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Transcript: May 8, 2013 meeting of Senate committee on internal economy

Transcript: May 8, 2013 meeting of Senate committee on internal economy

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Published by Jordan Press
A transcript, released by the Senate, of a closed-door meeting of the internal economy committee. The meeting was to discuss the housing audits of three senators: Mac Harb, Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy.
A transcript, released by the Senate, of a closed-door meeting of the internal economy committee. The meeting was to discuss the housing audits of three senators: Mac Harb, Patrick Brazeau and Mike Duffy.

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Published by: Jordan Press on Nov 26, 2013
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12/12/2013

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CIBA
 
50148con
 
1840
 
1
 
THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON INTERNAL ECONOMY, BUDGETS AND ADMINISTRATION EVIDENCE OTTAWA, Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration met this day at 6:40  p.m. in camera, pursuant to rule 12-7(1), to consider financial and administrative matters.
Senator David Tkachuk
(Chair 
) in the chair. [
 English
]
The Chair:
Colleagues, I call the meeting to order. Just a lock-up that we have here; we're going to have the reports distributed and you'll have an hour to read, have a bite to eat, talk amongst your colleagues, and then Deloitte is going to come at 6:30 and we'll be able to ask questions, and then we're going to consider the three reports. For the purposes of due process, and the fact that we have informed the three senators that we are meeting today and we are meeting again tomorrow morning, what I'd like to do tonight, with your concurrence, is that we discuss all three reports today, of the subcommittees, that we finish our discussion but not have the vote, that we would wait for the vote tomorrow morning in case some senators aren't able to make it tonight and can make it tomorrow morning and I understand that that's the case. So what we'll hopefully have is an agreement that we can actually complete any debate we may have and not restart it tomorrow, but to allow the — they can get copies — they'll all be able to talk tomorrow and say what they want to say, and some of them may be here tonight, I don't know that,  but they won't be here until 6:30, but my understanding is that we'll have one or two here tonight after 6:30. The last item is we have the travel policy and we will deal with that tomorrow, unless we have time tonight. If we go lickety-split through this thing then we'll deal with the travel policy tomorrow  — I do, I am an optimist as you know, George — so that's what we'll try and do, if not, then we'll finish the travel policy off tomorrow morning. We have the room tomorrow all morning in case we need it, the room tomorrow morning, our regular meeting room, 160, we have that all morning, starting at 8:30, so that's when we reconvene.
Senator Cordy:
Chair, you say they will be able to speak tomorrow, you mean the three  people —
The Chair:
Yeah, they can participate.
Senator Cordy:
That was just a question, I'm not saying they should or shouldn't, I'm just asking, you said “they,” I wasn't sure.
The Chair:
That's right, they as the three of them.
Senator Cordy:
So do we get to ask questions?
The Chair:
Well, I don't know if they lead us into debate I guess you can debate them. I mean we're all colleagues here, so I think I'm going to just follow the rules that I would in regular committee, if a senator showed up he can participate, or she can participate.
Senator Cordy:
I agree.
 
CIBA
 
50148con
 
1840
 
2
 
Senator Furey:
Are any of the three senators here tonight?
The Chair:
As far as I know I think two are coming. There are two coming today, we think.
Mr. Patrice:
Yes, my understanding is that Senator Harb will be here tonight with his counsel and Senator Duffy will attend tonight.
The Chair:
Without counsel.
Mr. Patrice:
Without, yes, that's my understanding.
The Chair:
Anyway, good reading, and we'll convene formally at 6:30.
Senator Furey:
 Was there anything else?
Mr. Patrice:
Basically Senator Harb's counsel asked if discussion on the report could be  postponed — Senator Duffy's, is that what I said? — could be postponed until tomorrow.
The Chair:
But I said no, we're debating it tonight.
Senator Furey:
What was the reason?
The Chair:
We're debating it tonight.
Senator Furey:
 Yeah, but what was the reason?
Mr. Patrice:
She could not attend. Senator Duffy's counsel, but she would be able to attend tomorrow. [
Translation
]
Senator Carignan:
I am sorry, but the process for the senators affected by the decision is intended to be fair and to allow them to participate or to make their views known. My understanding is that they were invited to express their views tomorrow. Am I to understand that they will participate today as well and that they will also be invited tomorrow? I think the first step is for us to get a handle on the issue and to take stock of the whole situation so that we can perhaps come up with questions to ask them tomorrow. Otherwise, I have trouble understanding the process. [
 English
]
The Chair:
The process is, and maybe if the translation misses something, Michel, you might want to help me, right?
Mr. Patrice:
 Yes.
The Chair:
 But we're going to spend this one hour going through the report in a lock-up fashion. We're going to call the meeting to order at 6:30, the senators were invited, they said — they were told, they were told of the meeting tonight and told of the meeting tomorrow at 8:30. Whether they wish to come tonight or they wish to come tomorrow or they wish to come both times, I didn't really care, right, it's up to them. So, some of them may show up here today. They'll be part of the process, okay.
 
CIBA
 
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I'm going to then, another question on procedure?
Senator Charette-Poulin:
Just a question; you mentioned that Senator Duffy's counsel was not available to come tonight. Why would we say no to tonight then, why wouldn't we accommodate Senator Duffy so he could have his counsel tomorrow?
The Chair:
We're not voting today, so if there's anything he wishes to say tomorrow, he can say it.
Senator Charette-Poulin:
But . . . [
Translation
]
Senator Carignan:
I am just trying to understand, because they cannot participate in the committee proceedings related to the case. They can express their views without participating in the decision-making debate. I do not see how they could participate in that. That can also prevent the more timid senators from expressing their views during the debate if the  person is there.
Senator Charette-Poulin:
In addition, if Senator Duffy is more comfortable with his lawyer, I would like him to have an opportunity to have his lawyer with him.
Senator Carignan:
Yes, that is true as well.
Senator Charette-Poulin:
I would really like us to be more than fair.
Senator Carignan:
Yes, I agree. [
 English
]
The Chair:
They've been invited. They can come if they wish. Their lawyers cannot speak. They're senators. They can participate for all I care and they have the right to participate.
Senator Carignan:
Mic please.
The Chair:
They have no right to vote. So with that, let's start the lock-up. George.
Senator Furey:
Sorry, chair, there's one other issue that Senator Charette-Poulin just slipped me a note indicating that it is her understanding that one of the counsel coming is Mr. Bastarache; is that correct? The committee should be aware that Senator Charette-Poulin is a colleague of Mr. Bastarache's at Heenan Blaikie. That may put Senator Charette-Poulin in a conflict.
Senator Charette-Poulin:
So I will leave the room at that time and Senator Fraser is replacing me officially so she will be able to vote in my place. (The committee suspended.) (The committee resumed.)
The Chair:
Welcome, colleagues; could we have some order here. We have a number of meetings going on at the same time. The process now will be, we have the auditors here so they're open for questions. I want to also let Senator Harb and Senator Duffy, if they want to ask a question, they may do so. Just get on the speaker's list the same as us.
Senator Stewart Olsen:
When may I move this motion?

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