The motion is as follows:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development undertake a study of the implications of the OECD monitoring of the SNC-Lavalin affair on the perception of Canada abroad, in order to determine whether this monitoring exercise could have an impact on Canada's reputation and whether, in the long term, Canada's diplomatic relations with its partners may be affected; and, that the Committee report its findings to the House.
I'll justify the motion.
In the wake of the SNC-Lavalin affair, the OECD Working Group on Bribery has stated that it plans to actively monitor Canada's implementation of the OECD anti-bribery provisions in this case. The case is ongoing, given that the OECD will continue to monitor the situation whether SNC-Lavalin faces legal action or whether a remediation agreement is reached between the two parties.
In my opinion, this is a troubling situation that should be monitored by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, simply because the situation is a first for the OECD Working Group on Bribery. The chair, Drago Kos, has already been interviewed a number of times by the Canadian media on the issue. While the outcome of the monitoring is unknown, the fact remains that it will affect the perception of Canada abroad.
The committee should hold at least one meeting on the subject to learn about the OECD's view of the issue, particularly the view of the OECD Working Group on Bribery, and to prepare the government for the potential implications of this type of public monitoring by an organization of which Canada is a founding member.
I wouldn't characterize the Canadian government's response as inappropriate, but it was quite weak. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs simply said that Canada was one of the founding countries of the OECD Working Group on Bribery, but he didn't necessarily speak about the ramifications of the monitoring.
As a committee, we must forge ahead and complete this work by the end of the session and before the upcoming election. The OECD group will continue its work after the upcoming election campaign. We must prepare the next Parliament for this situation, which isn't necessarily good for Canada.
We should vote in favour of the motion so that the committee can undertake a study of the implications of this monitoring by the OECD Working Group on Bribery.