Speaker ruling on use of twitter in the House

Today, Peter Milliken gave his ruling on a Bloc point of order that was made earlier last month regarding Conservative MP Royal Glaipeau’s tweeting in the House of Commons. The Bloc member believed that Galipeau crossed the line when describing how many MPs were not present in the chamber from each party via his twitter account.

Galipeau tweeted,

“In the House now: 20 Conservative MPs, five New Democrats, four Liberals, zero Blocs”

Parliamentary rules state that a Member may not reference missing Members in the House while speaking. However, with the advent of new technology, the conversation perceived by outside observers is no longer limited to a Member addressing the chair.

Milliken ruled that while Galipeau’s tweet was regrettable that it is becoming impossible to police personal devices within the chamber and recommeded that the House of Commons study the use of such devices and services in a committee.

The Kindle was also spotted making its debut in the House during March gracing the desks of Ministers, replacing the larger tabbed green “answer” binders that they carry. With the Apple iPad hitting Canadian shelves later this month will we see another point of convergence of the useful and distracting in the House of Commons?