.. in a letter to the Hill Times, no less. I wonder if he’ll be able to persuade the more — reluctant members of his caucus — particularly David “Cranky” Tilson, who brought the complaint to Dawson in the first place — to consider the long-term ramifications of her ruling, and not just gloat over the fact that it was a Liberal whose wrist was slapped:
Mary Dawson’s unfortunate decision: Tory MP Williams
Re: “Dawson ruling puts Parliament in ‘crisis,’ says top expert,”
(The Hill Times, May 29, p. 1).
[…] Whether or not Mr. Thibault allegedly defamed Mr. Mulroney will be settled in court if it ever gets there. What is more important for Parliament is her definition of a “private interest.” For her definition she relied upon her legal experience, oblivious to the fact that she is now engaged to adjudicate in the public world of politics and democratic right of free speech. Nowhere in her report did she discuss the constitutional protection of freedom of speech in Parliament or even acknowledge that Members of Parliament have a duty to speak on issues of public concern. […]
Lawsuits for statements made by an MP outside the House are one thing. Denying MPs the right to speak in the House on matters of public interest, is outrageous. Her unfortunate decision, if allowed to stand, is a dangerous infringement on the protection of freedom of speech in Parliament which is enshrined in the Bill of Rights (1689) (U.K.) and forms part of the Constitution of Canada.