Mr. Speaker, it would be a good idea for all of the members of this House to listen, because if this House functions smoothly, if it is viable for you there, for them over there, and for us—and if anyone has not understood it yet, the veterans here can explain it to them—it is because the House leaders speak to each other, co-operate with each other, trust each other. It is because the House leaders, above and beyond differences of political opinion, first and foremost respect democratic values, the forum for debate Parliament represents, and the rules that govern it.
I have always given that co-operation, and am often the one who initiates compromises to make things run more smoothly in this House. For instance, this evening we are finishing earlier to accommodate colleagues who are not of my political persuasion. We are always pleased to oblige, since democratic debate must be carried out in the most correct, most comfortable, most respectful way possible. But that could change.
This is why I am asking members of this House to listen to my point of order, because we can never again let the flag be used to protest or to disrupt the proceedings in this place.
This morning, the Chair issued a ruling prohibiting members from using the flag as a tool of protest inside the House of Commons and allowed the hon. member for Rimouski—Mitis to take the floor.
My colleague is fully entitled to rise in this House, like any other member of this place. Liberal members will not change that, at least as long as I am parliamentary leader on this side of the House.
Four years ago, when we arrived here as sovereignists, everyone said we would show no respect for the House of Commons. Yet, if there is a political party that always listens to the Chair, that always co-operates with the Clerks-at-the-Table and with parliamentary leaders, it is the Bloc Quebecois. In spite of our diverging views, we have always done our work with dignity, by defending our ideas, and not by doing stupid and inappropriate things like those we have seen today.
Never will we tolerate again people using the national anthem in this House, during Oral Question Priod, to ridicule the proceedings of this place, or one of our colleagues, or the national anthem itself. It was quite something to see these great Canadians, who boast about the flag every day, use it as a mere tool of protest. It was quite something to see these great Canadians use the national anthem to disrupt the proceedings of the House of Commons. They must step aside.
In conclusion, I will tell you this—