Mr. Lome Nystrom (Yorkton-Melville):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to raise a question of privilege concerning the Standing Committee on Regional Development. The facts are as follows: Last Thursday the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion was questioned in the standing committee on some very important matters concerning the estimates of his department. As the minister was unable to provide the answers, he undertook to give them at an early meeting of the committee. The chairman of the committee proposed May 5 as the date for the minister's appearance. Last Monday the steering committee of the Standing Committee on Regional Development was informed that the minister could not be available until May 18 and that his deputy would appear as a witness on May 4. Yesterday the members of the committee were informed in writing that the latter meeting had been cancelled because the deputy minister could not attend.
It is clear that under the circumstances the Standing Committee on Regional Development is prevented from dealing properly with the task assigned to it by the House, namely, to examine the proposed expenditures of almost half a billion dollars, because both the minister and his deputy have declared themselves unavailable as witnesses at a reasonably early time. The matter is extremely urgent as under Standing Order 58(14) the standing committee is required to consider and report these estimates back to the House not later than May 31.
My formal motion, seconded by the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby (Mr. Broadbent) will be:
That the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections inquire forthwith and report upon the reluctance of the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion and his deputy to appear before the Standing Committee on Regional Economic Expansion and that the report of the committee with its recommendations thereon be made to the House within the next five days.
Subtopic: MR. NYSTROM-ATTENDANCE OF MINISTER OF REGIONAL ECONOMIC EXPANSION AND DEPUTY BEFORE STANDING COMMITTEE