All in - Macleans.ca

All in

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Liberal Derek Lee stood in the House, just a moment ago, and filed a question of privilege on the House’s demand that the government produce documents related to Afghan detainees. The NDP’s Jack Harris has followed with his own question of privilege, as has the Bloc’s Claude Bachand. Further interventions have been made by Bob Rae, Tom Lukiwski, Pierre Paquette and Larry Bagnell. The government argued, in part, that the question of privilege came too far after the breach—the order of the House having been issued December 10—but the Speaker has ruled that there is no objection to be made on timeliness.

The Speaker has now deferred debate on the matter until further submissions can be heard.

Here is the question of privilege that Lee had previously drafted. It seems to match quite closely his remarks today (though I’m not sure if it’s exactly what he presented today).

Here is the text of the motion that Harris proposes to move if the Speaker agrees a breach of privilege has occurred.

That the House considers the government’s failure to provide the documents specified in the Order of December 10, 2009, is tantamount to contempt, and therefore orders the Minister of National Defence, the Attorney General and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to be called to the Bar of the House immediately and hear the Speaker read this order to them;

That it be an instruction to the Special Committee on Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan to adopt rules and procedures for the reception and handling of the documents demanded by the House Order of December 10, 2009, in a manner that safeguards national security and other confidentiality requirements while respecting parliamentary privilege; after receiving advice from the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel,

That the Special Committee report these rules and procedures to the House no later than 21 calendar days following the adoption of this order, provided that if the House is not sitting when the report of the Committee is completed, the report may be deposited with the Clerk of the House and it shall thereupon be deemed to have been presented to the House; provided that no later than 6:00 PM on the 20th calendar day following the adoption of this order, any proceedings before the Special Committee shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the report shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment; and

That, on the 30th calendar day following the adoption of this order, if the government has not provided all the documents to the Special Committee, which shall receive them on behalf of the House, in their original and uncensored form, at the next sitting of the House, the first order of business shall be the consideration of a motion, “That the Minister of National Defence, the Attorney General and the Minister of Foreign Affairs be found in contempt of the House” and that such a motion shall have priority over all other business until it is decided, in the same fashion as a motion relating to a question of privilege.