Mr. Joe Preston
on Procedure and House Affairs
House of Commons
Dear Mr. Preston:
to House of Commons Standing Order 109, on behalf of the Government of Canada,
we are pleased to provide the Government Response to the forty-second report of
the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on access to information
requests and parliamentary privilege.
Committee's report demonstrates a thoughtful and significant effort to review
the evidence and provide practical guidance to the House of Commons when it is
consulted as a third party by a federal institution regarding a request under
the Access to Information Act. We were impressed by the scope of the
study and note the range of views and perspectives presented to the Committee,
which are indicative of the complexity of the matter.
Government recognizes and values the important work undertaken by you and your
committee to examine the balance between two fundamental tenets of Canadian
democracy: access to information and parliamentary privilege. The Government of
Canada takes Canadians' right of access to information seriously and is
committed to openness and transparency. The Government also recognizes the
important role that parliamentary privilege plays in allowing Members of
Parliament to discuss and exchange views frankly when carrying out their duties
Government notes that the report's recommended guidance for responding to
consultations with institutions that have received an Access to Information
Act request for privileged materials is directed to the House of Commons'
officials and committees. The Government is confident that representations made
by the House with regard to privileged records will be duly considered by
the practice of the House of Commons is for the House to determine, we welcome
the proposed framework as a responsible approach to balancing important and
historical constitutional principles with the quasi-constitutional statute
governing access to information. As Members of Parliament, we would support a
motion to concur in the report.
regard to the proposal to amend the Act, the Government will take the matter
under advisement, to be considered further in the context of any broader review
of the Act or following a further report of the Committee reviewing the
implementation of these new procedures it has proposed.
would like to take this opportunity to thank you and the members of the
Standing Committee for your work.
The Honourable Tony
Clement, P.C., M.P.
President of the
The Honourable Peter
Van Loan, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the
Government in the House of Commons