Evidence of meeting #4 for Bill C-18 (41st Parliament, 1st Session) in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was board.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Greg Meredith  Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy Branch, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food
  • Ryan Rempel  Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Paul Martin  Director General, Policy Development and Analysis Directorate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the fourth meeting of the Legislative Committee on Bill C-18. As was outlined in our organizational meeting tonight, we will proceed with the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-18.

At the end of the last meeting, I asked members to be mindful of the process that was decided upon, and I'm hoping we can stick to that.

I would like to welcome our legislative clerks here tonight, Mr. Wayne Cole and Ms. Joann Garbig, who are here to assist us. From the department, to provide technical assistance, we have Mr. Greg Meredith, as well as Mr. Paul Martin and Mr. Ryan Rempel.

Mr. Anderson, I believe you wanted to raise a question about the process.

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Chair, at our organizational meeting, we passed the committee schedule, which included the clause that the chair limit debate on each clause to a maximum of five minutes per party per clause before the clause comes to a vote. For clause 14, there are a number of pages. Most of the proposed amendments deal with clause 14, so in the interests of fairness, we would like to apply that same clause to each of the parts of clause 14 that it has been suggested we amend. I think we have agreement around the table to do that.

Our suggestion would be that we go through the clauses by number, approve the ones on which there are no amendments, and come back to those on which there is some division and discussion, to deal with them a bit later. I think we have agreement around the table to do that.

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

Is that acceptable? I think that's a more than reasonable way of proceeding. Is anybody opposed to this?

If that's the case, then I will proceed in that fashion. Thank you.

Mr. Martin.

6:35 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Just before you proceed, I just want to establish for the record that normally a committee moves to clause-by-clause analysis of a bill after they're satisfied that they've heard all the witnesses that they wish to hear or need to hear. Quite often, that study would include a tour across the country, especially on a bill of this nature, which can have a profound economic impact on the region that's represented by the Canadian Wheat Board.

I want to state categorically that I condemn in the strongest possible terms the fact that we are being denied the ordinary due process to allow this committee to do its due diligence in studying and providing oversight and scrutiny of the true impact of this bill on the rural prairie economy.

I can tell you, Mr. Chair, that I'm not alone in this point of view. I believe that my colleague from the Liberal Party feels, and I know that my colleague from the Green Party does, and we all feel that our rights as members of Parliament are being infringed upon, to the point where we're being denied the opportunity to do the job the people of Canada elected us to do, and that is to test the merits of legislation with rigorous debate, well-reasoned research and comment, and to hear from the very people that his bill in fact affects the most, which is rural prairie farmers.

So far, we're being asked to buy a pig in a poke. We're being asked to accept the anecdotal whims and notions of the Minister of Agriculture and his buddy, his parliamentary secretary. On their anecdotal survey and review of in talking to a few of their neighbours, they've decided to dismantle a six-billion-dollar-a-year corporation without even a business plan to take its place.

Let me say, Mr. Chairman, while I have the floor, that I disagree profoundly with the process. I resent it profoundly. In my 14 years as a member of Parliament, I have never seen the process of parliamentary procedure undermined and sabotaged in such a way. I challenge anyone here to show me an example ever in the history of Canada when a bill has been rammed through with this speed and without the oversight and the due diligence.

Again, I declare for the record that we think we are entering into a profound mistake, that we are doing a disservice to the people of Canada. We are not being allowed to do our jobs as parliamentarians. I resent it profoundly and declare it so. I want it on the record that this proceeding is a sham and a travesty.

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

Mr. Martin, I've given you the floor to express yourself. Hopefully, you appreciate that you've had that opportunity, but tonight we are proceeding with clause-by-clause pursuant to the rules. Unless somebody has some reason why we shouldn't proceed, I am going to move along with what has been proposed--and has been agreed to--by Mr. Anderson.

Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of clause 1 is postponed.

I am now calling clause 2. Is there any debate or discussion? Shall clause 2 carry?

6:40 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

(Clause 2 agreed to on division)

We have an amendment for clause 3, so let's move on to clause 4.

Shall clause 4 carry?

Mr. Martin.

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, I thought, as I understood the parliamentary secretary, that the agreement we had tacitly put in place was that we would go through those clauses for which there are no amendments and deal with them, and then, when we hit a clause on which there is an amendment, we'd deal with it at that time.

It's not our intention to dispense with every clause that has no amendment and then come back and do the clauses, for the simple reason that there's an order, a systematic order, and some continuity associated with the bill as we walk through the various issues. For instance, we'd be bouncing back and forth from representation, etc.

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

I've heard your comments. That wasn't my understanding of the agreement. My understanding was that we would dispense with the clauses on which there was agreement, in the sense that there were no proposed amendments, and then would go back and test the committee's will when it came to the amendments that were tabled. I'm operating on that presumption.

Mr. Martin, you're now saying that you didn't have that same presumption. Does that mean we no longer have consensus to proceed in that way?

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

If I could answer the question, I honestly don't see the difference from a timeframe point of view. If we go through clauses 1, 2, and 3 and they don't have amendments, we deal with them. Then if we hit one where there is an amendment, we deal with that.

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

Mr. Anderson, did you want to address this?

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

I can address it. I thought we had an agreement that we'd go through and come back to the ones that were contentious. It means, I guess, that people have to stay interested until the end, but we can certainly do it this way as well. It doesn't matter to us.

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

Let's proceed in that fashion then.

(On clause 3)

On clause 3, there is a proposed amendment.

Would somebody be prepared to move that amendment?

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

The amendment is in my name, so I would be prepared to amend clause 3. The recommendation put forward by the official opposition is that in proposed subsection 3.02(1)—

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Blaine Calkins

Mr. Martin, before you proceed—I apologize for interrupting—I've just been advised by the legislative clerk that if clause 2 was adopted, amendment NDP-1 cannot be put to the table. It is inconsistent with the earlier decision on clause 2.

Can you help me with this ruling, please...?

In the interests of consistency, the committee's decisions concerning a bill must be consistent with earlier decisions made by the committee. An amendment is accordingly out of order if it is contrary to or inconsistent with provisions of the bill that the committee has already agreed to, if it is inconsistent with the decision that the committee has made regarding a former amendment, or if it is governed by or dependent upon amendments that have already been negatived.

That's the advice that has been given to me by the legislative clerk.