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Results: 1 - 15 of 74891
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2020-07-27 16:02
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I will officially call this meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 44 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.
Pursuant to a request from four members of the committee, we are meeting to discuss the logistics of the committee testimony of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Katie Telford; Craig Kielburger; Marc Kielburger; Michelle Douglas, former WE board chair; and the CFO of WE, Victor Li, including but not limited to the panels they will appear on and the length of their respective testimony. That's the purpose of today's meeting.
I think members have all received the contribution agreement that the Clerk of the Privy Council agreed to provide. We have put notices out for the meeting for tomorrow and for the meeting with the Prime Minister and for a separate panel for the chief of staff on Thursday, but that is, as you know, subject to change.
Do I see your hand up, Peter Fragiskatos?
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View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
You do, Mr. Chair. I apologize if you weren't finished yet, but I do have a motion to put forward.
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2020-07-27 16:03
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Okay. I'll take your motion, but because we are in video conference, make sure you wave. I have a very small screen here.
Go ahead, Mr. Fragiskatos. What's your motion?
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View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
Since we are meeting to discuss the logistics of witnesses and future meetings, the motion does relate to that.
It is as follows: “That the chair be empowered to schedule meetings with the witnesses listed in the request for today's meeting as the chair deems appropriate, as per the availability of witnesses.”
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2020-07-27 16:04
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I only got about seven words of that down, Mr. Fragiskatos. Can you read it more slowly? Then I have Mr. Poilievre next.
Read it more slowly. Then present your reasoning, and then we'll go to Mr. Poilievre.
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View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'm happy to go more slowly.
It is as follows: “That the chair be empowered to schedule meetings with the witnesses listed in the request for today's meeting, as the chair deems appropriate, as per the availability of witnesses.”
As to the reasoning, Mr. Chair, I think it's self-explanatory. This allows for the best approach in terms of organizing future meetings. Leaving it in your hands and the hands of those who help organize meetings on the clerk's side, I think, would be quite useful.
Thanks a lot.
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2020-07-27 16:04
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Okay. The motion's on the floor.
We have Mr. Poilievre, and if there is anybody else, just put your hand up.
Go ahead, Mr. Poilievre.
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View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2020-07-27 16:05
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Just to be clear, Mr. Chair, I hate to ruin your momentary flattery, but Mr. Fragiskatos' motion does not empower you to do anything. If you look at the wording, you see it has “subject to the availability of the witnesses”. Effectively, it empowers them to decide when they come and for how long.
We've never done that before. It's completely unprecedented for us to just say, “Hey, a witness can come whenever he wants and for however long he wants.” This motion would be unprecedented in my 16 years in Parliament.
Now, we can haggle over it all we want, but here's the bottom line: the Kielburgers are coming for four hours. They may come tomorrow for four hours or the Liberals on the committee might choose to talk us through the night, but the opposition has a majority and we are going to compel sufficient testimony to get the answers. If Liberals want to talk out the clock, as they've done in other committees, in order for the witnesses to appear for only an hour or an hour and a half or something like that tomorrow, that's fine. We'll just invite them back again, and maybe a third time, so that we get a cumulative period to cover the questions that need answering.
Right now the Kielburgers are offering to come. I think originally it was for an hour. Now it's for an hour and a half. Once we've had a couple of opening statements, we will burn through that in no time. This is a massive undertaking. We need to ask a lot of questions. There's no chance that we're going to allow an appearance of an hour and a half for two witnesses who are so quintessential to the discussion.
I understand that they now want to include a third witness in those proceedings. That would then burn up a tremendous amount of time in opening statements alone. That's obviously not acceptable to the official opposition. I won't speak for the other two opposition parties, but I suspect it's not acceptable to them either. We do need to have the Kielburgers for at least four hours tomorrow. If the government wants to finagle a procedural trick to prevent that from happening, then we'll have to invite the Kielburgers back for more testimony later on.
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2020-07-27 16:07
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I take it that you're speaking against that motion.
Who's next on the speaking list? Is there anyone?
Go ahead, Mr. Julian.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks, Mr. Chair. I actually had some technical problems, so could you read the motion that Mr. Fragiskatos has presented before I make my comments?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2020-07-27 16:08
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I'll ask Mr. Fragiskatos to read it again. My notes are just so-so.
Mr. Fragiskatos, read the motion again, please.
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View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Sure. I'm happy to.
It is as follows: “That the chair be empowered to schedule meetings with the witnesses listed in the request for today's meeting as the chair deems appropriate, as per the availability of witnesses.”
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2020-07-27 16:08
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Go ahead, Mr. Julian.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I do think that takes away from your power rather than adding to it.
I think there are a lot of questions people have. There's no doubt that as information has trickled out about this controversy, more questions have come to light, and I certainly think we require more time to ask the questions, both of folks involved with WE and also of government officials.
I'm thinking about at least a dozen different subject areas, things that can't be covered in an hour of a half. There is absolutely no doubt of that, so I think it's up to this committee to step forward and provide the leadership, and up to the majority of the committee to make the decision about how much time we require with witnesses to ask them the appropriate questions and to get the information that Canadians are looking for.
My final point is this. We saw with the SNC-Lavalin scandal that the ethics committee was shut down. At the time, it was a majority Parliament. There was a Liberal majority on the committee, and the members basically refused to have hearings and refused to allow testimony that people had been willing to bring forward, so Canadians didn't get all the information they required. In a democracy, it's important that we know anything good the government is doing and anything bad the government is doing. There's a democratic right to transparency.
We now have a minority Parliament and a minority in this committee. No one party can decide how we are to proceed. I prefer to see a consensus around it, but I think we're best served, Mr. Chair, if the committee provides the direction, and the chair then is able, once we've provided that direction, to work things out. There are still a lot of logistical things. There are still a lot of organizational things that we give to you, Mr. Chair, for you to work out.
We need to put in place what the broad guidelines are and what the answers are that we're seeking on behalf of the committee and on behalf of Canadians. In that respect, then, I will be voting against Mr. Fragiskatos' motion.
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2020-07-27 16:11
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We do have a motion on the floor.
Did I see your hand up, Mr. Fraser? Please go ahead.
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