both Bill C-21 and this investigation are important. It's worth the commitment of our time during the riding week.
    Thank you, Mr. Van Bynen.
    That is a possible future subamendment. However, the amendment right now is according to Mr. MacGregor, as modified further by Mr. Motz.
    The subamendment of Mr. Motz is what we are now voting on.
    (Subamendment negatived)
    The Chair: We're now back to Mr. MacGregor's amendment, which is to have the meeting on the 27th or as soon afterwards as possible.
    Is there any further discussion on that, or any further amendments?
    Ms. Michaud.


    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I would like to move a subamendment to Mr. MacGregor's amendment.
    It could read: “after Thursday, October 27, or as soon as possible before November 10, 2022”.


    Ms. Damoff.
    Can we just say “on or before November 10”?


    It's “on” or “after”.


     Ms. Dancho.
    Mr. Chair, I understand that we're trying to provide a little bit more leeway to the minister and the RCMP commissioner. As we've said, we've provided, in good faith, an additional week. That was voted down. Now we're looking at two additional weeks. However, I will point out that during break weeks the media is not paying us close enough attention, so it really is very convenient for the minister and the commissioner if they do come to committee during the break week when eyes will not be on them as much as they would otherwise. I just want to point that out to committee members.
    I think this is important. This is a public interest story. This is about a minister possibly lying on the record—and the RCMP commissioner. I think it's important that we have folks who are in Ottawa during a sitting week, when the ministers aren't Zooming in from their living rooms in their home ridings. The minister is here this week, and I think it would be appropriate to have it now.
    I just want to put that on the record for this subamendment.
    Thank you.
    We have Madam Michaud and then Mr. Ellis.
    Madam Michaud.


    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I just want to make it clear that I'm not trying to give the minister and the commissioner a way out. It's really out of consideration for House administration.
    I know that a number of committees have to cancel sometimes because the interpreters' situation is not ideal. There was an incident in the Senate last Friday. It's hard right now to find additional time slots. It's just consideration for the House staff, the committee staff and all the people who work to set up an extra meeting. It's out of consideration for them, if they need a little more time, instead of slipping the committee meeting in somewhere when people have already worked for two hours interpreting, for example, that same day.
    In short, it's only to give them a little more time, not necessarily the minister and the commissioner.


    Thank you. Sometimes we get lucky, like we did today.
    Mr. Ellis, go ahead.
     Mr. Chair, I'll respectfully disagree with my colleague from the Bloc. This is not about the House resources. It's not about Minister Blair in the sense of his time. It's not about Commissioner Lucki in the sense of her time. This is about the understanding, as I mentioned previously, for 22 people and an unborn child who died. It's as simple as that.
    Those who affected this investigation.... The people of Nova Scotia have entirely—entirely—lost faith in the process and need to have answers. I think it's a travesty to think we need to make time for House resources. That may be a reality—I understand that—but for us to sit here in this committee and not attempt to put our best foot forward.... That's not good enough. It is not good enough. This committee needs to do better.
    There's new evidence here. It is exceedingly clear that Commissioner Lucki and Minister Blair have conflicting stories. To sit here and say that we need to be pandering to this or that or trying to smooth things over is not good enough. That is not good enough. Is that why we came here? Did we come here to say, “Oh, we're too busy” or “Oh, the minister is too busy”? That makes no sense to me. That's nonsensical. Are people too busy to come here to answer for mistruths or half-truths or misleading...or whatever parliamentary word I'm going to use today because I'm going to maintain a measured approach? That is unacceptable. It's ridiculous. It's nonsense. This is beyond any common sense. People looking at these transcripts now and saying, “Oh, that's not what the commissioner said”.... Well, let's get the dang commissioner in here and make her understand, then, what she said. Let's get the minister in here. Let's get them both in here. Then we don't have to be over here going along—
    The Chair: Stop.
    Mr. Stephen Ellis: No, let me finish. This is my time.


    No. Stop.
    You know what? This is inappropriate.
    Stop. Stop.
    Would you keep your voice down on behalf of the interpreters.
    That's a very good point, Mr. Chair, and I respect that, but this is an emotional thing for me, and the people on this committee need to understand that. They need to understand very clearly that we can no longer allow people to go on, such as my colleagues across the aisle, and say, “This is what I think the commissioner said” or “This is what I think the minister said.” That's not right. Let's get them in here. Let's have them go through the transcripts themselves. Let's have them understand what was said at the MCC. Let's have them understand what Darren Campbell said. Let's have them understand what Chief Superintendent Leather was told not to talk about by the Department of Justice lawyers.
     Let's have them in here, and let's make them atone for what they have said. It's as simple as that.
     Thank you.
    That's the subject of the main motion.
    Is there any further discussion on the subamendment?
    Yes, Mr. Chair.
    Mr. Van Bynen, please.
     Mr. Chair, I just wanted to clarify Ms. Dancho's comments that the concern about extending it to November 10 was not enough “media”.
    Did I hear that correctly?
    Mr. Van Bynen, I think you're well aware that ministers go home for break week. I think it's important that they come to committee in person. They are here this week. They should be here in person. As well, the public wants to have answers on this.
    I think you're well aware of what break week means, so I don't think I need to further clarify my comments to you, Mr. Van Bynen.
    Thank you.
    Is there any further discussion on this subamendment by Madam Michaud?
    Seeing none, let's have a vote.
    (Subamendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now return to Mr. MacGregor's amendment as modified by Madam Michaud.
    Is there any further discussion on Mr. MacGregor's amendment as modified by Madam Michaud?
    Seeing none, let's have a vote on that.
    Can you clarify what we're voting on? What is the wording for it, please?
    This is a test, right?
    Mr. MacGregor moved that we modify the main motion to be “October 27 or as soon possible thereafter”. Madam Michaud added the text “subject that it occur on or before the 10th of November”.
    Is that correct?
    That is the amendment we are now voting on.
    Is there any further discussion?
    Mr. Van Bynen, please go ahead.
    On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I wonder if we might have the vote called out for members. It's difficult for me to see how the votes are going, largely because the screen displays only the speaker.
    Fair enough.
    If we're ready to vote, I'll ask the clerk to poll the vote, please.
    (Amendment as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: We will now go back to the main motion as amended by Mr. MacGregor and further amended by Madam Michaud.
    Is there any further discussion on the main motion?
    Ms. Damoff, please.


    Chair, I think every single member in the House of Commons—every single Canadian—was devastated by what happened in Nova Scotia and in the way it was done, and to imply that we weren't I actually find quite offensive. I think every single Canadian was absolutely shocked and heartbroken. The reason the inquiry was called was to get to the bottom of why things happened the way they did.
    During that time we had Commissioner Lucki here. We had Minister Blair here. There's a partial recording of a phone conversation they had. It's not all there. One line has been quoted extensively, but there are a number of other quotes. Even the reference that Mr. MacGregor made about legislation coming wasn't secret. That was in our platform. That was discussed regularly. There was nothing confidential about the fact that legislation was coming forward.
    Both Commissioner Lucki and Minister Blair have been very clear. Most recently Minister Blair said in the House that he did not direct the commissioner. To start implying that by not supporting this motion we're not supporting the people of Nova Scotia and the families and friends and loved ones of those who died.... That is just simply not true. We have heard from those during the inquiries. It's unfortunate to hear comments such as the media won't be here on the break week. Either we want to get to answers or we want to have a meeting so that the media is here. That also is disappointing.
    I'm not going to support the motion. I think we've heard enough. I don't think anything has changed from when we had the commissioner and the minister here previously. I went through the transcript. Commissioner Lucki is the commissioner of the RCMP and she has every right to expect that the people who work for her should be respectful. Time and time again through this she was upset with timelines. She was upset with the way the media was being handled in many ways. She couldn't get a chronology for what had happened. She couldn't get a map for days. She had offered assistance to Nova Scotia and it didn't come forward. I don't think there's anything new from this transcript, so I won't be supporting bringing them back.
    I do appreciate, however, the addition of an extra meeting, because Bill C-21 has to be a priority and it has to remain a priority for our committee.
    Thank you.
    We have Ms. Dancho followed by Mr. Ellis followed by Mr. Noormohamed.
     Mr. Chair, Conservative members and our colleague represent the area where 22 people including a pregnant woman were killed. It's obvious why our emotions are very high about this.
     The idea that the minister of public safety at the time saw the death of 22 people, including a pregnant woman, as an opportunity to get his legislation passed is disgusting. The fact that he came here and misled the committee on the record.... What he said directly contradicts what Commissioner Lucki said during the summer, let alone that now we have an audio recording of the actual meeting.
    He fully denied knowing that the commissioner was going to go against her own advice to jeopardize an investigation and try to get information released. He said he didn't know anything about that, on the record, in committee. He also denied asking her to do that, and yet in the audio recording, she said that his office requested that she do that, and then she confirmed to the minister that she would.
    To me, that is very clear, and there's no way you can see that otherwise. Either she's lying or he's lying, or perhaps they're both lying. That is why we've asked them both to resign. You can't get more cut and dried than how contradictory that is.
    This was during a time that funerals hadn't even occurred, and here we may have minister who was looking at that as an opportunity....
    The commissioner tied this to Liberal policy. That was why she was going against her own advice to push for information to be released, which she just days before said in writing to the minister, the minister's chief of staff, a national security adviser: Do not release this beyond the minister and the Prime Minister because it could jeopardize the investigation. She said that in writing.
     Only days later, she was reprimanding her deputies for not sharing that information because she had committed to the minister that she would, who denied that he ever asked her to do that. It is very clear that there was ruthless political posturing being done during this time, going against expert advice and looking to knowingly jeopardize an investigation for political gain.
    That is why our emotions are running very high. It's deeply upsetting, and the minister must be held accountable, as should the commissioner.
     The public has every right to be fully aware of that. It isn't right if there is any move to downplay this or push it off for months, or push it during a week when people aren't paying attention or can zoom in from their home.
     It is very important that we host this. I would call on the minister: If he truly means what his statement to the media said, then he should have no problem coming to committee this week, and he should bring the commissioner with him.


    Thank you.
    Next is Mr. Ellis, followed by Mr. Noormohamed.
    Mr. Ellis, go ahead.
    Mr. Chair, I'll start by apologizing to the translators.
    As Ms. Dancho correctly points out, this is an exceedingly emotional time. Again, I apologize for speaking loudly, not with the emotion, but for the loudness—absolutely.
    That being said, I find it absolutely appalling that we're going to sit here in this committee today and talk about the he-said-she-said when we could actually solve this issue.
    We can talk about whether Ms. Damoff thinks somebody said this, or Ms. Dancho said that somebody said this, or I think somebody said this, or heaven forbid, Mr. Chair, you think somebody said this.
    We can have them here. There's a simple solution. They can come in front of this committee and they can explain themselves. It's as simple as that.
     I call on my colleagues across the aisle—I understand that some of them have experience in the police force—to understand the importance of not hearing what they wrote in a public statement or what they said to the media, or even reading the transcripts. Let's have them here. I was a family doctor for 26 years. Do we have people write in their concerns to me? No. What do we do? We sit down in front of people. We actually sit with them and we talk to them.
    My good colleague here was a police officer for many years. What do they do? They interview people. They don't have them write their statements and think “I wonder what he meant there.”
    My good colleague across the aisle is another former police officer. It's the same thing. They actually have people sit in front of them. They don't get to hide. You don't get to say whatever you want to the media and go on and on and on. When new evidence comes, you reinterview people. It's as simple as that.
    For my colleagues across the aisle to scoff at the idea that we don't have the time in Parliament to help atone for the misery that 22 lives were taken and an unborn baby—that we don't have the time to do that—is unconscionable. There's no other word for it. It's unconscionable. It behooves us as parliamentarians...that's why we're here.
    I can't even believe that we have to have a debate about this, that my colleagues across the aisle suggest they are going to vote down having these two witnesses back again. Am I living in an altered universe that we don't have time for these families?
    I'm beyond words, Mr. Chair. I have no other words, other than to implore my colleagues that they need to have due process here. Have these witnesses back, have them questioned once again for what they said, what the transcripts show and what others said. Have them have their say.


     Thank you, Mr. Ellis.
    Mr. Noormohamed, go ahead, please.
    Mr. Chair, I've been sitting here listening quietly. I want to begin by saying to Mr. Ellis that I can't imagine what he and his fellow Nova Scotians have been going through over the course of the last little while.
    All I want to say is that you have our sympathies and you have our support in making sure that those families get the justice they deserve.
    I had the privilege, as a young bureaucrat, of working with Liberal and Conservative governments in dealing with victims of terrorism and victims of crime. One thing that was very important at that time was not to politicize tragedy.
    I have to admit that I was almost there in terms of supporting this motion, because I do believe it's important to hear the truth.
    I'm sorry Mr. Ellis has to leave, because I think this is an important point that I'd have liked for him to hear.
    I think it lays bare the point I want to make, that when comments are made that the cameras aren't going to be on this, it tells you what the agenda is. That is of concern to me. If the agenda is the truth, and if the agenda is let's make sure we have the conversation, then it shouldn't matter whether it's a break week or not. It shouldn't matter whether or not the lights of the cameras are shining on it. If the media is concerned about this and it's a real story, the media will find its way to it.
    Unfortunately, what we have here is people playing politics. If that is the case, I cannot see myself supporting this motion. Ultimately, I don't think it is in the interests of the country to waste time by bringing in the commissioner of the RCMP to rehash exactly what we already know. There is nothing new in that transcript. There is nothing new. For us to waste the time of Parliament in trying to create space for political opportunism is not okay. That's not what Canadians have asked us to do. What they have asked us to do is to get Bill C-21 done, to stop wasting time and to stop trying to throw roadblocks in terms of passing a piece of legislation that will prevent future tragedy.
    Thank you, Mr. Noormohamed.
    Is there any further discussion on Madam Dancho's motion as amended?
    Ms. Dancho, go ahead.
    Mr. Chair, we may have a discussion amongst opposition parties, given the importance of this, that we'd like to move a subamendment to have this by next Thursday as the deadline. That would be the 3rd, not the 10th.
    If we have agreement on that, I will move it.
    I'm moving a subamendment that the latest date would be the 3rd. It's now the 10th, and this would change it to the 3rd.
    We already voted on that subamendment and we defeated it.
    No. It was amended.
    Mr. MacGregor made an amendment. Mr. Motz moved for the 3rd—
    Okay. Then we'll say by the 4th, Mr. Chair. That will be my subamendment.
    It's a distinction without a difference, really.
    Mr. MacGregor, please.
    I understand your position, Chair. You have to look after procedure, but I'm sure if you test the room, you're going to see a majority of members in favour of what's being proposed.
    Well, let's do this. We have dealt with this issue. We can deal with it again if we have unanimous consent to do so.
    Do we have unanimous consent to consider a subamendment that's already been dealt with?
    Can it be a new amendment?
    It is a new amendment.
    I'm sorry...?
    The 4th is a new amendment.
    It's not really a new amendment, because we can't meet on the 4th, right? We have only specified days. So you can—
    We don't know if we can meet next week and you were willing to do it on the 10th.
    Well, there's more chance there.
    All I'm saying is that Mr. Motz made his subamendment. We voted on it. We voted it down. It's problematic for me to re-engage that.
    I mean, there has been more discussion. I think that's a fair point. If the room wants to vote on it, do we have agreement to consider this motion?
    An hon. member: No.
    The Chair: I don't think we can do this without unanimous consent.
    Having said that, I'm certainly willing to do my best with the clerk to arrange for this meeting as soon as possible. I guess one of the points of the whole discussion is finding a time that's going to work for the committee, finding a slot. We know that it's extremely difficult to find slots for committee work.
    Go ahead.


     Mr. Chair, why wouldn't we be able to meet on the 4th? That's a brand new day. It's not a holiday. It's a new day that we're proposing.
    What day is the 4th?
    An hon. member: It's a Friday.
    It's a brand new day, a new amendment. There's been new discussion, as you rightly pointed out.
    I'm torn here.
    Mr. MacGregor, go ahead.
    Following Ms. Dancho's reasoning, you said we don't meet on Friday and we don't meet on Monday, but we're meeting today. By her logic, she's just proposing a different day, and I think it's by the 4th.
    We got lucky today. I should point that out again and again.
    Ms. Damoff.
    I would ask whether the opposition parties would agree to having additional resources made available, particularly during the break week. We shouldn't call it break week because it's not a break; it's a constituency week. I don't know about other people, but I'm just as busy during those weeks as I am when I'm in Ottawa. It's just a different kind of busy.
    I wonder if everyone would be in agreement with having additional resources made available during that constituency week so that if we're not dealing with the motion, if it passes, we would deal with Bill C-21 that week.
    I'm not sure that gets me out of my dilemma here.
    Go ahead, Mr. Shipley.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'm back in now because Mr. Ellis had to leave.
    I think saying by the 4th is definitely a new amendment. It's a different date, a different day. I don't know how we can say it's not a new amendment. I have a lot of faith in our good chair and clerk here, and I think if you squeezed this one in here today—and kudos to you, because I think you're doing a great job—then we could probably get something squeezed in and not have to take away from the important work we're doing on Bill C-21, Ms. Damoff.
    None of us is trying to do that whatsoever. That's not what's in my mind. What we're trying to do is get this dealt with as soon as possible, and I'm hopeful that we can do both in the next two weeks—keep working on our Bill C-21 and at the same time squeeze in another meeting, as we're talking about doing, to deal with this issue that's pressing and pertinent now.
    Let me say that if we can arrange a meeting on that Friday—
    A voice: It's by the Friday—
    The Chair: —by the Friday—
    That's two weeks.
    It's by the Friday but not on the Friday?
    It's by or on but by the end of that day—
    If we can arrange another meeting, I'm happy to do that, and that's within the scope of the amendment as we've already undertaken it. I'm quite happy to do that.
    We're working with the House administration and what resources are available. As I mentioned, for two weeks we've been trying to get some more time for Bill C-21 on Thursdays, and we've been turned down. We only got this because the foreign affairs committee cancelled their meeting. Then they wanted it back, but we already had it so they couldn't get it back.
    House resources are extraordinarily tight. I think Mr. Shipley is Irish. I think he's got a bit of the blarney there. He complimented the chair, and that's always good.
    I'll will accept that the 4th is a different date and we can vote on that. I'm kind of reluctant...I think it already clicks with what we've agreed to, but if we want to vote on that, let's vote on that subamendment.
    Are we clear on Mr. Shipley's subamendment? We are.
    Mr. Noormohamed, go ahead.
    Mr. Chair, I want to get clarification on something from Mr. Shipley.
     I want to make sure that we're doing this and we're all committed to ensuring that we are not delaying Bill C-21 and that we're going to stick to the timelines to get Bill C-21 done as quickly as possible. Personally for me, that's an important commitment to hear, and I trust my friend Mr. Shipley completely when he says that. I want to make sure that is the sense of the room before I decide how I'm going to vote.


    Okay, so we have now Mr. Shipley's—
    Can I answer that?
    I was going to say I have no intention whatsoever of delaying Bill C-21. I think we're a good enough working group here to get both done in the next two weeks.
    Yes, go ahead.
    It's right in the motion.
    As my colleague just said, it's right in the motion. If we have to find extra time for Bill C-21 and we have to balance that, we will.
    It's not my intention at all, Mr. Noormohamed.
     Are we all now clear on Mr. Shipley's subamendment, which is to change it to: “after the 27th but on or before the 4th of November”? Correct? Instead of the 10th...? I think we should probably call the roll on this vote as well.
    An hon. member: A recorded vote?
    The Chair: Yes.
    (Subamendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    Go ahead, Pam.
    I'm sorry. I have another amendment, Chair, and at the end of “the previously scheduled witnesses for C-21 be added to an additional meeting for the C-21 study”, it adds, comma, “including during the week of November 7th if necessary”.
     It's so that if we need to meet during the break week to add the meeting for Bill C-21, we're going to commit to do it. It's “an additional meeting for the C-21 study, including during the week of November 7th if necessary”. If you can't get an extra meeting, Chair, we're going to have to come in during that constituency week.
    Are we clear on that amendment?
     I'm not sure where we are with amendments and subamendments anymore. I think we're at an amendment now.
    I wanted to clarify this. I believe that we need to meet in person, and for me to get back and forth.... As long as we have it that week and it's not on the 10th, because I can't get back to deal with my veterans' issues in my riding unless I leave sometime early on the 10th.... Monday to Wednesday is fine. On Thursday, I can't make it back in time.
    Well, we can all get subs, Glen.
    We leave that to the clerk. I'm only saying that the clerk—
    That's why you can get subs.
    It's up to the chair to work with the clerk, right?
    Yes, that's all I'm saying. It's more for the clerk's attention.
    Whenever the meetings are, all members have the option of attending in person or remotely, according to the House motion of whenever. If it's during a break week, I will probably be online. It's a lot easier if we're all online than if some of us are online, but anyway....
    Are we all clear with Ms. Damoff's amendment? The motion as it stands is as Ms. Dancho presented it, modified by Mr. MacGregor, modified by Ms. Michaud and modified by Mr. Shipley, and now it is being modified by Ms. Damoff to add...?
    Yes, “including during the week of November 4th if necessary”.
    All right. Let's call the roll on that.
    Go ahead, Tony.
    On another point of order, Mr. Chair, I'm not sure how the microphones are working there, but I'm not hearing the votes as they're being called out.
    We'll ask people to shout them out.
    On a point of order, Chair, I'm sorry: It's November 7th. I think I said November 4th. It's “including the week of November 7th if necessary”.


    Please call the roll.
    (Amendment agreed to: yeas 11; nays 0 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Now, we're back to the main motion as amended. Is there any further discussion?
    We're all clear on what we're voting on now.
    (Motion as amended agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: Mr. MacGregor.
    Mr. Chair, I want to take this opportunity to move another motion, for which notice was given on Friday. The clerk is about to distribute it. This also has to deal with the subject of conflicting testimony that was given at this committee in March of this year versus what was given at the commission.
    The motion is as follows:
That the Chair, on behalf of the Committee, contact the Ontario Provincial Police demanding an immediate response regarding their testimony before the Committee on March 24, 2022, where they identified possible security threats in relation to the Freedom Convoy, which runs in apparent contradiction to their testimony before the Public Order Emergency Commission on October 19, 2022.
    I won't take much time, Mr. Chair.
    On March 24, during my final two and a half minutes, I asked Ottawa Interim Chief of Police Bell, “at the time...did you feel that it was a national security threat? When you received those assessments, did your police officers feel that was a viable national security threat?”
    Chief Bell referenced intelligence experts, and then he said he was going to defer the question to OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique. OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique answered, “Thank you, Chief Bell. Through you, Mr. Chair, we did identify it as a threat to national security, through the provincial operations intelligence bureau, on or about February 7.” He repeated that same answer in a reply to Mr. Sameer Zuberi, who was a member of our committee at that time, and he did, again, reiterate that they identified it collectively as a risk to national security.
    Mr. Chair, if you contrast that with one of the commissioner's deputies who, on October 19, asserted that it was not a direct threat to national security.... I'm quite troubled that the very same police force is giving one answer to the public order commission but a completely different answer earlier in the year to a committee of the House of Commons.
    I think, Mr. Chair, that this committee has to empower you to seek clarification on why those two wildly different testimonies were given.
    I will end there, and I hope I can gain support from my colleagues for this motion.
    Thank you, Mr. MacGregor.
    It seems to be in order and is so moved.
    Is there any discussion on this motion?
    Seeing no discussion, we will have a vote on it.
    Do we need a roll call vote?
    I'd like to request a recorded vote.
    (Motion agreed to: yeas 11; nays 0)
    I was counting on some amendments and subamendments.
    Mr. Van Bynen, go ahead.


     Mr. Chair, I would like to reintroduce the motion I put forward on Thursday, October 6.
    Do you want me to read the motion again? It's a matter of record already and notice has been provided.
    I think it would be best if you read it, so we're all clear on what it is.
    I move:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee takes up a study to review emergency preparedness with respect to extreme weather hazards including but not limited to floods, forest fires, ice/snowstorms and hurricanes and that;
a- The study includes a review of critical infrastructure at high risk from these events; what all levels of government are doing to mitigate these risks; and what response and recovery capacity is in place when disasters do occur, including a review of roles, responsibilities, and processes to activate response mechanisms;
b- This study includes at least four meetings;
c- The committee invite the President of the King's Privy Council and Minister of Emergency Preparedness to appear, and other witnesses as requested by the committee;
d- This committee report its findings to the House; and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the government table a comprehensive response to the report.
    The motion is in order.
    I will note to the committee that there's no deadline or time specified for when to have it. We have a number of things on the table. We'll have to try to juggle it as best we can.
    If this passes, I would ask that all members submit witness lists, so that we can ask our.... I'm trying not to speak to the motion.
    Is there any discussion?
    That was part of my question. I didn't catch if there was a date, but you're saying there's no specific date. If it passes, it will be happening; we just haven't decided when.
     My concern is that earlier this fall, we talked about reviewing what happened at the mass killing in Saskatchewan. That is still very present, and the investigation continues. I think the committee agreed that it was a pressing issue. There was a bit of disagreement on whether or not we would wait until the inquiry for that is over. I want to reiterate that it is the Conservative priority. I know there are a few other parties that are also interested in studying it as soon as we conclude Bill C-21, or as soon as possible, given that we would like to prevent that from happening before.... I think it is the duty to ensure that it is the priority.
     I think this motion originated, in part, from a Conservative member who is no longer on this committee, Tako Van Popta. He's a very hard-working member. We are pleased with the motion overall.
    Thank you.
    I think we may have to have a subcommittee meeting down the road to sort out some of this stuff.
    Is there any further discussion on this motion?
    Go ahead, Mr. Noormohamed.
    Mr. Chair, in the spirit of my fellow British Columbian, the Conservative member who originally had this idea, I think it's a very important motion for us to get into.
    The one thing I would suggest, if we are open to this during the course of the conversation about it, is to include some provisions for travel. I think there's a lot we can learn from what has happened in Japan and in New Orleans, and what has worked well and what has not worked well. We can see first-hand the long-term impacts of either good planning or poor planning.
    Frankly, it may be too soon for us to travel to Atlantic Canada to see what has happened post-Fiona, but it's important for us to learn lessons from other parts of the world to bring best practices to Canada when possible.
    I don't know how others feel about that, but I think it may be worthy of consideration.


    That's great.
    Thank you, Mr. Noormohamed.
    Is there any further discussion?
    Seeing none, let us have a vote on this wonderful motion.
    Do we need a roll call?
    I think it's easier for Tony.
    I'm sorry.
    I think Tony was having trouble hearing us. Maybe ask him if he wants to have a roll call or to see if we all agree.
    If there's unanimous consent, I'm delighted with that.
     I haven't been able to hear the microphones very effectively. It might be all this Beatles music in the background.
     Let's see if we have agreement.
     I see agreement around the table, so I'll consider that unanimous agreement.
     (Motion agreed to)
    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Van Bynen.
    Is there any further business for us at this time?
    Seeing none, thank you, all, for your time and your diligence in pursuing matters of great passion and concern.
    With that, we are now adjourned.
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