Privilege – Members’ Access to Parliamentary Precinct–Speaker’s Ruling

Motion: That the question of privilege regarding the free movement of members of Parliament within the Parliamentary Precinct during the state visit of March 2, 2012, be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your ruling. I thank the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre for raising this issue so that we may have an opportunity to maintain the House of Commons and Parliament Hill as a place where citizens belong.

I want to raise a slightly different point and I hope that my comment will be taken up in the ongoing investigation of this matter. The traditional and constitutionally appropriate place for greeting visiting heads of state is Rideau Hall, not Parliament Hill. Traditionally, heads of state have been greeted at Rideau Hall and the ceremonies there have been appropriate. It is much easier to provide security at Rideau Hall.

I can see that some of the members opposite are becoming exercised by this point, but heads of state have been greeted at Rideau Hall. I would like to suggest it is one very appropriate way of ensuring good security, which we all must have, and at the same time, ensuring that the business of the people in the House of Commons is not impeded.

It occurred to me as I tried to leave the House of Commons that day and was impeded by several tanks that had to be removed before the green bus could get out of the way that things were coming to a point where business of the House of Commons could be impeded by security. I ask the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre for his comments.

Pat Martin: Mr. Speaker, I do not have anything to add to that.

The Speaker: Is the House ready for the question?

Some hon. members: Question.

The Speaker: The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.