Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, some days ago, I drew attention to the fact that Standing Order 31 seemed to have become a source of increasing disharmony in the House, encouraging a lack of decorum. I note that under Standing Order 31, although at the time you may recall the discussion we had, the hon. House leader said that in his view there were no rules about content or appropriateness of the text, it does say in Standing Order 31 that if, in your opinion, Mr. Speaker, the remarks are “improper use is made of this Standing Order”. Clearly, there is a threshold for performance. The guidance comes from the comments from former Speaker Sauvé.
Mr. Speaker, you mentioned at the time that you might give us a ruling. I hate to ask if it is forthcoming, but the S. O. 31 period is becoming increasingly rancorous and the problem is that we are failing to abide by Speaker Sauvé’s guidance. With respect, I wanted to make this submission.
Hon. Peter Van Loan: Mr. Speaker, this is the second time the leader of the Green Party has risen when I have been here on this matter. What I find curious is her suggestion that somehow it is inappropriate for members of the House to stand up for the views of their constituents. Certainly, speaking for the Conservative Party, our platform has consistently been one of opposition to new taxes, to carbon taxes and to higher taxes, and I can think of nothing more representative for a member of our party, certainly in my case when I talk to my constituents, than to come to this place and let my views be known on taxes, including the inappropriateness of the NDP proposed carbon tax.
I find it very unusual that a member like her, who is always fighting to have her voice heard, rises repeatedly to try and suppress the voice of others in this House. Both of these seem paradoxical to me, especially when we are talking about members’ statements under Standing Order 31, one which has been the greatest tradition in this House of allowing members the utmost freedom to speak their mind. However, the member of the Green Party seems to want to keep them from speaking their mind when it is not an issue that she disagrees with, the carbon tax, and I find that quite disturbing.
The Speaker: I thank both members for their comments on this.