Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Kootenay—Columbia, the Parliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage, for his kind words. Over the years we have worked together at committee or in different venues and have always had a good rapport and a good understanding of each other.
However, I am somewhat puzzled, I must say, by his request that I would retract something I have said.
Here is the reality. In fact, I met Mr. Gwyn Morgan. As a businessman he did some amazing things with EnCana. I worked with EnCana on some policy issues and I have a lot of respect for Mr. Gwyn Morgan, but the point I was trying to make was not really a comment on Mr. Gwyn Morgan's capabilities or otherwise. The reality is that he was a Conservative fundraiser, but the other part is that he made some comments that people found distasteful.
Irrespective of all of that, the committee said that in its wisdom it did not want to confirm Mr. Gwyn Morgan. What would have been the problem, then, for the Conservative government to say that the public appointments commission is really a good idea, we thought it was the best batter, but the batter struck out, so let us find another batter and let us get on with this if we really are committed to this notion of non-partisan appointments? I think it is a very laudable objective.
Whether it could have been achieved with a public appointments commission, I am not so sure, because we would have to sort of unravel the whole political history and political economy of Canada to reach that point. The reality, and we all know it, is that when we get down to the short list there are many people who are equally qualified. There might be a person with excellent qualifications and another person with excellent qualifications, and the way the system works is that for two people of equal qualifications the Prime Minister has the discretion to do what he or she wishes.
That is how it works in this country. If the government wants to change that, it should advance this public appointments commission instead of running away with its toys, packing up its tent and going home.