Mr. Speaker, it is with some regret and with a sense of responsibility that I rise on a matter of privilege.
More specifically, yesterday I was threatened and intimidated by the member for Calgary East while at a meeting on Parliament Hill. In Marleau and Montpetit on page 83 under the section “Freedom from Obstruction, Interference, Intimidation and Molestation” it states:
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. Any form of intimidation...of a person for or on account of his behaviour during a proceeding in Parliament could amount to contempt.
With regard to dealing with a matter of privilege, Marleau and Montpetit states on page 121:
The House of Commons is certainly the most important secular body in Canada. It is said that each House of Parliament is a “court” with respect to its own privileges and dignity and the privileges of its Members. The purpose of raising matters of “privilege” in either House of Parliament is to maintain the respect and credibility due to and required of each House in respect of these privileges, to uphold its powers, and to enforce the enjoyment of the privileges of its Members.
That includes the freedom of speech.
On Thursday, June 7, at approximately 6:30 p.m., I attended a meeting of a parliamentary friendship group in room 308, West Block. Prior to that meeting commencing, I advised the chair of the group, the member for Calgary East, that I had a concern in regard to the process and would be raising a point of order during the meeting. He immediately put his finger in my face and started yelling at me, saying, “If you raise anything during this meeting, just watch what happens to you. Don't start with me”.
During his intimidation and his threats, I raised my point of order during the meeting. After that meeting had concluded I came upon the member for Calgary East, who was telling another senator, “She is just being a cry baby”. Upon hearing this, I immediately told him that “I am not a cry baby, I was simply trying to follow the rules and the procedure”.
The member again lost his control, put his finger in my face, and yelled, “After what you did to me, just watch what I do to you. I am going to smear you and your reputation”.
During the second incident a number of senators, MPs and staff asked him to calm down. However, he refused to listen. He continued with his threatening and attacking behaviour. The second incident was witnessed by a number of individuals, including the member of Parliament for Scarborough—Rouge River.
I have raised this question of privilege because I do not think that any member of this House should be intimidated, should be threatened, or verbally abused.
Being approached by another member and being threatened handcuffs our ability as parliamentarians to carry out our necessary responsibilities. If we are subject to some sort of retribution when we are doing something that we believe is right, we cannot function.
I believe that this incident has satisfied the two conditions in regard to a matter of privilege, first, in regard to making a case that it is a prima facie breach of my privilege as a member not to be threatened or intimidated by another member in the performance or conduct of my duties; and second, having it raised with the Speaker at the earliest opportunity.
Mr. Speaker, should you find a prima facie case of privilege, I would be prepared to move the appropriate motion.