Evidence of meeting #50 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was chair.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • William V. Baker  Deputy Minister, Department of Public Safety
  • Doug Nevison  Director, Fiscal Policy Division, Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch, Department of Finance
  • Ned Franks  Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Studies, Queen's University, As an Individual

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Insults only come from you, is that how it works?

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joe Preston

You've blown your Mr. Congeniality award today, Mr. Brison, but let's try to get the questions in here.

March 17th, 2011 / 11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Oakville, ON

Not a speech, questions.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Chair, the government is facing a breach of privilege, facing a potential contempt of Parliament, the first time in the Commonwealth that a government has faced this kind of charge from a Speaker's ruling.

Minister Flaherty was requested by committee to appear before committee. Earlier today Minister Flaherty was seen going in the direction of the House of Commons gym. I have nothing against fitness, and it is St. Patrick's Day, which may be a special day for Minister Flaherty, but I can't understand for the life of me why the government continues to show contempt for this Parliament when Minister Flaherty, who was asked specifically by this committee to appear before the committee and is in Ottawa, refused to show up at this committee.

Minister Menzies, the finance committee set a deadline of November 24, 2010, for your department to provide the information requested. That deadline passed without even an acknowledgement by your department, which showed contempt, frankly. On December 10 your government responded that “The requested information on corporate income taxes is still covered by cabinet confidence.” Do you still believe that to be true, or were you misleading the committee at that time?

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Well, thank you for that wonderful opening vote of confidence in a new minister of this government.

If I could just comment, Mr. Brison, you and I sat on the finance committee together for as long as you were finance critic. I think that you and I got along quite well. Ideologically, sometimes we may have had different viewpoints, but you will recall, sir, that I supported your motion on October 6. I supported—

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

And as a minister now, your department—

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Could I finish, please?

I supported your motion because I wanted to make sure that we were providing whatever information we could to that committee to do its work, within the bounds of cabinet confidentiality.

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

So you supported our motion.

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

We supported that motion. Actually, your motion asked for a response from the finance department within ten days. You received that response on the 27th of October, which is ten sitting days.

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

The response from the minister's government on December 10 was that the requested information on corporate income taxes was still covered by cabinet confidence.

Minister, did you support that response from your department?

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Absolutely.

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Okay. So you say you do believe that the information we requested as a committee--

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

At that time.

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

--was a cabinet confidence.

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

The specific information that you requested at that time was viewed to be of cabinet confidentiality.