E026 - Wed 5 Mar 2014 / Mer 5 mar 2014



Wednesday 5 March 2014 Mercredi 5 mars 2014


The committee met at 1610 in room 151.


The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): We are now in orders of the day, and I see that quorum is present. We have a couple of items that we have to deal with here today. We have received two letters; I’m going to do them in chronological order. The first letter is dated March 3, 2014. I believe that all members have that. It is a letter from the cabinet office to me as Chair. It’s signed by Peter Wallace, and it sets out some documents and rationale for the documents. I’m in the committee’s hands. You have this. What do you want to do with it?

I’m reminded by the Clerk that I should have warned that the documents of which Peter Wallace has written are confidential cabinet documents. All cabinet documents are confidential by their nature. He has offered them, with certain conditions, to the committee. What does the committee wish to do with those documents?

I am advised by the Clerk, because this is fairly new to me as well, that in the past, confidential documents coming from cabinet or other sources that are deemed confidential in and of themselves have been given to the committee, and the committee has accepted them, understanding that they are confidential in nature and not to be released. We are here, though, to see what you want to do. Is there anyone who has thought about what we’re going to do with these?

Mr. Rob Leone: Chair, I realize that you are seeking some guidance on this—

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): No, no; I’m seeking a direction. The direction cannot come from me. It must come from the committee.

Mr. Rob Leone: Which is what I meant; I might have used the wrong word there. I’m just trying to read this; I’ve just seen the letter for the first time. What I am wondering about is if we could have some sense of what this actually means in practical terms. I realize that some of the cabinet files are confidential. I haven’t finished reading the letter, but are other materials presented in the release of these documents confidential as well?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Perhaps the Clerk can answer this. I think he’s more familiar with the workings of the Cabinet Office than I am.

The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Katch Koch): Mr. Wallace’s letter came with two USB keys. Until I get some kind of direction from the committee on what to do with them, I have not looked at the USB keys, so I have no idea what’s contained on them.

Mr. Rob Leone: Is one of those USB keys confidential documents—an unredacted version and a redacted version?

The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Katch Koch): I believe they are.

Mr. Rob Leone: Is that the way they have been distributed in the past?

Mr. Mike Colle: Just one thing I’d like to mention: I know that we’ve been getting boxes of documents every day, almost. I have no more room for them. I would ask if it might be useful if there be one set given to—does each member get what I’ve been getting?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): No, each caucus has been getting them. You have the Liberal caucus documents.

Mr. Mike Colle: Lucky me.

Mr. Steve Clark: You’ve got the power, Mike.

Mr. Mike Colle: Yes.

Mr. Grant Crack: Did you read them all?

Mr. Mike Colle: But I’m just wondering whether—they’re on the USB. We can get them digitally too, right?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): We can get them, but some of the motions in the past have not been to ask for a USB key, which you can put in your hand. The motions have been for all documents, and that’s why we’ve been getting 15, 20 and 50 boxes at a time. This time, we have two USB keys rather than boxes of documents.

The question is, does the committee want to deal with these confidential documents in the same way we have dealt with other confidential documents from other ministries, or this same ministry, in the past, by simply accepting them, releasing immediately the redacted copies and making them public, and then holding on to the unredacted copies for the committee? Then any member would come back to committee at a future time if you feel that some of them should be released. But we would hold them confidential until the committee decided otherwise. That’s what we’ve done, and I don’t know whether that’s what you want—

Mr. Mike Colle: I think that’s a reasonable approach, as we’ve done in the past—well, on this committee, anyways, and the documents we’ve seen before, because, as Mr. Wallace says, “I would request that the committee not distribute the records to the public until it has considered the confidential nature of the documents. I wish to confirm that provision of these records in accordance with the committee’s motion....”

I think that process where they’re redacted and unredacted, or treated as we’ve treated them with other releases—I don’t know whether I want to receive the paper documents, because if we want to access them, I guess now we can digitally access them through the USB key. I don’t think our caucus—do we want the boxes? I don’t think so. I have no more room for boxes.

Mr. Rob Leone: We’re not dealing with boxes.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): No, we’re not dealing with boxes here. We asked for USB keys. USB keys have been delivered. In the past, we asked for boxes, and I think you rightly state that some committee members—I think maybe all committee members—wished we had asked for USB keys, but we did not. This time we did, and this time we have two USB keys. We don’t have any boxes.

Mr. Mike Colle: Thank God.

Mr. Steve Clark: But you can store your USB keys in a box, if you want.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): If you want.

Now, I would remind all members—and I just want to read something into the record which is contained on page 2 of Mr. Wallace’s letter, the third full paragraph down. It states, in the last couple of sentences, “I wish to confirm that provision of these records in accordance with the committee’s motion does not constitute a waiver of any confidentiality or privilege that exists outside of the committee’s proceedings.”

What I take that to mean is that these are cabinet documents which ordinarily cannot be released to the public. He’s just reminding us that cabinet documents are exempt under the freedom-of-information documents, generally. That’s one of the documents you cannot get hold of, you cannot request, and that will not be released to you. If I’m reading it right, that’s what he’s saying.

It doesn’t mean the committee can’t take them; it just means you cannot release them. And if the committee, even in its wisdom, decides to release them, it may or may not be able to do so.

Mr. Rob Leone: Chair, we’ve identified a process with other documents that we’ve received, some of which—when we were provided with two sets of documents, we’ve consistently suggested the redacted version is public and the unredacted version is confidential. Rather than trying to determine at this point in time whether the contents in those two USB keys are in fact of a sensitive nature, I think the best course of action this committee could take right now is to proceed with what we’ve done in the past with these documents. If there is consideration for some of the documents that have been marked confidential, where we have questions about why those documents are confidential, we could at a later point in time meet in committee to discuss the release of those documents, as we have in the past.

I don’t know if a motion is necessary for that—


The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): No, I will take a motion from you that we proceed to accept the USB keys, that we accept the redacted documents which can be made public and accept the unredacted documents which will be held in confidence within the committee. Is that pretty much what you’re trying to say? Would that make an adequate—I’m trying to paraphrase. That is your motion?

Mr. Rob Leone: That’s the intent.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Okay. Mr. Delaney?

Mr. Bob Delaney: I’d just like to state that Mr. Leone has been summarizing the protocol that we’ve evolved over the past year in the Standing Committee on Justice Policy. In looking at schedule A here where it lays out some of the documents, quite frankly I think these are the same documents that justice policy has already received and dealt with quite effectively in the manner that Mr. Leone has just suggested. It makes the assumption that we are indeed all honourable members, and that has proven to be the case in the past.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): You’ve gone on to the next letter. We’re not dealing with that one yet.

Mr. Bob Delaney: No, I understand that, but just on the point I’m saying that Mr. Leone has proposed that we take the method that the Standing Committee on Justice Policy has used, apparently quite effectively for the past year. It’s not at all a bad idea to not reinvent the wheel and learn from what has worked out to be an acceptable middle ground in another committee.

Mr. Mike Colle: I guess another point of information: The USB key—do we have redacted and unredacted documents?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Two keys.

Mr. Mike Colle: There are two keys?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Yes; one of each.

Mr. Mike Colle: One of each.


The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): No? I’m being told no. The Clerk told me there were two keys. There’s one key, the first half of which is redacted, and the second half of which is unredacted.


The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Sorry. If you can come to advise us and identify yourself.

Interjection: There is—

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): No, no. You have to sit down and identify yourself. Tell us who you are and what you’re telling us.

Ms. Rebecca MacKenzie: Rebecca MacKenzie. I’m in the government House leader’s office. I actually wanted to mention that there is an official here from Cabinet Office who would be happy to speak about what exactly is contained—

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Please, that would be—thank you very much. Who is the official from Cabinet Office?

Ms. Rebecca MacKenzie: William Bromm.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Please, William, come forward. Identify yourself for the purpose of the record and answer some of the queries the committee might have. We were given one understanding: that there were two keys, one redacted and one unredacted.

Mr. William Bromm: Right.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): If that is not correct, please disabuse us of our notion.

Mr. William Bromm: First of all, I apologize. I look a little informal and I’m a little out of breath. I was watching you on TV and then I ran over because I thought I might be able to help.

There’s really only one USB key, but we provided two copies, just so the Clerk would have an extra copy.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Okay.

Mr. William Bromm: And there’s only one document and no redactions.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): I should say that the Clerk, in his wisdom, and rightly so, did not look at it. He is in the hands of the committee, as I am as Chair.

Mr. Mike Colle: There were two keys—

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): There are two keys. He surmised, I think, that there was one of each, but in fact there are two identical copies that contain both redacted and unredacted copies.

Mr. William Bromm: No. The entire document is unredacted because the entire document is a cabinet presentation. The whole thing is cloaked in cabinet privilege, and that’s why we sealed it. It would have been odd to redact the entire document and then give you an unredacted copy.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Okay. I thank you, because that clarifies it a great deal. So this is an—

Mr. Rob Leone: Can we ask questions?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Yes, okay. I just want everybody to be clear. This is an unredacted copy. We have two sets of it, but, as is written in the letter, there is a request that it not be released because it is not subject to a freedom-of-information request—

Mr. William Bromm: Yes.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): —as all cabinet documents are not.

Mr. Leone, now that we’ve had that clarified, your questions?

Ms. Rebecca MacKenzie: Sorry, Mr. Chair. Are you okay if I take my seat, back—

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Yes.

Interjection: Stay there.

Mr. Rob Leone: We are going to grill Rebecca MacKenzie on that.

Mr. William Bromm: I’d clarify as well: There’s a paper copy that we provided with the secretary’s letter, and it’s the same record. So there’s one paper copy and then two USB keys with that document on each key.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Mr. Leone.

Mr. Rob Leone: Sir, I appreciate you running down here to—

Mr. William Bromm: I’ve caught my breath now, so—

Mr. Rob Leone: —shed some light for us on this particular issue because I know that the disclosure of documents and confidentiality are very important aspects of what we’re doing here.

When you say that there’s one document, how big is that document? One presentation is—

Mr. William Bromm: There is an eight-page briefing note that was written by Cabinet Office officials and attached to that is a slide deck of approximately 22 pages. I’m sorry, I forget the exact number, but it’s not a massive document. Overall, it’s probably about 30 pages, single-sided.

Mr. Rob Leone: Has this document been previously released in the deliberations that we’ve had in justice policy?

Mr. William Bromm: No. This document deals solely with one issue. There’s no reference to the gas plant in that document.

Mr. Rob Leone: So we’re not going to effectively seal what was previously unsealed, is my question.

Mr. William Bromm: Right. My understanding is that document has not been disclosed to either the justice committee or the estimates committee through other motions. This will be the first time that it’s come to a committee.

Mr. Rob Leone: All right. And are you able to tell us the theme or the topic of the slide deck?

Mr. William Bromm: Yes. It has to do with transit.

Mr. Rob Leone: Transit.

Mr. William Bromm: But I can’t go into too much detail because the document’s sealed, but it’s a transit deck from the Ministry of Transportation, and because of the nature of the motion, I can reveal that it deals with the committee’s question around the consideration of fees, taxes and tolls.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): I would just caution, Mr. Leone, not to go too far into what is contained—

Mr. Rob Leone: I understand.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): —because this is being transcribed. We are not in closed session—

Mr. Rob Leone: I see what you’re saying.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): —so I don’t want you to go too far into this. If you want to see the document, you will see the document, but I don’t want a great description as part of the Hansard.

Mr. Rob Leone: I appreciate that.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Mr. Clark?

Mr. Steve Clark: Chair, I’m not on the justice policy committee that’s dealing with the gas plants, but I seem to recall that there were cabinet documents that were released as part of that process, were there not? I’m just trying to think of precedent. Why would documents be released in one committee and not another?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): The documents are being released at this committee. The only question is whether they will be made public. That’s the only question.

Mr. Steve Clark: But were there not cabinet documents made public in justice committee?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Perhaps Mr. Delaney, who was part of the justice committee, could apprise us.

Mr. Bob Delaney: The documents that were released from just about every corner in the government in which people asked for them were those that were responsive to the motions.

The discussion in the justice committee was very similar to the one that we’re having now, which is that if there are portions of a document that are unresponsive, the committee members at their option are welcome to see that portion, to show that it’s unresponsive. For example, if the member was in a ministry and sent a portion of a document germane to a request and then along the way said, “Oh, by the way, I’m free to attend such and such going-away party a week from next Monday”—that other part which is non-responsive might be redacted and you could see the redacted one, but you could also see that it’s clearly irrelevant to what you’re discussing. The others are portions of a document that are unresponsive to the motion but deal with commercially sensitive information or contractual negotiations that are under way.

We’ve dealt with that, and the members of the opposition have been free to look at the material which has been in folders of the USB sticks. The agreement has been that if it’s commercially sensitive information, you’re quite free to look at it, but it’s considered to be out of bounds of the committee as it’s not responsive to a document request motion. Am I accurate on that one, Bill?

Mr. William Bromm: Yes, basically. When I was responding to Mr. Leone’s question, I understood he was wondering whether this particular document that we disclosed in the secretary’s letter to the Chair had been released to the justice policy committee, and it had not. This is the first time it’s being released from Cabinet Office. Other cabinet records have gone to the justice policy committee and to the estimates committee. This record just isn’t part of any of those records.

Mr. Rob Leone: Chair, can I just perhaps move a motion?


The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): First of all, I’ll just ask—before I hear a motion—any other questions of the deputant? Anything else? Okay.

Motion, Mr. Leone.

Mr. Rob Leone: Chair, I would move that we accept the USB key; that one USB key be distributed to each caucus; that the documents contained therein remain confidential; and that we schedule a meeting, if necessary, on March 18 at 3:45 should we have any further questions on the documents that we receive.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Two weeks from today, which is, I think, the first time we could meet.


The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): No, we can meet on Tuesdays.

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: It’s a Tuesday.

Mr. Rob Leone: Yes, March 18 at 3:45.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): It’s a Tuesday? All right. I just wanted to make sure the date was right.

So we have a motion. Anybody need it written down?

Mr. Mike Colle: Actually, I just have a question—

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): No, no. Anybody need it written down first? No one needs it written down? Discussion. Mr. Delaney.

Mr. Bob Delaney: First thing, if we’re going to vote on a motion, it would be prudent to write it down. Thank you. Secondly, this is again not unlike what we have been doing in justice policy. At one point, where we weren’t sure about whether things were either in bounds or out of bounds, Mr. Fedeli, Mr. Tabuns and I agreed that we would take a random sample of about a hundred documents and we would go through with a highlighter and highlight—in other words, visibly highlight—those portions that we thought were not responsive. We compared notes of what we highlighted and we found out that we had all literally highlighted exactly the same things. So there was very quick and reasonable concurrence on what the committee as a whole felt wasn’t relevant to its business. From that point, we were able to provide guidance to the ministries that were giving us the documents and say, “This kind of thing is not relevant to what we’re discussing, but this kind of thing is relevant,” and it made the balance of the document disclosure process go very, very quickly.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Thank you for that. Any other discussion?

Mr. Mike Colle: In terms of the committee—I’m not disagreeing with Mr. Leone’s call if they want more information or whatever it is, but I’m just wondering in terms of the mandate. We keep on meeting, meeting and meeting. We’re calling witnesses now—

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): No. I want the record to be clear: This witness volunteered. He came forward; He was not called.

Mr. Mike Colle: Anyway, the volunteer witness, whatever he was.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Okay, he volunteered to give the committee—he was in the room—

Mr. Mike Colle: Anyway, I was just wondering: At what point is there an end to this? That’s all I’m saying.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): The committee may not meet on any of the estimates after that day in November, which was the last date on which we could meet, save and except to tidy up procedural matters that were still before the committee. Our estimates have gone back to the House and we cannot make more estimates. We will be reconstituted approximately two weeks after the coming into force of a new budget motion.

Mr. Mike Colle: So we’re going to go right into the new budget, I guess.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): If this happens, I’m given to understand that this will be the first time in the history of the estimates committee that it never stopped meeting.

Mr. Mike Colle: Yes, and that’s why I’m asking the question. That’s why I want to get that clarified, because it’s quite unusual.


The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Yes, the committee has to make decisions. We keep getting documents that were requested while we had the mandate up until November. This is still documents that are forthcoming that were asked for last June. That’s what we have here. That’s why we’re meeting. It isn’t that we’re trying to do anything new; it’s that we’re trying to finalize those things which the committee asked for while it had a mandate, and we must dispose of them. When we’ve disposed of the last of them—this may be the last of them—then we are finished, and we would not be reconstituted until the House reconstitutes us after the reading of a budget. Approximately one or two weeks after the procedure kicks in, the committee comes back, we choose the new ministries and we start again.

Mr. Mike Colle: Okay.

Mr. Rob Leone: Chair?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Mr. Leone.

Mr. Rob Leone: Just before we vote, can I ask another question? Can you give us a timeline of when this document was created?

Mr. William Bromm: Only generally speaking, because it has been a while since I looked at it, and I forget the date. But it was a 2013 document—

Mr. Rob Leone: There was a document—

Mr. William Bromm: —because the committee was specific that they wanted documents that were sent or received from January to April 2013.

Mr. Rob Leone: Obviously without getting into the nuts and bolts of the document, we made this request, as the Chair has stated, in June 2013. Can I ask why there is a delay if it was only one document?

Mr. William Bromm: Absolutely. As you know, the motion that was passed by the committee had four parts—

Mr. Rob Leone: Right.

Mr. William Bromm: —and we dealt with each part of the motion. As the secretary pointed out in his other correspondence, the bulk of the records really rested with the Ministry of Finance because of the nature of the motion, and they have a much higher volume of records. We were working with the Ministry of Finance to make sure that the committee got all of the documents it requested. We had identified this record earlier but were working with the Ministry of Finance to coordinate the disclosure. Once we knew that it was not a record that they had—because it didn’t go to treasury board—we would produce it ourselves. But we had to wait and be in lockstep with the Ministry of Finance. Because we were working on parts 1, 2 and 4 of the motion first, this part is unfortunately the last one to come in.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): If I could just state, because I think it’s part of the record here from the minister, who has also written—and this is on the next document—there were 17 million pages that had to be reviewed to get to this stage.

Mr. Mike Colle: I’ve got them all in boxes in my office, and I want them out.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): There were 17 million pages, and what we are looking for today is those documents that were before the cabinet in 2013. As far as I can remember and know—and please, anyone, tell me if I’m wrong—these are the last documents that are outstanding to come before the committee for 2013 mostly, until November, the period during which the committee was responsible for looking at the estimates. We continue to exist as a committee for these purposes after the November date, but only for these purposes.

Mr. William Bromm: If I could add one thing? I don’t want to complicate your lives further, but in terms of these being the last documents, the secretary would want me to point out that, in his letter, you will notice that we disclose that there are three other records that we identified that we have not provided to the committee because we felt that they were not responsive to the motion in the way that it was interpreted overall. But we wanted the committee to be aware of the fact that we had identified these records and what they were about so that we disclosed the existence of them and why we thought they weren’t responsive. But the secretary wouldn’t want you to have gone through this and then look at the letter later and want to talk more about those records or ask for them if you thought that these were the last, because there are these three records.

All the issues in those records are in the public domain. The issues are finished. The regulations that they dealt with are public. It’s public information, and that’s part of the reason why we felt they weren’t responsive. But we still thought it was our responsibility to disclose them to the committee because they were fee issues that existed in 2013 and went to cabinet.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Okay. Are we ready to vote?

Mr. Mike Colle: Can I move that my documents go to the research office? Can I get them transferred over there?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): No, I think that’s kind of frivolous. It’s fun, but no. They are your documents. They can go in the bin if you want. They are your documents; you can dispose of them as you wish.

Mr. Delaney, you have something to say?

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair, were you going to provide the motion in writing?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): If any member requests it in writing, we will recess in order to get it done.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Could we please do that, just for as brief a recess as such a thing would require?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): It is totally fair. We will recess for five or 10 minutes, until such time as the motion has been put in writing. We stand recessed.

The committee recessed from 1639 to 1646.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): We are called back to order. Everyone has in front of them a copy of the written motion by Mr. Leone. Everybody’s had a chance, I trust, to read it.

Mr. Leone, you’re satisfied with the written motion, that it conveys what—

Mr. Rob Leone: Do you want me to read it into the record?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Yes. Well, you have made the motion orally, but if you want to read it into the record—

Mr. Rob Leone: No, I’m okay, if everyone else is.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Anybody want it read into the record? He did make a motion into the record. This has tried to capture it in, I think, the same reference—

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair, it should be read into the record.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): All right, fine. If there’s a request—

Mr. Mike Colle: Isn’t it automatically into the record?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): No. If there is a request that it be reread into the record, Mr. Leone, please reread it into the record.

Mr. Rob Leone: Mr. Chair, I move that the Standing Committee on Estimates accepts the information received on March 3, 2014, from Cabinet Office, that is responsive to the June 11, 2013, motion adopted in committee during the review of the 2013-2014 estimates of the Ministry of Finance;

That one copy of the unredacted documents be provided to each caucus and that the caucuses keep the unredacted documents confidential; and

That the committee meet on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, at 3:45 p.m. if necessary.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): All right. Everybody has that? Is there any other discussion? Seeing no other discussion—

Mr. Joe Dickson: Recorded vote.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Five-minute recess.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): A five-minute recess, which is in order before the vote. We are recessed for five minutes.

The committee recessed from 1647 to 1654.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): We’ll call the meeting back to order. I have had an opportunity to read the rules, and it’s quite clear: When the Chair allows a request to break for up to 20 minutes prior to a vote, it must immediately come back to the vote. There’s no opportunity for additional motions or statements.

Having made that ruling, I would now ask for the vote. All those in favour of Mr. Leone’s motion, as written, please signify. Opposed? That’s carried unanimously.

We have a second document, which is, in part, the same as the first one, but this is a document dated March 4, 2014. It is written to me as Chair, and it is signed by the minister, Charles Sousa. It contains some of the same information. I don’t know what we want to do with this document.

Mr. Mike Colle: Move receipt.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Okay. We have a motion to move receipt.

Mr. Rob Leone: Of this letter?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Yes.

Mr. Rob Leone: Okay.

Mr. Bob Delaney: For clarity, is this the March 3 letter written to Minister Sousa from Deputy Orsini?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): It’s the March 4 letter from Minister Sousa to me, with an attachment that we have already dealt with. It’s the same attachment, but it is Minister Sousa outlining to the committee what he would like us to do.

It is a letter that we have to deal with. We can receive it—or anything else that the committee wants to do with it.

Mr. Rob Leone: Is that a live motion on the floor, Chair, about receipt?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): It is.

Mr. Rob Leone: So are we debating that?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): It can be debated. It can be, if you want time to study the motion or consider possible amendments. Be very clear, though: If you just want an adjournment before you vote, that’s what you get.

Mr. Rob Leone: Right. I’m clear.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): If you want an adjournment for any other purpose, be clear what the adjournment is for.

Mr. Rob Leone: Can I just ask, by us passing a motion of receiving this document, what that actually means? Just receiving it, and that’s it? What are we going to do with the document—

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): When you receive a motion—it’s the property of the committee and nothing is done with it.

Mr. Rob Leone: Okay. Are we able to do things like put another motion forward to receive documents? If we’re simply moving receipt of the letter, there are documents in there.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Yes. You do have to decide what to do, because in this one, the minister is indicating that there are nine boxes of materials.

Mr. Mike Colle: Oh. I withdraw my motion, then.

Mr. Rob Leone: Mr. Colle would like them.

Mr. Mike Colle: Are they paper?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): As far as I understand.

Mr. Rob Leone: He’s worried.


The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Oh, USB keys, but there are nine boxes’ worth of materials on a USB key.

Mr. Steve Clark: I thought I heard him withdraw the motion.


Mr. Rob Leone: You said “receipt.”

Mr. Mike Colle: Wait a minute. No, but no paper, just the key.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): As far as I know, there is a USB key containing the contents of nine boxes of material.


Mr. Rob Leone: For clarity’s sake, in terms of the USB keys that are provided, are we dealing with exactly what we’re going to do with those?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): You can. It’s up to the committee.

Mr. Rob Leone: I would like to—

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): First of all, Mr. Colle, are you withdrawing your motion before—

Mr. Mike Colle: No, no. As long as there’s a USB key, I’m fine.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Well, if you receive it, though, you don’t do anything with it.

Interjection: Withdraw.

Mr. Mike Colle: But I thought it was for our information that we receive it.


The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): No, no. The committee needs to know what to do with it. If you receive a document, it means you don’t want to do anything with it.

Mr. Mike Colle: Oh, okay. No, no. I meant to receive the information that’s being offered. That’s what I meant. Sorry.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): If you’re not clear, if you would—

Mr. Mike Colle: So I’ll withdraw that, yes.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Okay, that is withdrawn. Is there any discussion, first of all, so people understand what we’re doing, before we actually go and take a motion?

Perhaps the Clerk can indicate what you have received.

The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Katch Koch): Okay. Committee members, if you look at the first page of the letter dated March 4 from the Minister of Finance to the Chair of the committee, in the third paragraph, the minister has indicated that what he’s providing are three searchable USB keys: one containing a set of unredacted records; one containing a set of redacted records, redacted for various privileges; and the third USB key is a set of records that have been redacted for various privileges and for non-responsiveness to the committee motion.

Essentially, the committee has to decide what to do and how to deal with these three USB keys.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Does the committee want some time to think about this before we get into the debate?

Mr. Bob Delaney: Yes, Chair.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Okay. I need a motion from someone as to the length of time.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Five-minute recess, Chair.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): All right. I have a request from Mr. Delaney for a five-minute recess. Agreed? Granted. We’re recessed for five minutes.

The committee recessed from 1700 to 1715.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): We are resumed. I understand that we have a motion to be read. Mr Delaney.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Thank you, Chair. I move that the Standing Committee on Estimates accepts the information received on March 3, 2014, from Cabinet Office and March 4, 2014, from the Ministry of Finance, that is responsive to the June 11, 2013, motion adopted in committee during the review of the 2013-2014 estimates of the Ministry of Finance;

—that one copy of the “unredacted documents,” the “redacted documents for various privileges” and the “redacted documents for various privileges and for non-responsiveness” be provided to each caucus and that the caucuses keep the “unredacted documents” confidential;

—that finance be notified in advance should the committee decide to make the “unredacted documents” public.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): I don’t want to be editorializing, but there’s a couple of things here that may have to change; I leave it to the committee. The first one is that we have already dealt with the March 3, 2014, documents from Cabinet Office. That’s the last couple of words of the first line. That may have to be deleted, because we’ve already dealt with that.

The second thing: I think just putting in “finance” may be in error. It should say “the Ministry of Finance” or “the finance ministry be notified,” not just “finance.”

Mr. Bob Delaney: Can I reread, then, that motion, Chair?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): If you would, please. I’m just trying to make it accurate, because I don’t think we can remake a motion that has already been passed. We have already dealt with the March 3 document.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Chair, please consider the motion previously read to be withdrawn.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): All right. Withdrawn. Do you wish to make a new motion?

Mr. Bob Delaney: I move that the Standing Committee on Estimates accepts the information received on March 4, 2014, from the Ministry of Finance, that is responsive to the June 11, 2013, motion adopted in committee during the review of the 2013-2014 estimates of the Ministry of Finance;

—that one copy of the “unredacted documents,” the “redacted documents for various privileges” and the “redacted documents for various privileges and for non-responsiveness” be provided to each caucus and that the caucuses keep the “unredacted documents” confidential;

—that the Ministry of Finance be notified in advance should the committee decide to make the “unredacted documents” public.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): You’re not reading the last line? It’s the same? Okay.

Mr. Bob Delaney: We determined that the last line on there was not necessary.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Okay. We have a motion duly moved. Any discussion on that motion?

Mr. Rob Leone: I’m sorry, I—

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Any discussion or amendment?

Mr. Rob Leone: I have a question. Perhaps, remind me, Mr. Delaney, if you could, why that last line was not necessary.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Having found out that the redacted documents for various privileges and for non-responsiveness is a completely contained subset of the redacted documents for various privileges, it’s not necessary for the committee to meet. The scenario that we discussed earlier is, in fact, completely covered, and we’ve resolved the ambiguity that we were discussing that would have caused the committee to meet on Tuesday, March 18 to determine whether or not they were, in fact, two separate sets of documents.

Mr. Rob Leone: But when you read that motion in, we had previously had “that the ‘redacted documents’ be made public.” Is that—

Mr. Bob Delaney: I have no objection to that. Do you want me to add—

Mr. Rob Leone: A friendly amendment.

Mr. Bob Delaney: A friendly amendment? Fine; I have no objection.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): So that’s back in. Okay. Is there any other discussion on this motion? Any other discussion, any amendments to the motion, anything else?

Mr. Bob Delaney: Just as a point of clarity, Chair, the public set of documents should then be the redacted documents for various privileges and for non-responsiveness. I don’t believe it is the intent of the committee that non-responsive documents be made public. Is that clear? That’s just for clarity, because I don’t think, assuming that the third set of documents is completely contained within the second—it may or may not be necessary, but I do think it’s an important thing to state.

Mr. Rob Leone: I would just suggest that my interpretation of “redacted documents for various privileges and for non-responsiveness”—that those portions of documents that are non-responsive are indeed redacted, and if they are indeed redacted, then the document has been properly vetted to be made public. That’s my interpretation of what we’ve been provided. Having not seen those documents, if they are indeed a subset, then that would make sense that all redacted documents be made public.

Mr. Bob Delaney: Not wishing to split hairs, I agree with you.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): There seems to be some unanimity here. Is everybody then satisfied with the motion as it reads? The previous motion did have a return date of March 18. This one does not, and you’re satisfied that this one does not. I just want to be clear. Okay, everybody is very happy with this.

All those in favour of the motion as made by Mr. Delaney, please signify. That carries unanimously.

Is there any other business? I don’t think so. There’s no other business.

I want to be clear for the record. I may have misspoken slightly. I said this was the last document, and indeed it is the last document from the Ministry of Finance, but the Clerk did inform me that there are still some outstanding documents from other ministries, which may require our returning to this room in the future.

Mr. Steve Clark: Will it require Mike Colle to have any more boxes in his office?

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): I don’t know. It depends what was asked for. We are not done yet. I was hoping we were, but we are not.

Which ministries, just for the record, still have outstanding documents that should be forthcoming? I think we all need to know this.

The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Katch Koch): Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on CCACs.

The Chair (Mr. Michael Prue): Okay. So we still have two more ministries that may come back with documents, and we may have to meet again, so keep your best foot forward and think about, when we get those documents, what you wish to do. We seem to have fallen into a fairly good pattern on how to deal with these, so maybe we can deal with the others as they come forward before we get reconstituted sometime this spring.

Thank you very much. We stand adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1722.


Wednesday 5 March 2014

Committee business E-397


Chair / Président

Mr. Michael Prue (Beaches–East York ND)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Président

Mr. Taras Natyshak (Essex ND)

Mrs. Laura Albanese (York South–Weston / York-Sud–Weston L)

Mr. Steve Clark (Leeds–Grenville PC)

Mr. Mike Colle (Eglinton–Lawrence L)

Mr. Joe Dickson (Ajax–Pickering L)

Mr. Rob Leone (Cambridge PC)

Mrs. Amrit Mangat (Mississauga–Brampton South / Mississauga–Brampton-Sud L)

Mr. Taras Natyshak (Essex ND)

Mr. Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa PC)

Mr. Michael Prue (Beaches–East York ND)

Substitutions / Membres remplaçants

Ms. Sarah Campbell (Kenora–Rainy River ND)

Mr. Grant Crack (Glengarry–Prescott–Russell L)

Mr. Bob Delaney (Mississauga–Streetsville L)

Mr. Steven Del Duca (Vaughan L)

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson (Huron–Bruce PC)

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes

Mr. William Bromm, Cabinet Office

Ms. Rebecca MacKenzie, government House leader’s office

Clerk / Greffier

Mr. Katch Koch

Staff / Personnel

Mr. Jerry Richmond, research officer,
Research Services