Mr. Speaker, we wholeheartedly support the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. I would like to reserve the right to add more to this question of privilege.
It is important to note two citations. At page 198 of the second edition of Joseph Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, it tells of an incident in 1758 where the Nova Scotia House of Assembly proceeded against someone who made threats against a member.
Moreover, in a ruling on September 19, 1973, Speaker Lamoureux at page 6709 of the Debates stated that he had “no hesitation in reaffirming the principle that parliamentary privilege includes the right of a member to discharge his responsibilities as a member of the House free from threats or attempts at intimidation.”
On March 24, 1994, at page 2705 of the Debates, Speaker Parent described the seriousness of the issue of intimidation this way:
Threats of blackmail or intimidation of a member of Parliament should never be taken lightly. When such occurs, the very essence of free speech is undermined. Without the guarantee of freedom of speech, no member of Parliament can do his duty as expected.
This is very serious. This goes to the very heart of what we do here in Parliament.
The Liberal government said that when it was elected, it would be open and transparent. I recall the government House leader saying that we must have tough conversations in this place.
We are asking legitimate questions and to be met with these kinds of threats is very serious.
I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that you would give us the opportunity to further add to this important question of privilege.