Mr. Speaker, I rise in relation to my privilege motion made in this place on March 2, which is with the Chair right now. Until the Chair has ruled with respect to that privilege motion, I have the ability to add additional submissions to that motion from March 2.
As I rise, I would ask that this be done today in two ways. In the first part, I would like the Chair and his office to include my speech from the opposition day motion today, because the elements I expressed in my speech are germane to the privilege motion I brought saying that my privilege as a member and shadow minister has been breached or fettered by the refusal of the Prime Minister to allow Mr. Jean to appear before committee.
I am supplementing additional information for your consideration, Mr. Speaker, because today the Liberal members of the public safety committee once again refused to allow Mr. Jean to appear before them to answer questions and provide evidence with respect to the India conspiracy theory that Mr. Jean previously provided to select members of the press gallery. The additional reference from this presentation is once again the denial of the right of the standing committee to have Mr. Jean before it to give all members the ability to do their job unfettered with the information required.
With respect to that, I would like to add my submission of reference to the decision of Speaker Parent from November 1999, where there was a contempt suggestion by a member with respect to his privilege being breached. It is germane to this case because that case related to employees of the government who had information that a member needed to perform his duties as a member of Parliament.
The decision relies upon Erskine May, which states:
[A]ny act or omission which obstructs or impedes either House of Parliament in the performance of its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any member or officer of such House in the discharge his duty, or which has a tendency, directly or indirectly, to produce such results may be treated as a contempt even though there is no precedent of the offence.
In this case, Speaker Parent decided against the member. However, the situation with Mr. Jean can be distinguished, because in that case Speaker Parent said that it involved an access to information request and there was no proceeding of Parliament impacted by the inability of members to access information required, which is their privilege. In this case, the vote today by Liberal members at the public safety committee, the consistent refusal by the public safety minister and the Prime Minister to provide Mr. Jean to a standing committee of Parliament to provide the same information he provided to members of the press gallery, is obstructing a proceeding of Parliament.
Also, the other proceeding of Parliament impacted by this obstruction is the Prime Minister's repeated references to the conspiracy theory and the suggestions that Mr. Jean, a leading public servant, has given to provide an alternate theory about the Jaspal Atwal invitation. In my speech today, I read into the record the report from CBC News that stated that Mr. Jean, who was later identified but was an unnamed official at that point, said that the invitation itself was part of an Indian government conspiracy vis-à-vis the Prime Minister's trip to India. That information was provided to members of the media, and the government continues to obstruct members from having the same rights as members of the press gallery.
If the information is being provided to the press gallery, which reports on public affairs, there is no way the government could suggest it is confidential or in some way secret. The national security adviser could not provide sensitive information to members of the press. If it was provided to them, we are entitled to it.
To distinguish the Parent decision from 1999 involving Minister Eggleton, I refer you, Mr. Speaker, to the refusal today, obstructing a parliamentary committee in its ability to call a witness, a senior official of the Canadian government. The other parliamentary proceeding which distinguishes the Parent decision is the Prime Minister's repeated references to Mr. Jean's conspiracy theory and discussions to the media in question period. Therefore, our inability to probe and analyze that response by the Prime Minister by calling Mr. Jean to committee also violates my privileges and all of our privileges as members.
Until you rule, Mr. Speaker, I will continue to add additional supports for my motion from March 2 that our privileges have been violated by the obstruction of this government.