Mr. Chairman, on the business of sending people through the East Block, I can't begin to understand how that happened. That goes absolutely counter to anything that we would have negotiated. When I say “negotiated”, I mean basically going over the arrangements for a particular day.
I look at the notice that the Speaker sent out for next Monday. It does say that barricades will be up for the upper drive, but that's not to say in any way that any member should be stopped there.
My own feeling is that under the circumstances, and given how strongly you feel about this, you may even want to call the commissioner, and not necessarily the assistant commissioner who's in charge of this particular.... Maybe both of them. Because I think that one of the things we struggle with really all the time as the House of Commons, and as representatives of the institution of the House of Commons, is to defend fiercely the independence of the House as an institution, and defend the rights, as you say so eloquently, individually of each member of the House of Commons. Each member has been elected. There are privileges that attend upon that election, and we are dedicated to the protection of those privileges.
I have to say that I've even encountered this in dealing with officials at other levels and in other kinds of conversations, where people tend to think of this as kind of quaint, you know, that it's traditional, and it's really kind of old-fashioned, and it's rather archaic. You think, “No, actually, it's not”. It's absolutely central. It's the beating heart of parliamentary democracy. That's not something you toy with.
Again, forgive me for overstepping my bounds, but maybe calling the commissioner and the assistant commissioner to emphasize that at this level of discussion might be helpful.