Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
The point about investigating who knew what and when in the government around the allegations against General Fortin must absolutely stay in this motion. The reason is not that we are looking to influence or interfere in any way with due process or bring this into the court of public opinion. What we are doing in this committee, as our responsibility as legislators, is hold the government to account. We are the elected representatives who Canadians have sent here to hold the government to account, and the actions of the government—what they knew, how they acted and what they did—are what's material, not allegations about General Fortin.
We can leave that investigation quite separate, but how he remained in his position, how he was appointed to that position, who knew what, and when, and how they sat on this allegation, as they sat on other allegations that have been brought forward at this committee and done nothing with, is the responsibility of this committee. It is our responsibility to Canadians to hold the government to account, to understand whether or not they acted appropriately in dealing with not only General Fortin but also with the allegations around General Vance and the allegations around Admiral McDonald, which leads us to Zita Astravas, who has been called repeatedly by the House of Commons as well as this committee to appear on this study before the committee.
The Minister of National Defence appeared in her stead, and for the moment we, as a committee, decided that was appropriate. However, since then, information has come to light that contradicts the information that the Minister of National Defence provided on Zita Astravas' behalf, and therefore the only way to know what took place is to hear from Zita herself, which is why that is a critical element that we've been trying to get to since the very beginning of this study.
I, like Ms. Vandenbeld, am also disheartened by the tone that this committee is being forced—or feels that they are being forced—to take at this juncture. That is largely because of the way that the matters are being dealt with, from arbitrary suspensions to adjournments to, yes, filibustering to ensure that we can't get to a vote.
If we really want to move forward, then we need to be able to make our points clearly and succinctly and then be able to get to a vote and allow the will of the committee to transpire, instead of simply discussing and complaining about the tone. In fact the tone could quite clearly change if there weren't a filibuster by various members, which would go a long way toward improving the situation and allowing us to do the job that we have been sent here to do.
That brings me to my third and most important point. Yes, we do agree that this may be one of the most important studies that we have done as a defence committee, and we have done it at the moment in time that this information is required. We have seen from lengthy study of witnesses' testimony that the government perhaps did not behave in the way that we expected them to behave—appropriately, efficiently or accordingly—and we need to make recommendations to ensure that it doesn't happen in the future. That's why we need to put in place a timeline to ensure that this report moves at the pace that it needs to and that various factions of this committee are not able to unduly hold up the process.
More importantly, I think we need to understand from the government why, when they had the opportunity to implement all the recommendations in the Deschamps report, they didn't, and why, with Bill C-77, a clearly important aspect of victims' rights, they didn't implement those either, so—