Mr. Speaker, further to my May 12 question of privilege, I wish to draw to the attention of the Chair an Ontario Superior Court ruling of May 14 regarding the matter of court decisions that affect parliamentary privilege.
The court, in its May 14 ruling, while confirming the parliamentary privilege of members from being compelled to participate in legal proceedings when Parliament is in session, asserted that this privilege should be limited to the period that Parliament is actually sitting and for 14 days after it adjourns. This was in reference to the Telezone case versus the MP for Ottawa South.
This again is an attack on the privileges of hon. members in the House.
I know the Speaker is already seized with another matter in this regard that I brought to the attention of the Chair only a few days ago. Of course, the decision in the Telezone case is even more serious, in terms of the intrusion by the courts in improperly attempting to define what is parliamentary privilege.
If members of the House were to decide at any point that the definition of privilege needed to be altered, if they were to lengthen what is today the 40-day period, shorten it, remove it or otherwise, that would be a decision which the House would make in relation to its own privileges. However, I do not believe that it is appropriate for a court to define what is parliamentary privilege in our country.
I suggest that the Chair would want to take this case into consideration in ruling on the question of privilege that I raised on May 12 and possibly rule at that point that there is a bona fide case of privilege and then both matters could be referred to the parliamentary committee on procedure and house affairs.