Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to endorse everything my colleague from Milton said. She is absolutely right. I was with her when I was forced to wait an unreasonably long period of time because we were denied access to Parliament Hill and prevented from exercising our democratic right to vote on a bill and represent our constituents well. It was important to me to be here.
The facts outlined in the Speaker's ruling are absolutely true. We were forced to wait nine minutes. I went to see a security officer to ask what was going on because the clock was ticking and we wanted to be in the House of Commons to exercise our right to vote.
The first officer was not well informed and asked for information. Initially, we were told that we had to wait for the Prime Minister's motorcade, which was empty. Others told us that it was because of the media bus. There was some confusion at the security gate, and because it was taking too long, we decided to proceed quickly on foot to the House of Commons to exercise our right to vote.
As everyone knows, we were not able to exercise our right to vote, so I am very pleased with the Chair's ruling, which confirms the comments of my colleague from Milton and my own. This is important not only to us, but to all members of the House. Parliamentary privilege exists so that we can represent our constituents, our reason for being here, and vote.
I am not proud of what has been happening in the House for the past few weeks; certain parliamentary traditions and customs are not being respected. The Prime Minister is not always present during question period, and yet being able to ask the Prime Minister questions is another aspect of parliamentary privilege.
This shows a degree of arrogance that is inconsistent with what the Prime Minister said during the election campaign. He said he wanted to bring a new tone to the House of Commons, but this new tone has not been positive, as we are experiencing today.
One only needs to look at what is happening in our parliamentary committees, where the government wants to limit my colleagues' right to speak. This does not respect the British parliamentary tradition. I hope we can come back to this and look at what is happening here in Parliament.
Why are parliamentary privilege and parliamentary traditions being flouted? We need to have this debate at committee. This is important to me and my colleagues in the official opposition, as I imagine it is for the members of all opposition parties. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to this matter.
I would now like to move an amendment to the proposal brought forward by my colleague from Milton. I move, seconded by the member for Oxford:
That the motion be amended by adding the following: “and that the committee make this matter a priority over all other business including its review of the Standing Orders and Procedure of the House and its Committees.”