House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, given the situation in which we find ourselves, a situation which has not occurred since 1956, if my memory serves me right, where the House must deal with a most urgent issue, namely the tabling of a substantive motion by the leader of the Bloc Quebecois on the issue of confidence in the Speaker of the House of Commons, it seems to me that this issue must be dealt with now.

I do not think we can simply move on to Government Orders as if nothing had happened when, in fact, the Chair of the House of Commons is being called into question. It would be much better, not only for the sake of all the members of this House, but also for the Chair itself and for parliament, to give absolute priority—and I thought there would be no doubt whatsoever about this—to the non-confidence motion moved by the leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

Mr. Speaker, I would not understand if you were to agree to simply move on to Government Orders as if nothing had happened, when parliament is going through a crisis the scope of which it has not seen since 1956.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I thank the hon. member for Roberval, and I wish to congratulate him on his return to the House. I am pleased to see him here today.

His point of order is certainly very serious. I am well aware that the order paper contains a notice of motion under the heading of motions, which will be debated today in the House, in a debate that is rather serious to everyone and certainly to this House.

Until we get to motions, however, this is only a notice of motion and the motion is not before the House. If it is put before the House, it will no doubt be a motion of great importance, with a certain priority over other matters we may discuss.

We have a motion before us at this time, which was moved by the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and which is acceptable from the point of view of procedure and practice in this House. I believe I am obliged, regardless of the notices of motion in the order paper, to continue with the business before the House. The motion has been presented and we need to consider it.

If the motion is not passed, we shall no doubt move on to another matter under Business of the House. We shall probably then have an opportunity to discuss this very important motion.

For the moment, I believe it is my duty to put to the House the motion of the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, could I ask a question?

I had the impression, given the special nature of the substantive motion by the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, that the 48 hour period provided by the standing orders permitted and inevitably led to a debate on this substantive motion at the end of this period. This means today, now, as we speak. make !sense.

I put the following question to you. Are we to understand that if, through a motion, a political party raises the very serious matter of the credibility of the Chair and questions one of the foundations of the House of Commons, of parliament in Ottawa, the motion will be brought to the attention of the members only if the government wishes to debate the matter.

That amounts to saying that, by giving precedence to a proposal by the parliamentary secretary, the Chair of the House of Commons accepts that if the government does not wish to debate a substantive motion such as confidence in the Speaker, we will not discuss it.

This is so basic that the members of the Bloc Quebecois unanimously want to debate this urgent matter now. A lot of opposition party members are interested in debating the matter of the Chair and—

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. I have a great deal of respect for the hon. member for Roberval. It often happens in the House that some parties unanimously wish to discuss certain issues, while others do not. This is why we sometimes have votes concerning the order of business and the order of motions or bills in the House. We are now at Routine Proceedings.

As is often the case, the parliamentary secretary proposed a motion—which is a normal thing to do, not always, but nonetheless normal—and, from the Chair's point of view, that motion is in order since it is in compliance with House procedures. This is why I would like to carry on and put that motion to the House now.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the House leader for the Bloc Quebecois pointed out, all the government has to do is propose a motion to revert to Business of the House and thus ensure that the impartiality of the Chair cannot be debated.

Do members realize that the government is trying to turn the Chair into a new weapon in its arsenal to gag the House and that the Chair accepts to play—

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I will put the question to the House. The question is on the motion of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister that the House do now proceed to orders of the day. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.