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Canada (House of Commons) v Vaid, [2005] 1 SCR 667


Former Speaker of the HC is accused of constructively dismissing his chauffeur, for reasons that amount to workplace discrimination and harassment under the Canadian Human Right Act.
Speaker says that the hiring and firing of House employees are ‘internal affairs’ which may not be questioned or reviewed by any tribunal outside the House itself. Vaid says that the attempt to treat the dismissal by using the privilege is an overreach of its true role and function.


What is the existence and scope of parliamentary privileges?
Are the duties of the chauffeur to remote and those dismissal not immunized from external review by virtue of parliamentary privilege?


Parliamentary privileges are essential the proper functioning of Parliament, but when an issue comes into question regarding a category of privilege the courts will look at whether there still exists a necessity to exercise this privilege today.


The purpose of privilege it to recognize Parliament’s exclusive jurisdiction to deal with complaints within its privileged sphere of activity.

Reasons for parliamentary privilege
**It is firmly attached to certain activities of legislatives assembly’s – not individuals
*Includes the necessary immunity that the law provides in order for these legislators to fo their legislative work

Test for the privilege:
*Where the existence of a category for which inherent privilege is claimed is put in issue, the court must not only look at the historical roots of the claim but also determine whether the category of inherent privilege continues to be necessary to the functioning of the legislative body today
**Necessity : Test – what the dignity and efficient of the House requires.
**The party seeking to rely on immunity has onus of establishing one exists
**Proof of necessity is only to establish the existence and scope of a category of privilege. – then up to Parliament (not court) to determine whether the exercise in particular case was necessary or appropriate.
**Categories include: freedom of speech, power to exclude strangers form proceedings, etc.


Appellant failed to establish the privilege in the broad sense they wanted. Respondent is entitled to have the case dealt with by the ordinary employment and human rights laws.

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