Foreign Affairs and International Development

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, if I pick up the thread of where we are, I can now address a question to the hon. House leader for the official opposition, who had finished his speech.

This is not just a procedural question but a substantive one. Now that the motion has failed, what is his view on the value of the debate the government members have now insisted we pursue for the next coming hours?

Nathan Cullen: Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and all Conservatives just now voted to delay a debate that was going on in the House about a Conservative MP who misled Parliament about the Conservatives’ own unfair election act. This is what they have resorted to, because they do not have the facts on their side. They do not have evidence on their side. They have to make up stories about election fraud that they claim to have witnessed and then claim to have not witnessed.

The Speaker in this case found that the member had exhibited contempt for Parliament, one of the most serious accusations that can be made of a member of Parliament. Rather than discuss the merits of that, the Conservatives have attempted to take three hours away from that debate.

The Conservatives also put us on notice, just last night, that they want to shut the whole debate down on a question of privilege over one of their members having misled Parliament. Rather than trying to justify it and saying what they will do to prevent MPs in the future from doing what the Conservative member for Mississauga—Streetsville did, they did two things. First, they congratulated him. They said, “Well done, sir”, first for having been caught, “those things happen”. Then he came in and said that it was a misstatement of facts.

The Conservatives’ reaction to the debate on a sitting MP being found in contempt of Parliament, or the very likelihood of that, is to shut down completely debate about an election act that is the foundation of our democratic principles, which Canadians have fought generations to sustain and maintain.

In our history we have always found ways to come together when deciding the rules of the game, when deciding how Parliament should conduct itself, how elections will conduct themselves. However, this Minister of State (Democratic Reform), and I use the term loosely, decided that he would make an exception. They would only consult with Conservatives, not Canadians and not the Chief Electoral Officer. They would only meet with Conservatives about what the rules should be. Some of the rules in place in this election act are against misdeeds and actions by the Conservative Party itself in the last election. They are having to clean up their own mess, their own fraudulent behaviour.

This debate today is only an attempt to delay the inevitable, which is one of the Conservative members being found in contempt of this place, joining the illustrious ranks of Bev Oda and Art Eggleton, who lied about Afghan detainees. They should be ashamed of themselves and their dirty tactics.