In jest; in jest.
I want to start by agreeing, actually, with Mr. Kent. It is outrageous that there is a leak with respect to the Supreme Court judicial appointment process. Without question, that kind of leak undermines the confidence in the judicial selection process and appointment process. I think people from all parties ought to condemn that kind of thing. It's completely inappropriate.
I also want to acknowledge that I voted for a more public-facing inquiry to get at the truth, but I think everyone on this side cares at getting to the truth. It's just a question of how we can best do that.
You'll remember, Mr. Kent, that informally, when the SNC story started in the news, I had come to you and come to Mr. Angus and said, “Is this something that you think we would look into?” I think if at that time, before the justice committee was seized with it, we had seized it instead, we would have absolutely been an appropriate forum, and then the waiver would apply to this committee. I can speak for myself; I don't know that it would have been closed down quite so quickly, but the fact of the matter is that we are where we are now, and the waiver does not apply to this committee.
More than that, I didn't hear anyone say today already that Ms. Wilson-Raybould has written a letter to the justice committee and said that not only does she have more to say but she is going to say it. No one is going to hold her back from writing a submission to justice and providing emails and text messages. Having spoken with Mr. Housefather and having seen his public statements, I understand that all of that information is to be made public.
In my previous life as a lawyer, we would call motions like yours, Mr. Kent, premature. To me, it makes far more sense to see what is said in that public statement and to see how justice reacts to that, frankly, and whether they think any of that new information is something...worth reconsidering their previous decision to close off their study and for us to, if necessary, revisit this conversation. Frankly, at this time, justice is seized with it, the waiver applies, and there are more documents forthcoming to justice. It seems like we're getting a little bit ahead of ourselves at this committee when, even if we had Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Ms. Philpott sitting there—I know, because they take their oath very seriously, having spoken to them both—they wouldn't be able to say anything to our committee because of the oaths they've made and because the waiver doesn't apply. Even if a similar waiver applied to our committee, we'd be relitigating, with Ms. Wilson-Raybould in particular, the very same information that she not only provided in person but will also now provide in writing.
So my view is twofold. One, I think this is appropriately before justice. We ought to wait and see what justice does in the wake of the additional information that is provided. Two, not everyone here today was part of our inquiry into Cambridge Analytica, but I've said this publicly in interviews already. I have not found committees like ours to be very effective at conducting inquiries. When we had AIQ come before us, they provided written documents. The ability of our committee to do the work of effectively a commissioner.... It was very important for us to do that kind of work and to pass it off to the Privacy Commissioner, but for us to conduct that inquiry ourselves, we clearly ran into roadblocks. We were unable to proceed based on our inability to compel documentary production in the same way and our inability to revisit testimony in the same way. Frankly, the tools we have at our disposal are more cumbersome. The Privacy Commissioner was well placed to pursue that further.
In this case, what can we do, if we want to get at the truth as far as this committee is concerned, that is within our purview? Well, the Ethics Commissioner reports to us, and the Ethics Commissioner has undertaken, as I understand in the letter to Mr. Cullen and to Mr. Angus, that he is proceeding with an investigation. I know that the Ethics Commissioner is to attend before this committee for estimates in early May already. If we want to bring him here earlier, so be it, if that's the will of the committee, but certainly I think it's fair for us to ensure that the Ethics Commissioner has the tools, resources and mandate to do his job effectively, and to do his job in a timely fashion, such that we are able to get at the truth.
When I voted the way I did for a more public-facing inquiry, it was because I did not think that committees were best placed to do this kind of work, and I thought that an independent, non-partisan commissioner-style process was much more effective.
If the Ethics Commissioner doesn't have a full mandate to do this kind of work, we can ask those questions. We can ask him about the limitations there might be to his mandate, and he can express concerns if he has any.
I think that, fundamentally, is the job this committee should undertake, with the current waivers as they apply and with the status quo as it is. If additional documents and testimony that would make me change my mind are produced, then so be it. As I say, I hate to be technical, but I think the motion is premature.