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A Commons committee wants Christiane Ouimet, the former integrity commissioner, to explain her record in handling complaints from would-be whistleblowers. ((Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press))

Former integrity commissioner Christiane Ouimet, who failed to answer a summons to appear before a Commons committee last week, will appear in April, according to a letter from her lawyer.

Members of the public accounts committee, which has been trying since December to question Ouimet about problems in her office before her resignation in October, received the letter from Ouimet's lawyer Friday.

The letter said Ouimet is out of the country but is willing to appear after her return in April. The letter said she had instructed her lawyers to act on her behalf and work with the committee to find a suitable date.

But committee chairman Joe Volpe said the letter doesn't change anything.

Volpe said the committee is willing to negotiate with her lawyers but is anxious to move on and wants her to appear as soon as possible.

Volpe, a Liberal MP, said the committee will consider its options Tuesday when it hears from Rob Walsh, the Commons law clerk, and an official from the privacy commissioner's office.

The committee is looking into why Ouimet, the former watchdog for public sector whistleblowers, never found a single case of wrongdoing during her time in charge of the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada.

Ouimet resigned in October, in the midst of an investigation by Auditor General Sheila Faser.

In December, Fraser concluded that Ouimet's "behaviour and actions do not pass the test of public scrutiny and are inappropriate and unacceptable for a public servant — most notably for the agent of Parliament specifically charged with the responsibility of upholding integrity in the public sector and of protecting public servants from reprisal."

Volpe said the committee wants Ouimet to have the opportunity to address the issues raised by Fraser's report, but can't do so if she doesn't shown up.