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View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-06-18 16:18
I want to just say thank you to everyone for being here, and I want to start by saying thank you to Mr. Lizon, my colleague, for bringing this to the attention of the committee. I confess I've never thought much about radon until the last few days, and it's very sobering. I intend to have my house tested and I want to ask others in my community to do it as well, so thank you for the education.
I just wanted to start with Ms. Cooper about the WHO report. I'm confused because I understood from Ms. Bush, if I heard properly, that there's a 100 to 300 range of becquerels per cubic metre, yet we are at 200 in Canada. I thought I heard you say, Ms. Cooper, that the standard recommended now by WHO is in fact 100. Have I got that right?
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-06-18 16:20
All right.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-06-18 16:20
I understand now.
In order to go down from 200 to 100 becquerels per cubic metre, you indicated—I thought really properly—the direct and indirect costs are enormous given the existing radon. If we had done the work required to reduce that risk we'd save a lot of money. Then you said that we'd probably save twice as much if we went to 100. I'm not sure that's true. To get down from 200 to 100, it wouldn't in fact be a doubling. It might be much more expensive to get to a lower level, isn't that so?
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-06-18 16:21
Sorry for being short on time. I do understand that now.
Ms. Phipps, I wanted to just ask you to tell us a little bit more about your RentSafe program. How does it work?
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-06-18 16:22
Thanks very much.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I too am very appreciative of the witnesses coming here today and sharing. I actually have to agree with my colleague. My background is health care. I was involved in primary health care, public health, and child care licensing, and to be frank, I was completely unaware that this was an issue.
I was elected in 2008, so I guess my first question is: when did this awareness and focus come into being? As I said, I don't recall anything in the early 2000s, or at least anything that I was familiar with. That's my first question. When did we start to really put a bit of focus on this particular initiative?
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
Great. I'm also thinking about something in line with what my colleague was saying. I look at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and it actually engaged members of Parliament in something it called “308 conversations”, which were focused on suicide prevention. I think all 308 of us have opportunities within our communications. That's just another method. Although it sounds as though a ton of work has been done, I don't know if there's been any research on the level of penetration and awareness of this as an issue.
Ms. Bush, maybe you could talk to the issues of penetration and awareness.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
Let's say you take a neighbourhood of 1,000 homes on average, what percentage of homes do you anticipate would have levels that are above our current standards?
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
As my last comment or question, I certainly see both a federal and a provincial role. There were some comments in terms of the Canada Labour Code, and I'm just trying to get a sense of to what degree, because obviously the provincial and territorial ministers regularly meet with their federal counterparts. In your awareness, has this issue ever been discussed at those particular meetings?
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
But that would not necessarily translate into what the provinces are doing in terms of their labour codes or workers' compensation.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
View Rob Clarke Profile
CPC (SK)
Thanks very much.
Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.
One of the questions I have for you, Ms. Nicol, given that I come from northern Saskatchewan, relates to the high levels of uranium that we have, especially in northern Saskatchewan. In northern Saskatchewan a lot of the first nations and Métis communities have high cancer rates. Now it could be radon, but regarding the communities themselves, you mentioned that you had done a study in northern Alberta, but have you guys looked at northern Saskatchewan? We have a lot of myths out there: it could be from the radon, it could be from the food, it could be from the smoking, it could be from a number of environmental factors. Have you looked into that?
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you.
Being that this is likely our last committee, unless we get recalled for some urgent situation over the summer, I just wanted to say that although I haven't been on the committee very long, I want to acknowledge your leadership and also the work of our clerk and analysts. Certainly from my perspective, it's been a committee that I've been very pleased to join at the end of the year. So thank you and a good summer to all.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-06-18 17:35
Perhaps on behalf of the official opposition, I could say exactly the same thing to our analysts, and to thank you as well, Chair, for your leadership. It's been really terrific to have unanimous reports, thanks to you—something that we rarely see in Parliament.
Thank you very much, Mr. Clerk.
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you very much, Chair.
I'd like to ask a question of General Lawson. Is the department looking at closing any military bases in Canada over the coming 12 to 18 months? If so, which ones?
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Okay, so you are considering closing some but you're not going to tell us which ones are under consideration.
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Okay, thank you.
What could have possessed you to make the comments you made to Peter Mansbridge, General?
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you, General. I heard that explanation earlier. I thought there may be some clarity. It was not a slip of the tongue. It was clearly a belief because you reinforced it several times.
My question would be.... I have to say that it's not since I was a young teenager that the idea or the excuse would be made that boys just can't help themselves. That's the kind of thing people used to say 35 or 45 years ago, so this is a very interesting excuse for sexual harassment and assault.
How do you think your comments regarding sexual violence in the military might affect those serving in Operations Impact and Reassurance?
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Okay. I would like to explore the idea of the trust and confidence of the troops that the CDS must command in order to be in that role. I would like to ask the minister whether he believes that the comments and the attitude, and what I would consider the normalization of inappropriate sexual behaviour and hostility, might affect the trust in command and the confidence of the troops, especially women and LGBTQ military members.
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Exactly, so my question is this. Do you believe that your Chief of the Defence Staff can still command the trust and confidence of women and LGBTQ armed forces members?
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you, so I'm hearing no answer to that question. I'll have to expect that the answer might be no, that he cannot command the trust and respect of the troops.
I have another question. I'd like to say, Minister, that I support the idea of showing solidarity with Canadian troops, especially ones who are in dangerous situations abroad, but I'd like to ask some questions about the cost of these photo opportunities. We have the Prime Minister, his wife, the minister and entourage, photographers, and videographers on HMCS Fredericton, which had to interrupt its participation in a NATO squadron exercise in order to have photos of the minister and the Prime Minister looking through binoculars. Can the Chief of the Defence Staff give me an estimate of what might have been the cost of that exercise?
Secondly, with the visit to Kurdistan, near Erbil, the media were left in Erbil but an entire platoon of JTF2 commandos had to be flown in for this photo exercise, along with an entire convoy of heavily armoured sport utility vehicles, according to media accounts. What might have been the cost of setting up that photo exercise? Together, can you give me an estimate of what this has cost the Canadian Armed Forces?
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
[Inaudible--Editor]...the minister's inappropriate—
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you very much for your history. I would like an answer to my question, and perhaps the Chief of Defence Staff could compare it to the cost of updating military family housing, of which I understand 41% is substandard, which is an expression of this minister's priorities.
View Jinny Jogindera Sims Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much.
First of all, let me say that my community in Surrey, B.C., in the Lower Mainland, and the Punjabi-speaking community across the country from coast to coast to coast are very disturbed and quite angry at the cuts they are seeing. The chat shows or the talk shows that you've just mentioned do not cut it and do not replace the news items that have been cancelled.
I also want to quote from a statement made by you on March 5, 2015:
Holding a...television licence is a privilege that comes with important obligations that are in the public interest, especially in regards to high-quality news coverage and reporting. An informed citizenry cannot be sacrificed for a company's commercial interests. Canadians can only wonder how many times corporate interests may have been placed ahead of the fair and balanced news reporting they expect from their broadcasting system. We expect Canada’s broadcasters...I'll save the rest. You can imagine the rest. We can send you the letter as well.
It is very clear that you have abandoned the very principles you put forward in there, where you specifically talk about news and how that cannot be sacrificed for commercial interests. What changed?
View Jinny Jogindera Sims Profile
NDP (BC)
Sorry, Mr. Pelley—
View Jinny Jogindera Sims Profile
NDP (BC)
I'm sorry, Mr. Pelley, but we only have seven minutes and we have a number of people.
My question was specifically on what had changed, but as you said, I am going to pass it on to Mr. Sullivan right now.
View Jasbir Sandhu Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Pelley, I do want to echo what my colleagues have said in regard to the ethnic news being cut, especially the Punjabi and the Cantonese news in the Lower Mainland. This serves as a vital link for people to get not only Canadian news in the language they understand but also news from abroad, whereby they're able to keep up links with whatever country they have come from.
Getting a licence is a privilege. It comes with a responsibility. I believe you're not living up to that responsibility of providing that content for the licence you got.
People are very upset in my community. I want to echo that here in this committee. As Mr. Sullivan has said, they're thinking about boycotting Rogers in regard to other services you provide. In one component you're going to make money and in others you're going to lose, but it's the whole package that you have to deliver. I have to convey this for my constituents: I think that in this case you guys have failed.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Chair.
First, before I start, thank you to the witnesses.
Also, as the other committees are winding down, I do want to say to my colleague, Mr. Lizon, who's been very passionate about this issue, and to all the health committee, that from what we're hearing I think this is a very important issue for us to spend a little bit of time on and, hopefully, in the next Parliament this work can get picked up and maybe there will be some significant movement forward.
It's interesting, because you talked about the 96% who really didn't have much of a clue about radon, and I am embarrassed to say I am probably one of them. Then my colleague was talking about Sparwood. I guess they did a research study there, which is a terrible place in the country in terms of radon levels. Then we looked in the interior of British Columbia, but I saw that Kamloops has lots of clay, so I guess I'm okay.
Could you talk a little bit more, because I think it's important for the blues of this meeting, about that whole issue around radon, radon testing, and mitigation measures.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
So the test is a simple kit. Who is able to analyze the results and look at the home? Is it a home inspector who is pretty good at coming in if you have some worrisome results?
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
You talked earlier about an awareness program that we've undertaken. Maybe you could describe that a little better.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-06-16 16:58
Thank you.
Thanks to all of the witnesses for their really stimulating testimony.
I have a short amount of time left for questions. I think I'd like to start with you, Doctors Lam and Ionescu, if I could, because I was really taken by your testimony about the effect of low-dose CT scanning in high-risk populations.
Dr. Lam, I was particularly struck by what you referred to as I think the four “innovations”. I was having a little trouble understanding it as I put that together with your first idea of an electronic lung cancer predictive tool. You said it was very advanced, and then you talked about the genomic signature.
Dr. Ionescu, you talked about the two biomarkers that are particularly appropriate for lung cancer.
Were you talking about similar things? Or was the biomarker analysis different from the electric predictive tool or the genomic signature that you, Dr. Lam, were talking about? Maybe you could explain that to me.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-06-16 17:02
Dr. Lam and then Dr. Pantarotto, you both made reference to aboriginal communities and the high rate of smoking, particularly to Nunavut as the lung cancer hot spot of the planet, if I'm understanding properly. Dr. Lam then suggested that one of the things that could be done was mobile CT scans, with a smoking cessation program, both of which of course could be done by the federal government.
I wonder if you could talk a little more about that, because you did start your testimony, Dr. Lam, by talking about the cost of these screening devices. I'd like to get a sense of whether either of you have given any thought to this issue of just how much it would cost to do such a thing as you recommend.
View David Wilks Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you very much.
Dr. Ionescu, I wonder if you could talk a little more about the two biomarkers you test for. You referred to them as EGFR and ALK. What are they exactly and what do they do?
View David Wilks Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you very much.
View David Wilks Profile
CPC (BC)
Well beyond my understanding.
Voices: Oh, oh!
Dr. Diana Ionescu: Sorry.
View Randy Kamp Profile
CPC (BC)
First of all, Mr. Chair, I suggest we follow our usual practice and go in camera for the discussion of the motion.
View John Weston Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Chair.
Author Stephen Covey said that it's important to mark passages in life, family and business.
He said that the values of organizations are important and I think we need to mark a passage today.
There's a person on our committee who has served a long time, probably longer than any person in Parliament on any committee. He has certainly served the longest as a parliamentary secretary that I know of. In a system that is constrained by the adversarial nature in which we find ourselves, he has always tried to find common ground. He's made it a pleasure for me, and I think my colleagues on all sides, to come to this place. He has been the author or the progenitor or the colleague of many reports that have come from the committee, and he has done something in a world where we truly strive to preserve a resource not just for ourselves but for our children and our grandchildren, and that is the fisheries.
I just want to pay tribute to our friend and our colleague Randy Kamp. We're going to miss you here and we're very grateful for the work you've done over 11 long years. Thank you, Randy.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
View John Weston Profile
CPC (BC)
In that regard, as Bob said it's a shame these comments are in camera. Are we able to get unanimous consent to take the comments public starting with the tribute to Mr. Kamp?
View Brad Trost Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to all members of the committee for having me here today.
You've all seen my motion; you've all seen it put forward. What I thought I would do today, rather than argue basic, broad principles, is to give you a little insight on things that I think you should deal with in your report, that is, mechanics.
The general principle, the general idea, I think everyone can understand and argue about, but the report that you will have to do, based on the motion, has to address some of the mechanics of how this could be implemented if the House decided to adopt it in a subsequent Parliament.
Let me just run through some of the issues fairly quickly. You should have the memo in front of you that I wrote and sent to the committee last week. I'm just going to comment on a few things that I think should be covered in the report, mostly about the mechanics of implementing this.
Let me start with some issues that you'll have to deal with if this ever does become part of House of Commons procedures. Of interest to note is that they're doing the elections in Great Britain right now, and the nominations are all in. The foreign affairs committee there seems to be a very popular one to chair, whereas some of the regional committees like the Welsh committee, the Scottish committee, and the Northern Irish committee all seem to have natural candidates who are going to be acclaimed. Anyway, it's interesting that it's coincident with this.
Issue number one is the nomination of MPs for the election of chair and whether there should be supporting signatures. In the report committee members will have the option to say that they recommend yes or recommend no. I think it would be wise that there be supporting signatures. Thresholds can vary. Having five or ten would probably be appropriate, considering the size of our House of Commons. I think it would indicate that the member has support or some degree of approval from colleagues. I think it would also sift out if candidates if members found fairly quickly that they were not getting signatures in support from fellow members. That might be an indication that perhaps they're not suited to the post they're thinking of.
Interestingly, in other places where they do this, they don't require signatures to be from both parties. I would not require that either, but it is something that you may want to debate or consider. Of course, there's always the possibility of letting members put forward their own name and going without any support. As I said, my recommendation is not to support that.
The second issue, and this one I really have no major opinion on, is who would run the nominations in subsequent election of chairs by the whole House. This is something that needs to be done; it could be by the Clerk of the House of Commons and associated staff there, or it could be by the Speaker's office. Frankly, I don't have a very strong opinion one way or the other. I think it would be something that when this were put to a vote [Inaudible--Editor] standing orders could be decided based on consultation with people with experience in both offices. Again, I think it's something that should be noted in the report, but I don't think there's something there that would be of major philosophical disagreement among members. It's more of a mechanical issue.
As for the timing of the elections of committee chair, I think there's a fairly natural window soon after the Speaker is elected. Members may want to seek the post of Speaker, as was the case the last time when Mr. Scheer won. If my memory serves me right, we had five or six candidates for the post. That should be done, and appropriate time should be given. As we've all had experience here, committees sometimes take longer to set up in some Parliaments than others, but a deadline, say, of three or four days after the election of the chair for members to have their nominations in, either to the Clerk or the Speaker's office, would probably be appropriate. Doing that a week later would be an appropriate time. Again, it's not a hill to die on, but it should be talked about and it should be noted that deadlines should be set, even if your report does not pick a particular timeline.
Another question would be how long do you have committee chairs elected for? I would say that when the House is prorogued, you can start again. For various sessions of Parliament you could have it. In this Parliament we've had two sessions, if I remember correctly. You would have two elections run twice. Again, that's an option you could have, but I think it's very possible people might want to switch chairmanships of committees. You may find that two years in, not every one has run their committee as well as, say, this chair has over the last few years, and there may need to be a re-election, and—how shall we put this—nomination races could start up again and there could be internal challenges based upon the competency of the chairmanship.
So that's another issue I think should be dealt with.
Another question is would we permit members to run for more than one post? Interestingly, looking through the British system, they don't have that, but it is an option that could be considered. Say we knew somebody who was particularly talented at both defence and foreign affairs issues, perhaps they would want to consider both positions. I personally would argue against that, but it's something, again, that should be considered. I think if a member is strong and competent in one area, he should put forward his arguments in that area, and again, if you had a second election two years later and the person wished to seek the post, it would not preclude that person from being elected in that second election after the House prorogued and restarted. Again, it's an issue that I think needs to be dealt with, and I think some flexibility could be put into that.
Another issue that I was asked about when I was here last time, which I'm a bit hesitant to include but I have included in case the committee does want to deal with it, is a question on the vice-chairs. I deliberately left the vice-chairs out of my motion because as a government member.... By and large most of the chairs, with again I think four exceptions, come from the government side, and I didn't want to impose something on other parties. However, I do think that it would be wise for the first vice-chair, in particular, to be chosen. Again, that may be something you want to consider in your report. My advice, because it was not a major or explicit part of my motion, is that unless the committee has substantive agreement on that, I would leave it out. But if there is substantive agreement on that issue among committee members, perhaps you could include it.
I would say, however, as we've noted in many Parliaments, the third party, from whom the second vice-chair comes from, often has only one member, and if we adopt a position where all vice-chairs are to be picked, the party at that point would have absolutely no ability to pick its own member on a particular committee if the one and only position were handed out by a vote of the general House of Commons. That's why, if the concept of vice-chairs is discussed in this report, perhaps some note should be made that the first and second vice-chairs could be treated differently. Again, I would say to committee members that this was not dealt with in my motion. So unless there's substantive agreement, personally I would stay away from it.
Issue number five is what happens if the chair resigns or if committees have become dysfunctional—this has happened on occasion—or motions of no confidence have been put, particularly in minority Parliaments—
View Brad Trost Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Chair, I sit on the natural resources committee. We have had to deal with Mr. Benoit frequently in private, so I understand what you're saying. For the record, that was a joke. I know the blues don't always reflect that, so I'd better put that out there.
View Brad Trost Profile
CPC (SK)
That was a joke, Mr. Chair. I have great respect for Mr. Benoit.
But that has happened, particularly in minority government situations where there has been the to and fro between the parties.
I think your report needs to deal with that, and the very basic questions of who would ultimately replace, and where would the decision be done? I could see a way of doing it where it would, first of all, be a vote of the committee, and then brought to the whole House for ratification. Or you may wish to go with the option of having the committee being able to remove a chair, and then the chair, if he wished to retain his post, could re-present their candidacy in the equivalent of a byelection. That needs to be dealt with.
People would have to think fairly long and hard if they voted out a chair in their committee and he then were re-elected by the entire House to come back and chair the committee, but this is something that needs to be dealt with.
We've had chairs resign to take private sector positions, so byelections will also be dealt with.
It's something that should be dealt with. My personal preference is that the committee could remove a chair and the House would not be required.... But if the chair wished to retain his position, I personally would permit him to run again, and if he received the full blessing of the House, he could come back.
Now, I could see an endless loop of a committee deposing chairs, and byelections being done, but I think sensible people would find some practical way to deal with what could be a theoretical problem.
That would be the fifth issue I would recommend we deal with.
If chairs want to switch committees, I would say you could deal with that in the same way as with a byelection. It's possible that two chairs could resign and both re-present for themselves. They would take the risk of possibly losing in an election in the broader House, but it's something that could be dealt with in your report.
On issue number seven, legislative special and joint committees, we have standing committees here. My idea was to deal with this with regard to standing committees. I don't have particularly strong preferences on these, other than to say that I really can't see a joint committee election being either necessary, or particularly of major import. The committees for the Library of Parliament and the scrutiny of regulations are the two joint committees, but I think it's something that should be thought of for the other committees. Again, I don't have a particularly strong preference one way or the other, but I think the committee should come to some sort of decision on that one.
If push came to shove, I think I would find it useful for both special and legislative committees to have their chairs and, possibly, vice-chairs elected. It would be a way of the House saying that it viewed these people as having specific expertise in this and that it would like them to lead the study of these matters.
I think my time is pretty close to being up. I thank you, and hopefully I can be of some assistance in answering questions.
View Tom Lukiwski Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Trost, for being here.
Let me see if I can characterize this correctly.
You presented a number of scenarios that you're asking the committee to consider. With the odd exception you haven't really come down firmly in favour of one option or another. Would it be fair to characterize this by saying that really, you would be fine with whatever options in any scenarios that this committee determines to be appropriate, as long as the concept of electing chairs versus appointing chairs was approved?
View Brad Trost Profile
CPC (SK)
“Whatever” would be an incredibly broad term, but I'm mostly interested in having the underlying principle implemented.
The reason I've given flexibility and not really come down one way or the other is that this is a change that affects the entirety of the House of Commons. It affects future parties. We don't know which side of the House we're going to be sitting on, or even if we'll be here, as parties have vanished before. So I'm arguing that effectively we need to have fairly broad consensus to get this done. If every recommendation in your report is split on pure party-line votes, that weakens the report. That's why I'm giving a certain degree of latitude, a certain degree of flexibility.
The other thing is this: other countries—for example, Great Britain—have this, but Canada is a different country, a different Parliament, a different culture. We don't know precisely how this will work, so a bit of flexibility and input from many people would be useful.
There is a proverb that says that in the multitude of many counsellors, there is wisdom. That's why I'm not necessarily being aggressively prescriptive in dealing with some of these, in my view, technical issues.
View Tom Lukiwski Profile
CPC (SK)
Okay.
There's a technical issue, I guess, that you haven't addressed and that is fairly obvious to me. Should we go to this approach, how do you envision the selection of chairs if there are multiple candidates? Is it first past the post, 50% plus one, preferential...?
View Brad Trost Profile
CPC (SK)
My apologies, Mr. Chair. I must have skipped over that or missed it in my notes, because my original draft did have that.
I would suggest a preferential ballot very similar to what a lot of us are doing now in our nomination races. You have the candidates listed in alphabetical order, and then you number off your choices: one, two, three. It's a fairly simple system that I think most of us are familiar with.
The voting could all be done in one afternoon. I pity the people who would have to do the counting all afternoon, but they'd get it done and report to us by the next morning.
View Tom Lukiwski Profile
CPC (SK)
Okay.
You touched upon some of the options if an individual wants to run for the chairmanship of more than one committee. How do you envision the elections of these various committee chairs from a timing standpoint? For example, let's assume member X runs for chair of a specific committee and does not win. He or she then decides after the fact that they'd like to put their name up for consideration to be chair of another committee.
Do you see all committee chairs being up for ballot on the same day? Do you see a schedule of committee chairs to be selected over a period of time? How do you envision that?
View Brad Trost Profile
CPC (SK)
That is a very good question. As you heard in my presentation, my personal preference would be for all committee chairs to be elected on the same day. Effectively we would get handed a stack of ballots, and away we would go with the ballot boxes and vote.
However, if the committee is open to the idea, perhaps you could stagger it week after week. You could have perhaps the 10 most interesting committee chairmanships the first week, the next 10 the week after, and so forth. Or you could have eight, eight, and eight, because I think we have 24. There are all sorts of options for the committee.
In your first question you asked me if I'm mostly interested in the principle. The answer is yes. I'd be interested in and open to either solution.
My personal preference would be to vote for them all at once: you take your chance on what you want. I can see, though, that some members would be interested in having perhaps eight go in one round, eight go in another, and finally a few more in another round. That's an option too. If the committee can arrive at consensus one way or the other, I'd be fine with that.
View Tom Lukiwski Profile
CPC (SK)
How much time do I have left, Chair?
View Tom Lukiwski Profile
CPC (SK)
We can tell who's retiring.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Tom Lukiwski Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Trost, I want to go back to a scenario that you brought forward that actually happened in this committee, I think eight years ago, with Chair Preston's predecessor, Mr. Goodyear. It was a minority government configuration—you identified that these possibilities can happen—where Mr. Goodyear was found to be lacking the confidence of the committee and was removed. Again, you talked about this but you didn't give a specific preference, and I'd like to get that from you.
If the House elects a chair but then the committee—let's say only five or six members—has the ability to remove the chair through a vote of non-confidence, what would you foresee then as being the appropriate resolution? Should it go back to the House? As you say, it could end up in an endless loop of the House voting someone in and the committee voting them out. How do you see a resolution to this? Should there be any finality? Should the House trump the committee's wishes, or should the committee be the master of its own mandate and have the ability to overturn the decision of the House?
View Brad Trost Profile
CPC (SK)
I would note that, number one, in a minority Parliament, where the opposition members would vote out a committee chair, they would also have the majority of the vote in the House. So unless it would be impossible for them to find another government member to run for it, they could basically choose who they would want for that chairmanship.
Now, it's very possible that the government caucus could sit together in complete solidarity and renominate their candidate. There could be a couple of solutions here. You could have the endless loop possibility, or you could have something where, if someone is deposed two or three times, they're just gone—the three-strikes-you're-out rule or some version of that.
I would be reluctant to ban whoever is deposed as committee chair from being able to run again, because sometimes after motions are passed or disputes have reached a certain point a resolution can be found. People may want to make their point and then be happy when they have the committee chair back. Sometimes they may not so much want to remove the chair as send a message, and the message might be sent. So it's possible that a recommendation could be that if a chair is deposed twice—just to pick an arbitrary number—or three times, he would not be able to stand for re-election.
If your report wanted to go into that sort of detail, I think it would be appropriate. Hopefully that situation would not arise, but a two- or three-strikes-you're-out rule could be a possibility.
View Tom Lukiwski Profile
CPC (SK)
View Tom Lukiwski Profile
CPC (SK)
I just want to make sure that we have absolute clarity on this. If the committee decides to move forward on the principle of election of committee chairs, you would be comfortable with whatever else we come up with, or this committee would come up with, in terms of the process and the actual technical amendments if need be, as long as the principle is adhered to.
View Brad Trost Profile
CPC (SK)
Yes. If the principle is adhered to, I would be more interested in the committee having broader consensus on the mechanics than on any particular mechanics.
If you decide, based upon your previous question, to put in a rule that once a committee chair is deposed, he cannot run for re-election, I'd be fine with that. If you decide that he could run in endless loops of elections, I'd be fine with that. If you had a two-strikes rule and he would be out, I'd be fine with that, the same as I would be fine with it if you wanted to tier committee elections or have them all in one day.
View Tom Lukiwski Profile
CPC (SK)
View Brad Trost Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you.
As I noted last time when you asked this question, I asked what is the representative pool of current committee chairs. I forget, but there's either one or no female committee chairs. There's probably one, if my memory serves me correctly. Yes, I see a hand signal that there's one.
I would say that I am not comparing the ideal to my proposal. I am comparing current situation to my proposal for the election of chairs. I think that would be one of the things that would be improved or moved in that direction, because I could very easily see that appeal being made as one of the elements of someone's candidacy.
Let's be pretty blunt here. Members of Parliament want to be seen as reflective. They want to reach out. Caucuses do cultural outreach programs. They do gender outreach programs. They do regional outreach programs. If someone is making a campaign pitch and saying that they need to be there and chairing a committee because it's unrepresentative, knowing how members think, I think that would be fairly powerful.
I could see block votes. I could see female members crossing from one caucus to the other to vote for someone in another caucus because, frankly, they would feel that there's an under-representation of their gender among committee chairmanships. I actually think my proposal would probably open up those posts. I think it would aid that.
I think my proposal is not the question. My proposal is a partial solution.
View Brad Trost Profile
CPC (SK)
It's a difficult question, and that's why I put out various responses.
My observation of human behaviour, though, is that irrespective of what rules you make and what laws, someone will find a loophole and a way to bend it. In the end, what works the best is if people are actually cooperative.
As much as we have particularly aggressive fights in this place—I will have been a member of Parliament for 11 years by next week—my observation is that you're talking about a most extreme circumstance, a fairly rare circumstance. You might want to have a rule for that circumstance, but whatever you come up with is going to be a technical and imperfect solution. It's going to be imperfect because a situation like that is only going to arise when there are already bad feelings and resentment. So with whatever rule you come up with, whomever feels that the situation did not work out in their favour is going to resent it in the end.
You're not going to have a perfect answer to that one. I'm saying pick one solution, and then experience will guide us if we need to moderate it or change it.
Whatever rules you come up with this first time aren't going to fit everyone's wishes or everyone's desires perfectly, but we have to start somewhere.
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