House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was debt.

Topics

Tribute To The Late Antonio Yanakis
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to one of our former colleagues, the late Antonio Yanakis.

A former Liberal member for the riding of Berthier—Maskinongé—Lanaudière, in Quebec, he very actively represented his constituents, who renewed their confidence in him over almost 20 years.

He was always very close to his family, who has joined us today. It is therefore with sadness that we say farewell today to Antonio Yanakis, a man devoted to his constituents, who represented them in this House, a man valued by his colleagues throughout his career in this House.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my deepest condolences to his children and family.

Tribute To The Late Antonio Yanakis
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to add my condolences on the passing of Antonio Yanakis. Mr. Yanakis was born on July 6, 1922 in Montreal. He achieved a Bachelor of Commerce at McGill University. He was very active in politics for over 20 years. He was the mayor of Ville Saint-Gabriel from 1961 to 1963 and was elected to the House of Commons in 1965.

He presented himself very well in many of the committees of this House, including the agricultural committee, forestry and crown corporations. He was a Knight of Columbus and a member of numerous service clubs in his community.

We in this House regret the passing of Antonio Yanakis and pass along our sincere regrets to his family and friends.

Tribute To The Late Antonio Yanakis
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the New Democratic Party, I would like to extend our sympathies to the family of Antonio Yanakis, who passed away a few days ago.

Mr. Yanakis was first elected in 1965 and re-elected five times. I clearly recall that Mr. Yanakis was here when I was elected in 1968, because he had just been re-elected. He went on to be re-elected in 1972, 1974, 1979 and 1980. If I remember correctly, he was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour at the time. He was a fine politician, who represented his constituents very well for 15 years.

I would like, once again, to extend our condolences to his family.

Tribute To The Late Antonio Yanakis
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Harvey Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I did not know Mr. Yanakis personally. I arrived here in 1984. As mentioned earlier, Mr. Yanakis was a member of Parliament from 1965 to 1984. He was first elected at the age of 43.

I took time to read his first speech in the House of Commons. No one will be surprised to learn that he loved his riding of Berthier—Maskinongé—Lanaudière, which he described as a region of beautiful mountains and vast forests, with hundreds of lakes where summer visitors can relax in a beautiful setting.

He also said “as you probably know, I am the first Canadian of Greek origin to be elected to the Parliament of Canada, and in an almost exclusively French Canadian riding. This would indicate that Quebec is far from displaying the fanaticism it is sometimes accused of”.

Mr. Yanakis stressed Quebec's dynamism. He said that “the new, dynamic Quebec wants to be a leader and help shape a new and proud Canada. It is in the full respect of the rights of both official groups, anglophones and francophones, that Canadians are asking us to speak on behalf of the new Canada”.

On behalf of the Progressive-Conservative Party of Canada, and on my own behalf, I wish to offer our most sincere condolences to all those who knew Mr. Yanakis, particularly his family and friends.

Tribute To The Late Antonio Yanakis
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleagues, I too would like to say a few words, because I knew Antonio Yanakis. Incidentally, his family is here with us today.

Mr. Yanakis was first elected nine years before me, and we met for the first time in 1974. We worked together until 1984. I do not really remember whether he retired at the time, or whether he was defeated. In any case, we were troopers together in the House.

There was a time when I was the chairman of the Liberal caucus and Tony Yanakis was the treasurer. He was the one who had to raise the money so things could go on in the caucus. I found him to be a very warm person. I found him to be very reliable.

I do not know that I could call myself among his closest friends, but I revelled in the fact that I knew him well. We travelled together in Geneva where he represented Canada. At that time, I was brand new to the international scene, but he was not.

Tony Yanakis I found had a warmth about him that endeared him to all of us who served with him in this House. It can be said I think fairly that after having served this country, after having served his province, after having served his municipality so well for so many years, he should be saluted by us here in this House.

He was one of us. He was a parliamentarian of Canada and you, his family who are here today, have every right to feel the pride of your father, of your father-in-law, of your real friend that all of us felt for him as a parliamentarian.

Those of us who knew him well miss him very much and we give you our most heartfelt condolences. We wish you welcome, also, to this place where he served us, where he served you and where he served Canadians for two decades. I thank you in the name of Parliament.

Tribute To The Late Antonio Yanakis
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Tribute To The Late Antonio Yanakis
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I think it might be a question of privilege. I will hear it.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

December 11th, 1997 / 3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will leave to your capable judgment whether it is. I do raise this as a question of privilege of which I have given you notice today.

On December 8, the Department of Revenue updated its website concerning payroll deductions and has published new tables reflecting those changes proposed in Bill C-2 as if those rates were now law.

These are found at website WWW.RC.GC.ca/menuemenuHSA.HTML. The House has passed and sent to the Senate Bill C-2, as members are well aware, which amends the law respecting the Canada pension plan.

To date, no message has been received from the Senate concerning the passage of this bill. The Senate is capable of protecting its own privilege in this case, however the House is also seized with the issue since the content of Bill C-2 is not settled until both Houses have agreed on the final content and royal assent has been granted.

It is still open to the Senate to remit this bill to the House for consideration of amendments, including the alteration of those matters that the government is publishing as though they are now law.

By publishing these tables before the enactment of Bill C-2, the government seeks to preclude this House from any consideration of amendments that the Senate might remit as a result of its deliberations. I submit that this constitutes a contempt of the Parliament of Canada.

I draw the Speaker's attention to page 226 of the second edition of Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada which states:

Contempt cannot be codified: Contempt has no limits.

This is why it is said that the “privileges” of the House cannot be exhaustively codified; there are many acts or omissions that might occur where the House would feel compelled to find that a contempt has taken place, even though such acts or omissions do not amount to an attack on or disregard for any of the enumerated rights and immunities.

Further on the same page, it states as follows:

As a Speaker said, “—the dimension of contempt of Parliament is such that the House will not be constrained in finding a breach of privilege of Members, or of the House. This is precisely the reason that, while our privileges are defined, contempt of the House has no limits.

When new ways are found to interfere with our proceedings, so too will the House, in appropriate cases, be able to find that a contempt of the House has occurred.

Mr. Speaker, you will also want to refer to the ruling of Speaker Fraser on October 10, 1989. At that time, the Speaker warned the government that he would not treat similar situations lightly.

Mr. Speaker, you yourself have made a similar ruling at least twice in this session.

Mr. Speaker, it is my submission to you that the time has come for the Chair to adopt the doctrine set out at page 227 of Maingot:

In the final analysis, in areas of doubt, the Speaker asks simply: Does the act complained of appear at first sight to be a breach of privilege—or, to put it shortly, has the Member an arguable point? If the Speaker feels any doubt on the question, he should leave it to the House.

Mr. Speaker, I will not abuse the time of this House. The precedents are before you and are known to you and indeed in this Parliament you have dealt with this issue, I would suggest. Your ruling cautioned the officials of the Department of Finance in that instance. Now I would suggest the disease has spread to the department of revenue. Obviously your admonition has carried little weight with the government and those public officials concerned with the electronic publication of this table at the web site which I have placed before you.

This matter should be put to the House through Mr. Speaker and considered as an abuse of Parliament by this government.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. House leader for the Conservative Party has raised an interesting point. However, I would suggest that you reserve judgment on this point until you are able to hear from the minister in question or his parliamentary secretary. They are not in the House at the present time.

Also, I might observe that Bill C-2 arises out of an agreement between the Government of Canada and at least eight of the provinces, published and made known before the legislation was brought forward in this House. I do not think anybody has ever suggested that under these circumstances information arising out of or from the agreement between the federal government and the provinces being made known to the public constitutes a breech of privilege because it comes forward before the implementing legislation has become law in totality.

Furthermore, I would like to suggest that if in its wisdom the other place decides to amend Bill C-2, frankly the hon. member has not made out a case as to why the web site in question would in any way prevent the other place from amending the bill and sending it back here for our consideration.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I invite you to consider, whatever the weight of the hon. member's argument, whether you can act on the matter because he did not, as far as I could hear, end his intervention by offering to move or in fact moving the appropriate motion.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank both the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough and the Deputy Prime Minister for their views on this question of privilege.

The hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough brings up points that were raised earlier in the year. I have ruled on matters similar to this one. However, I want to take the advice of the Deputy Prime Minister in this regard. I would like to hear from the minister involved in this question of privilege. I am going to reserve judgment on this until I can get more information.

In any case, as far as I know, this is our last day of business here today, which I think is official now. I will have a look at all the information that I can gather between now and our return to Parliament. At that time, if it is necessary, I will come back to the House with a decision after I have gleaned enough information about it.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I request unanimous consent to present two travel motions.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member have permission to put a question to unanimous consent?

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The answer is no.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, as this is the last day, I would like to request unanimous consent that the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine present the motion.