Mr. Speaker, allow me to rise on a related matter, on a couple of things.
First, yesterday during debate the Chair will recall that the member for Burnaby--Douglas rose on a point of order and I replied to him on his point of order. He made it clear that he took my response to him as a personal insult and, in particular, as a comment about his sexual orientation. I just want to say that I intended no such insult and intended no such interpretation. I will also add that when the hon. member for Calgary Centre rose shortly after to ask me to clarify my remarks, at that point, quite frankly, that particular interpretation had not occurred to me.
I have talked to the hon. member and indicated to him that I am sorry that he took that meaning. I did not intend it, but I am sorry he took it that way. I would just say to the hon. member that I have known him for a long time and we have a lot to disagree on; I do not know if there are any two members in the House who probably disagree on more items. It is very possible for he and I to have a debate on issues of substance. There would be absolutely no need on my part to engage in the type of personal insult that he has alleged, nor if I were to do that would there be any justification in doing so. That said, I intended no insult and am very happy to withdraw my remark that he took that way.
I also am aware that one minister of the crown and some former ministers of the crown took exception to comments I made. I think I made it clear yesterday that I was not making an allegation that any member of the House of Commons was a criminal. I was simply making reference to the fact that a number of members have been forced to resign under a cloud. These situations vary from fairly clear breaches of ethics to much more serious instances where there are in fact investigations by authorities, and in some cases they involve, indirectly, investigations by the RCMP.
But as I say, I just want to make it clear that no member should take the implication that I was making a specific allegation of criminal wrongdoing. If that is the implication any individual member took, I withdraw that.