House of Commons Hansard #48 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Experience Canada
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

We will proceed with the usual Thursday question and then I will entertain two questions of privilege, one from the hon. member for Mississauga South and another question of privilege from the hon. member for Laval East.

Business Of The House
Oral Question Period

May 16th, 1996 / 3 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is on the legislative agenda in the next sitting days?

Business Of The House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in order to assist the House, I will outline the business the government will place before it for the remainder of this month.

Tomorrow we will continue with Bill C-20, followed by Bill C-4, the Standards Council Act amendments, and Bill C-5, respecting bankruptcy.

When the House returns on May 27, and on Wednesday, May 19 and Friday, May 31 it will turn to Bill C-31, the budget implementation legislation. This will be followed by consideration at second reading of the income tax legislation based on the ways and means motion concurred in yesterday.

We will then return, if necessary, to Bill C-20, Bill C-4 and Bill C-5. If there is time we will call Bill C-23, respecting nuclear safety, and Bill C-24, amendments to the Tobacco Products Act.

Tuesday, May 28 and Thursday, May 30 shall be allotted days. In order to assist the Table, I ask my friend, the hon. Minister of Finance, to confirm their designation.

Business Of The House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I confirm.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege relating to the subject of interfering with members.

I refer to Beauchesne's sixth edition, citation 92:

A valid claim of privilege in respect to interference with a member must relate to the member's parliamentary duties and not to the work the member does in relation to that member's constituency.

This point of privilege relates to my private member's bill, Bill C-337, which proposes health warning labels on containers of alcoholic beverages, which passed second reading in the House on

December 7, 1995, was reinstated as Bill C-222 after prorogation on March 5 and was referred to the Standing Committee on Health. Accordingly, I believe my point of privilege satisfies section 92.

I further refer Mr. Speaker to Beauchesne's section 93:

It is generally accepted that any threat, or attempt to influence the vote of, or actions of a member, is breach of privilege.

I have evidence that would appear to violate the provisions of section 93 with regard to Bill C-222. First, during the consideration of the bill the representatives of the alcohol beverage industry circulated two customized pieces of literature and other formal communications to all members of Parliament urging them to reject Bill C-222.

Second, on or about Tuesday, May 14 certain members of Parliament were each sent a baseball and tickets to a baseball game and a communication from the alcohol industry relating to its position on Bill C-222.

The third and most important point, the alcohol lobby spokespersons in their literature and other written communications and in committee testimony on this bill stated that if the government mandates health warning labels to be placed on their containers, the money spent on responsible use programs, advertising and educational programs, some of which are cost shared by the government, will be reduced or eliminated to recover the costs of mandating labels.

This appears to pose a threat or adverse consequence directly to Health Canada and therefore to the minister of health, and therefore attempts to affect their position regarding Bill C-222.

I believe these examples violate section 93 of Beauchesne's sixth edition and therefore violate my rights and possibly the rights of many other members of the House. I am prepared to provide the Chair or to table with the House all relevant documents in my possession if so ordered.

It would appear the lobbyists on behalf of the beverage alcohol industry are responsible for these apparent violations of section 93 of Beauchesne's. Therefore I respectfully ask that my rights as a member of Parliament and indeed the integrity of the House of Commons be defended by having a thorough investigation conducted by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs or by other means which Mr. Speaker may deem appropriate.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, as the Speaker of the House I take very seriously the allegations you have brought forth. I invite you to please put at my disposal all the information you have at your disposal with regard to your claim.

After I have reviewed all the material you have put before me, if necessary I will return to the House.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Daviault Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that Bloc members never received baseballs, tickets to a baseball game, baseball bats or anything of the sort. I do not know what the hon. member is referring to.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Does any other member wish to rise on the question of privilege?

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to say I do not think my privilege as a member has been breached in any way. I did receive some correspondence, as I do every day from numerous groups. I did not receive anything resembling a baseball or tickets to a baseball game. Therefore, my privilege has not been breached.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

If there are no more interventions on this point of privilege, I will await the information from the hon. member for Mississauga South and, if necessary, will return to the House with a decision.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the hon. member for Pontiac-Gatineau-Labelle referred to me personally as a member of Parliament in his statement pursuant to Standing Order 31 before today's question period, I would urge him to proceed with caution and to check the facts before making accusations against my office. I call on him to withdraw his comments, as they are not true.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleague, were these comments made during proceedings?

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Pontiac-Gatineau-Labelle is not here at this time, so you could perhaps wait for a day when he is present before raising the question of privilege. I will certainly hear your question again. Is this okay?

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

With pleasure, Mr. Speaker.