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View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
We are now in public on the orders of the day, pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, March 9, 2011, the question of privilege relating to the statements made by the Minister of International Cooperation.
When we were last together, which somehow seems like yesterday, I believe we had proceeded as far as paragraph 32. Am I correct?
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Had we voted on paragraph 32 and accepted it? No, we had not. We were still doing things to paragraph 32. I can only assume if we hadn't passed it that there--
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Nicolas Auclair
View Nicolas Auclair Profile
Nicolas Auclair
2011-03-25 12:11
If I may, the committee had adopted the changes, but not the paragraph as such.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
I wasn't here for paragraph 32. I was out of the room at the time, so I'm not sure if we're now looking at the new version of paragraph 32 or the old version as we see it here in the report.
Andre Barnes
View Andre Barnes Profile
Andre Barnes
2011-03-25 12:11
The difference would be the addition of English, at least, following “April 23, 2010”. We added “as well as in response to question 106 on the Order Paper of that same date”. If you have that on your copy, that's the most recent version.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
On that point, there were some other changes yesterday that we had asked for as a committee. Up until paragraph 32 and including...I think there's a change later on that has to do with something we voted on yesterday, so if you have that document, you now have the latest one with the changes already in place. Excellent work.
On paragraph 32, further discussion? Seeing none--
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
Sorry, seeing as effectively this amounts to a changed version, what was the point of the change?
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Any other changes suggested to paragraph 32?
Seeing none, all those in favour of paragraph 32?
(Paragraph 32 agreed to)
The Chair: Great.
Now on paragraph 33, are there any changes?
View Marcel Proulx Profile
Lib. (QC)
I need the English version.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
I'll just let Mr. Proulx get caught up. I count on him for some of the translation.
Mr. Reid, sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
That's okay.
Whatever we may think about the whole contempt issue, we all agree that the point of this report is to summarize the evidence that was presented to the committee, either for or against the final argument that the minister either was or was not in contempt of the House.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
So there's something here, and I don't see its relevance to that question. It says here:
...some members questioned the Minister as to whether “political” criteria had been employed to assess KAIROS' funding proposal, considering that the proposal had been recommended by CIDA officials using departmental criteria. The Minister responded that the responsibility for making funding decisions on proposals such as KAIROS' proposal was hers alone. Once her decision has been made, it becomes the department's decision as well as that of the government.
So the question is, was the minister using political criteria? By definition, isn't she using political criteria? If she is, that's problematic. If she isn't, I don't think she can't not use it whether she's approving it or not. Everything she does is political by definition, so it just strikes me that this is effectively a paragraph that need not be here.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. You got to that point. I was going to ask you, then, if that was correct, what was wrong with it? Are you suggesting that we remove paragraph 33?
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
All right.
Sorry?
Andre Barnes
View Andre Barnes Profile
Andre Barnes
2011-03-25 12:15
That point makes reference to paragraph 38 later on, to testimony by Mr. Walsh: “...Mr. Walsh asserted that a distinction must be made between a political decision and an administrative one....” That might need to be removed as well.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. I'll make a speakers list. I have Mr. Reid speaking, and Mr. Dewar's hand was up. I assume that since there was an intervention from Mr. Rae, he will put his name on the list.
View Paul Dewar Profile
NDP (ON)
View Paul Dewar Profile
2011-03-25 12:16
Chair, it's very straightforward. The role of the department is to follow the wishes of the government, and they follow criteria. That's what Ms. Biggs did. That's why she signed off on it. That's what the dossier is all about.
The fact of the matter is that it was with the minister for a couple of months. We know that. What Mr. Walsh refers to is the fact that there was a political lens put on this. It's straightforward. Whether the government wants to say that's just the way it should be or not, it was....
My final point is that this is CIDA. CIDA is an agency; it has a president. It is different from other agencies. They conduct themselves in accordance with the criteria they've been given. They did that. The minister, at the last minute, directed one of her political officials to change that determination.
That has to stay in. Leave it as is.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
All right.
Mr. Rae.
View Bob Rae Profile
Lib. (ON)
I think both paragraphs are relevant. I think it's an attempt to give a more complete view of the evidence and the various views expressed by members and parliamentary counsel. I think it's an important part of the balance that the staff has been trying to present as we go down that list.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Rae.
Monsieur Laframboise.
View Mario Laframboise Profile
BQ (QC)
I just want to say that is a quite faithful report of the debates that went on in our committee. If we want to take out one part, we could be heading towards taking out what we do not like and keeping what we like.
I think the research staff has done a good job. I said so at the last meeting. They reported what was said and it is very well done.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
Mr. Albrecht.
View Harold Albrecht Profile
CPC (ON)
I think this goes to the heart of the entire report. It's not only in paragraph 33. Back in paragraph 30, we see in line 5: “She also made it clear, as did Ms. Biggs, that it is the Minister's decision in respect of funding that becomes the decision of the agency and that of the government”.
There is no agency that can sign off on these dollar figures without the approval of a minister. So I think we're trying to split hairs. Repeatedly, the minister was clear in her witness that while it may have appeared that people thought she said one thing, what she actually said was that CIDA did not approve it, and CIDA includes the minister.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bob Rae Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'm asking, through you, to our Conservative friends, if there's no difference between CIDA and the minister, why did Mr. Abbott make the statement that CIDA had examined this and it did not fit into CIDA's priorities? He stood up in his place in the House and said he was embarrassed to say that this had been his understanding when he made the statement, but that he now realized it wasn't true. Why would he have said that?
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Rae, I will offer today, as I offered yesterday, to return to the evidentiary portion of this committee's study to find that answer. But I don't think that's your will.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bob Rae Profile
Lib. (ON)
It was his last day in Parliament. I just wanted to give him—
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
I know that often we'll get the speeches that might not otherwise happen in the review of a report.
The chair can offer an opinion once in a while, too, Mr. Proulx.
Mr. Reid.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
I know we're careful about not revealing in public what goes on in camera, but I don't think I'm in contempt of Parliament in saying that there is some speechifying that occurs at some in camera meetings of this committee and others.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
I wasn't referring to you specifically, Mr. Chair. It was a broader reference.
As to Mr. Rae's comments--this is not the main part of my commentary--I wanted to address the relevant—
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
No, I actually think it's important, because when we're in public...so yeah, the speeches are being made in the hopes that they'll be picked up and looked at afterwards.
The Chair: Go for it.
Mr. Scott Reid: If memory serves, what happened was that Mr. Abbott misunderstood the situation and stated something that was not correct, not true. He unintentionally said something that was not true. He did not intentionally mislead the House. I think we all accept that. He unintentionally misled the House by asserting--more aggressively than the minister ever asserted anything of this sort, because she never did this--that the CIDA officials were in agreement and...the point being not CIDA, which includes the minister, but the CIDA officials, in the same way that Parliament includes three bodies; it's that kind of distinction.
That is the technical distinction that made it appropriate and indeed necessary for him to offer an apology, which he did. But no such apology was necessary from the minister, because she didn't make such a statement.
Turning now to paragraphs 33 and 38, apologies; I am just trying to get my head around it. I've been trying to find Mr. Walsh's comments where he makes a distinction....
I get the distinction made in paragraph 33 between “departmental criteria” and “political criteria”. I actually just think it's unnecessary, because it seems to me to be kind of obvious. Like, this is what you do. You sit down and ask if something's outside the criteria, i.e., is this something we can't fund because it's not dealing with Foreign Affairs?
So they go through that process, and that's departmental criteria.
She then applies the political criteria, i.e., is this in line with the government's policy objectives?
I don't get the point of introducing administrative criteria in paragraph 38. That's why I'm trying to find Mr. Walsh's commentary, to determine what it was he was doing.
I'm not sure if administrative is actually....
If in saying that he meant “departmental”, or if he has some other point he was trying to make...there are actually three criteria here. Presumably this leads back to some kind of assertion that political criteria are in some respect illegitimate. That's why opposition members were raising it, I assume.
I don't think that's the case, but if it is the case, then that changes everything.
I'm throwing that question out to our analysts so we can get an answer on that.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. They're hunting that down.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
Actually, I'm looking in his material at the time. He mentioned it in response to a question from Mr. Lukiwski at more or less 2:50 in the afternoon.
He refers to departmental criteria...or he uses the term “departmental decision”. I do not see the term “administrative decision” used anywhere; it's “departmental”. He's not referring to “administrative”. He doesn't use that word.
Andre Barnes
View Andre Barnes Profile
Andre Barnes
2011-03-25 12:24
It was written in French. It might have been translated as that, perhaps.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
Chair, am I allowed to jump ahead and suggest an amendment to paragraph 38 at this point?
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
No. I'd like you to hold that until we get to paragraph 38. I mean, certainly you can suggest it all you want, but we won't get there until we get there.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
All right.
Well, look, I still think paragraph 33 is....
Here's the problem, Mr. Chair. I think paragraph 33 shouldn't be there, but we can't get to paragraph 38, right...?
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Make your suggestion; you would like to change some wording in paragraph 38 because they're related.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
Yes.
How do you want me to do this? Do you want me to first suggest we do paragraph 33 and then have an associate amendment that causes paragraph 38 to change, or what's the...?
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
I'm suggesting, then, effectively an amendment that paragraph 33 be dropped.
An hon. member: Is that “33b”?
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
Yes; “paragraph 33 be”, not “paragraph 33b”.
I want paragraph 33 added back in.
Also, as part of this motion, I'm suggesting that 38 be amended in its second sentence, in the English version--I'm not talking about the French version--so that--
View Marcel Proulx Profile
Lib. (QC)
On a point of order. Are we--
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
We haven't had one of those yet today. Thank you.
View Marcel Proulx Profile
Lib. (QC)
No, but I wanted to start....
Are we jumping now from--
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
He asked permission to talk about 38 because it was related, and I said give me both at the same time. We'll work on one at a time, but give them both to me. He's following my instructions, Mr. Proulx.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
In the second last line, and the last sentence, of 38, the word “administrative” gets taken out and “departmental” gets inserted.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
We're changing the word “administrative”, in the second last line, to “departmental” in 38, and then when we get there we'll--
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Right.
Do you have a point, Monsieur Laframboise?
View Mario Laframboise Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Chair, I would really like you to give permission for us to study paragraph 38 at the same time as paragraph 33. It is not a big deal. The only thing that concerns me is that, in paragraph 38, they are asking us to change what Mr. Walsh apparently said. Did he mention an administrative decision? If so, we cannot have it look like he said “organizational decision”. The difference is important because, in paragraph 38, the words are Mr. Walsh's.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
We'll have the analyst respond to that, and then, Mr. Reid, you can--
Nicolas Auclair
View Nicolas Auclair Profile
Nicolas Auclair
2011-03-25 12:27
If we stay with paragraph 38, the French version says that “on devrait faire une distinction entre une décision politique et une décision administrative…”. In the transcript, he makes mention of a decision coming from the professional level and one made at ministerial level. We could make changes to reflect more accurately what he said. We were trying to emphasize the fact that Mr. Walsh specified that a distinction must be made. If it is the wish of the committee, we could change it.
View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, I would really like to understand.
What would the final word choice be here? My question is for the analyst.
Nicolas Auclair
View Nicolas Auclair Profile
Nicolas Auclair
2011-03-25 12:28
The committee can change paragraph 38 if it wishes. As I mentioned when telling you what is in the transcript, Mr. Walsh does not talk about an administrative decision, but about a recommendation coming from the professional level.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
About the change, just so it it's clear, I wasn't suggesting we change the wording in the French version. I hadn't even had a chance to look at the French version. He was speaking in English when he did this.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
In the English version, the exact words. For the French version, it's not for me to say what the appropriate translation is.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
Yes, specifically, he said, “To go to your point about the use of terminology, such as 'CIDA's decision' or “'the department's decision'”-- it's a quote within a quote--“that's the parlance for talking about a decision that has been taken with the minister's approval. Typically, it's referred to as a departmental decision or a CIDA decision.”
That's one place he refers to it. Then you go down a paragraph and he says, “I don't think one should, however, allow this way of talking--'CIDA decision, departmental decision'”....
The term “departmental” is--
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay, great.
We're on 33, and the motion has been moved by Mr. Reid that we remove 33.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
Number 33 would be removed. Is there further discussion on that?
I'm seeing none.
Those in agreement to remove 33? Those against removing 33?
It looks like that was defeated. Number 33 will stay.
Those in favour of 33 as it stands?
(Paragraph 33 agreed to)
The Chair: Paragraph 34.
Mr. Young.
View Terence Young Profile
CPC (ON)
View Terence Young Profile
2011-03-25 12:30
I have a concern with regard to the first part of paragraph 34, the first sentence. It's innuendo and very misleading. It says, “...members speculated about the possible involvement of other ministers”, etc.
I asked Margaret Biggs a series of questions. I don't know if the analysts can find them. I have the blues here. But I asked her--I will just use rough dates, and if we need the exact dates I think that's helpful--a series of questions about when she first heard about it. She said she received I think a phone call on December 1, and then a letter. She had received a notice in writing that funding wouldn't be extended. I think it was three days later.
View Terence Young Profile
CPC (ON)
View Terence Young Profile
2011-03-25 12:31
Mrs. Corkery. Thank you, Chair.
There have been a number of conclusions in this report. This report is full of conclusions that are trying to lead to a political statement that is incredibly unfair to Minister Oda and totally incorrect. For example, in the next paragraph it was asked if she could produce one document that shows how a decision was made by inserting “not” or “do not”, and of course she came up with two very easily.
But in this one there was an intimation that somehow the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism had influenced Minister Oda's decision. And yet they refer to a comment he made, or I think he made a comment in his speech. I don't remember the exact occasion, but it was mid-December. It was 10 days or two weeks later. So that's proven to be not true.
Why would we include in this report misleading innuendo and put on the official record something that our days of hearings proved to be not true? Why don't we just leave paragraph 34 with the last sentence:
The Minister stated that no discussions occurred between herself and the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister's Office, or any other Minister regarding KAIROS' application to CIDA. She also stated that this issue had not been raised in any meeting....
No one could have possibly taken more responsibility more often on the record than Minister Oda has for this decision. So why are we leaving innuendo in this report that was influenced by something that happened at least 10 days later?
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bob Rae Profile
Lib. (ON)
There was bound to have been speculation because of Minister Kenney's speech. Minister Kenney made a speech for which he, himself, has never given an explanation, to which he's not responded to any questions in the House with respect to how it did.... The minister repeatedly asked in the House about it, and he provided no explanation. So there was inevitably going to be speculation about the speech. I think it's fair to leave it in.
The reason the paragraph is fair is that it allows the minister's statement there as well. It simply says there was speculation and here's the minister's answer. I don't see what's unfair about that.
View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
Lib. (ON)
It's balanced.
View Joe Preston Profile
CPC (ON)
View Terence Young Profile
CPC (ON)
View Terence Young Profile
2011-03-25 12:34
His speech was 10 days later. How could it have influenced her decision if Mrs. Corkery received it 10 days earlier, well, 13 days earlier, perhaps, verbally, and then had it in writing 13 days later? It's ludicrous to imply that the minister's speech in any way influenced her decision.
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