Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
First, Mr. Trost, I applaud you for your initiative. I think it's a wonderful initiative, something that I support—at least I support the principle of how we try to open up parliament to have this sort of a system. In principle, I think most Canadians would support that.
To further walk me through it, which you've already done to a certain degree, if I am someone who wants to chair a particular committee, you're suggesting that I would then be obligated to go out and get x number of signatures, whatever it might be. I would then be responsible for submitting my name some time shortly after the House resumes or predating when committees actually begin. Then it would be done on a preferential ballot where all members would in fact be able to vote. You're suggesting that the principle would just apply to the chairs, and nothing else at this point in time.
Is that a fair reflection of exactly what you're looking for?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
Right.
In regard to the concerns about a majority versus a minority, do you see any scenarios where it could be somewhat problematic? What I'm thinking of is that today, for example, there are some standing committees that have an opposition member as a chair. In a solid majority situation, the opposition could lose that opportunity potentially to chair. I don't know if that's been the case in other Parliaments, in particular the British Parliament. Do you have any opinions or thoughts on that?
The opposite could be the case in a minority situation, where you could see a manipulation to shut out government members from being chair. Do you see that as problematic at all?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
In regard to things such as the special committees, the idea there is that if the Prime Minister at the time calls upon a special committee to look at something, you made reference in the report that it be of the same structure. You then suggest that the same principle would apply, that the entire House would have to vote on the chair of that particular committee.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
The idea of having to have the secret ballot, that principle would apply even for the special committees.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
Generally speaking, currently in all committees there is a government chair, an official opposition vice-chair, and the second vice-chair is from the third party. Would you still want to see that principle, where all three political parties hold some form of position, whether it's chair, vice-chair, or second vice-chair?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
Maybe I could take this opportunity to reinforce the fact that over the years, I think it goes without saying that I've had the opportunity to witness you as the chair and that I think you've done a phenomenal job of making sure the committee is functional and moving forward. I want to wish you the very best in the years ahead and I really appreciated your comments in your S.O. 31 the other day. It was in sync and very professional and touching.
We wish you the very best in the years ahead.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you for the warm welcome, Mr. Chair. I appreciate it, as always.
One thing you said, Ambassador, that I found quite striking and that seems to me prevalent everywhere, except for what we're facing now in this legislation, is that the system favours the voter. This to us is a default under section 3 of the charter, where it says that we have the right to vote. The government should do what it can to help enable that person to vote.
One of the big problems we have with the bill we're dealing with in Canada is that you're eliminating the permanent list of voters. You have probably heard now by testimony how difficult it is, when an election is called, to exercise your right to vote. It becomes problematic. We don't have Internet voting and don't have the immediacy that you have. In your voters list, you said, you must register by December 31 for the following year. In essence, is that the list that you use on a permanent basis for all elections?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
This list, in your opinion and the government's opinion, helps to favour the voter, as you said, and allows and makes it an easier process to participate in all levels of governing.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you.
One other thing is something you said that struck me as interesting. I haven't seen this yet. One of the problems the government cites is what we call “riding shopping”. If someone wants to vote in our election, which is “first past the post”, they can choose whatever riding they wish, which favours certain parties, or maybe not, but that's what they're leery about, and in many cases most of us would be.
But you said you can provide a familial link in order to vote. Can I provide a birth certificate, if I were a French citizen living in Canada to allow me to vote in the district in which I was born?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you very much.
I don't have a lot of time. I wish I could spend more time with you, but I want to move to Dr. Frank.
Considering the government is challenging Justice Penny's ruling, is it appropriate or not to be doing this Bill C-50? That's probably the easiest question you're going to get.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Is it appropriate to be proceeding with Bill C-50 at this time, given the fact of what the decision is and given the fact that the election is coming in October.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Given what was said by the French ambassador earlier, and listening to his testimony, do you feel that the system favours the voter in their case, their permanent list of electors? Would you agree with what the ambassador had put out there?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
I was surprised to hear that you had to hand in your driver's licence to do this, to sacrifice your own driver's licence in order to drive in the United States. This is one of the issues we're going with. As was pointed out earlier, and you quoted, this certainly is a solution in search of a problem.
You also said Bill C-50 falls within this inglorious tradition of what you called voter suppression.
The two things that are at play here, the permanent voters list as well as the time that it takes, in addition to your testimony, as Madame Latendresse also pointed out from being in Moscow, the disenfranchisement under Bill C-50 is now going to be astronomical as opposed to what it was before.
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