Mr. Speaker, as you know, following the June 28 general election, the deputation in the House of Commons changed substantially. Out of the 308 members who are currently sitting here, 201 were re-elected, 101 were elected for the first time, and 6 made a return to federal politics.
Of course, it is easy to figure out that about 100 members who sat here during the 37th Parliament are no longer here. Whether they decided not to seek another term, were defeated during the nomination process or the general election, the fact remains that these former colleagues are no longer members of Parliament.
However, we were recently taken aback to learn that one of these former MPs, Liberal member Serge Marcil, who represented the riding of Beauharnois—Salaberry in the previous Parliament, does not seem to have taken note of the results of the last general election.
Despite the fact that the riding is now represented by a Bloc Québécois member, Mr. Marcil continues to use the title of member of Parliament and also the addresses of his old offices in the riding and in Ottawa, as shown in an advertisement that includes a picture and that is entitled “Serge Marcil, Member of Parliament for Beauharnois—Salaberry”.
This advertisement was part of a booklet published following the last general election, which was distributed to us on November 12, four and a half months after the election. At the end of my question of privilege, I will seek the unanimous consent of the House to table this booklet.
If I may, I would like to draw the hon. members' attention to excerpts from Marleau and Montpetit's House of Commons Procedure and Practice , dealing with a matter that is exactly the same as this one today.
In chapter 3, on privileges and immunities, under “Freedom from Obstruction, Interference, Intimidation and Molestation”, reference is made to a decision made by one of your predecessors, Speaker Bosley, on May 6, 1985. For your information, the evidence on which this decision was based is the following.
On April 25, 1985, Andrew Witer, the member for Parkdale—High Park, rose on a question of privilege relating to an advertisement which appeared in a Toronto based newspaper. The ad in question identified Jesse Flis, the incumbent's predecessor, as member of Parliament for Parkdale—High Park, listing the address and phone number of Mr. Flis' former constituency office.
A motion by Mr. Witer to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections was then agreed to. In this matter, Speaker Bosley ruled, and I quote from Marleau and Montpetit:
—there was a prima facie question of privilege in a case where a newspaper advertisement identified another person as a Member of Parliament rather than the sitting Member.
Moreover, in his decision, Speaker Bosley stated:
It should go without saying that a Member of Parliament needs to perform his functions effectively and that anything tending to cause confusion as to a Member’s identity creates the possibility of an impediment to the fulfilment of that Member’s functions. Any action which impedes or tends to impede a Member in the discharge of his duties is a breach of privilege. There are ample citations and precedents to bear this out.
That is what the quote from Speaker Bosley said.
Therefore, should you decide that my question is in order, I would put forward the appropriate motion, which I have drafted and have here in my hand. Also, I would seek the unanimous consent of the House to table the booklet.