Mr. Speaker, first of all the presumption here and the references to Bills C-286, C-250 and C-257 all are with respect to the same statement about a new function and beyond the mandate.
However, I would like to submit that the Minister of Justice already has responsibilities in the area that C-574 deals with. To discharge that responsibility, it is clear that the minister would have to get information from resources such as actuaries and other experts in the area.
It is not incumbent on the Minister of Justice himself to have all of those particular levels of expertise within his own department to fully discharge his responsibilities. There is a reliance obviously on the resources of the Government of Canada, available to all ministers.
In this regard, before any minister of justice would opine on any matter related to the retirement income system, it is clear that the retirement income itself is not within the jurisdiction of the Minister of Justice.
However, there is a due diligence and a due care requirement on behalf of the Minister of Justice to ensure that in giving legal opinions that he or she also has the important information with regard to the fundamentals and the dimensions.
This argument about “significantly alters” is a qualitative assessment by the hon. parliamentary secretary, but the argument does not, in my view, sustain the suggestion that a royal recommendation is required, most simply because in this particular case the Minister of Justice, in fact, has a responsibility with regard to opining on Bill C-574 on the Canadian retirement income system and must engage these kinds of resources in the normal course of his work to do his job in a proper fashion with due diligence.
Therefore, I submit that, since the Clerk of the House normally advises a member about the likelihood of a royal recommendation being required on a bill, and the House has extensive resources to make such an assessment, it is clear that the question about extending the mandate beyond what the minister may have has already been considered. It is one of the fundamental positions.
I would submit that the expertise within the Clerk of the House's office has taken that decision and not made that recommendation, and indeed the Chair has not given that notice of a likelihood of a royal recommendation.