Mr. Speaker, I appeal to you as the defender of parliamentary rights and protector of the right of everyone in this parliament to speak, not only in this House, but wherever our work as members takes us.
The members of the opposition were prevented from doing their work properly by various decisions taken by the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance. This is the subject of my remarks to you.
The chair of the Standing Committe on Finance categorically and systematically rejected a request by my colleague the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, who wanted to hear from witnesses in committee in order to better understand the entire scope of clause 241 of Bill C-28. The chair refused any witnesses.
The member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot also asked to have the ethics commissioner testify. The committee chair, contrary to all expectations and plans, shortened the appearance of the ethics counsellor, on his own initiative.
The third point I would like to raise with you, and which I consider quite extraordinary, is the fact that the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance rejected the request of my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot for a special committee, a sub-committee, at least, to hear witnesses and clarify the matter of the apparent conflict of interest involving the Minister of Finance.
It is extraordinary, in our opinion, for a committee chair to use his powers, which should serve to enable parliamentarians to do their work, to systematically prevent the opposition from obtaining any information on this matter.
For the good of the Minister of Finance, if the opposition can query a number of specialists in order to clarify this important and complex situation, it seems to me the committee should be allowed to do its job.
I therefore appeal to you as the Speaker of the House and ultimate chair of all committees so that parliamentarians may be heard.