Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I, too, have a point of order, as well as a comment that will hopefully be as brief as Mr. Lawrence's.
First, I had informed the committee that I still had a lot of questions for the officials from the various departments that will have a hand in Bill C‑32. At a previous meeting, I had requested the committee's unanimous consent to ask those officials to provide written answers to the questions suggested by the House of Commons analysts, but there wasn't unanimous support for that request.
In the spirit of co‑operation, Terry Beech, the parliamentary secretary, suggested I give him the list of questions I was most interested in having the answers for, and in hardly any time at all, the officials had answered all of my questions in a document that was sent to me. I asked the clerk to share the document with the committee so that members would have the excellent information I received, which was in both official languages.
I realize how much work that was, so I want to express my sincere thanks to Terry Beech for his help, as well as to the finance officials for their comprehensive answers. Thanks to them, I won't have any technical questions today, since I already have the answers I was looking for.
It is clear to those of us in the Bloc Québécois that Bill C‑32 does not address the financial priorities of the people of Quebec. However, as always, we will vote on what is in the bill, not on what isn't. We don't have a problem with any of the measures proposed in this omnibus bill, and that is why I, as the Bloc Québécois's representative today, will be voting in favour of the bill and each of its clauses. We don't have any amendments to propose.
Before I wrap up, though, I would like to point something out to the members of the committee. The Canadian Bar Association sent a letter to the chair to express its concern that some of the proposed amendments would undermine solicitor-client privilege. I know that the government is very mindful of the rules in place and has read the letter, as I have. For that reason, I am not so concerned that I feel the need to propose an amendment.
Speaking of solicitor-client privilege, I would also remind the members of the committee of our study into the whole Isle of Man affair and the use of trusts for the purposes of tax avoidance and tax evasion. That was a case in which KPMG invoked solicitor-client privilege to refuse to disclose the names of its fraudster clients to the government. We must bear in mind that solicitor-client privilege is not absolute, because it does not apply when a lawyer advises their client to do something illegal.
The Canada Revenue Agency's American counterpart, the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, gave KPMG an ultimatum when it tried to pull the same thing in the U.S. The company could either hand over the list of clients with whom it had conspired to defraud the IRS or it would face criminal prosecution and risk dissolution. The matter was resolved pretty quickly. Here, an out-of-court settlement was reached.
I welcome the measures in Bill C‑32. Solicitor-client privilege is obviously very important, but so is the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.