The Chair regards the using of props in the House with the utmost seriousness. It has been consistent practice in the House for many years to enforce the rule that members may not use props. Occasionally, members are able to get away with it because either it is not noticed or sometimes the member uses it before the Chair can intervene, not realizing it is about to happen.
I must say to the hon. member for Calgary West, who gave what I regard as a wholly insufficient explanation of his conduct, that this problem has arisen before. When I have personally been in the chair I have had to deal with the fact that he has held up signs, in particular during the course of voting in the House.
As the hon. member and all hon. members know, points of order are generally not permitted during voting. It is for that reason that the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst was not permitted to pursue the matter last evening. When the voting was complete, the hon. member for Calgary West had left the House, so I directed the matter to stand over.
Last night was the second time I personally warned the hon. member and I know that one of the other occupants of the chair has had this difficulty. It is not something which the Chair can lightly tolerate because if one member, as the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle has said, can hold up a sign, so can other members. In my view, it is entirely inappropriate and out of place in the House. We are here to carry on a legislative function, not an advertising function. If the hon. member wishes to make his views known on a bill, he can do so by participating in debate, by making a speech or by putting a question or making a comment on another hon. member's speech. I invite him to do that if he wishes his views to be known. Or, better still, he could put it in his householder, which he is allowed to do four times a year in his constituency.
The Chair will say that if members persist in using signs during voting or some other demonstration of that kind which is inappropriate in the House, the Chair will have no reluctance in directing the clerk to strike the hon. member's name from the list of those who have voted and continue to strike it if the conduct persists and, if necessary, take further measures.
I hope that it will not be necessary to revisit this issue. In the Chair's view, it is entirely inappropriate.