Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'm here today accompanied by Philippe Dufresne, law clerk and parliamentary counsel, to contribute to your committee's review of the conflict of interest code for members.
The House of Commons, as part of its parliamentary privileges, possesses the exclusive right to regulate its own internal affairs. The House's right to discipline its own members for misconduct is closely related to this right and to its authority to maintain the attendance and service of its members.
The conduct of members is regulated in part by the conflict of interest code for members in appendix 1 to the Standing Order of the House. The code has been adopted by the House as an exercise of its exclusive right to govern its internal affairs, as I said.
As well, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner carries his functions within the institution of the House of Commons. He enjoys the privileges and immunities of the House and its members when carrying out his duties under the code and the Parliament of Canada Act.
If the commissioner, following an inquiry under the members' code, concludes that a member has deliberately contravened the conflict of interest obligations set down in the code, the commissioner may recommend appropriate sanctions. The member is then subject to the disciplinary powers of the House, if the House chooses to take action.
The House administration has reviewed the code and we have identified a few procedural and legal elements in it that could be examined and addressed by this committee as part of its comprehensive review.
I will now turn it over to my colleague Philippe Dufresne, who will walk the committee through the House administration's specific recommendations and observations.