I call this meeting to order. Welcome to meeting number two of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
As we can see, today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of September 23, 2020. The proceedings will be made public and will be available via the House of Commons website. Just so you are all aware, the webcast will always show the person who is speaking rather than the whole committee room.
Before we go into clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-3, which is on the agenda today, let's first adopt the subcommittee report from the meeting last Tuesday. I ask for your support on adopting the meeting minutes, which have been circulated to you.
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: This Thursday, we are receiving the minister for main estimates. Last week, the committee received the order of reference for the examination of supplementary estimates (B). Is it the will of the committee to also do the supplementary estimates at the same time this Thursday, or would you like to do it at a separate time? I open it up for anyone who wants to address this. Would the committee be okay to have the supplementary estimates be brought forward to the minister at the same time as the mains for the Thursday meeting? Can I see a thumbs-up from everybody in agreement? Good. Okay.
Mr. Clerk and analysts, if we can amend the briefing books so that they include the supplementary estimates as well, that would be great. Thank you.
In our last meeting, Mr. Garrison had a question about whether the whips' office staff and members' staff could have access to our Zoom virtual room, with the camera and mike off, for public meetings. We're happy to report that a pilot project is currently going on allowing the whips' and House leaders' office staff to attend in that manner, with their mikes muted and their videos off. We are looking into extending that possibility to members' staff as well.
Pursuant to the order of reference of Monday, October 19, 2020, the committee is meeting today for the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code.
We are joined today by video conference by officials from the Department of Justice. We have Stephen Zaluski, general counsel and director of the judicial affairs section; Adair Crosby, general counsel, judicial affairs section; and Gillian Blackell, senior counsel and team lead in the criminal law policy section.
You will be able to ask the officials questions, through me, if you have any questions around what we're doing today with the clause-by-clause consideration, to clarify any issues that arise.
To ensure an orderly meeting, I'd like to outline a few rules that we should be following.
Members and witnesses may speak in the official language of their choice. Interpretation services are available for this meeting. You have the choice at the bottom of your screen of floor, English or French. You may choose whatever interpretation you would like to hear.
For members participating in person, proceed as you usually would when the whole committee is meeting in person in a committee room. Keep in mind the directives from the Board of Internal Economy regarding wearing your mask and health protocols. I see that we have at least one member who is in the committee room today.
Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. For those of you participating virtually, please click on the microphone icon to unmute yourself. For those in the room, your microphone will be controlled as normal by the proceedings and verification officer who's here. I remind you that all comments by members and witnesses should be addressed through the chair.
When speaking, speak slowly and clearly. Note that there is a bit of lag with the interpretation, so when you end a sentence, give it a few seconds before carrying on in another language or before the next speaker speaks, to allow the interpreters to finish speaking. When you're not speaking, I would ask that you put your microphone on mute, so we're not disrupting anybody else who's speaking.
With regard to a speakers list, the committee clerk and I will be doing our best to maintain a consolidated order of speaking for all members, whether they're participating virtually or in person. When you're participating virtually, please use the “raise hand” function through your participants list. I will be able to recognize the members who are in the room. Just flag to the clerk if you would like to be put on the speakers list; the clerk will let me know and we'll do so accordingly.
Are there any questions at this time from anybody?
I'd like to provide members of the committee with some instructions and a few comments on how the committee will proceed with the first clause-by-clause consideration of a bill in a hybrid meeting format. This is the first time we're doing this. I'll be going as slowly and as cautiously as possible. We obviously don't want to inadvertently do something that we may have difficulty taking back later on. Hopefully, this will go smoothly with the help of all these wonderful supports that we have here today.
As the name indicates, this is an examination of all clauses in the order in which they appear in the bill. I will call each clause successively, and each clause is subject to debate and a vote. If there is an amendment to the clause in question, I will recognize the member who is proposing it, who may explain or speak to the amendment that they have submitted. The amendment will then be open for debate. When no further members wish to intervene, the amendment will be voted on.
Amendments will be considered in the order in which they appear in the bill or in the package that each member has received from the clerk. If there are amendments that are consequential to each other—and I will identify them as we get to them—they will be voted on together.
Pursuant to the House order of September 23, 2020, all questions shall be decided by a recorded vote, except those that are decided unanimously or on division.
In addition to having to be properly drafted in a legal sense, amendments must also be procedurally admissible. I may be called upon to rule on amendments if you feel they are not admissible because they go against the principle of the bill or beyond the scope of the bill—both of which were adopted by the House when the bill was agreed to at second reading—or if they offend the financial prerogative of the Crown.
If you wish to eliminate a clause of the bill altogether, the proper course of action is to vote against that clause when the time comes, not to propose an amendment to delete it.
Since this is the first clause-by-clause consideration of a bill in a hybrid meeting format, I will go slowly to allow all members to follow the proceedings properly. If, during the process, the committee decides not to vote on a clause, that clause can be put aside by the committee so we can revisit it at a later time in the process.
The amendments have been given an alphanumeric number—that is in the top right-hand corner of the package that has been given to you—to indicate which party submitted them. There's no need for a seconder to move an amendment. Once it is moved, you will need unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment.
During debate on an amendment, members are permitted to move subamendments. These subamendments must be submitted in writing or by email for members participating virtually. They do not require the approval of the mover of the amendment. Only one subamendment may be considered at a time and that subamendment cannot be amended. When a subamendment is moved on an amendment, it has to be voted on first. Then, another subamendment may be moved or the committee may consider the main amendment and vote on it.
Once every clause has been voted on, the committee will vote on the title and the bill itself, and an order to reprint the bill may be required, if amendments are adopted, so that the House has a proper copy for use at report stage. Finally, the committee will have to order the chair to report the bill to the House. That report contains only the text of any adopted amendments as well as an indication of any deleted clauses.
I thank the members for their attention and wish everyone a very productive clause-by-clause consideration. If there are any questions at this time, you can raise them now.