Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague's arguments. I want to start with the frivolous and vexatious issue.
These are designed specifically for bad-faith requests. It is important to note that this recommendation actually came from House of Commons ETHI committee. Beyond that, eight provinces and three territorial governments have some variation of this, as does Australia, the U.K., and New Zealand.
It is also important to realize that people who have their requests denied on this basis will still be able to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner now, with this legalisation, will have order-making power to have the government to provide that information.
First, with respect to the order-making power, the member sort of glossed over it and said that it was no big deal. If it were no big deal, why did the Harper Conservative government not do it in 10 years, even though it has been called for since 1987?
Second, with respect to mandate letters, the member said that making mandate letters public was no big deal. If it were no big deal to make mandate letters of cabinet ministers public, why did the Harper government never do it? In fact, making mandate letters public ensures that ministers are not only accountable for commitments to the Prime Minister but to Parliament and to government.
Third, the Conservative platform in 2006 pledged specifically to modernize the Access to Information Act and apply it to ministers' offices. Why did the Conservatives not make any of these changes, any of the strengthening to the Access to Information Act in almost 10 years in office?