May 18, 1933 (17th Parliament, 4th Session)


Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier


Mr. E. R. E. CHEVRIER (Ottawa):

I rise to a question of privilege, not so much one that affects the honour of any hon. member of this house, 'but one that may be referred to under standing order 41 in reference to decorum in debate. I want to quote the words of the hon. member for Compton (Mr. Gobeil) as reported in Hansard on page 5057. It is quite true that these words are not addressed to any other hon. member, but in speaking of a certain article that appeared in a newspaper, the hon. member for Compton on a question of privilege used the words that the representative of the newspaper-
-Is not only a dirty individual, but a dirty, crooked liar.
Under the rules of the house this is one of the most unparliamentary expressions that could be used. Your Honour ihas been pleased on other occasions, indeed, only within the last few months, to rule in matters of this kind. Let me refer to Hansard at page 3630, where an hon. member made certain remarks about another newspaper correspondent. Your Honour was pleased to rule, as reported on page 372S, that the hon. member had attacked the reporter, of course not a member of this house, and Your Honour was pleased to say further:
I therefore direct the Editor of the Debates to expunge from the record-
So and so-the paragraphs in question. At a later date there was another ruling which Your Honour was pleased to make and which will appear in Hansard at page 4908 where the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett), anxious to maintain the high reputation and character of this house, was pleased to say:
If a member can talk that way about a man who cannot defend himself on the floor of this house, about his whiskers, then all I can say is that this parliament has reached a low level.
Another decision which Your Honour was pleased to give as to striking out from the record a similar expression. It is quite true that May states:
If a member should say nothing disrespectful to the house or the chair, or personally opprobrious to other members, or in violation of other rules of the house he may state whatever he thinks fit in debate, however offensive it may be to the feelings, or injurious to the character, of individuals.
Let me submit that in the use of those * words-
Or injurious to the character of individuals.
[Sir George Perley.l
-one cannot dissociate the feelings or character of a member of the house, and I for one, who have the highest regard for the traditions of parliament, for its rules and precedents which you have with so much dignity so far upheld, resent extremely 'that words of that kind should be used with reference to a man who cannot defend himself upon the floor of the house. It would be very difficult, if such words may be used, to find a line of demarcation as to how far one can go in describing people outside. An hon member is well within his rights to say in a few words what he thinks of anyone, but I ask that some decency be maintained in the use of expressions. I therefore request you, sir, in view of the precedents you have established in the decisions you have given to rule that the words complained of be stricken from the record.

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