Mr. Chair, first off I'd like to deal absolutely with the motion. But I'd also like to bring to the attention of the committee that there have been a number of allegations made both in the House and in the public domain about a report from the RCMP on the firearms registry, that we had somehow done something with that report and not provided it. I'd like to suggest to the committee an article in the Toronto Star, written by Tonda MacCharles back on November 7. I'm sure my colleagues opposite have heard of the Toronto Star and Tonda; she frequently comes into our meetings. The last paragraph from Tonda was: “Responding by email to questions from the Star, RCMP Sgt. Greg Cox said late Friday the force submitted its 2008 firearms report on Oct. 9, four weeks ago”.
So the report was tabled in the appropriate time. I think somehow members may have misconstrued some of the information that was out there. I would say particularly to the members of Liberal Party that if they talk with some of their former cabinet members they will tell you that many letters get sent with dates on them, but the reports frequently do not show up at the same time. That's just for clarification on that particular issue. It was in fact confirmed by Toronto Star reporter Tonda MacCharles.
On the reports that were asked for, we have not been in any way, shape, or form trying to hold them back. The problem is, we couldn't figure out the reports that are in this motion. We're not certain what those reports are. We're certainly not opposed to making relevant and timely information available to the committee, but we need to know exactly what those are. We think that the report being referred to is an internal audit and evaluation done by the RCMP. We think that's what was referenced in the committee. We're not sure that those are complete, and we're not sure where they've gone. We know by Treasury Board guidelines that the internal documents are not approved by the minister, and the normal process would provide that, once final, those audits will be posted in both official languages on the RCMP website.
I am satisfied from what I have been told, and from what questions I've asked, that the minister hasn't seen them, nor likely would see them until they were made public anyway.
Mr. Chair, from our side we'd encourage you to instruct the clerk to write the RCMP and request the internal audit and evaluation, because that's what we think the opposite side is asking for. We have no idea whether they're done or where they are, but they will be a public document, so it would only be appropriate that if we want them, we ask for them.