National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians Act

Mr. Speaker, I outlined in my remarks the member for Victoria’s extensive background and national renown on security and legal security issues. He has tried to bring a thoughtful and learned approach to debate. He was privy to my March 1 letter, in which, collectively, we tried to engage with the minister in this process to make sure that the committee got off to a start that was not political. The minister was not interested.

Going back to the election of the chair, the credentials of my friend from Victoria are so extensive that he may have wanted to stand for chair of this committee. According to Motion No. 431, he could have justified that to the House, and Parliament could have decided for itself. My friend from Ottawa South could have done the exact same thing, or with a smaller body of MPs on the actual committee. What is ironic, and what I pointed out, is that the minister voted for Motion No. 431, the motion in the last Parliament on the election of chairs, and so did the member for Ottawa South.

Every time we stand in the House to vote on an issue, it is an important decision. If we believe in it at the time, then we should share with Canadians why we no longer believe in it several years later. Since it was also in the Liberal election platform to make committees and chairs of committees accountable and more effective, the Prime Minister and his ministers should justify why they are deviating from that promise and their track record of supporting it in the past.

I quoted the President of the Treasury Board, the member for Kings—Hants, who spoke in favour of Motion No. 431. I hope he is not silent at the cabinet table, much like he must have been when they were taking away an Atlantic Supreme Court justice.

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