Evidence of meeting #26 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 lobbying.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

11:50 a.m.

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

Thank you very much.

I want to thank the parliamentary secretary and the Treasury Board for coming forward as witnesses.

I am going to suspend for five minutes to allow us to reconvene, and we'll be coming back on future business for committee.

Noon

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

Committee members, we're now on future business.

Mr. Del Mastro.

Noon

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Thank you very much, Madam Chairman.

Madam Chairman, as you're aware, on Tuesday I sent notice of motion with respect to Mr. Adam Carroll, a former Liberal Research Bureau employee. I wanted to bring him forward to respond to questions specifically with respect to an apology that was issued in the House of Commons by Liberal leader Bob Rae that alleged that this individual was responsible for the very dirty, sleazy, underhanded attack campaign against a federal cabinet minister. We believe there are significant questions that need to be answered in this regard. We don't believe we have the full story in this at all, and we think that the Liberal Party is frankly sitting on an awful lot of details in this regard.

That said, we're going to extend a courtesy that the Liberal Party would probably never extend to us. We're going to allow them between today and Tuesday to come forward with the details that we believe they've withheld in this matter. We would encourage them to be fulsome; we would encourage them to indicate exactly who was involved in this. We'd like to know who ordered these actions to be undertaken. There are a number of questions, frankly, that they should respond to. We think in this case we have an individual who has been hung out to dry by his party and released to us to take one for the team, if you will.

If need be, we will pass this motion Tuesday to bring this individual before this committee. But the Liberal Party does have an opportunity in the time between then and now to consider whether they would actually want to see that happen or not.

Noon

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

Mr. Del Mastro, I understand that you are not moving your motion today.

Noon

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

I will not move the motion until Tuesday.

Noon

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

Then I'm going to suggest that we move on to other future committee business.

We actually have nothing on the table at this moment that's scheduled.

We have passed a motion in the past on something that we agreed to do. I'm just going to read it to the committee. There were two motions, actually. It was agreed:

That the Committee undertake a study of the Annual Report of the Privacy Commissioner, pursuant to the Order of Reference Tabled in the House on Thursday, November 17, 2011.

And:

That the Committee undertake a study of the Report of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada on the application of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, pursuant to the Order of Reference Tabled in the House on Tuesday, June 21, 2011.

Those were adopted on Tuesday, November 29.

So we have those two agreements on proposed studies by the committee.

The other matter is that the estimates have now been referred to the committee on the four commissioners. I'm at the will of the committee about whether you want to hear from the commissioners and the format. We can have one meeting per commissioner and a full review of the estimates.

The other matter is that the committee well prior to my time had started a study on open government, and there has been a significant amount of work. I believe the summary of evidence was submitted to all members. The Information Commissioner has also supported the committee looking at continuing that study on open government.

The last thing is that Google has a new privacy policy, and the Privacy Commissioner, I believe, has raised some concerns about the Google privacy policy.

So there are a number of things the committee can undertake, but we do need to make some decisions about scheduling some business.

Mr. Del Mastro.

Noon

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Thank you, Madam Chairman.

We would be interested in moving forward specifically with recommendations regarding our study that we've just undertaken on the Lobbying Act. Perhaps the analyst could provide us with some details as to when they would be prepared to move forward with that. I don't know if it's too soon.

12:05 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

We did drafting instructions. Right?

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

We've done drafting instructions but not recommendations. I don't know if they actually need to complete the draft before we can have a discussion around recommendations or if we could do that sooner.

12:05 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

We can do it sooner. If you don't want to wait for the draft report before looking at recommendations, you could certainly do that. We can do that Tuesday.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Perhaps we could encourage parties that have specific recommendations...we will bring them forward. We'll try to get them out to everyone on Monday. We'll send them, obviously, through the clerk, get them out on Monday so that we can discuss them on Tuesday during the first hour, and then we could have the second hour for committee business, Madam Chair.

12:05 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

Is everybody okay with that: draft recommendations on the Lobbying Act to the clerk by Monday so that we can have them translated and circulated at the meeting on Tuesday? Is everybody fine with that?

I would really urge us to actually look beyond Tuesday for committee business, because it makes the clerk's job a little easier if we're not scheduling one meeting at a time, so that if we're actually going to call any witnesses, such as the commissioners, we can give them a heads up about coming.

Mr. Butt.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Butt Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

I'm relatively new to the process, obviously, Madam Chair, but for the estimates, is there a timeframe in which the committee needs to deal with those? Is there a deadline? Does it have to be by the end of this fiscal year, March 31? How does that normally work?

I think you'd mentioned maybe having each commissioner come in, maybe an hour for each commissioner. I wouldn't say a day for each commissioner; I think that might be a little bit of overkill. I'm not sure what the process is for that, but obviously if that's something we need to get done regardless, then maybe we should be looking at some scheduling around that.

12:05 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Jean Crowder

Before I go to Mr. Dusseault, I'm just going to go to the clerk on the timing on the main estimates.

March 1st, 2012 / 12:05 p.m.

The Clerk of the Committee Mr. Chad Mariage

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Standing Order 81.4 states that the main estimates are to be reported or will be deemed reported back to the House no later than May 31 of the current fiscal year.