Opposition Motion – Changes to Standing Orders

That Standing Order 11(2) be replaced with the following: The Speaker or the Chair of Committees of the Whole, after having called the attention of the House, or of the Committee, to the conduct of a Member who persists in irrelevance, or repetition, including during responses to oral questions, may direct the Member to discontinue his or her intervention, and if then the Member still continues to speak, the Speaker shall name the Member or, if in Committee of the Whole, the Chair shall report the Member to the House.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would be grateful if the hon. member would make his comments relevant to the motion before us, which is related to question period, not mailings.

The Acting Speaker : The Chair has the floor. Is the hon. member rising on the same point of order?

Tom Lukiwski: May I respond, Mr. Speaker?

The Acting Speaker: No. I will respond.

The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands has raised a question of relevance. I am sure the irony is not lost on some members of the chamber that there is a discussion today about questions and whether the Speaker ought to be more proactive in terms of ruling on issues of relevance. I am also not certain whether the hon. parliamentary secretary structured his comments in such a way as to test the bounds of relevance today.

There is a specific motion before the House and as is often the case, members take the principle embodied in a specific motion or bill and then speak about the principle and then expound in quite a different direction in terms of another example of another issue that might relate to that same principle, even if it quite obviously does not reflect what is before the House.

Members in this place have raised the question of relevance many times. My colleagues and I in the Chair have risen to respond, pointing out to all members that the responsibility rests with them to keep their comments relevant to the matter that is before the House. The Chair gives significant latitude to members to do so in the understanding that members will not deliberately, or in some cases in almost a provocative way, stray from that to talk about something that is in fact quite unrelated.

With all of that as a preamble, I would remind the hon. parliamentary secretary of the actual motion that is before the House today and ask that he keep his comments related to that. If he takes some small detours that is understandable, but long detours that relate less to the matter start to get close to that line. I am quite certain that the hon. member would not want to put the Chair in that position.