Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege for which I have already given the Chair notice.
My question of privilege arises from news reports on Wednesday, December 15 in the Ottawa Citizen , Edmonton Journal and National Post each of which made reference to the report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans tabled Thursday, December 16 in the House.
I draw the Speaker's attention to the following quote which appeared in each of these newspapers cited. It stated:
To accommodate the treaty right the government should encourage native participation in the fishery through a program which provides native fishermen with a down payment on a licence and vessel and a competitive loan to cover the outstanding value of the assets purchased.
Each newspaper identified that statement as one section of the report.
I would draw to the Speaker's attention the recommendation section of the Reform Party's minority report as appended to the committee report. In that section there appears a quote on page 43 which is identical to the one I have read.
I further point out that even I as chair did not have access to that minority report until Thursday, December 16 and that appeared in the paper on Wednesday, December 15.
I would draw the Speaker's attention to the fact that in two of the newspaper accounts, the title of the report for which that quotation was supposedly extracted was provided to the media as “The Marshall Decision and Beyond: Implications for the Management of Atlantic Fisheries”. That title as provided to the media is of course the title of the report as tabled in the House.
Neither the title of the report nor the contents of the Reform Party's minority report were disclosed in any way by the committee in public session. Both of these were provided to the media without the consent of the committee and therefore in violation of the rules of the House.
It is my contention that providing the media with what was attributed as being part of the standing committee's report has violated the privileges not only of the members who dedicated themselves to the work of this committee but to all members of the House.
My remarks are not directed toward the contents which were contained in the Reform Party's minority report. My concern is that someone provided the media with that minority report and obviously implied that what they were providing was part of the committee's report. That was done, I would submit, intentionally and maliciously.
I conclude by saying that this unfortunately is not the first time a report of the standing committee on fisheries has been leaked to the media prior to its being tabled in the House. The difference this time is that there appears to be little doubt, in fact absolutely no doubt, as to the source of the violation of the privileges of the members of the House.
If the Speaker finds that I have a prima facie case of privilege, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion.