Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to stand in this House to address the pressing issues facing this country, but the subject we are debating here tonight is unfortunate. It is a very serious question that has been brought forward to all parliamentarians about the actions of the government, specifically an agency of government, that has truly called into question some of the very basic democratic principles that our nation is built on.
In the Speaker's Ruling earlier today, it very specifically outlined why this debate needs to take place, that the actions of the government are contemptuous and violate the privileges of who we are as a democracy. I want to touch on that word “privilege” for all of those, and I am sure there are many folks watching these proceedings, who need to understand.
Privilege is a word that is often referred to as something that has to do with status. Parliamentary privilege is a little different. It speaks to the primacy of what democracy is in our country, the fact that our democratic system elevates Parliament, the House of Commons, the lower chamber of Canada's Parliament, to be the voice of its people. Every square inch of this nation is represented by the 338 seats within this chamber.
I do find it very interesting. A question I ask students when I am speaking to classes is simply this, “What is the highest elected office in our land?” Many students think it is a trick question. They point out a number of things. Sometimes they will refer to the executive, the Prime Minister and the Governor General on occasion. It kind of depends on where they are in the social studies curriculum. There are a few students who do understand the reality of the member of Parliament, and the primacy of Parliament, the role that Parliament plays in our nation.
It is absolutely key to the discussion that we are having here tonight, and how fundamental it is for the future of our country. I want to thank the Speaker for being that custodian of this House, that custodian of Canada's democracy in so thoughtfully addressing such an important issue, and for the opposition House leader to bring forward a motion that outlined some specific action items that would be an adequate response to the contemptuous behaviour of government, and specifically an agency of government that is called to the bar.
Again, this is kind of a parliamentary term. Most people out there would not understand the history behind the bar of Parliament, what that represents and the strong millennia of tradition associated with that dating back centuries in the United Kingdom. To call an individual to the bar is a significant thing with significant symbolism, which bears out how significant this debate is. Further, the action item of calling upon the government to actually do what Parliament has said that it needs to do.
I find it tragic that we have to have this debate, that the Liberals have taken it upon themselves and developed a culture where they refuse to acknowledge that Canada is even a democracy. That is troubling on every level. I often hear from constituents about how absolutely fundamental it is that we steward our democracy well, especially at a time where we see so many aspects of that being challenged.
I would note how this particular motion has done something that is quite unprecedented. It has united the majority of members of Parliament, representing a number of different opposition parties, the official opposition being one of them. I have heard very thoughtful speeches from members representing all opposition parties this evening that acknowledge the significance of what we are debating here tonight.
It is fascinating and unprecedented, I think, to see how united all opposition parties and a majority of members of Parliament are in acknowledging how serious this is. Further, the second thing that is unprecedented is to see the flippant attitude that the government has used to approach such a serious issue.
I find it incredible and disappointing beyond belief that the government would take such an unserious approach and contemptuous approach to this. In fact, I find it interesting. A number of the speeches from the governing Liberals emphasized why this debate is even necessary with the ignorance and arrogance they approached Canada's democratic institutions with.
This has to be met with a serious tone and it is so unfortunate that has not been the case. I would note this motion that came from the committee that started this whole process included Liberal support. I would simply ask, where those members are now? Why are they not taking this seriously? Is it possible that the executive branch of our government, the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers, have demanded silence on such an important issue?
It is a national shame; those members stood up in committee, to much political risk, I would suggest, especially with how the government has responded to the motion here today. It is a significant political risk. They have been silenced or are silent here tonight, and that is incredibly unfortunate and chips away at the strength of Canada's democracy.
When we look at this, we need to expand the context a bit. This is not a singular event. That is a key part of what we are discussing here. This motion and the actions leading up to it are not a singular event. I know some of my colleagues who have spoken before me have outlined aspects of that.
From the position of being on Zoom, we kind of have an interesting window into the perspectives of Liberal members. Whenever things are brought up about the Prime Minister, specifically his record, they are often shaking their heads. They are dismissing the seriousness of what some of his actions, or actions of the cabinet ministers, will have and the serious implications that will have on Canadian democracy.
The trust for what our democratic system is needs to be at the very forefront of everything we do. Democracy is fragile and the failure to recognize that could have disastrous consequences for the future of our country.
We see numerous examples from the Prime Minister's conduct, whether it be the numerous ethics violations, or the contemptuous way he treats Parliament and the will of Parliament, especially during a minority. It was not bad when the government was in the majority status because there was a level of control exerted, but ever since losing that, there has been a massive deterioration that has taken place.
We have seen time and time again the disregard for ethics, disregard for effective leadership and the absolute disregard for morals and ethics through cabinet decisions. It has been incredibly tragic and an erosion of trust within government.
There have been international embarrassments. Even this past weekend, when Bloomberg reported that the Prime Minister piped up and said he could be the dean of the G7 to help negotiate between the United Kingdom and Europe. The sense that I got when reading the response of international players was one that clearly shows that Canada is not taken seriously on the international stage. We see examples of judicial interference, and cabinet ministers being—