Evidence of meeting #33 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 thank.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

12:30 p.m.

As an Individual

Adam Carroll

Thank you very much for your question.

I've also been wondering about that same question. Why are we here? What are we doing here? We're not even in the right place. We're not even talking about something that is with respect to any laws or legislation.

No. I agree with what you said earlier: I think this is a sideshow; this is a distraction. The circumstances and events came out right when their robocall scandal was just beginning to break, and this seemed like a very convenient way to turn the “channel”, as it's called.

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

I want to finish off because I think we should be close to putting an end to this affair.

Mr. Del Mastro believes that Bill C-30 is in the public interest, a bill that would allow the minister widespread discretion to spy on the activities of ordinary citizens without any real, clear indication that this is justifiable. There is widespread opposition to it across Canada, particularly in western Canada.

Given this minister's disregard and his attacks on average Canadians in calling them child pornographers if they speak up for the issue of privacy rights, do you believe that we as Canadians do need to stand up to this government on Bill C-30?

12:30 p.m.

As an Individual

Adam Carroll

I wouldn't have done what I did if I didn't fully agree and support that position. Bill C-30 will eliminate the need for judicial oversight of searches and “fishing expeditions”, as they're called. I don't believe that's right, and I believe we have to protect our privacy, and that was what I was trying to do.

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Thank you very much.

12:35 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Pierre-Luc Dusseault

Mr. Angus, your time is up.

We have 10 minutes left, enough for two five-minute turns around the table. You have the floor, Mr. Mayes.

April 24th, 2012 / 12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Carroll, I appreciate your being here today.

You stated earlier that you hadn't committed anything illegal. We are a committee here, and the chair is not a judge and we're not a jury, but we're the ethics committee.

The question really is are your actions ethical, and is it ethical to use an office that's funded by taxpayers, and a computer that's funded by taxpayers, and your salary that is funded by taxpayers to do what you did? I think that's a serious question, and it's the question that needs to be answered here. Do you feel that what you did was ethical? That's my first question.

The second question is that Mr. Andrews correctly pointed out that there are funds given to interns for severance, but there's also the question of separation. Are you receiving or did you receive discretionary funds from the Liberal leader's office?

The first question is do you feel that you were being unethical?

12:35 p.m.

As an Individual

Adam Carroll

Thank you for your questions. I'll answer them in order.

I think this actually gets to the bottom of my question earlier, why are we here? I think there are some people who think that because this is called the ethics committee, we're here to judge ethics. There is no forum to discuss what is ethical or what is not ethical. I have no answer to your question because I think that it is for every individual to answer for themself.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

And what's your response to my second question?

12:35 p.m.

As an Individual

Adam Carroll

In the second question you're asking about my severance. I'm not sure why, or where you're trying to go with that. I assume it's because you're trying to build up a storyline that doesn't exist, but I assure you that....

You know what? I'm just going to simply say that I will not answer that question because it's completely inappropriate.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Okay.

I don't have any more questions.

12:35 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Pierre-Luc Dusseault

You have two and a half minutes left, Mr. Del Mastro.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Thank you very much.

Mr. Carroll, as you'll know from your decades of political experience.... I believe you've worked for a number of MPs—Bonnie Crombie, you mentioned, and Joe Volpe, whose leadership campaign raised people from the dead....

Many Canadians in public life have gone through family breakdowns, and I'm proud that my party, the Conservative Party, has maintained a high ethical standard. We've never engaged in circulating divorce records of our political opponents—never—but there have been many.

If your smear campaign has served any purpose, I hope it will be to shame the Liberal Party into demanding better from its staff and, more importantly, reflecting on its own internal culture of rot, which produces activists who undertake things like you did.

I want to thank you for your appearance today. I think we've gained a number of answers today. But I'm left with an awful lot of questions as well, because it's very clear to me that you've indicated, for example, that everyone in the Liberal office—you said everyone—had access to these files. I can't see what purpose a file like this would serve in the Liberal Research Bureau other than to be used for the exact purpose that you used it for. I would think it was done with the full knowledge of the leadership of the Liberal Party, that files like this were being compiled with the intention of at some point turning someone like you self loose with them, to use them in the fashion you did. I'd also suggest that if the Liberal Party truly wants to demonstrate....

You know, I read a file from 2002, a newspaper story, from when Kevin Bosch first arrived on the Hill. It talked about how Mr. Bosch came with files full of personal information, attack information, on opposition MPs.

I believe this has been a culture within the Liberal Party for some time. I think you were picking up on that culture. I think you were using resource materials that, you've indicated, you don't even know where they came from, but they were readily available to every staff member in the Liberal office.

I can't help but believe, and I don't think anyone who's impartial in this room can help but believe, that those files were compiled in the Liberal Research Bureau for any reason other than to do exactly what you did with them.

As I pointed out, the Liberal Party itself in 2005 brought a bill similar to Bill C-30 to assist police in tracking this kind of crime that we see in our streets. Marlene Jennings twice championed it as a private member's bill, and I believe Francis Scarpaleggia demanded that the government support that bill and bring it forward at the time.

12:35 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Pierre-Luc Dusseault

Monsieur Del Mastro—

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

I don't remember your using this information, or using this kind of information or attack.

12:40 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Pierre-Luc Dusseault

Mr. Del Mastro, unfortunately, your time is up.