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Results: 1 - 9 of 9
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
This is nothing but an obviously puerile, pathetic political move. What it's designed to do, quite frankly, is the following. As we approach an election, of course, somebody is trying to usurp the very important work this committee has to do, and that is to review legislation. This is parliamentary tradition in this country. This is the way this committee is set up.
My friend across the way says there are lots of other things we could study. There's no end to things we could study, but we are very much time limited in this Parliament, and I think what we need to do is get on with this.
Mr. Easter is great. He's been here 20-some years. He really knows how to pull political strings. He knows how to garner the limelight and how to get things in the limelight and to make accusations.
This committee is not a court. The Information Commissioner has done what she thinks is appropriate. He uses the right words when he says “alleges”. Every time somebody alleges something, if we're going to be sucked up into some kind of political move just to placate some people who want to score some points because they may not be doing well in the polls or something else, that's too bad. That's sad. But I won't be part of a political game.
We have legislation before this committee. Let's get on with it, and if we have time to study things appropriately before the end of the 41st Parliament, let's do it. But let's get on with the job at hand, and let Mr. Easter scurry over to the finance committee and do his tricks. Maybe the cameras will be on. He'll get a few minutes on the nightly news, to make an allegation that in the end will be moot, because the Supreme Court of Canada has said that Parliament is supreme. Parliament said destroy the records. The records are destroyed. End of story.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
I have one comment. I think we owe it to Judy Peterson to just get on with it. She didn't have any objection. She didn't complain that it was in a budget bill. She didn't complain about all that. Let's simply get the damn thing done. It's been around since 2000 and all this political bickering isn't going to get it through, so let's just do it.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, while I'm new to the committee, I'm not necessarily new to the committee format, and different committees have different formulations when it comes to subcommittees. Generally speaking, I don't think anyone in this room would argue with the fact that committees reflect the percentages of different parties in Parliament. That is the way this committee is set up. That's the way most--not all, but most--of the committees are set up. That's why the chair comes from the governing party.
If you want to run a parallel government on a different dimension, that's when you can change the democratic will of the people. Quite frankly, when I hear people say that the committee for legitimacy or otherwise and to be taken seriously can't have too much government influence, that seems to be counter to the democratic will of the people. That's the basis upon which this whole institution is built. Therefore, it seems to me rather strange that you wouldn't have a person like the parliamentary secretary on the subcommittee. It makes a lot of sense. To the average person it would be somewhat humourous if you had committees arguing with the government of the day on a totally different wavelength.
However, there is an independence of committees; that's why we have them. They're supposed to take part of the load off. If you look at municipal and provincial governments, committees take the load off and study in-depth issues that come before the general assembly, which in this case is the House of Commons. We take the load off. We go into the minutiae, into the in-depth study not only of current government legislation or proposed government legislation, but we can as a committee take on different studies. That is well within the mandate, well within the history of this place. To preclude the parliamentary secretary or anyone else from being on the subcommittee would seem to me to be rather strange.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
When we get into these situations, I usually like to preface my remarks by saying that these remarks are not necessarily for anyone around the table but rather for people at home who might be interested in how our democracy works.
You see, democracy is, for all intents and purposes, the exercise of power, despite what all the nice, fancy words come down to. And of course the exercise of power in a Parliament goes by the numerics of that Parliament. So the weakest in the chain likes to exercise as much power as the number that can possibly be permitted by the rules and regulations of the institution itself to take place, or more appropriately, usually, the ability of that individual or group of individuals to be able to use--some people would use the word “manipulate”--the tools at their disposal.
Mr. Harris is exactly and very much wrong when he says that this committee is very much different from municipal or other provincial legislative committees. This committee's job is to take a look at the minutiae and the finer details and to examine very closely, of course, not only the legislation passed down to it from Parliament but also anything else the committee chooses to entertain in its area of responsibility. Parliament as a whole, as a body of 308 individuals, very structured, very time-sensitive, cannot do that, whereas committees are very flexible and do not have the kinds of time constraints the House does. So this is exactly the same sort of reason that there are committees municipally, provincially, and of course federally.
When we talk about new Canadians perceiving the committee work, I would suggest that many new Canadians, if they come from a democracy, do come, usually, from democracies that have a republican system. But many come from countries governed by dictators and autocrats. This country is a constitutional monarchy. When you come to this country, you know that it is a constitutional monarchy, which means it's a democracy. And the crown is simply a symbol of the governing party or the government at the time.
So I think new Canadians would readily adapt to this system, because they know it's founded on democratic principles. Actually, if I may be so bold as to suggest, we get things done much faster than do most republican systems because of that, because of the Westminster style of governance. So I think new Canadians would readily adapt and appreciate the workings of this committee under the whole parliamentary system.
This committee is reflective of Parliament. The one thing, though, that is constant is this. They used to say there are two constants: death and taxes. Actually, there are three. And one of them is change. Change does not mean less or more respect. Change is just that. Things change. When we don't want to change, that's when we run into disrespect and many problems.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
I've come from last week's public safety and national security committee, where we dealt with the election of chairs and the routine motions. We were able to deal with that. There were changes to several sections.
If we're embarking upon a new way of doing things at this committee.... Of course I know that every committee is different and is master of its own house, as it were, but if every time someone comes up with a motion we have to circulate it and deal with it at the next meeting, we're not going to get too much done at these meetings if we are not able to deal with things in an expeditious way, after having fully fleshed them out and discussed them, as is appropriate to do at meetings such as this.
I just hope that we're not going to be involved in esoteric discussions every time we have slight changes to the way it has always been done at this committee. Change is inevitable. Change will happen. It's how we adapt to that change and how quickly we do that...we'll have a moniker of success or otherwise.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
I think Mr. Harris would agree that when he was on the public safety committee it was basically the way Mr. Alexander expressed it. The NDP got one question.
My preference is this: if we're all valued members of the committee, and I believe we are, then every member of the committee should get to at least ask one question. If we go to Mr. McKay's version, some of us will never ever get to ask a witness a question unless somebody is benevolent enough to allow us to do so.
I think it's very important that every member of the committee get a question, and that's why I support Mr. Alexander's submission.
View Rick Norlock Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, once this is handed around, I think the explanation is there, so let's have a vote on this.
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