House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was wheat.

Topics

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Vic Althouse Mackenzie, SK

Have any grain or specialty crops shipped into the United States been destined for final destination outside the United States?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Transport

Transport Canada and the Grain Transportation Agency do not have the necessary data-information with which to comment on this issue.

Question No. 30-

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Vic Althouse Mackenzie, SK

How many additional hopper cars have each of the railways leased for use in the grain trade this year compared to each of the previous three years?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Transport

The Grain Transportation Agency advises as follows.

The following table indicates the car fleet supplied by the railways. The table includes both owned and leased cars, as the agency does not have the necessary data to provide a breakdown for leased cars alone.

Question No. 51-

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

September 27th, 1994 / 10:25 a.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

With regard to grain cars purchased or leased using federal public funds, ( a ) who is responsible for allocating their use, ( b ) what is their present geographic distribution, and ( c ) how is the revenue resulting from their time-mileage use accounted for?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Transport

The Grain Transportation Agency advises as follows: (a), (b) and (c).

The Grain Transportation Agency assumed responsibility from the Canadian Wheat Board for administering the car fleet in 1987. This responsibility includes dividing the fleet between the railways and negotiating new operating agreements with the railways. The operating agreement establishes the terms and conditions for operation of the federally owned hopper cars. The federal hopper car fleet consists of 12,902 cars which the government has provided for railway use to transport grain free of charge. The first operating agreement between the government and CP Rail and CN Rail was established in 1972. Prior to 1972 the railways supplied their own cars to meet western grain

movement. As grain became an increasingly non-compensatory movement, the railways found it uneconomical to invest in rolling stock and the governments, federal and provincial, began supplying cars to meet export demand. Since the passage of the Western Grain Transportation Act, the WGTA, the railways are responsible for augmenting the fleet to meet all demands. The railcars are used to transport eligible commodities listed in the WGTA.

The bulk of the federal fleet would be moving grain in western Canada to domestic and export positions. If the federal cars are used outside the western division, basically western Canada, the railways pay funds to the federal government under the alternate use agreement.

The Grain Transportation Agency also administers the alternate use agreements. Government cars can be used in alternate service in order to improve customer service, to reduce railcar switching and improve system efficiency as long as the railways are able to meet WGTA movement requirements. The agreements restrict the number of cars in alternative service. Alternative service includes non-WGTA movements outside western Canada. The railways are charged a commercial per diem rate. The money earned through alternate use agreements is paid to the federal government through the consolidated revenue fund. Funds totalling $3.4 million were earned during the 1992-93 crop year.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

The questions as enumerated by the parliamentary secretary have been answered.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

Shall the remaining questions stand?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points Of Order
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I have given the Chair notice of a point of order arising from comments made in the House during a debate on Bill C-41 on Tuesday of last week.

I will state my point of order briefly. It arises pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 18 of the House. That standing order lists a number of groups and states:

No member shall speak disrespectfully of-nor use offensive words against either House or against-any Member thereof.

It goes on from there.

On Tuesday of last week the following words were spoken in the House: "The reference to sexual orientation in the code and its proposed inclusion in the human rights legislation gives recognition to a faction in our society which is undermining and destroying our Canadian values and Christian morality". It goes on to state: "Homosexuality is not natural. It is immoral and it is undermining the inherent rights and values of our Canadian families and it must not and should not be condoned".

Those words, spoken by the member for Central Nova, clearly in my view give rise to a point of order pursuant to Standing Order 18. As a gay man, indeed as the only openly gay member of the House, I want to point out that certainly I am not the only homosexual in the House. Indeed there are gay people on both sides of the House and in the other place. I dare say there always have been, just as gays and lesbians are found in all other walks of life.

Pursuant to Standing Order 18, I want to ask what could be more offensive, to use the words of Standing Order 18, than to suggest that my very existence is immoral, unnatural, destroying Canadian values and must not be condoned. If similar hateful words had been directed toward another minority, be they Jews, Blacks, Chinese Canadians, people with disabilities or aboriginal people, all of whom are represented in the House, it is inconceivable the Chair would not have intervened and called the offending speaker to order. Therefore I want to ask why the standard should be any lower in the case of hatred directed at gays and lesbians in the House.

Finally, just to conclude, it is not good enough to suggest that just because these words are not directed at a specific individual therefore they can be spoken with impunity. If the words are unparliamentary if spoken with reference to one individual member, why should they lose that character if spoken of an unnamed general group of members?

Points Of Order
Routine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Roseanne Skoke Central Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, I feel I have a right and an obligation to respond to the point of order. I point out to the Chair this is not a point of order that the member for Burnaby-Kingsway raises.

If any member has the right to rise on a point of order arising from our debates on the floor of the House on Tuesday, September 20, 1994, it would be me. I have a right as a parliamentarian to express unequivocally what I feel is appropriate on debate when scrutinizing legislation.

If anyone has any concerns it should be this member because of the comments made by the member for Burnaby-Kingsway. In Hansard the Speaker will see where he refers to me making statements on the floor of the House that I did not in fact make on the floor of the House. He specifically makes reference to select words and uses the words out of context, words arising from a debate on May 15, 1994 on the CBC prime time news program ``On the Line''. The issue discussed and debated was what rights should gays be entitled to and questions were posed by both the commentator and the public at large.

The member for Burnaby-Kingsway stood on the floor of the House and used select words and put to other members of the House his opinion of what I said. I will quote specifically from Hansard at page 5913. He states: ``Will she now stand in her

place and retract those hateful comments?" He makes reference to words that I used on the floor of the House as being hateful.

Second, he indicates that I have no place in the Liberal Party. He then refers to me at page 5912 as "the hon. member, and I use those words advisedly". That is not proper parliamentary language.

At page 5916, speaking to another member when I was not present in the House, on four occasions in the same commentary he referred to me as "she". Not once did he refer to me as the member for Central Nova. I object to that. That is improper. He is a senior parliamentarian and I expect respect on the floor of the House, particularly when I am not present.

At page 5919 the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway in a commentary to the hon. member for Yellowknife said: "The hon. member was present in the House", referring to the member for Yellowknife, "when the Liberal member of Parliament for Central Nova made comments, among other things, suggesting that homosexuality is immoral and unnatural when she suggested that AIDS was a scourge to mankind which had been inflicted upon the country by homosexuals".

Nowhere in Hansard will it be seen that I made those comments on the floor of the House. I demand a public apology.

Points Of Order
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to make a few brief comments which may assist the Chair.

I think it is obvious that two members of Parliament have made statements in the House on which they obviously have strong views and have disagreed with each other. One member said that another member had suggested that AIDS was a scourge and so on. I do not know whether those comments were made anywhere but they were not made on the floor of the House. To repeat them here in the House certainly is not helpful to any hon. member nor to the debate nor even to decorum.

On the other hand it is quite true that from time to time members of the House do make statements with which others disagree. I think the issue before us this morning is whether or not Standing Order 18 has been breached, notwithstanding all other considerations.

Standing Order 18 reads:

No Member shall speak disrespectfully of the Sovereign, nor of any member of the Royal Family, nor of the Governor General or the person administering the Government of Canada; nor use offensive words against either House, or against any Member thereof. No Member may reflect upon any vote of the House-

I think those words in our rules have traditionally been interpreted by you, Madam Speaker, and by other occupants of the chair as meaning that a member of Parliament cannot accuse another member of having done a particular thing which is offensive. I cannot accuse another member of Parliament personally of having committed a criminal act, for instance. I cannot accuse another member of other types of wrongdoing in the House and get away with it.

The reason that standing order is there is obviously so that the occupant of the chair can remind members that anyone in the House who makes an accusation personally against another member is forced to withdraw in order to have proper decorum and order in the House.

We have before us today a case of strong disagreement between two people. I am not judging the disagreement. I am suggesting that Standing Order 18 has not been breached in this particular case.

Points Of Order
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Lethbridge
Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker Lethbridge

Madam Speaker, I rise on the same point of order. I would urge you to rule that this is not a point of order that is before us but a matter of debate where two members of the House of Commons have put a point of view forward and it is part of debate.

When I look at the circumstances here in referencing Standing Order 18, the member as I recall from what I heard was not referencing a specific member but was talking to a general circumstance. I think that must be taken into consideration when you make your ruling, Madam Speaker.

I believe that as members of the House of Commons we are given the privilege of speaking about a variety of subjects, of giving our opinion personally or on behalf of other individuals or on behalf of our constituents. When we do that we take the responsibility for those opinions and those words as we set them before the House. Those are items of debate in the House and do not come under what we are referencing today or considering a point of order. We have that privilege. Sometimes we are going to say things in the House that are not deemed to be politically correct. That may not be acceptable to some people but in general in referencing freedom of speech they are acceptable and can be said as a member of the House of Commons.

Points Of Order
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Roseanne Skoke Central Nova, NS

I rise on a point of order, Madam Speaker. It has been brought to my attention that I made reference to the hon. member for Yellowknife and I wish to apologize if there were problems arising from that. It is the hon. member for Yellowhead. I apologize if there was any confusion there.