Mr. Speaker, if I may, I wish to make a solemn declaration today relating to a question of privilege raised in this House on March 12 by the hon. member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt, a question of privilege you yourself described as extremely serious, and to which you attached vital importance, stating, and I quote:
The House today is being faced with one of the more serious matters we have been faced with in this 35th Parliament. I believe the charges are so grave against one of our own members that the House should deal with this accusation forthwith.
I hereby declare that the hon. member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt, through his overzealous accusations of call to arms and sedition, has deliberately led the House and yourself astray, thus bringing doubt and suspicion to be cast upon a member of the House of Commons, without any proof, since his charges were based solely upon false interpretations of my press release dated October 26, 1995.
The report by the Liberal majority and the dissenting report by the Bloc Quebecois issued by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs conclude that this entire question is a matter of political debate and ought never to have been raised before the House on a question of privilege, particularly one supported by unfounded accusations.
What is of the most concern to me, apart from the attack on the rights and privileges of a parliamentarian, is that it is also an attack on the freedom of expression of all Quebecers and all Canadians.