To speak to the last point to reassure my colleague, this is exactly the way the motion was written to start the pharmacare study. You want to write the subject of study broadly enough so that the committee can study the subject without undue limitations. I think it's fairly clear. It says the committee should “undertake a study on the development of a national dental care program as an insured service for Canadians“.
With great respect, there's nothing in there that suggests that it would take 10 years to look at this. It's a fairly targeted subject. We know what we're talking about: how we deliver universal dental care to Canadians, recognizing there are a variety of possibilities. Maybe it's a private-public patchwork. Maybe it's augmented employer coverage. Maybe it's through the Canada Health Act. That's why I took the words from the Canada Health Act. It is prescriptive and that's my preference, but it may not be the committee's preference.
It's been my experience over the last 12 years that when we write proposals for studies, we keep them broad enough so that we can go where we need to go, but centred enough that we know what we're studying. I think it's quite clear from this what we're studying.
I want to emphasize this point. The way we view this process is that we should kick four, five, six, seven issues onto the field here, past five, six, seven possible different subjects. We then refer those to the subcommittee for it to meet to determine in what order it wants to go, then come back and recommend that.
I like what the chair said about the work plan. We all know the reality is that we're not undertaking a study on Monday. I like what Mr. Fisher said about leaving today with the idea of having one study that we're going to start with. I suggest it be on dental care, but it doesn't have to be. Whatever study we choose to get started with today, the other issues we agree to look at should go to the subcommittee for it to talk about what order these might come in.
My final point is that when we bite into a study, we should keep it going because it's nice to concentrate on it, but that if something does come up that's more of an emergency, we can always stand down that study and delve into something else. I've been on committee where we've had two things going. Ms. Sidhu would remember that too. We didn't do the pharmacare study at every meeting for over two years; we stood it down and studied other things and took a break from it.