Citizenship and Immigration Committee
October 12, 2022 / 2:50 p.m.
Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Before we get into scheduling issues, which I'll defer for further discussion at a later time, on the substance of the issue, which is where we are with respect to this motion, I think committee members may have received these documents. They were sent to me, but I understand they were also sent to the clerk for distribution. They may not have gone through translation. I'm not quite sure. In any event, I received a whole stack of documentation on this issue, including the ATIP document. It's over 300-some pages, so I pored over that document.
There is some pertinent information that I think is important to bring to the attention of the committee. I would then have some questions for Mr. Redekopp as well.
The ATIP document shows that on Friday, November 20, 2020, Ian Shugart, who was then the clerk of the Privy Council, signed an order stating that the Governor General “fixes the day on which this Order is registered”.
I don't know what that means and what compelled him to fix the date. How did he fix the date and for what reason did he fix the date? It is important for us to get an understanding of that.
The other interesting note for me in reading the document is that on Monday, November 23, 2020, Sabrina Kabir in the Department of Immigration wrote, “The GG already signed on Friday or Saturday, so technically the act is now in force.” According to the immigration department, officials seemed to think that the act had already come into force as well.
Subsequent to that on November 23, assistant director Brian Smith wrote, “The GG signed off on the order late Friday. As such, the act is already in force as of November 20, but this is not yet in the public domain”, so that's yet another official confirming that the act has been signed and is in force.
We know that on November 25, according to the documents, Gervas Wall wrote to the Federal Court in Toronto, stating that the act was “proclaimed in force on November 20, by order in council PC Number 2020-0903.” That was another definitive statement from officials.
We then have other officials writing to Mr. Therrien, asking, “Do we know how this came into force? I assume there is a paper trail aside from the lines we reviewed. Can you let me know please...?” Officials are trying to find this paper trail.
On November 27, Madam Chair, Jonathan Shanks, who is the senior counsel for the Privy Council Office, wrote, “I understand that the Order was made on November 20. ...the Order will be registered on December 9.” There's a discrepancy.
If you look at the order, it does not say that the registration would have a different date. The OIC dated November 20 clearly indicates that:
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, pursuant to subsection 300(1) of the Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1, chapter 29 of the Statutes of Canada, 2019, fixes the day on which this Order is registered as the day on which section 292 of that Act comes into force.
The language there is quite clear in saying that the order was registered as the date on which the section of that act came into force. It was supposed to be the same day.
There's something odd about this OIC, and I don't know how that came about. On the bottom of the OIC, there's a “date modified”, which reads, “2017-04-31”, referring to April 31, 2017. I don't know what that date means or how it came about.
Obviously, there's a glaring concern in the sense that April does not have 31 days. Regardless, that might be a computer glitch or something. I'm not sure. The OIC, though, was very clear about the date this comes into force.
On November 27, a counsel wrote to Mr. Therrien, “Oh boy. Anyway for next week now.” Somehow an alarm bell has been rung that something was awry here.
Then the assistant director, Brian Smith, wrote on November 30, “Things are on fire over here.” I don't know what prompted that comment, but something is definitely not quite right, judging from that comment.
Further down in this document of 300-some pages, it notes that Brian Smith sends to staff an email that says, “For urgent briefing:
“Remedial measures likely required re: College Act coming into force.
“Issue: The College Act is not yet in force, and will not be in force until December 9, 2020, the day on which the order in council will be formally registered. The department will need to consider remedial measures, given public communication of November 25, 2020, that the College Act was already in force.”
Officials there have now noted that there is a major concern and that some sort of remedial measure is required.
Finally, Madam Speaker, on November 27 Jonathan Shanks wrote, “I understand that the Order was made on Nov. 20....the Order will be registered on December 9”, so now a changing of the date has occurred or is occurring.
Subsequent to that, Mr. Gervas Wall was at a case management hearing in Toronto. He said the following:
...it was brought to my attention this morning that, although the order in council was signed on the 20th, the registration date of that order is actually December 9, and so the act will come into force on December 9th....
He went on:
I thought that it was the 20th, but registration date was something that I was not familiar with, and it missed me. ... I'm so embarrassed about that, but I do apologize.
That's what he seemed to have indicated.
That was followed by Jennifer Chow on December 3, who wrote the following:
I'm advised the in force date of the College Act...that we referred to at Ms. Salloum's cross- examination held on November 26, 2020 is incorrect. Typically, the date of the OIC is the same as the in force date, but this OIC had irregular wording and the in force date...is expected to be December 9....
These are some of the key passages that came about from the ATIP document.
I have a question. I wonder why Mr. Redekopp decided not to include, for example, the then clerk of the Privy Council, Ian Shugart, who signed the order, as one of the officials to be invited to come to committee. He actually said very clearly that he signed an order stating that the Governor General “fixes the date on which this order is registered”. What fix was he trying to do here? Why was he asked to do a fix? I think that's pretty critical information for us to obtain.
Three officials were very clear to say that the act was passed on November 20 and came into force on the 20th. They were all wrong, apparently. It wasn't one official; all three officials were wrong. What triggered, then, the need for the change? Why did the order in council have this irregular wording? What prompted it?
As we know, orders in council are very intentional. The wording is not just something you dream up. It's very intentional, for a purpose.
The order in council clearly stated that the registration date is the date on which it comes into force. Why did it have that intentional wording? Then, later on, it was discovered that it was irregular wording. Why was it necessary, then, to change the coming into force date to December? All this is tied to a copyright issue. I don't know enough about that case, but I think dates matter from this perspective.
My other question for Mr. Redekopp is this: Is it his intention with this motion to exclude other officials who we might need to call upon to shed light on this situation, or would the committee members, if deemed necessary, be able to request other officials to come before the committee for clarity??