Brent Rathgeber puts his support for Mark Warawa on record

On the right of an MP to speak freely

Late yesterday afternoon, Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber rose in the House to support Mark Warawa’s question of privilege.

For these reasons, I support the member for Langley in his case that his parliamentary privilege has been compromised by having to submit his proposed member’s statement for vetting. This is a process that is not contemplated by the standing order and would appear to be completely contrary to the stated purpose of the member’s statement, which is to allow members to address the House for up to one minute on virtually any matter of international, national, provincial or local concern. We do not know if the rejected statement from the member for Langley would have fitted into one of those broad categories. Since he was not allowed to deliver it, we will never know. That is a violation of not only the member’s right to deliver a statement but also of the right of this House to hear his statement.

Accordingly, I would ask that under the circumstances you find a prima facie case of breach of privilege with respect to the member for Langley. In a Parliament where the government and the opposition control such a large portion of the parliamentary calendar and agenda, private members’ bills, motions and S. O. 31s are the very few mechanisms that members have to bring forward matters of importance for their constituents. I would submit that if the House does not jealously protect the rights of members to bring forward matters of concern to their constituents and if it does not strictly enforce those rules, the roles of the private member, Parliament and ultimately democracy have all been equally compromised.