Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege relating to the subject of interfering with members.
I refer to Beauchesne's sixth edition, citation 92:
A valid claim of privilege in respect to interference with a member must relate to the member's parliamentary duties and not to the work the member does in relation to that member's constituency.
This point of privilege relates to my private member's bill, Bill C-337, which proposes health warning labels on containers of alcoholic beverages, which passed second reading in the House on
December 7, 1995, was reinstated as Bill C-222 after prorogation on March 5 and was referred to the Standing Committee on Health. Accordingly, I believe my point of privilege satisfies section 92.
I further refer Mr. Speaker to Beauchesne's section 93:
It is generally accepted that any threat, or attempt to influence the vote of, or actions of a member, is breach of privilege.
I have evidence that would appear to violate the provisions of section 93 with regard to Bill C-222. First, during the consideration of the bill the representatives of the alcohol beverage industry circulated two customized pieces of literature and other formal communications to all members of Parliament urging them to reject Bill C-222.
Second, on or about Tuesday, May 14 certain members of Parliament were each sent a baseball and tickets to a baseball game and a communication from the alcohol industry relating to its position on Bill C-222.
The third and most important point, the alcohol lobby spokespersons in their literature and other written communications and in committee testimony on this bill stated that if the government mandates health warning labels to be placed on their containers, the money spent on responsible use programs, advertising and educational programs, some of which are cost shared by the government, will be reduced or eliminated to recover the costs of mandating labels.
This appears to pose a threat or adverse consequence directly to Health Canada and therefore to the minister of health, and therefore attempts to affect their position regarding Bill C-222.
I believe these examples violate section 93 of Beauchesne's sixth edition and therefore violate my rights and possibly the rights of many other members of the House. I am prepared to provide the Chair or to table with the House all relevant documents in my possession if so ordered.
It would appear the lobbyists on behalf of the beverage alcohol industry are responsible for these apparent violations of section 93 of Beauchesne's. Therefore I respectfully ask that my rights as a member of Parliament and indeed the integrity of the House of Commons be defended by having a thorough investigation conducted by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs or by other means which Mr. Speaker may deem appropriate.