Before debate begins on the motion just moved, I would like to make a short statement.
As members well know, the Conflict of Interest Code for members of the House of Commons provides for certain procedures that the House must follow should the Ethics Commissioner conclude that a member has not complied with an obligation under the code. These procedures differ depending on the nature of the contravention and can lead to a debate and a vote on a motion to concur in the report.
In the case of the particular report that has given rise to the motion now before the House and without anticipating what decision the House may make, the chair believes that the House is now faced with a situation never envisaged when the code was first drafted. One basic principle entrenched in many of our rules allows for individuals who are the subject of such reports to be heard--that is, to participate in debate and present arguments. Indeed, section 28, paragraph 9 of the code assumes this in stating that:
Within 10 sitting days after the tabling of the report of the Commissioner in the House of Commons, the Member who is the subject of the report shall have a right to make a statement in the House immediately following Question Period, provided that he or she shall not speak for more than 20 minutes.
This opportunity is, of course, no longer afforded to the former member for Simcoe—Grey, who was not returned after the last election. It would seem to the chair that the House may wish to reflect on the circumstance, and accordingly I would invite the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to examine the code in light of this unforeseen situation and to make any recommendation it deems appropriate.
I thank honourable members for their attention.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Timmins--James Bay.