Business of the House and its Committees

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, as much as it pains me to do this, I need to point out that the prorogation that just occurred was not unconstitutional. The previous two, in 2008 and 2009, were clearly unconstitutional. In differing from some of my friends who spoke previously today, there are no previous examples of Liberal Prime Ministers or Progressive Conservative Prime Ministers proroguing to avoid a confidence vote that they knew they were going lose or to avoid political difficulty.

It is quite shocking what the Prime Minister has done. In the whole of the British Commonwealth, as studied by an institution in London that looks at these things, only one previous example could be found before the 2008 prorogation where prorogation was used to shut down Parliament to avoid political difficulty, and sadly, it was also Canada. It was Sir John A. Macdonald during the Pacific scandal. However, he returned to Parliament and immediately had an election.

I wanted to make this one little point. This prorogation, in hitting the reset button, I agree with my friends in the official opposition, could have been done midsummer, could have been done any time, did not need to delay the House till October. However, clearly, it was much more in the norm of the tradition that the government had basically run out of steam. Sitting till midnight, one in the morning, every day through the last of May until the last of June with time allocation on every bill, the Conservatives could pretty much force everything through if that was what they chose to do. That, to me, was a larger offence than the prorogation.

Ron Cannan: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In terms of decorum, I would like to bring to your attention to page 150 of Beauchesne’s Parliamentary Rules and Forms related to appropriate language.

We all want to have decorum and respectful debate in the House of Commons. The hon. member from the NDP used the words “verbal diarrhea” with regard to the government. It was totally inappropriate in this situation. We want to respect one another. I would ask you to ask the hon. member to rescind her comments and to respect the House.