February 18, 2004

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Some hon. members

He didn't alter the document.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
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LIB
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An hon. member

That is different.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
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LIB

Reg Alcock

Liberal

Hon. Reg Alcock

Members say that it is different. The member in his statement to the House said that he was tabling the document. He only tabled two of five pages. He has a duty to be honest in the House and he has failed in that duty.

When a member comes to the House with false information, when he comes forward with incomplete information, he has committed a contempt of the House.

This, Mr. Speaker, is in many ways little different from the very question we dealt with in committee around the production of incomplete information by the then privacy commissioner. As a matter of information on that, it was found at that time that person no longer had the confidence of the chamber because the information he put forward was incomplete.

The evidence is before you, Mr. Speaker. You have the document, you have the statements of the member and you have the original document which I am tabling now. I would urge you to consider this and help us understand what the duties are on members before the House. Should you agree that there is a prima facie case, I am prepared to move a motion.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
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PC

Loyola Hearn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, this is not a questions of privilege. It is a complete and utter waste of time of the House.

The member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough stood today, read a statement and said that he would table it. Whatever he had in his hand, whether it be one page, two pages or ten pages, he tabled what he said he would, which is exactly what he did.

The President of the Treasury Board is skating on very thin ice because he was asked to table a document and he did not. He went out of the chamber, so we will never know whether the document, if it is ever tabled, is the document from which he read.

The member, and I am sure he will speak to it, Mr. Speaker, has tabled the document from which he read, whether it is the complete, partial or in some other language. That is what he did, that is what he said he would do, and this is a waste of your time and our time, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Permalink
LIB

Derek Lee

Liberal

Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough—Rouge River, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, very quickly, the issue--

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Permalink
LIB
LIB
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The Speaker

Order. The hon. member for Scarborough--Rouge River has the floor. He wants to make a contribution to the procedural argument we are dealing with at the moment, despite the noise.

The hon. member for Scarborough--Rouge River.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Permalink
LIB

Derek Lee

Liberal

Mr. Derek Lee

Mr. Speaker, the issue here is whether or not the House has been misled, intentionally or otherwise, by the hon. member. Just to focus with what I believe is great precision on what has happened here, the member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough rose in the House and referred to a document, an internal memo. He described it as a document, an internal memo, and he said that he had a copy of that document and would like to table it in the House.

What the member did table in the House was two pages only of a five page document. I do not know and the House does not know if the member knew it was five pages or four pages, but the document that was tabled was not the document, was not the memo. It was selective and partial. I submit that in doing that, the member may have misled the House, either intentionally or not, and if he has done that, this may constitute a matter of privilege. That is the matter that is put before you now.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
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PC

Peter MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to respond to the sneak attack of the member opposite in his usual blunderbuss fashion.

The document itself was of course a document that we received confidentially. The two pages that we were in possession of were the totality of the document that we received. If the document is five pages or 10 pages or more, that is more than I have seen. The two pages that were tabled in the House are the only two pages that I was personally in possession of. I referenced it in a question to the right hon. Prime Minister.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Permalink
LIB
PC

Peter MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay

How would I refer to pages I did not know existed?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Permalink
LIB

Marlene Jennings

Liberal

Mrs. Marlene Jennings

It says page one and page three. Page two is missing.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Permalink
LIB
PC

Peter MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay

The usual tactic of accuse the accuser is what is playing out before the House today.

Obviously my tabling of that document was in response to the Prime Minister's invitation to do so, which I did. Unlike the member opposite who scurried out of the House to make copies, I rose in my place at the conclusion of question period, offered to table the document, two pages which I was in possession of, to which members opposite agreed, and that is the total document that I was in possession of, the two pages.

This is a complete distraction, a rabbit-tracks tactic that the government is obviously up to here.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Permalink
LIB

Marlene Jennings

Liberal

Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, if we are to accept the explanation given by the member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, he must still explain why he only had pages 1 and 3 in his possession.

He should have noticed that there was a page 2. He can claim that he did not know that there was a page 4 and a page 5, but he certainly knew that there was a page 2.

I maintain, as did the President of the Treasury Board and my colleague, that the member voluntarily and intentionally misled the House. He had to know that there were at least three pages and that he was tabling only two of them. He should have mentioned that, to his knowledge, it was a three-page document and that he had only two pages in his possession.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
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CA

Vic Toews

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I find the comments made by the member simply remarkable.

The member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough stood up and said, “I have the document. It is two pages and I am going to tender it”. If the member was trying to mislead the House, would he actually table it? No, he would do what Liberals do and hide the document. The member stood up and put his document on the table. Let the President of the Treasury Board put forward the document that he keeps on hiding.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
Permalink
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The Speaker

I think we have heard the argument on this. The Chair seems to have got the drift thoroughly.

The hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River, the President of the Treasury Board and the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine all made interventions on this subject on behalf of the government. We also heard from the hon. member for St. John's West, the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough and the hon. member for Provencher on behalf of the opposition. We also heard from other members of the House.

I believe that the Chair has heard enough on this point to be able to take the matter under consideration.

I will get back to the House in due course and give a decision on the matter.

On a point of order, the hon. member for Peace River.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Privilege
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CA

Charlie Penson

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, now that you have dealt with a matter raised by the President of the Treasury Board, I would ask that you request the President of the Treasury Board to table the document that he read in the House today. He scurried out of the House so he did not have to present it this afternoon.

I think the rule should apply in the same way to the President of the Treasury Board who read from a document and then did not present it to the House. Here is an opportunity for him to do that. I would suggest that he be called to account to present the document.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Points of Order
Permalink

February 18, 2004