Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Ideally this would be finished before Christmas.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Exactly, but it has to be before January 15.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You've just introduced a motion. We could debate it in 48 hours, unless committee members agree to debate it immediately. Otherwise it's only a notice of motion.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Does it remain a notice of motion, or do you want us to discuss it as a motion right away?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
As the members aren't unanimous, we can't debate it now.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Choquette, I'm told it takes 48 hours for a notice of motion to become a motion.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
We could debate the notice of motion and then obstruct it, but it would remain a notice of motion and not an official motion. You're right in saying that the discussion may continue, but that won't alter the fact that it's a notice of motion for the moment.
Mr. Samson, you have the floor.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I'm going to let Ms. Lapointe speak, and then I can conclude with a vote in favour.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, everyone, for your comments, suggestions, and criticisms.
The argument I've heard most often from you is that we can work on this matter between now and September, that there's no hurry. On the contrary, we are in a hurry. The election will be held in a year and a half, and we started talking about a study on modernization of the act last September. I've been telling you for a year now that we have to do something, that we have to move forward.
I'm the only one here who was gone to see the senators in the other chamber to determine what we might do with them. Seriously, I've been proactive.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
It's unfortunate, but there's been no result. Every time I talked about it, it didn't look like things were advancing much.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, I would like to finish giving my opinion, please.
Personally, I want us to vote on this today because we have to act. If we vote to go ahead on this, there's nothing preventing us from developing an action plan in September.
In any case, everyone I've spoken to until now in the groups we've received in recent months agrees that this precisely targets the current problems instead of falling into something very vague, as is currently the case with the Senate committee.
It's direct and specific, and it responds to a judgment that was rendered not long ago. I think we have to act.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I'm sorry, I made a mistake; The comment I wanted to make was about the other motion.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I would like to make an amendment to your motion, Mr. Choquette, to make it clear that we would also like to hear about the agreement with Netflix. She could tell us what in the agreement promotes or guarantees investments to protect francophone production.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I thought I could introduce an amendment orally.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
It's really positive. I would just like the minister to be aware of our concern about the agreement she has made with Netflix and that she tell us in a public meeting what safeguards are included in the agreement that will help to promote francophone production.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
The Netflix agreement isn't part of the annual report. Am I wrong?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I totally understand what you are saying, Mr. Arseneault. However, when I was a member of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, we could conduct a dozen studies at the same time. Sometimes, we had ministers come so that we could ask them questions, and it would take half an hour. There is a technical dimension to the studies, but we also have a political duty as a committee: to cross-examine ministers on what they are doing.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I mean that ministerial responsibility is not just limited to the House; it extends to committees too.
That said, if you want to do it in January, I understand. Personally, I feel that we could easily take half an hour.
So, how long do you want to invite the minister for?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
If you decide to delay consideration of my amendment, we will also have to delay the meeting that Mr. Choquette's motion is asking for. It would mean that the minister would come before the committee in January or March 2018.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay, but if the minister comes before the committee as a result of Mr. Choquette's motion, I would like to talk to her about Netflix. I would like to give her a heads-up, so that she can be prepared.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Yes, but the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage will not do it.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
She never replies to me.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I just wanted to say that I strongly agree with my colleague Mr. Whalen, and I just want to thank him for what he just read to us. I think the conventions and the rights of the House of Commons should strongly be followed by any outside actors of society, and I don't like when there's arrogance toward this House of Commons.
So thank you very much, Nick.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I raised my hand a few minutes ago.
This proposal gives rise to a political context that marks a key turning point, one we cannot take lightly. As my colleague said, that is the view of Her Majesty's official opposition at this time.
The desire to align the main estimates and the government's budget is indeed commendable. We are noticing, however, that the approach has some flaws. For that reason, we have serious concerns, not about the intentions behind the proposal, which are entirely commendable, but about its potential consequences.
One of the cornerstones of our parliamentary system, rooted in the Westminster tradition and going back a thousand years, going back, in fact, to 1215 and the Magna Carta treaty—
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
No, the Magna Carta dates back to 1215. Our system goes back to 1867, even before that, because united Canada had parliaments. It's important to hold the government accountable not just for election promises, but also for budget appropriation votes, which represent tens of thousands of dollars in spending.
Remember that every political party has the potential to wind up in the opposition at some point or another. We know that well, and it will probably happen to you in three years' time, if not later—heaven only knows. You should not consider what we are telling you today strictly through the government lens, but also through the lens of every parliamentary participant.
There is a reason Australia brought in the reform. Its supplementary estimates are now released the same day as the budget. That prevents a waste of two very important months by all parliamentarians, including elected members of the government party who are not in cabinet. I would point out that they, too, have a mandate to protect ministerial responsibility and to hold the government accountable for its actions and decisions, particularly in budget matters, the focus of our discussion today.
By moving forward with such a major reform of our parliamentary system, which is rooted in the Westminster tradition, in other words, by allowing the supplementary estimates to be tabled on May 1, we would lose nearly two months that could have been spent conducting studies and holding ministers to account before our committees and the committee of the whole in the House of Commons, as well as during question period. With this reform, we would lose two months that could have been used to study and scrutinize the numbers, time that even ministers could have used to prepare their responses.
I was taken aback when the minister was here and told the committee that he wanted to push the date to May 1, because, in our context, it requires adjustments and a certain degree of flexibility over two or three years in order to eventually table the budget and estimates on the same day. I asked him what would be wrong with including a provision in the legislation stipulating that, in three years' time, the two documents would be tabled on the same day. He couldn't answer me. Even without such a provision, however, Australia managed, in its first year, to present both documents on the same day, without the need for adjustments or flexibility.
I'll stop there so as not to bore you, but I would like to carry on with this discussion.
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