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View Dan Albas Profile
Mr. Barrett has struck a couple of different ideas with me.
First of all, I'd like to address Mr. Oliphant's key point, that some parliamentarians are disadvantaged because they don't have access to the government, such as government members or parliamentary secretaries. There is an imbalance. That being said, that's why parliamentary committees are separate from government. We have analysts, I'm sure, for members who miraculously cannot find the time after being named to this committee.
I've already taken out a few different books so that I can have an at least cursory understanding of all the different issues. I read many of the columns of the media who are here today that are informing of what the issues are. I think I can find enough questions. However, if members feel disadvantaged and don't feel that they'll have questions at the start of this committee's work, the Library of Parliament analysts will be able to supply them with good material that will help them to get a good sense of things.
Members opposite have not moved to amend. They agree that the ambassador is important and, from my understanding, the ambassador has actually shown interest in coming to the committee once it's ratified by members, but it's the dates that are in question. As well, there is this information power imbalance, that Mr. Oliphant mentioned, which seems to be the issue.
Perhaps what we can do is to have a three-hour meeting next Monday. We'll do an hour with, as you mentioned, the national security adviser, the acting one, as well as the deputy minister of foreign affairs and trade. We'll start from there for the first hour, and then we'll have the ambassador. We also have to bear in mind that the ambassador may have something come up that he needs to respond to. It seems that he indicated that in late January he would be willing to come forward.
Let's start working on this. I'm fine to manage my workload and to engage the Library of Parliament so that I can be informed and can ask good questions of Mr. Barton.
If you look at the original motions presented to the House, which it agreed with, from time to time we may call upon certain officials. That means that, perhaps at another juncture, we may have more questions because of what we've heard from various experts within Canada or outside.
This is not going to be a one-time process. It doesn't necessarily have to be. My friend from the Bloc mentioned earlier that the process now is that the subcommittee is supposed to handle the agenda. I totally understand what he means, but we're the client, right? We've hired the subcommittee, like a contractor, to handle certain things, but if we want a meeting to start with, just to open up the conversation and then let the members from that point start planning witnesses and the order of things, we can do that. I don't find a flaw with what he said; I'm just pointing out that you can also look at it from another perspective. I'm hopeful that members will be amenable to it, and that perhaps a motion can be added so that we also have the acting national security adviser and the deputy minister on the 27th. To me, that would be a good way for us to get started.
I trust that members will do their homework, and I will do mine.
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