Mr. Speaker, we have been very excited in recent days and weeks, but I am truly concerned that Parliament maintain the strength of the Standing Orders and I know you are very interested in that.
I was surprised last week that you did not rule on it, but I noticed again today that the opposition used the Standing Order which allows a question to be posed to the chair of a standing committee.
This is a relatively obscure but extremely important Standing Order. It is a Standing Order which gives strength to committees. It gives the committee chairs some stature in the House.
I would argue that in both cases the opposition abused that privilege. Mr. Speaker, if you read the Standing Orders, and I know you have the Standing Orders memorized, you will note that yes, a question can be posed to the chair of a standing committee, but the chair of the standing committee can only reply with respect to the organization of the committee and its agenda. The chair cannot comment on the work of the committee and certainly cannot criticize the work of the committee or anything of that sort.
I would argue that if you, Mr. Speaker, leave the question that was posed by the Leader of the Opposition last week with respect to public accounts and the question that was posed today to the chair of the government operations committee hanging, you will have weakened permanently the Standing Orders of the House and weakened the status of standing committees of the House.
Mr. Speaker, I urge you to look into both of those questions and rule, as I think you will, that those questions were an abuse of a very valuable Standing Order.