Mr. Speaker, I will continue to quote what you said on November 6, 1997: “The dismissive view of the legislative process, repeated often enough, makes a mockery of our parliamentary conventions and practices”.
The member also pointed out that an earlier warning of the Speaker had been ignored, since in the ruling of November 6, 1997 Mr. Speaker additionally stated: “I trust that today's decision at this early stage of the 36th Parliament will not be forgotten by the minister and his officials and that the department and agencies will be guided by it”.
Page 250 of the second edition of Joseph Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada states: “There are actions that, while not directly in a physical way obstructing the House of Commons or the members, nevertheless obstruct the House in the performance of its functions by diminishing the respect due it”.
Here we have a situation which mocks Parliament once again and diminishes the respect due it. How relevant can it be when arrangements to spend massive amounts of public money proceed without so much as a “by your leave” to the elected representatives of the people who are paying for it?
I would argue this time it goes much further than the previous questions of privilege. This time there is not a single line of legislation before this House. In the case of the CPP board there was at least legislation before the House.
How many times must we put up with this sort of mockery of our parliamentary system and disrespect for the Speaker before we take action?
As the Speaker said on November 6, the dismissive view of the legislative process, repeated often enough, makes a mockery of our parliamentary conventions and practices.
I submit that it has been repeated often enough. It is also becoming more severe, since in this case we do not even have legislation before the House.
At page 225 of Joseph Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada contempt is described as “an offence against the authority or dignity of the House”.
There appears to be an alarming trend toward regarding the parliamentary process as a mere formality that can be lightly cast aside, and the official opposition in this House notices a repeated disregard for the proper role of the House being established by this government.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, we would ask that you bear in mind that Canada's parliamentary system of government, combined with its tight system of party discipline, confers enormous executive power on the Prime Minister. With a compliant backbench it is a very simple thing for the Prime Minister and his ministers to disregard this House and subordinate it to his will.
For that reason the Speaker bears a special place and responsibility in this House to protect the parties with less than majority numbers. In so doing, he ultimately protects the privileges of all, government and opposition members alike.
The minister responsible, his department and Mr. Landry have brought the authority and dignity of this House and the Speaker into question. This is not an isolated case and, in this respect, must not go unchallenged. Accordingly, I ask that you rule this matter to be a prima facie question of privilege, at which time I will be prepared to move the appropriate motion.