As always, Mr. Davies makes very good points. He's a real lawyer, unlike me. I would agree with him, based on House of Commons Procedure and Practice , third edition, that the Standing Orders do not limit the power to order the production of papers and records. The result is a broad, absolute power that, on the surface, appears to be without restriction. Having said that, I think—and even Mr. Davies would agree—there are certain things that you certainly don't want to make public. If we procure documents and they go to the committee and are not made public, I'm not sure what we're going to get out of it, but there are certainly things that I think are not in our country's best interest to reveal or in an individual's best interest to reveal. There are things like, for example, personal information. I'm sure Mr. Davies agrees with that.
Also, I think in terms of our relationship, Mr. Davies is right. ATIP is very broad and includes withholding information relating to our relationship with the provinces. I have the actual provision if you want to read it at some point. That is included in ATIP; however, I think there's a good reason for that, because we do have to work with provinces. Our being able to come to agreements with the provinces and to have good relationships with them is certainly fundamental in our management of the pandemic. If we were to reveal everything, I think that could potentially impact our relationships with the provinces. Similarly, there are provisions relating to our relationships with other countries and not revealing information that may be detrimental to other countries. I think there is good reason to exclude some material.
I would agree with Mr. Davies. If you take a really liberal interpretation of ATIP provisions, all the things that can be excluded under ATIP—I do have a list of them here—as he has indicated, make up a very long list. I think the department has to be very conservative in applying that and not just give a bunch of bureaucrats markers and say, “Go crazy.” If they do, and if these documents come back heavily redacted without any information or with large parts of it excluded, then I think that's a problem, but I don't think they will. The department, as opposed to a ministry, is supposed to be non-partisan, and I do have some faith that they will apply the redactions in an appropriate way.