Wednesday 24 April 1991




Chair: Silipo, Tony (Dovercourt NDP)

Vice-Chair: Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South NDP)

Beer, Charles (York North L)

Eves, Ernie L. (Parry Sound PC)

Harnick, Charles (Willowdale PC)

Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls NDP)

Mathyssen, Irene (Middlesex NDP)

Offer, Steven (Mississauga North L)

O'Neill, Yvonne (Ottawa Rideau L)

Wilson, Fred (Frontenac-Addington NDP)

Winninger, David (London South NDP)

Substitution: Carr, Gary (Oakville South PC) for Mr Eves

Clerk: Brown, Harold


Kaye, Philip, Research Officer, Legislative Research Office

Drummond, Alison, Research Officer, Legislative Research Office

Murray, Paul, Research Officer, Legislative Research Office

The committee met at 1541 in room 151.


The Chair: Welcome, members of the committee, back to this, our first public meeting since the end of our first phase and the presentation of our interim report.

I just want to indicate that, as you know, and for those who may be following us later on the parliamentary channel when this meeting will be broadcast, this is a meeting of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation, and the purpose of it, essentially, is to try to move along with the organization of the second stage of the committee's work.

We have had, over the last couple of weeks, as members know, in addition to one brief formal meeting of the committee, a couple of meetings of the subcommittee. Today we have a report from the subcommittee on committee business, which I will read out for the record, and to which I would then like to add some comments and I am sure the members of the subcommittee wish to. We will then discuss that report and make some decisions about the way in which our work will develop over the next few months.

"The subcommittee on business met on Monday 22 April 1991 for the purpose of discussing the committee's possible course of action. It was agreed that the committee should not be expected to conclude its deliberations and make a final report by 27 June, but rather to continue its work throughout the summer recess into the fall sitting, and to make a report on its findings by 31 October 1991." That is one of the significant issues that we will have to discuss.

"It was agreed that the committee should commence its second phase of deliberations with briefings from the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs. Invitations will be extended to various experts to meet with the committee the spring sitting and summer recess to discuss relevant studies that they are conducting.

"It was agreed that the committee would provide opportunities for social and economic stakeholders in the future of Ontario in Confederation to advise the committee on the ramifications of possible future changes to the Canadian Confederation, and that the agenda for these discussions would be determined by the committee.

"It was agreed that the committee should seek opportunities for informal bilateral discussions with corresponding legislative bodies of other jurisdictions.

"It was agreed that the committee should explore the convening of a conference to be held in the fall in order to enable further public discussion on Ontario in Confederation.

"It was further agreed that the committee would attempt to arrange for public input on specific topics through the broadcast facility by setting up phone-in programs and interviews."

That is submitted from the subcommittee. I just add by way of elaboration on some of those points, which I hope pick up on some of the discussion we had here in the committee the last time we met, that I think it has become clear to us as we look at the many issues we have identified from our interim report that need further exploration, that it is necessary for us to be able to go beyond the end of June in order to properly address those issues in the kind of detail that will be useful to the Legislature and to the government.

For that purpose, the first major recommendation we are bringing forward is to extend the work of the committee beyond the end of June and into the fall, recognizing, as we discussed within the subcommittee and I think was expressed here earlier, that we will also need, in arranging our work between now and the end of June, to take a look at some of the issues that may require prompt attention. That is not in any way saying that some issues are more important than others, but simply recognizing that the present situation warrants that some of the issues we should be looking at, for example, around the questions of Quebec's future in Canada and all the issues related to separation of powers, we may indeed want to address first.

In addition to that, we have discussed the question of aboriginal rights and the need for that issue to be looked at as well. We have done some work also with the assistance of Mr Winninger with respect to pulling together people whom we would invite from the native communities to come and talk with us in a more specific way about the kinds of things the committee could be doing. Subject to approval by the committee here today, it would be our intention to proceed with that and to then make arrangements at one of our meetings some time between now and the end of June for that to be scheduled.

Likewise, I have discussed with the Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs the possibility of a briefing for the committee for our meeting next week, and that is in the works. If the committee agrees, we will proceed with that, which will begin by giving us an overview of where, basically, some of those issues are in terms of what thinking or discussion exists. It will give us a place from which to proceed in more clearly identifying the kind of detailed work that we may want to do as a committee.

Also, as we recognized throughout the process, it is important for us in the second stage to speak with various experts in the field on the various issues, and that is something we can do in a very systematic way.

I think we have all recognized the importance of continuing the discussion both with the interested stakeholders, the people who would be affected by those decisions, and members of the public in general. I think in two ways at least, perhaps three ways, it would be our intention to continue that. One way is, whenever possible or feasible, to include in some of our discussions members of interested and the reference to native groups would be one clear example of that.

In addition to that, there is the possibility later in our work of using the parliamentary channel to allow people to phone in and talk with us. Obviously, still possible at some point is the issue of public meetings of some kind, and one major way is the conference we are suggesting as a way of bringing together politicians, experts, so-called experts, and members of the public. We are suggesting that the fall would give us time to explore that and to put together something relatively serious in nature, with the kind of planning it would require.

I know Ms Harrington wants to comment. If there are other members of the subcommittee who would like to add any comments to what I have said, I would go to them first. Okay, Ms Harrington.

Ms Harrington: Just a point of clarification. The six paragraphs here lay out very clearly what we discussed at our previous meetings and obviously at the subcommittee. I just wanted to note that the words "native" and "aboriginals," that we had discussed at the previous meeting, are not included in the six paragraphs. In which one would it be most appropriate?

The Chair: I think we can simply add them. We have got the committee report in front of us now for discussion. It was certainly always understood in the subcommittee's work that, in fact, that would be one of the first was in which we would involve the stakeholders.

Ms Harrington: When it says "economic stakeholders," is that the term that would include those?

The Chair: In my understanding, yes, but again, there is nothing to prevent us, if you wanted to be really specific -- one of the things in front of us is exactly that, and I think if there is agreement beyond these six points, that, in fact, encompasses us proceeding with the invitation to the various native leaders to come and join us at some point.

Ms Harrington: I was just hoping they might specifically be mentioned in here.

Mr Winninger: Perhaps after the words "social and economic stakeholders" we could add "including our native representatives" or some words along those lines.


The Chair: Sure. The other way would be for somebody to simply move, if we wanted to have it as a matter of public record, that we extend an invitation.

Mr Winninger: I so move.

The Chair: Mr Winninger is adding that, okay.

Mr Beer: I think this sets out, generally speaking, what we agreed to. I think the comment that Margaret made and that David followed up on is one that we would agree with. Certainly we discussed very specifically the idea that David had brought forward of how we might, in a very specific way, meet with the aboriginal leaders, and we definitely want to do that.

I would like to work through the paragraphs, because I think it is important, both for the committee and for those who are watching this, for the public sense of our deliberations, that one of the things that guided us in extending the time frame for the committee was, as we all recall during the discussions around Meech Lake, that as that discussion went on, poll after poll would show that people felt they did not really understand what was, in fact, involved in the specifics of that discussion. I think we have always said it is part of our mandate from the beginning that our deliberations are not simply for ourselves, but more broadly for everyone in the province.

The kind of learning that we are still going to undergo we want to share with people in the province. Therefore, this stage in our hearings, particularly in the spring session when we are more confined to base, if you will, is perhaps a good time to bring in people who are working actively on a number of specific reports and studies on various elements of the Constitution. This would give us sittings in what would probably be part of August, September, when we can again bring in points of view on issues such as, for example, the Canada clause; from our earlier deliberations and as mentioned in our interim report we know there are many groups who feel strongly about how we might define that and the components of it in terms of the various multicultural communities, the question of rights, and women's concerns about how those are protected in the charter, the disabled and so on.

Then, having sufficient time to plan the conference, we can ensure we have a very broad representation from the province. I think we have also discussed that, as a committee, we may want to commission some studies for that conference. We noted that John Robarts's Confederation of Tomorrow Conference, back in 1967, had particular studies that were commissioned and issued.

The Destiny Canada Conference, which Bill Davis's government sponsored in 1977 at York, also had a lot of preliminary work, so that when people got there, there was a lot of material that people had been able to go through and they could begin to deal with different issues. So it seemed we were still trying to get this balance where information that we simply did not possess was going to be brought to us and, because of the way our hearings go, to the people in the province, and at the same time we would ensure that, in a broad sense, people would continue to participate in our discussions.

I think when you looked at all of those, it was going to be impossible by the end of June to come to any really final conclusion on the part of the committee; so I think for that reason we just felt it was important. By saying 31 October, I think this gives us plenty of time to hold that conference in the fall, to take into account what is said there, and to be able to include that information, as well as what we glean between now and the end of June, and in our summer and September hearings, to include all of that in our final report.

The other thing that I think we have all learned from the process around Meech Lake, and it is important to reiterate it, was that you cannot deal with only one issue, no matter how valid the arguments may seem or how strong the pressures. There is an expectation among Canadians, and certainly among Ontarians, that we will be looking at a number of issues as we go along, obviously including the question of Quebec in Canada, and the aboriginal peoples; questions dealing with multiculturalism, with other rights, the place of the charter, the other issues that, in fact, we identified in our report. I think we were very conscious of that and wanted to make sure it happened.

Another point that came up was that, in dealing specifically with the question of Quebec in Canada, we had identified in our interim report a number of options that had been mentioned to us about what kind of Canada we might be looking at, and we felt there was a need to try to spell that out a little more clearly. What would those different options mean? What would that look like? If we are talking about a more decentralized federation, how might that be described and set out, because there are people in the province and in the country who are looking at that and working on it. By the same token, that incredible jargon phrase, asymmetrical federalism: Once we have tried to determine what the word means, what would that look like?

I think the subcommittee felt strongly that for the first time there is the possibility of separation or the independence of Quebec. In real and specific terms, what does that mean and what are the implications for this province and for the country? Not that that is by any means our preference, but we have a responsibility to people in the province to look at what those different options are and begin to spell out some of the implications. I think we see that as something we can do quite constructively in this session through having a number of people come before us and sharing that information with people in the province.

This would mean, if we can go forward this way, that we also recognize that many other provinces have just started their investigations or inquiries. For example, Alberta, I think, is going to conduct public hearings in June. I am not sure what the timetable is for New Brunswick. Manitoba and ourselves are about at the same point, but we made the reference to bilateral discussions at this point because of the difference in time tables; but that does not preclude the possibility that later in the fall, once most of the work of the different committees is finished, we would still look at some meeting that might bring together legislators from the different committees to discuss what we found.

What we are doing is part of a much larger process, part of a set of building blocks, if you will. It would be great if we could come up with the final and ultimate answer, but we recognize that what we do will go together with what is going on in other provinces, what Spicer is doing, what the different federal bodies are doing. Even when we finish, 31 October, that will not be the end. There will be a continuing process whereby we, as legislators, and the people of this province will be much better informed and aware of the issues and options. We will have been able to go back to everything that we set out in the interim report and explore that, and ultimately come to some agreement and some conclusions.

I think what we have set out here, Mr Chair, is a useful way for us to proceed, and it will give us a lot more flexibility than if we had to conclude by the end of June. Thank you.


Mr Harnick: In the subcommittee meeting, we discussed extending the time, and I am happy to see that the time will be extended. I am unclear about whether there will be any interim report expected of us. Certainly if there is going to be an interim report, I would hope it will be presented to the Legislature and debated before the House rises on 28 June. That was certainly something that we, as a subcommittee, agreed upon.

I would like to make another point regarding this document, and I am referring to what would be the fourth paragraph, dealing with social and economic stakeholders. One of the things that I thought we decided in the subcommittee was that we will, in fact, be looking specifically at the economic ramifications for Ontario if Quebec should decide to separate. That is not clear in that paragraph. I think it should be, because we agreed that it is certainly the most significant aspect of what our work will be in this phase, among other aspects of work that are obviously very significant. That is one area we specifically wish to concentrate on between now and the time the House rises, for a couple of reasons, one of which is that it could most easily be done while we were involved with other duties at Queen's Park. We felt most of the work this would entail could be done from Queen's Park rather than travelling.

In addition, I have a number of motions I would like to add to this document, which we discussed at the subcommittee meeting. Is now the appropriate time, Mr Chairman, to do that?

The Chair: May I suggest that there are a couple of ways in which we can proceed. I think your comments have raised a couple of other points, Mr Harnick, and that is: We can deal with the various suggestions that people have made either as amendments to this report or we could adopt the report and then proceed and deal with those as items arising out of it. I do not think it matters much one way or the other to the Chair. Procedurally, Mr Clerk, might it be easier to deal with this as amendments?

Clerk of the Committee: You can deal with it either as amendments or as an aftertheme, but it has nothing to do with this.

The Chair: Some of them are amendments; some of them, I think, are in fact more specifically actions under each of these points. I think that the one you have discussed with us in terms of information, maybe is one that arises out of this. But we do not need to get into a procedural wrangle about it; we will just deal with it. What I was going to suggest was that after Mrs O'Neill spoke -- she is next on the list -- we just basically go back to each of these points. Maybe we can deal with any changes or matters arising out of each one or we can just adopt the report and then do it that way. I do not think it matters.

Mr Harnick: Certainly I am not particular about the form in which we do this as long as what we are trying to do is clear on the record so we do not have problems later on.

The Chair: No, I agree. I think it is important to put all those things on the record with agreements by the committee as we go through. Let me try this then. Maybe it is easier if we just go through -- Mr Bisson, would you move the report so that we actually have it formally in front of us?

Mr Bisson: I so move.

The Chair: I have not heard anything that anyone has said so far that conflicts in any way, as I read this report. If it is easier, we can just adopt the report and then go back through the paragraphs and deal with all the items that arise out of those, including the item Mr Winninger suggested.

Mr Winninger: I am perhaps not entirely clear on the process. I had a suggestion for inclusion of an item that was discussed at our meeting last week, which I did not see on here. I do not know whether I should be adverting to this now or later.

The Chair: I was suggesting that could also be, because I think that is one specific act that certainly falls under paragraph 4 in terms of providing people who are going to be affected by these changes with an opportunity to come and talk to us. I saw that as one area where we would be doing that. I think people feel the need to put that on the record. I think we should do that as well.

Mr Winninger: I did have an additional point. I am just wondering whether I should --

The Chair: I think what you are saying is that maybe it is easier to deal with those as amendments to the report, and we can do that. We can just go through each of these points one by one and people can add the items that they have.

Mr Bisson: We already have a motion to adopt this as read.

The Chair: Yes, but we can have amendments to it as we go through. The motion is on the floor right now by Mr Bisson to adopt the subcommittee report.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Most of mine are questions. I wondered if somebody had the date for the beginning of the fall sitting?

The Chair: No.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I want to know how long we have from when we come back here to 31 October. I was just trying to get that time frame in my mind.

Mr Bisson: The House would be returning the third week in September, I would imagine.

The Chair: The clerk will find that out for us, but that would not preclude us from meeting. I think the intention would be for us to meet during the summer recess, which goes right up until the House resumes. So in fact this is August and the better part of September.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I am just wondering. I would like to know that time frame and break it up into the right slots because we all have other duties.

The Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs -- it says invitations will be extended to various academics, and I guess what is lacking here is any reference, for instance, to our official representative in Quebec. We were talking about this matter very very briefly the other day, and Treasury, as far as I know, has not done much on this. I would just like to have it extended there to say "academics and government representatives and/or officials."

The Chair: I think that certainly does not conflict, Mrs O'Neill, with what the intent is. I know it is in fact one of the areas that Mr Harnick will touch on in his motion, in terms of requests from various government ministries and agencies.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Okay. Next, I wonder if we could have, through our clerk, the informal bilateral discussions with corresponding legislative bodies. I get bits and pieces of this and I certainly do enjoy getting the morning line every day, but I am wondering, because we have not had such for about three months, if now we could have an update about where each of those legislative bodies is. Have some of them recessed? I know some of them have presented interim reports, as we have. I have seen one, I think in Manitoba. I would like to know if we could find out where all these committees are, what their time frames are, so we would then be able to work best in conjunction with them.

The Chair: We could try for the next meeting, when we have the briefing schedule -- if the committee agrees to proceed with that -- to add that as another piece of information for the committee: the update on where all the other committees are.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I know this convention or conference is starting to be a subject of interest for some people. Have we talked at all about possible agenda or participants?

The Chair: No, I think in truth we have not talked much about it other than in very general terms.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Okay.

The Chair: That is why we couched the recommendation there in terms of exploring, continuing to explore, but I think there would have to be a sense of agreement probably today that we really are serious about doing it. Then we could start through the subcommittee to pursue it in some detail and bring back some suggestions.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I think that if we are going to do it in September, this is certainly not too soon to talk to people who are busy, as they all are.

The broadcast facility, is that TVOntario? Have you talked more about that?

The Chair: We have talked about it in the subcommittee in terms of our other parliamentary channel and we have also mentioned it with respect to TVO. We have not done anything in terms of approaching them or anything like that, but that may be a possibility.

On your first question, we have the calendar; the fall session begins on 23 September, so there are three full weeks in September prior to that for meetings.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I thought maybe I could think about a bit of a holiday. I was not thinking about meetings.

The Chair: I understand there is July, then there are four weeks in August.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: And three weeks in September?

The Chair: And three weeks in September, plus all the weeks following that and Christmas and 31 October.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: We will get Christmas day off, though, will we not?

The Chair: Let me suggest that we go back. Under each of the paragraphs, or on some of them, people have already highlighted a number of what I think are amendments, technically, but which will be additions to the report.


Mr Harnick, I think your first point, with respect to what happens to June if the times are extended, fits properly under paragraph 2, so we probably should deal with that first. Let me just say to you that my understanding, from speaking to the government House leader, is that technically, in terms of how our mandate as it presently sits has been interpreted, it will require a motion of the House to extend the committee's mandate beyond the end of June, because the standing order authorizes us to sit until the end of June. So they will put that in the works upon our request to do so and upon the understanding that there is agreement among the three parties for that to happen. So in adopting this report, I would understand it to be also our request to the House leaders for it to be put through the House at whatever appropriate time.

But I think the issue you raised is about what happens with respect to June in terms of reporting. As you recall, we discussed in the subcommittee -- and perhaps even here last time, I cannot recall -- the need some of us felt for some kind of report in June, even if it was only a progress report. Quite right, your reaction to that was that if it were going to happen you felt the need for time in the Legislature for debate on it.

In looking at the business scheduled to be put before the House between now and the end of June, I do not think there is going to be a lot of time available for debate. I do not know how that may affect what we want to do with respect to a report in June. So I just put that out.

Mr Harnick: Can I, by way of motion, move that it be up to the committee to decide whether an interim report will be prepared to be delivered in June and, if the committee agrees to prepare such an interim report, that it be tabled in the Legislature during the month of June and debated at that time?

The Chair: That leaves open the question of whether we come back at a later point to decide whether we will in fact make a report based upon our sense of the work, and if so, to request time for debate in the House.

Mr Harnick: Yes. I think it is hard for us to decide now whether we want to do a report or not; we will have the opportunity when we see how we are progressing to decide whether a report is viable. If we agree that a report is viable, then we will table it in the Legislature with time to debate it before the Legislature rises for the summer.

The Chair: All right. On that amendment then, Mr Bisson.

Mr Bisson: One of the things we discussed in the subcommittee is that obviously the work our committee needs to do now is to undertake specific tasks vis-à-vis the Constitution. One of the things you raised was in regard to the economic fallout or whatever if there were to be separation between Quebec and the rest of Canada, the question of native rights, various questions.

My understanding from the subcommittee was that what we would table in June, if it was done, would be reports as to where we are with specific questions, and not another interim report.

Mr Harnick: That, it is my understanding, would be the interim report. All I am saying is, why commit ourselves now to doing an interim report if we can give ourselves the option of delivering an interim report only if we have something to report on.

Mr Bisson: Exactly, on particular issues. Okay. All right. I agree with you.

The Chair: It may be that as we get closer to that we have in fact simply clarified some of the issues, had some progress to report. I think, in what I am understanding Mr Harnick's amendment to be, we may or may not decide to issue that report at that point or simply leave it to be part of the final report.

Mr Harnick: But it must be understood as part of my motion, that if we prepare such a report it has to be debated before the Legislature rises for the summer recess.

Mr Beer: I think that was our conclusion when we were discussing this matter at the subcommittee. There is a question as to whether we need another interim report. It is critical, I think, to see that our final report is 31 October. That is the key report, if you like, in terms of our final conclusions as a committee, but if we do table another interim report or continuing report, whatever we call it, in June, I think it is very important that there be time for it to be debated, so that if 27 June is the last day of the session we would want our report tabled presumably a week ahead of time. That would then allow time for debate. That was what happened with the report three years ago, and I think there were perhaps two days of debate or part of two days -- I forget. That was a final report, but that would need to be there so we would concur with what Charles has put forward.

I think it is important that as a committee we reserve judgement at this point as to whether we need a report. We should not do one just for the sake of having yet another interim report because, as I say, the work we do now, together with what happens in August and September, and the conference, all forms part of a whole that leads to that final report.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I think it is important that we keep our fellow legislators and indeed the province in touch with what we are doing.

I have had a lot of response to what this committee did in its first interim report, through my local newspaper submissions, and certainly in personal mailings I have developed a constituency interest in this, and I think most of us have.

We are very fortunate to be able to talk about this on a regular basis, and not all our colleagues are. I know there is a great deal of interest in our caucus on it. I am positive there is in all caucuses. If there is not, there is a reason. I feel strongly that we should try to keep our colleagues as updated as possible with what we are doing. I think the leadership role that the people of Ontario ask for is partly on us, not only on the Premier. I feel quite strongly that we have some kind of goal of at least an update, even if it is just submitting a report we received from somebody else, that we owe some kind of a release before people go out for two months to their constituencies while we continue to work on this -- what I consider, no matter what is going on here at Queen's Park today or tomorrow, is a fundamental legislative responsibility in 1991.

So I feel very strongly that we have to send something with our colleagues -- an update on where we are with the issue. I think we did that with the interim report. Most people, and certainly the people in my constituency, were very surprised at what we were able to come up with in a short time, the decisions we were able to make, the directions we began to take. They want to know that we are continuing. In fact, some people are impatient that we have not done much in the last month. They do not realize there are transitions between reports and starting new phases, but you hear what I am saying.

I honestly feel that we are privileged and I think we should use that privilege well and keep our fellow legislators and the general public and particularly our own constituents aware of what we are doing in the best way we can. That means writing something down or transmitting something, and I strongly believe we should have two more days of debate on this issue before we leave. I think we should start to ask our House leaders for such.

Mr Bisson: Just for the sake of semantics, I would feel a bit more comfortable if we were to call it a progress report rather than an interim report, because I think it denotes something a little bit different.


Mrs Y. O'Neill: No problem.

Mr Harnick: I have no problem with that.

The Chair: A friendly amendment. Okay. So the amendment would read then, "a progress report." All right, Mr Winninger.

Mr Winninger: I was not privy to the discussions of the subcommittee, but I left the meeting last week with the recollection that we might consider specific reports on specific issues if we could not prepare our final report by the original date, and I heard and accepted the fact that we should extend the time, because we do not want this to be a rushed report. Perhaps we could consider doing justice to more specific issues, and doing it well, than canvassing the whole picture and filing yet another interim progress report. So my thought was, and perhaps this is a friendly amendment to the report, that we could add a phrase to the end of paragraph 2, which would simply say, "We do not rule out the anticipation that we might be filing some specific issue reports in the interim."

The Chair: Sorry, what were you suggesting, Mr Winninger?

Mr Winninger: I am suggesting that after the end of the second paragraph, we put in words to the effect that we are not precluding the distribution of specific issue reports, dealing with such issues as women, native rights, multicultural rights, economic rights, so that we can focus our attention more, in the meantime, on these singular issues and not try to cover the whole canvas by 30 June, which most members seem to agree may now be an unreasonable deadline.

Mr Harnick: I do not think what Mr Winninger is proposing is necessary, because the way I have worded the motion is that it will be up to the committee to decide if an interim report or reports, if you like, should be prepared. The form of those reports is up to the committee, if and when they decide there will be interim or progress reports, so I think the option is there for us to make that decision, as a committee, when we see how our progress evolves.

Mr Winninger: Now that you have explained it, I find it more acceptable. Thank you.

The Chair: I think the understanding of a progress report is that the shape of it would obviously have to be determined at whatever point in time we decide to issue it, if we decide to issue it, right? I think Mr Harnick's amendment basically says that the committee would, at some later point, decide whether or not to issue a progress report at the end of June, with the caveat that if that report was going to be issued, in whatever form it might be, there should be time allowed in the House for debate. It could take the form, Mr Winninger, of specific issue-oriented reports.

The only other thing I would add to what Mrs O'Neill said is that it seems to me a good argument for trying to put together a report by the end of June. There may also be, however, other ways that we should take a look at in terms of keeping the rest of our colleagues updated. I do not know, for example, if at some point between now and June there might be enough interest for us, as a committee, to hold a meeting to which we would invite other interested MPPs, where we could share some of the work that we had been able to garner until that point and give them an opportunity to talk to us, because although there was some debate --

Mrs Y. O'Neill: We might miss the crowds.

The Chair: We might miss the crowds, yes.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: So we might want to call some in.

The Chair: I know there were a number of other people from the government caucus who were interested in speaking on our interim report but did not get the opportunity because of the time allocated in the House. I am sure that is the case for the other caucuses as well. In fact, if there is that interest there, then we should be looking for all sorts of ways to tap into it.

On Mr Harnick's amendment, is there any further discussion? All those in favour? Opposed? Carried.

I think the next item, if we are going to go through it in sequence, is under the next paragraph, Mr Harnick, where your promised motion would fall in terms of the briefing, because I think it would fit as part of that.

Mr Harnick: Essentially, in light of the decision by the subcommittee to specifically study the economic impact and ramifications for Ontario if Quebec should decide to separate, I am bringing a series of motions requesting the government to provide us with certain written briefs. The Premier has indicated that he would be prepared to make available to us any of the documentation which exists and, I believe, which could be prepared to facilitate our work. Rather than wait and bring these things up as they arise in May or June or July, I think it would be worth our while to obtain as much material now as we possibly can. For that reason, I have a series of motions requesting certain documents and material that is either available now or could be prepared to facilitate the work of the committee.

My first motion is that we request a written brief from the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs on the economic impact of Quebec's possible separation from Canada and the impact on Ontario specifically.

My second is a motion that the committee request a written brief from the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs on the concept of a triple E Senate or whatever various other models have been studied for the reform of the upper chamber as proposed by other provinces and the impact of those models on Ontario's position within the federal institutions.

My next motion is for a written report from the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs dealing with the concept of constituent assemblies: what models they may now, or up to this point, have studied, and how a constituent assembly might be organized to bring the representation from across Ontario for the purpose of rewriting our Constitution.

The next motion would be a request for a written report from the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs on the subject of language policy, particularly the impact on Ontario if language became the responsibility of each individual province.

The next motion would be to request a written report from the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs on the subject of immigration, particularly the impact on Ontario if immigration were made a provincial responsibility.

The final one would be a request for a written report from the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs on the concept of aboriginal self-government, including any models of how it might be organized.

Those are the documents that I think we should have before us, because we will have to cover each and every one of these topics and I suspect that the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, if it does not already have material that it can provide us with on some of these subjects, can obtain the material or prepare it for us to facilitate the work that we will ultimately have to do.

The Chair: Procedurally, I am going to treat all of what you said as one motion, because I think it is the same motion with respect to each of those items and what you are requesting is in effect information on a series of issues that exist or may exist.

Mr Harnick: I have no problem with that.

The Chair: I guess the one thing we need to be clear about, as I mentioned to you earlier, is that what we are asking for on each of those issues is in effect whatever information may exist within the ministry and not asking it to do the work for us if it does not exist. I think that is an issue where we get into a whole discussion about the role of the ministry vis-à-vis the role of this committee as a legislative committee.


Mr Harnick: I do not want to ask them to do the work for us, but they may well be looking at some of these items and I would hope that they would share with us whatever they are in the course of doing now and prepare for us any briefs that they would otherwise be in the course of preparing, because it certainly will make the work that we do here much easier, and I just remind the members of the committee that the Premier indicated he would be happy to facilitate us in this way.

The Chair: I am raising that just so that we will be as clear as we can. Obviously, when we hear back from the ministry, it will no doubt give us whatever comments it has on that as well. Very clearly I think there may be areas that we may identify as a committee on which we need some further assistance and we may want to do some further work. I guess if we are treating the request as the basis for knowing what exists, it would then help us in determining what else there might be that we may need to look into. We could then make a determination at that point as to how we go about doing that.

Mr Harnick: And can we also make inquiries, if they do not have any material on some of this subject matter, whether they will be doing some work in the areas and whether the work is imminent so that we can make use of the research that they are doing?

The Chair: The other comment that I will make, and I think I may have mentioned this to you as well, Mr Harnick, and I do not think it is necessary for us to get into it at this point, but I do want to raise it to put it on the record: In some of those areas there may in fact be some reason why some of that information in fact can be shared with the committee and perhaps there may be a feeling there is some that cannot be. I do not know. I am not trying in any way to prejudge that. I have no idea, but it seems to me that, again, we need to be conscious about our role as a legislative committee and some of the work that is being done on the part of the government in that respect. It is something that we will have to deal with, I think, as we go on and get the responses.

Let me go to the other speakers then on this motion, starting with Mr Bisson.

Mr Bisson: A couple of points. One of the points you raised, Mr Harnick, was the whole question of allowing the committee to access various ministries to answer specific questions. I think obviously it is something that we would want to do as a committee to extend that not only to the ministries but beyond to be able to get more specific information.

One of the things you discussed in your motion was the whole question of putting together a report by which we would be able to spell out the economic consequences vis-à-vis Ontario should Quebec decide to separate. I would just like to be on record to make it clear that I feel that although that information is necessary, so that people are aware of all of the various scenarios no matter what the options may be, I certainly would not want to see it as a major part of our committee's work.

Often, with an issue such as that, people can utilize those numbers for whatever advantage from whatever side of the argument they may be coming from. Although it is important people have that information before them, and I would certainly support your motion so that we can have that as part of our report, I would not want to see it become a major part of our report, because I see the function of as coming up with possible solutions so that at the end, our Legislature and our government have some tools to work with in order to deal with the whole constitutional question. If it is on that premise, I would be prepared to support you on the first motion. Did I understand you correctly?

Mr Harnick: What the contents of our final report ultimately are I do not think any of us can predict right now; I only bring up this matter because it appears to be forefront in the whole discussion and we have to face the reality of what I guess most of us in this room would describe as the worst possible scenario, and that is all I am doing. What part this will play in the final report is up to the committee when we reach that stage. I do not know what else to say in response to your comments.

Mr Bisson: My only concern, and I had spoken to you previously about this, is that I think that although it is a question we need to shed some light on, there is no question about that, and it is something obviously that this committee should be looking at as part of its overall mandate, I would not want to see it become a major focus. I think that this committee should be doing is providing tools to members of our Legislature and to the government to be able to adequately deal with the constitutional problems that we have today. That is the context in which I would give support.

I just want to explain where I am coming from. I believe that one of the difficulties we find ourselves in in the nation today vis-à-vis the Constitution is that often we tend to get our backs up trying to deal with the emotions of this issue. I think what the people in Canada need, and what Ontarians need, is to be able to deal with this whole question -- what are some of the problems we are having with regard to our Constitution, is it reflecting the needs of the people, does it properly address the concerns of the people of Canada in the various regions? -- and I would not want to see us distracted from that work. Basically that is what I was saying. I have another point afterwards.

Mr Harnick: Certainly it is not my intention that we examine this one aspect to the exclusion of all of the other important issues. I did not want to give that impression to anyone and I do not think the Chair would permit that to happen at any rate, or the other members on the committee. I certainly did not intend that to be the impression I was giving.

Mr Bisson: Just a clarification on another point you raised as one of your motions: you wanted the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs to look at the question of what would happen to French-language rights in provinces should -- can you repeat that particular motion? I am not sure if I got that.

Mr Harnick: The motion was somewhat more general than that. It was a request for any written reports from the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs on the subject of language policy and the impact on Ontario if language were to become the responsibility of the individual province.

Mr Bisson: I certainly pray that would never be the situation that the federal government would put us in, but I also recognize that to a certain extent is already the practice under the Constitution, that the legislatures of each province have the right to determine to what extent they want to provide French-language services within their provinces.

Mr Harnick: No, it has nothing to do with French-language services. It has to do with whether language rights should become a provincial jurisdiction, and what impact that would have on Ontario.

Mr Bisson: Oh, okay.

Mr Winninger: I certainly can see great benefit in having this background information Mr Harnick has suggested. I think it may in fact relieve some of the burden on our overworked legislative research staff, but at the same time, I do not know that we need to duplicate their efforts in any way and I do not think we can forget their role in producing documentation for us in these various areas.

There may in fact be some papers in existence at Intergovernmental Affairs which that department can share with us. They may in fact be willing to prepare some additional documentation for us. That offer was made at the outset of these hearings. Certainly it should be in the form of an invitation, in my view, and not construed as a direction, and there may in fact, as our Chair has observed, be some information in those reports that is not for the general public. For that reason, I think we should restrict our motion to one of inviting the ministry to produce the kinds of documentation that you have suggested.

Mr Beer: I think we want to get as much information as we can, and clearly the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs will have a number of papers. In addition, I suspect in some cases it may be that they are going to other ministries. For example, Treasury may have some work that they have done with respect to the various economic consequences, Citizenship with respect to immigration. I would take it as read that what is meant in the motion is that whatever documentation is available would be made available to the committee.


It is also important, and we may want to discuss this with the deputy minister next week, that some of the other work that is ongoing -- I am thinking in particular of the York University group that is looking at a series of specific questions and where we would want to include them among our experts -- having a sense of the work, as you say, David, that is out there and is being done. I think it was just the other day that there was a report, a study done by Tom Courchene of Queen's University. Clearly that is something that we would want to get. Our own research people would probably want to do a bit of a summary of that and then, I think, that is an individual who we would want to come before us.

As I read the motion before us, it is to obtain whatever is available, and I am sure, given the Premier's statement, that we will get those; then to discuss with the deputy minister and others on her staff what other things in their view would be helpful to the committee, either commissioned by the government or commissioned by other people, that we would want to make part of our public record.

Mr Malkowski: I would like to follow up on what Charles was saying and the brief from intergovernmental affairs related to the economy. I think it should also provide information from the federal perspective on the economy. Remember we discussed the paper from Alberta and their statistics? It showed information about the economy, how the Ontario economy was in recession and the western economy was growing. Yet our statistics showed something different because it was looking at trade.

My feeling is that we should collect as much information from each province and get everybody's perspective so that we know what the economic impact really is.

The Chair: My understanding is that this kind of information would be included in the request, because I think we need to understand what the existing situation is in order to have some understanding of what the implications might be in the event of Quebec's separation.

Mr Harnick: My motivation for this motion is the recognition of the momentous task before us to learn about all of the issues that are going to be on the table. I do not think we are capable, within the time available, to do this work without the help of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, the native affairs secretariat, the Treasury -- because there is just too much to do. We may as well know what has been done and have it before us because it is going to help us, and it is quite simply that motivation that prompts me to ask for this material and the invitation of the Premier to do so.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I certainly agree with the thrust that is being taken here. I wonder if this list can be presented to the intergovernmental people before next week. They can at that point tell me where they are at -- I am sure they have done a lot of this work -- and what they feel may be impossible to complete within a given time.

I say this with all respect, Mr Bisson, that whether we like it or not there is a lot of study going on regarding what will happen if. I took with great interest and even emotion what you said about 1982 and Quebec before. But I know in my own community there are several groups looking at this possibility and its spinoff. It is starting to make the media. I do not think we can be left behind on this. I very strongly agree with you that this cannot be our total focus, but it has to be in the mix or else we will somehow not have a complete picture. We will not even be able to counterbalance that kind of argument if it is only in isolation in some of our constituencies.

Mr Bisson: I am not advocating that we not look at that question and not address it properly. That is not at all what I am advocating. My only concern is that I would not want to see it be a major focus of this committee in regard to a momentous task that we would undertake and we would say X amount of dollars is what it cost in the end. That is all I was cautioning, because of the discussions we have had before. Certainly we need to put all of the information in front of the people so that they understand what the consequences are socially, economically, and all of those things, and that would be part of it.

The Chair: I think we all understand the sensitivity of this particular issue and no doubt, in our usual way, we will figure out a way to both look at the issue and do it in a way that is sensitive to the feelings out there.

Just in checking with the clerk, if this amendment is adopted we would communicate, hopefully even as early as tomorrow, with the deputy minister. I guess in this case we should also do it formally with the minister, who in this case is the Premier. Then I certainly would pursue that with a discussion with the deputy minister at least, because I think it is useful, in terms of the briefing that we would be setting up for next week, for her to be able to share with us at that point at least some preliminary sense of what it might be possible to accede to.

Mr Harnick: Unfortunately, I have a conflict of time right now. Could I suggest that we vote on the first two items?

The Chair: I was going to take the vote. I have no further speakers, Mr Harnick, so I was actually going to proceed to the vote on your whole request at this point.

Mr Harnick: All right. I do not think we voted on the first one, did we?

The Chair: On which?

Mr Harnick: The idea of the committee, my amendment to the first one regarding the committee and --

The Chair: Yes, we did. We have adopted that already. I am going through and treating all of these as amendments and then at the end we will vote on the whole report as amended.

Mr Harnick: All right.

The Chair: I think that is the way we agreed we would do it. So I am taking Mr Harnick's motion as one motion at this point, dealing with a request primarily to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, although I think it was understood within that, to any other ministries that may in fact have some of that information.

Mr Beer: If they should so determine.

The Chair: Yes, to share with us and list the information that he has outlined.

Mr Bisson: How is it going to read?

Mr Harnick: I hope the motion reads as the Chairman just indicated: that the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs and any other ministry that has material relating to the economic impact of Quebec's separating from Canada: the economic impact on Ontario; information regarding reform of the Senate such as the triple E Senate and other various models and the impact of those various models on Ontario; the production of any written reports regarding the concept of the constituent assemblies; any written reports regarding language policy, particularly the impact on Ontario if language were made the responsibility of each individual province; any written report on the subject of immigration, particularly the impact on Ontario if immigration were to be made a provincial responsibility, and any written reports on the concept of aboriginal self-government, including several models on how it might be organized.

Mr Winninger: Could I add one item to that list, if the committee approves it? That would be any documentation relating to a division of powers or a revised division of powers.

Mr Harnick: Certainly.


The Chair: Was there not also another item dealing with the charter?

Mr Harnick: I did not bring that up, but I can: any documentation that the government has, any reports dealing with an expansion of charter rights, be they individual rights or a social charter.

Mr Beer: Could we ask for the impact of the charter to date, because I think that was in our discussion at the subcommittee? I know there has been some work done on that sort of 10-year perspective. If that is there, that would be helpful on what the charter has meant.

The Chair: That will only take us to about 31 May; 25 June perhaps. All right. Everyone clear on that? All those in favour? Sorry, Mr Malkowski, you wanted to say something.

Mr Malkowski: So we are saying only Ontario; what about other provinces and federal information?

The Chair: No, I think the request was the impact particularly on Ontario, but I do not think it was exclusively to Ontario. Am I right, Mr Harnick?

Mr Harnick: Yes.

The Chair: All those in favour? Opposed?

Motion agreed to.

The Chair: Are there any other amendments that fall under paragraph 3? Okay. Then I think the next one would be Mr Winninger's, coming I think under paragraph 4.

Mr Winninger: I suggested adding in paragraph 4, after "opportunities for social and economic stakeholders," "which we presume to include native people;" but it would not hurt to spell it out there.

The Chair: So is that all you wanted to do, "which would include native people," Mr Winninger? The other way to do it would be to place an addition at the end of that paragraph, to say that the committee would invite native leaders or representatives of the native groups to meet with the committee at some appropriate time.

Mr Winninger: I would be content with that, as well.

Mr Bisson: Could we make it a little bit more general, in order to include other groups?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Bisson: We could say something along the lines that, "We provide opportunity for social and economic stakeholders or their associations and organizations." Something along that line would cover the whole gamut.

Mr Harnick: As I understand Mr Winninger's amendment, it is merely confirmation of what he is going to do for the committee in terms of contacting the various native leaders to help us in our work very specifically. I think the aspect that you are referring to, Mr Bisson, is a given, that the associations and individuals would certainly be the people we were after in terms of the social and economic stakeholders. So I think that is redundant.

The Chair: It includes all the groups, yes.

Mr Harnick: But I think Mr Winninger's request was very specific because he is going to undertake to do that, I hope, for us.

The Chair: I think we would actually do it in the normal way these things would be done through the committee, which I presume would be through the clerk's office, but certainly acknowledging Mr Winninger's help in bringing that about.

Mr Bisson: What I was advocating is that we expand beyond that. That is all I was saying. That is one of the things we undertook in phase 1 that we were going to do, and obviously it is something we want to carry through. But I am saying, expand it past that.

The Chair: I think the problem here might be the words we have got there, because "social and economic stakeholders" -- I think they meant to us the people who would be affected by the changes we would be contemplating and that would include a whole variety of people.

Mr Harnick: The only other comment I have about this paragraph is that, as I mentioned before, at the subcommittee level we indicated we would specifically be dealing with the economic ramifications for Ontario if Quebec should decide to separate, and I think that should be indicated clearly in that paragraph, and the paragraph should be amended as such.

The Chair: Sorry, Mr Harnick, you are saying to deal specifically with the economic ramifications?

Mr Harnick: For Ontario if Quebec should decide to separate.

The Chair: I thought we had covered that in your request earlier on.

Mr Harnick: That was just a request for information, but I think we agreed that the thrust of what we would be doing in the period between now and the end of June would be studying that specific topic, because we would, as I said earlier, be able to do that by having people come here to see us as opposed to our going out to look for the information. We also agreed that it would not be exclusively that topic that we would be dealing with but primarily that would be a focus.

The Chair: All right, let me deal, because we are getting into a variety of suggestions -- I will come to you, Mr Beer -- with Mr Winninger's amendment first because I think there was agreement. As I understand it, it would be to add that the committee would proceed to invite representatives of the native communities to meet with the committee at some appropriate time. Any discussion on that?

Ms Harrington: I brought that up originally. My feeling, as it has been explained so far, is that it is a little different than the intent of this particular paragraph. As Mr Harnick has said, the intent of this paragraph was to clearly state the consequences to Ontario of the separation in economic terms. My idea, and I believe Mr Winninger's idea, was to have it stated clearly in this paper that it was a priority for us to also meet with native leaders. So maybe that should be in a separate paragraph.

The Chair: Okay, we can do it that way. As I read it, paragraph 4 talks essentially about providing opportunities for people to meet with us to discuss the ramifications of various changes, and I think we certainly could fit the issue of native rights under that, but equally we can deal with it as a separate paragraph. I do not think it is a big thing.

It seems to me that people are happier if we deal with that as a separate paragraph, which we can do then.

Mr Winninger: I am content.

The Chair: So we will add that in there as a separate paragraph.

Mr Malkowski: My understanding is that at the last meeting we agreed to focus on the native issue in the month of May and then in June look at the economic impact. I am getting a little bit confused. Have we changed our plans, or what schedule are we following?

The Chair: No, I think what we talked about, Mr Malkowski, was trying to deal with those issues some time between now and the end of June. We cannot determine at this meeting today when we are going to do that, particularly if we are talking about inviting people to come and meet with us. We can certainly make some suggestions, but we also need to be somewhat flexible to when people might be available to meet with us. I think the objective was to try to do that between now and the end of June, and on each of these issues to keep working away as best we could, and get as much done as we could between now and the end of June. I do not think I see any change in that.

Mr Beer: It comes back, I think, to Gilles's earlier point that we definitely agreed we wanted to be looking at the different options, including that of the possible separation of Quebec from Canada.

In a sense we were being guided by I forget how many scenarios or potential options that we set out in our interim report. I think we agreed it was important that we made clear to ourselves and everyone that one of those was the possible separation of Quebec, but equally we wanted to flesh out the decentralized federation -- become more centralized, asymmetrical -- and so it could be that in that paragraph we could note where it says "to advise the committee on the ramifications of possible future changes to the Canadian Confederation," either "as set out in our interim report" or "including," and then list the ones we listed. I think what is particularly new, and from, I suppose, a public information point of view, something we just have not dealt with in this province or in the country, is the issue of potential separation. But we also wanted to look at, in our discussions, what the Allaire report actually means, what the implications would be of the Bélanger-Campeau recommendations and others. I think those were all to be part of that same examination and I think it is just important that people recognize that we are looking at what might be three, four, five options that we are trying for ourselves, let alone for others, to get more fundamental, basic information on.


The Chair: I think it is a useful reminder that in fact people should not look upon this sheet of paper as being the mandate of the committee. We have a document that was prepared by our research staff which details very clearly the various issues that we have identified in our interim report that fall under these various paragraphs. I think in going back over these issues that document will be guiding us, making sure that we look at all of those various possibilities. In fact, what we tried to do through the subcommittee report was simply to capture the flavour of each of those areas that we needed to explore, but certainly not to try to reset everything else that is there. So the two need to be kept in context, I think.

On Mr Winninger's motion, which will add a separate paragraph, any further discussion? All those in favour? Opposed?

Motion agreed to.

The Chair: I do not know that we now have any further changes to this paragraph, or do we? I think we have taken care of Mr Harnick's concern. Are there any other changes?

Mr Beer: One thing, maybe, as a result of your comments: we might want to append to this the document that was done by research, because that was a good summary of those issues --

The Chair: Yes. Would that be the best way, to make a reference to this?

Mr Beer: I just thought as information.

The Chair: Yes. Okay.

Mr Beer: I can move it if you feel that is necessary, but I just thought it does set out the issues that were raised.

The Chair: I am just checking with the clerk in terms of procedure, because I think it is important that we put that also on the public record so that people would be referring to that as well. So we would attach it as part of the minutes and make that part of the record so it is clear that the course of action set out here refers very clearly to the various issues that were identified in the document from the research staff, which in turn refers to our interim report.

Any other amendments to the subcommittee report?

Mr Malkowski: Where you were talking about networking, then, with the other committees from the provinces in terms of the Constitution, is that addressed anywhere?

The Chair: Yes, that is paragraph 5. "The committee should seek opportunities for informal bilateral discussions with corresponding legislative bodies of other jurisdictions."

Mr Malkowski: Okay, that is good.

The Chair: I think, as Mr Beer addressed this earlier, at this point we should be looking at staying in touch with the various other committees on an individual basis, rather than working towards bringing all those groups together. It may involve meetings with some of those groups and some people from our committee. That is obviously something we need to explore a little bit more and bring back to the committee for further discussion in terms of how best that should happen.

Mr Beer: One thing that I did want to say may speak to Gary's point. Perhaps just a line that indicates our feeling that we would like to proceed with those bilateral discussions initially but we still see the value, once everybody has finished, of the possibility of looking at a larger meeting. I think if you read that cold it might seem as though we had changed our thinking. I think it is just that we saw a better process. So I wondered, after the period at the end of that paragraph, something that said, "Further consideration to organizing a meeting with all the various legislative committees would be considered."

The Chair: Okay, so you are adding Mr Beer's amendment then? All right. Any discussion on that? All those in favour? Opposed?

Motion agreed to.

The Chair: With respect to paragraph 6 on the committee, if we would do that, I think the understanding is that we would need to move, as people have said, fairly quickly in terms of getting some suggestion about it. We have only talked about it very briefly within the subcommittee, but my sense is that we should move on, perhaps asking for people to give us some proposals as to how we could make it work, then taking a look at it and bringing forward some more specific recommendations to the committee.

But I think we would take it that we would be going forward from this meeting with a general agreement that this was something we felt quite seriously about, that it was worth pursuing in a very serious way and that, although we have not made a final decision on it, it is something we would look at as being quite useful and we would explore it with that intent.

All right, anything else then? On Mr Bisson's motion, which adopts the subcommittee report with all the amendments that have been adopted by the committee: All those in favour? Opposed?

Motion agreed to.

The Chair: I do not know that we have, from our end, any further business. Are there any other items that the committee wish to bring?

Mr Malkowski: Are we in agreement in terms of the schedule? Will we be meeting regularly on Wednesdays or are we going to add another day during the week? It would be helpful if we knew this beforehand, in terms of scheduling.

The Chair: Yes, we have not heard a reply from the House leaders, to my knowledge. I know there were some questions about our request for the evening sittings as well, but I am assuming that has been straightened out.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Is that on the agenda for tomorrow morning?

The Chair: I do not know. You mean, of the House leaders?

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Yes. I will be going to that meeting tomorrow. I could maybe put it.

The Chair: Sure, I have spoken with the government House leader, yesterday actually, and explained the need for us to have those two blocks of time. Again, for people who would be following the proceedings, the committee is intending to meet on a regular basis every Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday evening, recognizing that the Wednesday afternoon sittings would not be carried live because they would be conflicting with the House sitting during that time. They would be taped and rebroadcast at some later time. I do not know what has been worked out through the broadcast service, but that presumably will be announced through the parliamentary network once a regular time has been worked out. I know there were some suggestions that that be done, perhaps on the weekend, as one possibility.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Was it 3:30 to 6 and then 7 to 9:30?

The Chair: I think that is what we were working on, yes.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Is that what we were asking for?

The Chair: Yes, essentially that time slot.

Mr Malkowski: I would like to make a suggestion, if we could avoid the Victoria weekend, the long weekend, to give us a bit of a break. Let's try to avoid that weekend.

The Chair: There is a week during which the House is not sitting that starts with that and my assumption is we would not be meeting during that week. If you are going to be meeting I will not be here, so feel free.

Mr Malkowski: So we were talking about the long weekend, that whole chunk of time?

The Chair: Yes. It is with that exception. All right, any other business?

Mr Beer: Next week we would expect to be meeting at 3:30 to 6 and we should plan on 7 to 9, too.

The Chair: You should plan on being here for the evening session as well. The main item next week will be a briefing from the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs. There may also be some other information that our research staff will have been able to pull together. We have talked, for example, about some of these, going back to the economic issues that we were addressing earlier, that there are some things within the Bélanger-Campeau report, for example, that are of interest to us and we are sorting out the best way to pull that together in a format that is most useful to the members of the committee. So we may or may not be in a position to have some of that ready for the committee members, but as much as we can do, we will.

My sense is that again, we probably should try to pull the subcommittee together if we can, between now and next Wednesday, so that we can proceed with some of the other items to keep the agenda rolling.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Mr Chairman, will you be able to provide a written agenda for that meeting three or four hours ahead of time so we can bring whatever documentation we feel will support the discussion?

The Chair: I hope so. It is one of the things we will discuss once we have had the discussion with the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs. We will try to do that through the clerk's office.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Because carrying around paper for this committee can be quite onerous if you do not know what you really need.

The Chair: We will try to keep that in mind. Okay, is there anything else? All right, then we stand adjourned until next week. Thank you.

The committee adjourned at 1710.