Mr. Speaker, my comments follow on those of my Liberal colleague who has properly argued the case against the parliamentary secretary in terms of what is disallowed, whether it is in front of the courts or not.
The members of the Conservative Party know that well because they themselves brought forward motions of a similar nature when issues were before the court. When in opposition, the Conservative Party also argued for a wide latitude in the use of supply day opposition motions, because they are an opportunity for opposition members to raise questions of the government.
Mr. Speaker, the central point I wish to raise is one which I am sure you will be looking at. O'Brien and Bosc on page 854 requires that:
The Standing Orders give Members a very wide scope in proposing opposition motions on supply days and, unless the motion is clearly and undoubtedly irregular (i.e., where the procedural aspect is not open to reasonable argument), the Chair does not intervene.
The government, in preparing its submission today to try to subvert the debate on the so-called in and out scheme, has attempted to curtail the ability of the opposition to have a fulsome debate as to what exactly happened. The implication is there are members sitting within the Conservative caucus who are implicated directly by the public prosecutor in this very matter.
The issue that is being raised is an integral one for all of us, which is that when we have elections in this country, they are fought fairly and within the limits of the rules. Spending limits, for example, are not exceeded. We have very clear and strict laws on this. The Conservative Party used a procedure, a scheme, in which money went in and money went out of bank accounts, sometimes within 12 hours. We know the Conservatives knew it was wrong but they did it anyway. Now we wish to have a debate about the integrity of the election that was fought under those types of misdeeds.
It seems to us that in testing the government on supply days, which is why we are here today, a wide scope and latitude is required. We need to have that. I am sure when the Conservatives return to opposition they will be arguing the same thing. It is not for the Chair to intervene on the scope of that, again except where procedural aspects are not open to reasonable argument. That is what our directive is in this place. That is how we craft ourselves. The Conservatives had all weekend to think about this. They are only bringing the argument forward at the eleventh hour with the hope to yet again subvert debate in Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, we ask for your careful consideration of this, but obviously New Democrats are in favour of this debate going forward.