Mr. Speaker, under the Board of Internal Economy's decision on Tuesday, October 19, 2021, it fell to you, Speaker, to ensure that the decision was carried out in a manner that respected the inalienable rights of members to keep personal health information between themselves and their doctors private. I commend you in the way you did so. Clearly, the House sees you as fair in your decisions as the Speaker and affirmed that confidence by electing you to the chair for a second term.
I thank the House of Commons nurse, human resources, health and wellness and the Sergeant-at-Arms for their highly professional, non-partisan, reasonable and accommodating efforts to ensure the safety of all members of Parliament and those who serve in other capacities throughout the precinct. I assure you my intervention will be concise, as I have no desire to unfairly or unreasonably delay the business of the House.
My question of privilege challenges the government's motion passed in the House that imposed inappropriate conditions on the House of Commons nurse's professional ability and independence from political interference in determining whether a medical exemption should be provided to a member of Parliament. The House of Commons nurse made medical decisions that she, not politicians in this place, is professionally qualified to make, including being the one tasked to determine and follow up with parliamentarians who were in close contact with the member who contracted COVID. We are all glad to see him return in good health.
It is my deep belief that this action by the government to control outcomes sets a dangerous precedent. It enables political interference in what should be the objective decision-making of medical professionals serving us as parliamentarians. Furthermore, it opens the door to the further abuse of members' privileges at the whim of whatever political party or parties are in power.
What other actions could governing parties take to place arbitrary limitations on members of Parliament, if this self-awarded power to reduce or remove members' privileges continues to be allowed? I appreciate that you recognize my question of privilege as timely, due to the motion being implemented with directives at a very late hour on Friday, November 26.
I was unable to have the required documents properly processed by my personal physician until the following week. The House of Commons nurse and human resources needed time to consider my application in light of the government's change to the mandate. In addition, I thought it prudent to wait until your decision on the question of the BOIE's authority to set the requirements for medical exemptions was heard, and it affirmed that the actions of the BOIE were outside of its jurisdiction.
That being said, the government decided to move forward with a motion that mirrors the Board of Internal Economy's decision, while subjectively actually narrowing the acceptable reasons for medical exemptions that were already validated by the House of Commons nurse.
I humbly request that you review and make a decision on my question of privilege, and affirm that the government's motion passed in the House does actually impose inappropriate conditions on the House of Commons nurse's professional medical authority and independence from political interference to determine whether a medical exemption should be provided to a member of Parliament.
I thank you for this opportunity and certainly respect your deliberations and your decision.