Mr. Speaker, I have just heard about this issue, but in my view this is not a question about fish and it is not a question about the member; this is a question about the right of parliamentarians to have full, complete, objective, unedited information available to them so they can make good decisions about important issues like the fishery. Clearly there was information within the purview of the federal government which the federal government did not want to release because it was, in its own words, too negative.
Why should members of Parliament be sheltered by the government from information that is germane to the issues before us because the government does not want it to come out? That is essentially what happened here. Now it is passing the buck. The real issue is that it would not give us as parliamentarians information that it had because it thought it was too negative. Those are the government's own words. That is in the memo.
I think this is an extremely serious matter because if the government can do this about British Columbia salmon, then it can withhold information from the rest of us that it thinks is too negative.
I am put in mind of a situation that arose in the U.S. where the auditor general for the social security fund was told by the Bush administration not to provide Congress with certain information about the social security system when Congress was dealing with these issues. That hampered members of the Congress from making good decisions about an important issue like social security.
There is a wide variety of matters before the House and before members of the House and committees of the House that can be extremely adversely affected if the government is allowed to get away with withholding information because it deems it too negative for the rest of us to know about. I strongly object to that course of dealing. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to intervene, to put a stop to this kind of sanitizing and editing by a government that does not want to make full disclosure.