Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order in hopes that you can shed some light on an issue arising out of committee proceedings today.
At this morning's meeting of Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, the committee went in camera to deal with an amendment and a motion that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister had moved during the public portion of today's meeting. My understanding of the rules is that all in camera meeting proceedings are deemed secret and that only decisions of the committee are printed in those minutes.
My party has sought advice from a committee clerk in the past and we have been clearly told that decisions taken by a committee during in camera sessions can only be publicly disclosed once the clerk of the committee has published the minutes. This is the explicit advice that we have received from a senior clerk of the most senior committee of the House of Commons.
I was alarmed today when I read a tweet from Kady O'Malley in which the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister disclosed a decision of the committee prior to the minutes being published. The tweet appeared at 11:53 a.m., while the minutes were not posted until 1:10 p.m. today.
I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, given the clear advice that we have received from the senior clerk on the most senior committee of the House of Commons, if you could clarify the rules of in camera committee proceedings and if there is a breach, I would ask you to address it.
The Conservative party likes to use in camera to block Canadians from seeing what their elected representatives are doing. Conservatives use this tactic to kill studies and motions that are embarrassing to them. The use of in camera meetings by the Conservatives is a stain on our democracy. In typical fashion, the Conservatives are trying to have it both ways. They cannot on one hand use in camera to block Canadians from seeing what their elected representatives are doing, while at the same time breaking in camera rules when they see fit.
This is typical behaviour from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and shows how he lacks credibility. He accuses members of making unnamed robocalls, yet he has done worse. He sent out calls that were somewhat to impersonate the local MPP to cynically try to convince voters to vote for him.
I look forward to your ruling, Mr. Speaker.