Mr. Chair, I'd like to raise a point of order regarding the scheduling for this committee. I will say at the outset that I'm very disappointed by what we're seeing. This is an important issue, and I hope we can proceed in a collaborative way.
The committee held a meeting on July 15 and agreed to summer hearings. The committee wished to hear from ministers before July 22. That didn't happen. The committee met once on August 4. It has now been over a month since the committee last met.
In the context of this meeting, we received a notice for a three-hour meeting to hear from witnesses, according to a schedule. Members made plans, prepared questions and provided your office with rounds of questions to be asked, and you, by all indication, unilaterally changed that agenda and shortened the meeting with less than an hour to go prior to the beginning of the meeting. If you proceed with this plan, it will significantly limit our ability to engage with important experts in accordance with the notice that was provided to the committee.
We also requested that there be some time for committee business, so that we could discuss the committee's agenda. You have shortened the committee's agenda, but you have provided no additional opportunity for committee business to talk about the forthcoming agenda and to try to reach some kind of consensus. Of course, in cases on which consensus had been reached in the past, such as having summer hearings, that consensus wasn't honoured by your office.
It's very frustrating and disappointing to see a chair operating in the manner that you have with respect to the schedule, Mr. Chair. I am disappointed and frustrated. This is not what the committee saw in the past from Mr. Spengemann or Mr. Levitt, other chairs who were able to set aside their partisan affiliation and deal respectfully with all members regarding the agenda.
Can you provide an explanation for your conduct, Mr. Chair? Why have you not allowed the committee to meet for over a month? Why did you suddenly shorten this meeting with less than an hour's notice to members? Why are you behaving in such a fashion? Do you think this is an appropriate or respectful way for a chair to operate?
If you would consider appeals from the committee to go back to the agenda that was originally proposed, which was a three-hour meeting, we could hear for three hours from witnesses. Perhaps we could also set aside some time for committee business in the near future, so that we can agree on an agenda and move forward.