Evidence of meeting #15 for Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was list.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

That would be great.

8:55 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

If we find that we need to expand, I prefer that.

I'm uncomfortable about charting out now whether we're doing 50,000 feet or ground at this point. Whenever you get into a study, you need to see where you're going. We need to start out high, I think, because we need to see what the general lay of the land is, and whether there are lessons to be learned, and then we will go into the Lobbying Act. So I would be worried about prescribing it.

My question to Mr. Del Mastro is about this briefing in camera. I'm concerned about it, because if we're briefed about background and then we're doing our work at committee, if we've been told something in camera, then inadvertently we might end up damaging the committee because we say something based on what we were told. I just want to understand why he thinks it would be better to do in camera, rather than just do a briefing.

8:55 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

Before I go to Mr. Del Mastro, there's a point of clarification for Mr. Angus. The proposal is that people would submit their names by 5 p.m. on Friday. We would then circulate those names to everybody and on Tuesday we would come back together and have an agreement.

8:55 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Yes. I totally agree with that. I think that's a good way to do business.

8:55 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

So before I go to Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Del Mastro.

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

The thinking on this is that it would just be a very free forum for members. Rather than it being a formal committee meeting, it would be a free forum for people if they have questions, if they're not sure of something. I want people to be free to ask whatever questions they want without being concerned as to whether or not there's going to be a story written on it tomorrow about your lack of understanding of the Lobbying Act when we're really just getting into it.

8:55 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

[Inaudible--Editor].

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

I'd like it to be a platform whereby people feel free to ask any questions they've got. As I said, we can bring these folks back later as formal witnesses to the committee, to provide recommendations or what have you, but I think initially it would be good for members just to get a good understanding, or at least an introductory understanding, of what the Lobbying Act is, to provide some background, that's all.

8:55 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

If I could, Mr. Del Mastro, that's a fairly common occurrence. This is not really a committee meeting. It's more a briefing for members who are interested, so it's different. It's not like having people come as witnesses.

Mr. Trudeau. Welcome to the committee.

December 1st, 2011 / 8:55 a.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Papineau, QC

Thank you.

I just want to support what the general consensus is. I think it makes sense not to define too much what the study is going to be, what level it will be at. We should allow that to flow a little with a certain amount of flexibility to pursue avenues of interest or inquiry that are perhaps brought in by witnesses at one point, or specifically by the information commissioner.

I'm not opposed, but I'm a little wary of the idea of a briefing by the same people who we're going to be asking to testify possibly and challenge as witnesses. It's not necessarily a terrible thing, but if we're having them first as teachers and then we're having them as people we're perhaps cross-examining a week later or two weeks later, I think we need to be mindful of the dynamics we set up. Perhaps it does help to have it in camera, or perhaps it is counterproductive to have it in camera. We could discuss this a little further, that detail, on Tuesday. But certainly having them in on Thursday to give us all a grounding.... If I'm still here next week I'm going to want to have a little more knowledge on it, and I'm sure some others won't mind.

So I'm supportive of that, as long as the plan of eight meetings is potentially expandable as a duration. That's important, because we don't yet know what sort of scope or details we're going to be studying. But I'm supportive.

9 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

Ms. Davidson.

9 a.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Yes, thanks.

I'd like to ask the clerk something. This is the statutory five-year review that we are obligated to undertake. That's what we're going into right now. So are there any parameters that are in place from the letter that is requesting us to do it? I can't recall what was in that letter.

9 a.m.

The Clerk of the Committee Mr. Chad Mariage

Thank you.

Madam Chair, I'll defer to my analyst colleagues on that question. In the act it's pretty vague, but I'll let them answer.

9 a.m.

Dara Lithwick Committee Researcher

In terms of the reference for the review, the order of reference itself.... I'm just opening it up right now. The order of reference itself does not specify any aspects of the act to focus on. It's just that by unanimous consent it was ordered that the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics be the committee designated for the purposes of subsection 14.1(1) of the act, which is the statutory review portion. So it's as open or closed as members wish.

9 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

Thank you.

Are there any other speakers?

Monsieur Dusseault?