I am conscious of the fact that the committee wants to talk to witnesses about the coronavirus, so if the next motion does require there to be more debate, I'm happy to defer it to another meeting. However, I'll introduce it now.
It has to do with in camera proceedings. The basic thought behind the motion is that the business of the committee should presumptively be done in public. We are a standing committee answerable to not only the House of Commons but also the people of Canada, and whenever possible we should be doing our business for the public to see. However, the motion also recognizes that there are occasions when committees do and ought to go in camera.
This is a motion that I moved four years ago to the previous committee. We didn't pass it because we came to an understanding, as a matter of committee practice, that we would follow that general concept, but I thought I would introduce it again this year. This is how the motion would read:
That the committee may meet in camera only for the following purposes:
a) to consider a draft report;
b) to attend briefings concerning national security;
c) for any other reason, with the unanimous consent of the committee;
That all votes taken in camera, with the exception of votes regarding the consideration of draft reports, be recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings, including how each member voted when recorded votes are requested;
That any motion to sit in camera is debatable and amendable.
I would also add a friendly amendment to my own motion. I thought another reason to go in camera should be added to this. It is when witnesses are being discussed or considered. That's to ensure everybody has the ability to have a free flow of exchanges and ideas, but besides that, those are the main reasons why a committee ought to go in camera. However, it also leaves open a possibility, if we haven't described every conceivable situation, where we could go in camera with the unanimous consent of committee members.
If I can add a friendly amendment to my own motion, it is to add a (d) to include the consideration of witnesses.