Mr. Speaker, I think you will find that your office will have received a letter from my staff yesterday notifying you of my intention to ask for this emergency debate tonight. I hope you will see the merits in our arguments that this is an issue that does properly meet the tests for an emergency debate and should be given the time in the House of Commons later today. We would be ready to argue this at the end of ordinary business today.
I argue that the sheer magnitude of the communications sponsorship scandal has actually rocked the country and created a crisis of confidence in the current government. I argue that it is a matter of emergency proportions. I will argue one simple fact that will not be addressed that Canadians need to have addressed in parliament.
The fact is that the auditor general's mandate is really quite limited. She can only comment on malfeasance by public servants.
The RCMP's mandate, in its investigation, is limited as well in that they will be able to comment on any fraud or misrepresentation on the part of the contractors in question.
A third question remains unanswered and only parliament can deal with it. Was there political interference? Did these public servants break all the rules because they were ordered to by a current minister, a former minister or anybody on their staff. That is the concern that parliament has to be seized with. Those are the arguments that we need to hear and to make tonight. The auditor general cannot answer the question of whether there was political interference nor will the RCMP. It is the most compelling issue facing the country as this terrible scandal starts to grow.