December 19, 1974

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS


Third, fourth, fifth and sixth reports of Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs-Mr. Poulin. [Editors Note: For text of reports referred to above see today's Votes and Proceedings.]


PRIVILEGE

LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. Yesterday or the day before I indicated that I would endeavour to come to a decision today about the alleged question of privilege that was raised concerning remarks in two recent presentations made by the hon. member for Temiscamingue (Mr. Caouette). I have listened very carefully to the arguments that have been presented and I have examined again and again the record of the remarks made. In addition, I have consulted the precedents respecting applications for consideration by the Chair that a prima facie question of privilege has arisen and I find 'certain difficulties in connection with the precedents and their relationship to the present situation.

I have some grave concern about the nature of the practice that was referred to and about whether the kind of conduct referred to is in fact a breach of the law or amounts to an immoral or illegal activity. On the other hand, the allegations were not made simply against one member of the House, and on two different occasions. Particularly on the second of such occasions, which was last Thursday evening, they were directed against members of all other parties in the House except the one led by the hon. member who was then speaking. He implicated himself in the practice to which he had referred.

I have additional concern about the fact that the allegations relate to the relationship between the members of this House and the members of the press gallery here, or at least some of the members of the press gallery, because to a certain extent the press gallery is an extension of the

functioning of the House in bringing before the Canadian people, the electorate, the events of the House through the faithful and objective reporting of such events. This is not the sole responsibility of the press gallery but is a matter over which this House wants to exercise some interest, if not some direction, and to take some responsibility therefor. In view of this particular fact, and because, as I say, I have serious questions on both sides, I must bear in mind that my decision is not on one side or the other of the various technical questions involved but is simply a decision whether or not a prima facie case of privilege exists.

I would remind hon. members that the decision hereafter as to whether or not the matter ought to be investigated further by a standing committee is not the decision of the Chair but the decision of the House. If I do find there is a prima facie question of privilege, it is for the House to decide whether or not the motion of the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. La Salle) would carry and the matter referred to a standing committee.

Because the allegations directed against hon. members are so broad, and because they relate to the press gallery, in view of the reasons I have outlined and the doubts that I have on both sides of the question I feel I ought to resolve those doubts in favour of having the matter cleared up and investigated by a committee, so that whatever allegations have been outstanding can either be verified or denied. Accordingly, I propose to find that under the circumstances a prima facie case of privilege does exist, and in my view the question contained in the motion of the hon. member for Joliette that this matter ought to be examined by the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections ought to be put to the House. I therefore put that question to the House at this time. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion of the hon. member for Joliette carry?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Carried.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

On division?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Are the members agreed that it is satisfactory to have the recorded vote now without the necessity of the bells calling in the members?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether other members are in the same position as I am, but I did not hear the motion being put. If it has been put, it is obviously debatable, but it is a bit unusual to put a motion relating to the privilege of a member of the House when

December 19, 1974

Privilege-Mr. La Salle

that member is not in his seat to take the opportunity to comment in any way.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. On the last point raised by the minister, perhaps I should retrace what has taken place in respect of the motion. The first time the question was raised was after the hon. member had made his remarks. At that point I deferred the motion and consideration of the question of privilege until the following Monday. Because the hon. member was not in his place I again deferred it until Tuesday, at which time the House leader of that party, the hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Fortin), said he was prepared to have the matter discussed at that time.

Under those circumstances, I feel the House has extended to the hon. member for Temiscamingue every opportunity to discuss the motion. The question, therefore, is on the motion of the hon. member for Joliette, seconded by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Baldwin):

That the charge made by the hon. member for Temiscamingue, namely, that hon. members bribed reporters from the press gallery, be referred to the Committee on Privileges and Elections.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the said motion?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Call in the members.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Accordingly, I declare the motion carried

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE-RULING BY MR. SPEAKER
Permalink

December 19, 1974