Mr. Speaker, I would like to raise a point of order, but I understand very well, given the importance of the point of order I am making, that you are not in a position to respond right away. I hope that you will be able to respond later today or on Monday.
This concerns the guilty verdict that was just handed down against the former parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, the member for Peterborough. He was convicted this morning of violating the Canada Elections Act.
The Prime Minister's former parliamentary secretary has been found guilty on three counts: exceeding spending limits during the federal campaign in 2008, failing to report an illegal personal contribution of $21,000 to his own campaign, and knowingly submitting a falsified document.
As we know, this has been part of a pattern of behaviour we have seen from the current government, tragically, with the in-and-out scheme, the robocall scandal, and former Conservative minister Peter Penashue, who was found by Elections Canada to have broken the rules in the 2011 campaign.
The statutory provisions that render a member of Parliament ineligible to sit in the House of Commons are unambiguous, as we know. The Canada Elections Act, subsection 502(3), stipulates that a person who has been found guilty of an illegal or corrupt practice cannot be elected to or sit and vote in the House of Commons.
O'Brien and Bosc makes it clear that the decision to remove a sitting member is one for the House. I will quote from page 244:
By virtue of parliamentary privilege, only the House has the inherent right to decide matters affecting its own membership. Indeed, the House decides for itself if a Member should be permitted to sit on committees, receive a salary or even be allowed to keep his or her seat.
As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Speaker, understanding that this is unprecedented and that you will want to perhaps take some time to reflect, I would like to ask you to clarify what next steps should be taken by the House to ensure that we are abiding by these statutory provisions.