Committee
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 26 of 26
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
NDP (QC)
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
2015-03-12 11:37
Expand
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This meeting has significantly changed. We were supposed to have here the new commissioner, who is nominated for a six-month period. It is fundamental to our democracy that commissioners appear in front of committees when they're nominated. This last minute decision not to appear is a contempt for the importance of our parliamentary institutions.
I also noticed that the Privacy Commissioner has not been allowed to appear in front of the committee on Bill C-51. This is a habit that the Conservatives are getting into, of muzzling commissioners. It is fundamental to ensure, when we make nominations of this importance to Canada and to Canadians, that we have a chance as parliamentarians to question the competencies and the quality of the nominee. I think it's unconscionable, Mr. Chair, that the commissioner is not here today.
What happened? I need to know what happened, first of all. This meeting has been cut in half, and something fundamental to the health of our democracy has been tampered with. I expect some kind of justification. The commissioner just cannot decide, “I'm going to wake up this morning, and Parliament doesn't matter.” He or she, depending on the commissioner, has a responsibility to come here when called upon and to be questioned.
I think this is a serious matter that we need to give full consideration to before we hear from our other invitees today.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Collapse
View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-12 11:39
Expand
Thank you, Mr. Ravignat. I understand your point. We did have a meeting scheduled to hear from the newly nominated integrity commissioner today, and at the last minute he has notified our committee that he will not be attending.
I have a speakers list.
Mr. Byrne, you wanted the floor briefly.
I'm going to ask—when you're done, Mr. Byrne, and perhaps Mr. Warkentin as well—the clerk to explain exactly what he was told by the office of the integrity commissioner as to why he can't attend.
Collapse
Jean-François Lafleur
View Jean-François Lafleur Profile
Jean-François Lafleur
2015-03-12 11:40
Expand
Thank you.
I had a conversation yesterday with the commissioner's office, and there seems to be some confusion around his appearance concerning what he was appearing under. He was notified that he was to appear as interim commissioner, and on the notice of meeting we always write where he is coming from. It said that it was from the office of the commissioner.
So the confusion could have come from there in the sense that his office was probably thinking that he was asked to appear as a commissioner. But underneath, there was the name of the commissioner, Mr. Friday, and it said “Interim Commissioner”, so it was in that capacity that he was invited to appear.
It seems that at his office there was some confusion about that fact, and what I received as information is that he would probably be nominated later, and there was an absolute willingness from his office to appear later as the commissioner—a permanent commissioner, if you wish.
Collapse
View Gerry Byrne Profile
Lib. (NL)
Yes. This is getting murkier, Mr. Chair. If I understand it, the requirement under the Governor in Council is for an order in council to be issued for his nomination to be extended as the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
Work with me, Mr. Chair, if you can, because I think we need to get this clarified. As I understood it, the nomination of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner was forwarded to this committee because we have an opportunity as a committee to oversee and to make a recommendation about this particular appointment. The referral was required because the commissioner's former appointment had expired and he is being renominated. Is that—?
Collapse
View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-12 11:42
Expand
No. The former commissioner, Mario Dion, is no longer there, and in the interim Mr. Friday was nominated to a six-month term to be the interim integrity commissioner.
Collapse
View Gerry Byrne Profile
Lib. (NL)
Therefore, he is acting, so it's fairly clear that—
Has he not yet obtained the order in council? Has the order in council been authorized?
Collapse
View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-12 11:43
Expand
No, he is interim commissioner for six months and he's about three months into that six-month appointment. But still, this committee is allowed to and in fact is obliged to vet that appointment.
Collapse
View Gerry Byrne Profile
Lib. (NL)
This makes absolutely no sense. That's why I wanted to work this through, so that we're communicating to Canadians that there is a new commissioner who has never been vetted by a parliamentary committee. The commissioner has been invited, we understand, under very specific directions to appear concerning the nomination itself, and the interim commissioner is saying, “No, I don't think so.”
Mr. Chair, with all due respect to those who have made a decision in this matter—and those decision-makers are not in this committee, but outside of this committee—we have had a very serious breach of trust already occur with a former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. That commissioner was never allowed to appear before this committee. That commissioner was never asked.... The report of the Auditor General was never allowed to be heard by the public accounts committee, which interfaces with the Office of the Auditor General.
Now we have an interim commissioner who holds a very important office—important not only to us as Canadians, but to our parliamentary system and to our system of governing the public sector in a fair and responsible way—and this person has just said he won't appear before us because he's a bit confused.
I am very confused, Mr. Chair. I would like to have the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner come before us so that we can meet him.
Collapse
View Chris Warkentin Profile
CPC (AB)
View Chris Warkentin Profile
2015-03-12 11:46
Expand
Thank you, Mr. Martin. I appreciate that.
It is clear to me, based on what the clerk said, that that there was some confusion about the invitation. We are very confident in the ability of Mr. Friday, and I'm certain that when he does come before this committee we will all be satisfied that he has conducted and will continue—
Collapse
View Greg Kerr Profile
CPC (NS)
View Greg Kerr Profile
2015-03-12 11:48
Expand
Mr. Chair, I know a lot of us have been through a lot of committees and a lot of processes before, and certainly know how to detect the bit of posturing that's going on. That's part of what politics is about, but I understand that if you are prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, because obviously a lot of comments are being made without knowing some of the background....
I think what Mr. Byrne was suggesting is to let him know that we'd really like him to appear and that we expect him to appear, and leave the door open for him to respond back that the committee would like to hear what he has to say. I think we all would like to hear what he would say, but to put motive in that sort of way, I think, is just absolutely irresponsible. I'd rather give this individual the chance to explain to us in detail what he sees his position is and what's expected. To condemn him blind, I think, is just absolutely irresponsible.
Collapse
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
NDP (QC)
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
2015-03-12 11:49
Expand
Condemning him is not the issue here. The issue is that something went awry.
Why did he—and I haven't heard an explanation for this—confirm that he was going to come, knowing very well the content of the letter and that this was about him being appointed for an interim period? All I'm asking with the motion is that he come to committee to explain himself, and talk about his capacity as the commissioner during the six-month interim period. We have a responsibility to review nominations.
The motion is to ensure that the commissioner is at the next meeting and that we have the chance as parliamentarians to do our job and ask him the difficult questions that he needs to answer.
Collapse
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
NDP (QC)
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
2015-03-12 11:51
Expand
Who answers to whom? Do we answer to the commissioner? The commissioner answers to this committee. The message that needs to be sent to this commissioner and to all commissioners is that they are responsible and accountable to parliamentarians. This is just a fundamental issue about how our Westminster Parliament functions.
I understand the spirit of Mr. Byrne's amendment, but I think that we need to be clear about the nature of the relationship between commissioners and Parliament in the motion.
Collapse
View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-12 11:52
Expand
I think Mr. Byrne may have been pointing out as well that it's not quite as simple as saying this committee shall summon the witness. The process is such that I would have to report to the House that a witness was unwilling to attend, and the House—the Speaker in fact—would have to direct a vote in Parliament to compel that witness to attend. It's a multi-step process for the standing committee to exercise their extraordinary powers to compel the attendance of a witness who is otherwise unwilling to attend.
I believe Mr. Byrne's amendment may have been in that vein. It may be a more achievable outcome if we in fact rephrase it to inform him that his attendance is expected.
Mr. Ravignat, and then we really must move on, I believe.
Collapse
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
NDP (QC)
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
2015-03-12 11:53
Expand
Well, it may be more achievable, but what the official opposition is concerned about is that this is becoming a pattern. This isn't the first committee that this has happened in. In fact, the Conservative government has instructed the Privacy Commissioner not to attend the discussion going on in committee on Bill C-51.
If this is going to become a pattern, then there needs to be some commitment on behalf of the committee, and maybe this is the place to do it, that all the commissioners be reminded that they have a responsibility to be in committee and to defend themselves and their position.
Collapse
View Chris Warkentin Profile
CPC (AB)
View Chris Warkentin Profile
2015-03-12 11:54
Expand
Yes.
This is getting absolutely ridiculous, to impugn motive without having heard from the interim commissioner. It's absolutely unfortunate and certainly below the office to which the member opposite has been called.
We expect and look forward to hearing from the commissioner, but this has turned into a bit of an unfortunate circumstance. We'll be voting against it, but we look forward to hearing from the commissioner in due course.
Collapse
View Gerry Byrne Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Chair, this is where we move into murky waters because those who would suggest that we should be careful about our relationships with officers of Parliament, and that we should understand that they are the masters of the House, not us, does no service to the work we do in this committee or as parliamentarians.
An alternative, a reasoned amendment, was offered to collapse the situation and provide some diplomatic resolution to this, which was refused by the government, clearly for a good reason, because while they may protest that this is inflammatory and unnecessary and that their motives should not be impugned here, it is clear to everyone listening to this and watching us and hearing our words that there's more to this than meets the eye.
Mr. Chair, the government was offered a reasoned solution to a diplomatic problem that has now morphed into something clearly much larger because now the government wants us to invite. We are going to the lowest common denominator now because a meeting was offered and rejected, and now this committee is left to simply invite an officer of Parliament to appear before us, as opposed to expressing the expectation that they must appear before us.
This has become escalated at this point in time, and unnecessarily so. I'm not very comfortable about the notion of inviting an officer of Parliament to come before us so that we can examine the nomination and offer a report to the House of Commons as to whether or not we agree or disagree with the nomination. It is our fundamental responsibility as a committee to examine this nomination and to report to the House, not to invite, to expect an appearance by someone who would assume such an office.
I'm not very pleased right now. I thought we had a reasoned opportunity to de-escalate the situation, but now I think we are getting very clear instructions from the government as to who is in charge. Is it the executive or Parliament? The government is telling us it's the executive.
I will not support this.
Collapse
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
NDP (QC)
View Mathieu Ravignat Profile
2015-03-12 11:59
Expand
I fully agree with my colleague, Mr. Byrne. This has become about clarity, and it's about clarity to the Canadian public with regard to who has the right to call an officer of Parliament. Is it the officer of Parliament who decides, just on a whim, whether or not he's going to show up and be accountable to the Canadian people whom we represent? Or does the committee have the power to make sure that this person is accountable? This is just a fundamental issue of our democratic institutions.
I'm sorry that my Conservative colleagues don't see this. They were elected to represent their constituents. That's the fundamental role we play. That means that you have responsibility like I do to ensure that officers of Parliament are accountable. The relationship between the executive, the officers of Parliament, and committee, is a fine balance. That relationship is essential to the health of our democracy, and that's not an exaggeration. That's just political science 101. You have to make sure that there is a check and balance between the power of committee, the power of the executive, and the officers of Parliament.
The reality is that they are accountable to us. Whatever the executive would like to do to interfere in the nomination process—and that's a whole other issue, the transparency and accountability for the nomination process—but at a minimum you would think that when a letter is sent to a commissioner, that letter is positively received.
It stinks. Something happened. I think Mr. Byrne is right. These are murky waters and we have no clarity as to why, unless the clerk has more information as to why the commissioner decided to come, and then suddenly.... What was it, the day of the meeting, Mr. Chair? No, the day before, it was yesterday, right?
Collapse
View Greg Kerr Profile
CPC (NS)
View Greg Kerr Profile
2015-03-12 12:02
Expand
Mr. Chair, because we have witnesses, we can get on with it. We could continue the hyperbole for a long time here.
What I suggest we do then, if you want, is to make a motion to reinvite the witness and give the witness a chance to come here and explain, as opposed to condemning him before he's even before us.
If it's in order, I will move a motion to reinvite the witness, and you set the date, as chair, as to when the witness appears.
Collapse
View Tarik Brahmi Profile
NDP (QC)
View Tarik Brahmi Profile
2015-03-12 12:05
Expand
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm trying to understand this motion and look at it from a French perspective. I feel that the word “invite”, which I would translate as “inviter”, does not express the agent's obligation to appear before Parliament. It does not remind him of his obligation to appear before Parliament.
I know that the word “summon” was initially proposed, and that would probably be translated as “convoquer”. However, I would translate “convoquer” as “convene” or “call”. The word “summon” may be too strong. It may be lacking the diplomacy and the respect due to the position, but I think the word “inviter” absolutely doesn't render the idea of a legal obligation to report to Parliament. I don't think that term is appropriate. That is why I will vote against the motion.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Collapse
View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-12 12:07
Expand
Thank you, Mr. Brahmi.
Just for information, we could not return to the word “summon” because it has already been voted down within the context of the same meaning. We can't vote again on the same issue twice.
Is there any further debate? Seeing none, the question is on the motion by Mr. Kerr.
(Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: The motion is carried and I believe the issue is resolved for the purposes of this meeting.
We will move on then to the orders of the day.
I offer my great apologies to the representatives here today from Shared Services Canada. First they were made to wait until the vote had finished in the House of Commons, and now they've had to suffer through a prolonged debate about committee business.
One of the witnesses was forced to leave already. Elizabeth Tromp, the acting senior assistant deputy minister and chief financial officer for corporate services, unfortunately had to excuse herself. Perhaps someone else can read her presentation.
Mr. Radford, if you wouldn't mind, introduce the rest of your panel and proceed with Ms. Tromp's presentation.
Thank you.
Collapse
View Scott Andrews Profile
Ind. (NL)
View Scott Andrews Profile
2013-05-27 15:30
Expand
Mr. Chair, I'd like to move the following motion before the committee:
That the Committee hold hearings on the conduct of public office holders in relation to the handling of the repayment of Senate expenses by Senator Mike Duffy and the conduct of officials in the Prime Minister's Office in this process, and that the witness list include but not be limited to: Nigel Wright; Benjamin Perrin; Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister; Ray Novak;
And that, in the context of this study, the Committee table a report in the House asking that the House send a message to the Senate requesting the appearance before the Committee of the following senators: Senator Mike Duffy; Senator David Tkachuk; Senator Marjory LeBreton.
The reason I move this motion is that it is critically important that this committee be immediately seized with this issue, and the government has actually scheduled time allocation votes during our proceedings, which will block this motion before the end of the meeting. This is no coincidence. I'm also forced to move my motion now because the Conservatives will undoubtedly move the meeting behind closed doors to deal with my motion, as they do with most, time and time again, preventing Canadians from seeing Conservative MPs carry out orders of the Prime Minister to stifle dissent.
The conduct of public office holders in relation to the handling of the repayment of Senate expenses by Senator Mike Duffy and the conduct of officials in the Prime Minister's Office in this process go to the heart and the trust of Canadians' need to have a democratic institution—
An hon. member: I have a point of order.
Mr. Scott Andrews: —and it seems that the Conservatives across the way—
An hon. member: Point of order....
Mr. Scott Andrews: —are somewhat bothered that this very serious issue, this situation, has the potential to undermine their confidence.
An hon. member: I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Scott Andrews: The issues raise very troubling questions, which have yet to be answered and which merit the immediate action of the committee.
Voices: Oh, oh!
An hon. member: Mr. Chair....
Mr. Scott Andrews: We are talking about the most senior officials of the Government of Canada—the chief of staff to the Prime Minister providing a substantial cash gift of $90,000 to a sitting parliamentarian. This raises a whole host of other terms as to whether this arrangement was fully compliant within the Conflict of Interest Act, the Parliament of Canada Act, the rules of the Senate, or the Criminal Code. There are many unanswered questions, and it's up to this committee to get answers for Canadians. There are 10 key issues that need to be addressed.
Number one, on Monday, May 20, the PMO told CTV News that they had forwarded a copy of this agreement between Senator Duffy and Nigel Wright to the Ethics Commissioner, Mary Dawson. On Tuesday, the Conservatives said this document couldn't be released because no such agreement exists. An e-mail, which in fact does exist, describes the secret agreement. The e-mail was dated February 20, 2013, and is currently in the possession of the Prime Minister's Office.
Will the government commit to releasing this and any other e-mails or documents, electronic or otherwise, that relate to the secret deal between the PMO—
Collapse
View Isabelle Morin Profile
NDP (QC)
Here is the motion:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 111.(1), the committee invite Mark Wright, the appointee to the board of directors of the Thunder Bay Port Authority, Jennifer Clarke, the appointee to the board of directors of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Gary Valcour, the appointee to the board of directors of the Oshawa Harbour Commission, Colin Watson, the appointee to the Toronto Port Authority, Jean-Sébastien Harvey, the appointee to the Saguenay Port Authority, Elmer Derrick, the appointee to the board of directors of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Éric Dupont, the appointee to the board of directors of the Quebec Port Authority and Pierre Rivard, the appointee to the board of directors of the Quebec Port Authority to appear before the committee prior to May 31, 2012.
My reason for making this motion is that we have discovered that the candidates nominated by the government have a lot of ties with the Conservatives. I am not including people who have been nominated for a second time, because it would be too easy for the Conservatives to tell us that the reason is that they gained experience in their previous mandates.
I will start with Jennifer Brunsdale Clarke, who gave $700 to the riding association in Abbotsford in 2010, $364 to the association in Burnaby—Douglas in 2009 and $600 to the association in Vancouver Quadra in 2007 and again in 2008.
Among the large donors are some presidents of Conservative riding associations. There is Gary Valcour, former president of the Conservative riding association in Whitby—Oshawa. There is also the secretary of the Conservative riding association in Jonquière—Alma, who also donated to the Conservatives in past years.
Pierre Rivard is also mentioned a lot. He was the lawyer when Josée Verner, who is a senator now, sought to…
I will say this in English because I have it written down here in English.
Pierre Rivard was the lawyer who filed the request, on behalf of then Minister Josée Verner, seeking to question the subpoena to appear in court regarding a business partner suing her communications company.
There are a lot of conflicts of interest in these appointments. The Conservative government based its recent campaigns on transparency and open government. The task of members of Parliament is to make sure that good decisions are made. If the government has nothing to hide, it will allow the committee to do its work and it will bring those people in so that we can ask them questions. That is why I am making this motion.
Collapse
View Olivia Chow Profile
NDP (ON)
View Olivia Chow Profile
2012-05-01 10:40
Expand
Mr. Chair, if the government has nothing to hide, there's absolutely nothing wrong in bringing forward these eight appointees.
I'm particularly interested in Gary Valcour, because I want to ask whether he wants to work with the mayor of Oshawa and others, because the people of Oshawa are very against the refinery plant. I want to ask Mr. Valcour whether he has the experience to mediate between what the citizens want and what some of the folks who donate a great deal of funding to the Conservatives, such as Tim O'Connor, want. He wants to build this ethanol plant and wants the federal government, with taxpayers' money, to subsidize such a plant.
So there are lots of questions there.
I'm very interested in asking Mr. Elmer Derrick about his approval of the gas pipeline in his area, even though the majority of the chiefs and leaders in the area are very much against it. What vision does he have for Prince Rupert and the port authority there. What kind of vision does he have for Prince Rupert? Jennifer Clarke is also a big donor to the Conservatives. How do both of them see Prince Rupert? It happens to be a huge port and is a port that certainly can expand. I'm slightly concerned about the size. Does it need to be bigger, with tankers getting bigger? Would Prince Rupert be able to deal with the increasing size of these new tankers that want to come in?
With Prince Rupert, especially, quite a lot of grain is transferred there through CN or CP. What kind of experience are they having in terms of the delivery. Is it on time?
These are all the folks that will be dealing with these port authorities. Under our committee's mandate, we have every right to talk to them about their qualifications and the visions they have for the port authorities they will be serving on or are serving on now. I think it's useful for us to connect with them.
Several are in the Québec Port Authority. Éric Dupont, Pierre Rivard, and a previous failed Conservative candidate, I believe, were appointed there. So there are three. We didn't get that last one, but certainly we should talk to these two and get their vision of what the Quebec port should be. What's the first-year plan and the five-year plan for the Quebec port?
We have eight appointees to these boards, these port authorities. My colleague has documented their relationships with the Conservative Party. They may be very qualified people, but let's talk to them.
Mr. Chair....
Collapse
View Libby Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
View Libby Davies Profile
2012-01-26 14:01
Expand
Thank you very much, Chairperson.
We are glad to be here, and, as you pointed out, the four NDP members of the committee did indeed write a letter to the clerk and to you as chair to ask that this meeting be convened today.
We are clear that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss whether the subject matter should be the subject of a special meeting, but in outlining our request, I would like to move a motion:
That the Committee undertake a study, as soon as possible, to review recent health care funding outlined by the federal government and the response of the Premiers; that it hold at least two (2) meetings on this study to hear from witnesses; and that it report its findings to the House of Commons.
To briefly detail this motion, Madam Chair, I'm sure we are all aware that there was a unilateral funding decision made by the federal government a number of weeks ago. Much more recently though, in Victoria, the premiers held their conference on health care. It was a very important meeting. A number of us were there in Victoria to hear what was going on, and it was very clear from the responses of the premiers that there are a number of critical issues, which we believe need to be addressed, in terms of future funding for medicare and health care in our country.
We believe there is a huge issue of accountability here. We're talking about very large sums of federal moneys. We're talking about an issue that is of grave concern to Canadians, which is whether they are getting value for their money, for their health care dollar. We know the federal government has spent about $160 billion since the accords were signed in 2004, and, with the recent unilateral decision, there has been quite a lot of discussion both in the media and among the premiers. There are huge concerns about the unilateral nature of that decision. It means that the federal government has stepped away and, in effect, abandoned its role in negotiations and in working with the provinces on health care funding and on finding new ways to make the system work better. We saw an attempt at that in 2004. There was some agreement, but unfortunately we haven't made much progress.
We think absolutely that the health committee of Parliament should be addressing this issue on behalf of Canadians. I realize that the House begins next week, and I'm sure some of the members will ask why we couldn't have done it next week. The fact of the matter is that the premiers' conference happened only recently in Victoria, and we are certainly aware, as the members of the committee are aware, that the meetings of the health committee are basically assigned with business up until March.
We feel this is a very urgent matter that needs to be addressed. It hasn't been addressed in our Parliament and it hasn't been addressed in this health committee, so the motion we've put forward today is really to implore the members of the committee to do our job: to be here for Canadians, to undertake an examination of the funding decision that was made by the federal government, to consider what the response to that has been and whether we believe it is a good decision, and to consider what it is we might report to Parliament.
We think this is a very urgent issue that we should be addressing. Our motion actually does not spell out the precise date, because we think that should be something the committee, hopefully, could look at. We have said “as soon as possible” because we want to have it dealt with as quickly as possible once we resume next week, and doing that will require some discussion.
I hope that the intent, as well as the substance, is very clear with regard to this very important issue.
I really want to appeal to the government members of the committee to consider how serious and important the issue of health care funding is, to consider the role of the federal government and the role of the provinces, and to consider that we're here to represent not only our constituents but also the public interest. Certainly health care is a very core value that Canadians have in wanting to see their medicare system alive and well and strengthened.
This is what we hope to do with this study.
Thank you.
Collapse
Results: 1 - 26 of 26

Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data