Mr. Otto Jelinek (High Park-Humber Valley):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege dealing with a matter which has now been made public through the media and as a result my integrity in debating and voting on matters concerning the public business that comes before this chamber may be questioned by a portion of the public.
The facts are that during the oral question period on Monday, September 17, I directed a question to the Prime Minister concerning television coverage of the Olympic games. The question and answer are to be found on page 6626 of Hansard. At about 4.30 that afternoon I received a telephone call in my parliamentary office. The caller identified himself as an employee of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He refused to give his name. He stated he wanted to do me a favour, namely, to warn me to cease asking further questions on the subject I had raised that afternoon in the oral question period. Otherwise, he continued, it would be publicly alleged that I had a contract with CTV and therefore a conflict of interest.
The following day, yesterday, I attempted to be recognized during the oral question period without success. However, upon going into the opposition lobby when the question period ended I received another telephone call. This time, in less courteous terms, I was told that for my own good I had better lay off my inquiries into the television coverage of the Olympic games. Again, the caller did not identify himself by name.
I need not cite to you, Mr. Speaker, the precedents which establish how seriously the House regards any attempt to intimidate a member in the performance of his duties. I also need not point out to all hon. members how difficult it can be for a member to refute allegations made against him of conflict of interest. It is extremely difficult, sometimes impossible, for him to do this by himself. When the accuser is nameless, the member cannot have recourse to the courts to clear his name. I therefore take this opportunity to assure the House that in no way am I involved in a conflict of interest in this matter or in any other. Should any member feel disposed to call me before a standing committee of the House to investigate this matter, I would be more than willing to comply.
Subtopic: MR. JELINEK-ALLEGED CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESPECTING TELEVISION COVERAGE OF OLYMPIC GAMES-ATTEMPT TO INTIMIDATE