Telephone Calls to Mount Royal Constituents

Ms. Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, the question of privilege raised by our hon. friend, the member for Mount Royal, is deeply disturbing and it is more than rumour. He has had several ways of confirming that such calls are being made into his riding. With what he has put forward to the House today, he was able to provide further details that suggest, although we do not have 100% proof, that Conservative Party operatives are spreading false rumours within his riding.

I rise on this question of privilege because I think it is a more generalized question of privilege for many members in the House. If this becomes a tactic, if this becomes something that is used to destabilize the ridings of anyone elected to this place, then it does in general speak to a question of privilege and offends the rules of the House.

On page 113 of O’Brien and Bosc, we find the story of what occurred in 1985 and Speaker Bosley dealt with it. There was a newspaper advertisement that suggested someone else was the member of Parliament other than the sitting member and Speaker Bosley ruled on this and said:

It should go without saying that a Member of Parliament needs to perform his functions effectively and that anything tending to cause confusion as to a Member’s identity creates the possibility of an impediment to the fulfilment of that Member’s functions. Any action which impedes or tends to impede a Member in the discharge of his duties is a breach of privilege.

I suggest that this is mischief-making at a local level in relation to a member’s intentions and to the member’s good standing. I must say that, as a former minister of justice, the member for Mount Royal is, in my mind, one of the finest parliamentarians in this place. That such mischief should go on in his riding means that none of us are secure. We need a clear ruling from you, Mr. Speaker, to put an end to this practice. It may be that party machinations go on without direction from the top, but this is mischief-making that is not coordinated, that it is a random act of breach of privilege.

Mr. Speaker, your ruling on this kind of unhelpful, deliberate misleading of the electorate, which is clearly anti-democratic at its very base, will put it to rest and make it stop.

The Speaker: I thank the hon. member for her contribution as well to the question currently before the Chair.