House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

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Point Of Order

November 21st, 1996 / 10 a.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I am now ready to rule on the point of order raised by the chief government whip on November 4, 1996 concerning the admissibility of the motion moved by the hon. member for Crowfoot with regard to Bill C-234, an act to amend the Criminal Code.

I thank the Chief Government Whip, the hon. member for St. Albert and the hon. member for Crowfoot for their views on this matter.

The text of the motion is as follows:

That, no later than the conclusion of Routine Proceedings on the tenth sitting day after the adoption of this motion, Bill C-234, an act to amend the Criminal Code, shall be deemed reported back to the House without amendment.

The chief government whip challenged the admissibility of the motion. There are two aspects to the argument that he presented. First, that the hon. member for Crowfoot did not have the right to move this motion on the rubric Motions in Routine Proceedings. Second, that the motion represented an attempt to interfere improperly with the committee's proceedings on the bill.

In support of the contention that the hon. member for Crowfoot should not move his motion during Routine Proceedings, the Chief Government Whip referred to the rulings of May 30, 1928, May 11, 1944, May 2, 1961 and April 28, 1982. I want to assure the House that, in examining this matter, I have taken these precedents into account. The Chief Government Whip also referred to Speaker Fraser's ruling, at page 17506 of the Debates of July 13, 1998, in which he stated that Routine Proceedings are not the exclusive purview of the governement. As I noted in my ruling of September 23, 1996, I am in agreement with the view of Speaker Fraser.

I would like now to turn to the second aspect of the chief government whip's presentation in which he claimed that the motion, particularly the words "without amendment", would constitute an improper interference with the proceedings of the committee and would violate the conditions set down in my ruling of September 23, 1996.

As members may recall, in my ruling on page 4561 of the Debates I indicated:

-the Chair may well accept, after due notice, such a motion, on the condition that it is strictly limited to the terms of the committal of a bill to a committee and that it is not an attempt to interfere with the committee's proceedings thereon. In so doing, the House would have an opportunity to determine whether the bill should remain in committee or be reported back.

The Chief Governement Whip argued that the motion was a clear attempt to interfere improperly with the committee's proceedings on the bill, that it would order the committee to complete its study, and that the committee could not amend the bill. I must disagree with the hon. members's interpretation of the terms of the motion.

The motion as it stands on the Order Paper does not interfere with the committee's ability to complete its consideration of Bill C-235 and report it back with or without amendment. The motion does not require the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to complete its study of Bill C-234 by a certain time.

The motion moved by the hon. member for Crowfoot in fact provides the committee with a period of time in which to consider and report the bill if it so chooses. At the same time, the motion provides the House with a mechanism to remove the bill, which is its property, from the committee so that the House itself can take up consideration of the bill.

In fact, such a mechanism is not unusual to our practices. Standing Order 81(4), dealing with the referral of the main estimates to committee, states that the committee shall report, or shall be deemed to have reported back to the House not later than May 31.

As the matter now stands, the committee has not reported the bill. Speaker Francis noted in a ruling at page 3963 in the Debates of May 23, 1984:

The Chair can hardly be aware of what is taking place in the committee without a report from the committee.

This is also noted in May's 21st edition at page 500:

The House is not formally aware of the detailed proceedings of any committee until the bill has been reported.

The House does not know what has occurred in committee and, consequently, cannot know what amendments the committee has made to the bill. Therefore, if the House wishes to, once again, take possession of the bill, then the inclusion of the words "without amendment" establishes clearly that the House will be dealing with the text of the bill it adopted at second reading.

This can be the only logical course that the House can follow and it has been done in the past. I would refer hon. members to the motion adopted on March 22, 1995, pursuant to Standing Order 78(2), with regard to Bill C-77, an act to provide for the maintenance of railway operations and subsidiary services. This motion, to be found at pages 1259-60 of the Journals , stated in part:

-if the Bill [was] not reported from the committee during Routine Proceedings on March 23, 1995, the Bill [would], at the conclusion of Routine Proceedings on that day, be deemed to have been reported from the committee without amendment.

Finally, I can find nothing in the terms of the motion which would prevent the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs from reporting Bill C-234 back to the House either before the adoption of the motion or before the sitting day specified in the motion, if it were adopted by the House. Should the committee report the bill before the 10th sitting day after the adoption of the motion, as currently worded, the House would deal with it in accordance with our usual practices. The objective of the motion moved by the hon. member for Crowfoot, that the bill be reported back to the House, would have been met.

Therefore I find that the motion as it stands on the Order Paper is in order.

In the discussion on this question it was mentioned that if the matter is not disposed of, it is transferred to Government Orders. It was suggested that the Chair intervene in this procedure. The wording of Standing Order 66, however, is quite clear, as is our practice. It is not the place of the Chair to interfere in this.

Royal Commission On Aboriginal Peoples
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Madam Speaker, under the provisions of Standing Order 32(2), my colleague the hon. Minister of Natural Resources and the federal interlocutor for Metis and non-status Indians and I have the honour to table in both official languages copies of the final report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to three petitions.

Credit Card Interest Calculation Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-351, an act to provide for the limitation of interest rates, of the application of interest and of fees in relation to credit card accounts.

Madam Speaker, in presenting this bill today, I would like to pay homage to the member for Simcoe North who is the father of this bill and its author. He is presently a parliamentary secretary and therefore is prevented from pursuing the aim of this bill, which has a threefold purpose.

First, it will limit the amount of interest that financial institutions and retailers can charge on outstanding credit card balances.

Second, it sets out a method for calculating interest charges based on the Bank of Canada rate of the previous month.

Third, it provides a mandatory grace period for partial payments on all types of credit cards.

Today banks in Canada continue to set record profits. Interest rates are the lowest in 30 years with the prime rate at 4.75 per cent, yet Canadian consumers are paying exorbitant rates ranging up to 20 per cent on some retail cards.

On behalf of the public, the government has a responsibility to regulate when unfair actions damage the public's interest. In addressing interest rates on credit and charge cards, this bill asks the government to intervene on behalf of the public interest.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I move concurrence in the 46th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that was tabled on November 20, 1996.

(Motion agreed to.)

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, pursuant to consultations that occurred earlier in the week among House leaders, I have two motions to propose. The first motion is in relation to the broadcasting of human rights and status of persons with disabilities committee.

I move:

That, during the course of its study on new technologies and privacy rights, the Standing Committee on Human Rights and the Status of Persons with Disabilities be authorized to broadcast its proceedings from rooms other than room 253-D in the Centre Block, and that the committee be authorized to broadcast either nationally, over the CPAC network, or on a regional basis, as the committee may deem it appropriate.

(Motion agreed to.)

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, my second motion is pursuant to an Order made by the House on Thursday, October 24, 1996. I move:

That the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs be authorized to travel to Nova Scotia to visit Cornwallis Park, CFB Greenwood, MTC Aldershot and CFB Halifax on February 27 and 28, 1997 and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to.)

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, I have two petitions today. The first comes from Delta, B.C.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that police and firefighters place their lives at risk on a daily basis as they serve the emergency needs of all Canadians. They also state that in many cases the families are left without sufficient financial means to meet their obligations.

The petitioners therefore pray and call on Parliament to establish a public safety officer compensation fund to receive gifts and bequests for the families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, the second petition comes from Calgary, Alberta.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that managing the family home and caring for preschool children is an honourable profession which has not been recognized for its value to our society.

The petitioners therefore pray and call on Parliament to pursue initiatives to assist families who choose to provide care in the home for preschool children, the chronically ill, the aged or the disabled.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Lambton—Middlesex, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to table a petition signed by the constituents of Lambton-Middlesex and surrounding area duly certified by the clerk of petitions pursuant to Standing Order 36.

The petitioners request that the House of Commons enact legislation or amend existing legislation to define marriage as the voluntary union for life of one woman and one man to each other to the exclusion of all others.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bourassa, QC

Madam Speaker, I am submitting a petition signed by 116 people from my riding of Bourassa, Montreal North and elsewhere.

The petitioners are asking Parliament to start procedures to abolish the Senate. Their request is based on a number of arguments, including the fact that the Senate is made up of non-elected people who are accountable to no one, that its annual operating budget is $43 million, and that it refuses to account to House of Commons committees for this money.

The petitioners point out that the Senate duplicates the work done by members of the House of Commons and, in this period of economic restraint, they wonder about the relevance of maintaining institutions that are as costly as they are useless.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Winnipeg—St. James, MB

Madam Speaker, I have the honour and pleasure to present a petition signed by 440 Canadians, many of whom are residents of the city of Winnipeg.

The petitioners bring to the attention of the House that among other things pornography is widely available in our society and despite its negative impact it exists in our communities for the most part unhindered and with impunity. They call on Parliament to have the present laws on obscenity strictly upheld, demonstrating a will to protect men, women and children from pornography's impact.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Reform

Daphne Jennings Mission—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, it is appropriate that I rise today during child week, pursuant to Standing Order 36, to present my petitions on behalf of all British Columbians to ask the government to amend the Divorce Act to include grandparents standing in the courts at the time of a divorce to ask to continue to have access to their grandchildren.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 83, 84 and 85.

Question No. 83-

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Can the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration indicate: ( a ) if special arrangements were made or contemplated at Taiwan, during the recent confrontation between the governments of China and Taiwan, to authorize the transportation of prospective immigrants and temporary entrants to Canada who had not been examined by authorized Canadian personnel and ( b ) if any such applicants were permitted to proceed to Canada without properly conducted oral examinations?