Mr. Speaker, I have two things to add to what the member said.
Personally, I have never read or seen a report from any officer of the House so condemnatory of the government as this one. The report talks about the denial of resources to the information commissioner; that working for the information commissioner is the death of one's career because of the way the government reacts; that the privy council office is actively involved in denying information; and that the justice minister is not only complicit in this, but her department is actually attacking the very legislation that gives the information commissioner the right to do his business.
I have never heard such strong language in the seven years that I have been in parliament. Never have I read language which basically says that the government is trying to stop an officer of the House from doing his job. It is doing it systematically, routinely, day after day and across the departments. That is something that should cause all Canadians great alarm.
We just have to read not only the report but Mr. Reid's comments that were published today in papers across the country in which he said that democracy itself was at risk when the government gets away with what it is doing right now. I could not agree more.
I would also like to bring to your attention, Mr. Speaker, something that happened yesterday. It does seem to fit the trend that we see from the government. At 11 o'clock in the morning the information commissioner's report was tabled in the House. We in the opposition could not get copies of it until question period had begun, three hours later. The report was tabled in the House at 11 a.m. and we were denied access to it. That too should be part of the debate. How can we have things tabled in this place and then not have them available to the members of parliament?
I do not have the exact date and time but I remember, within the last couple of months of Speaker's rulings, where the Speaker actually said that when anything is tabled at the Table in the House of Commons it should be available immediately. He also chastized the government for not making sure it was available.
I am not sure how or why that happened. I just know that for three hours we checked the website, phoned the office of the commissioner and did everything we could to get copies and we were denied access to something that was tabled in the House. There is something wrong with that and it should also be part of the debate that I hope we enter into today. How on earth can the government say that it is defending democracy and our parliamentary traditions when the information officer of the House says that the government is complicit in hiding information that should be available, not only to the House but to Canadians at large? Everything around here is based on our access to some kind of information.
We should be debating this. It is an absolute condemnation of the government in the way it has handled this whole issue. I hope that you, Mr. Speaker, will rule that we can enter into a debate about the confidence this place has in the government.