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October 17th, 2013

NDP moves to end the abuse of secrecy in committee meetings

New Democrats are introducing a motion in every House committee to establish strict rules on when committees can meet in secret.

The motion reads as follows:

“That the Committee may meet in camera only for the purpose of discussing:

(a) wages, salaries and other employee benefits;

(b) contracts and contract negotiations;

(c) labour relations and personnel matters;

(d) draft reports;

(e) briefings concerning national security; and

That all votes taken in camera be recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings, including how each member voted when recorded votes are requested.”

“The option to go in camera exists to protect witnesses or sensitive documents, but the Conservatives—like the Liberals before them—have been abusing it to hijack committees,” said NDP Whip Nycole Turmel (Hull–Aylmer). “The minute a discussion doesn’t go their way they shut the doors.”

“The NDP has raised this issue many times. If the Conservatives and Liberals truly believe in accountability and transparency for MPs, then they will support this motion,” said NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley). “Parliament must be open to the public that elected it.”