Inside Politics

UPDATED: Christiane Ouimet has a date with Public Accounts

Christiane Ouimet is a much sought-after person. It seems not one, but two House of Commons committees would like to bring the former public sector integrity commissioner before them to testify.

Ouimet abruptly retired last October just before the release of a scathing report by the auditor general into the operations of the commissioner's office. Both Government Operations and Estimates, and the Public Accounts committees have asked her "nicely" to appear. That didn't produce the desired response, and so now both committees are slated to discuss Tuesday whether or not to go the route of formally summoning her.

Ouimet, you'll remember, found not a single case of wrongdoing in her three years as the go-to person for whistleblowers in the federal government. She reported as much in her annual reports to Government Operations, as that is the committee to which her office reports. But Public Accounts is also keen to question her about why the millions spent by her office never led to a case being referred to the independent tribunal created to investigate allegations of government wrongdoing.

But it's unusual for two committees to summon the same person on what is more or less the same issue. So the MPs will have to decide if one committee wants to back off, or if they really can differentiate their "areas of study" enough to warrant the action of summoning her.

Or maybe it will come down to first dibs. Government Ops meets first, from 11 a.m. to 1p.m. and Public Accounts does not convene until 3:30 p.m. But by the end of tomorrow we should know if at least one bailiff will be visiting Ouimet, if not two.

UPDATE: Government Operations has decided not to summon Ms Ouimet. The decision was made in an in-camera meeting of the steering committee, so we are not privy to details as to the rationale. Stay tuned for Public Accounts at 3:30 p.m. to see what the decision, slated to be part of public committee business, is there.

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