Mr. Speaker, this is a serious question of privilege. It affects all members of Parliament. This question of privilege arises from a meeting in Room 253-D on March 3, 2004. My position as chair of central Ontario caucus is to report to Ontario caucus and in turn to the Prime Minister at national caucus.
Sun Media received a tape from the broadcast service, by whatever means, which remains to me a mystery for sure. I want to know how it was made, why it was made, and how did the media receive it? I believe Parliament, and all members of Parliament, should have an answer to this.
I have no argument with the media. Of course, to quote Churchill, never make enemies of people who buy paper by the ton and ink by the barrel. My problem is, who made the tape and how was it obtained? The damage it caused me is incidental. Politicians love to have publicity; the only thing worse than bad publicity is no publicity. The damage to the manufacturers that I represent in my riding is reprehensible.
An auto parts manufacturer had to defend my statement in the Sun Media, and I am sure everyone here believes everything they read in the Sun Media. He had to explain the statement and that pitted them against their only customer. The damage is the basis of my intervention. I believe my rights of privacy in this precinct of Parliament have been violated.
I would like opposition members to think about it. If this incident happened to any opposition party, would they feel their right to privacy was violated? Would, for instance, the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, speaking to his caucus, feel aggrieved if in fact it had been taped and broadcast?
Section 193 of the Criminal Code of Canada clearly favours my point, and I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to consult it.
Who does a member of Parliament of this House of Commons turn to for justice in this matter? Do we go to the Sergeant-at-Arms, which I did? Do we go to you, Mr. Speaker, which I am doing? Do we go to the RCMP, who have no authority in this particular incident? Do we go to the House of Commons security? Do we go to the Senate security? Do we go to the six or seven security agencies that operate within this precinct? Do we go to the Ottawa police? Or do I go to a local crown prosecutor, which would be in fact in the Ottawa court system, which does not cover the House of Commons?
Mr. Speaker, there is damage. I want to be able to know that I can speak out in private on behalf of my constituents without the fear of their right to privacy being invaded, or my right to privacy.
These same facilities that I used are used by ministers of the crown at all levels. They are used for government briefings. They are used for opposition party members' meetings. Do they now feel secure that their meetings can be taped and sold to the press or obtained by the press? Do the opposition worry that they are being recorded in their private meetings?
Mr. Speaker, when we look for your guidance as the person with overall authority not only for the employees of Parliament Hill but with the responsibility for a secure environment for members of the House of Commons to carry out their parliamentary duties with confidence that their rights are not violated by criminal activity, we ask you, Mr. Speaker, to consider the rights of every member of the House of Commons. I would like you to consider their rights to privacy under section 193 of the Criminal Code. Was that violated?
I am sure other members would like to comment on this. When the chair of a caucus goes to a private meeting and reports to the chair of the next caucus up and the next caucus being recorded, I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that even you would want to ensure us that right of privacy, that right of being able to bring our constituents' problems forward without fear of being taped by someone. Was it taped? Was it broadcast? I have heard of four different ways as to how this happened.
Mr. Speaker, I believe this was criminal activity and I would ask you to investigate it, to look into it, and to ensure me that my rights as a member of Parliament are secure in this environment.