Mr. Speaker, I rise to respond to the point of privilege by the member for Langley. He claims that his rights and privileges as a parliamentarian have been breached with regard to his desire to deliver a member's statement on March 20, 2013.
The practice of the House, as it developed over time, is clear with respect to the delivery of members' statements by members of recognized parties. Page 423 of O'Brien and Bosc states very clearly:
The opportunity to speak during Statements by Members is allocated to private Members of all parties. In according Members the opportunity to participate in this period, the Chair is guided by lists provided by the Whips of the various parties and attempts to recognize those Members supporting the government and those Members in opposition on an equitable basis. While Ministers are not permitted to use this period to address the House, Parliamentary Secretaries may.
Let me repeat that House of Commons Procedure and Practice says clearly in this regard, “the Chair is guided by lists provided by the Whips of the various parties”.
Mr. Speaker, as you know, while each party manages the process from a different perspective, the bottom line is that each party makes these decisions. The practice for many years in the House is for the Speaker to follow the guidance provided by the parties on which members to call on any given day. The member for Langley is essentially calling on you to inquire into the question of how such lists are prepared by the parties in the House. Essentially, you are being invited to become involved in adjudicating the internal affairs of party caucuses and their management. Under any reasonable and generous interpretation of your powers, it is not for the Speaker to assume such a novel and expansive power.
The management of caucus affairs, from voting whip lines on bills to assignment of committee responsibility, to preparation of lists for the members making statements, is done differently in all parties. However, what these have in common is that these decisions are made within parties. Put simply, this is a team activity and your role is referee. It is not your job as referee to tell the coach or manager which player to put on to play at any given time. That is a question for each team to decide.
In closing, I submit there is no case for a member's privilege being denied in this matter as the rules, as clearly outlined in House of Commons Procedure and Practice, were respected.
I ask you to rule accordingly.