I'm going to limit my comment to the matter of the procedure taken by a chair of a committee in a minority Parliament.
As a non-member of this committee, I'm extremely grateful to the latitude from you, Mr. Chair, but I recognize that all of my other colleagues, including Mr. Poilievre, whom I'm going to agree with and then upgrade in just a moment, are incredibly kind. I appreciate it.
I certainly can't lecture you, Mr. Chair, as I think you've been trying throughout this to be extremely balanced. However, I agree with Mr. Poilievre and Mr. Julian that you were having some difficulty yesterday in keeping partisanship out of this, and that's rare for you.
I want to remind Mr. Poilievre that way back in 2007, when he was parliamentary secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, his party put forward a handbook for committee chairs. It dealt with the difficult circumstances that a minority party in government faces in trying to control committee proceedings. It was a handbook that led Leon Benoit, then chair of the international trade committee, to adjourn a proceeding—and Peter Julian may remember this—and storm out of the room. He threw his pen down and said, “Adjourned”, leaving the majority of the members, who had just voted to proceed, in something of a quandary. The handbook was full of tricks like that.
I would ask my Conservative colleagues to bear in mind their own history, and I would ask all of us to be as non-partisan as possible, because the country is still in a pandemic.
I said I was going to limit myself, but I don't believe that we got great, helpful, forthcoming information from the witnesses yesterday. I appreciate Mr. Poilievre's efforts and Mr. Julian's efforts to get more information out. Canadians do want to get to the bottom of this, but I really hope that all members on all sides, regardless of partisanship, including the chair, can be way above the normal level of fairness, and that the gutter approach of the minority Parliament in 2007 is never approached again.