I am also prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on February 18, 2004 by the hon. President of the Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board alleging that a document tabled earlier that day by the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough was incomplete.
I would like to thank the hon. President of the Treasury Board for having raised this question, as well as the hon. members for St. John's West, Scarborough—Rouge River, Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, and Provencher for their contributions to the discussion.
In drawing the attention of the Chair to this matter, the President of the Treasury Board stated that the document tabled by the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, a 1994 internal memo from the office of the then minister of finance, originally contained five pages and that the tabled document contained only two of those pages. He argued that since the document was incomplete, the House had been misled and that this constituted a contempt.
The hon. member for Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough asserted that he had sought unanimous consent to table the material in his possession and that, on receiving consent, he had tabled that material, namely the two-page document in dispute.
The Chair heard these arguments and can only conclude that what we have before us is a dispute as to facts. The hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough tabled a two page document, that being all that he had in his possession. Unanimous consent of the House was required before the hon. member could table that document. Consent was duly requested and received and the document was tabled.
Now the hon. President of the Treasury Board has tabled a five page document. The matter would seem to be closed. Readers of the parliamentary debates and the sessional papers can draw their own conclusions. It is not for the Chair to adjudicate in such matters.
This is a matter of debate and members will, I am sure, avail themselves of the usual means at their disposal to resolve this matter. It is certainly not something on which the Chair can be asked to rule and it does not constitute a prima facie breach of the privileges of the House in my finding.