Thursday 9 December 1999
STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Chair / Président
Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex PC)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Président
Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland PC)
Mr Ted Arnott (Waterloo-Wellington PC)
Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex PC)
Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton West / -Ouest ND)
Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland PC)
Mr Monte Kwinter (York Centre / -Centre L)
Mrs Tina R. Molinari (Thornhill PC)
Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt L)
Mr Toni Skarica (Wentworth-Burlington PC)
Clerk / Greffier
Mr Tom Prins
Staff / Personnel
Mr David Rampersad, research officer, Research and Information Services
The committee met at 1006 in room 151.
The Chair (Mr Marcel Beaubien): If I can get your attention, we'll bring the meeting to order. It's five after 10. I like to call meetings on time.
The purpose of the meeting this morning is, we have two subcommittee reports that we have to look at. One is December 2 and the other one's December 6. Does someone wish to move the December 2 subcommittee report?
Mr Monte Kwinter (York Centre): I move acceptance of the subcommittee report of December 2, 1999.
Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): I guess I can second that.
Mr Kwinter: Do you want me to read it into the record?
"Report of the subcommittee, re pre-budget consultations.
"The subcommittee met on Thursday, December 2, 1999, and agreed to the following:
"(1) That the Minister of Finance be offered 60 minutes in which to make a presentation. Following this presentation, the three parties will each be offered 30 minutes to ask questions and make statements;
"(2) That staff from the Ministry of Finance be offered 60 minutes in which to make a presentation. Following this presentation, the three parties will each be offered 20 minutes to ask questions and make statements;
"(3) That the Chair should immediately forward to the three House leaders the committee's request to meet during the upcoming recess. Specifically, the committee would like to meet from January 31 to February 4, February 7 to 11 and from March 6 to 9;" I assume we should also add in here "2000."
"(4) That the committee intends to travel to Kenora, Timmins, Chatham, Bracebridge and Brockville;
"(5) That an advertisement will be placed for one day in the major paper of each of the cities to which the committee intends to travel. Advertisements will be placed in both English and French papers, if possible. An advertisement will also be placed on the Ontario Parliamentary Channel and on the committee's Internet page;
"(6) That January 6, 2000, at 5 pm will be the cut-off time for people to contact the committee clerk to request an opportunity to appear before the committee;
"(7) That the deadline for written submissions is January 31, 2000;
"(8) That each party will provide the clerk with a prioritized list of four expert witnesses. The clerk will attempt to schedule the two highest priority witnesses from each list;
"(9) That the method of scheduling will be decided at a later date;
"(10) That the Chair, in consultation with the clerk, will make any other decisions necessary to facilitate these committee hearings."
The Chair: You've heard the motion. Discussion on the motion?
Mr Galt: A couple of questions, if I may, Mr Chair: Is it the intent that the minister would appear before the committee on January 31, that Monday? Is that the way it would kick off?
The Chair: That's the intent, yes. The minister would be allowed an hour to make a presentation.
Mr Galt: On the length of time, I'm not really arguing or attempting to debate it. Just going by other committees heading off on hearings on a bill, usually it isn't that extensive with the minister. A 60-minute speech and then three 20-minute question periods, that's two hours. Do we need that much time? I guess the subcommittee thought so, but I'd just like to hear what your thinking was.
Mr Kwinter: I have sat on this committee now for 10 years and what has been the practice is that the minister comes in and makes his statement. Notwithstanding that there's an hour assigned, he can decide to speak for 10 minutes or an hour and a half really. It's his call.
Then after that, the ministry officials make their presentation, and it's usually accompanied by a slide show where they put up graphs. They do their predictions, really, of what's going to happen to the economy, what's happening. That takes place and sometimes that goes on for some time. It gives everybody a chance to question their suppositions and to find out where they are.
What that does is really set the stage when we get our expert witnesses in, because you have the Ministry of Finance saying, "This is what we think is going to happen in the upcoming year." Then you get the economists and the banks. They come in and they tell you what they think, and you use the ministry projections to see where the variances are.
This time is allotted, but it isn't that you must speak for that long. It's really at the discretion of the presenters and of the committee.
Mr Galt: So it's really more a limit on the time that can be consumed. I said the minister 60 minutes and then the responses 20. Actually I was mixing the two-
Mr Kwinter: It's really just an opportunity to try to manage the time and to say, "This is what we think." But it isn't like in the House where the Speaker stands up and says, "Your time has elapsed," and that's it.
Mr Galt: OK. Then I see we're travelling. Is that the second week we'd be on the road for those five communities, or have any dates been placed beside the communities? Is it the first week in Toronto, second week on the road?
The Chair: That's correct, Mr Galt. I don't have the specific dates with me here as to the locations. I think we still have to firm up the travel arrangements on that, but it's the intent to be in Toronto the first week and to be on the road the second week.
Mr Toni Skarica (Wentworth-Burlington): I wonder if I could just propose some amendments to the report, dealing first of all with December 2, 1999, paragraph (4), "That the committee intends to travel to Kenora, Timmins, Chatham, Bracebridge and Brockville."
I've discussed it with the Ministry of Finance officials and they feel there is no representation at all from outside of-well, there's Toronto and then there's northern and western Ontario and eastern Ontario, but they felt that perhaps we should go into the Niagara area, somewhere in southern Ontario. So I'm suggesting, instead of Bracebridge, Niagara Falls.
The Chair: Are you proposing an amendment to the-
Mr Skarica: Yes, to (4).
The Chair: You're moving that?
Mr Skarica: Yes, I move that.
The Chair: To delete "Bracebridge" and-
Mr Skarica: To delete "Bracebridge" and to have "Niagara Falls."
The Chair: Is there a seconder for that? No. Any discussion on the amendment?
Mr Galt: I would ask the question, why was Bracebridge a consideration in the first place?
Mr Kwinter: If I can respond, even though I'm not a member of the subcommittee, I happened to sub in at that subcommittee when this discussion took place. When the decision was made to visit these places, it was felt that there is a constant feeling that the economy is booming in Ontario, and it is, but there was also a feeling that not all areas of the province are seeing the benefits of it. Notwithstanding that Toronto in particular and some of the major centres are seeing very, very buoyant economies, some of these other areas aren't. It was felt that so that we don't get a skewed view of what's happening, we should go out and see these communities.
These were arbitrary, really. It was a matter of taking a look at regions of the province where members felt there could be some interesting input from the people as to what they are experiencing and what their concerns are. Bracebridge was chosen because it's an area that is the near north, outside of the 905. That was why, and it was arbitrary. You could argue any way you want to, whether Bracebridge or Niagara. That was really the rationale for it.
Mr Skarica: The Ministry of Finance feels there is already representation from northern areas and nothing from southern Ontario. Niagara Falls is suggested as a good location because it's near Welland and Hamilton, which really haven't benefited as much as many of the areas of the province have.
The Chair: Any further discussion?
Mr Kwinter: I have no problem with that at all. As I say, these locations, to my mind, were arbitrary, just to get representation in certain parts of the province. I would have no problem with that.
The Chair: Mr Skarica has proposed an amendment to the report of the subcommittee of December 2, deleting "Bracebridge," to be replaced with "Niagara Falls." All those in favour of that?
Mr Kwinter: Can I suggest that we hear from the representative of the NDP because he was party to this discussion and he may have some input.
Mr Skarica: Perhaps I can explain.
The Ministry of Finance people reviewed the places we were going to and they felt that Niagara Falls would be a better pick than Bracebridge. We don't have anything from southern Ontario and it's close to Welland and Hamilton, which have not benefited from the economic boom in Ontario as other places have.
Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton West): Sorry, Niagara Falls instead of Bracebridge?
Mr Skarica: Yes.
Mr Christopherson: Let me throw something at you to have considered on the table and maybe we can do a quid pro quo here.
I found out afterwards-I meant to speak to you, Chair, in the House yesterday and I apologize. I got distracted and by the time I became aware I needed to talk to you, you were gone because the House was adjourned.
I didn't find out until just the other day that our staff had been planning our caucus retreat during a period of time that overlaps when the committees were planning to meet. It would be most helpful, given that I'm the caucus House leader and it's virtually impossible to do a retreat without the House leader, if we could move the two days, the Thursday and Friday, to some other time period that would allow me to attend that caucus retreat, because all of the other plans fit except me. I'm the problem now.
Mr Skarica: Which days?
Mr Christopherson: February-I don't have a calendar-10 or 11. It's that weekend and the Thursday, Friday.
Mr Skarica: What are you suggesting?
Mr Christopherson: I'm open to anything outside of that. It's just those two days.
The Chair: Before we go any further, since we have an amendment on the floor, can we vote on the first one and then we'll come back to yours, Mr Christopherson?
Mr Christopherson: I was hoping we could sort of do a sidebar here and cut a deal and then we could do quick votes that cover both. I just left the House leaders' meeting so I'm in a deal-making mood.
Mr Skarica: I would agree on behalf of the government side to agree to that changing of the dates, regardless of your position on the other matter.
Mr Christopherson: I appreciate that and, quite frankly, I don't have a problem with the switch in location from Bracebridge to Niagara Falls.
The Chair: On the first amendment, all those in favour of substituting Niagara Falls for Bracebridge, please indicate in favour. Opposed, there's none. It's unanimous. So paragraph 4 will be amended.
Now, Mr Christopherson, you're suggesting that February-we don't have the exact date. I don't have a calendar either.
Mr Christopherson: Probably 10 and 11, I think. Seven to 11, Tom, was Monday to Friday?
The Chair: So you need the 10th and 11th for your caucus retreat, and you're suggesting we should move it to the following week?
Mr Christopherson: Whatever works. I'm very flexible, obviously.
The Chair: Can we leave the clerk-it's going to depend on the travel. Can we make the arrangements to have the other two dates and we'll let you know?
Mr Skarica: Perhaps to clarify, we're in Toronto, then, on January 31 to February 4?
The Chair: That's correct.
So there's an amendment to change February 10 and 11 to some undecided date. That's pretty vague but I think that's about the best I can do.
Mr Galt: Should it be decided at this meeting rather than just leave it float?
Mr Christopherson: If we're all comfortable, we can leave it to the Chair to work with the clerk.
Mr Galt: The only concern I have is I have two other committees at least that I'm juggling with and there may be a third for me to work on this winter. The sooner I know what it's going to be, the better. I need it nailed down. That's all I'm asking.
The Chair: I can appreciate that.
Mr Galt: I don't mind the shift here. Actually it may be helpful for the other responsibilities I have.
The Chair: I can have the clerk get in touch with you, probably as early as Monday. It's just a matter of making the proper travel arrangements for the next two days. The following week probably-
Mr Galt: The following Monday and Tuesday would be just fine.
The Chair: Would that be OK?
Mr Christopherson: I believe so, yes.
The Chair: Would that be OK, Mr Kwinter?
Mr Kwinter: Yes, fine.
Mr Skarica: I point out that the minister isn't available January 31. He would be available on February 1, so the committee knows this. If he's going to make a presentation, it would be the following day, if that works. We could have a start on the February 1-
Mr Kwinter: Just following up on my comments earlier, I really think it's critical that the hearings start with the minister. I have no problem when it does, but I think he should be there at the beginning, and not come the second day.
Mr Skarica: Let's start February 1 then.
The Chair: Mr Skarica, are you moving that we start February 1, as opposed to January 31, and are you also moving that we change the February 10 and 11 to February 14 and 15?
Mr Skarica: Correct. We probably need an extra day, then, if we're starting a day later. What day is February 4?
The Chair: February 4 is a Friday.
Mr Skarica: How do you want to arrange that? That's only four days in Toronto.
Mr Christopherson: I was going to ask a question, if I can, to Tom.
We have six expert witnesses. Do we have enough sort of formal part of what we were doing as pre-hearing work in terms of presentations that would take up the Monday, and then do the minister the next morning, or do we have a gap there and how big a gap do you think, roughly?
The ministry, Monte, could still do its presentation, right? Whether we have the ministry first or the minister first doesn't matter, as long as we do both before we start hearings.
The Chair: On the second sheet, the December 6 meeting, item 5 gives us some flexibility: "The expert witnesses will be offered 60 minutes." I think that may answer your concern there.
Mr Christopherson: Tom, are we going to be able to complete all the presentations-the minister, expert witnesses and everything-by the end of business day one?
Clerk of the Committee (Mr Tom Prins): The committee can set its own time schedule, when it starts and when it ends, so we can.
Mr Christopherson: No, that's not my question. It's fine to point to this 60 minutes. That tells me there's four hours, and then we were going to give the ministry staff-how much time was it?-another hour, and then an hour's response, which is six hours. If we normally sit seven hours a day, maybe-five or six-my point is that it may not make a difference. We'll just switch it. We're not going to be into regular presentations until Tuesday anyway, by the looks of it. If that's the case, all we're doing is juggling within the framework of initial presentations, as opposed to hearing from witnesses, correct?
Clerk of the Committee: If I can clarify for myself, you're talking about possibly putting the expert witnesses on the first day, the six of them for an hour, so six hours of expert witnesses on the first day, and then hearing from the minister and ministry staff on the second day?
Mr Christopherson: This shouldn't be complicated. It's probably me; I confess that. Nonetheless, you're stuck with making sure I understand before we can move on. Sorry.
If the minister was going to speak the first day, I'm just asking that given the number of expert witnesses and presentations and ministry staff we were going to have anyway, this may not be a huge problem. I agree with Monte that we definitely want to hear from the minister before we get into public presentations. I was just asking whether a switch of the minister to the end of that might accommodate the same thing, use up the same amount of time. So yes, we would do the expert witnesses and the ministry staff. That would take up Monday regardless, right? Then we'd do the minister first thing Tuesday morning and then get into our responses to the minister, and then witnesses. We haven't really lost anything.
Mr Kwinter: You weren't here when I talked about what I think the structure should be. To me, the expert witnesses are the public. The only reason they get greater attention is because they are experts, supposedly. I think it's critical that we hear-I don't care whether the ministry comes first and the minister comes second, but they've got to come together, because what really happens is the ministry are doing their work now. They're doing their projections and they're getting ready for the budget. We have to know where they are because they're well along the way. What they basically do is that the minister comes in and gives a state of the economy address, tells you what he thinks is happening and where they're going, and then the ministry people come in and back it up. They give you a handout of their slides and they do a projection and you can ask them about that.
Then that is used as the benchmark to hear the expert witnesses come in and say, "Here's what we think is going to happen." Invariably, you'll have the Bank of Nova Scotia being probably the most conservative, and then you'll have some of these consultants being the most aggressive as to where the economy is going to go. What you have to do is be able to weigh that against what the ministry people are saying, because you have to figure out who is right and who is wrong.
It's important that we get them first. Whether the minister comes in the afternoon and the officials come in the morning I don't think is of any consequence. If he's going to be available that day, he's going to be available morning or afternoon.
The Chair: We should be able to find out. There's a fairly easy resolution to this thing, because everybody is agreeable as to the date-maybe not the date but the time. I think it's just a matter of setting the date. If we move a motion that instead of starting from January 31, we move it to February 1, I don't think anybody has any problem. It's just a matter of slotting another date somewhere in there.
Mr Skarica: I was going to suggest February 16. Can we do that? I have a calendar here.
Mr Galt: The 14th, 15th and 16th?
Mr Skarica: That would be three days.
Mr Christopherson: Are you looking at moving that whole week?
Mr Skarica: No, just adding the 16th, because we're already sitting on the 14th and 15th.
The Chair: The following week, to switch the two dates that you've requested.
Mr Christopherson: Yes.
Mr Skarica: The following week after your retreat. Would that be all right?
Mr Christopherson: That's fine, because they're hearing from the public in the Toronto area, right? Those are Toronto public hearings?
Mr Skarica: Yes.
The Chair: So we would break it in two.
Mr Christopherson: That works.
Mr Galt: To put it in perspective, what I'm hearing is we'll sit from the 1st to the 4th, the 7th to the 9th and the 14th to the 16th, inclusive.
The Chair: That's my understanding.
Mr Galt: That's fine by me.
The Chair: Who's going to move this? Mr Galt?
Mr Galt: Do you need it as an amendment?
The Chair: It is an amendment to the minutes, so we'll be voting on the amendment, which is the first-
Mr Skarica: Is it the 6th to the 9th?
Mr Galt: Oh yes, I guess that's still in place. That's not being scrapped. That wasn't my intent, so add March 6 to 9.
Mr Skarica: March 9, there will be no witnesses there.
Mr Christopherson: We may end up going less than that time, but we gave ourselves that amount of time to do committee preparation. We suspect we will be done sooner.
Mr Ted Arnott (Waterloo-Wellington): For writing the report?
Mr Christopherson: Yes. Ultimately it's likely we'll end up with a majority report and a couple of minority reports. You don't think so, Ted? God, you're optimistic.
The Chair: Another point I would like to bring to your attention is that we had given the researcher two weeks to write the report. That will cut one week off, so we're going to have to push that another week down. I don't know which point it is, but that's another number we'll have to amend.
Anyway, a vote on the amendment changing the date:
All those in favour? Opposed? That's carried unanimously.
The next item: We might as well deal with the report, because we are changing the date of the report.
Mr Galt: On March 6 to 9, have we decided? I'm sorry-
The Chair: No.
Mr Galt: You brought in the complication there and I'm not just sure where we're at with that date, March 6 to 9. Are we leaving it in the same week or are we shifting it?
The Chair: We're not talking about March; we're talking about February.
Mr Galt: Yes, but you commented on-does that amendment include March 6 to 9? Then you said we needed two weeks to write the report.
The Chair: No, my understanding of the amendment is that we've changed January 31 to February 1. We'll be sitting here the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and the 4th, I guess. We will be travelling on the 7th, 8th and 9th. Then we'll be travelling the 14th and the 15th, coming back to Toronto on the 16th.
Mr Galt: Right, and March 6 to 9 remains.
The Chair: Where do you get March 6?
Mr Galt: The bottom line of item (3).
The Chair: OK, that would remain the same
Mr Galt: OK, I just wanted clarification there. Good.
Mr Christopherson: So 1st to 4th inclusive; 7th to 9th inclusive; 14th to 16th inclusive; and March 6 to 9 inclusive, correct?
The Chair: Yes. What about the report? Any further discussion on this particular report? Let's make it easy.
Mr Galt: Just one comment, Mr Chair. We're on the road, we're travelling. That's good and bad. I can understand the debate that went into it. We've also said no to paying any expenses. Any consideration given to a conference phone, a speaker phone in the room, so that if somebody is in Renfrew or Timbuktu and would like to make a presentation-I, for one, think that we should be using some modern technology. We don't have to have the person always in the room.
Video conferencing is not that difficult, but maybe we're not set up here for it. I, for one, would like to start moving into this century with technology and taking advantage of something as simple as a speaker phone.
Mr Christopherson: Without getting into too much of a debate on this, because there is a question on our side as to motivation here-and I hear you, Doug-we've been through this in the past Parliament. It was quite controversial and caused a lot of consternation, if you recall.
My first-blush response would be that certainly if we wanted to look at reserving one or two slots while we're in the northern locations to accommodate people who may be even further flung-the problem is, I'm not sure how much access there is as you go further north or further afield from Kenora or Timmins, but in those cases it would make sense.
If we're in any of the southern communities, I don't think there's a rationale for it. It's usually driveable for most.
Mr Kwinter: Let me tell you the reality of these hearings. What usually happens is that the proponent of a point of view comes forward, will have a prepared text, will hand it out, and in most cases all you really do is hear them read it. If there is time at the end, you get a chance to ask one or two questions, and that's it. In many of the cases there is no time. They just read the report, it takes up the allotted time, and that's it. You really have a situation where if you're going to get involved in the so-called modern technology so that you can watch somebody read it as opposed to having it read, it makes no sense. There isn't a great deal of opportunity for interaction.
We've had situations where someone would come and speak for a minute and then we use their 14 minutes asking questions, but usually the case is that they take up a good part of their time and you get a chance to ask them one question, one round-everybody gets a chance to ask one question.
So I understand what you're saying, but the reality of the situation is that you're going to go to an incredible amount of expense for really very little change in what can happen.
Mr Galt: Just for a second and I don't want to belabour or debate, in the example being used of Kenora, if somebody is in Thunder Bay, that's still a fair drive. Maybe a little flexibility could be left with the Chair and the clerk that if one of these situations arises they can make a decision on it. You're talking about the expense for a phone. I'm thinking about the expense for a person to drive from Thunder Bay to Kenora. We really shouldn't screen out somebody in Thunder Bay that would like to make a presentation. That's my kind of thinking.
Mr Christopherson: That's why I was open to the notion, providing that we say OK, it's in these northern two communities. Then we could go and reserve one or two spots to try to accommodate someone who otherwise couldn't be there. What I didn't want to get into-and I'm fine with that, notwithstanding Monte's concerns.
Where I would have a problem is if, say, we were in Niagara Falls and you wanted to do that in lieu of having people come in. I think in that case we start to get into a debate about what's really going on here. But in the north you're being very inclusive by doing that, again providing that no one ever thinks that we can completely replace being in the community with video technology, which we've done here before and was not very effective. To state it again: One or two spots in each of the northern locations reserved for some type of electronic communications to allow someone who otherwise couldn't make a presentation because of distance I think is a good move.
Mr Galt: I'm comfortable to leave it that way without a vote or anything.
The Chair: I would also like to point out that anyone can make a written submission to the committee. Is there any further discussion on the minutes in front of the members?
Mr Christopherson: Both?
The Chair: No, just the one, December 2.
Mr Christopherson: One question: The 60 minutes from the staff-oh, that's fine. No, it's on the next one. Fine.
The Chair: If there's no further discussion, then I would entertain a vote on the amended-
Mr Skarica: Can I ask one further question. The advertisements in paragraph 5, who pays for those? Is it Legislative Assembly?
The Chair: Yes.
Mr Skarica: Fine.
The Chair: All those in favour of the amended minutes in front of you? Opposed? It's carried unanimously.
We'll go to the minutes of December 6. Could someone move it?
Mr Kwinter: I move adoption of the report of the subcommittee, which met on Monday, December 6, 1999, and agreed to the following:
"(1) That each of the three parties will provide the clerk with a list of four expert witnesses on or before December 16, 1999;
"(2) That on January 7, 2000, the clerk will supply each of the three parties with a list of all of the potential witnesses who have requested to appear before the committee;
"(3) That each party will supply the clerk of the committee with a prioritized list of the names and phone numbers of the deputants that they would like to hear from in any given location. These deputants must be selected from the original list distributed by the clerk to the subcommittee members. The list provided by each party will be provided to the clerk by January 14, 2000;
"(4) The clerk will schedule witnesses from the prioritized lists provided by each of the three parties. Each party is entitled to select the same number of witnesses;
"(5) That expert witnesses will be offered 60 minutes in which to make a presentation, groups will be offered 30 minutes in which to make a presentation, and individuals will be offered 15 minutes in which to make a presentation. The Chair and/or the subcommittee may modify these times;
"(6) That if all groups can be scheduled in a given location the clerk can proceed to schedule all interested parties and, therefore, no party list is required for that location;
"(7) That the research officer will send out a draft report to committee members on February 25, 2000;
"(8) That the newspaper advertisement will be sent out as soon as possible after the committee meeting on December 9, 1999;
"(9) That witnesses' expenses will not be reimbursed."
The Chair: You've heard the motion. Discussion?
Mr Christopherson: I have a question. Does the movement we made on meeting dates affect the research officer's ability to meet the February 25 deadline?
The Chair: Yes, it does. We will have to move that probably a week further. Are you proposing to move that?
Mr Christopherson: I would move that.
The Chair: That would move it to March 3.
Mr Christopherson: How much time did we have before, between receiving the draft and starting to meet as a committee? Do you recall, David?
Mr David Rampersad: It would have been just over a week. I would have given it on a Friday and the committee would have met on Monday, the 6th. Now I will submit the report on Wednesday, the 3rd, and the committee is to meet on Monday, the 6th.
Mr Christopherson: That doesn't work.
Mr Rampersad: I'm sorry?
Mr Christopherson: That puts the 6th on Saturday.
Mr Rampersad: If I submit it on Wednesday, March 3-
Mr Christopherson: What day is March 6?
The Chair: No, I'm sorry, the 3rd is a Friday.
Mr Rampersad: I'm sorry. So I submit it on March 1.
The Chair: Yes, March 1 would be a Wednesday.
Mr Rampersad: Yes.
Mr Christopherson: Then we'd meet the following Monday.
Mr Rampersad: Yes.
The Chair: That's correct.
Mr Christopherson: It's a little tight, but I could make it work.
Mr Galt: It should be OK.
The Chair: So you're moving March 1?
Mr Christopherson: I would.
The Chair: This is paragraph 7.
Mr Christopherson: We just changed February 25 to March 1 to reflect the changes in the committee meeting dates.
The Chair: Any further discussion on the amendment?
If not, all those in favour of amending the date from February 25 to March 1, 2000? Opposed? That's carried unanimously.
Mr Skarica: I have some timelines that perhaps we could address, starting off with paragraph 1. December 16, the finance people feel, is a little tight. We're wondering if that date could be changed to December 21? December 16 is only a week away from today.
Mr Christopherson: That's fine.
The Chair: You're proposing that amendment, Mr Skarica?
Mr Skarica: Yes, December 21.
The Chair: Any discussion on the amendment?
Mr Galt: I'm lost here.
Mr Skarica: Paragraph 1.
Mr Galt: OK.
The Chair: All in favour of amending the date from December 16 to December 21? Opposed? That's carried unanimously.
Mr Skarica: Paragraph 2 right now says, "That on January 7, 2000," if that could be moved to January 19.
Mr Christopherson: What does that do to the gap time?
Mr Skarica: We're starting February 1.
The Chair: You wanted to move that to what date, Toni?
Mr Skarica: January 19. The reason for that, and perhaps you're going to have to do a paragraph 10, is in the-I'm sorry. I thought it was in this one, but if you go back to the report of the subcommittee we just adopted, that January 6, 2000, will be the cut-off time, that doesn't leave a lot of time for people to contact the committee clerk. I was going to suggest that we could perhaps move that forward to the 16th, I believe.
The Chair: January 16 is a Sunday.
Mr Skarica: I'm sorry, it's a Sunday. Just a second.
Mr Christopherson: Tom, what happened to the request for that chronological list that I asked for? Wouldn't that be helpful for all these deliberations so we can look at this?
Mr Skarica: I was going to suggest January 18. I'm going to propose paragraph 10 to amend the-we're now dealing with December 6, so I would propose an amendment, paragraph 10, that we amend the previous report of the subcommittee to change paragraph 6 to January 18, I believe.
The Chair: On the December 6 minutes, in paragraph 2, you're suggesting that we change the date to?
Mr Skarica: January 19, but we're going to have to go back to the December 2 minutes, I'm sorry, paragraph 6, where we have the cut-off date of January 6. That doesn't leave a lot of time, particularly at Christmas, so to move that up two weeks approximately, to January 18, to give people more time.
Mr Kwinter: What you're really saying is that you're giving them till 5 pm on the 18th and the clerk is going to provide us with a list the next day?
Mr Skarica: I guess that's going to be pretty tough, isn't it? How much time do you need?
Clerk of the Committee: That can be done.
Mr Skarica: That can be done? That would give two extra weeks and I think with the Christmas holidays that's a good idea. Perhaps we could then have a paragraph 10 for the December 6 minutes, "That the approved report of the subcommittee dated December 2, paragraph 6, be amended to January 18, 2000."
The Chair: OK. Before we go back to the December 2, we need unanimous consent to go and reopen that issue.
Mr Kwinter: We don't have to reopen it, just add it on.
The Chair: Just add it on to this one?
Mr Kwinter: Yes, we're going to add a new 10 on this one.
The Chair: Is that what you're proposing?
Mr Skarica: A new 10 on that one. Paragraph 10 would be:
"That the approved report of the subcommittee dated December 2, 1999, paragraph 6, be amended to indicate as follows: That January 18, 2000, at 5 pm will be the cut-off time for people to contact the committee clerk to request an opportunity to appear before the committee." If I could move that.
The Chair: Discussion? If not, then all those in favour of the amendment? That's carried.
Mr Skarica: Then we go back to paragraph 2 of the subcommittee report dated Monday, December 6, that the date there be changed from January 7 to January 19.
The Chair: So we change the date from January 7 to January 19. Discussion on the amendment? If not, then all in favour of the amendment? That's carried.
Mr Skarica: The next paragraph, in light of the change in timelines: "That the list provided by each party will be provided to the clerk by January 21, 2000."
The Chair: You're moving-
Mr Skarica: January 14 to January 21.
The Chair: Discussion on the amendment? If not, then all those in favour? That's carried.
Mr Skarica: I believe those are the amendments I'm requesting.
The Chair: Any further discussion?
Mr Christopherson: Just a clarification: Paragraph 7, February 25 is changed to what?
The Chair: March 1.
Mr Christopherson: Now for those who are following these details very carefully, this all works, Tom and David?
The Chair: We hope. We'll let you know if it doesn't.
Mr Christopherson: Yes, we'll hear from you, I'm sure.
The Chair: Any further discussion on the minutes? If not, then I'll entertain the vote. All those in favour of the amended minutes of December 6? That's carried.
Mr Skarica: Can we go back to the December 2 minutes. We've been asked to clarify paragraph 5. Are there going to be any advertisements in Toronto for those advertisements?
The Chair: Yes.
I think that concludes the business of the day and we'll have the next meeting at the call of the Chair. We're now adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 1046.