Question of Privilege

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, in the course of the debate, ever since the Speaker’s ruling that this House is currently aware of two completely contradictory statements before us and that we should, in his view, clear the air by allowing this to go to committee, I have been wondering why the response from the Conservative members, such as from the hon. parliamentary secretary, has been to suggest that this is some sort of punishment and that somehow we will be penalizing people for coming to this place and telling the truth. I would think quite the contrary lesson would be learned, which is that members are at their peril if they try to tell us something when they know it is not true and they later tell us that they are sorry and that it was not true.

I accept that the hon. member has apologized. He is also a friend of mine. I am not interested in destroying his reputation or taking away his voluntary achievements or his accomplishments as a member of Parliament.

However, I would like to know why on two occasions we were told that there was this actual eye-witness evidence of voting fraud, which is the substance of and at the heart of taking away the rights of Canadians in future elections, in Bill C-23, when, in fact, nothing of the sort occurred.

I think we need to get to the bottom of that, and I do not know how we do it by cutting off debate and ending this today.

Bob Dechert: Mr. Speaker, I think the member for Mississauga—Streetsville was quite clear. He corrected the record about what he did or did not see happen. He did that voluntarily. That is exactly the kind of thing we want to encourage.

My point is simply that in my view, the opposition party is using this as a matter of partisan advantage to delay debate on the fair elections act. The opposition members know what the answer to the question is. They know that there are no more facts to be brought out here. This is simply being done to delay the debate on the main legislation. I think that is a disservice to the people of Canada.