Mr. Speaker, I believe that the Conservative reaction to this very serious question of privilege raised by my colleague for Ottawa South clearly shows what this party thinks of the rules of this House.
On this side of the House, we also witnessed the conduct of the member for Ottawa—Orléans who, moreover, is the Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House. Even though he is a chair occupant, he must retain the confidence of this House accorded to him in that role of Deputy Chair of Committees of the whole, just as you must carry out your responsibilities, which, I might add, you do properly.
I will quote from the second edition of Professor Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, on page 230, where he deals with the right of members to speak freely in this House and in committee, without any obstruction or intimidation. The conduct of the member for Ottawa—Orléans and Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole is an act of intimidation directed at the member for Ottawa South, who was only doing his job as a parliamentarian. I quote from Maingot:
Members are entitled to go about their parliamentary business undisturbed. The assaulting, menacing, or insulting of any Member on the floor of the House or while he is coming or going to or from the House, or on account of his behaviour during a proceeding in Parliament, is a violation of the rights of Parliament.
This quote from Maingot concludes as follows:
Any form of intimidation...of a person for or on account of his behaviour during a proceeding in Parliament could amount to contempt.
The conduct we saw from this side of the House is very serious and, to some extent, calls into question whether the member for Ottawa—Orléans has the legitimate moral authority to occupy the chair when you are not in it. I refer you to your responsibilities as Speaker of the House. Page 79 of Marleau and Montpetit clearly describes the authority of the speaker.
A further limitation on the freedom of speech of Members is provided by the authority of the Speaker under the Standing Orders to preserve order and decorum, and when necessary to order a Member to resume his or her seat—
In conclusion, I believe you should take a serious look at this matter and remember that when we ask a question in this House—whether or not the government likes the question—it is our privilege to do so, as we are representing the people who elected us democratically, even though there are people here who think that it is not partisan.
As I said yesterday, this is not a bridge club. We have people to represent. The member for Ottawa South was just representing the people in his riding who elected him democratically. And he has the right to do so unimpeded, just as the member for Ottawa—Orléans, who is the deputy chair of committees of the whole, has done.
We ask that you conduct a thorough investigation.