Mr. Heath Macquarrie (Hillsborough):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege respecting the rights of all members of this House. One of the ancient and fundamental rights of a parliamentarian is surely the right of entrance to and egress from the legislative chambers wherein he deliberates as a representative of the people. There is a long tradition of parliamentary bodies successfully asserting their freedom from restraint and arrest in the discharge of their duties.
Yesterday's reported barring of members from the centre block, the locale of this chamber, by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is a most serious intrusion upon the essential freedom of movement of members of this chamber. There is surely cause for concern and, more importantly, a need for an investigation as to the circumstances surrounding this most regrettable incident affecting the privileges of all hon. members.
It was my intention to move that this matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, but I desist from this course at the present time in the hope that the proper authorities will make appropriate investigation.
An obvious question concerns the authority on which such orders were issued. More fundamental is the need for reassurance that the security of the centre block will remain the responsibility not of the state police but of the parliamentary protective staff, and that no emanation of the executive will be empowered or authorized to interfere with the members of this House in the legitimate and proper discharge of their duties in this place.
Subtopic: MR. MACQUARRIE-MEMBERS' RIGHT TO ENTER PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS