Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank my colleague from P.E.I. for his comments and remarks. I enjoyed his speech. He spoke at length about accountability because that seems to be the theme, the centrepiece, of the legislative package we are being promised by the newly elected Conservative government.
He did raise the seeming contradiction of having an unelected senator serving as the Minister of Public Works, with an unprecedented budget for giving out contracts and spending money, and limited access, oversight and scrutiny opportunities for the activities and operations of that new minister.
Another issue along those lines came up as well. We are all filling out our declarations of personal assets to file with the Ethics Commissioner as we speak, but we do not really know what guidelines or unique status the senator may enjoy. Is it the Senate ethical guidelines that apply? Is it the House of Commons ethical guidelines? What declaration is the senator supposed to make?
I understand that senators are allowed to sit on the boards of directors of companies, which MPs are not allowed to do. Senators in fact are doing so. Does that mean that our new Minister of Public Works is sitting on the boards of directors of 10 or 12 different companies, some of which may run into conflict because they seek contracts with the federal government? It is just a bad precedent, in my view, and I would like my hon. colleague's comments on that.
While I have the floor, I would also like to ask his views on the idea that the federal government has now stripped the access to information provisions out of the accountability act, which I believe will be the kiss of death to this access to information reform package. He and I have seen this movie before. This is like déjà vu for us because we got snookered once by his government on access to information. I want to know if he thinks it is happening again.