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Mireille Aubé
View Mireille Aubé Profile
Mireille Aubé
2021-05-17 18:33
Honourable senators and members of Parliament, there is quorum.
As Senate joint clerk of your committee, it is my duty to preside over the election of the Senate joint chair. I'm ready to receive a motion to that effect.
Are there any nominations?
Marie-Françoise Mégie
View Marie-Françoise Mégie Profile
Hon. Marie-Françoise Mégie
2021-05-17 18:33
I would like to nominate Senator Martin.
Mireille Aubé
View Mireille Aubé Profile
Mireille Aubé
2021-05-17 18:33
It is moved by the honourable Senator Mégie that the honourable Senator Martin do take the chair of this committee.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators and members of Parliament, to adopt the motion?
(Motion agreed to)
The Joint Clerk (Ms. Mireille Aubé): Senator Martin.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 18:34
Thank you, everyone.
Thank you very much, colleagues, for your confidence.
The next item on the agenda is the election of a Senate vice-chair.
I am ready to receive a motion to that effect.
Senator Dalphond.
Pierre Dalphond
View Pierre Dalphond Profile
Hon. Pierre Dalphond
2021-05-17 18:34
Madam Chair, I would like to nominate Senator Mégie.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 18:34
It is moved by the Honourable Senator Dalphond that the Honourable Senator Mégie be elected as vice-chair of this committee.
Are there other motions?
Is the committee in agreement with that motion?
(Motion agreed to)
Marc-Olivier Girard
View Marc-Olivier Girard Profile
Marc-Olivier Girard
2021-05-17 18:35
Good evening, everyone.
I am Marc-Olivier Girard, joint clerk of the committee for the House of Commons.
We will proceed to the election of the House of Commons joint chair.
I just want to remind members that under the special order adopted by the House on April 16, 2021, the chair of that committee on the House side must be a member of the government side.
I am ready to receive motions for the position of joint chair.
Mr. Maloney.
Marc-Olivier Girard
View Marc-Olivier Girard Profile
Marc-Olivier Girard
2021-05-17 18:36
It is moved by Mr. James Maloney that Ms. Hedy Fry be elected joint chair of the committee.
Are there other motions?
I don't see any.
Is the committee in agreement with that motion?
(Motion agreed to)
Marc-Olivier Girard
View Marc-Olivier Girard Profile
Marc-Olivier Girard
2021-05-17 18:36
I declare the motion carried and Ms. Fry duly elected joint chair of the committee.
I invite Ms. Fry to take the chair, virtually. However, with the committee's permission, I would now like to proceed with the election of the three vice-chairs of the House of Commons.
Is everyone in agreement?
Voices: Agreed.
Marc-Olivier Girard
View Marc-Olivier Girard Profile
Marc-Olivier Girard
2021-05-17 18:37
Pursuant to the special order passed by the House of Commons in April of this year, the first vice-chair must be a member of the Conservative Party or the official opposition. I am now prepared to receive motions for the position of first vice-chair.
Mr. Moore.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Clerk, I would like to nominate Kerry-Lynne Findlay for the position of vice-chair.
Marc-Olivier Girard
View Marc-Olivier Girard Profile
Marc-Olivier Girard
2021-05-17 18:37
It has been moved by Mr. Moore that Ms. Findlay be elected as first vice-chair of this committee. Are there any further motions for nominations? Is the committee in agreement with that motion?
(Motion agreed to)
The Joint Clerk (Mr. Marc-Olivier Girard): I declare the motion carried and Ms. Findlay duly elected first vice-chair of this committee.
The second committee vice-chair must be a member of the Bloc Québécois. I believe the choice will be easy.
I am now prepared to receive motions to that effect.
Mr. Arseneault, you have the floor.
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Clerk.
It is a difficult choice, but I nominate Mr. Luc Thériault for this position.
Marc-Olivier Girard
View Marc-Olivier Girard Profile
Marc-Olivier Girard
2021-05-17 18:38
It is moved by Mr. Arseneault that Mr. Thériault be elected as second vice-chair of this committee.
Is the committee in agreement with that motion?
(Motion agreed to)
Marc-Olivier Girard
View Marc-Olivier Girard Profile
Marc-Olivier Girard
2021-05-17 18:38
I declare the motion carried and Mr. Thériault duly elected second vice-chair of this committee.
Finally, I am now prepared to receive motions for the position of third vice-chair.
I would like to remind members that the third vice-chair must be a member of the New Democratic Party, so suspense is at its maximum, I think.
Do we have any nominations for that?
Mr. Virani.
I can't hear you, Mr. Virani.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'm sorry. I am also struggling with this. It is as difficult as selecting the Bloc vice-chair, but I think I'm going to hedge my bets and nominate Mr. MacGregor as the NDP vice-chair.
Marc-Olivier Girard
View Marc-Olivier Girard Profile
Marc-Olivier Girard
2021-05-17 18:39
It has been moved by Mr. Virani that Mr. MacGregor be elected as third vice-chair of this committee. Is the committee in agreement with that motion?
(Motion agreed to)
The Joint Clerk (Mr. Marc-Olivier Girard): I declare the motion carried and Mr. MacGregor duly elected third vice-chair of this committee.
Congratulations to all.
On that, we will leave the floor to the respective joint chairs for the continuation of your deliberations.
Thank you very much.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 18:41
Yes, we have that. I will continue with that. Thank you.
I need a mover for motion one:
That the committee retain, as needed and at the discretion of the joint chairs, the services of one or more analysts from the Library of Parliament to assist it in its work.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 18:41
Thank you, Mr. Virani.
(Motion agreed to)
The Joint Chair (Hon. Yonah Martin): If I may, Madam Joint Chair, I have a brief bio of each of the analysts, Julia Nicol and Marlisa Tiedemann, for everyone to see.
If Julia and Marlisa would turn on their video, I'll have a brief bio of each of them just to show the experience they bring to our committee.
Marlisa Tiedemann is a lawyer who has been an analyst and manager with the Library of Parliament since 2004. She has worked primarily in health law and indigenous affairs. She has worked on end-of-life issues throughout her career, including supporting the 2016 Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying and she has written various publications on the topic. As a manager, she has supervised the team that works on social development-related issues, including disability-related issues.
Julia Nicol is a lawyer who works as an analyst in the justice and national security section and has worked at the Library of Parliament since 2009. She works primarily in criminal law, human rights, gender and foreign affairs, and has written a number of publications about medical assistance in dying. She has supported a variety of House of Commons and Senate committees, including the 2016 Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying, as well as the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. She has also worked for Health Canada on medical assistance in dying.
We have two very capable analysts who will be working with us.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Now we come to the second motion. Do I have a mover for motion two?
I see Mr. Virani's hand is up, so I will read the motion:
That the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure be composed of the joint chairs and the vice-chairs; and that the subcommittee work in a spirit of collaboration.
(Motion agreed to)
The Joint Chair (Hon. Hedy Fry): If this motion is adopted, as you have just done, the steering committee would be composed of one Senate joint chair, one Senate vice-chair, one House joint chair and three House vice-chairs. The total steering members will be six.
Is everyone in agreement with that?
Senator Kutcher.
Stanley Kutcher
View Stanley Kutcher Profile
Hon. Stanley Kutcher
2021-05-17 18:44
May I ask a question, Chair?
I wonder if it would be reasonable to have an additional senator join that committee.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
It would seem to me to be reasonable, because both Senator Martin and I would not be able to vote when we make those decisions. There may need to be another senator carrying a vote, other than Senator Mégie, and similarly for the House.
Pamela Wallin
View Pamela Wallin Profile
Hon. Pamela Wallin
2021-05-17 18:44
Thank you, Dr. Fry.
I'd like to nominate Senator Kutcher for that position.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Are there any other nominations?
Is everyone in agreement that Senator Kutcher will become that other person?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Everyone agrees.
Then I think it may be prudent to do the same for the House.
Does anyone want to nominate a person in the House who is not a vice-chair but is going to be taking a vote? It will have to be a Liberal, because I would be chairing and not voting.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 18:45
Did you say there would be one additional member from the House or would there be another Conservative member as well? Would there be two additional members?
I don't know if MP Kerry-Lynne FIndlay has a similar question or if it is a nomination, but I was just trying to get clarification on the additional members from the House.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
I think, because in my instance the chair would not be able to vote, we would need to have a member of my party carrying the vote for me. That would be a Liberal, I suppose.
Is somebody going to nominate someone?
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Annie Koutrakis Profile
2021-05-17 18:46
Yes, Dr. Fry. I would like to nominate Mr. Virani.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
He is so nominated.
Is everyone in agreement with it being Mr. Virani?
Pierre Dalphond
View Pierre Dalphond Profile
Hon. Pierre Dalphond
2021-05-17 18:46
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
I hear no dissenting comment.
Thank you very much.
Now we have a steering committee that is going to be made up of eight members. It includes one Senate joint chair, one Senate vice-chair, one House joint chair, three House vice-chairs, and one person from the House and one person from the Senate. The person from the House is Mr. Virani and the person from the Senate is Dr. Kutcher.
Yonah, do you want to do the next round?
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 18:47
All right.
Do I have a mover for motion three? It's the following motion:
That the subcommittee be empowered to make decisions on behalf of the committee with respect to its agenda, to invite witnesses, and to schedule hearings.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 18:47
Thank you, Mr. Arseneault.
(Motion agreed to)
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
I can't vote, sorry.
Next is the subcommittee on agenda and procedure. Do I have a mover for motion four?
It states:
That the subcommittee report its decisions to the committee.
(Motion agreed to)
The Joint Chair (Hon. Hedy Fry): This is a standard routine motion for most House of Commons committees, so I don't think there's any further discussion on it.
Yonah.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 18:48
Thank you.
Do I have a mover for motion five? It states:
That the joint chairs be empowered to direct communications officer(s) assigned to the committee in the development of communications plans and products where appropriate and to request the services of the Senate Communications Directorate and of the House of Commons Social Media Team for the purposes of the promotion of their work.
Senator Wallin is moving the motion.
(Motion agreed to)
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Do I have a mover for motion six?
This motion states:
That witnesses appearing before the committee be given ten minutes to make their opening statement and that during the questioning of witnesses the time allocated to each questioner be five minutes for each round. The order of questions for the first round of questioning shall be as follows:
This is a decision we're going to have to make.
Questioning during the second round shall be as follows:
We will have to make a decision on that as well.
Is it agreed to adopt this motion? Then we need to discuss what that time would be.
Pierre Dalphond
View Pierre Dalphond Profile
Hon. Pierre Dalphond
2021-05-17 18:49
Madam Chair, I would like us to consider working from a different perspective. I would suggest, coming from the Senate, that the members of the committee be allocated an equal amount of time—let's say three minutes each—for questions, instead of having groups and time allocated to parties or groups.
My proposal would be that all members be allocated the same amount of time—let's say three minutes—in order to have 45 minutes for the first round.
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
First of all, I think it would be better if the witnesses' opening statements were limited to seven minutes, which would leave more time for questions. Once that is settled, we can then start talking about the allocation of speaking time among committee members. I, for one, believed that witnesses were given seven minutes to make their opening statements, which already seemed plenty of time to me.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Joint Chair, I just wanted to indicate that from the perspective of myself and my colleagues on the Liberal benches, we have no issues with how the senators have proposed to divide up their time. If they deem it more appropriate to take their 15-minute allocation and divide it equally among the senators who are participating in this group, we are perfectly amenable to that suggestion and would support it.
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2021-05-17 18:53
Thank you, Madam Chair.
First of all, I am in favour of allowing seven minutes for opening statements. This is what is done in other committees. I think that in the discussions following the statements, the witnesses will be able to complete their thoughts while responding to relevant questions.
Secondly, I am not sure I understood Senator Dalphond's proposal. He suggested that everyone should have equal speaking time, but I am not sure I understood the length of time he suggested. I would thus like to have that clarification.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Pierre Dalphond
View Pierre Dalphond Profile
Hon. Pierre Dalphond
2021-05-17 18:54
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2021-05-17 18:54
In my opinion, three minutes per round is totally insufficient.
I am rather in favour of a more conventional allocation of speaking time. In the first round of questions, it would be five minutes for everyone. In the second round, it would be four minutes for Liberal members and Conservative members, and two and a half minutes for the Bloc Québécois and the NDP, then four minutes for the Independent Senators Group and the Conservative senators, and two and a half minutes alternating between the Canadian Senators Group and the Progressive Senate Group. In the first round of questioning as well, the last five minutes would be given to the last two groups alternating from one meeting to the next.
The reason I am proposing this is that we are dealing with a bill that originates in the House, first and foremost. Under what I am proposing, 38 minutes would be allocated to the House representatives and 33 minutes to the Senate representatives. I believe that this proportion is legitimate and correct.
During the meetings, it may happen that a colleague is in the middle of a flight of oratory and that we show generosity by giving him or her our speaking time. This has happened before in the committee discussing electoral reform. I am open to such a practice when the opportunity is right.
That said, I object to the suggestion that everyone should be given three minutes equally.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
I guess that you are making an amendment to Senator Dalphond's motion.
Does everyone agree with the amendment? Is there discussion on the amendment?
Ms. Findlay.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Joint Chair, I agree with MP Thériault's intervention. I don't think three minutes is long enough, frankly, and a more conventional approach [Technical difficulty—Editor]
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
I think I got muted, but it won't be the first or the last time, no doubt. Oh, the joys of Zoom meetings.
In any event, my point was that the more traditional approach and starting with the five minutes for questioning I think makes more sense. Three minutes goes by awfully quickly. Five minutes goes by awfully quickly when you're talking about important topics such as we will be discussing.
Pamela Wallin
View Pamela Wallin Profile
Hon. Pamela Wallin
2021-05-17 18:57
Thank you, Joint Chair.
The Senate members, I think, all agree on a more equitable distribution of time. We had discussed in advance, unless I misread our emails amongst ourselves. that we would divide our time as Senator Dalphond proposed.
Marie-Françoise Mégie
View Marie-Françoise Mégie Profile
Hon. Marie-Françoise Mégie
2021-05-17 18:58
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I am still a little confused about Senator Dalphond's proposal. When he talks about equal time, is he talking about the witnesses' speaking time or our time to ask questions? That is still not clear to me. Can Senator Dalphond clarify that, please?
Pierre Dalphond
View Pierre Dalphond Profile
Hon. Pierre Dalphond
2021-05-17 18:58
Thank you, Madam Chair.
My suggestion concerns the time allocated to senators for questions. I understand that the members of Parliament do not want their speaking time to be equal to that of the senators. However, the senators at least agree that their speaking time should be divided equally.
Marie-Françoise Mégie
View Marie-Françoise Mégie Profile
Hon. Marie-Françoise Mégie
2021-05-17 18:59
Okay. I am in favour of this motion.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Madam Joint Chair.
I want to be clear that, per the written routine motions, the motion that was distributed speaks to time allocation. I want to read it into the record so that we're clear, because I believe Senator Dalphond is only proposing to amend the Senate portion. There's no suggested change to the House of Commons portion.
The motion says:
That witnesses appearing before the Committee be given seven minutes to make their opening statement and that the order of questions for the first round of questioning shall be as follows: five minutes House of Commons Liberal, five minutes House of Commons Conservative, five minutes House of Commons BQ, five minutes House of Commons NDP, five minutes Independent Senators Group (Senate ISG), five minutes Senate Conservative, 5 minutes Canadian Senators Group (Senate CSG) and five minutes Progressive Senate Group (Senate PSG), alternating between the last two Senate groups from meeting to meeting.
It continues:
Questioning during the second round shall be as follows: four minutes House of Commons Liberal, four minutes House of Commons Conservative, 2.5 minutes House of Commons BQ, 2.5 minutes House of Commons NDP, four minutes Senate ISG, four minutes Senate Conservative, 2.5 minutes Senate PSG and 2.5 minutes Senate CSG, alternating between the last two Senate groups from meeting to meeting.
If I understood correctly, what Mr. Dalphond is seeking to do is simply amend the configuration with respect to the senators, but not touch the configuration with respect to members of the House of Commons.
Pierre Dalphond
View Pierre Dalphond Profile
Hon. Pierre Dalphond
2021-05-17 19:00
That's correct. The 15 minutes for senators would be allocated between senators.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you.
I'm looking at the amendment. Time is equal among the different senator groups, but for the Senate Conservatives, for example, our member is a co-chair. What is the process by which that time would be used?
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
I think it would be the same as we'd use for anybody else asking a question. Senator Martin and I, as co-chairs, will not be asking questions, but Senator Mégie is free to ask questions, like any other senator.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 19:02
Madam Joint Chair, what Mr. Moore is saying is that I'm the only Conservative in the group of senators, but I'm also the co-chair. In terms of the allocated time for a Conservative senator, currently I'm both. You and I have agreed that when I'm co-chairing, we will take turns chairing panels. The panels I am chairing.... If I'm co-chairing but there is time allotted for a Conservative senator to ask questions, perhaps I could ask one of my House colleagues to take that time, if it's agreeable to the committee. I'm not sure if that's something we could work out. As co-chair I would not be involved in the questions per se, but I may make an intervention.
These are details that I feel we can work out afterwards, and I can bring them back to the committee. For now I think we're all in agreement that the witnesses should speak for seven minutes and that time allotted to senators will be divided equally, which we will work out among the senators. The rest of it is the same as proposed.
I think we've almost reached agreement on this, but it's a very good question by Mr. Moore in regard to the time allocated for a Conservative senator to ask questions, because I am the only Conservative senator at this time.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
There are only so many people on the Senate committee, so I don't know if a House of Commons member could replace a Senate member. I don't think that's how joint committees work, so that's going to be a very.... It was agreed originally in the House that this is how it would be and this would be the number of people who are there, so I don't know if we can change that.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 19:04
I'm not suggesting we change it at this time, but I will discuss it with my Senate colleagues. We did talk about this, and I understand the importance of everyone having allocated time. When I'm chairing, that's one thing I would need to forgo, or perhaps there are times when the co-chair could intervene at the end, depending on the time remaining. This is something I will work out.
I see a few more hands, so I'm wondering if we should hear from our members and then try to conclude this motion.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
No, the original motion was Senator Dalphond's, and then Mr. Thériault made an amendment to it. We need to get rid of that amendment. Either we vote against it and just deal with Senator Dalphond's motion, which deals only with senators, because it's become a little bit crazy now that we're talking about....
Mr. Thériault's amendment was about the House, and Senator Dalphond's motion was about the Senate time. I think the Senate should decide what it wants to do and the House should decide what it wants to do. We have Mr. Thériault's amendment on the table, and I don't know if we want to vote it in or vote it out, because Mr. Virani made a very clear sense of what he was reading.
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2021-05-17 19:05
Madam Chair, I would just like us to take a moment to clarify things.
The proposal read by Mr. Virani is the same as mine. When Senator Dalphond first stated his proposal, the issue of equal speaking time for senators was not clear. I understand very well that senators can decide to divide their time equally. However, was it strictly for the second round? In my proposal and the one that Mr. Virani read, it's in the second round that speaking times vary.
So, is he suggesting that it should be three minutes for each senator both for the first and second rounds? I would like a clarification before we proceed to the vote.
Pierre Dalphond
View Pierre Dalphond Profile
Hon. Pierre Dalphond
2021-05-17 19:07
It'll be my pleasure.
The allocation of time to senators would be equal in the first round. The same rule would apply in the second round: I believe it is a total of nine and a half minutes for the senators, which is about two minutes each.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Are you then withdrawing your amendment, Mr. Thériault? I think you are, right?
Now we're moving back to the original motion.
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2021-05-17 19:07
Yes, indeed. This amendment did not necessarily concern Mr. Dalphond's proposal.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 19:08
May I make one point of clarification before you do that, Mr. Virani?
In the Senate, the chair can ask a question. That's why, when I agreed with my colleagues, there are times when if I'm chairing that panel, I may have an opportunity to make an intervention, maybe towards the end depending on time, but I guess it's important not to forgo the time allotted for a Conservative senator. In the Senate, the chair does take the opportunity, if there is time over the course of a meeting, to ask a question, but that may not be the same in the House. If the senators among us can allot equal time within the group, then it can work quite easily, because that's how things work in the Senate. That is why Senator Dalphond proposes this, because this is what we do in the Senate.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
I would simply ask how we address the issue of the Conservative senator being able to ask questions of committee members. I agree this is difficult, and a good point was raised by Mr. Moore. However, it's problematic. I think you would flag, Madam Joint Chair, that it would be problematic for us to allow MPs to step into the place of senators, because there is no possibility for that to occur on a party basis, except for one, as no other party has senators except for the Conservative Party of Canada. There are no Bloc senators, no NDP senators and no Liberal senators, so an inequality would be created right at the outset.
Obviously, the senators among this group have a better understanding of how things run in the Senate than how they run in the House. In the House, Mr. Maloney and Madam Fry are chairs of committees, and there might be others, and we know that things happen on an ad hoc basis. However, it's usually just ad hoc that the chair asks questions.
How do we sort this out going forward? If this becomes regular, it may be something we need to sort out in advance. I don't think anyone would object to doing it on an ad hoc basis, but if it's a regular occurrence, perhaps it might compromise some of the equality in the rules that were pre-established.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Yes. I agree with you, Mr. Virani.
I think Senator Martin was suggesting that she talk about this with her Senate colleagues, and maybe the Senate can work with the House whip to see how the two groups can come to some kind of agreement on what happens here. It is a difficult situation because of the unequal number and because, as you pointed out, Mr. Virani, there are no traditional political parties in the Senate in the same way there are in the House. The House goes by its own rules.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 19:11
There is the Conservative Party.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
The point is that we, as a joint committee, will have to go with committee rules as established.
I would like to ask the clerk to bail us out over this, because it's a bit of a difficult problem. I understand that the House works according to certain rules, but when the whips discussed this—the Senate whip and the House whip—they had a clear sense of what they wanted to do. Now we have this conundrum that was brought up, and it is a conundrum all right, so it's reasonable for us to discuss it.
Can the whip tell us where we go from here? I don't think any of us had discussed any of this, and I'm just going with what the two whips had originally agreed on.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
—was set up, on what it was going to look like, and I'm going on that agreement.
Maybe the clerk can tell us how we deal with what you've brought up, which Mr. Virani and Mr. Moore also talked about. Does the clerk have a suggestion?
Marc.
Marc-Olivier Girard
View Marc-Olivier Girard Profile
Marc-Olivier Girard
2021-05-17 19:12
I might have a suggestion on behalf of the joint clerks.
How about you continue the discussion off-line and we leave this routine motion on the side for the time being? Maybe by the next meeting you will have reached a deal among each other to tackle that conundrum. Then you can pass the motion at the next meeting as fully baked, a motion that would be agreeable to everyone. It's just a suggestion. I don't know.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you, Clerk. It's a very reasonable suggestion. That's why you're the clerk. You've come up with a way to deal with this, and I think perhaps this is the way we should go. We should possibly leave this to discuss at the next meeting and let the whips of both Houses and the senators discuss among themselves how we deal with this conundrum.
Is there a sense that we can all move on now and leave this for the next meeting?
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 19:13
The only thing I should add is that the conundrum was created by the government. We are the official opposition and we've always been part of the party, but in the Senate, the Senate groups have all worked out their relationship. What I said was that if this motion is adopted as amended by Senator Dalphond, the senators will work out the time allocation. I am the only Conservative, and given my position on this issue, I'm also representing the other side. Everyone else for the most part has been in agreement, so I think it is important that I retain that time.
In the Senate, chairs are allowed to intervene, and we have done that on multiple occasions. If there's a respect of both Houses and we retain that practice on a committee, I feel we can adopt this motion as amended by Senator Dalphond and work out the time allocation and questioning for the senators.
We can take this off-line, as suggested by the clerk, and work out some of those details. However, I do see several hands, so I think we should take—
Pamela Wallin
View Pamela Wallin Profile
Hon. Pamela Wallin
2021-05-17 19:15
Thank you very much.
I think Senator Martin has said it. I think we agreed in advance that we would give Senator Martin a voice, because she does represent the Conservative Party and she represents a view that is primarily different from those of the others, and we have all agreed that she will be allowed to ask questions and she will be judicious about that. You are chairing on alternate weeks, so she would still have an opportunity on those weeks. We can agree to that.
The other issue we can deal with is that the Canadian Senators Group and the Progressive Senate Group have been silenced for one meeting. We've been told we can speak only at alternate meetings as well if we adopt this motion, and I don't think that is what we as senators agreed to.
I don't know about accepting this language as it is and then.... Maybe we should just put that off so we can fix the language all around. However, just so everybody knows, the five senators represented here today will ensure that Senator Martin has a voice.
Thank you.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you, Senator Wallin.
I think what the clerk is saying is to put this aside and come back to it.
Kerry-Lynne Findlay and then James Maloney.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
I just want to be clear on where we are here. It looks to me as though we're looking at the routine motion as set out by Mr. Virani—
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
—and then we're looking at a suggested amendment by Senator Dalphond, which would divide up the Senate time differently, but the aggregate Senate time would remain the same.
Am I correct in what I'm saying?
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you. If I am, then I agree that the senators should be able to work out their time, but I don't think that doing that should necessarily delay our passing this motion. It could be with that caveat or however we want to do it, but because we agree on the rest of it, it could be with the caveat that this portion needs a little bit more work from the senators and that they will bring that portion back to us. However, we can agree to their overall time allotment and we can agree to the rest, I think, assuming we are in agreement.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Yes, that's assuming we are in agreement. Again, the suggestion would be, if I remember what everyone was saying, the witnesses would get seven minutes to present, and after that the questioning by House members would be as Mr. Virani read out. Then the senators will talk among themselves but they agree that their time allocation in total will be the same and they will just decide how they will move that forward and bring it back to us at another meeting.
In the meantime, we could pass motion number six as it stands.
Is there any disagreement on that?
Pamela Wallin
View Pamela Wallin Profile
Hon. Pamela Wallin
2021-05-17 19:18
“As it stands” is as amended.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Yes, that's as amended by Mr. Dalphond.
(Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Joint Chair (Hon. Hedy Fry): We should move on. I think motion number six has been passed as amended.
We will go now to Senator Martin.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 19:19
Do I have a mover for motion seven? This is the following motion:
That the joint clerks of the committee be authorized to distribute to the members of the committee only documents that are available in both official languages; and that witnesses be advised accordingly.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 19:19
Thank you, Mr. Virani.
(Motion agreed to)
The Joint Chair (Hon. Yonah Martin): Madam Joint Chair, we are on motion number eight.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Do I have a mover for motion number eight? I will read it:
That the joint clerks of the committee be authorized to make the necessary arrangements to provide snacks and beverages for the committee and its subcommittees.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Yes, of course.
Is there any dissenting voice here?
(Motion agreed to)
The Joint Chair (Hon. Hedy Fry): This is a standard motion for House committees. In June 2015, there was a decision to no longer allow committees to order working meals, but working meals are still permitted, with coffee and snacks, and the cost is absorbed by the Senate committees directorate, as I understand.
If this motion is adopted, the Senate's share of the snacks and beverages cost—70% House of Commons, 30% Senate—would also be absorbed by the Senate committees directorate, just so you know what you just voted for.
Senator Martin.
View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
I have a question. It's not mentioned, but I assume it's for committee meetings on Parliament Hill, and it does not concern members of Parliament and senators who take part in these meetings virtually. I assume that is what the motion means. Otherwise, I would be happy to have anything delivered to my house.
Voices: Oh, oh!
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
The question is, does the Senate pay for what you order at home?
Thank you, Monsieur Arseneault.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 19:21
We'll move to motion nine.
I'd like a mover for motion nine:
That either joint chair or, in accordance with the direction of the joint chairs, either joint clerk be authorized to approve payment of expenditures of the committee.
Senator Wallin.
Pamela Wallin
View Pamela Wallin Profile
Hon. Pamela Wallin
2021-05-17 19:21
I so move.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 19:21
Thank you.
(Motion agreed to)
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
The next motion is with regard to travel, accommodation and living expenses of witnesses.
Do I have a mover for the motion?
Pierre Dalphond
View Pierre Dalphond Profile
Hon. Pierre Dalphond
2021-05-17 19:22
I so move, Madam Chair.
View Hedy Fry Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you, Senator Dalphond.
It reads:
That, if requested, reasonable travel, accommodation and living expenses including child care and/or personal attendant care or the cost of an approved headset be reimbursed to witnesses upon application, not exceeding two representatives per organization; and that, in exceptional circumstances, payment for more representatives be made at the discretion of the joint chairs.
(Motion agreed to)
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 19:22
May I have a mover for motion 11?
Marie-Françoise Mégie
View Marie-Françoise Mégie Profile
Hon. Marie-Françoise Mégie
2021-05-17 19:23
I so move.
Yonah Martin
View Yonah Martin Profile
Hon. Yonah Martin
2021-05-17 19:23
I will read the motion:
That, unless otherwise ordered, each committee member be allowed to be accompanied by one staff person at an in camera meetings and that one additional person from each House officer’s office be allowed to be present and for the Senate, that the leader or facilitator of the Government and each recognized party or parliamentary group be entitled to one additional staff member at these meetings.
(Motion agreed to)
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