He can ask it next Thursday to his heart's content but I am afraid we will not be sitting so it will be tough doing it here.
I hold the hon. member in very high esteem too. I do not like to rule questions out of order but I have made it fairly clear in other rulings on this subject, and I have had a couple of them. I gave a caution on one and I ruled the other one out of order, I believe, on this subject in earlier question periods.
When a matter is referred to a committee and the committee has the matter under consideration, our rules are quite clear. I could cite Marleau and Montpetit once again on this point to relieve the hon. member's mind, but I will find that and bring it out to him later if he would like to see it.
Questions about what the committee is studying are not in order. He may have an argument whether the committee is studying deliberately misleading, misleading or whatever, but the statements that the Minister of National Defence made in the House were referred to the committee for its study. The matter is before the committee.
In the preamble of the question, the hon. member cited the minister's statements in the House. His question was based on those statements. Those statements have been referred to the committee and are being studied by the committee. In my view, questions on that subject while the matter is before the committee are out of order.
I have no doubt that the committee will, in due course, submit a report to the House on this matter. Once that report is submitted there is no doubt in my mind that the hon. member's question would be in order. However at the moment it is not and that is the problem.
I will review the matter with care and if I come to a different conclusion, naturally I will invite the hon. member to take his place in the House and ask the question again. The Chair was fairly careful in listening to the hon. member and I felt that the ruling at the time was appropriate in the circumstances given the position I took on this matter previously.
I very much appreciate the hon. member's support and his co-operation with the Chair.