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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
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?
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.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
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?
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.”
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
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.
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.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
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.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
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.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I take it that you're speaking against that motion.
Who's next on the speaking list? Is there anyone?
Go ahead, Mr. Julian.
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?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I'll ask Mr. Fragiskatos to read it again. My notes are just so-so.
Mr. Fragiskatos, read the motion again, please.
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.”
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Go ahead, Mr. Julian.
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.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
We do have a motion on the floor.
Did I see your hand up, Mr. Fraser? Please go ahead.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-07-27 16:11
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to those who have intervened on the motion so far.
I don't think there's a huge problem with the time at which the Kielburgers testify. Four hours seems a bit excessive to me. We haven't had any witnesses who have gone anywhere near that long.
Maybe what I would suggest will be a friendly amendment, Mr. Fragiskatos and others. I don't know if this will cause you to support it or not. I'm happy to have this discussion.
If the issue is around “as per the availability of the witnesses”, perhaps I would propose that it say “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 opposed to “as per the availability of the witnesses”. I forget the exact language Mr. Fragiskatos used.
This is not a big or important issue to me in terms of the availability of the witnesses. Four hours seems unprecedented in terms of what this committee has dealt with before, but if we want to negotiate a bit more time, staying within the reasonable bounds of what the committee has done before, I'd be quite happy to entertain that discussion.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Madam Clerk, is that amendment in order?
On the amendment, perhaps you could give me the exact words again, Mr. Fraser. We'll see if there's any further discussion on the amendment. We'll vote on the amendment and then go back to the original motion to see if we can come to a consensus on witnesses.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-07-27 16:13
I'm not sure if a vote is required on the amendment if the original mover is okay with it. In any event, the proposed—
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Let's ask Mr. Fragiskatos.
Are you okay with the proposed language? Is it a friendly amendment, Peter?
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
It is a friendly amendment, yes.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-07-27 16:13
Look, if the issue is not the availability, I'm happy to have that chat, but the proposed language I have here is “That the chair be empowered to schedule meetings with the witnesses listed in the request for today's meeting as the chair deems appropriate.” The motivation for the change was to try to address Mr. Poilievre's concern about yielding power with regard to the witnesses' availability. In this case, we'll squarely empower the chair, who will figure out what is appropriate.
On the issue of the time for witnesses, if we want to extend it a bit, that's fine. It does seem over the top to have four hours, but we'll have this conversation.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I see Mr. Poilievre.
Go ahead. The floor is yours.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Again, with respect, Mr. Chair, you had originally scheduled the Kielburgers for an hour. That's obviously unacceptable.
The committee is the master of its own domain. The chair serves the committee. If the committee believes it needs four hours, then the committee needs four hours. It's as simple as that. To have the witnesses effectively dictate through the chair how much time they're prepared to testify is not how we do business. If committee members are unhappy with how scheduling and timing of witnesses works, they have the power to vote accordingly, and I implore the committee to do that here.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I'm going to go to the question on this motion, Madam Clerk.
Caroline Bosc
View Caroline Bosc Profile
Caroline Bosc
2020-07-27 16:15
Do we want to do a recorded vote, then, for this one?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Yes, we'll have to do a recorded vote. I don't think there's any other way unless....
Caroline Bosc
View Caroline Bosc Profile
Caroline Bosc
2020-07-27 16:15
We're voting without any kind of amendment. We're just voting on the motion as worded by Mr. Fraser, just to be clear.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
We're voting on the motion with new wording by Mr. Fraser, with the friendly amendment. Yes.
Caroline Bosc
View Caroline Bosc Profile
Caroline Bosc
2020-07-27 16:15
Perfect. That's just to be clear for the record.
Let's go to the vote.
(Motion negatived: nays 6; yeas 5 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
The motion is lost.
Go ahead. The floor is yours, Mr. Poilievre.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I have a motion. I move that Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger appear for no less than four hours on Tuesday, July 28.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Just as a suggestion, do we need to go to motions, or can we try to achieve consensus? I guess the motion is on the floor, so we'll go with the motion. The motion moved by Pierre is that the Kielburgers appear for four hours.
Is that on their own, Pierre, just the Kielburgers and not Victor Li?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
That's right.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Go ahead, Mr. Fraser.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-07-27 16:17
Thank you, Pierre and Mr. Chair.
As I said before, I'm not really too fussy about this. From a logistical point of view, I believe there are other witnesses from WE Charity. Are they intended to be part of the same panel? What does this do to the anticipated schedule of existing witnesses or others who have been proposed?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
This motion seeks to have the Kielburgers alone for four hours, and then, as for the other witnesses, the committee clerk and the chair can work to fit them in.
The good news is that tomorrow we will have lots of time. The meeting starts at noon, and there's nothing after that, so we can just extend the length of the meeting to include other witnesses' testimony.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
For members' information, what went out in the notice was that from 12:00 to 1:00, we would have, as an individual, Michelle Douglas, former chair of the board of directors of WE, and from the Canadian Federation of Students, Nicole Brayiannis, deputy chairman. That's the first hour.
In the notice, from 1:00 to 2:30, for an hour and a half, it was Craig and Marc Kielburger and Victor Li—
Caroline Bosc
View Caroline Bosc Profile
Caroline Bosc
2020-07-27 16:18
If I can just clarify, Mr. Chair, the Federation of Students has now declined. They will no longer be participating, just to clarify.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Okay, that's good.
Mr. Poilievre's motion would move that from 1:00 to 5:00 Ottawa time. Is that correct, Pierre?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
That's right.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Then we'll have to deal with Victor Li some other way.
Okay. That's what is on the floor.
Go ahead, Mr. Fraser.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-07-27 16:19
Sure, and look, I don't even know that we're going to end up needing a vote on this. I hope we will be able to achieve some kind of consensus.
For what it's worth, Mr. Poilievre, my concern is really around scheduling as much as anything else. We have some things going on tomorrow in Nova Scotia, including the return of HMCS Fredericton. One of my neighbours lost a child during the helicopter incident, and then there are some additional personal and professional things scheduled for the afternoon.
There is no attempt to be tricky. I want to assure you that I'm not trying to pull some stunt. I just want to make sure that we have the ability to be there.
Is there going to be any requirement, Mr. Chair, of the other witnesses from WE—not from CFS—who are going to be there? Are they Ottawa-based? I guess it's a teleconference, so it won't matter much. Is this something, from just a logistical point of view, you think is going to be easy to sort out from the committee's perspective?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I don't know. The clerk would have more information on that. She's been in discussions with the Kielburgers. They initially requested to appear for an hour.
Madam Clerk, I don't know if you can add anything to that.
Caroline Bosc
View Caroline Bosc Profile
Caroline Bosc
2020-07-27 16:20
When I spoke with them today to see if they had more availability, they were available for only one and a half hours. If the committee chooses to say four, I will send that request their way and we'll see whether or not they can meet that. I won't know until I check with them.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask Mr. Poilievre why he feels we should add three more hours to the presentation on top of the one hour that was previously planned.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
The answer is that we have a lot of questions.
This is an extraordinary circumstance. We have an organization that has given over $300,000 in benefits to the Prime Minister's family and $41,000 in free travel to the finance minister's family. It has given jobs to members of the finance minister's family, and in exchange—
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Is it going to take four hours to ask that?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
—it has had extraordinary benefits from the public treasury. It got extraordinary access to Parliament Hill on one of the most coveted days of the year to have that access. It saw its contributions from the government rise tenfold under the government and it received a half-billion-dollar contribution agreement, a very unusual contribution agreement, so it's an organization that is facing many questions. We think it's appropriate to have all those questions answered.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I see that Ms. Dzerowicz has her hand up.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
I think Mr. Fragiskatos was before me, Mr. Chair.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Oh, I didn't see him.
We'll go with you first anyway, Ms. Dzerowicz, and then Mr. Fragiskatos.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
If the Kielburgers are available tomorrow for four hours, I think that's fine, but if they're not available, do we just take them for an hour and a half tomorrow? Then do we have to find another time for them, and would it be this week or when they are next available? How does that work?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I guess it would be a matter of discussion between the clerk and the Kielburgers to see how much time they could be available for tomorrow. We'd have to make up the difference at another time. They would know that the committee has the power of subpoena, if we need to go that far. We would hope that we don't have to.
I think it would be a matter of discussion, Julie, between the clerk and the Kielburgers.
Mr. Fragiskatos is next.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thanks, Mr. Chair.
This is on that point. I worry that we'll end up going in circles here. I think you've heard already that there isn't great opposition to the idea that the Kielburgers would come and testify beyond the time that was originally set out, but we don't know their availability. We can debate all day about whether four hours is appropriate. I personally, like Mr. Fraser, don't have a problem with it. Again, I haven't heard any opposition from the Liberal side. My Liberal colleagues seem to be for that, but I have a tough time seeing how we'll get anywhere without knowing their schedule.
Perhaps a way forward here is to allow tomorrow's meeting, set for an hour and a half, to continue as scheduled. Then we can see, either in the meantime or at tomorrow's meeting, whether the Kielburgers can stay for four hours, or what to do if that's not possible. Otherwise, we will just end up wasting our time here.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Could I perhaps suggest that the clerk see what their availability is tomorrow? If we could at least get a minimum of two hours tomorrow and then another two hours later this week, would that be acceptable to Mr. Poilievre's proposal?
Then there's the time for Victor Li, the chief financial officer. What are we talking about for Mr. Li? That would be a separate panel on another day, likely.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
That would have to be another day.
Listen, I don't know what the Kielburgers would have in their schedule that would be more important right now. Perhaps they're very busy, but it is extraordinary to me that they'd have something more important than testifying before a parliamentary committee that is looking into a scandal that has gripped the nation regarding a $500-million now-cancelled contribution agreement for which two ministers, including the Prime Minister, have admitted a conflict of interest. I think something of that enormity would merit their time. I don't know. If they have some other engagement they had planned, perhaps they could reschedule it for the Parliament of Canada.
As for four hours, I remember Jody Wilson-Raybould testified for, I think, more than four hours, and was grilled by Liberal members who had no problem keeping her before committee that length of time. It's strange that they are now concerned about such a time frame for the Kielburger brothers.
I don't want to have to do a subpoena, but I will if necessary. We do have that power. They're going to have to testify for four hours at least. They might as well get it done tomorrow.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Okay. I think that's well known.
Go ahead, Mr. Fraser.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-07-27 16:27
Yes, I don't think we're at a subpoena stage yet either.
For something that there doesn't seem to be big disagreement on, we seem to be talking in circles. May I propose that you invite them for four hours tomorrow, and that if, for whatever reason, they're not available, we split it up into two hours tomorrow and two hours on Wednesday, as an alternative? Make the pitch for four hours tomorrow. If that works, great.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Excellent. I can live with that.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Okay. Then we're agreed on that.
Mr. Julian, did you have your hand up, or were you just moving around?
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I did have my hand up, Mr. Chair, but I think Mr. Fraser voiced what I was thinking. If we have a consensus, then that's the consensus of the committee, and we move on.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Okay. That's great.
The clerk will ask the Kielburgers if they can appear for four hours tomorrow, and, if they can't, for two hours tomorrow and two the next day.
On Victor Li, what are you proposing there? We'll take him off the list for tomorrow, and then is there another proposal?
I guess I'm turning to you, Mr. Poilievre.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I don't think it's appropriate for him to be on the same panel as the Kielburgers. I would suggest that perhaps we look at this for the end of the week, or perhaps next week. We do need at this point, unless something changes, to have him appear. I think it would be important to have him for at least a couple of hours.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Okay. The clerk and I will try to schedule that in for this week for Mr. Li.
View Michael McLeod Profile
Lib. (NT)
Mr. Chairman, I just want to point out that the clerk has notified us that the Canadian Federation of Students has withdrawn. Does that leave a slot open in that area? Is that time frame enough?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
We had Michelle Douglas and then the Canadian Federation of Students for an hour. Mr. Poilievre is requesting that Mr. Li be here longer than that, I believe.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
That's right.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Then it would likely have to be another day.
Okay? Are we okay on that? Okay.
Where are we now?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
All right. I think we have an understanding on Messrs. Kielburger and Mr. Li.
We're moving now to—
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Sorry, Mr. Chair; I did have my hand up.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Oh, sorry.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I have another motion.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Sorry, Pierre; I did miss Mr. Fragiskatos before.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Go ahead, Peter.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
To Mr. McLeod's point, we have a slot open that would allow for significant time with Mr. Li. Why is it that Mr. Poilievre doesn't want to entertain that? It's not as though Mr. Li would be coming for 10 or 15 minutes. It would be significant time with the witness, not during the time with Craig and Marc Kielburger.
I have never been opposed to this committee looking at issues around WE Charity. I think the matters that have arisen in the past few weeks do merit examination, but the more we call for more and more meetings, the more we are away from our constituents. It means we are away, as MPs, from dealing with the central issue of the day, which is COVID-19 and the economic response on the part of the federal government.
Why we would continue to schedule more meetings when we have an opportunity tomorrow to put in a witness and ask questions of that witness and be effective in our role is really beyond me. I'm surprised, because I think you've heard Liberal members throughout make it clear that we are willing to entertain the ideas of the opposition, and when we've put forward reasonable questions and ideas, they've time and time again been cast aside.
There's an opening tomorrow. I think Mr. Li can be fit into that opening, with all due respect to Mr. Poilievre.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I'll take Mr. Cooper on this point and then go back to Mr. Poilievre.
Go ahead, Mr. Cooper.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Very simply, in response to Mr. Fragiskatos, there is insufficient time. Mr. Li is a key player. He is the CFO of a number of WE-controlled organizations. It's imperative that we have sufficient time to ask him questions. We have the Kielburgers, hopefully tomorrow for four hours, and I anticipate that there will be issues arising from their testimony that will be relevant in the case of Mr. Li.
I really don't understand why this is difficult. I think the manner in which we're proceeding to have him on another day so that we can have a full examination of him and sufficient time to ask him questions is important. Again, he is a key player.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I'll go back to Mr. Fragiskatos. Then we'll try to move ahead, I believe.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, we pretend, or some of us pretend, that finance is the only committee looking at this matter. It is also being examined by the ethics committee. I know that the government operations committee will also begin looking at this in short order. If the opposition is looking to bring witnesses forward, and if they're upset about what we on the Liberal side have suggested in terms of possible times when witnesses could speak, I remind my colleagues very respectfully that other committees are examining these issues and can call whichever witnesses they want.
Again, I'm not opposed to our continuing to spend some time here looking at issues around WE. Obviously, we're going to be doing that this week. However, it makes no sense not to invite Mr. Li tomorrow for an hour in place of the students who have pulled out.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Mr. Julian is next.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Fragiskatos mentioned the ethics committee. We know that the ethics committee has been filibustered now for the last few days. They've been unable to move forward. Liberals on the committee are blocking the committee's work, which is really unfortunate. We saw the same thing in SNC-Lavalin. In a minority Parliament, all parties do have to work together. I think we've done that by having the four-hour request to the Kielburgers; that's important. I think Mr. Li will probably have a lot of substantive questions coming his way. It would seem to me most appropriate to have the Kielburgers tomorrow and then have Mr. Li subsequently.
As this information comes out—there have been so many contradictions that it's hard to keep up—I think that the measured in-depth questioning tomorrow will help form the questions that we may want to ask eventually of Mr. Li.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I will take it that there is agreement that we hear from Mr. Li separately for two hours on Wednesday. I do think it's probably important to have the WE Charity testimony completed before we hear from the Prime Minister. We know that the Prime Minister is appearing on Thursday.
All right. That's—
Caroline Bosc
View Caroline Bosc Profile
Caroline Bosc
2020-07-27 16:36
Can I just interject?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Go ahead.
Caroline Bosc
View Caroline Bosc Profile
Caroline Bosc
2020-07-27 16:36
Mr. Li's lawyer did contact the committee and stated that he was only available on Tuesday at the time indicated that the committee scheduled him for. I will let him know, but I just want the committee to be aware that if he is unable to make it on Wednesday, that's what was communicated to me in that letter by the lawyer. That's just so you're aware.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Thank you for that, Caroline.
Mr. Poilievre—
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
I'd like to comment, as well, Mr. Chair.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
We'll go to Mr. Poilievre and then Mr. Ste-Marie.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and Madam Clerk.
I think if Mr. Li cannot attend on Wednesday, then we can just bump him to the next week and continue the hearings at that time or at a future date for the allotted period of time. I don't know if Peter Julian or a member of the Bloc has views on the exact timing that Mr. Li would appear, but if he doesn't want to do Wednesday, then we'll just bring him in another time.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
We will go to Mr. Ste-Marie.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
First of all, I agree with what Mr. Poilievre just said.
Second, I just want to remind everyone that the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics is meeting on Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Thursday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
I don't think the Standing Committee on Finance should meet at the same time as the ethics committee. That's directed at you, Mr. Chair, and the clerk.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Would you give me those times again, Gabriel?
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
Yes. The finance committee is meeting on Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Thursday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Okay. We'll have to work around those times.
Go ahead, Ms. Dzerowicz.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
With regard to the Prime Minister, didn't they already put out a statement to indicate that he's coming in from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and she's from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.? That's already happening. There's already a public statement. As much as I think everybody's trying to coordinate, that's been scheduled.
That's it. I just wanted to point that out. Thanks.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Thank you.
Coming back to the clerk for a minute, with regard to Mr. Li, did his lawyer say that the only time he was available was tomorrow between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., the time we had him listed for?
Caroline Bosc
View Caroline Bosc Profile
Caroline Bosc
2020-07-27 16:39
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Okay. I guess we'll have to see where discussions—
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