Mr. Speaker, I realize that emotions are high. I would like to set a couple of things straight for the members of the Bloc Quebecois as well.
In their press conference yesterday there was talk that we had asked for the resignation of the member for Charlesbourg, that we had charged him with treason. That is not true. We have never asked for his resignation.
We did ask, however, that Parliament find the member in contempt in committee. We did say that contempt does not mean he has to resign but that he could have a censure or that he could be in some way disciplined by the House of Commons. Certainly that is true, but we have never asked for his resignation, nor would we.
There are things that happened in this committee that contributed to the headlines we see in the paper today. The headlines today say the report on this incident is a cop-out.
I called it, in my press release, a whitewash. It is because we were not allowed to invite members of the armed forces to come in and testify on the impact this communique had on the armed forces. We were not allowed to bring expert witnesses like the advocate general from the armed forces to say in his opinion what could be done, what should be done in the future. That was disallowed by the Liberal majority.
We heard from five people, from only House of Commons procedural people. Then this thing was dismissed.
That is not an in depth study. It is not like we were charged to do by the House of Commons when we were given this communique originally. That is why this has turned into a cop-out, as the papers say, and a whitewash.
We have come up with conclusions we think are obvious, given the testimony we heard. We would have been grateful to hear more testimony from the military personnel that we gave an extensive list to the committee.
We have said, and we stand by our record, that the House should have found the member for Charlesbourg in contempt. It should have taken some action. It does not mean, as some members have interpreted, that he should resign his seat. I am not saying that.
However, some action should be taken or else this will happen again. The member for Charlesbourg says indeed it will happen again. He will do it again. That is what is wrong.
There are no guidelines given to members. Next time there will not be one. I expect there will be 50 or 52 memos sent out from all members of the separatist group because why not? They got away with it last time so "let us proceed and go with gangbusters".
It says in the Toronto Star again today: ``The defiant Bloc MP says he would send a memo to the soldiers again''. In other words, we will face this again. That is what is wrong here.
The government has shirked its duty. It has allowed this thing to fester. It will fester to the next referendum. Will there be another referendum? Of course there will be. They said that. Mr. Bouchard has said that. We will face this again.
We will ask our armed forces to go into this without any guidelines. They will be saying "if we get 50 memos from separatist MPs on official letterhead, asking who knows what, we will have to accept it, I guess".
We do not have to accept it. We can say no to this. We could have. We could establish guidelines and we could ask the armed forces to put guidelines in place as well. It should have been done. It was not. That is what is wrong with the report. That is why it is a whitewash.
We said he should have been found in contempt and that some action should have been taken. We were not even specific. It should have been done on a contempt charge. Then it could be anything from a censure, a slap on the wrist to apologizing for whatever happened. It could be anything, but he should have been found in contempt.
We should have said there are guidelines now for members of Parliament in the future. The guidelines are necessary for members of Parliament. The guidelines are necessary because it is not like the member for Kingston and the Islands said, that this thing was just a joke. He said "when I get this thing, I throw it in the garbage, it is just a joke". We came within one per cent of losing the country last time. What kind of joke is that? It is no joke at all. It is serious.
The people over here say let us forget about it, sweep it under the table and maybe it will not come back. We came to the edge of the cliff last time, one per cent away from the abyss. They are willing to say let us take our chances again. It is not acceptable.
That is what is wrong with the whole plan over there on this national unity thing. The government does not have a plan. Because there is no plan, we will do this same thing again, only worse. That is the problem.
They have not helped our Department of National Defence. There are no guidelines given to national defence. They are going to be asked to head into this next referendum campaign blind and handcuffed, pointed to the edge of the cliff and told: "I hope you do not fall over".
It is not acceptable to ask armed forces personnel who have sworn an oath of allegiance to Canada to go into the next referendum campaign and hope they make it through okay. Our people in the armed forces deserve better, they deserve to be given help and guidance and we should have done that.