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Liberal Leader Bob Rae's Point of Privilege

Liberal Leader Bob Rae's Point of Privilege

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Published by David Akin
Liberal MP Bob Rae raised this Point of Privilege in the House of Commons on Thursday April 5, 2012 alleging government members misled the House about the Auditor General's report on F35s.
Liberal MP Bob Rae raised this Point of Privilege in the House of Commons on Thursday April 5, 2012 alleging government members misled the House about the Auditor General's report on F35s.

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Published by: David Akin on Apr 05, 2012
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11/19/2013

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 April 5, 2012Hon. Andrew Scheer, MPSpeaker of the House of CommonsRoom 222-NHouse of CommonsMr. Speaker:As provided for under S.O. 48(2), please accept this letter as notice of my intention toraise a question of privilege immediately after Question Period today.I would note that this meets the criteria of being the first opportunity of raising the matterreferenced below as provided for at p. 142 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice,2
nd
edition.The substance of the question I intend to raise concerns government members response tostatements and questions made in the House, April 4, 2012 in response to specific
questions and statements related to matters arising from the 2012 Auditor General’s
report.Sincerely,Bob Rae, MP
 
QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE April 5, 2012
 
Mr. Speaker on Tuesday of this week April 3, 2012 you had the honour of tabling in this House the 2012 Report of the Auditor General.
 
The Auditor General of course is an officer of Parliament and the reportstabled through you by his office are presumed to be an accurate reflectionof the issues his office undertook to examine.
 
 As such all members of this place operate on the assumption that thecontents of the Auditor General's report, tabled by the Speaker are reliableenough to base not only questions and comments upon but for thegovernment and if necessary Parliament to act upon whether throughadministrative reforms or legislative measures.
 
That is point number one.
 
My second point concerns the contents of questions, answers orstatements made in this place by members.
 
 As the Speaker is well aware there are certain words and terms which areconsidered unparliamentary and when used by a member, the Speakerhas the authority to sanction that member for the use of such terms.
 
One such term is the word "liar".
 
 
 A member who uses that word when addressing another member isconsidered to have breached this rules of this House and is expected toapologize.
 
If no apology is forthcoming, the Speaker has the power and authority tosanction that member.
 
 All members of this place have accepted this authority.
 
The principle which supports the Speaker in this situation is the longstanding tradition that all members are presumed to be truthful in thisHouse.
 
 At. p. 618 of O'Brien & Bosc it states: "The proceedings of the House arebased on a long standing tradition of respect for the integrity of allmembers."
 
The presumption that all members of this House are speaking the truthbased upon their knowledge of a particular issue is accepted by allmembers.
 
Speaker Fraser in a decision on a question of privilege (Debates, May 5,1987, p.5765-5766) stated in part that the institution of Parliamentenjoys, "the protection of absolute privilege because of the overridingneed to ensure that the truth can be told."
 
So, Mr. Speaker I am beginning from the premise that all members -Cabinet members included - who speak in this place are speaking thetruth.

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