House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was appointments.

Topics

Krever Commission
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the tone and the accusations of the hon. member are absolutely false. Just like the record of the Reform Party, when it comes to health related measures it is all over the map.

Presence In Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of Mr. Jure Radic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development and Reconstruction of the Republic of Croatia.

Presence In Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence In Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Also I wish to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Stockwell Day, Minister of Family and Social Services of the Government of Alberta.

Presence In Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Before we proceed to tributes for one of our members who died over the holidays, I am going to entertain two points of order, which I hope will be brief. One is from the hon. member for St. Albert and the other is from the hon. member for Winnipeg Transcona.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is rather unfortunate on this first day that we return that I have to invoke Beauchesne's 481(e) which states talks about imputing bad motives or motives different from those acknowledged by a member.

I am referring to the remarks by the minister of defence during question period. He quoted Hansard regarding the leader of the Reform Party. To give the picture, I will also repeat what the leader of the Reform Party said from Hansard September 17, 1996:

Mr. Speaker, to ensure that there is no ultimate cover-up in the Somalia inquiry will the Prime Minister guarantee to this House that the results of the inquiry will be made fully public before the next federal election?

That is a direct quote from Hansard from the leader of the Reform Party. However, in the next breath after quoting these words the minister of defence went on to put words in the leader's mouth, saying that he demanded the Somalia inquiry be shut down. That is not in any way, shape or form the proper interpretation of the quote.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the member for bringing this up but in my view this would be a matter of debate, how one member sees it and how the other member sees it.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my point of order has to do with the way question period proceeded today and the fact that it was completely dominated by the three official parties in this House and there was no place for the New Democratic Party, the Progressive Conservative Party or independents.

I had a question on medicare I would like to have asked which I think a lot of people would like to have had asked. I did not get to ask it because three official parties were allowed to dominate question period by going on and on and on.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for Winnipeg Transcona for bringing up this point of order. It gives me the opportunity to appeal to all hon. members. During question period we do have 45 minutes and I would appeal to both the questioners and those who are to give the answers to please be as brief as they can.

It is of course the intention of the Chair to accommodate as many members as possible. It was pointed out to me earlier that only one member of the government posed a question today.

I would hope that the questions tomorrow and in the days ahead will be a little shorter as well as the answers. In that way we should be able to accommodate the independent members of the House as well as the members from the government. It is a point well taken and I do thank the hon. member for Winnipeg Transcona for bringing it up.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order. I do want to support my colleague from the NDP in his point of order.

May I just add a comment that the Chair may wish to take into consideration in the way question period is conducted. Mr. Speaker, with regard to members on the government side, since you have expressed some concern about the fact that only one member from the government side was allowed to rise, one of the things we know about this place is that the members on the government side have full access to members of the cabinet and their colleagues through caucus, which is not the case for members on the opposition benches. Question period is clearly designed, as far as we know from its practice and traditions, to enable the government to be questioned and to allow the opposition to make the government accountable. I submit that maybe one question for the government side would be enough.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for his suggestion. On the same point of order, the hon. member for York South-Weston.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Nunziata York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me it is more than a point of order. It in fact ought to be considered a question of privilege.

Government members, NDP members of Parliament and Conservative members of Parliament are treated differently in terms of question period than Bloc members of Parliament and Reform members of Parliament.

They are treated differently in the sense that government members, independent members, Conservative members and NDP members are permitted only a single question, normally at the end of question period. The other registered parties are entitled to a question and a supplementary.

It seems the Chair has to give some plausible and reasonable explanation for why there is that distinction, for why I as a member of Parliament am discriminated against in terms of question period-

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, we could get more members of Parliament posing questions if both the questions and the answers were shorter. The Chair has taken note of this. I will proceed to the hon. member for Parkdale-High Park.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jesse Flis Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, you reminded the House at the opening of today's session of the wooden Mace in front of you. I would remind all of us that you have the authority under that Mace, and if any question is too long or if any answer is too long, you have the authority to cut it short.