Mr. Speaker, I wish to raise a question of privilege.
Yesterday, the Crown answered a question that was not addressed to it, which is a breach of the privileges of the House.
During oral question period, my colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île asked a question to the chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the member for Mount Royal. Unfortunately, the member for Mount Royal left his seat, so the Speaker was not able to call on him.
If you look at the video of yesterday's proceedings, just after 3 p.m., you can clearly see the member scurrying away after my colleague asked his question. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship then answered my colleague.
Bosc and Gagnon says the following on page 512:
Questions seeking information about the schedule and agenda of committees may be directed to Chairs of committees.
This is what my colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île did. He asked a question about the agenda, or the business, of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
At the last second, and given the uproar caused by the erratic behaviour of the member for Mount Royal, the Chair recognized someone else. In the end, the parliamentary secretary to a minister of the Crown answered the question by my colleague and friend from La Pointe-de-l'Île.
It would be completely unacceptable for the Prime Minister to rise in the House and rule on the question of privilege I am raising. That would seriously call into question the independence, authority and dignity of the House. In other words, it would call into question the privileges of the House.
This is a legitimate question. A minister of the Crown is not qualified to answer a question related to the business of a committee, basically, its arm's length relationship to the government. Parliament and parliamentary committees are not servants of the government. By ignoring this fundamental constitutional principle, the government is in breach of the privileges of this House.
I therefore believe that the parliamentary privileges of my colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île have been breached, as have the privileges of the House.
I believe this situation warrants redress. I therefore raise it to you for consideration, Mr. Speaker, and propose the following solution to address it. I think it would be reasonable for the Chair to recognize the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île for a supplementary question upon our return after the break. He could then ask his question again and you could give the chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights an opportunity to respond.