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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
I call the meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 51 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. Pursuant to the House order of reference of today, Thursday, May 27, 2021, the committee is meeting to study Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format pursuant to the House order of January 25, and therefore members are attending in person in the room and remotely by using the Zoom application. The proceedings will be made available by the House of Commons website.
Today we reach the stage of dealing with clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-30 after hearing from quite a number of witnesses.
You will see on the notice of meeting that there are many officials from across quite a section of departments and agencies who are available to address questions of members as we make our way through this bill, so keep that in mind, members, if you have any questions. We also have the legislative clerk here.
I want to recognize and thank officials for their previous appearances before this committee and for being here today.
Before I turn to clause-by-clause study, members, I believe you have received a copy of a request for a project budget. If we could, we will deal with that first. It should be in your file somewhere.
Pat, you look puzzled. The project budget is for the subject matter of Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures. The amount requested is for the cost of the hearings, which are pretty nearly complete. The amount requested is $9,750.
Does anyone want to move approval?
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Okay. It's moved by Sean.
Is there any discussion? All those in favour?
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: Good. That's carried. We'll pay for this set of hearings after all.
I think everyone has the clauses in front of them. We will go to clause-by-clause consideration. I will read it just so we're sure.
Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of clause 1, the short title, is postponed, and therefore the chair will call for clause 2.
(On clauses 2 to 14)
The Chair: We are starting to deal with part 1: “Amendments to the Income Tax Act and Other Legislation”.
There are no amendments on clauses 2 to 14. Do you want to deal with them as a group? If there's unanimous consent, we can do that.
All right. Shall clauses 2 to 14 carry on division?
Peter, were you going to say something?
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you.
To the rest of the committee here, there's a quick housekeeping matter. The chair has asked that we make sure we take care of this. It is in regard to our study budget, which was sent around to everybody yesterday. We need approval on that budget. I believe it's around $1,250. It covers the costs associated with the current study.
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
I move that we accept the budget as presented, Mr. Chair.
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
Okay. Are all in favour?
(Motion agreed to)
I think we have unanimous approval, so that's great.
I see Mr. Arnold has his hand up. Go ahead, Mr. Arnold.
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Prior to the completion of the salmon study and prior to the constituency break, we discussed having the minister appear—
View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
Let's try this now. Is that better? Yes, I'm seeing nodding heads. I apologize.
When we were getting near the end of the Pacific salmon study, and prior to the constituency week, I believe we discussed having the minister appear. It was agreed by the committee that it wasn't possible to have her appear before the constituency week and still be able to get a draft out and complete the study before the end of the session, so we delayed having the minister appear.
I believe we all agreed that we would have the minister appear after the constituency week. I don't see that in the calendar that has been circulated. Can the clerk clarify that the minister has been invited, and when she would be appearing?
View Terry Beech Profile
Lib. (BC)
My understanding is that the minister is booked for Wednesday, June 2, but maybe the clerk can confirm.
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
I'm getting thumbs up, so we have confirmation for Wednesday, June 2.
Thank you, Mr. Arnold, for the question, and thank you, Mr. Beech, for the clarification.
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
I have a point of order, too, Mr. Chair.
I know that it's not my job to tell people who they are or what they are or what they can do, but Mr. Hardie indicated that there were government members at the committee here today when he was laying the blame squarely at the feet of DFO. I just want to remind colleagues that there is actually nobody here from the executive branch at all appearing before the committee, and that not even the parliamentary secretary is a member of the executive.
I know what it's like to be a government caucus MP, but I think we should be careful, and these are just my feelings and sentiments. I didn't want to reprimand Mr. Hardie in front of witnesses, but I think we just need to be careful about who we are and how we identify ourselves and be accurate in how we portray ourselves in front of witnesses. We are simply members of Parliament, whether we're a member of the government caucus or not a member of the government caucus, and we shouldn't be portraying ourselves as executive members or members of government.
I think Mr. Johns was completely bang on when he said that the minister, somebody who could make the executive decision, would be more than appropriate to take action. I wish we had the executive powers of government sometimes as a committee, and then we would get some of these things done.
If somebody on the government side of the table were to prepare to move the appropriate motion, you would have my full support.
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Calkins. I see no further hands raised.
I want to thank everyone for being a part of tonight's meeting. Thank you for your patience with the rookie chair. I appreciate all of your kindness throughout this meeting.
The meeting is adjourned.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'm going to take the liberty right away of introducing the motion that I previously sent out and that you all received via email. The motion is as follows:
That the Committee proceed immediately to the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-253 as referred by the House on May 12, 2021, without hearing witnesses.
I introduce this motion on the basis that this bill does not commit any money from the government. The bill is essentially ideological and does not involve responsible government, for example.
In the particular context of COVID-19, we know that many companies are being kept on life support, as it were. That's what the results of various surveys are showing. The government's wage subsidy and rental assistance programs are very generous. However, when those programs end, we could see a significant number of bankruptcies.
In addition, the election threat weighs heavily on us. An election campaign could be triggered as early as August. We know that if this bill is not sent to the House directly, given the time allotted for debate and consideration by the Senate, it may not receive royal assent before the House wraps up.
If these bankruptcies occur in the fall without us having passed the bill, hundreds or even thousands of workers may not be protected. That is what I'm afraid of. My colleague Marilène Gill's bill covers two areas: priority payment of preferred claims for employers, as well as compensation for the loss of group insurance.
I therefore move that we begin clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-253 immediately, in the hope that it will be sent back to the House as soon as possible for consideration at third reading. I also hope that it will be sent to the Senate quickly so that it can be passed in the current Parliament. That will allow us to address the bankruptcies that may occur in many constituencies.
I want to point out that the motion to send the bill to committee was supported by the Bloc Québécois, of course, the NDP, the Conservative Party and 10 Liberal members, including our colleague Nathaniel Erskine-Smith. I am calling on our strategic political sense and compassion for the workers who may be affected by these bankruptcies.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much.
I invite the legislative clerk, Philippe Méla, to explain the rules surrounding this motion.
Philippe Méla
View Philippe Méla Profile
Philippe Méla
2021-05-25 11:28
Thank you, Madam Chair.
The motion is a bit unusual, but it is in order. It is up to the committee to decide whether to proceed with clause-by-clause consideration of the bill here and now without hearing further witnesses. It is possible to do that, if that is the will of the committee. The motion may be debated and amended.
Philippe Méla
View Philippe Méla Profile
Philippe Méla
2021-05-25 11:29
No, not for this motion. If this were a motion to have clause-by-clause consideration of the bill deemed completed, that would be a different matter and it would indeed require unanimous consent. However, Mr. Lemire's motion simply asks that the committee proceed immediately with clause-by-clause consideration. If the committee decides to do so, then I will take five minutes to explain how that will work.
The committee must vote on all clauses of the bill, that is, the chair must ask the committee if clause 1 shall carry, then clause 2, and so on, through to the title of the bill. The chair will then ask the committee whether it wishes her to report the bill to the House and whether she should order the bill reprinted, in the event that amendments have been made.
This motion does not require unanimous consent. It may be debated and amended, if necessary.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-25 11:30
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I know that with this motion I won't have a chance to question the sponsor, let alone other witnesses, but nonetheless I support the motion. I've been part of this debate for a number of years, in fact almost two generations. I believe there has been enough meritorious talk of the benefits of workers getting what is really a deferred wage in contractual agreements, when two people sit down, whether as part of a collective or a non-collective agreement and decide upon the terms of the wage.
I'm not going to take a lot of time in this intervention in order to allow my colleagues to be there. Obviously, though, as a New Democrat I won't even get a chance to thank the witness who is here today with her bill and to speak very strongly to how quickly we should move this through, in that there will be some other opportunities to hear some of the powerful voices who have raised significant issues for workers.
This may be a bit different as a process, but it's not an unfair one. It is not unusual in many respects, too, because of the circumstances faced under COVID. At the same time, the mere fact that this has a long history of working its way through the chamber, through committee and eventually back again through the chamber, but not even bringing the results that are necessary....
I want to thank all those who are participating, but being from the party that's going to be most affected by this because I won't even get a chance to question the sponsor of the bill, I support this, because the value of the workers and those who are supporting them and Canadians is too well documented to pass up yet again.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
View Bernard Généreux Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I wonder if my colleague has seen the legislative agenda leading up to the end of the session. And by the way, as far as I know, it is not a government priority to fast-track passage of the bill before a possible election or the next session. The chances of that happening are extremely slim.
Personally, I support the bill. However, I am a business man, and I would like to understand some things better. The exchange earlier between Mrs. Gill and Mr. Poilievre showed me that there is a misunderstanding not only of what a plumber is, but also of the relationship between suppliers and large companies. When subcontractors don't get paid, they still have to pay their employees, regardless of the circumstances. So they are not on the same level as the employees, who would keep their pensions.
On the other hand, I regret that Mr. Masse cannot speak in this debate, since he has exactly two decades of experience with similar bills.
I feel we need to study the bill more carefully and hear from witnesses, so that we have a better understanding of the issue and can make sure that the bill is well put together. Mrs. Gill, again, I support your bill. However, similar bills have been met with a lot of opposition in the past. We want to make sure that this time we can get the bill passed. To do that, I still believe we should have witnesses.
We will oppose Mr. Lemire's motion. It's not that we disagree with him and refuse to move the bill forward more quickly. Rather, we think we could easily have two meetings with witnesses and also allow Mr. Masse to speak. In fact, if I have the opportunity today, I will give him my time. Indeed, it is important that all parliamentarians have the opportunity to ask Mrs. Gill questions on this matter.
So, I don't know if my other colleagues agree, but we will be voting against Mr. Lemire's motion. Again, we have nothing against the bill or against Mr. Lemire's motion, but I believe we need to hear from witnesses to make sure that the bill is perfect. There are two sides to every coin. We are inevitably going to run into unpredictables along the way.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
I have a procedural question, Madam Chair.
Regarding the two meetings, is that an amendment to my motion, a separate motion, or an opinion?
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thanks, Chair.
Sébastien mentioned that I voted in support of Bill C-253. I was glad to do so, to bring it to committee for study. It strikes me that if we were to eliminate the prospect of hearing from witnesses, I would miss out on that study, and I think, to speak to Mr. Généreux's point, that we want to get it right. I also think we want to do it as quickly as we can, and I think we can do both of those things adequately, as far as this committee work is concerned.
We should, then, make sure that we return it to the House, ideally before we rise. I think that would be quite a quick but welcome process, if we can get it done, and I think we can, but it shouldn't preclude our hearing witnesses. I think we can do both. We can hear from witnesses—a short list, of course—get the clause-by-clause study done and then return it to the House before we rise.
That would be the aim, but while I supported getting Bill C-253 to committee, I don't support moving directly to studying it clause by clause. I think we should hear from a list of witnesses to make sure we get clause-by-clause examination right.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I would support an idea of amending the motion in order to allow for several days of hearings so that we can actually get some expert testimony. Having just exchanged with the bill's proponent, whom I respect and whom I thank for bringing it forward, I'm not clear that the answers she provided are necessarily legally accurate. I'm not saying that in a derisive way. It's just that it's impossible for one person to have all of the legal facts related to a very complicated piece of legislation.
I certainly don't have all those facts, but, for example, I would like to know what happens to the claims of small business people who have done contractual work for a business and then the business goes bankrupt. Then the small business whose employees are not covered by the priority listing in either this bill or in the existing bankruptcy and insolvency legislation would potentially be pushed further back still.
I'm also not clear yet on whether or not this bill would provide for companies to continue to issue collateral in order to get loans that are necessary to hire people in the first place. I would like to know more.
I think the goal here that we all share is to protect pensioners in the event of a bankruptcy and to make sure that the bill actually does that and does not unfairly harm other players: small businesses, workers for those businesses, other pensions that have lent to the company that is going bankrupt, future workers who may not get hired if companies can't get financing. All of that stuff needs to be examined. Maybe, when we examine it, we will conclude that the bill is still optimal and needs to be passed, but we can't make this kind of a rearrangement of our bankruptcy, insolvency and creditor protection legislation without a single witness other than the person moving the bill. I have never seen something of this nature pass without a witness. It would be pretty revolutionary to do this without witness testimony, and I think unnecessarily so.
I think everyone here is acting in goodwill to try to get hearings quickly and get us all informed so that when we finally go through clause-by-clause study and, hopefully, pass it, we know what we're doing.
I would support an amendment—not a vote against Mr. Lemire's motion but an amendment—that would allow for some days of hearings and expert witness testimony.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
We have an amendment to the original motion on the floor.
MP Dreeshen and MP Lemire, you have your hands up. I don't know if it's to speak to the amendment.
MP Dreeshen, go ahead.
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I will be quick because I, too, would like to see us move forward with this.
I believe that hearing more from more people would probably be better. Just to go back quickly.... The decision was made that we would send this to the committee to look at. If we had wanted to pass it quickly.... Everyone plays these games with unanimous consent motions in the House. That would have been an option to see if that actually was something that people could have agreed upon, but we agreed upon something different, and that was to come here.
I know what it is like to have a private member's bill that doesn't make it across the wire. I have had one moving into second reading in the Senate when an election was called. I did get another chance to pass one. Anyway, I don't think it's the right precedent because if we start to do that, to say “Once we get it in here, let's try to push it through as quickly as possible,” that isn't fair to other private members' bills that are working their way through the system.
As much as I would love to get the discussion in here, to shut it down now wouldn't be right, so I agree that we should have more meetings rather than fewer.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I will begin by responding to Mr. Dreeshen's comment by simply drawing a parallel with Bill C-208, which the Conservatives themselves introduced. They were able to prioritize that bill, which was then able to pass third reading last month. That is what happened. It was not a priority bill. Yet, it moved from 17th to 2nd in the order of priority, if memory serves. It was even prioritized again for the second hour of debate at third reading. The Conservatives changed the order of their bills so that some of them were given priority consideration during the debate time they had. These sorts of steps are taken to ensure quick passage.
I would also like to respond to Mr. Généreux's comment. If we don't fast-track Bill C-253 back to the House without delay and an election is called, the bill will be a complete failure.
Remember that a bill was passed under a gag order two weeks ago to enact rules for how elections work during a pandemic. In my view, if the government is passing reforms to the Canada Elections Act under a gag order, that sends a very alarming message to me that it wants to call an election.
This is the context in which we must operate. Based on the indicators we have, we could see a lot of bankruptcies this fall, because right now companies are being kept alive on life support. If we don't get Bill C-253 back to the House quickly, we will not be protecting workers from these bankruptcies. We are exposing them to the consequences.
That's why this motion needs to pass quickly. We need to get Bill C-253 back to the House as soon as possible, to at least give ourselves a chance to get it passed on behalf of the people we represent.
Of course, we can't know in advance who we will save from bankruptcy, which constituencies will be affected, and the circumstances in which it will happen. However, the examples we have seen, like White Birch Papers, really scare me.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Are there any other comments regarding the amendment to have meetings to hear from witnesses?
Seeing no further debate, I will ask for a vote on the amendment to hear from witnesses. I want to see if everyone is on screen. If there is a requirement for a recorded—
Hold on. I have hands up.
MP Poilievre, did you want to explain your amendment further?
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Yes. I would propose that we have at least three full meetings to hear from witnesses on the bill.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
That's perfect. The amendment is to have three full meetings on Bill C-253 so that we can hear from witnesses.
I will turn to MP Masse.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Right now, if you recall, we circulated a draft agenda for between now and the end of the session. The plan was to hold meetings regarding Bill C-253, so it's already in the books to do so. I had invited all the members to submit witnesses, which I believe some have.
We already have scheduled time in the agenda for this study.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-25 11:44
That's why I wondered whether this was in order and how it actually conflicts with our current schedule. Depending on the vote on this, it affects our current schedule and it doesn't take away that we've already actually booked time for witnesses. Everybody supports having witnesses, if we're going to actually have that.
Wouldn't it be out of order or would it be amending our current schedule, and does that require us to go in camera for committee business?
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
The motion that was brought forward is admissible, as the legislative clerk stipulated.
With respect to the amendment proposed by MP Poilievre, it is admissible. He's amending the motion so that instead of going strictly to clause-by-clause study, we would actually go back to, I want to say, the original plan of seeing witnesses for this study.
As I explained, my hope was that we would be able to get everything done as soon as possible if we were to be tight on time.
I'm going to check with the clerk.
Mike, is there any deviation to the plan?
Michael MacPherson
View Michael MacPherson Profile
Michael MacPherson
2021-05-25 11:45
Based on my reading of the motion as submitted, it would be amended so that the committee proceed immediately to the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-253, as referred by the House on May 12, 2021, after three full meetings of witness testimony.
If we look at our calendar that was distributed, which was tentative, we already have Bill C-253 in there for June 1, 3, 8 and 10. Therefore, it would be June 1, 3 and 8 with witnesses, and then June 10 would be clause-by-clause consideration.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Chair, I invite you to proceed to a vote. If this amendment passes, I will simply withdraw my motion, because I believe our committee has other essential work as well. Under the circumstances, the intent was not only for our committee to be able to quickly get this bill to the House, but also to be able to report back to the House on all the studies that we have to do, including the study on Internet accessibility and affordability. If we were to pass the motion as amended, our schedule as a committee would render all of our work null and void.
I wanted our committee to work efficiently. If the motion is amended in this way, I will simply withdraw it, so that we keep the original schedule.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Procedurally, Monsieur Lemire, it would require unanimous consent to pull back your motion which is on the floor.
MP Erskine-Smith has his hand up. He'd like to speak to the amendment.
Go ahead, MP Erskine-Smith.
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'll just speak to Sébastien's point.
It might make sense for there to be unanimous consent for us to move on from this conversation. You have a schedule, Chair. You've circulated it. I don't know the number of hours entirely, but I think the full three meetings would take us even beyond what you have scheduled, from my recollection, at least from hearing from witnesses. I know you're including clause-by-clause consideration in your schedule until the end of June.
It strikes me it would be much more efficient to stick to the current schedule that we have, and then to circle back at some point. If we deem that more witnesses are required, that we haven't heard from enough, we can have that conversation and cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now, we should proceed with your expedited schedule that you've already circulated. That would be the fastest for the Bloc, who are concerned about expediting, and obviously that includes hearing from witnesses.
I know we need unanimous consent, but I'm perfectly okay with forgetting we had this conversation for the last 20 minutes and moving on to ask questions of the sponsor.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Okay.
I'd like to proceed now. We have an amendment on the floor that we will have three meetings dedicated to this study, so the motion as amended, as read by the clerk, so we would go immediately to clause-by-clause consideration after hearing from witnesses at three separate meetings.
There's one thing I wanted to say before we go to the vote. We do understand that doing so will delay the review of the draft reports that we have on our schedule. I wanted to mention that as we will have to try to figure out what we can do in terms of timelines.
View Emmanuella Lambropoulos Profile
Lib. (QC)
Would it be possible for you to ask for unanimous consent to withdraw the motion or do we have to go through with these votes at this point?
Michael MacPherson
View Michael MacPherson Profile
Michael MacPherson
2021-05-25 11:49
It's in the hands of the committee. If the member wishes to seek unanimous consent to withdraw the motion, that's all it would require.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Let's go to a vote on the amendment, please. Depending on whether it passes or not, we'll see if we vote on the motion. We will follow procedure.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
One moment. I'm just going to go back to the clerk quickly, because we have some conflicting information coming back. We have an amendment to the original motion on the floor, so I will ask for a vote on the amendment.
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: With that, we have the original motion as amended now before us. I'm going to the clerk, because there is a request by the member to seek unanimous consent to pull back his motion, which is what I understood. I don't know if that is even possible.
Mike.
Michael MacPherson
View Michael MacPherson Profile
Michael MacPherson
2021-05-25 11:51
Yes, now would be the appropriate time. If Monsieur Lemire chooses, he can request the unanimous consent of the committee to withdraw his motion.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I just want to be clear on what we're giving consent to.
If this motion is withdrawn, when will the three meetings on this bill occur?
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
If he withdraws the motion as amended, we will proceed as we were normally going to proceed. That's my understanding. We will still be able to do the meetings that we tried to plan. I think we sent an email out last week. Those will still go ahead. There is time planned for them, for witnesses and for the draft reports.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Before I do that, Madam Chair, I'd like to ask the clerk what the easiest way to proceed would be. Would it be to remove the word “immediately” from my motion, so that the witnesses would appear afterwards on the days left on the calendar? If so, I would simply move to take out the word “immediately” from my motion.
At this point, I feel like the purpose of my speech has been completely distorted. If the amendment alone causes the other work of the committee to lapse, I find that profoundly ridiculous.
If you tell me that I need unanimous consent to withdraw my motion, I will call for a vote on it. I will then move to amend my motion by removing the word “immediately”, with the expectation that the witnesses will appear at the end of June, after our committee has finished considering its various reports, as was intended.
If we want to play the procedure game, I will do that too.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
I need to check with the clerk.
If you seek unanimous consent to withdraw your motion, we will no longer be able to vote on the motion.
I'm going to suspend for one moment so I can confer with the clerk on this.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
We're going to resume, and I'm going to turn it over to the clerk to explain where we are, and what the options are.
Go ahead, Mike.
Michael MacPherson
View Michael MacPherson Profile
Michael MacPherson
2021-05-25 12:02
To recap, we had the original motion moved. There was debate. An amendment was moved to replace the wording “without hearing witnesses” with “after three full meetings of witness testimony”. The effect would be that there would be no other committee activities or business in between the three full meetings. The committee would then go immediately to clause-by-clause consideration.
The motion as amended, as it stands right now, would have the impact of pushing back the consideration of draft reports until the committee has completed its three full meetings of witness testimony and clause-by-clause study of Bill C-253.
If this motion were withdrawn, we would revert to the original tentative calendar of pontooning the meetings, having half a meeting to consider a draft report and half a meeting for witness testimony.
It's entirely up to the committee how it wishes to proceed.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
If Mr. Lemire wants to withdraw his motion, I would support that withdrawal. The purpose of my intervention is simply to make sure we study the bill before we pass it. That's all.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much, MP Poilievre.
I will go to MP Lemire to find out.
Mr. Lemire, would you like to seek unanimous consent to withdraw your motion as amended?
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Chair, this is obviously the recommended procedure. I, for one, would rather maintain the status quo than see the committee vote on this motion as amended. Since the amendment has just been adopted, I would like to seek unanimous consent to withdraw my motion. If I don't get it, I will move another amendment to remove the word “immediately” so that we can keep pretty much the same calendar.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
We have a request for unanimous consent to withdraw the motion, if I understand correctly.
MP Ehsassi has his hand up.
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2021-05-25 12:04
I'm sorry, Madam Chair. I thought you wouldn't catch me.
This has been a very confusing meeting. It's important to highlight one reality. When we voted on the amendment, Mr. Lemire suggested to us—and this was part of the premise of the manner in which we voted—that if we voted in favour of the amendment, he would withdraw his motion. Then, subsequent to that, after Mr. Poilievre's amendment, he changed his decision.
Mr. Lemire, you've really managed to confuse every single one of us, because you've changed your position on several occasions.
Could you, one more time, tell us whether or not you are willing to withdraw the motion? You have to accept the representation you made before we voted on Mr. Poilievre's amendment.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Chair, let me point out that the comment Mr. Ehsassi just made was in bad faith. I believe he understands very well that the motion was made in an emergency. If the urgency is the central element and the meaning of my motion is distorted, obviously I am going to oppose it. That is what happened.
You are the all-around winner as far as your goal to buy time is concerned, Mr. Ehsassi. I find it petty that you are blaming me by raising a procedural issue. Honestly, I find this attitude unacceptable, but that's your prerogative.
For now, my motion is clear. Let's go to a vote to withdraw the motion. If I don't get unanimous consent, I will ask that the word “immediately” be removed from the motion so as to preserve the essence of the committee's work. That is all I am arguing for right now. If we can't fast-track, for God's sake, can we at least maintain the integrity of what we're doing?
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
MP Lemire, I'm going to ask you...the language, please. That is very unparliamentary. We have questions before the—
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Lemire, our goal right now is to discuss your motion. There's no bad faith here at all. We just want to clarify what you want. You want unanimous consent to withdraw your motion. So if there are no further comments, we can ask the committee if there is unanimous consent to withdraw your motion.
Are there any questions or comments?
Mr. Ehsassi, your hand is up. I can't tell if you want to make another intervention.
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2021-05-25 12:07
Yes.
First of all, I would like to emphasize that I never used anything to say that Mr. Lemire actually meant to mislead us. That is not what I stated. I really don't appreciate Mr. Lemire's now turning it around and suggesting that I am acting in bad faith.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Okay.
Folks, I think we have had a great opportunity to work together in collaboration for the last year and a half, so I'm going to lower the temperature a little bit. I'm going to ask for unanimous consent to withdraw the motion as amended.
Do we have unanimous consent?
I don't believe this requires a recorded division, but I will ask the clerk.
Does this require a recorded division?
Michael MacPherson
View Michael MacPherson Profile
Michael MacPherson
2021-05-25 12:08
No. A request for unanimous consent is just a regular request. As long as there is no dissenting voice, then you have unanimous consent.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Do I have unanimous consent to withdraw the motion as amended?
(Motion as amended withdrawn [See Minutes of Proceedings])
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-25 12:10
I have a point of order, Madam Chair.
I was kicked out of the Zoom conference for about the last two minutes, so I just want to make sure that I have the right context of the debate.
As well, I want to bring up a serious issue. We have had this happen in the House of Commons.
Mr. Ehsassi, in his intervention, pointed out that he wanted to get away with not using his headset. I want to remind everyone that this is a health and safety issue for our interpreters, and that's a very serious thing. I don't think he meant it the wrong way, but I think it's important that we convey to the interpreters that we always follow that.
I just want to mention that, because as caucus chair I deal with this and other indiscretions. I don't think it was done in the wrong way. I just want to point this out, though, that it's for our interpreters.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Masse.
Just so you know, what we're going to do is try to finish the first round of questions with MP Gill so that each party has a chance to ask its question. Then we will move into the in camera portion of the meeting to talk about the report.
With respect to MP Ehsassi, that is why I stopped him from intervening. Without the headset, we would not proceed. I don't think he meant it with any ill regard towards our interpreters, but I thank you for pointing that out.
With that, I will now go to MP Lemire.
You have the floor for six minutes.
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
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