I'm just interested in clause 9, and it will be in clause 10 as well. This is one of the key issues that was raised by many people. I'm looking at an article in the March 21 edition of The Lawyer's Weekly, where lawyers for the federal commissioners are raising alarm bells, particularly about this clause of Mr. Adler's bill. It says that crown counsel Lisa Blais said that Bill C-520 “would give politicians a weapon to attack independent and impartial Parliamentary officers”, and “It politicizes the public service”. She particularly drills down on clause 9 and in the ability to demand investigations by members of Parliament or the Senate.
The article says, “if passed it could jeopardize the ability of the 40 lawyers who work for agents of Parliament to do their jobs, Blais warned.” She also said:
Their professionalism [and] impartiality is questioned and suspect. If they make a very tough call in the context of their position, will this be used as a sword because some politician doesn't like an opinion that one of our members provides? So there will be a chilling effect potentially when it comes to our members discharging their duties.
My understanding is that Mr. Adler's no longer supporting clause 9. I'd like to ask him, does he agree with this assessment by federal crown lawyers that this would impede the independence of the parliamentary officers of Parliament, and is his decision not to support clause 9 an indication that he's recognized that mistake?