Mr. Speaker, during debate on private members' business on Monday, May 9, the member for Montmorency--Charlevoix--Haute-Côte-Nord, while presenting examples during debate on his bill, Bill C-312, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act, appointment of returning officers, which we will be voting on tomorrow, made reference to my riding of Ahuntsic and stated that:
In another riding, it was discovered that the returning officer was the president of the Liberal association for the riding. It is time somebody woke up. This is Earth calling.
That is inappropriate language.
The returning officer is the president of the Liberal riding association in Ahuntsic.
This matter was only brought to my attention last Monday when the member for Calgary West, while referring to the May 9 presentation by the member for Montmorency--Charlevoix--Haute-Côte-Nord, stated:
In the member's last presentation he spoke about how even current presidents of Liberal riding associations have actually been appointed to be the returning officers in their ridings. He listed specifically my riding, the riding of Ahuntsic.
While I support the aim of the member opposite's motion, I have to repeat the remarks of my colleague from Gatineau in the same debate, “We must not get too carried away on this point. People's reputations are at stake”. This is something the opposition is continually forgetting.
Second, she said that even Mr. Kingsley, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, had said, in his testimony before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, that he would, in the end, keep almost all of the incumbent returning officers if he had the authority to hire or dismiss them.
Mr. Speaker, I call on you to ask the member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord and the member for Calgary West to withdraw their comments, since they are totally erroneous.
Let me be clear. The facts are the Ahuntsic returning officer did not hold the position of riding president at the time of his nomination and therefore, by consequence, definitely did not hold the position at the time of his appointment.
Again we continue to malign reputations in the House without any consideration for the truth and only for political expediency. In fact, it has become the sport of choice of both the Bloc and the Conservatives.
As such, I respectfully request that the members for Montmorency--Charlevoix--Haute-Côte-Nord and Calgary West be asked to withdraw their specific comments which are untrue.