Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the words of my colleague and friend, the President of the Treasury Board. Unfortunately, the bill he is reflecting on would not do what he purports it would do. Let me give a couple of quick examples.
First, when the ethics committee was studying this bill, it made 28 recommendations. However, the Liberal-dominated committee only accepted one of those recommendations.
Second, the bill purports to strengthen the act by allowing the Information Commissioner to order access to information from ministers' offices, as well as the Prime Minister's Office. However, what the minister has not mentioned is that while the Information Commissioner may have the ability to order such requests, it does not make it mandatory for a minister or the Prime Minister's Office to respect that order.
In fact, as the Information Commissioner has already pointed out, quite rightfully, had the current version of the Access to Information Act, which the government says strengthens the act, been in place during the sponsorship scandal, we would have never found out all of the illegal goings-on by the former Liberal government. Information Commissioner Legault said that if Bill C-58, in its current form, has been passed, it would have meant that journalist Daniel Leblanc, back in the early 2000s, would have been unable to get the information, which eventually led to the sponsorship scandal being unveiled to the Canadian public.
How can the minister possibly state, with any veracity, that the bill would actually strengthen access to information, when in fact all the witnesses pointed out it would do exactly the opposite?