Mr. Speaker, the other day the official opposition raised a question of privilege of great importance. We indicated then that we would like to be able to respond to it. All Canadians would be concerned about what is taking place in the House of Commons. I will take this opportunity to get on the record why it is so critically important that the Speaker take into consideration what the House Leader of the Official Opposition has put on the record in this particular question of privilege.
As I am sure many members of the House recall, it is all related to Bill C-38. This bill would have a significant and profound impact on the lives of all Canadians. I want to express our concerns related to the question of privilege. This is probably the most opportune time to do so.
I take the issue very seriously. I have had many years to address important process questions inside the chamber. I, for one, believe in process. It is a critically important component of our democratic system to be able to stand in my place and express what I think is perhaps in the minds of many a boring issue, dealing with process. The Conservative government, likely more than any government before it, has been very negligent on the whole issue of process. So I want to share with the government some of my concerns.
We need to recognize that we are really talking about information. We have all heard the expression “information is gold”. It is critically important it is that we as legislators have access to information.
Over the years, I have met with a lot of youth. When I was over at the Manitoba legislature, young people would come down. Here, a lot of youth come and meet with their local members of Parliament to talk about what the politicians do in these buildings. When we reflect on the question of privilege that the House Leader of the Official Opposition brought to the floor the other day, it is important that we put into perspective what it is that we are telling people outside of this wonderful room. What we are really talking about is the rights of individual members of Parliament. We have to do what we can to protect those rights.
Over the years I have talked to hundreds, possibly thousands, of students and I often tell them that we do three things—