OTTAWA, Oct 8 /CNW/ - Today Mark Holland made the following statement with regards to the legal action between him and Mr. Chris Froggatt:
In an interview broadcast on CTV Newsnet on March 5, 2008, I made certain statements regarding Chris Froggatt, then Chief of Staff to Canada's Minister of Environment, and communications between Mr. Froggatt and the Ontario Provincial Police. I have since determined that my concerns regarding Mr. Froggatt were unwarranted. I apologize to Mr. Froggatt and retract the statements that may have caused grief to him and to his family.
This action has now been settled to the mutual satisfaction of both parties.
Here is what Mark Holland said in the House (March 11 2008) on this subject and how he claimed it was his privileges being violated. In other words he had no clue and thought he could say whatever he wanted wherever he wanted.
I have repeatedly questioned the Minister of the Environment about his involvement in both the actions of Mayor O’Brien and his dealings with the OPP in this matter. It was those questions that led to the CTV Newsnet interview, of which Mr. Froggatt now complains.
It is clear that the primary goal of Mr. Froggatt is to prevent me from continuing to raise the very serious questions that I have about his actions and the actions of the Minister of the Environment with respect to the OPP investigation.
Mr. Froggatt is well aware that he is unable to directly control what I say in this House. As a result, he has chosen to attempt to intimidate me outside the House by threatening a lawsuit should I refuse to withdraw my earlier comments and refrain from accusing him of inappropriate activity.
I believe that the involvement of the Minister of the Environment in a bribery scandal and improper interference by the chief of staff to a minister are two issues that are clearly of public importance. Indeed, I have laid these issues before the House on a number of occasions. Mr. Froggatt’s attempt to stifle debate is clearly a violation of my privileges.
Smack down #1 from Peter Van Loan:
The fact that one is a member of Parliament does not give one licence to make reckless accusations that harm the reputation of any individual in this country, regardless of one's position or status.
Any comments that are made outside of this chamber, outside of one's direct role in the House, are comments for which a member must assume responsibility, comments which they should recognize have risks and that they should have a basis on which they can defend the truthfulness and accuracy of those remarks...
We protect members within the House to allow for freedom of speech but we also respect the rights of every citizen and recognize that there is a difference between what Parliament means and what the House means. It is by virtue of membership and participation in the House that those privileges exist. It is for the protection of what happens in this chamber that those privileges exist. It is not to give individuals licence to engage in reckless behaviour and destroy people's reputations without any basis, which is exactly the conduct that the member continues to engage in outside the House.
On that basis, he must, as any other citizen outside the House, be prepared to defend those comments, not to cry like a baby that he is not allowed to say what he wants. He must assume the adult responsibilities for the truth of the comments he makes. If they are not true, then he should own up to the lack of evidence and own up to the lack of truth and be prepared to defend those words in court. That is all he is being asked to do.
Holland still did not get it:
Mr. Speaker, my comments are very clear. I stand by what I say both in this House and outside of this House.
The issue is when members of Parliament in trying to execute their duties as members of Parliament ask legitimate questions of the government about matters of deep concern to the country, matters that are well reported, are sued by individuals who try to do indirectly what they cannot do directly, to try to intimidate individuals into not asking legitimate, fair questions on matters of fact, in my opinion, that is a serious attack upon the privileges of members of Parliament.
I believe the courts are being abused and used to try to stifle the abilities of members of Parliament to ask questions.Smack down #2 From the Speaker: The complaint was all about statements he had made on a television program, and those are not ones that are subject to parliamentary privilege.
As has been pointed out by the hon. government House leader, a privilege exists in respect of statements that members make in this House, but also in committees. Something he neglected to mention is that comments in committee are also protected. Statements made outside the House are not protected. If the hon. member received a letter that alleges he said something that was defamatory of someone else–and that is what I sense from the segment he read–somewhere other than in the House, then the question of privilege is not available to him to have this matter somehow protected under that guise.
Now if only if he would apologize to Alberta for his remarks about nationalizing the oil sands. Transcript of conversation here, Hollands letter denying his own words(and slamming Premier Stelmach) here.
Anyone see a pattern here?
ht The Phantom Observer
Stephen Taylor gets letters (where is the media coverage?)
Update: October 15th (1 week later) The Canadian MSM FINALLY picks up on the story. What took them so long, and more importantly, if this was a Conservative does anyone really believe that the CBC, CTV, Globe and Mail, etc would have not have been all over this story from day 1 as opposed to the ZERO coverage it has received by them?