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Results: 1 - 15 of 101
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Welcome back, everyone.
I'll point to remarks made by the members on the opposite aisle in discussing the amendment on hand, and some of the suggestions for a time allotment from 3:30 to 6:30 versus the current 3:30 to 5. My colleagues and I have entertained and discussed that, Chair. We could accommodate that request.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
There are three things we're seeking, Chair. One is that the minister be here for three hours, which I gather the government delegation has accepted. The second is that his opening remarks be limited to 10 minutes. The third is that we have licence to ask him about any matters related to his work as finance minister. Those are the only three things that we ask for. They seem pretty reasonable, and not out of line with what typically happens at a committee.
Given that this is a budget bill with 350 pages of content, and that this is perhaps the only time the minister will appear before this committee, I can't see any justification for not allowing that kind of openness under any subject for the entire session. I'll leave it at that for now. If members want to further litigate any of those three, I'm happy to do it. If they can offer those things, we can offer quick passage of the motion without any additional changes, and proceed from there.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Okay.
Does anybody else wants to speak?
Mr. Poilievre, you and I chatted, and you're saying, “any matters related to his work as finance minister”. It was my opinion that if the minister goes broad in his opening remarks, what I've tried to do in the past is to allow the questions to be broad. If the minister just sticks to the BIA, then the discussion would be pretty well limited to the BIA and, in essence, the budget as well.
Go ahead.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'm amused by the comments by my colleague, who talks about the boundaries of the discussion. It seems to me that in his view, the opposition is going to set the boundaries of discussion. I think this committee should come to a collective view on that.
When the minister comes here, I'm sure he'll talk about the budget. I want to ask him about the budget, because my constituents are asking me about it, not about grandiose economic theories or the role of the finance minister in general, but on something quite specific—the 2019 budget that has been presented, which we'll hopefully now examine if the opposition wants to be serious. What my colleague is proposing, I'm afraid, is not serious.
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thanks for the intervention by my colleague. You know, committees are the masters of their domains. I've been on this committee since we were elected as a majority government. I've really enjoyed it and we are the masters of our domain. When the minister has come to speak to us, we've all asked him questions. Mr. Poilievre, Mr. Deltell and Ms. Raitt, when she was here, asked questions, tough questions. We are going to be looking at the subject matter of Bill C-97. I'm sure Mr. Poilievre, Mr. Richards and Mr. Kmiec will want to ask tough questions and they'll be afforded that opportunity.
In response to my colleague, I was going to say my friend, Mr. Poilievre, that within the three-hour time slot from 3:30 to 6:30, you've asked for the minister to keep his remarks within 10 minutes. I don't think that's something extraordinary. I think the purview is that we are speaking to Bill C-97, which touches upon fiscal policy. It touches upon a thing. It's not a huge bill, and no pun was intended by the comment, but a document that's important to Canadians and to our government. Of course, it is important to this committee to study it, to bring witnesses forth and to commence that process. I think it behooves all of us as parliamentarians to do that.
Mr. Poilievre, I'm very accommodating and I think the committee is accommodating on where members are in terms of the three hours and the 10 minutes. I think it's obviously the chair's role to decide what's in order in any committee to be discussed. If we stray too far, then I think it behooves us to point that out, and it also behooves you folks to point that out on your side. I think we can be accommodating and meet on that.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Greg Fergus Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'll make this quick.
Mr. Chair, parliamentary convention holds that, when a minister appears before a committee, it is to address the issue on the agenda. We are talking about the Minister of Finance, who has appeared before the committee many times. I don't believe he has ever even declined an invitation by the committee, but I digress.
When a committee studies a bill and reviews its provisions, government and opposition members alike have the opportunity to ask a minister questions, as they would with any witness. In all cases, however, the questions must relate to the subject in hand.
Mr. Chair, you've always been very open-minded. In the past, when the minister went off topic, you've always given committee members the leeway to do the same. However, when the minister's comments pertain to the topic on the agenda, the questions put to the minister should as well, as parliamentary convention dictates.
Thank you.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2019-04-09 15:48
I'm not sure that there really is a conflict on the table. I understand from your recent comment that you're saying that a certain amount of latitude, insofar as the minister speaks about matters qua as Minister of Finance, will be accepted. It's your job to police this. I know that when we are in the House of Commons, the Speaker allows people—to a degree I find rather shocking, frankly—to speak very much outside the four corners of the bill that's at issue. Questions of relevance are rarely, if ever, addressed by the chair.
Given your commitment that you accept that a minister can come and talk about ministerial responsibilities, and given what Mr. Poilievre said, that he is not going to talk about personal matters but merely things concerning his work as finance minister, I don't understand that we have a real conflict on the table. I would suggest that we are ad idem.
View Tom Kmiec Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I guess I missed a thrilling morning when this was being debated.
In anticipation of this meeting, I looked at the previous motion that was passed last year. As you'll remember, eventually that motion hamstrung the committee when the issues of DPAs came up on one really late night. Then we had a lot more questions, and a lot of members around the table weren't happy. I had a kids' school group that was coming through. Late at night I went to speak to someone, and when I returned this was on the table.
I know that we're at this point again. We're dealing with a programming motion. It is slightly different. One thing I'll mention is that nothing in here says that any of this has to be televised. I would like to see that as part of this motion. In actuality, the word “televised” doesn't even appear in this motion.
View Kim Rudd Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
I came to this place almost four years ago, coming from a background of having to work with people in business, and I came with an expectation—
Mr. Poilievre is reading his phone and not listening to the answer to the question he asked me.
I came expecting respectful debate. When I saw the behaviour and the complete disrespect for the Minister of Finance in the House when he stood up to read the budget, I question the motivation of Mr. Poilievre and the members on that side as to whether these comments and these requests are designed for respectful debate, real questions, or whether they are intended to have another, frankly, disgusting performance like the one we saw that day.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Some of you will know this and others may not. In my previous career, before I got into politics, I was in real estate. I helped folks sell and buy homes. This reminds me, actually, of some of the situations I found myself in, in those circumstances. Sometimes what you'd get is that someone would say, “I know we have a contract here that says X, Y, and Z, and this is the price of the home and this is the closing date, and all the conditions that go with that, but you know what? Don't worry about that. Yes, we'll get the walls painted for you, or, yes, we'll leave some of the furniture, or whatever the case might be.” They'd say, we don't need to throw that in the contract, though. It will just be an agreement between us. For obvious reasons, I wouldn't accept those kinds of things. This reminds me of those same situations.
Mr. Poilievre has made a suggestion. It's been said a couple of times on both sides, but I will point out that this is a fairly significant compromise by the opposition, I would argue, because we're letting the government have exactly what it wants, which is to limit the amount of time there is for consideration and debate and amendments or anything else related to the budget. In return, the expectation is that there be three hours for the minister to come here to be held accountable for any matters related to his finance portfolio, and that his opening remarks limited to 10 minutes and that the meeting be televised.
What we're hearing, essentially, for the most part, is yes, we agree to all of that, but we don't want to put it in writing. Whenever I have someone tell me they agree with me and they're willing to give me something, but they don't want to put it in writing, I have to question the motivation for not being willing to put it in writing? If it's okay and you're agreeing that you're going to allow it, why not just put it in writing? What's the harm? As I say, it hearkens me back to my days in real estate, when somebody would say, “Yes, no, no, don't worry. We'll leave the freezer. We don't want to put it in the contract—let's not do that—but we'll leave it, we promise.”
You never want to doubt someone's sincerity, and I'm not saying I do, but why not put it in writing then? What's the problem here? I just feel that we're in a spot where it's almost like there's disagreement for the sake of disagreement, or something like that. I wish we could end that. If that's what everyone's saying is—
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, I believe you are a man of your word. I've known you for a long time. I've never once known you to violate your word, and so I take you at your word today that we will be allowed to question the minister, not just on the BIA but also on his broader finance portfolio. I give you my word that my questions will focus exclusively on his work as a finance minister, not on anything unrelated to that job.
As a result, I am prepared to withdraw my earlier amendment and propose a different one.
(Amendment withdrawn)
Hon. Pierre Poilievre: With my new amendment, paragraph 7 would be transformed to read:
the Committee invite the Minister of Finance to appear on Bill C-97 on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and that his opening statement be limited to ten minutes, and that the meeting be televised;
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
It's not a problem. Is everyone okay with that?
(Amendment agreed to)
(Motion as amended agreed to)
The Chair: We have one other motion.
Go ahead, Mr. Sorbara.
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
The motion is:
That
1. the Committee begin a subject matter study of Bill C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019, and other measures on Monday, April 29, 2019, if the Bill itself has not yet been referred to the Committee;
2. the Committee hear from departmental officials on the subject matter of Bill C-97 on Monday, April 29, 2019, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.;
3. if Bill C-97 is referred to the Committee by the House during the subject matter study of the Bill, all evidence and documentation received in public in relation to its subject matter study of Bill C-97 be deemed received by the Committee in the context of its legislative study of Bill C-97;
4. the Clerk of the Committee write immediately to each Member of Parliament who is not a member of a caucus represented on the Committee, to inform them of the beginning of the subject matter study of Bill C-97 by the Committee and to invite them to start working on their proposed amendments to the Bill, which would be considered during the clause-by-clause study of the Bill;
5. Members of the Committee submit their prioritized witness lists for the study of Bill C-97 to the Clerk of the Committee by no later than noon on Thursday, April 18, 2019, and that these lists be distributed to Members that same day;
6. the Committee hear from witnesses on Bill C-97 from April 29, 2019, to May 16, 2019;
7. the Committee invite the Minister of Finance to appear on Bill C-97 on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and that officials appear from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., if necessary;
8. proposed amendments to Bill C-97 be submitted to the Clerk of the Committee in both official languages by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at the latest;
9. the Committee commence clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-97 on Monday, May 27, 2019, at 11:00 a.m., subject to the Bill being referred to the Committee;
10. the Chair may limit debate on each clause to a maximum of five minutes per party, per clause; and
11. if the Committee has not completed the clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill by 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, all remaining amendments submitted to the Committee shall be deemed moved, the Chair shall put the question, forthwith and successively, without further debate on all remaining clauses and proposed amendments, as well as each and every question necessary to dispose of clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill, as well as all questions necessary to report the Bill to the House and to order the Chair to report the Bill to the House as soon as possible.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
Thank you, Mr. Sorbara.
I will make a point, and then I have a list of speakers here.
On point 10, that the chair limit debate to a maximum of five minutes per party, per clause, we kind of exercise judgment on that one. There are some clauses that we have allowed parties to talk on for pretty well 20 minutes or so, depending on where we're at in the bill. We're pretty flexible on that, but if absolutely necessary, we'll go to five minutes.
Okay, I have on my list first Mr. Poilievre, and then Mr. Dusseault.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
I haven't had a chance to finish my own remarks. You'll recall, Mr. Chair, that I just finished reading the motion.
Members would benefit from hearing the English version a second time, given that the break for the vote interrupted the flow of our discourse earlier. Just in case members have forgotten the motion as it's written now, I'll read it in English.
The motion is:
That
1. the Committee begin a subject matter study of Bill C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019, and other measures on Monday, April 29, 2019, if the Bill itself has not yet been referred to the Committee;
2. the Committee hear from departmental officials on the subject matter of Bill C-97 on Monday, April 29, 2019, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.;
3. if Bill C-97 is referred to the Committee by the House during the subject matter study of the Bill, all evidence and documentation received in public in relation to its subject matter study of Bill C-97 be deemed received by the Committee in the context of its legislative study of Bill C-97;
4. the Clerk of the Committee write immediately to each Member of Parliament who is not a member of a caucus represented on the Committee, to inform them of the beginning of the subject matter study of Bill C-97 by the Committee and to invite them to start working on their proposed amendments to the Bill, which would be considered during the clause-by-clause study of the Bill;
5. Members of the Committee submit their prioritized witness lists for the study of Bill C-97 to the Clerk of the Committee by no later than noon on Thursday, April 18, 2019, and that these lists be distributed to Members that same day;
6. the Committee hear from witnesses on Bill C-97 from April 29, 2019, to May 16, 2019;
7. the Committee invite the Minister of Finance to appear on Bill C-97 on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and that officials appear from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., if necessary;
8. proposed amendments to Bill C-97 be submitted to the Clerk of the Committee in both official languages by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at the latest;
9. the Committee commence clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-97 on Monday, May 27, 2019, at 11:00 a.m., subject to the Bill being referred to the Committee;
10. the Chair may limit debate on each clause to a maximum of five minutes per party, per clause; and
11. if the Committee has not completed the clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill by 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, all remaining amendments submitted to the Committee shall be deemed moved, the Chair shall put the question, forthwith and successively, without further debate on all remaining clauses and proposed amendments, as well as each and every question necessary to dispose of clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill, as well as all questions necessary to report the Bill to the House and to order the Chair to report the Bill to the House as soon as possible.
Let us go through some of my concerns with the motion as currently written.
First of all, we would like to see the minister testify from 3:30 until 6:30 on May 1, 2019, rather than just from 3:30 to 5:00. We'd like to specify, or we want the wording to specify, that members may pose any questions to the minister related to this bill or his conduct as finance minister, and that the chair shall not interrupt such questioning. Three hours is a more reasonable amount of time than an hour and a half. Furthermore, we would limit the finance minister's opening remarks to no more than 10 minutes so that we can focus on questioning. The finance minister had a chance to give a speech in the House of Commons. He doesn't need to repeat it here. Any members who are concerned about his opening statement can refer themselves to his very lengthy opener during the budget introduction in the House of Commons. If they have any confusion whatsoever about either what's in the budget or what the finance minister thinks of the budget, that speech can answer those questions. Therefore, we don't need to burn committee time listening to him speak for half an hour. That is our principal request.
Second, points 10 and 11 are particularly objectionable, because they restrict our ability to properly debate this omnibus budget bill. Last year, we all stumbled upon a very strange section of the previous omnibus budget that gave us deferred prosecution agreements. Few in this room understood the consequences of that amendment.
To your credit, Mr. Chair, you acknowledged that deferred prosecution agreements did not belong in the budget bill. Mr. Fergus likewise, and very presciently, acknowledged the problems with that section of the bill. The foresight that Mr. Fergus exhibited in that debate is quite startling, now that we have seen events unfold subsequently. I don't know; maybe Mr. Fergus can jump in on this discussion and tell us if he was able to foreshadow just how important his predictions of trouble would become. If you look at the last three months of discourse in this country and you match that discourse with Mr. Fergus's observations, you can only conclude that he has a degree of clairvoyance that is quite frankly terrifying. That he could have foreshadowed so much trouble in so few words is really impressive....
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