I want to thank the hon. member for Saskatoon--Humboldt for raising his question of privilege and the government House leader for his contribution. I will take the matter under advisement and return to the House in due course.
However, while I am on the subject, I would like to take this opportunity to comment briefly on the context of the issues raised by the hon. member for Saskatoon--Humboldt.
As members know, I take very seriously my responsibility as the guardian of the rights and privileges of each member of the House and of the House as an institution.
In the matter of this member's electronic communications in recent days, it has been brought to my attention that use is being made by the hon. member of the services of the House, namely the e-mail system, and this use has presented unprecedented difficulties.
Briefly put, the volume of messages and the size of each message are such as to interfere not only with the operation of the system as a whole here at the House of Commons but with the operation of systems in place in various government departments and agencies. So toxic has been the effect on various outside recipients that a government-wide alert has been issued with regard to these mailings that are viewed as dangerous and reprehensible spamming because of their negative effect on the functioning of the receiving system.
Accordingly, as your Speaker, I had to weigh the rights of the individual member against the rights of all other hon. members and I have reached the following conclusion. Until specific guidelines have been adopted to regulate mass e-mailings, just as we regulate mass mailings by regular post, I have directed officials to contact any member whose activities impede the proper functioning of the system here at the House or the functioning of systems off the Hill to inform that member to cease such destructive activity.
Alternatives will be proposed where possible and if the member does not comply, I have instructed officials to suspend the member's account. That means there will be no e-mails.
I want to stress that these measures will only be taken to deal with abuses of the services that are provided to each member, abuses which interfere with the continued, untrammelled use of these services by all hon. members.
I thank the House for its attention.