Police Intervention Involving Members of the National Assembly: The Importance of Respecting Parliamentary Privilege
On October 25, 2017, a Member of the National Assembly was arrested by Québec’s anti-corruption unit (UPAC), whose police officers used a ruse to lure the Member away from the parliamentary precincts in order to arrest him. In the days following the arrest, the President of the National Assembly made a statement in the House on the matter and the Member (who had not been charged on any count whatsoever) dressed his colleagues using the “Personal Explanations” procedure. The Official Opposition House Leader then submitted several requests to the President for directives on parliamentarians’ rights and privileges in the context of police work. In this article, the President recounts the facts surrounding this uncommon event and summarizes the main principles and conclusions of the directive he issued in this matter. The article is based on a speech he gave at the 35th Canadian Presiding Officers’ Conference in Québec City in January 2018.