Mr. Speaker, today during question period, a question was asked by the member for Churchill of the chair or the vice-chair of the procedure and House affairs committee of the House of Commons. The answer from the vice-chair, who is the member for Hull—Aylmer, was an entirely inappropriate answer.
I direct you, Mr. Speaker, to pages 827 to 828 of Marleau and Montpetit where it says:
During the Oral Question Period...a committee Chair may respond to questions, provided they deal with the proceedings or schedule of the committee and not the substance of its work.
The nature of the response was one that was very substantive and partisan in nature, very much betraying the legitimate role of a chair or vice-chair of the committee in responding to these questions.
The reason for that rule is they are in a role similar to yours, Mr. Speaker, of being neutral and even-handed. On the issue in question, what we are seeking is even-handedness so the issues they study are issues that deal with both sides and all parties equally. However, setting aside that debate on substance and the need for fairness, what we have had here is a serious breach. What makes it worse is it was clearly a pre-calculated breach.
The opposition House leader and I have canvassed this issue before the Speaker after previous question periods. He is fully aware of the rules. Yet the question was prepared, the answer was prepared, it was done so knowingly and it was knowingly a breach of the rules of the House of Commons, and this is a matter that requires your attention, Mr. Speaker.