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Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics


NUMBER 125 
l
1st SESSION 
l
42nd PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Thursday, November 1, 2018

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (1310)  

[English]

     I call the meeting to order. This is the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, meeting 125.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 106(4), this is a meeting requested by four members of the committee to discuss their request to undertake a study of communications between the President of the Treasury Board and the Irving Group of Companies.
    Mr. Kent.
    Thank you very much, Chair.
    Just as a matter of clarification, it is, as you said, a motion signed by all four opposition members of the committee. It was a letter that I drafted and that Mr. Angus very graciously agreed to and signed. As he is wont to do, he submitted it before we accumulated the signatures on the other three letters. While it's in his name before us today, I just want to let you know that it was an all-party agreed letter.
    I will read the motion:
That the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics invite the Clerk of the Privy Council of Canada to appear before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, to ensure that all briefing notes, reports, and emails related to the 16 communications between the President of the Treasury Board and the Irving Group of Companies since February 17, 2016; and all briefing notes, reports, and emails produced within the Treasury Board Secretariat related to Project RESOLVE since October 19, 2015, have not been destroyed.
    The opposition, as we've made clear in recent weeks, is not at all interested in what the contents of any of those cabinet documents might be, but we are, with regard to the fair and equal judicial process that every defendant should be allowed, and we request that those documents be released by the Prime Minister and the Privy Council Office to ensure that Vice-Admiral Norman is properly, adequately and fairly prepared to defend himself against the charges, which we believe have more than a little political overtone to them.
    I know there are those who have ridiculed the request in the past few days, but we are making this motion because we know that there are individuals within the Prime Minister's Office who have been associated with the criminal destruction of documents in the previous Liberal government of Ontario, so we have a very legitimate concern.
     We would not, on the attendance of the Clerk of the Privy Council before us, be interested at all in asking any questions about the contents or the nature of those documents. It would be simply to ensure, as I believe we need to be assured—Canadians need to be assured, and certainly Admiral Norman needs to be assured—that those documents requested exist and have not been interfered with, and to make, of course, the continuing request, more to the Prime Minister, that he follow the sterling example of former prime minister Paul Martin in 2004 at the time of the developing advertising scandal when he voluntarily provided hundreds of cabinet documents to the defendants in that case.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Kent.
    Is there any discussion?
    Mr. Erskine-Smith.
    I'll just very briefly say, having reviewed the letter and then reviewed Treasury Board policies with respect to the preservation of documents, that there's no evidence that those policies haven't been followed. As a result, I certainly won't be supporting the motion, and I don't think anyone on this side will be.
    Is there any further discussion? Anybody else?
    I'd like a recorded vote.
    Okay.
    The question is on the motion of Mr. Kent.
    (Motion negatived: nays 5; yeas 3)
    The Chair: Yes, Mr. Erskine-Smith.
     Given that we have some time for discussing committee business and given that we have a few meetings in November that we need to fill since the analysts will be drafting the report if we give them recommendations on Tuesday, I'd like to move that pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(h)(vii) the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics invite credit card companies to attend to investigate how statements and purchase history are shared with U.S. authorities and any potential prejudice to Canadian customers including of cannabis.
    Is there any discussion?
    We would agree to that request. Do we have an open date at the moment?
    What day are you looking for?
    It would be one of the days we have free in November.
    We have Mr. Kent and then Mr. Saini.
    This brings us to a point of consideration that we talked about briefly the other day, and that is whether we are still intending to deliver our final report on the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook/AggregateIQ scandal before we rise at Christmas or we are considering that it might be delayed until we return in January.
    Let me just remind members that we're getting into committee business and this is televised currently. I don't know if we still want to have that as part of our televised presentation or....
    I'm happy to.
    Okay.
    Basically our schedule for next week is open. We're looking at discussing committee business on Tuesday. We're actually looking at a more fulsome...because of what Commissioner Therrien said today about his reports coming out in December.
    Why don't we have options and then discuss scheduling in the next meeting?
    Yes.
    Just hold on a second.
    There was to be a discussion, and also about the London trip, too. That was all to be taken into account in our final report. I would advise that we do that.
    We might want to do that in the spring, but that might be too late, but it should be at least by the end of this next month, after November's expired. Are there any thoughts on that?
    My colleague, Mr. Saini, made a good point to me, which is simply that in terms of scheduling, let's resolve that in camera on Tuesday, but in terms of adopting motions substantively, let's do so today. We have a little bit of time.

  (1315)  

    Let's deal with the motion, then, on the table. Is there any further discussion on the motion of Mr. Erskine-Smith?
    Agreed.
    We're good?
    Mr. Davies.
    I would just advise that I think it would be Mr. Angus's preference that the StatsCan study be of a more timely nature and it might be something that the committee would want to proceed with first.
    As chair, I will take the motions as they are presented on the table, unless Mr. Angus has a motion to that effect. I don't know if that's been done yet.
    I'm not sure.
    I have to deal with the motions as they are presented before me.
    Maybe I would move an amendment then, if I may amend the motion on the table, that we would proceed with the study of StatsCan.
    That would have to be up to the motion—
    Just wait, I have a second motion to adopt that will satisfy your concern once we adopt this one.
    Okay, I will not table that motion pending Mr. Erskine-Smith's.
    Are we okay to vote on the current motion as it sits now?
    All in favour of Mr. Erskine-Smith's motion?
    (Motion agreed to)
    The Chair: We have another motion by Mr. Erskine-Smith.
    Sorry, Mr. Saini, you did have your hand up to speak.
    I have a motion also.
     I have a response; that's all.
    Okay, to be clear, you're going to go before Mr. Saini.
    Yes, this is a separate motion.
    I move that the Standing Committee on Access to information, Privacy and Ethics investigate the relationship between ticket brokers such as Ticketmaster and StubHub and secondary vendors to determine the extent to which financial data, purchasing data history and other data are shared between them and that no less than one meeting be dedicated to this study.
    Again, we can probably have a more fulsome discussion of scheduling on Tuesday.
    That could be.
     Is there any further discussion about Mr. Saini's motion?
    Mr. Kent.
    Thank you, Chair.
    I think it's a good motion. I think it's a worthy study, absolutely. I'm not sure that I would put it ahead of either of the studies—
    Let's put a bunch on the table and —
    Yes. We're not going to—
    I agree.
    Scheduling can be determined at a later time. This is just to put the motion on the table.
    I'm conscious of the time, too. It's getting close to 1:20 and we should be heading over to QP in short order.
    Is there any further discussion about Mr. Saini's motion?
    (Motion agreed to)
    The Chair: Mr. Erskine-Smith.
    I would also then move—and hopefully this satisfies Mr. Davies—that our committee invite the chief statistician at Statistics Canada to discuss any information or data requests of financial institutions and to ensure that the privacy interests of Canadians are adequately protected.
     Okay, could you just repeat that again for everybody around the table?
    It's extemporaneous speaking—
    I'm just saying Mr. Davies had an interest in a specific topic.
    Does that meet your requirements?
    It does, thank you.
    Okay, is there any further discussion about the motion?
    (Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
    The Chair: That is carried. Is that all for...?
    I have one other, but I'll leave it for later.
    Okay, we'll adjourn. We will have committee business on Tuesday.
    Have a good day.
    The meeting is adjourned.
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