Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to speak a little bit about the testimony of Mr. Wernick, Clerk of the Privy Council. He spoke about the Shawcross issue—I'm paraphrasing, but I'm sure we can pull it up the exact text—in the context of there always being conversations. I think even you acknowledge that there are legitimate conversations to be had for consideration.
Mr. Wernick pointed out, and I am quoting the part of Shawcross that I think is relevant here:
In order so to inform himself, he may, although I do not think he is obligated to, consult with any of his colleagues in the Government; and indeed, as Lord Simon once said, he would in some cases be a fool if he did not.
In your testimony today, you mentioned that on September 16, when your chief of staff had a phone call with Mr. Bouchard and Mr. Marques, the comments were, “We think we should get some outside advice on this.” Again, referring to your testimony, on October 18, it was also Mr. Bouchard who spoke to your chief of staff, and asked if they could have the option of seeking external legal opinion on a DPP's decision not to extend an invitation.
Referring back to September 16, you said that you had made up your mind on the issue, and that you were not going to intervene. However, in that September 16 commentary you provided, it was expressed that they said they understood that the individual Crown prosecutor wanted to negotiate an agreement, but the director did not. That somewhat indicates to me that even on the prosecution side, there was debate. There was debate on whether or not this was appropriate.
Is it unreasonable then, if there's still debate, even within the Crown prosecutor's office, or whomever they are referring to there, to bring out other advice that was asked for on September 16, as well as on October 18, to see what legal options there were. Clearly, whether it was with you, your office or the Prime Minister's Office, within the prosecution there seemed to be disagreements or differences of opinion.
Why would it have been unreasonable—and then referring back to the Wernick testimony and Shawcross—to say that you would want to consult as much as possible on these types of matters? If there were still some differences of opinion, what would the objection be to bringing in another opinion, an outside legal opinion?