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Results: 1 - 15 of 167
View Marlene Jennings Profile
Lib. (QC)
By the way, if any of the Conservatives want to take a transcript of what I just said and put it on their fliers or any of their advertising, feel free to do so.
An hon. member: Unedited.
Hon. Marlene Jennings: Unedited.
View Bob Rae Profile
Lib. (ON)
I have a completely different question.
The Red Cross system must plan for a certain number of disasters of a certain size every year, everywhere. Can you give us some insight into that in terms of what your overall sense of the world...? We have to stop being surprised by these events. They happen. They come. They have a huge impact. Depending on the poverty of the country, the impact can be more or less. We can see the recovery rates from the poorest countries and the recovery rates from the richer countries.
What's the scale we're looking at around the world? Do you have any sense of that?
View Dominic LeBlanc Profile
Lib. (NB)
"Loyal", yes, that's the word, proud Acadian that you are!
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
It's not so much whether they are a good tool. The question is whether they are appropriate. There's some controversy about whether they are appropriate in the amounts that are being discussed, whether they are commensurate with the seriousness of potential offences.
View Kirsty Duncan Profile
Lib. (ON)
Sorry, Dr. Elmslie, can I interrupt?
Ms. Kim Elmslie: Go right ahead.
View John McCallum Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
You seem to be suggesting that Aveos and Air Canada are terribly distinct from each other. I'd like to advance the hypothesis that really the two of you are joined at the hip. Aveos does the Air Canada maintenance work. You're thinking of transferring workers from one to the other. It seems to me you're essentially one entity in many ways.
My question is, what percentage of Aveos does Air Canada own?
View Peter Milliken Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank the committee for inviting me to appear today as it undertakes consideration of the question of privilege referred to it by the House on November 29, 2010, regarding the premature disclosure of the draft pre-budget consultation report of the Standing Committee on Finance.
As I indicated in my ruling on this matter, it is unusual for the chair to involve itself in committee proceedings. However, the Standing Committee on Finance felt so strongly about the leak of its draft report that it took the rare step of reporting it to the House as a possible breach of privilege, unanimously believing that it merited further investigation.
As honourable members of the committee will know, the role of the Speaker when questions of privilege are raised is narrowly defined. As House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, states at page 141:
The function of the Speaker is limited to deciding whether the matter is of such a character as to entitle the Member who has raised the question to move a motion which will have priority over Orders of the Day; that is, in the Speaker's opinion, there is a prima facie question of privilege. If there is, the House must take the matter into immediate consideration. Ultimately, it is the House which decides whether a breach of privilege or a contempt has been committed.
This is precisely what has happened in this case. The Member for Outremont raised the question, I made a ruling, the House debated and agreed with the motion that was moved, and here we are with this committee seized of the matter.
I referred in my ruling to House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, which is very clear about the confidential nature of committee reports. On page 1073 it states:
Committee reports must be presented to the House before they can be released to the public. Even when a report is concurred in at a public meeting, the report itself is considered confidential until it has actually been presented to the House. In addition, any disclosure of the contents of a report prior to presentation, either by Members or non-Members, may be judged to be a breach of privilege.
I went on to state on page 6560 of the House of Commons Debates that:
It is with good reason that draft committee reports are treated as confidential. To do otherwise might well prejudice the ability of committee members to engage in candid deliberations free from outside interference. Violation of this principle of confidentiality can thus be seen as direct interference with the ability of members to discharge their duties.
Confidentiality was clearly the overarching, institutional issue and its infringement was the primary reason for finding the matter prima facie.
Not so long ago, many committees had strict processes in place to protect the confidential nature of committee reports. For example, access to the draft reports was limited, copies were numbered and distributed at meetings only, and no copies were allowed to leave the room. Today, however, we've come to rely heavily on technological tools to distribute information. And while on the one hand they can facilitate our work and make us more efficient, on the other hand, they give us the ability to disseminate confidential information quickly and widely with the mere push of a button.
I do not believe it is realistic to think that it's possible to turn back the clock and return to past practices that do not harness the power of the tools that are at our disposal. As such, the real challenge for this committee, in my view, lies in developing recommendations that will facilitate the consideration of confidential documents within the context of the evolving technological environment. Whether this could be achieved through changes to the Standing Orders or whether it requires other changes in order to achieve this remains for this committee to decide.
The order of reference now before you offers the committee an excellent opportunity to investigate the larger issue of confidentiality and perhaps to recommend changes to our rules and our practices with a view to preventing this from happening again.
I would like to commend the Committee for its prompt attention to this matter, and would be pleased to answer any questions the Committee may have.
Thank you.
View Peter Milliken Profile
Lib. (ON)
The committee is master of its own procedure. In that respect, the committee can decide if it wants to recommend that more be done. The committee can look into the affair. It can decide whether more happened than what has been revealed or less than what has been revealed. It can decide if there's something else that should be done in respect of a possible contempt of the House in this case and make recommendations accordingly.
View Peter Milliken Profile
Lib. (ON)
You can certainly approach the lobbying commissioner, who is somewhat expert in this and is aware of the rules that govern lobbyists in our country, which are enacted by law. I think your question might be better directed at someone like that, if you're looking at what else to do in terms of sanctions or “punishment”, if I can use that expression.
View Peter Milliken Profile
Lib. (ON)
I don't pretend to be an expert on the various ways these things have been enforced in the past. Certainly when I was first elected there were prison cells down the hall there that they could use to lock people up who weren't connected to the House. I don't know that they were ever used for any length of time. They were there. Now they're full of files and things, I think. They're used as a space for that purpose.
Imprisonment has become a little less popular until more recently in this country. Maybe that's the reason. There are lots of prisons in my constituency. I always recommend sending somebody there if necessary, I guess. That's up to the committee, not to me.
View Peter Milliken Profile
Lib. (ON)
I haven't inquired into that myself. No, I'm unaware, I'm sorry. I haven't looked at it, but certainly again you would be free to examine what other parliaments are doing as part of your inquiry, and the clerk could get some information from other clerks too.
View Peter Milliken Profile
Lib. (ON)
Well, I think so, because if you're in contempt of Parliament, you're breaching its privileges. That's my....
View Peter Milliken Profile
Lib. (ON)
I don't know how much of a distinction there is in practice. If someone is found in contempt of Parliament, they can be treated as though they had breached the privileges of Parliament. I don't think there's a huge difference.
View Peter Milliken Profile
Lib. (ON)
I don't think so, but most of the questions of privilege we deal with are ones that arise in the House because of something that happened in the chamber, or something that's happened to some member dealing with their ability to act in the chamber. So we don't normally have a contempt issue mixed in with it.
This case had nothing to do with the chamber itself. It had to do with a committee.
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