Mr. Speaker, I wish to take but a moment to respond to what has been stated by the hon. member for Lethbridge.
The hon. member for Lethbridge essentially says today that his reputation is somehow tarnished by this motion's being on the Order Paper. He says it is further damaged because the issue is non-votable and therefore whenever the issue is dealt with in the House no conclusion will have been arrived at and therefore his name will not have been cleared, if I understand the allegation properly.
The member also says the accusation in question, which appears in my Motion No. 1, ballot item No. 3 on the Order Paper, is criminal in nature.
I will begin by dealing with the last issue. It has been suggested on at least two occasions in the remarks of the hon. member that the allegation listed in Motion No. 1 is criminal in nature.
Mr. Speaker, I remind you of a report tabled in the House earlier today which clearly indicates to the House that those things that are criminal in nature are not to be dealt with in the House on matters of privilege and that a motion should not contain that, and I believe it does not, and that those issues would be dealt with elsewhere even if they were in the motion.
To refresh the House's memory, the motion states:
That, in the opinion of this House, the attempt by the hon. member for Lethbridge and the Reform Party of Canada to coerce, intimidate or incite others to coerce the hon. member for Welland-St. Catharines-Thorold (the Hon. Gilbert Parent), in his capacity as Speaker, to make certain decisions in regards to the status of the Official Opposition in Parliament, constitute a contempt of this House and consequently that the hon. member for Lethbridge be ordered to the bar of the House to be admonished by the Chair.
I do not believe that someone's being admonished by the Chair in Parliament constitutes criminal behaviour. If criminal behaviour was there I suggest the punishment would be rendered by someone else and it would probably not be an admonishing by a Chair that would be the proper sentencing if that kind of criminal behaviour had been what was done. We are not talking about that at all.
The issue that was brought before the House had nothing to do with what the hon. member has just suggested. What was brought before the House is what was believed to have been and still believed to be a case of someone's doing things to the most senior officer of Parliament. That is what is contended as being the case of contempt listed in the motion.
I have in hand a memorandum dated January 11, 1996 entitled "To all Reform constituency presidents, regional organizers and executive councillors". This letter says in part: "What I am asking you to do is to help launch a high pressure phone, fax and letter writing campaign to", and it lists your name, Mr. Speaker. "The objective is simple: to make it clear to him that as he contemplates his decision", this is the decision to choose who the official opposition is in this House, "that Canadians will no longer tolerate a separatist official opposition".
It goes on to say that time is running short and that this high pressure campaign against the occupants of the Chair of this House should be commenced immediately by fax, letter writing, telephone calls, and so on so that Mr. Speaker, can and I conclude "do the right thing". Presumably Mr. Speaker would rule based on pressure put on to intimidate him to give a favourable ruling to those who had asked for the ruling.
That is what is in the motion that was brought by your humble servant. What was put in that motion is not an allegation of criminal behaviour. It is an allegation that something wrong was occurring against the occupant of the Chair of this House, this House being the institution that all of us cherish.
That is what occurred and nothing else. I am sure that deep down in his heart the hon. member knows this.
Mr. Speaker, there is even a draft letter to be sent to the occupant of the Chair with his fax number preprinted on the form. This draft letter, prepared by the Reform Party and attached and sent by the hon. member for Lethbridge, is an instruction to the occupant of the Chair of this House to rule not according to what is right, but to rule according to the pressure applied to him as organized by a member of this House.
Mr. Speaker, that is what was asked of you as the occupant of the Chair of this Chamber. You were asked to rule that way for the reasons I have enunciated.
I do not pretend that it is criminal and I never will. I never suggested so, either in my press releases or in the motion that is today before the House.
What I did say, however, is that this sort of behaviour should not be how we approach things in this House and should stop. The events occurring a few days after this motion dealt with matters, and we hear no more of the issue today. What I have heard in the House today explains why we have heard no further mention.