Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege of which I have given notice.
My question of privilege arises from a Canadian Press news story which appeared in today's Globe and Mail under the heading “Seal herds to be culled”. It gives its source as the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands deliberately divulged information from an in camera meeting of the Standing Committee of Fisheries and Oceans held yesterday morning, at which the committee was discussing the draft report as related to our study of the east coast seal issue.
The story carried in the Globe and Mail reads as follows:
The size of Atlantic Canada's seal herd must be reduced to save depleted cod stocks, the Commons fisheries committee decided at a closed meeting yesterday where it rewrote a report on the industry.
The story continued:
“The committee, acting on recommendations from the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, will urge the federal government to come up with a five year plan to reduce the size of the seal herd significantly”, said Reform fisheries critic Gary Lunn.
I draw the attention of the Speaker to citation 851 of Beauchesne's sixth edition which states:
When a committee chooses to meet in camera, all matters are confidential. Any departure from strict confidentiality should be by explicit committee decision which should deal with what matters should be published, in which form and by whom.
The statement attributed to the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands was not delivered in the heat of debate in the House. This was not a mistake in judgment or any kind of oversight. This was a deliberate act, and one which demonstrates a disrespect and contempt for the privileges not only of every member of the Standing Committee for Fisheries but of every member of the House.
As well, I was informed that there was a major interview on CBC in Newfoundland also divulging information that was talked about in that in camera meeting.
If you rule this to be a prima facie question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion.