Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
The House has just been presented with the report of the Standing Committee on Transport. This committee reported the estimates this morning, which were referred by the House of Commons. So, the committee's decision is the result of an order from the House, meaning that the House mandated the committee to make such a decision.
The committee, therefore, made certain decisions and reported them to the House; this is an official report. This is the ultimate responsibility of parliamentary committees in terms of reports and decisions.
That said, I draw the Chair's attention to Marleau and Montpetit's House of Commons Procedure and Practice , pages 244 and 245. Under “Committee Rooms”, it says:
Committees may meet anywhere in the parliamentary precinct provided the requirements for—
This is a condition.
This is the first requirement.
That is it.
This was not, in my opinion, observed this morning.
Referring to Marleau and Montpetit page 835 respecting committees:
Meetings of committees usually take place in specially equipped rooms in the Parliament Buildings, but committees may hold meetings elsewhere in Canada. The meeting rooms are usually arranged in an open-rectangle configuration.
There is discussion of the equipment in the room, the staff assigned to committee members, where everyone sits and it is then stated that:
Committee meetings are ordinarily open to the public—
So, the decisions reached on matters referred by this House, particularly formal decisions, are made in rooms “open to the public and the media”. The reference continues as follows:
Simultaneous interpretation services are offered to committee members, witnesses and members of the public at all committee meetings.
The public has a right to be present, and simultaneous interpretation is available. As I have already said, recording must also be possible.
I would invite the Chair to look into this. Before the report is accepted, I would ask you to defer your ruling until later today, if you would so desire. Firstly, this ruling will determine whether these rules, and the respect of Canada's official languages, were observed when the decisions were reached at this morning's meeting, as well as the public aspect. There were no witnesses to be heard, and I know that certain employees of Parliament were denied access to the room. The ruling will also address the matter of recording and, thirdly, the strict observation of our rules relating to official languages as far as simultaneous interpretation is concerned.
I am certain that the Chair will have no option but to reach the conclusion that these rules were not duly observed and that this report, as presented to us this morning, is not indeed such and is therefore found to be out of order by the Chair.