Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for revisiting a point of order that was first raised yesterday by the member for Mississauga South.
I would like to reiterate some of the arguments that I presented yesterday. The overriding issue is that there has been a long standing practice in this place for the Speaker not to interfere with the business of any individual committee.
Committees themselves, as you well know, Mr. Speaker, are masters of their own fate and of their own agenda. I would suggest even further to that, when my hon. colleague suggested they are exceeding their mandate, he is in fact asking you to prejudge, before this committee has even demonstrated a linkage to its mandate with this issue, and trying to stop this investigation from happening.
Clearly, the official opposition has some fears perhaps about an examination of its own advertising practices and its own books, and perhaps this is why it is trying to quash the motion right now.
I would point out that if in fact it did not have a difficulty with this, it would have accepted the motion from the procedure and House affairs committee in which the Conservative Party, the government, had suggested that a thorough examination of all political parties and their advertising practices, fundraising included, be engaged, but the opposition party has rejected that motion.
It seems slightly disingenuous for any member from the party opposite to suggest that they have nothing against the motion but perhaps it is just in the wrong committee because it exceeds the mandate of one committee when it should rightfully be within the purview and the mandate of another committee.
They have rejected the procedure and House affairs committee's motion to do exactly what the ethics committee is attempting to do.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would point out to you that there have been many times in the past where there has been an overlap of responsibility between committees. I think we all know for an example that some subject material could be examined in the defence committee or it also could be examined in the foreign affairs committee.
There seems to be to me a very obvious linkage between ethical practices of political parties and their fundraising practices, as well as perhaps the procedure and House affairs committee that has a direct mandate to deal with this.
It seems to me perfectly legitimate for the ethics committee to engage in this motion and study. I do not believe it is outside of its mandate, but more importantly, and I keep coming back to this, the primary issue here is whether or not the Speaker should be interfering with a decision made by committee members.
I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is not appropriate for you to do so. It would be breaking a long standing tradition and practice of the Speaker not getting involved, and I think that is underscored by your very reasonable question to the hon. member as to precedence.
He has not been able to find any precedent, perhaps as he suggests because he has not done appropriate research, but I would suggest there are no real precedents and it would be a dangerous precedent to start if we now had the Speaker interfering in the business of committees.