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 federal.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

11:25 a.m.

Committee Researcher

Michel Bédard

The only power the committee has is to make a recommendation to indicate that a bill or a motion is non- votable. The committee cannot require that a member redraft his motion.

If the committee were to designate the motion non-votable, Ms. Michaud could certainly introduce a similar motion that would take the committee's discussions into account. However, the mandate of the committee is to determine which private members' items are non-votable, using the four criteria.

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Would she take our justifications into account? Would she understand why we blocked her motion, or would we simply be sending her the message that this did not go through?

11:25 a.m.

Committee Researcher

Michel Bédard

A report would be made to the House, and since the meeting is public, she could examine the minutes.

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Very well.

11:30 a.m.

Committee Researcher

Michel Bédard

If the committee wants to include the reasons why the motion has been deemed non-votable, it is free to do so. However, the motion must meet the criteria. Among others, a motion is non-votable if its topic falls outside federal jurisdiction, or if it is clearly unconstitutional, even if this only applies to a few unfortunate words. We are simply asking for the House to express an opinion on a topic.

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

I have a more basic question, if we can try to get at this. Maybe this isn't where the committee is, but is it possible for the committee to approach the sponsor of this motion and ask her to clarify whether she meant to support, or to subsume within the right of the Canadian government? If she could clarify that, if that's allowable, we could then bring it back and it would still be in this order of precedence.

Has she forfeited her spot? That's what I'm asking.

11:30 a.m.

Committee Researcher

Michel Bédard

If it is the will of the committee—maybe the clerk will have something to say on that too—the committee could have the sponsor of the bill as a witness or ask the sponsor of the motion for a submission. The committee is the master of its own proceedings.

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

I'll ask the clerk to comment as well.

March 8th, 2012 / 11:30 a.m.

The Clerk of the Committee Mr. Olivier Champagne

That would be a precedent, certainly. Since the current rules have been in place, we haven't had any witnesses before the subcommittee. The idea is that if we designate something as non-votable, the sponsor of the item could appear before the procedure and House affairs committee to defend the item.

The design is such that this witness would appear not before the subcommittee but before the main committee.

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

Mr. Toone.

11:30 a.m.

NDP

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

I would like to raise two points.

First, I would like to go back to a point which seems to be bothering people somewhat. It is incorrect to say “relever les efforts” or, in English,

“take over the efforts of the...Committee”

in the sense where the federal government would replace the committee and take control of things. It says: “take over the efforts of the Shannon Citizens' Committee to monitor filtration systems in place [...]”. In the final analysis, what this means is that we want to support the members of the committee in their undertaking. The objective is not to take over control of the committee.

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

But that is not what is written.

11:30 a.m.

NDP

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

It says the following:

“take over the efforts of the Shannon Citizens Committee to monitor filtration.”

It does not say:

“take over the committee.”

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

But “take over” is very strong.

11:30 a.m.

NDP

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

Perhaps.

I would like to go back to another point, concerning the committee's four criteria. We cannot exceed our powers. Which criterion would be the basis for our rejection of the motion? I think we could invoke the criterion that the bills or motions must not concern matters that are outside federal jurisdiction.

Personally, I think that this matter does fall under federal jurisdiction, even if it is not desirable that the federal government deal with it. But we cannot reject the motion simply because we don't like the idea that the federal government play that role. This question nevertheless falls under federal jurisdiction. Honestly, I think it would be regrettable for us to do that. I would not want to reject the motion on grounds that do not really allow us to reject it. I think that we would be exceeding our powers if we referred this to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.