House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agency.

Topics

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I address myself to the hon. member for Sherbrooke. I thank him for his vote of confidence. Ultimately the Speaker has to take responsibility for question period, and I do.

At the time when I was looking for a questioner, I looked to the House and the member for York South-Weston was on his feet. No one else was on their feet-

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I can see we are going to get into a protracted discussion on this, but today I recognized the hon. member for York South-Weston and I take complete responsibility for that.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we all know how it works here in the House. There is an agreement between the parties, and the Speaker protects the rights of independent members. It is very clear that today the member for York South-Weston worked out an agreement with the Reform Party so that he could have a turn to speak.

The member for York South-Weston has been successful in his attempt to join the Reform Party, unlike the member for Sherbrooke who tried to do the same thing almost one year ago. It is as simple as that.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, on the point of order raised by the hon. member for Sherbrooke, I would concur with what the hon. member has said.

We certainly accept, Mr. Speaker, your intervention that you are in fact responsible for question period and we abide by your rulings, but I would hope that in the future, if the practice is going to be what the hon. member for Sherbrooke has said, that perhaps there could be a fuller debate among all the political parties and

members in order that we fully understand the practices which are going to commence.

As the hon. member for Sherbrooke has said, if these cozy relationships between the Reform Party and the hon. member for York South-Weston are to take place, I think the House should be informed of them.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, when you were instructing the hon. member for Sherbrooke, he said very loudly and distinctly: "That's a lot of bull". I suggest that he withdraw that statement.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want the record to be very clear with regard to this whole episode. The Minister of Health is absolutely right with regard to the precedent that has just been set in this House. This precedent goes to the very fundamental rules of how the House works, of democracy itself within this place and of the role the Speaker plays with regard to the rights of the individual members.

As of today the record shows that a deal was entered into between the Reform Party and an independent member so that the independent member could take up a position that a Reform Party member would have held normally in question period, and that the Speaker of the House of Commons complied with that instruction.

That is what took place. I want to register the fact that this is the record. I think this is objectionable because with regard to the workings of the House of Commons this is a situation in which the Speaker of the House is yielding his responsibility to the parties, a responsibility that he must uphold and assume in the name of each member of this House and not in the interest of partisan politics within the House of Commons.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

In these interventions on a point of order, as your Speaker I am ultimately responsible; there is no one else. I can categorically say that no matter what deals may be concocted, it would always rest on my decision as to who would be posing a question.

I recognized the hon. member for York South-Weston. He was standing.

Many times over the course of my time in the House, members have given way to other members who may want to place their questions. If the way question period is carried out is not acceptable, then I suggest perhaps the House leaders come together again and look over whatever agreement was arrived at some three years ago before I took the chair, and if it needs to be fine tuned, your Speaker is the servant of the House and I will continue to be.

To my colleague from Sherbrooke, I find it rather sad that under these circumstances, if the hon. member did mean it as a rebuke to the Speaker of House, it would come out in this way. If the hon. member wishes to pursue the discussion, I would invite him, as I would invite all hon. members, to take up the discussion with me in my chambers. I would be very happy to hear what the hon. member has to say.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Essex—Kent
Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I do not mean to prolong this discussion but as I was sitting in this place near your chair, I observed the member for York South-Weston standing. No one else in this House stood at that time.

As a matter of fact, you did not directly point him out. If the tapes are reviewed they would show there was a pause while you looked through the House. There was no indication that another member wished to speak at that point in time.

I certainly do not understand the accusation brought from the member for Sherbrooke in that case because you had no choice at that time but to recognize the standing member.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, just for clarification so that those watching will know how the rules work, there is a schedule for the S. O. 31s, the one minute statements that precede question period. In times past we have given a spot to his co-worker, the hon. member for Saint John, who has spoken in a traditionally Reform spot because we knew she had something to say and we let her say it.

In times past, the Bloc Quebecois has substituted in the member for Yukon in the Indian affairs committee, another member of a minority party who was substituted in on a Bloc's schedule. This is because members of Parliament have privileges that are exchanged and we help one another out if it is appropriate.

Where we help out the member for Saint John on occasion or if somebody stands and is recognized in the House because no one else is standing, there is certainly nothing inappropriate. It certainly does not deserve the condemnation of the member for Sherbrooke who used the language he did to address the Chair.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I think this has gone on long enough. I would like to bring this point of order to a close.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

December 12th, 1996 / 3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of personal privilege in that I was named by the member for Saint-Hubert as someone who would verify her attendance at all the NATO sessions. In fact, I was at a 12 hour voting session of NATO on the plenary session and the member

was touring the Versaille with one of my assistants. So the member was not there.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

We have a member who has risen in this House and made a statement implicating another member of Parliament. I have ruled on one point of privilege, and that is behind us. I am dealing with another point of privilege where the member for Mississauga West has made a statement. The member she made a statement about is in the House now.

If the hon. member for Saint-Hubert would like to make a statement of clarification, I invite her to do so.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Hubert, QC

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I most certainly would.

The member for Mississauga West unfortunately did not take part in the activities of the Canada-Nato committee on Monday, November 18. She declined to fly to Toulouse with the committee, because, as she told us, she was already familiar with the facilities at L'Aérospatiale in any event.

So I do not think the member has any business casting aspersions, since she herself did not participate in all the activities.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I think we are having just an ongoing debate. I would rule that this is not a point of privilege on either side and I would like to rest this here.

I have a question of privilege that I am going to hear before the point of order. The hon. member for Sherbrooke on a question of privilege.