March 2, 2000 (36th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Peter MacKay

Progressive Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Last night the government gave notice under Motion No. 8 that it would be embarking on an unprecedented attack on democracy in this place. I do not wish to eat into the time of the NDP on their opposition day, but this is an outrageous act on behalf of the government. It is shutting down debate not only in the House but in committees.
The Speaker himself or herself, by virtue of this move, will be brought into the fray and be asked to participate and rule on amendments that may be brought forward in the House. This will limit debate. This is an attack on the use of committees in terms of their reports being brought forward and the ability to file amendments will be severely curtailed.
It creates two classes of members in this place: special privileges that can be afforded to members who are cabinet ministers versus those who are not.
The tools of parliament will be circumvented by virtue of this motion that has been brought forward and notice given by the government House leader.
With respect to this matter, we would respectfully put forward that the Speaker should rule on the privileges of the members of the House who have been severely undermined by virtue of the government House leader in his attempts to shut down all opposition.
We know that the official opposition was given an opportunity under the Nisga'a debate to exercise a certain amount of privilege, and yet what we have seen is another party in the House being severely limited in its ability to do the exact same thing.
Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you consider this unprecedented attack that has been embarked upon by the government House leader. This is, I would suggest, severely infringing on the ability of members of parliament to do their work in this place, to do their work on behalf of their constituents and on behalf of all Canadians in ways that are unprecedented. They are limited on very important pieces of legislation that affect everyone in the country.
Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to consider Motion No. 8 before this is brought to the House for a vote. I would ask the Speaker to rule as to whether this motion is in fact in order at all, because this puts the Chair, you, Mr. Speaker in a position where, as a referee, you are being asked to put on the government team's jersey and play for that side. Mr. Speaker, I suggest that this curtails your credibility and your ability to do your impartial work in this place.
These motions being brought forward, five in total under Motion No. 8 under government business today, once again severely undermines the ability of this place to operate in a coherent, fair and equitable fashion.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Points Of Order
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