Mr. Speaker, yesterday during oral question period, the hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier asked the following question:
Mr. Speaker, five years ago today, the Liberal government unveiled its action plan for official languages. This plan ends in three weeks, at the end of March, and the budget did not include any money to renew it, even though the Conservative government had promised to renew it in the last throne speech. When the committee invited the minister to appear, she declined. When the committee invited her emissary, Bernard Lord, he also declined.
Considering the uncertainty her government is creating, why is the minister refusing to appear before the committee and explain her inaction? Why does she prefer to keep communities waiting?
The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages responded:
Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. I did not refuse to appear before the Standing Committee on Official Languages. In fact, I appeared on December 6. I will be pleased to discuss the second phase of the action plan for official languages further as soon as it has been introduced by our government.
The minutes of the Standing Committee on Official Languages show that the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst, whom my colleagues know well, moved the following motion:
That the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages...be immediately called upon to appear before the Standing Committee on Official Languages as part of its study on the Action Plan for Official Languages.
In a letter addressed to the chair of the Standing Committee on Official Language a document I would like to table in the House, the minister said?
I must respectfully decline the committee's invitation.
I must say that the minister misled the House.
Mr. Speaker, if you were to look at page 69 of Erskine May under points of privilege, I will read this to support my point of privilege. It states:
Each House also claims the right to punish as contempts actions which, while not breaches of any specific privilege, obstruct or impede it in the performance of its functions, or are offences against its authority or dignity, such as disobedience to its legitimate commands or libels upon itself, its Members or its officers.
I just want--