Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my comments to the question of privilege raised by the opposition House leader earlier today.
Caught on video was the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs' attempt to intimidate the opposition House leader. This outburst was intended to prevent the opposition House leader from doing her job.
The House Leader of the Official Opposition moved a motion that put into the spotlight of the nation waiting to hear the presentation on budget 2017 the fact that the government was attempting to use the budget presentation as a shield to hide its underhanded attempt to change the rules of this House, changes that would cripple the opposition's ability to hold the government to account, give backbenchers an extra day off a week, and require the Prime Minister to only show up in the House once a week. She was successful in exposing the government's skulduggery, and I understand why the minister would be angry.
It should be noted that responding to threats is the first matter of parliamentary privilege dealt with in Canada. Page 198 of the second edition of Joseph Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada tells us of an incident in 1758, where the Nova Scotia House of Assembly proceeded against someone who made threats against a member.
In a ruling on September 19, 1973, by Speaker Lamoureux, at page 6709 of 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.
Mr. Speaker Bosley, on May 16, 1986, at page 13362 of Debates, ruled that the threat or attempt at intimidation cannot be hypothetical but must be real or have occurred.
On March 24, 1994, at page 2705 of Debates, Speaker Parent stated:
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 is expected.
I can go on and on, but the point is that, just because a government is given a majority, it does not mean that cabinet ministers have the authority to intimidate members of the opposition. The Liberal backbenchers should grow a backbone and understand that cabinet is subordinate to this House and there are more of us than them. We could actually do something about their dismissive view of Parliament.
Liberal prime ministers are notorious for describing members of Parliament in quaint ways: Pierre Trudeau with his “nobodies” slur and Jean Chrétien with his insult about terracotta soldiers. Almost immediately after the slogan “sunny ways” was out of the box, the passing of Parliament's role into the shadow of the Prime Minister's agenda began. We had Motion No. 6 last—