Mr. Speaker, I rise today because I feel that it is totally inappropriate for the Prime Minister to have released to the media, in a plane somewhere over Siberia, at approximately 35,000 feet, the contents of the country's latest report on our collective finances.
While it is true that the Minister of Finance tabled such a report very late yesterday, quietly with our Journals branch, it is unacceptable that the state of our finances would be kept from parliamentarians and through them to Canadians.
I am going to be quoting in a moment one of the Speaker's previous decisions on this matter, because governments used to have lockups and power point presentations and vast security surrounding economic updates so that people could not know about it in any other way.
Mr. Speaker, your rulings have made it made clear that the government should make accessible to members such information before the media are told. The member for Outremont raised the same problem last June of this year when the government had forgotten to even table a report through the back door. So here we are with the Speaker having ruled that the government is under the obligation to present legislation in this place before releasing details to the public. This has been done on several occasions.
Standing Order 32(2) states:
A Minister of the Crown, or a Parliamentary Secretary acting on behalf of a Minister, may, in his or her place in the House, state that he or she proposes to lay upon the Table of the House, any report or other paper dealing with a matter coming within the administrative responsibilities of the government, and, thereupon, the same shall be deemed for all purposes to have been laid before the House.
Mr. Speaker, on May 5, 2005, you ruled that this Standing Order requires that these documents not be tabled by the back door but in the House. This normally takes place during routine proceedings under tabling of documents.
I call on the government to properly table yesterday's economic statement in this House and to immediately stop their insulting practice of releasing information to everybody but members of Parliament. I would ask the Speaker to rule accordingly.