December 4, 1979 (31st Parliament, 1st Session)


James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)


Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. I hesitate to interrupt the hon. member but while I think I understand the nature of his argument, I do not understand the nature of the problem. The House passed the resolution to which he has made reference and which reads as follows:

December 4, 1979
Privilege-Mr. Baldwin
That this House recommends that a parliamentary standing or select committee be forthwith given an order of reference to review the terms of the present act, including a study of such recent cases as that of Dr. Peter Treu and The Toronto Sun and to report proposals for suitable changes to the Official Secrets Act, and that no claim of Crown privilege be allowed to limit the extent of inquiry by the committee.
The only basis upon which the hon. member could have a question of privilege, which he is now arguing, is that the House has perhaps disregarded that motion. The motion is not an order. The result of that motion is a resolution recommending "that a parliamentary standing or select committee be forthwith given an order of reference". If the hon. member's complaint is that the House has not moved to give that order of reference, that is an argument that I might want to entertain. He is now saying, however, that there is a difficulty which goes beyond that, but I have not heard it yet from the government.
Perhaps the hon. member could direct his attention to the problem of whether it has been a reasonable time, whether there should be an order and what the terms of the order ought to be. I have not yet heard him say that the House is in default of that order. I would guess that the drafting of the order might be somewhat complex. Perhaps the hon. member could turn his attention to that aspect of the matter.

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