Evidence of meeting #5 for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was amendments.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair (Ms. Candice Hoeppner (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)) Candice Bergen

Order. We're going to begin the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities meeting number five.

According to the orders of the day today, pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, March 3, 2010, we have Bill C-304, an act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians, clause-by-clause consideration.

Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of the preamble and clause 1 is postponed, and I will begin with clause 2.

(On clause 2--Definitions)

Madame Folco.

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Given that this is an ongoing discussion that started before the prorogation of the House, I wondered whether we might not consider the possibility of deeming accepted by this committee all the amendments that had been accepted before prorogation took place last year. I'm not talking about the ones that were discussed; I'm talking about the ones that were actually accepted by committee. This is what I would like to move forward.

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Candice Bergen

Mr. Komarnicki.

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

I've had a brief discussion with Mr. Lessard and with Mr. Savage. Mr. Lessard's view was--and I'm amenable to it--that this bill be reported to the House in exactly the form it was in in December when we adjourned, and that the amendments that passed then, but not new and additional amendments, go forward in this report. Of course, there was much argument and debate about whether they should have gone or not with parties voting different ways, but in the end that was the result of the bill. We're prepared to agree to that, but we're not prepared to agree to that plus opening up the bill to a host of new amendments.

Am I understanding Mr. Lessard correctly? I'm assuming I am.

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Candice Bergen

Mr. Savage is next.

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Actually, Chair, maybe I'll wait to hear from Mr. Lessard and then the NDP, and then I'll come back at that point.

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Candice Bergen

All right.

Monsieur Lessard.

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Indeed, we did do a very thorough job in December. I remember the amendments brought forward by every party. They were examined and their true worth assessed, and decisions were made.

I remember very well something that was quite admirable. Mr. Kennedy, among others, had put forward a series of amendments that gave this bill a whole other dimension, enhancing and strengthening it. So we feel that the work is done. If, by chance, we had to accept new amendments, that would open the door to amendments that were already considered and that were not adopted, in other forms.

We feel that we should simply confirm the work that we did in December and recommend the bill as amended on December 8 and 10.

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Candice Bergen

Ms. Leslie.

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Thanks, Chair.

I agree with Monsieur Lessard that we have done a lot of work on this bill. The support for this bill grows daily. Looking across the country, looking at all the provinces, looking at the organizations that support this bill, from Amnesty to CERA to FRAPRU, we have a lot of groups that really want this bill to work.

I do believe it's our responsibility to make this bill as good as it can be, which is why we have put a lot of work into a new amendment that would address the concerns about Quebec. That's why we actually have a couple of options in the package for changes to that amendment.

I guess what I want to know explicitly from the parties is whether the new amendment we drafted in order to make sure this bill was the best it could be is something they would support. If that is the case, that would be useful information for me to know to make a decision about this motion.

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Candice Bergen

Mr. Savage, did you want to speak?

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Thank you, Madam Chair.

It's been our view from the beginning that this bill is something we want to support. We feel we've strengthened it considerably. Mr. Kennedy's amendments, following work with a number of groups, have made this bill much stronger. So I was pleased in December when we came to a place where we didn't necessarily all agree, but the committee did its role, and the bill was ready to be reported back to the House.

I think what Ms. Leslie is saying makes some sense to me. If the government is not prepared to consider further amendments but is prepared to bring everything back as it was and no further, then I'm fine with that.

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Candice Bergen

Is there anyone else?

Mr. Komarnicki.

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

I have a question. Does Madam Folco's motion require unanimous consent?

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Candice Bergen

Yes, it would.