Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Westlock—St. Paul for his remarks. I also want to congratulate him, since he is the chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. I gather that his health has improved, and I am glad to see him here.
My question is simple. In the motion that his party introduced, clause ( c ) states:
(c) establish a duty on public officials to create the records necessary to document their actions and decisions;
My colleague heard the Liberal members criticize the motion by saying that there were exemptions and things that should be discussed. In any case, all these exemptions are usually discussed once the bill has been introduced. That is what we want and that is the aim of the Conservative Party's motion.
I will reiterate what the Information Commission said in his October 25 presentation to the committee. He said:
None of these improvements, however, can ensure accountability through transparency unless there is a foundation of professional record keeping by public officials. The most fundamental, pivotal proposal I am making is that a legal duty to create appropriate records be imposed and that an offence be created for failure to fulfill that duty...The failure by public officials to be professional in creating records is also undermining the work of Parliament, the Auditor General, the National Archivist, the police and judicial inquiries. Conducting governance by winks and nods simply leads to poor decision-making, inept administration and corruption.
He also said that, “—there is universal acknowledgement of the reality that the right of access is being rendered meaningless by a growing oral culture in government”.
Ultimately, he is saying that the oral culture and the fact that nothing is being written down anymore results in corruption. This is what the Liberal members of the House are now defending. They want the current legislation to continue to be enforced and to maintain a culture of secrecy and corruption. I want to know what my colleague thinks about this.