Mr. Chair, I know that our colleague just went back to the motion we just passed, but I thought we were trying to determine the most appropriate times to meet.
I would just like to ask a question. Our colleague, in presenting the Conservatives' proposal to meet Mondays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., told us that they felt it would be better to meet once than twice, and for three hours rather than two. It seems to me that twice for two hours is more than once for three hours. So I would like someone to explain to me why we prefer one three-hour meeting over two two-hour meetings.
My second question involves the expression “as soon as possible”. Let me share with you a past experience I had with Chinese representatives a few years ago during a previous term in the House of Commons. We were in contact with, among others, people representing Taiwan. They told us they planned to open an office in Montreal soon. A country that is several thousand years old has a different definition of the word “soon” than a country that is barely 400 years old. To my knowledge, the office has yet to be opened in Montreal. So that is something to consider.
When we say “as soon as possible”, it must be understood that there is a sense of urgency. Not only are the economic interests of Canada and Quebec at stake. The lives of at least two Canadian citizens are as well. We must therefore proceed with diligence. We have set a deadline for a meeting with the ambassador, which is February 7, and I believe the ambassador will arrive in North America on January 28. That means he could join us in the next few days, perhaps January 29 or January 30. Those dates do not, however, fall on a Monday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
So I ask you again: why should we meet once for three hours instead of twice for two hours? Honestly, I prefer two two-hour meetings. I believe we stand to get more work done in two two-hour meetings than one three-hour meeting.