Mr. Speaker, I recently learned about an ad found on the Facebook page of the member for Lévis—Bellechasse.
This ad, entitled “Come visit the national capital and meet your MP”, says:
—member for Lévis—Bellechasse and Les Etchemins, in collaboration with Voyages Paradis in Lévis, is pleased to invite you to take part in the 2010 trip to Ottawa on May 12 and 13.
We are talking about a trip in a luxury coach, lodging at a hotel and a continental breakfast. The ad indicates that this price includes everything, except the dinner on May 12 and the lunch on May 13. The ad, which I will be tabling shortly, also states:
—all this for just $200 for double occupancy and $265 for single occupancy, payable at the time of reservation, and including all applicable taxes.
I should have said that at the top of the ad are the House of Commons logo and a picture of a coach. At the bottom, it says that for information and reservations, people can contact Christiane Tanguay, the member's executive assistant. A telephone number, a fax number and an email address are also given. On the other side, people are asked to contact Ms. Nolin of Voyages Paradis Inc.
Page 236 of O'Brien-Bosc states:
The By-laws were first enacted by the Board of Internal Economy in 1993 and are a series of guidelines regulating the use of parliamentary resources made available to Members to help them perform their parliamentary functions. The term “parliamentary functions” is defined as “duties and activities related to the position of Member of the House of Commons wherever performed and includes public and official business and partisan matters”.
Moreover, section 1 of by-law 102, the general limitation and application by-law, stipulates that:
The funds, goods, services and premises provided pursuant to the by-laws are to be used for the carrying out of Members’ parliamentary functions or for matters which are essential or incidental thereto.
This ad raises a number of questions. Why did the member for Lévis—Bellechasse decide to promote the commercial interests of Voyages Paradis over other carriers? What about the other companies that cannot use the resources of the House and the member to serve their clients?
By using publicly funded resources—telephone lines, the fax machine in his riding office and a parliamentary email address—and by designating one of his employees paid for by taxpayers to provide information to and take reservations from clients of Voyages Paradis, in short, by running a travel agency out of his riding office, did the member for Lévis—Bellechasse follow the rules concerning the use of the resources made available to members to help them perform their parliamentary functions? I am asking you, Mr. Speaker. Is organizing a trip on behalf of a private company a parliamentary function? Did the member for Lévis—Bellechasse use the House's resources for commercial purposes?
Before deciding whether I should refer this matter to the Board of Internal Economy, I would like to have the opinion of the Chair.
In conclusion, I ask for the unanimous consent of the House to table the ad in question.