Mr. Speaker, I had just begun to raise a question of privilege regarding a mailing that went into my riding from the member for Brandon—Souris.
I have no objection to ten percenters. They can be useful if they are honest, straightforward, and shed intelligent and thoughtful perspectives on contentious issues with honest political differences. But the thing that set this mailing apart, from the other mailings that my constituents of Thunder Bay—Superior North receive, was that this mail-out contained a falsehood, purposely meant to mislead my constituents about my personal record as their member of Parliament. It has interfered significantly with my ability to represent them.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that if you look into this case of spreading falsehoods about another member of Parliament, using taxpayers' money to do so, you will find that it is an egregious breach of privilege. I will explain.
This mailing was about my record on the long gun registry. In it, the member told my constituents, “Your member of Parliament worked to support the registry and end the amnesty”. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the member for Brandon—Souris well knew and well knows, I have for many years been against repealing the long gun registry. I have never worked to support the ending of the long gun registry.
In every political campaign that I have run and in between, I have never worked to end the long gun registry, and I challenge the member to come up with any instance where I have. Of course, he will find that he cannot.
To the contrary, the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar has commended me personally, and in the media, for working across party lines on her private member's bill to get rid of the long gun registry. While I also support and congratulate the member for Portage—Lisgar and her efforts to end this program and the passage of her bill, the defamatory mailing calls into question her party's desire to actually get rid of the registry and uses it as an inflammatory tool with which to attack other parties.
Mr. Speaker, I may, a minute ago, have misspoke. What I have done repeatedly is work to end the long gun registry.
I had previously and publicly stated my support for the hon. member's private member's bill. Why punish supporters of her bill in this way? If the objective is to punish and weaken those members who have stated their support for ending the long gun registry, it really calls into question the Conservatives' sincerity and whether they are really trying to scrap the long gun registry.
The defamatory mailing also states that “Instead of working to correct previous Liberal mistakes, your member of Parliament is still trying to keep the long gun registry in place”. Again, this is completely and utterly untrue, and the member for Brandon—Souris must know it. I believe it is libellous.
I do not know if the member performed due diligence in verifying what was mailed out on behalf of his office, but certainly he has a responsibility to do so if these falsehoods were cooked up in the PMO or the Conservative research bureau and sent out in his name.
It is a sad state of affairs that our fundamental and necessary mailing privileges are twisted in such a way, but this is only the continuation of a recurring and deliberate pattern of behaviour from the members opposite, one that has been growing worse over time.
Mr. Speaker, you have already ruled on a similar breach of privilege in the case of the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore. This ten percenter sent into my riding by the member for Brandon—Souris has libelled me, sought to damage my credibility, reputation and character, lowered the quality of debate on this important issue in the House, and sought to obscure and deny the facts of the matter.
Mr. Speaker, today I seek a ruling from you as to whether this libellous and untruthful mail-out into my riding is a breach of privilege.