STANDING COMMITTEE ON HUMAN
RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT AND THE STATUS OF PERSONS
COMITÉ PERMANENT DU
DÉVELOPPEMENT DES RESSOURCES
HUMAINES ET DE LA CONDITION DES PERSONNES HANDICAPÉES
[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]
Tuesday, February 29, 2000
The Chair (Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.)): Colleagues,
could we begin? You have the agenda.
The order of the day is future business. These are
matters we tried to consider last week, to lay out
our plans for the public hearings on HRDC.
Before we proceed to the items on the agenda, I'd like
to mention two or three things. One of them is—and
this is just notice for you—that I and the chair of
the finance committee have been asked whether we could
set up a joint subcommittee, between finance and our
own committee, on the matter of economic dependencies.
This is the idea of studying possible
economic-dependent relationships that might be
established and to look at the social and financial
implications of that.
I'm mentioning it now, and I don't know much more than
I've just said, but I've tried to be as upfront as I
could. I wanted you to know we may well be asked to
consider such a joint subcommittee.
Mr. Larry McCormick (Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox
and Addington, Lib.): Mr. Chair, I believe the
minister mentioned this in one of her preambles. I
think the topic is very much in the news as well as in
the House, and I've already heard from some people in
the riding who are looking forward to that. So when
that opportunity becomes available, and I trust it
The Chair: I wanted just to give you notice. I
heard about it recently.
The second thing is that tomorrow—you've all received
a notice—we have an extra meeting, which is with our
colleagues from Sweden. I would be grateful if as many
members as possible came, out of courtesy to our
I think it could be a very interesting meeting.
There'll be a social dimension to it, but it will be a
participatory meeting. We'll be able to discuss with
them what they do, and they will be able to discuss
with us what we do. So I would urge you all to attend.
The time is 3:30 p.m. tomorrow. That's after
Mr. John Godfrey (Don Valley West, Lib.): Where?
The Clerk of the Committee: Room 371, West Block.
The Chair: Room 371, West Block. The notice is
already in your offices.
You know we passed a motion. There will be delicious
refreshments, and I will be up all night preparing
The last preamble—and on this I
crave your indulgence—has to do with our subcommittee
on children and youth at risk. John Godfrey, I'd be
grateful if you'd explain the situation very briefly.
Mr. John Godfrey: Well, as you recall, we were
asked to report back by March 2 about our intentions,
and the subcommittee met last week. Originally there'd
been a concern that we might be overlapping with the
work of the main committee, so we held off in extending
the mandate. It's now clear that the work of the main
committee's going to be taken up with other things.
Therefore, our committee has requested that we be
given permission to extend our work until the end of
this calendar year to examine three things, the first
of which we will do on March 15, which is to look at
the report on the best policy mix for Canada's
children, from Judith Maxwell's group, the Canadian
Policy Research Networks.
The other two subjects we wish to undertake are
looking, first of all—and not necessarily in this
sequence—at the study of work and family,
which was outlined in the Speech from the Throne this
fall, particularly in the context of the federal
government. You'll see a report in front of you.
Second, in light of the finance minister's reference
to this yesterday, is the whole issue of early
childhood development services, about which we're
trying to reach an agreement with the provinces by
December of this year.
Therefore, I think it makes sense for the work of the
subcommittee to go at least until December of this year
to study in detail some of the elements of what might
be in such an agreement.
The Chair: If I could comment, in terms of the way
we're proceeding on this general HRDC matter, it looks
to me as though we're going to have relatively limited
time as a main committee to deal with some of these
matters. I understand we have to first of all receive
the report, which you have before you—the first
report—and I assume John moves that.
Mr. John Godfrey: I so move.
(Motion agreed to—See Minutes of Proceedings)
The Chair: Now, John's motion is that the
subcommittee's mandate be extended to the end of the
(Motion agreed to—See Minutes of Proceedings)
The Chair: If we could proceed to the agenda of
the main meeting, you'll see now that we have one, two,
Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les
Basques, BQ): Mr. Chairman, I don't consider the issue of future
business to be resolved. I'd like to know if any meetings are
scheduled with Mr. Mel Cappe, Ms. Robillard and the other persons
mentioned. We passed some resolutions two weeks ago and it's
important that we determine our timetable before we go on to
consider notices of motion under "other business". Can someone tell
me if indeed we'll be meeting soon with responsible officials from
Human Resources Development Canada?
The Chair: My understanding, Paul, is that we're
still at the stage of adopting one or another of these
motions that lay out our objectives. The objective is
We haven't got to the position yet of being able to
call these witnesses. I have a list of the witnesses
we've agreed we will be calling. What I don't
have is a plan. Three of the four motions before us
here, as I understand it, deal with that plan. If we
could pass one of these motions, we could then proceed
to invite the witnesses that the committee has said we
should invite. Is that okay?
So it's my sincere hope today that we pass a
plan quickly and we start inviting people to appear
before the committee. Is that okay?
Mr. Paul Crête: Mr. Chairman, I wouldn't want the meeting to
conclude today without our having adopted a single motion and
without deciding on a timetable for hearing from witnesses.
Regardless of which motion we pass, we're obviously going to
come back to this issue. I'd like to know if Mr. Mel Cappe can
appear either next Tuesday or Thursday, when the House resumes
sitting. I'd like to have this information before we move to adopt
the motions. It could be useful.
Where do matters stand on this front? Have these individuals
been notified? Have we discussed available dates? If we discuss
motions for two hours and the meeting ends without our having
decided on any firm dates for future meetings, then everything will
be delayed until after the break. I think it would be too late
The Chair: Rey Pagtakhan, and then Bryon Wilfert.
Mr. Rey D. Pagtakhan (Winnipeg North—St. Paul,
Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
It's precisely for that reason, or one of the
reasons—and I share the concerns of Mr. Crête—that I
thought we should move with order, not with a motion
coming every now and then. If the committee would be
so pleased to adopt the motion that I suggested, in
direct answer to Mr. Crête's concern—which I
share—then we will be able to go directly to your
At the same time, if we answer your question now
before we know which motion will be adopted, we will be
back to a particular circular situation, where we do
not know where we begin or where we will end.
So my suggestion, Paul, is consider my motion, and if
it is adopted, then we can go to the specific question
that you raised about when we will hear the witnesses,
how we should do it.
It is a five-point plan outlined by the research
staff. I thought it was a very thorough plan. And if
we can agree on that, I think we will advance our
The Chair: Bryon Wilfert.
Mr. Bryon Wilfert (Oak Ridges, Lib.): I concur.
The Chair: Okay.
Maurice, if this first motion is yours, I put it
here—these are in the order in which they were
received. All obviously had 48 hours' notice, but the
first one was left over from earlier discussions.
I'd be glad to put it aside, or to call it right
now if you wish. Is it still necessary?
Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Wanuskewin, Ref.): I think
it is. A volume of information has come, but we're
looking at one specific program area here, not the
whole grants contributions, but TJF and just under
these categories. They've already provided it in bits
and pieces—about eight of those categories.
If in fact they have a problem, Mr. Chair, with one or
two of these categories, as Bonnie suggested the
other day—access to information or privacy
issues—then fine, they can decline that, and we'll go
with the other eleven categories. That's my point.
The Chair: Is there anything else?
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: Yes. I think the question,
Maurice, is really moot at this time. We have a
comprehensive table. We have not had a chance to look
at it at this point. I suggest to you that if you
withdrew your motion it would be in order, because it
is really moot. Most of the concerns, if not all of
them, have been answered.
If you would like to move
another specific motion in the future, asking for a
specific concern, you can do that, but to have a
shotgun motion—most of which has been answered
already—is very hard for me to support.
Mr. Maurice Vellacott: I would respond to that.
This is very narrow, so I'm not even sure... Are you
telling me, Rey, that the other information that is
released is in these 12 categories for the TJF?
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: I would assume so.
Mr. Maurice Vellacott: No, it's not. That would
be my concern—and to get it more readily and
manageably for each of us.
The Chair: We have a motion before us. Those in
favour of this motion, please indicate.
Mr. Maurice Vellacott: Recorded vote, please.
(Motion negatived: nays 9; yeas 5)
The Chair: Can we proceed to Diane Ablonczy's
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, Ref.): I
spoke to this last time, Mr. Chairman. I see
that the parliamentary secretary has put in a motion
deleting part of my objective, so I assume that's what
the majority on the committee will be voting for. I
don't think we need to waste a lot of time trying to
get my motion in. I would simply point out that I find
it quite indefensible to delete “a study of the value
for money”. I would have thought that would be a key
concern of this committee.
A voice: That's right.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: The fact that the government
isn't willing to look at that is quite surprising—or
maybe not surprising, but certainly indefensible. I
don't see any point in beating a dead horse. I think
the Liberals have their marching orders and there's not
a whole lot of point in arguing about it.
The Chair: Rey Pagtakhan, then Bryon Wilfert.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: Mr. Chairman, I think the
member has alluded to marching orders. No marching
orders have been given to anyone, to my knowledge. I
have not been given any marching orders, number one—
An hon. member: Me either.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: And number two, to say that
the position of the government is indefensible is
speculative. There's no evidence for that statement,
Thirdly, to prejudge which motion the committee will
decide is an insult to the intelligence of the members
of this committee and to the independence of this
committee. Mr. Chairman, I resent that kind of
argument, so let us move to the motion.
The Chair: Okay.
Mr. Maurice Vellacott: I bet you're right, Diane.
A recorded vote, please.
The Chair: Once again, it's a recorded vote. This
is Diane's motion. We've had ten days to look at this
(Motion negatived: nays 9; yeas 5—See Minutes of Proceedings)
The Chair: The motion is defeated. Can we move to
the next motion?
Some hon. members: Yes.
The Chair: This is Bonnie Brown's motion. Those in
favour of the motion, so indicate.
An hon. member: A recorded vote, please.
(Motion negatived: nays 10; yeas 3—See Minutes of Proceedings)
The Chair: The motion is defeated.
We move to Rey Pagtakhan's motion, which is on the
reverse side of your agenda.
Mr. Jean Dubé: Accountability and transparency,
that's what I like about your motion—something the
The Chair: I'm going to call this motion we have
Mr. Paul Crête: No, Mr. Chairman. I have something I'd like to
say. May I proceed?
The Chairman: Certainly.
Mr. Paul Crête: If we were to adopt this motion, would this
mean that we couldn't hear from these witnesses until after the
entire situation had been examined? If that's the case, we won't
hear from the witnesses until sometime around May 15. Are we
thinking about hearing from the main players in this drama at the
outset? Is there some connection here? It's important to know
before we vote. We're being asked to go along with this broad
agenda that has been set: presentations on general grants and
contributions and on program areas, a review of the documentation
and audit findings as well as of the six-point action plan and
draft interim report. At what point in the process will we be
hearing from the witnesses? If this means that Mr. Cappe won't be
putting in an appearance for another month, then this is
unacceptable, as far as I'm concerned.
The Chair: I'll comment first and then I'll go to
Rey Pagtakhan, because of course it is his motion.
The plan is a general outline of how we work, followed by
the list of the witnesses we've agreed to call.
My understanding is that we still have to fit those
witnesses into the plan, Paul.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: Yes. Just to allay any
apprehension, that is why I used the word
“framework”. In other words, once we adopt the
motion, we have five points, A to E, including the
reporting of this interim stage. In those five points,
we can then use our collective wisdom and decide how we
proceed once we have adopted this as a framework. That
will come after we have adopted the motion.
The Chair: And we are going to have time at this
meeting to discuss that matter.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: It does not preclude when we
hear the witnesses.
The Chair: Maurice Vellacott.
Mr. Maurice Vellacott: For one, I do believe that
somewhere in here we need to get this thing, and if Rey
can assure me that we're going—verbally or by word put
that in here—to be getting something of value,
determining or making some assessment in respect to
that, I think that's a good kind of topic to engage on
this whole thing.
Is it value for money? I see that we're talking about
possibly some other ways of doing things or whatever
here, but I'm not sure if that's covering it as it
should. This is an assumption that these are wonderful
programs and that we should carry them on just as we
always have. I think we should be engaging in a
discussion of whether there's value for it.
I also, secondly, can't understand why we would want
to spend a whole lot of time on the six-point action
plan if in fact the Auditor General is recommending
this thing and so on. It's not an issue of whether
it's a good thing to be going on with, but will it be
actually implemented? That would be more the issue,
and we can't determine that now anyhow. It would be
more of a a review four months from now or six months
from now or something like that, but to be just
discussing hypotheticals here, when it appears by all
accounts, and normal people would say this is a good
thing to go with... We need to know whether that'll
be implemented and we'll only find that out in a review
afterward, a quarterly kind of update thing.
The Chair: The motion is before us. It is Rey
Do you want to speak to it again, Rey, briefly?
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: Yes. With respect to the
measurable value, it is inherent in any study of this
sort that when you look at each of the points raised in
this outline, the point will be addressed as one of
many. That is the beauty of this framework, because
there are so many interplaying factors—measure,
objectivity, accountability, the worth of the
program—and they will all be included in this outline
of the study, as I see it, adopted by the Library of
Maybe we can ask the research staff on that point.
The Chair: If I may comment, because I just did,
the Auditor General is conducting a value-for-money
audit of these matters and he is one of the people on
our witness list.
Seriously, I think all of these are matters... The
staff has prepared this for members of all parties. It
is an outline. It gives us a pattern to work to and
it's up to us to fill it in, focus it, and emphasize
whatever we can.
I'm going to call Rey Pagtakhan's motion.
Mr. Bryon Wilfert: A recorded vote, please.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: I have a question, Mr. Chair.
Does this mean that we
have no stated purpose for our study, no objective?
A voice: There's nothing here for that.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: Excuse me, Mr. Chair—
The Chair: Rey Pagtakhan, as it's his motion.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: The study itself is our
objective. Obviously, even when we look at the
previous motion to study the goals, which was defeated,
that will be encompassed in this framework of the
study, Mr. Chair. But there are so many things,
and if I wanted to state them one by one I could. There is
more than one goal, Mr. Chairman. When we study
something, we have a goal. Our goal, as deemed by the
motion previous—to do a study is the very goal itself.
The Chair: Diane Ablonczy.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: It begs logic to say that
study for the purpose of study is a legitimate goal.
Surely we're not suggesting that, Mr. Pagtakhan.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: I'm not.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy: I simply point out that
unless we have a goal or objective in this study, we're
simply going to shuffle a bunch of paper.
Mr. Maurice Vellacott: We have a schedule here.
The Chair: I know I had Maurice first, and
then Judi Longfield.
Mr. Maurice Vellacott: I see this as a schedule.
With great appreciation for the work our
research people do, this is more a schedule and it's
not of the nature of stating out some goals and objectives
and so on. So again, I do object to assuming that this
is some vague and nebulous kind of objective or goal.
It's not that. It's a schedule of things we are
going to be doing and having people called in for.
The Chair: Judi Longfield.
Mrs. Judi Longfield (Whitby—Ajax, Lib.): I think
if you read the body of the plan the objectives
are there—the funding mechanism, what are grants and
contributions, and what are the guidelines under which
these funds are disbursed. I can go through it. Under the
six-point action plan, is the plan comprehensive? Are
points missing? Do any of the plan's elements need to
be strengthened? I think our goals are there to
respond to the questions and the very legitimate
questions that are there. I think that's our goal, to
get to the bottom and get these questions answered. So I
think it's there.
The Chair: Colleagues, I'm going to call Bryon
Wilfert, but I would like to call this motion. For
once—and I very rarely agree with Paul Crête—I think
we should get on to the matter of the real design and
how we're going to work on this thing. And as long as
we're debating the plan or whatever it is, we're not
going to get to that. I'm in your hands, of course.
We'll hear from Bryon Wilfert, hopefully the last
Mr. Bryon Wilfert: Mr. Chairman, I would concur
with the fact that the objectives are fairly clearly
stated in the outline. The fact is I think our
objective should be collectively that we want to make
sure the right tools are in place to make sure this
situation doesn't happen in the future. Presumably the
outline gives us that opportunity and then we pick up
on Mr. Crête's comment and we will then add to this.
This is simply an outline. It is not the definitive
statement. Obviously we're going to then apply the
witnesses where we think it is appropriate. We have a
clear timeline here. I asked for the motion to be
adopted the other week. I think we're really spinning
our wheels. Let's just approve it and get on with it.
The Chair: Maurice Vellacott.
Mr. Maurice Vellacott: If he would be willing to
state that as the overall rubric, then that's the whole
point of it. What you talk about so this
doesn't happen again would be your overall rubric
Mr. Bryon Wilfert: That's right there in the fact.
Unfortunately, you give a
bit of a short shrift to the six-point action plan,
because in fact that—and maybe there's something we
can add to that—clearly is extremely
important to make sure we don't have this happen in the
future. I think that's fairly explicit in the
The Chair: Colleagues, I'm going to call the
motion, if I might.
(Motion agreed to: yeas 12; nays 2—See Minutes of Proceedings)
The Chair: Colleagues, in the light
of the plan we have before us—I think everyone
has a copy of the researcher's note on this—if we could
look at it now in practical terms, the way the thing is
laid out here, it seems to me, anyway... I'm on page
two, the suggested outline for a study of HRDC grants and
contributions. Bearing in mind the number of meetings
and this sort of thing that we have, the idea is to
begin with some sort of overview and explanation of
grants and contributions in general.
I would suggest to you that we have one meeting before
the break, we then have the break, and then we can
carry on every Tuesday and every Thursday. I would
suggest we have a first meeting, which is this
briefing, and then discuss which witnesses we call
after the break.
Mr. Paul Crête: Mr. Chairman, I agree that we should devote
one meeting to general explanations, but after the parliamentary
break, I'd like us to meet every working day to hear from
witnesses. We have to table an interim report by April 15. When we
return from our break, it will already be March 13. If we want to
have something meaningful to say in this report, we will need to
complete most of our study by April 15. We need to meet with the
Minister, with Mr. Mel Cappe and with Mr. Denis Desautels before we
table our interim report.
The Chair: Do you have a point of order?
Mrs. Judi Longfield: Yes.
Mr. Paul Crête: There's also Mr. Reid and Mr. James K. Martin.
As part of our general analysis, we should hear from Mr. Martin as
soon as possible, possibly even Thursday, given that he is the
Director of the Internal Audit Bureau. I think it's absolutely
critical that we pick up the pace. If we limit ourselves to only
two meetings per week after the break, then we will be hard pressed
to table an interim report of any substance by April 15.
The Chair: I have a point of order and then Jean
Mrs. Judi Longfield: This may be stretching my
point of order, but the fact of the matter is that we
have someone over there who is suggesting we meet every
day who can't get to the meeting when it starts at 11
o'clock. Mr. Chair, across the way we've sat here at more
than one meeting when there have been one or two members
of the opposition sitting over there. If it's that
important, if they get here at 11 o'clock we could get a
lot of business done.
Mr. Paul Crête: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.
The Chair: A point of order.
Mr. Paul Crête: You can produce all the committee attendance
records you want and you will see that no government member has as
good a record as I have. I'd like the member to apologize for that
statement. As for when we should begin, I'd say that anytime the
opposition is represented and we have a quorum is fine with me. The
rest, Madam, is none of your concern.
The Chair: Let's proceed with this
discussion. I have Jean Dubé and then Libby Davies.
Mr. Jean Dubé: On this point of order, on Monsieur
Crête's request, we've wasted two meetings already.
Last week I spoke to you about that.
The Chair: Yes, that's right.
Mr. Jean Dubé: Why are we wasting time?
Mr. Paul Crête: We have voted on all of the motions.
Mr. Jean Dubé: We went through some motions here.
We may as well leave and waste this meeting. Is that
what you want? Let's hear it out here. Let's hear
what people have to say here.
The Chair: Let's get on the speakers list.
Mr. Jean Dubé: We wasted two meetings last week.
That's pretty clear.
The Chair: No fault of the committee.
Mr. Jean Dubé: Because of the votes. It wasn't
our doing. It was votes in the House of Commons. We
have a scandal at HRDC and we want to get answers to
it. We want to call in witnesses. We have a timeline,
Judi, from three meetings past. We have an agenda.
How are we going to get to do it? How are
we going to get to the bottom of what's going on here?
meet more than twice a week. This is an important
issue. Taxpayers want to know what went on here. How
do we do that?
Paul has a great suggestion here. Let's talk about
The Chair: It's Libby Davies now.
But my interpretation was Paul didn't mean every day;
he meant every meeting.
Mr. Paul Crête: No, no, no.
The Chair: Every day?
Mr. Paul Crête: When we resume sitting, for five days.
The Chairman: I'm sorry.
Mr. Paul Crête: I am open to any other suggestion that would
allow us to have more than two meetings a week.
The Chair: Libby Davies.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): As
we continue with this
issue and study, I want to know how we're going to
line up the witnesses, because I have some suggestions
I think it's very important that we hear witnesses
from a variety of sources. If there's a genuine belief
from the whole committee that we want to hear different
viewpoints about what's happened in HRDC and what's
happening with the audit and so on, I think it's
really important that we pay attention to a number of
different key witnesses. So I have a couple of names
to suggest, and I'd like to know when we're going
to deal with that.
The Chair: I'll come back to that.
I have Bryon Wilfert and then Judy Sgro.
Mr. Bryon Wilfert: Mr. Chairman, we adopted a work
plan to which we now want to put witnesses.
But in my view, we also adopted a work plan that said
there are a number of meetings available, and so on,
two a week. As we're going along, if there's some
extraordinary reason we need extra meetings, so be it.
But the fact is, in the work plan it did say so many
meetings would be reserved for x and so many for
the main work of the committee. So I would suggest to
you, with all due respect, there's no desire on this
side to hold up the process. Maybe if we would cut the
political rhetoric and get on with the job, we'd get—
Mr. Jean Dubé (Madawaska—Restigouche, PC): Bravo.
Mr. Bryon Wilfert: Let's get on with it.
The Chair: Judy Sgro.
Ms. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.): Mr. Chair, just
to clarify here, I think we all want to move on with
this particular project, because with the material that
keeps being sent to me, I'm seeing more and more about
all these great items this committee intends to
deal with. I want to deal with this, but there are all
those other items we want to deal with as well.
Are we not talking about HRDC administration? Isn't it
administration issues the audit referred to that we
want to deal with, which is administration? So why
would we need to get broader at this particular time?
Isn't our task to deal with the administration problems
that were raised and what we're going to do to correct
them and ensure they don't happen again, and we can
move on to a different process? Is that not what we're
The Chair: If I can interject—
Ms. Judy Sgro: It's a question to the chair.
The Chair: If it is a question to me, we are
deciding that now. We have this plan, and we're
deciding what we're going to do.
Ms. Judy Sgro: We adopted a plan; we know where
The Chair: So that's the answer. We're now
filling in the details.
For example, if I might say, I
think we have some consensus around here that
Thursday's meeting should, as Paul said, deal with the
generalities. Let's get down to what our grants are going
to be so we fully understand what they are.
What we're debating now is what we do when we come
back, and given Paul's suggestion, how we do it.
That's what we're doing. To be honest, I think we're
getting there. You may not, but I do.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: Since we've just adopted the
outline of the study prepared by the research staff, we
now have five points. Now we are debating sequence and
priorities. Before we go through that, may I suggest
that we let the committee hear from the research staff how
they envision the timeframe for each of the points
so at least we will know the timeframe? Sometimes we
get very preoccupied with sequence when we know if we
can hear a timeframe... Can we hear from the research
The Chair: It's a bit like Judy's point. I tend
to the view that when we're getting to the matter of
inviting witnesses and the order in which they're being
invited, that is simply a matter for us, really. I
think we have to deal with it. We can't have the staff
say to us that we should invite Mel Cappe—
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: No, Mr. Chair, that is not
my point. You missed my point.
The Chair: I'm just explaining.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: My point is, I
would like to hear from the research staff, plus a
piece of information. When you have A, B, C, D, and
E, from his point of view, how
much time does he envision would be
needed to study A, B, C, and D as outlined? Is
he able to tell us? If he's not able to tell us, so be
The Chair: Okay.
Mr. Kevin Kerr (Committee Researcher): You've
asked a fairly difficult question, because much depends
on how detailed a study the committee wants to
undertake. Even in the first section, under part A,
it's quite possible to hold ten meetings on that. So it's
very difficult for staff to identify a specific number
of meetings. I think that's something the
committee has to decide.
If you decide to have say two meetings on section A
and realize that's not enough, it's very easy to
schedule another or another.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: Mr. Chair, for letter B, I'd
like to hear it.
The Chair: That's all right. You have the floor.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: For letter B...
Mr. Kevin Kerr: It's a few meetings, or one or two
meetings. You can deal with the methodological issues in
a meeting; you can deal with audit results in a
The Chair: If I can make a point, Rey, we don't
necessarily need to think in terms of having these
witnesses one by one. It would be quite possible
to design a meeting at which we had two of them, or even
three of them, and we would get their different views.
I'm going to go to Jean Dubé.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: Mr. Chair, I have just one last
point so that I can complete my thoughts.
The Chair: As long as it is the last one, Rey, go
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: If we were to have a minimum of
one meeting, at least on A, B, and C, or A and
we then be guided thereafter on how much more we
Ms. Raymonde Folco (Laval West, Lib.): Mr. Chair,
on a point of order, I'm sorry to interrupt, but it
seems to me we're discussing something that should
be discussed in subcommittee, and I feel very
frustrated. I don't know whether other people around
this table are as frustrated as I am, but I feel we're
spending a lot of time discussing how we're going to do
this, when in fact it is not up to the full committee
to do this but it's up to the subcommittee, and we're
not spending enough time discussing the contents. I
have an increasing level of frustration on this, and I
would strongly suggest that this be reported to the
subcommittee, which has been created especially for
The Chair: Colleagues and Raymonde,
to me this is a very important matter.
I think we all agree on that. I have tried to keep
it that the meetings are in public, not in
camera. Typically, our steering committee meets in
camera. I think it's more important that we try to
deal with it now.
Now, if I can, I'm going to go to Jean Dubé, and then
Mr. Jean Dubé: Mr. Chair, I think there's a
willingness here to move this thing ahead.
I think we all want to do it. Let's get with it and
call the first witness.
The Chair: John Godfrey.
Mr. John Godfrey: This would be a bit of a
follow-up question. This is to the researchers,
because it does relate to what you just said.
I want to ask the researchers, if you take the A,
B, C, D, and E,
and then you read against that the witness
list, witnesses A and B, could you give us a bit of a
sense, without making any political judgments, where
logically you think, for example, our A list would go?
Would we see most of them under the A witness list
against the A topic? Where do you see them coming in?
Mr. William R. Young (Committee Researcher): The
A sub-topic would be headquarters staff from HRD,
regional staff from HRD, the comptrollership people at
Treasury Board Secretariat, for example. Your A
witness list would start with probably B or C.
Mr. John Godfrey: Okay, so in other
words, we would be armed with a kind of general
framework so we have some information to use. When we
meet the witnesses, we would be in a better position to
be more—well, not critical, but—
The Chair: I'm going to try to wind this up.
Mr. Paul Crête: We aren't attending an introductory course on
HRDC. We've been serving on this committee for some time now. To
assess paragraph A, for example, we need to hear from Mr. Mel
Cappe. To look at the documentation and the audit findings, we need
to hear from James K. Martin, the Director of the Internal Audit
Bureau. Finally, we need to meet immediately with the Auditor
General, Mr. Denis Desautels. I think we're ready to hear from
these witnesses as soon as possible. I don't think we need to have
someone explain to us once agin how the department's programs work.
We've already had the necessary briefings.
The Chair: Okay, colleagues, can I suggest this?
If we can agree that the meeting on Thursday is going
to be this general briefing, that we're going to call
in officials, we would see whether these are HRDC officials
from headquarters or from the region, or both. But as
we have only two days' notice, we could agree to that.
Secondly, we have a list of witnesses here, which
you're all discussing, but Libby implied that maybe
there are others we could call. I would suggest to
you that by say the Wednesday of the break, or
something like that, if you have lists of witnesses
that you think we should call, you would let us have
them, because—Libby, am I understanding you
right?—the committee would need some idea of who those
people are. So we would have those by then.
Might I suggest that we now try to determine a witness
or witnesses for the first meeting when we come back, and
then leave it? If I could give you an example,
if we find on Thursday that we all agree that we need more
generalities, we would need more time for generalities.
If we call one witness and then we decide we need that
witness to come back, we would need to call them back.
Could we just get to that point?
Then, by the way, when the researchers have the
other lists of witnesses, if there are such people,
they might be able to sketch out something that would
help us decide how we proceed after the first Tuesday
Mr. Paul Crête: Mr. Chairman, have you finished...
The Chair: Well, the only thing I was going to say
is that it strikes me that one way to go, if we do the
generalities, would be to go to the internal audit
first. I have not seen that indicated in here. We
might have the internal auditor on the Tuesday, but
that's only my suggestion.
Mr. Paul Crête: You're suggesting that we have a general
briefing on the overall situation next Thursday and that, after we
return from the break, that is on the Tuesday, we focus on the
internal audit. I'd also like us to meet with Mr. Mel Cappe early
on that same week.
We could hear from Mr. Cappe on Tuesday and from audit
officials on Thursday, or vice versa. That could be arranged
quickly, but it's important that the Auditor General testify
immediately after we have met with the internal audit director so
that we can draw some conclusions from this internal audit process,
find out whether it can be expanded to cover the entire department
and find out where Mr. Desautels is in his analysis. That's an
The other important step is to hear from the various players
themselves, players like Mr. Cappe. If we could hear from the
internal audit director at our first meeting, and from Mr. Cappe at
our second meeting, that would be fine with me.
The Chair: Again there's a question of whether
people are available and so on. By the way, we meet on
Thursday this week so we can discuss these matters, I
hope briefly, again on Thursday. For the moment we
have the consideration of grants and contributions and
HRDC officials on Thursday.
When we come back, I would suggest that we agree,
because I think it's simpler, Paul... His name is
James Martin. We can arrange that now, and I'm sure
he'll be able to come. Can we leave it at least until
this Thursday to discuss what happens at the second
meeting after we come back?
Mr. Paul Crête: Then we'd schedule a meeting with Mr. Martin
right after we return from our break?
The Chairman: That's right.
Mr. Paul Crête: Fine. And what about our second meeting?
The Chairman: We'll have to wait and see.
Mr. Paul Crête: We could agree right now that it would be an
appropriate time to hear from Mr. Cappe.
The Chair: I hear that. My suggestion is that if
the researchers could think a bit between now and this
Thursday and if we could consider, we might consider
establishing that Thursday meeting that day as well,
the next witness, if I might. My hope is that by the
first Tuesday back, we would have a sequence of
witnesses that we could discuss and accept. Is that
This gets us started. We have this Thursday to
discuss this matter again. While we have the witnesses
there we can discuss this matter. The first Tuesday
back we go to the internal audit. We have the
transcript of Paul's suggestions and other people's
suggestions as to how we proceed from that point. I
think it might be clearer after Thursday's meeting,
when we have a sense of the generalities.
Libby Davies—you heard my point about calling—
Ms. Libby Davies: Yes. I think we should get in
the suggestion for other witnesses fairly quickly. If
we're going to line up meetings after the break, I
think we need to have an indication of how many
different people we're looking at. I would be prepared
to put forward the names I've thought of by the next
meeting and if other people are prepared to do that
too, at least then we'd have an initial idea. It
doesn't necessarily have to foreclose it, but at least
we'd have an idea of how to then plan the subsequent
The Chair: Colleagues, I'm in your hands. I
suggested next week because I thought perhaps you might
need longer, but could we have names of suggested
witnesses by this Thursday's meeting?
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: I think we should adopt an
agreement that we submit the list of witnesses as soon
Mr. John Godfrey: First wave.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: But let it not be the deadline.
The Chair: Okay, I accept that.
Libby, you heard that.
Ms. Libby Davies: Yes.
The Chair: The idea is it would be open-ended.
Ms. Libby Davies: Yes.
The Chair: Let's put it this way. If you want
your witnesses to be considered, the earlier we get
their names the better. I agree with that.
Mr. Maurice Vellacott: I do concur that this may
be an acceptable way to proceed. I would also suggest
for the record that we follow up on the internal audit
people by having somebody who has done an audit from
the outside. The Ekos people have done audits
with respect to HRDC programming. I would make that
suggestion; that would be appropriate.
The Chair: You are giving a rationale and Paul has
already given one. We could envisage the witnesses
coming in all sorts of sequences, but I think Thursday
it may be clearer to us. We have the transcripts of
these meetings, and everything we do is based on the
transcripts. We have that on the record.
Colleagues, I'm going to adjourn this meeting. On
Thursday we meet again at the regular time. We will
have HRDC officials giving a briefing with respect to
grants and contributions in general. Our present
consideration is that we call the internal auditor for
the first Tuesday we come back. You are asked to
provide your names of witnesses for the first wave by
Thursday, and others as soon as you possibly can.
Mr. Jean Dubé: Before you adjourn, in the first
meeting when we get back, you're calling James Martin.
The Chair: Yes.
Mr. Jean Dubé: That would be the Tuesday. On the
Thursday, would you be going to another witness in
The Chair: That is up to the committee, but my
assumption is yes.
Mr. Jean Dubé: So we can start working on it now,
to see their schedule as well, to make sure that—
The Chair: No. We have already advised the people
who have been called, but we'll advise them. We'll do
our best, yes.
Mr. Jean Dubé: Okay.
The Chair: Rey Pagtakhan has the very last thing.
Before people go, I just want to say don't forget the
meeting tomorrow. I urge you. We have these guests
from Sweden, and I think it's very important when
parliamentarians come that they get a good reception.
Mr. Rey Pagtakhan: When we invite the HRDC
officials, can we tell them in advance to address in
their presentations at the minimum the five points
The Chair: Yes.
Colleagues, the meeting is adjourned. You will have
briefing notes for Wednesday, for tomorrow's meeting.