Mr. Charles E. Haliburton (South Western Nova):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege this afternoon in connection with a matter of extreme interest and concern to my riding of South Western Nova. The matter relates to the fishing of offshore lobsters.
In this House on April 5 I directed a question to the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) about a certain study that was supposed to have been undertaken nearly two years ago. Subsequently, both in the House and in the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Forestry, I raised this issue. On April 4, in response to a question, I was told by one of the officials of the Department of Fisheries that the report should be available within a few weeks. May I stress he said it "should be ready within a few weeks' time".
Within a week, namely, on April 10, the report that I had been asking for for a month or five weeks was released to a newspaper reporter in Halifax and reported pretty fully in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald of April 11. The publication of the contents of that report and the stories that went out on the wire press have caused serious embarrassment to me since this was a matter occurring within my constituency in which, as I say, I had great interest. It caused me additional embarrassment since I had, after all, been requesting this report and the people there knew I had been requesting it. Indeed, it was in fact released on April 10 as a result of the pressure that had been brought to bear on the government through my questions. Further embarrassment attaches because of the fact that I was asked to comment on the report by various members of the media.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Dartmouth-Halifax East (Mr. Forrestall):
That this matter and the nature of the procedure for releasing such statements be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and Organization.
Subtopic: MR. HALIBURTON-MANNER OF RELEASE OF REPORT ON OFFSHORE LOBSTER FISHERY