In part, I would just like to address some of what's been said in conversation, particularly the idea that we ought to wait on an appearance by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner in order to undertake a study. There are a couple of issues with that.
One is that we know—it's been made public—that the commissioner himself is sick and on an indeterminate leave, so we don't know that.... Even though our parliamentary process around the estimates will continue, the commissioner himself may very likely not appear. Even if he did, if the investigation were still under way, I'm quite sure it's not his usual practice to comment on investigations that are actually happening. Until he concluded his investigation, there would be nothing for him to say in this place.
Further, with respect to that investigation concluding without him back in his position, the Conflict of Interest Act, under which he reports, in section 44(7) indicates that, “The Commissioner shall provide the Prime Minister with a report setting out the facts”, etc. In other words, the act says that only the commissioner provides that report. It's not clear that, without an interim commissioner—and no interim commissioner has been appointed—the report could actually be issued and therefore the investigation concluded.
Absent an actual interim commissioner, I don't think it makes sense for the committee to wait on the Ethics Commissioner's appearance before the committee, because we really have no idea when that would be.