Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to add a few comments to this point of privilege, which I take to be a serious one and refer to you for your serious consideration.
I too was at the committee throughout these last couple of days of proceedings at public accounts and was deeply disturbed by the actions of members of the government side on that committee. I do believe that in fact we are dealing with a prima facie case of privilege, a prima facie case of breach of parliamentary privilege, and I would like you to take it under serious consideration.
Let me just indicate to you very briefly, Mr. Speaker, how difficult and frustrating it has been for us. We dealt with the fact that the member for Toronto—Danforth had actually revealed in camera testimony to the media; he had made public in camera testimony from Charles Guité. That member confessed to that wrongdoing. The committee passed a motion to bring this matter to your attention. We agreed that it should be in the form of a report from our committee to the House.
You can imagine our shock and surprise, Mr. Speaker, when we arrived this morning to deal with that report only to have the Liberal members, the government members, on the public accounts committee vote against the referral of that report to the House.
I have not been here that many years, I guess, only seven or eight years, and I am astounded at the kind of dismissive way in which government members are treating this institution, at their disregard for the committee process and, more importantly, their complete disdain, in fact, for the rule of this place, with you, Mr. Speaker, being our highest authority.
There were other incidents throughout the committee's proceedings that are equally disturbing. They are not necessarily a part of this matter of privilege but ought to be taken into account.
I think, Mr. Speaker, that although you had referred the matter of what to do about in camera testimony to the committee as a matter of its own work and because it is the master of its own destiny, you probably will find it somewhat disturbing to know that the committee decided to act without waiting for your ruling and to in fact move to make testimony public, contrary to the recommendation of the Chair and despite the fact that you were in the process of ruling on a similar point of order in this House.
Altogether, Mr. Speaker, I think you will find a very disturbing set of events that treats this place as less than the highest place of authority, and I think you ought to review this matter seriously and consider taking action vis-à-vis the point of privilege that has been referred to you today.