Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to your attention a serious matter that arose yesterday in the Standing Committee on Finance during the testimony of the Governor of the Bank of Canada.
I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that during this meeting the actions of the chairperson, supported by the government majority on the committee, denied me and other members of the committee our right to question the witness as is allowed by the rules of Parliament. As such my freedom of speech, which is a fundamental right to every MP in this place, was denied.
The facts are fairly simple. The meeting was held to examine the Bank of Canada's monetary policy. The witnesses were the Governor of the Bank of Canada and the senior deputy governor.
During the meeting, when recognized by the Chair in my proper order and within the time allowed to me, I attempted to question the credibility of the witness, given the past record of the Governor of the Bank of Canada as a manager of a scandal at the Department of Health. All attempts to question the credibility of the witness were ruled out of order by the chair.
I fail to see the point in having free speech in the House if it is arbitrarily denied to me in committee. It is my job as an MP and as my party's finance critic to explore the governor's ability to run our monetary policy and that question involves his credibility. We cannot study a policy without looking at the bank's chief manager's ability to implement the policy effectively.
I know that my immediate remedy for this problem was to raise the matter with the committee, and that I did. My only option was to challenge the chair, and that I did. The committee split along party lines and the chair's ruling was upheld.
I know that we have partisan debate in this place and that in committee there are votes along party lines. That is common and I understand that this is normal; however, the House and its committees are more than a partisan battleground.
We are an institution where a variety of ideas are expressed and where the facets of public policy are explored to improve the lives of those who send us here as representatives. The expression of those ideas is the right of all members within the confines of the rules. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right of MPs in this place.
We do not allow the majority to gag the minority, but that is what happened yesterday. When the tyranny of the majority runs down our rights as members, then our only remedy is to ask for your wisdom on this matter. I have listened to your rulings in the past on the independence of committees and I have taken them to heart.
Mr. Speaker, you have recognized that committees are their own masters on matters of procedure, but my point of order is not procedural. It is a question of my rights being denied.
Mr. Speaker, you are my only viable protector against a gag order from the majority of this place. I am only trying to do my job within the rules. I therefore ask you, Mr. Speaker, to review the transcript in question and overrule the chair of the finance committee on this matter.