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House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was air.

Topics

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has so discredited itself by taking this backward position on abortion that it could derail the G8's negotiations to improve the health of women and children in developing countries. The ONE campaign notes that there is still no concrete plan on the table one month before the summit.

Does the government realize that its ideological stubbornness regarding abortion is stifling the momentum for maternal health?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, as we have said, we want our G8 initiative to save the lives of mothers and children. It has been decided in this House. We know Canadians also support this initiative. In fact, the report made by ONE yesterday said that it would be unfortunate if a major initiative on maternal and child health got sidetracked or diverted over a squabble that Canadians did not want debated. They want action. They want us to save the lives of mothers and children.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police says the gun registry keeps our communities safe. It saves lives. Of over 428 chiefs, only 3 disagree.

The Canadian Police Association, elected by front-line officers across the country, says the same, joined by the RCMP, pediatricians, physicians, victims, labour and women's groups. Ontario's attorney general says that support for the gun registry is unprecedented.

Why will the government not stand with police, stand with victims, stand with doctors and save lives and save our gun registry?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, if that member were so sure of his party's position, his leader would allow a free vote on Bill C-391.

We know their members do not support the gun registry. Members of the New Democratic Party do not support the long gun registry. Certainly this party does not support the long gun registry.

Front-line officers, like Dave Shipman, said:

The long-gun registry is not working to prevent gun crime...Criminals...do not register their stolen or smuggled guns that are being used to wage war in our cities.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, Quebec's public safety minister, Jacques Dupuis, will come to defend the unanimous position of the National Assembly on the importance of the registry to Quebec police. However, the Prime Minister is continuing his pro-gun and anti-women program and Quebec Conservatives are following him like sheep.

As is the case with abortion, on the one side we see Quebec, its National Assembly and Quebeckers; on the other, there is the Conservative Party.

Will the Conservatives attack Jacques Dupuis as they did Steven Guilbeault, women's groups, the CBC, Rémi Beauregard, artists—

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the reality is our government has actually increased funding for women's groups to the highest it has ever been in the history of our country. We are proud to be supporting projects in every province and territory.

I would ask the hon. member to work with us instead of turning women's groups against each other.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, on April 28, the House passed an NDP motion to strengthen the Investment Canada Act regarding foreign investments, so that the process is more transparent, and so that it benefits Canadians and not just foreign companies.

Mr. Speaker, you even issued a ruling that essentially ordered the government to respect decisions made by the House of Commons.

My question is simple: will the government respect the will of this House and amend the Investment Canada Act?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, under the Investment Canada Act, a foreign investment is only approved when the Minister of Industry is satisfied it will provide a net benefit to Canada. Among other things, considerations include ensuring economic activity in Canada and protecting the jobs of Canadians.

Because of the actions of this government, we have seen a net gain of 285,000 new jobs in Canada over the past year. The NDP voted against every one of those jobs.

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, tell that to the locked out workers in Sudbury.

It is bad enough the Conservative government allowed historic Canadian companies to be bought out by foreign profiteers and scavengers, but, worse, hidden in its bloated budget, it is having a fire sale of the crown corporations of Canadians.

For example, Canadians have invested $22 billion in AECL and now the Conservatives are trying to sell it for pennies, through the back door. What does this mean for the future of Canadian science and the dedicated staff of AECL?

Could the minister explain to Canadians this outrageous giveaway?

Foreign InvestmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, one thing is for sure: everyone agrees that AECL needs to be restructured now so that we can ensure the viability of the nuclear industry in Canada and abroad, and so that we can share our expertise and create high-level jobs. We must also take fewer financial risks for taxpayers. That is why we are looking for strategic investments.

I urge the opposition to pass Bill C-9 so that we can do this right.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, ministers of justice from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and now Yukon have all come out opposing the long gun registry. They have been clear in saying that the long gun registry is a massive waste of taxpayer money and unfairly targets innocent law-abiding citizens.

In fact, the minister of the environment from Yukon stated, “Our only vote in the Yukon is being jeopardized by a whipped vote by the Liberals”. I hope the member for Yukon will be voting with his constituents rather than with his leader.

Could the Minister of Public Safety update the House on this important issue?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his work. The Liberal leader continues to ignore the facts and, more important, ignore the voices of rural Canadians. Why will he not let his members consider what the ministers from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon have to say? All have come out in favour of scrapping the ineffective, wasteful long gun registry.

I remind all members who in fact voted for Bill C-391 at second reading, especially the member for Yukon, that the choice is simple. Either they vote to keep the registry or they vote to scrap it. What will it be?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, we learn more and more each day about the current government's reckless ideological cuts to Toronto's gay pride festival, cuts that were made despite leaving $12 million the table.

The Conservative Party's opposition to the gay community is so strong that the industry minister ordered that the marquee tourism events program be restructured to specifically exclude Pride Toronto.

Did the minister make this homophobic government policy on his own, or was he acting on orders from thePrime Minister?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, of course, the numbers presented in the article that the member refers to are incorrect and skewed.

In fact, a significant investment was made in the Canadian Tourism Commission for a campaign leveraging Canada's hosting of world-class events like the G8, the G20 and the Olympic events. The work of the Canadian Tourism Commission has tremendous benefits, of course, in all parts of this country for all Canadians.

Government SpendingOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the Conservative government has said that it is cutting funding to the FrancoFolies, Rythmes du Monde and Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France for budgetary reasons, we have learned that $12 million from the envelope for Industry Canada's marquee tourism events program has been diverted for other purposes. The government's excuse no longer holds water. The government's choices are purely arbitrary and partisan.

What is the government waiting for to restore funding to these organizations?

Government SpendingOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the member voted against the funding last year and, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry said, she is using incorrect numbers. FrancoFolies received $175,000 last year and the Bloc voted against it. This festival will receive $175,000 this year and the Bloc voted against it. It will receive $175,000 next year and the Bloc voted against it. The Bloc always votes against artists.

TransportationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the Conservatives dish out close to $1 billion for the G8 and G20 summits, the people who actually live in Toronto and other Canadian cities are being ignored.

We live in the only OECD country where public transit is not funded, especially its operating costs, by the federal government. As a result, we are losing $3 billion of productivity because of this.

One-time projects will not cut it.

Will the minister finally give municipalities stable, long-term funding by transferring an extra cent of the existing gas tax dedicated to public transit?

TransportationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is this government that has done exactly that, and when we did, the NDP voted against it.

Not only did the previous minister of transport make the gas tax transfer to municipalities permanent, this year the Minister of Finance doubled it. What did the NDP do when we doubled funding to municipalities, when we made it permanent? It voted against it.

This government has made an unprecedented commitment to public transit in the city of Toronto and we need the member for Trinity—Spadina's help. The member should stop voting against Toronto public transit and start supporting this government.

Digital EconomyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, in this rapidly evolving digital era, it is vital that individuals and businesses be able to make use of the Internet in a safe and effective manner. Canadians are nuisanced by unwanted spam, which clogs our inboxes and slows our systems. Businesses can spend millions of dollars dealing with this very issue.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry please inform the House what is being done to help Canadians ensure their safety in online transactions?

Digital EconomyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, just yesterday, the Minister of Industry announced the tabling of two bills to strengthen Canadians' safety and privacy online.

Both the safeguarding Canadians' personal information act and the fighting internet and wireless spam act will work to fortify the ability of Canadians to work effectively online. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcomed the bills, saying they would help reduce “unwanted and unsolicited emails that clog up email systems, cost productivity, violate privacy, and often promote fraud”.

This government continues to work to ensure that Canada is a world leader in the digital economy.

Royal Recommendation—Bill C-501—Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on May 11, 2010, by the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader concerning the need for a royal recommendation for Bill C-501, An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and other Acts (pension protection), standing in the name of the hon. member for Thunder Bay-Rainy River.

I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for having raised this matter, as well as the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River for his comments.

In his point of order, the parliamentary secretary pointed out that Bill C-501 makes provision for the appointment of adjudicators by the Minister of Labour in connection with claims against directors for the recovery of debts filed under the Canada Business Corporations Act. These provisions are found in clause 6 of the bill.

He drew the attention of the House to section 23 of the Interpretation Act, which indicates that the power to appoint public officials includes the power to pay them. In his view, the appointment of adjudicators under the Canada Business Corporations Act would constitute the naming of officials for a new and distinct function not currently authorized by any existing appropriation.

The Chair has examined Bill C-501 carefully and has taken note of the authorities cited by the parliamentary secretary. The Chair has also looked closely at the existing provisions of the Canada Business Corporations Act.

During his intervention, the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River maintained that the Minister of Labour has the power to name adjudicators under other legislation. However, what is specifically at issue here is the minister's ability to appoint such officials under the Canadian Business Corporations Act.

As this act in its current form does not provide for the appointment of adjudicators, it is clear to the Chair that the proposal in clause 6 of Bill C-501 proposes a new and distinct function for the Minister of Labour, which would require an expenditure of public funds.

In accordance with Standing Order 79(1), the Chair must therefore rule that the bill requires a royal recommendation, and will decline to put the question on third reading of the bill in its present form unless a royal recommendation is received.

The recorded division later today, however, is on the motion for second reading, which can proceed as scheduled.

The Chair would like to take this opportunity to remind all hon. members of the importance which the Speaker attaches to questions of this nature. The orderly conduct of our proceedings, particularly where it touches on matters relating to the appropriation of public funds or the imposing of charges on the people, is of great importance in permitting the House to deliberate in a calm and well-considered manner. Procedural issues which may arise from time to time are often complex and it assists both the Chair and the House as a whole when they are raised as early as possible in the proceedings.

I thank hon. members for their attention.

Statements by MembersPrivilegeOral Questions

May 26th, 2010 / 3:10 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the question of privilege raised on Friday, May 14 by the member for Mississauga South. What he raised was not a matter of privilege, but really a matter of debate. It was a disagreement about facts and a difference of opinion regarding the application of certain Standing Orders of the House.

On page 13 of Joseph Maingot's second edition of Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, he states:

While it will be seen that the Member enjoys all the immunity necessary to perform his parliamentary work, this privilege or right, such as freedom of speech, is nevertheless subject to the practices and procedures of this House. Thus allegations of breach of privilege by a Member in the House of Commons that amount to complaints about procedures and practices in the House are by their very nature matters of order.

Because of its nature, a true question of privilege should arise in the House only infrequently.

Mr. Speaker, the member for Mississauga South cannot be taken seriously, since he is on his feet every other day claiming that his privileges have been breached. If we examine his line of argument, it is clear that he takes issue that this is a matter of order, not privilege. He argues for the application of Standing Orders 119 and 31. He cites your letters about the use of Standing Order 31, which was giving direction on a matter of order, not a matter of privilege. The member takes issue with statements I made in the House. I said that:

Mr. Speaker, by long-standing constitutional convention, any MP may attend and participate in any committee meeting. Standing Order 119 says:

Any Member of the House who is not a member of a standing, special or legislative committee, may, unless the House or the committee concerned otherwise orders, take part in the public proceedings of the committee, but may not vote or move any motion, nor be part of any quorum.

That is a fact. The second point I made in that statement was:

Today, defying the Standing Order, the Liberal chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics forbade the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development from participating in its proceedings. This ruling was contrary to law and turned the committee into a kangaroo court.

That is also true. I went on to say:

Further, by denying the minister her legal right to participate, the chair was undermining the principle of ministerial responsibility and accountability, a key principle of our Constitution. It is outrageous that the chair of the ethics committee, the member for Mississauga South, would reject the principle of ministerial accountability, all in an attempt to score cheap political points. He should be ashamed and he should resign.

That, too, is true and I do believe the member should be ashamed of himself and I still think he should resign as chairman of the ethics committee. In his submissions, the member for Mississauga South talked of justice and fairness and he talked about being able to defend himself. On that we can both agree, and I think he should apply that standard not only to himself but also to others and, in particular, to those non-elected persons who appear before his committee.

I want to talk a bit about the relevance of Standing Order 31. First of all, I want to quote from O'Brien and Bosc about ministerial responsibility, as they talk about ministerial responsibility on page 32 of chapter 1. Also I would just note that the government House leader talked of this yesterday in Hansard on pages 2867-69.

I want to quote from page 32 of O'Brien and Bosc:

In a general sense, responsible government means that a government must be responsive to its citizens, that it must operate responsibly...and that its Ministers must be accountable or responsible to Parliament.

In terms of ministerial responsibility, Ministers have both individual and collective responsibilities to Parliament. The individual or personal responsibility of the Minister derives from a time when in practice and not just in theory the Crown governed; Ministers merely advised the Sovereign and were responsible to the Sovereign for their advice. The principle of individual ministerial responsibility holds that the Ministers are accountable not only for their own actions as department heads, but also for the actions of their subordinates—

—and I stress, “their subordinates”—

—individual ministerial responsibility provides the basis for accountability throughout the system. Virtually all departmental activity is carried out in the name of a Minister who, in turn, is responsible to Parliament for those acts. Ministers exercise power and are constitutionally responsible for the provision and conduct of government; Parliament holds them personally responsible for it.

That is exactly what the minister was trying to do when she appeared at the ethics committee. As the member for Mississauga South was quoting Standing Order 119, as I did in my statement, I think it is important to talk about freedom of speech. Standing Order 119 says that members of Parliament when they appear before committee have the right to speak at committees.

On page 93 in chapter 3 of O'Brien and Bosc, it states:

Freedom of speech permits Members to speak freely in the Chamber during a sitting or in committees during meetings while enjoying complete immunity from prosecution or civil liability for any comment they might make. This freedom is essential for the effective working of the House. Under it, Members are able to make statements or allegations about outside bodies or persons, which they may hesitate to make without the protection of privilege.

The minister definitely has the right of freedom, as I do, in the House to speak about the procedures and things that have happened at committee or in the House and raise those about the undertakings of other members. In contrast, we can compare that to the member for Mississauga South and look at what he did as chair of the ethics committee when he censored the minister from speaking.

On page 150, O'Brien and Bosc states that “the Chair of a committee does not have the power to censure disorder or decide questions of privilege”. When I was going through his testimony from May 14, he actually laid out that he was arguing with the minister when the minister was trying to speak at committee. In his testimony he says:

The terms of reference and the order of the day before the committee was with regard to a special study, a study of the allegations of deliberate interference....

He says that he had orders to not have the minister appear. I did not see any of those orders that the minister was not entitled to speak at committee. He goes on to say:

The minister argued yet again with the chair of the committee saying, “Mr. Chair, I would actually refer you...”, and then she carried on. I said “order” to get order back in the committee but she carried on yet again even after I called for order, and said, “to the experts on the subject of ministerial accountability, O'Brien and Bosc, and Marleau and Montpetit, Guide for Ministers and that...”.

Again, I will go back to chapter 3, page 150 where it states:

...the Chair of a committee does not have the power to censure disorder or decide questions of privilege. Should a Member wish to raise a question of privilege in committee, or should some event occur in committee which appears to be a breach of privilege or contempt, the Chair of the committee will recognize the Member and hear the question of privilege, or in the case of some incident, suggest that the committee deal with the matter.

The chair never asked the committee to do that. It goes on to state:

The Chair, however, has no authority to rule that a breach of privilege or contempt has occurred.

That, to me, was disturbing.

I want to touch on a couple of other things concerning what the committee's powers actually are. Mr. Speaker, as you and the member for Mississauga South know, the standing committees are creatures of the House of Commons. They were created by the House and so we are bound by the rules laid out by the House, including the standing orders.

On page 973 in chapter 20 of O'Brien and Bosc, it states:

The House delegates certain powers to the committees it creates in order that they can carry out their duties and fulfill their mandates. Committees have no powers other than those delegated to them in this way, and cannot assume other powers on their own initiative.

I will interject here to say that is why Standing Order 119 must be respected by committees. It is a standing order handed down by the House and a committee failing to recognize the right of any member, even if it is a minister, appearing before a committee is a breach of the rules laid out by the House.

It goes on to state:

The exercise of their powers is subject to three fundamental rules. First, they can be exercised only on the territory and within the areas....

I will not go into that. The standing orders set out the powers held by standing committees. We have the standing orders and the chair decided to ignore them.

Finally, I will remind the member for Mississauga South what the chair's responsibilities are as laid out in chapter 20 on page 1,030 under procedural responsibilities of chairs. It states:

Chairs preside over committee meetings and oversee committee work. They recognize the Members, witnesses and other people who wish to speak at these meetings; as in the House, all remarks are addressed to the Chair.

He did not recognize people who wished to speak.

It goes on to state:

They ensure that any rules established by the committee, including those on the appropriation of speaking time, are respected. They are responsible for maintaining order and decorum in committee proceedings, and rule on any procedural matter that arises, subject to an appeal to the committee.

In this case, he was shutting it down without having that appeal by committee. He was shutting down debate and comments from the minister who appeared to speak on behalf of her staff and, as I laid out earlier, her rights and responsibilities as a minister to answer for her staff.

It goes on to state:

Committee Chairs have considerable administrative responsibilities, starting with those involving the committee's program of activities. In compliance with instructions from the committee or an order from the House....

I do not believe the member for Mississauga South, as chair of the ethics committee, had the order from the committee to censor the comments made by the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development when she appeared along with Mr. Sparrow. I also do not believe the member for Mississauga South had an order from the committee not to allow her to testify. He was ignoring the standing orders as laid out.

As you can see, Mr. Speaker, the argument he made in his question of privilege was all about order and was not a question of privilege.

Finally, I have to say that members on this side of the House are finding it increasingly difficult to work with the member for Mississauga South as chair of the ethics committee. Mr. Speaker, you may need to take a look at the way that committee has been functioning. It has resulted in the position laid out by the House leader just yesterday in saying that political staffers should not be appearing before committee because of the kangaroo court ethics that have been undertaken at certain committees, especially the ethics committee, and that we do not need that type of anarchy occurring in our parliamentary institutions.

Statements by MembersPrivilegeOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's enthusiasm for the rules and respect his right to present his views to the House but I have a couple of points. When I rose on a question of privilege, it was a privilege in the House not a privilege in committee, as he outlined for quite a long time.

The issue he discussed, which he quoted often, had to do with Standing Order 119, the subtitle of which is “Only members may vote or move motion” in a committee. It states:

Any Member of the House who is not a Member of a standing, special or legislative committee, may, unless the House or the committee concerned otherwise orders, take part in the public proceedings of the committee, but may not vote or move any motion, nor be part of any quorum.

I agree with that. That is a member of a committee sitting at the table with the committee members, participating in the committee proceedings.

What the member may have failed to recognize is that the minister came to the committee meeting not to be a member of the committee but rather to be a witness. There are two different roles here. One is a witness called by the committee and one is a member of the committee who will question the witness.

I would refer the member, which may be helpful to him, to O'Brien and Bosc, the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition 2009. On page 976, where it refers to committees, in the second paragraph it states:

This applies, as well, to parliamentarians belonging to other Canadian legislatures, because each of these assemblies, like the House of Commons, has the parliamentary privilege of controlling the attendance of its members...

There is no specific ruling governing voluntary appearances of members of the House of Commons before parliamentary committees. They may appear before a committee if they wish and, it states, have been invited. It says that members can appear voluntarily. They cannot be summonsed and cannot be compelled to appear but they can appear if they wish and have been invited.

The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development was not invited by the committee. Accordingly, the chair had no recourse but to not allow her to be a witness at the committee, and that was the decision that was taken. If the member wants to argue whether or not there was an invitation, that is fine, but there was not.

He referred to somehow censuring the minister and the chair deciding a matter of privilege. Mr. Speaker, as you well know, committee chairs have no authority whatsoever to censure any member for any action, nor do they have the right to determine on matters of personal privilege. Those matters come to the chamber and, if there is a problem at committee, a report must be given to the House so that it can be seen and it is the Speaker who will determine whether there is a case for censuring someone.

I appreciate the member's enthusiasm but if he had included those points, he would have found that most of the argument that he gave today was moot and not relevant to the point that I raised in terms of my personal privilege.

The final comments the member made in sort of a veiled threat about my being the chair and how I operate, I do not believe it is appropriate for an individual member to make comments on how he thinks another member is doing his or her job. It is not the member's position to judge, to make those allegations or to paint that picture of another member's work. It is unfortunate that he has done that and he may want to apologize for it but I will leave that up to him.

Statements by MembersPrivilegeOral Questions

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I just want to speak briefly on the comments from the member across about the workings of a chair of another committee.

I have never heard those comments in this House before, and I find them totally inappropriate. They are wrong. The chair of that committee obviously has the confidence of the committee, or he would not be there. For a member to use a point of order or a question of privilege to get up in this House and attack the chair of a committee of this House is wrong, Mr. Speaker, and I urge you to rule on that. If that were the case, it would just be a free-for-all here.

While I am up on my feet, I recall that the government House leader published a booklet three or four years ago that instructed committee chairs as to how to shut down the committees by ignoring witnesses, avoiding witnesses, and doing anything—this went on for 65 pages—to obstruct the workings of the committees and hence, Parliament.

I think it would be instructive and helpful to this debate to have that document tabled in the House. I seek unanimous consent for that.