The Speaker of the House of Commons is declining to weigh in on allegations that the Finance Minister’s office tried to intimidate an insurance group.
In announcing his decision Thursday, Geoff Regan said Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre took too long to submit his complaint.
Mr. Poilievre raised what is called a question of privilege on May 31, asking the Speaker to rule that Bill Morneau’s office violated the rights of MPs by “threatening” potential committee witnesses.
The complaint was based on a May 14 report in The Globe and Mail in which two officials from the Canadian Association of Mutual Insurance Companies said they had each received an “angry” phone call from the minister’s office. The two officials said that they were asked by the minister’s office to stop raising concerns about Bank Act changes in the minister’s budget bill with MPs and senators and to not appear before parliamentary committees.
The minister’s office acknowledged that two “frank and direct” phone calls took place, but denied telling the insurance group to stop communicating with parliamentarians.
In announcing his decision, the Speaker noted that the rules require MPs to raise such complaints “as soon as practicable” after becoming aware of the information. As a result, he would not comment on the substance of Mr. Poilievre’s complaint.
“This matter was clearly not raised at the first opportunity,” Mr. Regan said.
Mr. Poilievre said Thursday that he was disappointed his complaint was dismissed on a technicality. He also said he stands by his original concerns.