House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

Privilege

10 a.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on Tuesday, November 25, 1997 by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

The hon. member first raised the matter on October 1, 1997, at which time she contended that a preliminary draft report of the Standing Committee on Industry was divulged in the last Parliament. In the ruling which I delivered on October 9, 1997, I indicated that while this was a matter of considerable importance, it did not constitute a breach of privilege.

On Tuesday, November 25 the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre presented a letter from House of Commons legal counsel to officials at the Department of Industry dated August 25, 1997. That letter reiterated the principle that pursuant to the law of parliamentary privilege, the House of Commons and its committees are masters of their own proceedings.

The hon. member also suggested that rules for the handling of committee documents might be subject to review by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

I would like to thank the hon. member for providing the Chair with a copy of this document and for her continued concern that the proprieties of this House and its committees be observed. I would also like to thank the government House leader and the hon. member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre for their interventions.

First, I will repeat what I stated in my ruling of October 9. It is clear both from the authorities and from earlier Speakers' rulings that a breach of privilege in one Parliament may indeed be punished by another.

I have carefully reviewed the documents submitted by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre as well as the submissions made when this issue was first brought before the House. I have also examined the procedural arguments with some considerable attention.

The hon. member made reference to citation 57 of Beauchesne's 6th edition. This citation states:

The House has in the past regarded the publication of the proceedings or reports of committees sitting in camera to be a breach of privilege. Unless, however, a specific charge is made against an individual allegedly responsible, the Speaker has refused to find a prima facie case.

Parliamentary procedure as set out in this citation and as reflected in our practice is quite clear. Reports adopted by committees must be tabled in this House prior to their divulgation or publication. Similarly, what is said and done at an in camera meeting must remain confidential.

With respect to the manner in which committees deal with other aspects of their business, I will refer again to my ruling of October 9, 1997. Committees have not only the right but also the responsibility to manage their own affairs. They must be very clear about how they expect draft reports and other confidential material to be treated. As well, they must ensure that everyone present at such meetings, including departmental officials, is aware of their obligation to respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.

The fact remains however that these are matters which fall within the responsibilities of each committee. If irregularities occur concerning their proceedings or reports, committees may decide to report to the House on these matters. It is on the basis of such a report that the House will then give consideration to the situation.

After careful review, I am convinced that no new material element is brought forward in the case which the hon. member presented during her submission of November 25, 1997. I would like to thank the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre and other members who contributed to this question.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams 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 responses to 15 petitions.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Sheila Finestone Mount Royal, QC

Madam Speaker, as chairman of the Canadian group of the Interparliamentary Union, I have the honour to present to the House in both official languages the report of the Canadian group of the Interparliamentary Union which represented Canada at the 98th interparliamentary conference held in Cairo, Egypt from September 10 to 16, 1997.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Pierrefonds—Dollard
Québec

Liberal

Bernard Patry Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian section of the International Assembly of French-Speaking Parliamentarians as well as the financial report of the meetings of the 23rd regular session of the IAFSP and its executive committee, held in Luxembourg from July 7 to July 10, 1997.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association that represented Canada at the meetings regarding the activities of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, held in London, England, on February 17 and 18, 1997.

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present in both official languages the report of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association which represented Canada at the meeting of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe from June 19 to 25, 1997 in Paris and Strasbourg, France.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present in both official languages the first report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

In accordance with Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertook an analysis of the harmonization initiative of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

I have the pleasure of presenting this report to the House. Pursuant to Standing Order 109 the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, I would like to make a few comments on the report which was just tabled and note that our minority report is attached to it.

The Reform Party members on the committee support the establishment of clear federal-provincial jurisdiction over environmental matters while upholding national standards.

We would like to emphasize that it is crucial to eliminate unnecessary duplication and overlap in the most cost effective manner. The more money saved by streamlining the system, the more money left to protect the environment.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present the 14th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding membership of the Standing Committee on Transport. If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 14th report later this day.

National Defence Act
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-25, an act to amend the National Defence Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

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

Canada Grain Act
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-26, an act to amend the Canada Grain Act and the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act and to repeal the Grain Futures Act.

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

Coastal Fisheries Protection Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-27, an act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act and the Canada Shipping Act to enable Canada to implement the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks and other international fisheries treaties or arrangements.

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

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Cadman Surrey North, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-294, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (victims' rights).

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for North Vancouver for seconding this bill. I am privileged to introduce this Private Members' Bill which will amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act with respect to the rights of victims of crime.

It has been my personal experience that victims of crime do not seek to control or exert undue influence over due process in our criminal justice system. They merely seek to be included in that process and to be accorded the same considerations similar to those shown to offenders.

Among the most frequent complaints heard are those related to notification of proceedings and the inability to be heard from during the process. This bill intends to address those issues among others. For years now there has been much talk in this place about issues relating to victims of crime. It is time to dispense with the rhetoric and actually do something.

I urge all members to give careful consideration and support these amendments.

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

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

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

If the House gives its consent, I move:

That the fourteenth report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)