Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order regarding a written question, in accordance with Standing Order 39 and Order Paper Question No. 510 that was on the Order Paper regarding the visit of the Chinese Premier and his stay at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa and, more specifically, the artificial wall outside the Premier's hotel that was constructed during his visit.
According to O'Brien and Bosc on page 519, it says, “written questions are lengthy, often containing two or more subsections, and seek detailed or technical information from one or more government departments or agencies”.
Furthermore, on page 520, it says:
Given that the purpose of a written question is to seek and receive a precise, detailed answer, it is incumbent on a Member submitting a question for the Notice Paper “to ensure that it is formulated carefully enough to elicit the precise information sought”.
I believe I had done this with Order Paper Question No. 510.
Since Confederation, members have had the right to submit these questions to the government or to a specific ministry for a response within 45 days. Now, I have received a partial response to some of my questions, and I want to explain very clearly on this point of order.
I submitted a 10-part question to the Order Paper on September 27, 2016. I received an itemized response from the Global Affairs, International Development and la Francophonie, and International Trade ministries in November to only three parts of my question that were itemized on the answer. These were sections e, i, and j, and they were satisfactory in my view. I do not contest the quality of the answer I have received thus far. I have waited this long, expecting a supplementary tabling this past Monday and Tuesday to provide answers to subsections a, b, c, d, f, g, and h. That supplementary answer has not been forthcoming, and therefore I am rising on this point of order today.
I am not asking you, Mr. Speaker, to review the quality or accuracy of the response. I am asking you to address the lack of a response to parts of my Order Paper question duly submitted at the time and found to be in proper form by the clerk.
Given that information on the construction of the wall outside of the Westin Hotel exists, it must be provided to the people of Canada. That is why I asked for the government to do so through this very specific use of the Order Paper question, to which the government is bound by parliamentary tradition as old as our country to respond to. The government has not responded to the whole of my question, and therefore it falls to you, Mr. Speaker, as the presiding officer of this House, to ensure that Standing Orders are upheld and that the questions be fully answered and the government be held to account for its seemingly preferential treatment of foreign Chinese officials.