He said: Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not say to all members of the House that there has been a lot of due diligence from the members of the official opposition, the Bloc and the New Democrats on this. Members have certainly tried to do their very best to fulfill their responsibilities. I would be negligent if I did not point that out to the House and, through you, Mr. Speaker, to Canadians who are watching.
I rise to speak to two motions to amend clause 123 of Bill C-2, the federal accountability act, which proposes the enactment of a director of public prosecutions act. This is something that is tremendously important. Clause 123 was amended by the committee examining the bill to confer authority on a parliamentary committee to approve the appointment of a selected candidate to the position of the director of public prosecutions and to require a resolution from the House of Commons to remove the incumbent from office.
It is the government's view that these amendments which were proposed, I believe in good faith by my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois in committee, are beyond the scope and the principle of Bill C-2 as they run counter to the accountability regime that was carefully designed for the position of the director of public prosecutions.
Pursuant to clause 123, the DPP has the rank and status of a deputy head of department, a deputy minister. The DPP is responsible for initiating and conducting prosecutions under and on behalf of the Attorney General of Canada. The DPP is also required to provide an annual report to the Attorney General in respect of the activities of his or her office.
Accountability is inextricably linked to the authority to appoint and remove an office holder. Bill C-2 has introduced and contemplated an accountability framework whereby the DPP would be responsible and accountable to the Attorney General for the exercise of these executive functions. I would underline the executive as apart from the parliamentary or legislative function in this place. A central feature of this accountability framework is the authority to appoint and remove the DPP, which is conferred solely on the governor in council.
In addition, the DPP would be designated an accounting officer under Bill C-2, which prescribes the nature of the accountability of the DPP before the appropriate committees of the House of Commons and the Senate, as well as setting out how this accountability is discharged in appearing before the committee and answering questions. This is a made in Canada regime and this person would have the status of a deputy minister, while the accountability regimes would be blurred through the amendment that was made in committee.
Clause 123 as amended requires parliamentary approval of the appointment and removal of the DPP. It asks that the House of Commons now have a key role to play in the appointment and removal of a public office holder whose functions do form part of the executive branch of government. The Bloc amendment fundamentally changes the nature of the position and confuses the line of accountability of the DPP. This falls outside the principle and scope of the bill as approved by the House of Commons at second reading.
For this reason, I would like to encourage all members, particularly my good friend, the member for Vancouver Quadra, to give serious consideration to reviewing this decision. Is it really an appropriate line of accountability to have someone exercising executive power with the blurred lines of being designated an accounting officer in part of the bill and then being essentially a quasi-agent of Parliament, exercising executive authority? I commend this advice to members of the House.