Mr. Speaker, I want to add a few comments to what has already been said by the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst and by other members who have intervened.
I urge the Chair to take this question very seriously. It may be, as the government House leader argued, that the former judgment by the Chair with respect to the premature release of committee reports is not identical to what we are protesting here, but it is all in the same vein. It all shows a similar contempt for the House of Commons.
All these things, whether they are committee reports that are released before they are tabled in the House, or government legislation that is leaked to the media before it is tabled in the House, or anything in the same vein, it all erodes the ability of members of the House individually and collectively to do their jobs. Mr. Speaker, you should regard it in the same spirit in which you regarded the release of committee reports before they were tabled in the House.
The government House leader says he feels badly, and I believe him, but some responsibility has to be taken somewhere. That is the point. If nobody on the government side is to take responsibility then it is up to the Chair to assign responsibility for this, because clearly somebody somewhere in the Department of Human Resources Development gave it to the media. I do not think anyone could claim anything else. This is what happened.
I would make the argument that this is a parliamentary democracy. We have responsible government. The buck stops somewhere, and in this case the buck does not stop with the government House leader. I believe he was a victim of the Machiavellian machinations of his own colleagues in this case.
The fact is that somebody has to take responsibility, and in my judgment it is the Minister of Human Resources Development who should be held responsible. It is her department. She should be in here explaining what happened and why heads are rolling or why she is resigning or whatever the case may be. It is her department or her ministry that has demonstrated this kind of contempt for parliament through the deliberate leak, unless somebody wants to get up and actually ask us to believe this was somehow an accident. We are asked to believe an awful lot of things around here, but that would be a big one.
The fact of the matter is that this is a deliberate strategy on the part of government members time after time after time, so that they get the lead on the story, so that their spin, so to speak, on the story is out there before other members of parliament and other parties get to comment.
It may be something they can sit in the back room and grin about, saying “Aren't we smart? Didn't we outsmart the opposition that time? Didn't we slip one by them? Didn't we get them one more time?” Every one of those little strategies and tactics is another nail in the coffin of parliamentary democracy, one more time eroding the power of the House of Commons, one more time eroding the perception by Canadians that this is the place where information is revealed.
This is the place where public policy is announced, not in the back rooms where somebody slips somebody from the media a brown envelope, or across the way in the press gallery, or wherever it is of the many places. Sometimes from hundreds of miles away ministers of the crown decide to make public policy announcements. All of this tends toward the deterioration in the public mind of the importance of parliament.
I would urge you to do whatever is in your power, Mr. Speaker, to chastise, assign responsibility, refer it to a committee, or whatever you see within your power to do, because someone has to do something about it. We are doing what we can on the floor by appealing to you.