Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege regarding the 10th report of the standing committee on House management which deals with Private Members' Business. I would submit the process that has been followed infringes upon my right as a member of Parliament to advance Private Members' Business.
The House has been in session for almost two months and we have yet to begin debating or discussing Private Members' Business. Standing Order 94(1)(a) reads:
The Speaker shall make all arrangements necessary to ensure the orderly conduct of Private Members' Business
It is your responsibility, Mr. Speaker. I would submit it is your responsibility as well to ensure that the process is fair to all members.
The process that has been followed thus far is unfair. It infringes upon the rights of certain members of Parliament, particularly my rights as far as the private member's bill I introduced on February 17 dealing with the Young Offenders Act.
In effect, as a result of the 10th report of the committee, the private member's bill I introduced-and I undertook to my constituents during the election campaign to advance it in this Parliament-has effectively been blocked by a small committee of individuals meeting in camera to decide for whatever reason what bills and motions to pick as votable items in the House.
I would ask Your Honour to consider the following. The committee was required to select five bills and five motions to be debated, discussed and voted upon in the House. The committee was required to consider certain factors in its deliberations.
After these behind the scenes, in camera proceedings, which I as a member of Parliament was not entitled to attend, a decision was made on which bills were in the national interest and which bills would be given three hours of House time, plus committee time, plus the opportunity to be voted upon by members of Parliament. What are those bills?
The committee in its wisdom decided that designating hockey as the national sport of Canada was a more important piece of legislation than amendments to the Young Offenders Act. The committee also decided that it was more important to devote House time to a bill that would deal with the witness protection plan as if it affects a lot of Canadians.