Speaking to the Importance of Committee Membership Rights for All Parties

Elizabeth May

First of all, let me thank you Mr. Chair for giving me the ability to speak at this moment on this very critical issue for all members of parliament.

I would very much appreciate the consideration that, as the committee goes forward, all members, and particularly the Government Leader in the House, consider giving full membership to a representative from the Bloq Quebecois and of the Green Party. I think this would assist in the committee’s work, it would ensure that all voices of members of parliament [are heard].

We’re not two classes of MPs in this place, we’re all equal. But, obviously there’s a very different status to members of parliament who belong to parties that have more than 12 MPs. I won’t go into great detail on the nature of those differences. But, the essential difference doesn’t exist at all, in that the voters of Saanich – Gulf Islands are equal to the voters of the Yukon. Although, the voters of the Yukon actually take fewer to elect a great MP than those of Saanich – Gulf Islands, because we have more populous. But, other than that difference, our constituencies are equal and as MPs we are equal. And, when we are discussing the rules of this place, I think that it is really important, as Scott’s motion suggests, that there be a role for those members of caucuses that don’t have representation at this committee.

I would recommend strongly that that role be a full-membership, and certainly we did that on the Special Committee on Electoral Reform, but, it is not unprecendented. Indeed, there are many precedents for members of parliament with fewer than 12 MPs in their caucus to be full members of committees, not just special committees, but of standing committees. It is not precedent setting. It had been done many times in the past. And, given the importance of this issue and the high temperature this has now attained, I think this is a way to cool things down and work together well. You have my word that, as a full member of this committee, I will give it my all, be extremely fair and non-partial, and work together to come up with rules that will work in the interest of parliament and not any particular party.

I thank you for the chance to put these points forward Mr. Chair.