Mr. Speaker, I have given notice of a question of privilege and I want you to refer first to Joseph Maingot's second edition, chapter 12, wherein it is made clear that a question of privilege is a proper vehicle for bringing to the attention of the House a matter which the House may consider to be a contempt of this House. I particularly direct your attention to pages 224 and 225.
I make this point at the outset, Mr. Speaker, to remove from your mind any consideration of the usual test that you would apply for any breach of the immunities of parliamentary privilege. I am compelled to use the vehicle of a question of privilege to ask that you find there is evidence of a prima facie contempt of the House.
I have a letter on House of Commons stationery, which was procured at the expense of the Canadian taxpayer. The letter solicits attendance at a meeting to meet representatives for the leadership race for the Canadian Alliance. The letter was signed by the member of parliament for New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby. It was sent out using first class postal frank, which is again using a publicly financed facility. I am prepared to table that letter.
Apart from the hypocrisy of using public funds by a member of a party who says it is for fiscal responsibility, or stands for fiscal responsibilities, and less use of public expenditures, this is a gross misuse of the facilities put at the disposal of members of parliament.
There is a place for partisan activity in every member's office. However, I submit that it is a gross impropriety for a member to finance his party's leadership race using publicly paid for facilities and supplies. Supporters of the member's party should pay for this sort of message not every Canadian taxpayer, whether it is my riding, your riding, Mr. Speaker, or any other member's riding.
I submit that every member knows that this is wrong and that there has been a deliberate abuse of the system by the member for New Westminister—Coquitlam—Burnaby. This offends the unwritten practices of the House and, as such, constitutes contempt of the House.
The question that arises is just how much more of the Canadian Alliance leadership race is going to be publicly financed by the Canadian taxpayers? Why should I, as an MP, have to defend to my overtaxed constituents this sort or abuse? This brings into disrepute the reputation of every member of the House. This sort of action brings public life into disrepute and, for this reason, it is contemptuous of the House.
Party leadership races should be financed through the party or private contributors. By abusing the trust which every member has to use public supplies and services in a proper manner, the member for New Westminister—Coquitlam—Burnaby has, in my opinion, brought the House into odium and public disrespect. As members of parliament, we are all offended by this.
Should you, Mr. Speaker, find that there is a prima facie case to be answered by the member, I am prepared to move the necessary motion to refer the matter to committee.
On that, I rest my case. I am sure other members will also want to engage in the debate on this question of privilege.