I'm asking the minister for copies of those reports. It's pretty simple: either there are or there aren't.
Now someone just whispered in my ear that they apparently were faxed to the office, and it appears as if we haven't had them. I thought it might be of some interest to the committee to read what the minister said in the House of Commons. I wouldn't quote the Globe and Mail if my life depended on it. I'm asking about reports that were tabled in the House of Commons—not what the Globe and Mail says, but whether reports were tabled, and if so, whether we can get them.
I'll leave it at that. The deputy minister will do the best he can, but obviously since they refer specifically to what we're talking about, it would be helpful if we had them.
Having said that, Deputy Minister, the reason you're there and you don't have your officials with you--and I want everybody to understand this, including the officials who are there—is that in your letter to me responding to the committee's request to hear certain people, and obviously, that request by the committee to hear certain people was declined by the department, you said, and I quote:
After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that if the Committee wishes to hear from other officials of DFAIT, I would be best placed to appear. The officials whom you have asked to appear before you do not have delegated authority under the Act and are therefore not well placed to provide the Committee with insights into the administration of the Access to Information Act by DFAIT.
That's why you are here--because you said you were the person whom we should ask the questions of. That's why I've asked you to be here, and I guess the committee will test your statement as to whether or not you are in fact the person we want to hear from.
I should advise everybody that there is no guarantee that the committee will want to hear from anyone else, depending on what your answers are. However, given the way this thing has transpired, the committee had no choice but to summon the witnesses and have them available should it transpire that the committee is of the view that your answers are not sufficient.
But I don't want people to think there is an automatic presumption at this point, notwithstanding what's on the agenda, that we will hear from people. If we do hear from people, I don't want there to be an automatic presumption that some or all of that evidence will be in public.
Okay, we'll call the first round, which is for seven minutes. We'll go first with Mr. Dhaliwal suivi par Madame Lavallée.