Evidence of meeting #3 for Subcommittee on Private Members' Business in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was take.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

I call to order the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

We are here today to look at the next 15 items in the order of precedence. You have a chart before you, as well as a packet of the entire group of motions and bills. I'm going to suggest that we work through them numerically, one at a time, ask our analyst to make a brief comment about each one as we go, and then proceed to vote on each one individually.

I'll ask our analyst to begin with motion M-307 by Mr. Casey.

11:15 a.m.

Michel Bédard Committee Researcher

This motion will call upon the government to recognize the contributions of the baby boomers in building Canada through various measures. The motion does not seem to be outside federal jurisdiction. It does not appear to clearly violate the Constitution. There has been no similar motion voted in the House of Commons, and there's no government motion currently on the order paper that is substantially similar to this motion.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

Any concerns? All in favour of allowing this one to proceed?

So ordered.

We’ll move on to M-313.

11:15 a.m.

Committee Researcher

Michel Bédard

This motion will express the opinion that the Governor General's salary be subjected to the Income Tax Act, and calls upon the government to amend the Income Tax Act in that respect.

This motion is not outside federal jurisdiction. It does not appear to clearly violate the Constitution. There are no motions substantially similar that have been voted on in the current session, and there's no government motion on the same subject currently on the order paper.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

Any questions or comments?

Mr. Reid, go ahead.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

It's one of these things that deals with a constitutional convention. I know in Britain the issue of whether the Queen's salary should be taxed is something that has gone back and forth. I think currently, it is taxed. If memory serves, this was a subject of debate in 1992. Of course in Britain, they don't actually have this division between a written constitution and constitutional conventions, and I must say, I'm actually a little uncomfortable moving forward on this without having a little bit of research.

Would it be acceptable if we just set this one aside? I'm not saying we vote against it. I'd just like to set it aside until we can get some further information.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

Before we do that, Mr. Reid, let's ask our analyst if he has any further information.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Fair enough, yes. We can start with that.

11:15 a.m.

Committee Researcher

Michel Bédard

If it is the will of the committee, I could provide further information on this subject.

The salary of the Governor General is not subject to the Income Tax Act, pursuant to a specific exception found in the Income Tax Act, paragraph 81(1)(n), and for the benefit of the subcommittee I could read that section.81(1) There shall not be included in computing the income of a taxpayer for a taxation year,...(n) income from the office of Governor General of Canada;

This is the exemption that was put in place, I think it was in 1917 when the first incarnation of the Income Tax Act was adopted, in order to exempt the Governor General's salary from income tax.

We are at the motion stage, so to delete the exemption, the government will have to introduce legislation. We're not at the implementation stage yet, but probably if the government wants to follow up on this motion, if adopted, the government will propose to repeal this exemption.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

Thank you for that.

Mr. Reid, does that change your position on further study?

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

I still think it would be helpful to know. I'm not sure that the law is the only consideration here, in the sense that there may be something additional to the statute.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

I just want to remind the committee again of the four criteria this committee has generally operated under. If we could proceed along that line and allow the debate to continue in the House, unless there's some constitutional or other matter, that would be my position, but I'm at the will of the committee.

Mr. Dion, go ahead.

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Yes, I'm comfortable that it is within the scope of Parliament to make this change.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

Go ahead, Mr. Toone.

March 8th, 2012 / 11:15 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

As am I. I don't really necessarily want to see this bill.... It probably could benefit from debate in the House. I don't necessarily see that we should be blocking it here, but I'm open to further argument.