Mr. Speaker, it is extremely important that I raise this question of privilege regarding what I told you about on March 1, and regarding the point of order raised by the hon. member for Beauharnois—Salaberry, on Friday, March 3.
At the time, I asked you to examine a serious violation of the privileges as parliamentarians of Bloc Quebecois members in this House.
I gave you proof that the deputy principal clerk had rejected amendments that we had not even tabled with the Journals Branch, since he based his decision on the legislative counsel's data bank, rather than on the amendments actually tabled by the Bloc Quebecois.
I demonstrated to you that the freedom of speech of the members of my party and their right to confidential dealings with the legislative counsel had been violated.
Not only had the House staff usurped the right of the Bloc MPs to select the amendments they intended to propose, but it also committed a breach of confidentiality by consulting the body of amendments the Bloc Quebecois had had the legislative counsel prepare.
At the time I raised this question of privilege, I expressed serious misgivings about the decision making process surrounding the receivability of the amendments at the report stage. In fact, certain amendments that were declared out of order were amended in accordance with the comments by the Deputy Principal Clerk in order to render them in order. Yet they were again deemed to be out of order.
This new decision was then made the object of a point of order by my colleague for Beauharnois—Salaberry who expressed, on behalf of his colleagues, his dismay about this new refusal by your staff. These events, which occurred during the week prior to last week's parliamentary recess, have a negative effect on the debate at report stage on Bill C-20, which was begun on Friday, March 3 and is scheduled to resume today.
Some amendments will be neither debated nor voted on, while we have serious reservations about the grounds on which the staff based the decision that they were not in order. The very process by which amendments were selected might be questioned, as it seems to be tainted by a number of defects and irregularities.
On these grounds, Mr. Speaker, you have a duty to bring down your decision on my point of privilege of March 1 last, and on the point of order raised by my colleague for Beauharnois—Salaberry, and to do so before resuming the debate at report stage and before beginning today's voting process, because the government House leader is obviously preparing to propose a time allocation motion, which will force the House to decide on the motions at report stage starting at 6.30 this evening.
The Bloc Quebecois will have great difficulty in taking part in a process of debate and voting which is a deviation from the rules and conventions of this House.
Do not treat this point of privilege lightly. The gravity of the situation imposes a duty to exercise diligence. The credibility of the institution that is the House of Commons is at stake.
I would remind you that I am still prepared to make the necessary motion to return this matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, particularly the one element—for my point of privilege involved two matters—relating to the examination of a motion of privilege, which would refer to that committee the question raised by the rejection of two never-introduced amendments.
Before the debate is resumed, or as promptly as possible, and especially before we vote, I expect your decision on the point of order raised by my colleague for Beauharnois—Salaberry.