May 12, 2004 (37th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Yvon Charbonneau


Hon. Yvon Charbonneau

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member, who is understandably concerned about this rather disturbing situation, that the government made a commitment to get to the bottom of this issue by launching a public inquiry.
Unlike a trial, the inquiry process is not adversarial in nature. Commissioner O'Connor is responsible first and foremost for establishing the facts. The commissioner will be assisted by lawyers whose role will consist in examining the evidence in an impartial and independent fashion, to help him determine what happened.
Successive Canadian governments have consistently maintained that they have an obligation to protect certain fundamental principles including the right to privacy, the confidentiality of officials' advice to ministers, cabinet confidences and sensitive national security, law enforcement and international relations information.
The government has a responsibility to balance the importance of public disclosure against national security concerns.
I want to reassure the hon. member by telling her that the minister will always ensure that this balance is maintained.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Excise Tax Act
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