After her expulsion from the Liberal caucus earlier this month for openly disagreeing with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the handling of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, former cabinet minister Jane Philpott raised a question of privilege saying her former leader had contravened the Reform Act law governing the expulsion of MPs from parliamentary caucuses. To bolster her claim in her House speech on April 9, she referenced the act, part of the Parliament of Canada Act that spells out rules about expulsion, readmission of MPs from their respective caucuses, leadership reviews, election of interim leaders, and the election and removal of caucus chairs. According to the act, to boot an MP from a parliamentary caucus, the chair requires a notice from 20 per cent of caucus members, and a majority vote in support of ejection. The Reform Act requires that after every general election, all parliamentary caucuses, in their first caucus meeting, vote on each of the four provisions of the law. If a party caucus votes against those provisions, they can elect not to abide by them. Ms. Philpott revealed in her speech that the Liberal caucus is in breach of the law because her former caucus colleagues failed to vote on it. She also pointed out that under the new law, that was passed by Parliament before the last election, MPs can only be expelled from the caucus by a vote, and the party leader does not any longer hold the prerogative of unilaterally expelling an MP. “The prime minister’s words that night to the Liberal caucus are important to underscore because expulsion should not be his decision to take unilaterally. However, the decision had been already made,” Ms. Philpott said on April 9. “Members of Parliament are not accountable to the leader; the leader is accountable to Members of Parliament. This is a constitutional convention.” Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters that before expelling Ms. Philpott and former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould from the caucus because of they had lost confidence in how the prime minister and cabinet handled the SNC-Lavalin affair, he had “extensively” consulted with caucus and the “will of the caucus was very, very clear.” But he conceded that his caucus did not vote on the ejection of the two MPs. Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux, parliamentary secretary to Government House Leader Bardish Chagger, said in the House the same day that his caucus decided in their first meeting after the election not to adopt the provisions of the act and the caucus leadership communicated the decision to the House Speaker Geoff Regan. In his ruling two days later, Mr. Regan said he had no control over the inner functions of parliamentary caucuses and consequently cannot rule one way or the other. Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu told The Hill Times that their caucus voted on all provisions of the Reform Act, and chose to favour all, but the one that dealt with MPs holding a leadership review of the party leader. The reason, according to Ms. Gladu, was that rank and file party members elect a party leader and only they should be the ones to call for a review. On the NDP side, the caucus did hold a vote on the Reform Act in 2016, as opposed to in the first meeting after the election as required. However, when the NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh expelled Erin Weir from the caucus, it was done without a vote. If politicians of all stripes want Canadians to respect the rule of law, party leaders and especially a sitting prime minister will have to set an example not only in letter, but also in spirit. If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government caucus would ignore the law, they shouldn’t expect an average Canadian to follow the law. Because, it’s 2019, it’s un-Canadian to ignore the law, especially for the prime minister. This story that gained national media attention has dealt another blow to Mr. Trudeau’s brand. Similarly, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is aspiring to be the prime minister of this country. If he won’t follow the law as the third place party leader, one can well imagine what will he do if he won-albeit a long shot- won the next election and formed government. As they say, actions speak louder than words. One can only hope that after the next election, all party leaders will follow the Reform Act to its letter and spirit.