Ottawa- The House of Commons is getting down to work with the establishment of various standing committees. The first to be called back to work is the important Finance Committee which met on Wednesday. This committee is mandated to conduct a wide-ranging consultation on the priorities of Canadians for the yearly Canadian government’s budget due in March. The committee will call witnesses to testify as to the needs of Canadians. There will be presentations from lobby groups, academics, NGOs, businesses and private citizens. Eventually, the committee will table a report in February in Parliament and the Finance Minister will respond with the #budget2020 which will be the spending priorities of the federal government.
The people who make up the committee will determine who will present their ideas, and committee members have the right to ask questions of witnesses to highlight those ideas. The Finance Minister has recognized that we need a wide range of voices to better understand the needs of Canadians.
While the Liberals have a diversity of committee members including 2 women MPs (Julie Dzerowicz, Annie Koutrakis) and an Indigenous MP (Michael McLeod) the Conservatives, NDP and Bloc only nominated white males.
The Bloc it should be noted did nominate an MP from Quebec (Gabriel Ste-Marie). The Liberal’s also nominated a Quebec MP with Annie Koutrakis.
Under Rona Ambrose in the last Parliament, the Conservatives made conscience efforts to offer as diverse caucus as possible. In the last Parliament, Lisa Raitt was the Conservative member until her defeat in the last election.
The NDP has never had a woman member of the Finance Committee.