These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

CBC Report on Spending

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I will go through this as quickly as I can. You are familiar with the arguments that I have made previously.

On Monday, February 16, in response to my question about a CBC report on spending on the firearms program, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said, and I am quoting now from page 613 of Hansard:

Mr. Speaker, let me be absolutely clear. We do not accept that number referred to in the report referred to by the hon. member. In fact, we have asked Radio Canada to provide us with its numbers and its calculations which to date it has refused to do.

On Tuesday officials with CBC Zone libre provided my office with the following information. I want to quote it, but I have to be careful because names are mentioned.

I was surprised to read that [the Deputy Prime Minister] did not get a response to a request for information regarding the numbers cited in our report. I have not received any request for information on Monday from her because, of course, we would respond.

This is from the officials at that program.

Yesterday these same CBC officials advised, and again I quote:

We are so surprised by [the Deputy Prime Minister]'s claim that we did refuse to speak to her since [the Deputy Prime Minister, the former solicitor general], Bill Baker, Morris Rosenberg all refused our requests for an interview to discuss the contents of our research and that our requests for visuals in Miramichi and the Edmonton site were refused.

Mr. Speaker, you have heard all of my arguments and I will not go through why misleading statements by ministers in the House should be treated as contempt. I will not use up any more of the House's time by repeating them, but suffice it to say that the Deputy Prime Minister made a statement that was factually incorrect. This error misled me and every member of the House.

In order to perform my fundamental functions in the House, I have always insisted on accurate and truthful information. That is why the making of erroneous and misleading statements in the House may be treated as contempt.

Let me summarize briefly. The Deputy Prime Minister said that she had asked Radio Canada how it had arrived at its conclusion that the $2 billion was being spent on the gun registry. We find out now that in fact this is patently false. She did not even contact Radio Canada.

Democracy cannot function if we are not told the truth. I ask you to investigate, Mr. Speaker. This is the minister who said, 17 times in the House, “We have nothing to hide” and “we will get to the bottom of this”. In light of what I have just revealed, how can we believe a word the government says?

I am prepared to move the appropriate motion should the Speaker rule that the matter is a prima facie case of privilege.

Hon. Mauril Bélanger (Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to have a moment to review the record, but judging from the comments, the words and the quotes that the hon. member just used, the Deputy Prime Minister said that she had not yet seen that information.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, CPC): No, she said she had already contacted them.

Hon. Mauril Bélanger (Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): The member said that she had not yet seen the information. I do not think she said, and I will clarify the record, that they had refused to provide the information, which is what the member is alleging right now.

Having said that she had not seen the information is certainly something that I have not heard disputed here from what the Deputy Prime Minister said. Therefore I believe this is certainly not a prima facie question of privilege and I would encourage the Speaker to rule against it.

The Speaker: I think we will to have to hear from the Deputy Prime Minister in light of the allegations that have been made. I think in the circumstances we will wait to hear from her. The statement quoted from Hansard by the hon. member for Yorkton—Melville appears to be accurate in terms of what was stated there.

I will have to hear from the minister in due course before the Chair is able to make a ruling on the matter.