Order, please. Proceedings under Standing Order 43. Before we proceed with the oral question period, may I say that hon. members probably are aware that I have received a notification from the Minister of Justice of his intention and desire to table a letter that I think has been referred to previously. In addition, in respect thereto I have received notices of intention by three ministers to raise a question of privilege. In all four instances there is an indication, with the letter that has come to the Chair, that because of the importance of the subject matter it would likely be in the best interests of relevant proceedings that these events take place prior to the question period. Of course, that would set aside the procedure which we have followed since last Easter.
May I first, therefore, indicate that I think it would be the desire of the House to accommodate that point of view in order to make for a more relevant question period. It would seem that the question period, if it were concerned with these events, would become somewhat of an anti-climax.
Therefore may I ask, before considering that request, whether or not the House gives its unanimous consent to allow the tabling of the document by the Minister of Justice and the proposed questions of privilege by these three ministers.
May I say to the House, before asking the House for its consent, however, that rather than attempt to follow each proposed question of privilege with a discussion by the House in respect of the question of privilege on its merits, it would seem to me that a more orderly procedure would be to Jake all three statements in respect of the notices of privilege given by the ministers, and then the Chair would have to decide, in order to accommodate the opposition in respect of the right it might ordinarily enjoy in those circumstances, either on a question of privilege or whatever content may develop, whether the Chair ought to extend its discretion at least in a question period which would run until, in my opinion, the matter had been thoroughly explored.
Possibly, depending upon the content of the declarations made by the minister in respect of the proposed questions of privilege, all the declarations might be followed by a statement by one spokesman for each party. But that is a
decision which will have to be made only after the House has heard the content of the statements. If the House is agreed on that general procedure, may I ask that hon. members give their unanimous consent to proceeding in that manner. Is that agreed?
Subtopic: ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE