Speaker of the House Geoff Reagan said he lacks jurisdiction to rule on ex-Treasury Board president Jane Philpott’s claim the prime minister broke the law by expelling her and former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould from the Liberal caucus.
“The Chair is unable to conclude that the member from Markham-Stouffville has been obstructed in the fulfillment of her parliamentary functions,” Reagan told the Commons Thursday morning. “Accordingly, I cannot find that there is a prima facie question of privilege.”
On April 9, Philpott stated in the Commons the PM violated the law by expelling them before the national caucus could vote on it, putting Justin Trudeau and the party in violation of Conservative MP Michael Chong’s Reform Act.
Given Royal Assent in 2015, among Chong’s amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act are requirements to provide caucus members with the chance to vote before caucus expulsions go through. However, whether to adopt these requirements also remains under the purview of the caucus.
Philpott contends that Trudeau contravened this statute because the Liberal caucus did not hold such a vote, legally required at respective parties’ first caucuses following the 2015 election.
But Liberals maintain that the caucus decided against adopting this measure. Today Reagan told the House that as speaker, interpreting internal caucus votes is beyond his scope of authority.
Wilson-Raybould and Philpott were removed from the Liberal Party’s national caucus by Trudeau last week, after their cabinet resignations and public criticisms of the government over the SNC-Lavalin scandal.