IN THE HOUSE ~ Point of order ~ MPs blocked from accessing the parliamentary precinct

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I want to add that I would like to potentially come back on this issue. There is almost a filibuster done by the government House leader's almost half an hour presentation. I am sure it is because he does not want the House to talk about Bill C-51, which started out with a lot of support from Canadians and has ended up with the contrary. Most Canadians oppose Bill C-51, so the government House leader now is basically trying to take away the few hours of debate that remain. It is pretty transparent.

    However, what he has done in his reply on the question of privilege is simply underscored the NDP position which is that this should go to committee. What he has tried to do is investigate, do the committee's work, and come up with his own conclusions. That is not appropriate. That is not his job. It is the job of the House to seize what is a clear breach of privilege and to refer it to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. It is up to that committee to do that appropriate following. The government House leader has reinforced the argument that this needs to be a motion submitted to the House.

    My final point is that we said when the government ran roughshod over parliamentary privileges and rights with its motion a few weeks ago, that this would lead to the executive making decisions that more properly belong to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the legislative branch. The government House leader has just confirmed that is exactly what the government is doing. The Conservatives have undertaken their own investigation. The Minister of Public Safety did what is your job, Mr. Speaker, to do the follow-up and to determine, based on your knowledge and in consulting with the security officers, that you decide whether or not it constitutes a prima facie case of breach of privilege.

    Now we have the cabinet, the executive branch doing that investigation itself. By which authority, I have no idea and we will certainly be doing the follow-up on that because these are the kinds of cases exactly that we were apprehensive about when the government bulldozed the motion through the House of Commons. The government House leader has just very clearly reiterated what the NDP and other opposition members raised as a concern as well.

    I reserve the right to come back, but this is quite worrisome, that we have the executive branch now doing what is not appropriate for it to do. We may come back later on.


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