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Emergencies Act

Appointment of Special Joint Committee--Message from Commons--Motion--Debate

March 3, 2022

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]



(a)pursuant to subsection 62(1) of the Emergencies Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 22, a special joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons be established to review the exercise of powers and the performance of duties and functions pursuant to a declaration of emergency that was in effect from Monday, February 14, 2022, to Wednesday, February 23, 2022, including the provisions as specified in subsections 62(5) and (6) of the act;

(b)the committee be composed of four members of the Senate, including one senator from the Opposition, one senator from the Independent Senators Group, one senator from the Progressive Senate Group, and one senator from the Canadian Senators Group, and seven members of the House of Commons, including three members of the House of Commons from the governing party, two members of the House of Commons from the official opposition, one member from the Bloc Québécois and one member from the New Democratic Party, with three chairs, of which the Senate chair shall be a senator from the Independent Senators Group and the two House chairs shall be from the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party;

(c)in addition to the chairs, the committee shall elect two vice-chairs from the House, of whom the first vice-chair shall be from the governing party and the second vice-chair shall be from the official opposition party;

(d)the four senators to be members of the committee be named by means of a notice signed by their respective leader or facilitator (or their respective designates), and filed with the Clerk of the Senate no later than 5:00 p.m. on the day after this motion is adopted, failing which, the leader or facilitator of any party or group identified in paragraph (b) who has not filed the name of a senator with the Clerk of the Senate, shall be deemed to be the senator named to the committee, with the names of the senators named as members being recorded in the Journals of the Senate;

(e)the quorum of the committee be seven members whenever a vote, resolution or other decision is taken, so long as one member of the Senate, one member of the governing party in the House of Commons and one member from the opposition in the House of Commons are present, and the chairs be authorized to hold meetings, to receive evidence and authorize the publishing thereof, whenever five members are present, so long as one member of the Senate, one member of the governing party in the House of Commons and one member from the opposition in the House of Commons are present;

(f)changes to the membership of the committee on the part of the Senate be made in accordance with rule 12-5 of the Rules of the Senate, provided that any new members or participating senators take the oath of secrecy pursuant to paragraph (g) of this order before participating in proceedings;

(g)pursuant to subsection 62(3) of the act, every member and person employed in the work of the committee, which includes personnel who, in supporting the committee’s work or a committee member’s work, have access to the committee’s proceedings or documents, take the oath of secrecy as set out in the schedule of the act;

(h)every meeting of the committee held to consider an order or regulation referred to it pursuant to subsection 61(2) of the act be held in camera, pursuant to subsection 62(4) of the same act, and the evidence and documents received by the committee related to these meetings not be made public;

(i)for greater certainty, the chairs may move motions and vote on all items before the committee, and any vote resulting in a tie vote shall mean that the item is negatived;

(j)all documents tabled in the Senate pursuant to the act since February 21, 2022, be referred to the committee;

(k)until the committee ceases to exist or on Thursday, June 23, 2022, whichever is earlier,

(i)where applicable, the provisions contained in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of the order adopted by the Senate on February 10, 2022, respecting senators on standing joint committees, shall apply to senators on this committee, and the committee shall hold meetings in person where necessary to consider any matter referred to it pursuant to subsection 61(2) of the act; and

(ii)senators, members and departmental and parliamentary officials appearing as witnesses before the committee may do so in person, as may any witness appearing with respect to any matter referred to it pursuant to subsection 61(2) of the act;

(l)the committee have the power to:

(i)meet during sittings and adjournments of the Senate;

(ii)report from time to time, including pursuant to the provisions included in subsection 62(6) of the act, to send for persons, papers and records, and to publish such papers and evidence as may be ordered by the committee;

(iii)retain the services of expert, professional, technical and clerical staff, including legal counsel;

(iv)appoint, from among its members such subcommittees as may be deemed appropriate and to delegate to such subcommittees all or any of its powers, except the power to report to the Senate and House of Commons; and

(v)authorize video and audio broadcasting of any or all of its public proceedings and to make them available to the public via the Parliament of Canada’s websites; and

(m)a report of the committee may be deposited with the Clerk of the Senate at any time the Senate stands adjourned, and that any report so deposited may be deposited electronically, with the report being deemed to have been presented or tabled in the Senate; and

That a message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint that house accordingly.

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition)

I’d like to move the adjournment of the debate.

The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

It is moved by the Honourable Senator Plett, seconded by the Honourable Senator Seidman, that further debate be adjourned to the next sitting of the Senate.

Any honourable senators who are opposed to the motion will please say “no.”

The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

I hear a “no.”

Motion is defeated. On debate.

I see two senators rising now.

The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

Do we have an agreement between the whip and the Government Liaison for a bell?

One hour.

The Hon. the Speaker [ + ]

There will be a one-hour bell. Normally, the vote would be in one hour, but we have a previous order that notwithstanding any of the rules, that the Question Period take place at three o’clock. Therefore, Question Period will take place at three o’clock and then the balance of the one hour for the bell will commence after Question Period. So the vote will actually take place at 4:52 p.m.

Just to be clear, honourable senators, we have an order that the Question Period will take place at three o’clock; and the balance of the bell for this particular vote will carry us to 4:52, so the vote will take place at 4:52. I recommend, honourable senators, for the remaining five minutes that the Senate suspend to await the arrival of the minister.

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