Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege with regard to a published article reported today in the Toronto Star that Yves Landry has already been named as the head of the Canadian millennium scholarship foundation.
Mr. Landry reportedly admits to being head of the foundation and is quoted as saying “I am only one member of the board and my job is to be a facilitator”.
There is no legislation before the House setting up this foundation. Nor has the budget announcement allocating $2.5 billion in revenue to the foundation been adopted.
My question of privilege will argue that the minister responsible, his department and Mr. Landry are in contempt of parliament since they have brought the authority and dignity of the House and the Speaker into question. Members of Parliament are elected stewards of the public purse.
The government and its departments are making a habit of mocking the parliamentary system in this manner. This was raised earlier this month in the House as a question of privilege by the member for Prince George—Peace River regarding the Canadian Wheat Board.
During that question of privilege, the member for Langley—Abbotsford summed up the history of similar complaints on which I will comment briefly because it demonstrates the need for the House to finally take some action.
The member for Langley—Abbotsford pointed out that the Speaker was asked to rule on a similar complaint on March 9, 1990 regarding a pamphlet put out by the government concerning the GST.
Again on March 25, 1991 another complaint was launched on a similar issue. The member pointed out that a progressively stronger case was made on October 28, 1997 before you, Mr. Speaker, by the member for Fraser Valley.
In that instance the Department of Finance went much further and actually started to take action before the bill authorizing the department to act was passed by the House. The member argued that these actions undercut the authority of parliament.
This led to the Speaker's ruling which contained a strong statement and a strong warning.
Mr. Speaker said on November 6, 1997: “The Chair acknowledges that this matter is a matter of potential importance since it touches the role of members as legislators, a role which should not be trivialized. It is from this perspective that”—