Mr. Speaker, members of Parliament have the extraordinary privilege of unfettered free speech in this chamber. However, they also have the important obligation to speak responsibly when they leave the House of Commons.
The hon. member for Winnipeg Centre is well aware of this responsibility, which is why it is troubling that the member created a legal defence fund to solicit donations to help offset the costs of a defamation lawsuit brought against him for his comments outside of the House. The media has reported that the member received a $10,000 donation to the fund from a union, and the website soliciting donations bears all the hallmarks of a political fundraising website.
Canadians need to know that donations from corporations and unions, which are precluded by the Canada Elections Act, cannot be funnelled into a fund used to defray the costs of a legal matter involving a politician. Canadians also deserve to know the source or amounts of these donations.
Accordingly, I have asked the ethics commissioner to examine this practice and the methods employed by the member for Winnipeg Centre.