Thank you very much, Chair.
Just as a matter of clarification, it is, as you said, a motion signed by all four opposition members of the committee. It was a letter that I drafted and that Mr. Angus very graciously agreed to and signed. As he is wont to do, he submitted it before we accumulated the signatures on the other three letters. While it's in his name before us today, I just want to let you know that it was an all-party agreed letter.
I will read the motion:
That the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics invite the Clerk of the Privy Council of Canada to appear before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, to ensure that all briefing notes, reports, and emails related to the 16 communications between the President of the Treasury Board and the Irving Group of Companies since February 17, 2016; and all briefing notes, reports, and emails produced within the Treasury Board Secretariat related to Project RESOLVE since October 19, 2015, have not been destroyed.
The opposition, as we've made clear in recent weeks, is not at all interested in what the contents of any of those cabinet documents might be, but we are, with regard to the fair and equal judicial process that every defendant should be allowed, and we request that those documents be released by the Prime Minister and the Privy Council Office to ensure that Vice-Admiral Norman is properly, adequately and fairly prepared to defend himself against the charges, which we believe have more than a little political overtone to them.
I know there are those who have ridiculed the request in the past few days, but we are making this motion because we know that there are individuals within the Prime Minister's Office who have been associated with the criminal destruction of documents in the previous Liberal government of Ontario, so we have a very legitimate concern.
We would not, on the attendance of the Clerk of the Privy Council before us, be interested at all in asking any questions about the contents or the nature of those documents. It would be simply to ensure, as I believe we need to be assured—Canadians need to be assured, and certainly Admiral Norman needs to be assured—that those documents requested exist and have not been interfered with, and to make, of course, the continuing request, more to the Prime Minister, that he follow the sterling example of former prime minister Paul Martin in 2004 at the time of the developing advertising scandal when he voluntarily provided hundreds of cabinet documents to the defendants in that case.