Mr. Speaker, what we heard a moment ago was really just an excuse and not a legitimate reason for this point of privilege.
I do not want to challenge any rulings by the Chair in the past, but I am concerned that if we let this one go unchallenged we will be setting a precedent for future Speakers, which will make it more and more difficult for members of this House to insist on their privileges.
It has been brought up twice now in this early Parliament and two other times during Mr. Speaker's tenure in the last Parliament. All these complaints were legitimate complaints.
With respect to whether these matters constitute a prima facie contempt of Parliament, I point out that the last complaint brought to your attention by the member for Fraser Valley was pretty close to the money.
You even recognized this by your comments, Mr. Speaker. You said that if this sort of thing continues it would make a mockery of Parliament. I think this has gone on often enough and has gone way beyond mocking Parliament.
Here we are with a case more severe than all the others put together and it takes place for the second time after your warning, Mr. Speaker, of November 6, 1997. The authority to appoint Mr. Landry was based on a statement by a minister of the crown. Based on that statement which, I might add, has not been adopted by this House, the head of the foundation has assumed the position and has set the style for governing such an institution as reflected in his comments to the Toronto Star .
The article boldly states: “The foundation will award scholarships to low and middle income students, depending on financial needs, merit and mobility”.
There is even a quote from the new head of the foundation: “I am not looking at this with an agenda”.
I hate to break the news to Mr. Landry, but he does not need an agenda until he gets a foundation. He will not get a foundation until this House grants one. I do not blame him for forgetting about Parliament because this government and its bureaucrats keep forgetting about Parliament from time to time. If this keeps up, we might as well all go down to Mexico and join Senator Thompson because our roles will become as irrelevant as the Senate's.
I urge Mr. Speaker to review your own words on these matters. We cannot just stand up in this place and bluff any more. We have the authority to act and we should not be afraid to use that authority. All we ask, Mr. Speaker, is that you allow this House to decide this matter. Surely you must find this as offensive as we do.