Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Minister, for being here in what is probably the busiest month, possibly one of the busiest weeks, of your life. We appreciate it.
I want to start by dealing with two things.
The first is what the Speaker said in his ruling when he sent this to us. He was talking about the difference between this issue and that of a former case where a private member's bill was released before its time, and whether a privilege issue is there. He said that, at that time, with the private member's bill, “no doubt existed as to the provenance of the leak”. Thereby, he directed us to the fundamental issue here, which is establishing the provenance of this leak.
Now let me read from The Globe and Mail. It says:
The Liberal government is set to introduce its much-anticipated physician-assisted-dying law on Thursday, a bill that will exclude those who only experience mental suffering, such as people with psychiatric conditions, according to a source familiar with the legislation. The bill also won’t allow for advance consent, a request to end one’s life in the future, for those suffering with debilitating conditions such as dementia. In addition, there will be no exceptions for “mature minors” who have not yet reached 18 but wish to end their own lives. Those three issues, however, will be alluded to in the legislation for further study, according to the source, who is not authorized to speak publicly about the bill.
You made two assertions. One is that only negative information is included. That is not strictly true. That these issues “will be alluded to in the legislation for further study” is positive information about what is in the bill. You also say that the leak is incorrect in some of its information. I have to say that, with regard to the issue of incorrectness, this could well be a result of the journalist, Laura Stone, making a transcription error in an interview, so it may not actually be the source who was incorrect.
Additionally, with regard to only negative information being included, first of all, it is not, strictly speaking, a true statement. Second, I would submit to you that disclosure of what is not in a bill actually implies a greater comprehension of the complete content of the bill than merely being able to point to individual pictures that are in the bill, which could have resulted from somebody who was familiar only with a part of that legislation. It would suggest that, if the government is sincere in its search for the provenance, the source of the leak, it ought to be looking at someone who is familiar with the entire text of the bill.
Let me ask you this question. I apologize for being so direct, but I am sure you will appreciate why I need to do this. Are you the source of the leak?