House of Commons Hansard #159 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

10 a.m.

The Speaker

Order. I have notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for Sarnia-Lambton and I propose to hear that before we proceed with any other business.

Privilege

April 18th, 1997 / 10 a.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning on a question of privilege concerning the cancellation of private members' hour today.

I learned yesterday afternoon that the member for Vancouver North, whose motion appeared at position number one for today, had notified the office of Private Members' Business that he would not be appearing. I spoke with the hon. member this morning and in fact he had notified that office at the opening hour, 9 a.m. yesterday morning.

Prior to that I had a bill put on the order of precedence, as published yesterday in the Order Paper at No. 28. It was submitted to the private members' office at 5.55 p.m. Wednesday evening. I advised the clerk that if a substitution was to be made that I was looking for one. The next morning at 9 a.m. the clerk was advised.

Standing Order 94(1) states that "the Speaker shall make all arrangements necessary to ensure the orderly conduct of Private Members' Business, including ensuring that all members have not less than 24 hours' notice of items to be considered during private members' hour".

As of yesterday morning at 9 a.m., notice had been given. In fact on the evening prior, at approximately 5.55 p.m., notice had been given of a bill on the Order Paper that was published yesterday. At no time did I receive from that office an opportunity to be substituted or to be placed on the Order Paper for today. I appreciate that the rules also say that a member will give 48 hours' written notice.

I want to suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that is one test. However, there are other tests. Certainly the office had more than 24 hours to contact other people and to ensure that the orderly conduct of private member's hour would continue.

Although 48 hours is one point, 24 hours is another point. Somewhere in that 24 hour interval there was opportunity. The office did know I was looking for a substitution. Had I been offered that place, it would have meant the rules requiring that 24 hours' notice be given and would have been published yesterday at 6 p.m.

I would suggest that as a result of this that my rights and my privileges have been usurped. In fact it is within your authority, Mr. Speaker, to do one of two things. Either to cancel the continuation of government business at 1.30 p.m. today, or to add a private member's hour following that one hour that has been apparently removed at this point.

I should point out that the bill to which I am referring has passed through the House, has passed through the Senate and only needs to come back on the Order Paper here. Notwithstanding the fact that the 48 hour notice has not been complied with in the sense of Standing Order 94(2)(a), that the orderly conduct of business could have continued. The 24 hour notice provision would have been complied with.

The 48 hour notice is not a precedent in the sense that a member must give written notice. I am advised that often members will call from distant places and say: "By the way I am not going to be there". Someone may call on a Monday from some remote place in the world and say he or she is not going to be here and not be able to provide written notice to the clerk, who on many occasions has acted. They have I understand also acted in terms of this window of opportunity being the point between 24 and 48 hours.

It is on that basis that I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that my privileges have been usurped and I ask for this extension or substitution of government business from 1.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.

Privilege

10:05 a.m.

Reform

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member for Sarnia-Lambton has raised a very important point in his question of privilege. Private Members' Business is a when we bring material to this House which we take very seriously.

The fact that I cancelled my appearance today on a private member's bill was actually done as a form of protest because my bill is non-votable.

The member for Sarnia-Lambton has a votable piece of material, and notwithstanding the Standing Orders and a ruling that you might make in connection with that, I would also like to suggest that perhaps in the process that is going on here we may be able to get unanimous consent of the House to do a substitution and to meet the needs of the hon. member.

Privilege

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

I take it as part of my duties as your Speaker to ensure that there is a reasonable continuation of business in the House.

The hon. member for Sarnia-Lambton has quoted the passages in the rules which are germane to this point of privilege. The hon. member puts forward in his argument that he was not contacted24 hours prior to the period or surely he would have agreed to have his bill brought forward. I believe this is in Standing Order 94(1). If I am off on the number the clerks will correct me.

In Standing Order 94(2) of the rules of the House, which were established by us together in concert, it is quite clear that the Speaker should have notice some 48 hours prior to making any move. The reason the Speaker is given the 48 hours is so that he will be able to contact the member at least in the next 24 hours to have this member bring forward his bill.

The hon. member argues that sometimes written notice is not given. In my short experience here and because of the faxes that we now have, when a member calls to say he or she cannot bring forward a bill, we usually ask that a fax be sent and usually that is done.

Be that as it may, the rules are quite explicit. They state that notification should be given to the table officers, who will then inform the Speaker, so that there can be an orderly procedure in Private Members' Business.

I would rule that the Speaker did not get the 48 hours' notice and therefore I did not order the clerks to give the hon. member 24 hours' notice.

The hon. member for North Vancouver is here. He also confirms that he did not give the Chair 48 hours' notice.

What I find interesting in this whole matter is that you and the hon. member for North Vancouver are both here and you both seem to agree that this would be acceptable to the two of you. The suggestion put by the hon. member for North Vancouver might be the way to get around it. I will not take it upon myself to rule that your particular bill be ordered, but if you would care to put forward a request for unanimous consent that your bill be debated today, I would be interested in receiving such a request.

Privilege

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I ask the House for unanimous consent to have a private members' hour today from 1.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.

Privilege

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member have the permission of the House to put forth the motion?

Privilege

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Privilege

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Privilege

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

There is no agreement. Therefore, we will not proceed with this point.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-92, an act to amend the Income Tax Act, the Income Tax Application Rules and another act related to the Income Tax Act, as reported (with amendments) from the committee.

Income Tax Budget Amendments Act, 1996
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Fundy Royal, NB

Madam Speaker, I understand there is unanimous agreement that the third reading stage of Bill C-92 may be considered as soon as the second reading stage is completed.

Income Tax Budget Amendments Act, 1996
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Is there unanimous consent?

Income Tax Budget Amendments Act, 1996
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Income Tax Budget Amendments Act, 1996
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in and read the second time.

Income Tax Budget Amendments Act, 1996
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?