Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Delta—Richmond East for his interest in this subject.
I had a chance to be on the fisheries committee with him for a number of years. He is very knowledgeable about this industry. He has a great interest in the whole question of salmon aquaculture and I know the government appreciates his comments.
It is incorrect to say that the minister misled the House. What had happened in Question No. 5 the member had posed as he read it to you, Mr. Speaker, and I do not propose to reread the question or the answer, but the question he posed is more appropriately directed to the province of British Columbia and the provincial ministry which in fact collects the data that the member is interested in.
The member uses access to information to get working copies and internal memos of different answers that are being prepared for the minister's signature. The answer which was tabled in the House as signed by the minister is complete and reflects the fact that the member's question should properly be directed to the province of British Columbia. In fact in an effort not to induce the House in error or to mislead the House, the government felt that it was appropriate to refer the member for that specific portion of his very detailed question directly to the provincial ministry which in fact collects this data.
If some internal working documents that were being prepared by various officials may have had different versions of particular facts, the ultimate decision as to what is tabled is made by the minister who has very high regard for the House. In fact the minister has had the job which I presently have. He understands how important are questions on the Order Paper. I have discussed this with him a number of times. The only intention was to provide the member with a clear direction of where he could go to get the most accurate information.
The Government of Canada normally does not provide in written answers to questions information which is properly collected by a provincial department. The information, as the member noted, is collected and monitored but it is done so by the province of British Columbia. That is exactly what the answer to the question reflects.