Mr. Speaker, during question period today, the member for Ajax—Pickering questioned the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans about an alleged cabinet leak that may have affected the share prices when that matter was dealt with by cabinet.
The minister did not answer. The government House leader told the member to take the matter outside. That was his answer.
This is question period. It is a legitimate part of our system of parliamentary accountability. Any mechanism that limits a member from asking a legitimate question limits the accountability of this institution. It renders the whole concept of responsible government illusionary. It restricts members from asking legitimate questions and it restricts members and the public from getting legitimate answers.
Every member of the House stands equal. They have the right, and I submit the obligation, to raise and advance issues of the public concern. Any answer that attempts to shift the issue from the parliamentary forum to the legal or the public forum is wrong. It is illegal. It certainly degrades, and I submit denudes, the accountability and answerability functions of the government.
In summary, it undermines the accountability of the House. It violates our collective privileges as a member. It is an assault on the dignity of the House. It is a very serious matter, and I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to rule on that.