Mr. Speaker, I will keep my intervention relatively brief, as we look forward to the response from the government on the point of privilege that was raised in a very succinct and powerful way by my colleagues from Timmins—James Bay, as well as the opposition deputy House leader, the MP for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
I rise today, because in adding to this question of privilege we are now seeing official court documents clearly indicating, and we take this with the greatest of seriousness, that the Prime Minister deliberately misled the House this past spring. I will not repeat the numerous sources of precedents which my hon. colleagues cited on the seriousness of when a member of Parliament stands before the House and utters things that they know to be patently false.
In this case, either the Prime Minister directly misled us and Canadians, or allowed himself to be misled by his staff. Either way, this matter needs to be investigated in its proper place, at the procedure and House affairs committee, to get to the bottom of this evermore complex scandal that ties directly to the Prime Minister's own office and his inner circle of trusted advisors.
Here is what we learned today from documentation that is currently in the hands of the RCMP. On February 20, 2013, Senator Duffy wrote to his lawyer about the Prime Minister's Office. According to his lawyer, the documentation said, “Then Nigel called tonight. He was expansive, saying we [the PMO], had been working on lines and the scenario for you that would cover all of your concerns, including cash for repayment”. He also said, “We are working out this whole scenario for you, Senator Duffy, and the lines you are going to say publicly, and we are even going to pay for it”.
Now, these are court-filed documents. These are what the RCMP is currently investigating. However, what is important for us in this question of privilege is that with this information before us now as members of Parliament is that the Prime Minister's chief of staff informed Senator Duffy that the PMO was working on lines and the scenario for Mr. Duffy that would cover all of his concerns, including cash for repayment—obviously an offence under our statutes and laws—and that they were working out this whole scenario for him.
The government House leader wants us to believe that the Prime Minister did not ask his staff what was happening on an issue that was dominating the national media and certainly in question period in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister was facing these questions day after day from the Leader of the Opposition, and day after day he simply did not engage his staff on this question regarding Mr. Duffy and these illegal payments; he was the victim of his chief of staff's single-handed conspiracy against him and against the truth.
It is impossible to believe this rogue actor theory that it was Nigel Wright acting alone, when we have documents that continue to surface showing it was a coordinated effort in the Prime Minister's own office and that his own staff were involved in the cover-up.
We heard it just today. The evidence is completely contrary. This is a most serious matter, and it goes to the very heart of the principle of ministerial accountability, in this case, prime ministerial accountability. One cannot simply brush off the fact that one was caught in a lie by saying that the staff did not inform them and they only had half the information.
The principle of ministerial accountability means that ministers are accountable for what they say in this place with regard to their portfolio. With regard to the Prime Minister's own staff, with regard to the Mike Duffy repayment for cash and the cover-up that followed, it is undeniable that the evidence is mounting that the Prime Minister intentionally or unintentionally misled this House in the spring.
Parliament and Canadians deserve the facts. We can no longer fall to the lowest level of cynicism, that repeating talking points that emerge from the Prime Minister's office is somehow a replacement for the truth. That is simply not the case.
This matter of privilege, for all members of Parliament, not just the official opposition, but I would argue also for Conservative members across the way, needs to be addressed properly. It needs to be addressed succinctly. We can no longer operate under the cloud of a Prime Minister, and his most recent spokesperson standing in the House today repeating the falsehoods, hoping that by saying that all questions have been answered that it is as if all questions have been answered. That is not the case.
Mr. Speaker, I put forward this brief submission to you with the new evidence that we have been led to today, and I look forward to your ruling.