Mr Callahan: Just on that last point, Mr Chairman, I think people watching this process should be well aware of the fact that this is all done in advance. I find it objectionable in an Ombudsman's committee, where the Ombudsman is the court of last resort for those people who have been impaled by the particular government of the day, of whatever political stripe.
I find it interesting that when it comes time to appoint the Chair or the Vice-Chair, and the clerk has to go through this charade of saying, "Are there any other nominations?" the public out there viewing this, and again keeping in mind that this is the Ombudsman's committee -- I mean, I find this to be a sacrosanct committee. The sham down here in terms of the procedure doesn't allow for a second nominee to be made for Chair or Vice-Chair. Somehow that flies totally in the face of democracy. It flies totally in the face of a government that says it's democratic. It also, I suggest, has a good deal to do with what really is wrong with this place.
Mr Callahan: What is really wrong with this place is that the structure of it is so -- "pre-arranged" is the best word I can use, the kindest word I can use. It's time that there be reform in this place, that true democracy reign and that people can in fact nominate the best candidate. I'm not suggesting, Mr Chairman, you're not the best candidate or that the Vice-Chair is not, but I think the taxpayers demand that of us. They no longer want these little concepts that were created in the past; they want something more open. They want to see a committee Chair not pre-arranged by the government, and none of these arrangements made whereby no other person could run for committee Chair or Vice-Chair.
We don't want to see any more kerfuffles like yesterday, where Mr Kormos -- what was it, resources development -- was denied the opportunity, even in this fixed arrangement, the right to be the Chairman of that committee. That, to me, makes us, all of us collectively, as politicians, look pretty silly down here. I really think that maybe one of the committees, maybe Legislative Assembly or maybe even the Ombudsman's committee, should really look deeply at the question of reform of this place. Somebody has got to look at it, because I think that the time and effort that was spent yesterday -- there was an entire day in a committee and there was an entire day in the House where people in the opposition had to plead and try to educate the public in terms of how unfair that whole process was.
Think of the money that was spent in doing that when people's public business should have been conducted. It was done, I think, for a very good reason, because it had to be done. It was totally undemocratic what had happened to Mr Kormos in terms of his appointment as Chairman. Yet it took up a full day that would have been available for legislative business and for the benefit of the taxpayers. That's what this whole thing did. So I think someone's going to have to take a look at this, because it can't happen again. I think the public out there demand more of us, and I think it's got to happen.
The Chair: Just before I move to the next point of order, Mr Callahan, you will notice that when the Chair called for nominations for Vice-Chair, I asked for further nominations, and there were none. If you also look in our report on the Ombudsman, we are asking for a bit of reform on this committee, recommendation 42, I believe. Ms Haeck, please.
Ms Haeck: I always find it interesting to get into these discussions because some folks do cling a lot to tradition. I don't necessarily happen to be one of them, but there are some procedures that do follow through in this House. Obviously, I would hope that Mr Callahan would concede that when an opposition Chair is the order of the day, the selection process is exactly the same as what is done here, so for him to somehow assert that this is an extraordinary process that somehow deviates from democracy or practice I think is, shall we say, the pot calling the kettle black, and at that point --
The Chair: Item 4: We now have to give some direction to our clerk to establish a budget for the 1993-94 year. I think what the clerk is looking for here is just a motion on the floor to allow him to prepare a budget. Can I have a motion, please?
The Chair: If you all move to the third letter in your package, we have a joint committee that will be here from Australia. It's in October. I gather this is just for a point of information at this point.
Clerk of the Committee: The committee would like to come. They are on their tour. One of the stops will be in Toronto. They would like to meet with the committee and discuss some points that they are reviewing. We have finished our review. They would like to meet with us. The new date will be some time in October, and that is when the Legislature is meeting in Ontario and we are meeting, so if it's agreeable, we'll try to arrange a meeting between the two committees during our own meeting on Wednesday morning.
The Chair: Okay, the next item of business is a discussion on a proposal to request from the House leaders that a date be set so that we can debate our report in the House on the Office of the Ombudsman. Can we go ahead and ask the three House leaders for a possible date where we can put our report into the House to get it debated? Can I have a motion to that extent, please?
Ms Akande: I don't know whether I have to bring it to the committee, and obviously nobody can hear what I'm saying anyway, especially now, but I understand that -- I missed the last meeting of the Ombudsman committee -- there was some response from the Ombudsman to our committee report. May I have that? I didn't receive it.
Clerk of the Committee: The only letter I have received -- it's in your package -- is from the Ombudsman and is a response to Mr Drainville's question of the Ombudsman. I personally have not received any response regarding the report.