Mr. Donnelly, thank you for your support of this legislation. You and I have had a chance to discuss it. I think the New Democratic Party can and should be an ally for us in trying to get the right balance and improve this legislation. Your support at second reading certainly was important for us. I want to honour that support by working with you if you have specific suggestions like that one.
As I said, I don't sit as a voting member of this committee, so I want to be careful when you ask if I'm open to amendments when this committee ultimately does its clause-by-clause work and considers amendments. It's more a question that should and can be put to your colleagues on the committee.
On the specific suggestion of the specific element you raised with respect to cumulative effects, I think one of the challenges in the past—and I saw this when I sat in that very seat on previous committees in the last Parliament—was that when colleagues had suggestions to improve the legislation and amendments, necessarily because of the legislative process and the House of Commons Library of Parliament staff who work with MPs to draft the text of amendments and so on, they often arrived at the last minute.
The Department of Justice, in advising my department of the government, identify technical problems, and then colleagues—colleagues in this room—may decide that because of a technical problem a particular amendment shouldn't be considered or supported at that time. What I'm saying to you, and I'm saying to all members, is that I certainly am sensitive to strengthening those provisions if it can be done in a proper way, as you and I have talked about before. If there's a way that we can work with you, I will be able to ask the Department of Justice to give me, and I would share it with you, that technical advice on how a particular amendment may interact with other clauses of the bill, and then you can consider, obviously, how you want to factor that advice into whatever amendments a colleague would choose to propose. If it, in a sense, short-circuits that last-minute confusion, where amendments may be defeated or not considered in a proper context, and if I can in any way work with you and other colleagues in a transparent way before the clause-by-clause process would begin, or notice has to be given, I would be happy to do so.