Point of Order – Oral Questions

Elizabeth May : Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order relating to rule number 37, which governs our conduct during oral questions. In particular, the only questions that are referred to at any point in the rules for the period we have just experienced, that being question period, are “Questions on matters of urgency may, at the time…be addressed orally to Ministers of the Crown…”.

I can find no provision that allows representatives of the governing party to throw questions at members of the opposition.

The parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister evaded questions continually in the House today and instead turned around and put questions to the leader of the official opposition and also told the member for Halifax West that he should ask questions of the member for Kings—Hants.

I would submit to you that this is not a point of debate. I think it is objectionable, under our rules, to put questions to opposition members as a guise for evading the questions that are put properly to members of the governing party.


Peter Van Loan: Mr. Speaker, as you know, it is not the practice of you, under the rules, to regulate the quality of the answers or even the quality of questions. However, it is a long-time rhetorical device. In many cases, the best answer to a question is a question that poses and illustrates that the difficulty is with the question we have been posed and its inconsistencies.

Mr. Speaker, as you know, it is well beyond your jurisdiction to get into assessing the quality of the various answers.