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View Peter Schiefke Profile
Lib. (QC)
I think that's all the time we have, unfortunately, Mr. Keenan. Thank you very much, and thank you, Ms. Koutrakis.
I'd like to thank all our witnesses for appearing before committee today. Thank you very much for your time. It was greatly appreciated.
Before I conclude the meeting today, colleagues, I wanted to ask a very quick question. For those of you who are aware or not, we received an invitation from a parliamentary delegation from New Zealand that will be arriving in Ottawa towards the end of September. They've requested a meeting to discuss areas of importance for them, which would be transport and infrastructure. If there are no objections from members on this committee, I will instruct the clerk to move forward with the booking of an informal meeting that would not in any way take up the time of the committee's regular business.
View Dan Muys Profile
CPC (ON)
We're certainly in agreement with that.
View Peter Schiefke Profile
Lib. (QC)
Seeing no objection, it is approved, and I will so instruct the clerk.
Thank you very much, everybody. Have a great rest of your summer.
The meeting is adjourned.
View Rick Perkins Profile
CPC (NS)
I would like to put this motion forward: “That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee hold a three-hour meeting on the allegations of political interference in the 2020 Nova Scotia mass murder investigation study, including 30 minutes of committee business, no later than September 16, 2022, to hear from the following witnesses: Zita Astravas, chief of staff to the Minister of Emergency Preparedness; Felix Cacchione, director of Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team; Ken MacKillop, assistant secretary to the cabinet (communications and consultations), Privy Council Office; Dan Brien, director of media relations for the RCMP; Cindy Bayers, director of strategic communications, RCMP; and that the calendars and phone logs from April 18, 2020, to April 22, 2020, of the Minister of Emergency Preparedness and his deputy minister and his chief of staff be provided prior to the meeting.”
I believe that has been provided to the committee for the clerk to circulate.
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, MP Perkins.
May I suggest that we pick this up after Mr. Noormohamed, Mr. MacGregor and Ms. Normandin ask their questions? If it's the will of the committee, we can pick this up at the top of the hour and let our witnesses go following the questions.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you very much.
I would like the member who moved the motion to clarify something for me.
I would like to understand what type of information we are seeking from these witnesses that may not have already been disclosed in the last two committee meetings.
Ministers often have to answer these types of questions rather than officials, since officials are not always aware of the facts.
In this context, can someone explain to me what information we are seeking?
How could the suggested witnesses answer those questions?
View Rick Perkins Profile
CPC (NS)
Hopefully I can. I had my hand up to speak anyway, so I think it's timely.
Primarily, when you look at the witnesses, we've already asked for several of them and we're asking for them again. There seems to be some confusion about the issue of providing the firearms list to the political level. From emails, that appears to have happened through the minister's chief of staff, so there's a question as to where that direction came from. Even some Liberal members have raised that issue in questions today when asking about where the request for this information was coming from. We know from the email stream that it was provided to the minister's chief of staff, and from the text of that we also know that it appears to be a response to a request.
Second, we have had various testimonies, both here and at the Mass Casualty Commission, about the role of SIRT, what SIRT said and the rules for SIRT in providing information to civilians, at the Mass Casualty Commission and again here today. Those who were provided it on the 23rd were not members of the RCMP, and that seems to be contrary to the SIRT's request, so it's important to have a clear understanding of that process and whether or not rules were breached.
As well, Mr. Brien has been mentioned in the Mass Casualty Commission testimony by various people as intervening on things like the messaging around how many victims there were, so he was involved in the communications decision-making process. Obviously, he has some background in his life before that, which leads to his connections with the government at the political level.
Ms. Bayers was also mentioned during the Mass Casualty Commission as asking whether or not on the 28th they were going to release the information, so she was clearly contacted by someone suggesting that this should be done. We need to get to the bottom of those issues.
There's still a lot of mystery, in my mind, as to where the request came from to send this information outside the RCMP. I know it wasn't released publicly, as some people have said, but in essence, when you're releasing it to civilian people such as the chief of staff, the minister and the government officials who were listed on Commissioner Lucki's email of April 23, it's clear that the release was beyond the limits of what SIRT said. We need to delve into and understand why those requests were made, who made them, when they made them and why they were requesting to go around the normal police procedure in this terrible incident.
I think there's a lot of clarity we still need to get from these witnesses, and that's why I put them forward.
Thank you.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Chair.
I respectfully disagree with my Conservative colleagues that there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered. I think the information we've received in the two meetings we've held already with the minister and the commissioner, who were both very clear in their testimony that there was no political interference, the testimony we heard today from the Department of Justice that there was no political interference in what was released to the Mass Casualty Commission, and even in the testimony we heard in the last panel here today....
I also want to stress that in the new motion we received, only two of the witnesses were on the list previously. My understanding is that they were invited by the clerk and were unable to attend today.
I would like to propose an amendment to the motion that was put forward. The amendment would keep “That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee”, and then everything after the word “committee” would be removed and replaced with “convene a meeting of Committee Business to determine if it wishes to continue the current study, and if so, what witnesses should be heard from, and that meeting be held after September 19, 2022.”
View Dane Lloyd Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
My concern with the amendment, and perhaps Ms. Damoff can clarify this, is that while the chair can call a meeting after September 19 to discuss committee business, there's no timeline that forces him to call a meeting right after September 19. He could delay it. Also, I don't think there's anything in the motion that states the committee business has to prioritize a discussion about what we want to move forward with on this. We could have a meeting about committee business and somebody could put up their hand and totally change the subject of what we're discussing.
I would like some assurance that if we did have this committee business meeting, committee business would be primarily about and would prioritize this study and that it would happen in a timely manner, as soon as possible—even before September 19, possibly, or right after September 19, not in October or November.
Second, given the original motion, which is now being amended, I think it's very important to have email evidence that shows the chief of staff, Zita Astravas, was in communication with the commissioner on the subject of the public disclosure related to the mass casualty event. We've explored a lot of different sides of this issue. We've explored the Department of Justice, obviously, the RCMP and the minister himself, but what we haven't explored is the connection in the minister's office that we know exists. I think it behooves us to look at every corner of this. It's not a fishing expedition. We do have evidence that there was discussion between the chief of staff and the commissioner, so this is an important link.
I'd like to see something productive come out of this study so we can say, “Here's where there was a mistake”, whether it was political interference, a misunderstanding or a breakdown in the protocol, or somebody was responsible for a severe lack of judgment, which I think is the case here. We need to have those witnesses so we can have a comprehensive report.
Those are my concerns with the amendment. I'll rest it there. Thank you.
View Stephen Ellis Profile
CPC (NS)
Thank you, Madam Chair. I appreciate the recognition.
That being said, I can't underscore enough the seriousness of these allegations and the seriousness they create in my riding of Cumberland—Colchester. People do not have any faith at the current time in the Mass Casualty Commission. To continue to use the testimony we have already heard, with written notes from a very reputable member of the RCMP...and to question his integrity is an absolute travesty. We also had corroboration today from Ms. Scanlan with respect to what she heard in that meeting, also with notes, which obviously we will have access to.
That being said, I think it behooves us all as parliamentarians, in the worst mass shooting in Canada's history, to take this very seriously and, obviously, to understand, in the vernacular, that somebody is not telling the truth. That is very disappointing to me and I think it's very disappointing to Canadians at large.
For that reason, I am certainly not supportive of this amendment. Thank you.
View Rick Perkins Profile
CPC (NS)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
The amendment to my motion seems to delay what we're doing here today. The reality is that we know we are missing key links in the chain of potential political interference in the largest mass shooting in our country's history. This would delay until after September 19—for those who are watching, September 19 is when the House resumes—the discussion we can have today. We've given adequate time for these witnesses, who have already been mentioned twice in motions before this committee, to find the time to come here in September. If we wait until September to discuss this, given committee business on other studies, it's going to be further delayed.
There is a bit of urgency. The Mass Casualty Commission does have a deadline this fall and it has reporting deadlines. We need to continue our study as soon as we can and get these folks here, particularly given the confusing testimony and what we've seen from the chief of staff's clear requests on April 22 and April 23, all around the cabinet meeting that was held that day on this issue, asking for details that the civilian level was not entitled to.
The only people who can answer for that are the people on this list, and they have not been allowed or able to appear. We need to hear them, or the committee's study will be questionable in any conclusions it comes to.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
I have to confess, in listening to all of this.... I have a reflection. First of all, we've now heard the commissioner of the RCMP say she wasn't pressured. We've heard the minister say he never pressured anybody. We've heard that no political office pressured anybody. We've also heard two reputable members of the RCMP, in particular Chief Superintendent Campbell, say they never heard the minister or political offices, such as the Prime Minister's Office, pressure or direct the commissioner to do anything.
With that backdrop, and given the fact that we now seemingly have this desire to replace the work of the Mass Casualty Commission, which we should not be doing, I move that we adjourn debate.
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, MP Noormohamed. I will say that it's disappointing not to allow the NDP to speak.
We'll call the vote.
(Motion agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)
The Vice-Chair (Ms. Raquel Dancho): The debate is adjourned.
MP Lloyd, go ahead.
View Dane Lloyd Profile
CPC (AB)
Am I to understand—maybe the clerk can answer—that the adjournment of the debate is on the amendment by Ms. Damoff, or does this dispose of the debate on the amendment and the motion together?
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
The clerk's opinion or professional advice is that it deters debate on the motion in its entirety, with the amendment.
View Dane Lloyd Profile
CPC (AB)
The motion is—and I think that maybe there's a bit of a compromise here—that, pursuant to the meeting, the committee agree to hold a meeting to discuss future steps with this study, and that this meeting be held between September 19 and September 30, 2022.
View Ron McKinnon Profile
Lib. (BC)
I believe that is repetitive business. We've already dealt with this issue substantially with the motion that has now been adjourned, so I think Mr. Lloyd's motion is out of order.
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
I'm just going to take a moment to consult with the clerk.
MP Lloyd, just a point of clarification, you've proposed new dates, September 19 to September 30, that the committee meet. Can you please just repeat that? The clerk wants to see if it is substantively different from the other motion.
View Dane Lloyd Profile
CPC (AB)
I'm proposing that the committee meet to discuss committee business between the dates of September 19 and September 30 to deal with the question of how to move forward with this study.
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
I think that is substantial, and it is different from the original motion, Mr. McKinnon, so your point of order does not stand.
Mr. MacGregor, go ahead.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I was just going to object to the point of order. I did think it was substantively different, and I congratulate Mr. Lloyd. I think a good compromise has been reached, which actually echoes a subamendment I was going to move.
I think this is something we can all agree to, and I'll leave it at that, with the hope that we can get to a vote.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thanks.
Just before I speak, Chair, I'd like to commend you on what you've been able to do today. I know you were put in a position of taking on the chair at the last minute, so I'd just like to thank you for valiantly leading us in this meeting.
To my colleague, Mr. Lloyd, that's essentially what I was trying to get to with my change to the original motion. We would be supportive of a meeting being held between September 19 and September 30, so we'd support your current amendment on the floor.
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
It's a motion, but I believe your point stands.
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
I see a few hands up, but I think they're just holdovers from when the individuals spoke.
Are there any other comments?
There seems to be agreement. We don't need to vote if there's general agreement. Are there nods that we can have this motion pass? I'm seeing nods from all parties, so the motion is passed.
Madame Normandin, go ahead, please, and then Mr. Schiefke.
View Peter Schiefke Profile
Lib. (QC)
I call the meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 26 of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. Pursuant to Standing Order 106(4), a meeting has been requested by four members of the committee to discuss their request to undertake a study of airport delays and cancellations.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format pursuant to the House order of Thursday, June 23, 2022. For members in the room—and it does not seem there are any, but I will say this anyway—if you wish to speak, please raise your hand. For members on Zoom, please use the “raise hand” function. The clerk and I will manage a speaking order as best we can. We appreciate your patience and understanding in this regard.
We will now begin by opening the floor for discussion on the request to meet. With that, I'm passing the floor over to Ms. Lantsman.
Ms. Lantsman, the floor is yours.
View Melissa Lantsman Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I will keep it short.
I think the chaos at Toronto Pearson International Airport has reached a deplorable stage. Pearson has been ranked the worse airport in the world on flight delays, with Montreal coming in second. That was in July, months after the government was made aware of the predictable mess.
We had committee testimony warning us that passenger traffic would surge this summer. We saw huge airport lineups at the beginning of April, and I think at this point it's unacceptable for the government to be taken by surprise or continue to tell Canadians that they're working on it.
All of the warning signs were there, and there should be at the very least a plan to fix the issues that we're seeing now, which are still happening and have not been meaningfully improved for passengers. The international news has covered the story. Our own outlets have documented the delays. Ordinary Canadians are still posting pictures—as recently as yesterday in Montreal—as they wait to get on planes and into customs halls. It's our view that the minister should address the critical issues facing our airports so that Canadians can understand that the government is doing something to fix the mess and not simply waiting out the peak travel season in an effort to further abdicate their responsibility.
I think Pearson and the GTA statistically stand out for poor performance, followed closely by Montreal. Those are well-known stats, as they are featured in major international publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the BBC. I think that poses a serious conundrum for our tourism sector and our economy as a whole, so I think it's time for the minister to update the committee.
As such, Mr. Chair, I'd like to present the following motion, which was also detailed in the letter you received from members of this committee:
That the Minister of Transport appear before the committee for no fewer than 2 hours, on the subject of airport delays and cancellations, ArriveCan and reimposed measures on travellers. That this meeting take place no later than August 22, 2022, and that, if possible, this meeting be televised.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Peter Schiefke Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much, Ms. Lantsman.
I believe, having spoken with all parties, that there is support for this motion. Therefore, I'd simply ask all members if there are any objections to adopting it.
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: Colleagues, the clerk has flagged that August 22 falls within the next critical system maintenance window—
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, I was going to suggest we have a quick conversation about when we're going to meet next, because we had talked about a number of different witness panels we wanted to hear on this subject. I think maybe rather than having a stand-alone meeting again to discuss committee business, it might be good to just have an exchange for five minutes to figure out where we want to go.
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
Chair, we're now at 5:18. We've gone past the five o'clock time. We asked for 15 minutes of extra time, it was unanimous consent, and we went over the time. I move that we adjourn the meeting now, please.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
On that point of order, Mr. Chair, a member can't move a motion when they don't have the floor.
You're allowed to raise a point of order, but you can't move a motion on a point of order.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
I'm not trying to move any motions or anything, colleagues. I just think it's a point of discussion here, as follows.
When do colleagues think we should meet next? I think we had committed to working to try to get to the bottom of this issue, and if members prefer, we can schedule another meeting for committee business, I suppose, but I think it makes sense for us to try to identify when we're going to meet next to proceed with this work.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Is there an appetite right now for the committee to discuss scheduling our next meeting?
I see one head shaking in the negative. Let's take a little straw poll here.
Ali, you don't get to vote.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
No, we're not going to have it. It's something you probably need unanimous consent for.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Chair, look, I'll just make this simple. It's up to the majority of the committee to decide how they will proceed. I will move a motion that we have now a 10-minute discussion about the foregoing business of the committee. I'll move that motion, and I suggest we vote on it, and if there's a desire to have that 10-minute discussion, we'll have the 10-minute discussion.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
There is a motion on the floor. Is there any discussion or debate on the motion?
I don't see anyone's hand up, so I guess we'll go to a vote.
Mr. Clerk, could you call the vote, please?
The Clerk: Mr. Chair, it's a tight vote result. We have four yeas and four nays.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Marty Morantz): As I understand it, I have the deciding vote.
I'll vote “yea”.
(Motion agreed to: yeas 5; nays 4)
The Chair: The meeting will now continue for 10 minutes. We will discuss [Technical difficulty—Editor].
Does anyone want to start?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Chair.
I would just propose the following: That we schedule the Ukrainian Canadian Congress to provide an additional hour of testimony; that we gather witnesses from parties as per the original motion; that we schedule additional meetings on this issue next week and the week after in order to continue the work that has begun on this urgent issue; that the chair be asked to schedule witnesses that are proposed by the various parties in rough proportion to those parties and, if necessary, in consultation with the vice-chairs as per the standard practice; that we continue to hold hearings on this subject next week and the week after in order to get to the bottom of this; and that, as part of that, we hear from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress for an additional hour.
That's what I would propose, generally speaking.
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
First, I must say that I find Mr. Genuis's motion extremely confusing, and so I would have no idea what I would be voting on.
However, there seems to be several elements in Mr. Genuis's motion, including, first of all, inviting back the representatives of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
We cannot do indirectly what we cannot do directly. I voted against this idea earlier, not because I'm against bringing back the representatives of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, but because I maintain once again—this is not the first time I have made this intervention—that imposing a witness on the committee is not the way to go.
We have ways of doing things that go through the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure or through a formal committee meeting where we look at the various witnesses. We sent a list of witnesses to the clerk just to have that kind of discussion.
I would like to say right away that when we have this discussion, I will be voting to reconvene the representatives of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. But I don't think today is the time to do that, because we need to discuss all the witnesses we want to hear from, and not make piecemeal choices.
So I will vote against the motion, even though I find it extremely confusing, for that reason alone.
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I was pleased to hear what my colleague Mr. Bergeron had to say, because I completely agree with him. We could set up a process, as we usually do, to discuss this issue, but also set a deadline for committee members to submit proposals for additional witnesses.
I'm very open to calling back witnesses from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, but we just heard from them today, and there are many other witnesses who will surely want to come and discuss this issue with our committee. I don't quite understand why there's an emphasis on just this one witness when, normally, our panels of witnesses are made up of several people.
As chair, you have given us 10 minutes for this discussion, and I see that half of the time is already up. So I don't know if we’re going to get anywhere in the next few minutes, and maybe we should have another discussion at a later date.
I would like—
View Rachel Bendayan Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I don't think my time is up yet.
I'd like to close by moving that the meeting be adjourned now.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
Okay, it's a dilatory motion.
Mr. Clerk, will you please call the vote?
(Motion agreed to: yeas 6; nays 4)
The Vice-Chair: The motion passes. The meeting is adjourned.
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Chair, I'm going to move a motion, which procedure-wise we know we would need to discuss now, or at your discretion, Mr. Chair. Of course, at the will of the committee, we could discuss it after we finish this round of questions from all parties.
My staff has hard copies in both languages and is emailing an electronic copy to the clerk now.
Mr. Chair, I move the following motion:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee hold a meeting on the Allegations of Political Interference in the 2020 Nova Scotia Mass Murder Investigation study no later than Wednesday, August 31, 2022, to hear from the following witnesses: Superintendent Darren Campbell, Nova Scotia RCMP; Lia Scanlan, former RCMP Communications Director; Alison Whelan, RCMP Chief Strategic Policy and External Relations Officer; Dan Brien, Director of Media Relations, RCMP; Jolene Bradley, Director, Strategic Communications (Operations), RCMP; Ken MacKillop, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Communications and Consultations), Privy Council Office; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and his officials.
View Jim Carr Profile
Lib. (MB)
I'm subject to the will of the committee.
Does the committee want to finish this round of questions and then deal with the motion? Can I have a show of hands?
Clerk, I see thumbs-up, so let's proceed in that fashion.
The time has run out in this current slot, so I would move to Ms. Damoff.
You have five minutes in this round. Go ahead, the floor is yours.
View Jim Carr Profile
Lib. (MB)
I open the floor to discussion on the motion.
Clerk, you're going to have to help me with the hands that are up because I cannot see them electronically.
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I will let others speak on the overall motion, but I do want to propose that we remove “Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and his officials”. We don't believe that it is relevant to what's being discussed today and the original motion that led to the meeting today.
The issue with respect to Justice is about documents. There were over 75,000 documents that have been disclosed to date through the process. The ministry has done that already. The review and disclosure of documents is a work undertaken by officials at the Department of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and does not involve the minister or his office in any way. In fact, any manner in which the minister directs these would be inappropriate, as you are aware, Mr. Chair. Reviewing documents for privilege, which includes cabinet confidences, solicitor-client privileges, other privileges and personal information is the usual process done in all litigation inquiry work by the department—not by the minister or his office.
In addition, document production that follows review is a labour-intensive technical process that happens on a rolling basis and needs to be triaged based on production deadlines and the immediate needs of the inquiry for upcoming hearings.
I can assure the members that all documents related to the April 28, 2020 meeting have been disclosed to the commission. The Department of Justice and government are working co-operatively with the MCC to ensure that all relevant documents are received by the commission in a timely manner.
View Jim Carr Profile
Lib. (MB)
Is this in the form of an amendment to the motion?
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes, Mr. Chair.
We're essentially just asking that the “Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and his officials” be deleted from the motion.
View Jim Carr Profile
Lib. (MB)
Okay, now we open a discussion on the amendment.
I have two hands up.
Mr. Noormohamed, I think you were first.
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would agree with Mr. Anandasangaree. For all the reasons that have been articulated and outlined, I think it's very important for us to remember the role of the Attorney General of Canada in these deliberations and discussions and what his role is or is not. I think adding him to this conversation is just a bit of a red herring. It not only does not add value; I think it detracts from the important work this committee is trying to do.
I would certainly be in favour of removing his name from this list of witnesses.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you, Chair.
I'm okay with keeping the minister's name in there. It does make reference to his officials, who would probably be in a better place to respond to specific questions.
It's been well documented in the media that the most valuable four pages of Superintendent Campbell's notes, which of course have led to this committee meeting being held, were somehow delayed in getting out into the public, so I do think there is value in hearing from the Department of Justice.
My only other quibble with the motion—and it's a minor one—is just the wording “no later than Wednesday, August 31” of this year. We're all pretty busy in our constituencies these days, so I would just ask if maybe we, as a committee, could come down to some kind of specificity, so we can plan our weeks in August accordingly and not just leave it wide open up until the 31st.
That's my only point there, Mr. Chair.
Josée Harrison
View Josée Harrison Profile
Josée Harrison
2022-07-25 14:40
Mr. Chair, if I can just interject here, that would be a second amendment to the motion, so perhaps we should deal with the first amendment. Then we can deal later on with the August 31 deadline, just to keep everything in order.
View Jim Carr Profile
Lib. (MB)
Okay, so we're dealing with the proposed amendment that would remove the Department of Justice. We've heard several opinions. Do we have any other hands up?
View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
The reason I think it is important to remove the name of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the reference to officials from the motion is because our time is limited. Today, in fact, I would have preferred to continue to ask questions of the witnesses, because I know this committee will be sitting again.
The minister is just going to say what Mr. Anandasangaree already outlined: the decision was not his, but that of his officials. So we will waste five or seven minutes if we insist on asking him questions, because he will repeat the same thing.
As for the officials, considering the explanations they gave after Nova Scotia RCMP Superintendent Campbell's notes were released, I can think a number of other people who could give more interesting and enlightening explanations for Canadians and certainly for parliamentarians.
It is simply for the sake of efficiency that I propose to question only the witnesses on the rest of the list. That way we will get a lot of clarification about what happened between the two RCMP offices.
View Raquel Dancho Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I wanted to mention to Mr. MacGregor regarding his concern timewise that I agree. That's why I put something that gives us over a month. I thought the leads on each party could always discuss this with the knowledge of their colleagues' calendars and we can settle on a date. I just think we should be meeting before Parliament resumes. Again, we're looking to make this so that all parties can agree on it.
I'm wondering if the Liberals have any other objections aside from the Minister of Justice and his officials attending.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Chair, I was going to say exactly what you said. Let's deal with the amendment on the floor, which is whether the Minister of Justice and Attorney General comes, and then we can deal with other issues that we may or may not have.
View Kristina Michaud Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to ask my colleague, Mr. Perkins, for some clarification.
Mr. Perkins, I'm sorry to put you on the spot. But when the mics were off, you told me that it may have been the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada who decided that these documents needed to be released. I don't know if you can answer my open mic question.
To your knowledge, could this have been his decision, not that of his officials?
View Rick Perkins Profile
CPC (NS)
I can answer. I was a ministerial assistant for almost eight years, so I know that the release of documents to a public inquiry and commission would not be made solely at the official level. It would go into the minister's office for final approval, without question.
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
With the greatest respect to Mr. Perkins, I would disagree. Disclosure of this nature is undertaken strictly at the level of the departmental officials and not at the minister's office or the minister's discretion in any circumstances.
View Kristina Michaud Profile
BQ (QC)
Maybe we could compromise and not have the minister, just his officials.
I don't know if that would please everyone.
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, with respect to Ms. Michaud's amendment, we would be in agreement with that, if that is the will of the committee.
View Dane Lloyd Profile
CPC (AB)
Can I just move that we have unanimous consent on the subamendment?
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