As one opposition Member of Parliament heckled “Here we go..cover it all up”, a House of Commons committee was forced to go into an off record session at the insistence of government MPs who did not want to continue discussions publicly.
The incident occurred Tuesday morning (December 10) after Official Opposition NDP MP Charlie Angus proposed a study on whether government protocols were followed when emails of a lawyer in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office were first thought to have been deleted, and then were found. They are part of a continuing investigation into what the Prime Minister’s Office knew about a payment by the PM’s Chief of Staff to cover contested expenses of a government senator.
At that point, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, government MP Paul Calandra asked the committee go “in camera”.
Pat Martin, an MP with the Official Opposition, is the chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. Since the ‘In camera” motion is not debatable, he had to call a vote, but made it clear he did not agree with the motion. When the motion passed, he said: “we clear the room of the Canadian public and go under the black shroud of secrecy once again.”
RCI’s Wojtek Gwiazda has a report.