Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Again, picking up on that point, I don't think we've ever put up a fight in terms of asking a minister to come. I think we work well as a committee, and when these requests have been made, I know Minister Gould has been here four times on this issue and many other times on many other issues. I don't understand the criticism at the beginning of Ms. Kusie's statement, but that said, I would like to build a little on what Mr. Christopherson said.
This is about what has happened over the last couple of months on this committee. Again, we work very well together, and there tends to be a very respectful tone in this committee, but when we had a series of witnesses, starting with the Clerk of the House, we saw the whip from the official opposition come down and question his integrity.
Then when we had the Chief Electoral Officer, who has been before this committee many times and has worked very well with this committee, Mr. Poilievre questioned his integrity, going so far as to suggest, in the absence of any evidence, that Elections Canada is a Liberal lapdog. He had no qualms about doing it and took delight in doing it, even correcting me when I got the quote wrong on his statement.
Then it went one step further.
Mr. Christopherson's comments described the integrity of David Johnston very well. Within Canada there are few individuals who have such unassailable credibility, and you would think they would be able to come before this committee. I agree with Mr. Christopherson that we can disagree on the process by which individuals were selected and how this commission came to be, and those are fair comments. The opposition is well within its rights in questioning the government on its role and its decisions and the difference between the recommendations of this committee and what actually happened, and it should be asking those questions. That's the type of debate I'm used to in this committee.
However, to then hear the opposition question the personal credibility of David Johnston to the extent that he had to stand up and defend himself by pointing to his own body of work is shocking.
Can you comment on that and your impression of...I would call him “Your Excellency”, but there's a rule that you have to put five dollars in the pot towards his charity. Can you comment on the credibility of David Johnston and your conversations that you have had so far?