Mr. Speaker, I believe I am personally involved, but not voluntarily, in a serious case of contempt of parliament, a case indeed so serious that it could weaken the democratic spirit of the House in our role as elected members.
This case of contempt involves both the Senate and the House of Commons and can be explained quickly by considering three issues: first, the implication of the Senate; second, the aggression on the House of Commons; and third, the undermining of my right to freedom of speech as an elected member.
Mr. Speaker, I did not delay in raising this point of order, on the contrary. Acting on information received in recent days, along with your letter of October 29, received just hours ago, I am anxious to address the matter today.
Mr. Speaker, as you indicate yourself on page 11,121 of Hansard dated December 9, 1998, “I cannot presume of the content of a question of privilege before having heard it”. For this reason, I feel that you will allow me the time to explain this important question of privilege. I am convinced that once you have heard the facts in this case, you will conclude with me that it is indeed a very serious contempt of parliament, the consequences of which could directly affect the integrity of the House and the freedom of speech of all members. I hope you will take the time to justify your decision.
In Parliamentary Privilege in Canada by Joseph Maingot, chapter 12, it states on page 229:
—any act or omission which obstructs or impedes either House of Parliament in the performance of its function, or which obstructs or impedes any Member or officer in the discharge of his “parliamentary duty”, or which has a tendency, directly or indirectly, to produce such results may be treated as a contempt even though there is no precedent for the offence.
I did indeed say “has a tendency to produce such results” and “even though there is no precedent for the offence”. The reason for this is that, of course, contempt cannot be limited. Its definition remains open-ended because no one is in a position to predict all possible cases of contempt of parliament.
According to all references consulted, contempt of parliament is essentially an attack on the authority and dignity of the House of Commons.
What I am presenting today is a case of contempt of parliament or a case with a tendency to produce such a result, one that is new, possibly unique, although I believe there is a precedent, a similar case raised in this House on October 14 by the hon. member for South Surrey—White Rock—Langley—