HoC Speaker Scheer's Lack Of Impartiality Is Hurting Canada's Democratic Parliamentary Process..... SHAME!
"OTTAWA — NDP Leader Tom Mulcair seemingly questioned the impartiality of the referee of the House of Commons on Tuesday, effectively accusing the Speaker of picking sides and favouring the government in question period.
Mulcair said he refuses to be silenced in question period by Speaker Andrew Scheer on matters of government business, arguing that the Speaker should remain a referee and not become a player who stops questions from being asked.
Scheer chided Mulcair on Tuesday afternoon, saying that one of his questions to Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the RCMP investigation into former Liberal senator Mac Harb had nothing to do with government business — a prerequisite for queries during question period.
According to court documents, Harb allegedly sold 99.99 per cent ownership of his declared primary residence to a former Brunei diplomat to Canada. That diplomat, Magdalene Teo, has not fully responded to RCMP queries in the force’s investigation of Harb over allegations of fraud and breach of trust, according to court documents.
Mulcair was starting to ask Harper about the RCMP investigation into Harb, and a deal he made on the house he told the Senate was his primary residence, when Scheer stood up and told him the question was out of bounds. Scheer is a Saskatchewan Conservative MP.
The NDP leader disagreed, arguing it was a matter of public interest to see what the government of Canada was doing to make Teo speak with investigators.
Mulcair eventually asked the question, and Harper gave an answer, but the NDP leader served notice after question period that he is not happy with how Scheer has been refereeing some of the debate.
“I’ve been doing this job for a while. I’ve seen this situation before where the referee decides that he’s going to become a player in the sport. It’s ill advised for the Speaker to start this. And I think he made a mistake with me today,” Mulcair told reporters outside the Commons.
“So if the Speaker of the House of Commons is going to try to shut down questions about government business from the leader of the Official Opposition before he even hears the end of the question, then we’ve entered new territory, and I’m telling you right now I’m not going to be told to sit down on questions that have to do with the public and that have to do with government business.”
When questioned about it by reporters, Mulcair stopped short of directly challenging Scheer’s impartiality, but said he has a lot of concerns with the Conservatives using the Speaker to stop debates.
“The Speaker didn’t even let me ask the question. I am from the Official Opposition. This is a question that’s of public interest, it concerns government, the public has the right.”
Earlier in the day, Scheer came back with a ruling in the Commons that told MPs he wouldn’t police the answers during debate, but rather the questions. He urged MPs to refrain from what he called “hybrid” questions that have a long preamble criticizing the actions and statements of other parties but have nothing to do with federal government responsibility.
“I will continue to rule questions out of order that do not establish a direct link to the administrative responsibilities of the government,” Sheer told the Commons in his ruling.