Madam Chair, I'd like to talk about a few points.
To the subamendment, I think we had a thorough discussion at the last meeting about what the mandate of this committee was and about the different roles this committee has. I made the point in my discussions that, for the committee here, our role is to review the work of the four officers of Parliament who are included in our mandate.
I am wondering if the subamendment is expressing some lack of confidence in the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, so I'd like to share with the committee some notes I made concerning the commissioner, the act and the role of the commissioner in executing that act.
The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner administers the Conflict of Interest Act by establishing compliance measures, investigating possible contraventions of the act and providing advice to public office holders on their obligations. The commissioner is an officer of Parliament. Officers of Parliament are independent from the government and report directly to Parliament.
The Conflict of Interest Act came into force on July 9, 2007, which created for the first time a legislative regime governing the ethical conduct of public officer holders. Prior to this date, public office holders were subject to non-statutory codes of conduct.
Some additional information on the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is that this person is appointed by the Governor in Council, by commission under the Great Seal, after consultation with the leader of every recognized party in the House of Commons, and after approval of the appointment by resolution of the House. He or she holds the office for a seven-year term.
Under the Conflict of Interest Act, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner must be a former judge of a superior court in Canada or of a provincial court; or a former member of a federal or provincial board, commission or tribunal who has demonstrated expertise in at least one of the following areas: conflict of interest, financial arrangements, professional regulation and discipline or ethics; or a former Senate ethics officer or former ethics commissioner. The position was created in 2007 and replaced the Office of the Ethics Commissioner under Parliament of Canada Act, section 81.
The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner also provides confidential advice to the Prime Minister and to public office holders on all matters pertaining to the implementation of the Conflict of Interest Act, and in addition the commissioner may, at the request of a parliamentarian or on their own initiative, investigate any alleged breach of the act by a public officer holder. The commissioner may, in the course of investigation, consider information provided by the public that is conveyed to the commissioner by a parliamentarian.
I think this information that is publicly available is important for the Canadian public to understand. The role of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is to undertake any investigation of alleged violations of the Conflict of Interest Act.
I would like to return once again to our mandate here in the committee, because many members here did cite the text of Standing Order 108(3)(h), paragraphs (v), (vi) and (vii), during the course of their interventions. I just want to point out, especially in (vi), that the text must be read in its entirety. It's in a certain context:
(vi) in cooperation with other committees, the review and report on any federal legislation, regulation or standing order which impacts upon the access to information or privacy of Canadians or the ethical standards of public office holders;
It's not to investigate public office holders themselves.
This was very interesting to me as I was reviewing all our statutory requirements for this committee, because I took a look at the work of this committee historically. I think it's something that behooves us to see how the important work of committee members actually leads to the creation and the evolution of better standards of practice—